6 Months Later…

I remembered today that I have a blog…which I haven’t written anything on for almost  months now! I didn’t think it had been that long. Honestly it’s been a very full six months – full of family, travel, new friends, work, more travel, some heartache and lots of laughs.

Our time in Canada was full :). But we’re grateful that our schedule was full and we were able to meet so many great people and to share our hearts about the work that God has called us to. We’re also grateful for God’s provision and protection during our time in Canada. He is so good to us.

We left Canada exactly 3 weeks ago today and we arrived back in Mwanza on August, 20th. I’m not going to lie the jet lag struggle was SO real this time! It took a good week to feel human again, and poor Hubby was off again after one week as he traveled to Zambia for VOH Africa Meetings. It also probably didn’t help that I had two wisdom teeth pulled two days before we left Canada–but we all survived and Julius is coming back home to Tanzania today, so I am one happy wifey. 🙂

Five days before we left Canada my Grandpa had a major brain bleed and subsequent stroke. We were told the bleed in his brain was massive and inoperable and he wouldn’t recover. It was quite a blow and very unexpected as he was very healthy. The Doctors said there is no way to predict these things; they are totally random. Grandpa always used to joke that he was ready and that he wasn’t long for this world – which we all hated, but it’s like he somehow knew. He was only 71 when he passed away a week later while we were in the air somewhere between Turkey and Tanzania.

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I really miss him. It’s been hard for me to process. I am very glad that I was able to see him in the hospital and to say “see you later” and to be with my family for those few days before we left. But everything still seems very surreal to me. I can’t believe he’s in Heaven already. This is the hard part about living overseas (one of them). I feel as though it won’t really seem real to me until the next time we’re back in Canada and he’s not there, which won’t be for a couple years and I feel like it might hit me all over again. It’s also hard to be away from family during the time of a family death. But in all of this I thank God for His grace and strength and peace – to continue to do what He has called me to do. I know my Grandpa would be proud of that. He was one of our biggest supporters in every way, financially, praying for us and even visiting  – he came to visit us twice in Tanzania. I will cherish those memories and many more forever.

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I am grateful that the boys saw Grandpa this past summer and were able to have some time with him. Ezra went fishing with Grandpa at Family Camp and had a great time. I know he won’t remember much about Grandpa when he’s older, but we will tell him the stories. It was challenging for me to try to explain to Ezra what had happened. It’s really the first time we have had to talk to him about death. He is five so we just tried to keep it simple and explain about Heaven best we could. Since then Ezra has questions almost every night about Heaven. He has really been thinking about it a lot. Some questions are funny and others are so insightful I am taken aback. And he also prays for Grandpa nearly every night – that he is with Jesus in Heaven and that he is healed. It’s all I can do not to cry every time. At first Ezra told me he didn’t want to go to Heaven because he would miss everyone here. But then one night, he told me, “but if my friends are like me and know Jesus they will be in Heaven with me too, right?” “You’re absolutely right, Ezra.” I told him, my heart full. My kids teach me so much about having a relationship with God. And about how God sees me as His Child, now that I’m a parent. It’s such a special thing to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes and also to catch a glimpse of how much God loves me, knowing how much I love my boys.

Heartache comes. We can’t ignore it or run from it or avoid it. There is a season for everything and it’s trusting God through each and every season that gets you through it all. Is my heart aching a little? Yes, some days more than others, but at the same time my heart is so very full and grateful for this wonderfully amazing life God has allowed me to live – and for the amazing people who are a part of it.

I hope I will write again before another six months goes by but sometimes there’s just a lot of life to live and that’s OK too.

JK

Another Year, A Grateful Heart

I am celebrating another birthday today. 28 years. The years go by faster all the time it seems. This past year was a full one with so many ups and downs, so many new things and new people which seemed to make it fly by even faster. As I celebrate the blessing of another year here on earth my heart is so full. I have so many amazing things to be thankful for.  I have a beautiful family who loves me and whom I adore, I am healthy and so is my family. Our needs are met and then some so we can help others. I am working where I have been called and there is so much peace in that. I have made amazing new friends this year and I have managed to keep in touch with many more amazing friends from around the globe. I am part of something bigger than just me. I see God working all the time. I am blessed to have had so many rich experiences and to have met so many different people from all over the world. We have an awesome support team behind us back in Canada. We have people praying for us every day. I am incredibly blessed. I know this next year will have its own challenges and hurdles to overcome, but I also know that God goes before me and He has never given me a reason to doubt Him. In my life He is strong. And so on this day, another birthday, a year older, hopefully a year wiser — I am so thankful. Every day is a blessing and a gift and I want to live a life that reflects that that – taking nothing for granted and realising I am still here, on this earth, for a God-given purpose. There’s more I can do for His Kingdom; to make a difference in this hurting world. I am truly excited to see what this, my 29th year will hold.

My Long Lost Blog

I have been MIA for the past 3 months. Well at least in the Blogosphere. I have been present in A LOT of other areas of my life. 🙂 To say it’s been a “busy” few months would be a huge understatement. I’m really not sure what you call the past few months…other than maybe, CRAZY. Yes, crazy seems fitting.

The end of the year is always a busy time; wrapping things up and beginning to plan for a new year ahead. I had my fourth warm Christmas and celebrated another New Year in Tanzania.

Parts of the last few months have been very challenging but I am so thankful for God’s continued grace and strength. Even though it’s been crazy, we’re all healthy, we’re all happy and we’re all HERE. That’s enough of a blessing for me.

I don’t know how much I will blog in 2016, I haven’t set any goals or anything when it comes to blogging, mostly because this is just something I do for me, for my sanity and because I enjoy it. I hope I will take the opportunities to write as often as I can because there is so much to write about! Sometimes it’s a shame that life seems to go by so quickly you don’t even have time to sit down and reflect and in my case, write your experiences down. All I can honestly say is I will do my best to make time to blog because it’s something I truly do enjoy and it helps me to slow down amidst the craziness that is life sometimes. (Ok. Most of the time.)

As far as catch up goes…hmm…what are the major events from the last few months? Here’s my short list:

* My grandparents came for a visit in November and it was GREAT! It was so nice to have them here and we really enjoyed two weeks with them.

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* Both November and December were full of reports and stats and wrapping up the year. (We survived and managed somehow to get it all finished).
* We took a week before Christmas and got away! We went to Seychelles and it was absolutely AMAZING! I have never seen a place so beautiful! We had a wonderful time with the boys, swimming and relaxing. It was exactly what we needed and for our first real Family Vacation it was a success!

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*Christmas! We had a lovely Christmas here in Mwanza. While we were far from our families, we had some friends from Kenya come, and together with friends here we enjoyed ourselves. Lots of food, fun and laughter, just the way it’s supposed to be. We also had a really great Christmas Celebration at Village of Hope. Some of our children out on a skit and it was VERY impressive; I’m sure it will be remembered for years to come.

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*Early in January (the 3rd) Julius and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. ❤ We can hardly believe it’s been that long. We are so blessed and we love doing this life together. We look forward to all the years ahead and all that God has planned for us together.

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*A couple weeks ago our youngest (our wild child) fell and face planted onto our very hard tile floors. He chipped a big chunk out of his front tooth and now has also gotten a gum infection because of it. Thankfully he’s on antibiotics and will be fine. Never a dull moment!
*Other than that the first couple weeks of January have been full of planning for the new year, hiring new staff, getting ready and opening our school onsite at VOH and reports and many many other little tasks. But we thank God we are headed in the right direction and He is helping us every single day.

It’s a new year and a new start. I know we will see amazing things in 2016. Hoping you had a wonderful start to the year. We truly have so much to be grateful for, even if it means not getting much time to blog about it all. 🙂

Until next time 🙂

Monday Morning

It’s Monday morning and it went a little something like this:

Alarm goes off at 6:30am (Already pushing it) – I snooze it till 6:45am.

6:45am Drag myself out of bed and into the shower.

6:50am Four year old wakes up and comes into the bathroom, lots of questions follow, I try to tell him to be quiet as his brother is still sleeping. (Completely futile of course).

6:55am In the shower trying to rush and get the shampoo out of my hair, all the while being serenaded by my four year old singing his own rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the top of his lungs. Just as I step out of the shower I can hear my one year old talking away in his crib. At least he’s not screaming. It’s the small things.

7:00am I answer more questions, I don’t remember what they were about. Find something to wear, put it on while asking my four year old for the tenth time to start getting dressed for school.

7:05am Slap some make up on my face so I don’t look too hideous and decide that the four year old dressing himself this morning will take too long and I get him dressed amid more questions – again I don’t remember the questions, just that there were very, very many.

7:10am Head to the other room and get my one year old from his crib, head downstairs with everyone.

7:15am Rush around the kitchen: Get one year old’s bottle and get him settled, pack four year old’s lunch, while also desperately trying to get some coffee into myself. Finish the lunch, pack the backpack, made sure four year old is eating something – banana bread and an apple (it’ll do), get him milk as well.

7:25am Decide to take the coffee to go – no time to drink it now. More questions in between all of this. “No you cannot watch cartoons – we have to leave in like one minute – EAT!” – came out of my mouth about ten times.  Manage to get a protein shake ready to take for my lunch, pack up my stuff for work and hope I’m not forgetting anything. Beg my four year old to put on his shoes about ten times. He doesn’t want to go to school today. Deal with that, finally get his shoes on, pick up all the bags, have the hubby peel the screaming one year old from my leg and – we’re off! (7:35am)

7:45am We are miraculously not late to school! Get in and get four year old settled; give out four high fives, one kiss and two hugs and sneak out as soon as he’s in the classroom and has turned his back.

7:50am Back to the car and on the way to work.

Made it through another Monday morning. Until next week —  I won’t miss you.

Now with coffee downed and power at the office – it’s time to get to it!

Happy Monday morning folks! Keep that coffee close 😉

Counting My Blessings

Today there is no power at the office, so I stayed for a while, met with some guests, did what I could and when it was apparent that it’s probably not coming back today – I decided to come home and work from there for the afternoon. Thankfully there is power here – and as I’m settling down to get some work done I find myself in a reflective sort of mood. Thankful. At peace. Blessed.

It’s a really good practice – to count your blessings one by one. We say it a lot – but actually sit down and do it – even write them down. It’s a really easy way to re-prioiritize and get back to that thankful place. The truth is all of us have things to be thankful for. There’s always something. And all those little things really add up when you start counting them.

I started to count some of my blessings, big and small – these are the ones that popped into my head just now but there are so many.

An amazing and loving husband who is coming back home tonight!

My beautiful boys who mean the world to me

Work that I enjoy and that fulfils me – I truly get to do what I love 

The beautiful home we get to live in

Friends (that are always there no matter how far apart we are)

Being able to meet so many people from so many different walks of life

Sunshine

Peace

Lots of Joy

A supportive and loving extended family on both sides

A visit from my parents, grandpa, brother and brother’s girlfriend in less than two weeks! (SO excited about this one!)

Re-discovering hot chocolate with a mint tea bag  – ’cause it’s the little things! (Go try it right now!)

~

I am truly grateful for this life I have. What a gift. So give it a try – count those blessings and have a wonderful day! 🙂

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