Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just a little bit ago, 6 year old LG was helping her big sister A clean off the table after lunch. Big sister told LG that she was just like Cinderella because she was working like a servant girl. LG said "no, its because I have long beautiful hair but then the evil stepmother cut it off".
Hmmmm...of course she doesn't have an evil stepmother...she doesn't even have a stepmother!
But her hair did get cut and by me.
So what does that make me in this fantasy world?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Four year old T has been asking me for DAYS to post on my blog what he has to say about his stuffed panther... so here goes:

"Ki-Kat is a ROCK STAR!"

Gotta love that boy.

The organization that we went to Swaziland with in January, Children's HopeChest, is now expanding their ministry to Ethiopia. I know that some of you have a special place in your hearts for the people of this African nation so I wanted to share some of these exciting plans. Tom Davis wrote this at his blog:
" ...the plans are to start the process of opening the country now and taking a trip sometime in the next 6-12 months. This stage is about raising funds to hire staff, buy vehicles, and begin the humanitarian work of distributing food, clothes and initial programs. We are also connecting with churches and business who are interested in sponsoring orphanages in Ethiopia. Each community here in the US will sponsor an entire community there, helping to provide not only food, but spiritual development, education, medical/dental, and emotional support. For more info please see our website: This will provide holistic, sustainable programs for the kids in a way that cares for them the way a family would. There's something special about Ethiopia. There are a lot of committed people who have adopted, willing and ready to help in any way. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm about this project. You are the ones who will help make this successful. We'll have a conference call to connect us for those who have responded. "
For those who are interested in being involved, you can visit the website or email Tom directly at: tdavis "at"

Monday, April 28, 2008


"Jesus is the One who shows us the paradoxical route to meaning in a chaotic and hostile world. It's the paradox of the gospel: Strength is found in weakness. Control is found in dependency. Power is found in surrender..God uses the frustrations of this life and the hurt of relationships to compel us to look beyond what we can control to the God who controls all things in order to woo us to himself. As we move from control to surrender, we move from chasing the wind under the sun to embracing God above it."

Dan Allender, Breaking the Idols of You

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Please pray for the situation in Zimbabwe. Its been bad for a long while but its truly desperate now.
Here's an article published in THE TIMES ONLINE:
Babies seized by Robert Mugabe's forces as Zimbabwe hounds voters

Thousands flee crackdown

Christina Lamb and John Makura in Harare

Scores of children and babies have been locked up in filthy prison cells in Harare as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, sinks to new depths in his campaign to force the opposition into exile before an expected run-off in presidential elections.

Twenty-four babies and 40 children under the age of six were among the 250 people rounded up in a raid on Friday, according to Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Yesterday they were crammed into cells in Southerton police station in central Harare.

“This is ruthlessness of the worst kind. How can you incarcerate children whose mothers have fled their homes hoping to give their children refuge?” asked an emotional Chamisa yesterday. “In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe even children are not spared the terror that befalls their parents.”
The families were rounded up from MDC headquarters, where they had sought refuge from violence in the countryside.

Thought to be directed by top military officers, Operation Where Did You Put Your Cross? has prompted thousands to flee. They are trying to escape the so-called war veterans, who are attacking people and burning down hundreds of houses for voting “incorrectly” in last month’s elections.

“What we’re seeing is an undeclared civil war,” said Chamisa. “It’s genocide. This situation is out of control, it’s now beyond the capacity of the MDC alone. It requires the region, the continent, the international community to act.”

Four weeks after the elections, official results have still not been released for presidential polls widely thought to have been won by Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader.

Simultaneous parliamentary elections saw the ruling Zanu-PF party lose its 28-year-long majority. The election commission is engaged in the recount of 23 constituencies after regime claims that they had been rigged by the opposition. None of the results has been overturned in the 14 so far announced. Even if the remaining nine were to go to Zanu-PF it still would not have won a majority.

While some Zimbabweans see a glimmer of hope in this, Mugabe has remained defiant in the face of international condemnation. Most expect the regime to announce that no candidate won a majority in the presidential election and to order a run-off next month which Mugabe will ensure that he wins.

“The only game in town is a run-off,” said George Sibotshiwe, Tsvangirai’s spokesman. “The recount was just to buy them time to smash people’s heads in, so when they go for a run-off nobody will even be thinking of voting.”

The regime’s strategy is to ensure that by the time of the run-off, Mugabe would have a clean sweep in rural areas, where 70% of Zimbabweans live. A police officer admitted yesterday that he had been instructed not to interfere with war veterans as they carry out their campaign of terror.

At the same time the opposition leadership has been driven into hiding or abroad. Tsvangirai fled Zimbabwe two weeks ago after he was charged with treason for “conspiring with the British to oust Mugabe”.

“I am unable to return home for fear of my life,” he wrote in The Washington Post last week.
On the ground the party’s network of district officials is being decimated. Tichanzii Gandanga, the MDC election agent for Harare province, can barely walk after he was beaten and left for dead.

Four men arrived at his offices in central Harare at about 6pm on Wednesday. “They told me I knew my crimes and so I had to confess,” said Gandanga. “They blindfolded me, bundled me into a truck, then drove for a long distance, beating me on the head, on the back, everywhere. They played loud music so that no one could hear my cries. I don’t know how I survived.”

As he was being beaten, Gandanga was questioned about the whereabouts of Tsvangirai. Eventually he was dumped in the bush. He managed to crawl to a main road where he was picked up and taken to the head of a nearby village.

For two days Gandanga was nursed by villagers. Eventually he got word to his relatives who moved him to a private hospital.

Ten people have been killed so far, according to the MDC, including a five-year-old boy who was burnt to death in a hut. The first victim on April 12 was Tapiwa Mubwanda, 54, the organising secretary for the MDC for Hurungwe East.

According to his widow they were on their way back to their village when they saw a group of Zanu-PF youth militia. While she fled into the bush with their children, her husband and his elder brother were beaten with rocks. “They said, ‘You voted for the MDC, now we want to do this in order to teach you to vote. You wasted your vote by voting for Tsvangirai. He will never be the president of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe will remain, so we want to teach you to vote’.”
When she crept out of hiding her husband was dead.

Another MDC activist, Manyika Kashiri, 55, of Chigumbu village in Uzumba, had his foot smashed by an axe when militias stormed into his shack at midnight on Tuesday. Kashiri woke after a bang at his door and rocks smashing against his windows. When he emerged, he was hit with a log by one of the militias and another tried to chop off his right foot with an axe in front of his grandchildren, one of whom was just four.

“We’re seeing a major increase in government-sponsored violence,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“The ruling party has been sending its allies after people it thinks voted for the opposition. Now anyone seen as opposing Mugabe is in danger.”

One activist, a 25-year-old fitter in hiding in Bulawayo, told The Sunday Times how he and two colleagues had been picked up by intelligence officers and forced to eat a poster of Tsvangirai. “You like him so much, now eat him,” they told him.

“Every day that passes, hope is seeping away,” said an aid worker in Zimbabwe. “This could very easily end up being yet another stolen election.”

Zimbabwe’s churches said yesterday that they had opened up their premises to victims of the violence.

Church leaders worldwide have declared today to be a day of prayer for Zimbabwe. “The current climate of political intimidation, violence, vote-rigging and delay has left the presidential election process without credibility,” read a statement from two senior Anglican archbishops, Rowan Williams and John Sentamu. “Now the people of Zimbabwe are left even more vulnerable to conflict heaped upon poverty and the threat of national disintegration.”

International pressure has continued. The top US envoy for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state, has declared Tsvangirai the clear winner of the presidential vote.

Tsvangirai has spent the past two weeks travelling round Africa trying to drum up support to pressure Mugabe to step down. After the weak response from Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, focus has shifted to the African Union (AU). Its chairman Jikaya Kikwete, president of Tanzania, has privately said that he would be willing to consider convening a summit on Zimbabwe.

Britain is hoping to get the United Nations involved and has managed to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the UN security council this week. Proposals include an arms embargo and sending a UN envoy to Harare “with a tough message”.

At the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday, Mugabe was defiant. “When the West, led by the British, shamelessly continue to denounce our country, what is our crime?” he asked. “We are simply defending our hard-won national sovereignty.”

As my dear friend, Claudia Mair Burney is apt to say...Lord, have mercy.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today, my 3rd born child and oldest son turned 11 years old. I love seeing him turn into a young man who is committed to God and growing in maturity and understanding. All on his own, he wakes up before everyone else in the mornings and reads his Bible. He prays daily for those who don't know the goodness of God --- that they will know His love and salvation. He also prays for Swaziland and the great needs of that country and its people. He especially prays for the king and for the orphans.

Due to a mild stomach virus going thru the family, we weren't able to have friends over to celebrate, but D says its still been a very good birthday.

This morning, at his request, I made cheese grits and bacon. Super Daddy stayed home from work so he was able to enjoy the birthday breakfast. Afterwards, D opened up his gifts from his siblings and his Grandma Chris. He received M&M's, two Lego sets, and a Hot Wheels car.

For lunch, again chosen by him, we ate pizza bites, macaroni-and-cheese, and apple sauce. Then the majority of us joined the homeschool group for our weekly meeting at the park. We took the time to introduce Daddy to the nice nature trail the younger kids and I recently discovered.

After running errands, I fixed D's main birthday feast of hamburgers (Jim did the grilling), b-b-q beans, and fancy chips followed by a yummy but VERY easy ice cream sandwich "cake" topped with figures. He then opened his last gifts of the day, a Lego set from the parents and a Lego Star Wars shirt from Grandma Little Mc.

The little ones are going to bed, D is going to watch a "big kids" movie with his older sisters, and I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted. So is Super Daddy. Having fun takes a toll on us middle agers.

Happy Birthday D! I love you so very much and thank my God for blessing me with your life. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


....written by my 12 year old daughter B just a few weeks ago.


Little dust you flitter here
And you float there
I wonder where you will land and if you
Will be swept away without care
Until you land under my bed where my mom will scold me
Because she's told me very coldly
A million times to clean my room
Even though you are just dust
I trust
That you will always be free
Just like me.

For more details, go to the EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED website.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


"God's grace is not easily reconciled to our math, but that does not diminish its beauty or scope. When we serve our Lord out of true and full thanksgiving for his defeat of the guilt and power of our sin, we are grateful not merely for his benevolently receiving our works but for his enabling of us to do what he will ultimately reward. This side of heaven, we will never logically resolve the tension between human responsibility and divine provision in sanctification. But as we learn to acknowledge that God must provide what we need to please him, the result will be our full dependence upon his grace. While our logic may not be satisfied in this dependence, it is the only place where the heart conscious of its humanity can find rest."

Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I had hoped to write about the weekend's events, but the combination of getting over that strange sickness and a busy mom day has left me too tired to think. SO...
. lieu of having to do any thinking for myself, I'm going to ask my very smart, well spoken, and in-a-silly-mood teenage daughter some random questions...that way she can do the thinking and I don't have to be cohesive with my thoughts.

  • Who are you going to marry? Captain Wentworth, Darth Vader, or Aragorn. I know that Darth Vader is going to die, Aragorn is going to leave me, so I will get Captain Wentworth in the end. Its all very sad really.

  • What's something good going on in your life right now? Its kind of a good and bad thing but its kind of fun to have older hot guys ask me out and its kind of fun to tell my friends about it because they get jealous. But the bad part is that I have to turn them down because I'm being a good daughter and good daughter's don't date when their parents don't want them to. [Said in a very pouty voice]

  • What's something sad or bad in your life right now? Well, one thing is that I'm about to have to get up and feed the puppy. Another thing is that people are trying to get me to realize that I can't marry my fictitious boyfriends when I say I can! And (with little, squeaky breaks in my voice) my worship band is not performing right now.

  • What'cha listening to mostly now? Hawk Nelson, Paramore, Flyleaf, Switchfoot, The Jonas Brothers....I guess that's about it....OH! BOYS LIKE GIRLS!

  • What do you like most about your mom? That she gave birth to me and didn't abandon me.

  • What do you like most about your dad? That he's willing to give me time because most other dad's don't.

  • What's the best thing that happened today? Ummmm....hmmm....uh....I woke up alive and...and....ummm....I'm thinking......I came up with new story ideas and spent a lot of time with my imaginary boyfriends and yes that is plural because I have one for each dimension and time periods and since there are a lot of dimensions and time periods that interest me I have to have a lot of boyfriends...but not the pioneer or the Victorian times because those are boring.

  • What's the worst thing that happened today? I woke up. I realized again that my imaginary boyfriends were just that, imaginary and fictitious, and I didn't get enough time on the computer.

  • Who do you miss the most right now? I'm not telling you.

  • If you could live anywhere, where would you live? On this world? Yes. Colorado and Australia.

  • Well, your dad just came in and said you have go to sleep now. Is there anything in closing that you would like to say? Fly away birdies, go home to the sun. Good morning sunshine, the earth says "hello".

W.O.W. She's really in a random, bizarr-O mood tonight. And she's finding herself extremely amusing. She says that I would be laughing, too, if I wasn't being such a "hobnob". I think I'm just actually too tired.


Goodnight sweet daughter.


Ten more minutes til bedtime.....tee hee tee hee......



(Photo taken of A's hands after dying eggs at Easter. And "yes, I meant to do that but the dye wouldn't stay. If it had stayed, it would have matched my dress." )


Monday, April 21, 2008


I'd really love to give y'all an update on the last few days as a lot of good things happened, but I started feeling really nauseous last night and am still feeling nasty this morning. I'll save a newsy update for later. But for now I'll leave you with this quote that I rec'd today:

"Can the elder son in me come home? Can I be found as the younger son was found? How can I return when I am lost in resentment, when I am caught in jealousy, when I am imprisoned in obedience and duty lived out as slavery? It is clear that alone, by myself, I cannot find myself. More daunting than healing myself as the younger son, is healing myself as the elder son. Confronted here with the impossibility of self redemption, I now understand Jesus' words to Nicodemus: 'Do not be surprised when I say; 'You must be born from above.'' Indeed, something has to happen that I myself cannot cause to happen. I cannot be reborn from below; that is, with my own strength, with my own mind with my own psychological insights.I can only be healed from above, from where God reaches down. What is impossible for me is possible for God. 'With God, everything is possible'. "

Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This evening I will be sharing at a local library about Africa, especially Southern Africa and Swaziland, with kids and their parents as part of National Library Week. The official presentation will be mainly fun and educational telling about how children and their families live in Swaziland and the animals that are native to that area. I'll be teaching them the SIYA HAMBA song, playing a game that will demonstrate the preciousness of water in their society, and helping them learn a few siSwati phrases. Pray that this time goes well and that my younger children are well-behaved.


But mostly, pray for the time afterwards. I'll not go deep into the hard issues during the storytime presentation but when its over, I'll have time to talk with many of the parents. Pray that I'll be able to effectively and succinctly share with them about the extreme needs of the Swazi people, how they can make a difference for the Swazis, and that I'll be able to share some of Jesus love and life with them.
Thank you...or as my beloved Swazis say, Ngiyabonga!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Adventures in Missions is an organization that I only heard about for the first time about a year ago...maybe even less. When I first started becoming aware of the tragedy that was occurring in Swaziland related to HIV/AIDS, Adventures in Missions was an organization that I kept reading about and seeing online. When I traveled to Swaziland in January, I was able to meet several AIM staffers and was very impressed with the quality of ministry being done and by the love the AIM folks have for God and the Swazi people.

This video was put together by someone with AIM. I thought it was a good glimpse into the tremendous problem facing Swaziland, but also what some are doing to fight for the Swazi nation, particularly caring for the orphans, widow, and others who are in desperate need of help.

Our oldest daughter is planning on returning to Swaziland in the summer of 2009 with the AIM Ambassadors program. For a month, she'll do rough-and-tumble ministry at carepoints as she and her team pour their lives out for "the least of these".

AIM has missions opportunities for just about anyone feeling called to serve in Swaziland and other places around the world (even FAMILIES!). They've got plenty of short-term and long-term options plus a really exciting one called THE WORLD RACE----participants literally spend a year racing around the world doing hands on ministry to Buddhist monks, HIV/AIDS orphans, Thai prostitutes, Mozambican villagers, and the list goes on and on and on.

For more information, check out their website:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Coffee Bean and Audra!

It was hard to choose between the pranks, there were some really great ones. But ultimately, Audra's post contained both quanties of pranks and her pranks required lots of work and nerve so we chose her. But y'all definitely gave us some chuckles with ALL of your stories and I appreciate each one of you who participated.

Coffee Bean didn't share a prank, but because she linked the giveaway at her blog, she was entered in the second drawing.

I'll be contacting both of you to find out what colors you want for your "LAUGH" bracelets.

I'm going to be doing another book or book-on-tape giveaway soon so I hope those of you who didn't win this time will try again in the next contest.
NOT TOO LATE - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

It isn't too late to share your April Fool's Day prank story and be entered to win a custom designed "Laugh" bracelet. See this post for more details.

BTW, the original blog post said I'd hold the drawing at noon but I'll wait and do it tonight. I've loved reading your pranking stories and want to give others a chance to post them. Y'all are giving me good ammunition for NEXT year!

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm finding more and more that as I try to walk out the teachings of Jesus Christ, that His path often seems counter-culture. In fact, at times it can seem downright foolish in a culture that almost seems to worship safety, security, and "looking out for number 1". So much of what Jesus told us to do as His followers is downright scary.
As a mom, I want to impart to my children that they need to follow the ways of Jesus no matter what it costs. And then trust Him. Trust Him that sometimes those sacrifices and illogical steps will lead to unexpected blessings and amazingly positive results because He has a way of just doing that. But to also trust Him that when following Him leads to pain, loss, and even a situation that in no way seems positive, in fact, seems like a failure, that He's in control and He has a plan. His plans and ways are higher than ours. We're not called to always understand, we're just called to trust and obey.
Recently, we had a situation going on that presented us with two options. The person involved could go along with the crowd and worldly advice, or handle the situation like Jesus prescribed. After discussion and reflection, the decision was made to face the conflict with integrity and faithfulness. The situation has not yet turned out with a happy ending. Reconciliation has not been achieved. It left the person attempting to right the situation feeling "stupid". But after talking about it and reviewing what Jesus had to say about relationships, it was decided that they weren't "stupid", they were just being a good friend. And unfortunately, there is no guarantee that being a good friend or doing the right thing won't come with a cost.
After all, look what happened to Jesus...the one who did everything right and was never anything but loving.
Yesterday, we read an article at WRECKED FOR THE ORDINARY that spoke right to this issue. I wanted to share it with you and encourage you to live out the life and love of Jesus, no matter the cost.

Blessed Are the Arrogant?

by Jeff Campbell

Jesus is the light of the world, and His promise is our only hope. But so often, it ends up a dark parody of what it is meant to be. Sometimes, there is this dead thing we have ended up with. We call it Christianity. It is a corpse on a dissection table.

People wiser than I have observed the disconnect between what it was meant to be and what we have turned it into. As a church, we’ll be reading the thoughts on of one of these folks through Vince Antonucci's book I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt. The central premise of the book is just that--following Christ should have been so much more than something to do on Sundays and a list of thou-shalt-nots. (It’s also incredibly funny and authentic.)

As I’ve been working my way through the Beatitudes, I’ve been reminded of this. Scripture puts it this way:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Look at the picture of the blessed person that’s painted here: poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peace-making, and persecuted.

And observe that which is promised to this person: the kingdom of heaven (twice), inheriting the earth, being filled, receiving mercy, seeing God, being called a son of God...

Persecuted yet called a son of God; mourning yet filled; poor in spirit yet an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God, and somehow also an inheritor of the Earth; receiving mercy yet persecuted. How could all this work together? How could it all be true at the same time?

It seems like the whole point is this: Jesus promised us up's and down's in this life. He promised that it will be ultimately worth it, but it seems like the litmus test is that every day will not be the same. The barometer will be this: some days are better than others.

The way we act, the way that I fear others might reconstruct Jesus' words based on the fruits that they see in our lives… I fear that they might assume Jesus said something like this:

Blessed are those self-satisfied in their theologies, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who walk around with a big fake smile on their face, for we all know God must be with us if we can fake a smile.

Blessed are the arrogant, they will simply replay all the stuff they got now in the next life.

Blessed are those who are satisfied with systems which benefit only them,God only uses bounty and surplus to grow us.

Blessed are the legalistic, for they get it that God is a traffic cop and they’ve found out all the laws.

Blessed are those who focus on appearing to be pure at heart, for what people see is so much more important than what people are.

Blessed are the winners, for they will be called winners by virtue of God’s decision.

Blessed are those who persecute others in the name of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We make an idol out of ease, the status quo, and fortunate circumstances.

Am I pointing fingers outward? Well, yes. But I’m also pointing them back at me. Am I trying to being provocative? Maybe a bit. But I’m hoping to provoke myself as much as you.

Did it work?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just thought I'd post a summary of recent happenings along with some photos as I'm not feeling in a terribly creative, wordsy mood.
. .
Two weeks ago someone unintentionally blessed us when the they dumped a dalring little black and white part border collie mix puppy beside the road behind our barn. She was such a cutie that it was a given from the beginning that we would keep her. The boys immediately named her Indie. She captured our hearts right away, though she did try their patience frightfully those first few nights when they had to take turns getting up with her. It gave them a crash course on parenting and gave them a better appreciation of what we had to do for them as babies.
This past Wednesday I took the kids and a couple of B's friends with us to the Hattiesburg Zoo where we were meeting Granpere' and getting D back. D had been staying with his grandparents and earning money helping my dad with his nursery business to earn money for boyscout camp.
. . .
Today was a scrimmage game for B's softball team which is playing fastpitch this year. She played catcher today and has the bruises to show for it. She was also able to score one run. Her team, the Star Bursts, shone brightly. I know...that's a terrible pun, but I just couldn't resist. They beat the other team 11 to 2.


Friday, April 11, 2008


On the other side of the world
She stands on the ocean shore
Gazing at the heavens
She wonders,is there something more
Never been told the name of Jesus
She turns and walks away
What a shame

Just across the street in your hometown
Leaving from his nine-to-five
Gazing down the road
He wonders, is this all there is to life
Never been told the name of Jesus
He continues on his way
What a shame

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for me?
To the ends of the earth
Who will rise up for their King
Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me

Whether foreign land or neighbors
Everyone's the same
Searching for the answers
That lie within your name
I wanna proclaim the love of Jesus
In all I do and say,

Whom shall I send?
Who will go for me?
To the ends of the earth
Who will rise up for their King
Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me

How beautiful are feet of those who bring good news
Proclaiming peace and your salvation
Whom shall I send
Who will go for me
To the ends of the earth
Who will rise up for their King
Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me
Here am I, send me.

Song and lyrics by

Thursday, April 10, 2008



...with love and over 300 brand-new outfits, complete with underpants and sandals.
Lisa Black, AIM missionary in Swaziland, wrote about a recent ministry experience on her blog:
This last week has been one of the most memorable ones of my life thus far. [My daughters]Alexis, Emily and I along with three team members, Heather, Caitlin, and Becky lived in the bush to handout all the clothes to the children at 6 different care points in Nsoko. My instructions to my team of beautiful young women were this:
" take your time, pray constantly, and listen to the whisper of the Lord."
Africa does not need more humanitarian efforts; any celebrity can show up for that, what these children need is a very real, very tangible touch of God.
So, we patiently set up our stations, in the dirt, with the flies, and the cattle dung, our packages of baby wipes and lotions, nail clippers, and bags of new clothes. One by one, for days, we wiped down, clothed, prayed for and prophesied over the children. Little babies to young teenagers, we took our time, despite the heat, the crowds, and towards the end, our own fatigue. I would do it again tomorrow if I could. There certainly is no lack of children that need help.
Many times, as I would look into the eyes of the little ones that stood before me, the Lord would show me who they were. I saw the future pastors, teachers, warriors, mothers and fathers. I saw tender hearts who knew the Lord; I saw broken spirits that were on the verge of losing all hope.
When we first arrive, the children are unsure and quiet, even if they know me and my daughters; they are not sure about the others we have with us. They do not fight, and rarely cry, they just go along with what ever is happening, this, I always find disturbing. It is almost as if they have surrendered to the fact that they are defenseless and vulnerable, and there is no use in fighting. We speak gently to them, and they start to relax.
Removing their rags from their little bodies is something that still amazes me. Many times it is hard to tell the girls from the boys, since their hair is all the same length, and they wear whatever is available, little boys with pink flowers on their shirts, it is their only option. Several times at one care point I removed "shorts" from little girls that were actually cut up old sweat-shirts, their legs going through the arm holes. Many 3 and 4 year old children were squeezed into t-shirts, the tag reading "6-12 months" size, their malnutrition tummies, bloated and pushing out of the too small shirt.
As I wipe them down, I pray over every inch of them, I speak softly and smile while I smooth lotion over their dry skin. Their skin soaks it up quickly and evaporates, as their spirits soak in the truth of whispered prayers. All the while in the background their stories are reported to my team by the GoGos, "mother dead, father dying, lives with grandmother" or " six years old, both parents gone, head of house old, caring for 2 younger siblings"…hard to comprehend, hard to walk away. Although we sat with hundreds, all special, all precious there are certain ones whose faces are burned in my heart. The sisters, 3 and 4 who giggled in sheer delight during their "spa" treatment, looking at each other, eyes sparkling, princesses in new white dresses. The little boy with knees like a camel who let out an audible "ahhhh" when I rubbed in the lotion, and then threw his little arms around my neck. The beautiful little angel that stood before Alexis, only 8 years old, they looked nothing alike, but they had identical hearts…I saw my own sweet daughter pray the gift of purity that she so gracefully flows in over her new friend. She dressed her in a yellow sundress, and the little angel, still shy, began to glow. I saw each of our own six children in the eyes of the little ones we touched, I saw Caleb's tenderness, Michael's depth, Tyler's warrior, Emilie's determination, Alexis' goodness, and Noah's wild and intriguing character.
These children are not different than ours; they are not different than yours. They deserve food, health, clothing, education, a father's protection and a mother's tender touch….and just like all of our children, in them lies the truth, the hope, and the future of the world.
When the process is over the children are transformed. Their heads no longer hang, but their posture is straight. They are no longer ashamed, but proud. Their former sad faces are full of life, and smiles. The girls prance around in their dresses, their feminine spirits brought to life, and the boys, look like young men, walking taller and more sure of their masculinity.

This clothing drive was so much more than new clothes for orphans, it was hope and dignity and a touch of God in a tangible way…. .
For all who sacrificially gave, I hope you understand the depth of the gift you gave….all those who received it certainly do…..Thank you…..
Lisa Black
Manzini, Swaziland
And then her husband Gary posted this follow-up:


I have had many people ask me for specific ways in which they can tangibly help in Nsoko, Swaziland, and many have sent money for clothes. Here is a list of what we need urgently and what will help us start educating the children and producing our self-sustainability projects.
Most of Phase One is done - the church is planted, (see video), the community center is built and paid for (we are feeding hundreds everyday, doing workshops on AIDS and teacher-training five days a week in the community center), the security fence is up, and the ground is graded.
Our immediate needs are:
Drilling of bore hole and pump - $7500 ($5000 raised; need $2000 more)
Electricity for whole village - $2500 (ready to be installed)
Pastor Gift's house - $12,000 (He will be managing on site)
Transportion to get food and medical - $375 per month (to reach all 7 care points)
Clinic built and furnished - $19,125 (doctor has donated all med equip)
Church building, open steel plan - $7000 We have already out grown the center!
Sewerage $588
For $350 a month we can provide a package of Maize, Maltabella, (porridge), Beans, Oil, Sugar, Salt and Soap for 120 kids! Think about that: for $350 a month, 120 of our "Children of the Dirt" can eat nutritious food once each day - this has not happened in this area for a long time!
The eight orphan homes where we will house six to eight double orphans (a double orphan is where the mom and dad are both deceased and the child has no other family at all) are ready to go up now as we have the construction teams waiting. A church or a business could sponsor a home for $22,589. We have the mothers ready to move in.
Then soon after, we have to start working on the market place in front of the village. The locals can sell all of their goods to help with the self-sustainability of the project. Then the vegetable gardens, the essential oil fields, and the fish ponds will need to be in place to produce income on a monthly basis. Each double orphan will be in charge of her own 10 meters of garden. They can sell it, buy more meters and become their own entrepreneur. We are helping orphans to build life skills and deinstitutionalizing them!
Remember, you can come and see all of this happening right before your eyes on our vision trip this June.
If you want to make an online donation, please click on "Give to the Nsoko Project" or click "Support Me!" and get the mailing address to send a check. Make sure and note what you are wanting to give to.
Would you please pray about how God might want you to partner with this exciting and life-giving work? Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or ideas. The Blacks and others working in this ministry in Swaziland are authentic Christians who are not just passionate but trustworthy. Your money will be put to the use its intended for and children's lives will be changed as a result.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

...Fred! I first met Fred when he, his wife Ila, and their kids were living in Swaziland. We all went to Mbabane International Baptist Church together and I taught his kids in children's church. That was nearly 20 years ago and we lost touch after leaving Africa. Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I've recently reconnected with them and so its a true pleasure to have them visiting my blog...and even winning a drawing! Who would have ever thought it way back when.
So congratulations to Fred. He's the winner of CONFESSIONS OF A GOOD CHRISTIAN GUY by Tom Davis. I'll be shipping it off to him as soon as I get his snail mail address and I'll also be sending a bonus gift for Ila, a GraceWorks handcrafted bracelet, because she's a gentle, gracious lady and even after all these years, I've never forgotten her banana bread. The way to a single, young missionary's heart is definitely through the stomach!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Life can be fact, downright crazy at times. All the responsibilities involved with raising 7 great kids, homeschooling them, teaching children's church, driving kids to meetings and practices, leading our homeschool group, organizing church events, preparing for and then speaking to groups, etc, etc, I often find myself tired out by the time my husband gets home and then I forget. I forget that he still needs me to love on him in ways that are important to him. I forget to tell him how great he is. I forget that though I know I love him and appreciate him, unless I tell him, he won't always know it.

I should never be too tired or too busy to love on the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. So today I will count the ways...the ways and things I love, admire,like, and appreciate about him.

  1. His guitar playing

  2. His honor

  3. His faithfulness

  4. His dependability

  5. His love and commitment to God

  6. His blue eyes

  7. His intelligence

  8. His work ethic

  9. His gentleness with the elderly

  10. His gift of teaching

  11. His strong muscles

  12. His math skills

  13. His ability to balance the checkbook and do the taxes

  14. His honesty

  15. His outdoor ruggedness

  16. His love of learning

  17. His support of my dreams

  18. His passion

  19. His ability to fix most things

  20. His determination when faced with challenges

  21. His military service

  22. His whiskers

  23. His teachable spirit

  24. His father-heart

  25. His good manners

  26. His willingness to eat whatever I cook

  27. His great house cleaning skills

  28. His success in his profession

  29. His love of travel

  30. His willingness to pray with me and for me

  31. His love of books

  32. His support of my role as mother, homemaker, and homeschooler

  33. His leadership skills

  34. His willingness to watch "chick flicks" with me

  35. His logical way of thinking

  36. His funny, playful side

  37. His ability to teach and lead boys

  38. His way of looking so darn good in his scout master uniform

  39. His support of my trip to Swaziland

  40. His time that he gives to coach the kids' sports teams...officially and unofficially

  41. His willingness to let me spend time with my girlfriends

  42. His heart for the fatherless

  43. His work preparing my garden plot

  44. His time spent reading books to the children

  45. His efforts towards teaching the kids to ride their bikes and swim

  46. His willingness to run errands for me

  47. His hands-on parenting

  48. His desire to go on dates with me

  49. His love of music and how he puts songs on his ipod that he knows I like

  50. His okaying of me decorating our bedroom in a "beach monkey" theme

  51. His kisses

  52. His hugs

  53. His love

I thank my God upon every remembrance of him.

Monday, April 07, 2008


How is it that we can miss someone we've never even met? Charlton Heston has died. I grew up watching THE TEN COMMANDMENTS every spring when it was shown on broadcast tv...long before the days of cable or videos. Now my kids have the freedom to watch it on video whenever they get a hankering for Charlton's brand of Moses and the Red Sea crossing. And not just TTC, but also other Heston movies such as, most notably and just as often, BEN HUR.

So as previously stated, how is it that we can miss someone we've never met? It helps that due to the wonder of videos we can still watch him on our television screen, and for that I'm grateful. But there's a little part of me today that feels just a bit empty knowing that this great man and great actor is no longer here on the earth.

But then, I know that for his sake he's in a far better place. He's been not only released from the prison of Alzheimer's, but I can only imagine some of the conversations he and the "other" Moses are having up there.

Both of my oldest daughters have blogged today about his passing. Thought you might want to read their thoughts as well.

We will miss him. I can only imagine how much his family and friends will feel his loss. I'm praying for them right now and praising God that He is a God who chooses to bestow such great talent on mere mortals. And what talent He bestowed when He created Charlton Heston.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

lntensional Intentional Attention
By Kevin Bowman, fellow trekker to Swaziland
It's not the divinity of Christ that I struggle with. It is his humanity. We teach that Christ was both fully God and fully human. Perhaps my problem is that I have never met anyone who was fully human.
The NIV translates John 10:10 to have life "to it's fullest." It's the experience of being fully human that I both desire and doubt. Since we have little record of Adam before the fall the lifestyle of Jesus left to us by the Gospel writers is the only play book for the fully human experience.
So approaching the Gospels with a new set of questions I will seek to learn:
What things did Jesus do?
What things did Jesus desire?
Doing and Desiring these two actions sum up the whole quantity of our time. Even the little decisions of life fall into these categories. What we desire is the philosophical backdrop for what we do. By this I mean what things I DO reveal what things I desire.
Two easy to explore examples of this from my own life are comfort and television:
I desire to be self sacrificial, yet I DO things that expose my greater desire for personal comfort. I desire to find more time for relationship both with people and with God, yet I waste time by watching television, so I expose my greater desire for amusement than for relationship.
Fully Human living requires intensional intentional attention. By this I mean our life must be intensely directed external thinking. Look at the examples of Jesus that demonstrate this. Comments by gospel writers like, "as was his custom" talking about times of prayer; actions like noticing the woman who touched his garment to receive healing; encouragements to Martha to just sit and be with him; decisions like encouraging the sinless to be the adulterous woman's judge. His attentions were CONSTANTLY turned toward intentional interactions.
I think the contrast to this is inattentiveness. Most of my day is spent on matters and issues that appeal to and consume me. This is not because of obsession, but more because of laziness. I focus internally and therefore I lack the intentional effort to pay attention to the poverty around me. Jesus was zealous in his effort to constantly keep the poverty of his surroundings at immediate access. Among the poor he saw the poverty of their situation. Among the lepers he saw the poverty of their bodies. Among the tax collectors he saw the poverty of the minds. Among the pharisees he saw the poverty of the spirit. His eyes were always attentive to whatever poverty was present in the people he encountered.
I am not struggling with this as a theorem that must be solved to solidify my faith. Instead I want to look like Jesus! I want my time, and my day to be spent like his time and his day. I want to breathe out life, peace, and community like he did. I want to be healing in people's situations. Poverty is everywhere around me. I can see the starving orphan, the lonely coworker, the fearful student, the broken marriage, the ignored child, the forgotten widow, the addicted acquaintance, the suicidal teen, the ... on and on the list the list can go, right here, right around me, but I must be external.
It's not the divinity of Christ that I struggle with. It is his humanity. Then I guess, it's not so much his humanity, as much as my own humanity. I struggle if I can live out Intensional Intentional Attention. I struggle if I am willing to be Fully Human like Him.
To read more of Kevin's writings and to "follow" him and his wife Christi on their journey to live and minister to orphans in Swaziland, check out his blog:

Friday, April 04, 2008


With a grateful heart, I'm able to report that my back is SO much better. In fact, its about 99% better. I praise God for His healing. I praise God for my family who took care of my and ran the house yesterday. And I praise God for the other people in my life who took the time to pray for me and sent other sweet words of encouragement. I truly am thankful.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

My back is absolutely killing me. I was climbing up on a roof to help a local social justice action group fix up a house for a homeless family to move into and I injured it terribly.
Okay, not really. I was actually cleaning out my attic, moving some boxes around, in an attempt to simplify my life and find a lot of items to donate to a local charity when I pulled something in my back.
Uh...not that either. Sadly, it was quite mundane, NOT helps-related at all, and actually a bit humiliating. I was getting out of bed this morning and pulled my back. know you're getting old and you're already out of shape when the simple act of getting up does you in and puts you down for the day. Sigh....
Praise God for icy hot, heating pads, expired prescription strength pain killers (don't send me scolding emails...a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do), and teenage daughters who can run the household for me. Praise God, too, for a sweet hubby who can do for himself and prays for me.
And speaking of praying, I sure would appreciate y'all's prayers, as well. Throwing a back out of whack is never very pleasant but being the mom to copious living blessings means I need to get back in action ASAP! So prayers of healing would be fabulous. And prayers for my kids as their decrepit mom recovers would be great!
While I'm here and can't get up and move around anytime in the near future, barring a miracle (and I DO believe in miracles), I thought I'd give a quick news update on the family's happenings.
Let's see...I guess I'll start with hubby.
His office has recently moved into a very nice building in the heart of our city. He's within walking distance of the fairgrounds, many popular restaurants, and close enough to some inner city ministries to consider and pray about volunteering in some capacity on a regular basis. He's recently become an assistant scout master for son D's boyscout troop (they call him "Sarge") and he's also teaching the youth/singles discipleship class at our church for 10 weeks. Back before Easter, he led our cell group thru a Messianic Passover meal and then preached the sermon on Resurrection Day. He continues to love learning to play the guitar (he's sounding really good) and dreams of upgrading to his very own electric guitar.
14 year old daughter A is sporting a very unique, punk-girl hairdo compliments of moi! Her previous new haircut was just too "cute and preppy" and she wanted something different. So at her request, I pulled out my hair cutting shears and took to chopping. I was afraid she'd hate it but she LOVES it...and if I do say so myself, it looks pretty darn good. I told her I could become the official hair stylist for all the metro punk/emo girls. She said, "ummm...that would be about TWO girls" to which I responded, "that's perfect as that's about all I have time for". She is also now playing keyboard and singing on our church's youth worship band and making A's in science. She's PSYCHED about that! Not because she's crazy about science, but because she's not grounded for bad grades.
12 year old B is now playing softball. This age group is switching to fast pitch this year so she and her teammates are working hard to learn all the new skills needed for this version of the game. B is also on the church worship team. She's learning to play the drums. She's also acing science and has chosen to fast-track herself academically so she can finish her required homeschool classes early and move on to fun electives, a job/apprenticeship, and dual-enrollment at a local college.
10 year old son D is spending this week with his Gran Pere' and Nana Rose down on the coast. My dad owns a mostly home-based nursery. D will be helping him out with the plant business to earn money for this summer's boyscout camp. D also found an abandoned puppy behind our barn last week so he's the primary caretaker of this adorable poopy puppy named Indie. She's now around 5 weeks old and has really been a lot of fun...though the kids have found out, also a lot of work. The older four are responsible for rotating night shifts with her and they are gaining a better appreciation for parenthood.
9 year old P is active again this year in cub scouts. He just earned his Bear patch and is working on arrow points (at least I think that's what he's doing, I'll have to go back and edit this once I confirm with him). As one of his requirements, he and his dad have built a wooden tool box and a way cool go-cart. He'll be going to Cub-o-ree this spring and day camp this summer. His reading has really taken off and he read his first chapter book this past month...a young Indian Jones book. He's now discovered SUGAR CREEK GANG books and can often be found either reading one or listening to one on tape. Today he is sporting an awesome faux-hawk compliments of the "Hairstylist to the Punk-Emo Kids of the Sticks".
6 year old LG is a newly converted fan of THE LITTLEST PET SHOP. She spends scads of time playing with the wee critters when she's not playing with our real animals...including but not limited to 25 baby chicks, afore mentioned puppy, 4 kittens, a terrapin (9 year old P's pet), and various bugs. She also still loves drawing and art. She's definitely into wearing pink and does not like GREEN! This past weekend she had her first "sleepover" at her newest best friend's house. She and Lizzie giggled and talked late into the night and are already asking when they can do it again.
4 year old T is obsessed with our puppy. He is often found carrying her around like a baby. Its so sweet! He has moved up to the children's church class that I teach and that sister LG is still in. When he's not playing with the puppy, he's usually building train tracks or asking if he can play on the computer. He loves Dora the Explorer, Diego, WonderPets, and Super Y.
2 year old M is really talking as well as still singing...especially Hannah Montana songs. She told her big sister A that she was going to be Hannah Montana and marry the Jonas Brothers (all THREE?!?!?). Girl's not afraid to dream big, is she? One of the things she loved about Easter this year were the bright colored plastic eggs she got when the homeschool group had its annual egg hunt at a local nursing home. She would play with them for hours at a time. Wherever I was, she'd come and plop herself down and arrange the eggs one by one in patterns. She also loves getting M&M's when she goes potty...I know, I know...TMI...but you fellow parents out there will SO relate....and taking walks with Mommy.
My Grandma Mc is recovering from bladder cancer surgery and facing another one in a couple of months. The kids and I went down to see her in Florida and spent time with my mom who is taking care of her. If you think about it, please pray for both my grandma and my mom. While there, we took advantage of the opportunity and visited the local aviation museum. The kids had a great time and I had to promise them that we'd go again with Daddy and spend much more time next visit.
And me? Well, you already know what's up with me but I'll summarize it for you readers who might not have frequented my blog before. I'm still processing what God showed me in Swaziland and is continuing to show me. Still trying to figure out what He wants me to do with this passion for the Swazi people that some days is overwhelming and still leaves me in tears. I'm still making my GraceWorks jewelry and using the proceeds to benefit various ministries primarily ones that help out orphans and widows in Swaziland. We, as a family, are praying about the direction that God wants us to go in ministry-wise. And hubby and I are coordinating a "Summer of Significance" for our church youth and their families. We will focus in on ministering to the "least of these" in our metro-area such as parties for children at a shelter, participating in a worship service at a homeless church, and ministering through music at local nursing homes. The purpose is two-fold: to show the love of Jesus and to change our hearts and lives so we get away from just living for ourselves and instead learn to live a life that is other-focused. One of my main hopes for the summer is that the youth and their families will see that God can use ordinary people in extraordinary ways when we're just willing to live out what we say we believe.
We appreciate so much all of your prayers and expressions of support. The people God has put in our lives truly are one of our most precious treasures.
BTW, the drawings are still open for a free book and a custom-designed bracelet. Just click on the links:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Okay, so I was quite the prankster back in the day. I once froze a girl's underwear at youth retreat. She was not pleased with me to say the least. Short sheeting beds the summer I worked as a maid at a Christian conference center was an employee perk in my estimation. One year I sent out an email announcing that I was pregnant to scores and scores of family and friends. Considering the fact that I was so often pregnant, it was a VERY believable April Fool's Day joke. The prank the kids remember best is when I convinced them one year that it was NOT April Fool's Day and thus spared myself of annoying stunts and jokes all day long, that is until their Dad came home and told them the truth. Believe me, being a homeschool mom of SEVEN can make this day TORTURE! They were pretty unhappy with me but it was SO worth it!
That said, today's giveaway is NOT a prank...promise! I had originally planned on giving away another book today, but decided to change the prize. In honor of today, I'll be giving away an April Fool's Day themed prize.
I'll make to order a beaded bracelet with the word "LAUGH" as part of the get to choose the color and size.
How to enter? Leave me a comment telling me either the best April Fool's Day prank you ever pulled on someone or tell me about one pulled on you. The kids and I will choose our favorite and that comment poster (or someone they love) will soon be sporting a bracelet that reminds them and those around them that life is better when filled with laughter!
And since no one has been able to pull a fast one over on me yet today, I'm feeling extra generous. I'll hold a second drawing for those who post about this drawing at YOUR blog or other web page. Just leave me a comment telling me that you've linked back to this blog and I'll enter your name in the drawing. You do NOT have to leave a April Fool's Day story to qualify for this drawing. The winner of that one will also receive a custom-designed "LAUGH" bracelet as a thank-you for spreading the fun!
In order to have time for plenty of fun tales to be posted, I'll let this drawing run til next Tuesday at noon.
So let the storytelling (and snorting) begin!