Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dare I Say It?

Shhhhh....Listen very carefully, because I am whispering.

Something wonderful happened today. And I don't want it to go away...

Child #3, went all day without a diaper...and...lean in so you can accidents.

I am using an effective parenting method that I have perfected through these 7 years of mommy-ing...Bribery.

Pee in the Hershey's kiss.
Poo in the potty...two Hershey's kisses.

Nevermind the bouncing off the walls...nevermind the other children begging for their chocolate...nevermind the blatant disregard for highly educated, morally fortified, honorable parenting systems...

I have resorted to the Real World of Parenting...AKA...Whatever works :-)

And for today...Hershey's and me...we worked.

Please don't say this outloud. I don't want anything to burst our happy, little, victory bubble.
But feel free to pass around some silent high fives!


Friday, January 20, 2006


The smell of engine oil. The feel of his hand as he held mine when we prayed before meals (I sat to his left--always.) Plain yellow cake. (Mamma said it is his favorite) Pick up trucks. Ice Cream. Repaired Barbie Dolls. Dukes of Hazard. The address file under the phone. The Lake House. Trips to Baskin Robbins. Lawn mowers. Bags of goodies from the Oil Show. Nutter Butters.

Gentleness. Honesty. Hard work. Family.

Happy Birthday Granddaddy. My love and admiration for you are from depths that are hard to articulate. You make me feel treasured. And adored. Usually without even saying anything. Which is your gift to our world. Quiet strength. Be sure, we all depend on it.

In this big scary world, I've always been confident...there is a quiet, steadfast man on my side who really can fix anything.
I love you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Longing For That Big Red Store

So, if you, like many precious others, have been mesmerized by those big red circles...I just read a hilarious post that is right on Target...(smile)

Check it out friends. And then head out to that Lovely Place of Bargains for me. I would so love to meet you there!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

That's Our Boy!

During our second and third years in Uganda, our little corner of the country faced a drastic crisis. A rebel army began terrorizing the villages all through the Rwenzori Mtns.
Jeff and the young men at church spent the better part of the two years delivering food relief and medical treatment to the hardest hit villages. It was a difficult, blessed, exhausting, amazing time.

I experienced this time in a unique way. From my bed.

Just as the rebels marched within 15 miles of our quaint little town...I discovered that one of my greatest longings had been fulfilled. I was officially going to be a mommy. Jeff and I were ecstatic over the news of our first little one. Soon after the nausea and pregnancy sickness began to take firm hold of my being...another sickness attempted to steal the whole show. Malaria.

The combined onslaught left me completely depleted and stuck in bed. I spent alot of time on prayer patrol. Desperate prayers for our unborn baby. Intensive prayers for Jeff and the guys.

Jeff would come home at the end of his very long days and tell me some of the things he had experienced. I remember one day in particular. He was in Ntoroko, a small, hot, fishing village on Lake Albert. While they were there,he was asked to go and help a dying boy.

When he entered the mud hut, he smelled a rancid odor and saw a small boy, with a large, infected wound covering his leg. Jeff described the wound as the worst he had ever seen. The wound stretched from mid thigh to the ankle and the boys leg was permanently bent due to the decay of the muscles.

What touched Jeff most was the boy' Yep. One smile from that precious suffering boy...and Jeff's heart was gone.

He said to me, "He really is the cutest thing you have ever seen! I can't wait for you to meet him."


Samuel's mom had brought him back to his village so he could die at home. They didn't have the cash for the surgery he needed. Five dollars.

Jeff gave them the money that day, but he had very little hope that Samuel would get the help he needed in that village hospital.

Jeff made arrangements to stay in contact. And he did. Two years of hospital confinement, three major surgeries, an amputation and several months of rehabilitation later...Samuel emerged from a horrific struggle...healthy, smart and still smiling.

He wanted to start back to school. He was very behind by that time, but he was we put him in a nearby school.

He went to the head of his class and has stayed there. The teachers and administrators love him. He has held leadership positions and was responsible for keeping the school keys.
He even preached on Sunday mornings for the school chapel. Amazing.

What a thrill to see him thrive. Volleyball, soccer, academics, social skills...(he completely won over the entire Faith Quest crowd with his own rap about a Butoro Boy!)...what a joy.

This morning (Saturday), Ronald came over to tell us that he saw our son's name in the paper. (Uganda Monitor Page 1) Samuel Balinda scored in the top 5 of this district on the Uganda National Exams...which is a high and distinct honor. It pretty much secures a place for him in a very good secondary school.

And it makes me cry.

Sam has faced obstacles like I can't even imagine. And unfortunately, many still remain for him. Mainly, as we watch him face adolescence, he is coming up against the obstacle of himself. His choices. The direction and path he will walk....

I pray for him like I pray for my own.

That years ago...was a big year for our family. We were expecting one child. God graciously gave us two. One looks just like us. One never will. :-) Both lives are results of His miraculous care and healing. Both are treasures in our lives.

...and one of them just aced a big exam and will head on to the next phase. We are so thankful for what we've seen God do in Samuel's life. Please pray with us that Samuel will hear God's voice and walk with Him in every way.

Friday, January 06, 2006


All these years in Uganda, I've admired plaited hair from afar. (Braided with extensions) I've always thought it was gorgeous. I've had several American and European friends who had their hair braided here. And I loved it!
Well, in all the sweet friends left out one MINOR detail about the whole braiding, plaiting phenomenon....

IT HURTS!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness.

I started at 9 AM and the first little bit pulled and smarted pretty good. But I was set to be tough. I was ready...excited to see how it would all turn out.

Well..that optimism degenerated over the next 5 increasingly excruciating hours into HATE. I hated the lovely girls yanking and pulling on my head, I hated the other 20 women on the porch braiding or being braided....I hated the world. No kidding.

I'm sure I'll get over it. It has now been 6 hours since the tortuous task ended head still hurts. All my friends have said I'll feel better in two days and not to expect to sleep well. Great.

So the up-side:

*I have a really cool do...that I am proud of.
*I feel like I have sort of stepped through an African woman's rite of passage...
*I am now well aquainted with every teeny little nerve in my scalp....I mean EVERY ONE.
*I have officially forgiven my Mom for all those painful, pointy-hot-roller episodes. You were right Mom, it COULD be worse!

Now I'm going to go take some Ibuprofen and try to sleep. On my face.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Go! Team! Go!

It all began with a little flick about my high school senior year football season. We watched it the other night. (my opinion of the movie still stands at "weird". Some of the movie I hated...some of it was all right. All in all...weird. But I digress...)

We were the Panthers. Mojo. And that is cool. Tough. Panthers are...intimidating.

The question was posed later among my housemates here...what are people thinking when they pick school mascots? I mean, I think the mascot is probably picked by committees. Things like that usually fall to a committee. And, really, what are people thinking?!!?!?

At some point in any school (high school, junior high, college, university) competition does enter the picture and it would seem to me that "the committee" would choose mascots that would instill confidence...courage...boldness...pride.

Well, my friends. Not so.

Take for instance the poor university students in Camas Washington. The Papermakers. Yep. Of all the mighty. scary, fear inducing animals available to choose from...their committee chose Papermakers.

Or you have the mighty...the proud...the Oakville Acorns. Acorns?

Or, from Indiana, the Goshen College Maple Leafs.

Is anybody scared? I can't begin to imagine what the fight song might be.

For goodness sakes.

I thought that, surely, these mascot choosing blunders would be limited to a few schools but take a look at what I found with only a few VERY interrupted minutes of research on the web:

Banana Slugs--University of California
Turtles--College of Insurance (not sure where)
Retrievers--Univ. of Marlyand
Rainbows--Univ of Hawaii (why not Sharks?)
Anteaters--University of California

or...even more unfortunate...
the Buttons in San Antonio
and the Daisies of Dallas Hockaday School (all girls?)

For those that are intimidated by rhyming will shudder when you are called to face the Poets of Whittier College.

And for those with a fear of the religious...beware the Whitman Missionaries (we are a fierce sort) or the Preachers of Johnson Bible College.

My top picks are as follows:

Most clever---the Lincoln Abes in Tacoma Washington
Most scary--tie between the Klickitat Vandals and the Grays Harbor Chokers
Most difficult names for the girls' teams---tie between the Whatcom Orcas or Yakima Valley Yaks

But, my most favorite, unfortunate mascot falls to Kaelea's high school in Montana. They were...brace yourselves...the Sugarbeaters.

Oh my. The actual picture of their mascot was a red beet riding on a pair of beaters.

And despite that...their girls volleyball team went to State. Bless their little sugarbeatin' hearts.

I'm not totally sure why this bugs me so. I guess...I believe, deep down, that everyone deserves a chance. And when it comes to kids and just shouldn't send them out to face their menacing opponents,like the Lions or Wildcats with a name like Buttons or Billygoats.

It just doesn't seem fair.