Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Still Breathing

Graul arrival. Check.
Faith Quest. Check.
Game Park Safari. Check.
Kyenjojo church visit. Check.
Alex's Birthday. Check.
Christmas. Check.
Rwebesengo/Ntoroko trip. Check.Check.

To briefly recap...these past few weeks have trillion referreed toy discussions ("mine!","no, mine!"), 65,000 choice statements ("Isaac, if you choose to hit Mali with the robot you are choosing a time out."), 450 sippy cups of juice, 150 bowls of cereal, 12 boxes of macaroni and cheese, 6 hacking coughs, 5 nights camping in tents(with 7 children under 7 yrs), 4 stomach bugs, two road trips ("Ms. Cheryl, can you PLEASE stop making it so bumpy!"), more fruit snacks than you can possibly imagine....and a partridge in a pear tree...

And we are all still breathing...

In the midst of all that...with remarkable conversational prowess..Kaelea (mama Graul) and I have managed to have several meaningful talks and sharing times. (God is good and gracious :-))

...we've listened to some really good music (which Ike loaded on my new MP3 player!)

...watched some really funny movies!

...shared the ups and downs of ministering here and there


...watched our children laugh, cry and love each other
(Alex said the other night at bedtime,"Mom, I'll be really sad when Isaiah has to go.")

...made memories we will treasure for years

We've got @ two weeks left with the Grauls. More fruit snacks, mac n cheese and, well, one or two more referreed toy discussions probably too...("Ike, its Jeff's turn now...")

But we will all keep breathing slowly in and out...praising God for the blessings He keeps bringing our way.

Thank you for your prayers. (and thank you PUMP friends for sharing the Grauls with us.)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Perfect Gift

Christmas Eve was always my very favorite day of the year. Everyone was gathering. Family was coming. Gifts were wrapped and under the tree. Chicken spaghetti was cooking. The anticipation...the readiness...the expectancy...

My family opened gifts on Christmas Eve. And it was perfect.

We'd gather around 4 or 5 pm. My sister and I would volunteer to sort the gifts (I love to sort!). Everyone would have their pile of wrapped loot. We'd find our spot...and... then...the paper would fly!!! No waiting for one at a time in the Money household. Just pure, unhindered...digging in.
There would be exclaims...joyous laughs...expectant faces as someone opened the perfect gift...pleasure over seeing the joy the gift brings... FUN!

I guess its fitting that Christmas Eve is my favorite day. Because in 1999, Christmas Eve brought me a treasure unlike any I'd received before.

He was a surprise for us. Kinley was only one year old when he was conceived. That would make them 21 months apart. Yikes!

Jeff and I always knew what we would name a boy. Alexander Scott. It was a done deal...and despite my hormonally charged name hunts...Alexander Scott remained first on the list.

He was beautiful when he was born. Perfect really. What is it about a newborn that makes you just STARE at them for hours? During those first few days I stared and stared. God had given us a son.

We took him back to the guesthouse at the Schrage's house Christmas day. We were all in love with this boy. His grin stole my heart from the first day until, well, even now.

It was six years ago today. He is not a cuddly bundle in my arms anymore. I can barely pick that sturdy guy up at all.

He looks just like my Dad. Funny thing,that. You see...five months before Alex entered the world...Bryson entered the world. My baby sister had her first baby. And I wasn't there to see it. It was awful for me, on this side of the ocean. Still is one of the things about our life choice I grieve the most. I kept asking God to help me through. To comfort. And He did the most amazing thing. He gave me a boy too...that looks just like Bryson. Seriously.

I don't know what YOU think about providential planning...but everytime I see Bryson, Alex and my Dad together...I know God is watching and providing simple little gifts that often hold us together.

Alex is a delight in my life. He is his sister's best friend. Isaac's hero. Silas' champion. His Dad's first born Son.

He spends his days ripping through school (the boy is sharp!), building spaceships, listening to music, protecting mankind (and his sister) from all evil in the world...sometimes as a knight, sometimes as a cowboy, sometimes as a soldier and sometimes as a Super (you know, batman, spiderman, superman...etc.) And, he has a passion for...scotch tape. He asks me for about 20 pieces "just this big" every day. He is always creating with that tape.

I love when I tuck him in at night. His brain is in the slow down mode...but not quite there yet. He asks a million questions...tries the water request...tries to read a few more lines of his book...but just as I start to leave his bedside...those strong six-year old arms reach out, pull me into a hug and he whispers, "love you Mom." And the grin. Always the grin.....

Happy Birthday Alex! To date...and most definitely forever...the very best gift I ever got on Christmas Eve.....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Circle of Chairs

They were camp chairs. Three of them. Sometimes four. We continuously had to re-situate the chairs to stay out of the equatorial sun.

Before us was a stack of requests. Prayer requests. From the Ugandan youth.

We read them, one by one. And prayed.

Some of the requests were fees, success with exams and further education, healing for physical problems...

Some of the requests stopped us in our tracks.

"Pray for my father to accept Jesus. Now he is not saved and he wants me to have sex with him in exchange for my school fees."

"Pray for me. I have a problem with looking at pornography."

"Pray for me...I have problems with lust."

"Pray for my family. They chased me away when I chose to follow Jesus. Now I have no where to go."

"Pray for me to have courage. I am attending an Islamic university and I am a Christian. I am treated badly. Pray that I will have courage to share my faith with the Muslims in my school."

Everyday, for three days, I was honored to sit around the throne of God, in His glorious presence, and interede for these precious Creations of His.
He already knew what we were going to talk about in these moments. His Perfect Heart has already broken over the atrocities these youth have faced in their young lives. And in the midst of governing the Universe...our amazing Creator allowed us access to...Himself. His Ear. His Heart. His Compassion. His Able-ness.

I was intereceding with powerful warrior friends. Mike. Judy. Phillip.

All believers. Witnesses to God's healing hand. God's presence in the midst of pain. God's victories. They are survivors of Satan's attacks and reign on this earth. And yet they remain, firmly in God's protective hand. It was an honor to stand with them in the battle.

Last week, many things happened. Many things worthy of Praise. But for me...the highlight of the week was the circle of chairs.

I was in the circle to lift up others. But in the process, I was brought before Him too. All my angst, joy, stress, blessing, victory, defeat...all is laid open before that Holy, safe throne.

His Throne. Our camp chairs. His availability and promise. Amazing.

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matt 18:19-20

Quest of Faith

The house is still relatively quiet this morning. Integrity's Christmas Cd is playing. Veggie Tales entertains the first children up. Silas has had his morning cereal...which actually means he has eaten two bites then spent 20 minutes pouring the milk, doing milk art and then rubbing it in his hair. I am too tired to worry about it. It's milk. And he was occupied for 30 minutes. Everyone else is still crashed....Graul's in the guest room, Cashes in their respective bedrooms, Samuel in the playroom. The living room and hall are littered with the after effects of a camping trip. The washing machine and dryer are working away already on a very large pile of laundry...

This week was spent camping out at Lake Saaka...with nearly 200 youth and counselors from all of the churches of Christ in Uganda.

The idea for this Quest was born in the Northwest. And created in the Northwest. (United States, that is.) Many lives are changed, convicted, refreshed, and renewed during one Labor Day weekend retreat at Camp Yamhill in Oregon.

Jeff wanted to bring this Quest into the lives of youth here in Uganda. Jeff's dreams are usually so big I can't get my emotions all the way around them in the beginning. And this was one of those dreams. But with his Vision, God has also granted Persistence. And Faith Quest Uganda has become a reality.

Every year gets better. The first year, the campers hardly had tents. They slept on the ground in the bush....and LOVED it. The meetings were held in a banana leaf/bamboo structure. About 100 youth attended. The topic, was appropriately...Faith. The campers departed asking for more. They loved the entire program. We were encouraged.

The second year, four Quest leaders from the Northwest came over to help lead. Most campers had tents. No one had toilets..."use the trees, my friend" and Prayer was the topic of discussion. Everyone was dramatically changed by the events of the Quest...and God was shown to have ALL power and authority again.

The third year, five Quest leaders from the Northwest came over to help. Everyone had tents...and ants. (Yikes!) Mark Long built us a make-shift toilet in the woods. We talked about Worship. And we did worship. Alot. The ampitheatre was cemented for the occasion and the gorgeous view across the crater lake inspired, motivated and charged the passion in the young people and older people too! :-)

This, the fourth year, five more Quest leaders have come. Two of them are adults. Three of them are children. Yes, you heard me right. Isaiah (5yrs), Mali and Michal (3 yr old twins) have made the very long trip across the ocean and are here. Handling it. (all you who have said you could never make the trip...I'll hear you no more! I, M and M have set a high standard, my friends!)
We all had tents. We staff had our own "village" and kitchen with a cook making omelets in the morning. (Yes, Steve, omelets). We had a bricked and plastered bath house with warm showers available if requested. AND...we had real sit-down toilets. Pretty nice.
The topic was Sharing the Love of Jesus. The worship times were more intense this year. The prayer times...amazing. Sins were confessed. God was sought. Burdens were laid down. It was BLESSED.

On the last night, as I sat in the ampitheatre and watched the emotions "wrapped around it all". Young people, from turmoil and stress beyond my comprehension, have gathered to learn how to Him. And there, on that last night, their worship together was inspiring. On the faces around me, I saw, peace. Joy. Sincerity. Need. Blessing. And I realized that this Quest of Faith CAN change not only these young lives...but also whole villages...and even this whole country. One desperate soul at a time.

The Quest is a worthy one. And it will continue in Uganda...hopefully, not just for four days in December. But every day.

God bless you as you Quest for Him wherever you are today...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

He Sees Me

I learned something from a friend today. Her story is pretty special. Let me tell you about her.

She is from Egypt. Not from a very wealthy family...if you could say she had family at all. When she was young she got a slave.

Must have been a bit frightening...being sold as a slave. Her master, though, turned out to be pretty nice. She helped his wife. The wife was quite pretty.

They traveled alot, her masters. So she saw alot of places. Even got to live in the Homeland for awhile.

All in all, not so bad.

This couple, they had no children. So the work load wasn't too terrible. But, even as old as they were, they kept talking about having a son. Oh really? They said their God had promised them.

She didn't know their God. But they sure seemed to like Him. Trust Him. Apparently they were traveling all over the place because He said to. was very interesting.

One day, the old missus, suggested that she (the maid) sleep with the master. Never had this entered the picture before. Why now? He didn't argue too much. So she was kind of weird. I mean, a girl dreams of her husband. But here, as a slave, she's given to her master. Not exactly dreamy...but certainly not the first time it ever happened. Besides, he WAS a good man. It would be okay.

She thought it was possible....but could she be sure? Pregnant? Yes. Just as her masters wished. She was pregnant.

But it sure wasn't easy...this being pregnant. She didn't feel so very good. And for what? For a baby that wouldn't be hers. It was her master's. She sure didn't feel good. What a mess. And who was to blame...Yep. The Missus. This was all her bright idea. Yuck.

It was hard to serve her now...carrying water, cooking, cleaning. She was heavy with a baby. Wasn't that enough already. Things were going allright until this.

To top it all off, the Missus turned mean. Really mean. She never did any of this before. My friend was a threat. The Missus could kill her. Now what?!?!?

In desperation, my friend fled. Into the desert. Alone.

... she came upon a Spring. And an Angel. He was looking for my friend. This slave from Egypt.

"Where have you come from, and where are you going?"

She spoke the truth. No sense in lying.

The angel said, "Go back. Submit." And he added, "...your descendants...they will be too numerous to count."

What? Was that a...blessing? She was a slave. She was a woman. But that IS what the Angel said. "HER descendants..."

The angel also said, her son (a BOY!) would be stubborn (oh good) and would "live in hostility." (Pause)

A warring son. A strong willed man. Born of her.

"...the Lord has heard your misery..." the angel had said.

The Lord?

She knew of many gods from her childhood. But this One was different. Here she was. Suffering. Alone. A woman. About to bear a fighting son. All perfect examples of the gods disapproval. But this God....

"Beer Lahai Roi," her desperate voice carried over the desert plain.

"You are the God who sees me."

And she added, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

When you know someone is can do admirable things...

Despite the struggle, she followed the One who sees and went back to the Missus. Submitted. Served. Labored and bore a son.

Her suffering continued though. The Missus did have a son. But she never warmed back up to my friend. The Master sure was kind. Tried to support my friend. But ultimately...she was just the slave and she got sent away.

Another desert, more desperation and then...another Spring. A drink of water. And a promise. The child would be a great nation. Warring. But great.

Problems with a promise. Encompassed by a God who sees.

I don't know what happened to my friend exactly. She raised her son. Found him a wife. He became the father of a great nation.

And her...well. One thing is for sure. She was never the same...this slave from Egypt. Used, rejected by men, forced into single motherhood....

And seen. Sought out. Found. Promised.

She knew His Name. And spoke it.

Yep. I'm absolutely sure. She was never the same.

And because of her am I.

"Beer Lahai Roi!" Praise be to Him!

(Story and quotes taken from Genesis 16:1-16 and Genesis 21:8-21)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Take a Big, Deep Breath...

We are on the eve of some very big events...

--Graul family arrival Wed for five week stay
--Faith Quest
--Game Park Safari
--Rwebesengo Church Visit (two day trip to Congo border)
--Kagadi church Visit (two hour drive--one way)
--Kyenjojo church Visit
--Alex's birthday

It is hard for this task oriented, detail focussed lady to take in that ALL of those things take place within the next 3 weeks.

So tonight, I am sitting in the dark, staring at my Christmas lights...

Taking a big, deep breath...

Trusting in Him Who Gently Leads...

Knowing, from experience, there are many blessings ahead.

I've just got to keep breathing...:-)

Friday, December 02, 2005


I got a box today. Jana packed it. She is my "jump in the car-go to Canton" friend. :-)
The box had all our favorites. And now those precious treasures are carefully placed on our freezer so we can walk in the pantry and see the delightful items all laid out!

We got a box last week and four boxes the week before that.

This morning I put on lipgloss Kristen bought, mascara Dana bought and the same perfume that Trisha wears.

I read a magazine over lunch that Lynn and Marjorie sent, gave each child Tootsie Rolls from Tootsie, and let them listen to Odyssey tapes sent by Greta.

I have pictures on my email from Cathy, and I made a chocolate cobbler recipe from Thyme and Traditions cookbook.

I told a story about Alex's Rescue Hero Station that he got from Glenwood last Christmas.

I REVELED in the SHEER DELIGHT of driving that beautiful LANDCRUISER to a village outside of town.

My pantry is stocked with Rotel, Velveeta, microwave popcorn, chocolate chips and Goldfish crackers. (NOT items available in the local market :-)

...tonight, as I stood in my kitchen corner, with all the lights out, and had a quiet moment with Our God...I remembered that I shared this secret worship place with 35 of my closest friends :-) at ladies Bible class.... and all of a sudden I wasn't worshipping alone anymore...

I know, that somewhere in Tyler, someone is praying for our family, the church in Ft. Portal and God's Kingdom in Uganda.

Glenwood church building is thousands of miles away from where I sit right now. But they have dramatically impacted my day today in a million ways.

They are our church family. Our Support. God's Embrace.

Jack was right...

I love you Glenwood. The story of our coming to you fills me with joy, hope and faith everytime I remember it.

I'll say it again, God is good.

"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones." 1 Thess 3:12-13

Thursday, December 01, 2005


We flew out twice to Tyler after the initial visit. And after two pretty incredible meetings...and oh, so many prayers...we were invited to stay in Tyler for several months to become Glenwood's missionaries.

On our first Sunday at Glenwood, the elders announced that we had been taken on as missionaries.Some folks in that generous congregation errupted in applause. Applause.
I cried. Besides being overly hormonal..(reminder...HUGELY pregnant) I felt so amazed... so...hopeful...

Over the next months, I learned this about Glenwood:

1. Everyone is related to someone else at Glenwood---truly!
2. Glenwood LOVES to feed its people!
3. Glenwood LOVES children and became Home to my little ones very quickly.
4. Glenwood SEEKS...God, Jesus,the Spirit's leading... and they seek PEOPLE who are broken...people who are hurting..
5. Glenwood LOVES to WORSHIP!!!!!
6. Glenwood was God's chosen place for the Cash family and the Ft. Portal work.

Tyler became a haven for us. A place to re-charge and regroup. A place to belong.

Our Isaac was born, loved on, prayed over and blessed.

Our support team came together in a beautiful way as 6 precious couples agreed to serve the Uganda work from the States.

We worshipped and prayed and shared and planned.

We experienced the Glenwood Generosity in spades. Cars, an apartment, food, baby stuff, cup did runneth over!

I was overwhelmed every day I was there. Glenwood was more than I ever dreamed possible. My faith was renewed. My hope restored.

We were home.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Part III---Tell Me the Story

(this is fourth in a series of blogs...if you are just starting to read, scroll down to the prologue and start there...)

Jack and Tootsie's phone rang non-stop. Jack smiled alot.

Things began to take shape. We were to meet with the new mission committee dinner Thurs...sharing time Friday...lunch with Greg ("he's the greatest guy..."Jack said)... lunch with Jim...

We met alot of people. Faces, names, quick smiles and hugs. We sat in alot of circles and told ALLLLOOOOOTTTTTTT of Africa stories.

As Jeff would talk, I would watch the faces. They were passionate. Spell-bound. Interested....

They couldn't get enough.

I was amazed at this. Most people enjoy a story or two...but these folks would CHOOSE to listen for hours at a time. We'd stop when WE got tired. Usually, it was the other way around.

It seemed to me...and I was still cautious in my assessment...but, it did seem...God was building in these people a deep love and passion for the Ft. Portal work. I wanted that to happen...but could it really? Congregation-wide? Kids to adults? Elders, missions committee....I was watchful. But still hesitant a bit.

At night, we would return to Jack and Tootsie's. Over a bowl of cereal we would talk about what we were experiencing. Jack would smile. Remind us he was praying.
And somewhere in the talking, Jack would say. "If God makes this happen, you're gonna be loved like you've never been loved before. Because Glenwood will TAKE CARE OF YOU. I just know it."

Then Jack and Tootsie would ask Jeff to tell just one more story....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Part II--Wednesday Night Supper

(This is the third blog in a series of blogs...if you are a first time reader, scroll down to the prologue and start there!)

Jack emailed us that the church in Tyler wanted us to visit over Easter weekend. He didn't know exactly what we would be able to do while we were there, or who we would be able to meet...but could we come?

Sure. I was cautiously optimistic. Heavy on the caution...we'd been through this so many times. It was sometimes painful to get your hopes up.

We drove into Tyler in the late afternoon and were directed to the church building. (Thank you, Tanner) The church ate together on Wednesday nights and it would give us an initial opportunity to meet folks. I smiled at alot of faces while trying to feed my 4yr old and 2 yr old chicken spaghetti. (Did I mention I was HUGELY pregnant!)

The associate minister was visiting with my husband and I overheard snatches of the conversation. "...give you about five minutes....question answer format...really informal...intial introduction..."

We were directed into the auditorium and sat down towards the front (mother of toddlers nightmare---the FRONT of an auditorium of people you'd like to make a nice impression on---egads!) As the minister began to introduce my husband, I noticed three stools in the for the minister, one for my husband and... who is supposed to sit on that other one?....oh no! Yep.
"Come on down Cheryl. We want to put YOU on the spot!" (many thanks Rob!)
I waddled up to the front and my loving husband quickly handed me the microphone FIRST. Great.
I think I said something about world peace. (thanks for the tip Aunt Pat)
Jeff said some good things, we passed the microphone around a bit and then Rob asked if the congregation had any questions.

The first question came from an older gentleman near the back. He said, "What can we give to you?" (precious Jim Heaven right to someone, I'm sure....)

We answered something about prayer and encouragement...

The older gentleman shook his head and said, "No. I mean financially. What would it take for this church to take care of your family in every way?"

Uhhhhmmmm....what did he say? Rob said, "Jim, we'll get Jeff to write the details of his financial needs down for us."

I remember hands going up all over the auditorium and us answering questions right and left. Rob ended the worship time with prayer and people came from every direction. We talked and hugged and were loved on and EMBRACED.

As we drove to Jack and Tootsie's house later that night, Jeff asked me what I thought.
I said, " I feel like we've come home." He said that he felt the same way.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Part I--McDonalds

My most memorable McDonald's meal took place in Abilene. I was hugely pregnant with our third child and we were trying to survive an extended furlough while looking for a new overseeing church.

Jack and Tootsie. We'd been looking for them for the whole lectureship and finally, on the last day, we met them face to face. They asked us have lunch with them.

Jack was the head of the mission's committee at a church in Tyler. We were meeting to discuss...well...our life. Our dreams. Our struggles. Our hopes.

Everything really. And we decided to do that discussing over greasy McDonald's burgers. Jack and Tootsie were patient with us. We chose McD's because of the play place.

I remember telling Jack alot of stories while Tootsie madly tore open ketchup packets to keep our kiddos happy and stuffed with french fries!

I remember feeling tired and weary to my bones. Jeff told all we had been witnessing in Uganda. I listened to stories I had lived and re-lived so many times, wondering if anybody would ever EMBRACE this ministry as we had. Share the passion with us.

I couldn't read Jack's mind. He was thoughtful. He used few words and made no promises but said he would pray.

We hear that alot when we talk about the work here. "We will pray." Precious commitment. One we do not take for granted.

That day, at McDonalds, I learned several things:
1. Tootsie is the world's fastest ketchup packet opener---seriously!
2. Jack and Tootsie are Kylie's grandparents (long story)
3. When Jack says he will pray....he means it.

It was just a visit at McDonalds. But, oh, how it changed my world.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


...My Uncle Tommy and Aunt Pat moved to Tyler when I was really young. I remember that we all thought it was very far away. I was EAST TEXAS for goodness sakes! :-)

We got Uncle Tommy's church bulletin every week. I read it, oddly enough. Alot of names that I didn't recognize usually...but I read Tommy's writings at the front then scanned the youth group news and announcements for my family's names...

Christmas 2001. We were in the States to raise money and search for a supporting congregation. We had just traveled for 3 weeks, across the United States, making contact with all the congregations that had supported us in the past. We were warmly received each time. But, over and over, we were told "no" to our request for oversight.
I was newly pregnant (SURPRISE!) and very sick. It had been a long journey.
I was home for Christmas and the whole family was together. It was great.
As the festivities ended and our family prepared to return to their homes, Uncle Tommy gave Jeff an email contact.
Jack. Missions Committee chairman.
Tommy said it was worth a try. He said that Glenwood was a wonderful place and that the church loved missionaries.

Over the next few weeks, we sent requests and information to several different churches. There were no immediate we began to wait....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas....

...well, at least it looks Merry in our living room!
The Christmas tree is up! The kids hung ornaments yesterday with Alvin and the Chipmunks (of course) singing carols in the background. And I have been hanging up Santa stuff and draping tinsel and lights like nobody's business.
Now, I am tired. But the result of our labor is pretty great.
I think I'll go make a cup of apple cider, stare at the Christmas lights...and then drift off to sleep.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mam-ma's Recipes...

I made pies this week. Apple, pumpkin and chocolate cream.

When I got married, Mom had Mam-ma write out recipes for me and Mom did the same.

Pretty remarkable how making a pie or cake off a recipe with Mam-ma's or Mom's handwriting can bring comfort to my soul.

But is sure does. For a brief moment, I am in Mam-ma's kitchen with her. I can see her hands...hear her voice. "Always wash your hands when you are cooking. One time I was at a friend's house and she kept wiping at her nose while she cooked. I'nt that AWFUL!!!" She said it with mock disdain and a smile.
"oooooo I can't wait for everyone to get here..." and she'd go through the list of what she had made for each person...

... apple pie for Dad, coconut cream for Pat, german chocolate cake for Tommy, angel food cake for Tanner and Reese, and I can't remember the specifics for the rest of us...but Mam-ma sure could...

That was her self-appointed job. Providing sweet treats for each and everyone. She loved it so much. And you didn't hear us complaining...:-)

After cooking, Mam-ma would wash every dish ("I can't STAND a messy kitchen!"), pour herself a glass of iced tea, wrap a paper napkin around the bottom of the cup and sit in her chair to watch her "story". Or, if she wasn't too beat, she'd pull out the cards or Boggle and play a game with me at the kitchen bar.

We'd answer the phone for Granddaddy's lawn mower repair business, wait for Granddaddy to come in smelling of gasoline and oil, and maybe get to eat a "good 'ole sanwich" before Mom and Dad came to pick me up!

Good times.

Funny how pie recipes can bring all that back...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! May your day be filled with wonderful memories and the makings of more to come!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Usual

The house is finally quiet. Two doll blankets, one Tonka truck and a few odd blocks litter the living room.The hum of the generator allows me to use this computer and the lights. Mosquitoes are buzzing...and I feel slightly chilled. It rained hard again today. It rains everyday now. The roads are very muddy and I wear sweaters morning and night. Hot coffee and hot tea are my mainstays.

This morning started with Silas..."momma (three pounds on the head) pahcohn (popcorn?)". After a muffled "no" from sleepy mom...he reconsiders... "appah joos?"

We got the apple juice and mixed the waffles. Everyone fought to have a turn at cracking an egg or stirring. Diapers were changed, clothes were found, many hugs given... Alex made me a construction paper burrito and Kinley said that she liked to tell me her secrets...(smile).
School consisted of dinosaurs, Tower of Babel and the Roman Empire. Discussed seperately, of course, but thinking back...might have been more interesting together.:-)
Alex practiced "u" and Kinley practiced the soft "c"--lace, face, pace...We added, graphed and counted.

Isaac's nap book was "Where is my Blankie" and Silas' nap book was "Touch and Feel Wild Animals" (actually not an idea we should support...) :-]

We had peanut butter and apples for lunch---sour cream enchiladas for supper. Isaac wore his patch for nearly two whole hours, cuddled with me for 15 minutes and asked for chocolate 187 times (okay, I didn't actually keep track...)
We cut Alex's hair, everyone took baths and the kiddos are now asleep in their beds.

I've just reconnected with friends in the cyber world and will now make one last walk through the house, re-situate mosquito nets over the kids, pray again for God's protection and peace...and eventually,I will fall asleep...

Its Thanksgiving week... and for all these "usuals", I am deeply thankful.

Jehovah Shamma---He is so very good.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thank you Jeremy, Steven, Twila, Mac...

I love singing. Praising. Worship.

Besides my family, group worship in my own culture and language is what I think I miss the most about America.

I have been overwhelmingly blessed with worship memories. Devos with the youth group, devos around the campfire at summer camp, singing groups in college, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night services all my life, Faith Quest...

Most of the distinctive memories involve close friends, being outside and really, REALLY GOOD singing!

I have come to love worshipping "the African way" a great deal. I love the rythyms, harmonies and MOTION that African music demands. Most folks here give in to that musical drive and can really let go with their worship.

Watching God love and save our friends here has been one of my favorite worship experiences...To witness men and women who are dead in their spirits...come to Life in Him...its spectacular. Their worship through the process is brilliant to watch. At first subdued, unnatural....then over time...passionate and emotional.

There is a gap in most young mother's lives. That time frame from your child's infancy to age4or 5 where your worship time in church becomes a wrangle session to serve those around you. Keeping toddlers and preschoolers occupied, quiet and respectful for a set period of time (longer than 30 seconds) is almost impossible without the aid of drugs. (which I officially, on the record DO NOT support--but have been tempted on occasion to actually use! :-))

These precious (?) and valuable(!) "training years" for my children have left me in a 7 year void of sorts. The constant interruptions during worship coupled with the singing of songs in languages I don't totally understand does leave something amiss.

So the Lord created CD's. MP3's. IPODs. :-)

And He gave His servants the songs.

When I get a CD in the mail, I devour it. Read the lyrics, the thank you's, any description of where the song came from. I listen and re-listen to the words. And after a day or two of learning the happens. I am lost in worship. I am edified. I find a priceless and distinct outlet for my confession, renewal and expression of my love and thanks.

I think it is the desire of most Christian songwriters and performers that their listeners are taken before the Throne. I believe that their goal is realized in many different places and circumstances.

But I have never experienced the filling, precious gift of that music, like I have in this far off Africa place. There is a dimension to the worship I don't think I would have been forced to realize until I faced the challenges of service here....

Desperate desire.

...for God, His Healing and Grace, and my need to say "Thank you" and "please give me more. "

All in all... a pretty great thing. My needing Him.

So, "thank you" to Steven, Jeremy, Twila, Chris, Mac, Bebo...

I'll probably never meet you in person...but I join you in the worship you've recorded and shared. I am blessed and brought closer to our Lord.
He is good.

The Offer

There was a baby in the house the last few days! And it was delightful. Our friends, Doug and Destiny, went away for a few days to celebrate their anniversary and they entrusted us with their treasure named Jotham. He was a joy to have around. He is cuddly, cute and loved to smile at his Aunt Cheryl. I got to have all this enjoyment without morning sickness or labor. AND after two days of fun, I handed him back to Mom and had a whole nights sleep again. Being "Aunt" is pretty great!

When our friends came to pick up their little one, we invited them to join us for a cookout. As we were eating, IT happened. I think our friends were still a little giddy from their trip...or something.... but still, with our children as witnesses, IT did happen.

The Offer was made.

"So, guys. You should get away sometime. WE'LL WATCH YOUR KIDS."

Did we hear them right? Are they thinking clearly?

Who cares?!?!?! They OFFERED!!!!

And away we go... :-)

My New Friend

Our last trip to the capital of Uganda had my mind on one thing. I needed a friend. And I was set to find that friend.

I asked God to provide. I was asking, not for necessity. But out of longing. And a tad bit of desperation.

One shopping day. Pile of shillings in my bag. Deliberate walk to the back of the huge, amazing department store in Kampala.

And there....with etheral lights shining around it...and the hint of the hallelujah chorus in the background...was My New Friend.

Now, I was warned about buying my Friends in life. But sometimes you have to make the exception.

And so I did. My bright shining Friend stands proudly in my laundry room. Her name is Whirlpool and she hums delightfully as she works.
She gives to me graciously. Scrubbing, wringing, cleaning and releasing me to serve my family in other ways. All her valves and doohickies work brilliantly and the floods of the laundry room have ceased. And I love her.

Sometimes, friends are friends forever. I don't know if this relationship will last that long....but for now, she makes me smile everytime I see her.
And that is a great friend to have.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lessons from the Blue Book

The Blue Book. I think I used a blue song book in church for all of my childhood. I remember going to college in Lubbock and attending church where the songbooks were green. It was a big change for me. :-)

The Blue Book makes me think of my Dad, pitchpipes, Sunday night singings, and learning to sing Alto. All very warm memories.

Very often, in difficult times, Jeff and I are drawn to our copy of the Blue Book. We sing through the songs and find comfort, encouragement, We sing these songs to our kids. We want all that for them too.
These songs,sung a bazillion times in my childhood, come to my mind and heart at opportune alter my attitude, wake me up, make me smile and very, very often....remind me of my Hero and how He lives in many precious people in my life.

*Victory in Jesus--Known in our house as "Papa's favorite." Cuz it is...
*Amazing Grace--the only song my Granny could sing after a series of strokes. Couldn't say our names or remember recipes or even talk much at all...but she could always sing Amazing Grace.
*Follow Dad's other favorite :-)
*How Great Thou Art
*Oh Lord our Lord--Sung at ACU with tons of people--heavenly!
*Where We Never Grow Old--the song Mamma sang with us just before she went Home.
*I Have Decided to Follow Jesus-- sung when I was baptized
*Freely, Freely --sung when Jeff was baptized
*Blessed Assurance--
*Just As I Am--
*Walking in Sunlight
*Trust and Obey
*Sing and Be Happy
*Ring the Message Out--learned this song in Loy and Donna Mitchell's living room(the Mitchell's were my first Africa connection)

On and on it goes...a heritage in song of faith. Old tunes, sometimes old words...very current Truth.

So often, a phrase gets stuck in my head. This morning, "Grace, grace. God's grace. Grace that can pardon and cleanse within. Marvelous grace. Infinite grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin." Reminding me of His new mercy every morning. And how I should have that same mercy for all those around me.

And for the past few days, "Count Your Blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done..." With water and power off, I needed the reminder.

So, I'm thankful this morning. For Grace, His Blessings, and His Spirit for giving me yet another lesson from the Blue Book.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Pronounced "hah koonuh". You may recognize it from "Lion King". It means "there isn't".
And it is the theme of our last few days in the Cash Household.



Mom's Energy, Stamina and Ability to Cope---Hakuna!!!!!

It seems our water tank has a broken cover and has been filled with avocados from the tree that grows just over it. The avocados were rotting in the water...and, well, YUCK!!! Our water was smelling very rank and so my husband and Ronald spent Sunday evening mucking out our water tank.

In the process, our water pipes have developed a problem and no water has flowed into our home for three days. Not fun. Jeff has dug up pipes and worked to solve the problem, but today, in desperation, we have called in a plumber. This scares me. Jeff's problem solving abilities FAR exceed most...and if he couldn't get to the bottom of this himself....I fear for what the answer may be.

As to the electricity...I don't know. It has been on and off and on and off and then just OFF for days.

We are coping. We are back to "jerry can" living. All of our water is collected in jerry cans and used conservatively throughout the day. We heat water for dishes and baths on the stove, bathe in basins and creatively re-use water. (used bath water re-used to flush the toilets...)

It is amazing how very often I need to wash my hands though--we Americans sure do love soap and water!!!

So currently, Jeff, Ronald and the plumber are trying to decide what to do next (move to another house?!?!), the kids are waiting for school to begin and me, well, I am sitting at our computer, making use of the electricity that just came back on, reading blogs and trying to ignore the plumbing woes in our life. :-)
The reprieve won't last long though...reality calls me back from blogland. And I must go...

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I don't think I ever experienced "process" as I have since moving to Uganda. Order and rules are things I don't really mind.
Okay, they are, in fact, things I adore.
But, the processes of Uganda have threatened to catapult my love of such things into non-existence.

"Process" here takes on many forms...and I do mean FORMS. To pay one bill the other day I had to stand in a line for 20 minutes to pick up "the form"...which must be filled in EXACTLY correct...and has some interesting blanks:Surname, First Name, Specification (?)....

After solving the riddle of "specification", I stand in another line for 20 minutes. The teller takes my money, proceeds to fill another form in triplicate, rubber stamps everything in her path and then hands me my receipt.

The next step in the process that the service you have paid for with great struggle, will now be cut off due to non payment. Which requires another form...another line...more triplicate...and FINALLY...on a good receive the service you have paid for--be it water, power, phone etc.

Now, as fun as all that is...there is another process in Uganda I detest more. Business Meetings.

Think, "EXCRUCIATING." Business meetings are long drawn out speech-fests where men (and occasionally women) state, re-state, and-- in case you didn't get it--re-state their opinions. Usually in very hot buildings ,at lunch time, while your stomach growls.

So, when our newly appointed benevolence committee at church asked me to attend and participate in the writing of the policies, I braced myself for the worst.

But I was surprised.

The committee consisted of me, Ronald, David and Dick. Dick was quickly asked to be reporter (scribe) and David was asked to chair. Ronald said a prayer and we began.

We did a lot of policy discussing and document wording...but the true process of the day...well that was something all-together different.

I watched a miracle. We were gathered to discuss two very hot topics in Ugandan culture. Money and problems. Money--hard to come by. Problems--everybody has one.

I heard these three brothers of mine discuss these issues, from a different perspective than most.
* I heard integrity ("we must be honest at all costs. down to the shilling!" "No one in our own families or our own selves can benefit from this committee!")
*I heard brotherhood("go ahead David, I interrupted you." "What do you think Dick." "Ronald makes a good point")
*And I heard submission ("I disagree, but I will stand with you.")

Hmmm....God's Spirit at work? Yep.
Transformation at Jesus hand? Definitely.
Another Standing Stone to amaze me in this journey ? Yes.

I was challenged, blessed, inspired, deeply grateful and well, pretty stinking repentant. In a day filled with processes I almost, cynically, missed the most important. Him. "Processing" any who are willing and even many who are not. Working us, changing us, guiding us, forgiving us...drawing us to Himself.

Transformation. Newness. Freedom from all that holds us back...

Now, that is a process I wholeheartedly embrace!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Machine

When we first started our life in Africa, I had much to learn. My credentials for life in the Third World were not incredibly long.
My husband landed here ready to go. His Eagle Scout-years of camping-mountain climbing- survival training Self was prepared and SO VERY thrilled to tackle life in difficult conditions.

My list of credentials started as: Loves God. Willing to Learn.
After a crushing case of salmonella and parasites that we could not seem to get rid of , and dealing with the Kenyan public transport system on a daily basis-- my list of credentials dwindled to : Still loves God.

By some miracle...that list proved to be enough in God's hands. And I did begin to learn how to survive on this continent.

One of the first skills to master here was laundry. Of course, I had done laundry before. In machines-- already attached to water and power-- that worked when you pushed the buttons.
My first laundry facilities here were two basins, a jerry can and a clothes line. I constantly thought of Granny, Mam-ma and every Little House on the Prairie episode I ever saw, as I tried to make my laundry attempts efficient and effective. Besides the fact that I began to despise bluejeans (ever tried to wring out a pair--ugh!) I found the laundry task difficult and trying.

God helped me did Nerea, Peter and Rebecca...precious souls who scrubbed, twisted, wrung and hung our clothes through those early years.

With the birth of our first child, came a new dimension to laundry. Pampers and Huggies were not available here yet, so we were left to cloth diapers. And our laundry woes increased.

It was at this time that we purchased a wonderful piece of equipment that our Ugandan friends referred to as "The Machine".

It is a Maytag and it was old 7 years ago. We recently traced its history, and discovered that it has been serving Africa missionaries for over 35 years. That's a long time for a machine to work in Africa.

The Machine has been through alot, washed so very many clothes and even housed the wayward rat on occasion. It has plugged along in its duties all these years and though it sounds like a jet engine taking off when it is in the spin has made our clothes clean.

Several months ago, The Machine, began to make a different kind of noise. A noise accompanied by a strange burning smell....and, well, a smidgen of smoke.

I prayed over The Machine. Asked God to give it just a little more life. But, sometimes, the answer is no. The Machine has stopped spinning and though I gingerly fill its tub with smallish loads, I know we are on borrowed time. Very soon The Machine will stop all together and go to Maytag heaven. (?)

So, I write you today amidst mountainous piles of dirty laundry. We are back to hand washing and wringing, and despite our best efforts("I know you have worn those jeans 7 times, Kinley, but one more day won't hurt!")...we can't keep up.

I hope a New Machine is in our future. Until then, I guess I have more to learn.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Bushara Island Camp. A beautiful, peaceful, serene setting...overflowing with life in the form of the Cash family for four days! Located in the southernmost part of Uganda, very near the Rwanda border. I had never traveled that far south before...what a beautiful place it is. Rolling hills, cool climate, gorgeous views. Delightful.

We walked, read, played cards, played frisbee, had a campfire, played on the playground...the kids had so much fun...we all agree it is a place we hope to visit again.

(all pictures by Jeff Cash)
Snack break!

View from our cabin

Boat ride to the island!

Girl time...

Blessings and joy...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Do You Know?

--the childhood games I played and names I gave my dolls?
--the things that make my Mom smile?
--the things that IRRITATE my Mom?
--the feel of my Mom's and Dad's hugs?
--my Dad's favorite hymn?
--all the words to "Preacher and the Bear"?
--how Mam-ma sounded when she sang in church?
--all the contents of Mam-ma's purse? (Certs in the center)
--the smell of Granddaddy when he comes in from the shop?
--the FEARFUL noise of lawnmowers starting?
--funny details of family trips--Brownwood, SixFlags, Disneyland and Hollywood, Nashville.
--how it feels to be the youth minister's kid?
--the smell of Mom's stew on a cold West Texas fall day?
--the sheer delight of shouting MOJO with an amazing community supporting kids in a really FUN game every Friday night?
--the camp friends who shaped and shared our Faith every summer for years?
--where the painted Santa Clause and Elves figures go on the coffee table?
--when to decorate the Christmas Tree? (Thanksgiving Weekend.)
--when to open Christmas presents? (Christmas Eve of course!)
--what irritates me?(horny toads, locusts, breathing outside my door..."Moooommmmm, please make her move!")
--every hairstyle I've had: the good, the bad and (ugh!) the ugly!
--all the words to "Sound of Music", "Karate Kid" and "Annie"?
--the history of Monahans High School class of '65?
--what made Granny laugh? (you!)

Cherise Knows. She is my sister.
And while there are many things she does know...I wonder sometimes if she knows

--how much I miss her every single day!
--how Target runs with her on furlough are my FAVORITE THING!!!
--how proud I am of her faith and the beautiful way she lives it.
--how proud I am of her mothering--her dauntless (okay, sometimes daunted:-) way of tackling the issues and continuing on to make good lives for her boys
--how cool I think she is!
--how beautiful she is!
--how blessed Wade, Bryson and Cason are to have her in their lives?
--how often she makes me laugh?
--how much I depend on her friendship?
--how very much I love her?

Happy Birthday Cherise! I think you are the greatest. I'm so glad you are in my life. I just wanted you to know.

Who do you love today? Do they know?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pebbles and Stones

Several years ago, Jeff and I watched the Focus on the Family video series filmed in Israel. It was a great series, but one of the lessons I remember most was about Standing Stones.
At many of the major happenings in the Israelites travels and wanderings, they would be instructed to take up stones and set them "there". These stones served as reminders so that those forgetful Israelites would be reminded of the Rock. A memorial that "God did something amazing here."
They were instructed to tell their children and their children's children so that each generation would remember the MOMENTS when a Heavenly King interevened on behalf of a worldly people.

I love this. The MARKING of an occasion. What a great idea. (God has alot of those!)

So, here I am at an occasion. Ten Years in Uganda. And I have spent many minutes over the last days looking at pictures, reading old journals and remembering our wanderings these last years.

Two things amaze me.
First, the unbelievable number of Stones in this journey. The breathtaking, exhillirating moments when I can say "God moved here." I cannot believe that He allows my weak eyes to see it. I do not deserve such an outpouring. And yet, He delights in revealing Himself.

The second thing that amazes me, is how often my eyes are diverted by the pebbles in the path. The distractions. The hassles. The problems. My own struggles. My sin. Before I realize it, I am engrossed in the pebbles at my feet and complaining about the ones that are in my shoes and I completely miss the Stones. God forgive me.

Today, I want you to see some of our Stones. This is not an exhaustive list. If you want that, come and see us. We will wander around with you here and tell you more stories---show you more Stones.

But for now, praise God with us over these unbelievable outpourings of Him. His goodness and His mercy on a weak and sinful people. He is Good.

DSC_0041 (2)
Ronald and Dick
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David Kabiito teaching the children on Sunday morning
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Silas and Isaac
Fort Portal Town Church
Cash 10 year Rwenzori view dinner
Fellowship with Christian Missionaries
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Andrew and AimeeJo

May God grant you many Stone Sightings today and may your pebbles be few!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Nap

I have always loved Sunday afternoons.

Growing up, we had wonderful Sunday afternoons. There was church in the morning, Mamma's roast dinner or Mexican food for lunch, then several hours of pouring through the mammoth Sunday paper with football or golf commentators for background music. And of course, the icing on the cake, was always.....The Nap.

You know, the dozing--all is right with the world--peaceful--satisfying slumber. Ahhhhhh....

Since earning the rank of Mommy---naps have become a rare and priceless treasure. They are not just the restful moments I crave---but are also a feat of unprecedented planning and choregraphed timing.

Today was a banner day. After church and three year old and one year old were ready for naps AT THE SAME TIME!!!! What a moment. My heartbeat quickened as we went through the napping rituals---stories, pacifiers, blankets. And then, in one breathless moment...they were out. A quick peak revealed the 7 year old and 5 year old engrossed in a video and with quick and silent (shhhhhhh!!!!!) steps, I tiptoed to my bed.

My pillow, suede throw, silence around me (can this be happening?!?!?) and then the moment of sheer delight---sllllleeeeeeeep. The last thing I heard as I drifted into that VERY GOOD PLACE was the sound of raindrops. Perfection.

TWO AND A HALF HOURS later, I was awakened by a sweet three year old hand patting my head.
"Hi Mommy. You were sweeping...."

Yes, my dear. I was.
And it was very good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Jeff Cash.

In the guest room.

With a broom handle.

The Rat Has Left the Building!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Definition: "to think about seriously" "to believe after deliberation" "to regard highly" "to think carefully".

I love to consider. To sit quietly and really think something through. The process of considering is peaceful to me. Satisfying. Filling.

Tonight I'm considering these things:

*head lice--after much internet reading I "believe after deliberation" that we may be near the end of our little epidemic. Kinley is clear of those pesky bald males are clear and my obsessive washing of all the bedding wasn't completely necessary but since its done...nice.

*blog comments--- I love to hear from friends and family! I "regard highly" your love and encouragement

*Isaac's eye--our son is required to wear a patch at least two hours a day in order to train his weak eye to see. I "think seriously and carefully" on ways to actually make that happen. Tonight, I consider him a champ---he has worn the patch 5 of 7 days for the last several weeks.

*prayer--I "believe after deliberation" that prayer to God Jehovah is one of my most valued treasures. He is Safe. He is the welcoming place--ready to hear me. Whatever I have to say...

*need--I have been "thinking seriously and carefully" on needing. I don't personally enjoy "needing". I DELIGHT in "meeting needs"...but the actual "needing" myself. I'm not too good at it. Of course, I do have needs...but when asked about them...I often stare blankly ahead while my brain tries to formulate an acceptable answer. Why is that? I don't know. But needing is inherent in us...It is why we are with other people--- why we seek God.

I do love the considering of a thing...

God says : "Consider it pure joy....when you face trials and hardships of many kinds." James 1:2
"Consider how the lilies grow...they do not labor...yet...not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12: 27

What are you considering today?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Oh Rats!

Here we go again! The sound of scurrying feet...the unexplainable bumps and clunks from the kitchen....LOVELY telltale droppings of the not-so-welcome houseguest. A rat.
Stella spied him first behind my washing machine. Isaac and I spied him second when we turned the kitchen light on two mornings ago. Jeff spied him third during his 5 am study session. The kids and I all saw him today when he scurried over our feet (OOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!) as we walked to the kitchen for breakfast. Nice.
I have a lovely home. Comfy furniture. Color co-ordinated decor. We clean. And still that little nasty varmit has invaded.
I'll forgo the obvious spiritual applications and simply say, "I WANT HIM OUT!!!"
So, begins the process...the mad plugging and stuffing of old blankets and rags in any crack or crevice we can find. Strategically placing long sticks and broom handles to be grabbed at a seconds notice to pound a tiny beedy eyed head. The tenative first walk through the house in the morning (flip on the light, grit your teeth, search every corner and inch of floor space before you step...)
I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm sure we will be victorious. My husband, with all the masculine hunter/masacre-small-rodent instincts at play, will seek and destroy. Alex's big Rat Annhilator weapon ("its a BIG BIG stick mom that would SMASH 'em good!") has been carefully designed and stored. And my clean and tidy box of DCon has been placed on the highest shelf near the hole where he has been entering. One way or another, he will be escorted from the premises.
Preferably not by me.
Preferably, very soon.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Please and Thank You

Everyday, I repeat these words a thousand times as I teach and train my little charges to exist in the world in a pleasant and orderly way. "Silas, say please." "Kinley, don't forget to say thank you!"
Over the last week, I've been reminded why I spend so much time on those simple words. I'll tell you why...

We have been watching the catastrophe of Katrina escalate and ravage.
Unfortunately, we do not have choices for which American news network we can watch. We are forced to endure the politically biased messages of CNN (did I say that outloud?).
I am frustrated and dismayed over the angles and stories CNN reporters and producers continually choose and chase.

For days we (and the international community) have seen images and stories on CNN. People demanding help with curse words and accusing everyone under the sun for their pain. CNN and its reporters continually hammer the message "too little is being done", "work is too slow","chaos exists", "NO ONE is helping". We've often had to switch the TV off to protect our children and our own selves from the words being chosen as people plead for help.
Many people see these images and are fed only negative messages. And we wonder why people think badly of Americans. Could it be our own news agencies feed negative information to the world in their own efforts to get the "gritty story" (and the most viewers and thus the most money...). Just a question. Okay, I'll admit it. Its an accusation.

Occasionaly, a calm person is put on the screen. A person who asks for help and prayers,without offensive words. Someone who explains the situation and analyzes what needs to be done. That is a person we listen to. A person we can hear.
It is possible, and very admirable, to be calm in the face of disaster. And it saves lives over and over again.

Jeff and I have wondered about the stories not being told. Coast Guard rescuers, FEMA workers, superdomes opening up, churches providing food- shelter -clothes, a Weather prediction system that alerted us TWO DAYS ahead that the storm was coming, Lousiana citizens who drove out of New Orleans in an orderly fashion... we haven't been hearing very many thank you's on CNN.

Several years ago, Jeff and the church members here in Ft. Portal were involved in aiding catastrophe stricken people here. They spent days driving food, medical supplies and people to help those who had lost everything. The days were long and unbelievably, thankless.
I remember one evening in particular when Jeff dragged in exhausted and more emotionally spent than normal. He related some of the events of his day and at one point, his eyes filled with tears and his face lit up. In the midst of a chaotic mess of people, one woman approached their truck and said, "Thank you." He described the words she said, the look on her face...he remembered every detail.
At that time we remembered the story of 10 healed lepers. Men who because of a horible sickness, lost everything. And in one amazing moment, a man named Jesus, gave them everything back. Was he showered with overwhelming gratitude? No. Only one man came back to Jesus and said thank you. It was, apparently, a moment worthy of mention because it is included in holy scripture. A Thank You.

So, for today, in this cyber world I will use my space to say, "thank you." Thank you to all who are going without sleep and sacrificing their time, money and resources to help. Thank you to Louisiana and New Orleans citizens who showed kindness to each other as they evacuated. Thank you to the weather experts who gave warning in advance so lives could be saved. Thank you to the heroes who may never get airtime.
I know you are out there serving. Because it is America we are talking about. And my America is full of heroes.

I will continue on this quest for manners with my children. You never know in this big 'ole world what amazing circumstances may land my children in front of a camera or allow them an opportunity to speak to the world. I pray they will choose words that are effective and kind...and bring blessing to the hearers.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Freeze Tag

I got tagged to list my top ten favorite songs...and its not that I don't enjoy a good game of tag...I've just been a bit stumped. We have one radio station in town that boasts a variety of 80's greatest (or not so greatest) hits, Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers duets and rap songs featuring offensive lyrics to disgust any English speaker around. So to choose my top ten, I am limited to our own CD collection--which I love but is definitely not exhaustive.

So currently in my CD player is Steven Curtis Chapman "All Things New", Casting Crowns, and Newsboys "Adoration".
Top favorite songs are:

*"What If His People Prayed" Casting Crowns
*"Your Love is Extravagant" Casting Crowns
*"Praise You with the Dance"Casting Crowns
*"Only Getting Started" Steven Curtis Chapman
*Unfailing Love" Chris Tomlin
*"The Way I Was Made" Chris Tomlin

I know that is only six...but I did my best. I am a big fan of Harry Connick Jr., Norah Jones, Mercy Me, Third Day, Rascal Flats, Kenny Chesney... and many more.

Thanks for including me in the game...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Powerful Gentleness


"See the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd;He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40: 10-11

I cling to this verse most days. "...he gently leads". He also "comes with power". I need both of these. A powerful Lord to protect me and my family. To work on my heart and stubborness and to mold and transform my children. He has to be powerful. And yet, just after that power-proclamation by Isaiah...we are reminded of His gentleness. Specifically pertaining to "those who have young."
So, tonight, with children finally sleeping and me left with my ponderings---how I could have done better today...words I wish I had back...decisions I would make differently...I am reminded the He who comes with power, will gently lead me tomorrow, just as He has done today. And He knows its hard. He has children too.
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:15-16

My Family


Family. I have been a part of amazing family all my life. On my Dad's side I was grandchild number 12. I loved visiting Granny and Grandpa. Granny always made me fudge (REALLY,REALLY GOOD FUDGE!) and Grandpa had the silliest songs he'd sing for us. At Granny and Grandpa's there was always red beans, always a domino game being played and always lots of laughing and hugs.
On Mom's side, I was grandchild number ONE! Aha--a placement I love and adore. First. :-) My baby sister and my three cousins lovingly point out any time we are together that I have four picture books at Mamma's and Granddaddy's house while their pictures together fill only two or three! I think I usually respond with love and maturity, "Too bad, so sad!"
I love Mamma and Granddaddy's house. To date, it is my favorite place on this earth. I grew up in their home. Learned the expertise of gin rummy and Boggle at their kitchen bar. And I have eaten more pie and ice cream (and cheesy squash!) around their table than I am happy to admit. Mamma and Granddaddy are two of the most influential people in my life. You see, they thought I was wonderful. And told me so. Everybody needs that in their life. I'm so thankful I had it in abundance with Mamma and Granddaddy.
I love holidays at their house when Uncle Tommy, Aunt Pat and the boys come. We laugh alot, play alot of games and eat alot of good food. I love my cousins. I'm proud of them. They are amazing young men.
Why all the family reminiscing you ask? Well, this last weekend, my Mom's side of the family was all together. Cousin number four, aka Jeffrey Todd, became a husband. He is married to a wonderful lady, named Rebecca. They will minister together to a very blessed youth group in Austin.
And I feel sad because I couldn't get there.
Living on the other side of the ocean is a life we have chosen. It is one I love. But there are parts of it that bring alot of pain. Missing family times is one of those.
So, I cry a little. Pray alot. And then just give thanks. The only reason it is sad at all is because I love all of my family so much. And because they are so great to be with.
So, Congratulations Jeff and Rebecca! I love you! If you are ever on this side of the ocean, stop by. We'll play some games and eat some food. And it will be great---because it always is.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"I Can Read!!"


Of all the fun pretend games of my childhood, I loved playing house and school the most. I remind myself of those childhood dreams each day as I tackle the seemingly overwhelming task of taking care of an actual house and schoolroom. (It was so much easier with dolls that didn't make noise, plastic dishes you don't have to wash, and stuffed bears filling my "classroom".)
Four years ago I was "led" into the world of homeschooling. I was excited about the idea of teaching my own kids, but also perplexed by the enormous amount of choices I had to make...curriculum, timing, schedule, method.... I began asking lots of questions and was given so much helpful advice from family and friends.
When our daughter was three, we began the Cash family preschool. We had class in the back 1/3 of our garage/TV room. I spent one-two hours every night cutting shapes, searching our shelves for books and planning for the next days activities. Our sweet Kinley LOVED school and I could hardly keep up with her eagerness to learn.
Since that time, we have "graduated" to an entire school room dedicated to our home teaching. Kinley is nearly finished with first grade and Alex is about to complete Kindergarten. I still have trouble keeping up with their eagerness to learn...actually with two in school, two toddlers, cooking every meal from scratch and handling all the unique "opportunities"that living in the third world offers, I just have trouble keeping up period!
My favorite part of homeschooling has been watching Kinley and Alex learn to read. Kinley has been a reader now for over a year and she loves it. Alex is just getting started and he is doing so well.
The other day I had a "wow! I'm so glad I'm a Mom!" moment.
I was sitting at our kitchen table with Alex on one side of me, Kinley on the other and Isaac in my lap. Silas was in his highchair. Alex was reading his very first book out loud to all of us and by some amazing miracle, everyone was still and quiet long enough to hear it!
Alex sounded out every word and enjoyed the story so much. It was incredible to see the delight in his eyes with each page he read. I was a good way this time! What a gift, to watch him experience this!
We are surrounded by people who never get to experience this kind of moment. The illiteracy rate in Uganda is huge...especially among women. There I sat, with my four healthy children, watching the second of them learn to read. Worlds and dreams and ideas are now becoming available to them as they simply learn how letters sound. What a gift.
I'm thankful I was able to watch it happen. God is Good!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Greetings to all of you in the blog world! I join you with a bit of fear and trepidation...the technology of the internet moves around far beyond my East Africa home. Every once in a while, though, despite constant power outages, computer glitches and the endearing/excruciating cry of "Mommy"---I am actually brought into this cyber world. Wow!
My name is Cheryl Cash and tonight from my home in Ft Portal, Uganda my husband has Gently Led me into this great Blog Land. I have been led to many new and interesting places in the last ten years as a missionary wife...from villages to motherhood to homeschool teacher and more. I'd love to share this journey with when I have a minute...I'll post my thoughts.