Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I try so hard to be the fun mom!

Rick went back to work today.

I have had to institute Grandparent Detox Boot Camp around here.

Isaiah and Laila don't think they need to listen to me or do anything I ask them to.

They have had a few weeks of relaxed rules and being spoiled.

It always happens.

I don't blame the grandparents.

I will do the same when I am a grandparent.

I am just finding that today is one of those days where in the midst of my totally chaotic, messy house, I am having to stop constantly to deal with an issue.

I tried really hard to be the "fun mom" when I woke up this morning.

I failed miserably at that.

For Laila's bday, I got her 2 huge bags of beans.

I put them in a container for her to play with.

I hid animals for her to find and brought up her new play dishes and food to use.

I put it on the wood floor entry and made myself very clear.

"Stay on the wood floor and play with the beans in the container or on the lid. Let's not get beans everywhere, okay?"

Who was I trying to kid? I came downstairs after a phone conversation to find beans everywhere.

I tried so hard to be a fun mom, but in that moment, I lost it.

Maybe tomorrow I will try again. Or, maybe not.

Isaiah had to go down early for his nap because he refused to listen. I told him to pray and ask Jesus to give him an obedient heart.

When I came back in a few minutes later, he was all smiles and said, "I prayed for Jesus to give me responsibility and he did." I am not sure where the word "responsibility" came from in his mind, but I am all for it!!

We are in day 2 of "Operation Goodbye, Noni."

After crying through her whole nap yesterday, I was dreading bedtime last night.

She immediately started in with, "I want my noni. I need my noni."

I tucked her in and left the room with her crying.

After about 15 minutes, I went back in. I said, "Laila, you are a big girl. I know you can do it, and tomorrow, Mommy will give you gum."

A light bulb went off in her head. She held up her 3 fingers to admit that she was now 3(earlier, she would only hold up 2 so that she could keep her noni.). She got really happy and proclaimed that she could do it.

She did great ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

Now, she is back at nap time, crying her wee little head off once again for her noni.

Oh, well, baby steps.

Being a fun mom is overrated. I guess right now, I need to focus on training.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Baby is 3!!

Last Friday, Laila turned 3 years old!! I. CANNOT. BELIEVE. IT!! How in the world did my baby grow so fast. It doesn't help that I missed out on a pregnancy with her and the first 9 months of her life. Now, here she is, 3 years old and definitely not a baby anymore.
My fav pic of her on her bday
Her bday was less than 2 days after our return from Africa. We were exhausted, but also excited for her to be able to celebrate with her extended family.

Her day started with powdered donuts and rice milk on the deck
Then there was a little bday dancing going on.
She always sticks out her bottom and spanks it.
It is hilarious, actually!
This was her new expression for the day.
Not sure if she was trying to wink or be a pirate.
Either way, it was cute, and she did it all day long.
That afternoon, we had a big party at the park with both sides of the family!
There were at least 40 people there!
We had hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and soda.
Chick loves Tangled! So, a Tangled cake and decorations were hers.
Love the way she is looking here!
She was very shy when we sang to her.
By the time the singing was over, she was in no condition to blow out candles.
Cody and I helped!
All day long, I couldn't help but think back to our time in Swaziland with Laila's and Isaiah's Aunt. Meeting her was such a gift, to me and to Isaiah and Laila as I am able to tell them so much more than I ever would have been able to otherwise. Their Aunt told me that she looks like her sister(Isaiah's and Laila's birth mom). When I look at our picture, I can see Laila in her face.

I now know because of that visit, that I was at the same hospital where Laila was born on the day of her birth. Maybe, just maybe her mom was in that group of laboring women that I walked by as we went to the children's ward. Even if she wasn't, it just feels like God had so much purpose in Rick and me being there on that sacred day. His Hand has been all over this process and even now, over 2 years later, He continues to reveal that to me. Who knows what things He orchestrated that I will never fully know.
Meeting Auntie
I see Laila at 3 years old and she seems still so young to me. Maybe that is because she is my baby. She doesn't do nearly as much for herself as the other ones did at this age. She needs way more help going potty than any of the others did. She still doesn't dress herself alone. She is not one of those kids that says, "I do it!" She is fine to let someone else do it for her. I guess that is because she has 7 other people who are more than willing to help her.

Today was traumatic for her. We said goodbye to her Noni(pacifier). She has been using it while she sleeps. I wasn't home during nap time, but from what I heard, there wasn't much sleeping going on. She basically cried and screamed the whole time. I am really looking forward to bedtime tonight. : ) We did an exchange with her. By giving up her noni, she is allowed to have gum. She loves the idea of that all day long, but decides at naptime, "I still yittle(little). I need my noni."

You are such a beautiful little girl. It is truly a privilege to be your mom. After being in Swaziland again, I am reminded even more what an honor it is to have you in our family and to call you my daughter. I LOVE your hugs and kisses. I LOVE the way you talk(even though I can't understand you half the time!). Your little voice is adorable. You are such a good singer and dancer. Music brings you so much joy! I can't wait to see what God is going to do with your life. No matter how you feel, always know that He loves you and has an amazing plan for you. You were not abandoned. You were not left alone. God put people in your life each step to care for you and love you. The day we met, I knew you were my daughter. You just looked at me with your furrowed brow. The next day, you crawled in my lap and fell asleep. At that moment you gave your heart to me, and you have not taken it back. I promise to handle it with care. I love you, my Laily. Happy 3rd Birthday!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Glimpses of Swaziland

Since I haven't had a chance to update more on our trip, I thought I would share a few of my favorite pics that we took on our cameras. There are so many amazing pictures from our team of 19 people. At some point, I will have access to them all, but for now, these images of Swaziland, the faces of these children and the moments they represent will be forever etched on my mind.

Yes, we were that close!!

Yes, people, Swaziland has palm trees.
If you know me even a smidgen, you know how happy that makes me!!

Friday, June 24, 2011


We have now been back in KY for over 24 hours.

Yesterday was such a special day.

After arriving at my parents' house at 1:30 AM in the morning, it was a relief to be back, but I was so disappointed that I didn't get to see my kids awake.

I do really well when I am away from them. I have a set time in my mind that I prepare for. I think about them, but, honestly, when we are in Africa, the pace is nonstop. Most days I don't have time to really miss them.

Once the majority of the work is complete, missing them starts to set in.

That was last Sunday. The ministry events I was responsible for were over. I pushed through in my mind to Wed. telling myself, "I can make it until Wed. I can do it!"

While were were spending 12 hours in the Washington, Dulles airport, my heart ached to be with my babies. I felt like we were disappointing them by not being home. I thought our original arrival time of 7:00PM was late. Who knew it would extend to 1:30 in the morning!!

My body did not sleep well Wed. night. All I could think about was them sleeping downstairs and how much I wanted to hug and kiss them all.

I finally got up at 6:00 AM because I couldn't contain my excitement and sat upstairs like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for them to wake up.

Lauren woke up first. I just spent the last 2 weeks with her in Africa.

Then Cody woke up. Once again, saw him a lot.

The 3 of us talked about how much we couldn't wait to see the other 4 kids. Seriously, they never sleep in. Why, oh why, are they sleeping in today?

We laughed and remembered our time in Africa and talked about all the little kids that touched our lives. We gave them each nicknames because their names are hard for us to remember.

Now don't you worry. I have not forgotten that I have posts to write and pictures to share. Those will come soon. There is so much left to say about our trip.

We were sitting on the porch and heard the door opening. It was Rick. I love my husband and all, but all of us were disappointed to see that it wasn't one of the kids.

So, here we are, the four of us sitting on the porch anxiously waiting for the other 4 to wake up.

Finally, Abby was first. We attacked her with hugs and kisses and spent some time talking about our trip and her time in KY sitting on the porch with our coffee with the cool breeze blowing. It was so nice.

After a while, Sam, Isaiah, and Laila all joined us. It was such a sweet reunion for our family.

We showered each other with hugs and kisses and words of love. I know this sounds so sappy, but it was really such a special moment for all of us.

I wasn't sure how the 2 little ones would respond. I thought they might be mad at us, but that was not the case. They spent the next day catching up on all the hugs and kisses we had missed while we were gone.

My favorite quote came from Isaiah: "Did you miss my beautiful smell, Mama?" I don't know where this boy comes up with this stuff?

Laila couldn't stop saying, "My mommy, my mommy, my daddy, my daddy, I missed you SO MUCH!"

Abby had a look of relief on her face. I think she enjoyed being the big sister while we were gone, but was also relieved to have things back in order.

Sam said to me, "Mom, I had a happy tear in my eye when Cody hugged me." The tenderness in that little boy is so refreshing!!

It feels good and right and like home for all of us to be together again!!

The trip was a special experience for Cody, Lauren, Rick, and me. We will share that for the rest of our lives.

The 4 little ones had a bonding experience of their own while we were gone. I am thankful they had each other to lean on.

This trip has reminded me so much how much I love our family. It has shown me how blessed I am. It has given me hope for our future and what God has in store for this Clapp Tribe. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for all He has given me!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Neverending Travel

We are sitting in Washington, Dulles airport.

Our team arrived in the U.S. this morning from our trip.

Our travel time so far has been 37 hours.

The team left for their flights back to CO around 1:30.

The four of us have been sitting here for 6 hours and have just been notified that our flight has been delayed 3 more hours.

Please pray that we are able to leave at that time. We are beyond exhausted and so ready to see Abby, Sam, Isaiah and Laila.

Cody and Lauren have been such troopers as we travel, but even they have their limits.

Once we arrive in Nashville, we have a 1 1/2 hour drive to get to my parents' house. When all is said and done, our travel time will be at least 43 hours!!

I have so much more to tell from our trip, but no energy to do it right now.

There are so many stories and pictures to share.

For now, thank you for your prayer support during our trip. We could feel it and know that God used it to accomplish great things!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


How do I even begin to talk about Friday? It was one of those days that I will NEVER forget.

We had the opportunity to go back to the Halfway House where Isaiah and Laila were when we adopted them.

I was so excited to see the children again and to deliver 2 full bags of gifts!! We had bubbles to blow, coloring pages, soccer balls, quilts to donate, the list goes on! Abby, we delivered your bag of toys and clothes. They were so blessed by all the work you did to bless them!!

I had no idea when I walked in the door what I was about to experience.

We walked into the living room and sitting on the couch was Isaiah's and Laila's Aunt! I was overcome with emotion. I have prayed to meet her. I have thought over the last 2 years about all the questions I would ask. It was an opportunity I never thought I would have.

I immediately burst into tears. So, did she. We embraced and hugged and cried. It was holy. One woman who had to give up her sister's children because she couldn't continue to care for them embracing the woman who was now their mother. I cannot begin to describe that moment.

I could see her pain, and I know the joy that our family has experienced. How do I communicate to her without making that pain cut deeper for her? All of the things that I had pondered over the last 2 years left my mind. I had no idea what to do or say.

We set up the video camera and took the next 45 minutes to talk. I told her all about Isaiah and Laila. I showed her pictures and videos. We laughed and we cried some more. I asked about their mom. She shared their story. She understood some English, but we had the head of the Halfway House to translate for us.

It was a precious time. I learned things about their family that I can share with them some day. I pray that she was encouraged as we shared with her our love for them. She met Cody and Lauren. We told her about Abby and Sam. I told her how Laila loves hugs and kisses and how Isaiah loves to entertain. I told her that Laila loves shoes and Isaiah loves to work. I told her how blessed our family is to have them and how much we love them.

I gave her the photo album I had with me so that she would have those pictures of our family. It was truly a beautiful time. Even the rest of the team who were in the room with us were touched by the experience. I am so grateful to the Lord for orchestrating this time.

There were 3 things that she said the stood out to me:
1. She talked about how much their birth mom loved being with her children.
2. We asked what she would want to say to them. She said she wants them to grow up to be respectful and work hard.
3. We found out that we were at the same hospital visiting the sick on the day that Laila was born(we were in Swaziland). We may have seen her or her mom and not even known it.

We shared with her that Isaiah and Laila love to pray and go to church. We told her that we are teaching them about the Lord and want to raise them to know Him. Rick and I prayed over her.

There are so many more things I could share about this experience. I am still processing it. Most of all, I just feel so thankful to have been able to meet her and talk to her. I believe this video footage, pictures, and info we were able to learn will be a HUGE part of processing for Isaiah and Laila as they get older.

Later in the day, we visited the hospital. It was hard to see the 16-month old baby girl, Andile, that looked like a 4-month old. I will never forget the 9-month old little boy named Freedom. He was very sick and his mom was very young. It was hard to see children who have been abandoned and were not being cared for. We prayed over many children. We spoke words of encouragement and love to their moms. There was a 12-year old boy who had been hit by a car that day. Cody spoke with him. I believe the experience really impacted Cody and Lauren.

Our day ended with dinner at Julie's house. She is the missionary here that leads over Timbali Crafts, the purses that we sell. After an amazing dinner, it was shopping time!! I have some new items to bring back to the U.S. and sell. You are going to love them!!

We are winding down our ministry here. Saturday is a day to focus on the D-team. We are going to have fun and pour into them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday Happenings

One word I would use to describe our time so far this week would be, "smooth." Really, I cannot complain at all about how things have gone.

I think after 5 years, the staff here have really streamlined everything and done an incredible job making things run well. We have also learned from our previous trips and have developed systems for executing the ministry that have proven effective.

Above all of that, of course, is God's Hand leading, guiding, and protecting. We do not take that for granted!!

It has truly made for an enjoyable and encouraging trip for all of us.

Yesterday was a great day!

I spent the morning with Amber and Kriek planning out a fun day for Saturday with the D-team. We had breakfast and ran some errands. I will share more details once Saturday is over. Our activity is a surprise, and I don't want to spoil that by writing about it here!

Rick, Marty, and Zach spent the morning leading about 30 pastors through a morning of teaching and discussions on how trauma and stress affect leaders and how to develop networks of support and encouragement for each other. It was a good time of ministry and encouragement with a great group of pastors. One pastor and his wife walked 3 hours to be there!!

One of their highlight moments was being able to give the pastors suits, shirts, and ties. The men LOVED them and were so blessed. We have been bringing them clothing for 3 years and the men are always so grateful. This was our first year to bring full suits!! One pastor shared that he still has the shirt he got at the conference 3 years ago!

In the afternoon, we had our annual Gogo Appreciation Lunch. We had Chicken Dust Meals. These consist of chicken, pap, and lettuce. It is called chicken dust because it is grilled on the side of the road. It was yummy and the women enjoyed eating it along with soda to drink.

Once the meal was over we experienced one of my absolute favorite things, watching the women sing and dance. Truly it is a taste of what heaven will be like!!

A few of us shared some Scripture and encouraging words with the women. Then we gave them gifts of medial kits. They clapped and cheered when we gave them their gifts. Marty gave them a basic first aid lesson explaining how to use the items in their kits.

Our day ended with a very special time of dedication of the school building that we are building in honor of David Hames. Our team gathered together inside the partially constructed school building that we have been working on this week. We spoke of memories of David and lifted prayers of dedication. We prayed for Renee and the boys as well. We each held red balloons that we released at the end of our prayers. It was a very emotional time.

Cody and Lauren are doing great. I have been surprised at how they have just jumped right in and engaged whatever ministry we are doing. They have both been given Swazi names by some of the men who are driving us around. Cody is "Koko" which means, "hero." Lauren is "Thulile" which means, "peaceful." What a treat it is to give them firsthand experience into this calling that God has placed on our family.

Prayer Requests:
1. Safety and Health for our team
2. We are winding down for our final days of ministry. Pray for strength and rest to persevere to the end.
3. Pray for our families at home. It is hard to be apart for so long for many.
4. Pray that our time with the D-team will be lots of fun and an encouragement to them.

Today was an amazing day as well. I will share more later. It was definitely the most emotional day so far. God did something amazing and answered a HUGE prayer of mine!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chosen By God

Yesterday definitely goes on the list as a highlight from this trip!!

We have being using 1 Peter 2 along with 3 stories of the Bible to teach the children at our carepoint how they are Chosen by God.

On Monday, we talked about the Prodigal Son and about how precious they are.

On Tuesday, we talked about Peter Walking on Water and how God speaks to us.

On Wednesday, we talked about the Good Samaritan and how God has called us to serve others.

Kimberly has done an AMAZING job teaching the children and many on our team have acted out the stories in front of them. We like to call our "theater group"(said with a snooty voice) "The Chosen Playas." It has been a lot of fun and the kids have laughed a lot.

Back to yesterday, we gave each child and leader at the carepoint a t-shirt that says, "CHOSEN" with "1 Peter 2:9" on it. It was so awesome to see them all in their shirts and for them to know they are part of something bigger than themselves. They are not alone!!

My absolute favorite part was that I had the privilege to pray over all the children in groups. I prayed for strength, courage, hope, faith, love, and that they would know God's dream for their lives. I challenged them to see this shirt as a reminder of how much God loves them and how special they are. We claimed those attributes and promises over their lives. It was so powerful as our team surrounded them holding hands and covering them with our prayers. Each child was prayed for by over 20 people!!!

I can't wait for you to see photos. We will post them on Facebook because I am finding that my blog will not upload well with pictures.

As the children headed home, they each received a cupcake and a goody bag of a Scripture booklet, bag of candy, and a toy or a book. It was so fun to see this sea of blue leaving the carepoint in all directions.

The team is doing a great job. Everyone seems to find where they fit, and they run with it. Some are very helpful in the logistics and practical areas. Others find their place playing with the children. Others are drawn to the adults and are ministering to them. I love how God has brought us all together, each with our own gifts and abilities and is now taking those and making this trip a complete ministry!!

Prayer Requests:
1. Today some of the men will host a Pastors' Conference with about 20 pastors. We have suits, shirts, and ties to give to them.
2. The women will be leading a Gogo Appreciation Lunch. We will be giving the women medical kits with some first aid training, serving them a nice meal, and speaking encouragement into their lives.
3. Continue to pray for safety and health.
4. Pray for our bodies and minds to stay sharp and able to engage as we enter these last few days of ministry.
5. Pray for Jumbo's(one of the missionaries we work with) Father. He will be having brain surgery on Monday.
6. Pray that the our prayers over the children's lives will take hold and cause them to feel God's purpose for them.

We appreciate your prayers and support!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swazi Update

It is Wednesday morning right now in Swaziland.

I have not blogged for the last 2 days for a couple of reasons.

The internet is a challenge off and on. We have had better internet than ever on this trip, but it is still unpredictable. Add uploading pictures to the mix and it is really hit or miss whether it is going to happen.

The exhaustion at the end of the day also factors in. The last two nights, I just haven't been able to muster up the energy to blog.

But, don't you worry. You will not miss out on a single bit. There is much to be shared and all the time in the world to share it.

Rick is posting pictures daily on Facebook. I am sharing them on my wall as well. So, if you are on Facebook with us you can see our pics there. If you are not, request him as a friend and you can see those pics.

We have spent the last two days at the Bhalekane Carepoint playing with the children, doing VBS, working on the construction of the preschool building, and doing basic medical check-ups.
The theme for our VBS is "Chosen by God." We are teaching the children how precious and valuable they are to God. Today is our fun day. We will be having cupcakes, doing all kinds of fun activities like painting nails, jumping rope, playing with balloons, reading books, playing soccer, throwing frisbees, etc.

We also have gifts for the children!!! Each child will receive a t-shirt that says, "Chosen" with "1 Peter 2:9" printed on it. We will also be giving the children a goody bag with candy, a toy or book, and a Scripture booklet. I cannot wait to see all those blue shirts running around playing.

We want to pray this verse over our children. God has such big plans for them, and we desire to speak that value and worth into their lives and claim it in prayer over their lives. Will you pray that with us today?

Beginning on Thursday, our ministry will shift to other areas. We will be spending the next few days pouring into our Swazi leaders here and taking time to honor and serve them.

Prayer Requests:
1. Pray that the almost 300 children at our carepoint will begin to grasp the depth of God's love for them through our time of VBS and interactions.
2. Pray that God will use these shirts as a reminder of who He is and their value in relation to Him.
3. Pray for continued health and safety of our group. We have only praises in this area, but still need your prayers.
4. Pray for our exhaustion levels. We are right in the middle of our time and our bodies can feel it. Pray for our sleep to be nourishing and refreshing each night. (The roosters have quieted down during the night!! Thanks for praying for that one!!)
5. Pray that God would reveal to us the next steps for Beyond Survival as we move forward as a non-profit. We are seeking what this ministry will grow into as we are here.

Thank you again!! This would not be possible without the support and prayers of all of you at home. God is using you to change lives!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy, Happy Day!!

What a day!!

It was our first full day in Swaziland.

It was my 39th Birthday!

We spent the day at church and the Halfway House that Isaiah and Laila were in.

Hearing the Swazi people sing in worship is heavenly. They even sang "Happy Birthday" to me at the church service.

Reuniting with our friends here has been such a treat!

Holding beautiful Swazi babies makes me so happy!

Let me just brag on Cody and Lauren a bit. They were AMAZING with the kids. They were in their element loving and caring for these babies like there was no tomorrow!
Other than not having my whole family here with me, the day couldn't have been better.

There were little surprises for me throughout the day thanks to my hubby and friends here and at home! (Let's just say Birthday cards, Oreo Cakesters, lots of chocolate, earrings, Nandos(A Swazi favorite), and cupcakes.)

Our team had a great day today. We sang, clapped and tried to sing along to all the Swazi songs at church. Kim Lowe and her family made a quilted banner that we were able to present to the church at Timbutini.

We loved on babies and played on the playground for 2 hours at the Halfway House.

Both very worshipful experiences. The first, an act of worship proclaiming our love to the Lord. The second, an act of worship giving hands and feet and hugs and kisses of his love to the children. Both very different, but made for a well-rounded day.

The jet lag is hitting me pretty strong tonight. So off to bed it is for me.

Tomorrow, we have our first day at the carepoint doing VBS with the kids, construction on the school building, and home visits in the afternoon. Wow, I am so blessed to be here with this team doing ministry.

Keep us in your prayers:
1. Continued health for our team(so far so good!)
2. Our hearts would be open and sensitive to the ways God is calling us to minister.
3. Jet lag and good rest(Roosters and dogs can be very loud at night! I thought roosters only crowed at sunrise?!?! Not in Swaziland!)
4. Blessings on the many people here that are hosting us, feeding us, transporting us, and making us feel so at home.
5. Communication with the children at VBS. Tomorrow we are talking about how precious they are to God.
6. Good progress on the construction of the school building.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

We're Here

Our 24 hours of traveling, and then an additional 5 1/2 hours we arrived in Swaziland.

Our family encountered a small hiccup when our flight out of Nashville was delayed 2 hours because of weather in Chicago.

As a result, we got switched to another airline and put on a totally different flight than the rest of the team to South Africa.

In the end, it all went well. Both flights arrived around the same time. We all made it through customs and EVERY BAG arrived!! That is something to celebrate!

After our drive into Swaziland today, 12 of us went to the Swazi Cultural Center to take a tour and see a show of traditional Swazi dances and songs. It was awesome!

Tomorrow, we head to church and to the Halfway House(Swazi orphanage where Isaiah and Laila are from). I can't wait to see the children and women there and show them new pictures of Isaiah and Laila. They have grown and changed so much over the last 2 years!!

Please keep us in your prayers:
1. Adjustment to the new time zone and culture for our team.
2. Pray for us as we prepare our hearts to minister this week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Swaziland, Here We Come!!

Our 5 year anniversary trip to Swaziland, Africa will commence on Thursday! Our team of 19 people is packing, praying, and gearing up for a long journey. It's hard to believe we have been investing in our Care Point and the people of Swaziland for so long! Your gifts, school supplies, medical supplies, suits, toys, letters of encouragement, etc. will become a representation of God's love and provision. In addition we are able to bring 4 laptops to give to leaders to multiply their ministry. Thanks for sacrificing and taking the time to invest. We are hoping God will multiply what we offer to be an incredible blessing to those in need.

We will have limited internet and email. I am hoping to send out updates from our trip on this blog. In addition we will attempt to post on Facebook and send emails back. We will have to see what is available.

Please pray for our team. Pray for their hearts as they adjust to a new culture and see life experiences that will forever change them. Pray that our presence will be an encouragement to the pastors and leaders to know they are not alone. Pray that our limited, tiny efforts will be glorifying to God and be used for His Kingdom. The immediate requests related to our travels are:
1. No flight delays.
2. Easy check-in for the team at the airport(We are taking 1,000 lbs. of supplies with us!!)
3. Health for those of us traveling.
4. ALL of our luggage would arrive safely and without delay.
5. Safe travels for the people on the ground in Africa coming to pick us up at the airport.

We will arrive in Johannesburg, SA on Friday evening and drive into Swaziland on Sat., June 11.

To see how this ministry was started and what God has done, you can go to and click on, The Dream, at the top to see a mini-documentary of the ministry of Beyond Survival.

We look forward to sharing with you as we embark on this journey as a team!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good Times with Grammy!

Lauren and Abby both have Birthdays in July. When I visited my mom a couple of weeks ago for her bday, we got pedicures. The place we went to had chairs for little girls. That is when we had the brilliant idea that taking the girls when we came in June would be the perfect gift for their bdays.

Today we took them to get their very first pedicures and have their fingernails painted.

Oh, so many colors to choose from!!
The decision: Abby - yellow, Lauren - glittery blue
Each chair had its very own dvd player.
Abby chose to watch Madagascar 2
Lauren chose to watch Open Season 2
I am not sure if we should be pampering them this much at such a young age!!
They might expect this more often! : )
They were very quiet during the process, but could not stop talking about it afterwards.
They both agreed their favorite part was soaking their feet in the warm swirling water.
Nail time!!

Finished Product: Abby -
You can't see in the picture that she also had a glittery finish on top of her color.
Finished Product: Lauren
Matching Nails
Thank you, Grammy!!
We followed our time out to lunch
Then, we did a little shopping. Both girls came away with new cute socks and shoes. I think it was the perfect way to celebrate their bdays with Grammy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recovering and Regrouping

We arrived in KY on Sat. morning.

We made the drive in record time: 18 1/2 hours. We actually only stopped 3 times.

Our kids were total rock star travelers with the typical sibling fighting intermingled into the mix.

We spent yesterday resting and getting everyone settled in at my parents' house.

The kids were greeted on their beds with pajamas and pillows that Grammy made for each of them.

It is HOT here, and truthfully, I LOVE IT!

The humidity can take your breath away.

I probably wouldn't like it every day of my life, but is such a nice break from the cold and wind of CO. (If you don't live there, you might not realize that even on our warm days lately, it has been so windy it hasn't been very enjoyable.)

My kids are not used to the heat. They are truly CO kids.

We are hearing things like, "It's so hot," "I can't breathe," and "My eyes are itching."

Their faces are red most of the time, they are glistening with sweat, and their allergies are going crazy.

Today we visited the church that I went to from the day it started. It is the church where Rick and I met a year later. It is the church where we started working in ministry. It is the church where we got married.

We have a lot of history there. We saw lots of familiar faces. We got to show off our big family. We heard, "I don't know how you do it," A LOT.
We felt old when we saw kids I babysat that have just graduated from college. Their parents felt old when they see that Cody is almost a teenager!!

The afternoon and evening were spent with Rick's side of the family.

All I need to say is 15 grandkids ranging in ages from 2-18(14 of them are ages 2-13!!). Total chaos and our kids loved every minute of it.

It has been good. We are resting and at the same time gearing up for our trip to Swaziland.

Only 4 more days!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Don't Move!

Over the last week, everyone in the family has gotten their hair cut or redone(Laila). It hit me this afternoon, that we hadn't done Isaiah's hair. In addition to packing tonight, Rick took a break to mark that task off the checklist.
Isaiah does not like it and makes this moaning noise the whole time.
Those edges are hard to get with a squirming boy!
Rick kept saying, "Isaiah, you can't move."
Then, my favorite quote of the day came out of Isaiah's mouth,
"Dad, I'm just going to move my eyeballs."
That just made me laugh. If you haven't met Isaiah,
then you don't know how hard of a task that truly is for him.
He has to be moving some part of his body at ALL times.
In this case, he was willing to settle for his eyeballs!
Here he is as proud as can be with his new cut!
No haircut is complete without a sucker at the end!!

Who Knew?

Who knew that packing 8 people for a trip could be more complicated than packing almost 1,000 lbs. of supplies?

Who knew batteries, candy, and t-shirts weigh so much?

Who knew that we could pack almost 1,000 lbs. of stuff in only an hour?

Who knew that going to the cable office would take so much time?

Who knew that I could drink so much sweet tea in one week?

Who knew that those chocolate covered strawberries in my fridge would be such a blessing on this day? (Thanks, Hosanna!)

Who knew we could have such an amazing team of 19 people going to Swaziland?

Who knew that marking items off my to-do list could feel so good?

There have been some surprises over the last week. Even in the midst of the stress, chaos, unplanned work, and preparations for this trip, I have seen God's Hand.

He is in control.

What needs to happen will happen.

What needs to be taken to Africa will be taken.

All things work together for good.

I have experienced it over and over.

I believe it with all my heart.

Now, let's see the amazing work God is going to do.

We must get this family of ours packed and ready to go.

I have less than 24 hours to complete this task.

I plan to collapse tomorrow as we drive to KY.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting closer

My lists are actually getting shorter.

I am seeing a dim light at the end of the tunnel.

I had a crazy stress moment at one point today, but I stopped and watched "Secret Millionaire" with the kids and totally regained my perspective.

Tonight, we pack the supply bags for our trip. We will be taking 19 - 50lb. bags of supplies on this trip.

Tomorrow, I pack our family of 8 to trek across country and 4 of us to then go across the world.

This trip would not be possible without so much help from so many people.

There have been people shopping for me, picking up donations, contacting businesses, and a billion other things that are needed to get ready.

One week from today, we fly over the ocean.

I can't wait to see what God is going to do!!