Counting it All Joy From Mittens to Haiku

61. writing in my Bible

65. happy purses

66. bible study ladies

67. prayer: being able to ask for it, praying for others

78. Hope House name tag found in my Bible

79. carrying keys in my mittens

83. giving away homemade mugs

86. writing late at night

91. haiku poetry

95. personal bests at running

What about you? What gift did you find this week? What brought you joy? What did you find beautiful? Take a look around this week…and count it all joy with me!


Gratitude Community

Waking Up to Joy

Months ago at Hope House, we made a paper chain with all of our names.  I kept the paper chain and put it up in my room at Thrive.  I couldn’t bear to part with it so I brought it home.  I made it into a collage to add a reminder for my room in the States.  I love these kids that made Fridays full of joy, happiness and love.  They captured my heart and showed me a glimpse of God. I am committed to praying for them and the caretakers at Hope House daily and I’m going to love waking up to their names!

Pray for them with me!

Here are some of their names: Teboho, Keke, Katleho, Thabo, Nelly, Zodwa, Teboho, Nthokozo, Mathola, Thando, Tseantanda, Lunga, Kwanele, Letta, Zandile, Samke, Lerato, Phumzile, Norah, Lucky, Gifty, Morgan, Carnation, Nkosi, Pume, Mahow, Nthforte, Beki, Umphilo, Thabang, Nomfundo, Teboho, Tumelo, Jamesy, Gugu


“I have you in my heart.” Philippians 1:7

Forgive the lack of blogging…I kept going to blog, but then getting distracted or falling asleep.  Oops!  Here’s a quick recap of the week: last staff meeting of the year, talking with some lovely ladies, binding and more binding (woot! leadership summit books to impact lots of kiddos!), saying good-bye at adopt-a-family, last town time aka shopping for gifts for that kid up there, last church complete with “Madly,” birthday parties for Joyce (Basotho staff–we went to her house!) and Jen (ninja themed), making a dvd for that kid up there, saying good-bye to the hope house kids….that was rough, and going to church with that kid up there!

Starting off this week, I need some prayer!  Today, I say “see you in His timing” to Lindo…..I miss him already, but am trusting God big time knowing that He has Lindo in his heart too.  So if you get a chance to pray for him, his family, and me today, thank-you.  Anything I can be praying for you about?


If you know me even a little, then you probably know that I tend to think….think a lot.  Sometimes to the point where it gets in the way and puts up walls (not a good thing) and stops things from going from my head to my heart.  The last few days I got all caught up in the thinking.  The heady, here’s what experience tells me.  I “know” the truth, but I couldn’t shake the all over the board emotions ranging from confused to frustrated to happy to disappointed to sad to lonely to okay to everything else.  I bounced around and couldn’t find my footing on the solid rock.

Until today. I sat in class and I tried to pay attention and engage in conversation, but every once in a while my thoughts would overwhelm me still.  Until I heard these words, “Follow Me.”  Funny thing is that we were talking about ministering to youth and I really don’t remember how that fit in and neither does my roomie (I asked her later).  So then, God immediately brought to mind the verse below:

“…what is that to you?  You follow Me!”

My reaction: Whoa. Lord, you are so here.  You are so getting my attention.  Because really.  What is it to me that ___ is doing this or that God is working in that way in their lives.  Even, who is that to me and what is that to you that I’m working in a way you didn’t expect.  When all I need to focus on is following Him then everything else fades away.  Africa fades away. Lindo fades away. Thrive fades away. Hope House kids fade away. Marriage fades away.

Yes, good things and yes, serving is good, but He just wants me to “be.”  He loves me when I’m just sitting on the floor with Him leaning against my bed.  He wants me to follow Him and be with Him.  He wants to step out only on His firm foundation.

“It had opened her eyes to the fact that right down in the depths of her own heart she really had but one passionate desire, not for the things which the Shepherd had promised but for himself.  All she wanted was to be allowed to follow him forever. “Nothing else really matters only to love him and to do what he tells me.” -Hinds Feet in High Places

Friday’s Make My Heart Happy

zandile“You know all my thoughts.  You see through my ways.  And still You come to me.  So I sing a love song to You.  From heaven above, from earth down beneath.  Your love rains down on me.  You know all my thoughts.  You see through my skin.  And still You come to me.  And so I sing a love song to You.  You walk on waves.  You run with clouds. You paint the sky for me to see.  Your majesty, Your majesty is why I sing.  And this is a love song to You.  My life’s a love song to You.

laughing*Zandile came to Hope House two weeks ago and she’s absolutely lovely.  Praying that God will do BIG things in her life and that she will choose to let her life be a love song to God as well.

Just to Be With You

zodwacrazy hairlindo's friendslindo

More often than not, whether at the park or at Hope House or anywhere with kids, I find myself with a new hair style.  Sometimes cute.  Sometimes full of knots.  Sometimes I leave just a little bit messier. Simply put, I love it.  I’ll take messy hair any day as long as it means I get to spend time with these kids and hear their stories and sometimes even just be with them without saying much.  Just being there to show them I’m here to hang out with them and I care while letting the hair break down the barriers and open up doors to relationships and conversation.

I missed you too…

I am bursting at the seams with love and am completely overwhelmed with the love God has for me.  This weekend was a tough one.  One of battle after battle.  Not listening or entertaining the lies and distractions that desperately want me to believe that I’m not enough, that they won’t want me to come back, that I need to lose weight, that he’s gone, and that their actions say they don’t care, etc. Rather, holding fast to His words of truth and promises by reading His Word and prayer while laying things at the cross.

Yet, God turned the tide and came like a rushing stream last night and this morning.  My fellow interns prayed for me as I let the tears fall down my face.  I sat vulnerable, broken, and honest about the hard weekend.  Afterward, strengthened by prayer, God provided a source of life, of passion.  The timing worked out that I stayed up late editing a curriculum for the Leadership Summit classes.  I devoured every word and came alive.  I could barely sleep. When I woke up to see the sunrise, I found myself drawn to Isaiah where verse after verse captured my heart.

Isaiah 58:8-9 “Then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring forth and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry and He will say, ‘Here I am.'”

Isaiah 61: 10 For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.

Isaiah 62: 4 But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”

As I write, tears flood my eyes and stream down my face because I am so broken by His love. So broken to feel the love of God.  That even through everything, He keeps saying, “And I’m madly in love with you” and to show you that I’m going to give you an amazing gift today:

My heart broke in July when I had to say good-bye.  I cried so many tears and prayed so many prayers for him.  Each Friday still made my heart happy, but not like when he was there to give me a hug. Today, I got that hug I’ve been wanting for months. He played with my hair, I met his new family, I held him in my arms, I said I love you over and over, we sang Hakuna Matata, and he jumped up on my shoulders.  All the things that I loved and missed.  Yet, he stole my heart all over again and brought tears to my eyes when I heard the sweet words:

“I missed you too”

lindo shoulderslove lindo


katlehoI stood at the doorway waiting to bring in the Jell-o for the game to see who could eat it the fastest through a straw.  My eyes watched the room from afar.  Looking at the wide range of emotions on the kids’ faces and seeing their reactions to counting stickers.  When I looked closer, I saw and felt hope.  These kids live at Hope House.  A House that can be filled with Hope.  An expectation of things to come, the potential for changed lives filled the room.

Suddenly, my attention turned to a cry from outside the room with commotion.  I turned to see what happened.  Katleho (above) sat on the floor crying.  I asked what had happened to find out that he had fallen forward with his head hitting the floor first.  A bump already popped out and a previous scar from another fall stood out.  My heart reached out with my hands as I tried to hold his hand.  The caretaker tried to drag him to his feet by grabbing his hand, but I went behind asking if I could carry him into the kitchen.  I picked him up, not noticing the wetness, and sat with him on the floor.  I asked the caretakers about Katleho’s seizures and if he was taking his medicine along with if he was up for adoption.

Desperately, I wanted to take him home with me along with all the other kids.  I wanted to hold them in my arms and give them the one-on-one attention they crave.  Yet, more than that, I wanted to show them that I believe in them.  I believe they can.  I don’t want to say, “I can do this for you.” I want to empower them and overwhelm them with love. To feel the weight of the glory of God and the weight of His love for them.

1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything”


katlehoYesterday, we met some of the kids at Hope House.  Today, we’re meeting Katleho.  He comes to our LaunchPad class at Clubview every Tuesday.  He came last term for our “Becoming A Contagious Christian” curriculum and he’s coming this term as well for “Christ in You.”  He sits in the back row of the class with a couple of his friends.  Last term, he didn’t talk much, seemed more interested in other things, but still had a touch of curiosity and he even came up to talk with me once after class.  Yet, despite all this, I could tell he wanted more.  Even in this picture, you can see a glimpse of his personality, his curiosity, his hope.  LaunchPad is one of my favorite parts of the week. Why? Because I absolutely love seeing lives transformed through God working through engaging curriculum and personal relationships.  I can see the difference in Katleho’s eyes as he comes to class and how he interacts compared to last term.  I see him prompting and delving into the discussion questions with his friends.  I am excited for God’s work in him and am expectant for even more.  Pray with me for the kids in the LaunchPad classes for radical transformation to be evident in their lives!