Our lives are not our own.

Follow our family's journey as we give up the "American Dream" to live and love in Uganda.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old is Old

I turned 32 years old this past week.

It was one of the best birthday's I have ever had. I went to the Women of Faith Conference with my mom, grandma, and oldest daughter. It was so cool to have 4 generations of Jesus followers...What an awesome legacy!

Then our youth group brought their change in for World Malaria Day in honor of my birthday. We raised $194.00 and World Vision doubled our donation amount for mosquito nets and medication. So exciting to see kids care! Autum my 2nd oldest daughter gave me three dollars and change for the cause. It was a VERY special birthday gift because she has a very hard time parting with her money :)

We celebrated Sunday after church with Jeremy's side of the family. I love those Howards! We ate sandwiches, my favorite food, and played at the park. It was so fun to play with the cousins and I cant believe I have no pictures to show. Bummer!

It was a busy weekend that was followed up with a very crazy Monday.

The Women's Ministry at our church holds a very lovely tea every year. It is always so much fun. This year I spoke alongside two of my dear friends. I wanted to share it with my peeps who weren't able to attend.

The link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT6pceF0Sas&sns=em

There are two parts so look for it on the side bar :)

There is not too much to report about Africa. It seems like we are in a holding pattern as far as our travel plans go. We are trying hard to be flexible and patient...two things that don't really come naturally. If you are praying people, will you please keep us in your prayers? Hopefully my next blog post will be more interesting.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Congratulations!...it's a boy and a girl and a girl!

We are still waiting on Birth Certificates for the children that were just adopted. Somehow our paperwork was lost. It took about two weeks to confirm it was lost and to then gather the copies from DFS so it could be resubmitted. Then yesterday I touched base with the vital statistics worker in Carson City and she told me it would be another two weeks for them to be processed.


I am so grateful for what I have learned in my recovery process. Last year I would have just cried and gotten overwhelmed. This year I know how to ask for what I want! I realize many of you already know how to do this but for me it has not been so easy...
I explained to the nice lady we need passports to travel to Africa to be missionaries and she said...No Problem! I will type them up today and send them out first thing tomorrow.


Even though we have had our kids for about 3 years now I can not wait to have their birth certificates! It is the physical proof I need that we are done with the "system" and can move on with our life.

On that note I will shamelessly plug our amazing friends. Ray and Clare Biggerstaff are missionaries to Las Vegas. They have been a HUGE support to us through the roller coaster of fostering and adopting our kids. They have worked very hard to bring this informational meeting to people interested in fostering. If you have EVER felt the tug on your heart for something like this please consider attending. An informational meeting is just that...informational. Bring your laundry list of questions and concerns and ask the people who have the answers.

I pray that many of you will ...
Meet a need.
Share your Home.
Be open to what God has for your family.
Tangibly share the love of Jesus with our cities most vulnerable children.

We are so glad we did.

Monday, April 19, 2010

aint no olan mills...

We had a wonderful time taking family photos with a dear friend and fabulous photographer.
Thanks Jenny!!!!
Here are 2 of my favorites...I couldn't wait to share.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Blah's

I have a very LOUD family. Today my ears actually hurt from the noise. We enjoyed our Saturday with no obligations. It was the first time in a very long time there were no games, no birthdays, no youth events....it was heaven. But the Blah's tracked me down this afternoon.

I am a visionary. My dear friend tells me I don't live in reality and that is how I am able to do the things that I do. Some day's it reality hits me like a ton of bricks. This was one of those days.

The reality of moving six children to a foreign country.
Figuring out where we will live.
How our oldest son will visit on his own.
Deciding how we will educate our kids while we are there.
Wondering about transportation and furniture.
What the heck will we eat?

And that doesn't even leave me time to think about malaria, worms, and dirty water......


I went to church tonight with a heavy heart. I was wishing I could be invisible because I feel like a total freak show! But GOD IS SO GOOD. He always knows what I need. A sweet friend stopped me in the hall and told me our family was an inspiration...and he really knows us. The real us. The blended family, the fighting, the dirty house having real us. Not the blog us. He knows that we are real people...sometimes barely hanging on to our sanity.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (New Living Translation)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

This, what we are doing, is all God.

He will have to provide everything!

Passports....(we still have no birth certificates for 3 kids)
Luggage....(we only have 1 real suitcase)
Schooling for the kids

And I am not worried one bit.
I remember tonight who I am...sinner
And who He is......Savior

If He can use us. He can use anybody.

What is He calling you to do?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pictures and Paint

Everyday we try do do something to work towards the goal of Africa. There is obviously much to do...
Tonight we took the kids to Costco to take their passport photos. They were so excited. The girls had to curl their hair and change their clothes. We will take the three blond kids on Friday to submit the paperwork for their passports. We have had a snag for the other three as their birth certificate requests were lost in Carson City. Praise the Lord I have that is squared away and I will be mailing the new requests off tomorrow morning. The lady in charge will have them to us in about a week. Again the night is bittersweet because I wish there was one more photo in the group. We are still praying God will smooth out the rough spots and heal the hurting places as we follow His leading. Keep our oldest son and both sides of his family in your prayers as you pray.

The next bit of news is rather embarrassing but I believe in full disclosure. If you have ever met me you know that I have fabulous hair. My amazing hair paintings have seen me through all of the darkest times in my life from the age of 23 to now. Steph B has kept me cool as I gained weight, grew older, added to my brood and even began driving a 12 passenger van. My hair has been my "crown and glory" and many times people stop me in public places to ask me where I get it done. I say all of this so you can know and understand my grief. Today I had my precious friend and hairdresser color my hair back to its natural color. How she knows what that color is I have no idea. But here I sit tonight with, ladies and gentlemen, one color hair. Well, as close to one color hair as I have had in like 9 years. Giving up this part of myself was painful. I know, I am shallow. But seriously. I cried.Thanks Steph. Thanks Costco photo center guy. Thanks Jeremy for not laughing at me while I grieved my loss. Thanks God for having everything under control.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Where Ever He Leads I'll Go

I am having a hard time writing this post because it makes what I am about to say real. While God is giving me peace, there is still much sadness in my heart over our recent decision. Some of you already know that Jeremy will be finishing the school year as the youth pastor of Green Valley Christian Center and then we will be moving on. We are so thankful for the support and love that has been shown to us from the pastoral staff and our friends. We consider GVCC our family and it is hard to imagine our life apart from it. We have experienced so much growth and healing from the Lord because of the faithfulness of Pastor Gary and Meg and the ministries that we have been apart of in our time there. God has made it clear to us that it is time for us to follow Him in a new direction. Most people who know us know our heart for orphans. It is what keeps us awake at night. It is what gave us the conviction we needed to become foster parents and then to adopt our precious children. It is this passion, that God gave both me and Jeremy, that is moving us to Africa.

Africa. We are moving to Africa. It still sounds ridiculous.

I don't know about you all but there is this thing that happens to me when I feel God leading me in a new direction. First I am introduced to something that really breaks my heart. Then I begin to hear about it more and more. Then suddenly it is on commercials, or on the radio, topics of discussion from friends, or in my daily devotions. It seems I can't get away from it. So I ask God what does He want from me...what is my part in this? Then once I know I can't not know. And the fear of doing what God is calling me to do becomes much smaller than the regret I would feel if I did not heed the call.

I totally trust God.

But it doesn't mean my heart is not breaking. Why would God have me and Jer go love orphans knowing it means leaving our oldest son here. Why would God ask us to put our children's lives in danger from disease and dirty water? I always come back to this. He won't ask me to do something He hasn't already done himself.

God gave us His Son. Jesus gave up His life.

My life is not my own.

So despite the tears, and pain, and fear, I will follow God.

When I was little I used to sing this song. It has a whole new meaning for me now.

Where Ever He Leads, I'll Go

"Take up thy cross and follow Me," I heard my Master say;
"I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today."
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

It may be thru' the shadows dim, Or over the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him, Wherever He leadeth me.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

My heart, my life, my all I bring To Christ who loves me so;
He is my Master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I'll go.
Wherever He leads I'll go, Wherever He leads I'll go,
I'll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I'll go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garage Sale

Can there be anything more exposing than a garage sale? Shlepping out all of your used items. Parking them in your driveway for all of the neighborhood to pilfer through and name their price. I am so tired this morning as I sit in my lawn chair typing this post. It is 6:25 am and I am sitting braless with yesterdays makeup with all of my earthly treasure scattered around me. Yep. Exposed. And I am not sure I like what I see....

I am a bargain shopper. I rarely ever buy something that is not on sale. I try to buy used ie; Craigslist or Ebay when possible. I consider myself thrifty. But looking around at my Garage Sale I feel nothing but REMORSE, GUILT, and a side of REGRET.

Matthew 6:19-21 (New Living Translation)

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

I feel those things because I can see what has been so important to be. I have been controlled by these "things". Buying them, washing them, finding a place to store them. Needing more, wanting more, shopping for the best price so I can afford MORE. And for what? So I cna sit out here in my PJ's freezing my butt off peddling my wares to the highest bidder. I have a word for that...Bullshhh. Use your imagination.

I am shallow. So very shallow. I have tried to live my life based on the Bible. And in this area I have FAILED. Big time. What I do know is that God will forgive me. I will have another chance. And I will make a better choice.

I am grateful for this journey. I am grateful God will use my life despite myself. I am grateful my neighbor is not checking out my saggy girls as he leaves for work.... Seriously. If you can't laugh at yourself what else is there?

Anybody want to buy some crap?

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I hate bratty kids.
Here is my definition of bratty...

foot stomping,

attention seeking,


all about ME attitude.

Too bad I just defined MYSELF.

I am not always bratty. Sometimes I am a servant. Sometimes I am patient and kind. Most of the time I am grateful. But this whole week of Spring Break I have been a brat with capital "B".

Our family is going through some big life changes. We have no idea what is going to happen. The not knowing is taking its toll on our family. It is as if we are being held hostage emotionally. (I'm not a drama queen or anything.)It is hard to grieve the loss of our position as youth pastor and the leaving of our church because we are still pastoring and attending for the next few months. We are not really able to prepare for where we are going because WE DON"T KNOW where we will end up.
I find myself stomping my foot at the Lord. I wanna know NOW where we are going and what we will be doing. I want to know how to prepare!!!

My only comfort is found in the Bible and in the lives of many others who have given their lives over to the Lord no matter the cost.

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

Matthew(the Message)
26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Jeremiah 29:11-12
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
Cesar Chavez

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
Mother Teresa

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it:Love your neighbor as yourself

All of these things inspire me. They help me to realize that I am POWERLESS. But My God is POWERFUL.
I trust HIS character.
I trust HIS timing.
I believe in HIS provision.
I know that "Those HE calls, HE also equips."

So I guess I will stop being a brat. At least for a little while.....


About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States