Thursday, October 31, 2013


Around the MacHouse, we really love Thanksgiving. We love that it is less commercialized than most holidays and usually doesn't involve as much running around. We love that it involves family circled around a table loving each other and loving some fabulous food. We love the stories of the pilgrims and the Mayflower which has a direct link to my husband's ancestors as he had family that were part of that motley crew. And we love Thanksgiving because of the reason it even exists, to set aside time to thank God for all He has done and provided over the last year.

Today was the perfect kick-off for the season of Thanksgiving as it was filled with good friends, special time with family, fun happenings, and time for worship and testimony.

At IHOP with the boy.  It is his month to go out with Mom and he said he wants to experience IHOP before moving to Africa. #coffee #ihop #breakfastwiththeboy

Breakfast with my oldest boy.

Kroger was giving away free candy bars at the check-out today and I wasn't going to get one til my son said he thought I'd get a Heath Bar since it is healthy.  Hmmmm...just one letter difference between Heath and health.  I think I'll pretend he's right.

Free chocolate at Kroger.

Take 2 #littlehouseontheprairieparty #homeschoolers #makinglearningfun #rainydayfun #oldfashionedfun #history #lauraingallswilder #1800s
Little House on the Prairie party with our homeschool group.

The kids on their way to our church's LIGHT THE NIGHT event. #superman #batman #princess #lightthenight #restorationchurch #siblings
Kids dressed up for Restoration Church's LIGHT THE NIGHT event.

Princess Laura home with her royal haul. #lightthenight #restorationchurch #princess #toomuchsugar

#fellowshipsupper #wewillgo  #innercityministry #lifeatwewillgo #chili

Night of testimony, worship, fellowship, and yummy food at We Will Go.

Twins! #missionaries #whitehats #twinkies #lifeatwewillgo #smiles #sheinspiresme

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

Psalm 100:4

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Our oldest daughter Anna posted on Facebook today that her family is moving to Swaziland in sixty days.  

That's me and Jim and our kids.  We are really and truly moving to Africa.

Wow, wow, wow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Two months from today, we move to Swaziland, Africa. And one week from today, Jim and I will be en route to our new home where we will spend several days buying a vehicle, leasing a house, and starting to purchase furnishings for our new home. Our new African home.

P1210116 Cropped

I could not make this stuff up.

Truth is truly stranger than fiction...and so much better...when God writes your story.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Sandra Chesterman is a missionary in Southern Africa.  She recently shared this on her blog and I wanted to share it with you here at Graceland.

Even after living here (meaning Africa) almost 6 years some days it still hits me that as much as I know about and interact with the culture, I really can't imagine what it is like.

It was a couple of weeks ago when I saw for the umpteenth time people waiting out in the rural area for a kombi "comb-bee" which is the local mini van/bus system.

But then it hit me, can I even imagine having to walk long distances to stand and wait for a ride that might come in 5 min or 2 hours or not at all that day? How would I plan my day or my life if that was my reality? I honestly, couldn't imagine.

Then, my list started to grow.

Could I imagine sleeping on a mattress or foam pad on the ground?

Could I imagine coming home after a day at a CarePoint with a layer of dust all over me and be unable to take a shower or bathe to get it off?

Could I imagine only bathing or doing laundry or dishes from water collected at a neighborhood tap?

Could I imagine being cold and scared and not be able to do anything about it?

Could I imagine not having food to eat?

Could I imagine not being able to see a doctor when I was ill?

I can't.

And I never will.

Even if I tried to go and live in the rural area I would always know I could walk away.

It wouldn't be the same.

Many of you, I'm sure, can't imagine living in Africa.

But then God took my eyes off the physical and made me go deeper.....

Could I imagine going through my life without having a personal relationship with Jesus?

Could I imagine being confused and not having the Bible or the Holy Spirit to guide me?

Could I imagine being alone in Africa, without Him?

Could I imagine living without the joy, the peace or the lack of worry because I trust Him?

Could I imagine dying today not knowing what is after death?

I can't imagine.

I am thankful beyond what I can describe, that I don't have to.

But what about you?

Can you imagine? Or is this your reality?

I'm relooking at the world around me differently. Not that I didn't think of it before but because I have let myself be distracted by the cultural and economical differences. I need to refocus on the eternal differences. I don't want anyone to not know Jesus intimately. I couldn't and wouldn't be where I am today without Him in my life. I don't want to be in anyone's face but I do want to be a better reflection of Him.

I want to be more conscious that some people live a life I cannot imagine.

I want people to know the One who is not from my imagination.

The Christ who is alive and real and loves you!

If you don't know Him or believe in Him, message me. I would love to talk.

To read more about Sandra's life and what God is doing in and through her life, visit her blog:

Sunday, October 27, 2013


One of the things I am looking forward to the most about moving to Swaziland is a slightly slower pace of life. With frequent power-outages, less night-time places to go, and more emphasis put on relationship other than activity, we should have more nights at home and a return to simpler family past-times. We are choosing to make-do with less electronic devices in Swaziland (bye-bye Wii and X-Box) and spend more time playing board games, putting together puzzles, listening to radio theater, pursuing hobbies and arts, having friends over for dinner parties, and expanding our card game repertoire.

One of the games we'll be taking with us is Rivers, Roads, and Rails by Ravensburger. I love that this game is fun but it is also less cut-throat than most and doesn't lend itself to the wildness that so many games turn into when played by the MacLellans. After all, Spoons becomes a contact sport when played within our abode.

Rivers, Roads, and Rails #familygame #fridaynightfun #riversroadsandrails #ravensburger #lifeatwewillgo

So what are you favorite board games or other non-electronic ways to spend your family's free time? We've got decades ahead of us to fill with simpler, fun times and memories.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


With just two months til we move to Africa and one month til we ship our stuff, the pressure is on to sort, purge, and pack. This Saturday work-day for me, Jim, and Patrick meant a whole lot of that. And this is the slow work. The work that really no one else can do as we were going through old papers, memorabilia, and photographs mostly. One plus is that we were reminded of a lot of good times and even got some great laughter out of the process.

Going through the sentimental stuff, especially the papers and photos, takes a long, long time.   #journeytolivinginafrica #gettingreadytomovetoswaziland #purgingandpacking #recoveringhoarder #boxesofbooks #lifeatwewillgo #motherslittlehelper
Carefully packing one of the few vintage kitchen items that I will be taking to Africa. It is a glass chopper with a cute, painted design on it.  Very cheery and with the red accents I love. #gettingreadytomovetoswaziland #journeytolivinginafrica #purging
My great grandmother made this 41 years ago.  I am deciding to give it to another relative here in the States to keep as our floors in Swaziland will be tile and concrete.  A houseful of kids, concrete floors, and precious breakables is not a good combina
While packing for Swaziland, we are coming across so many precious reminders of past events.  This is a letter written by my mom to my oldest daughter @annachrys just before she was born. #memories #sentimentalme #journeytolivinginafrica #gettingreadytomo
I can't remember the last time I saw these photos from a trip to Cape Town, South Africa, that I made with Margie Hynd.  She was one of my best friends when I lived in Swaziland.  Her father and grandfather had been the royal family's physicians for decad
Scene from our Saturday work day. #purgingandpacking #boxesofbooks #gettingreadytomovetoswaziland #journeytolivinginafrica #bookaddict #saturdayworkday #lifeatwewillgo
Packing for Africa and coming across a lot of great old pictures including this sweet one of @annachrys and her daddy. #memories #daddyandhisgirl #childofthenineties

God has blessed us with a good life here in America. I can only imagine what photos and memorabilia we will have in the years to come to reflect our new life in Swaziland.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Sometimes, the simplest (and even cheapest) things can be the most fun. Today, I picked up some items from Dollar Tree and impulse bought a pack of Bloonies. You know, that squirt stuff that you use to blow bubbles with a straw? I remembered them from my growing-up years but my kids hadn't ever tried them. I'm glad I did. The four youngest Macs --- and their kid-at-heart mama --- spent a good chunk of time blowing bloonies on a beautiful autumn afternoon here at We Will Go. It was definitely one of the best spent dollars ever.

Blue for Troubadours. #blueisbest #bloonies #justaregularday #lifeatwewillgo #fridayafternoon #smile #ilovethisgirl

So how does this work? #bloonies #fridayafternoon #outsidetime #lifeatwewillgo #huh?
These two! #bloonies #dollartree #simplefun #siblings #lifeatwewillgo #familyfun #fridayafternoon #autumnday
It kind of looked like a heart. #bloonies #outsidetime #fridayafternoon #dollartree #simplefun #lifeatwewillgo
Back to the Baloonies. #fridayafternoon #simplefun #baloonies #dollartree #bubbles #lifeatwewillgo
#fridayafternoon #autumnday #sunshine #shedidit #fall
Our faces... #bloonies #fridayafternoon #simplefun #kidathheart #dollartree #foreveryoung
The triumphant triumvirate. #siblings #simplefun #fridayafternoon #familyfun #bloonies #dollartree #autumnday #fall #lifeatwewillgo

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Just gotta to do a little bragging at Graceland today. My Betsie is not only beautiful and charming but also super smart and talented. But then, most of you probably already know that.

I know, I know. I told you this was going to be a brag post.

But she really is. Case in point, she received a very prestigious award today at Mississippi University for Women. Betsie is the first place winner of The W’s Common Reading Initiative essay contest and was officially recognized tonight at the opening of the annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium.

One of her homeschooled high school friends, Winnie Clegg, was the third place winner. You can read more about these girls and their accomplishment at this website:

Not bad for a girl straight from the sticks and the 'hood, huh?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Most people think of extreme heat when they think of Africa. They would be partly right. There are many places with extreme heat. But there are also places with plenty of cold. Did you know there is a nation in Southern Africa with a snow ski resort? Yep, Lesotho is a small country near the bottom of that continent that actually gets quite a bit of snow.

Swaziland doesn't get snow, but it does get cold. The temperatures drop in the winter time (which is actually the same time as summer in America) but they also drop in the summer. Swaziland is mountainous and has a high elevation. When it rains in the summer, it might have been piping hot on one day but that wet weather can make the daytime temps dip way down and the nighttime temps even further down. My mama says that the coldest night she ever spent in her life was her first night in Swaziland.

The houses are made to be nice and cool in the summer heat. What that also means is that the houses are extra cold in the winter time. With mostly tile floors, concrete walls, metal roofs, and no central heat, winters and wet summer days can be spent huddled around fireplaces and space heaters while wearing thick socks, boots, sweaters, turtlenecks, and even long johns. Bedtime means lots of blankets and warm pjs.

Last week, my mom and I helped the kids inventory their clothes and shoes. We found that they'd outgrown many of their winter clothes from last year and had some gaps that needed filling. With all the rain that Swaziland gets and the accompanying cold temperatures, boots, raingear, sweat suits, and footie pajamas are in order. The girls and I will also have to wear a lot more dresses and skirts than we wear now. And with cold temperatures in our future, we need warmer girlie things, too.

We went to Target today and bought the majority of the needed items. The kids had fun trying on crazy hats and footie jammies. I had fun watching them. We also checked off yet a few more of our "things to do before we move to Africa" items.

And Superman flies to the rescue. #target #mob #mobsociety #target #superman #brothers
Miss Fashionista. #shoppingforourmovetoafrica #highstyle #eightgoingeighteen #blackandwhite #cutiepie #hautecouture #stylin
Buying warm clothes for our new life in very-often-frigid Swaziland. #journeytolivinginswaziland #target #warmclothes #footiepajamas #bigfamily
We got the powah! #superman #batman #bam #mobsociety #warmpjs #gettingwarmclothesforfrigidswaziland #brothers
High stylin' hobbit. #gettingwarmclothesforfrigidswaziland #hautecouture #blackandwhite #highstyle #lifeatwewillgo #journeytolivinginswaziland
Laura and Merry in new, warm, and cute pjs bought for cold nights in Swaziland. They actually both belong to Merry.  Laura didn't have time to buy some today so Merry let Laura wear one.  I was so proud of her sharing heart: #gettingwarmclothesforfrigidsw

Looking forward to the day when these sweet girls are smiling and snuggling in their new Swaziland home.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Last week we road tripped to Memphis to take Anna to the MegaBus pick-up spot, tonight we drove back and got her.

Jim got his milkshake... #steakandshake #bestshakes #roadtrip #chocolatebananashake
...and I opted for salty, hot, onion rings. #steakandshake #onionrings #foodiemama #happyfoodie #iexercisebecauseilovetoeat #roadtrip #deepfried #southerncooking

A milkshake and onion rings from Steak 'n Shake were needed to sustain the parents along the way.

Here comes her bus! #superexcitedmama #megabus #pickingupanna #busstop
And she's here! #pickingupanna #megabus #busstop #memphis
Daddy and daughter...they carried it all.  I took the pictures.  #pickingupanna #memphis #megabus #daddyanddaughter #busstop

But the smiles of our beautiful girl were enough to make the long ride there and back worth it for sure.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Two weeks from today, Jim and I will be en route to Swaziland. We'll be going for a week and a half to hopefully finalize some plans and get things ready for us all to move over there in --- wait for it --- two months and eight days.

In the meantime, we've got some things we sure would appreciate you praying about.

Our house is still full of a lot left to be sorted through. Pray for us to work through it in an organized manner and not grow weary. Also, we are having a huge rummage sale the first weekend in November. Would you pray that the lady putting it on for our benefit will get the help she needs and then that we'll have lots of shoppers. We are actually splitting the profits with a local family in need. We want it to be profitable not just so that we'll have the money to help with moving and setting up a new household in Swaziland, but so this other family can receive the financial provision they need.

We are having to make a lot of decisions about banking and also a new vehicle. Pray for us to have wisdom. Having to figure out all this in an intercontinental fashion can't get pretty complicated.

We have been sent photos of a house for rent that seems to fit all our needs. It is roomy but not fancy, is inexpensive, and located in the area of Manzini we desire to live in.

Please pray that if it is God's right choice for us, that we'll know it and all the details will work out perfectly. We'd like to move right in as soon as we arrive in Africa. Wouldn't it be wonderful to ring in the New Year in our new home?

And by the way, the door will always be open for friends and family who want to come a'visiting. Where should we put you on the calendar?

Sunday, October 20, 2013


This morning was church at our back-home fellowship, Restoration. David and Desmond lead children's church worship and Jim preached. Then it was back home to Faith House where we ate a quick lunch before starting our Sunday time of serving at We Will Go.

Here are some photos from what some of us did yesterday. David and Desmond were assigned to "street love" while Merry, Travis, and I were on van ministry.

Desmond and David worship and love on neighbors out on the street during the #wewillgoministries Sunday afternoon service. #worshipeverywhere #autumnday #fallday #wewillgo #streetlove #innercityministry #downtownjackson #worship
The brothers on street love adding a musical aspect to the ministry time. #wewillgoministries #worshipeverywhere #wewillgo #worship #autumnday #fallday #sundayafternoon
Baby you can drive my car, er, over-sized ministry van. #wewillgo #vanministry #missionary #wewillgoministries #
My co-pilot during van ministry. #wewillgoministries #childrenareablessingfromthelord #missionarykid #wewillgo #lifeatwewillgo #vanministry
Cityscape on a beautiful fall Sunday. #downtownjackson #standardlifebuilding #autumnday #fallday #blueskies #cityscape #wewillgovanministry
Keeping me company during van ministry. #missionarykid #wewillgovanministry #downtownjackson #wewillgo #wewillgoministries #sundayafternoon #vanministry #sundaysmile
On the way to WOW Kids. #wewillgovanministry #wowkids #innercityministry #wewillgo #wewillgoministries #vanministry #childrenareablessingfromthelord
Silliness on the way to WOW Kids at #wewillgoministries . #wewillgovanministry #wowkids #innercityministry #childrensministry #childrenareablessingfromthelord #lifeatwewillgo

I am very happy about moving to Swaziland at the end of this year, but I'm also very grateful for days like this here at We Will Go. Beautiful, beautiful days.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Go into all the world and make disciples. #lifeatwewillgo #sidewalkart #sidewalkgospel #world #wowkidsday #innercityministry

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.
Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost
but will have life that lasts forever."

John 3:16