Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Holidays are fast approaching and a part of my heart is missing. Just the thought of spending Christmas without my precious ones is enough to break me. But I look around and know that I have so much to be thankful for. So much to praise for.

I am thankful for my mother who will do anything to help, who keeps me organized when I cannot fathom organization, who is always there to talk to and to cry on and to laugh with, who taught me how to love with my whole heart.

I am thankful for my father who is supportive even when he doesn't understand, helps me so much with all the big business concepts I don't understand, and whose unconditional love is such a constant reminder of the Heavenly Father's.

I am thankful for my little brother who is my best friend, who will come sleep in my bed just to keep me company, who can always make me laugh and will listen to stories about Uganda or college or anything else, even if he could care less, just because he's awesome.

I am thankful for my sweet boyfriend, Ben - and this is where all the questions come in... how could I possibly have a boyfriend, is he also passionate about missions, where is he, blah, blah - Well for all you wonderers: Ben is a fabulous athlete on a track scholarship at the University of Florida. We started dating in high school and he came to visit Uganda last Christmas. He is living his passion; I am live mine. The question of whether we will ultimately live happily ever after, I don't know the answer to, though I would be thrilled. The outcome is up to God, and I am not concerned because I know that ultimately His plan for both of us will prevail. Until then, Ben is my constant support. He is one of the few people in my life who instead of saying "you're crazy" says "let's pray about that". Maybe he doesn't always get it, but he always listens anyway. I am blessed by him daily.

My family: Mom, me, Ben, Brad, and Daddy

I am thankful for my darling roommate Meredith, talk about a sweet heart that really KNOWS how to love people. She spends so much of her time caring for the people around her (myself included!) and is always ready to help a friend in need. She is a little missionary right here in Nashville and a woman after God's heart. I have learned so much from her about truly "blooming where we are planted." She always listens and always encourages me to go where God is leading my heart, even if it is away from her.

The best roommate EVER

I am thankful for the May family. Supposedly, I work for this family. What really happens is I go there after class, cuddle with their sweet little ones Sophie and Dylan, play the piano and do homework with the older ones Connor and Jackson, hang out with and talk to Amy and Phil, and leave with a full heart and usually a full belly. Every day at the May house I get to see and hold little miracles. I only hope I can bless them half as much as they have blessed me.

Their oldest, Jackson, and I on Halloween as The Joker and Catwoman

I am thankful for the Oatsvalls and the Mayernicks, most especially Gwen and Suzanne, my "administrative assistants" and soul sisters. These beautiful women have enriched my life in such a way that i can hardly explain - they are a whole other post in itself. They know what it is to live better, forgetting about what the world says and only taking to heart what God says. They are two of the most passionate, Godly women, aside from my mom, that I have ever met, and they know my heart for orphans. They have opened their arms, their homes and their lives to me and are now walking every step of the journey with me: helping fund raise, getting excited each time a check comes in the mail, returning phone calls and emails, and listening and supporting through all the turbulent emotions that are mine on a daily basis. If I don't see them in person, I talk to them on a daily basis. I never want to imagine my life without these women who understand my soul.

Gwen, me, Suzanne at one of many fund raising (and more importantly chocolate cake..) parties!

I am thankful for Uganda. For my children who have forever changed my heart. Sometimes in order to live in this environment that is Nashville, Tennessee, it would be much easier not to know the hurts of the world. But I am always thankful that I know. I do realize that it is not common for a 20 year old to know so strongly what her purpose from the Lord is, and while every once in a while this feels like a burden, every day it is a joy. I am thankful for that joy. Proverbs 24 says that "once our eyes have been opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know and hold us responsible to act." While it is a great hurt and great responsibility to know that there are 150 million orphans in the world right this moment as I sit in the comfort of my own home, I am so thankful to be a part of the responsibility. I am thankful that my eyes have been opened.

A few of my sweet girls who, due to God's beautiful plan for my life and theirs, are no longer part of the orphan statistic. They long with me for the day that there will be no "orphan statistic" and all children will have the opportunity to grow and be loved as they have. I am thankful for that hope and that promise.

To all who have gone out of their way to help me, sent donation, sent letters of encouragement, and sent prayers: I am thankful for YOU. Some of you have been with me one this journey from day one and some of your are just joining, but I assure you, you are part of this work. I do not and could not do this alone. Every prayer is felt, every encouragement so appreciated. Together we are going to change that statistic. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

i know it has been too long since i have posted.
as you can imagine, with 19 hours of college, as many hours of work as i can handle, and squeezing in fund raising in all my "free time" blogging has taken a back seat in my life.
but your comments are read and greatly appreciated, and your prayers are truly felt. your donations of even what seems a small amount are being wired immediately to feed hungry children.

i turned twenty sunday and marveled at the last year of my life. between nineteen and twenty i have learned to be a teacher, a nurse, a handyman (plumbing and electrical work included), a cook, an exterminator, a maid, a servant, a mentor, a mother, and most importantly a daughter of the King. i have built for myself a home with an adoring family and started a thus-far-successful (only by the grace of God!) business that is helping people in need. and the thing is that while it has been my hands doing the work, I HAVE DONE NONE OF IT. often people ask me how i do it, and the answer is so simple - i don't. a little coffee and a whole LOT of Jesus. this plan, these "accomplishments", they are so not my own.

i am dependent. powerless. weak. drowning. and while all those adjectives should sound scary, they have me in a beautiful place: a place where i can't go one minute without crying out to my Father or i will sink. i am grateful for this place. paul says in his letter to the philippians that he "knows the secret". he has been well fed and he has been starving. he has lived in abundance and he has lived with nothing. his revelation? that he can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens. sometimes i wish that i was still living in the hungry, needy state in which i lived in uganda. sometimes i feel that it is easier to cling to Jesus in that state of having nothing than it is to cling to him in my current state of abundance. but the thing is, although i am not physically hungry or in need, my soul is thirstier than ever. and paul's secret remains true; as i let Him strengthen me, there is nothing He cannot accomplish through me.

i owe great thanks to many who have helped me on this journey.

to those of you who keep pursuing me, you are truly servants. i know that in my consumption with doing his work i have been neglectful, unable to do anything at night but fall into bed without returning the seven phone calls and 40 emails of the day. thank you for not giving up. it is such a huge encouragement to me when people like Pastor Steve, who i have neglected to call back, call and remind me that they are doing everything in their power to help, when people like Erin email their constant encouragement and continue offering to help even when i haven't given them much to do yet, when people like my best friend caroline will drive home from knoxville to see me even when i haven't returned a phone call in two weeks. YOU are showing me the unconditional love of Christ, and i am grateful. so so extremely grateful.

to those of you who have allowed me to become family, to sit on your couch and snuggle your children while i talk about mine, the oatsvalls, the mayernicks and the mays, thank you is not enough for the love that you have shown me!

for all who are donating and praying, the faithfulness of the Lord is evident to me THROUGH YOU every single day. you are a part of my miracle! please continue with me in being His hands and feet.

i can't wait to see what happens between now and twenty-one...

learning to be a nurse.. one of many many de-worming trips

yes, all five were delivered from one mother, and yes we were shocked when they just kept coming! each weighed about a pound and a half.

my house before it became "home..."

supply kits for sponsored children: school supplies, blanket, mosquito net, Bible...

one of my first experiences with cooking meat like a ugandan....

picking rocks out of the beans is now one of my favorite pastimes, a great opportunity to just sit and praise!

the finished product.. ready to feed as many as we can, usually around 150-200 hungry kiddos!

some of the kids getting ready for their first day of school, January 2, 2008

and of course my all time favorite role is that of Mommy! (baptism day)