Saturday, November 22, 2014

Home Makeover Shrodes Edition

Jordan and I came home from Africa to a big surprise! Well, it was a surprise for me. Jordan knew about it the whole time. The surprise was new flooring in our home's main areas, plus a new couch! All of it was done by my husband, Dustin, Savanna and friends from church. They also decorated a bit for fall, to welcome us home.

Lots of people are asking for photos, so here are the results! My husband took 160 photos and I am going to link to his Facebook album here in case you would like to see more than just these few. I believe he has made the album public but if not, I'll ask him to. (smile) Here's his Facebook Album.

Larry had this planned for six months, to surprise me when I got home. I want to give thanks to everyone who helped him on the project. In addition to our children, those who worked so hard with him were Todd Stewart, Doug Rice, John Torres, Willy Letaw, Joel Tevi, Troy Mayercak, Jacob Mayercak, Mason Mayercak, Mike Molinero, and Rachel Rice.  John actually took off work to help. I am so grateful for all of you and your labors of love!

Front entrance

Carpet that was previously in family room. It was worn and stained when we moved in, 10 years ago and we have steam cleaned it more times than I can count, to make the best of it.

Tile and parquet floor, before makeover.
Savanna writes scriptures on the foundation before new flooring installed.


Psalm 18:2

As for me and my house...

Maddie says, "What's going on here?"
Doug Rice, clearing the old floor to make way for the new...
Dustin scraping
The barrier is down...
Boxes of new flooring
Todd and John hard at work, installing the new floor.
Todd working on new kitchen floor
Ta-da!!!! New living room, dining room and family room floor!
New kitchen flooring

Eating area off of the kitchen - new floor



Wowwwweeeeee!!!!
Dining room


New bathroom flooring

New laundry room floor
From the living room to the kitchen
Max tuckered out on his blanket on the new floor
Max and Maddie say, "Yep, there's been a lot going on around here. We're tired just watching it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is Real Intimacy with God?


Sunset tonight in Kitengala, Kenya
I learn more about intimacy with God, every day.

It's not formal, fancy-schmantzy or mystical.
Intimacy with God isn't about the most theological-sounding prayer or something outwardly impressive. Sometimes it's crying in the shower and telling Him what's wrong. Other times it's pouring out how thankful I am that everything is going so right. 

It's plain, every day walking and talking with God.

Me in the Kiambethu tea fields, on Saturday
Intimacy with God, is being in communication with Him from the time my eyes open in the morning. Or it's lying in bed in the middle of the night listening to the rain pour down as it did in Africa the other night and having a long conversation.

I was feeling so poorly, having very uneasy and even outright scary feelings after getting so sick on Saturday.  We had gone up into the mountains and apparently I got altitude sickness.  Eight thousand miles from home, weak and sick and not sure what's wrong or when it will be better is kind of daunting. Having to preach two services on Sunday morning was on my mind as well. I didn't even know how I would stand up much less preach. But I did, by the grace of God. I am still not totally better and my missionary friends considered taking me to the hospital . I have been getting rest to receive strength to preach again. (Please keep praying for me, if you have been. Thank you.)

Being in conversations with God where He comforts me in His love and care for me is what spiritual intimacy is all about for me. It's being in that quiet place where I receive His instruction, His reassurance, His concern for me. Intimacy with God is at-ease conversation that naturally pours out from my heart. Even more important is when He shares His thoughts with me.

Wherever I am, there He is. And vice versa.
He's my constant. Whether home or 8,000 miles away.
He's the one I'm never without.
I am so thankful for the prayer and care from God's people, but even more thankful for what only comes from God.

People say He's "as close as the mention of His name" but really He's much closer. Because even when I'm asleep or unaware, He is always there waiting on me.

Before I utter a word, He's at my side.

He's my advisor and helper, with every move I make.

I don't want to take a step without Him.
Don't want to make a decision without His guidance.

It's such a comfort that I do nothing without my best friend.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Why I am Not Afraid of Getting Ebola in Africa


With the current Ebola outbreak at various places in the world, many people have expressed concern about the fact that my son Jordan and I are going to Africa on Wednesday.  I know people mean well, and love us very much.  I appreciate that. I don't get angry when people express their concern to me, although I do get perplexed at times.

Even before the current Ebola outbreak, there were people pleading with me to stay home from Africa  for various reasons. I have traveled there alone, this being my fourth time -- and I've heard concern about everything from a plane crash to a terrorist attack. So you can imagine, with the Ebola outbreak in a few countries, people have gone into overdrive expressing their fears, begging me to reconsider this trip and stay home. Yesterday alone, I heard it from at least 15 people.

I do not mean any of this in a condescending way. I am trying to educate because by the way others speak to me about this in such fear, I realize they do not know the truth. Or if they do, they have momentarily placed all reason aside.

A Geography Lesson

Africa is not a country.

Africa is a continent.

Three of the United States would fit inside the continent of Africa.

There are 54 countries within the continent of Africa.

I am going to the country of Kenya.

As of today, there are no reported cases or outbreaks of Ebola in Kenya.

None. 

However it's interesting that there are several in the United States!

I am actually closer to Ebola by being in the United States, than in going to Africa.

Please let that sink in for a moment...

All of you precious ones who are worried about Jordan and me, wringing your hands and pleading that we stay home. We are more in danger in Florida than we are in Kenya! (At least when it comes to Ebola.) 

People hear the word "Africa" and assume it's all the same no matter what country is being referenced.

Earlier this week, it kinda took the cake when someone told me they were going to stay away from me for a while when I return from Kenya, just to make sure they don't catch Ebola. And they were not joking.

Whaaaaaaaat?????? [Shaking my head.]



Please take a look at this "Ebola map."  The countries indicated are those with Ebola outbreaks. The rest of the countries have no cases at this time. I am going to east Africa. As you can see, the Ebola outbreaks are to the west. 

This is not to diminish the horrible plight of those countries and people including our own in the USA who are experiencing an Ebola outbreak. My prayers are with them.

I also realize that people can be at risk on flights. However, this can happen anywhere, including the USA, as was evidenced recently, when a plane full of people traveled with someone who had Ebola, from Dallas to Cleveland. Yet I don't hear a lot of people gasping in horror at people taking flights within the United States. It seems as if Africa is getting a bad rap here. And really, anything is a risk. I am taking a risk this morning as I get in my car and drive on 75 South to work.  If we avoided all risk whatsoever we would become hermits, have no life and miss the destiny on our lives.

I ask that your prayers go with Jordan and me as we go to Africa. Pray for safe travel and that many lives be changed and touched. But please, don't feel the need to spend any more time pleading with God (or with us) that we don't catch Ebola. Truly we needed the prayers to be protected from Ebola much more while still here in the United States.

If you have been one of those people worried about us, please let your heart be comforted and your mind at ease. 

I am not afraid of catching Ebola in Kenya because first of the geographic reasons explained, but also because God called Jordan and me to go on this trip, and He is going with us.

Thank you for loving us so much. We love you all.