Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ants Be Gone

The last few days I’ve been humming a silly song from Laverne and Shirley. (It was a television show for all you youngsters who read---aka Destiny)

Remember the song that Shirley would sing to Laverne about ants?

“Just what makes that little 'ole ant,
Think he can move a rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant.
But he’s got HIGH hopes.
He’s got HIGH hopes.
He’s got high apple pie in the sky hopes…”

And then I can’t remember the rest…but the song always made me feel happy about ants. Little ants working hard against the odds…
Moving rubber tree plants hither and yon…

And, you know, if I had to PICK a pest to invade my home…I guess ants would be my choice. I much prefer The Ants to say…cockroaches or big hairy spiders.

But, for the love of all that is good…I’m about to go crazy with all the ants.

Since moving into our home we have had all various sizes of ants to invade. We’ve had big fat crunchy black ones. We’ve had teeennnnnyyyyy tiny black and red ones. And we’ve had every size in between. I have stomped, sprayed and even sprinkled baby powder everywhere because a “Heloise” help tip suggested I do so.

Nothing has really worked.

In the last year the tiniest of black ants have taken up residence and won’t…I repeat WILL NOT go away.

Of course, you can find them in the kitchen where all ant enticing items abide. But, then they made themselves at home in the guest bedroom with ½ inch trails of them marching from the window to the floor. They have pioneered new trails through the living room and have found their little ant smorgasbord of delight under the dining table.

But explain to me the colony setting up residence in the tank of our toilet. Or the complete NATION that overtook our medicine cupboards.

The last week of school was the clincher. I sent the boys up to the schoolroom ahead of me…but heard them return before I could get out the door.

“Mom, there are a WHOLE lot of ants on the school door. I think we should spray ‘em!”

I headed up to the classroom with “I don’t even WANT to know what’s in this” Spray Poison in my hands….

The door of our schoolroom was covered in two, one and half inch lines of ants. They went from ground to door jam and then branched off into the room vent, and across the wall in three directions. I began to spray and cough, cough and spray. Grumbling under my breath…about the dear little creatures and why they were here…

Then I opened the door…and stepped in…

To have CLUMPS OF ANTS fall on my head.

Oh my goodness…

Clumps of ants… The ants COVERED the ceiling of the entry to the school. There were so many ants trying to walk across the top of the door, they were falling off in clumps. The over the door shoe bag that holds various school supplies was now full of ants. There were hordes of the little beasts mounding on every wall hanging and poster.
They were everywhere. I sprayed two whole cans of the poison and vacated the premises. Two hours later as I swept up mounds of ants…dead ants were still falling from the ceiling.

I logically know the next step is extermination. But exterminators in third world Africa are scary. Really scary.

So for now. I’ll keep spraying and mumbling…praying the little darlings don’t completely overtake my house. I am a human, after all, with bug spray at my disposal, brains that function (most of the time) and feet ten times the size of their miniscule little invading bodies.

Of course, they can’t overtake my house…

But they have high hopes.

“Oops there goes another rubber tree….oops there goes another rubber tree…oops there goes another rubber tree plant!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

He Was in the Neighborhood...

Look who stopped by! It's Bryan...easily recognized by our Glenwood family.
Bryan, grew up in Tyler at Glenwood church of Christ, our overseeing church. He is working this summer in a nearby country and made the trek up to our neighborhood to drop in for a visit. It was so much fun! We had some good late night chats, enjoyed perusing photos from my cousin's recent wedding (Bryan grew up with Tanner!) and were encouraged by fellowship with someone from "home".

NOTE TO BRYAN'S MOM: I fed him good meals, made sure he called home (his idea actually...) and tried to talk him into staying longer! He was a delight to have in our home!

Blessings on your journey, Bryan...Come back and see us!

Isaac's Day

A day with all things great:

Special birthday breakfast date with Mom and Dad:

Yummy Cake:

Friends and presents:

Spy Gadgets!

A brand new bike!

Candles and singing:

Thank you Jesus for these five hilarious years with Isaac!
Isaac, we are blessed beyond measure by your humor, your hugs and your kind heart. I love you! I am so thankful to be your Mom!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Return

Standing at the end of the airport entry hall is an emotional experience. Reunions are incredible to watch. My heart always jumps when I finally see my awaited loved one round the corner.
Jeff safely arrived last week. I feel such emotion at his return.

We have talked ninety-to nothing trying to catch up on everything. I pepper him with questions.
With my husband comes a definitive breeze of encouragement. He has seen your faces. Hugged your necks. Heard your current stories. And that presence with you, does lift us up.

I sleep better now that Jeff is back. He takes over most of the driving responsibility. I go back to just doing my job and let him do his. He is good at it.
The kids are overjoyed. Their behavior immediately shows improvement. We hug each other a lot. We are thankful to be back together.

I am significantly recovered from my bought with the “I want to be somewhere else right now” sickness.

My husband’s return helped.

And the five new pairs of shoes he brought back for me haven’t hurt either! (My man knows me well!)

We have hit the ground running…so to speak. We’ve had solid visitors over the last few days. We have a quick out of town trip this week followed by a birthday party for Isaac.
Plus we are trying to wrap up school for this year. It’s a busy time…we are so thankful we are facing it all together again!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Dad

I perused past posts and was shocked to find how little I have written here about my Dad. As I attempt this post, I realize why. It’s kind of overwhelming to confine to words the man who has impacted your life the most.

He has adored me always. Just like he adores my sister. Where Dad is concerned we are tops. If you haven’t heard him say this, it’s because you have never been around him.
We have always known that we were a gift to him. His treasures. And that has really made all the difference.

Dad has introduced me to all the finer things in life:

The Grand Ole Opry. Singing Quartets. Chocolate ice cream. West Texas Colloquial-isms. Saltine Crackers and Milk. Football. Golf.

Dad loves people. He doesn’t meet many strangers. Especially in West Texas.
And when folks need wisdom, compassion and guidance….Dad is consistently The Go-To Man.

My Dad can sing. He taught me how. And he LOVES it. He is the official song leader at almost any gathering. I always thought that the items found in every man’s trouser pockets would be a wallet, loose coins, and a pitch pipe. Because my daddy always had one.

My Dad plays the guitar. He taught himself. He is famous among certain circles for a song called “Preacher and the Bear.” To this day, nothing soothes or calms me more than the sound of a guitar being played.

My Dad loves God. And is passionate about Knowing Christ.

He introduced me to a life of honoring Him. Not just through his sermons or lessons. In the life he lived at home. Real. Authentic. God honoring.
I heard once that our ability to understand God, is tremendously effected by our relationship with our earthly Dad.

God has always seemed within my reach. Approachable. Compassionate. Loving.
I find it realistic to accept that God adores me and has good plans for me.

Life can be hard sometimes. Poor choices can be made. Some dreams shatter.

But the voice in my head, that overrides other noise…is the voice of my Dad. Believing in me. Supporting me. Talking to me. Encouraging me. Praying for me.

My Dad so embodies qualities of Godly manhood, that embracing my Heavenly Father was simple and obvious. Of course God awaits me with open arms. He is a Daddy. And to me, that’s what Daddy’s do.
Happy Birthday Dad! I am so thankful for you and your continuing impact on my life. Be sure it is lasting and cherished.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sometimes the Answer is No

I really wanted to go.


Some months back, Jeff and I decided it would be wise for him to return to the States and help pack up the sea container we would be sharing with Andrew and Aimee Jo. I think I was even the first one to mention it.

My bright idea.

What I thought would be 7-10 days turned into 24. And I began to stew.

My youngest cousin was getting married during the time Jeff would be in the States and for months I had been asking God to make a way for us ALL to be at the wedding. I wondered, when the plans for Jeff's trip began gaining momentum, if God was planning a big surprise for me too!
I hoped and wished and prayed. Maybe cheap tickets! Someone with frequent flier miles to share. Tickets falling from the sky. Something.

The time came for Jeff's departure and no miracle for me was happening.

Jeff hugged us goodbye in Kampala and drove to the airport. I drove the kids back to Ft Portal. The answer was No. I was not going back to the States this time.

I've been walking this planet for a while now. And I know that things cannot always be just as you want them. Of course they can't.
So, why, sometimes, is that truth so hard to accept?

I have grieved these last few weeks. Not being with family breaks my heart into a million pieces.
Its amazing how I have to continually choose to allow that breaking. I made that decision in 1994 when we left for Kenya. Again in 1995 when we moved to Uganda. Again in 1998 when Kinley was born so far from family. Again in 1999...etc.

I know...KNOW that God is faithful. And will never forsake us. He will never abandon us, or those we love, as we walk the path He has called us to follow.

I also think it is okay to acknowledge the brokenness that takes place every time we miss something....or lose something. Paul had great faith to write, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.” Philipians 3:7-8

The question “Will you sacrifice THIS for me?” repeatedly arises as we walk in the Way.
“Will Knowing Me be your one pursuit? Above all else?”
It’s not a question you answer once and then you’re done. It is often, a daily or even hourly choice.

While I repeatedly fall short of the positive faith Paul expresses throughout that whole passage in Philippians , I can completely concur with verse 12:

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

We press on. Knowing Christ IS the pursuit I value most. Jeff and I have been taught to seek HIm for our entire lives. And now, we long for our brothers and sisters here to choose that also.
To Know Christ. Not just ABOUT Him. KNOW HIM. There is nothing better.
All the struggles, sacrifices, victories and gifts of this life we’ve chosen really boil down to that.

I missed the wedding. But I made a wedding cake for me and the kids on the wedding day. If I had been thinking I would have topped the cake with a Ninja Turtle action figure and maybe a Polly Pocket. When he was young, Tanner loved Ninja Turtles. And now he’s all grown up and he’s found his “Polly”. They are off and running in their life together.

I missed being at your wedding Tanner-Banner. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to say "I remember changing your diapers!"

I guess there is a positive side to everything. ☺

Friday, June 01, 2007

On My Heart

Some of our dearest friends have been thrown headlong into the chaos and struggle of tragedy and grief. A Memorial Day car accident took the life of a treasured nephew, seriously injured a beloved niece and scarred the hearts of an entire family.
Please pray for the Brown Family today. For more information go to