And Other Real Life Happenings

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Process

And so the journey begins.  Today I will officially tell you the "process" of going to Africa has started for me.  For those of you that are new readers, or new to my life-this journey to Africa I am about to take is on behalf of Sole Hope, and it is my privilege.  I am moved beyond words to be able to have something I am so passionate about.  Teaching women to make shoes for orphans so they do not become ill due to dirt born parasites that enter through the feet is something that makes me excited.  I have found my calling-and to be called to do something is so fulfilling.  It runs a close second to raising my precious babes...they of COURSE come in first.  I am reminded every day at how much I love being at home with them full time.  Yes, sometimes they drive me nuts.  But there is not one day that goes by without feeling so grateful that I have the privilege to stay at home with them and even school them.

Today was the first day that in the midst of being entertained by my son and taking my daughter to dance class that my mind kept having fleeting thoughts about my impending trip.  The first trip I will be taking is to Raleigh with Beth, a SH (Sole Hope) board member and the women who helped design the SH shoe.  And, we love our kiddos so she will be bringing two of her kids and I'll be taking Quinn and Asa.  We also will have with us a teen who has a beautiful demeanor.  She will travel as our child care help and help loading and unloading SH supplies.  We will be going to Raleigh, NC to teach a large group of women how to make the SH shoes, and teach them about Sole Hope.  It will be a 3 day experience.  Then, I come home-have one day to repack and then leave for Africa.  Oh the things I need to prepare before BOTH trips!  Just the thought of it gives me anxiety.  (If you are in the Raleigh, NC area and want to join us for this event please send me an email through the Sole Hope contact page!)

What I have really started to let soak in today though is the "process" of going to Africa.  It really is, a process.  I don't mean what to pack, making sure we have tickets, reservations, supplies, a plan....but I am talking about what your heart goes through.  I am mourning leaving my children for two weeks.  I HATE being away from them.  Especially while I am on the other side of the world.  I miss their kisses, their funny stories and just watching them grow daily.  (Because I swear, if you still you can WATCH them grow they are growing so fast!)  And, I am preparing my heart for travel.  For lost baggage, costs you didn't expect to incur, safety you have little to no control over-and...flying.  To risk further scaring anyone who might already be afraid of flying I will just say...when I was 16 there was a plan incident I was was the scariest time in my life and I get anxiety STILL to this day just thinking about it.  So the daily process from here until I return home of letting go, relaxing and relying on God in that area of my life started-today.

The other part of the process is the culture shock I am about to face.  I am so excited for our trip right now.  Then you get to a third world country and its hard because for me I feel at home...but I feel sort of weird that I feel at home because I feel like everyone is looking at me because I'm white, and they certainly know that that is not my home.  BUT, not everyone is thinking that!  And there are SO SO many that are excited that we will be there.  They radiate a love and adoration that is like nothing I've ever felt before...and it is so humbling because I am just like them, only born on the other side of the world.  Africa sucks you in and gets in your blood!  The people are amazing.  The culture is shocking in some ways, but just absolutely beautiful in others!

Then you come home.  So glad to see the ones you love.  So grateful to be born to such privilege.  But wait, am *I* the one that's missing something!?  And I personally look at everything I have, knowing that I am, I was going to say, blessed.  But is THIS blessed?  Well, yes it is.  But they had nothing and THEY are so blessed!  Do you see where I'm going?  You start to look deeper than the surface in EVERYTHING.  It is hard to be around other people who did not experience what you just did.  On my last trip someone said to me, "Don't worry, I felt that way when I came back from a third-world country.  Things will go back to normal, don't worry."  That statement rattled me!  Do I WANT things to go back to normal?!  "Normal" didn't fill me up.  "Normal" is where complacency lives.  "Normal" is just so NORMAL and I am not normal.  I am called to do great things!  I know for certain I was not created to live like most people.  I've always felt like the outcast in that way.  God is calling our family to something great.  And you can tell me that the greatness is Sole Hope...and yep, I'd believe that's part of it.  But I just don't think he is going to stop there!  I truly experience the JOY of the Lord in Africa.  
It is as if you see Jesus everywhere and it is just so beautiful.

It opens my eyes and my heart.  Maybe just ignore my monocle story.  You get the point-hopefully.

PS- Happy birthday mom.  Your spiritual guidance and faithfulness have taught me measures in life.  I am so blessed to call you my mom and my friend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

1 John 4:18 
"Perfect love drives out fear."

Happy Valentines Day!  On a day that is so often looked at as being for couples, I am pondering today the thought of real love.  Love for our spouse, our children and others around us.  I know that love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

What does it LOOK like to love like this?  I mean, is it just me or does anyone else see that especially for those of us that call ourselves Christ followers-we must love others the opposite way of how the world sees love.  That means loving though misconceptions, loving through trials, loving when its not easy to love and maybe even when you don't feel like loving.  THAT is true love.  
Because I'm in the adoption world right now-it is where my head and heart resides, I am faced with circumstances that are so easy to overlook in America.  One of them is HIV/AIDS.  I am just blown away by the number of people who are misinformed about this disease, including some health care workers!!!  If you've known me for a while you know that when I see injustice I have a hard time overlooking it and not standing on my soap box.  Sorry, this is my blog so for just a minute I will stand on my soap box cause I can...but even MORE than that because people NEED to hear the TRUTH about HIV/AIDS.  
1) What is HIV/AIDS?
It is an immune system disorder.  Simply put, the immune system is weakened and cannot fight off illness the way a healthy immune system can.
2) How do I get HIV/AIDS?
Well, according to:

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • US Department of Health and Human Services (
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • NYU Medical Center
  • The National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • UNAIDS – The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS
  • The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AMfar)
  • University of California Medical Center 
(that is a LOT of reputable places!)

-through sex
-needle sharing
-birth or breastfeeding
What?  Those are the only three ways?!  Well, look for yourself on the CDC webisite (Center for Disease Control)
Some people fear that HIV might be transmitted in other ways; however, no scientific evidence to support any of these fears has been found. If HIV were being transmitted through other routes (such as through air, water, or insects), the pattern of reported AIDS cases would be much different from what has been observed. For example, if mosquitoes could transmit HIV infection, many more young children and preadolescence would have been diagnosed with AIDS. 
All reported cases suggesting new or potentially unknown routes of transmission are thoroughly investigated by state and local health departments with the assistance, guidance, and laboratory support from CDC. No additional routes of transmission have been recorded, despite a national sentinel system designed to detect just such an occurrence. 
OK, so lets know the facts here...
 HIV is a fragile virus. It cannot live long outside the body. As a result, the virus is not transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes.

The ONLY body fluids that have been shown to contain transmittable concentrations of HIV are:
  • blood
  • semen
  • vaginal fluid
  • breast milk
According to Dr. Joel Gallant, Professor of Medicine at John Hopkins School of Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist,

"Don't spend time worrying about weird and obscure ways of transmitting the virus. The simple fact is that if no one shared needles and everyone wore condoms, the HIV epidemic would disappear."

So, now that we are clear that your child or yourself cannot get HIV/AIDS from another person unless you are doing the above with them...let the fear GO, because PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR.  And if you know all of the above in your head, and you are still afraid do your own research (I was just trying to save you some time, you will find exactly what is listed above) and pray that God would calm your heart and remove that fear.  The people that are infected with this disease need to be loved just like you do.  They are not scary people, they are not laden with germs, they need to be hugged and loved and cared for just like you and I.  I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings by trying to stretch your comfort zone...imagine how their feelings are hurt when they feel like outcasts.  
Now, to answer some more questions...
3) What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?  
 I hear most people refer to HIV as AIDS...and automatically I wonder if they know what they are talking about.  Of the over 1 million people living in the U.S. today with HIV, most do not have AIDS.  AIDS is just a more advanced stage of HIV.  And, did you know that if you have HIV you can take medicine daily that can lower your HIV levels so they become undetectable.  People with HIV have to do this for the rest of their lives, but if they take their medicine they will have a normal life expectancy!  
4) What about blood spills?
3 main methods sited by the Center for Disease Control (sex/needle sharing/birth-breast feeding) is extremely rareFar less common, in fact, than accidental death or paralysis from swimming, horseback riding, backyard trampoline and car accidents. 
To put it in perspective, in the U.S. 93 people die EVERY DAY in car accidents, 10 every day in swimming accidents8 people die every day in fire related accidents, 2 from choking, and even an average of 2 people die every WEEK from being struck by lightning! And yet over the past 28 YEARS that HIV/AIDS has been carefully tracked by the Centers for Disease Control, there have been only 8 reported cases of accidental household transmission. 8 in 28 YEARS.
(Among those 8 cases were hemophiliac brothers sharing razors, some elderly women, caring for their dying adult children who had full blown AIDS, not using simple universal precautions for years, and some individuals living in bizarrely unsanitary conditions (open wounds, used bandages laying all over the house, etc) further proving that under ‘normal’ household conditions, the virus is almost impossible to pass.)

Many children who are on medication today have a medically defined ‘undetectable’ amount of HIV in their blood and, thus, their odds of transmission are even many times more unlikely than these already EXTREMELY low numbers!

So, with all that said, look at today, Valentine's Day with a little different perspective.  You have just had your eyes opened to a world of new people you can LOVE.  My hope is that with your eyes opened you can have one less thing to fear in life.


(Many thanks to Positively Adopted)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quinn Theology

Oh yeah, and a little preaching by Quinn. I don't claim to have taught her all of the theology she preaches here... in fact, not quite sure where some of it comes from. :) The girl likes to talk! (I had to cut her off)

Quinn's Vlog About Adoption

Quinn knew mommy had a long day so she decided to share some of her thoughts today in this vlog (video blog)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Implementing the Inspirational

My mind has been turning over and over while trying to somehow digest all of the inspiration, encouragement and knowledge I gained this weekend at the retreat for adoptive moms I went to.  I met some amazing women and was excited to meet some of my blog readers for both Sole Hope and this blog. I feel so ready to embark on this journey of adoption.  This is not to say we won't mess up, I mean-if we didn't mess up as parents how would our children know they need God?  :)  At this retreat I was able to listen and learn from very  seasoned mom's who have adopted.  Some of them started their journey because of infertility and soon realized adoption was not plan B, but in God's plan this was plan A.  Some of the mothers have biological children and adoptive children.  However, every mother had a BEAUTIFUL story that was moving and littered with God's resurrection and faithfulness.  A story that exemplified love, and that perfect love drives out fear.
I had so much fun with my Wiphan friends (Wiphan has made a huge impact on Sole Hope).  I manned the Wiphan/Sole Hope table and loved meeting people and talking about two ministries I LOVE.
I am excited to see what God has in store for us.  I will tell you that Drew and I applied to have an addendum to our homestudy requesting a special needs child.  Our wait time is now 0-4 months.  We feel God's presence and peace as we walk into phase of our lives.  There will be changes and growth that will take place in our family.  We are excited for what God has before us and I am so thankful I got to experience this weekend and I am ready to implement the tools God gave me at this retreat for the years to come.  I feel renewed.  I can breath.  And I am ready for our child to come HOME.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Excited

I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight!  I am SO excited about the retreat for adoptive moms I will be going to tomorrow.  I will get to be surrounded by just over 250 other moms who love the Lord and love the picture of adoption.  I will be among big big hearts!  And, I will be staying at a beautiful hotel...can't tell you the last time I did that!  I will so miss my hubby and kids, but I think this is going to be so good for my spirit!  Please pray for safe travels tomorrow, the roads are supposed to be icky.

Tonight we did our weekly night out to Earth Fare (kids eat free on Thursdays) and the cheese guy and I shared a quick, "Hello".  It wasn't until I ran into him later in the store that he said, "Don't you do something with shoes?"  I told him yes, I do and he said, "I saw you on TV, something about sole something.  That was really good.  Really nice to meet you!"  I was amazed that he remembered that.  The last time my segment aired was about two weeks ago here.  So funny.

I'll try and document my weekend for you.  :)  I'll leave you with a funny picture.  Quinn sleeping on the couch in our bedroom and Jake sleeping on a cot next to her.  I had a good laugh when I went to bed and saw this!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Has it really been a MONTH since I posted anything.  Wow!  This last month a LOT has happened!  Where to start?  God has done a lot with our hearts concerning the adoption, but its not something we are going to talk about yet-so don't even try to get it out of me...eehh-hemmm, you know who you are.  ;)  I will be going on an amazing retreat this weekend with other adoptive mommas and will hear from some people that speak my language...IE, adoption and orphans.  I will process a lot this weekend and perhaps will come back to my blog readers and open up about the transformation our hearts are going through.

I spent about two weeks just trying to buy tickets for the Sole Hope Africa crew to go to Africa in March.  I am so so so excited about this.  God is going to great things and is already preparing the way.  Instead of going to only Zambia we are now going to Uganda too!  It is quite an amazing story really.  I bought our tickets from the States to south Africa and then tried to buy the next leg of the trip from south Africa to Zambia and the tickets would NOT go through.  I tried for hours until the bank closed and they said they'd work on my "mystery case" again on Tuesday...because Monday was Martin Luther King Day.  I was so frustrated...I just wanted to be done with ticket buying.  By this time I was wishing I'd used a travel agent instead of trying to save a buck!  (That was BEFORE I found Tabitha!)  Long story short, Monday night my friend Christi emailed me BEGGING Sole Hope to come to Uganda.  I knew they needed help, but I wanted her to be totally on board before we just brought our services in.  Because God knows, when we leave someone has to carry on!  So, I said we'd try and make it now we are going to Uganda too!

I have spent a good amount of my time making a Lent tree (complete with 40 ornaments all relating to a certain Biblical story) and Valentines felt fortune cookies.  My friend Andrea is good for a craft or two ;) (THAT'S and understatement!) and so she has inspired me to make these crafts that we can use again and again every year.  Both of them are very time least for me.  I do believe it is worth it!

We had ONE nice day of beautiful weather, like so many others and now it is icky again and honestly, I'm just struggling to stay productive and chipper.  My mood usually is pretty much like the weather...when its sunny I'm sunny...when its not I'm...well...

This is all for now!  Dinner is calling...