Friday, November 24, 2006


This Thanksgiving, my friend Destiny made TWO pumpkin pies from SCRATCH (real pumpkin..cooked and pureed!) WITH delicately designed pie crusts. (she cuts out leaf shapes from the crust...colors them green, yellow and orange and gently overlaps them around the crust...AWE INSPIRING...:-))'s the truly amazing part...she does all this "Martha Stewart-ing" without being "Martha Stewart-y". You know what I mean.

Now, why am I blogging about these lovely pies? Here's why...

Moving to this little far off land isn't easy. Carving out a home, a life and a ministry requires more stamina than I could have ever imagined. Creating trust and relationships...can be excruciating.

Dealing with the betrayal factor of life here has been one of the hardest things for both Jeff and me. We American types base most of our relationship standards on Trust. And developing that trust across cultural boundaries and cultural misunderstandings can be a harrowing emotional experience.

Destiny and Doug took a hit in this area recently. One of their close Ugandan friends betrayed them. We feel their pain. Pray them through it. And cringe that IT has happened again.

We see them rising to the challenge. Focusing on their King. Resolved to stay in the fight.

He that is in them is greater than he who is in the world.

They know that and it gives them hope.

Unfortunately, it doesn't erase the pain.

And that is why Destiny's holiday baking is amazing...

It is one thing to come.. Another to stay...And yet another ALL TOGETHER to stay and make pies with delicately overlapping leaf shape crust!

THAT, my friends, is called THRIVING. :-)

Blessings, Doug and Destiny.

To God be the Glory. He shines brightly in you!

Thanksgivings: Past and Present

We've had about nine Thanksgivings in Uganda. And sometimes I forget what is interesting about that. Thanksgiving outside of America...
Here are some remembrances from Uganda Thanksgivings past...that I think are pretty interesting...

**Jeff and I had fish fillet for our first Thanksgiving here. It was at the LakeView Hotel in Mbarara.

**Our second thanksgiving was also in Mbarara...this time I baked pies and took them with us to the LakeView.

**Our first actual turkey to cook in Uganda had such tough meat...we could not even carve it. We both knawed on a hard fought slice for Thanksgiving sake...then gave up and ate pie.

**We watched the same football game on Thanksgiving...three years in a row.

**I finally mastered corn bread stuffing about year 6.

**Our friends, the Chedesters, began hosting Thanksgiving some years back and inviting all the Americans from around.

**We now share the Turkey meal with between 8 and 20 people...some of whom we meet on the day and never see again.

Yesterday's celebration had all the important ingredients...friends, laughter, yummy food, really good coffee and LEFTOVERS!!!
We missed our families in the US, Macy's parade and a current football game...
Nonetheless, our list of Thanks grows longer every year...

I hope your Thanksgiving week is progressing nicely and that the spirit of gratitude remains with us WAY longer than the calories from the pies! :-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Shhhhh....Mommy's Baking...

I just spent a SILENT hour in the kitchen...

I was alone...

Rolling out pie crusts, mixing up fillings, baking...

Overcome with thoughts of Mam-ma and family...

...Christmas music playing gently in the background.

(deep sigh)

It was divine!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


The Quest is coming!

Faith Quest Uganda has become one of the high points of our year and one of our biggest projects.

This camp for 200 youth from towns all over Uganda requires many ''ducks" to be "in a row". And Uganda "ducks" can be cantakerous sometimes. :-) Sleeping quarters, tents, food, water supply, latrines and covered meeting areas are some of the details to be dealt with over the next weeks.

Our team is up for the challenge and excited about the outcome.

The theme is Rejoice in the Lord. And that is what we plan to do.

Already brilliant things are happening. Two of which are:

Jamie Swift and Ben Wall!

We are thrilled beyond words that these two warriors for God will be leading the Quest with us this year.

We can't wait to see all that God will bring about.

Please pray for these men as they prepare to serve the youth here.

Please pray for safety for all participants: good health, safe travel and NO SNAKES!

Pray for this Faith Quest to bring the youth into a closer relationship with Christ than they have ever experienced before.

Pray for ease of journey through the logistical mire...

Pray for energy, stamina and

His Presence...which we surely don't deserve...but so desperately need.

Here's to the Quest! May our Rejoicing glorify Him and increase the Faith of all!

(PS Many thanks Trisha and Ginger...for sharing your warriors with are champions to me...I wish you were coming too!)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Time for a Plug

The first time I sat in front of the google search page and typed,”Christian Homeschool Curriculum”, I was completely unprepared for the barrage of information to flood across the screen. I read for hours…until the screen blurred and my eyes crossed (not pretty!). I did this research each evening for several days. To no avail really. There were so many ideas and study plans and methodologies and catalogues and opinions. I had no experience with which to filter through or narrow down. I ended my internet search more overwhelmed than when I started. In the years that have followed, I have learned to depend on the recommendations of friends who are also homeschooling.

On our last furlough, my wise, brilliant, stunning friend Jana (☺ you are SO welcome!) recommended a new curriculum many of her friends were using.

It is called My Father’s World and I LOVE IT!!!!

I choose to plug it here, because, while I have enjoyed many of the aspects of programs and curriculums we have used over the years I have never found THE one that fits our family perfectly. Until now.

You see, I am a task oriented list maker. Most curriculum packages are, in essence, really LONG lists. Most curriculum writers include the “disclaimer” which says, “Do NOT expect yourself to complete every activity, blah,blah,blah, choose what is best for your family, blah,blah,blah, no one can complete everything, blah.”
Truth--I’m really not good at the filtering. Despite the writer’s warnings I see before me a list. I start at the top and begin checking stuff off. At the end of the day when the list isn’t complete, I begin gathering discouragement.

Well, that has all changed with this curriculum written by a woman who understands me.

Okay, I know, its not ALL about me. ☺

This curriculum has basically 4 full days of activities--a good combination of read alouds and hands on activities and discussion.

Many of the books are the same as other popular and strong curriculums but they are served in smaller bites.

It is very easy to use for more than one age student.

My kids LOVE the program and the books!

A large majority of our science projects have actually worked!

It was HALF the cost of the previous curriculum we were using.

And at the end of every day there are more checks on the list than not!

Everybody wins.

Check it out at

Tell them Cheryl sent you. ☺

Monday, November 13, 2006

Smooth Sailing


Black,sticky tar. Crushed gravel.

I just plain love it.

For nine of our years in this country, the road to medical care, fellowship, groceries, pizza and ice cream wasn’t even paved with good intentions…

It was dirt. Rutted. Pitted. Narrow. And dusty.

Unless it was raining. And then it was muddy. Rutted. Pitted. Narrow. And slick.

Our trips to the capital city from our small town took 5 and ½ to 6 hours, then. Hard hours. That left us utterly spent, covered in dust and exhausted.

Not so, anymore.

Trips to Kampala take three and a half hours. On smooth tarmac road.


I haven’t ridden the road once without an overwhelming sense of amazement. Covering ground minus the bone jarring bumps and dangerous curves.

It is a gift.

As with most good things in the third world…they are temporary. The heroic men who laid the road have gone. And will not be maintaining it. The huge overstuffed lorries will continue to roll. And eventually, the potholes will develop.

But, in this moment…the road to good things is a smooth one. And that is a precious blessing.

Three things (of a very long list) that I will never take for granted after this jaunt into the third world:

1. Time with family
2. Hot baths
3. Paved roads

Catching Up

My feet are up. I’ve just enjoyed a late afternoon cup of coffee. The warm brew has cut the chill in me. It has rained hard again.

We returned from our trip to the capital of Uganda, yesterday. The effects of our trip were deposited in our entry hall and have just been put into their places. All groceries have been unloaded. And three loads of laundry are in process...

I neglected to take the correct adaptor for my power cord on our journey, so spent FIVE days fasting from the internet. FIVE.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But I read some books. Took some naps.

I have to say it. I am better for it.

But now I am back. And happy to be so.

I’ve missed you.

Hope your week was a great one!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Complaining Grace

Grace: "The free and unmerited favor of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings."

A week ago I read a devotional from Elisabeth Elliott who had taken on a great challenge. She, following the example of a friend, had committed to NOT COMPLAINING for 14 days.
(long pause)
My. My.
I pondered this inspirational and holy ideal. I pondered complaints.

There IS that scripture over in Phillipians that always makes me squirm.
"Do everything without complaining or arguing..."
True Confession...when I read this verse I think.."EVERYTHING? Really?!?!?!"
(Hmmmm...I must make God so HAPPY sometimes.)

I began to pay attention. To the complaints that I commonly utter. The statements. The grumbles. The huffs. (Oh man! Surely those don't count?!?!)
It seems...this complaining a pretty large chunk of my coversational repetoire.
What's up with that?
I typed up a commitment statement for a 14 day fast from complaints.

And then...I chickened out. Totally. I was sure that removing the complaints would be...impossible. Or, at the very least...extremely difficult.

Here are the circumstances that immediately followed the chickening out:
*our two year old had a mysterious random fever that kept us awake for many nights on end;
* I suffered from a doozy of a migraine that landed me in bed for a whole day;
*I had a bundt cake disaster that ruined a special birthday surprise for a friend;
*the two youngest Cashes were afflicted with the WCIAAM (whining, crying, "It's all about me!") virus;
*I was run off the road three times by a huge bus on a very narrow passage in Ft Portal town;
* and a sudden discovery of completely bone dry,empty water tanks, that upon examination, received a "can't be fixed for a few months" diagnosis.

At every painful moment...that verse played LOUDLY in my head..."Do EVERYTHING without complaining...."

And I submissively replied, "REALLY?!?!"

Complaints were popping up everywhere. My speech. My thoughts. My prayers.

I recalled my thwarted commitment with a furtive glance. And a twinge of guilt. Can I live in this third world full of inconsistencies and irritating surprises and...not complain?

Here is what happened...

*Our two year old benefitted tremendously from much alone time with Mom;
*I became very aware of how INCREDIBLE my head feels...I never think about that until the days after a migraine when the pain and fog have disappeared;
*my generous friend delighted in my crumbly cake and loved me anyway;
*kids are still whining...but maybe if I stick with this committment...they'll quit modeling MY complaining...
*that Kalita bus full of people got prayed for alot
* our water pipes were repaired in record time (two hours!). Our tanks are filled again.

Now, most of those are good things. Undeserved things.

And with a sheepish duck of the head and deeply guttural sigh I realize--

Grace. Pure and simple.

How does He do this?! So often. For me. In these minute aspects of my vapor of a life.

His Goodness...amidst all my...ummm...not-so-goodness.

(very long pause)

So considering all the complaint uttering and grace outpouring going on around here... I would like to ammend my previous commitment with a repentant heart and deep desire to redirect this complaining energy:

"I, Complainer Extroidainaire, do hearby, kneel before my Maker and ask for Your Holy Spirit to go to work on me. In this dark corner...where I complain. I ask, that You, with unbelievable patience and consistency will remove my tendency to complain. And replace it with a tendency to bless. To pray for. To forgive. To give thanks.

I openly acknowledge the enormity of Your task. And apologize sincerely for my obstinance and inability to... well...get this right.

Forgive me already...and help me be willing to offer the same..."

Amazing Grace. I need it every day.