Thursday, December 12, 2013

Carmex Cuties!

I'm back with some new Carmex news. This time, it's pretty fun. So get ready!

Start HERE. It's just 7 questions and it's fun. You like fun, right?

Now that you've finished that, my answer was Chic. I know, I'm laughing too! But I guess unstyled hippie wasn't an option. Gotta love it!

I've talked about the Moisture Plus options before and they are my go to lip goodie now. And now the folks at Carmex are making them cute. I'm thinking stocking stuffers.

Hope you enjoyed this little fashion beats going to the mall! BUT WAIT-THERE:S MORE!

Leave a comment telling me which style you are from the quiz above and you could get this cute little set, too! My generous friends at Carmex love spreading the love. I'll do a random drawing the 20th.

peace and Merry Christmas!

Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer

So the people at CleanSmart contacted me about trying their new alcohol free hand sanitizer. So I said yes, sure, and they sent me a free sample.

I'm not an authority on hand sanitizers but I have enjoyed their product. I will assume it's killing germs, I can't see them. But what I can tell is my hands aren't dry after use, there are no strong smells and I don't feel any residue after using.

Right now, it's only available online, HERE.

I like the idea of less chemicals, no odor, alcohol free and gentle. With cold and flu season upon us, try it out and see what you think.

If you'd like to try it, know me in real life and we'll see each other soon, I've got a sample for you, too. Hit me up.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

As life moves by at an ever-increasing pace, pause...look thankful.
I'll join you. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

I love to live life with you.

This morning I was catching up on some reading and came across these two articles I'd saved for later. Although they aren't really related, today they were for me. I'm in a gr8fulg state of mind. 

These are dedicated to my husband of 30 years, the most wonderfully boring man ever (read the articles) and to my daughters. I've just loved watching you love, live, dance, play, achieve, fail, BE.  

I'm praying each one of you reading this will be reminded of someone in your life in each of these articles and you'll shed a tear, too. 


Redefining Boring

6 Words You Should Say

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Don'ts

Have you ever heard this quote?

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”  
Shel Silverstein

I think I've listened to the don'ts most of my life. Seemed to me the church especially was very, very good at giving a list of don'ts to live by. And I listened, boy, did I listen. Looking back I see so many things I could've done I didn't, could've tried but didn't, wanted to do but didn't. I had the don'ts down cold.

Then I turned 30 and I really met Jesus. 

And then I moved from being a church person to a Jesus follower. 

Now my list of tries, dones, and wanted to's has grown significantly, but in a way I'd never imagined. I've traveled more, tried more, explored more and let more people in. Anything can happen, child. Anything can be...

This week, I was hit with the reality that some don'ts aren't bad. They are don'ts for a reason. 

Don't let your eyes rest on the problem, look up.
Don't let yourself become defeated, reach up.
Don't let your tongue be out of control, shut up.

And there are so many others, but you get the idea. And then I reread the quote above...

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”  
Shel Silverstein

He only says to listen to them, not to make them the rule. I like that. I don't regret the don'ts, I'm sure they have kept me from things I didn't need to be in anyway. That's ok. But moving forward, I think I'll just listen because Anything can happen, child. Anything can be... 

Sounds a lot like  Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finish the Race

Last night, I was reminded of a truth I sometimes forget. I was in attendance at my niece Emily's volleyball game. During the second set, Em jumped up at the net, a girl from the opposing team slipped under the net and Em landed on the other girl's foot causing her to roll her ankle. Em yelled, tears started falling and she limped off the court. An ibuprofen, a significant taping, a tighter ankle brace and a couple of minutes later, she was back in the game.

 Here are some things you need to know. Emily doesn't cry. She doesn't feel sorry for herself. She bucks up, gets up and gets back to it. For her to yell and then tears to fall means it HURT! For her to get out for only a short time, get it taken care of and get back in the game, doesn't surprise anyone who knows her. She's a tough cookie, a great team member and a young woman of strong character.

Am I?

Am I always willing to get back in the game even if it hurts? Am I willing to put the good of the team ahead of my own pain? Am I willing to finish the race?

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 
II Timothy 4:7

I know I want to and I know sometimes I do. Only because of the strength of the Lord inside me. Only because He ran the race first and is standing at the finish line encouraging me forward, every day. 

Last night, Em scored the final 3 points to win the game with her team! It was hard fought for them all and they played together like champions. I'm just a little proud of this niece of mine and the lesson I was reminded of while watching her triumph last night. 

So proud of you, Emily! Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to keep running. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Zambia 2013...last day

Day eight: We're up early again, not because we had to be but because Ellen doesn't keep track of the time and she got bored. Have I mentioned my roommate is an insomniac? She has done very well in letting me sleep for the most part, her kindle helps. My warning of imminent death if I couldn't sleep may also have been a motivation. I also mentioned to her that she would need to share the room with me unlike in Kenya where her stuff was everywhere, even on my suitcase. She did better and I'm a minimalist so it worked out. You can check out the video for proof of truth.

So we wait this morning to start our llloooonnnnggggg flight home. As I hear the news of the Nairobi airport on fire, terrorists are suspected, I have to wonder if this will impact our flights. I guess we'll see. I can't believe it's over already. I would willingly stay another week, but at a slower place. We'll see what vehicle arrives to take us to the airport. We'll say goodbye to this beautiful country, our laughing friend Fraywell and his lovely wife, Loveness. 

Fraywell and Loveness arrived in the Jeep! It was fixed last evening and although it is still running a little rough, needs a tuneup, it is running. We loaded up and arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check-in, have a drink, do a little shopping, and get to our gate. I'm hoping to sleep on the flight from Addis to Washington, we'll see if my body cooperates. 

My sister had given me a ring a couple of Christmases ago with Jeremiah 29:11-13 inscribed in it. I wore it to Zambia instead of my wedding ring but last night I felt very impressed to give it to Loveness. So I did this morning when we had a moment alone and told her I would remember my Zambian sister. I plan to replace the ring, just a simple silver band, because I treasure the gift from my sister and now I'll treasure the memory of where the first ring abides. I am forever grateful for the experience of seeing true African life. It is a hard world for women, without conveniences, old world ideas of women's roles, and little hope for change in the basic areas. Even with some limited modern conveniences, even the smallest tasks are time-consuming. Cooking, cleaning, bathing, managing a home just takes more time with the lack of clean water, electricity, and things we don't even think about.

So we made it to the airport, did a little shopping, got a replacement band for my silver one with little geckos on it. It's wide and I love it! Finished up some gift buying, I think I'm covered. Our flight took off on-time and the biggest blessing of all, we were in business class! Our first flight from Addis to Lusaka we were in coach and by the time we landed my feet were huge and I had impressions in my knees from the seat in front of me. So very tight. But this time, room to spare, no swelling, no indentions and a much easier flight. Thank you God for this treat. 

When we arrived in Addis, we were told which terminal to go to and as we walked off the plane, there was a bus. It took us to baggage claim, we found a sign directing us to our terminal, and after many questions, found our gate. I think the lack of communication is the caveat in most international travel, at least in Africa. Bathrooms with no paper, shopkeepers who tell you one thing and gate agents who tell you something different, the most intimate pat down I've ever had at a security gate and the longest line we've encountered all to get to our gate. I think in light of Nairobi, things are tighter than usual and we are headed to the US. 

We get to the gate and then we wait...last group to board, some seat mixups and we're on our way to Washington. Very little sleep, very long flight, and some major wackado hair. Of course that is par for the course, I forgot my blow dryer and have been wackado hair woman all week. At least it is sort of clean, Ellen's goal for this trip was to not wash her hair the whole time we were gone. She succeeded. Her hair is a great deal longer than mine, but the thought makes me itchy.

I've discovered something else about my friend, she is Peter Pan. She is also a major nester and rule breaker. And the ultimate Oma. A heart for women and children, she has reveled in her time with the Zambian women. I was a little afraid she wouldn't come home. But she did and is now applying to be my permanent traveling companion for all Africa reviews. We might have to compromise on the hair-washing thing.....

I'm really dehydrated, my skin looks like alligator skin. I know I haven't consumed as much water as I normally do. With hours on the road and hours on the plane and sketchy bathroom facilities or none at all, I refrained from drinking during travel. I feel dried up, everything is staticky, and I can't wait to get home and take a shower, drink some water and maybe, eat something Mexican. Or maybe some BWW....we'll see who comes to the airport. We layover in DC, fly to Houston and layover some more and then to OKC. I'm sad to leave Zambia but I'm very ready to stop flying and to see my family. I'll have to take them with me next time.

As I reflect on the trip, I am just grateful. I never knew what an adventure my life would be and I wouldn't change anything. Thank you God for such an incredible existence. Never let me forget their faces.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zambia 2013....more

Day 5: Up at 4:15, we left Lima Garden at 4:45 to take Charles to the bus station. Now bus stations are sketchy even in OK, but add in the African dynamic and it's an adventure. People everywhere, busses everywhere, horns honking, men acting almost like carnies to hock their bus tickets, and cars coming and going all in a parking lot the size of a small business lot in OK. We dropped Charles off and in the darkness, headed to Livingstone, I presume...sorry, couldn't resist.

Getting out of town was as normal as any African journey in town. Sparce street lights, traffic, walkers, taxis, until we reached the end of town and hit the highway construction. So yeah...for many miles it was one way traffic. They would stop one direction and allow the other direction to go and then switch. Just as we came out of that we were diverted to a dirt road for many miles. At one point, Fraywell says he has never gone this way before. It's dark, no signs, much traffic and our driver is wondering if we're headed the right direction. And a lot of semis, a LOT! Instead of wide load, the signs on the oversized trucks here say ABNORMAL. As you can imagine, we got several giggles out of that. I'm pretty sure every time Fraywell sees one now, he'll think of us.

The good news, we were headed the right direction and met back up with the highway after 20 or so kilometers of ungrated dirt road. Most of my fillings are still in my head I'm pretty sure. So we turn south again and head to Livingstone. We enter the Manunu Hills and I'm transported temporarily back to the Arbuckle mountains of OK. Have I mentioned the dirt here is red like home? Watching the sunrise over the mountains was a special enjoyment. I love the trees of Africa. The Baobob is my favorite with its huge trunk, many of the trees here bloom in bright colors and the sweeping umbrellas of the Acacia trees are like lace against the sky. School children walking alongside the highway makes my breath catch. It is their everyday and yet to see small children walking alongside a highway where cars are driving 100KM an hour is startling to me and yet it's just what they do. Sometimes they see me and we wave at each other bringing smiles to us all.

As I'm heading to see the seventh wonder of the world, I'm in awe of the opportunities I've had in my life, I want to always be grateful for this great adventure. 

So the sights and smells of Africa are intriguing. These sweet people are concerned about keeping their cars in clean, pristine condition. They wipe them down at the end of every day, car washes are prolific and yet throw their trash out of the window as they drive along. Keeps the car clean but covers the countryside in garbage. And with water being a premium, although their cars are clean, their bodies are ripe. Not dirty necessarily, at least visibly. But the scent of an African man at the end of the day is quite, well, full? Imagine a man having freshly mown the lawn, chopped the wood and taken out the trash in his  Sunday clothes giving you a hug. Now you're getting it. And it's winter here so there is most likely a jacket on top. The only benefit is with the dusty air and lack of catalytic converters, most of the time my nose is stopped up. And my heart is stronger than my sense of smell, I genuinely love the people!

I have discovered my true worth here though. In the front seat of the car , I am almost a guaranteed wave through at the plentiful police stops along the highways. You see an orange cone and you begin to slow down for ahead the police are in the middle of the road checking drivers licenses, tax stickers, breath for drinkers, or other violations. Probably more than  20 stops so far, we've been waved through all but 2. Fraywell says the police want me to go home and send everyone to Zambia. I totally will, it's beautiful here and the people are lovely. They speak English well, the kwacha are easy to understand.  $100 kwacha =$20 American. Even I can do that math. 

So we arrived in Livingstone and I'm immediately struck by how clean it is. The UNWTO is having their 20th conference here and they are putting on the show for them. The streets lines are painted, the sellers have been moved out, the streets are swept and clean. There is a lot of construction racing to be finished and the markets are well stocked and ready. In two weeks, Livingstone will be full! 

Our first day here we got more rest than expected. We were anticipating reviewing 14 National Missionaries in the afternoon and then a visit with a friend of Fraywells. Our regional leader showed up and said he had sent the men to rest because he thought we would be tired. We were not happy about this and asked him to try and reschedule them for that evening. He said he would call them. We did not hear from him until late in the evening, he had gone to play golf. See? We aren't really so different.

As he came by that evening, Fraywell had a stern talk with him and said the men needed to be at our place, ready for interviews by 8am. Not only were they there, but several arrived early. This was very good. We finished the reviews, our regional director apologized for the previous day and we changed clothes to go.

Day six: We struck out through Livingstone toward Victoria Falls. It is truly a wonder! The sound and sight of it are awe inspiring. The baboons in the park just running around add a special humor. At this time of year, the falls are not at their fullest so you don't have to wear raingear. We did however get plenty damp from the rising mist. It's a little bit of a hike but very pleasurable! 

After leaving the falls we went shopping. I must admit this wears me out. I'm not a shopper in America but to have to haggle over every price, be called into every shop, be best friends with every shop owner and to be called mama by strangers all day is exhausting. The handicrafts and artwork are beautiful. The process to bring them home. Not so much. But I got the mama discount for almost everything and although I could have haggled longer, I feel good with what I did. If I paid 5 kwacha too much here and there, I hope it is a blessing.

We returned to our guest house, the nicest one we have stayed in so far for a short rest. Then on to Christopher's home. He is a retired government worker and friend of Fraywells. We walked around the corner from where we were staying and entered his compound. Christopher purchased a piece of land and built his house in the middle. He then built 4 rental units around the back of the property, 2 duplexes. It is a large home with large rooms but even though the house is less than two years old, it is like much of the construction here, very poor. 

So even though Christopher was suffering with malaria, he was a gracious host. We started with juice and biscuits. Conversation was plentiful and diverse. His daughter, Katie, was cooking all this time. We got there at 4. Dinner was served around 7, and after-dinner yogurt and fruit finished around 8:30. We were given a tour of the home and admired some of his sand art. He insisted on giving one piece to Ellen because he had two alike. As we were leaving his home, he gave me and Fraywell each 100 kwacha because he couldn't let us leave with only one having a gift. Americans could learn much from Africans.

I feel like all we have done is eat. It is hard when people with so little honor you by feeding you. You feel obligated to eat each time and to eat it all and they want you to have your fill, so they keep passing the bowls. And pop is a big treat here, especially cold ones. And there is always one waiting.

This is shima. Basically like grits without the liquid. Served at every meal. 

I will leave Africa having gained weight. I need to make my peace with that.

Day seven: We left early again this morning for our 500 km journey home.  

The return trip was without incident. It was hot for the first time since we've been here. Road construction made our journey slower and much dustier. At one point the dust was so thick, we had to roll up the windows and ride with only the vent blowing. we were sweaty! The Chinese have built good roads here.  The Zambians have paid for them in mineral rights. The Chinese are smart and one day we may all need to speak their language. 

We pulled into Arcades, a local shopping center much like an American strip mall. Exchanged some money, we had spent all the kwacha we had. When we were ready to leave, Fraywell started the car, we heard a thump and a bad noise. Fraywell couldn't turn the steering wheel and we found the belt on the ground. After Fraywell, Ellen, a security guard, a taxi driver and a passerby looked it over it was determined that a pulley had broken and the belt had come off. Fraywell sent us home in a taxi and he left to hunt down the part. I hope he got some rest last night, it's been a wild week.

Ellen helping Fraywell fix the car. If you know Ellen, you know why this is funny! 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Zambia 2013...cont.

Day three:We have so much choice in America. It is difficult for us to be gracious in other countries. Today the church people had left cold cokes for their special guests and pastor for after the service. In America, we just say no thank you if we don't want something. However, in Africa, you say yes, thank you. It is their way of hospitality. Even those with very little will offer you something and you cannot offend them by refusing. I am trying to just put aside my American habits and live in this culture. It feels strange to be an honored guest everywhere I go. I want to say I'm just me, doing the job God has given me to do. But they see an American white woman who is the Director of Reaching Generations, an orphan ministry in 7 countries of Africa. It impresses them...and I am beyond honored. But it is humbling for their lives are so difficult and they work so hard to get through daily living much less work as well. I'm spoiled and life is convenient and I have little to struggle with really. So I thank them all the while praying for God to bless them, help them and keep me forever mindful of this time.

With the agricultural fair in town, service was much smaller than usual. I was unexpectedly called on to pray over the service. Wow, humbled again. When church ended, we (special guests, special preacher Edison Tembo and Fraywell) stood at the door and shook each hand. Only 500 or so, church attendance was down. We then met with Chanda and his mother. He has a large tumor on the left side of his face and eye. After 3 surgeries, it continues to grow back and there is nothing further that can be done. As I looked on him, my heart broke. I cannot imagine an American child just left to live in that condition. But once again, we have choices. Even the poorest among us are blessed.

Tomorrow, day three, we are going to visit two young girls orphaned by a hippo attacking their father's boat. We will stay the night because driving in the dark is dangerous, the elephants like to sleep on the road at night. I'm feeling so many emotions, I'm tired, and so very blessed. Thank you, God, for this special journey. 

Day four: I am wide awake at 2:00 am after a long day. We traveled from Lusaka to Kaoma, about 6 hours, to visit two young orphan girls. They are the daughters of one of our National Missionaries who was killed after preaching the gospel near the Zambezi river. He was in a canoe crossing back after preaching when a hippo capsized his boat and killed him. His wife had died the year before so his sister took the girls in to care for. She is also a widow with a young son, young nephew and now two additional children. As we met with them under a tree, they were so shy and unsure at first. We started talking to them and they warmed up to us. The baby boy began kissing the stuffed dog John had given him. Like any other children. The toys were like Christmas! We began to draw attention and for the sake of the guardian, we said our goodbyes. Thelma and Suthen, the two girls, will hold a special place in my heart, their family has given so much to spread God's word.

Today as we journeyed back we saw water buffalo, zebras, warthogs, baboons, dik dik, impala, kudu, heartbeast, antelope, hyenas, guineas, and elephants! Probably the largest elephant I have ever seen. As large as a tree. We hadn't eaten so we stopped at Mumbaki lodge to have a ham sandwich. Nestled against the banks of the Kafue river, we sat on the balcony and enjoyed the breeze. Our soldier guide Regin joined us. I'm sure he had never been there before and was surprised we included him.  And now we head back to Lusaka. Tomorrow will be another early day, but I should sleep well tonight. We enjoyed dinner at The Arabian Nights in the Arcade shopping center. Although our choices included kudu or impala, I had the Arabian kabobs which were delicious! The first beef I've eaten here that didn't resemble jerky. That includes the chicken.
I enjoyed the conversantion with Charles, Fraywell, John & Ellen. We laughed much about about Fraywell's BIG fish. As we returned to the hotel, the children alongside the road saw us coming as started waving and shouting Mzungu (white person) and we smiled and waved back. My short taste of celebrity although it happens almost everywhere we go, I guess our white faces are a novelty. And I was right, it was a good nights sleep, even though short.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zambia 2013

I'm going to share my journal from the trip here on my blog, hope you "travel" with me. 

Day one: We landed and had dinner, just Tandoori chicken and chips at the mall. I am in Africa, right?With a large agricultural event in Lusaka from August 1-5 everything is crowded. Parking, roads and people are full! Tomorrow is also a full day, starting early.

Day two: I am attending an African funeral of a woman 5 years my junior. Her 5 children are now without their mother, and her family without their daughter and sister. The deaconesses from the church prepared her body, attended to the service with their singing and weeping and will bury her at the cemetery. A white pine box, simply made,  and her life is now complete. Her oldest daughters wept so hard as they passed the body, they couldn't continue to stand and were helped out by the women. I had held my tears until then but they flowed freely at this sight. She is in heaven and although I mourned her having never met her, I will meet her one day.

After the funeral, I met 82 orphans, their guardians and overseers. It is unimaginable the joy which comes from seeing your work in person. I do not have the ability to see my daily work and the impact it has on a regular basis. Papers do not hug you, thank you, kiss you, or make you smile! It has been so good to be here.

We then went to see 12 orphans and welcome them into our program. They live in a village called Soweto with a population of around 400,000. probably the size of Warr Acres in OK. little huts and houses everywhere, and children as far as the eye could see. Muzungu (white people) draw quite a crowd. They were shy and in shock. When I announced they did not have to wait until January, there were smiles and whispers and tears. With profound thanks, they came forward and received their first month of support. Many couldn't even look at me, many had tears. I encouraged them, prayed over them and she'd my own tears for the hundreds I walked by on the way out whom I could not yet offer help.

We shared dinner with Fraywell and his family. Loveness was a sweet hostess and so excited to see a woman from Reaching Souls. Fraywell, when asked what was his favorite thing about her, said her frankness for it made him a better man. She loved most his persistence and love for her and her children. They shared their love story, Fraywell took us by the place he had first seen her on our way home to Lima Garden and it was such a special time.

Tomorrow, church and rest. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I needed this today. Thank you God for knowing and seeing.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957):

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross.

They had never known a man like this Man—there had never been such another.

A prophet and teacher

who never nagged about them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized;

who never made arch jokes about them, never treated either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”;

who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension;

who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be “feminine” or jeered at them for being female;

who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend;

who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious.

I love this! Thanks Dorothy.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Reflecting on dads...

Yesterday was Father's Day. And I've been in a little bit of a funk about it.

I have a great husband and he's tried really hard to be a great dad. I appreciate his efforts and so do our girls. I am grateful for his struggles to do the best job for our children having never seen it from his own dad. God is good.

But that isn't where the funk comes from.

Looking back at his dad and my dad, I feel cheated. I don't have those rosy, fun, uplifting dad stories that many people have. Neither of us do. Our dads were lazy, selfish and uninvolved. More than that, they caused great pain by putting themselves ahead of their wives (ex-wives) and children. They left, many times. They created holes of regret and abandonment in our lives. Even into our adulthoods and our children's lives, they created places of hurt. Sometimes I'm really angry still, sometimes I'm really jealous and sometimes, I'm just in a funk. That would be today.

It's hard to admit that two men who are no longer living still have such impact. Especially when I do have so much to be grateful for. But yesterday was a reminder that I missed out and I don't like it. I wish it could've been different. I wish they had chosen to serve, protect and love their families. I wish they would have decided to have fun with us, invest in us, support us and stay with us. But they didn't.

There is good news. At some point in my life, I began to see God through the haze of my earthly father. I began to look to Him for the everything my dad hadn't given me, hadn't done for me. I began to learn of His love for me and see my own dad in a different light. My dad didn't do the best he could, but I haven't always either.

I'm still healing. Another onion layer pulled back and another chance to let God clean out more gunk. Search me Oh God and know my heart.

I'm just glad I don't have to lean on Hallmark for my sentiments. :-)


Monday, May 20, 2013

We are Oklahomans

We are Oklahomans.

We are survivors.

Whether by man's hand or random disaster, we will not be defeated, we will thrive.

We hurt, we pray, we pull together and together we recover. 

We will not be taken down, put down, stay down or throw another down. 

We will get up, stand up, and pull each other up until we're all back up. 

The pioneer spirit which founded our great state is alive and well.

Today we've been called on once again to rise up and join arms with our brothers and sisters and get to work making life better again for our hurting and displaced family members.

We will recover. We will rebuild. We will see another bright day for us all.

We are Oklahomans. 


Monday, April 01, 2013

My skin is saved...

Yes, this is a Carmex post but for real you guys, I didn't think my skin would survive winter.

I got this care package from my friends at Carmex. It had all of this in it.

And honestly, it couldn't have come at a better time. I felt like my skin was so dry (how dry was it?), it was so dry I understood how fish feel out of water. ALL SCALES! (groan) So once again, Carmex to the rescue. I think I maybe addicted to the healing cream. It gets in and changes the texture of my skin and I don't have to put it on over and over. A couple of times a day and my hands feel better. I like the lotion as well, maybe for summer since it isn't as heavy.

So if you've survived winter but you aren't sure if your skin has, leave a comment*, tell me your name and tell me how dry your skin is. My friends at Carmex want to save your skin, too. The two goodies I got, they'll send you if by random number generator, you are chosen.

No charge, no catch, no gimmicks. Just hope for scaly skin. :-)


*For US citizens only. I was provided these products at no charge by Carmex.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thoughts for Today

I've been thinking about turning 50 next February. There are a few things I would like to do before then, only to have a deadline to get them done. 

But 50 before 50, although a clever title, is not really practical for me given the pace life already runs at.

So I think 12 before 50 is much more attainable. Plus thinking of 50 things stresses my brain. 12 I can handle.

Here goes:

1.   I want to take a trip with my husband to celebrate 30 years together.
2.   I want to walk on African soil and hug African people.
3.   I want to sit court-side at a Thunder game. Or pretty dang close. 
4.   I want to travel with friends.
5.   I want to travel with family.
6.   I want to hit the 100 pounds lost mark.
7.   I want to ride a motorcycle.
8.   I want to read 12 books.
9.   I want to become more skilled at what I do. Work smarter, not harder.
10. I want to make more time for art.
11. I want to write a book.
12. I want to be a blessing to everyone I come in contact with. Even if it's just a smile. 

I think this is it. I'll be 50 on February 26th. Check back with me and we'll see how it goes.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Helping the Kids

Most of you know that my day job is directing an orphan ministry in Africa. Every day I see the faces of children with no hope, no help, advanced trauma needs and few advocates. Do you know that in Oklahoma we have some of the same issues?

The Human Services Commission for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) was abolished by the voters of Oklahoma on Nov. 6, 2012 with the passage of State Question (SQ) 765.

This is a good thing, however the next step has yet to be taken.

Previously, the Commission had oversight of OKDHS, but the passage of SQ 765 means that the Director of OKDHS makes all decisions for the agency and reports directly to the Governor. Four citizen advisory panels will report to the Director and provide advice and recommendations on Administration issues, Aging Services, Children and Family Services, and Developmental Disabilities Services. 

Each advisory panel will have five members, with one member on each panel appointed by:
the Governor, Mary Fallin - Contact her here
the Speaker of the House, Rep T.W. Shannon-
the Senate Pro Tempore, Rep Mike Jackson –
the Minority House Leader - Rep. Scott Inman –
the Minority Senate Leader – Rep. Ben Sherrer –
As appointments are made, the names of panel members will be published on the OKDHS website.

I tell you all of this because I know two women who need to be on these advisory panels and I need your help.

Michelle Kelley and Shelley Cadamy Munoz have seen the system from the inside out. They have both been foster parents and are adoptive parents of children who have experienced trauma and have been through the DHS system. These women are staunch advocates for children and for the system around them. Their passion and their skills could be an invaluable asset to these advisory panels.

I think its important to note and I am asking:

1) Who is being considered?

2) When will it be announced?

3) There are no priorities for DHS listed for the House - is this because they consider the issue done? But if they haven't named the panels how can the issue be done? 
Oklahoma House Priorities listed here.

Taking care of kids should be a non-partisan issue, so regardless of how these women vote they are in it for the kids. Shelley has a background in organizational development - this would be helpful in a culture change situation. Michelle has a background in marketing and this would be helpful in public awareness, foster and adoptive parent recruitment, and brand credibility building. 
So here is what I'm asking you to do. MAKE SOME NOISE! Help me spread this on social media, send a email to the officials listed above, make a  phone call, just do something. We need to let our elected officials know that languishing in a place of indecision in unacceptable and we want to see action. We want to see these advisory panels staffed and in place. We want to see the kids in our DHS system made a priority. Without us, they have nothing. With us, there is hope for a different today, tomorrow and forever in their futures. Make the effort, make a difference. 
Thank you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

It is this easy...

There isn't really anything I can add other than just do it. Be nice to someone who can do nothing for you in return. Be Jesus to a world who has lost sight of him.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Mrs. B

I recently went to Chandler, OK to watch a marionette show. I took with me 2 of my favorite ladies. Mrs. B and my mom.

Mrs. B created the marionettes used in the show. They are historical characters and a work of love. Most were created from just looking at pictures, translated to 3-D through her amazing imagination and creativity. From the choice of the wood to the last stitch in the outfit, Mrs. B completed this project so children in Chandler could learn OK history in an interesting and educational way.

The museum in Chandler is quaint and charming. Worth the trip to step back in time. I loved being with mom and Mrs. B for this trip. It was so special to see her honored by the museum and the children whose lives she has blessed.

Like mine. Mrs. B has been in my life all of my life. She has known my mother since she was 16. I remember coming to OK and going to visit her. Always felt so welcomed, loved, and pretty close to perfect in her eyes.

She has supported us in the fun times, the hard times and in the in-betweens. I'm so glad my girls have had the chance to know her. 4 generations of friendship. Pretty cool.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Been doing some thinking...

Still going to the gym and brother, it's that time of year! Every treadmill and elliptical is full, the weights are in use, and the machines taken. New Year's Resolutions in full force! I've been going consistently this past year and this January thing is a new experience for me. Trainer Patrick says it will slow down after Valentine's Day. :-)

Anyway, the thinking part. For the first time in a long time, I weigh less than I did this time last year. That is exciting! What's got me thinking is how much time I didn't invest in doing better.

A little before and during...Adrian is journeying, too. 

This year passed so quickly and although I have made changes, I have also allowed myself seasons of laziness. Times where I ate whatever I wanted and decided to sit on the couch instead of moving. I know this will happen and it's ok but I need to let this become something I choose actively, not just because I'm being lazy.

Life changes are hard. I was watching the Biggest Loser and when the doctor was talking to them about uncontrolled diabetes, fatty livers, heart stopping cholesterol,  blocked arteries and such, I felt blessed to know that I'm not there...yet. 

Thank you God for preserving my health for me in spite of me. 

BUT...I don't want to presume upon His great goodness to continue to do so in light of my absolute lack of care of myself. I feel convicted to pursue God's plan for my health. Shifts my whole perspective.  

It is getting better and it will continue to do so. Even if I have to become a morning person.