Turns to 2017

In returning to the states I anticipated rolling back into my old life. Hanging out with the same folks, eating at my favorite spots, settling into a routine and newfound freedom from 85-100 kids, 21 days of work in a row and carrying around a walkie talkie 24/7.
What I found was the quiet at night and in the morning seemed too loud, some of my favorite spots are gone. The same folks have moved on and are busy in new ways. Much like a kid who has gone off to college and returned home for summer break only to realize after years away everyone you knew had changed. And you did too.
I never had training for how to serve in a foreign country, raise support, take care of myself while away, nor how to return to the states after years away. I'm finding it much different that I expected and at times overwhelming.
I feel homeless some days. Grateful and thankful and blessedly I get to live with some friends while I work and figure out the future. Build or buy a house or get an apartment. Then but all the things one would need- starting over because I've sold almost everything I own. Bed. Couch. Vacuum. Brooms. Washer and dryer. Dishes and silverware. If my friends decided they didn't want me to live with them i would be homeless. (I know the federal guidelines for homelessness from working with them in seminary). This isn't a completely disconcerting thing but it humors me.
I think of everyone excited I'm returning to the US and myself included for the most part. Then the realization of how little I had hit. I had to buy all new pants for work- the few I still had didn't fit. I had not dress socks. I needed toiletries and everyday things one wouldn't think about. A car the Lord provided that I have to pay off. It added up and I had not even staters work. And when I did it took 3 wks to get paid.
The holidays brought a grief I didn't anticipate. Missing my hooligans. My kids. My bigs. On any given day 10 would be mad at me and 10 would be totally my best friend telling me they loved me when I walked or drove by. Life seems too quiet. The anticipation they have over new trams and presents. New movies to watch and getting to play the Wii once in awhile. Teaching them new things. Reminding them they do matter and they are loved by the Father. I've forgotten how to have holidays without them involved. Being with my family for part of a day was sweet but just felt strange.
Hearing people say "thank you for the time you served the Lord" felt weird. I still am. He no doubt sent me here. To this job. To this city. For this time. Just because I'm in America hasn't changed my heart to serve and Glorify Him. Just the context.
New Year's Eve I sat in church as the pastor talked about "all that has happened in your life this year". And I could barely think of a thing the past year held. I thought of the months when Katja was gone and I had the responsibility of my kids and decision making for them. Moving back to the states. And that's all I could think. I felt that I'd isolated my time in Honduras and visits to the states on vacation into a separate place I couldn't access. To keep the grief to a minimum. And I felt lost.
Then about 10 minutes later the pastor quoted Jeremiah 31. And my friend Bufanda looked over at me and said "isn't that Micah 7?" “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭7:18-19‬ ‭NASB‬‬
And I said yes. And she flipped in her bible to look it up. And I couldn't. Because suddenly I was flooded with remembering one of the things he taught me and in turn I taught my kids. He has tossed my sins into the sea. No one can retrieve them. Walk in freedom from them and from the shame. Longing for my kids to understand that. To walk with Him in His love and freedom.
And it was all I could do not to weep. To be served the Lords supper by my friends. Reminded of his sacrifice for me. The blessing of his brokenness and blood poured out on my behalf. So the only sacrifice needed would be my life in service to Him out of thankfulness love and gratitude for his grace and mercy.

The next day at round 2 of church I asked my friend to pray. She asked "anything specific?" And I said no. And His answer to our prayers was He is enough. He satisfies. He gives joy. Walk in freedom in it.
Just what my heart needed to hear. Not something "big" and loud. And steps to follow in getting from where I was to somewhere else. Just Him.
Even in what feels completely unsettled and a lot of times solitary and too quiet. Him. Just Him.
And now as we take off on a delayed flight to Atlanta we take off in the rain and fog. To come out above the clouds. With the plane wing visible in the backdrop of stars. And I'm reminded sometimes the quiet that feels so lonely and scary is just Him. Pulling me aside to Him alone to cover me in His love. To get above the fog and rain and storm. The balm I need to heal the hurt I feel in the missing my kids. In missing heaven and being with Him. I long to be there. I long to see His face. To be before Him. To worship Him without distractions or hesitation. To see His light and marvel at His creation like the stars in the sky.
I long for geography not to matter with those I love. In countries spread from Africa to Central America. Across states and even 2 hours away. For the constraint of money to not Exist.
To be whole. With my people. Gathered around the throne.
So for now I return back to my temporary home. My job tomorrow. And I seek to remember the simplicity He shows me. What freedom looks like from self made expectations. To walk in his way. Listening to His voice to lead me into spaces and places with those He has called me to serve and serve with.
And to find Joy in the journey.
So grateful for where He has taken me in my 42 1/2 years. And praying in this next calendar year to be diligent to just listen. Stand. Fight. Speak truth in love. And be graceful.
Thankful for those of you with me in this journey.
Let's love Jesus. Because He has loved us first. And love like Him.
Be His

Looking at the Manger


I Saw this on Instagram from George's Farmers Market (one day I am going to make it over there by the way!)  I took a screenshot of it and as the last couple of days it just kind of stuck in my mind.  I couldn't think of why until the other night after the Resident and Family Christmas ball.  It just suddenly struck me....for all those years the Jews and so many expected the Messiah.  They waited.  They hoped and they anticipated.  And He came but no one seemed ready.  I am sure Mary and Joseph as new parents didn't feel ready.  Even after all those months of waiting and preparing after the Angel's announcements to them.  The sheperds probably didn't see it coming.  The wise men, well...they I'm thinking might have been ready after their travel and planning.  

The empty manger.  I can't help but think that in our nativity mindset, that manger wasn't just sitting there waiting like an empty bassinet at the hospital, empty cribs awaiting a baby to come home.  That manger was with animals and hay and who knows what. But that is where He came, Baby Jesus laid in a manger.

And so many people missed it.  There were not announcements made on CNN, on Twitter or Facebook.  Some angels announcing it to the sheperds but that was it.  And for 30ish years Jesus did his thing and grew into a man, worked and prepared for his 3 years of ministry, His death and His resurrection.  Even in those 3 years there was word of mouth of miracles, wonder and even anger.  Word spread, scripture was written, history made.  

And even in that, people missed it.

 It makes me so incredibly grateful to be on this side of the Nativity and the Cross.  To hold and read my bible and just be overwhelmed with the knowledge of Love, Grace, and Truth.  To have the opportunity to prepare my heart for the Christmas season as we celebrate Christ.  May I carry that with me daily and seek to reach those who have still missed it.  The arrival of the Messiah, and let them know what the true, deep, life changing meaning of Christmas really is.  

May we indeed prepare room in our hearts, our crowded days, this Christmas and New Year season to see Christ, the Father who loves,  us, and the Holy Spirit who is so sweetly strong and kind to us in the Grace, Love and Mercy of our Forgiving Holy Trinity. 

I'm thankful for sweet baby Jesus who was laid in a manger to save us all.  

Merry Christmas!

Be His 

Flashback meets fast forward

I have timehop on my phone which reminds me of all kinds of things I've posted on social media. Sometimes I've even confused myself- read a comment Scott Fillmer sent to me on a Uganda trip and for awhile I thought I might have been to the Detroit airport and completely forgotten about it!
It's really quite the thing to be reminded to read old blog posts from 8 years ago. And I'm just always astounded at the crazy life the Lord has given me. I've been to 8 countries. I have 3 degrees. Learned another language and have 85 kids! Bought and sold a house and a car and all my stuff. Started over in another country. It's been a crazy full and good 42 years.
Now he is leading me to somewhere else again.
Pretty much everyone I talk to here in Honduras asks me how long I've been here and how long I will be here- it's like the US equivalent of "what do you do?" My answer is always the same- I'm here til I die, the money runs out, or He says go. I haven't asked much "how long do you want me here?" to the Lord. Usually in praying He leads me to "Stand. Persevere. Keeping going. Stand firm. Fight" In August one day I asked and He answered differently.
Ok I thought. That's a year- my residency will expire next October. I'll have the year to say bye to all the teams one by one and get word out I need a job in the US or wherever. That same night I told my friend I heard the Lord tell me I would be leaving Emmanuel at some future point. But I wasn't specific. Her prayer for me that night confirmed a lot. It started to feel sooner than next October in my heart.
I've the past weeks I've been mentally planning taking things to the US I wanted to keep and how to do that 2 suitcases at a time. And then I started thinking I would leave on my vacation in the spring and just stay in the US then. And kept praying.
And a few weeks ago found myself wishing I would be with my family for Christmas. Which was odd. I even asked someone to take my Legos to the US and I would get them in the spring (just don't have time to mess with them here).
Then last Wednesday everything changed. I got a text. And everyday since that text He has made it clear I'm supposed to return to the US. I can't explain all the details right now but it is very clear that I'm moving back to Alabama. By November 1.
I know. That's soon. It's fast. It's surreal.
I met with David and Lydia last Wednesday morning and then talked to Lourdes. I explained God revealing his plan to me and confirming it in scripture after scripture. And His timing is just perfect. I will share more when I am able, like who is taking my job and what I'll be doing. But know it is Him.
I'm not leaving because I'm upset, burnt, angry or done. Yes this has been the most trying crazy hard thing I've ever done. And I would remain here if He said. But my prayer is He would tell me when and be clear. And he has been. So it's just time. I told the girls last Thursday and they heard my heart and my tears. And they understand. They are asking to make sure I'll take photos with them before I go. Haha
So I left last Friday with a couple volunteers to Teguc for touristy things. And I flew to the US Monday for my vacation. I'll go back on 19th spend time with my crazy kids and then leave here the 31st or 1st. I plan to start work on Nov 7.
For those of you who support me financially you are welcome to contact CMC to stop payments for Nov and Dec but my request would be that you would continue your support through the end of the year as I won't be paid by my next job until later on in November and I have transition costs. I have to find a car and buy supplies and work clothes... December funds I plan to purchase and send things my kids need. Whatever you may decide I am grateful. You have enabled me to be here...and do what He is called me to do. I'm humbled and completely speechless.
I would appreciate your prayers over the next couple months. Leaving here is sweet but hard already. My new life in the states will be difficult and I will miss it here. My kids.... And just need vision for where I will live, buying a car, doing a completely new job, if I have to buy things for a house or apartment...the details feel large.
But as always. Emmanuel- God with Us. He does what He does to love us and make us like Him. And I'm grateful. For it all. Grateful for you. Grateful for what He's lead me through and where He's taken me. And can't wait to see some of you face to face and get to spend time sharing the details with you!!
Be His.


Flashback meets fast forward

Flashback meets fast forward

The gift

So I'm spending some time away from Emmanuel for my day off and thought I would take a moment to blog to show you all I am still alive. Also to explain this box I received. Hundreds of you have asked about it since I mentioned it on social media and I couldn't keep my adoring audience waiting. Okay. One person has asked in the past 3 months....

So in March I'm on vacation in Ohio driving down 13 (the road that leads to or from anywhere from Carrie's house) and singleness came up. In the discussion I mentioned something I read earlier about "the gift of singleness." It seems to me that the way singleness is discussed in the church body is either you need to get married because you're so cute,smart, pretty or great OR you just most have the gift of singleness. Like its a spiritual gift. I literally checked a few times and it's not listed as a spiritual gift. So we laughed about adding to the list of "gifts" and talked about what my gift of singleness looked like. So a day or two later Carrie gifted me with my singleness officially. Ha!
Here's the thing... I know Paul mentioned the benefits of singleness over marriage. And encourages those who can to remain single. He also says those who can't should be married. I know the bible is full of marriage language. Heaven will be a wedding. I love that. I love weddings. I love love! Haha I get it.

I think we can all say In 2016 singleness is just a weird subject. I can list a whole lot of things that are great about being single. I can list a whole lot of things that are really far from awesome about being single. I acknowledge that marriage is hard. I've been in lots of friendships with couples and seen the struggles up close and even seen marriages fail. I get it.
What is hard to understand is why it's a "this or that" thing. You're married or you're evidently waiting to someday be married. I've never heard someone say "I think it's awesome that God has had you single because...." I'm thankful to have had people say "why don't you come over to our thing we are having because we don't want you to miss out" (married people thing). I'm thankful that folks in my world acknowledge my aloneness (I roll singularly...not that I'm alone) and invite me in to their lives for community. I'm ok with being involved in families and doing family stuff. I have time for that when married women don't. Most of my friends know I'm fine goin to the grocery store with them just to spend time chatting about whatever. They also know that I'm extra grateful for moments we can sit as grownups at a meal or coffee shop or on the back porch alone chatting. I'm thankful for those who pray for me about my not having a husband to partner with as I navigate life. And they don't necessarily pray the Lord would send me one. They just pray what the Father tells them. I'm thankful for those who ask how I'm doing and really want to know because they get that I don't have a husband to talk to as life goes on and ask his opinion and pray with about stuff that feels hard. I'm thankful for folks who pray for or with me because they get that at the end of the day I don't have a husband to do that with. It's how community should look anyway- single or not. We share life and time prayers and Jesus. I really try hard to be someone that does the same for my friends (who happen to be married) because I get what life must look like for them and I want to be an encouragement and friend to them. It's just what we do as the body of Christ. Because I'm single I try to live my life serving as much as I can because I know I'm free to do so.
A lot of articles I've seen lately about singleness seem to mention "while I was waiting for a/my spouse" and some are still waiting. Which is interesting because I just think...what if it doesn't come? I try to just live life, pursue my King, and see what comes. But I don't feel like I'm waiting for my husband. At least not an earthly one. I just don't want to spend energy on it. Like I try not spend energy waiting for another house or car or any other thing that's not in my life. That just makes it all feel harder
For me it's too easy to get caught up in what I don't have and I miss what I do. I have people who love me, in all my silly messed up ways. People who laugh with me that I'm turning into a spinster or the old lady in the shoe with all the kids. I have a Heavenly Father who knows exactly what is to come and I trust Him.
I think of Corrie Ten Boom talking to her father and wanting to know something. He handed her the big suitcase he had and asked if she could carry it all day. She replied she couldn't that it was too heavy. He responded with something alone the lines of "trust me that I know you can't carry the weight of it. Like you aren't ready to know some of the things you want to know". I trust Him. And if He up and surprises me with a man to become my husband then bonus. (And watch out world. That's gonna be a crazy time! Haha)
For now I sit my "gift of singleness" on the shelf and go on down the road of life doing my thing with my #village and trust my Father for the decisions He makes in my life. Knowing that I really don't have a gift of singleness because I am His bride! And that's the best kind of gift I know.
Love you guys.
Be His.

The gift

Semana Santa!

Had a team of High Schoolers from Florida leave Friday and a team of Union University folks come in Saturday.  Like the countdowns in the states our kids have been waiting Holy Week to start.... School is out just now and so it begins.  Week of Hot, dry, but NO SCHOOL for anyone and the boys only work half days.  Yah for all that...except the hot. 

So we have made a schedule for my girls so they know what we have planned and they are already asking questions about it.... Sunday tournament for prizes with a few of our card games, Monday we are doing the infamous waterslide in our yard (ours is the best).  I am considering bringing not only soap but maybe some vegetable oil...seeing as the grass is already dead we cant kill any plant life. Ha. Tuesday is  movie (and popcorn, they don´t know about the popcorn) and soccer court after dinner.  Thursday is water balloons and water games and probably just chaos with water.  Friday and Saturday I didn´t make plans because I will be Headed to America!! Katja wasn´t sure what she wanted to do with the girls yet. 

Mixed in there will be Wii time for those who have earned it.  I have discovered that the couple of groups that have gone are mostly terrible at tennis and half are terrible at bowling and the other half are awesome.  I got Mario Kart for them and they have enjoyed playing that but don´t fully understand what to do with the extra stuff.  It´s quite fun to watch them. I´ve videoed several times but whenever I video it is just boring. Will keep trying to catch them doing something loud and entertaining.  They keep asking for dancing games, but I have to make a list of acceptable songs on the discs. Because some are just....um nope. Not listening to that song! 

We have planned lots of activities for the kids and now the weather decides to up and rain all night and this morning... go figure.  It´s cooler for now which is nice but messes up time for non water related activities. My kids are dying to get wet, even when it´s not hot. 

So we start spring break today and I am finishing up my time here for my vacation to America...land of the fried food and easily available stuff I want and need. And My people!! Almost all my people! (Some I can´t see this trip :( 

So if you haven´t told me you want to see me, please let me know! And don´t forget I have a pow wow on April 16th if you want to come hang out!! 

Thank you guys for your support, prayers, and encouragement for me and my kids. 

Be His



Part of the square in Guiamaca (We drove through on the bus, I rarely go to town)

IMG_2356 Art in Teguc at a round about. Yes, that´s a pig with a soccerball in it´s mouth on a plate of money on the right.... ha

IMG_2264My Little Big helping me make a cabinet for our tv and wii stuff a couple weeks ago. 


Start of a sunset the other day.

IMG_2327Found one of the kitchen girls behind the kitchen after lunch like this. Told her next time David brags to everyone at church about the hard working kitchen girls I will have the sound guys put this picture on the screen hahaha. 


Ain´t happenin

I was going to post some more photos from Christmas but the reality of the internet here, even the fancier faster one in the office, is just way to frustrating.  I will try to make sure to post more when I am in America in April.  Speaking of America, friendly neighborhood reminder- I will be in the states March 25- Around the end of April.  So if you want to see me let´s plan something! 

School started yesterday and I have to say, like I said last year about this time, so ready for school to start! The kids were antsy and starting to act a bit nuts and we need some more structure and better schedule than the holiday schedule.  

As usual, I teach my kids what I learn, and last week´s circle on Wednesday morning was about Sin. Because I have 90 teenagers it is easy for folks to throw around reminders of past stupidity.  Sometimes I remind them because they are making new poor decisions and need reminders of the past ones. But I try to not put a kid in a box of being a "bad kid" and reinforce sometimes what people in their pasts have said. So, we talked about sin. 

I was explaining to the kids that when we are in Christ He has taken our sins to the cross.  We still sin, but we confess them and move on, letting Him change us.  We don´t allow the enemy to keep bringing them up again and again, reminding us that perhaps we are just trapped. That we can do no better. That we will never be free.  That we are condemned by our sins and cannot walk away from them.  

I know the tendency is to allow him to speak to us like that, and too often to listen.  But the bible says different.  Several places it talks about how God forgets or throws away our sin. And these are in the OLD TESTAMENT before Jesus! Imagine, in a system of forgiven sins in the temple with animals and shed blood God forgives, forgets, throws away sins! 

If you need to see it to believe it....Here are just a few:

Psalm 103:11-12

Or as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:8,18-19

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Do you see that? He throws our iniquities- our wickedness into the sea!! Have you ever thrown a rock into the sea and then tried to go find it? It's basically GONE.  So when we stand in forgiveness because of Christ's work on the cross...we are forgiven.  And our sins are not to be found again! Into the SEA. 


I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When we think of sin we think of justice. And Justice for wrongs would be imprisonment, repayment, retribution of some sort.  This says He is Faithful and JUST.  And His Justice for us is to forgive our sins! How crazy is that?  He sends His son to die on a Cross, kick death in the teeth, so that we can live forgive and free....and in His Justice which is mercy, grace, and forgiveness because of Christ!

And as I explained to my kids, somehow we let the enemy try to tell us we aren't forgiven.  We will not be free, we cannot change....and live in the sins of our past.  Such a big fat liar. 

I long to totally understand and live in this myself.  And I long for my kids to understand this and walk in freedom.  He is so good to us and we fail to look to Him and walk in His freedom far too often.  I pray we see Him as He is, and the gifts He has for our hearts! 

Please pray for some of my kids who are making poor decisions regarding school right now. And for the people they choose to hang out with that are bad influences.

Please pray for wisdom for me and other staff.  

Pray for rest and restoration as we spend time with the Lord.  To be diligent in taking the time when it is open.

Please pray if the Lord is leading you to become a financial supporter. One time gift or regular giving.  When the funds don't come for me to remain here, then I can't stay.  I don't want funds to be an issue to my remaining here with my kids. 

I'm grateful for you guys. For your support and your prayers!! You don't know what it all means to me and my kids!! 

Be His


P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511



Feliz Navidad

I know some of you have been waiting for a post about Christmas here...so here you go. 

We celebrate Christmas here on the 24th- lunch this year was hotdogs and then we do gifts.  Thanks to the amazing coordination of Sarah and Amy helped with team help all gifts were given out in about 45 minutes. Between lunch and Gifts we took photos in the pavilion with the blow up tree and penguin I found for 50% off in Teguc. I think it was like 10 dollars a piece or something less. 

I had asked for help to surprise my girls and folks from CA, OH, GA, TN, ARK, and AL all pitched in.  I got bags with shampoo, conditioner, body scrubs, pens, word search books, socks, chapstick, hair ties and claw clips, candy, deodorant and each had sandals/flip flops given to them a few days before Christmas to wear for the day.  I was astounded at how much stuff I had...more than covered my 94 kids! 

I think I had 14 boxes in my den and I told my poor roommate I would have them out when she returned Jan 4 but because I have some extra things I can't get rid of them til I get my storage space secured which is a whole other thing. Ha She said its ok though.  

I started working on the bags the morning of the 24th while the girls were beautifying themselves and after Christmas gifts it took me another while.  I think 8 hours total.  

Christmas morning (25th) while they were eating breakfast the team helped me move everything to the pavilion.  When they saw the bags on the tables when they came out after breakfast they all came running and yelling.  I explained that friends had sent it all down- the same ones that sent the sandals.  They all hollored and yelled and cheered.  It was too hard to film as they hugged me and thanked me.  They talked about those bags for days.  And I was corrected by several saying they would love stockings... to quote one "We can have bags anytime but stockings only are for Christmas!"


So enjoy the photos and little bit of video.  I cannot thank you enough for all your help to surprise them.  I was expecting them to be more nonchalant than they were and were so happy to know they were beyond excited. Such simple things too. Thank you! Thank you a ton of times! 









I have more but the internet is being sassy. So I will post these now and work on the others at another time.

Thank you for your investment in what the Father is doing to love on these kids here. I can´t do it without you!

Be His.



Christmas time is here again

It's my third Christmas that I've lived in Honduras. The first Year I got to go to the US for most of the month. My last Christmas in Alabama and my first time to spend time in Ohio. Last year someone surprised me with a trip to Alabama for 4 days and a mini Christmas happened and I got to see my friends and family and it felt like Christmas. Then Christmas here with my kids for the first time.
This year is the first time in 41 years I won't be with my family during December. A friend mentioned to me last month that this must be difficult. I said it very well could be but it has to be about Him.
Trust me. I've looked at tickets here and there trying to figure out if it would be at all possible to show up in Alabama for a couple of days and it just wasn't doable. With my schedule and especially with my finances.
Christmas will happen no matter if we are ready for it. And as I came into Teguc today to pick up a team I was thinking how much we build up Christmas. We all have expectations for the holiday season. What time with our family and friends should be and feel like. What time at church with the family there should look and feel like. And no matter where you are, odds are high the season will seem to disappoint somehow. Gift expectations not met. Couldn't find the perfect gift for that one you love so much. The perfect gift you thought you'd get, that you hinted about for 2 months didn't happen. Plans changed. It didn't happen like you thought it would.
Then Christmas was over and you will say "is it already over?"

That's where Jesus comes in. He changes our perspectives. He shows us how things should be. He prepares our hearts daily when we ask Him. He shows up in the middle of our Christmas. Because He is the reason and we acknowledge that.

I can't help but think of the first Christmas. Freaked out Mary and Joseph having their baby in a barn. And the shepherds and wise men didn't just show up that night and the whole world started celebrating. I know that's how we tell it but I don't think the timing lent itself to have all that play out the first night. I think it was much simpler. Baby in a manager and angels announcing it to the shepherds and thus the world. But there probably was just a quiet normalcy with those three in that barn that night.
And sometimes that's just was Christmas is. Just a day. When our hearts are just full of where He has us. The shiny and bright might be on another day with loud music and annoying craziness. But Christmas is really just Him.

Last Christmas Season I encountered one of the hardest deepest struggles I've had. It was all in my heart and mind and I have to admit the day after Christmas I lost that day's battle. Satan doesn't like the light and joy of Christmas. And He will do what He can to make us forget Christ came for freedom. For salvation. To kill sin and death. I'm determined this year to keep that in front of me and rejoice in who He is. Savior. Redeemer. Prince of Peace. Wonderful Counselor. (Isaiah 9)
I long for the day I can stand in front of Him. Face to face and no more veil between us. To realize fully the hope He brings.
For now and until then I will see that baby in the manger in that barn and rejoice that He has come. Emmanuel. God with us. And one day He will come again. Or we will go to Him in death.
What a sweet day that will be.
Til then we press on. We stand. We fight. For truth of His word that sets people free.

He is the reason for the season. Indeed. May we settle in to know Him more this week.
Thankful for each of you in what He's doing in my life.
Be His.

Christmas time is here again

Christmas time is here again

The America goings on of October

Before I can blog about anything more recent than 1992 I need to update you guys on my time in the states. And since I have some good stuff to talk about I figured I better get on it. 

I got to fly home one more time First Class.  I was blessed with a ticket from a friend who´s husband flies for Delta, so if there is a first class seat open after everyone else on standby gets seat assignments I get it.  Such a blessing for a girl like me to be sitting in first class. 

After doctor appointments, dentist appointments and some running around I got to seeing my folks.  Spent some time seeing Robert and his wife in Montgomery.  Amazing to see how life has changed for us both when I met him back in 94. After stopping by my sister´s house to hold my 2 week old Nephew James and see my girlies I got to see Jamie James and her crew and witness PJ losing his first tooth. He was shocked and surprised as he at his veggies and rice. Haha


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I got to go by James´classroom at Pike Road.  Crazy that I grew up nearby and Pike Road was a country store and a railroad crossing back then.  Now there are neighborhoods and even a school.  Was cool to see so many races and ethnicities in her class.  They were journaling and would say "Mrs. Shelton´s friend how do you spell daughter, or Atlanta, or Micaiah?"  Such a joy to watch her patiently work with her littles in that room. They journaled on the floor because there are so many kids they don´t have tables and chairs for them all.  The kids dont seem to mind at all!


During the first week in Auburn my Barbara went shopping for a few things at Sam´s then went to Big Lots to pick up some things for the Christmas surprise I have for my bigs.  When we were checking out the lady asked if we had found everything.  I told her they were short a couple things because we needed 11 of each but that was ok.  She asked what we were shopping for and I explained my 85 kids and what I do.  She thanked me and thought that was all great.  The lady behind Barbara in line said "What are you buying that for?" She explained again what we were doing and the lady handed her $40 and said "Please put that towards the balance" Pretty sure Barbara and I both were about to cry a bit.  It shocked Barbara I know and I laughed and said as we left that´s how God does stuff for my kids.  I would have taken a photo with the lady but my phone was in the truck! Barbara saw her coming out as she got ready to leave and stopped her and took a photo.  The woman shared that one day she hoped to adopt and just prayed that maybe her gift would come back around to her.  IMG_0617

I left that experience to a ladies small group lunch/meeting where I got to hear the testimony of a woman who adopted 2 teens from the Ukraine.  And then one of the lady´s shared that her husband´s boss was giving them $10,000 towards her adoption and their needs.  We were all in tears and my heart was just full over how the Father takes care of his kids as we all trust him in what we are doing.  I couldn´t help but think of my Covey´s and tell Carrie the stories to encourage her as they walk their adoption journey. Then I got to share a bit about Emmanuel and realized after I shared that most of the ladies there were helping with the Christmas surprise. Such sweet stuff.  

After a busy week of running around I picked up my littles in Montgomery and headed on our way to CFA in Opelika to spend the night.  Saturday morning we were headed to Stone Mountain but it was raining and a mess so we called that off last minute and went to NorthPointe mall.  Aunt Stina met us and a fun time commenced.  Lego had a display throughout the mall so we experienced American history via Lego.  And you KNOW i was lovin it. Stina brought a cookie cake (to welcome me back and we all know that any cause for cookie cake is a good one).  She even brought plates napkins and a knife so we could eat it in the truck! Way to plan that out Stina. 

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IMG_0732  IMG_0660 I appreciate this kid and her love for a map in her hand.  

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It was not so rainy so we headed to Stone Mountain and got to walk around the non crowded park and experience the Pumpkin festival and catch the laser light show in the rain...but so good.  We got to do our favorite things except the skytram and dipping dots.  I will miss going to Stone Mountain Christmas this year but have already calendared our date for my next trip to the states. 

After more people and visits and general running around Auburn I went to Atlanta to see my bestie from Texas. She was in town for a nursing conference.  Long story short I had to rent a car that was supposed to be a Corolla or equivalent and this is what I got.  Problem is I had about 14 boxes to take with me to Atlanta to be taken to Chattanooga.  I was determined to get 9 and my suitcase...I made it fit. When I got to the hotel it was a better deal to valet park and the guy had to be laughing at my car all packed up. We ate dinner then walked around and ended up at the Ferris wheel next to the Tab.  Was really neat and just a touch scary when that basket started swinging.  IMG_0770  IMG_0784

Next morning headed to Cheryl´s in Woodstock to take the boxes to the warehouse in Chattanooga.  Found a hole in the wall footlong hotdog place that has been there forever and followed that meal with an amazing steak dinner cooked in an amazing backyard by Cheryl.  Blessed to be spoiled like this.(For the record..not my wine, Cheryls.  That was for the photo.)   IMG_0798

Some of you will be humored to know that my rental car was FULL UP with ants on the passenger side.  When I turned the car in the lady jumped wiping off her pants (she had sat down in the car to check the mileage. haha) God has a sense of humor. Of that I am sure. 

Ohio to hang with the Ohio #Village Chapter. Got to have sushi for the first time ever (thanks but too fishy for me) and also got to go to Old Man´s Cave after talking about it for 2 years.  Turned out a great day for walking and picnicing.  Was really super cool to see and hang with my Coveys.  And Nora made my sandwich with love.  Just gotta love that. IMG_0819  IMG_0824  IMG_0807  That would be brownie waffles with homemade ice cream and Carrie´s Salted Caramel.  Dare I mention all the other foods I consumed and naps I took in Ohio...

 Ended up sick the morning of my flight back and with construction stupidity thrown in I missed my flight.  No big (except for throwing a major wrench in Carrie´s schedule and me feeling terrible). I didn´t want to be on a plane anyway... So got a one way ticket and left the next day.  I got blessed with some stuff for me and my bigs so I had to check a box on the way home. After 10 days of Covey time, VGF churching and some stellar naps and reading I headed back to Auburn to finish up the trip.

I met with more folks and hugged on some more people and was even surprised to see Susan Gaston at my parents house! Seems her and my niece are buddies.  Such a sweet surprise!

Got to watch an Auburn football game with my Spencer peeps and dipnation.  And I will just stay away from watching anymore...overtimes...too stressful.  This is how my Spencers watch the 3rd overtime... IMG_0866standing and a bit into it. 

One thing I have been wanting here is a fully functional washing machine. The one I had to share with some others only worked on delicate..which means my clothes were never clean.  Dad found one at a friends and got it for me.  When I saw it in his garage I hugged it.  He asked me why and I told him because I loved it.  I also hugged it when it arrived last week and got hooked up.  Clean clothes!! Hallelujer!

I finished my trip out with a trip to Cottonton Baptist Church.  It´s down near Pittsview.  Their pastor had come with another team in September and invited me.  I ramblingly shared about Emmanuel and how we are all adopted by the Father through the blood of Christ and answered a lot of questions.  As we stood in worship at the beginning of church I was reminded of how in College I went around to a lot of little country churches with my friends doing drama and singing and it was just a sweet time with that body.  They all were so sweet and all wanted my prayer cards to pray for me.  So grateful for that.  I told them I need that daily.

The next morning before dawn I headed to ATL and back to my bigs to see what trouble they had stirred up while I was gone.  


So, now I have caught you up on my time in the states. Later this week will catch you up on some Honduras stuff with my bigs. 

Thank you for all you do to support me being here with your prayers, encouragement, and funds.  If you wish to contribute something please send to (they will send your tax receipts)

Central Missionary Clearinghouse
PO Box 219228
Houston, TX 77218-9228 

Thank you all my #village peeps.

Be His 

If you read anything but your Bible today. Read this.

I know I haven´t blogged in 2 months. I was in the states for a month and there will be a post about that soon.  But today I wanted to talk about one of my #villagers.  Most of you know that it takes a #village to raise an Andi...and many of you are in that club. For just today I want to take a minute to talk about someone else...not me. 

The first summer being here in Honduras I met a lot of people.  Since I started working with teams that June basically everyone I met was new to me.  People from Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Ohio, California, Tennessee and who knows where else. 

During that first summer I remember a family that came with one of the teams.  As we rode the bus from Teguc to Emmanuel the mom sat and talked about her kids as she held one of them up by their forehead. (Seems that the youngest was super carsick and even though she had had dramamine just was in for a long ride.)  As I sat and listened she talked about how her kids are so quick to love others like Jesus.  To make new friends- after playing with some kids at the park they will say ¨these are our friends Mom¨ even though they probably know nothing but their names.  To pray for people and think of how they can help others.  I remember this lady saying ¨My kids teach me so much about Jesus!¨ 

Later in the week I remember her bringing her kids and a couple of teens to help at our kitchen/dining room.  I had them set out the water glasses and long story short the food wasn´t ready and chaos broke out, but they just did what they could to help.  Because of the behavior of one of my kids during the chaos, later that day my girl asked to go to the team house and apologize. I took her there and asked the family to come talk to her.  My girl apologized and the mom said "Of Course you are forgiven!" And they all wrapped her up in a hug. And I remember her sitting in the front row at the team house with her youngest sleeping in her lap as I shared my life story. 

The team went home after their week was over and life moved on.  I would have never guessed what was coming next.  That mom asked me to be friends on Facebook, then Several weeks went by and as facebook goes, there are those who post stuff and it makes your heart smile, encourages, or challenges you.  And this was one of those people.  One day she posted this: 


I believe my comment was "Can we be friends in real life? I think you would be good for me"  She said yes. 

Turns out I was in the US and we actually spoke on the phone.  She told me her story (she had heard mine at the team house when her team was here).  From there we imessaged each other and kept up with just daily life.  

As time went by I found that she quit a perfectly good nursing job to make billions at home by homeschooling her kids ;) and she was the prayer ministry leader at her church. And that one day they planned to adopt.  And she´s hilarious. 

Why do I tell you all this? The details of a beginning of a friendship? I think because I want you to see that it is clearly the Lord that let us be friends.  As many of my friendships are...clearly just the Lord putting me with some awesome people.  So many stories.  But this one feels different.  She lives in a state far away.  Our contact face to face at Emmanuel was very minimal. The fact that she asked to be "Facebook friends" and then I asked to be real friends is steps to where He wanted us to be.  The fact that the only reason we are friends is Jesus.  All the commonality after that is secondary.

I have a found a prayer warrior in my friend Carrie Covey.  A person who has taught me so much about grace and the love of God.  Who challenges me to love my kids better.  To keep seeking Him, to persevere when it feels too hard.  She reminds me that in all things I should seek the Father´s heart. And she gets my stupidity, encourages me with scripture, and just loves me well.

I remember the first time I called her from Honduras. I had a difficult day and was praying about some things and just needed someone to pray with.  I asked her if I called her would she pray.  So I called her and she said ¨How you doing!?" And I just said "Nope. Just pray" and she laughed and she did.  I can´t tell you how many times she has prayed on the phone with me when I needed it.  How many times she has texted me her prayers when talking on the phone wouldn´t work.  How many times she has walked with me through difficult things. And how each time she is Jesus to me.  Shoving me toward the Father. 

We joked about me flying to Ohio during that fall and it turned out that´s what the Lord had in the plans.  With frequent flyer miles I flew to Ohio 5 months after she came to Honduras.  When people said "Why are you going to OHIO?" I could only ramblingly explain it was the Lord who gave me this friend. Going to someone´s home in another state that I have not really had a face to face conversation.  And once there I quickly found that she feeds me well too. 


In the spring as I was seeking a diagnosis for all the issues I had, Carrie came down to Auburn for 4 days.  The last day she was there was the day I found out what was wrong. It was the Lord´s grace that she was in town and was there just to pray as we went through that day, my appointments, and later as I thought I would have an anxiety attack in the truck.  He is good to me. 

Over the past 2 years I have found such a sister in Christ in Carrie.  She is far from perfect...I can make a list.  But she is a joy to call friend and just the fact that she has put up with me so much is amazing.  And so grateful for the way she loves my Bigs from a distance.  Crying with me over the heartbreaks and praying for them.  And when she got to come this summer- to love and hug on them in person. To watch as she preached to our kids in church, only because He invited her to, about His love and grace and truth. It´s just almost too much. He is good to me with my friend. 


Here is the POINT IN ALL OF THIS. 
When I came to Honduras I came having sold everything I owned and still having debt.  In the time I have been in Honduras I have paid down a little over $8000 in debt. I have about $15,000 to go.  (I know. I know...you don´t want to know how much it was once....thank you home ownership...)  And this year I have begun to diligently get out of debt.  To pray for the Father to take care of it (and I hate praying about money...it makes me all try to figure out how to get it done my way...haha) And I am on my debt like a 3 year old loose in a candy shoppe, tryin to kill it. 

Today as Carrie and I talked we were talking about money.  The Covey family is on the adoption journey to adopt a child from India.  The thing she has talked about since I met her is finally happening.  Homestudy being done, tons of paperwork and crazy stuff getting done. To get little Indian Covey(s) home at some point in the near future. We talked about how we are in places that only the Father can provide for.  We are in no position to work  more hours and make more money.  The Father has to do it. 

As I pray for the Covey´s I am not in a position to give them much, so I pray for the Father to creatively provide and provide through others.  I told Carrie last month how I think I can practically help them when they go pick up their child one day, but other than that there is not much I can do.  But I can tell you guys about it.  And maybe you can tell some other folks about it. Because here is the thing.  Our God is BIG.  He does crazy stuff through the body of Christ. 

I can tell you story after story of how He´s done crazy stuff- like paying off $20,000 in medical bills for me last year.  Like paying for our tilapia tanks here at Emmanuel ($100,000 and the yearly Maintenance too!) How I sat in Auburn last month and heard a lady say to another "My husband´s boss was adopted from the Ukraine and he wants to give you and your adopted ukrainian kids $10,000 to help you with the cost". I know He does it.  I know He can do it.  Carrie and John know this.  He funds that which He commands.  He will fund this kid coming home. Of this I am sure. 

So.  I am NOT asking you to help me get out of the hole that I have dug for myself.  But I AM asking you to help out one of my #village peeps get her child in India get home to their new home in Ohio at the Coveys. I´ve had people say "this is not much..." and it be $25 dollars.  That is huge! Can you imagine... 1000 people giving $25. That´s $25000! Dude.  Let´s do this thing. Between you and me and Carrie and John, surely we know 1000 people?  And $25? I know families who spend that buying coffee and doughnuts in one morning. (I covered the non coffee people in that...Krispy Kreme anyone?) 

So let´s help a villager out. Get that indian kid to Ohio! 

 Here is how:

Buy something from Noonday. Shop and part of the money goes to the Coveys and part goes to help some women artisans in third world countries!  Go to this webpage in the next week and pull up Carrie Covey as hostess when you check out: Shop Noonday

Just donate! They have a webpage set up where you can donate AND it counts tax deductible. (Win win for you, the Coveys, and the future Covey!) Covey´s Adoption Page

Tell others.  I know India is far away.  I know for some of you Ohio is far away. I know you have other things to do with your time, prayers, and money.  But just think of what your investment will look like... one of the thousands of kids in India with a forever family. HOME. Spread the word and help get a child HOME.

Pray.  Our Father in heaven´s heart is for orphans and widows...He commands us specifically in James to take care of them.  It´s not an easy task to take classes on how to be a parent (especially for parents who already have 3 kids!), do endless paperwork and answer endless questions, then when time comes to travel across the world, more papers and questions and red tape....and then bring your child home to a whole other culture. And find $35,000 to make all that happen. They need prayer.  It´s a crazy, frustrating, difficult time to fight an enemy who doesn´t want that to happen.  But it´s sweet and joy filled.  But they need prayer.  So join me in praying for the Covey´s and their little Indian. :)  Pray for crazy fun provision.  Small and Huge ways.  For Jesus to be seen and exalted. 

The body of Christ can do it. 


Be His.


(And Carrie. Please don´t kill me. I know I didn´t ask for permission. So If you are mad...I´ll ask forgiveness ;)