i’m a mom

Have I ever told you about Sam and my family?
Well, a year ago, when I said, “I do” and became a wife, I also became a mother.


visiting with kids the day after our wedding, before they went back to school
(not all of the are our kids:)

 

For those who have known me for a number of years, you’re probably thinking, “I thought she didn’t want kids.”
You would be correct, I didn’t.  But, over the last few years, God has gradually changed my heart and made me love kids in a way I never did before.

How many kids do we have?  Currently, we have 7.  Although, I’m sure that number will continue to grow over time.
Continue to grow?  Simply put, Sam and I both have a heart for kids.  When we hear a child’s story, the hardships and the pain they are in, our hearts break.  We both want to be able to give them hope and fill them with love.
Although we created CITY to help kids, we also feel pulled to certain children and want them to be a part of our own family.


Sam with some of our kids on their first day of the school year

 

Who are our kids?  We have two boys and five girls.  Their backgrounds are varied: some have lost one or more parents, a couple have been diagnosed HIV+, some have a parent who is not able to feed them or pay school fees; but all of them deserve the opportunity to go to school and be a part of a loving family.

These children are incredibly precious to Sam and me.  When we talk about our future or anything we want to do, our kids are definitely part of our decisions and plans.

 

much love!

 

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being thankful

You know when you are little and are asked what you want to be when you grow up?
My answers were not the most normal, and my list is rather short:
dolphin trainer
missionary
librarian

Did you notice that teacher isn’t on that list?
In fact being a teacher has never been a dream or a goal of mine.
But, when I felt like God asked me to go to Korea to teach English, okay.

Every day looks different and is a challenge, but the kids bring me so much joy.

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i found it quite cute when the two pumpkins were talking to one another:)

 

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with one of my classes walking a path during one of our picnics [field trips]

 

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with my other class as we skip and sing our way back to the bus

 

Many people spent the previous month reflecting on things for which they are thankful.
I would say a big one for me is my kids at school.
Every day is different, but they make me smile, help me learn and grow, challenge me, and most of all, make doing what I am doing worth it!

 

much love!

time

It’s funny what time can do.
About five and a half months ago I flew from Michigan to South Korea.
After arriving at the airport, I needed to buy a bus ticket and get to Daegu.
Well, last night I arrived at Incheon airport in Seoul, bought a bus ticket, and made my way to Daegu.
This time though, the process seemed easier, and I knew where I was going.

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flying over Hong Kong – one of my layovers

 

Almost four and a half years ago, in March 2011, I went to Mukono, Uganda for the first time.
At that time, I had no idea I would be going back.
And not just going back to visit, but that that would become my home.

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flying into Entebbe during the day – I think this was a first for me

 

I may have only been in Mukono for one week, but my week was full and filling.
Although it had been a little over a year since the last time I was there, from the moment I was greeted at the airport, I was home.
Things weren’t having to be restarted; but rather, we were taking our finger off the pause button and starting where we left off.

It’s hard to believe my time there is over, and it’s back to teaching English to my Korean kindergarteners tomorrow.
I’m not even sure how to process or fully think about the last week.
But, I do plan to share more stories and pictures in upcoming days:)

For now, I will leave you with this:

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having fun with Joet and Ronnie while making supper

 

much love

 

 

i didn’t have a party, but that’s ok

Fourteen days ago marked the beginning of the second half of 2014.
Most people probably didn’t even notice the shift from first to second half.
It’s not like anything really big happened that day, at least not in my life this year.

Last year, though, was another story.  If you don’t recall that celebration you should read about it here!

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during last year’s party at the church on June 30th – little boy dancing outside and some of the people preparing food in the kitchen

 

I might not have had a party to celebrate the first six months of this year, but thinking about last year’s definitely got me to reflect on all that has happened thus far in 2014.

Thus far, this year may not seem too exciting or glamorous.
And there may have been some uphill battles I’ve had to deal with along the way, such as re-entry to America (more than once:)
But, there is no need to focus on the negatives; plus, facing challenges can definitely be opportunities for growth.

The first half of my 2014 included some of the following, in case you’re interested…

– Starting the year Berlin

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ringing in 2014 at the Brandenburg Gate

 

– two great conferences, seeing friends, and having a good time in LA and San Diego, CA

1798800_10201649487741418_375707907_nbesides a 9 mile walk down the beach one day, this was our only other time at the beach (kind of sad for two girls spending time in CA from MI)

 

– quality time with friends and family (in person – instead of over Skype:)
– getting a part-time job
– amazing progress on the Hallelujah Project [the library  / classroom building in Uganda]
– officially meeting and hanging out in person with a “co-worker” from my time in Japan

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so thankful our unique paths were able to cross while I was in Chicago

 

– honored to be in a wedding for a good friend
– having the opportunity to visit my friends and family in Mukono, Uganda

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so great to be back at the school and see all of the kids and smiling faces again

 

– getting to see Amsterdam during my 6.5 hour layover
– boxes and boxes upon books finally arrived in Uganda the week after I left from my visit
– meeting my friends’ kids / going to their birthday parties

What will the rest of this year hold?
I have no idea.  But, that’s ok.
And honestly, that’s part of the adventure.
There’s One who does know, and that’s all that matters!

 

much love!

back home…

…or at least to my Ugandan home:)

This is going to be short, but I wanted to let everyone know that I have made it back to Mukono, Uganda safely.
I don’t have much internet while I am here, but I will post pictures and updates when I can.

Before I go, let me tell you, it feels good to be back here, even though I know this visit will be brief.
the smiles
the warm welcomes
the hugs
it has been great and brought so much joy to my heart.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here; to see my friends and family, to talk about life, and to see what God has been doing here.

 

much love!