And Other Real Life Happenings

Our life loving others, serving God and selling all we own to move to Africa.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Road

The road is straight. The grass is yellow and withered from heat. My heart shares the sentiments of yellow.  I cannot see where we are going past the asphalt path that narrows into nothingness. I sit behind. Still. Contemplating life and all it's miracles, idiosyncrasies and this here and now-stillness. The rain falls and fills the veins of each blade, not leaving one untouched. And in the bathing a newness

All my problems fall the feet of the cross, because I am not strong enough to carry them on my own. "Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.  And that thou bids me come to thee... lamb of God I come...I come."

I come, I'm going, and yet I am here sitting still and listening. I have a tiny blink of time in this great expansive universe and yet I pray He would use me to do things that are greater than myself, that would last for eternity.

I feel the wrath of others, the injustice of words that pierce like swords and am tempted to believe lies. But this time I am stronger than the last.  I've been soaked with the rain that saturates my soul in hope.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

God is in the Valleys

I think it hit me today.  I am walking through a valley.  Valleys are good God.  (Figuratively speaking of course)  Before I tell you all about my valley, look at these sweet pictures from our trip to Indiana.  We got to stay at my sister and brother in laws house in between meetings.

Quinn and her friend Aria.  Aria was in the house when Quinn was born...Dru and I go way back with Aria's mommy daddy.  Love this Webster family!  PS- Quinn and Aria slept in this little tent together!

Can you tell Asa and Dru are a wee bit alike?

Look at Quinn in the bottom of the picture.  Ha!  Dru is holding Asa and Josiah, my sister's son.

Asa loved the tree in Aunt Allie & Uncle Adam's backyard

Quinn really loved being a big girl and feeding her youngest cousin, Isaiah

Isaiah smiling at Quinn while she fed him

This means something, not sure what...

Asa and Josiah-cousins

Life right now is good, but hard, but good.  Of what I can share...

The Collie/ Scully crew just got back from Indiana for our Sole Hope training.  We met this week with four very talented people who have experience in missions/ fundraising/ spiritual training/ psychology and business.  It was an overwhelming week of too much good information.  Some of that good information came in the form of correction.  Some in the form of growth.  All of the information we received was delivered with love and I am so so thankful to Drew, Alyssa and Patrick for riding this roller coaster of running a non-profit with us, and to our Here to There team that led and mentored us this week.

All in all it has left me drained.  I have a to-do list the size of Texas.  I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, at least until October.

What is happening in October?  Well, we are being obedient to the scary call we feel is on our family's life and Drew will be joining me in October with Sole Hope.  We are starting to raise funds for our family to live on while at the same time cutting our expenditures back.  In three months we need to raise $15,000.  Would you like to help us?  We need people to come along side us and make a monthly commitment to the Collie family under Sole Hope (tax-deductible) so we can make our family's work putting shoes on orphans and providing jobs for the needy.  If you would like to make a monthly contribution you can mail a check monthly to: 

Sole Hope, PO Box 1492, Asheville, NC 28806 

with a note inside saying it is for the Collie Family (not in the memo line).

So, this is where we are at right now.  And in the mean time, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off (pardon the nasty country phrase...that really happened in my grandma's day & the phrase just stuck in our family).  This is  EXACTLY why we need Drew on board.  I can no longer sustain Sole Hope and be a full time mom.  One has got to give, and I am not allowing my children to be the ones that sacrifice.  Sole Hope needs Drew, and Drew is so ready to step up to the plate and lead.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thankful and Tired

It's 9pm and not even dark.  My mind is foggy and my eyes are heavy.  It is days like today when it all catches up with me.  Serving fulfilling.  But today the nitty-gritty weighs heavy on my heart and my body.

I'm tired.  Tired.

When I feel like no one gets it...someone does.  He does.  And so I try to remember.  Past the hopes of tomorrow being better, feeling stronger emotionally...physically...I remember that I am so blessed.  

I am thankful I am tired of solving works problems because it means I have work.  I am thankful I am tired of breaking up arguments because it means I have children.  I am thankful I have to deal with the problems of others who are close to me because it means I have people close.  I am thankful I worry about being given up on because it means I have someone who believes in me.  I am thankful my body is weary and my eyes are tired because it means I have something worth working for.  I am thankful I have laundry to do because it means I have clothes to wear.  I am thankful I am missing a 4th of July party because it means I live in a country worth celebrating.

I have so much to be thankful for....even when I'm exhausted.

Happy 4th of July y'all.

Drew and my first date was right here...only no fireworks.  ;)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains

I love Asheville.  I love the majesty of the mountains.

Our family went for a hike the other day.  Except for the fact that Quinn busted both knees open about 2 minutes into the hike...we had a great time.  It was so quiet.  The blue ridge mountains are magical.

Asa loved hiking and being out in nature.  He had NO fear and just cruised over rocks and roots like a little Jeep. :)

I think his favorite part was drinking water from his backpack.

And this was my favorite part.  The falls we hiked to!  This water was deep and crystal clear.  It looked like something the Grove Park Inn Spa has tried to recreate.  It was stunning!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Birthday in a Truffel

You know those things you wish you did more and get frustrated with yourself when you don't?  For me its cooking, reading, hiking...blogging...oh the list could go on!

I write blogs all day long in my head.  It is really a shame you can't read them as I think them.  

One blog I was really excited to write about was my birthday.  But guess what, that was two days ago and I am just now writing about it.

Birthdays were always so special in my family when I was growing up.  If we were at home on my birthday I would wake up to a decorated house, singing, presents waiting to be unwrapped that evening and the treatment of a queen.  It was MY day to be celebrated!!!  Granted there were some birthdays when we were traveling...OK, a LOT.  Having a summer birthday I often found myself waking in a tent ('cause that's what we did) in a camp ground somewhere in the world.  One year it was Norway...or maybe Ireland...I can't remember.  One year some grandiose national park in the U.S. but every time I woke up I felt so special and cherished.  

This year, June 29, 2011 I woke at 4:45am to a precious little boy who was wet from head to toe.  You know,, pee.  Great.  So I stumbled out of bed (literally) and tripped over Quinn who had made her bed on the floor next to mine at some point during the night.  I tripped over her and hit my let on the metal corner of our bed-splitting open my shin and landing with all my weight on my opposite knee.  Happy birthday me.  After I cleaned Asa up all while holding one eye open (I forgot to tell you I decided to stay up until 1:30am for some stupid reason) I put him in bed with me.  Drew was long gone to work so I figured it would be easiest for me, and afford me more sleep if I put Asa down with me.  Not so.  He tossed and turned and kicked me in the face until 6:30am.  Long story short, the alarm went off early.  We had a birthday breakfast to attend.  Okay okay, it was not really for my birthday, it was just a Sole Hope breakfast meeting that happened to be ON my birthday.  I woke up my cranky children (I was a little cranky bleeding, swollen shin and I) and got us ready to go.  Breakfast was yummy.  Company was fantastic and I only had to take my children outside once to speak some "correction" into their life.  I was blessed to have a friend who took one child while I took the other....we split up the crankiness since it was my birthday.  Asa and I went bathing suit shopping since I have not had a new one since high school-that was a miserable fail.

(above: Asa and I walking around downtown after breakfast...he was wearing his new Sole Hope flip flops.)

My day started to get better as I willingly accepted a massage my husband bought for me.  Thank GOD! Peace and quiet!  I went straight from there to the chiropractor.  I have minor scoliosis and sometimes it gets really on my birthday.  I later joined Drew on a date to the Grove Park Inn for dinner.  We had a wonderful dinner and as we started to leave the inn on the mountain I noticed the sun was setting.  I really wanted to sit on the porch in the rocking chairs and just relax and watch the sun set over the beautiful blue ridge mountains.  He insisted we need to head downtown before it was dark so I agreed-begrudgingly.  I mean, wasn't this MY birthday!?

(A view from the Grove Park Inn-Asheville)

Then, the best surprise...  Drew took me to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and as we stood in line he talked about the DOCICA magazine party had I just attended there for Sole Hope.  He wanted me to show him where it was, so we walked up the stairs and guess.  who.  was.  sitting.  there......
SEVERAL of my closest girl friends!!!!  I lost it.  I started crying (and I'm not a crier).  All day I had felt so overstimulated by my precious, sweet children (who I wouldn't trade for the world!)...and I felt so alone.  I was comparing myself to other friends I have who I feel like have been celebrated "more"...(never always gets you in trouble!) and I had just felt really alone all day.  I was wishing I was young again and could wake up knowing my mom would be there to welcome me with a morning hug-so thankful that God had brought me into her life.  I was craving fellowship with others...and angel food cake.  When I walked into that room full of my friends who had KNOWN about this little surprise...who had taken time out of their busy lives to come be with me for a couple hours it just blessed my socks off!  I felt SO loved.  I felt SO cherished.  It was as if I'd had a little crack in my normally tough I-can-do-anything, no-one-can-hurt-me armor that was just immediately repaired.  It just showed me I should never ever ever tell myself lies like I had been telling myself all day.  

Just for kicks since I am obsessed with are my all time birthday highs and lows:

Low: My 10th birthday I woke up at Yosemite National Park in my family's camper on my birthday.  Everyone was already awake and had let me sleep in.  I could smell the bacon my grandpa was making and I could hear my family laughing and having a good time outside the tent.  I realized it had happened.  As I slept I turned TEN!  It was a pivotal time in my life...and although I laugh about it now I look back and realize I was a deep little child.  It was the dawning of a new era because that morning I woke up not happy to get out of bed because I was 10...but I laid there looking at the sky...crying because I was 10...soon I'd be 20!...and before I knew it I'd be gone-dust in the wind.  I loved life and I didn't understand eternity.  (As if I fully understand it now-ha!)  I knew I was growing up so fast and I wanted time to stand still!  Anyway, that was uber depressing.  After I got my over-thinking 10 year old self out of bed I had a delicious birthday breakfast and got a bunch of new socks though so the day panned out fine.

High: My 16th birthday.  It was simple and I spent it with those I really cared about.  I was living in Italy at the time and I had a few things in life I was passionate about.  Soccer, the beach and my friends.  I spent my 16th birthday on the beach with two of my best friends.  Later that evening we went to a killer Italian restaurant.  It was there I smelled pot for the first time.  No-I wasn't smoking it...but someone dining out that night was.  Ah yes, the simple life. (below: "my" ocean...home...still the greatest place in the world if you ask me)

And then there was this birthday...I think it was the best yet since my least the ending to it was.  

I am so thankful.  I am SO blessed!!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gone So Long

I have been gone from this blog world so long!  That means I've been too busy!!  Sole Hope has kept me on my toes.  We have had deadline after deadline to meet...lots of things happening.  We are looking to hire an Executive Assistant to help keep up with the work load.

I've written a hundred blogs in my head...but none of them have made it to this site.  Our family is preparing with Shannon and Sherri McCready, two most respected individuals I know, to move our families (the Collies and Scullys) to Africa.  It is not looking like this will happen as soon as we thought-but that is OK.  We want to be well prepared.  In July we will be going to Indiana to meet with a team of people who will help prepare us physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally and teach us how to raise financial support for our family.  I am excited we get to see my sister and our close friends while we are there...although I've been prepared for lots of work, little play!  :)

I forgot to post this a few Friday's ago:

The last Sole Hope DOCICA...

I've started Crossfit too.  It is brutal.  Its like boot camp twice a week.  And I LOVE it!  I am so much stronger than I was even a month ago and I just feel better overall.  I really want to do the US Marine Corp Mud Run or something similar...competitive.  We will see...
One of the things we have been discussing in our meetings with Shannon and Sherri are making our life's priorities happen.  For me taking care of myself (eating well and exercising) are number two on my list.  It is amazing how just taking care of myself does wonders for my mood, health and productivity.  

My Asa man is still a it!  

I took this with my phone really quick...totally Quinn and Asa's personalities!  

For now.... 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Docica 2

Did you all check out the DOCICA magazine.  I mean, forget that I'm featured in the May issues, this magazine has substance in it and is so fun to read.  They will feature 12 women (one a month) who are doing something they find valuable, life changing and worth mentioning.  Its about real beauty, not Vogue beauty.  Its about decorating for less and fun ideas.
So, I'd encourage you to bookmark it.  But for now, if you want to read about our family's future plans and see pictures of our house check out the issue that came out today.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Docica, May 2011  What an honor to have a month of magazine time with Docica!!!  Thank you to the amazing women at Docica that helped me tell my side of the Sole Hope story.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stories By Quinn

This is a story told verbatim by our 5-year-old, Quinn.  She is quite'll see.  :)  If I could draw I'd illustrate this...

The first animal has two arms, no legs, and for a head he has a tater-pumpkin. His name is Jose. He has extra arms that look like legs and they go up and around his head. He scratches his pumpkin head with those extra arms that look like legs.

Another guy has an egg for a body, and he has one magnet bracelet, one glasses, and one circle for a mouth. He has claws for teeth that stick out of his mouth. He has two eggs for arms.

The third guy has three light bulbs on his pumpkin head. He has one apple for an arm. His legs have hands at the bottom and he walks like crazy. He has one plate for his arm-leg.

The next one is a princess who has long teeth that stick out the sides of her mouth. She has one flower for an arm and one flower for her head. And she has a tree on her head for balance.

These are the funniest stories in the whole wide world. Even jokes are not funny.

The next one has a flower for a head. The body is a vase. And the dress is so long it covers the vase.

Another character is one parakeet with one snap arm. She’s a big bird with one red head and a blue head, one arm that is red and one arm blue. She is a queen princess. -- Her name is Sasha.

King Lesahd looks like a big jacket with a purple crown on his head.

The queen has one head that’s a potato and she has buttons down her back.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Isaiah Lamont

On Saturday April 30th I flew to Indianapolis to see be with my sister Allie while she had her second baby.  It was of course (again) the most amazing thing I have witnessed in my entire life.  Allie made labor look easy.  I love love love when my sister has babies.  I love getting to see the miracle of birth...the beginning of life.  Allie is a rock star and my new nephew Isaiah is so precious...smells so good...and is so sweet!  Isaiah's middle name (Lamont) is after his great grandpa that went to be with Jesus on his brother Josiah's birthday and was buried the day Isaiah was born.  His great grandpa Lamont was an amazing man who left a beautiful legacy.
Isaiah was born at 11:10pm and was 8lbs. 4oz.  and 21.5 inches long

I love love love this boy!  (can't wait to have another little bit of my own!  In time.  :))

Easter 2011

He Is Risen!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shirt Design Contest

Will you please help me spread the word??  Feel free to grab this for your blog...or you can post it on Twitter or Facebook with the click of a button at the top of this post.  :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quinn's First Haircut

For the first time in 5 years Quinn got an actual haircut...her first haircut ever!  She has been begging me for short hair for about 6 months now.  I wanted to make sure that is what she really wanted!  
Yep, it was.  She loves it.
The before picture.  She was too excited!!!

Rebecca made a pony tail and the chopped it off!  Then the best part was when she held it behind her and galloped like a pony around the salon.  ;)  Quinn thought that was so funny!
Quinn was all smiles when she saw her hair hanging beside her head instead of on it!  That sort of thing makes me sick-I'm a long hair girl.  Buuut, Quinn was all smiles so I was happy for her.
She loves it and feels like such a big girl!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Risk: Is It Worth It?

If our single, and-all embracing passion is to make much of Christ in life and death, and if the life that magnifies him most is the life of costly love, then life is risk, and risk is right. To run from it is to waste your life.
John Piper further says that "risk is an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury."

Throughout scripture there are not many prophets, and followers of God that were practical and didn't take risks. They all took risks. Why? For 2 reasons: 1) They wanted to obey God (Jesus says if we love God we will follow his commandments). 2)Because God gets the glory when things don't make any sense but we step out in faith. This is seen throughout the Bible too. Look at Elijah, Jonah, Abraham, all the prophets, and all the disciples. The hardest part of taking a risk for God is the question, "What if He doesn't pull through for me?" Which really means, "What if God doesn't do what I want him to do, or the outcome is not what I expected." 

Good thoughts from a new favorite blog of mine:

We will get a lot of questions in the near future from friends and family alike wondering if what we are doing is worth the risk.  The Bible never says following Christ will be easy...or even always comfortable.  But we know we can always find comfort in the one who created us and gives us life.  I love life, and I love what I live for!  I want to share my hope, joy and love with others.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Our Future Part 2-Open Hands

I have no idea what the future holds.  I mean, really, I might THINK I do, but I really don't.  We can make plans-but as you see from my post, Our Future Part 1, plans sometimes just lead you to where you are going and don't always lead you to where you think you are going.

Let me year ago I was in a very different place emotionally.  I was coming out of some hard times and Sole Hope was a gift to my soul that really changed who I am at my core.  I have seen the greatness of God revealed and have seen how much better life is if I surrender.  The love of God has manifested itself in my life and flipped my world upside down!  Even though I've been a Christian all my life, I have had my doubts, fears and the like.  You have to get to that point in your life where you question all the nity-gritty of what you believe.  One thing I struggled with was God's love.  Sometimes I just didn't get it.  Sometimes I didn't feel it.  I wrestled with what his pure love-stronger than any love I've ever experienced- perfect love...what does it look like?!  Long story short, I've been large part due to the side effects of Sole Hope.  My children's eyes have been opened to the needs of their neighbor on the other side of the world.  Our view of what is important has been changed, drastically.  I had to examine my heart...and inside I found fear.  Fear that if I gave God all of me he would take me somewhere I didn't want to go, like Africa-"never" I said, "I just don't get it...why would I want to go there.  I'm just one person...I can't do anything to make a real difference."  You see where I am at now.  I obviously was drawn to heart changed and when it did I wanted to be in Africa more.  But, fear crept in.  I had so many fears that I would literally stay up at night and just cry.  I knew which direction I wanted to head but I was too afraid.  

God comforted me.  
God changed my heart.
God changed my family's heart.

And so now we are wrapped in God's arms walking along the path he has for our family.  And with great joy, excitement and a teeny bit of nervousness we want to announce our family's move in the near future to Uganda, Africa.  We will be moving there to start Sole Hope headquarters in Africa.  Among many things this will enable us to travel to the other African programs we've started more frequently and will give us the opportunity to build stronger relationships with the Sole Hope shoemakers.  We will learn a lot by living in country and being one with the people.  There is so much to do in country so we really need a team on the ground in Africa.  We are selling all our possessions and will build a small and modest house there on some land we are in the process of buying.  We will be in a rural village and we hope to have running water and electricity at some point.  We will live simply, very simply.  In fact, we will be moving with a few Rubbermaid's and the clothes on our back.  Many will call us crazy...and maybe we are.  But we want to live every day as if its our last.  We would rather be loving on those who have not seen love and giving hope to the hopeless over doing anything else.  This is where we are called to go.  And when we are called we will go, for His names sake.  

Our family will have to raise our own support to live over there.  Selling all our possessions will get us over there and hopefully put some money in savings in case of an emergency.  We will rely on the donations of others who want to have a hand at helping us accomplish God's work on the other side of the world.  
"How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, "How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News."" -Romans 10:15

If you feel compelled to have a part in this story and want to make a tax-deductible donation please donate to Sole Hope by going to and make sure you write Mission: Collie in the notes section.  

We are living with open hands-

Monday, March 28, 2011

It Is Well...Even Now

I seemed to skate through the first 11 days home in America with only a couple graceful emotional pitfalls. Much of my time was taken up unpacking, telling African stories, being hostess to one of my favorite "guests"-my sister, or being sick...very, very sick with the flu.
Today is day 11 and I am wrecked.  I long for the community I had, the Jesus I saw, the joy that flowed from believers hearts, the simple life, the songs of praise, the humbleness I touched and absence of everything we think in America that will make us full that just robs us of experiencing true joy.
I'm tired of people saying they understand...because unless you were Holly, Patrick or Hugh I don't think you do understand exactly what I'm feeling.  In all this, it is WELL with my soul.  I know and trust that I will go back to Africa at exactly the right time.
To add to my sorrow of not being in Africa I will admit my heart is feeling very heavy over this child I feel like we have some how lost from Ethiopia.  I trust in God's sovereign plan and I want to rely on his provision. He knows my desires.
And in all this I say, "It is well, with my soul"  I don't like how much I miss Africa, but it is WELL.  I can't wait for the day I return but in the here and now, it is WELL.  Only God knows how our family will grow and he will hold my heart until I can hold another child because HE is good and faithful and no matter what comes our way, it is WELL.
{Queen and myself with the headband I made for her}

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Future Part 1

In the past few weeks our family's plans have changed drastically.  One thing I can say with confidence though is that I feel like we are following God's plan for our family-even right now when it does not really make sense.  I feel a strange peace in all that is going on...and I'm a little hesitant to share our story with the world in totality just yet because I am still very emotional about everything-even though I know we are doing what is right.

So, for those of you who are not aware of the adoption process in Ethiopia, right now it is a little bumpy.  Adoptions are being slowed down drastically so that they can be done in a more detailed manner.  The government want to make sure they are being ethical about adoptions and adopting out only true orphans or children who were given up willingly, not just taken to an orphanage by some family member when in reality the mom or dad might be looking for them.  This is of course makes me sad for the orphans who do have to sit and wait for families longer when they truly need homes but I like that they are being handled with care.  Finding this out was discouraging to us for a few reasons I won't share right now...then, we had some issues with our agency that were just kind of the straw that broke the camels back.  So, one night last week I had this confirmation that we were not supposed to use the agency we were going with, and that Ethiopia was not the place we are supposed to adopt from.  I wondered why would God have had us walk down this path if it was going to end like this.  Why did we "waist" a year, hours and hours of paperwork, doctors appointments and lots of waiting for what seems like nothing.  Then, as I was getting my hair cut and talking to my hair dresser she spelled everything out for me.  She said, "You had to walk down that path.  If you had not pursued adopting from Ethiopia you would not have been doing research on Ethiopian adoption blogs and you would have not seen the video that was the catalyst for Sole Hope."  Oh.  My.  Gosh!  She was right. 

At this point we are not pursuing an adoption through Ethiopia.  I still love that country and maybe one day we will have a child from there.  At this point we feel drawn toward doing and independent adoption from either Zambia or Uganda.  We have had several doors open for us and we are just praying for the right timing on everything.

If I had my way I would adopt this sweet boy below...

I've told you about Maybin in a previous post.  He has stolen my heart!  We were connected instantly and I knew there was something different about this kid.  He wants to be a doctor when he grows up and is literally thirsty for knowledge.  He is a double orphan and cares for his grandmother who is in her 70s.  When Maybin's grandmother dies he will have no one.  Literally no one.  He knows that he has our family now.  We are his distant adoptive family and he knows that we are here for him if he ever needs anything.  

(Maybin's grandmother, Madilina)

There are other big decisions that we are making right now that will come up at a later date and time.  :)  Sorry to leave ya hanging!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sole Hope Africa Trip

A picture is worth a thousand words! Here are some photographs from our trip last week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Lot

(A photograph from Zambia...fitting this little girl with shoes)

There is a lot going on here in the Collie house-a lot of changes and heavy decisions being made.  I might be MIA for a couple of days while I process all that is going on.  To add to the chaos my sister is in town (YAY) and I have the flu.  Fun (sick) times!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


(A. and Quinn after A. ran her first 5K with me!)

Tonight I have old feelings rushing back.  Feelings I could never talk about or blog about-because I was under strict confidentially.  Tonight I will not disclose everything I am thinking or feeling, because I respect  this sweet girl in my life-but I just have to say, after much talking tonight my heart is just broken as it was every single night for over two years...just by the life of this one child.  Then, I stop and wonder how broken the Lord must be over me...when I think I know they way, when I don't rely on Him...and when I am just being me- the only way I know how to be. In all my sinfulness and yuck he sees me and still loves me.  Tonight I feel that for someone... the love of Christ that only He can give me.  I don't want anything in return.  Our previous daughter through foster care, who we will call A. is a sweet soul.  I got the joy of being her mom (as much as I could be that time in her life) and I had the privilege of helping her walk through tough life situations.  Tonight we talked... but this time I can't help... I can't do anything really, except get on my knees for her before her Father and beg for Him to watch over her, protect her and PLEASE God let her experience you one day!

(Visiting A. about a year after she'd gone home)

I reached out my hand tonight and once again had it turned down...but this is not about me, so I have to be okay with that.  My heart is just breaking.  I spent the last two weeks with children who will do anything for education, a job and family.  It is so different here in America.  Tonight the feelings of helplessness, surrender, sadness and brokenness rush back.  Tonight I will pray as hard as I have for two years for a miracle.  I'm expecting a miracle and I can't wait to tell you about it some day.

(A. used to help me on photo sessions for Eden Photography when she lived with us.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

If I Only Had One Thousand Words...

If I only had one thousand words I might be able to explain to you the last two weeks of my life.  The problem is, my heart has a thousand recollections that leave me speechless.
It has been about two weeks; two weeks for me to gather my thoughts about the one of the deepest experiences of my life.  How do I explain what it feels like to have my heart go walking outside of my body?  How do I gather the words that will paint a picture of pure bliss in the midst of poverty, hurt and pain?  My experience in Africa was taken in this time in a very personal way.  My heart was touched deeply, dare I say, deeper than ever before.  I experienced more highs and lows in the past two weeks than I have in the past eight months.  Leaving my family in Asheville while I venture off into the unknown, on a trip I knew would make my heart set sail has been beyond hard.  I grew closer to three of my friends from Asheville that accompanied me than I ever thought I would.  I grew to love five "strangers" in Uganda that I now call, with all sincerity, my family.  I watched God do miracle after miracle and prepare the way for the greatness he has in store for Sole Hope.  I experienced his favor and mercy in great ways.  I witnessed the hard work and resiliency of over 100 Sole Hope workers in Zambia and Uganda.  I saw hearts changed and lives moved, including my own.

Our trip began with Uganda.  We stayed in a village about an hour from much civilization.  The family that hosted us, George and Christie are now our Ugandan family.  Their three boys Zziwa, Moses and Brian I now call my brothers.  We all stayed in a small house constructed of hand made bricks and filled with love.  We had no electricity or running water-and it was still wonderful.  For a week I bathed out of a bucket of boiled water that had been fetched by Moses and Zziwa.  (Well, let me be honest, I only bathed once that week-it seemed very unnecessary)  :)  To get food for dinner was an all day affair,  we were blessed to have Hugh-a team member who is a wonderful and creative cook.

 We taught shoe making until the sun went down and were blessed to be in the presence of such devoted and loving people.  Our week ended too quickly and it was time to move on to Zambia.  Tears rolled down our faces and large part of our heart was left behind.

Patrick and Hugh prayed for our trip every single night, and several times a day.  Here they stopped and said a prayer as we were just a few blocks away from the riots due to elections.  In the midst of chaos we were kept safe.

My travel buddy and sistah, Holly. 

Our next stop was Ndola, Zambia.  We were greeted with a thunderous welcome from the Wiphan ladies.  My heart was overflowing with joy and excitement as I watched the ladies display their thankfulness in their song, dance and shouts of joy!  I remembered why I love it there so much, the people are amazing!  We taught shoe making in Zambia, just as we had done in Uganda, only we had about 4 times the ladies!  We were blown away and very nervous at how everything would work out.  But wouldn't you know, God didn't give us anything we could not fact, we did not just "handle" the teaching-but we were overjoyed to see the excitement and ownership that was taken with shoe making, just as in Uganda!  Lives were changed and soles were touched for His name and for His glory.

One of my favorite experiences from being in Zambia, besides being with our Zambian friends whom I love, was meeting a boy we now call our son.  If it was possible and beneficial I would bring this child home.  This boys name is Maybin...he is as smart as a whip and wants to be a doctor.  Joy and love radiated from Maybin's face...he is an angel sent to us by God.  Maybin cares for his grandmother who is 70+ years old.  He is a double orphan due to his dad dying when he was born, and his mother dying when he was in the 4th grade.  He lives in a little mud hut in a very dangerous neighborhood laden with thieves and witchcraft.  Maybin and our family will be connected forever.  We are putting him through secondary school and bought him a bike so he does not have to walk 10 miles to school every day like he has been.  Maybin and I wrote letters back and forth to one another every day while I was in Zambia, and in one letter he wrote, "I have prayed to God for you.  I prayed and fasted that God would bring me someone to care about me.  I have no one, but now I have you."  We are so blessed to have one another.

(Maybin on the left and my sweet friend Abby on the right)

In each place we visited I was amazed to see how Sole Hope many lives were touched and what hope was being displayed.  In a letter from Kunda in Zambia she wrote, 

Fondest love to sweet Asher, your family and the Sole - Hope team, in the precious name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We have been praying for your safe flight and we trust that you arrived home safely. 

God, gives the best and every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord!  WIPHAN - LADIES AND I, will never cease to thank God
Wiphan and you cant imagine the JOY, HOPE AND EXCITEMENT you have left in the lives of the poor widows at Wiphan!!   SHOE-MAKING, has come at the right time and it IS WIPHAN'S DREAM COME TRUE!!!. A million, million thanks for loving us and for the time you spent with us, we are very very grateful and God richly, richly bless you so very very much.  Shoe making has brought alot of hope in the lives of Wiphan ladies and their lives will never be the same.  We had a very wonderful time today with the ladies and all of them are DETERMINED TO WORK VERY HARD and I told them that working hard is what will make a difference in their lives. 






Asher, the ladies that you saw and taught how to make shoes, never had chance to go to school and the skill of shoe making has come as a BIG BLESSING!!.
Love you so very much sweet Asher and God richly bless you, your husband and children and the Sole -Hope team.  Bye for now and stay blessed.
Kunda for Wiphan.

I will write more as the days go by.  My heart needs to be able to process what I have experienced.  Thank you for your prayers, sentiments and comments.  They are left in the deepest part of my soul.