Dec 22, 2010

Just a quick update...

Hi dear ones! I hope this finds you well and enjoying this Christmas week! My schedule got a bit switched up so I'm here at the Glen checking emails, facebook and throwing out a quick update. The past two weeks have flown by. I am (thankfully) feeling way more settled into my role as Small Babies Supervisor. The Aunties I am working with during the day are a joy to be with and helping me get to know my role better. It is so funny how much like a parent I feel. Even on my days off I feel the need to go in and check on everyone, hold my littlest babies and get the report from the Aunties. In the evenings I feel like the mom who is home with the babysitters, trying not to get in their way but I can't help but go back once or twice to check on a crier or a sick baby.

Thank you for those of you who prayed for my little baby boy who was sick. He finished his 7th day of antibiotics day before last. He doesn't have any outward signs of an infection but his breathing is still fast and shallow. His oxygen saturation levels are within a normal range but we are still watching him closely. Thankfully the infection has not spread and the other little man on meds for an allergic skin rash outbreak of sorts and wheezy chest is looking and sounding much better. Please continue to pray that everyone remains healthy and that we would have wisdom as we care for these little ones.

Speaking of little ones, we had a new addition this past week! We received an itty-bitty little boy this week at 9 days old. His mother abandoned him at the hospital but we couldn't get him home until his jaundice had cleared up. When he arrived he was just under 4 pounds! He is long and lanky and I think he looks a bit like Michael Jackson so we call him "MJ" sometimes. For his first few days with us he was having trouble maintaining his body temperature and because he was so new I spent time with him in "kangaroo care". Kangaroo care is when you provide skin-to-skin contact for a premature infant by placing them in nothing but a diaper under your clothing, holding them close and mimicking the womb. In his first week with us he gained weight, is eating well and has enough fat on his body to keep warm. It has been fun having a little one who is so new and little.

Lastly, I wanted to update you on the twins I told you about last time I blogged. Sadly, last week they were returned to their family under some uncertain and possibly unsafe conditions. It is funny how attached I became to them in the two weeks that they were in our care. We had less than 24 hours to say goodbye and sneak in all the last cuddles we could, and believe you me, I got a ton in. When I brought them down to put them in our social workers car she asked me to pray over each of them because she was concerned about where they were headed. As I tearfully prayed over them, the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of Matthew 10:28-31 where we are reminded: "Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul...Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside of your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. " Even though I had no idea where these babies were headed to and for but their Father did and would be with them. Please pray that, if the Lord wills and it is best for them, that they would be returned to our care. Pray that the Lord would preserve their lives and guard their health.

Our Christmas celebration was last night with a White Elephant Gift Exchange Christmas Party last night hosted by the volunteers that have been with us from the World Race. About 20 of us gathered to eat yummy food and do a gift exchange. It was a fun-filled night that finally made it actually feel like Christmas time. I ended up with a new loofah, nail clippers, hair ties and a green crown...very fun and useful! I will be working for the next few days but I promise to wish each of my babies a Happy First Christmas from all of you. I am missing you this season but I feel loved and supported in so many ways. Thank you! XOXXOX

Here are some new pics:

We had a baby doll basket donated to DOH and I borrowed it for a cute photo shoot to come...

Sweet baby feet

Our littlest girl!

Our littlest boy!

Kangaroo Care

Dec 12, 2010

New Arrivals

The last two weeks have brought about a few new arrivals and changes to my adventure here at Door of Hope. The first is that we said goodbye to Hannah, our international volunteer from Sweden. We miss her and her sweet hugs already! But just before we said goodbye to Hannah we said hello to Rochelle who happens to be Jessica’s mother and will be with us until Christmas Eve. It has been such a joy getting to know, love and live in community with these precious women. I am excited to meet all those who will be coming and serving over my year here!

Speaking of hellos, on December 1st around 3:00pm the Aunties at our Baby House 2 collected a basket of laundry after the alarm went off in the baby bin. They set the basket aside to attend to feeding the children and some time later one of the Aunties set out to investigate what had been donated. When she lifted the first blanket she found a set of newborn twins, a little boy and girl! They were only hours old, with their umbilical cords tied off with shoestrings. The little girl, who is only just 4 pounds, was so cold that here hands and feet were blue. Lindsay took them straightaway to the hospital where they were given a clean bill of health and she brought them to us stay here at Baby House 1. What an honor to get to give them first baths, first bottles and first loves. I was working the night shift and sometime around 3:00pm we had a tremendous storm come through town and all I could do was marvel at our God’s bigness as I heard the thunder and rain holding two of His masterpieces in my arms. What a blessed girl am I! These are the first babies that we have processed that have been assigned to stay with us. I have been purposing to go and hold them each day and it has been so fun to watch them grow.

I can’t believe that I get the privilege of witnessing so many firsts. First smiles, first coos, first cuddles and sighs. This week we also welcomed a little girl who was born 10 weeks ago at 27 weeks gestation at just over 2 pounds. Her mother abandoned her at the hospital just a week after she was born and she is just now healthy enough to come home to us. She is now tipping the scales at just 4 pounds. It is crazy to hold and talk to someone so tiny who smiles and coos back at you. She is already filling out, eating 2.5 ounces every 4 hours or so. Apparently at the hospitals here they limit the babies to just less than 1 ounce per feeding! I am hoping to have her plumped up and caught up as soon as possible. I am also trying to hold her as much as possible as well; unfortunately I doubt she had much interaction sitting in a hospital cot for over 9 weeks. I personally thing she looks like a little who from the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Perfect for our December here at Door of Hope.

In the midst of role arranging and budget juggling here at Door of Hope I have been asked to move into the Small Babies Supervisor position here at Baby House 1. This past week was my first week overseeing our Small Baby Room that currently is home to 9 babies as well as the Aunties and Volunteers who care for them around the clock. I will no longer be working the night shift but I will be working 8 to 5, 5 days a week, mostly Monday – Friday but with one Weekend on duty. I will be supervising the babies health, managing medicines and medical conditions, creating and enforcing room protocol, monitoring schedules and feeding amounts, ordering and keeping track of weekly supplies as well as training and shepherding the Aunties and Volunteers scheduled in Small Babies. Needless to say, this week felt like my longest week since I’ve arrived at Door of Hope. Unfortunately the person who was in this position before me left swiftly and was unable to train me this week so I’ve been doing my best to figure out exactly what I’m exactly supposed to be doing on a weekly basis. I am excited for the challenge and I feel very thankful that the Aunties who regularly staff the room have warmly welcomed me and thus far I have only received confirmations that this is a good fit for me. December will be a trial month for me in this position and if all goes well it will become a permanent spot come January.

Part of my job this week was to catch up all the babies on their immunizations and clinic visits. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I toted 6 babies to get their shots. The twins had their first clinic visit, and 4 others had either 6 week or 10 week check ups and/or immunizations. It is still so strange and surreal to be holding down little brown thighs for shot after shot, comforting the pain away and feeling like the bad guy for subjecting them to such “torture”. On Friday when I realized I had one little man to take in for his 6 weeks appointment the Auntie who supervises the Big Babies asked if she could come along with some babies she needed to bring in for their check ups. I informed her of the spots I had available and then headed to the car to put my little guy in his car seat. A few minutes later out tromped out 2 Aunties with two babies apiece! One Auntie sat in the back with two in her arms and the other Auntie sat in the front seat with two on her lap. I realize that there is no law requiring car seats for babies here in South Africa but I could hardly believe that I was towing 5 babies, 2 Aunties and myself to the clinic. Although I only had to drive less than 2 miles, it was still the tensest drive I’ve ever driven. Note to self: next time put your baby in his car seat up front (which still feels intrinsically wrong) so the others can roam around in the back where I don’t have to see them so I don’t have a panic attack.

Please be praying for me as I adjust to this new position. I honestly feel like I have become a mother to 9 babies overnight! Last night I woke up in a cold sweat second-guessing a medicine chart I set up to treat the twin’s thrush. Was the dosage .1 milliliters every 4 hours or 1 milliliter every 4 hours? It took everything within me not to march upstairs and double check the chart at 3:00 in the morning. Everything was fine; p.s., I was just panicking for nothing. But come Friday at 5:20pm when I finally got out of the room I was so tired I was in tears. I think I need to work on letting the babies cry when we are all busy with others and I also need to spend next week evaluating when certain tasks need to fall in my days/week so that I don’t feel like I’m a chicken running around with my head cut off. Please pray that I would have wisdom, discernment and courage as I evaluate what changes and adjustments need to happen. Please pray that all of the babies will thrive under my care and that I can communicate clearly (and slowly) to all the Aunties who speak English as their second language. I am excited for this leadership opportunity and I am confident that the Lord has equipped me for this task but I realize that I need to remember to do things in His strength, leaning on Him for wisdom and guidance and not merely on my experience. Thank you so much for praying for me!!! I am grateful to know that I am in so many of your hearts, thoughts and prayers. I am loving this little ones for you today!

Here are some new pics for your enjoyment:

Here are our six "big" small babies... our three littlest are still in their cots during the day

One of the twins getting "checked in" by Lindsay and Jessica

One of my little men snoozing the afternoon away!

Our littlest baby girl's hand

Here she is sitting on my shoulder

One of my little men snoozing in a bouncy chair

Me and my twinsy-bops!

Me an auntie Betty on her last night working with us

Nov 29, 2010

All work and no play make Nicole a busy girl...

All work and no play make Nicole a very busy girl! It has been a busy first month here at Door of Hope and I have been LOVING it. It's funny how quickly one house and 21 babies can become your whole world when you have limited access to the outside world. The 5 of us international volunteers have become a fast family and fit into a regular routine of working and living together. We enjoy each other's company and spend our evenings watching movies, playing games and talking. One of the girls, Leonie, headed back home to Holland just last night. We were very sad to see her go and will miss her terribly! In preparation for her homecoming we were able to fit in something new for us: a road trip to Durban last weekend and a visit to a local Lion Park and a little place called Monte Casino this weekend. Let the good times roll...

In order to get ourselves to Durban (7 hours away from Jo-berg on the Eastern Coast of Africa) we had to hire ourselves a car. Kate, the Director here at DOH, was able to find us a reasonable rate for a itty-bitty blue 4-door chevrolet. We decided to rent the car for a month while the board works on finding a car for me to purchase come the end of December. We got the car 2 days before our trip to Durban and I had a chance to drive it around town for a few minutes before we left for our adventure. Seeing as I am the only volunteer over the age of 25 I am the sole driver of our little blue car that we have named "Mr. Shue". Those of you who know me well know that driving isn't my favorite thing to do in the world and driving 7 hours on the wrong side of the road to a town I've never been to had me feeling just a bit anxious. We decided that Jess (from New Zealand) should sit up front and help direct me because she's the only one of us who actually regularly drives on the left-hand side of the road. Between the two of us we made it the 7 long hours to Durban. When we finally arrived I was BEAT but the hostel where we stayed in Durban was so beautiful and homey after a 20 minute rest I was feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy our time.

We rented two private rooms at the hostel which was walking distance to the beach. After a good night's sleep we headed out to find breakfast and ended up at this little second hand bookstore where we had toasted sandwiches, muffins and coffee for breakfast before heading to Warner Beach to swim and soak up some sun through the clouds. After we found lunch at a nearby mall I dropped off the girls for horseback riding on the beach while I had a nice coffee date with Jesus (there were only 4 spots available so I got to sit and enjoy coffee and journal and read which I love!). They had a grand time riding in the rain and after I picked them up we headed to a nearby pub for dinner. It was so wonderful to just relax and enjoy one another. It has been such an adventure getting to know each other and sorting through all of the culture differences and languages (fringe vs. bangs, vs. flip flops, what-what vs. come again?). So many of our conversations revolve around how we say things or do things in our own countries. The trip also afforded me some wonderful opportunities to speak to the girls about their relationships with the Lord and found ways to encourage and be encouraged in our faiths.

After a yummy breakfast and stopping at a little market to get some gifts, rested and happy we headed back to Jo-berg on Tuesday afternoon. We got into the city just after dusk and proceeded to get horribly and significantly lost. After driving in the dark and the rain on unlit and poorly marked highways we finally got ahold of Lindsay and Ferdi and Ferdi was able to help us get on the right track once again. We made a few more wrong turns, paid two unnecessary tolls and FINALLY made it back home. I just kept telling myself "Don't cry, you won't be able to see any better crying!" But we made it home safe and sound and all in all it was a wonderful, worthwhile time away.

We hit the ground running working for the rest of the week and then on Saturday (Leonie's last full day with us) we set out on a local adventure to visit the Lion Park and a local hot spot called Monte Casino. It only took us about an half an hour to get to both places, the sun was out and we were happy to have the day to just play! At the Lion Park we were able to drive around a nature preserve and view lions, zebras, these buffalo looking animals and bunches of birds enjoying their mornings. We then had the chance to pet and play with lion cubs and feed ostriches and giraffes! We had such a fun time laughing and enjoying the animals. After grabbing a quick snack we then headed to a Monte Casino. Monte Casino is the large casino in town where we had a nice dinner, did some shopping and took some really fun pictures. The highlight for me was being able to have my first Starbucks' Carmel Macchiato since I left the US. The best part was that the very night before I had told Lisa "It's going to be a shame when we get up tomorrow morning and all I'm going to want is a Carmel Macchiato from Starbucks!" and lo and behold that's exactly what I found! It was like a special little (and extremely frivolous) gift from God for me. After wandering around the Casino for a few hours we headed home and then Hannah, Clair and I went and saw the new Harry Potter movie which was a fun treat!

I feel like the last week has really rounded out my experience here in South Africa. The perfect mix of working super hard and getting to enjoy the country and the girls I am serving alongside. Ever since I've arrived the Spirit has been bringing to my heart and mind where we are told in the gospels that Jesus came to serve and not be served. When we finally arrived in Durban I was exhausted and went immediately to our room to lie down. After a few minutes of asking the Lord to somehow make our time away restful and fun even with the stressor of being the only driver I turned to see a copy of the New Testament on our nightstand. After flipping through the Spanish and French translations I opened up to Matthew 20 and read:

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

I read it and just cried, repenting for feeling selfish and sorry for myself and ready to enjoy resting and serving all at once! I have been so thankful for the pressure-cooker of uncertainty that this adventure has afforded me thus far. I feel like I have had ample time to examine my heart in stressful and tiring situations and God has been so faithful in His kindness to me, leading me to repentance when a word or thought has run awry causing me to get distracted and off track for even a moment. I can only imagine what wild and crazy things He has in store for me here!

Thank you for your prayers and messages! Please continue to pray that the Father will have His way here at Door of Hope as we continue to seek His provision for funding and leading as the Leadership continues to shift around Staff and Babies. Please also pray that I would get over the little cold I've had since Friday. I would love to be well enough to work with the Small Babies tomorrow night. I love you all!

Here are some recent pictures and be sure to check out my facebook page for more of them at

The five of us girls in Durban

Leonie and I fawning over our newest baby boy!

Leonie and I at the Glen

Merry Christmas from DOH!

Me and a lion cub!!!

Me and our newest little man in the moby wrap getting some newborn cuddles

Checking out all of his newness up close!

Me and Leonie at Monte Casino!

Our house with our new blue car, Mr. Shue, locked up nice and safe!

Two of the big boys looking outside

Nov 17, 2010

This Is Africa!

This is Africa or “TIA” was a phrase introduced to me a few years ago, meaning that “crazy things happen here and no one really cares because it is Africa”. I have had plenty of opportunities to experience what TIA really means since I’ve blogged last. Mainly because our Internet server has been down for close to 3 weeks, and not just wireless for us volunteers, but Internet for the Office as well. Can you imagine a business office being without Internet for 3 days? Let alone 3 weeks?! This is Africa. I guess they’ve called many times per week and because there is only one Internet service provider here in Jo-berg they are not really in a hurry to work on their customer service reviews. Thankfully there is a mall nearby that has a place with WiFi and that is how I’m able to update my blog today. It cost money but it is worth it at this point for sure!

Two weeks ago I had a first: I visited my first South African Hospital with another volunteer and two babies in tow. Lisa and I had the day off and we were recruited to take two of our small babies to their appointments at the hospital. Lisa was assigned to a 8-week-old little boy who needed to get to his pre-op appointment for a tearing hernia that needs to be repaired. I was given responsibility of a 7 week old that needed to get another chest x-ray to help determine why he is breathing so fast and his chest sounds so rattley. All of the Staff were busy on various errands so Lisa (who has been here 3 weeks) and I (who just celebrated 1 week) were dropped off on the side of the road that leads to the hospital at 6:30am with vague directions (go to the “second block” and be sure to say “yes! This is my baby” for example) as to where to go and what to do with the precious cargo we held. Talk about an adventure!

Needless to say South African hospitals are very different than the hospitals I am used to visiting. For starters, to be sure that you will be seen on a day that you have an appointment, it is best to get to the hospital before 7:00am! Lisa and I managed to get to the right “block” and then we separated ways to wait in our respective waiting rooms. I was the first to arrive in mine, arriving before any technicians or receptionist. As the room began to fill up with sick babies and anxious mommies I began to get nervous. Would we be seen or because I am a white woman with a colored baby would I get turned away or sent the end of the list? It’s problematic to say that this baby is mine when the woman in front of me wants to know what my husband does and why I would ever leave the US to come to South Africa. I kept repeating the baby’s first and last name over and over in my head hoping that I would remember his African name correctly enough to hear it being called. As I waited I prayed for the woman who’s 8 month old must have been brought from her own hospital bed to come and be seen because she was still attached to an empty IV bag. This is Africa and for whatever reason they make you hoof it all over the hospital to get the care you need (IVs put in, MRIs, X-rays, ect…) rather than the doctors coming to you or even nurses taking you to the different areas. If you can be carried to the needed department, you are carried or if you are confined to your bed, your loved ones are the ones pushing you from department to department.

Although Lisa’s appointment was supposed to be the longest, only after waiting for a half and hour or so, she showed up in my waiting room. Apparently the person who scheduled the appointment for her baby wrote the date down wrong so he wasn’t going to be able to be seen. She smartly rescheduled it all the while hoping that she wasn’t turned away because she was obviously a white woman with an obviously American accent! The technician arrived and thankfully I recognized the baby’s name the second time it was called. I followed the sweet technician into the x-ray room, strapped on heavy “don’t get radiation on your important parts” apron and then held down a sweet little man on a cold hospital bed so he could get his chest x-rayed. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be with my very own sick child because the feelings that welled up in my heart as I held down this crying, confused 7 week old I had only known for 3 hours smarted like he was my own. I hummed to him and shhhed him until we were through and then was escorted back to the waiting room to wait for the films to be ready for us to take back home.

Once we received the x-ray films we began the adventure of trying to get a ride back to Door of Hope. Lisa had her baby in his car seat and I had mine in the moby wrap along with 2 diaper bags, two bottle-warming bags, x-ray films in a huge envelope and a folder with all the other important paperwork for both babies. Neither of us have a cell phone that works here in South Africa but we didn’t have any Rand coins to use a pay phone. First Lisa tried to use her calling card but we didn’t have the right code to make an in-country call. We found a few rand but once we got a hold of our ride the call dropped after 10 seconds. Although we didn’t know it, it takes quite a few Rand to actually be able to make more than a 10 second call! This is Africa. We ran out of Rand trying to connect with the office so we had to go and purchase something at the market in the hospital to get change. Long story short, we got a hold of someone at the office and Kate (the director) was able to come and pick us up. When she arrived she only had toddler car seats so Lisa strapped in her baby in the back and I handed mine back to her “for safety” for her to hold as we rode home. Talk about an adventure! I’ve since been to the eye hospital and the Berea Hospital but I’ll save those adventures for another post.

All in all I’m doing wonderfully. Not having Internet has made me more homesick at times but also has brought into perspective how truly elite and privileged (dare I say spoiled?) I am with the life that exists for me in California. I am confessing to the Savior on a daily basis my self-indulgent mindset and asking Him to make my heart like His: seeking to serve rather than being served. The first verse of Kari Jobe’s song, “Singing Over Me,” sings:

When my wait is so long, When my tears are my song

With my hope nearly gone, You help me God

To believe with the faith, in this dry weary place

When You felt far away, You held me God

Oh, there is freedom in surrender oh, I know it!

Through these lyrics the Lord reminded me that He is near and that there is freedom in surrender. When I’ve felt like I was on the brink of exasperation or weariness or homesickness I’ve spoken out and confessed surrender and have been met with such sweet peace.

Thank you for praying for me! Please be praying that I remain well and strong to accomplish my shifts. We have strep throat, chicken pox and a stomach bug floating around our houses. Please be praying for wisdom for the Staff here at DOH, our budget is in somewhat of a crisis. Being a volunteer I’m not privy to all of the specific details but I know we are in need of supernatural provision. Lastly, we have a little girl in the hospital with Cystic Fibrosis, suffering from a chest infection that may prove to be fatal unless the Lord intervenes, please pray that she would be healed and home soon! Thank you so much. I miss you and pray for you often. All of my love!!!

P.S. One of my roommates also wanted to add her favorite T.I.A. moment: our toilet was replaced 3 weeks ago and other than the toilet bowl it is all made of plastic! Not surprisingly it has fallen apart piece by piece leaving us with a cracked (and pinching) toilet seat, a tank that we have to fill up by hand because it can't hold water and flush by sticking our hand into the tank and pulling up the plunger manually. So very Africa and hysterical!

Me and my favorite small baby!

The small baby room, we currently have 9 small babies.

One of my favorite big babies in his PJs!

A new baby that came through the baby bin, less than 24 hours old!

Laundry on the line... we don't have a dryer here!

Oct 20, 2010

I have arrived!!!

Johannesburg International Airport
I have officially arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa! After a 24+ travel day, I am now sitting in the main baby house clicking away on my laptop alongside on of the other volunteer aunties, Lisa listening to a few babies fuss while the nighttime aunties attend to them.
Talk about surreal!

Thank you for praying for my travels, although all of the flights were full I had wonderful seat-mates, I was able to get good sleep, find my flights and all of my luggage arrived intact! After I made it painlessly through customs I waited for an hour or so to be picked up by Lindsay (the volunteer coordinator) and Lisa, we grabbed some dinner and headed to the main baby house in Glenvista which is southwest of Johannesburg (I think!). As for now, I will be here at the main baby house sharing a room with Lisa and another volunteer named Sue. Lisa is a 23 year old graduate from Wisconsin and Sue is a grandma from the UK. They are doing some construction downstairs on our rooms but things should be settled in a few days.

It is beyond wild that the Savior has allowed me this time to serve. I am very excited and have no idea what to expect. This past Sunday I had the privilege of sharing my story with the congregation at VBC and sing with my brother, Daniel. I can honestly say I have rarely felt so blessed and encouraged in a matter of a few hours. Thank you to those of you who shared your encouraging words and for the many of you who purchased a cookie, cupcake or journal. I will miss you all but I am so very excited to share this journey with you.

While I traveled today these lyrics ran through my head over and over again:

  1. I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
    No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
    • I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
      Every hour I need Thee;
      Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
      I come to Thee.
  2. I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
    Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
  3. I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
    Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
  4. I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
    And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
  5. I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
    Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

I can only imagine how more true these words will become for me as this adventure has officially begun it's South African section. May these words grow ever-increasingly more true for you as well! Love you...

Oct 2, 2010

This is for reals...

I can't believe that, Lord willing, this time next month I will be posting from Johannesburg, South Africa...another continent, yo!

I had such a fabulous day with my sweet family today. I took Isaiah and AJ to the build-a-bear workshop, held baby Noah for at least an hour after his first sponge bath and had a relaxing (and very delicious) dinner with Dan & Em while skyping with my mom and dad who are celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary. I am one blessed little lady!

Today at the build-a-bear workshop with the boys, I chose to record a message for each one to be tucked in their little bears to remind them how much their Auntie Colie loves them. Just as I pushed the record button to start recording a huge (and unexpected) lump rose in my throat as my eyes smarted with tears. I am going to miss these boys, my family, my life while I am away.

Although I am completely blessed with a "love the ones your with" kind of mentality that will help me dive into live at DOH I know that this adventure I am embarking on comes with costs. High costs. Worthy costs, but high ones nonetheless. I am going to miss Isaiah excitedly sharing his latest idea or request with his little nose pressed against mine. I am going to miss AJ's sweet and encouraging words that come from the sweet mater of fact i-love-you-for-you place in his heart. I am going to miss Noah's first smiles and laughs, missing out on getting to watch his personality shape firsthand. And that's just with the boys!

I could go on and on about who and what I'm going to miss (pumpkin spice lattes and Em's shortbread cookies, for example) but I know that serving the One I love most comes with a cost. There are things I must forfeit in pursing this adventure. But He is worth it. His glory is worth it all. I believe and I know it... I think I just needed to remind myself tonight.
18 days and counting...

Sweet Baby Noah Jordan sleeping with his little half-grin -- less than a week old!

Our futile attempt at a group photo using my camera phone

Their bears sans the Star Wars outfits they picked out for their bears

He is just so sweet! I really can't get enough of him...

Emily's jam shortbread cookies that she whipped up in 15 minutes flat!

Aug 4, 2010

Arizona Outreach 2010

Last month I had the privilege of traveling with 90+ friends and family to Teec Nos Pos, Arizona on VBC's Arizona Outreach 2010! It was my 8.5th time (half-trips from CO help make it a .5 total) visiting the Navajo Reservation serving alongside Immanuel Mission. Every time I leave the paved highway and begin bouncing up and down on the hard-packed red dirt roads something starts to settle in my bones that says "Welcome Home"! I have so many wonderful, challenging, exciting, hysterical and touching memories tied to this piece of mostly forgotten yet strangely sacred land. This year's Outreach did not disappoint and provided me new opportunities to be challenged, grow and love others with the love that Christ has for me.

I adored getting to know the team members (so many high school students and grown ups that were new to me -- like the Robb)!

I was so blessed to reconnect with the Chee family (the Navajo family I've had a chance to build a relationship with over the past years).

I was given the chance to help direct and create a brand new drama presentation and those who had roles did a phenomenal job!!!

I was able to serve alongside my sister-in-law Emily!

I had the chance to reconnect with my friend and fellow missionary, Louanne Henderson.

I also feel like the Father allowed me to endure hardship and trials in areas that I'm not typically challenged in (for example, I lost my voice halfway through the trip and spent many days directing rehearsals and assigning vehicles with a distinct rasp)! I took it as a reminder that I need to be covered in prayer and "armed" in all areas of my life as I head to South Africa. To continue to seek those who will faithfully pray for me and intercede on my behalf to the One who knows what I will encounter and be invited to endure. Thank you to those of you who are praying. Please continue to lift my up in prayer and please feel free to share anything the Holy Spirit shares with you about my adventure to be. I have the sinking suspicion that I'm going to need all the help that can get!
I love you guys, thanks for taking time check in on the continuing adventure....

May 19, 2010

Back in California!

My trip to Colorado was perfectly amazing! I had such a blessed time reconnecting with friends and making a few new ones! It was the perfect mix of fun and relaxation, laughter and memories all mixed into a beautiful gift to remember.
I don't know when the Father will allow me to visit again, but I hope it will be soon.

As my plane took off (2.5 hours late due to stormy weather) I couldn't help but tear up thinking of my time and the dear ones I was saying goodbye to. The Lord reminded me of 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 which says:

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

I am so grateful for the ministry that I was able to be apart of while I lived in Colorado and loved at FBC. To think on the precious hearts that I have had the privilege of loving on and walking with. Thank you for loving me well and continuing to do so even as I head into a new adventure! Thank you to the West's and the Kraft's for hosting me, to those who supported my ministry by purchasing or ordering journals and to those of you who have already responded in generous and kind ways to my request for prayer and financial support.

I love you and miss you. Always.

May 2, 2010

Amazing Things

Hello from Colorado! I am in Littleton, Colorado for the next TWO WEEKS! I am in town visiting friends and catching up with my "colorado family". I am currently staying at the "West Resort" and am loving being treated like a princess! Sarah Jane and I went and got massages today after a traditional pancake breakfast with Rob and Melanie.
Last night I had the privilege of joining Cory, Lindsay, Jason, Denielle, Brent and Sarah Jane at a Sleeping at Last concert at the Walnut Room. For those of you who haven't had the honor of listening to Ryan O'Neal's velvet vocals, you are missing out! As the wonderful set was coming to a close they still hadn't played my favorite song, "Umbrellas". As they set up the for the last song I heard the keyboardist begin to practice the intro to the song and I blurted out "I'm so excited!" Ryan laughed and I blushed but the song was amazing! As I listened to the familiar lyrics I was struck with gift I will be given as I travel to Door of Hope. To be able to hold these precious babies and repeat the lyrics: "You were meant for amazing things". As I imagined speaking that truth to those little ones on the other side of the world my heart was shouting "I'm so excited!"

Thank you to the West's for such a lovely home to stay in, to Cory for getting me my ticket, to Brent for sharing your story and to Sarah Jane who always is willing to be honest with me. I am loving my visit so far and we are just 3 days in. I've included the lyrics to "Umbrellas" below:

I’ll make you mine if you would have me.
With a silver ring that will hug you tight,
Our life begins. Our life begins with this.

I’ll prove my love if you would let me.
Over and over and over again.

We’ll bring a child into this world
And we’ll say the one thing
Everyone should hear:

You were meant for amazing things.

Give me your hand, it’s time.
It’s time to show new eyes their home.
When fences divide our land,
I would catch bullets with my bare hands.

Apr 23, 2010

I have some very exciting news to share! I purchased my ticket to Johannesburg, South Africa this week! I am planning on departing from San Francisco on Tuesday, October 19th! In some ways that feels like a million days away but I know that the days will just fly by.

Also this week I received word that Valley Bible Church has agreed to have all of my funds be filtered through their financial office (thanks, Bert!). It is exciting news because it will allow donations for my adventure to be considered as a non-profit donations. I am so thankful to have the prayer support and spiritual covering from my family at VBC. God has been so gracious to me in this season of waiting and preparing for what is to come.

My goal is to start getting out my support letters in the next couple of weeks. If you would like me to send you one, please just shoot me an email at and I will get on the list. I am also still taking orders for journals, so if you would like one (or 80 like Stephanie) just let me know.

My heart has been encouraged this week by Kari Jobe's song:

No Sweeter Name

No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus, no sweeter name have I ever known
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus, no sweeter name have I ever known
No sweeter name than the Name of Jesus

You are the life to my heart and my soul
You are the light to the darkness around me
You are the hope to the hopeless and broken
You are the only truth and the way

Thank you Jesus for being the only light in this dark world! May I reflect Your light with the days you have given me. May we all. I love you!

Apr 6, 2010

A Video From Door of Hope

Hi friends!

I CANNOT believe that we are already into the month of April! March flew by bringing lots of rain, tons of work (at church and night nannying), a new laptop (yay for skype and video messaging while I'm in SA), family birthday celebrations and the exciting news that my sister, Melinda is expecting a new baby this September!

I am so excited to welcome another precious niece or nephew into our family!

We have lots of fun and as you can see Isaiah, AJ and I are super excited about the new baby:

My main reason for blogging today was to show you a new video from Door of Hope sharing a bit more about the ministry there and what I will be doing while I am at DOH. Here is the video:

Please continue to pray with me as I prepare for my time in South Africa. I have pushed back my departure time a few weeks so that I will be able to meet the new baby. I am hoping to depart during the week of October 17th.

I am grateful for this past weekend's celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Christ has died and Christ is risen and Christ will come again! Praise the Lord! Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Jan 27, 2010

It Has Been FOREVER!

Hi friends!

It has been FOREVER since I've blogged! Pretty much ever since I moved back to CA. Yes, I did make it back safely and have not dropped off the face of the planet!

I moved back and promptly began working 70+ hour weeks working as the Office Manager at Valley Bible Church and as a night nanny by night. It has been a whirlwind but God has been so kind and generous to me! The transition home has been relatively bump free and I feel so blessed be able to be present in my family's life for this season.

I am continuing to push towards South Africa and planning on heading over sometime in September. I will be purchasing my ticket in May sometime. Support letters are in process, please shoot me your address if you would like me to send you one at
Last night I was reading a devotional from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and was encouraged by the following:

"True fellowship should empower us to be bold and take risks for the sake of Jesus Christ and should prepare us to face life in all its challenges. Thus while we may bring to the fellowship our pain and fears and our hopes and dreams, we finally have to walk the road ourselves."

I am so thankful for the fellowship that sounds me here in CA, CO and beyond! Even though the unknown of this life's adventures has me unsure and hopeful all at once I know I am surround by such a great cloud of witnesses and therefore I will run this race marked out for me. Thank you for loving me! I praise Jesus for you!
Here are some fun pics of the last couple months:

Me, Ben, Allison, Dan and Justin at the FUN concert!

Knox and I manning the Front Desk

Dan and Em on Christmas morning...happy surprise pictures for my new camera!

Thanks mom and Dad!

Ashlee and I getting in line for the new-ish Toy Story ride in California Adventure

Sweet Disneyland snuggles with my nephew AJ

The Journey of Surrender

It is a pretty spectacular thing: watching a family be born right in front of your eyes. To see years of prayers answered in a moment. ...