Monday, December 19, 2011


I don't mean to forget; it happens very organically. One moment I have a thought in my head--an important one--and then it's gone. 

I have a grocery list in my head, but only half of the list comes home with me.  

I vow everyday to be a better mother--patient, kind, loving--and then they start arguing and I start forgetting that I wanted to be a Godly mother today. 

I promised my husband I'd love and cherish him "as long as we both shall live" . . . but I've forgotten to do that almost every day of our marriage. 

I promised Jesus my heart, and I forget to remember Him almost every day. I forget his sacrifice. I forget that he was a fleshy, crying baby born in a barn. A BARN. Most of my friends freak out at the fact that I gave birth to 2 of my children in my bedroom. But a barn?!--like, I'm giving birth next to a cow? Gross. But I digress. 

Humans are forgetful. Some days I feel I'm the worst of the humans. 

I really want to focus on Christmas--Cristes maesse--the Mass of Christ; a celebration of His birth. Then I go shopping and people are rude and I'm in a hurry and the lines are long and I mean to smile at the guy in red ringing the bell but I have a list in my head and I can't be bothered to make eye contact with anyone or I'll lose my train . . . 

I can't blame "the world". It's me. I can't sit here with my bible and my coffee and point fingers at how we've lost our way and forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I forget.

How to remember: Thanksgiving. I know, Thanksgiving is over. The Fall leaves are raked. But that's the way back; the way to remember. Giving thanks

And now, I'm going to plug the book again. No, I'm not getting paid. If you only get (or buy yourself) one book this Christmas: "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. It challenges it's readers to part with forgetfulness and keep God's love and promises fresh in our heads through constant thanksgiving--even in difficult circumstances. Don't forget to read it. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

To Choose Joy

It seems like "having joy" should be easy this time of year. Ya know--"Joy To The World" and stuff like that. But the longer I'm home from Africa, (it's been almost 3 weeks!) the more I'm realizing that joy isn't "abounding" for many people around here--myself included. 

We're one of the richest countries in the world, and yet I'm finding that I sensed more joy in the small, smelly, mosquito-and-disease-infested corners of Kenyan slums than I'm finding at Starbucks and Target as I watch people wield all sorts of worldly goods in their carts that most of our friends in Kenya wouldn't even understand the use for, let alone have the resources to purchase. That was a run-on sentence. 

Where's the joy?  Well for me, the joy has been a little hard to come by as well. And then tonight, as I was contemplating our situation--my husband and 2 of my children sick, no insurance, an E.R. bill, our CA trip postponed to have $600 worth of work done on our van today, tough family situations, etc, etc, I remembered something that I wish I would quit forgetting. 

Joy has to be chosen. 

It has already been offered in the form of a Baby, born to give us Life. I choose it. 

If people in the far corners of the world's most poverty-stricken countries can chose joy (and I've met some of them), then I can too. If my Kenyan friend Gladys, with HIV, no food in her (mud-hut) home, and no one to take care of her can chose joy, then I will. 

In sickness, financial stress, car trouble, holiday traffic, dysfunctional families and botched Starbucks drinks . . . I chose joy. It's mine for the taking. Pure, unaltered Joy To The World. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him . . ." Romans 15:13

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Home but not "Home"

We're safely back in the U.S. and we're happy to be home, but we're not really "home" yet. We've been living out of suitcases for the last 2 weeks and will continue to do so for 4 more weeks until we're finally in our new home in Bellevue, WA. 

We had a wonderful trip home. First 3 days in Nairobi with some great new friends, visiting the Elephant Orphanage, the Giraffe Park and the Nairobi Safari Orphanage. We were all totally exhausted, but the kids did great on the planes, and we even had an amazing 6 hours downtown London on our layover, walking all over the city on about 5 hours of sleep. 

We've been in AZ with Howie's parents for the last 2 weeks. Mya got sick with an ear infection and pneumonia, so we had a trip to the E.R. and are now trying to get all our paper work turned in for free AZ health care so that we don't have to pay her E.R. and prescription bills. She is on the mend--thank you to those of you who have been praying for her. 

Being back in the U.S. has definitely been an adjustment. Besides some really severe jet lag and everyone in our family feeling sick at one point or another, we have experienced a little of what feels like spiritual attack--just feeling a little defeated at times. We are also having some financial issues with our support which has been very discouraging to both of us, but we're holding on to God's promise that He is in control, and that He always provides. 

We can't wait to get to CA next week and see all of our SoCal friends and students from Kitale, and then spend 2 weeks with Amy's parents in Mount Hermon for Christmas. 

Thank you so much for reading this, for keeping up with our family, and for your support and prayers. We almost feel like we need more prayer now that we're home, with all of the challenges that moving countries (again) brings. 

Please also be in prayer for a job for Howie. He has a few solid leads, and we're just asking the Lord to bring a job for him quickly so that he can start working as soon as we get there!!  

Hope to see as many of you as possible very soon!