Saturday, April 28, 2012

The cool part about Journey 117 is the training they provide before taking you on trips. One part of the training is a bible study that I work each week and then on our conference calls we go over our answers.
Last weeks study was on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

For some reason, this time when I read the story, I was really sympathetic to the plight of the disciples.

Disciples say to Jesus, “This crowd is getting big. We think this would be a great time to take a break, little siesta, everyone is getting hungry - they can eat and then we can meet up later. Hungry people aren’t happy people, so let’s quit while we’re ahead.”

Jesus says, “Yeah, y’all are right, I’m bet they are getting hungry. So what are we going to feed all these people?”

Andrews thinks, WHAT?! What are we going to eat? We barely know where our meals are coming from. How are we supposed to feed all these people?! Andrew says, “Um, Jesus, not trying to burst your philanthropic bubble, but we couldn’t make enough cash in the next 6 months to feed each person 1 bite of bread. Yeah, I don’t think lunch for 5,000 is an option today.”

Go. Go round up what food you can find.” Jesus commands.

You heard the man. Let’s go see what we can find.

They bring Jesus what they have.  Jesus does the miracle.

(The above interpretation is from the SabMad International Version.  Not out in shelves.  For good reason.)

Feeding 5,000 peeps is a lot of peeps.
Pa-shaw, feeding my family of 6 overwhelms me some most days.

What I could really relate with was the feelings the disciples may have had of anxiety, inadequacy and being overwhelmed with a problem that on the surface doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

That is how I feel when I think of the Orphan crisis....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.
That is how I feel when I think of going to Africa....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.
And honestly, that is how I feel when I think about ministry or serving....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.

On my heart this week, God really impressed that at this point all He is asking me to do is GO.

Go do your homework.
Go get your shots.
Go ask your friends to help you collect.
Go to Africa.
Go, He says, and show people what My hands and feet look like.
Go, He says, and watch me work.

I have no idea what will happen when I go.
The disciples had no idea what would happen when they went.
They couldn’t have imagined.
I don’t think I can either.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Gosh, mercy. This has been a week.

Little recap:

Monday: recovered from my busy weekend.  I went down to Colorado Springs and got my Olympic Weight Lifting certification through the USA Olympic Training Center.  SO fun, but so exhausting.  I also wasn’t feeling the best because Dr. Germ brought home the nasty cold he had the previous week.  If only he could wear a bio hazard suit to work…
Tuesday:  JMad “reminds me” (I’m pretty sure this was the first I’d heard of it!) that he is leaving the next day for San Francisco.  Poor man was oncall and up all night then had to catch an 8am flight to CA.  This was also the day of my very last MOPS meeting!!  I’ve been in MOPS for 10 years and graduated this year.  My babies are growing up.  Perhaps it’s time to get another one???

Wednesday:  JMad leaves and all hell breaks loose.  The kids came home from school and, long story short, Luke busted his head open, blood everywhere and then ended up throwing up with a concussion.  On our way to our AWANA awards banquet.  Paged JMad 911 and he was so surprised I used it for an actual emergency and not because I can’t find the remote.  Not that I would ever page him for something so ridiculous, ahem, ahem.  Tough night, but we made it through and Luke the Goo Maddry is as good as new!  So thankful!
Thursday:  Stayed at home since Luke was on orders to rest with very little activity.  It was amazing how productive I am when I stay at home.  Novel concept for a stay at home mama.  Note to self:  you only get things done around the house if you stay at home.  Duly noted.

Frieday:  JMad come home at some point in the middle of the night.  At some other point in the middle of the night I realized I needed to be in 3 places at once on Friday morning.  I’m good, but I’m not that good.  Ordered requested begged JMad to stay home and help me.  Got my doctors okay to get my travel shots – military drama – but since I needed 6 shots and the DoD only lets you get 5 shots, I’ll have to go back next week for more shots and to get some blood drawn.  Good news is the malaria medication that is recommended, but expensive, is being provided by the USAF!  For free!! 

Yeah, it was a busy week.  I also got my itinerary for my Uganda trip.  For some reason I thought I was only going to be gone 12 days.  My itinerary has me gone for 14 days.  I’m getting anxious.  14 days without my people…

Lord, do I trust you to keep them safe?
Lord, do I trust you to keep me safe?

Lord, do I trust you…

Seems like a funny question to ask considering all He has done for me just this week
Seems like an even crazier question to ask considering all He has done for me in my life!

I feel like I've come so far, but I have even farther to go.
Thankful that He's willing to meet and love me, right where I am!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mama said there'd be days like this...

Kids are out of school today.
I'm teaching 4 classes.
Ella pulled the classic, "My tummy hurts, I think I'm going to be sick."  And then proceeds to puke all over her room and everywhere in the bathroom except the toilet.
My laundry room is out of control.  Again.
The floors are so gross I won't walk barefoot.
I'm tired from a long and busy week.
While Ella is in the bathroom - sure she is going to be sick - Lily Kate pees all over the kitchen floor.
Can't put off the floor anymore, can't put off the laundry anymore.
To top it all off, JMad is oncall.  For the third time since Sunday.

And the guys I workout with in the morning ask me what I do all day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Uganda: How it all began

Last night I had my first Uganda Team Conference call.
I learned a few things:
  1. Conference calls are awkward. Especially among people who don’t know one another. I totally get the reason why we have to do it and am glad we have technology to do it, but it’s still awkward. Lots of awkward silence. And I’m not good with awkward silence.
  2. It looks like our current itinerary has us with a long layover in London. And our team leader lived there, so feels comfortable taking us sightseeing, with enough time to make our flight to Kampala. I’m beyond excited to see London and get a chance to practice my English accent! My kids say it awful, but I think they’re biased.
  3. I need to get a lot of shots. Sooner, rather than later. NOT looking forward to that. I’m not really into shots. But, I’m even less into yellow fever. So I need to make an appointment to get those shots. I guess that means I have to find a doctor? Shockingly enough, I haven’t been to the doctor since 2007. And my kids haven’t been…in a long time. I’m not going to lie; I’m really not into doctors.
This whole adventure is overwhelming right now. I actually woke up in the middle of the night panicked about being away from The Littles for 2 weeks. When we went to Mexico last year we left them for 5 (maybe 6) days and I wanted to rip the face off the 3 customs agents that – in my extremely humble and gentle opinion – were moving entirely too slow and inhibiting me from seeing my babies. Afterall, it wasn’t my fault that there were only 3 of them working and 300 of us waiting in line.


That’s my goal for the, ahem, year. I will learn to be gracious.


This all began quite simply. We have family night once a week and are using it to teach the kids about the world around them. In August I decided that I wanted to make them aware of what God says about widows, orphans and downtrodden. I started doing some research online, found some great organizations who were doing great work and we watched a video that explained how kids become orphans. And how in many countries it is a cycle that can be broken (When I have time, I’ll look for that video and post it.) Through my research I found World Orphan and through World Orphan I found Journey 117. They are who I’m doing the trip through. But at this time I didn’t know I was doing a trip.

I thought I was bringing some awareness with my kids about orphans.

It’s also through this research that I started to learn about human trafficking. I was shocked and horrified. That it happens, how often it happens, how easily it happens and that it is happening in my city. And that a significant amount of human trafficking happens to orphans.

I saw that my church was hosting a forum on human trafficking and went. Learned a ton. Found out about a Holiday Market where all of the items were free trade items and items made from people trying to escape human trafficking.

Went shopping, bought all the women in our family gifts from there and learned more about free trade and sex trafficking. Ways to help. Ways to get involved.

I decided to be a part of a group starting at my church to help bring awareness to human trafficking.

I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His.

And it was at this time that I saw a quick flash about Journey 117 hosting a trip to Uganda.

Sent JMad a text and told him I wanted to go to Africa.
He sent a text back and said, “when?”
I was sure I was to go.
JMad wasn’t so sure.
We prayed about it.
I wasn’t so sure I was going to go. JMad was sure I was supposed to go.

What if something happens to me or him or the kids while I’m gone? My Michele says to me, “If you are where God wants you to be, there is no safer place.” (Side note: seriously, is she amazing? Love her more than there are words!)


If you are where God wants you to be, there is no safer place.


I’m scared to leave my man and kids. I’m scared to see poverty. I’m scared to be changed. I’m scared to have my heart broken. I’m scared to leave my safe place of control and comfort. I’m scared to travel to the unknown. I’m scared of shots. I’m scared of strangers. I’m scared to do this without JMad to help me through it. I’m scared to rely on God. I’m scared…

What was romantic when it was a pipe dream is so scary when it’s reality.

So, one step at a time. I'm taking the advice I told my girls the other day: Do not swallow an almond whole. You will choke. One bite at a time.

First bite: shots!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warning: Only read if you have 4 hours to do nothing!

Where to begin?
Not at the beginning, that’s for sure!
I’ve been blogging for 7 years and never taken a hiatus this long. Let’s just dive in!

We are loving, absolutely loving, Colorado! What other place has such amazing weather that you can go skiing on Friday and then go for a long warm hike and picnic on Saturday? Or be out in tanks and shorts at a football game and wake up to snow the next day? That’s what our weekend look like in Colorado these days!

JMad is staying busy with work. He’s learning a lot and really likes his colleagues. When not working he can be found with his second love CrossFit. Yep, I’ve seduced him to the dark side!! It took a couple of years, but he has finally had a drink of the CrossFit kool-aid and loves it. He’s building his own gym in the garage and is getting pretty good. I think I could still take him!

Caleb continues to challenge us as parents, disciplers and disciples. He is so materialistic and is drawn to the wordly things in life. There are moments where he is so difficult to parent (and be around for that matter) and then there are other moments where he is such a joy ( I have a feeling God says this about me too!) God continues to use this child to humble us and keep us on our knees. I believe with all my heart that God specifically uses this child to teach me more about His character and my character too. Caleb has been doing CrossFit kids and AWANA and both have been really good for him. Caleb is a natural leader – he was nominated for Student Council and loves being active in school leadership. We signed him up for camp this summer (the camp I was a counselor at!!) and I think he will have a great time. One thing that stays consistent with my boy is that he loves his mama. And, mercy, I love him too!

Luke continues to amaze us with his love of school, learning and athleticism. I went to his parent/teacher conference a couple of weeks ago and that child continues to stay at the top of his class. Luke has this fantastic teacher who has gone out of her way to come up with work that will challenge him. She has even had to go to other grades in search of work for him. (BTW – this has given me a whole new appreciation for what a “good” teacher is!) He loves math and is always asking me to make-up math tests for him at home. While he is super smart, he is also a huge mess. He is our personal, “Little Einstein.” His appearance is always disheveled and his teacher laughed when she showed me his desk. It was such a mess that he uses the empty desk next to him to hold his overflow papers. His backpack is an equal disaster – found his teachers Christmas present in it at the end of January!! Luke also loves football and plays in a flag league. He shocked us all by scoring 2 touchdowns his first game ever! (I think Caleb was most thrilled for him and kept yelling, “Number 1 Fan” to his baby brother!) Luke also really loves Jesus and is always sharing his love for Him with his friends at school.

Lily Kate is the mama and my little mini-me! My brother came into town and I wanted to run at the gym before he got here, so I say to the twins, “Let’s hurry to the gym and run because Uncle Mark will be here soon.” Lily Kate immediately says, “Oh, no! I didn’t get a chance to clean the floors!” Seriously, this child is my replica. Yep, at her parent/teacher conference her teacher said that she is the mama of the class and has a flair for drama. I think it is her “mama-drama” that keeps her and Luke fighting all the time. Those two bicker the most, but always want to play together. Lily Kate is by far my most helpful child and loves to work side-by-side with me. Love her!

Ella is the baby. That girl keeps me laughing with the crazy things she says. She totally melts my heart most days with her antics. Ella has made huge progress in school and is being taken off her IEP for OT/behavioral play. She’ll be reevaluated tomorrow for her speech, but her teachers are thrilled with her progress. She loves art and is working hard at learning to ride her trike.

Honestly, I can’t believe my twins will be 5 next month. I’m overwhelmed at the thought! A couple of months ago I signed the girls up for Kinder – my babies are going to school next year!

I’ve found my little niche here. I have friends that I could call if I needed something, but I don’t have friends to call just because. Those ‘just because’ friendships are my favorite and I miss them. Luckily, while I don’t have any of those friendships here, I do have them all over the country. I continue with my obsession with reading. To be honest if I have any spare time, I’ll pick up a book. Hence, why no blogging. A couple of weeks ago I read 7 books in a week. Thankfully, for my family’s sake, that doesn’t happen very often. I still am obsessed with CrossFit and love coaching it. I have a fabulous ladies bible study and it has been amazing. Unlike any study I’ve been in for a long time this one is filled with women of all ages. So much wisdom! My exciting news is that I’ll be going to Africa in June! So exciting and overwhelming. I’m going on a mission trip and maybe I’ll blog about how all that came about. Pretty exciting God stuff!

Our sad news of late is that Titan Dog, our family dog that we got when we first got married, got out and we never found him. It has really been hard for all of us, but especially me, which is surprising because that dog made me crazy more often than not. We are going to Alaska this summer for our family vacation, but when we get back we’re planning on getting a dog...or two?!

Well, I guess I’ve made long enough…
Here are some pictures of late. Isn’t that all people want anyway?!
The Kids on the first day of school!

My street in the fall.  The colors here are ah-may-zing!!

Nana's visit in the fall

Check out the colors and LK's sass.  That girl...

The boys first real snow!!!  They were thrilled to get to walk to school in it!

Ella, ready for the snow.  Seriously, it took longer to get the girls in their gear than they even spent outside.  So I got smart and made a new rule...

LK stylin'.  New rule is you must stay out longer than it takes to find your snow stuff and get dressed.  We didn't have snow boots yet, so we wore our rain boots we never got to wear in SA!

the Princess girls at Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Our first Air Force Academy football game!  We tailgated before we some friends - my first tailgate party!  The awesome part (that I don't have pictures of!) of this day was our friends we went with are USAFA grads and played on the football team, then coached the team when he graduated.  So after the game we got to go on the field and meet the players.  My boys are football FANATICS and were beyond thrilled!!  One of the players even gave Caleb his sweat band from the game.  I think Caleb slept with it for a week -yuck!!

Our annual tradition of Operation Christmas Child.  Whew shopping for 4 kids, with 4 kids was something! 

Christmas Girls!

Caleb and Luke are in a duct tape phase.  They make skateboards, shoes, ties, belts, wallets, cars...with duct tape.  Here's Caleb and Daddy with their ties.

Caleb's first time on ski's.  This child loves to ski, has no fear and is really good!

Aunt Carami came to visit and make gingerbread houses

Ella wanted me to take a picture of her "Daphne smile".  This girl loves Scooby and the gang!

Uncle Mark and the Beauties

My little ski boys!

Mountain Man Maddry doing some spring skiing

I think it was the warmest ski day I've ever skied.  Here are my boys as we head down!

Hiking the next day!  Love Colorado!!!!  Ski one day, hike the next.