Monday, March 27, 2006

Impressions from the Fog

It is 7 PM. The frozen pizza has been bought and baked with much anticipation but only barely touched as we are all too tired to eat. The whine in Isaac's voice has become a permanent fixture and crying outbursts are happening every second. Baths await and Bible time...but we try to put it off as long as possible in order to force our body clocks into a new timeframe . There are piles of clothes along the wall. Jeans and sweatshirts bought at the village market in preparation for the New England cold. Every eye is heavy, and every light is on in an effort to keep ourselves alert. The boys are cradling new Knight swords and Kinley organizes her new Polly Pockets. My Real Simple magazine awaits me at my bedside and Jeff is enjoying his Mountain Dew. The clock ticks slowly as we await a reasonable bed time hour...

Jet lag hurts. Alot. For some odd reason...the pain is forgettable. I don't usually remember the unique brain numbing/yet nerve sensitive irony of jet lag. But I am currently in the throes of it and I can't wait for it to be over.

3Am. It is the time we actually got to sleep the first night in America. And it is the time all our children woke up the second night. Ready to party. "Where is the food Mom?" "Can I have juice in my cup Mom?" and "Why aren't the birds singing yet Mom?"

The roads are all smooth. I understand most of what people say the first time. Roads have signs and maps are correct. Internet, phone service and electricity are always on. And so is the water. I have so enjoyed hot showers. And drinking water without boiling it. I feel like I'm breaking a rule everytime I drink from the tap :-).

Food is easy. When we are hungry...we find food. And it is YUMMY! McDonald's fries are just always RIGHT. Chocolate milkshakes, Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, and the Dr. Pepper I just finished have been delightful and required no forethought. I didn't plan at 10:30 am this morning that I would make the ice cream and cookie dough. I just wanted it, went down the hall and bought it. And ate it ...all by myself.

Magazines are affordable. And the news is American. David Letterman is on at night. And there is every re-run imaginable on television.

People here always wear shoes. And I haven't seen dirt on the ground yet. Cars are large and colorful.

There is a price for everything. It is clearly marked and there are no negotiations.

Everything is for sale. I flipped through over 30 channels today and only found 3 with actual shows on at one moment. The rest were commercials.

And while on the subject...commercials are funny. Hilarious really. This, in case you were not aware, is unique to American consumerism.

There are so many things made for kids. Museums, aquariums, restaurants, stores...all geared for kids and their learning and development. It is valued here. And I am proud of that.

I am moved to tears when I see the flag.

The homeless people we saw today were...wearing coats and gloves and appeared,to me,to be well fed.

We are in a very historical place. And I have found myself relating stories to the kids all day. Tomorrow will bring more stories. I am so thankful for our heritage. The men who argued and debated and decided what our country would be founded on.

Other parts of this culture will also be impressionable in this fulrough experience...but overall....this is a phenomenal country. And it is good to be here.

The crying has started again. It is turning into a wail. I must go help my kids to bed.

Everything will look even better on the other side of a complete night of sleep...:-)

Benadryl anyone?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Girl

Monday was a great day around here. We celebrated eight years of our sweet Kinley's life.

...Kinley's beginnings took alot of extra care. And every single day with her is a witness to God's healing, blessing and perfectly timed gifts.

I simply do not know what I would do without her. Her passion for living, her heart that actively seeks God and her amazing creativity make my world more beautiful in every way.

And I'm not the only one. Jeff was the first one to call her by name....she lay screaming in the hospital bassinet. He spoke her name, "Hey Kinley..." and with one suddenly silent head turn ...Jeff's heart was gone. "She knows who I am!" He was never the same...:-)

Amazing how one tiny bundle can change you forever...

Happy Birthday Kinley. We love you very, very much.

Check out for Jeff's thoughts on this day.


Do you hear it too? It is the clock (currently sitting at some minutes after midnight). And it quietly, rythymically reminds me...our departure is nearing.

I am really tired. REALLY tired. My pillow is calling me and my brain nudges me to allow it to rest.

I am very thankful, sitting here tonight. First, the lights in our home are bright. Power is on!
Second, my "for better or worse" man paid to have two tanks of water brought to our home...some laundry has been done and everyone has had a warm bath.
And three, almost every essential for our trip has been completed.

God is good and gracious.

Tomorrow is the final day. I'm feeling pretty good about what we've accomplished so far...And I am basking in the realization that a Burger King Whopper is in my very near future!

Now if I could just get all those piles of clean clothes to walk themselves into a suitcase...:-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

So, our friend and truck driver, Ali Baba (yep, that's really his name) had mercy on us. He lives around the corner. He shared some water. Enough to fill our tank again.
Praise the Lord!

And, I woke up to trucks rolling in front of my house...

I don't know how long their fuel will last. But at least its a start! (or a continuance as the case may be...)

AND, we were actually able to complete a few loads of laundry, a finance report and a yearly report for the government here.

When Silas ran into our room this morning with the excited announcement "Sump Shruck!!!" (that's "dump truck" for all you non Silas-ese speakers)....I had to smile. First, because the two year old living in our house is just TOO CUTE! But second, isn't tad ironic...that after I hear from several of you that you are praying...those cemented-to-the-soccerfield trucks started moving again.

I know the Creator of the Universe does have a few things to attend to right now...and my water issues really aren't the most pressing issue... yet, He acts on my behalf.

May YOUR day be full of the astonishment of His care...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Everything is off. (except for my children's energy level--that is very ON and LOUD at the moment)

I've already discussed the power issues we have been facing. And while my ingenious husband continually pulls tricks from his hat to keep some light and power flowing into our home, currently I am typing off power from a car battery and inverter. Our power woes have increased.

We are given less and less power each week. And for the last four days, when the town has had power, our house has not. Just our house. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

Our transformer and power line have problems. Fire problems. Which is not only a tad concerning,but apparently, not a high priority for the power company in it's present state. It is time for a new transformer on Njara Lane. Any chance of that happening in my lifetime? I'm not holding my breath.

Except when I walk past the bathroom.

Because our woes do not only include power.

Early last week huge trucks started rolling by our house. The road in front of our home is being paved. (amazing!!!) So the grading and dumping and hauling began. And in the process our water line got cut. It is sticking up in two pieces on the side of the road.

Remarkably, they informed us of this predicament and we began rationing the water in our tank. I was proud that we made it last about 4 days.

Everyday, I woke up and watched for the trucks to roll again to finish the job. But, oddly, the trucks have permanently camped out in the soccer field around the corner. Seems you can't operate huge bulldozing trucks without diesel. And the truck people ran out of money for fuel.

So the water line remains severed and the road unpaved.

The mounds of laundry in our home are almost as overwhelming as the scent from unflushed toilets. (sorry to be so graphic)

Did I mention, also, that in 9 days, I am boarding a plane with my four children and husband to be away for some months.

That at some point we have to pack these soiled garments to take with us. And that without basic necessities like water, primarily, life feels a little off.

It is not the first time we've dealt with such things. And, in the end, we will survive.

But every once in a while, in the process of handling it, I feel the need to be really mad. That has been this morning. Then after the 'mad', I need to laugh. And then--back to handling it.

My dear friend gave me the keys to her house so I can haul the mountain of laundry her way and use her water and power.
And clean clothes or dirty clothes, we WILL board the plane for the Homeland.

Which I am REALLY looking forward to. Family, friends, Blue Bell ice cream and a VERY full Bathtub with HOT water!!!!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


It all started on Monday.

I was gathering furlough things. Kids clothes, swimsuits, credit cards, checkbooks... and it happened.

The inevitable.

The smallish Eddie Bauer bag...which is home to our five remaining passports...(Jeff's new one is still at the embassy)...was gone.

It is, obviously, an important bag. Not one I carry with me always. And it has its place. But it wasn't there. Or under....or behind....

I checked a few, more obvious places...but went to sleep, SURE that the bag would appear quickly, the next day.

Tuesday morning found me determined and focussed. Jeff awoke to me emptying drawers, bags and moving shelves. He generously joined in the hunt.

By the time he left for his lunch meeting...there was no Eddie Bauer bag to be found. I was beginning to be VERY concerned. Our plane leaves in 2 1/2 weeks. Replacement passports take 3 weeks.

We intensified the search. By the time Jeff returned in the evening, I was barely staving off panic.

The passports are my responsibility. They are IMPORTANT. WHERE ARE THEY?

I could not remember the last time I held them in my hand. I could not back track because I couldn't remember.

And mostly, I could NOT stop looking. And neither could Jeff. Under beds, in toy boxes, in trunks we haven't opened in years...

We cleaned out backpacks, dressers, shelves and cabinets. And by midnight on Tuesday. That elusive bag was still AWOL.

I did not sleep well. I tried to DREAM where it might be. We brainstormed options. When do we declare them gone and call the embassy?

Wednesday morning, everyone was in on the hunt. At 6:30 pm on Wednesday...I sat in the middle of a VERY clean living room and desperately pleaded with God to take me to the bag.

I stood up to do one more quick sweep, before the power went off.

My hand went into the diaper bag and....OH MY GOODNESS....and PRAISE THE LORD...

My hand felt the zipper of the bag that had become my entire pursuit for two whole days! In a diaper bag we had emptied several times. It was stuck at the bottom and its black cover blended VERY WELL with the inside lining of the bag.

I have not been that excited over a passport wallet....well...ever!

No police missing trip disappointment... all was right in the world again.

And there was much rejoicing!

Monday, March 06, 2006

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Bad hair day.

I was never a hair color gal. For a long, long time I held out. But then, I got brave. Tried a little. A little more. You know how it goes.

Well, my hair was kinda boring after the braiding frenzy. So I decided to be bold.

I asked for dark brown with a hint of red.


NOT what I got.

It's red with a hint of brown.

Everytime I look in the mirror I wonder who put their hair on my head.

Kinley said, "MOM!!! Your hair!"

Alex said, "Way cool Mom. But, um, if you go back to Kampala to color your hair again I suggest black."

Jeff said, "you are always beautiful to me."

Good thing.

My Fort Portal friends have been encouraging but I'm a little concerned about furlough.

"Hi. I'm Jeff the missionary, this is my punk rock wife and these are my four adorable children."
Ah well.

"Rock on."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Domino Line

My Grandpa had a card table with dominoes on it, set up ALWAYS. He and his buddies could shuffle, draw their dominoes and, just from looking at their hand and observing the first domino thrown... tell you every domino in the other players hands. Amazing.

When the games had died down and the table was abandoned for a moment, we kids would make the domino line. We'd line the dominoes up strategically to make some interesting shape. Then push the first one over and watch them fall.

It was a tedious process, because if one domino fell unexpectedly, the whole line had to be re-set.

Furlough planning---a missionaries "domino line".

When should we leave? When should we arrive? What is best for us? What is best for our families? When should we speak at churches? Are we going to try to rest? When do we need to be back? How much can we spend? Is this a schedule four kids can hold up to?...And on it goes...

One domino set deliberately and painstackingly in place...accidently toppled...and then starting over again.

It seems that we almost have our line in place now. We are guarding the table carefully so that no domino falls.

The actual ticket purchases are occurring.

We will be "pushing the first domino" late-March. We pray the furlough falls into shape in a great way....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ode to a Tough Girl

Missionary Kid's are a tough breed. They really have to be.

Well, one of their number, has now stepped to the head of the game. And endured an excruciating episode.

A 64 hour episode to be exact.

My friend, Laura, was in LABOR for 64 hours.

I've had four and I wasn't in labor that long combined...I hope that doesn't make Laura want to punch me. But you know what, if punching me would relieve some pent up frustration for her...I'd gladly take the hit. (Better yet, hit Rusty. He's a big man. He can take it! Go ahead!)

Bless you, friend. You have truly fought a huge battle and I am proud of you.
And bless sweet Alexander (brilliant parents to pick a name such as that!).
We are so thankful he is here and that you are both safe.

(Laura and Rusty currently live and serve in Japan. Laura was born and raised in Kenya.)