Monday, August 23, 2010

Rushing Water


If I were an Indian I think my name would have to be changed from She Who Sits By Water to Rushing Water. OY!!!

I've got a lot to do today. I did want to share something here real quick though. Last Thursday I took Pumpkin Spice (mil) to a bible study that a dear lady from our church leads. It is a Beth Moore study and most of the ladies there don't actually go to our church. There is a workbook that you work through and a section where you fill in the blanks during the DVD portion of the study. My friend was giving the women the answers so they could concentrate during the DVD and not worry about filling in those blanks and was having some trouble with her eyes so I read the answers to the group. When I finished the ladies thanked me and then one of them said, "I just love your voice."

That lady did not know me. She did not know I had a problem with my voice. For whatever reason, I quickly shielded myself from the full impact of her words. I did thank her and shared that I had lost my voice for a number of years. Since then I have shed quite a few tears. Tears of GRATITUDE. Tears of JOY.

For so many years I heard on an almost daily basis how awful I sounded. When I still had enough voice to attempt answering the phone I stopped. I couldn't take running to the phone only to be hung up on because the person on the other end of the line couldn't hear me or couldn't understand me. Or... to have the person exclaim, "You sound AWFUL!!" I was well aware.

My friends and family have all told me I sound great and are excited for me... but, to have someone who knew nothing about any of what I've been through say, "I love the sound of your voice." Oh. My.

Yesterday... I sang along with everyone else at our friend's 50th Birthday party. It always upset me greatly on my children's birthdays that I could not sing along with everyone. This year I was able to sing Happy Birthday to two of them.

To think I dove head first into a vat of despair (which could also be read as a vat of food) nearly three years ago when my doctor said there was nothing more that could be done for me...

WOW.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sweet Peas



Tea with Tiffany has started a very worthwhile weekend meme! Check it out!

Father God,

I thank you and praise you for all you are doing in and through my life. I thank you that you never leave me in a place of discouragement too long, even if it has felt like it when I was there. I thank you for this blogging community and what it has meant to me throughout the time I've been a part. Lord, I pray for those who come here that I don't know... I pray that they are met by you where they are.

In Jesus Name, Amen.




Angela at Free Spirit Haven also has her ongoing Fearless Fridays where she prays for bloggers.

If you ever have a prayer need please let me know! You can leave a request in a comment or e-mail me privately at coffeebeankel@earthlink.net.

29 Days...

Jumbo & Kriek Swaziland 2009 from Jumbo on Vimeo.



My life is so full right now... I feel like the days are going so quickly. I suppose it is good in that the day I leave for Africa will be here before I know it. However, I find myself just wanting to be somewhere quiet so I can sit and think about how incredible this all is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grandma is Here

Meet Browny
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He is 12 years old, very plump and quite odoriferous.
And... he is a sweetie.
So you know, my mother-in-law cannot smell.
At. All.
The initial meeting of the dogs was incredibly stressful!
We did it in the front yard and Double Shot had friends over.
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Oy.
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Benny was frothing at the mouth and acting like he was going to rip poor Browny to shreds. I had to sit under the tree petting Browny while I pet Benny with my other hand with Double Shot holding him back with the choke collar.
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We all survived and things are okay now. There are some issues with toys and food that will hopefully get better in time.
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Chai Tea drew this golden retriever and heart design and my mother-in-law had it tattooed on her calf. She is a real character. I've written about her before here.
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My mother-in-law shall henceforth be known as Pumpkin Spice Latte on this blog...
Having an anonymous blog gets complicated sometimes.
Since she is now living with us she needs a "coffee" name.
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It just occurred to me that that name is longer than mother-in-law.
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Oy.
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I'll probably just call her Pumpkin on here.
She loves anything pumpkin.
I do too.

Pumpkin Spice is sitting upstairs with a piercing in her lip. She's playing a trick on Mr. Macchiato and Double Shot. We even rubbed some lipstick around her lip and chin on that side to make it look irritated. I'm cracking up!
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I'm also very glad she didn't really get a piercing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Elysa's Story...

Elysa posted on her blog how it came to be that they are the instruments God has used to bless me with this trip to Africa...

I am so humbled and grateful.

Counting Down...

Thirty-two days until I leave for Africa...

Elysa purchased our plane tickets yesterday. She was on the phone and computer for hours! I feel so strange having everything taken care of for me. All I had to do was get my passport and fill out some paperwork...

Elysa posted a short little video of some children playing in the dirt on facebook. I also posted it on my page. I think I watched it 30 times. I would post here but can't figure out how. It is just a bunch of noisy, happy kids. I once heard a woman from Ghana speak at our church and she said something so profound I have never forgotten it. She said that a mother's grief is the same in every language. Watching that video I realized that a child's innocent laughter is the same in any language as well. They don't know the full of extent of their circumstances and to see that kind of joy displayed is wondrous.

I've been struggling with the fact that I'm only going to be there 11 days. I wonder what good that could possibly do. Isn't it hard on the children to have people come and go like that? There are missionaries that live there and those that go short term provide help... but the cost per person for such a short stay is so high. My father asked me if it wouldn't be better to just send the money that would have been spent on airfare to the ministry.

And I watched the video again...

When I was a little girl a bus went through our neighborhood to pick up children and take them to Sunday School. I don't remember what my Sunday School teacher looked like or her name. Yet, I very much remember her. I didn't like "Little Church" so she let me go to "Big Church" with her. I would sit there and listen while I played with the little cross that hung from the zipper on my white bible with the gold letters. Sometimes she put her arm around me and hugged me while we sat there. My parents were separated for 11 months when I was 7/8 so I was a sad girl.

During that same time there was an old widow with a weeping willow tree in her front yard. She made burnt Jiffy Pop popcorn and played the board game Sorry with me and some other kids in the neighborhood. Her hugs were the best.

I also don't remember my third grade teacher's name or what she looked like. I do remember her letting me stay with her during recess and her holding my hand and how she would gently pat my head whenever she passed by my desk.

I am hoping to be what these women were for me for a child or more in Africa. You never know what events sear their impressions into the memory of a child or how meaningful a touch can be to a child that is hurting. Sitting here with these memories of my own I am reminded of that. Who I am and whether they remember me or not is not what matters here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The First Fifteen...

I'm a busy girl right now but I really need to stop and chronicle this adventure that my life has become. I decided to blog for fifteen minutes here and there as I can.

Africa. I'm going. I still can't believe it. The entire trip is paid for through the incredible generosity of friends that raised the money for their own portions of the trip. That blows my mind.

We will be going to Swaziland to work at the Beveni Carepoint through Children's HopeChest. We will spend time with orphans and won't know exactly what we will be doing until we are there. Whatever they need done, I suppose. Swaziland is the country most affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. The life expectancy is only 28-32 years and they are losing 2% of their population each year. There are young children trying to care for their younger siblings by themselves...

Since I started looking for work there have been people that have asked me if I could do whatever I wanted what would that be? I usually laugh and tell them, "Go see things for myself in Africa and write about it... the history, the politics, the problems, possible solutions, and to find God in the midst of the suffering." My pipe dream... You know, the one you don't ever think will really become a reality and if it does, that it is far off in the future... after you've won the lottery. As for the here and now, I was looking to do event planning for non-profits. Or... any job, really.

So many people have tried to console me through my not getting those jobs by telling me that those weren't the right jobs for me and that God had something better in store. I'm pretty sure I've even said similar words to others when they've been disappointed. It is hard for me to jump up and say, "Yes! This trip is exactly why I didn't get those jobs! God knew He was sending me to Africa!" Although, I certainly do feel that way. I worry about the people that are still struggling with disappointment, that pray continually for whatever situation they are in, and aren't seeing any good come from it... yet. I also know so many stories of people who struggle year after year after year, whether it is financial, health or relational. I know they pray too.

Here I have been given an incredible gift and I'm struggling with the "Why?" of it. I am so grateful and excited, although somewhat scared. I am not concerned about being uncomfortable, getting sick or for my safety. I'm afraid I'm going to have my heart broken, that what I'm going to see is going to hurt. I'm under no illusion that my 11 days will change much of anything for the people I will come in contact with. I am astounded by the cost of my trip and wonder if it wouldn't be better to just send that money to the ministry. Yet, this has been given to me so I am going to go. We don't have money to give right now. Our house is full and we have no way of adopting children from here in the U.S., much less another country. What is the point of me going? I do not want this trip to be about a self indulgent, middle aged woman becoming more grateful for the life of ease I've always lived.

What can I do? Right now the only thing I can think of is to write about it. Hopefully, I will be able to do more than that. Maybe an idea will come to me or another door will open through which I can become more a part of the solution to some of the problems we face in this world. I don't know. I just know that this door opened and I'm walking through it.

On the home front, my mother-in-law arrives tomorrow! She's already gotten some mail here which made it all the more real that she is moving in with us. School starts for Double Shot on Wednesday and the first "official" football practice is tonight. Of course, he's been in conditioning all summer. Chai Tea has moved down into the office and the office was moved out into the family room. Frappy took all of her furniture last year when she moved from the dorms into an apartment so we had moved Chai Tea into her room when she moved back home in March. Frappy's room will now be Grandma's room. When Frappy comes to visit since Chai Tea moved home she's either slept in Chai's room with her or on the couch. Cuppa Joe usually comes with her and takes the futon in the basement.

Okay... I went over fifteen minutes a tad. LOL!

Oh! And a little bit of personal trivia... I broke my back in a jet ski accident up near the Canadian border in Idaho 17 years ago today... and my little brother was in a terrible car accident 2 years ago today and was in a coma. He is doing well... just released his second CD.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Awe...

Do Something Now from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.



An amazing thing has happened in my life. In September I am going to Africa.

I got a call on Saturday morning asking if I believe in miracles. Elysa had asked me in July what it would take to get me to Africa and I told her a miracle. At that time I was waiting to hear on that job I wanted so desperately...

Everyone told me I didn't get that job because God had something better in store for me. I wanted to believe that but I don't know that I did.

I do now.

I will, of course, be sharing my journey here.

To God be the glory.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I did not get that job. I was told I was a "close second." Oy. As if that makes it better. Looking for a job is quite the drag. But... such is life, eh? Thankfully, I seem to be handling this disappointment a little better than I handled the last one.

I had another set of botox injections last week. My voice was going fast. I cannot tell y'all how grateful I am for my doctor in Denver and how good he is at what he does. I went in on Thursday and my voice was back Friday. I do not have the typical side effects and things happen right away. I am still blown away by it all. My doctor saw a very famous singer the day I saw him. In fact, he sees many famous performers. I so wish I could tell y'all who!!! But... I can't.

Well, I have got a busy day! I host a women's fellowship at our house on Monday nights and need to prepare for it. You can take that to mean... clean like a crazy woman. LOL!

Happy Monday!