Wednesday, April 27, 2011

officially longer

this wild
and crazy,
and beautiful,
and funny,
smarter than the average bear,
Ethiopian princess
has now been with us
LONGER than 
she ever was without us.
(just shy of 10 months)


so random to be living closer to the South Pole than to the good ole US of A.
actually looks like we are closer to there than anywhere else.
just sayin'!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter singin'

this is one of our favorite songs and today,
Easter Sunday,
we wanted to sing you a little bit of it!

(forgive the dark and shaky video
we had one little angel who couldn't keep
her hands off the computer
during our quick filming session
before church this morning.)

and share this line our Poppi in TN
shares each Easter...

may you remember this today
and every day.

Happy Easter!
the lankford's

Saturday, April 23, 2011

prep for Easter

we didn't make an egg hunt this year.
first time ever in Briley's 9 years.
but, ironically enough, no one ever asked.

special thanks to our "aunty danielle"
who shared her from the States egg dye
with us the other nite as
we prepared for Easter.
one prob though...
they only have brown eggs
which mess with the dye colors
and so
we tried these flawless looking
white candy coated choc eggs
that started off perfection
and then commenced to releasing their chalkiness
into our dyes.
fun was had by all!

also, from "aunty danielle",
Easter craft paper, stickers, and all that jazz.
we now have  a fab Easter banner
of the kids pics
to decorate the place.

we have read the Bible stories each night leading up the the cross
and I had brought
those fun resurrection eggs from Lifeway
that we do each year and love
can't find the cute story book
that goes with it
so we used the much better alternative of
the actual Bible
and can you believe it?
it worked out perfect.

today we shared Easter love with a little family
we are getting to know...
(and no, these aren't all her kids).

tomorrow we will do the same for Joey's friend Itai.

it seems as if every year
I am more impacted by the stories
of Jesus' death and resurrection.
this year Joey and I are both the same age Jesus was when He gave Hs life.
grasping this is not even possible...

a Savior, a Redeemer, a friend, my Father...
He gave His life for me
how am I loving Him in return?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


we are still here in south africa.
we are still up to our ears in cucumbers.
we are still trying to find the "best" way to convince young moms to join our support group.
we are learning and coaching a boys rugby team.
we are loving people in our home, the local McDonald's, the townships, everywhere...
we are praying that flight prices drop so this family of 6 can fly home to TN for a visit.
we are reading the Bible stories leading up to the death of Jesus and His resurrection.
we are selling bread, biscuits, chelsea buns.
we are realizing that the summer is ending here and it is getting colder and rainy.
we are pinching every penny.
we have the most amazing group of friends and missionaries loving on us here.
we overwhelmed at the opportunites God is blessing us with.
we have no heating or cooling system in our home  (or most any home here).
the banking here is an experience of patience to say it nicely.
we have heard the voices and stories of those suffering.
we are learning daily about how life is lived here; differently in each township.
we hand out rand/money to beggers when our eyes can't bear to look away.
our car window is broke again (at least it is just that).
we say "no thank you" over and over to men at the robots, in the parking lots, everywhere
trying to sell us something or beg from us.
we will miss the hundreds of people we pass walking up and down the roads every day
whenever we leave this place.
we see men carrying little pink girls backpacks like it is nothing.
we (only when Joey is with us) give rides to strangers
we see Jesus in the hearts of many.
we see need, we see hope and hopelessness, we see suffering, we see loneliness.
we are overcome with the discrimination and segregation that is still so evident.
we see beauty that is beyond explanation and description and can only be witnessed in person.
life is totally different than it was when we lived in TN.
it is harder than we could have ever imagined to move our family to africa
but God provides daily for us and gives us hope, joy, love, peace...
we will stay here as long as God calls us here.
this is the hardest thing we have ever done.
some days we are overwhelmed in every way.
we miss family, friends.
we have amazing visions for work/missions here
we are so grateful and blessed by those who support our ministry.
we feel your prayers.
we can not wait to hug your necks, hold your hands, feel your kisses
read your letters, open your packages, get your emails, sit at your kitchen tables...
we are so busy.
we wish we didn't just have 1 car.
we spend a staggering amount of time in the car delivering kids and ourselves to where we need to be.
everyone we meet has been incredibly kind to us.
balancing the old life and our new life can turn us over and back up.
our children are in a most brilliant school.
the kids love life here.
we love working with living hope, way, grace, care...
we are learning and growing
in faith, in family, in life experiences.
joey wants to be mayor here.
we play with kids who have more than us, less than us, or literally nothing.
we now have gardening, baking, ministorial, and evangelical skills to attach to our business and nursing resumes.
we are losing some of our southern tennessee accent.
some people around us sleep on the dirt and in places we wouldn't dream as fit for humankind.
some kids have no blankets.
we miss american customer service.
the global/world view we are experiencing is stunning.
we sometimes look at each other and say...can you believe we live in africa?!
real life, real struggles are seen on the faces of those we see daily.
we are excited to do more for Jesus.

and yes
this post is long:)

Friday, April 15, 2011

celebrating at tea...

this afternoon
a few sweet friends and i
went to a most wonderful hotel
the mount nelson
in cape town
to experience
high tea
afternoon tea
fancy tea
whatever you want to call it
it was all we could have dreamed of and more...
the teapots

amy and i
with the tea menu
(more tea choices than i could have dreamed)

amy and i both came all the way from tn
almost same town, same church
only to meet here in SA
one side of the our table

and the other side...

the buffet
from sweet treats to savory
the yumminess is too too much

my dessert plate
oh yes
i went back several times

laurel and i in the beautiful garden
(laurel and i are also both nashville folks
yet had to come to SA to meet)

lord nelson, me,
and my very own special
don't eat here but take home
so your kids will dig in to it the second you walk in the door
birthday cake

the beautiful ladies who celebrated with me!
thank you girls for joining me
on such a perfectly scrumptous afternoon!


1 year ago TODAY
April 15
we received THE CALL
changed our lives...

we were introduced to 
a 7 month old beauty

and oh the joy 
she has brought to us.

we love you baby girl!

Monday, April 11, 2011

a birthday

i had a birthday. my first one on the continent of africa.
my first one with the most incredible,
only God could have dreamed up this,

i missed my mom more than i thought i would.
and my sister.
and sis in laws.
and well, my family....all of them.
and my best buds back in TN.

i opened a present
sent with love,
back in february,
and still managed to remain wrapped
with the
"do not open until april 11" note.
it was from my mom
i LOVE it mom!

God gave me the most beautiful, sunny, warm day
and those who know me best,
know how happy this makes me.

i took a long walk and soaked in my
year behind and year ahead.
i thanked God for both.

my oldest 2 kids brought me the most precious gifts.
gifts my very own mom told me about before i ever had kids of my own.
gifts that i had shared with my mom when i was little and ones she told me meant more than anything.
she was right. i couldn't understand then,
but i understand now.
gifts that they found, created
made straight from the heart and
all on their own.
these treasures i receive at various celebrations and they always make me teary.
i got 3 wooden animals, a 50 cent piece,
a porcupine quill, a red heart silly band, to name a few...
and 2 of the most precious handmade cards.

God painted the most beautiful sunset we have seen yet
since being in SA.
pink, pink perfectly wrapped present from Jesus...
a  sunset
that we gathered upstairs as a family to watch.

i received the coolest
bought from the street vendors,
been wanting for quite some time

i am so thankful for the birthday wishes
by so many
who took time to send me sweet, inspiring, thoughtful

my birthday
was blessed
and so am i.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


feels like i have been a bit on a break from blog world.

no real reason.

well maybe,

it has something to do with
the 3 pictured above
and the 1 below...
(who will join this pallet fun as soon as she possibly is allowed)

the 3 have been off school this week
and they,
along with little miss
have kept momma quite busy.

love our time and all our adventures.
so blessed by this zoo crew.

there has been much merrymaking ...
hikes, beach, aquarium,
waterfall, game nite, sleeping all together on pallet,
and more...

but after something like 10 days
(whose really counting, right...)
this momma is tired
and ready for our routine again.

Monday, April 4, 2011


this beauty has changed me. she has changed our little family in the most incredible ways. her uniqueness and personality. her smile and laugh and puckered kisses. her adoration of her sister. her bonds with her brothers. her friendliness. her attachment to her mommy. the precious love she and her daddy share. 

she is  a flower unfolding from a not-so-easy beginning. and she is beautiful.

a breath of joy and love from the heavens. 
and she keeps me on my toes.

never a day goes by that i don't sit in awe and gratitude that we were chosen to be her parents, her family. watching her as she giggles with barron as they hide under the covers. or as her biggest brother sneaks in to get her from her nap. or sissy arranging neatly a mini nail salon where nails and toes are painted along with smudged polish all around. 

we can't remember life before. life before 9 months ago today when she quietly, seriously, hesistantly first came into our arms. 

bristol pistol. you have changed us. 
and we are blessed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

one of those...

it seemed this week,
 that once again,
when the knot was tied 
and i was hanging at the end of my rope
with no where else to go,
 i remembered... 
God has got me.
and it was then,
when i turned it all over to Him, 
that BAM
peace, beauty, joy, love
all came rushing in.


our weekly fun times at one of the local township kids clubs

beach fun with the precious boy our family mentors

...sorry for the grainy pictures. they are from my phone and well, it was the best i could do...

in other lankford news...

we have finished the first term of school. excelling in our studies and making many school buddies!
there has been play dates and sleep overs.

the tunnels have produced abundantly. and the bakery " tastily". there is awesome, mind boggling details in the making.

we are looking forward this week to a break from the daily school routine to do some fun family adventures when Joe can break away from his duties.

life in Africa continues to be blessed. there is not a day that goes by that we don't thank God for calling us here on this incredible journey.