Thursday, November 17, 2011

There's a kind of a sort of cost

"There's a kind of a sort of cost, there's a couple of things get lost" -Glinda, Wicked

When I entered into the world of Apple, I didn't realize the cost. Not the monetary cost, but the cost of having constant connection to the social networking world at the very tips of your actual fingers. There was rarely a need to use my REAL computer anymore. So what's the cost exactly? Not blogging as much. No keyboard :: no blogging.

Oh yeah. And I had a baby.

There's a lot to say. Some of it will obviously have to wait. Or you'll be sitting here through Christmas reading it. After all, it's been since June 14th that I've posted.

So let's get down to it, shall we?

First on the list....

NEWSIES!!!!! It's coming to Broadway!!!! I say "coming" like I live there. I guess I should say "going" to Broadway. Unfortunately it's an Nederlander Theater which is not one of my favorites. But it's housed quite a few of my favorites, so I guess it's only fitting.

Have you guys read any of the latest blogs from Compassion's trip to Ecuador? Oh holy moly. There's some powerful stuff in there. Read some of them here. Or you can click on the Compassion Ecuador banner on the right hand of the page. My particular favorites are from Ann Voscamp this year.

Speaking of Compassion. We'll be offering the opportunity to donate money towards water filters very soon. These water filters will go directly to our church partners in Kenya. They provide clean water (no dirt, no microbes, no sickness!!) for an entire family for life! In fact, our local water expert Charlie Anderson did the math and he said it would make clean water for 65 people for life!!! And they're only $55!!!!! Crap dang. Sign me up! I want to be a part of that story in heaven!! So hold your horses, it's coming soon.

Ok, we'll do this again soon. It's been nice talking at you. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dad's Noggin

Here's a brief update of what's going on inside dad's little noggin.

For those of you who don't know, since January he's had double vision since January that has affected his far away vision. An MRI was done, and he was sent to a neurologist. The MRI was negative at this time. The neurologist started him on a medication for ocular myasthenia gravis that appeared to be helping for a short period of time. At this point he started seeing a neuro-opthalmologist to follow up with the possible diagnosis of ocular MG.

At some point a few months ago it got worse. So he tried a week of steroids and kept taking the medication. It improved fairly significantly but after he stopped taking the steroids, the vision returned as it was.

Last weekend, the double vision continued to worsen and began affecting his upclose vision which was very frusterating for him, as you can only imagine. Another MRI, this time with and without contrast was done and showed a small meningioma in his caverous sinus.

A few definitions for you:

Meningioma: this is a tumor that can have several different presentations. Only a very slight percentage invade the actual brain tissue. An even smaller percentage are cancerous. His is neither.

Cavernous sinus: this is located in the base of your skull and although the name is confusing to some, it's not a sinus cavity that houses your snot during allergy season. Simply put, the cavernous sinus is a little area that houses a lot of blood vessels and is where your 6th cranial nerve (the ocular nerve) travels between the eye and the brain. Hence his vision symptoms.

On Monday morning, he, mom, and I met the neurosurgeon at UTSW to formulate a plan. As expected, he told us that it is likely benign (and he knows this based on the location and presentation). He also said that the cavernous sinus is not a place they like to operate because of the nerves that run through there. Operating on a tumor there would likely worsen his vision and it would be a permanent worsening. Obviously not our goal. So with those things in mind, he suggested radiation therapy. Radiation will either halt the growth of the tumor, lessen the size of it, or blast it to smitherines, but there's no way to know until you do it. This will most likely be a one time radiation treatment that is done by a radiation oncologist. (Again, no...that doesn't mean this is cancer. They are just the doctors that do the radation.)

Dad will meet the radiation oncologist for a consultation next Friday to discuss the options. And we'll take it from there.

The one peice of info that I didn't see coming was that the neurosurgeon isn't sure what his sight will be like even if the tumor goes away completely. It could return to normal, get a little better, or stay the same. This depends on if the nerve there has been damaged or if it's just irritated and compressed by the tumor.

All of that said, here's how you can support him in prayer:
  • that he maintains a healthy attitude emotionally and spiritually
  • the radiation blasts the tumor away permanently
  • his eyesight improves or even returns to normal
We appreciate your care and concern!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brain Tumors, Rain, and The Month of June

IMPORTANT EDIT: Unfortunately I allowed the term "brain tumor" that was being used incorrectly over and over to penetrate my syntax. It is absolutely NOT a brain tumor but is very difficult to describe in other terms unless you are familiar with skull anatomy. (Yes, it's more than just a big round piece of bone...) In short, the tumor is nestled in the base of the skull where the optic nerve lies.

It's June. Hopefully not the month of our little June. She's not done cooking. We don't want her coming out like a half-baked biscuit, now do we? The Neverland Nursery is coming together peice by peice. The walls and ceiling are painted, and we've got the carpet guys coming out Monday to measure. Hopefully that'll be done real, real soon. I want our hallway cleaned back out!

We're still moving along. She's definitely doing more moving than I am. Yesterday while mom untangled years of wiring behind our TV set (and I helped by holding a flashlight), I watched my belly move around like the Alien was about to pop out of my abdomen. Apparently she was tired of floating on her head. And just so you know, she does this in the middle of the night, too. Not that I'm sleeping much anyways.

For those of you who don't know, my dad has been struggling with double vision since early January. He's seen various doctors and specialists, and nothing has worked. It got progressively worse to the point that it affected his close up vision this past weekend warranting a repeat MRI (this time with contrast). And what do you know...

A brain tumor.

Yeah, initially I was telling people not to say the "T" word, until I read his MRI report myself. There it was - the specific name of what type of tumor they thought. (Sorry, not revealing that info here. We haven't seen the Doc yet and I don't want you people getting all google happy on me.) The early good news is that it is RARELY cancerous, and they even used the word "small" in the report.

Monday morning he has an appointment with a neurosurgeon in Dallas from UTSW that we'll be going to. No, that doesn't mean he needs brain surgery. Neurosurgeons are obviously the experts in brain tumors so they'll make up the plan of care and we will basically do what they say.

All prayers are appreciated. In case you didn't know, there's a swarm of brain tumors affecting pastors these days. Sounds like a mighty plot. Thankfully, we've already won.

On the otherside of things....tomorrow is our first shower. Yay! Baby things for baby June! She's excited, too, she just doesn't know it yet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Is it really the end of May? Oh dear.

Mom and I went to register this past weekend, and wow. Some of this stuff people buy...give me a break. Some of it is great for a busy mom who needs to cut some corners on time, and some of it is just flat out lazy!! Geez louise. That's why I have job security. No need to actually watch them with some of this stuff on the market. And then when they climb up on the TV set and pull it over on top of themselves or "miraculously" get in the backyard for an afternoon swim, everyone is shocked at how they accomplished that feat!

And then time to register for a carseat. Luckily I work with just the right people for this info. The Injury Prevention Coordinator in my office made a few recommendations (and no, any carseat isn't just a carseat) - there's entire conferences on carseats people. Seriously. So now I will get on my car seat safety box for a second. New recommendations from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is rear-facing car seat until 2 years old. The previous recommendation was 1year-18months old AND at least 20 pounds. That means if your 8 month old is 21 pounds, they still sit rear facing. BUT!!!! Now they say if they can stay rear-facing until 2 years or longer (as long as their knees are off their chest) then that is the best practice. This is all based off muscle and bone development for their little cervical spines and the repeated injuries we see in this age group. And I can also attest to some pretty severe facial injuries in forward facing kiddos, too.

And for crying out loud - put your kid in the backseat with BOTH a lap belt and shoulder strap until they are 13. Yes, 13. Just do it. Don't ask me why. If you really don't believe me on this, I'll tell you some stories. Not one or two, but lots of stories. Cervical spine injuries aren't jokes. Feeding tubes and a urinary catheter every 6 hours aren't jokes.

Ok. I'm done with that.

I am having fun looking at tiny little clothes and planning the nursery. A Neverland Nursery. Oh yes yes yes. Complete with the London Clock Tower, pirates, mermaids, and of course...fairies.

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." JM Barrie, from the book Peter Pan.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don't You Wanna Put Your Face In That?

This is my last post about our Disney World Babymoon. So for all you non-fantatics, take a chill pill.

The bats, although somewhat rated-R, are seriously one of my favorite exhibits in the Pangani Forest Trail at Animal Kingdom. I love bats. Always have.

And seriously, don't you want to just put your full face in that wing??

I would.
For free.

Mmmm...I bet it's silky.

Fine. I'll stop being weird about the bats.

I haven't blogged in a while (and I still hate that might even be worse) because of the constant sickness. There wasn't much to say other than, "Well, I'm 14 weeks pregnant now and still puking my brains up," and then later, "Well, it's 23 weeks now, still vomiting all the time."

But the progesterone fog has lifted and I am feeling close to myself again. Except for the constant stretching, not fitting into clothes, incessant reflux, and the alienesque-ness of having a life form squirm inside you. But other than that...

In all truthfulness, we're just happy as clams.

And who wouldn't be when you get to buy stuff like this....

You'll be happy to know those ruffles are as soft as that bat wing.

Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Count down to meeting little June: 13 weeks, 4 days

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Updated Ranger Tickets for Sale

Here are games we are going to sell for face value on StubHub. If you would like to buy them from us directly, you can also have our season ticket parking pass for the game.

Great seats. Section 37, Row 16, aisle seats 1 and 2.

Games currently available (list will be updated periodically):

Wednesday April 20, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)
Saturday April 23, 7:05 KC Royals

Friday May 6, 7:05 NY Yankees (Firework show)
Tuesday May 24, 7:05 Chicago White Sox (Thirsty Tuesday)
Wednesday August 24, 7:05 Boston Red Sox (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)
Friday August 26, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Firework show)
Sunday August 28, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Blue Bell $1 Ice Cream, Rangers Football for 13y and under)
Wednesday August 31, 7:05 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)

I swear we don't have anything against the Angles. Or LA for that matter. Except Kobe is my 2nd least favorite sports figure in all of history, next to only Barry Bonds. Anyways, it just fell that we can't go on those days. Sorry LA. And late August is pushing me having a big ol' belly that doesn't want to sit in the sun. Or having a brand new baby...either way....sorry August Rangers.

Tickets are face value $62 each except for the Boston game which is face value $69. The Saturday night Yankee game we're selling on StubHub for $145, but we'll offer to you for $125 each. (Some wacko online will pay it if you won't.) Each game comes with our season ticket parking pass and a free program (and a coupon for %25 off a tshirt).

Email me if you're interested.

Let's go Rangers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Show Must Go On

Tonight is the last night for Story Songs. A sad night it will be.

Monday was great. Great audience. Great energy. Great performances. Great reviews.

Wednesday.....well....let's just say 2nd night ain't the same as Opening Night. Just the way it is. (Keeping down more than a pb&j sandwich in 24 hours would have been helpful too....)

But the show must go on.

And it's got one more night.

So many people have come out to see me/us/Betty Lynn Buckley, and I'm eternally grateful for your love and support. It has been an exquisite ride and I'll be very sad to say goodbye to my songs tonight. At least at this level of performance.

Where to go from here? Well...mommyhood. It's been a bit of a rough pregnancy, constant sickness, palpitations...time to take a break for a little bit. I'll miss it.

One more shot at my "11:00 number" and it'd be awesome if you came! If not to see the constant display of honed skill and talent, maybe to see if I make it through without hitting the floor like a fish out of water.

Tickets can still be bought at the door or you can call the Modern Art Museum at 817-738-9215 and pick them up at "Will Call." 7:30 curtain time. Be there or be square.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ranger's Tickets For Sale!

Take me out to the ballgame....

This year we decided to be one of the "in" crowd and get Season tickets to the Rangers. Your reigning ACLS champs!! WhoodyWho!!

Here are games we are going to sell for face value on StubHub. If you would like to buy them from us directly, you can also have our season ticket parking pass for the game.

Great seats. Section 37, Row 16, aisle seats 1 and 2.

Games currently available (list will be updated periodically):

Wednesday April 20, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)
Friday May 13, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Firework show)
Sunday May 15, 2:05 Los Angeles Angels (Blue Bell $1 Ice Cream, Neftali Feliz Red Jersey for 13y and under)
Tuesday May 24, 7:05 Chicago White Sox (Thirsty Tuesday)
Wednesday August 24, 7:05 Boston Red Sox (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)
Friday August 26, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Firework show)
Sunday August 28, 7:05 Los Angeles Angels (Blue Bell $1 Ice Cream, Rangers Football for 13y and under)
Wednesday August 31, 7:05 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (Dr. Pepper autograph Wednesday, Dollar Hot Dog night)

I swear we don't have anything against the Angles. Or LA for that matter. Except Kobe is my 2nd least favorite sports figure in all of history, next to only Barry Bonds. Anyways, it just fell that we can't go on those days. Sorry LA.

Tickets are face value $62 each except for the Boston game which is face value $69. Each season ticket comes with a game program and you'll also have season ticket parking.

Email me if you're interested.

Let's go Rangers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming Soon To An Ear (And Heart) Near You

The time is finally here. Almost. I really hope you'll come see us!! Here are the details:

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Presents
"Story Songs"
Directed by Betty Buckley

(Fort Worth, TX)… The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and legendary Broadway star Betty Buckley, currently co-starring in the Dallas Theatre Center's production of Arsenic and Old Lace, present three benefit concerts featuring her recent Song Interpretation Workshop participants. The concerts are set for March 28, 30 and 31 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth at 7:30pm.

Over recent months in her Song Interpretation Workshops, Ms. Buckley has assisted aspiring artists, educators and experienced performers in honing the craft of singing, acting and storytelling, culminating in these concerts.

Story Songs includes music by composers/lyricists Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Alan Menken and Tim Rice, and Jason Robert Brown. Musical Director is pianist Hans Grim. Featured performers will be: Nikki Acosta, Nicole Barrett, Brandon Bolin, Dave Cave, Angela Davis, Marjorie Hayes, Jeanne Jones, Molly Moon, Tiffany Morgan, and Jennifer Taylor.

Proceeds of the concerts will benefit the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. For tickets and reservations, contact the Museum’s admission desk at 817-738-9215. Tickets are $25. Seating is limited. The Modern Art Museum is located at 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107.

Ms Buckley presented the first Song Interpretation Workshop concert in January 2009 featuring workshop participants to rave reviews. Mark Lowry’s review celebrates, “The results, we must say, were heavenly.”

Ms. Buckley shares her expertise for telling stories in song and guides her students through a teaching philosophy that facilitates audience connection through songs and monologues. Her emotional connection to songs and audiences is renowned, and that very connection is at the heart of what Ms. Buckley imparts to her students. Having been a teacher for 39 years, she has taught numerous singers, actors and professionals including investment bankers, athletic coaches and persons who want to perfect their ability to effectively communicate in their work and relationships. For more information on future workshops, please visit

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Skin Tight Jeans

I hate to say it, but I like Katy Perry's music. Dang. I said it.

And last night on the Grammy's...I have to say it again. Barbra Freakin' Streisand.


Did you see Rhianna's dress?!? Hello!!! Where can I get that. Perfect for doing the dishes in. If I were black, I'd do that to my hair too.

Esperanza Spalding. You're my new "it."

Gaga - stop it with the shoulder thing. It's gross. You're gross.

And might I also add, I have heard the cast from Glee do most of those songs as well, if not better than the original artists. Bam.

Something my mom said, and I love it when she talks about him, "Again I say, Eminem is a genius." Bottom line.

Tonight I go back to the great Betty Lynn Buckley for class. I have missed the last 2 classes because of my recent world travels, and we have been on a class break because of her current performance in Arsenic and Old Lace in Dallas. You REALLY need to go see her. Seriously. You'll love it. Tickets here. Wonderful review here. Get it. Do it. Go.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Nakuru: We Are Serving The Living God, Kenya Day 4

I just wrote an excellent blog. And it disappeared. Completely.

Since it's 4:30am and I'm awake, I'll rewrite. Although I fear it won't be as well written. Here it goes...

Sunday is always church day. No matter where you are in the world. I like that stability.

Church in Nakuru wasn't as, uh, how do you say it? Lively??? As I expected. But we danced. Yes. Danced.

Another group had their pastor say to them, "We don't want to offend, but sometimes we take out all the chairs so we can dance. Sometimes we hit into each other because we close our eyes. I know some like to worship still (with his arms at his sides and his neck stiff like he had meningitis) because they do not want to disturb God." Our American friends welcomed the African dance party as worship.

Why don't we worship with such excitement. We're worshiping the same God, aren't we? We just don't believe it. We don't need it. We're safe. We're comfortable. We have insurance and credit cards to protect us. We're loved and valued even if we don't acknowledge that sometimes. These people know hell. They smell it in their "backyards." They see it on their streets. They see it take their children. They live the injustice.

At our partners' church, I was blessed by the purity of the Gospel. The simplicity of the lyrics. The look of understanding on their faces.

Church lasted for 4 and a half hours. And the pastor spoke for only 30 minutes to keep it short for the visitors. He started at 12:00.

The night before was an all night time of prayer together for the men. Then everyone met together -women, children, men - at 6am for prayer before church. That's 7 hours of God. In one day.


That wouldn't fly back home. I can hear it already - that's my only day to sleep in. I stay up late Saturday night because it's the only day I have off. I need that time to enjoy myself.

In America we would never. Over 4 hours of church?? I've got other things to do!! I have a nap to take. Or a game to watch. Or dogs to take to the park. It's The weekend for crying out loud! Don't I DESERVE a break?!

In Kenya, there's nothing else to go home to. No couch to take a 3 hour nap on. No restaurant to beat the crowds. There's nothing to sleep in to. After all, a dump is behind their tin walled home.

So they pray.

The worship.

They grace each other with their steadfast presence every week as if to say, "THIS is what life is about." It's not about freedom to do as you wish. It's not about "rights." It's not about ambition. It's about worshipping GOD. Together.

A hot time of worship for me was listening to my new friend Susan Magiri sing "We are serving the Living God. We are serving the Living God. We are serving the Living God. Hallelujah. Jesus Christ." As the Compassion children sang next door in their classrooms (wearing their best hand-me-downs and street bought dresses that were too short for the age of their legs but fit their skinny waists), I thought to myself, "Yes. Yes you ARE serving. You are serving the Living God."

And what are we doing? Going home to lay on the couch.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nakuru: I Met Your Sponsored Child Today

This is going to be short tonight. I think my baby is hindering my usual ability to adapt to a severe time change. (Another thing I'll hang over her head later on in life.)

As we took our journey out from Nairobi to Nakuru early this morning (well, not that early since I was up by 3:45am...), we had great conversation in the car with Peter (a formerly sponsored Ugandan/Rwandan who is now a US field staff) about the country of Kenya. It's surreal to be driving into a part of the country that was under so much political and civil unrest that started only 3 years ago.

We turned the corner to the Great Rift Valley, and...woe.


Around the corner dad and I took our first Kenyan picture together. Only took us 3 days.

That's right folks! Coke and chickens.

On the way we saw baboons!! Lots of baboons!!! Momma baboons. Daddy baboons. And even a baby baboon! We passed to quickly to get pictures of any of them. Then around another turn...Zebras. God's famous work.

So fast forward 2 hours...

We arrived at the KAG Church in Nakuru and were greeted with (now familiar) Kenyan warmth and formality. Immediately dad and Pastor Wallace hit it off. It was evident. Beautiful Peninah showed us a tour and we saw tons and tons and tons of Compassion children. Tons. They were in class with their other sponsored friends.

On Saturdays the Compassion children meet at the project center for bible class and other learning. So it was a great day to be there.

We had a long and detailed discussion about both our churches' beliefs, goals, ministries, and various other things. I believe both sides feel it went very well. Pastor Wallace kept referring to us as "married" churches now. He mentioned all the things past donors had done for them, and although they were greatly appreciative, they have never had someone come alongside of them as a partner. We are making that come true now.

Some of the children in a dance club performed for us!! Cindy and Charlie - your beautiful boy is in the back row, 2nd to the end on the right.
Peter said, "We're in Africa now!!"

After lunch we met 4 sponsored children. Their sponsors are Charlie and Cindy:

Matt and Angie:

Holly and Brad:

And mom and dad:

Notice the expressions. For those of you who have asked, "why isn't my sponsored child smiling in their picture?" I'll tell you. Before the picture they're laughing and giggling and shaking their head "yes" to a photo op. The camera comes up. Smile goes away. camera comes down. Giggling ensues. Sometimes (like holly's little Elsie) the giggling becomes jumping.)

Culturally these children aren't used to having the attention of a camera. So they don't know to smile. Even when told.

We went to Denis' home. It was similar to the tin walled home from yesterday. Small. Multiple seats. Lace curtains. Dad gave him and his little brother some gifts. And they were a hit!!

After that. I met YOUR sponsored child. That's right. I said YOUR.

There are currently 300 children in this center. And starting February 13, we'll have 50 more of them to sponsor by Celebration Fellowship! This is our first, and most crucial step, in partnering with KAG Nakuru.

And I should mention, your sponsored child....

is beautiful.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kamangu: Reaching A Community Thru Mommies And Babies, Kenya Day 2

One thing I love about being with Compassion - each day brings a new joy.

Today we spent the day about an hour west of Nairobi in Renguti at the Kamangu Child Survival Center. (Child Survival Program or CSP is for pregnant moms or moms with children under 3 - they are sponsored as a community, not individually like in Child Sponsorship.)

Sorry - video won't load - connection is too slow.

We were greeted today in the same Kenyan Karobi (welcoming) fashion - with song and dance. But this time, with the little ones strapped to their backs.
We were given the blessed opportunity to hear testimony from the women. The first mother who spoke told us that the first "tool" she was given was the Bible. Before CSP, she could not even read, now she is able to teach the other mothers from the Bible. She learned cleaning and how to give a balanced diet. She learned the importance of playtime for her child and how to make toys out of household items. This made her proud. She learned social skills and how to choose her friends wisely. Friends that have positive influence on her life. She learned about family planning so her young child could get proper attention before having another. She was able to have a chicken when before, she could not afford even an egg. The chicken makes eggs for the family to eat, and they sell the others for income. This also made her proud.

After she spoke, the CSP director spoke on her behalf, and said that before she got involved in the project, this mother was very shy, and now she has grown into a leader who is able to teach the other women.

Something that was mentioned about CSP is how it doesn't just affect the families involved. It affects the whole community. When the women are cleaning their homes, or gardening, or making toys for their children, the other women see this and they copy the behavior.

Then a father from CSP spoke. Men - listen up here. This father was very transparent with us. Through meeting with the other CSP fathers once a month, he has learned how to be a good father and how to support his wife. He has learned what it means to be a leader and the head of his household. He cares about the well balanced diet of his family. And he takes pride in providing a home for them.

I can't tell you how adorable these kids are. They are strapped to mommy's back in what dad called a "baby bag," but it's simply a beautiful price of dyed cloth tied around the mom's shoulder. And they're all wearing long sleeves and a ski hat. It's a cultural thing. Keep the babies warm. The CSP director told me this was an issue when they first came. The babies were sweating and it was hard to gain weight. So they apparently aren't as bad as it used to be!!

At the CSP we saw where the babies go to play!! It was so much more than I could have imagined! We watched a couple small children (under 3) use pencils to draw cups and suns and their numbers! At 2 years old!!! In KENYA!!

And we watched another little boy play....and he watched us watch him.

Here is a homemade toy that frankly, is pretty dang impressive!

Later in the day we went on a home visit. We visited Grace and her 2 1/2 year old daughter Alice. Their humble home is about 10x7 feet. Tin roof. Several chairs. One small end table. And a coffee table that serves as a kitchen table. Grace showed us how she prepares and cooks a balanced meal for little Alice. She washed her hands and told us she didn't know before that this was important. Then she prepared the onions, the spinach, and got an egg from her chicken coop. (The sheep outside looking on suspiciously.) She took us out to an open walled tin roof area that served as the kitchen where she fired up her coals and put in her ingredients. The egg gets mixed in so the little one is sure to get the protein. Sometimes they only like the vegetables and then won't eat an egg by itself. Little Alice waited at the door.

She said she is careful to not over cook the spinach so it doesn't lose it's vitamins. (Take note America!!) After it was all done - it smelled fabulous - and she put it in a bowl with some cooked cornmeal for Alice to enjoy.

Little Alice put her hands in the bowl and whimpered as Grace ran back to her.

Too hot.

So little Alice ate her lunch. And I watched in silence. Without yet having children, I can only imagine the joy it gives a mother such as Grace to watch her baby eat.

We prayed for Grace and Alice before we left. And I was amazed at our awesome God as we thanked him for "saving Grace." How wonderful to have a name with such an impacting message of God's love for us.

Sponsors, you're making a difference. Whether you see it or not.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dandora: The Day The Light Came, Kenya Day 1

I apologize upfront for the lack of pictures. My plan was to use the computer to blog and upload shots from the day, however, the Internet is very....unreliable and it's easier to stay on the iPhone. (Apple wins again in a developing country. I have many great stories about the iPhone in the midst of poverty. Praise God for technology.)

Today was quite full. And quite wonderful.

We started the morning off with a visit to Compassion Kenya's headquarters to get a tour and meet the staff. Might I just say...a well oiled machine. And there are dozens of checkpoints for integrity. It really is impressive. We don't have these kind of checkpoints even in our own churches or businesses.

We met Moses and Julius, the IT guys who keep it running (a formerly sponsored child); Brenda who is in charge of the Highly Valuable Children (or vulnerable children - suffering abuse or disability); Patricia who handles all the curriculum for the Kenyan programs; Jeffery who does financial training to the church partners; Samuel who works in the communications department and helps translate our letters; Joel, the Kenyan director (who so poignantly said, "we are fighting for dignity and for the dignity of our people"); and Fred, a program facilitator who works hand in hand with church partners - he's an ambassador of sorts between the American HQ and the people doing the real work at the Compassion programs.

There are a dozen more, but you want to hear about the child development sponsorship center we visited. A CDSP is a Compassion program hosted at a local church - they are the people who do the work, the real work.

Today it was the Dandora Baptist Center, KE-528. A program located to one of the largest dumps and subsequently the largest slums in Kenya.

This program is doing amazing work. I mean truly life changing work. Not just in the lives of the children, but in the community as well. The time in Dandura was started off with a welcome program from some of the primary children. They sang songs about how Christ has saved them and performed poetry. The tears came to my eyes as the 12 or so children recited their poem about how God used Compassion to redeem their hope and their future. They spoke of how they were sick and dying and without hope or a will to try, and they remember when Compassion came, and showed them restoration and guided them to the ever empowering love of God - they called this "I remember the day the Light came." There was no hope for school, no hope for health, no hope for survival, and Compassion was there - I remember the day the Light came.

A woman from the program, who is a mother of Compassion sponsored children spoke of something very familiar to Celebration Fellowship. She spoke of transparency. "Transparency is high class."

She introduced herself and said, "I have been living HIV positive for 24 years. I have 3 children of my own, and 8 orphans who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS - my own family." Through Compassion she was able to start a support group for women living with HIV/AIDS. There are 34 of them now, and they have lost 3 of their friends in the past few years. She lives with a deep rooted conviction that I see in many of our own church - that through community and transparency, there is a way to full life and purpose. There is restoration to hope and ultimately to God - in a way that can only come through true trust and transparency with your community. How freeing.

Of course there were stickers passed out - which crosses all cultural boundaries in the land of small people. Lots of laughter and waves and "monzugu!" which means "white person."

To finish the day we had diner with 4 Leadership Development Students which is always a great
joy for me. To hear the stories of how these young men and women had no hope, and how God used Compassion International to break the chains of poverty. Now they aspire to be leaders in their country, and many wish to work with children in order to give others the same opportunity they had. One LDP graduate, John, mentioned that he was sick often as a young child. And this gave him a sense of hopelessness. But after he joined the Compassion project, he was able to receive medical care. With a shaky voice, he told us that this medical attention empowered him to gain hope, to try hard in school, and to make something of the life he'd been given.

Some things they all had in common before Compassion intervened: with food being scarce, education was not even an option since you pay to go to school; they all lost family members early on in life; and they each had a stack of letters written by their sponsors that they still read over and over today for encouragement.

And you thought you were too small to change the world. So did they. But they're doing it. And by writing a letter, you are too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in Kenya (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weird. January 25, Then and Now

A year ago today I was sitting in this airport.

A year ago today I was anxiously waiting the fate of our next 7 days, unsure of what they would hold.

A year ago today I was at the final stages of a long awaited journey.

Haiti had been on my heart since college. And it never came to fruition.

A year ago today, it did.

Then, I was heading to Haiti for medical disaster relief with Compassion International. (You can see the story and updates by clicking on the link.) Our time there was unspeakable. Here are some of the words Scott Todd, our trip leader was able to put together for Compassion's blog. My musings aren't quite as eloquent.

Now, I sit at the airport and await a new adventure with Compassion. And a much longer plane ride. And this time pregnant. Life is much different Now than Then.

But no matter how much time passes, I can still smell the smells, I can still see the faces, and I can still taste the pain of a country devastated. And they will forever be in my heart.

But Now, it's time to look ahead to a new country and to new relationships. Kenya, here we come.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What You Need to Know Before We Go

Tomorrow afternoon dad and I leave for Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya! It feels like a long time coming, but truthfully, it also kinda snuck up on me!

For those of you new to this adventure, you can read previous related posts by clicking on Kenya or Church to Church under the Curtain Call section.

We are heading out Tuesday, arriving Wednesday night in Nairobi, and we'll spend sometime at various Compassion projects and Child Survival projects. I'm especially excited to see a CSP since I wasn't able to do this on our visit to Haiti after the earthquake a year ago. (Wow. A year ago....)

We'll head out Saturday to Nakuru to meet our church partners. And Sunday we'll have the opportunity to attend church with them!! That is going to be an experience.

At some point during the trip, I'll get to meet our 2nd sponsored child, Samson. This is going to be a dream come true for me! What a joy to finally meet this young man who has faithfully written us letters and who we've watched grow over the past 3 years.

We'll also get to meet 4 other children recently sponsored by people in our church! I can't wait to show you guys pictures of this!!!

Get ready for a great ride Celebration Fellowship! It's going to be exciting!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Morning", Kenya, and A Wizard

Have you noticed I haven't made many posts this year? I've been a little overwhelmed. Here's why....

Besides starting a new job as a Nurse Practitioner, completely changing hospitals, and getting through the holidays...there's been a few things going on. All good of course, but even good stress is still stress. I think they taught me that in a psych class. Or maybe a patho class??? Anyways...not the point...

For the past 3 weeks I have been battling "morning" sickness. But my mornings last about 22 hours a day. 

No really. 22 hours.

I've tried it all: crackers before getting out of bed, sprite, ginger ale, ginger snaps, peppermint oil, peppermints, eating frequently, eating light, lots of fruit, lemon water, protein, preggie pops (which actually worked but I can't suck on a sucker 23 hours a day...). I finally got the hook up with the all too famous Zofran, and it's done the trick. (Along with eating a handful of something every 2 hours) However, it's taken away feeling sick, but I still walk around with an occasional gag out of the middle of nowhere. But I'll take it. And the baby making fatigue is pretty extreme. Praise the Lord I work 2 days a week!! 

Our first doctor's appointment was surreal. We saw our little growing baby and the tiny little arm and leg buds. Mom things he/she looks like Darth Vader. I hope that doesn't mean he/she will have Davis' head. The horrors of working labor and delivery are still too clear in my mind.

In less than 2 weeks, Dad and I will be headed to Kenya to meet our Church To Church partners in Nakuru, Kenya! I just received my packet from Compassion International with my visa, itinerary, and plane tickets. Along with it they sent 2 children from this project to be sponsored by our church! So if you have been waiting to get involved with Compassion, now is the time! Or if you have loved your involvement already and want more - you can sponsor another child! Dad and I will have the wonderful opportunity to meet these children and can take them gifts or pictures from you.  One thing I'm eagerly looking forward to is meeting our 2nd sponsored child Samson. He lives somewhere between Nairobi and Nakuru and I can't wait to meet him face to face!! He's the 2nd of our 5 sponsored children, and I love so much getting letters from him. He's an "older" child so he actually writes his own letters - in English too! Hopefully the "morning" sickness will be subsiding by then....

In my classes with Betty Buckley, I have moved on to a wonderful piece of work: The Wizard And I. At the end of March there will be 3 concerts at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth featuring her students. This is a talented group of performers that you won't want to miss. And watching Betty Lynn teach is a joy in itself. She's a Wizard, herself. Of course, the "morning" sickness has put a little damper on class....but I'm pushing through. 

It's worth it in the end. I'll be so happy I could...melt.