Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tunnel work









a workin'

God is doing a workin' in our lives.

we have been here for a bit over 1 month and well,
God is working.

working on our behalf to provide us with a support group of friends.
working on our hearts as we face the realities of those less fortunate.
working on our minds as we encounter so many different aspects of life.
working on our spirits as we are refueled with the beauty of a sunset over the ocean
or the blessing of a servant's heart.
working on our faith as we are having to rely more on God than selves.

working on us because...
life here is not fair.
life here is poverty.
life here is wealth.
life here is laid back.
life here is freeing.
life here is hardened.
life here is blessed.
life here is contrasting and unfamilar.

life here is unbalanced.
which often leads to a struggle of sorts in our hearts and minds.

there is so much
smack dab beside
so little.

here, is different than other parts of africa where there can be a more
overall "separation","nothingness"
here there is plenty. it just isn't afforded to everyone.

and so,
may we not just live beside the poor
BUT may we live intertwined with the poor.
thru Jesus,
and the list goes on and on...

Joe and I want to share life with people.
live life with people.
and our prayer is God will put more and more people in our path.
opening up doors of opportunities and shining light down new passageways.

here, as in most of the world
giving is not necessarily the best answer.

what is better?

better is working beside, leading by example, loving,
being a light of Jesus.
because here, money doesn't cut it for long
and it creates dependecy.
you know that old adage...
about teaching a man to fish
just giving him a fish.
is where we are living that adage out.

God is looking for those ready to be used by Him, for His kingdom.
and we are ready.

Joey is using his gifts of business and leaderships and
of course, friendliness
to make differences
in lives, jobs, communities, friendships

our children will grow
and learn
and be full of compassion
for those who are like them
unlike them.
those whose heads have no bed.
whose homes have no toys.
whose bellies growl for food.
whose shoes,
well...aren't even there.
or who,
at the very least,
have little earthy possessions compared to life in the American dream
and then spend parts of their days here with
those who are just like them. blessed with more than they could ever need.

and so,
God is doing a workin'
on each of us.

the way we

Lord Jesus,
give us your eyes, ears, arms, heart...
so we may serve you and your people.

Monday, November 29, 2010

birthdays happen in Africa too

yesterday we celebrated Joe all day. that is what you do on a BIRTHDAY!
and if you know me then you know i love birthdays!

we had a yummy lunch at the waterfront 
where Briley secretly told our waiter it was her daddy's birthday and he (we)
were treated to this scrumptious dessert...

we enjoyed our first date here in SA
(a special thanks to Danielle for manning the troops)
where we celebrated Joey's 33rd 
at a delightful restaurant in Cape Town
with a couple of our fantastic friends
thanks to the D's and P's for the jolly time:)

I think I can speak for Joe and say his first birthday on the continent of Africa was quite a thrill!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

turkey and crayfish

we celebrated thanksgiving again today
with a group of fabulous folks
who included us newbies in their yummy feast.
once again,
there were several
who had never experienced thanksgiving before.
and once again,
there was delicious- over- stuff- your- belly food!

turkey wasn't the only creature we were after today.
joe got an invite to go out on a boat for some crayfish
(looks like a lobster and like a crawfish from Tennesse on steroids???)
he was estatic
even though he told me he felt
a wee bit sea sick
though not enough
to keep him from bringing home
not the bacon BUT crayfish
for dinner on many occasions.

and in other news...
as with all birthdays in our fam
joe began celebrating 
a wee bit early with b-fast at a yummy pancake and waffle place
and then his fishin' expedition
(which just so happened to be the 2nd in less than 24 hrs)

Sunday is the actual big day and we will live it up even more

cheers for the time of year that is full of food, fun and all out celebrations!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


we celebrate our first holiday away from family, home, the U.S.
(where we are halfway thru our day and they are just getting up)
we are thankful for new friends here who are loving on us.

we have 2 yummy celebrations to attend
the 1st was at LIVING HOPE
with these fabulous folks

there were games, music, food, prizes
and many thankful hearts and full bellies.

later we will celebrate more at a friends house.
pics to come.

and then
on Saturday
we will do it ONE more time at a "Thanksgiving Extravaganza".

the Americans over here seem to unite together and the South Africans are willing to celebrate with us. all in favor of good food, fun, friendships, 
and most of all thankfulness.

my heart feels a bit torn today.
for family and friends back in the States
(missing them dearly and sending love accross the ocean)
and thankful 
for the new friends here who have invited us into their hearts and homes
(God has blown us away with community. friendships.
something we had not expected but are so praiseworthy).

may we be always in a state of thankfulness. praising God for each moment, memory, obstacle, challenge, hope, dream, person, friendship, love, part of creation, and day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


after much preparation
the work began
on the T U N N E L S.
tunnels are what i've learned here are called greenhouses
(where fruits and veggies grow in stable environment).

from the bright and early morn until the south african quitting time of 4pm
joey and his CREW
dug trenches,
to release the sides of the tunnels
which are held down, not by stakes, but by burying the excess on the sides
into the ground.

they dug up 
in order to
take down
the tunnels.
and then
they will dig
only this time new trenches
to set up the tunnels on the Living Way Campus.

for now these 4 young men and Joey spend their day digging.
digging until all 3 tunnels are taken down,
rolled up carefully,
and transferred.

Joey introduced me to these 4 young men
who without the jobs we were offering
could very possibly not have work.
and no work means
no money.
no food.

i shook each of their hands, smiled as i looked each into the eye.
all the time thinking
about how hard, long they were working 
for their food.
so different than what i have seen,
throughout  "the shelter",
where i have lived out my own life thus far.

and so
this is Africa.
where men sit on the side of the road
hoping to be chosen to work that day for some passer-by.
where the strongest, fittest, youngest go first
and the others
wait behind for their opportunity
to earn, to work, to eat, to live.

where the work day wraps down at 4pm so the workers can walk
or find a bus

where discrimination and poverty mix haphazardly with the beautiful landscape

where life is lived
a bit slower (which is nice)
and quite differently than my heart and mind are accoustumed to.
but adjusting to.

a place
where we long to make a difference by being Light to those around us.
Working. Helping.
Changing lives. (both ours and theirs).

and so the work begins. hard work. work for the body and for the soul.

today we are thankful that God chose us to serve HIM here amongst these people
and in this place.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Please Lord...Allow me to test You one more time.

"Then Gideon said to God, "If You will deliver Israel by my hand as You have said, I will put a fleece of wool here on the threshing floor, if dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that You will deliver Israel by my strength as You said." And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water. Gideon then said to God, "Don't be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground." That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground." (Judges 6:36-40)

I find myself in Gideon's predicament a lot lately. God will call me to do things that are down right terrifying and so much bigger than me . The shear size of the task requires so much more than I have to give so before I engage, I want God to give me a sign that He is going to so up on my behalf. I have yet to use the "fleece and dew" test but I do test His word in other ways.

I long for the day when my walk with God produces such a faith that the size of the task becomes irrelevant and the testing ceases.

Friday, November 19, 2010


follow me wherever i lead,

without worrying about how it will all turn out. 

think of your life as an adventure,

with Me as your Guide and Companion....

excerpt from Jesus Calling 
and just what i needed to
soak deep 
into my soul.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


all in a days work...

these precious women are learning plenty from Joey.
teaching them business/life skills
scratches only the surface.

all the while,

God is sandpaper-ing,
teaching, molding
more into His like-ness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm back!!!!

Courtney has agreed to let me post my thoughts on her blog. I had to fill out an extensive questionaire, give my blood type, and agree to terms and conditions set forth by her. I eventually met all the necessary criteria for posting on this wonderful blog and last night, she set me up with my own log-in and signature that will follow each of my post.

So....enjoy the journey as we both do our best to put into words what God is doing in our lives. We love you all!

if ever...

Let your roots grow down into him, 
and let your lives be built on him. 
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, 
and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Col 2:6-8

if ever there was a more glorious place to see the beauty God created...it is here. 
set among rich and poor, the white and darkest,
for both to view,
just by scanning the landscape around their everyday lives.
oceans warmer and colder, mountains jutting to the sky, 
stretches of white sands,
boulders tumbled to the ground and sea for the eager foot to climb,
sunsets over the ocean expanse, 
beauty as far as the eye can see.

may we never grow accustomed to the magnifience God lets our eyes see in this place.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:10-12

a certain someone decided today that she now prefers to
walk upright rather than to crawl.

...may we live our lives showing her to walk in the Truth.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

new found freedom for one and...

mama was a bit fearful and unready for this...

it happened.

and it wasn't an easy chore.

i guess you could say this was african-orthopedics-in-a-creepy-shed-style?!

please view pic at your own risk.

she wrote in her journal... wrist free from restraint... praising God.
oh how i love this girl.

stay tuned for more details ...
since settling the house issue,
and beginning the process of frugally furnishing it,
Joey has begun working on the mission field here...
from bakery
to greenhouses
to ground work-
 he is excited to begin the work God has called him here to do

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

more goodbyes

tonite we told "the grands" 
after being one large and crazy family of 8 for 19 days
they are returning to Tennessee and their lives
and we are getting ours started here
around the world
on the coast of South Africa
their travel with us ultimately
what each of us involved needed

they needed
to see where we were going to live,
how we would do daily life,
where we would settle
and make our new nest.
seeing this brought comfort and peace to their hearts and minds
(as i know it would me...being a mother myself i can only imagine such long distance)

we needed 
to not have to say all our goodbyes at one time
almost 3 weeks ago we left all and everyone we knew
it felt good to bring 2 more "pieces" of home with us
plus, they were needed to help manage this circus of 4 monkeys

i am not sure if they will ever know how much their presence here comforted me
as i adjusted to a new life, 
new culture
with new foods, new money
new stores, new friends, new everything
a strong bond was created and memories made as we started life
here on the tip of africa
with the love and support of, none other than, our most precious mothers

the kids 
enjoyed their presence
just the normalcy of having them around and sharing times

goodbye hot chocolate toasts briley planned

and i soaked up memories of watching them together
as i know a long time will pass before next visit...
legs will be longer, ages will be greater,
steps will be taken, words will be learned,
hair will be longer, maturity will be evident,
kids will be smarter, feet will be bigger...
so much happens as kids grow, you know.

and honestly,
we are used to all "the grands" being around for every moment
or atleast within a 20 minute drive

the exciting and praiseworthy part is
skype shares faces, voices, memories
as does email notes, snail mail treats
and we are planning to enjoy every moment to communicate and share life from afar!

and so,
tonite i hugged tightly the necks of my mother and mother-in-law
and thru tears shared love so strong
we will miss them around here
and know they will miss us
until that sweet day we hug their necks again

if you can say a prayer for their travels, their peace
and lift us up as we stay here

and the praises today:)
signed our lease for our new home and
plan to move in mid-december
and registered the bear for school starting in january
and bristol is walking
(it's not her preferred mode of transportation yet but she is getting there...
and what makes it more special is "the grands" were here today to witness it)

God is good

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a bit more...

a bit more of what we have been up to...

we have met and ministered to friends
it was a blesing to meet Joesph today
he traveled quite a way to find and meet us,
for we had a gift for him from a friend in America

his heart was overjoyed when we found him
and ours was full from blessing him

we plan on keeping in touch with him
and helping him in any way we can

we have taken "the grands" 
on their last excursions in south africa...

shopping the greenmarket square for african treasures

where briley finally got her hair braided
she has been asking since we arrived

and scored a tote for her bible and journal
she has been journaling and it is one of the most precious things:)

 we took the entire fam
 to the end of the african continent

over- the- top- amazing folks
take a glance at your map, 
find the tippy tip point 
way down south 
we were there today

the kids were amazing hikers
 i must say i hiked quite abit with the bear on my back
in fact, we drew lots of attn 
as he fell asleep clung to my back on our way back down
(kinda felt like i fit in with the culture here as babies are worn on their mommies)

and joe, 
 he did some of the hike with both lil ones
one in the backpack and one on his shoulders
let's just say 
we are tired tonite

and bristol showed some celebrity status today
all these tourists visiting this grand, 
and more than a few decide to take pictures of bristol
pretty funny
(thinking next time we will start charging)
we were able to share with some about adopting and helping orphans

 we praise God for the beauty He has allowed us to experience
as we serve down here at the base of africa

our God is an awesome God

on another note-
i am starting to feel the effects of "the grands" leaving
just today a tinge of anxiousness crept in
we have so enjoyed their familiar faces
their help
their love and support

prayer requests:
we get the rental stuff worked out on the house we found
transition as the grands leave (for us and for them)
safe travels for them
a car for us (well, really, a van or something big enough to hold us)
getting our home established (furniture, beddings, etc)
pray we find some good deals for our home (and car)

until next time...

Friday, November 5, 2010


things are quite a bit different in south africa

  • stoplights are called robots
  • door handles are higher
  • hot and cold swapped on faucets
  • you let, you don't rent
  • the accents, they are beautiful!
  • the grocery store is in the "mall"
  • no ice in your drinks
  • the way of life is s-l-o-w-e-r
  • opposite side of road to drive on
  • opposite side of car to steer
  • opposite hand to shift with
  • always be concerned with your surroundings
  • money is called rand
  • coins are worth more than in States
  • tips are given to "security" in the parking lots
  • schools are private
  • uniforms are worn to school
  • cell phones are harder to get and pay and get minutes
  • bank accounts are harder to get
  • real estate is totally different
  • you braii, not grill
  • eggs are kept on the shelf
  • milk is in smaller containers
  • fresh bread is everywhere
  • full service, not self service at gas stations
  • everything is gated and locked
  • the wind is always blowing
  • people are always selling something on the streets
  • security companies are everywhere, not police
  • hospitals are different
  • dr's take 24 hour phone calls
  • there is no wal-mart or target, just a separate store for everything
  • electrical outlets are crazy
  • no electrical outlets in bathrooms
  • duvet covers are huge
  • windows are open everywhere
  • sunsets are glorious
  • the phone numbers are longer
  • everyone has 1, but usually 2 large dogs (safety measures)
  • people eat later in the evening
  • the bathroom is called the toilet or the loo
  • smaller packages/quanities for all foods
  • roasted chickens are tiny
  • monkey gland sauce is on the menu
  • ostrich is the lean beef
  • prawns, not shrimp
  • baboons will steal your food, children, car parts, STUFF
  • there is a vet on every corner
  • kilometers, not miles per hour
  • no pounds, but kilos
  • measuring cups - it's going to take me awhile
  • no farenheit, but celsius
  • no packaged brownies and cookie mixes (that i've found so far)
  • military time
  • you buy minutes for internet and phone
  • no lighter fluid for joe's grilling, but awesome flame sticks
  • pay for electricity at grocery store
  • toilets flow backwards
  • summer and winter are flipped (southern hemisphere)
  • meters, not feet
  • wine is abundant
  • oceans are freezing
  • landscapes here are hard to top!
  • segregation is still visible
  • not sure the FDA works around here
  • no screens, just wide open, fresh breeze windows
  • ground beef is called mince
  • the people at the grocery checkouts sit down as they scan your groceries
  • different brands, different names
  • no sour cream
  • not many canned soups
  • mulitple languages are spoken in a small vicinity
  • sculleries
  • fridges are so small
  • views are so big
  • clothes lines 
  • alarms are set
  • valuables or just stuff is covered when left in car or taken with you
  • cars are tiny
  • suvs are rare (land rovers are here but not much else)

i am sure i could come up with more,
but today i will stop here:)

now on a praising God note-
we found a house!
not even in any area we were at first considering
we plan on meeting them Monday to iron out the details
pray for this to all work out if it is in God's will
and to make it even better...
the grands,
the kids-
we were all together
when we viewed the place
so glad they could share this experience with us
more details on it to come

miss you all back home
as we try and get settled in our new home here
sending love...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

we are...

we are...

we are STILL looking for a house
they are few and far between here
thinking it has lots to do with going into the "holiday/vaca" season here
the fact we are a rather LARGE family
Joe and I have 3 to look at tomorrow and calls/emails into several others
please pray we find something soon

we have applied for schooling for the big kids
the new school year starts in Jan 2011
so they are enjoying an extended break
and learning the area/culture
looks like they will be in grade 3 and 1 here
just like in the States
they go by age here 
and that is where they fall
we were very impressed with the school and have heard wonderful things about it
pretty sure i dread the day they actually start though,
i like having them close to me

we rented our second car today
the first we return to the airport tomorrow
still on the hunt for a permanent car
once again,
we are a LARGE family
and the cars here are what my family calls
thinking we will resolve this issue within a week
we did buy Bristol a new car seat today
the one she has been in goes back with the car tomorrow
we got it at a toys/babies r us
not quite the same as back in TN
was a treat to see reminders of the States
and now for some quick pics for your viewing pleasure
who knew
 i could drive like this?
opposite side of the road
opposite side of the car
shifting with left hand

i'm pretty sure the grands are going to miss
this sweet thing when they leave.
the baby, that is, not the hammock:)

and for your comic relief...
the wind here is incredible. 
i guess that it goes hand in hand with the scenery.
but really,
it is something wild.
this pic is from the infamous chapman's peak drive
there are no words for this stretch of road

now back to comic relief
the grands are in full "cousin it" mode
harry potter joined us on this adventure
askedech is not sure what to think after being taken from her cozy car seat snack and all
and the rest of us
we are lovin it!

here's to life in africa

Monday, November 1, 2010


not sharing any pics of the beauty around us here on this post.
not talking about the precious people we sat in church with Sunday singing gloriously to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
just asking that
you say a prayer for us a we search here in SA for a home for our family.
we would really like to find a place to call our new home soon! don't get me wrong, this temp one is such a blessing,
but, we need our own place.
it's our prayer now
and we ask you to join us in praying.
we know our God will provide.

love to you all,