Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why hello 2014.


2013 in review
 
 
 
 
This year has brought many ups and downs.
So a little review of 2013.......
 
Moses became my foster son on January 17th 2013.
 
 
Alice moved in, went off to school, got sent home because she kept
saying she had major stomach pain. In a mad dash and one
scared out of her mind mama, we took her into Kigali.
And found she had tumors in her stomach caused by TB.
I paced in front of a OR, for hours on end, cried my eyes out
in hospital hallways, slept in a plastic lawn chair next to her bed
hit my knee's in the most unlikely places. And God healed her!
She finishes her meds next month, and is starting school again this month.
 
 
 
I got a chance to go back to the states for a visit!!!
 
 
We had many visitors come to visit!!
 
My church came, and be still my heart that I got to watch
them fall in love with the kids I fell in love with two years
almost to date when I came on my first trip!!
 
 
 
And many many more!!!
 
Alice Uwera finished her first year at Riveria for H.E.G.
(History, Economics, Geography) with flying colors!!
I am so proud of her, and the leader she is becoming!!
 
 
Flora finished her year at King David Academy in Kigali, and
I couldn't be more proud of her!!
 
 
Doreen was home this year, because the beginning of the year
she had some health issues that we needed to attend too.
Once we took care of them, she was unable to attend because
they already registered all the students for national exams.
Now she is getting ready to attend school in Kigali
this year and is so excited!
 
 
Jeanette started university in Gisenyi!!
And I know this girl is rocking it. She missed
over half of her last term in high school because of eye
problems. But she went and took her national
exams and rocked it! Now she is ROCKING
college!!
 
 
We moved into our new house!!
 
 
The entire year of 2013, Rwanda has been home.
Its scenery still takes my breath away!!
And it has nestled itself into my heart.
 
 
 
I have learned more about myself this year than ever before.
I have cried harder than I ever have before, and laughed even harder.
 
And now I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for me, and my home.
But already, a big new change is coming to the house today,
and I can hardly contain the excitement and joy!!
 
Tina
 
 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Love is a good thing.....

*warning- Totally letting down my guard and being venerable.
 
Life, anywhere, is never always sunshine and cupcakes. Hold the frosting though. We so need more cupcakes here, for real! Life has its up's and its down's. Being a single mom too, is anything but a cake walk. Apparently I need more cake, shesh!  I have never before in my life, wanted to be married, more than I have wanted it the last year and a half. Simply to have a partner in life, and to also be yoked together with, toward the same goal, sharing...... life.
 
Some days I try to make sense of certain scriptures. If someone asks you to walk a mile with them, walk with them two. If someone asks for your shirt, give them your coat as well. These scriptures seem to surface in my mind often, esp when I am faced with certain things. And I wrestle with where they fit in the craziness of life. The simplicity of it all, is just so complicated!
 
Sometimes you find yourself feeling bruised, broken, eyes stinging from tears, sleepless nights, overactive mind, and drained. Lately that is how I feel........drained. As if I have nothing left in me to give. Not a single drop left. But in the midst of this, it has drove me harder to my knee's in prayer, than I have been in a long time. Desperate for the Lord to fill me. Desperate for him to then pour me back out. I remember someone telling me many years ago "when the well goes dry, you have to dig deeper." And that's where I have been lately, finding myself practically clawing at the ground, desperately in need of more of Him, to fill me up. Everything else is short lived, everything else is earthly, I have been in this desperateness for more and more of the living water. A unquenchable thirst. That pleading with your loaves of bread and a few measly fish. Multiple it Lord, only you can meet all the needs.
 
And then you are sitting in bed, the house has quieted, and your ipod is on shuffle. And this song comes on.......
 
It knocked me down, it dragged me out, it left me there for dead.
It took all the freedom I wanted and gave me something else instead.
It blew my mind, it bled me dry, it hit me like a long goodbye,
And nobody here knows better than I that it's a good thing.

Love is a good thing.
It'll fall like rain on your parade,
Laugh at the plans that you tried to make,
It'll wear you down till your heart just breaks
And it's a good thing.
Love is a good thing.

It'll wake you up in the middle of the night, it'll take just a little too much.
It'll burn you like a cinder till you're tender to the touch.
It'll chase you down, and swallow you whole, it'll make your blood run hot and cold.
Like a thief in the night it'll steal your soul, and that's a good thing.
Love is a good thing.

It'll follow you down to the ruin of your great divide,
Open the wounds that you tried to hide.
And there in the rubble of the heart that died
You'll find a good thing.
Cause love is a good thing.
Oh love is a good thing.

Ooo, take cover,
Ooo, the end is near.
Ooo, take cover,
But do not fear,
Do not fear.

Cause it'll break your will, it'll change your mind,
Loose all the chains of the ties that bind.
If you're lucky you'll never make it out alive, and that's a good thing.
Love is a good thing.

It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade
When all that used to matter is blown away.
There in the middle of the mess it made you'll find a good thing.

Yes, it's worth every penny of the price you pay. It's a good thing.

Love is a good thing --(Ooo, take cover,)
Love is a good thing --(Ooo, the end is near,)
Oh love is a good thing --(Ooo, take cover.)
Do not fear.
~Andrew Peterson
 
And then you realize, its a good thing. You realize your brokenness can lead to healing, because it drives you into the hands that created you. That not having all the answers, or even half the answers, or heck, a quarter of the answers, because you know the one who does. And you realize when life is shaken up, and you struggle. The struggle itself isn't bad, its the reaction of weather to grow from it, or to be hindered by it.
 
Yeah, I am in a funk lately. A big fat ugly funk. The tears come too easily. The homesickness so strong, yet knowing I don't fit back there, and I can never really fit here. Where in the world do you find your point of reference then? I love watching a British comedy, in Africa, as a American. It's clear I am not very culturally confused!
 
And would I do this all over again, if I knew some of the reflections I would see when I took a deep hard look at myself? If I knew how homesick I would get at times? If I knew how I would be labeled by my skin color over and over everyday? I would, a million times over. Because they are worth it, and this is worth it. Nothing with any worth comes easily. When you put your heart and soul into something, it is never a flawless process. It is a beautifully messy process.
 
Tina


Friday, December 6, 2013

Playing catch-up.


A photography team came from the states,
to photograph the sponsorship kids in my front yard.
We ended up getting some awesome pictures for ourselves too! 

We have been playing a bit of catch-up in the house. The girls who live with me from the orphanage, have been needing some medical, and dental catch up. I sent one of the girls to get a consult for her teeth, and in the examination, her one molar crumbled when the dentist examined it with the pokey metal cavity checker. I am sure that is the technical word for it. So Thanksgiving turned into a oral surgery day for her. She still needs quiet a bit of dental work to get her caught up where she needs to be. (Totaling $350) .


Doreen's first birthday party! <3


We also have one of the girls who has been dealing with some pretty heavy emotional stuff. There is a councilor in Kigali, which she can see, to help her find some full healing.

I wanted to invite you to partner with me, to play some catch up with us, to get them emotionally and physically where they need to be for the new school year! I wanted to invite you to partner with me, that they can study without pain of ulcers, tooth aches, or some emotional healing that needs to take place. (I dont feel comfortable airing her emotional needs on a public venue, but this one is way over me. And something I need to get a professional's help, to help her learn some coping techniques.) I wanted to invite you to partner with me, that they do not miss any schooling this coming year, for a medical need that needs to get taken care of, because it got to a crisis point.


Flora and one of GJ's puppies...


And it goes way beyond the physical and emotional needs of the girls. It also ministers to them, to know that we care about them as a whole. It whispers to their hearts, that we care about their pain, whatever form that it is. That they are loved, and we are not going to have them go to school, with extreme tooth aches. Or brush aside that they are trying to study, with a painful ulcer. It is the care that ministers to their whole being, mind, body, and soul. Would you partner with me, that the girls can go back to school, having all their needs met, and able to concentrate fully on their schooling?


Visiting Jeannette at University. She is missing from the pictures,
from when the team was here, as she was off rocking her college classes.
 I plan to take all the girs for a dental consult on Monday, so that we can make sure no one else is in danger of any teeth rotting, and to get any dental problems taken care of now. Also the girls are all going to go get insurance (which they cannot use for the first month, and also does not cover dental). And hopefully next week, we can start with getting them all to the private clinic, and getting everything else taken care of, before the new school year begins!

All donations are tax deducatable. Just click the "donate now" button on the right side near the top of this page, and when it takes you to the donation page, select my name from the drop down menu! Every little bit helps!

Alice joining some traditional Rwandan dancing.
 
 
Lots of love from Rwanda,
Tina
 
Hosea 14:3 "In you the orphan finds mercy." 
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The thankful bandwagon

Yep, I am jumping on that thankful post bandwagon. So to catch up, here is 10 things I am thankful for.

1. When the power and water stay on all day!
 
2.
 
3.
Getting to celebrate their birthdays for the first,
and now the second time. For them its a big first,
I love to get to be a part of!
 4.
 
5.
 
6.
 
7.
 
8.
 
9.
 
10.
 
Here is to ten things that bring me immeasurable joy!
More to come!
 
Tina
 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cookie cutter orphans



There is about a hundred different blog posts I have been wanting to write lately. But this one seems to be one that has been weighing heavily on my heart. It has been weighing on my heart for some months now, as I see so many blogs popping up on adoption morals, short term missions trips, orphan care, and so on and so forth. Everyone seems to have a opinion on the matter, and very good arguments! I am not saying I am against adoption, or by no means am I rallying behind unethical adoptions. But, as I find myself reading over these blogs, and posts, I find myself confused and frustrated, with all the posts and view points that seem to contradict one another.

And I also find myself sitting here going "Man, that is a good point! They are totally right!" and then a few days later I find myself on another blog that contradicts the previous one, saying the same thing. Because they do have good points, and I guess perhaps I find myself drawn to the passion and conviction sometimes of the writers, or whatnot. But I find it so easy to find myself discouraged, and frustrated, I guess because I so easily can relate to both sides of the coin.

And I think we all have our whole heart in it. But sometimes when we rely solely on our emotions we find ourselves making decisions that are not always the right thing. Our emotions often lie to us, just ask the girl who feels she is not good enough, or a failure. Just as the person who feels like a screw up. It doesn't mean they are right, and no one is a screw up, we all make mistakes. And to go into anything solely based on your emotions, and not armed with council of those who have gone before us, or have more experience. Well, is not the brightest idea. We might find ourselves making decisions based solely on our emotions, which can cause problems for everyone involved.

And then in the midst of it all...... are the orphans. And I realized that a long time ago, I stopped painting them simply with that one brush. It started to seem odd to be considered to be involved in orphan care, because there was so much more to these kids down the street, in the room next to me, curled up in my arms, or grabbing my hand for prayer before dinner. I realized a long time ago I stopped seeing them as "orphans" but started to see them as "Moses, Alysee, Doreen, Kevine...." and the list could just keep going for a long time. Their opinions, talents, hopes, dreams, and personalities differ so greatly. Because they are not simply "orphans". Orphan is not their personality, it is simply a word for a circumstance in which they are in.

And as things change rather rapidly around here, and often I find myself questioning what is best for these "orphans". And sometimes questioning if some of my decisions is what is best for them, and then wondering all kinds of things. And sometimes we find ourselves sitting around and saying "I don't know." more times than I can count on my hands.

I guess it is because there is no cookie cutter orphan. And to be defined simply by only a circumstance, is limiting. Just as if we painted every child in a certain town, village, ethniticty, with the same brush. As if they are limited just because of a circumstance far beyond their control, without considering their individual needs, hurts, hopes, dreams, potential, and personalities. I know me and my sister Kim grew up in the same home, and our reactions to things could never have been more opposite. I remember when my grandmother Zielke died holding my hand when I was a pre-teen, and I walked solemnly down the hallway, and knocked on her door, her reaction was strong, fierce, loud, and passionate. But my response was the complete opposite as I always have been the kind of person who needs to process things. I remember even trying to process how I should react to this. I know, that's just different than most people. And my needs in the midst of such loss at such a young age (I know to some it might seem not such a big loss, but my grandmother lived with us, and she was a face I saw daily, and was part of my everyday life from the time I was born, till I held tightly to her wrinkled hand, and watched her gasp her last breath.) What Kim needed to process and cope with the loss, was totally different than me. Had someone came and painted us with the same brush, having grown up in the same house, and facing the same circumstance, one of us would have had to be drug along, and would have found ourselves outside what we really needed in that moment in time.

I kinda stopped reading all these articles, and blogs, and opinions. Because I stopped being so focused on what "orphan care" should look like. And stopped trying to fit my girls and moses in a neatly wrapped little box. And want to look at their individual needs. And trust me, I am still learning everyday. Just this morning I talked to one of my sweet girls and apologized for being so persistent to want to know what is bothering her, and not giving her room to process sometimes when she needs it. And this bone headed mama is working on that. Because they are not simply orphans, and what is best for each of them, is not what is best for every orphan.

I don't know the solution to orphans all over the world. I HATE that some people find themselves in such poverty, they choose to leave their children like a delivery on a doorstep, because they cannot afford to educate, give good nutrition, or feed their kids in general. That is NOT the answer, and for some of these children, the answer is providing parents with tools and skills and opportunities to raise their own children. And for another child whose parents have died, or is mentally unstable, or do drugs or alcohol and have no desire to raise them, then placing them in there is not the answer, to force them back into the arms who are incapable and unwilling to raise them. Adoption is not always long term answer to orphan care. So many people wanting to adopt children, that some place create orphans to meet the demand of adoption in particular places. My head is already starting to spin trying to consider all the different things involved in the current orphan. Orphanages are not the answer, because God never created a institution for children to grow up, but families.

And I sit here once again, throw my hands up in the air, and say "I DON'T KNOW!" I don't know the answer and I don't know the perfect solution.

And then I listen to the girls singing out back. And I don't think the "orphan girls" are outside, but its each individual voice of theirs. Not a single one of them a poster child of the word "orphan." Not a single one of them like the other, and not a single circumstance for each of them the same as the other.

So I guess this post just goes on the say.... I don't know.

and

Don't put them all in the same little box, defined simply by a circumstance.

In Christ,
Tina


 



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Currently October 2013

 

Cooking- All kinds of yeast breads. Cinnamon rolls? Yes, please!

Drinking- Lots more water. This caffeine addicted girl is trying to decrease caffeine intake hoping it helps with the migraines that plague me lately.

Having- Way more meetings about things way too close to my heart, than I would like!

Looking- Into going to Switzerland in January for five nights, for a Christian debreifing place, that helps people like me who live outside their culture, learn........... skills.

Watching- More Bubble Guppies, than I care to admit. Seems to be Mo and the girls nightly show. Funny how they come running when they hear the theme song, and laughed for so long last night about one of em getting "Mac and tree's" in their lunch. Crack. Me. Up.

Expecting- Puppies! GJ is preggo, and being the person who likes to know what to expect with most everything, I am the annoying person who takes her dog temp everyday to see if she should be having them within 24 hours. (Normal temp 101-102. 24 hours or less before labor begins, drops below 100. She has been a steady 101.3. Yeah, I am weird like that!)



Planning- My VISA renewl trip to Uganda the beginning of November, more excited to just get away from daily demands, read, and rest.

Enjoying- The Beth Moore bible study on Fruit Of The Spirit with Amy and Amanada.

Stalking- The post office, knowing a few packages should be coming. I may or may not be tempted to rip em open on the motto on the way home. I know this before they even get here. Come on pumpkin goooooodness!!!

Sleeping- Inconsistently

Frustrated- With the lack of power and running water lately. Last night, no power. This morning, no running water. Some days, neither. Makes me appreciate both so much more, when we do have them.

Needing- A husband apperantly, because I keep getting the hiccups. (Thankfully I am not dropping silverwear, because then they would really be telling me I need a husband!)

Reading- Mockingjay, the last book in the Hunger Games. Third time through this series. People can gift you books on Amazon to your kindle. *Cough cough*

Boiling- Water for a bucketbath. Hello, life lately.

School- Is out and the house is filling up again. Got two older/new faces around in the house. Patricia and Flora. Then we got two more coming home this weekend as well. It is the end of the school year here, kinda like their summer break. School resumes in January. Though the University kids wont get off till mid December. And let the revolving door of the house keep on swinging.

King David- Kids are all back at the orphanag for the break. So things have been hopping around here!

Rocking the yogurt mustache. Pretty much refuses a sippy now, but drinking
awesome out of cups on his own.


Moses- Has all four of his one year molars, so glad that teething will take a break for awhile. He has been learning more parts of his body, and now can show you where his hands, elbow, tummy, ears, eyes, and teeth are. Though we have shown him where his nose is for months, when you ask he just stares at you, then goes "EYES!" or "TEETH!" or "ELBOWWWW" and points to those, kid refuses to point to his nose. His new favorite song is "The Wheels on the bus" and it cracks me up when he does the babies on the bus go waah waah waah. Every. Single. Time! He loves to read more and more nowdays, and will bring you books endlessly. He stopped calling all animals "dogs" and is now learning what other animals say. So now we hear "Chirp chirp" and "Mooooo" and "Baaaah" as he flips through his books. Though yesterday he pointed to the butterfly and said "MOM! Mooo? Chirp?!" And I had no answer for the poor kid.

Thankful- For all my friends and church family who support me endlessly. My poor pastor who still has this girl calling desperate for council, or just someone to listen to her rant, and pray with her.

Raised- $231 for my 33rd birthday. You all rock, and thats almost 2.5 months of school for one of the lovelies in the orphanage.

Alice off to go get water when the running water is not running,
in every empty water bottle we can scrounge up known to man!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Plan's change.


That girl. That girl who in 2011 could it have been that long ago?! who stood watching this team who came to the orphanage she grew up in, leaning against the brick orphanage wall, observing. That girl who I talked to, fell in love with, and who changed my life. That same girl, who has taught me so much in the last few years, about patience, acceptance, love, and how to laugh so hard you literally are on the ground laughing. That girl, who I had plans for.

And that’s where the story takes a big change. I had plans for her. I had a very direct plan. I would move here, and when she finished school, I would scoop her up, and take her home, and she could go to college in America, she could live there, with me. I would never have to let her go again, always keep her close, and smother her with love.

And the plan was going so well, here I was in Rwanda, cheering her through her education.

But then...... but then! Then I started to watch her being shaped into a leader. Watched her start a bible study and prayer group, meeting at her bed, in her dorm room, every night. I have watched her start to test her wings. I have watched God shape so much compassion and patience in her heart. Not to say she doesn’t have her teenage moments for sure. But I have seen her rise above! Again and again and again.

And suddenly my plans seemed...... selfish.

Rwanda needs her here.

I started to stop considering what my plans were for her, and started to ponder what Gods plans where for her. I know, duh! And all of a sudden this idiot started to pray, not for God to make a way for me to scoop her away, but for me to not get in His way, for her life.

You see, I have been frustrated a lot lately. And a clear share of it is with myself.

Broken promises and comparison have been two big ones.

After the team left from my church, me and the girls in the house took a fun day in Kigali for my birthday. We needed some down time, some time to bond and laugh. And not once but twice we were hit with comparison. How America was better, and had better opportunities. And secondly with a comparison to Kigali, and what we were missing out. And I found the girls starting to want what others coined as better, a solution.

It was that night my frustrations rambled out of my mouth, as tears rolled down my cheeks. How dare you! How dare we feel this way. God has us right where he wants us. The best place for any of us to be, is not where you can go bowling anytime you well feel like it. Or you paycheck meets your desire for entertainment. The best place for any of us to be in the center of Gods will for us.

Anyone to feel, that their solution is a location, or material things, has got it all wrong.
Lots of love from Rwanda,
Tina

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The blessing in the common place....

It is possible to make tortilla's from scratch? Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?
 
This morning After oversleeping like crazy.
I did the normal morning routine with Mo,
then started plugging away on making homemade tortilla's
for dinner and bible study at my house tonight.
I think there is a sixth love language, which is called a "feeder"
"feeder" love language people, like to cook for those they love.
Moses was outside playing with Baptistie, my house help,
trying to cut the grass with him, with his empty plastic water bottle.
The girls woke up, came in and hugged me and said "Morning Mommy."
Flour all over my t-shirt and pajama pants,
Moses running in from time to time, pushing a empty sippy cup at me,
going "MOM! MOM! AMMMMATA!" (Milk)
 
And suddenly in the middle of it all, in the common place,
it hit me. All of it in a instant hit me.
And the tears started to roll down my cheeks.
And I was overwhelmed with the blessed life I live.
Perhaps it hasn't come along like it does for most people.
But then again I seem to throw out those "common milestones"
right out the window. Never walked down a isle to graduate,
never walked down a isle to get married, never went to prom.
All those pictures that line most parents hallways and walls, never
lined mine. I may never have birthed these kids the traditional ways,
but I sure have labored in my prayers for them, and God has birthed
each one of them in my heart. I may have never heard a doctor proclaim
"It's a boy!" but I have held this three week old infant in my arms, in a
stuffy infant room in a orphanage in Africa,
and then went away, and labored for him in prayer. I have seen a
girl lean against the brick walls of a orphanage, and despite
never being a "teen person" that day she was conceived in my heart.
And I went away and labored for her in prayer, and she was birthed in
my heart.
 
I have always wanted kids. I mean, I was the AWANA leader,
Sunday School teacher, full time nanny, and nursery worker.
And then nearly two years ago, I had to have a hysterectomy,
so birthing my own children, the "normal" way was certainly not a option anymore.
And I feel no bitterness. But this amazing holiness in the common place.
I feel this blessing wash over me. And I know had things be done
the "convential" way in my life, this little man pushing a empty
sippy cup in my face, while I am covered in flour and a tortilla is
burning in the pan, would be in a crowded orphanage room,
having a parade of caregivers. He would be a number.
Everyone of those kids deserve more than that, because so much
potential lies in each and everyone of them.
I am so glad God has never given me "normal".
I am so glad God has given me the desires of my heart, in the most
unlikely places, I would have never imagined.
 
And so as he was shoving his empty sippy cup in my face, as the girls were
talking and giggling, as the tortilla burned. Tears rolled down my cheeks
and I thought "What a amazing, blessed life this is. Thank you God."
 
I got this chair for my birthday, but Mo has taken
it has his own, as much as possible.
Living this blessed little life in this little corner of Africa,
Tina
 
 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Currently- September

Currently.....

Sleeping- Fantastic. Mo moved into his own room, so no more laying still hoping he doesn't realize I am awake, at 3/4am, because then he wont go back to sleep.

Reading- The hunger games.... again. I seriously need some new books.

Studying- The fruits of the spirit, Beth Moore study. WOOT!
 

Recovering- From malaria.

Listening- To the rain and storms (why is it so refreshing to listen and watch it pour?!)

Watching- Once Upon A Time season 2, with the girls when we can.

Frustrated - When the power goes out for the umtenth time in a week.

Remembering- How much I love to cross stitch, and what a stress reliever it is for me.

Excited- To see so many people this weekend. Rebecca, Mark and Kendyll Jacobs, and going to see Jeannette at college.

Grateful- That I have the luxury to see the Dr, get blood work, diagnosis, and medications easily. Because of all the faithful supporters in the states.

Missing- The CMA short term team being here. Esp missing being able to get the council and prayer of my pastor being right here in the house.

Laughing- That I got a car, and the same day, the axel broke, and the tow truck broke down when it came to get it to take it to the mechanics. I seriously could not stop laughing.

Realizing- Gods amazing provision, and how when the money needs to be there, it always is.

Blessed- By my mama bear back in the states, and realizing how love makes you feel, when someone loves you ferociously, and always shows up when you need them. Blessed to get a email, knowing if that mama bear needed to hop on a plane across the states and Ocean, they would do it. A mama bears love is a strong thing, and blessed to also have a mama bear who loves me without limits.

Loving- That flowers that I haven't seen when the dry season hit, are coming back. Esp my favorite ones. :)

Drinking- Lots of coffee, because a girl kept thinking the headaches were caffeine headaches, ops.

Eating- Biscuits and gravy, a girl made homemade biscuits the other day, and was so excited to see them actually work out!

Crying- In the shower, when it seems everything that keeps under the surface comes flooding to the surface.

Thinking- That it is comical I said I was going to be here two years, now looking into what I need to do to get dual citizenship. I think this girl is home.

Finding- Myself more guarded lately.

Moses- Is cutting all FOUR one year molars at one time, you can feel a little part of tooth coming through on all four. He is saying more and more everyday, moved into his own room, and just had one trying night in there......so far. I often find myself staring at him and remembering the 10 month old that came home who wore 3 month old clothes, and still cannot get over who he is today. His personality blooms more everyday.

Planning- Another short term team to come from my church. Or at least just looking at some dates. Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

Missing- My Alysse at boarding school, and packages.

Finding- Myself almost another year older. Check out the post before this one, to see what I really want for my birthday this year!

Appreciating- Amy a few houses down, taking Moses a few times for this mama to get a break and rest when in the thick of the malaria.


Friday, September 13, 2013

I may be getting old...

Soooooooooo.... it is that time of year again. The time I cannot avoid, ugh. Why is it once you hit 30, it seems like all you have left after that is 40? And then 40 goes straight to 60 right? I may have some irrational fears of aging.

All I want for my birthday this year, is to put a lovelie from the orphanage in boarding school longer! Boarding school offers so much HOPE to these kids, its wild. I have been so honored to get to ride busses full of these kids as they saw the school for the first time. I have got to witness the change from the day they stepped on those busses and went to school. I have got to see their faces light up when they talk about their sponsors. I have been BLESSED, to get to go along for some of the ride with them. And so my hearts desire is to make sure these lovelies STAY in a good school, with good meals, amazing education, and that keeps equipping them with tools, to reach their goals. To become whatever the Lord has destined for them. Because I for one, am convinced of the hope and future the Lord has for each of them.

So for my birthday, would you consider donating $33? Because perhaps that is how old this girl is going to be. And then on the 26th, on the inevitable day that I am a year older, we can celebrate, the finances donated for these lovelies and their future? I am kinda totally smitten with these kids a bit!
Their first day getting to see the school and getting tested for placement.

Seriously that would be THE BEST birthday present you could give me. So let's start investing in some futures this year.

To donate, click the "donate now" button on the upper right side. And instead of selecting my name, select "Orphan education fund"

Lets secure for some of these lovelies, I am kinda in love with.

 

Each face has a story, and has a future.
Wont you invest in that future for them with me?
I want to usher in the next year, securing the future for some of these lovelies!!
 
Lots of love from Rwanda,
Tina


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lets catch up shall we.



Wow, its been awhile. Lets catch up some, shall we. Grab your latte from the kitchen, pull up a chair on the front porch, sorry about my son and his new drumming obsession, and even sorrier if he mistakes you for a drum, and lets catch up, shall we.

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. (I know, I know, I say that probably more times than you can count!) I went back to the states, and life was crazy, amazing, but I was homesick. I had almost four crazy weeks back home with my church, and my friends. I guess I was not sure what it was going to be like, but it was different. Some friendships seemed to ease right back into what they were before I left, as if I had never been gone for a year. Other places I used to feel I fit, was like trying to cram a circle peice into a square hole. In some ways it was way too easy to just fall back into routine. In so many aspects it felt normal to be back in the states, but a huge peice of me was absent. Mainly that peice of me that was absent resided in the tiny hands of Moses. (In case I haven't mentioned it lately, I kinda ADORE this child)

But the trip was cut short, as Alice was having some health problems, which have since semi resolved. It was just good to be home, and my physical self and my heart were residing in the same place once again. Which is a fantastic feeling!

Then I got to go meet my church from America, who came to Rwanda! How can I even begin to put this into words?! As we went to Alysse's school for visiting day, and I looked back and saw my pastor crammed into the bus, I remembered sitting in his office, sobbing. "I have to do SOMETHING. I cannot. WILL NOT give up on her. I refuse to let her fall through the cracks. She has so much potential and I KNOW God has huge plans for her!" And what a incredible team they were. They put up with every little bump in the road and me with grace. I put them on motto's, crammed them on buses, tested their faith by putting those buses and motto's on some interesting roads. Never once did one of them complain or refuse to do something.

It was so good to see things from a different perspective. That fresh, new eyes, perspective. As sometimes I feel like a crazed firefighter, with a single extinghisher trying to put out fires. But as I got to watch them snuggle babies, chase toddlers, get spit up on, pee'd on, and forming these deep relationships with these kids. It was a breath of fresh air that I needed. It was a new perspective, a fresh perspective that I needed. It was a breath of fresh air. I got to watch their hearts be broken, and new dreams, visions, and passions planted in the soil of their hearts that was being broken up.

I really cannot put into words that entire experience, and how amazing it was.

And now the girls, Moses, and I are all back home. And the revolving door of this house keeps on swinging. The dynamic ever changing. And still my son runs around like a crazy kid, banging empty water bottles and turning everything into a drum. Grateful for frienships here, and other Americans to have latte's with. I was given some money before the team left, and was told I had to spend it on myself. A espresso/coffee maker was one of those purchases, and has made life insanely amazing. Its been me, Jesus and a latte in the morning. Minus this morning when my son attempted to break my will at 4:30am, but has yet to tell me his demands. We are both kinda dragging our feet through the morning.

I am anxiously awaiting the next adventure. Anxiously at the edge of my seat for those from my home church, and to see what God cultivates in the broken soil of their hearts, and what springs forth from it. Gladly smiling at the revolving door, and snickering a bit at the dynamic change. Thinking about where I was last year at this time, having just spent my first month in Rwanda. Smelling the latte's, cracking open the word on the front porch, and playing some temple run when I get the chance. Looking for some new books to read, and having the biggest cuddler in my house Alice, snuggle in next to me, with a hot coacoa.

And so the last few months has been a crazy whirlwind of activity. Kids back in school. Early mornings, and some naps. It has been so blessed. And I cannot believe it has been over a year here in Rwanda. And how quickly this little life in this little corner of Rwanda keeps on changing. And even more amazed at how God keeps working on this little heart of mine and how it keeps on changing.

And in the midst of this awesome update, my son is trying to climb the bars the lock behind the door. So I better get chasing him. How does a 18 month old always seem to have himself one step ahead of a 32 year old!?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

If I was being honest, it just might sound a little like this.

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, while Moses is still napping and we have some time uninterrupted. And.....

If I was being honest with you I would tell you......

I cannot even put into words, the feeling of home when I came back early to Rwanda. I cannot even tell you the emotions that enveloped my heart when the plane touched ground on Rwandan soil, and all my heart and mind could think is "I'm home!" I cannot express to you what overtook this mama's heart to look at Moses sleeping in the crib next to my bed, and the feelings that struck my heart harder, than the girls leaping through the air, and practically hanging on me.

I would tell you, that even a day after that, the daily stresses has hit me. The chaos of getting girls where they need to go, things where they need to go, and counting the money I have to see how it can streach where it needs to go.

I would tell you, that has been one of my biggest stressors. Taking on the responsibility of others, and being mom. And being mom sometimes takes two loaves and some fish, and one very big God, and trusting in his economy, and his multiplication. Lets not even talk school supply lists right now.

I would tell you, that raw dependance on God is not so glamerous. Its a constant dying to yourself kind of life. And dying is usually not painless or easy, normally its painful and messy.

I would tell you, that I have never been so homesick before in my life, as I was to come home to Rwanda. Never experienced that level of homesickness here for the states.

I would tell you, that being a leader is not in my DNA. I am a much better follower than I am a leader. And that being in charge has never been on my bucket list, really it has probably always dwindled down the list of desires.

I would tell you, that as I have reflected on the past year in Rwanda, it has been some of the most lonesome, heart wrenching, streaching, times of my life. But as I look back, I see the most beautiful year of my life, and I see changes that could not have been forged outside the fires. I see a dependence, that has not always been pretty, but more like whining soemtimes, and more like a power struggle with the Lord, and more like death, than it was glamerous or sweet, or painless. But the most deepest, profound, beautiful changes I have ever experienced in my life. As I have learned in the depths of lonelyness that God is indeed all I need. As I have come to the throne room, more desperate and defeated than confidently with my fish in bread in desperate need of him to multiply it.

I would tell you, it has been so sweet to have Americans in the house. And it was a very lonely year prior, and the fellowship is so much sweeter than ever before. I would tell you how we were like children this morning, intrupting each other 100 times, so excited to share stories of what God has done, stories of the trails of the past few weeks, revelations, and just sharing life with each other.

I would tell you, I am forever torn. I know that my friends and family do not understand the trails and daily life I experience here. And I know the girls will never understand the trails and daily struggles in America. And sometimes I long for one world to understand the other, and know that it never will. And that makes me feel like a bit of a outsider both places.

I would tell you, my biggest fear now is if I someday have to leave my son. I wish I could tell you the emotions that I cannot legally adopt him, and honestly the fear I live in that I could loose him someday. That a birth relative could change their mind, and come for him at any time. And how so opposite that is of what the Lord has for me, of a peace that surpasses understanding, but how real it is.

If I was being honest, I would tell you, that my time in the states has given me such a fresh perspective, a appreciation. It cemented more than anything, that home is now on the other side of the world.

I would tell you, I cannot wait for the short term missions team for my church to come, and how insanely blessed I am to get to see two worlds collide. Though one world will never fully understand the other, I cannot wait to see the relationships form, the things God is going to do in and through this team, and to see these worlds embrace each other, learn from each other, and worship alongeside each other. Yeah, it just might be the cherry on the whip cream on the hot fudge sundae!

I would tell you, that I am who I am. I am not nearly where I should be, but I am where I am, only by the grace of God.

I would tell you, that I sometimes wonder why God put me here, and think of 100 other people who in my mind could do a better job than me. I would tell you some ugly things have surfaced in me from selfishness, frustrations, and past wounds, that never healed. And then I remember the word picture the Lord gave me of two pots. The one in tact, took more effort to retrieve what was inside. The cracked pot, what was inside flowed freely without reserve. And the realization that loves flows more freely from a heart that is broken and worn, not new and preserved.

If I was honest, I would tell you, how the tears flowed when God told me, that his intent was never to preserve my heart, but to shatter and break it. Because in that breaking, was I plyable and moldable. And in that brokeness was I willing, and usable. And the humility that comes when I realize I am trying to hold onto what he is trying to break.

If I was honest, I would tell you, this is hard and wonderful, and worth every ounce of myself I lay at the foot of the cross.


I would tell you, that every single time, I am at my wits end, and I think that the stressors of life, get to me and I am being crushed under the weight of it. And when I finally break and come running broken and defeated to God crying "I CANNOT DO THIS!" Is the moments he whispers to me "I never intended for you to carry this weight, it is not for you to bear. You cannot do it, I can, and it was never saposse to be you, but me." and the lightness I feel, when I allow him to remove that from me. And how it is a constant battle that I probably will never hit the mark on. But that I have been learning to come to God sooner and sooner, before I am crushed under the weight of what I was never created to bear. And after sometime of laying it down, I start to feel that weight bearing down on me again, and the cycle continues. And that he who has started a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it. Not because I am good, not because of any good deed, or failure. But simply because he is God, and I am not. Simply because, his love is so extravagant and good. And simply because I am sure he delights every time I stop, and let go, and allow him. Because he loves me too much to be crushed under a weight I was never created to bear.


If I was being honest, I would tell you, that Alice is still not back to her old self. And I do not like how sluggish she is, and how she just isn't her. She got some medications, and they should be helping soon, and I am so thankful this got done what needed to be done. But also the fear that is there hidden deep in my heart, that something might be severely wrong again, and how my heart is not sure it can do that one more time.


If I was being honest right now, it just might sound a little something like that. I might just cry from tears of joy, shed a few tears from brokeness, and a couple more might fall from being torn between two places. And it just might have sounded something like that, as I sighed a few times, and laughed a few times too.


 

Moses this morning after he stared at me smiling in bed for 5 minutes,
and he might have had goldfish crackers for breakfast.  
 
Broken, sealed, and loved,
Tina

Sunday, July 14, 2013

America bucket list

So, I leave in 54 hours to go visit America. But whose counting?! And so the last couple of weeks, randomly I would think of something, and add it to my American bucket list. So without further ado, the America visit bucket list.


American bucket list

 

·         Have a prayer and worship night with the girls.

·         Watch the fireworks over lake Ontario at harborfest

·         Eat a fried snickers at harborfest

·         Get a endless ride thing, and ride most all the rides at harborfest

·         Get over the jetlag in the first week back. (1pm back in the states and I am ready to crash! Got to get over that quick)

·         Farmers market...enough said.

·         Go to a broadway show in NYC (I think me and the girls have been watching far too many musicals)

·         Night away with just the girls.

·         Cheesecake at the cheesecake factory

·         Spread awareness of the ministries in Rwanda and how home can partner with God here.

·         Spinach artichoke dip and salad bar at Ruby Tuesday's.

·         Eat a whole block of REAL cheese. (no judgement is allowed)

·         Meet the Lord back at some of our places, the Oswego Tea Company, and our spot at the Lake.

·         Breakfast at Wade's diner. Don't judge all the food things on my list!

·         Go to the movies.

·         Borrow some of my favorite little's for some special days No one told me these kids would grow up so much in my absence. Not cool, really not cool.

·         Find a real cheap iphone or BB for Rwanda.

·         Walk the breaker walls at the lake.

·         Make at least 3 pinterest meals, that the ingredients are just not avail in Rwanda.

·         Spend a entire day at Barnes and Noble drinking coffee, and reading. (Oh be still my heart, be still)

·         Smores at a bonfire

·         Surprise some people at their front door.

·         Speak at church without my hands trembling.

·         One on one time with the besties.

·         Minister to my community back home, (Babysit for a date night for a couple who need it, make a dinner for someone in need of some encouragement, and leave random encouragement cards)

·         Skype dates with the girls.

·         Swim in Lake Ontario

·         Lunch and ice-cream at Rudy’s.