Saturday, January 26, 2008


We are here. Doing GREAT! I still love Swaziland and now my girls do as well.

Thank you for your prayers and please keep praying.

Tomorrow we attend a Swazi church service and then go to a farm that is providing not only a home from orphans but teaching them how to live in a family and one day be a productive member of Swaziland society.

Must go for now. My internet time is up.

Salani Kahle!
Elysa "Thandeka"

Friday, January 25, 2008


Mommy loves you and misses you already!!!!!! Please give Daddy lots of hugs and kisses then tell him that Mommy loves and misses him, too, okay?

Hope you're having a good time with Daddy doing extra special things and enjoying all that fun Daddy food.

BIG KISS, little kiss, BIG HUG, little hug!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

STILL TRAVELING.... please keep praying for our safety....and that I don't lose anything important such as my passport or one of my daughters. Yes, I'm a worrywart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tomorrow is the day my "big girls" and I leave for our trip to Swaziland, Southern Africa. Its been a long time coming. I want to thank each of you who have supported us and made this trip possible. God is blessing us greatly and y'all are part of that.
Many have asked about the chicken pox situation. God has been healing them up and they are ready to travel. We had a sweet time of prayer and encouragement with some of our church leaders on Sunday when they came to pray over us. Its been hard at times and I must admit I've not always trusted as I should. But God is good and faithful even when I'm not.
We fly out tomorrow and will arrive in Johannesburg many, many hours later. After one night at a guest house, we'll drive on to Swaziland. We'll go thru Mbabane (which is where I used to live) on our way to our destination of Manzini. We will spend the next week visiting "care points", attending a Swazi church service, fellowshipping with missionaries/ministers, and visiting orphanages as well as doing some fun things such as shopping for crafts!
On Thursday afternoon, January 31, we will leave Swaziland and drive to Nelspruit, South Africa. On Friday morning we will wake up and do a day safari in Kruger National Park as our last full-day fling in Africa. That Saturday we will fly back to The States.
I'll hopefully be able to post updates on my blog every couple of days or so while gone so check back every other day or so.
As for prayer requests:
Pray for daughters A and B to be fully healed from the remnants of the chicken pox. They are doing great...they'd just love to have their complexions restored to the pre-pox state!
Pray that during these last minute preparations that, as a friend said, we won't be "stressed but will be blessed". I don't want all the crazyness of leaving to rob us of our joy.
Pray for safety.
Pray for hubby and the kids back home. Pray that the little ones won't miss Mommy too badly. Also for my mom as she helps take care of the kids next week.
Pray for sweet fellowship and unity among the members of the missions trip entourage. Pray my enthusiasm and remembrances of Swaziland "back when" won't drive everyone mad! ;D
Pray that we will be an encouragement and blessing to all we meet.
Pray that our family will be unified in love as we prepare to leave and as we are apart.
Pray that the girls and I will be drawn into a deeper relationship with each other.
Pray for our hearts...that they will be changed and we'll become what God wants us to be.
Pray most of all that all things will work together for our good and God's glory.
I must go for now and keep on packing (yes, its almost midnight and I'm STILL not finished).
With a full heart,
P.S. Also pray for my 9 year old son. He went to bed not feeling well tonight...saying his stomach hurt.

Steve Lambert describes himself as "a husband, father, grandfather, educator, speaker, horse lover, dog lover, motorcycle lover, guitar-player-wannabe, author, photographer and part-time philosopher". And as he says, "It's a good gig if you can get it". That's Steve for you...he does have the kind of wisdom and knowledge that can only come from years of living out God's ordained adventurous purpose, but its also almost always accompanied with a dash of humor (sometimes a big heaping dose) and copious amounts of grace that help even the hardest words go down a bit easier.

I've known Steve (or "Boompa" as he is affectionately known to more than just his grandkids) for several years now. He's a spiritual father and grandfather to many and I'm thrilled to be able to introduce you to him thru his brand new blog, AS BOOMPA SEES IT.

Click on the link and be prepared for something special:

Monday, January 21, 2008


I've got to keep this short as I'm bushed from a full day of being a mom PLUS 7 hours of last minute errand running and shopping for the trip. We leave for Africa in a little over a day. Oh my.

Many of you have asked about the chicken pox situation. The girls are doing much better. Thank you for your prayers. Just continue to pray for their speedy and full recovery and pray for my brain. So many of my thoughts are becoming worrywart ones.

I'll post a more detailed update tomorrow as it will be my last day to blog for who knows how long.

Thanks again for all of your prayers and support.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


This song and its amazingly true message has my spirit soaring tonight. God is so good ALL the time!

"I don't have a hard time believing the Gospel is true.for you. God loves you and accepts you and wants to do good to you. The problem is, I have such a hard time believing it's true for me. Luther nailed it when he said that we are born with an inborn suspicion that God is not for us. Like a bass note in a terrific song, I battle almost daily the constant thumping that because of my failures, sins, and selfishness, I do not have God's favor. He seems to be never satisfied. So what is the answer? How do I keep on keeping on? The life and death of Jesus tells me that the lie is just that, a lie. God is satisfied because He was satisfied with Jesus; and I am in Him and He is in me. That's the antidote to the inborn suspicion-the Father is for me, because of the cross of Jesus. So daily, it's a fight of faith; to believe the Gospel is true for me."

Tom Wood,

Saturday, January 19, 2008

SNOW in Dixie!!!

It hasn't snowed here in YeArS so you can imagine what an amazing event this is for us. And it continues to come steadily down...big, fluffy, gorgeous flakes...and it is the wet kind great for snowmen and snowballs. I should know. Darling, dear hubby hit me with one this a.m. as I was standing in the doorway filming wearing nothing but my nightgown, gardening clogs, and a scream!

Friday, January 18, 2008


I've got to keep this short but please be praying for my oldest daughter. Her pox are actually worse today and she broke down this morning crying in despair. For the first time, she is afraid that she won't be well enough to leave for our trip on Wednesday.

It hurts my mother heart to see her this way.

Please keep praying. I know God is able. And we sure need His touch today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


My 6 year old princess came sobbing to me tonight. I pulled her up in my lap and tried to get her to tell me what was wrong. All the while, her 10 year old brother pranced about showing off his pox-ridden bare torso. She kept saying that she couldn't tell me what was wrong because it would make her too sad. Finally, she told me that she was crying because, as she said in her words, "I'm the only one who doesn't have the chicken pox so I can't do the chicken pox dance".
Reminds me of Dr. Seuss' story about the Sneetch's.
And yes, all of her siblings have come down with them now. Baby M's first spots debuted tonight.
Off to go check on the poxy progeny.

Wanted to give a couple of updates and also take the time to say "thank you" for all your prayers and caring messages. They make all the difference in the world.
I rec'd word that my loved one's time with the authorities went positively. He feels good about the interview and was finally able to give them the full "rest of the story". Please continue praying that truth and justice will prevail and that this situation will finally be put to rest.
Secondly, another child has now come down with chicken pox. 4 year old T started running a fever and feeling bad yesterday so the spots came no surprise today. Please pray for all of the children but especially continue to pray that daughters A and B will recover quickly. They must be NONcontagious by the time we leave for Swaziland in 6 days.
And lastly, continue to pray for me that I will trust God and rest in His peace. I asked my daughter A yesterday why she and her sister didn't seem stressed out about the situation and she said "because we just know we're going". WOW. To have the faith of a child.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Someone close to me is a very honest and hardworking business owner. For the last year and a half he and his business associates have been fighting a legal battle in which they have not only been falsely accused, but have also had unethical things done against them. Please pray for my loved one as he meets with authorities today. Pray that the truth will prevail. Pray that the authorities will finally see and accept the fact that there were not illegal activities going on and end the investigation. Pray for my loved one that he will have wisdom and clarity as they speak. Pray that this will all be used to strengthen his relationship and trust in God. This whole thing has been incredibly difficult and taken a toll on him physically.

Above all, I pray that all things will be used for his good and God's glory.

Thank you so much,

This is a video made by the Swaziland Tourism Authority and gives a good introduction into the cultural aspects of the country. This is the beautiful side of the story

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


That's right folks, the spots have arrived!!!!

12 year old B has 'em, 10 year old D has 'em, and 14 year old A has 'em! WOOOO-HOOOO!!!!!!!! That means the girls will be over and done with them and ready to travel come next week. God is SO GOOD...His timing is never too slow.

Thanks for all your prayers and emails of encouragement. God is showing me that more and more He wants us to need each other and praying for each other is part of that.

Love to you all and I'll keep you updated as we face departure on Wednesday, January 23.


P.S. Some of you have been asking if there is anything else you can do or that we need. A says that if anyone wants to bring her a Sonic Reeses Blast that "they will not be counted as one of the sniveling, snickering people who are happy in my misfortune and I will be so appreciative". Obviously she was hoping that God would answer by supernaturally keeping her from getting the pox. I'm obviously one of the "sniveling, snickering" ones who is ecstatic that she's getting it and we'll know that she's good to go.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Since we leave for Swaziland soon, I felt an update was in order.

None of the other kids have come down with chicken pox though my second daughter B (who is going to Africa with me) came into my room just a bit ago with spots that look suspiciously like chicken pox. We'll continue to monitor the situation.

Seeing these red spots does start to give me a bit of tiny feelings of panic but I hold true to what God got into my spirit in a very tangible way last Friday. I was sharing with someone about different times that God had moved powerfully in my life during past events. There were times when in the eyes of man (and in the eyes of THIS woman) things looked bad. But God overcame.

What I spoke and finally, finally, FINALLY really and truly meant it was that God is bigger than the chicken pox. If He wants my oldest daughters to go to Swaziland with me next week, then they are going to Swaziland with me. If they don't go, its not because of the pox, its because its GOD'S BEST WILL FOR THEM AT THIS TIME! Its not because the devil won. Its not because we didn't have enough faith. Its not because God's not able. Its not because God can't protect from sickness. Its because GOD CHOSE FOR THEM TO STAY. Now I'm still hoping and praying that they are both going with me. I know that God can prevent illness and God can heal from illness. And if God wants them to go its going to happen! But if He, for whatever reason as the ultimate sovereign, loving, powerful, all knowing God, decides that they are staying put, then I will praise Him then as well. I won't understand it perhaps. And I will be disappointed. But I am determined to trust Him that He is able to accomplish whatever is for our good and His glory. His ways are higher than our's. His will is not always easy to understand. But one thing I know and I stand firm two things....HE IS LOVE and HE IS ABLE!

Romans 8:28 assures me that ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose...the purpose of making us like Jesus. And later in Romans 8 we are encouraged that NOTHING separates us from the love of GOD...not chicken pox, not plans that don't turn out as we thought they would, not disappointments, not ANYTHING!

Please keep praying for us. Pray that if the girls are to go with me next week that nothing will stand in the way of that happening. But I pray most of all, that we will learn to trust and love God better thru this situation and that HIS will be done.

Thanks so much,

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Hope this helps your week start with a few retro-laden laughs!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Four year old T informed me that I was "born by cupcakes". When I asked him to explain this he said:

"When you were in Grandmommy's belly, she was making cupcakes. She ate one of the cupcakes and then you were born."

Guess that helps explain why he's so sweet on me!

Friday, January 11, 2008


To most Americans, a dish with a name like "peanut stew" sounds less than appetizing. But when my friend, Allene Vinzant, fixed it for us years ago, she introduced us to an entree that became a family favorite for us. Allene spent many of her growing up years as a missionary kid in Sierre Leone. The recipe was passed on to her family orally and that's how it was passed on to me. Because of this reason, there are not a lot of exact measurements, but that's okay as its a very "forgiving" recipe.

Today, our homeschool group held its first "eat your way around the world" meal. We had fun tasting desserts from Italy, cookies from China, lumpia (spelling?) from The Philippines, sushi from Japan, flat bread from the North American Crow Tribe, and many other items that were on the most part, pretty exotic for our down-home group. I made my friend Allene's peanut stew. Enough brave souls tried it and liked it that they asked that I pass on the recipe. Since I was sending it through our homeschool e-loop, I thought I might as well pass it along to my blog readers as well.

Happy cooking AND eating!


In a big pot, add however much chicken meat you want to cook. For my family, I usually do 3 boneless chicken breasts. If you want to use cheaper parts of the chicken, such as thighs, cook them and then debone before continuing with the recipe.

Okay, so back to the first part. Put the chicken in a pot. Cover it with water. You should have enough water to make about 2 to 3 cups of broth. Add some salt, pepper, and chopped onion (anywhere from 1/4 to a cup according to how much you like onion). Boil til chicken is done.

Remove chicken from broth and cut up into bite-sized and smaller pieces. Return to broth.

Reduce heat to medium. Add to this 3 small cans of tomato paste (the 6 oz size) and a jar of peanut butter (I use smooth, all-natural but use whatever you want. If you use the kind with sugar and salt added, you'll not need to add additional salt and sweetening). If you are using all-natural p.b. add a few squirts of ketchup, a bit of stevia, or a little bit of honey. You want a bit of sweetener to cut the acidic taste of the tomato paste just like most folks do with spaghetti sauce.
Stir often until peanut butter is melted and its well blended. Lower heat---you do NOT want the pb to burn!

Add a bit of ground red pepper to the stew, stir, and serve over rice.

If you've used smooth peanut butter, offer chopped peanuts (or other nut of your choice, even sunflower seeds) to sprinkle on top before eating. The crunch adds a nice touch.

I also like my peanut stew HOT so I add hot sauce on my serving before eating.

The meal that my friend always served included these items---

Peanut stew over rice

White bread w/butter and jelly

Fruit salad made of chopped bananas, oranges, and pineapple

There is something about the combination of these foods that really works well together. I don't do sliced white bread but I do white yeast rolls. In most parts of Africa, white bread is considered fancy and is preferred over brown or whole wheat bread.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


An American living in an Asian nation emailed me this week. He told me that I could share what he's been learning about invitations:

We get a lot of invitation here where we live; invitations to weddings, birthdays, circumcisions (my personal favorite) and lots and lots of traditional festivals. Whenever we can, especially if it comes from a good friend or an important official, we try to make it. Whenever we go we are usually ushered to the front of the room and given the best seats and a place of honor. I have even been to weddings where, we more often than not, steal the show from the new bride and groom. At larger events, like this past new years eve celebration here in town, we were invited by a young girl to come and try some of her families cooking that was going to be served; the next thing you know we are sitting with the mayor and our pictures are being aired on national television.

Invitations are pretty serious business here and if we commit to going we have to be prepared for the ride. On the other hand we have handed out a few invitations ourselves. Ours are usually a bit less formal and those that are able to come aren’t met with such regalia. Usually they get a slice of pizza, cake, or whatever the occasion calls for and around the kids bed time we start laying down the hints…Which they pick up on and so the evening ends.

I noticed this morning something…I was woken up early and invited to spend to some time with the creator of the universe. I was ushered to the front of the throne where I sat soaking in all could get before the bright eyes of our children would inevitably open. I was reading in Isaiah 66 where it talks about His invitation and how we ignore it at our own peril. There are no limits on his time, no limits on his grace… no limits on the depth of the occasion. He has invited me here and I am an honored guest.

I have to admit His invitations often get replaced with my own. My meager invitations don’t quite match those that come from the one who separated the light from the darkness and the land from the seas. When I invite him to join us He usually gets a place at the table, a slice of pizza, cake, or whatever the occasion calls for and around the kids bed time we start locking up the doors.

This morning if there is an invitation take Him up on it…don’t wait to find time and invite him in at your leisure. His throne room beats whatever you might have to offer!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


..."Just Me" from the blog, PEANUT BUTTER AND BACON SANDWICHES. She'll receive a handcrafted bracelet from GRACEWORKS. Thanks to all of you who took the time to share your memories and participate in the drawing.

Deleise had asked in a comment how she could purchase some of the jewelry. Just email me and I'll tell you what we have left and the prices. We have several things that are already made up but can custom design pieces as well. All proceeds go to support ministries that benefit mostly HIV/AIDS orphans though we do have plans to expand that scope as God brings new opportunities across our path to bless others.

Again, thanks to all who entered the giveaway and if you'd like to check out our winner's blog, just click here:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


***This is a sticky post. Scroll***

down for newest musings.




I'm hosting a drawing to help celebrate a brand new year. Go to this link for details and to enter:
AND THE WINNER IS.. be announced tomorrow! I know, I know, how mean! But I have got to make this snappy and don't have time to do the winner justice. My oldest daughter was the official number picker and we'll clue you all in manana.

Til then....keep praying for SPOTS!!!!!

Daughter A is feeling terrible this morning but still no spots.

Daughter B is fine and energetic...busy running around being a screaming, creative, artistic director in the kids' "photo shoot" they are doing today.

Please keep praying!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The nurse practitioner confirmed it, son P does have the pox.
I feel like such a "wrong" mom, but I'm rejoicing tonight because oldest daughter A is feeling awful with the first signs of chicken pox. The nurse practitioner said that she and her sister B should come down with it anytime now and that's a good gives them time to get healed up so we can all go to Africa! Poor A...all she wants is sympathy and instead she has these scores of people rejoicing because they're prayers are being answered! Don't worry...daughter A is able to joke about it even though she's feeling pretty pitiful. She'll also enjoy not having to slave labor around the farm tomorrow. ;)
Keep up the prayers!!!
( Africa really ready for these two? They are now arguing over who is the whiniest when they are sick. Sisters!)

Sunday, January 06, 2008


This morning I woke up and immediately started mentally ruminating about our upcoming ministry trip to Swaziland and the chicken pox situation in our home. My mind was full of stress and "what-if" thoughts. I started praying but the peace didn't come.

Time went by and I was reminded of the message in an ecard that my friend Paige sent me:

"It's not the size of the mountain, but the strength of the mountain mover."

And then:

"Behold, I am the anything too difficult for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

Just a bit ago I got to pondering the situation again and praying about it and I started thinking about times that God said something was going to happen and then obstacles were thrown in the way. I was reminded of when the Hebrew people were told they were going to be given the Promised Land...a land flowing with milk and honey, a land of goodness and abundance. God had done so much to get them to the point of possession. He orchestrated their release from Israel and the parting of the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh's army. But then.

But then.

But then they heard of the giants in the land and they were sore afraid. They quite believing.

How could they quite believing a God who had already proven Himself faithful
and mighty?

How can I so easily give into fear and quit believing? I've seen God work mightily too many time in my life to be reacting this way.

I've seen with my own eyes miraculous healings...even experienced them in my own body.

I've eaten tainted food on the mission field and not fallen sick.

I've seen lives that were thoroughly messed up and bent on destruction turned into something beautiful and good.

I've seen financial provision come when it was needed so badly.

I've seen families restored and marriages healed.

I've seen people delivered from addictions.

I've seen food amounts that were inadequate feed scores and scores of hungry African teenagers with even some left over.

I've seen all the circumstances work out for me to go to Swaziland the first time even when at certain points along the journey it looked impossible.

For months now I have revelled in the joy of God's gift of this trip to Africa. I have laughed and danced and wept tears of happiness.

But now I'm like those children of God who on the brink of possessing the Promised Land heard about the giants and trembled. Yes, I'm scared and worried and not trusting....not trusting the one who has proven Himself faithful over and over again.

Oh me of little faith.


I want to believe that to the core of my being. I want to trust in Him. I want to relax in Him. I want to dance and laugh and yes, even cry tears of happiness as I wait to see Him work.
I want to fully trust that He is my loving Father who holds back no good from me or mine. We believe that He told us to take our girls to Africa with me, now I need to trust that He will use all of this for our make us more like Jesus.

I want NO GIANTS to rob me or mine of our Promised Land...and for us, that Promised Land is going forth to speak words of love and grace and freedom to those who have been taken captive by HIV/AIDS, poverty, abuse, neglect, abandonment, and sorrow. We want to love those little ones and in doing so, have our lives be further transformed. I don't want to stay in a life of comfort and self-centeredness. I want my family's life to be poured out because we passionately love Him...and as a result, passionately love the least of these.

Please pray for us. Pray for His provision. Pray for His healing and protection. Pray for us to fear not the "giants in the land".

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chicken Pox?!??!! And we leave for Africa in 2.5 weeks!!!

Okay y'all...we REALLY need y'all's prayers! My wise husband has reminded me that we believe God's will was for our two daughters to go on this missions trip so He will take care of the situation, but we still need prayers.

It appears that our 9 yos has chicken pox. None of my kids have ever had it before and they've not been immunized for chicken pox. Please pray that either the 2 oldest girls will either go ahead and get the pox and get them over with OR they just won't come down with them at all. They've been exposed big time in the past and never came down with them so our nurse practitioner friend thinks they may have dev'pd a natural immunity.

Who knows. Regardless, we need them to be well and ready to travel in 2.5 weeks.

PLEASE pray for this situation.And pray that the girls and I will learn to trust God more and more as we face this situation that has the potential to really stress me out. I know that God is bigger than chicken pox and this situation comes as no surprise to Him. I know that He is in control...I just need to keep resting in that. ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We do love Him and we do believe that we're called according to His purpose. So now I need to just pray and trust and sit back while God shines!

Thanks in advance for your prayers,

Thursday, January 03, 2008


This is a quote that may cheer up all of us that are down on ourselves about our sins and failures (and imagined failures). I'm not condoning sin, just noting that we should extend some grace to ourselves and others. If you don't try, you won't fail, but you won't succeed either (that is my quote). As additional food for thought, note that Matthew 25:14-30 indicates that a life spent doing nothing is a sin.

George Bernard Shaw said, "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

BTW, to clear up any confusion, the included photo is George Bernard Shaw, NOT my hunky hubby. ;)

FRED THOMPSON'S MESSAGE TO IOWA... an important one for all of us as we face primary voting decisions.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


As much as I'd love to think that I'm going to write a detailed account of all our wonderful Christmas memories, I just know it ain't going to happen. At least not tonight when I'm wore plum out from taking care of sick kiddos all day but at least I can post a few pics. I'll just have to settle for my kids' journals being a written record of our seasonal happenings. When I'm their teacher, I can conveniently let that be a homeschool assignment. One day they'll thank me for it as they rise up and call me blessed....really.

Super hubby says I'm staying up too late on the pc so in an attempt to be a good, sweet, submissive wife, I'm getting off without any captions. I'll try to add those tomorrow. Til then...g'night!

Audrey Hepburn was able to join us for our Christmas Day festivities.

D loved the Catan card game he rec'd for Christmas.

Grandmommy and my nephew Cullen share a Christmas hug during our family get-together on Saturday, December 29.

My brother Edward and his youngest child Connor enjoy my mom's traditional fried shrimp Chistmas dinner.

Cullen gets enjoys another hug, this time from my sister-in-law Stephanie of THAT GIRL DESIGNZ.

The cousins actually sharing a gift nicely with each other...the scene was not quite so pretty where the highly coveted viewmaster was concerned.

Princess LG was thrilled to receive her favorite Eric Carle book, Mr. Sea Horse, as a gift from Grandmommy.

Here I am very gleeful over a new book, Lucky Jim, from my brother's family.

Baby M loves her markers and Dora book...I love that they are the kind from Crayola that ONLY write on the special paper and NOT on the furniture, walls, and carpet.

Mr. T is also pretty happy about his new book, a Thomas the Tank Engine one in his case.

I'll post more photos later today...hopefully.