Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homeward Bound

Many of you have asked me to share more about my recent trip to Uganda.  I have so much in my heart that I'm not even sure where to begin.  I will start by sharing a journal entry I wrote on the flight home.

"Really, how do I unpack it all?  On the surface it was great, we had fun, saw beautiful and unique sights and explored amazing adventures.  The adventurous spirit thrilled me.  I loved boating across Lake Victoria, wind blowing across my face, as I sailed that same great lake I had read of David Livingstone discovering.  The quaintness of the boats and fishermen, the busy, smelly markets and the people all intrigued me.  The city was bustling with activity and trade and the buildings were colorful and dotted with humorous signs.  Riding in the van was a matter of faith, as anything goes when it comes to driving rules.  At times the bustle and squalor left me feeling depleted but overall the experience left me feeling alive and free.

On a deeper level, I know God did much more than just give me a fun filled week with my girl and our friends.  My heart is forever changed, as He stirred within me a new depth of compassion.  The poverty, greed and injustice we witnessed are really incomprehensible to our western minds, but amid all the evil, are beautiful people with welcoming smiles.  We saw it in even the most destitute facilities we visited, where the children would share the little they had and look out for each other.  These children living in circumstances, intolerable and unimaginable, captured my heart.  Their sad eyes have held me hostage.  To each and every one I would whisper, "You are loved.  Jesus loves you.  You are special.  He has a purpose for you...hope in Him.  He is your Savior."  But at times I couldn't see the hope as I listened to the stories and looked at the reality of the circumstances they face daily.   I was forced to cling to what I know is true about the mercy and character of God, His words and promises.  I know that He cares for these children much more than I ever could.  I know that He brings beauty from the ashes.  He will turn mourning into dancing.  His mercies are new every morning.  He works all things out for good.

I go home, changed and ready to be an open, empty vessel for Him to work through, however that looks, whether it is fund raising, praying, supporting or being there on the ground.  My prayer and plea is, "Here I am, use me."

I also want to commit to pray for the mother's of the precious children.  Some have had their children stollen or arrested, others have willing given their children up.  As a mother I can only imagine the pain and circumstances that would drive a mother to surrender her child to facilities I feel so inadequate, yet so many believe this is a better life than they can offer them.  The family unit there seems so broken down...beyond hope, but God can restore and He is faithfully watching over the least of these.  I must believe this, I must cling to faith, hope and love, for without it my heart couldn't bare knowing what I now know of these.

April - Letters to Our Sons

Each month I participate in a wonderful group of ladies as we circle up and share a letter to our sons.  Make sure to follow the link at the end and visit my friend Julie and read her letter.

"Dear Moose,

I hope you know what a special young man you are!  Your smile lights up the room.  I love your confidence and how you tackle whatever you put your mind to it.  I remember when you were just barely 4, and I came outside to find you had taken your training wheels off and had your bike up at the top of the driveway.  You hopped on and peddled hard all the way down, skidding to the side at the end just before you slammed into the garage door.  You made up your mind you were going to do it and there was no stopping you.  

I remember starting to write a story about you when you were three, unfortunately I never finished it but it began, "when you're three, all the world is an adventure..."  The story was about all the adventures you had as a toddler, scaling the back of the sofa, running around in your sisters pink boots, hiding out back as you chugged down the gallon of milk, shoot outs, safari hunts and on it went.  You were busy and imaginative.   Thankfully that hasn't changed.  The world is still an adventure to you.

Teaching you has been a delight, because you are so motivated and confident.  After years of struggling to teach your older siblings to read, it was refreshing to me as the teacher when you just picked up a book and began to read on your own without all the tedious phonics lessons your siblings had to endure.  You come to me and ask me to write reports and papers.  I love that!  

As delightful as you are, you also have your moments, as we all do.  I think most of them come from being the middle child.  You get frustrated when you can't keep up with your older brothers.  At times you get lost in the shuffle.  When the outbursts come it is a sign for me to make sure you get some one on one time with me or your father.  A little bit of love goes a  long way with you and it's not long before those dimples are beaming back at me. 

I am so thankful for you and the privilege of being your mother.  My prayer for you is that you stay true to who you were created to be and live the wonderful adventure that God has called you to.

I love you my Moose!


Now go visit my friend Julie and read her letter to her son.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Most Important Person in the World

As a mother, more often than not it feels as if my days are filled with the mundane.  Sort, wash, dry, fold...wipe a nose...change a diaper...prepare the meal...wash the dishes...referee a fight....and on it goes, with little evidence of progress.  As my hands are busy tackling these tasks, my mind can start to wander and go to the places that seem to hold more value and influence, a place where I make a name for myself, whatever I fancy at the moment...a well know photographer...adventurous missionary...great writer...popular blogger...something more than just a stay at home mom.

Then I feel a tug and I look down to see this little face, waiting patiently for me to tie his shoe and it dawns on me that this little one and the other 6 that I have the privilege of raising and training, don't care what kind of name I may make for myself.   To them I am Mommy, the most important person in the world.

Mommy, most important person in the world is a role I'll gladly accept.  My prayer is that I will walk worthy of such a high calling, as I spend myself each day caring for them, loving them and teaching them.  While I know that in my own strength I'll give it long before the day is done, I have this hope...
"And God is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."  2 Corinthians 9:8

Monday, April 22, 2013

Baby E. & Family

Meet Baby E!  I had the privilege of meeting this family and photographing the birth of their second child a couple of years ago.  I was thrilled when they contacted me and asked me to be present for E's arrival.  I'm still finishing up those photos, but here are a few of my favorites from his newborn session.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Letters To Our Daughters - March

Each month I join in with a group of wonderful ladies as we share letters to our daughters.  Make sure you follow the link at the end of my post to be blessed by Lauren's letter to her daughter.

"Dear Princess,

I can not believe the trip that we have both been anxiously awaiting has come and gone.   Although it seemed like only a vapor, I treasure every moment of our week together, even the panic attack on the plane, and the cramped seats, and heavy luggage and water bottle dispute.  Every hard moment was worth it for the beautiful moments we experienced. 

There is no doubt that your heart was home from the moment we landed in Entebbe.   That first day in Bwerenga it took you less than 5 minutes to make a new friend, a little friend who spent the entire day by your side.  Loving and interacting with the children and people came as easy to you as breathing.  You never complained about any of the circumstances we found ourselves in and in fact you went above holding your tongue and actually found the positive in even the most disappointing circumstance of the week.  

As your mother, I loved watching you thrive in the gifts God has given you of compassion and nurturing.   It was joy to see your eyes bright with the thrill of new experiences and discovery.  Most of all I loved watching you embrace the experience and become one with the culture.   

My hope and prayer is that we can experience this again, together in the future and that here in the present we can both continue to grow from what we learned and experienced on this trip.  

I love you my precious daughter and am so thankful that God chose you to be a part of our family.  I have know doubt that God has gifted you with many unique gifts and has special call and purpose for your life.  Each day I pray that you will seek Him and His ways and live in the fullness of His joy.  I know I don't say it often enough but you are a very special child and I am so blessed to have the privilege of being your mother and training you up.


Ps:  My only regret from this trip is that I didn't lay my perfectionism aside when it comes to taking photos, and switch my camera on auto and snap away at all the moments, because I know there are many moments I failed to capture on film because of my failure to release control.  Thankfully I hold many moments in my heart and memory. "

Now go and visit Lauren Lawson | Tampa Photographer and be blessed by her letter to her daughter.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


We have been back for three days now and although physically my body has adjusted back to our time zone, my heart is forever changed and my head is still spinning with emotions.  Little things jolt me back to all we witnessed last week.  Just yesterday as I washed my two year old's dirty feet in the sink, I thought about all the dirty little feet running barefoot through a prison yard and how they didn't have a mother to tenderly wash the dirt from their little feet, to hug them and snuggle them in for a nap.   For a brief moment I had the privilege to hold their hands, whisper in their ears how loved they were, and give them a hug.  Now I'm back home, loving and tending to my family, yet they are still there, suffering, with no mother to care.  My heart yearns to be back there, being the hands and arms of Christ, my prayer is that wherever He has me that I will be a vessel that He can use to share His love, goodness and hope.