Thursday, July 28, 2011

We are heading into our last day at Noel. It has been so wonderful! Yesterday was my favorite because during lunch I went to the baby room and held lots of babies! There was one in a crib in the corner that just looked so weak and frail and I asked if I could hold her. Thankfully I had her when she started throwing up everywhere. So much volume for such a small baby. We quickly got some of our doctors in there and they determined she had a fever and was very dehydrated. They gave her some pedialite drink and made sure one of the room moms stayed up with her all night to continually feed her and watch her. I can't wait to go see her this morning and see if she has improved. After being there for a while I got brave and asked if they would put a baby on my back- the way they hold them. And they said yes!! It was awesome and the most precious baby was on my back for a long time! When it was time for me to go back to work in the doctors office I told them I needed to go and they said "take, take". REALLY??? I can just take her all over the orphanage?? Um ok!!! That baby just nestled on my back the whole time I worked!! So precious!! (except for maybe when she let it all go down my back and clothes:)) we're hoping they'll let us do that again today!! I want to just say, hey if you don't mind me taking her around the orphanage, do you mind if I just take her home?? I've got a list of people that would adopt her in a heartbeat!!
Speaking of that, Heather- I know little man is in Ethiopia BUT I found little man #2 for you!! It's so frustrating that I can't get pics on here! But this little one is so adorable and the crazy thing is when he laughs he sounds just like Ellison! Seriously, I thought she was here and turned around and saw him!! He smiles ALL the time and is so happy! He is probably 2 or 3 and just has the cutest personality!
Gotta run! More later!
Thanks Phoebe for posting yesterday!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mwuratse! (good morning!)

We have been going to the Noel Orphanage and the kids are super sweet! The medical clinic is going well, we have over 200 kids done in two days. Btw, Chandler, I have stole your mom. Hope it's okay :) I love Africa! It is kind of a weird though because we are in a super nice hotel that has comfortable beds and *good* food. So it is not really the whole "Africa experience" but I love it! Just for the record, we did stay at a guest house for four days and the city power was out and the generator was broken. I have this one friend named Wimon at the orphanage and she is awesome. She follows me around holding my hand and when I go somewhere she is not allowed to go, she waits for me right outside the door. Ooooo it is so fun here. I am trying to learn the language, Kinyrwanda and like three people have asked me to stay and live here. Well hopefully more to come later. We are going to the orphanage. Bye!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 1 at Noel Orphanage

What a wonderful day!! Got to the orphanage at 9- I now know what it's like to be a pop star surrounded by paparazzi!! There are 34 of us and 600+ of them- we were overwhelmed (in a great way!) by all the hugs and smiles!! Precious precious kids! They took us on a tour of their home and at each dorm the kids who lived there performed a dance for us! The we unloaded the bus off supplies and donations! Oh my word- crazy! It was awesome! We only gave out a few things because the rest of the morning we were getting the medical clinic ready for the kids. They saw 41 infants today and will see the other 600 throughout the week. There are several of us non medical people so we have different jobs each day. Today I got to just play with the kids, and hold some babies! Tomorrow I will help with the charts in the clinic! I have some of the cutest pics ever and I can't get them on here!!!! But I'll keep trying! look on my fb for a precious pic of a 2 week old baby girl- just breaks your heart! But hopefully with the meds and preventive care they're getting she will be a strong little girl soon!
The hotel where we are staying is really nice, I mean nice like I feel guilty:/ its still africa and we dont have water a lot of the time but nice just the same! but it is such a great place to come debrief together and get much needed sleep! Thanks for all the prayers and support! Phoebe is already asleep so she'll have to post tomorrow- she is GREAT with the kids and at any given point you can see a crowd of children around her singing Justin B and Rhianna! Hilarious!
Love you all!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Made it to Rwanda last night around 8:00pm local time. The flights were really pretty good. We almost missed our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Kigali because of a delay on the first flight. But we ran all over the airport and slipped on that plane at the last minute! I talked with Jill Shelby for a while and then went to bed around 10:30. I did not move positions until I woke up at 7:00- so I got some good sleep! And then this morning........the peace house boys came to pick me up and walk me to church! What a joy to open that gate and see Yves standing there with a huge smile and a hug! Oh those boys are the best! We had a wonderful church service where the guy next to me translated the whole sermon for me!
Just look at these precious boys! They ALL asked about Jeff, Chandler, Patton and Parker:) and the rest of our group from last time! We had a wonderful time together! I gave them all their new things and we played for hours with frisbees, jump rope, and water balloons! They were so excited to get all the craft supplies too! We took another tour of their house and got to see all their pictures and drawings around their beds. They had all the pics of  C P & P from our trip last time. Yves came up to me and showed me he had 3 pictures of me and him!!!! Made my day! I took so many pictures today but seriously that pic above took 20 minutes to upload so I don't know how many I'll get on here!:(
They loved the shirts we got them! They match what their mural is in their living room and it says "the house of peace and love"  That is what the boys named their house- so sweet!
Signing off now but will try to post again tomorrow! Phoebe is going to do a "guest blog" this week for me:)) Love you all!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pebble Beach

We just got home from Pebble Beach, CA with our wonderful friends Trine and Sharon. It was an amazing trip! We fully relaxed and enjoyed every minute! Really, anytime I have to wear a fleece in July I'm happy! Get ready for a ton of pictures:) I don't have a lot of time to write a lot but I wanted to get these up for the Owens to see!

These were from the Owen's original house in Pebble Beach- so pretty! Both houses were amazing but they have tons of special memories of this one

This is Forge in the Forrest- a precious little cafe we ate at 2 times- so cute!

Those are some of the amazing restaurants we ate at. We seriously gained a ton of weight but everything was SO good!

The Lone Cyprus

Seals just hanging out on the beach:)

One thing I learned this trip was how much of a marine biologist Sharon is:) She LOVES all this sea life! (The sea otter is her favorite, in case you wondered)

The plants and flowers were amazing!

He was just swimming along in front of us:)

The cutest little store "Cottage of Sweets" Yum!
My favorite thing to do was shop in Carmel. All the stores were so cute! We found lots of good deals (Sharon said she had never seen any kind of sale in Carmel before but I guess the economy has even hit Carmel!)

One day we drove through Big Sur on our way to San Simeon and Hearst Castle. It was a breathtakingly beautiful drive!

We went through the Carmel valley and stopped at Bernardus Lodge for a wine tasting and a little bocce ball! It was such a fun day- we played for over 2 hours and laughed a lot!

Had to get a picture of the grown-ups drink of choice and then mine:) Give me a coke and I'm happy!
This is my FAVORITE picture of all! It is the exact spot where the Parent Trap was filmed. Mitch (the dad) has just picked up Sharon (who he thinks is Susan) from the Monteray Bay airport and they are driving back to the ranch in Carmel. Don't think I didn't quote the entire movie several times (I'm sure they loved it:)  
 We took one day to spend at the beach- and it turned out to be the hottest day! It was so wonderful and relaxing!

We brought our lunch- I'll let you guess which side of the blanket was mine:) I really do have the taste buds of a 4 year old- but I've come to terms with it and have embraced it!
We rode surrey's down the beach- so fun!

I'll leave you with the bagpiper from Spanish Bay. Each night he appears from the beach (with the fog rolling in) and plays for a while. We spent time here, and looking out over the 18th green of Pebble Beach but no golf was played the whole trip- crazy!
Gotta run and pack because I leave for Rwanda TOMORROW! I am so excited! I have lots of mixed emotions since the kids are not coming and I've been away from them so much- but I am praying for peace over all of us! I'll be updating the blog (hopefully) often!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

GORT 2011!!

We just got home from GORT! This was our 14th annual college roommate reunion! yes- we are old!
 These 5 guys were roommates at good ol' ACU (and Kathryn was my roommate!) but the 5 wives are just as close as the men and we all LOVE our time together each summer! (when we moved the reunion to Tennessee Dave kept calling it "Good Ol' Rocky Top" hence the GORT name, and it just kinda stuck) Normally we stay at a lake house but this year, Dave and Candice offered to have it in their home in Cookeville, TN. Let me tell you, these people can host! It was one of the best GORTs yet!

We played games (the ladies play Nerts all weekend long!)ate, relaxed, ate, went on the lake, ate, watched movies, ate, and talked, and ate. We went to Bobby Q's- our favorite little place in town.
 And we all got to share with each other what has been going on in our lives the past year. There are always struggles, triumphs, job losses or new jobs, new babies and miscarriages, families doing great and families that are struggling, but we always feel so much better being around each other and being prayed for by these friends! We are all always lifted up and feel spiritually fed each time we leave.
We all went on a walk- this is their FRONT YARD! It goes on forever and it is so beautiful!

These are the kinds of things you see on a farm in Tennessee!

by the bridge on our walk

The guys took a 2 hour walk through the creek- this is still their yard:) My kids would LOVE to live here!

It was wonderful to spend some time talking to Kathryn about her roller coaster ride of a year. She had precious Nathan (her 4th!) only 8 weeks ago, and he is just the cutest thing ever!
Kathryn has been dealing with some major, life altering things these last 9 months. Her life at times has seemed to be threatened but her faith never has. She is so amazingly strong and faithful and although a lot of this has been scary, unknowing, and just too much to take in, she has ridden this out with courage that could only come from the Lord. I am so blessed to call her my friend. I am so thankful that the diagnosis COULD be something completely different and not as altering as we first thought. I am thankful that we serve a God who can handle it either way. Even though I knew everything before I came on this trip, just hugging her and seeing her in person made it SO much better! Love that precious friend!
   The older we get the less skiing and tubing we do and more made-up games like bocce/tennis/golf. Poor Candice- we were literally throwing tennis balls from upstairs down to the basement!

Such great memories! Thank you Lord for the blessings of friends!