Thursday, March 20, 2008

These Ten Things

Today, I ask my Father for these ten things for you, Kinley.

1. A passionate love for Jesus that will never be quenched or quieted.
2. A relationship with Jehovah God that you will never outlive.
3. A confident consuming of his Holy Spirit accompanied by all the gifts His Spirit provides.
4. Sister friends to giggle with, dream with and trust in.
5. Endurance to work through the deepest struggles life will take you through.
6. Resilience and strength to "get back up again".
7. Laughter!
8. Wise mentors in the faith.
9. Best friend relationships with each of your brothers.
10. The confidence that in your Mom and Dad, you will always find an open door to communicate, find affirmation and trust.

And oh so much more, dear one.

My hopes for your life and your heart soar with my love for you.

Your ability to connect with people...your joy of knowing others...your delight in exressing your self artisitcally...your willingness to help...your unbelievable cinammon coffee cake...the smiles, the hugs, the laugh...

All fill our life with His beauty. His beauty in you.

I cannot believe it has been 10 years already. I am overwhelmingly thankful for each and every one.

Here's to more, beautiful girl. Here's to more...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ty's Visit

Recently, while perusing pictures from our early years on the mission field, I was struck by how frumpy I chose to look.
I really didn’t know all that much about being a missionary, but by the looks of the photos, I had decisively chosen to “look the part”. I think I owned only denim. And everything was large and oversized. Functional, yes. But not so very attractive.

There came a day- a glorious moment, really-when the Lord in His merciful love, revealed to me that missionaries can be stylish. Hip.

Susan delivered this message. With exuberance. With grace. And with a Texas accent. Glory be! A language I understood.

I was staying with her family in a small town in Kenya, and she asked me to ride to the grocery store with her. On the way, she zipped into “one of my favorite stores, Girl!” and bought us matching pairs of hoop, beaded earrings. They weren’t frumpy. They weren’t functional. They were girly. Dangly. And revolutionary. I put them on and she told me they looked “Great!” Then she talked me into cutting all my hair off.

I was caught up in all the dangly, beaded excitement.

For the few days I spent with Susan, I perused magazines, heard her thoughts on fashion and realized, there was more to this missionary life than I first expected.

There was fun loving, exuberant life! Susan introduced that to me. Oh how I needed it.

I was reminded of this moment several weeks ago as we hosted Ty in our home. Ty was five years old during my initial visit in the Hayes home. We played blocks together. And Jeff and I were blessed to babysit Ty and his brothers while Kirk and Susan went away for a night. We played on the trampoline, watched movies and I watched the boys wrestle my husband. Good times.

Through those early years on the field, as Jeff and I adjusted to marriage and life in East Africa, Ty’s parents mentored and encouraged us to press on and thrive.

Not to mention, cut off all our hair and wear dangly ear bobs.

(And eat Ethiopian food without crying.)

For me personally, Susan's joy in people and life in the Lord was always a much needed reprieve. In her I found a sister/friend. A sister who had great style. Praise the Lord, He provides! [My flesh and blood sister also has great style, but she was miles away during these frumpy days...and I needed help!]

Our time this February with grown-up Ty was such a gift. Watching him with our boys, reliving Kenya days over coffee and hearing his faith through his prayers and sharing, encouraged our hearts in a much needed way.

So much of our home and family life has been shaped and inspired by Godly families like the Hayes.

Thanks for being with us, Ty. You are always welcome here!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I’ve shared before how shocked and dismayed I was when baby number four was discovered in my womb. I was a little incredulous that I would have FOUR children. I wasn’t sure I was up for that.

(For the record, I still wonder sometimes...:-))

But I digress. Four is the magic number this year for baby #4.

Silas enjoyed his first honorary Birthday Breakfast outing with Mom and Dad this year.

It feels like yesterday that we started this tradition with Kinley. And now we are to Silas. He was very proud and elated to be alone with us. He loaded his plate with everything offered, but only managed two bites of toast. He was too excited and busy to eat. This is the story of our Silas’ life. Excited and busy.

Silas loves to run. I am happy about this, because it is a very constructive way to release the barrels of energy stored inside his four year old frame. He told me several days ago, that, “someday, when I am big I will be in a big race and I will run faster dan everybody else and pass ‘em and win de race! Dat will be so great, Mom!” Oh yes it will. Just ask your Dad.

His other obsession of late, is his children. Yes, you heard me correctly. Any time we pray as a family or at church and we ask Silas what he wants to pray about, he says, “My children.” Our Ugandan friends don’t quite know how to take this.

Silas’ children live in Kampala. They have a house, a helicopter, two airplanes and on occasion, live among purple, yellow and green zebras , unicorns and other exotic creatures. He prays for them when they are sick. He plans for when we will all see them. He creates stories about their existence daily.

I pray for them regularly. Because, when I feel him cuddle against me at nap time as we read Take Me to the Zoo for the thousandth time, I realize…his dream of children will all too soon be a reality. Just look at where I am sitting. Prayers are the greatest covering for such a dream. If we can instill that in him now, he and those precious children just might have a chance. More than that…a Lord.

But,well before the “children-dream” becomes a reality, we have set our sites on a fantastic fourth year!

I am positive, it will NOT be boring!

What a gift he is to us!

Monday, March 03, 2008

An Update of Mammoth Proportions

Well, it IS high time.

I know.

I am about to inundate you with information. I am posting my thoughts and reflections on the happenings of the past few months. There is much to tell. I've broken it down into several posts. My reflecting goes back to Christmas time. I will not linger there long as we are already at Easter. But there are some noteworthy events that I need to ruminate in writing.

Thanks for checking back in. I pray all is well with you and yours.

Happy Reading!

(Please scroll down to see the posts.)

Faith Quest

When we began the preparation stage for this year’s Faith Building experience, I wondered if we would have the stamina to pull through. It’s been a tough few months for us. We are weary and tired to our bones.

But, alas. Faith Quest came. It went on. And…it was sensational.

God was there. So, of course, things happened. Fifteen precious ones put on Christ in baptism!

The youth listened, praised, shared and grew.

For several years now, I have been in throes of it all. Sensing it. Feeling it. Experiencing it.

This year, I was more in the Faith of it all.

Believing. Hoping and Trusting that He would do all He has promised whether I’m up to the tasks or not.

We gave it all we had…and He managed to redeem that for His glory.

He is good like that.

Many thanks to the Faith Quest Team who are blogging some of their thoughts and pictures here and here and here (sorry MT…I may have just upped your blog traffic!)

Many thanks to the missionaries in Uganda who support this effort.

And many thanks to the wonderful youth who came, laid down burdens and fell deeper in love with our Lord. May you never outlive your love for Him. He is All.

Smore Fest 2008

We praise God for all the amazing people He brings into the lives of our children. Here is one great example. You may know him by his regular ‘ole practical name…but around here, we call him “Uncle Smore”.

He brings the goods.

We build a fire.

We cook.

And we eat.

A good time is had by all.

Thank you, Uncle Smore, for investing in the hearts of our kiddos and our family. We love you! (And we can’t wait to share some of the fun with Auntie Smore around a campfire too!)

"Blest Be the Tie that Binds"

On a furlough in 2000, Jeff and I were able to attend Lectureship at Abilene Christian University. During a leisurely stroll through the booths set up at Lectureship, I came across a Boy Scout display. The man who was standing by the presentation saw my interest and asked if I had any sons. I pointed to my stroller holding Baby Alex and said it would be awhile before we had a Scout. I added that my husband was an Eagle Scout as well as his two brothers. The man, whom I had never seen before said, "Do you mean the Cashes?!?!?"

One recent Sunday morning, Jeff left the house for church before the rest of us. Alex and Isaac came into the room and asked for my help with their ties. I explained that I didn't actually know how to tie a tie and that Dad was already gone. I did give it a shot, but my efforts only produced a funny twisted mess.

Alex, after watching my feeble attempts, took Isaac's hand and marched purposefully from the room, throwing over his shoulder, "I have an idea!"

A few minutes later, this is what I found.

Alex proudly displayed his two successes at grown-up ties...
Achieved by following the intstructions of his Boy Scout Handbook!

But. Of. Course.

Cashes are synonomous with Scouting. Apparently, everyone knows this. Including strangers at ACU Lectureship. :-)

How to Eat a Cookie

Smile with charm.

Go for the bite.

Oh so very good!

Kiss it!

by Silas
age 4

The Decorating of the Cookies

Christmas isn't official for me without iced sugar cookies. I still use Mamma's recipe and every moment of the mixing, rolling, cutting and eating is filled with memories of her hands, her voice and her time spent with me in her kitchen.

This year we decorated with the help and company of Jotham and Anaiah.

Jotham and Silas were more interested in tasting than creating.

This is an annual tradition around our home. I have a picture of Kinley every year of her life decorating cookies at Christmas.


Eight Years and Counting

December 24, 2007 found us celebrating an outdoor swimming party for the eight year old in our lives. (Life on the equator has its perks…) As we approached the pool for the party he said, “THIS is the best birthday EVER!!!”

His much anticipated day went off without a hitch or a even a stitch. Though Uncle Andrew’s dive threatened both of those sentiments.

For about two weeks Alex had spoken, dreamed and prayed for nothing else but his day. The day. The day of the great Swimming Birthday Party. And after all the apprehension, cake eating, song singing, present opening and swimming…Alex announced that his day had in fact been a great success.

I think that is fitting. One great success deserves another.

I am so proud of this boy. And so thankful for all God has created in Him.

I love you, Alex!