worry

seriously. are you kidding me.

we are worried about our son not getting in to the right class. we are worried about our daughter not having the right clothes for school. we are worried that our child will not be with her friends in her new class. we are worried that our husband won’t get the bonus we thought he would get. we are worried that our painter didn’t get all the spots. we are worried we won’t have enough time to go to starbucks. we are worried that people will notice we don’t have a new dress for the party. we are worried our neighbors have a better car, yard, decorator, kid than us. we are worried that a celebrity dies.we are worried that we don’t have our kids signed up for enough. we are worried that we keep working out and can’t get as thin as she is. we are worried that we don’t eat organic. we are worried that we don’t worry enough.

seriously. stop.

enough is enough.

a mother in liberia deserves to worry.

worry about if her child will eat today. will eat this week. will wake up. she can worry.

so stop. seriously. if you need to worry. worry. and then pray. pray for the children who can’t go to school.pray for child who has no friends. pray for the husband who can’t feed his family. pray for the mother who has a tin roof and dirt floor. pray for those dying from parasites. pray for those afflicted with aids. pray. and then worry. worry if you think this all isn’t your concern.

jesus didn’t say take care of your own.

he said take care of my people.

still

i still wake up in the morning thinking i am in africa. i wake up hopeful. hopeful that i will hear the roster crowing. hopeful that i can eat fresh mango and pineapple. hopeful that i can have my quiet time under the palm trees.
i still wake up wishing that i could harvest another fish farm. the muck and the mud between my toes. the joy on the peoples faces watching a white woman try to catch a catfish with her hands. i still wake up hopeful. hopeful that i can feel the heat of africa on my back. hopeful that i can hold another sick child.
i still wake up hopeful that i can work to bring clean water to a village. i still am hopeful that i will be able to pray with a woman beaten and raped from the war. i still wake up hopeful. i still wake up thinking i can make a difference.

target

i stood in target this week. in awe. awe of the amount of things we have. awe of the amount of things we think we need. i stood in target listening to a ten year old boy complain because he “needed” a new video game. i stood in awe. i stood in awe at the children running around whining that they want, want, want. i stood on awe at the amount of money that we pay for things we don’t need. i stood in awe ashamed. ashamed at what we are teaching our children. what we have taught ourselves. that we need things. that they need the latest gadgets and clothes to fit in. that they need to go out to eat. i stood ashamed.

last week i stood in foya. africa. last week i stood in awe. awe of hungry bellies. awe of children crying because the hunger was too much. awe of children laughing and playing. awe of children loving each other. awe of children always showing respect to elders. awe of children never asking for anything. anything. i stood in awe of realizing what people really need. food. clean water. and someone to love them. that’s it. no electricity. no video games. no cell phones. no new clothes. no target.

stand in awe.

thank you

thank you. thank you for all of your support. thank you for the prayers. the letters. the pictures drawn with crayons. the phone calls of well wishes. the tears. the hugs. the financial support.the nights you spent on your knees. thank you.

because of you i have had my life changed forever. because of you i saw faces of children crying from hunger. because of you i saw a blind woman believe in Christ. because of you i felt my heart break everyday and love every moment. because of you i will never be the same.

thank you.thank you for Africa. thank you for loving me enough to send me.

the same Jesus

so tonight i tucked you into bed with all of your blankets and stuffed animals and kissed your sweet faces. and as i listened to you say your prayers i started to miss you. i will miss the way you make me laugh dancing around the house. i will miss the way you ask if you can help when you know i really need it. i will miss when you ask me who i love the most. i will miss you when you throw your rice krispies all over the floor. i will miss you when you ask me to be the judge of the bike race on the front sidewalk. i will miss hearing your highs and lows of the day.

but know this. while i am in a whole new country you will be okay. you and i will be praying at night to the same Jesus. and when you lay your head down i will know that He is kissing your sweet faces.

i love you. all the way from africa.

throwing up

you know the feeling when you don’t know if you are going to throw up or cry? that is where i am at right now. in three days i leave for africa. hot. rainy. foreign. away from my kids africa. just now i think i threw up a little bit. i am scared. i am scared to go. i am scared about being there. i am scared about showing up with the wrong luggage ( suitcase full of sweaters dream). i am scared about getting sick. i am just plain scared.

as it gets closer i do more things to avoid thinking about away from my kids africa. like really important things. like clean the car. mow the lawn. weed the garden. clean the fridge. clean the oven. all to avoid the packing to away from my kids africa.

and then this happened. “mom i am so happy you get to go to africa and make those kids smile”

oh.

so i start packing.

pushing me

i am so blessed to have amazing friends. amazing. since i live about four hours away from all of my family i rely on my friends. i think of them as my family. and i am a family girl. it hurts my heart to think of my mom so far away from me. i am the type of girl that would hang out with her mom and sisters whenever she could.(and my brothers too! ) i am the type of girl that wants her kids to have their grandparents there all of the time. for all of the school events and just to drop by and get a popsicle kind of grandparents. but God chose different for me. even though for years i have been praying to move closer to home God wants me here. some days i question it. some days i cry about it. but God sent me friends.

friends that push me. push me to make lists. push me to pray harder. push me to laugh longer. push me to except me. push me to be a better mom. push me to look in the mirror. push me to love.push me to be me.
and so the times that i am feeling so far away from my family i need to just remember that God has placed these amazing friends in my life. i just need a little push sometimes to remember.

pain

a few months ago our family dog kizzie had to be put to sleep. she had lived a great life. her days consisted of following the kids around, eating the cookies they would feed her during snack time, trying to scare away the squirrels in the yard, and taking many naps. but when she could no longer run, trot or walk we knew the time had come. and for our oldest child avery it was devastating. this lab was her best friend. they had seen each other grow up. so to say goodbye to your oldest friend broke her heart. it broke all of our hearts. as she lay next to kizzie on the floor that morning she said through tears ” i will see you in heaven my friend”.my heart broke. it broke to see my little girl in so much pain.

last night i saw that pain again. the puppy we were getting ready to adopt passed away. she had gotten dehydrated and passed on before we could take her home. but i still saw the pain in my daughters eyes. and then i realized again how amazing she is. she has such a heart full of compassion and empathy. she loves. she loves deeply. i do believe she will work with animals as a career. it is in her. it is in her every being. i do believe that in heaven she will be surrounded with all of the animals she has loved and those that need loving. that is who she is. she just gets it. and her pain will be no more.

worth

i quit my job.in this economy i quit my job. i wasn’t let go. i didn’t get sized down. i just quit. i quit because in the last three weeks that i haven’t worked i have slept better than i have slept in years. i quit because i was waking nightly with dreams i couldn’t explain and couldn’t escape. i quit because i realized i already had a job. i am a mom. and for the past few years i have felt very torn as to what my role is. am i supposed to be bringing in a paycheck so we can pay all of the bills or am i supposed to be at story hour with my toddlers? simple? not really. not for someone who for years has tried to find her value on her own. wanting the approval of my parents, friends and my spouse. but i forgot the most important one. GOD. i forgot the HE is all i need. HE knows my worth and it doesn’t come in a paycheck or in a quarterly review. it comes from me cleaning cereal off the floor, wiping the tears, signing the homework, catching bugs all while making dinner kind of worth. it comes from hearing i love you one minute to i can’t believe you are so unfair the next kind of worth. it comes from knowing that at the end of it all i gave it my best.so i quit. i quit because of these smiles.

baby sis

last night my baby sister graduated from high school. now to some that may not be a big deal. another sister another graduation. but i remember eighteen years ago at the age of sixteen that my mom told us she was having another baby. i literally wanted to melt into the wall. seriously? how could my parents humiliate me anymore? i was trying hard to just be known in high school but now i would be known as the girl with a sister sixteen years younger. the one with the sister always at her feet. the one with the baby crying in the middle of my important phone calls with my boyfriend of the month. seriously? obviously my parents were not thinking of the damage this would do to my social status. and really is anything more important?

but last night…..was amazing. my beautiful, intelligent baby sister graduated with honors. she lead the opening prayer, she played five instruments, she sang, she was honored for all of her academic, sports, and theater performances. it was her moment. i was so proud. all five siblings were there. it was our time to say thank you to her. thank you for coming into our lives. thank you for all you are.all you are going to be. thank you.