Monday, June 30, 2008

A Boy, Bats, Buckets & Bubbles

Recently Blake had an opportunity to accompany his Dad and one of the USA teams that was here on a trip to a rural community 4 hours outside of Joburg.

It was a week of roughing it and being all boy he fared just fine. In fact, I received daily phone calls reporting just how cool the rugged conditions were in Blake’s opinion.

I love when kids attempt to explain events that you’ve not witnessed. They tend to share as if you were right there watching so imagination and piecing details together are required.

One of the first nights I received a call from Blake telling me all about the bats in the church where the group was staying. Of course this was a trip highlight (for Blake not the girls on the trip).

Another highlight was the “bucket showers”. There wasn’t proper bathing facilities so to maintain hygiene buckets, a bar of soap and some creativity were required. Blake thought this was so cool he asked me if we could adopt the idea as a home bathing technique. (Um, let me think about that….NO!)

My favorite call took some piecing together but when the picture became clear it brought tears to my eyes (and still does). Blake called all excited about how he “got to blow bubbles for the kids in wheelchairs”. After a follow-up conversation with Rich, he explained that the team spent time with kids in a Disability Center. The disabilities were endless and at first Blake was a bit overwhelmed at what he saw. One of the team members gave Blake some bubbles and led him to a number of children wheelchair bound. Rich recanted that it did not take long before Blake got lost in the joy expressed on the kid’s faces as he blew bubbles.

With bats, buckets and bubbles, it definitely was a week of memories for my 6 year old boy! Memories I pray he never forgets especially those involving bubbles!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Talk about being in the dog house......


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Uncle Ron

We spent the day with “Uncle Ron” (aka Ron Luce), my kiddos call him that, and Cameron his 13 year old son. After travels to Zambia and Uganda they had a 12 hour layover here in Joburg.

Rich gave them a quick tour of various aspects of our homeland and ministry (including a def. highlight- the lion park), we drank coffee, Ron tickled the kids, Cam & Skyler (with a broken toe) climbed the trees in our backyard and we supped an African meal.

Felt like old times, minus the African food, lions and big kids.

Great showing the man that inspired and encouraged our heart for missions the place and people that captured our heart.

Ron and Cam, thanks for taking the time to hang with us. We love you!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Skyler Grace

You have added so much color and delight to the past 9 years!

I love you to the moon and back!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Awake Over

9 years of elaborate birthday parties that require much thought, planning and even stress to finally figure out all I needed was puppies and play station!

Skyler decided for her 9th b-day party she wanted to have a sleep over. She invited 4 girls and they did everything but sleep. I think it would be more accurately called an “Awake Over”.

From playing with the puppies to.....

A Singing and Dance Competition (kudos to PS2 Sing Along)

To watching movies (this is as close to sleeping as they got)

Eating pizza, cake & hordes of other junk food

To an all time favorite- Twister

And a South African game, Pass the Parcel

Right down to girlie stuff galore

The party was a hit!

Now for a nap please!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hard of Hearing or Hardly Hearing

Prior to getting to the point of my post let me give you a one-line description of my son, Blake.
Blake is an active, six year old kindergartner and he is definitely MALE.

Rich and I attended a parent/teacher conference for Blake this evening. The meeting was brief and we heard wonderful news regarding Blake’s academic and leadership progress. The part I found staggering occurred while reading through his report card. The little section under Language and Literacy titled, Listening.

Blake scored 4's on all 6 objectives under the Listening Category. 4 being the highest possible mark and by definition indicating “highly competent”.

Let me give you an example of one of the objectives; notably the most bewildering... “I am able to listen attentively to instructions and to respond appropriately.” Score=4…highly competent!

That is as far as I got and I was completely convinced Rich mistakenly grabbed another child's report card. I even asked his teacher if she perhaps made a mistake as the Blake I care for 24/7 would not receive such prestigious results in this particular category. After laughing hysterically his teacher shared that many parents had similar response to their child’s results in the listening category. She then assured me there was no mistake and went as far as to say, he is a wonderful listener.

So I must admit I am confused, how does the same child that listens so wonderfully to his teacher never seem to hear a word I say? Or is this one of the universal questions that bewilders mothers all across the globe?

Guess I can cancel the trip to the ear doctor to have his ears checked. He obviously is not hard of hearing just hardly!

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Weekend in Africa

People always ask me what a typical day is like in Africa (read my blog...hee). I wish I could fill their ears with stories of frontline, hands-on ministry each and every day. Where we do have amazing stories to tell and feel very fortunate to minister to the African people on a consistent basis many of my days revolve around 3 precious kiddos and seem quite ordinary. Let me give you a glimpse…

On Friday morning we awoke to a thud! We were in a dorm room of sorts with one of the USA teams at a game park. Soon cries of pain and a trail of blood followed. Skyler had a door slammed on her bare toe. After cleaning and bandaging it we decided to keep it under observation.

After a night of throbbing pain, Rich spent 3 hours in the emergency room, Saturday morning, with Skyler trying to obtain an X-ray. She ended up with a fractured big toe and Rich a headache due to the “African process”. They would not even prescribe crutches for reasons we can not conceive so Skyler hopped around the next 48 hours.

This morning (Monday) I took Sky to see the orthopedic surgeon. When we hopped in I noticed the power was out. Quizzical I said, “I thought they stopped the load shedding” The doctor who now was pulling a chair from the waiting room toward the door where light streamed through replied, “They did but the guy that pays the electric bills continues to forget.” How reassuring!

It is moments like this I wish I carried my camera. There Skyler sat in the dark waiting room, by the door with the doctor examining her foot. (so professional….so African!) As if this was not unexpected enough what followed took the cake (or could be phrased tossed the cake). Skyler had mentioned that morning that her stomach was bothering her. As the doctor sat close examining her foot my poor sweet 8 year old regurgitated last night’s supper all over him. I quickly shouted at the receptionist, “do you have any paper towels?” She pointed toward the hallway but never once stepped foot from behind the counter. I can’t blame her really as I don’t stomach the sight of acidic processed food very well either.

Skyler hobbled out of the office with an orthopedic boot to keep her toe straight and help her walk and the poor doctor….well I am sure he cleared his schedule so he could take a shower. I can’t wait for our 3 week follow-up to see what happens and I am sure they can’t either.

So there you have it, not just a day in Africa but a whole weekend. Not sure if it is typical but is anything involving a foreign country and children?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Common Sense Clouded by Cuteness

Rich spent the day with a team in the squatter camp yesterday while I took the kids to their school sport's day festival. This information is important to the story as you must realize Rich was by himself and the kids were with me.

Around 4:00 p.m I got a text from Rich stating, “he had a surprise for me”. I thought cool maybe he is bringing home Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Is it weird that my first thought automatically was about baked goods?

Rich arrived home, asked me to come outside and then led me to the back of his truck. Quickly realizing I would not be eating cinnamon rolls for dessert I questioned, “Richard Thomas what did you do?” He got a silly grin on his face as he opened the back of the truck revealing these……

Struck by my dropped jaw and bewildered stare, he stammered…"They were abandoned in the squatter camp, I couldn’t just leave them there…aren’t they cute", as he handed me one of the pups.

I must admit I was quickly overcome by their cuteness and when the kids saw them well let’s just say there was no turning back. We now have an even ratio of kids to pets…3 kids/3 dogs.

Common sense was definitely clouded by cuteness on this one!