Friday, December 13, 2013

Just the Girls....

Grace (9 1/2) and Sophie (one month away from 5!)

This post is all about my girls.  

There's no deep, thoughtful Africa-fied post. It's just about them. 

One of the things I love best after having blogged for so many years is getting to look back at a post and remember "Oh yea, they DID that!" or seeing pictures reminding me of a time I've long since forgotten. Baby stories like this  or memories made like this  are just too fun to reminisce!  

So let me remember to write about them now. Just as they are......

Grace is truly remarkable in that she seems to transcend time.  Certain times, she is fully nine.  Silly, crazy, imaginative....playful with her sister and buying stuffed animals with her money.  Other times, I feel like she's so mature in ways I never was at that age. She knows when kids are being too crazy. She loves adult meals like ceasar salads and stir fried veggies. She likes independence and chooses to walk a bit in front of her mom on these red dirt roads.  She chooses to read, read, read.....she even finished her Harry Potter book (750 pages!) in 3 days. (I had to remind her to eat and drink.)  She appreciates Africa for what it gives us as a family - lots of time together, less stress/busyness.....but she also knows that home is where the heart is and family is huge part of that heart. She is tenderhearted and can cry at the drop of a hat if she thinks she's displeased you.  She is also a good friend and loyal. She doesn't understand girl drama at all.

Sophie, at 4 (but really 5 in one month) has truly come out of her shell. Or busted out of's so interesting to see how Ugandans act towards her. They like her. I mean, really like her.  She  keeps everyone laughing...right now she is fully quoting Planet Earth  videos and runs around making tiger or lion noises with her nose all squished up (sounding like a dying horse really).  She has learned nearly 25 sight words at homeschool this year and, hopefully, will start reading a few starter books next semester.  She is tough. If she falls, she'd rather say "I'm okay" than cry....even if it hurt. She is still a picky eater (chicken, PB&J's, chips...that's about it.)  Sophie can befriend a tree and it's quite often I find myself pointing to a little girl here and saying, "Sophie - go be her friend." She will go bouncing up to that said girl and be playing together in two seconds flat.

It's funny how God works out deep desires.  I've always wanted to stay at home with my girls.  But I've always enjoyed working, too.  Growing up, my mom was a bit of the 'asian-tiger-mom'. I've had a job since I was 9, I think. I like the order and structure of working....but I've always wanted to be able to take just a year and spend it with my girls.  Well, God answered that prayer by sending us to Africa.  

I'm with my girls nearly 24/7.  It's wonderful, but at the same time, I also have to remind myself to make the most of it.  That's hard because sometimes I'd love to just have a moment of breather time alone!  We've reached that glorious age where my girls can play without too much supervision....momma can do other tasks...and I have to remind myself not to get caught up in that!  Momma CAN do other tasks, but taking this year - this time - with them is so much more than about doing tasks.

I'm going to blink and they'll be in college.
I'm going to blink and they'll be moms of their own.
I'm going to blink and I'll be saying, "It all goes by so fast."

Grace & Sophie, you two are your parents' joy!  We love you!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When You Peel Back Layers....


We all know who it comes from and that it's not circumstantial. I can choose joy in the midst of any one of the hundreds of trials life throws at me.  I can find joy in the small a hummingbird at my window this morning.  I can choose joy when my kids are grumpy, when my husband did not meet my expectations, or the house is (once again) in need of cleaning.

But choosing joy is a lot harder than it seems.

I used to think it was easy. I think because back in America, if I ever began to have feelings of sadness, loneliness, what have you....I could easily "stuff it" or fill that hole by any number of things we Americans do: start a new hobby, go shopping and buy something to give a temporary satisfying "fill", visit a friend, take the kids out to eat so I don't have to face the pile of dishes at the end of cooking, sign up for another activity to keep me busy.  I never really ran out of options to temporarily give me joy. So choose joy? Sure. Easy. Let me plan something to do. Get a plan going for the day.

Here in Uganda, it's a whole different ballgame. I have been challenged with choosing joy.  There is no "shopping trip".  When the boredom of a day sets in and I have no car to go anywhere, I have to deal.  When my marriage starts to show signs of wear (not having the regular "Boog & Flo date nights" we are used to), we have to deal.  When sadness of not having family and friends close by to run and chat with, I have to deal. I have to deal with the unmet expectations, the loneliness, boredom, and all the other emotions that I don't like to deal with. There is no quick fix.  There is no filler.  You deal.

Being a "missionary family" this year has really highlighted our coping abilities. Mine, I decided, need some work.  But it's given me an incredible present. I have come face to face with my ugly.  I have peeled back layers in myself and the relationship with my husband and my children and it's exposed some areas where I really thought I had it DOWN!

How about that?  I'm 36 years old and learning some of my weaknesses actually are things I thought were my strengths in America.  That's a hard thing to look at....the ugly, the scars....and see beneath the layers upon layers of  "filler" through the years.

Psalm 16:11 has been on mine and Boog's heart now for over a year.
"You make known to me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand are pleasures forever."

It's no small note that it's absolutely one of the most challenging things for me here, personally. Finding joy in Him, regardless of circumstance, regardless of what I think I lack, regardless of my emotions.

Seeing our dear friend Pastor Earnest choose joy despite his circumstances is humbling. And it's in peeling back my own layers that I'm hopeful of growth and restoration and the promises of life more abundant.....the ability to see, feel, and know The Joy from a place so deep that knows the difference between yucky, preservative, fake filler and the real, life-giving Joy.

 My marriage is a beautiful journey. My children are my pleasure.  I have no doubt that this revelation and growth WILL be a blessing....for all of us.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Thunder is in the distance. It's the rainy season, and storms can brew at any given moment.  It's night and my mosquito net is tucked in the bed around me. The girls are asleep in their bunk beds, and Boog is off to the airport for a midnight arrival of a couple who will also become part of the 60 Feet team.

This is our life in Africa.

Every week, 60 Feet hums and churns like a well-oiled machine....with the occassional need for stops and repairs along the way.  The mobile medical team departs each morning for visits to the remand centers, staff flies off in ten different directions as they meet with different organizations or government officials to build the much needed relationships that make working in an international setting more fluid and manageable. And each week, something comes up that requires everyone to sit back and remember that amidst all this "U.S. style nose to the grindstone" work, the children we serve are not commodities. They are not "projects".  They are real people.  Vulnerable.  And desperate for someone to hear their story.

You could not dream up what those "somethings" are......lists handed down of 80+ children waiting to be resettled with their families, but languishing in prison until someone can provide the research, money, transportation, and people to make it happen. Horribly run orphanages, shut down by the government, and the children sent to the government's "drop off center", meaning 40+ new kids and mouths to feed (at an already maxed out center). Shortages of clothing in the prisons. A need for toothpaste/toothbrushes for 400 kids who have never owned a toothbrush of their own.....

The situations that arise seem to be endless.  But as our team is learning, it's not just about responding to each crisis.  It's about finding the wisdom to look beyond the problem in front of you and finding the root. To not just look at the kids on the list and find the quickest way to get them back to their families (although quick is good.) But to go to the family and return, and return again, to see why the child left or was sent away to begin with and start the counsel there.

Partnership is huge.  Finding other organizations to work with so that each area of need, along the long chain of need, is served well. Just last week, my hubs and other staff members attended a town hall discussion at the U.S. Embassy to get a glimpse of what the vision is and where it's headed.  And each week, there's a new meeting set up with an organization who may provide a link in the chain.

For the girls and I, we sit on the perimeter....with much of our time being spent volunteering at a babies' home, homeschooling, and working at Hope International School (where many of 60 Feet's sponsored children attend.)  But we listen to the staff's daily struggles and small victories.  We watch as our daddy puts on a tie and drives off to meet someone in the Ministry of Gender.  We pray for each situation that arises. And we remember that God is the source of this love-offering of service....

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Power of Love

Excuse the cheesy Celine Dion title, but there were no better fitting words.  There IS power in Love.  Not the love that is thrown away when things get difficult.  Not the love that is actually lust, just give it a few weeks or months to come to light.  Not the love that is the bitter, self-serving, "I'm going to be here, but not really BE here" kind. It is the powerful love that is talked about in 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."

These precious faces above are just a few of the recipients of that kind of love at Mama Catherine and Pastor Earnest's house.  This amazing couple has devoted their lives to loving and raising hundreds of children that come across their path by the Amazing Grace that set the plan for them to receive that kind of love. 

I wrote a guest blog post last year here about a girl I met at M1, one of the government remand homes where Sixty Feet works so diligently.  Bitter, angry, hurt....hell bent to show it.  Several days I witnessed behavior of someone who was so deeply wounded in spirit, so far from hope. I have to admit, I felt her future was going to be repeating the cycle of the obvious brokeness which she had already been exposed.
But (there it is again!), even though I had already counted her out, God certainly had not.

Fast forward one year and here I was, in front of a very familiar face. But not familiar at all. Taking students' pictures for sponsorships, I asked the teacher who this young lady was....and she confirmed my thoughts. It was her.  The girl.  Except it wasn't her.  This girl was beautiful. Smiling. Joyful. A countenance shining like gold!

Come to find out, she had been living with Mama Catherine for almost a year now.  It wasn't an easy transition, but the Love that bears, believes, hopes, endures, and never ends was (and still is) there through all the mess and beauty.  The final product being redemption and hope for a precious soul whom I had already written her ending.

So, once again, I proved that I'm a terrible, limited in creativity, lacking in faith kind of author, and He trumps them all. I'm more than okay with that!  As my family enters into month 3 of this incredible experience, I'm feeling all the more okay with a lot of things.  Living here is finally like home. The roles of each person here is starting to round out, mine included.  Grace even said, "I miss home, but I'm not ready to go home yet." That's big.

There's still so much to do, I'm slowly learning....we are just a small part of the great, big, gigantic love story that God is rolling out before our eyes.  It's Pulitzer material, ya'll. On the grandest scale.

My Loves. 
Sophie, the forever princess.
Grace, growing up right before my eyes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heart Check

She is the outcast of an outcasted group. Unable to speak the local language, she is mostly silent.  She waits patiently for food and care, not demanding a thing.  Her tomorrow is unknown, only focusing on today.  But.  (Oh...the but!) Her bright eyes glow after receiving a smile or, in my case, wind from a fan I made out of the cover of a coloring book. Her smile is large. Her patience is a virtue. She is not broken.

I love 60 Feet for the fact that this organization will pursue her interest. She will receive care, medical  help, weekly love, and eventually...hopefully....a future as bright as her eyes.

This is why, after nearly 2 months of being here, I had a heart check.  I made a mental thank you to God for His answered prayers. I needed community, He provided. I wanted my girls to feel at home, He provided. I asked to feel comfortable here, He provided.  But now that we are settled, it's time to refocus my heart.

This girl above, these pictures's just a glimpse into the beauty of being here.  I'm growing to love the faces of not just the children, but the stoic faces (or sometimes huge, broad smiles) of the Ugandans on the streets, on their bodas, or in the market.  I love to hear their stories....the way this Mama has 9 children with a full-time job caring for 25 orphans...or that friend who couldn't officially marry his wife in the end because he couldn't provide the this single father of two daughters works diligently everyday and uses his $150/month salary to send his girls to the best private school he can afford, only allowing himself to say, "It is hard."

They are everywhere, these stories.  Inspiring me to check my "self" at the door, complain a little less, and focus on the work that is to do here.  My job is a little less stressful .... my weeks usually consist of homeschooling my girls, helping at a baby's home,and the Bwerenga village school.  But my husband and the 60 Feet staff work tirelessly each day to get one step closer towards a positive future for the girl above and so many others.

 Where's Waldo? Sophie learning about the bible from a friend.

Sweet Worship of a Child

Homeschoolin' with my Homey

Sophie at Homeschool Co-op with soccer Coach Davis (Head bumper!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

I'll Take Friends, With a Side of Friends

When you are in a foreign country, sometimes you get desperate.  Desperate for home, desperate for creature comforts, desperate for solitude or my case, after 3 weeks of being here, I became desperate - for friendship.

It's not actual "living" that has been tough on me. I can handle the daily life here and my girls are champs at adjusting.  But it's been the lack of friends....people who understand. People who "get it".  I was in need of companionship from other women who can look at me and say, "I've been there." or "Come hang at my place!"  You know.....girlfriends.  Always being the "foreigner" everywhere you go takes its toll, and for me, I needed people who understood that.  I couldn't shake the feeling that finding this community was vital to us living here and being whole.

Enter the internet.  I couldn't just stay in this lonely frame of mind. I had to do something about it. So, a few google searches for "ex-pat" families in Uganda, a couple emails to & from super friendly folks, and voila!  It's amazing what a little desperosity and clever internet searching can get you!

An amazing lady from a solid organization offered to meet with me to discuss surviving here. That meeting led to coffee with a sweet family living here from California. That meeting turned into an invite into a home school co-op. That co-op turned into an invite to a bible study. Then a recipe exchange....  Can you hear the rejoicing!!  Community!!

Sophie in the "Cheetah" class in our first co-op meeting
 This all sounds so - highschoolish....this friend thing. But I guess you don't realize the need for social connection until you don't have it.  And my girls.....the ability for them to connect with kids from ALL over the world! It's such an amazing opportunity. In our co-op, we have kids from Northern Ireland, South Africa, California....I love hearing all the different accents, yet we all have the ability to identify with the hardships ( and blessings) of living abroad with our families.

So....I'm feeling a bit better about things. Everyday I am learning something new here. Whether it's perfecting the art of homemade bread (I've got this recipe memorized already!).
 Or improving my driving skills.....I'm already pretty comfortable driving and am slowly learning more about the good roads/shortcuts/etc.    I DO get thrown off a bit when seeing matatus (bus taxis) with signs such as this on the back - "EXEPECT NO MERCY".  Hmmm.....
And I'm still waiting until September 16th, when the Bwerenga School starts back up and I can go love on and bless my little friends and teachers. I do love that place!

Boog, as always, is 100% in love with this life and the mission of Sixty Feet.  You can read more about his experiences on his blog   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Love Us Some Rolex!

 This second week here, as my hub tackled the world of international ministry, I tackled the art of homeschooling.  Talk about a breeze.  Going from teaching 20 to teaching 2?  Candy from a baby, people. Grace loves going at her own pace, and Sophie loves learning off the iPad (having it READ books to her...GENIOUS!!)  We even scheduled in time for my girls and I to help out at a local babies' home.

In fact, the hardest part of our school day got it - lunch.  Where are my cafeteria ladies? This is not America where you can pop something in the microwave. Peanut butter here is for the birds.  Leafy produce is sketchy because I don't trust myself to clean it properly. Deli meat? Don't even think about it. Not available or way too expensive if it is.

So eliminating every quick fix food item I know and short of having to prepare and cook a full on meal everyday - what's a mom to do?  Enter ROLEX.

Oh my. Our sweet friend, Ruth (above), offered to make us some homemade Rolexes after she heard we had been buying them off the street. At 2000 shilling (less than $1), these babies are greatness no matter how you get them!  But hers......oh my.  It's chipate (a thick tortilla that's common here), fried eggs, tomatoes and seasoning all rolled up into a huge burrito-like concoction.

 Number 1 Fan!

And I would be remiss to mention my near 2 year addiction now to the greatness that is Africana tea. It's sanity in a cup. It's my best liquid friend.  It's a lifesaver in a day where I wake up to ants on my toothbrush, my bath's water pressure is more like someone spitting on my head, and I'm on mosquito bite #10 for the day with no malaria meds in my system.

Oh Africa. Why is it so hard for me to settle in this time?
I ask myself this daily.
Then I answer.

Because I just need to give of myself while here and know there's things to be learned from this experience. And sometimes, we just have to say "yes" and trust that the reason may not be known for years....or ever.

Up next for me? More homeschool. Helping out in the Bwerenga schools when they are back in session in two weeks. Figuring out the best way I can help the overworked teachers at one of our facilities. And most importantly, loving my hubs who is working so hard each day.

My homeschool gals....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Week Expectations Vs. Reality

 Grace at the Babies' Home

I try to be completely transparent on my blog ( I think ).  There's times of sweet highs that I share and times of lows that, although I could be tempted to leave out, find a place here.  Looking back at those times, I usually see how God carried me through them or even showed me victory on the other side.

This week, I'll admit, was a struggle.  Mostly by expectations in my head that, in reality, were not met.  My husband went straight to work this week, having daily meetings, people to meet, and field work to do to get up to speed with the organization of 60 Feet as it stands this year. Me, on the other hand, not yet starting homeschool, found myself full-time momma to my girls without the usual "activities" and friends that kept us busy in the US. It was definitely not the "straight to work" that I'm used to. It was a lonely feeling!  I asked a friend back home, "Why did you not tell me that stay-at-home mommyhood can be lonely?"   

Oh....I know. Big problems. Especially when I took my girls to a babies home in Kampala and we found ourselves smack in the middle of caring for 45+ orphans, each one begging for attention, right at dinner and bathtime.  Grace loves spending time at the babies' home.....
 Sweet One Ready for Bed
 Slowly, though, I came to realize that life will be much different than our two months here last summer.  More of a slow journey, not a quick "get it all in" trip.  Full of busy times. Not so busy times. Work to do. Times of rest.  School. Vacation. Breakfasts/Dinners/Lunch. Markets.  Administration work. Field Work.  Laughing. Crying. Boredom. Excitement.....

And that's it. It's just life. In Kampala, Uganda.

The Bottom of Our Hill (our Walmart, Basically!)
 We Buy Fresh Pineapple Weekly
 So what's up for us in the next few weeks?  We will hopefully be moving into our home soon. Right now we are living in the 60 Feet Guesthouse which hosts teams that fly over from the US on a regular basis. It has exceptional Wifi so my girls are taking advantage of it by facetiming cousins (and me, blogging, of course.)  I will start homeschooling this week.  Boog will be busy meeting with the "Powers That Be" of 60 Feet as they fly in to help line things up for the year.  And of course, facing the near daily challenges that arise with the work that is to be done here.....more about that later.

All in all. Week one has been simply getting used to life here. Please pray for Boog, as he has to play many roles here: husband, father, worker, leader, counselor (to me, mostly!), etc.  Pray for my girls to find friendships here.  Pray for me to clearly see my purpose.....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back in UG (again!)

Okay. So it's literally been a few seasons of life since I last posted.  My last post was on my thoughts upon returning from a two month stay in Uganda, Africa. This post, ironically, is about what is now our first weekend of an entire YEAR stay in Uganda.  So, to catch up, what we thought was going to be a leisurely family summer of a Wyoming vacay and relaxation, turned into a whirlwind of praying, fundraising, planning, and packing after accepting the offer from Sixty Feet to return to Uganda to help the staff in country....for a year or more. Did I already mention a year??  Let me say it again. A year.

Now, to well-traveled people, missionaries, or adventurous folks - a year in Africa sounds uh-mazing.  But to me - homebody, lover of all things Chipotle & Chick-fil-a, not to mention my great job......a year was too big of a commitment. But God had other plans and after talking it over, and praying (yeah, don't forget that!), we decided against most all our families' wishes to go.  So......we go.

And here's a pic of we going.   My girls' memory proved strong as they traversed familiar territory in Dubai, our layover city...things weren't quite as "scary" as they were the last time.  But one thing was different - both my girls got airsick this time.  At the same time! The poor souls around us just watched in horror as both my girls gagged away in plastic bags, turning shades of white & green.  It was wonderful.

This pic is obviously BEFORE the incident

For me, the trip was very familiar.  Third time here. The first was totally new and unnerving. The second was a little easier.  This time - it was total calm. Even as we arrived in the Entebbe Airpo rt in Uganda, I whisked the girls off the plane to the familiar smells & sounds of Africa.  It was almost like this was just like any other trip. Except it wasn't.

We spent the first day getting acclimated.  The team had already set up our rooms with a few groceries and toiletries.....and then - we slept. And slept.  Jet lag seriously caught up to us.  Day two was good fun.  We spent the morning worshipping with the heart & soul of Sixty Feet - Bwerenga Village.  Church lasted, ahem, over 3 hours....but hugging the necks of Momma Catherine, Pastor Earnest, Boaz and all our friends was truly, truly precious.  We surprised them. I think they are used to Americans visiting. I don't think they are as used to Americans coming back.  It was a morning full of hugs and well wishes.

The school below is a part of the Bwerenga Village. I taught here last year and plan to again some this year.  It's been painted purple & orange, but the kids were the same. They took a few seconds to look me over and then immediately, "Teacha Flo, Teacha Flo!!"  I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to see some of the same young, sweet faces....just a year older.
The School
Grace caught part of the sweet action when one of the many babies in the church (who are incredibly patient throughout the 3 hour service!) crawled into her lap and planted himself there. It was love.

And below is a picture from last year and one from today of myself and my cutie patootie friend.  I was SO glad he hadn't forgotten me. In fact, he never let go of my hand until we got in our car to leave.

So.  What to say about this first weekend?  It's had it's highs and lows.  I can't lie and say it's been easy.  High points have been the miraculous way God has just calmed my nervousness. I have felt more at ease in this city than I ever have before. I think I'm ready to attempt driving here in a few days (which if you saw traffic here, you'd realize what a feat that would be!).  Other highs include the Sixty Feet team being so welcoming and gracious and accepting of the help we are here to provide.  And Sophie....little Sophie earned the trophy in our house for acclimating the easiest. She's had no trouble whatsoever here. None. She's slept like a baby, ate well for her picky self, and has generally been just smooth sailing.

Lows, to be honest, include a late night talk with Grace as she was shedding tears from missing her family back at home.....God provided the words for me because I'm not always the best communicator. (I do better writing!)  I know this will be hard for her because this year, she's 9.  And 9 is close to the age where you can start seeing outside your start needing your friends and stability.  So I know that I will have to be extra cautious about her needs here.  Lows also include a tinge of the "insecurity" attack.  There is SO much to do and things to be done with 60 Feet's ministry.  Administration needs, prison needs, team needs, and hundreds more. What will we be able to help with here? Are our strengths and gifts lining up to what Sixty Feet's ministry really needs at this stage in their growth?  Can we do all of this AND keep our marriage and family in good standing AND be able to handle being away AND.....the list goes on.

Thankfully, we have prayer warriors at home. That term is so overused, but I know that those people who keep those call lines to God busy morning, noon, and night are keeping us covered. So our strength and purpose here will remain in tact. And to shorten a thought from C.S. Lewis, " My confidence lies not in who I think God is, but who He knows himself to be."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Didn't Expect to Hear From Me, Eh?

So.  Here I am.  Blogging once more.

I missed it (a bit).  It's been a nice break to be away. Smashing back into life after Africa has been a transition that I thought would be hard, but (unfortunately) was a bit too easy. It really took just a few weeks to settle back into our big stores, smooth roads, air conditioning, and Cloroxed-lives. The pit latrines are a distant memory, but the people.....they are not. Every picture brings me back, and makes me question if we should be there or here. Permanently. But the thinking and pondering hasn't gone away....oohh no.  My hubs and I are constantly pondering questions like, "What was done in Africa?"  "What do we do with what we learned and experienced now that we're back?"  "What direction do    we go with our lives at this juncture?" "How can we continue to help those we know are in need?"

Y'know. The light stuff.

So what have I been up to in the last 6 months?  Well, if you are a follower of my blog because of my furniture refurbishing-craze, you'll need to unsubscribe. I haven't waxed a peep. Painted more than a toenail. And certainly haven't been to a garage sale!  I think that, whilst 'twas fun, it wasn't my "forever" deal. It served a purpose, and that chapter is closed for now. Who knows, though, right?

What HAS happened is life. And quickly.  My oldest, Grace, entered the 3rd grade, and 3-going-on-4 year old Sophie started a new daycare.  Grace has already won Student of the Month and is so far making all A's....she's a star kiddo.  Sophie, oh my.  She talks, and talks, and talks, and talks.  She hilarious personified. I began my 8th year of teaching 4th grade.  My hubs started his 4th year of coaching & teaching.  We suffere...I mean, strolled through a football/basketball & now starting track season. Not much has changed on the job fronts.

A few things HAVE changed though. For the better. And much of it has to do with our life this summer in Africa.  For one, our diets have changed.  After eating little processed foods and not always having sugary foods readily available (no sweet tea!) for two months, we came back to America with our digestive systems changed. All of a sudden, eating at our favorite Mexican food place threw both mine and my hub's stomach into World War III. It did NOT like it!  We realized we needed to make a change. So, I began searching.

I literally did a 180 on our normal food routine. We used to have cookies & all kinds of fun snacks readily available. But after some research (thanks Pinterest!), I started making rounds of healthy snacks like below. No/low sugar, flaxseed, whole wheat, no ingredients that sound like they should be in a science lab (maltodextrinchloride, anyone?....heh, I just made that up.)

It's worked like a charm. My body took to it like wheat on rye! ; )  I lost pounds, my hubs shed weight that he's never been able to shed (even after running all his hundreds of miles) and we both felt SO much better.  It's been an interesting journey in food these past few months, but a welcome change it has been!

Africa, obviously, has changed our lives in so many more ways other than just food.  It's a HUGE part of our decision making process's invaded the little things and the big.  I also met some people there that to THIS DAY still make me feel empowered as an heir in Christ.  Life changers, I call them. Everyone should meet these people! I'll share stories of their life-gift to us on another blog, but believe me, it's Changed.Our.Life.

All in all, to try to talk about it all in one post is lud-i-crous. Can't do it. Won't try.

But I guess I'm back. It feels good.

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