Monday, March 16, 2015

the potential of an arrow

Just a little thought today.
  Prince Charming has been shooting his bow lately.
  The girls love to watch and cheer for him.
  He even fixed up an old bow for them to practice with and they are enjoying that.
 When I was reading my Bible last week, this verse jumped out at me.

"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." 
Psalms 127:4

A man with a quiver full of arrows has so much potential.  It takes a lot of hours of hard work and practice pulling back that string and building those muscles to hold it steady.  He couldn't hit the bulleye the first time he drew back.  The first time the rough string scraped his tender arm he probably was ready to quit.  But he didn't.  In the end there was the reward

A mama with a yard full of kids has so much potential.  God gave her all these little ones for a reason.  With a little practice she can raise them to honor the Lord....and honor her and her husband with their actions and lifestyle.  It's not easy.  It takes a lot of sleepless nights and correcting them over...and over...and over.  There is pain in raising children to be decent honorable citizens.  There are times when you I want to throw my hands up and quit.  "Just let them turn out like the heathens!"  (I apologize to any heathen reading this.)  But in the end there is reward for enduring.
So today, look past the spills and whines and remember there is a reason and a purpose for their little lives.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mango Marketplace

Come Fly With Me - Beaded Bracelet - Gold, Silver - Jamaican Missions - Quality Beads

 on Etsy
 is up and running!
Jump over and support a good cause.  
Money goes into our building fund to build our Church house in Jamaica.
  La La Ladybug - Beaded Bangled Bracelet - Glass Lady Bug Beads - Red and Black - Adorable Detail - Jamaica

See The Milky Way - Beaded Bangle Bracelet - Silver, White - Quality Beads - Jamaican Missions

I'd Rather Be By The Sea - Bangled Bracelet - Coral and Teal - Seashell - Jamaican Ministry - Layered Look

See all listed bracelets at Mango Marketplace.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

chik v story....the end

finishing up the story on Chik V. Prince Charming and Baby John flew to the States.  The kids and I do fine on the Island alone.  The grocery store is close and we have our cozy home with 2 German Shepherd guard dogs.  We were doing great.

Almost a week after Prince had left I suddenly became very sick again with the chik v.  My fever went high and my legs had no strength to walk.  I pretty much laid in my bed in agony because you can't sleep because the pain is so intense.  I found out something {amazing} during this time.  I  have some {amazing} kids.

Moriah (10) became the chef.  I was honestly surprised at her cooking ability.  She made spaghetti...from scratch.  As in, real tomatoes, onions, and spices, ladies!  She made cajun jambalaya and corn bread...from scratch.  Pancakes...scratch. And more.... I was just so out of it I can't remember.  Did I mention she is 10?  She just looked through the cookbook, read it, and lit the oven with a match.

Alexis (9) was the nurse.  She rarely left my bed side.  She was always bringing me cold rags for my head.  Trays of crackers and water.  Alexis definitely has a gift for nursing people.  She showed such compassion and forethought looking for my needs.

Eden (6) was the babysitter.  She is a natural mother and has good common sense knowing what will hurt little kids and what they should be doing.  She occupied Brynlee and kept her out of trouble.  Also she gets a kick out of bossing others around.

Each girl did these jobs without being asked.  No one complained once.  I don't even remember the usual sister quarrels even happening.

I was down this time 4 days.  Saturday night I could use my left leg to walk and my right leg was stiff but manageable.  It kinda followed the other one.  I couldn't turn the steering wheel with my right arm and my lymph nodes were swollen in my neck so it was stiff and I couldn't turn my head either way.  But....someone had to drive the church bus.  So off I went Sunday morning.  I did leave behind my usual very high heels though.  After bus route I taught Sunday School and Junior Church and drove the bus route again.

Sunday night I became afraid because the pain was so intense in the back of my head.  As the night went on, I was terrified as the pain kept me awake.  I couldn't rest my head on anything and touching the mattress honestly hurt my entire body so bad that the tears ran down my hot face.  I could only lay on my back and my arms hurt.  They were drawn up against me and I couldn't raise them or my legs.  The dreadful thought came through my mind several times that I was going to die right there and my daughters would find me.

When morning came I thought, "I wasn't really that bad last night." When I talked to Prince on the phone we both didn't talk much about it.  He told me to go to the doctor that morning.  So it took all my strength to set up.  Alexis helped me dress...actually she pretty much dressed me.  Anyone who knows me will realize how sick I was when I say this.  I went out of the house with no makeup, hair in an unbrushed ponytail, and my old gardening flip flops.  Moriah watched as I shuffled across the floor towards the front door.  Her voice was full of apprehension when she asked, "Mom, are you sure you can drive?"  This made me smile a little but I was determined.

The 30 kilometer drive to the dr took almost an hour.  My head was full of cotton and I couldn't think really clear so I drove....really....really slow... 10 miles an hour sometimes.  When the girls and I arrived at the tiny little concrete dr office we checked in and the girls got comfortable in the white plastic lawn chairs in the waiting room.  My fever made me freeze in the 85 degree weather but I leaned against the germy stone wall and drifted in and out of sleep.  When it was my turn I slowly shuffled in to the dr.  He took one look at me wrote me a prescription for some anti-inflammatory and vitamin c.  We had to drive another 40 km back to a safe pharmacy. There again I slept in a flimsy little chair for 45 minutes waiting my turn while the kids wondered around the store.

The next 5 days are honestly very blurry.  I just remember lots of pain.  My husband returned soon after and I was well enough to drive to the airport to pick him up.  The lymph nodes on my neck had swollen up and not gone back down this time.  When Josh saw the large mass on my head and noticed how my right side was very, very weak he booked me a flight out to America the next day.  I did not going willingly.  With all the flimsy strength left in me I was kicking and fussing to leave Josh and the kids behind.

To make a long story a little bit longer...I received excellent immediate care in Baton Rouge.  I saw 4 different specialists who enjoyed learning about a weird and unusual disease.  I had a small surgery to have the mass on my neck drained and then it healed up fine.  The weak and painful joints are still with me even though it has been almost 4 months.   The drs say this could last up to 5 years.  The hardest thing now is pain in my toes that is always there.

We are all in the States now, for a few months, having an unscheduled medical furlough.  God has a purpose and plan for every trial and test in our life.  I can see now where He had special things for us to learn and do and He needed us here in Baton Rouge to do and learn them.  His ways are not ours ways.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a mama's nightmare

I couldn't decide if I needed to finish about our family going through chikungunya or just let it pass.
               But honestly it was a chapter in our life
          that led to many paths
                      we weren't expecting.   And that's never easy.

So I decided to record it for my children. I need them to remember and know how proud I was of them for being so strong and really stepping up to things when I needed them.

Most talk the last few months has been on me.  Big ol' tall me.  Many do not realize that our daughters went through the same suffering as me.  That is a mother's nightmare.  The hardest thing in the world.  Watching your children being sick or in pain.  It is torture.  Literal.  I would rather go through anything else than to watch my children hurt.

During October and November all four of our daughters caught the painful chik v also.  Each child was affected differently.  Brynlee and Eden just had pains but in different areas of their body and at different times, also Brynlee had the full body rash afterwards.  Alexis got the very high fevers and for 2 nights hallucinated.  Honestly that scared the wits out of me.  Moriah got all of the symptoms.  Pain in her joints and especially wrists and legs. She was unable to walk for 2 days and had very high fevers.
There are times on the mission field that are joyful and exciting.
  Times that are slow and mellow.
  Many days I relish in the slow pace and empty calendars
 where my kids and I can spend time enjoying each other
 and the simple life.  

Then come the days where the simplicity of life on the Island scares me so much the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

I'm talking about the times when my babies are hurting or have a medical emergency and there are no doctors or hospitals near by.  Time stands still.  I can't breathe for fear of what the next second will hold.
In our 5 years in Jamaica with 5 little kids there have been many frozen moments when I almost question our decision to live where we do.  (yes, I'll admit it) We've gone through bumps on the head that knocked them out, fevers that went so high they didn't know who they were, breathing complications, dengue fever, bike wrecks, rusty nails in the foot, etc.

Completely putting your children in the Lord's hands is much harder to do when it is actual and not just something you say, or plan to do.  Sure, we all say "this is in the Lord's hands".

For a missionary wife it is literal.  

Learning to fully trust the Lord has been an extremely painful lesson but one of the most rewarding lessons learned on the  mission field.  I LOVE the reality that comes when God is real not just a Sunday School storybook character.  This is a priceless gift to give our children. But also has changed me as a person.  The relationship with the Lord when you fully and completely and whole heartedly lay everything....including your children in His hands is one of the most freeing feelings.

I write this to record to my children
 how strong you are and how the Lord is building our faith in Him.  

Also, I want those in the States to not be hard on the missionary wife
 when she is at your church and keeps her children close to her side.
  You don't know the trials she's been through
 and nights she's stayed awake fearfully watching her sick children sleep.
Or the many prayers she's sent up knowing she was completely hopeless to help.

God is good, all the time,

photo credit

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our journey with Chikungunya part 1

Chikungunya.  This was a new word in our vocabulary a few months ago.  A funny word that rolls awkwardly off your tongue.  But now my kids can say it smoothly, because of the changes it has made in our life and the many times it has been mentioned in our world.  This big worded virus caused by a bite from an ornery little mosquito carries quite a wallop.
Image: A female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquiring a blood meal from a human host at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.
When I first caught chik virus we all thought it was just a few days of misery and that would be it.  Not even worth mentioning.  From that fateful day in October this virus has stolen many things from me.  Including properly celebrating birthdays and Christmas, time with my husband and children, and a little bit of my dignity since I'm now walking like my Great-Grandmother.

Here is how our journey started...
A few members of our church had already came down with the chik virus so we were familiar with it plus it was all over the Jamaican news how it was spreading around our island.

One morning, Josh left early to drive across the island to buy groceries at our nice grocery store.  When I woke up I swung my legs over the bed and started to walk across the bedroom.  I  noticed my toes were all severely sore and had the feeling like they had all been jammed.  Odd.  As all mothers do I continued with my morning, making all the kids their breakfast and getting school work underway.  After a few hours an aggravating ache had spread up my legs.  A thought came in the back of my mind that this could be one of the symptoms.  I called a church member who had came down with it the week before.  I asked her how she felt and her symptoms, without telling her my worries.  As I realized my beginning symptoms matched hers an scared little ache started in my belly.

By lunchtime, the pain was so severe I couldn't walk upright and I was developing a fever.  When Josh returned to the house that evening he laid his hand on my leg and I cried out in pain.  The next 3 days were extremely painful.  The African meaning of Chikungunya is "drawn up".  Describing how you pull your limbs up because the pain is so intense.  My fever went high and stayed that way for almost 3 full days.  Everything hurt to touch me.  It hurt to lay in the bed, but I couldn't walk or sit so that was the only option.  It hurt to lay my head on the pillow.  It hurt bad to cover and let the sheet touch me, but I was so cold even in the 80+ degree temperture.

After a few days the fever was gone and I only had very minor aches.  We thought, "That was awful, but I'm so thankful it's over with."  So, the next week, Josh went ahead with his plans of flying to the States for 3 weeks for some meetings.

A few days after he flew away, leaving the girls and I on the Island, all the pain came back.  (to be continued...)  

Wow, drama.  Sorry for the theatrics.  In truth I'm just too tired to type any more and my finger and wrists are hurting.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mama, tell me a Christmas Story

Tucking all my little ones into bed.
My favorite time of the day.
  I snuggled in with Princess Brynlee
 who insisted she needed "help going to sleep".  
The room was getting settled down,
 there was a soft glow from a single strand of Chrismas lights draped in the corner.
  A small voice asked, "Mama, tell us a story.  Tell us a Christmas story."
  And then I remembered a story I read when I was a teenager......

...."The story is told of a Danish prince...
                  (now I had their attention).  
He was a very rich prince and lived in a beautiful castle.  He was good and kind to all those in his kingdom.  He had fallen in love with a sweet pheasant girl in his kingdom.  
        (Someone in the room sighed...dreamily.)  

This prince had a problem.  He was afraid if he told this young maiden of his love she would marry him because she wanted his riches and the prestige of being the queen.  Or he was afraid that she would be obligated to marry him because he was so important and she didn't want to anger or refuse him.  The handsome prince didn't want this at all.  He wanted his bride to love him for himself.  

He decided to truly know her heart he would step down from the royal throne.  Take off his regal robes and go to her as a commoner.  The soon-to-be king would present himself before his humble maiden.  He wasn't trying to trick her, but instead he was showing her another side of himself.   He took on the life of a servant to win the young woman's hand.  

This was daring.  What if she wasn't interested in him and sent him away? Then he would lose her forever.  Still she might love him for his true self and choose him above all else.

This is a picture of the choice God gave to many years ago.  The babe in the manger cast off his royal robes and came in the form of a baby.  We aren't forced to obey and yield to His will.   Our Lord humbled Himself for us."     

Goodnight, Little Princesses....and Prince,

This story was from an Our Daily Bread devotional journal I read as a teenager, but told from memory to my children.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

thank you, Lord

our ladies choir sings this song
each time it makes me cry
their rich voices raising up the precious words in the old hymn
they burst forth with "my chains are gone..."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Killed, survived, taught, sifted, etc...

what do missionary wives do with their days?
well recently...very recently
I've stepped on a frog in my hallway,
killed an {agressive} 9 inch 40-legger with a machete, (this machete)
finished a whole pot of coffee one morning,
survived the vicious Chikungunya virus,
gone 5 days without full running water,
taught 3 school grades while folding laundry,
carried water to wash clothes,
received a pedicure from a 3 year old,
helped our German Shepherd deliver 13 beautiful puppies,
sifted bugs out of my flour,
carefully moved all the lizard eggs out of my sewing machine box,
and more
(things that are more normal to me now so I can't even remember them).
While all my friends back home are posting pictures of fall leaves and even snow.... 
Jamaican kids are playing in the water hose and eating watermelon.
The kids love watermelon.
  They love it so much that all that is left
 is a thin shaving of the green peeling.
(Alexis, 9)
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