House Conference TONIGHT

*updated: please not the time is 8pm CST

Tonight, I’m helping host a Together for Adoption House Conference in Houston with Jason Kovacs and my church, Woodlands Point.

This isn’t just for those who have or want to adopt. This is for the church. YOU.

You don’t want to miss this amazing hour that will be live-streamed. You can watch here. at 8pm CST.  I’m excited to have the opportunity to be interviewed about Mercy House!


It’s a Girl!

Yesterday, our first baby was born at Mercy House via an emergency c-section.

Mom and baby are doing great. Thank you, God! We are so thankful that Quinter was rescued from her desperate life. Her birthing story might have ended much different if she was still in the slums…

Please keep this young, new mommy and baby in your prayers!

 


What I Haven’t Said About Our Trip to Kenya

So y’all probably know by now, I like to write honestly. I don’t want to paint a picture that my life is always wonderful, my kids and hubby are perfect, and my laundry is always done.

Let’s not speak of that last one again. Because I’m pretty sure my family will reach perfection way before I’m caught up on laundry!

Our trip to Kenya was amazing. Life-changing. But hardly without comedic relief and the usual THAT family moments. There were a few days and situations that were just plain difficult. The following list isn’t an excuse to complain and not in any certain order, it’s just reality and the rest of the story….

  • Traveling 26 hours straight with kids is quite the adventure. For the most part, my kids did really well-better than I expected. But we also picked our battles. For example, when my son wanted coffee, I let him have it and when my hubby wanted wine….um, never mind. Even when my youngest insisted on stripping down to her undies, who was I to refuse?

  • At some point, my little girl found the emergency evacuation instructions and was pretty ticked off that our plane didn’t have a slide or cool yellow cups to breathe in. It also turns out the throw-up bags make handy puppets.

  • We took Malaria pills, which isn’t that big a deal. Except my youngest doesn’t swallow pills. I became an expert in crushing pills and mixing them in various foods. Turns out peanut butter (the messiest option, of course) was the only approved choice by my 4 year old. She calls it her “special snack” and I’m pretty sure we might have ruined her favorite food forever.
  • When we were vaccinating our kids for the trip, the pediatrician said most kids aren’t harmed by strange diseases, but the number one cause of death in foreign countries was from traffic accidents. So, I proudly packed a car seat, only to discover the vehicle had no seat belts! I prayed every time we drove anywhere. My little girl LOVES transportation in Africa. I wonder why?
  • One thing I don’t think I’ll ever get used to in Kenya is traffic. Oh my. There are some seriously crazy drivers and bumper to bumper traffic is the norm. In certain areas of town, you have to keep your windows closed and phones down because it’s common to get things stolen thru the windows.

  • Of couse, my kids haven’t ever met a stranger, so while we sat in traffic (sometimes for an hour!), they would wave and make faces at the hundreds of people walking in the city. At one point, I heard someone yelling “mzungu” and they were pointing at my youngest blowing kisses at people. (“Mzungu” means “white person” and since my daughter has such white blond hair, she got a lot of attention, which she loved).
  • Temper tantrums- oh yeah, baby, even in Kenya. We mainly saw the temper when we made our youngest release the “pets” she caught every day. But once I found out that carrying a frog in a jar is considered voodoo in Kenya, I had no choice. Ya know? Oh, and she may or may have not referred to the Mercy House day guard as her boyfriend. I have no words, really.

  • One of the most challenging things was showering. By the end of the day, my kids were covered in red dirt. The water was mostly cold. Ice cold. But we found out what’s worse than ice cold water? And that would be no water. We went several days with just a trickle and bathed using wipes. My kids loved it.
  • Vomit-it happened in someone else’s house. But you’re not surprised, are you?
  • I didn’t freak out when my kids were filthy or even barefoot. But when my son was chased by a teeth-baring monkey and my daughter petted a kitty covered in ringworms, I might have perspired a little.

  • On our way home, my son’s backpack was considered an international security issue. Turns out that you can’t have a slingshot. Who knew? It was confiscated and he was very relieved not to be arrested.
  • I ran into someone who reads my blog on the long flight home and enjoyed getting to know her. Only she didn’t recognize me at first BECAUSE I HADN’T BATHED IN THREE DAYS.

    And that’s just the beginning my friends…..


    WFMW: Bleach Pen Craft

    While I’m blaming everything (whiny children, snappy parents, dirty laundry) on jet lag, I thought I’d share a quick summer project we hope to try soon:  Decorating T- Shirts with a Bleach Pen. Family Fun has a great tutorial!

    I love it because you can use items on hand: an old t-shirt and a bleach laundry pen!

    Instructions from Family Fun:
    1. Wash and dry the shirt, then slip a piece of waxed paper inside it to prevent bleed-through.
    2. Bleach-Pen Drawing Step2 Sketch your design on the shirt with chalk. Because the bleach can spread, keep the design simple, and draw with lines and dots, as shown, rather than try to fill in large areas.
    3. Shake the bleach pen and give it a few test squeezes on a paper towel to make sure it’s flowing well. Trace over your chalk lines with the bleach pen. Leave the bleach on the shirt until the fabric has clearly changed color. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the shirt. Wash the shirt by itself in the washing machine, then dry it.

    And Momma can make one too!

    Love this tutorial, look at this finished product:

    Got any fun crafts that work for your old clothes? Do share.




    I Don’t Feel Guilty

    I just returned from a third world country riddled with extreme poverty- the kind that sucks your breath from your body and causes a physical reaction.

    I’m filled with smells and sights and stories I’ll never forget- not just from strangers, but friends. Friends like Annette, who live and work at Mercy House. She’s not an employee, she’s a sister.

    Annette making our favorite Kenyan food, Chipati

    I love this woman: Her quiet demeanor, beautiful smile, and talent for cooking! But her deep love for Christ doesn’t hide the pain in her eyes. The pain of loving and losing, the pain of leaving her children in her sister’s care so she can provide for them.

    She takes two days a week off to go and see them. I handed her a bag with candy and small gifts. “Take these to your children. I’m sorry you have to leave them each week,” I said feeling so guilty as I watched mine play in the dirt nearby. Her eyes spilled with gratitude. “Please don’t feel bad. With this job, I am providing them a good life. They are happy. I can pay their school fees and much more … they can eat now.”

    They can eat now.

    Those words haunt me. I can’t help but think of my children, bellies round, full, when she speaks of hers. We are both mothers-different, yet the same. I gave her a deep, long hug, understanding her sacrifice. Recognizing her thankfulness.

    I watched her walk away, home, her steps light.

    We have five full time employees at Mercy House, plus a part time driver. Every one of them support many relatives with their salaries. Every one of them come from humble backgrounds we cannot fathom. They have known pain and suffering that could fill pages in a book.

    And yet they all share the same: gratitude.

    When I returned from Africa last year, I was riddled with guilt. I spent the next six months purging my life. And another six months responding to what I saw.

    Friday night, when I walked thru my front door and the comfort of my home in America, I felt the opposite of guilt.

    I felt innocence.

    I felt the pureness of obeying God. The beauty of seeing His house of mercy being built on the other side of the world. The enrichment that comes from deep relationship. I saw hope in Africa.

    I left with gratitude.

    And that’s why I don’t feel guilty.

     

    P.S.

    Good, amazing, news!!!! Our sweet residents accepted Jesus into their lives!