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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

Until next time ūüôā

Don’t Give Up On Doing Good

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a post. It’s been a very hectic few weeks to say the least. The normal busy-ness was added to in the form of sick children, an extremely cranky, teething toddler, and bunch of other work-related stuff I can’t really go into – but it was BAD.

It has not ever been “not-busy” since we moved to Mwanza, and granted we knew the first year or so would be like this – it’s not really a surprise, but whenever we face particularly challenging situations at the Village (check out the “Bringing Hope” tab up top for more info on what is it we actually do) at first it usually does surprise me a bit. Probably because things seem to go really well for a couple months – everything is running smoothly, people are generally getting along, we’re moving forward, things are happening in a positive way and then it’s like a bomb drops. Something big. Something you can’t ignore and something that affects everything and everyone. And then for those few days or weeks that’s all you deal with! Climbing out of the whole, dealing with the consequences, while trying to still be Godly at the same time (easier said than done).

It’s not like I have unrealistic expectations that everything will be good all the time – not at all, but still somehow these things tend to come in such an “out of the blue” way that they still surprise me. It’s in these times – when I reach the complete end of my rope in every way, that I need to remind myself of a few things…maybe you need to hear these reminders today too…

  1. God absolutely still knows what He’s doing – and he hasn’t stopped “doing.”
  2. Our rewards are not on this earth. Our rewards for how we serve on this earth will be handed out in eternity and we may not know until then the impact our actions had.
  3. Don’t give up on doing good. Let God deal with the actions and responses of others – you can’t control those anyways – so just keep doing good and being faithful. Remember you are serving for Jesus, it’s not about how other people respond.
  4. Remember how broken you are – and how amazing God’s love is for you – and then look at the people around you through that lens.
  5. Our battle is not against flesh and blood- but we are most definitely at war. Expect attacks – the enemy is not going to just sit around and let you impact the Kingdom of God without trying to derail you. Remember where your strength is.
  6. Jesus can and does bring hope into every situation if we invite him in.
  7. You feel a lot better when you let go of the bitterness and start being intentionally grateful again.
  8. Remember God called you and He has equipped you for that call.
  9. Jesus loves “those people” or “that person” that you absolutely can’t stand right now. You can’t even fathom how much he loves them, but the fact is, He does.
  10. This too shall pass. And how you handle this has the potential to make you stronger and smarter – for the next time – because yes, whatever we are facing now is preparing us for what’s ahead.

I have been meditating on these verses this week…

“Let us not become weary in doing good,¬†for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains‚ÄĒ
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
¬†¬†¬†¬†the Maker of heaven¬†and earth.”

~Psalm 121:1-2

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 ūüėČ

That Tricky Tricky Comfort Zone…Time to Break Out

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The comfort zone. It’s a beautiful place, isn’t it? You feel great, there’s minimal or no pain, you know what to expect, you breathe easy. But the problem is it’s also the place where you don’t grow. You don’t become any better and truth be told – it can get a little boring if we’re being honest.

That constant tug of war: I want to be comfortable (it’s nice, it’s cozy, I feel safe) but at the same time I don’t want to get too comfortable (because I know I won’t become the best that I can be). It’s a tricky battle this one. On some level you long for the security and constant of the comfort zone, but on another level you know you want excitement, challenge and adventure – which means you have to break out of your comfort bubble. Nothing exciting happens in there. Nothing. You know exactly what happens in there, which means there’s no risk, which means it’s not exciting.

There real truth of it is we’re not ever supposed to feel that comfortable here. This (the earth – wherever you happen to live on it) is not home. It’s temporary; it won’t last. Heaven is our home and until we’re there, we’ll never fit in perfectly and we’ll never be perfectly comfortable.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

~Philippians 3:20~

I have to remind myself of this truth sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed and longing for steadiness; a constant; my comfort zone. The only constant is change – cliche or not it’s just the truth. And wouldn’t your life be pretty boring without it? I know deep down that I have the amazing life I do because at each step of the way I found a way to embrace change. To roll with it. To adapt. And when I did that? – I grew. I learned and I became better in some way.

Most of the time change is not easy. It’s a natural human tendency to run for that comfort zone and hunker down, but if you can resist the urge and force yourself to step out into the unknown you open yourself up for whole lot of amazing experiences. You also open yourself up for hurt, I’m not overlooking that. But even in those situations you’re still growing; you’re still learning and becoming better. You can’t avoid hurt even in your comfort zone, but you will lose out on the possible joy that is just outside of that bubble if you give into your ‘hunker down’ human self.

I feel like I’m out of my comfort zone in most areas of my life right now…

I have to send my little boy to school every day and trust other people to keep him safe and trust that he will do well.

I have to leave my second little boy at home in the care of someone else (who is amazing, but who is not me). 

I have to constantly be learning and changing and adapting the way I do things at work; looking for what works best.

I am pushing myself to get healthier – waking up before sunrise to get my workouts in (which believe me is WAY outside of my comfort zone!)

I am stretching myself as I get back into studying and finishing my school after about 6 years of no school – it’s an adjustment for sure!¬†

I am always trying to stretch and grow myself as a wife and as a mom so I can be the best I can at each of those roles without sacrificing the other. 

As challenging as some of those things are for me, I’m choosing to do them because I know they make me better. Now, don’t ask me how I feel about it at 5:50 am when my alarm goes off to workout. ūüėõ

Hope you have a very uncomfortable day ūüėČ

A Note To My Son On His First Day of Kindergarden

Dear Son,

The day is finally here! I never thought it would come so fast. You are starting school today. It’s your very first day of Kindergarden. Or as they call it where we are, Reception. So today, on your first day there are a few things I want you to know.

You are ready for this! 

You have been preparing for this day for the last 4.5 years. You have been playing and learning and growing and it’s all gotten you here – to your first day of school. You love to learn and to ask questions and to play and so I know you will have a blast. You may feel a little nervous and that’s OK – it’s a big step; a big change, but trust me, you are ready and you will love it!

You are unique and so is everyone else you will meet.

There is no one – absolutely no one who is exactly like you! You’re on of a kind and that is really special. Everybody is different and that is a good thing because it keeps life exciting. You will have kids in your class who look different than you, who come from different places than you and who see the world around them differently. But the great thing is – none of that matters when it comes to making friends. You can be friends with anyone. You can play together and learn together even if they’re different from you.

You will make some amazing friends!

You’re about to meet some wonderful people who will become your friends. You will just click with them and love to play with them and want to do all the activities in class together. This is an amazing part about starting school – friends!

You will have bad days.

Some days might not be so great. Everyone has bad days. Maybe someone will hurt you or say something mean. Or maybe you will feel tried and grumpy and not feel like participating as normal. It’s ok. Tomorrow will be better. Always remember tomorrow.

You will have amazingly awesome days!

The good news is Рyou will have way more GREAT days than bad days. School is a fun and exciting place. You will get to learn about so many things and get to play with your friends. You will get to draw pictures and make crafts and paint. You will get to play sports and play outside and explore.  You will have so much fun!

You will learn so much.

I can’t wait for you to come home each day and tell me everything you’ve learned. Colours, numbers, letters, words, shapes – there’s so much to learn. So many questions to answer and I’m so excited for you as you begin this journey of discovery.

I will miss you. 

It’s true. I will definitely miss my little boy. I already miss you when I go to the office, but I will miss you in a different kind of way when I know you’re at school and not at home all day. I will worry a little because that’s just what moms do, but mostly I will be happy for you and excited to see you at the end of each day.

I am so proud of you. Every day. 

Please remember this if nothing else – I am always, always proud of you. You are my blessing and you make me happy every day. I am proud of you no matter what. Good days and bad, happy moments and sad; I am so so proud of the little boy you are.

P.S. I love you, so so much! 

First day of School pic with the parents!

First day of School pic with the parents!

Our big boy! Ready to go!

Our big boy! Ready to go!

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