Monday, January 31, 2011


Well, it's official. I'm going to Africa for two weeks in August.

I know this is a shock. I am personally shocked as well. But when God calls, it's usually in His time, and not mine. Apparently, God says it's time.

I have had a heart for the children of Africa for a while now. We sponsor a little girl in Kenya through Compassion International, and I am thrilled that I might get the chance to meet her.

Does the timing of this all seem odd? To some, it might. A mother of four young children, going off to a third world country, ministering to the orphans of the AIDS epidemic, exposing herself to malaria and typhoid, leaving her children for two weeks to travel to a country where there is political unrest, rioting and crime may not make sense to most people.

But it makes sense to me.

I firmly believe that my life isn't quite on the right track. I believe in God, and that He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to save me from my sin. I believe that this life is just a blink of the eye in comparison to eternity, and that we are put on this earth for a purpose. I don't think I have quite found my purpose yet.

Yes, raising my four children to be mighty men and women of God is a very noble purpose, and I intend to do that to my fullest. But I don't believe that that is all there is to it.

We are to touch lives. We are to minister to others the gospel of Christ, to be the body of Christ here on earth. What does that look like? I don't believe that looks like a woman who so focused so much on her family and children that she ignores everything else going on around her. That doesn't look like a woman who has been blessed by unimaginable luxury and incredible children, holing up in her home and not letting her life cross paths with the lives of those who are so incredibly different. We are not to stay within our circle. We are to branch out and show Christ's love to those who haven't experienced it yet.

I am a very wealthy woman. I will say it again, I am a very wealthy woman. Now, before you all start making plans to rob my house, I am not at all wealthy by America's standards. In fact, when you line up our family's material wealth compared to that of the rest of America, we are just barely above the poverty line. But when you compare our family's wealth to those who live in the slums of the Mathare Valley in Kenya, we have luxuries that those who live there can't even fathom.

I can let my children drink water without worry of them catching a disease that I have no medical care to cure.

The road that runs in front of my house is not made up of primarily human waste.

My children can eat till they are full, and when we are done with a meal, there is some left over.

My entire community is not ravaged by the AIDS epidemic.

It's funny, seeing these things in print seems so trite, so unreal. We as Americans cannot even fathom the pure poverty that most of the world faces. We get so used to our easy, simple lives that we cannot even comprehend the pure horrors that the rest of the world faces every day.

I am so incredibly blessed, and in order to live out my life as an example of Christ Himself, I need to leave my home and go to those who need love. And Kenya is where I am called to do just that.

I think we get too comfortable in our lives. Americans, in general, live to not rock the boat. We don't do things that stir the pot, or any other silly cliches that define a life of taking care of ourselves, and not the needs of others who are dying of preventable things. When God calls us, we feel the need to check with others to see if we have approval from the masses before we answer the call. I want my life to reflect that I answer to God alone. God's approval means so much more than the approval of others, and He will never lead you where He will not accompany you. I fail to remember this often, but I am working on it, and growing in my faith. Today, I am listening to the call of the Lord.

God called me to Africa. And I immediately said yes.

And yes, I'm terrified. The fact is, I'm comfortable in my cushy lifestyle and my comfortable home with heat and running water. I have no idea how good my life is, and I'm about to have my heart ripped out of my chest and shattered into a thousand pieces. I know this experience will forever change my life and my outlook on things.

And I'm praying that God will break my heart for the things that break His.

If you haven't watched this video before, I HIGHLY encourage you to do so. And if you have, watch it again.

This is why I am going to Africa.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mr. Fearless

I have written a lot about Drew on this blog, since he is a, well, an unusual child. I wanted to show you a little more of his sweet, fun, daredevil self. This is most certainly not the worst of it, but a good example as to the games we play at our house.

Drew is not only scary-smart, but completely fearless. And now after this, he wants to jump out of an airplane.

Lets hope he remembers a parachute first.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Conversations in the Car

Ben: "Mommy, puppies don't eat bamboo."

Me: "Oh, really?"

Ben: "Pandas eat bamboo!"

Me: "That's right, Ben! When did you get to be such a smart boy?"

Ben: giggles "I just smart, Mommy! Do you know what a lion eats?"

Me: "Tell me, sweetie, What does a lion eat?"

Ben: "A lion eats grass."

Me: "Actually, a lion is a carnivore. That means he eats meat. Can you guys say, 'carnivore'?"

Ben and Grant: "Car-viv-nor!"

Me: "A carnivore is an animal that eats meat. Where do you think the lion gets his meat?"

Ben: "Some meat is in a tree, but some meat is in the forest. But some meat is on a dinosaur plate!"

Me: "Well, a lion eats his meat without cooking it first, and he doesn't have a plate. So he just eats other animals. Lions eat zebras."

Grant: "Wait! No, lions can't eat zebras, I want all the zebras for a pet! Tell the lions they not allowed to eat zebras!!"

Sure, buddy, I'll get right on that. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We watched this video this morning, Emma and I. She, curled up on my lap, snuggling deep and watching closely for the entirety of the speech.

We talked about the past, and about segregation, discrimination and about how God created everyone equal. We talked about equality and love and understanding.

She wants to go to Martin Luther King Jr's grave site. I told her we would try to, but not today. Georgia is a bit far.

"Mom?" she asked, in her serious way. "Mom, if all this hadn't happened, and things were like they were back then, what would I be?"

"What do you mean, sweetie?" I asked, "If all what hadn't happened? Do you mean if it was still like it was back then, when Martin Luther King made his speech?"

"Yeah, if the black people and the white people went to different places, what would I be?"

Realization suddenly dawned on me. This sweet, racially colorblind child, wondering where she would fit into a segregated world. "Honey, you are white."

"Really? I would be white?" She looked confused. I don't know if she was just still trying to figure it all our, or if she just didn't want to be associated with people who treated others badly.

"Honey, you are white, whether this happened or not. Your skin is white, and that makes you white. What is important is to know that it doesn't matter what color a person's skin is, God made everyone just perfectly, so whether they are white or black or something else, each person is created by God and no one is better or more deserving or smarter than anyone else based on the color of their skin. Does that make sense?"

She thought about it for a minute, then looked up at me again. "Mommy, I'm so glad the laws are changed. If not, I wouldn't be able to have a lot of my friends, and I might not be allowed to go to my school. I like things just like they are."

I though of Martin Luther King Jr's speech. We do not live in the south, and yes, racism is still an issue most places. But as for my child and her friends, in their sweet, six year old world, the dream that "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers" has come true. Emma lives in a world where it is a reality that "the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood." I only hope that the world continues to change for the better, and that this is the only reality she ever knows.

I kissed her sweet head. "Me, too, sweetie. Me too."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holding an Intervention

Ben: (screaming) "Owwwww! Mommy, he hurted me!"

Me: "What happened?"

Ben: "We was sword-fighting and he gotted me in my hand!"

Me: "Well, sweetie, that is a risk you take when you sword fight with rulers. That's why we are not allowed to do that. Please put the rulers on the table, they are for drawing with, not sword-fighting with."

Ben: "No, Mommy! We's playing! Maybe we can sword fight, but get each other in the faces."

Me: "Oh, no, honey! Hitting each other in the face would really hurt, a lot worse than getting hit in the hand."

Ben: "Not for me! Gwant, get me in the face wif the ruler!"

Just add Crisis Interference to my resume. You know, assuming I will ever be sane enough to hold down an actual, real, paying job. Oh, who am I kidding, never mind.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Drew!!

Dear Drew,

I am constantly amazed by you, and I thank God every day for allowing me the privilege to be your mother. Happy second birthday, baby Drew.

You are a spitfire, you have more personality and passion in your little pipsqueak body than I have ever seen in a child your age. You love with your whole heart, you throw yourself into everything you do, and your determination is something we could all learn from. When you set your mind to something, by golly you will accomplish it. Although that is a trait that drives me nuts right now, I sincerely hope that never changes.

You came from such humble beginnings. You truly are truly proof to your Daddy and I that God's ways are much, much better than ours. You may not have been planned by us, but you were very much planned by God and you were very, very much wanted. If we had only known how our family would be complete with you in it, we would have planned your life. Luckily, God knew how much we needed you, and sent you to us, our little unexpected blessing. I love you so much.
Your birth was complicated. Your pneumothorax (collapsed lung) was scary, but those eight days you spent in the hospital were truly a blessing. I don't know how I would have had the one-on-one time with you if you had come home right away. I am grateful for the chance to hold you all day long(after the first two days were you could not be held), to do nothing but focus on you.
You at two years old are an amazing child. You drive my crazy with your antics, you keep me running with your abilities. You could remove the outlet covers at nine months old, open all the childproof locks at sixteen months, climbed from your crib and got your first concussion at nineteen months, and defeated the swivel outlet covers and child-proofed medicine bottles at twenty-two months. I feel your life will be a long string of calls to poison control and trips to the ER, with you giggling all the way, saying, "Well, that was fun!" I truly hope you keep your passion, your drive, your determination, and your problem-solving skills throughout your childhood and into your adult years, you will do great things with your life if you can maintain the skills you have now. It would be nice, however, if you could tone it down a touch, just for now, so you can survive till adulthood. ;)

You are the sweetest child as well, you give the biggest and best hugs, and always seem to know when I need you to snuggle. I will never tire of hearing your little voice saying, "I wuve you, mummy!" Your favorite things are Go Diego Go, tractors, elephants, and your older siblings. you love everyone in your family, and you really do complete us.

At this point in your life, you do not like to be called "Drew." You insist that you are "Baby." I try to convince you that you are big, but no, you yell, "I Baby! Bay-bee!" Alright, sweet boy, you can stay Mama's baby for a bit longer. I know that you are my last, so if you want to be little, I'll let you.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. You make my life a joy every day, and you keep me in shape chasing after you. I love you!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First blog Video/Musical Performance

I (hope I) finally have video!!

OK, I know I'm a bit behind the times. Every blogger out there has done a home video on their blog but me. Well, I'm slow. Get used to it. and this might not even work. We will see.

Here are my kids performing a lovely number they practiced for a long time. I personally think it's awesome.

Yes, we cut Ben's hair. He's the one on the right. Grant is in a bit of a 'stinker phase', which is why he interrupted the well-rehearsed song with his Kanye-esque moment. No, I have no idea why it's such low quality. I'm still learning!

Here are the words to Ben's song, since it's kind of hard to hear over Drew's babble and Grant's unscheduled interruption:

Happy Birthday to you, to you,
It's Emma's birthday,
Eat come cake! Eat some cake!
Chomp chomp chomp! Chomp chomp chomp!
Chomp chomp chomp! Chomp chomp chomp!

And that's as far as he gets. No, it's not Emma's birthday, that is in June, but she was the songwriter/choreographer and apparently wanted in on the birthday action, since all three boys' birthdays are within two weeks of Christmas.

I love it.