Nov 18, 2014

It rained and she brought them sweaters

Some moments strike you as extra special.  They are ordinary moments, most people wouldn't even give them a second glance.  But for the people who know the whole story they go from ordinary to extraordinary.  

This moment was one of those times.

These two sisters arrived at Abide's Child Development Center early in the morning, like they always do. Mom goes out to work with her small business and the girls stay at the center to enjoy the free childcare Abide offers it's families. The girls are lively and loving, after saying goodbye to mom they always waltz into the compound like they own the place.  With so much swag. 

As the day progresses the sky starts turning black and we can feel the temperature dropping.  It's nothing to worry about, rain is a common occurrence.  However the sisters soon start to shiver, they had come to the center today in tank-tops. 

As the rain drops start falling and the kids dash for cover a familiar figure walks through the compound gates holding a small bundle.  She walks by smiling and holds up the two sweaters pointing to her girls. Mom came all the way from work just to bring her girls their forgotten sweaters.

Ordinary.  Typical.  Moms all around the world make sure their kids are dressed for the weather, right?  So why is this moment so special?

It's special because it almost didn't happen.

A couple of months earlier tragedy struck this mother and her girls.  I won't share details because they aren't my details to share.  But it left them without any options.  Soon the mom found herself standing at the gates of an orphanage, desperate for someone to take her girls and provide for them like she could no longer do. Thankfully this orphanage noticed that the mother didn't want to abandon her girls.  She loved them, she was just in a really tough spot.  In a country with no social supports this is common.  The orphanage told her no, they wouldn't take her girls.  

Instead they referred her to Abide to see one of their social workers. The mom was quickly enrolled in Abide's programs.  She stayed in emergency housing and her girls attended the Child Development Center while she attended business and parenting classes.  Soon she was standing on her own two feet again.  Running her own business, paying bills, sending the older sister to school....

And making sure her daughters have sweaters when they are cold.

The girls were so close to being left at an orphanage. Not because their mother didn't love them, but because she had no other choice.  I shudder to think about the pain all three of them would go through if they had been split up. If they hadn't been offered another solution.  

Orphan prevention matters.  

It matters because parents and caregivers should always be given the chance to bring their children sweaters when they are cold. 

Nov 6, 2014

I wasn't going to say this

I wan't planning on writing this. Not at all (believe me!).  But circumstances beyond my control have left me several steps behind these last couple of months.  And now I'm left scratching my head trying to figure out how to make this all work.  How to make ends meet.

So I'm just going to put this out there because people have been asking.  If you want to support me I won't say no....

Right now I'm putting every $$ I earn into buying travel insurance (about $700 for the full year) and a return ticket home (Estimating about $1000).  Once I have that taken care of I can start saving money for my monthly expenses in Uganda ($400-$500/month).  I leave in exactly two months!
I know the money will show up somewhere.  Right now I'm hopping it's from extra shifts at work although that isn't looking likely. I know I will be on that plane in January,  I just don't know how.
For the time being I'll work and sell my extra stuff along with praying and trusting.
It's a winning combination. 

Nov 4, 2014

Why grace matters

 I remember the first time I met him. It was dark and the compound had already quieted down for the evening.  He stood there clutching his teddy bear, refusing to leave his dad's side. I smiled at him and he grunted and turned his head. He knew what he wanted, and he wanted his dad and little brother.  He did NOT want the stranger who was trying to say hello to him.

Life is messy.  It just is.  And L's family was working through a lot of that mess.  The hard yucky kind of mess that leaves families struggling to find their feet.  Every family goes through it at one time or another, it looks different for each family, but it happens.

This particular situation left L's little heart broken and confused.  For the next couple of months he cried out for attention and love.  His dad worked hard to fill that need for L and his brother.  But L's little heart struggled, leaving everyone at a lose as to how to help him.

Finally we heard some wise words said to L's dad "You are a good father, keep doing what you are doing.  L just needs your love".  And that's just what he did.  Before our eyes we watched this single dad embrace his young sons in every way.  And slowly we watched the change in L.  He was calmer, happier and had more confidence.  He would follow his father around the compound helping with the chores. It was beautiful.

It was a while later that we got the news, L's mom wanted to come back.  The family could be reunited.  The dad was hopeful, he wanted to pursue the possibility. 

I'm embarrassed to say it but I wanted to yell and protest.  Things were finally calming down for this dad and the boys.  L had finally worked through some of the hurt in his heart.  What if this reunion didn't last?  What if it caused more harm than good?

I was so wrong.  Because we all make mistakes.  We have all messed up horribly.  But still, God gives us grace.  He is a God of second chances.  And it's because of that grace given to us that we can extend grace to other people.

That all became real to me the first time L cried out 'mama' and instead of responding "No baby, mama isn't here" I could say "look L, she's right over there". 

I am constantly being humbled and learning new truths.

A family united.  Grace, it matters.

"And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
John 1:16


Check out to see how they are working to keep families together in Uganda.  The above family is just one family who could have easily been ripped apart if they had not been offered the support they so desperatly needed.  
You can also follow Abide on Facebook and Instagram

Oct 24, 2014

I said I would never work retail

As soon as you think you have life figured out, something else gets tipped upside down.  That's how it always works, right?  Or at least for me it seems like it.

A couple weeks ago I went to work like normal, and just a few hours later I was back home, jobless.  All for good reasons and on good terms, I promise! But it still left me in a bit of a panic. I only had two months left before I left for Uganda for a year.  I had been saving and working and selling everything I could think of, but I still had a plane ticket+travel insurance+ visas to pay for. Yikes. I sent out emails and texts and resumes trying to find something (anything!) else for the next two months. No one really wants to hire someone for two months though and that familiar panic started creeping in.

If you know me you know that I have never had a desire to work retail.  Nope.  Non whatsoever.  I've been very vocal about that and I thankfully have never had a reason to work retail. Other jobs have always been found (+pay way more than most retail jobs).

Turns out I'm in a season of life that is completely turning who I thought I was upside down.  In a good but stretching way.  After a week of crossed fingers and prayers I have a job again.  And of course, it's working retail. 

The funny part?  It's the ONE retail job I said I would want. If I had to work retail, this one store was where I would want to work.  And that's where I got the interview.  That's where I was offered a job. It's a silver lining I could not be happier for. 

Finances are still going to be tight, I've lost time while having to job search again.  I still have my fingers crossed. But there is hope and I'm ready to work my butt off during the next two months.  That's all I can ask for.  In the end nothing is going to keep me off that plane in January. I can't wait.
also yo, I've started running. I don't even know who I am anymore...

Sep 6, 2014

Sometimes the unknown is Paralyzing

I finally feel like I can take a deep breath again.  Because there is finally a little order to my life again.  Change and the unknown freak me out.  Not just the typical freak out but the paralyzing kind of freak out.  The kind that makes it hard to breathe or make any decisions moving forward. It's been a life long battle and I've gotten better at managing it.  But it still happens and I refuse to avoid change just because of it (hello Uganda!).

That's what happened when I arrived home a few weeks ago.  After a week of not having a job and nothing working out I finally hit the breaking point. I couldn't do it anymore.  And that was my light bulb moment.

{excuse me while I go all Christian on you for a moment}

Of course I can't do it.  I'm not meant to do it by myself.  If I was able to do everything on my own why would I ever need to rely on God?  So simple but not.  And it took me feeling completely paralyzed to realize it. So I gave up.  At least I gave up doing everything on my own.  Since then it's been one painful step forward at a time.  But at least I haven't been doing it alone.

I made it to the other side of that paralyzing wall.  I have a job now.  It's exactly what I needed and I couldn't have found it on my own in a million years.  So thankful.

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