Monday, September 22, 2014

I Stand Amazed

Big and small; loud and quiet; subtle and obvious.

Amazing all.

A list:

1.  A very nice restaurant with a Gluten Free menu in Kampala. It is called the Bistro, it is in Kisementi, the owner is named J.J. and I might just move into the place and eat their fabulous Gluten Free
       bhajias everyday for the rest of my life.

2.  I played two games of pool with my Cash men and I won BOTH games. The last game was sealed with a bank shot to sink the 8 ball. Boom!

3. For years now, any sojourn to Kenya must include a stop at our beloved Java House. This wonderful coffee shop/cafe boasts such grandeur as real (with ice cream!) milkshakes, delicious food, awesome coffee and the memories of many moments of sweet fellowship with friends. Well.... Java House (the original one!) has come to Uganda (to Kampala). Their GF menu is a bit lacking, but sitting on their premises with my unsweetened coffee reminds me of many amazing moments with friends in Kenya. I heart Java House! 

3.  Two orthodontists who provide loving and attentive care to my family. We have mostly saved our dental work for furlough in our tenure overseas, but this term need has pushed us to try orthodontics in this country. Our experience has been so positive and we are amazed and grateful for this!  (PS Alex is SO much taller than me now! Also amazing :))

4.  My husband. So many reasons why I am amazed by him, but his perseverance and endurance leave me blissfully astounded on a daily basis.

5.  The Cashlings. Washing their clothes by hand, taking basin baths, dealing with all the broken things…life in Uganda affords them many opportunities to endure and adjust. They face these challenges (and more) all the while becoming four of the most fascinating and hilarious people in my world. The days with them in our home are racing (RACING!) by and I treasure every one. I am so deeply thankful for the beauty and strength of their lives.

6.  The love and support born from the plane accident. Gobsmacked. Shocked. Overwhelmed. The show of community inclusion has washed over us like a cleansing flood. For the most part, we have no words. Just a resounding deep soul utterance of “…thank you, so much, Faithful God.”

7.  Clarity. We have faced abrupt (and sometimes, not so abrupt) setbacks many times in this missionary life. It is the nature of battle (spiritual and otherwise) to be pushed back or have our legs knocked out from underneath us. We have had much practice at finding our feet and standing again following difficulty or struggle. Over the last few weeks, I have been completely blown away at the pristine clarity that speaks:  

 We belong here.
Our God has done this. And it is our deepest hearts desire to steward this story well. To honor His Mighty Hand and the grace of His provision not just in a
       moment of an obvious miracle and saving, but also in any dark, obscure and   
       painful moment too. He is Good. All the time. He is Good.

“Those who walk the fields to sow, casting their seed in tears,
will one day tread those same long rows, amazed by what’s appeared.”
Psalm 126:5 The Voice

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'm Not Exactly Sure How to Put This...

I’ve missed you. Of late my world has been encompassed by three things: family, writing and life without bread.


We have discovered a (not so) magical cocktail of restrictions that has improved my health tremendously. I am currently gluten/soy/sugar/dairy free.

Yes, that is a very sad list and I struggle against using the word ‘free’ in it at all.

In fact, I’m struggling for many words these days in relation to my health.

The restricted diet requires much explanation and dialogue in the middle of moments that are meant to be liberating and restful. Date night with my husband. Coffee dates with my Cashlings. Spontaneous meals to free me from cooking.

All of that (and so very much more) has changed. Perhaps for a very long time.

I am still searching for a comfortable script to navigate all the changes and more accurately express my needs. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

At first, I was mostly ecstatic to have finally discovered a method to feel better again. That euphoria carried me through the early weeks of diet change.

And then.

It was the ice cream. And the sugar in my coffee. And the physical illness I experienced when I simply made my family a pie.

My favorite brand of curry powder.

My much beloved cast iron skillet and my very favorite plastic spatula.

My entire collection of Tupperware and Rubbermaid.

The wooden rolling pin I bought in my first days in Fort Portal.


The giving up of these and more has left me grieving and resolute. A whole new process to adjust to and master.

I am learning so very much. Gluten, which has become (always was?) disastrous for me, is in everything or so it seems.

And it isn’t terribly popular to speak of, even in America where this struggle/sickness is more well-known.

There is much (good-natured) teasing concerning the elimination of a component of food no one knew about not so long ago. Like a life without gluten is somewhat suspiciously crazy.

And complicated. And sometimes sad.

Good times.

Regardless, one cannot argue with results and this diet has yielded much positive in my daily life.

I have one again.

Caring for my family, homeschooling, writing, teaching, church, walking, getting out of bed, clear vision, a head full of hair…

Well, those are all very good things. And I had lost them for far too many days.

So, we press on. Proving, yet again, that you are never too old to learn something new.

Over the last months, I’ve leaned hard on my beautiful family. And they have been so faithful. I treasure them and their willing hearts. So many of the kitchen tasks that have been mine are now parceled out daily. Precious Kinley. Her cooking repertoire has multiplied exponentially! The boys and Jeff are helpful too, grieving with me the loss of food and filling in every gap my restricted lifestyle creates.

So deeply grateful.

My Stateside family has been so concerned and supportive as well. For instance, my Mom has been on a package mailing mission sending me supplies and GF treats and new makeup and better fitting clothes. She has been a champion.

My amazing Cherise has chased down resources for me and my incredible Trisha gathered and sent cookbooks and precious supplies for GF baking and meal prep. I am so grateful for these sisters!

From this season of struggle has been born some hope.

Right in the middle of the illness, God poured out some words. Over 50,000 words as of today. I still have a ways to go with it, but it is the story of my heart. A memoir of the road to ministry and Africa and my family.

I humbly whisper that endeavor into this venue, with growing confidence from all the remembering it has required of me. I have been reminded of how faithfully God carries His work to completion. Every single time.

Pray for me, friends, that God will provide that same fortitude for my current writing project and health management.  To completion.

Thank you for every prayer. I am so grateful to be remembered by you. Our hope is in the Lord.

Steady on.