Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Facebook reminder

so today on my Facebook wall popped up a memory from 2011... Me starting this blog. So I go to my blog, that I have totally forgotten about, and the last post I made was 2014. Two years ago?! Where to start after being silent for two years. So much has happened since then, it would be an endless game of catch-up. So do I start with now? Which would inevitably have to bring up things from the last two years...but I guess at least then there would be something to write about.

In less than a week Trevor is coming back here for the summer...a bit early, as his scheduled flight wasn't until May. That is a story in itself. So we are preparing for him to arrive...cleaning his room, making sure he has some drawers ( we put some of Declan's warm weather clothes in the drawers that Trevor use to occupy.) both Trevor and Kenna left in August of 2015 to head to America for college. Again...that is another story.

The question here is...can I commit to writing here weekly? Monthly? I would like to,say I can...but then life gets in the way. To go back and read my last post makes me sad, as we loved Thorin and Kodi.. (We have since lost another dog to yet another poison).

For today....this is all. So much to catch up on. For now...at least I remember I have a blog. 😊

Monday, October 20, 2014

It is well...

So much has happened this past month. It seems like whenever Jon travels, (Derbycon and Hacker Halted), things just happen. I'm sure things happen when he is here, but when he is gone they just seem worse.

About a month ago he headed to Kentucky for Derbycon. The morning he was to leave our youngest guard dog, Thorin, was not himself. By mid-morning we could tell that he was really sick, and our guts told us he had been poisoned. Now poisoning of dogs is quite common here. People will put rat poison in a cheap piece of meat and throw it over your fence, so the dog will eat it... get sick.. die.. and then someone will break into your compound. We immediately called the vet, and he sent a driver over to pick him up. Within ten minutes of our call, the driver comes. Thorin was almost unconscious at this point. His eyes droopy and puffy. His mouth horrible swollen. We had to carry him into the car and lay him down.

Jon was here for this part.. but within minutes of sending Thorin away, the driver was here to pick Jon up to take him to the airport.

The vet calls later to say that Thorin is on an I.V, but not doing good. Jon calls from the airport to check in. Of course he feels bad that he is going when I have to deal with the dog.

The following morning.. the vet calls at 6:30.... Thorin has had a heart attack during the night and died. He was such a good dog. He was always sitting at our front door step, guarding. He just was so sweet. I am so sad. I have to tell Declan on the way to school. Jon is over the Atlantic somewhere.. I'll have to tell him later.

Flash forward to this past week.. Jon got asked to speak at Hacker Halted in Atlanta. He is scheduled to fly out Monday night, which means leaving Jinja at 3 in the afternoon. He gets on his way. About two hours later... as I was greeting a new guest for the Bed & Breakfast, I notice that Kodi (our male german shepherd-father to Thorin) is not acting normal. It wasn't like he was acting sick.. he was just not his normal self. About thirty minutes later, Johnson comes to the door and says Kodi isn't eating the food he is giving him (which he usually loves). I head outside to see what's wrong.

Kodi is just laying down, but as I approach he gets up and just stands there. He is normally running all around the property and making sure the other dogs are in order. For him to just stand still, is quite out of character.

I call the vet. He says he is in town and can come in twenty minutes. (I have to say it is extremely nice to have the vet come to your house- the vets clinic is a good 30 minutes away). Kodi just stands with me.. I notice he is shaking.

The vet loads Kodi onto the back of his truck, with Johnson and Gerald accompanying him to the clinic. (Kodi does NOT like this vet-- a week previous to this, the vet had come to update the dogs vaccinations... long story.. but Jon ended up getting 10 stitches- guess that's another story to tell).

I don't hear from the vet til the next morning. Kodi had a temperature of 41 C. That is extremely high for a dog. The vet says he has given an injection (doesn't say what), and has him on an I.V. Later that afternoon, he calls to say that Kodi seems to be doing better, but he will keep him there to make sure he will eat.

Around 9pm that night, I get a call from the vet, saying that Kodi is doing much worse. That the high fever seems to have caused Kodi to have blood vessels in his brain to burst- he is bleeding from his nose. The vet says the prognosis isn't good.

Declan and I sit on the bed and cry.

Not again.

We pray. But I think I know, Kodi doesn't have a chance.

Next morning as we are heading to open the Keep... I get a call from the vet... Kodi has died.

Again... our dog is gone. Again.. Jon isn't here.

We do know that the deaths were not related. We are fairly certain that they both died from different things. That is wasn't poisoned meat thrown over the fence. BOTH deaths... could have been prevented.

Fumigators had come to the house to spray for bats, rats, fleas, fire ants, etc. Jon specifically asked them if it was safe for dogs. They assured him it was fine. Even so, Johnson and Gerald moved the dogs to the opposite side of the compound while they were spraying. Thorin managed to get off his chain and headed back over to his doghouse. The fumigators didn't stop spraying. Nor were we told he had gotten off. This was Friday. By Monday... the toxins had already taken over. Had we known Thorin was near the spraying... we could have given him an antidote. Organophosphate. Banned in the US for use... but still commonly used here.

For Kodi... Aflatoxicosis- a fungus that can grow in maize flour and ground nut powder. Both of which are extremely common to feed dogs here. The fungus causes a build up of basically poison in the liver... the liver gets to the point that it can't handle it anymore- they get ill- fever- and have a 70% mortality at that point.

Things that could have been prevented... but things we just didn't know about. Living here.. we are always learning. Sometime we can learn without anything devastating happening... probably half the time... something devastating does happen.

On top of Kodi dying.. I get an email from my mom with the news that she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. What does that mean for her? What does that mean for me? For us here?

One thing I have learned living here....if I don't put my trust in God. I would have no hope. I am overwhelmed a lot of the time. But I know that God is with me. That is the ONLY thing that helps me get through times like these.

I recently found a new version of "IT IS WELL"- by Kristen Dimarco - It has been like a life line for me. To just play that song. To sing those words in the midst of sadness. It is well....(www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back with a vengence

You know it's been awhile since blogging when..... you can't even remember what the name of it is. Way back when I started this page... I knew it was going to be a challenge to keep up with it. Having not blogged in over a year, proves that.

I don't even know if anyone checks here anymore.. this is more just for me to write down all the frustrations. Sure the year has had its up's.. but, do you ever feel like you've just had a horrible day..week..month...year... or years?! Now I know when feelings get involved our view on life can get very skewed. Let's just say that there are SO many feelings involved that it is really hard to see the good, the positive. I am trying.

This is my desert. I can relate to the Israelites wandering around in the desert. It's not that I don't feel close to God or feel his presence. With so many bizarre things occurring around me, it does make me doubt myself and others.

A friend of ours here said, "The hardest thing won't be doing your ministry, it won't be the nationals... it will be getting along with the other 'missionaries'". Why is that? Why is there so much dissension, so much gossip, so much back-stabbing amongst the missionaries here? Living in a small town, everybody pretty much knows everybody. Somehow.. when one person says something about another.. that is taken as law. No going and checking with the other person to at least hear the other side of the story. So is that judging? AND... since I am ranting... why is it that christians can use the "I was seeking advice" excuse to go and gossip? It's not seeking advice, if permission hasn't been granted to that person to go and mention what was told in confidence. IT'S GOSSIP. There is a saying, "If your not part of the problem, or part of the solution... then you talking about it.. is gossip". I'm not saying that ONLY christians do this. In the circle of people in this community... by FAR.. it isn't the Muslims, or the Hindu's or the un-churched... it is the very adamant christians.

Frustrated is not a strong enough word. So many things are going on in my life, that at any given moment I could just cry. Or scream. Not sure which would be better.

So.. I have been getting up earlier so I can spend time with God. I listen to worship/praise music a lot more. Is it helping? I don't know. I would like to say it is. I am trying to live like Christ would want me too. In spite of all the poo around me. When satan tries to get you down... he really comes at you FULL force. He plays with your insecurities. Pushes that knife in deeper. And at times... uses others to dig at you too.

Through all of this.. am I behaving how God wants me to? Regardless of how others treat me. Whether or not those around who hurt us are christians or not, it shouldn't matter, but for some reason it does. It cuts to the core. Especially when the hypocrisy is so thick.

What's the comment made by Gandhi? "I like Christ, it's the christians I don't."

What kind of examples are we when we can't even get along with each other?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some pictures of the last six months

Sarah learning how to rollerblade
Trevor with Cassie and Namon at RVA
Kenna and Johnny, Kenna turns 17
Danielle and I for St. Patrick's day celebration
Riding through Bryce Canyon
Skiing in Utah
At Zion National Park
Mule riding through Bryce
At Bryce Canyon
Rich gets married to Nicki
Jen rock climbing
Pictures from the last six months
Trevor rock climbing

Victoria and Kenna for St. Patricks Day
Kelli marries Davis
Trip to Sipi Falls

Lacam Lodge
At the bottom of falls
Christmas in January

Monday, September 3, 2012


We arrived back from Kijabe, Kenya on Sunday the 26th. Another family that also took their son to RVA with us were going to be heading back to their home in Gulu. We have been trying to visit them for over a year, and it just never worked out. Since they were already in Jinja and going to be heading home, we decided it was a good time to follow them up.

Probably at least nine months ago, Hackers for Charity had donated a computer with N-computing installed and three monitors. When our friends, Keith and Lisa Coggin, set it up in the classroom in Gulu it didn't work. Over the months they returned the computer to Jinja and our technician tried to fix it. Long story short... it was finally fixed and we felt like this time we should actually go up for the install.

Having just returned from a day and a half of travel we were glad when Keith decided to stay in Jinja on Monday and just relax. Declan really wasn't crazy about getting in the car again and traveling another seven hours. What a blessing when dear friends of ours offered to have Declan stay with them.

Tuesday we head out, taking dusty back roads.... seeing a cow tied to the back of a boda (motorcycle), that was a first. The country up there is beautiful. Clouds... I like clouds. Up there they were so white, and the sky so blue.

We arrive late Tuesday afternoon. The school is closed for holiday, but the computer classroom is suppose to be ready for set-up. Of course, that was not the case. It seemed like all the workers had decided to take off while Keith and Lisa weren't there. So the computer table that was suppose to be finished wasn't. The carpenter assures Keith that it will be done by 9am the next morning.

Later that evening the carpenter calls back and says he is on the way to the school to bring the table. Yeah... we would get to do set up the following day.
The Nile River

One of the school buildings
More classrooms... open door leads to the computer lab
At this point.... we had to just laugh. The carpenter indeed did bring the table.... but it was in pieces. Not assembled. But that's okay.... now we can tell him to not varnish the top of the table so we don't have to wait for it to become un-sticky. With clear instructions given to the carpenter we head to the huts for the night.

The next morning, Wednesday, Keith goes over to see the table. It is assembled!! However... the clear instructions that were given were not followed. A nice coat of varnish is covering the entire table. When we asked the carpenter why the instructions weren't followed... he says, "oh, but if the rains come the table could get wet on the top and needed to be sealed." Which was a good argument, except for the fact that it was not asked for, and in fact was not wanted. Keith puts a fan on it for the night, and we hope it will be dry by morning.

Thursday.... FINALLY. The table is assembled and dry, we can install the computer classroom. I helped a very little bit, Jon does most of the work.. but by the end of the day it is ready for use.
Keith with the carpenters

Six stations, instead of three. Nice new monitors and deep freeze installed so no one can accidentally erase or mess up the machine.

Johnny making sure everything is working properly.

We are very excited to see how the children take to them. This is will be the first time most of the students will have ever used a computer. Thanks to the donations of supporters we have successfully installed another classroom. Keith and Lisa are also so excited to have a computer lab for their school. I will update with stories when I receive them from Keith and Lisa.

Rift Valley Academy

Last year we put an application for Makenna and Trevor to attend RVA (Rift Valley Academy) in Kijabe, Kenya. Last year they were put on a waiting list and we home-schooled. This year we updated their files at RVA and waited again. On July 27th we received an email from RVA saying the 10th grade class was full for the year, but they would let us know if there were any openings.

(Let me interject here that we have been praying about whether or not to send the kids to a boarding school. We tried home-schooling last year, and although it was okay.. it definitely wasn't/isn't the best option. So, from last year through this year we have been praying that God would show us what we should be doing. That if RVA was where the kids should be that the doors would be opened and we would have a peace about it. We continued to pray, with the kids and without the kids. Receiving the email from RVA saying the class was full was a closed door. We had already sent in a deposit for an accredited home-school program, so we started looking at the courses we should sign up for.)

July 31st. I receive and email from RVA saying that BOTH Trevor and Makenna had been accepted. BOTH. When I received that email, I was blown away. God had opened the door. What was once shut, was now open. My heart flooded with emotions. In awe that the door had been opened... and yet scared because the door had been opened. My babies would be going away. Yet this is what we had been praying for. A clear sign from God. It couldn't get more clear... what had been a no, was now a yes.

The question now was: was I going to trust God that He knew what He was doing. Trust that God had opened this door, was I going to release my kids, to have faith that God knows better than me. My mind knew the right answers, the logic of all the opportunities, all that RVA had to offer.... but oh, my heart. How do you prepare you heart to release your kids.

We had twenty three days to get all the paperwork in order, to get all the supplies the kids would need, etc. TWENTY THREE. That time seemed to fly by. Sure we were anxious, we were scared, sad, on an emotional roller coaster. We all chose to rely on God. He had lead us down this path, He would not forsake us now.

Sept. 23: We leave Jinja for the long ride to Kijabe. Two other families from Jinja and Gulu were also taking their children to RVA for the first time, so we all caravan together. 

Sept. 24: We report to RVA. The next two days is a bunch of meetings for the parents, and some meetings and activities for the new students. RVA even had activities for the younger siblings (Declan had friends there by the first day). We got to sleep in the dorm that Makenna was in. She even slept in her dorm room the first night there, with Trevor and Declan. 

Sept. 25: We get Makenna set up in her dorm and Trevor set up in his dorm. We meet both of their dorm parents. 

The one thing that Jon and I were impressed with most was how much the staff seemed to want to be there. So many of the staff had actually attended RVA as students, and now they were back working there. The spiritual well-being of our kids was their number on priority. To love on the kids. To educate them, of course. Even some of the parents dropping off their kids had attended RVA. It was totally amazing to see and hear all the testimonies of RVA alumni. It seemed like a close knit family, not a boarding school.

We say good-bye to Trevor and Kenna around 3pm and have to head to the place we are staying for the night. Tears are shed. Hugs are given. BUT... we have a peace. A peace we can't explain, but that is definitely there. God has each one of us in His hands. God is in control. Are we all willing to trust in God and His infinite wisdom, or are we going to think we know better.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yesterday I could have died

Morbid post I know. Your probably saying, "What the heck?" So, let me fill you in.

Yesterday started like any other day. I get up, shower, get the kids up, go downstairs and see that they are getting breakfast and ready for school. Everything was normal.... until I went to turn on the kitchen sink.

Let me back up for a minute. You might or might not know about the power in Uganda. So let me give you a brief run-down. Our power is, well, unreliable at best. Recently it has gotten much better, as far as being on most the time. A few months ago, it was off more than it was on. So much so, that we had to invest in an inverter and a generator. The inverter will run half our security lights, two wall sockets and just our living room/dining room lights and it only last like six hours. The generator is for the whole house, minus the hot water heaters and will run until it runs out of petrol. The power had gotten that bad. If we didn't have the generator, our food would go bad within a day. On top of the spotty power.... the electric company isn't always consistent in what power they have. Sometimes it is running at 110v. It is suppose to be at 220v. About three months ago, when they turned the power back on they pumped out 250v, which blew most everybody's computers, refrigerators, etc. Needless to say, the local businesses threatened to riot against the electric company unless they straightened out the power issue. Since that time, power has been almost regular.

Back to the story.

Trevor and I were the only ones in the kitchen at the time. Jon was occupied in the bathroom. Kenna was doing something, and Declan was upstairs changing. Trevor says I was looking for the carrot cake, but I have no idea why I would have been turning on the sink. All I remember was that all of a sudden I was yelling/screaming (which I NEVER do)... thinking "why can't I get my hand off this knob", something was really wrong. My brain reacted before it told me I needed to react. I remember pain all over my body. Fear. I remember screaming but not understanding why. I remember Trevor screaming and calling out for Jon to come. I remember him saying, "I don't know what's wrong, but something is wrong with mamma."

The next thing I knew was I was loose. I think I was in shock. (duh) I collapsed to the floor (it wasn't like I lost consciousness... but I just couldn't stand). By this time I was hyperventilating and sobbing and holding my left hand/arm.. in a fetal position on the floor. Kenna was standing there asking, "What am I suppose to do? I don't know what I'm suppose to do." Trevor was getting a little angry because Jon still hadn't come.

Jon got there (it was actually within 30 seconds of the whole thing, but to the kids and to me... it seemed like forever). The kids still didn't really understand what had happened, so he asked. Through my sobs, I told him not to touch the faucet. He knew right away. We have had this problem before, with little shocks that make you jerk your hand back. We had had it fixed. It was nothing like this. My muscles had contracted right away and I physically had a death grip on the faucet. Jon reassured me I was fine now, just breathe, try to breathe with him. In hindsight, it was a good thing he had taken child-birthing classes, it came in handy.

My whole left arm ached, tingled, was numb, up into my shoulder and neck. Which is normal. "When someone is electrocuted, the person might feel paresthesia, which is a tingling, prickling, numbing or sometimes a burning sensation." Also normal was the "hyperventilating"- "Someone having respiratory arrest might look like he or she is having an asthma attack. Look for trouble or cessation of breathing." I was definitely having trouble breathing.

When talking to my dear friend about it later, her first question was, "How did you get off?" With the electricity causing my muscles to contract into the death grip, there is no reason I should have just been able to let go myself. I don't know how I got off. She, and I also, think that an angel pushed me off. With all the reading I have done since then normally a person has to be tackled off.

God was protecting me. From permanent damage, from any lasting effects, from any burn marks, brain damage.....death.

Yesterday my whole arm ached, tingled, was numb... today, it is pretty much back to normal. I thank God that He was protecting me. I thank God it was me and not Declan. Thank you Jesus!

Jon shut the power off for the whole house until the electrician could come. He spent the day going over the wiring for the whole house. Turns out that the leak we have in our bathroom ceiling, which Jon had just reported to the landlord the day before, was leaking significantly in the attic/crawl space. There has been so much rain that there was a lot of standing water up there. Right along with the water pipes and the now exposed electrical wires for the whole house. Because the insulation on the electrical wires was eroded off, and because it is the same wiring from the 50's when the house was built, and because there was standing water.... basically all the water pipes were electrified.

Right now the electrician has the electrical wires lifted out of the standing water, but we are waiting on the go-ahead from the landlord to have them replace all the wires in the attic.

I cannot express enough how amazed I am, how grateful I am to God. This could have been so much worse, and for whatever reason, God had my hand release from that faucet.

I could have died......

Yet. I am alive in Christ!!