Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friends old and new...

I love my friends. 

Meet Kris.  She was my BFF in High School.  After high school her life went one way and mine another.  It was through the magic of Facebook that we reconnected.  We have been chatting, texting, talking and emailing for over a year.  She does not live THAT far...just in San Diego.  Yet our busy lives, being moms and just day to day activities have kept us apart.  Yesterday I had the joy of taking her pictures.  We only got to see each other for an hour or so, but it was like no time had passed.

She was the same girl I knew all those years ago.  Still as vibrant, witty and funny.  I miss hanging out and having fun together.  

There are SO many people that I miss.  I have friends scattered all over the country as well as family.  If I could have one wish it would be for more time and opportunities to spend with those I cherish.  Being with someone I knew when I was just a teen makes me miss all the other friends I once spent my days with.  Funny how all the old memories come rushing back!  Our minds are a wondrous thing!  I sit and wonder if the people whom I once called "friend" still remember me.  Where are they today and what have they been doing all these years...

At times I feel so lonely and wish I were just a kid again.  Carefree.  To turn back the hands of time...

Ah, adulthood - aint it grand?!

I can only pray that my kids make friendships that last a life time.  

Friends are like never realize how good they are until you run out!

Here's praying that you never run out of chocolate - OR - Friends!


Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm here.

Many of you have emailed asking why I have not updated my blog in a long while.  
Thank you - I appreciate the nudge!

I have settled back into life as I knew it before Africa.  I have a restlessness about me that I never had before and an unexplainable peace at the same time.

I do not seem as quick to anger, find joy in things I never did before, have a greater appreciation for people and move through life now with my eyes wide open.  All of this is great, yet I feel restless.
I have a great yearning to return to Africa and do more.  I long to empower people here to become passionate about helping others - where ever they may be - those who are less fortunate.
It has become so clear to me how we here in America have settled into our little bubble of the world and how quickly all things can revolve around our comfort or lack there of.  It is so easy to justify indulgences for ourselves when there are children suffering in our own backyard - not to mention all over the world.

Many people can not help it as they are living totally unaware of how abundantly blessed and rich their lives are.  I feel a need to educate them.   Albeit they may not wish to learn,  my desire is still there.

I have spent some time setting up a website to help the Women from Christ Gospel Fellowship, in Kigali, Rwanda.  The women in this church are people like you and me.  They live, love and laugh.  They work hard to survive.  Many have been inflicted with HIV/AIDS and so have their children.  Yet they have hope in each new day.  They get up, they go on.  This ministry has brought women in who did not know where to turn and has taught them how to make baskets and beads for jewelry.  The women work tirelessly for hours creating these beautiful crafts, yet do not have a market in which to sell them.  I am determined to help.  All items on this site were handmade and brought here by me from Africa.  All money earned from the site will go directly back to the women who made them.

Please take a moment to check out the site:

Share the link with a friend!  Your simple small purchase will provide food, clothing, shoes and schooling for children 9,000 miles away!

Now a little on my home front.  Taylor has 25 more days in jail.  They are trying to get him before a WIC Court Judge to deem him unable to care for himself and grant him aid in getting rehab that specializes in dual diagnosis {both mental illness and addiction} as there are not many places that accept people like him.  We do not have $50k to $100k to pay for his treatment, and neither does he.  His next hearing in regular court is this Monday.  Please pray that there are some answers finally.

Our little Trevan will be 6 in a week.  He and Turner are both doing great at their new school {year round}.  Trevan starts Soccer next week and is SO excited!  Trenton will start HIGH SCHOOL in a couple weeks.  I can't believe he is so old!  He has been working with his dad and has earned enough money to buy a bike.  He is one happy camper now!

Our Chloe {trusted babysitter, friend and adopted daughter/sister} will return to Sonoma State in a few days.  We will miss her so!  She is such a blessing to us and her smiling face and giggles will leave us empty.  It is my hope that in April I can take the boys to see her and drive back with her for her Spring Break.  My lil boys have 6 weeks off then. 

I am looking forward to Kids Small Groups starting in September - I miss my kids!  I have loved teaching the Summer Class each Tuesday.  We have some awesome kids!  Ariel and Kamille are my student leaders and I love spending 3 hours with them!  I love their serving hearts.

I think I may be ready to start editing the photos from my trip.  Each time I have sat down to start the emotions come flooding back as I look at the sweet faces.  With a lot of prayer I think I may be ready to tackle the 10,000 images!

I have started a gallery of Africa on my Giggle Moon website - it is on the bottom - the far right bubble - if you want to check it out.  I will add more as I am able.

I hope you are enjoying what is left of our Summer and pray that you will be empowered to go out of "your bubble" and extend yourself to those who are in'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trying to be strong...

I have been home for a little over a week now.  I have been changed.  I am still processing all the information that I took in while in Africa.  I now have an obligation to do something.

I was chosen to go.  I am blessed to live here.  I want to do something meaningful in my life to bring about a positive change for others.  I am not just talking about helping people in Africa, I mean people who are just an arms length away.  I pray that I can empower others to "live and love beyond themselves" and move through life with their eyes wide open.

How much do you miss each day?  In this huge world do you know that so many people are lonely, sad and confused?  How often do you think of someone but do not take a moment to let them know?  Do you pass up opportunities to show love to others? 

I know that I am guilty of this.  I want to reach out with a call, a text or an email.  I quickly dismiss it thinking - "Nah, they are probably busy and I don't want to bother them or make them feel obligated to respond..." so I do nothing.

I have a big family, yet there are many times I feel sad and alone.  I feel misunderstood, unheard, unimportant in the lives that share the same living space as me.  My only option is to turn to God and ask for Him to take away the feelings of despair. 

No, there is no quick fix to any of life's challenges.  I now know as I have seen first hand that my burdens are lighter than some. 


Here I sit in the midst of them at times not knowing what direction to take.  I know that I should stop and ask directions.  I pray and then I wait.  I am human.  I am just like most people, I want a quick answer.  No one likes the discomfort of not knowing, of feeling lost.  Desperate.

I feel confused by having so many options yet no clear answers. 
What do I do?  Where do I turn?  How do I go on? 
At times I feel so small.  I feel defeat.  Can I quit?  I sure can.  I want to.  But I don't.

I have to keep on...keeping on.  Searching, looking, seeking - for the right path.  I will make mistakes, I always do.  I have to learn from them.

It is my prayer that others may see my journey and learn from me.  I want to be a light.  I have lived in darkness and have searched for the lighted path.  At times I find it quickly, other times my search is long.

Right now, I am in pain for my child, just as God feels pain for us.  I want to make my son okay.  I want to "heal" his mental illness.  I want to take him in my arms and make it all better.  I can not.  I can only pray for him as he is in custody paying a price for a choice he made while brokenhearted.

He is not a bad person.  I use to think that only bad people who did bad things went to jail.  I now know that this is not the case.  My son is ill.  He is mentally challenged and an addict as a result.  He does not make good choices.  He lacks the ability to think and reason rationally.  He reacts and acts on impulse.  We are all just one bad choice away from an unpleasant consequence.

It is so easy to sit in judgement of others.  It is easy to tell others what they should have done or should do.  Having forgiveness and compassion is not easy.  I have lost friends because of my son's actions.  But I ask - "were they real friends to begin with?" The answer is clear. 

I do not have to carry the weight of who he has become.  God loves him as I do, unconditionally.  I need true friends in my life who will stand by me no matter what.  We all do.  How judgemental are you?  Do you offer your friendship without limits?  We often neglect our friends and loved ones by "starving" them of positive reinforcement.  Why is it so easy to criticize so quickly?  What makes us the expert?

I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone and do something to bring about positive change for someone else.  I ask that you count your blessings.  Be humble.  You are free to live, free to love and free to give - FREELY to others.  A kind word, a kind gesture - they go a long way.  You never know what kind of impact you will have on someone else by just a simple call, email or visit.

Go and do great things.  Don't live in fear.  Take a moment and pray.  Ask God for direction.  Be open to receive.