Saturday, March 26, 2011


So, the last few weeks have been pretty busy and I've been a little bit sick the last few days, and because of all that, I've been super slack on all forms of communication...sorry about that!  Here are some pictures to help tell the story of the last few weeks, I am working on getting another post up that's more in depth....although they say a picture's worth a thousand words, so these are worth a lot I, here's what I've been doing:

Getting a front row seat to see some beautiful forever families united as a number of adoptions occur here, the closest to my heart being that of my dear friend Michelle (who I worked alongside with for 147 Million Orphans) and her husband Mike, who will be bringing another Uganda treasure home to Nashville from Amani!  Here they are with their sweet boy...

Having too much fun on Water Wednesdays...favorite activity day of the week

Simona and Jacob slip'n'slidin...the aunties have just as much fun as the kids!

Getting to know the market, working on my bargaining skills.  The vegetables and fruit here are SO cheap and delicious!

Loving on little bittys and learning how to use baby slings : )

Playing with the parachute...roadtrip down memory lane to elementary school PE every time this gets whipped out. The kids love it (see faces above).

Laughing at silly signs like this one....don't you want to go see who is up there?

Helping teach preschool to little bittys like this...teaching them how to write their letters, how to write their names, and lots of other fun things!

Taking William, the little boy who has stolen the biggest part of my heart, for a painting lesson and just getting to show him some extra love : )

Visiting my new dear friend Megan in Kampala with the other 3 volunteers I've become good friends with!  Bottom row: Megan, Hallie, Rakul; Top row: Me, Simona

Spending most of the day on the Saturday when we went to Kampala at this gorgeous pool, getting a few hours of precious relaxation time and sweet friend time. So needed and refreshing.

Figuring out what to do with toddler and preschool age kiddos when it rains most days of the week.  The rainy season is in full swing, and so we're having to get creative.  The ever classic balloon tied to the ankle game where you try to pop your friends balloon proved both hilarious and the cause of many tears. Probably a one-time only game for this crowd..

We've been reading lots of books.  Here we have The Very Hungry Caterpillar, always a crowd pleaser : )  Our most favorite book is The Jesus Storybook Bible ...thanks sweet Leigh!!! We read it every day in preschool!

Kidsitting with Hallie for my dear friends here, the Ives. Such a fun weekend!

Overall, loving on the Amani family...Mamas, Uncles and children!

So, that's some of what I've been up to! Along with loving Uganda, following my sweet Jesus, and of course missing all of you! Much love!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Love language

I’m sitting in a circle with twenty five children ages 2 thru almost 5, and we’re singing songs. The children are choosing, one by one, a song to sing. One little girl asks to sing Blessed Be Your Name. It’s been a song she’s chosen the last few days. And those little voices start singing along with their aunties:

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious Name

You give and take away
You give and take away

My heart will choose to say,
Lord blessed be Your name

And I realize I’ve never heard anything more beautiful or heart rending…all in one song that I’ve known for so long. It’s been a song that has spoken to my heart before, but never like this. To hear the voices of orphans lifting this up…there are hardly words. Though they may not totally get it, they sing it, and they sing it out. They choose it, day after day. Children who have had much taken away. Children who could choose a very different tune. And yet this is what they sing. They sing a song to bless His name. They sing it out with their hearts. In the hurt and the pain and the joy and the beauty, they sing. Never has this song been more beautiful. Never will it be the same.

A week when I feel lonely, frustrated, and all over the place personally and spiritually, and I’m in a place where I get to choose to serve, and how to serve…with an attitude of love and joy or one of frustration and weariness. I wish I could say I always choose love and joy. I don’t. But He is working in me there. And as I’m walking through this week, we sing this beautiful song at Bible study called Empty Me. It’s new to me since being here, and I've heard it a couple times now. It’s becoming a theme song in my heart.

Holy Fire burn away my desire for anything that is not of You and is of me, cause I want more of You and less of me

My sweet sister sent me the newest Passion album to download. It is SO encouraging my heart!  New and favorite worship music.  Such sweet goodness.  Have gotten to listen to it with the other volunteers and jsut praise our Jesus. Go check it out if you haven't yet.  Let it speak to your heart.

To me, music is a Love language, and the Lord is weaving it throughout my days here.  I hear Him and I know His Love through music. Thank you Jesus for that beautiful gift!

Blessed be His name. Forever.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Overflowing abundance

Ok, so I don't want you to think all my blogs are going to super serious, make you cry ramblings...the last two have just been where my heart's been walking through, some heavy stuff. This one will hopefully balance those...thanks for still reading!

In the midst of heartbreak and heaviness, our Jesus brings such beauty and blessing. I serve a God who has conquered death, the God who is the the Giver of Life, and who promises me life abundant when I follow Him, even in the hard places. Maybe most in the hard places. I know that when I am in the hard places, I usually find myself nearest to Him. Right where i most want to be, always.  And there I find the joy and abundance so much more rich.

So, in the midst of seeing and walking through these hard things with these beautiful kiddos, I have had the most joyful beautiful blessings of community and laughter raining down on me...

Community is something I prayed for, longed for, and knew I needed coming here but wasn't sure if/when I was going to find it. Oh my silly disbelief. The Lord has brought an abundance of community...friends who are here committed to living their entire lives here, friends who are here from 2 months to 6 months, friends with whom I have hundreds of connections but never met until Jinja, friends who are just passing through but who have been a part of my life in Nashville long before Uganda...Sisters and brothers who share my heart for justice and loving people well and loving Jesus most, who are working for the Lord in all different ways here in Uganda. It is beautiful and delights my heart immensely! I get to go to a Bible study on Tuesday nights with some amazing new friends here, grab coffee or lunches or just hang time with friends during the week, and live with and serve alongside some amazing sisters. He has not only brought community, He has brought it in abundance!

Laughter has come in many ways. From dance parties with the kids to water gun fights, crazy African dances to silly songs and silly moments with the kids and with friends. There are some crazy things that happen that at home would have weirded me out, but here make me just finding a wall to pee behind while out on a walk because there's nowhere close we can go into...using bug spray to drown the ants attacking my purse...having to order 8 times because everything I order is out...having a goat ride in the back of my friends van with us...and on and on. These things here I just laugh about, because honestly, they are so not a big deal. Mostly I laugh with the children, and it soothes my soul. He is not only bringing laughter, but bestowing it in abundance.

This song has become a new favorite thanks to a dance party at a friends house a few weeks ago with her kids to this song, which provided lots of laughter, and it has now been brought to Amani to provide even more fun and laughter (we used it for the letter W--Waka Waka--and for S--Shakira...haha). Here is a peek at our dance parties...don't be too jealous : )