Remember: As Far as Everyone Else Knows, We are A Nice Normal Family

  • I got pulled over for speeding in a school zone the other day. It was the first time in a long time and my heart beat wildly. I frantically searched for my license and I handed it over and I said, “Throw the book at me,” only not really. He walked to the back of car and I snapped a shot of his lights in my rear view mirror. Risky, even for a blogger. He walked back to the window and said “I’m going to give you a verbal warning.” Then I got the lump in my throat and I may have told him I loved him. It’s all kind of blurry. Grace, thank you officer, I needed it that day.


  • I hurried on (slower) this time to the dentist. I don’t even want to tell you how long it’s been since I’ve darkened the doors of the dentist. My teeth have low self esteem and let me put it this way, I’d rather visit the female doctor every day for a week than have my teeth cleaned. Now I get to have a root canal and crown. They asked me if I wanted to pay extra for sedation. I said, “Is it like having a margarita?” Sign me up.
  • I had this long, confusing dream the other day and when I work up the only thing I remember about it was that the older my husband got in the dream, the more he looked like Brad Pit. I told him this while we were brushing our teeth. “Really?” he said, eyebrows raised. “Do you look more like Angelina the older you get?”
  • Every night when my husband gets home he does this: photo copyMy kids call out “levels of pain” and wrestles them into a hold. If they can wiggle out, they get to go to the next level. It’s one of the favorite things to do. How can this be normal?
  • And I’m not saying who, but someone’s pants may have ripped in this Quasimoto move:


  • My 6 year old is the baby of the family. The other day I overheard my 10 year old son ask her why she whined and cried when she didn’t get her way. She started crying and he handed over his bag of pretzels. She looked at him and said, “I’m just really good at fake crying. It’s my gift.” She KNOWS.
  • Before I had children or belly fat, way back in my 20’s, I met an exhausted mom of 4 who bragged she “trained” her hair and could go 4 days between washings. I thought it was pathetic and a little disgusting. (dramatic pause) Now, I see her as the Jedi of mothers. 
  • We are starting our Spring Break this week with two out of three kids (so far) with fever, vomiting, and freaky gastro noises. So that’s fun.


When God Says Wait It’s For a Reason

I’ve been tentatively walking thru open doors lately.

Some I didn’t have the courage to even knock on.

Oh, life.

But if I’ve learned anything the last 3 years, it’s this: chasing the heels of Jesus leads you into the unexpected, saying the little yes’ everyday, often leads to more opportunities and bigger yes’.

When I wrote about the real estate situation in Kenya, it was to educate current and future donors. But really, I wrote because it was an oppressive weight on my chest. It made me feel better to explain all the impossibilities of owning a permanent home to continue to help pregnant girls and young mothers at Mercy House.

But just days after I hit publish, we stumbled upon a house that was about the same size as the one where we pay high rent, but instead of being priced at 1 million US dollars (like our current home), it was priced at a fourth, $250,000.

After we checked into the house and did our research, we were able to get the asking price reduced by more than $65,000 (the owner loves the mission of our maternity home and needs to sell).

And while that was a steal of a deal in the steep Nairobi housing market, the bottom line price was still more than we had.

Here’s that place I often find myself: the crossroads of I can’t and He can. It’s an uncomfortable gap in the road of life and the only tangible way to bridge the two is faith.

So, I did what all good type A control freak mothers who run a non-profit in a developing nation do, I tried to figure it out on my own. Without getting into all the financials, I asked a trusted generous donor to loan us the difference in good faith that we would pay it back and we tentatively began to move forward.

But just like that, my carefully manipulated plans fell apart and the Mercy House Board gave me one word: wait.


48 hours passed and nothing happened.

Except that I resisted the urge to visit a bank and email all the rich people I knew-which at the time took serious constraint. And I’m serious about that. Because even when you have the power to make things happen and go your way, it doesn’t mean you should. 

Life lessons are hard.

I prayed and waited and as the sun set on the third day and the window of opportunity began to close, God showed up in way I didn’t expect or anticipate. It was big and beautiful and I cried knowing I almost missed a chance to see the Hand of God move.

Because instead of providing a loan, He gave us a gift.

When God says wait, it’s not because He’s not there, it’s because He’s getting ready to show up. We often miss it because we get in a hurry.

“This is how God works. He puts people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.” David Platt

Not only did He provide the immediate cash I wanted to borrow, He reminded me (again) what He’s able to do–exceedingly, abundantly more and this –this– renews and strengthens the weary (raises hand) to keep going.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

We are doing due-diligence, carefully navigating and negotiating the purchase of a 3,500 square foot residence in Kenya to house a dozen or so girls, plus their babies (phase 1). This is a small part of the big picture God is revealing to our slowly expanding organization.

I don’t know what the final outcome will be, God may close doors and open others, but I am confidant He will do something amazing.

If I wait and let Him.

WFMW: Ten Fun Ways to Keep Easter About Jesus


Easter is about Jesus (It’s also in 25 days!)

eas·ter/ˈēstər/ meaning “the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.”

It is a day to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

I’m not against fun or chocolate covered eggs, I just like meaningful things to remain, well, meaningful. I want my family to celebrate Him. Sure, we can add in the fun, but I don’t want the fun to be all there is.

Call me a radical zealot.

Thank you.

Here are ten ways to keep Easter About Jesus and have fun:

  1. Read The Parable of the Lily and plant (or force) a lily bulb
  2. Create this easy, beautiful watercolor Cross Art
  3. Plant an Easter Garden
  4. Dye/hunt eggs. Share the reasons behind the traditions
  5. Make Resurrection Eggs. Read Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs
    along with it.
  6. Bake Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday
  7. Fill Easter baskets with something meaningful (a new Bible, a cross necklace, eggs with Scripture)
  8. Make Resurrection Rolls for Easter morning breakfast
  9. Share your Easter meal with someone who might spend it alone or take a basket to a child in a hospital
  10. Have a family devotion together and talk about the meaning of Easter (this is a good one)

I think Easter is fun when it’s celebrated for all the right reasons!

And that works for me!

What would you add?

 Repost from archives

An Epic Love Story

Congrats to random winner, Kit Jordan.

Three years ago today, I traveled to Kenya for the first time to blog about poverty and found true religion.

I took many of you with me on the life-changing trip.

I’m still amazed at how God took a willing heart and sent it around the world and turned


a small, simple yes into a House of Mercy, brimming with happy babies, healthy girls and expanding every day.




God’s funny that way.

He gives us just enough information and protects us from the big dream we haven’t grown into yet.

Because I didn’t know finding Edith would stir my heart to help her orphaned siblings, living in a rural village so far from their big sister. I didn’t know Edith would mourn them everyday in our house. I didn’t know we’d find them in desperation and we would be able to help.

Update pics Feb 2013 209

I didn’t know rescuing Cindy and baby Nicholas would give us the chance to help her family allowing her mother start a business and give her siblings an opportunity for the future.

Home visitation pics 165

I didn’t know that digging deeper, exposing ourselves to more work and pain, would present more opportunities to love and new chances to see Jesus.

I’m glad I didn’t know.

It makes the discovery so much more powerful.

There are still so many unknowns in my life and yours, but the beauty is in the journey.

God is writing a a great love story there and here. Because I also didn’t know a mom would sacrifice $3 every month faithfully for 13 months and on the 14th month, donate $1000.  I didn’t know He would compel others to do the same over and over to keep this little mission afloat.

I didn’t know He would build Mercy House thru your generosity or give us a thousand miracles to get from there to here.

But He knew.

Love’s like that: a contagious, spreading fire that cannot be snuffed out by our inadequacy or ignorance. You would think the world would overwhelm this heart of mine, but instead it’s just grown bigger for the world.

Three years ago today, I didn’t know the end of my trip was really the beginning of an epic love story.


125x125-h&g-mercy2This month, my favorite art company, Show Offs Art is loving mercy with us. You can join them by showing Christ’s love and compassion by shopping their company this Easter season. Use the word MERCY to get a 10% discount and 25% of your sale will go to Mercy House. If you’d like to win my favorite beautiful canvas, leave the name of  the person who needs a little extra love in the comments as your entry.