Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's all about family

Merry Christmas from one nutty family to another!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

...because you can never have too many sprinkles

One of my favorite childhood memories was decorating cookies every Christmas. Collin and Ben clearly had a good time, however, I don't think culinary school is in their future!!

"Really Mom, I know what I'm doing"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it SNOW!!!

Love the snowdrifts in our backyard!!!

Ohhhhhh MORE snow to shovel!!!

I LOVE it when it snows! However, combine that with -30 temperatures and I'm not a fan. We just experienced the "blizzard of the decade", so here are some new photos. My hunky hubby was out shoveling our driveway at 6:30am today after our snowblower had broken. What a guy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My lists...

Furah carries wood and her eighteen-month-old daughter Shukyru,
onthe road linking Rupango to Sake, eastern Congo, Wednesday Nov. 19, 2008.
Furahwalks the 16 kms every day, crossing from the CNDP rebel controlled area to the
government held town of Sake to sell wood.” (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

On a blog of a person who absolutely inspires me, I found this picture and it captured my heart.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's next?

Here is a picture of Priscillah-the girl we have sponsored for many years. We received some sad news that after we met her this day, she did go back to school, only to return back to Nairobi. When the HCI staff found her, they asked her what was going on. She then stated that she had a consentual relationship with another man in Dandora, a town by Nairobi, and is now pregnant. She stated that she did not want to tell us because we were talking so much about her furthering her education. HCI has had problems tracking her lately as she feels ashamed and does not want to talk to anyone at this time. The future looks bleak for Priscillah as she is not allowed to return to school and is more than likely going to be living the rest of her life in the slums of Nairobi. It absolutely breaks our hearts.

TJ and I have been processing a lot about "what's next" in our life. We cannot just go to Africa and say "oh, wow, great trip, it was so much fun . . . " and then come back to MN and just settle in our life here and go on as if we were never there. It has really rocked our world this time.
Sometimes we sit, in quietness and just be in the presence of God, and I ask, "what is it Lord that you have for our family". The verse in James 1 talking about caring for widows and orphans always comes to mind and it's like a flame ignites in our hearts to serve 'the least of these'. But, also in that verse it states "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world". I have realized that I need to not only do what I feel called to do-by serving widows and orphans, but I need to be in check and accountable for my heart-that I am not boasting about things I aspire to do, that I am respecting an honoring my husband, that I am treasuring the Fruits of the Spirit. God cannot use myself or TJ unless our hearts, minds, and attitudes are pure.
I am content to let my Father chip away at me and break me until I am built up to stand up to what is ahead.

One thing that both TJ and I came back with was the desire to learn more about the Muslim community and the religion of Islam. The parallels to Christianity are amazing, particularly when it talks of the end times and the Anti Christ.

We also emailed the men we met in Uganda that were from Fargo. I am now on the Board of Directors of African Soul American Heart, which is a non profit in Fargo that is hoping to build an orphanage in Southern Sudan. I do not know what purpose God has for me on this Board, but I am excited for what is to come.
We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

FALL is here!

I just love this time of year~apple cinnamon candles, the autumn air, the leaves changing color and watching my kiddos run through piles we JUST raked up! I love all of it. It makes again so thankful for who God is-that He has the creativity to give us seasons.

So, to celebrate, I just HAD to change our blog design thanks to reading the Stevenson's blog I couldn't resist!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Back in the States with a heavy heart.

Praise God! We have arrived safely back to the US without a glitch! I (Lindsay) am awake here at 3am jet lagged with my mind racing about all that we experience in Kenya and Uganda. I am thankful for high speed internet so I am able to write my thoughts here with ease and not worry about power shutting off or the computer locking up.

There were so many highlights on our trip, we don't know where to start. First of all, working along side of Bud and Kimberly Huffman was such an honor as we saw how they lived their lives serving Jesus by reaching out to precious children who have lost their parents and are living in horrific conditions. We also saw the many people in the community they have reached out to in the community and as a result have accepted Christ to be their Lord and Savior!

Some other highlights for us were:

  • spending time at a Baby House in Kitale and rock those precious babies
  • sharing a meal with a home of 8 teenage boys and their house mom, a widow, all rescued by Watoto
  • spending time on Bud and Kimberly's Watoto project, Mattaw Children's Village
  • traveling on the infamous Kenyan roads-chiropracter appointment now needed :)

Driving through the war torn areas of Kenya was pretty eye opening for me. Due to the number of rapes that happened almost 9 months ago during the political unrest, there have been many babies born prematurely and abandoned and they are predicting many, many more babies to be born and abandoned in the near future.

The Watoto Conference was a life-changing experience for us. We worshiped with 25 other nations from around the world-so it felt like a taste of heaven! We heard testimony after testimony after testimony of children who had been abducted by the rebel army, led by Joseph Kony and were forced to do horrific things to their family members and other children. If they refused, they were killed. I cannot imagine my 4 year old son having to experience what many of the children in Uganda have faced or are continuing to face right now. Here is an article I found that describes what the LRA is:

"I learned about the "Lord's Resistance Army" or the LRA, a rebel movement that has been terrorizing northern Uganda for almost two decades. Children are kidnapped by the rebels and forced to become child soldiers, porters and sex slaves. Adults are at risk, as well. Once kidnapped, the captives often are put through a spiritual ritual or blessing. They are told that once they are blessed they are protected against bullets and can never escape.
The abductees are forced to commit atrocities such as burning, rape, murder and torture - including dismemberment and forced cannibalization. Children by the thousands walk into town centers at dusk, to evade abductors. They are known simply as "night commuters." They sleep on the ground - in schools, hospitals, bus stations, verandas and doorways. Fearful of sleeping in their own huts at night, they are seeking safety in numbers.
Outside the town centers, the Ugandan government has forced nearly 1.6 million people into Internally Displaced Person's Camps, where there is insufficient clean water, inadequate food supplies, and little security, employment or medical treatment. The IDPs are stuck between two fires: leaving the camps to grow food, search for firewood, or seek medical treatment, they risk being attacked by both the Ugandan military and the LRA.

I think about the displaced people living in the camps - invisible to the outside world. Displaced within their own country, they live with fewer rights then international refugees. I think about the NGO workers that are on the ground working every day. Mostly I think of the woman I photographed who had been mutilated by a young rebel. He cut her ears and lips off.
I asked her if she had hope for peace. She told me she didn't know if peace was possible, but she did know one thing - when she leaves the hospital she would return to the IDP camps to care for her children, and live the rest of her life in poverty."

TJ and I desire to serve Africa. We are praying for God to cover the needs we have here in the States to make it possible for us to serve there long term. We have a responsibility now. The issues concerning the countries of Uganda and African CANNOT go on ignored. If you would like to know more about ways you can help, let us know or check out some of the links below:

Thank you all for your emails and posts while we were gone. God answered so many of our prayers both here in the States and in Kenya. We will post pictures as soon as we can!

In Him,

Saturday, September 27, 2008


So, here we are in Kampala Uganda. Simply, stunning. We are surrounded by breathtaking views when we are outside the city. We toured the Watoto Children's Village today-both of them here in Uganda. One property sits on 100 acres on top of a hill overlooking a valley from every direction. It will be hard to put into words what we have learned. But, what I do know is TJ and I are not coming home the same. How can you when you come to countries like this? The Watoto Conference is something we HIGHLY recommend to those of you who want to catch an amazing vision of serving African Children-especially those who are currently abucted by the rebel army in Northern Uganda. We have such powerful stories to share.

We have been here for 4 days now. We leave tomorrow back to Kitale...6 hour drive so pray again for safety. I'm sad to go as Uganda has grown on me.

Well, must go. Love you all bunches and looking forward to bringing home some pretty things for you!


Monday, September 22, 2008

In Kitale!

Whew! We finally made it to Kitale. We traveled by bus (like a Greyhound company) 8 hours west. Surprisingly it is way more populated and less "rural" than our trips to Oloiktoktok previous years.
It broke our hearts to see reminants of the the violence that occurred earlier this years, as we drove by burned buildings, collapsed walls, left overs of road blocks that were set up every 50 yards. Priscillah shared stories of the terror she went through as her tribe was the ones others were trying to kill. It's amazing what this 19 yr old has gone through in her lifetime yet still remains so happy.
We met all the children in this home run by Bud and Kimberly last night and completely fell in love with them. We will be going there today and tomorrow and handing out school supplies, pajamas, underwear and socks. Thank you to all of you who helped with the donations.
Kimberly and Bud are FANTASTIC people and TJ and I are so encouraged by their lives and seeing how they care for their baby, Elisha, while running this children's home.
We leave for Uganda on Wednesday and plan to return to Nairobi on the 1st to fly back home.
We love and miss you all and will continue to report as long as internet is working!!!!

TJ or now known to this kids as "Teets" :)

and Lindsay

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nairobi Adventures

Since we will have poorer internet service in Kitale for the duration of our trip, we thought we'd write here before the day was done. We spent time with Priscillah for most of the day (Ben, do you remember talking about her?) Went to the giraffe feeding center and shopped for school supplies for her as she will be going there on Monday. Loading pictures is not working right now--so will try later.
We leave for Kitale 8am tomorrow and arrive at another looong day ;0)


TJ and Lindsay

We made it!

Just wanted to let everyone know we made it safely to kenya. the flights were GREAT and we got much needed rest last night. we woke up this morning to drink our favorite chai tea and now we are waiting for Priscillah's arrival to the guesthouse.

today we are hoping to get to the elephant orphanage or do something fun with her. we will try to post some pictures later tonight if the internet is working, otherwise we will wait until we arrive in kitale on sunday to do so.

we are grateful we arrived safely and looking forward for what is to come!!!


tj and lindsay

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We're leaving on a jet plane......

So here we are- the day before we are to leave for Kenya. So many emotions running through us right now...sadness leaving our kids behind, excitement for what's ahead. We can't believe the time has come. So much preparation has gone into this and it's finally here. Our bags are packed and we are ready to go!!!!!

We got an email today from HCI (the company we have sponsored Priscillah through) and they have said that Priscillah has not checked back into school yet-which started 2 weeks ago-and are unsure of her whereabouts. Her mother has been ill this summer and they suspect she is either back in Kibera (the slum) where her family lives or living with her sister in Nairobi. We are hoping that she is in Nairobi and safe. We hope to see her Friday or Saturday and spend some time with her. Pray that they find her safe. Social Workers are supposed to be going out there today.
We got a phone call from Bud and Kimberly Huffman, the couple we will be spending the most time with, and we will be helping them unload a big crate they have been waiting 2 yrs for-containing a playground, clothing and shoes for the kids. We will also be in Uganda for several days, known as "the garden of Eden" in Africa apparently, for a conference. We will update our blog as much as possible as we are told we will have plenty of internet access.

Thanks again for all your support thus far. Love you!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blessings from Walmart. . .

Just had to share quick what Katie and I were able to pick up today at Walmart. We prayed to find some needed clothing shopping today and we were able to literally clear our most of the $2 clearance racks of pajamas, swimsuits and tshirts for the kids in the Mattaw Children's Village. If you want to donate a pair of pajamas, email me or call or send $2 to our paypal account which I can give you later. Just let me know! We are filling up 3 suitcases to take with us.. needed items are: girls pajama bottoms (for ages 4-12 yrs), school supplies, girls/boys swimsuits (ages 4-12yrs).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2 weeks and counting ;)

Wow-time has FLOWN by! So much to blog about, but so little time at the moment! TJ and I are starting to pack for our trip to Kenya. We leave Sept 18th and are back Oct 2. It's been an amazing journey thus far and it has been awesome to see how God is using this trip already to bring Glory to His name! We had a chance to speak in front of our church recently about why we are going and what we will be doing there. It was the first time in a long time that I was overcome with fear about going. TJ and I have been facing a lot of spiritual warfare this past week in a lot of different areas of our lives.

God has given us this scripture in Psalms 27 that says "The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confidentOne thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple".

Ironically, this is a scripture that I (Lindsay) had close to my heart the first time I visited Kenya in 2002. It's amazing how God works. TJ and I go this year with great anticipation that God is going to work in our lives in a life-changing way.

We are taking along school supplies, baby clothes, and diapers, so if anyone would like to donate items to take over for the kids there, let us know so we can make room to pack it!

Will keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New 4th's verse to "Yours"

God never ceases to amaze me...never. In fact, in an earlier post, I listed a song that has meant a lot to TJ and I as we gear up for our trip to Kenya in September.

We just bought the tickets for our trip....making it "official". However, I find myself anxious when I think about going-mostly because we are leaving our kids behind and knowing we are going to an unstable place. So, I have been praying for God to help bring me peace in this area as both of us know that this is what we are supposed to be doing.

As you may know, Steven Curtis Chapman recently lost his daughter in a horrible accident earlier this summer. Since, he has written a 4th verse to the song "Yours" that will be his next single. The verse goes like this:

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you

I feel that God gave us this song as a source of comfort and strength as we go on this journey. We know that no matter what, we belong to Him and God has gone before us and has our lives planned. Our response is to simply obey. I pray that TJ and I continue to walk in obedience even in the toughest of times and soley lean on Him for direction.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Garage Sale Saturday!

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to give you the latest update with our family.As you know, we have been pursuing bringing Priscillah, who lives in Kenya now, over to the States in 2009 to go to college in MN. Since, we have learned that she will not be eligible for financial aid due to her being an international student, meaning we would be responsible to pay cash for her tuition. After researching different options, we have decided that the best option is for her to go to college in Kenya at a great Christian University and pursue her career there. We have a trip planned to visit her in Kenya the end of September.

...which leads me to further requests for support and prayer......

TJ and I are meeting with the missions board at our church to see how we can make it work to pursue us living in Kenya full time. The word "missionary" makes it feel too wierd, as we believe we are in the mission field whereever we are. TJ and I have felt for a long time that the Lord has been drawing us to serve Kenya in some way. We also are meeting with the missions Pastor from Bethel to discuss our upcoming trip (he was involved with our trip to Kenya in 2003).

The biggest reason we feel we need to go to Kenya this fall is to meet a young missionary couple who already live in Western Kenya (with a small child) named Bud and Kimberly. They are missionaries through Katalyst Ministries, based in Texas and through the Imagine Network. We will be attending a conference in Uganda, called the Watoto Conference for 4 days and also looking at the different non profits already in place with the hopes of starting our own non profit to help support what is already out there. One of our ideas is to have a camp for children with disabilities.

One of the first steps TJ and I feel we need to do is practice the art of living simply and downsizing. This Saturday we are holding a garage sale to majorly downsize what we currently own. I, Lindsay, have had a particularly emotional week going through our belongings and trying to justify why we need to keep something. Our goal is to have only enough 'stuff" left over from the sale to fit into a 2 bedroom apartment. Those of you locals, please come!!! Ben will be selling goodies and coffee all day...that he has been working so hard to make all week. He'll tell you he is selling them to help kids buy food in Africa :)So, we are asking you to be our prayer support as we move forward in this exciting, but yet, scary journey.

Below is a list of things to pray for:

1. Pray that we would remain obedient to what we feel God is asking us to do, even if it doesn't make sense to us at the time - even obedient to God saying "no".

2. Pray for peace as we start to downsize our home.

3. Pray for a family to rent our home who we can trust and for us to find an affordable place to live.

4. Pray for wisdom and discernment as we travel to Kenya in September.

5. Pray for the right people to come to our garage sale this Saturday and that God would use it to bring Glory to Himself!!!

6. Pray for wisdom on how to answer the hard questions Ben brings up about us moving.

Thank you for being so encouraging thus far in this journey.

In Him,

TJ, Lindsay, Ben and Collin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our life story...God's or Ours?

It's so awesome to look back on your life and see where God started stirring a dream or desire in your heart from a very young age and then see yourself being refined and molded to fit into what God's plan is for your life when you are a lot older.

From the time I was 16, God gave me a burden for orphans, then I went to college for Social Work to pursue a career as an Adoption Specialist. Since, I have not had that job, however, I have had 2 children and God has strategically placed people in my life and His Word in my life to keep refining me to be the woman He wants me to be.

Now, I have a new beginning ahead! I have just accepted a job at Path, Inc in Fargo here to be a Family Assessment Worker, where I will not only be working with children who are in need of an adoptive home or are in theraputic foster care, but I will be working with bringing biological families back together again in working with bio parents parenting skills and helping them learn how to appropriately parent their child who has special needs.

There is something so beautiful in adoption that we see and there is also something so beautiful about seeing a biological family reunited and seeing parents become successful parents.

This job is a conscious choice TJ and I made to help us gain skills in working with children and families in need for a greater purpose in serving our Lord.

It's a good reminder for me to also be aware of where my heart is at in choices I make- asking myself if this is something I want to do out of selfishness or for bringing Glory to God!

How awesome to see God write our life story-our family story-and it's awesome to see God's hand at work starting from when we were just a child!

Share yours!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kenya Update

TJ and I are planning to be in Kenya September 18-October 3. Our plan is to visit Priscillah for a day or two and meet up with a couple from Texas we have been getting to know who are missionaries in Kenya right now and go to the Watoto Conference in Uganda.

We have one hiccup we need prayer for: That is my employer is wanting me to be in L.A. California on the same dates for a conference that I usually attend every year. So, please pray that I would be freed from that responsibility this year.

We are praying about bringing Ben along with us as well. He is a very bright little boy who prays for the nations daily and really wants to "sleep on two airplanes" to get to Kenya! TJ and I feel so blessed to have sweet-spirited Benjamin excited to share Jesus with people all over the world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Red Letters Campaign

This is an amazing campaign to know about. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading "Red Letters" by Tom Davis. Anyone who reads it cannot be compelled to take action. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Patience, Patience, and more Patience!!!

My baby sister left for Turkey on Sunday for a missions trip through Campus Crusade. I can't help but feel so left behind!!! I long for the day that our family can go on missions trips and serve overseas! I loved that time in my life!
TJ and I were talking at breakfast this morning and it seems that the Lord is really teaching us about waiting for His timing in our lives. We want to be in Kenya so bad, but we know that now may not be that time. God has put the desire in our lives to serve in some capacity in Kenya, but we don't know how-or when. . . . and it's so hard to be patient!

But, we both know that God has gone before us and is preparing our hearts for what is ahead. We do not want to go when the time is not right.

But, God, we are sitting in Minnesota screaming "HERE AM I, SEND ME!!!!"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's all Yours God!

As TJ and I together pray about the future of our family I can't help but be moved by the lyrics of on of Steven Curtis Chapman's most recent songs "Yours". As we sit here in Minnesota and pray for the children in Kenya, think about the rising gas prices, the past violence, the food shortage crisis and all that is yet to come, it reminds me that we don't need to fear what our future holds because God is in complete control and is preparing us (as I type this) for what lies ahead. It reminds me of the truth that God is a Sovereign God. All we need to be is willing and obedient.

I walk the streets of London
And notice in the faces passing by
Somthing that makes me stop and listen
My heart grows heavy with the cry

Where is the hope for London?
You whisper and my heart begins to soar
As I'm reminded
That every street in London in Yours
Oh, yes it is

I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded
That every child in Africa is Yours
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper,
Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours

And I walk the sidewalks of Nashville
Like Singapore, Manila and Shanghai
I rush by the beggar's hand and the wealthy man
And everywhere I look I realize
That just like the streets of London
For every man and woman, boy and girl
All of creation
This is our Father's world

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper,
Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God
It's all Yours, God

The glory is Yours, God
All the honor is Yours, God
The power is Yours, God
The glory is Yours, God
You're the King of Kings
And Lord of Lords
And its all Yours, God, Yours, GodEverything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor

The glory and honor is Yours, everything is Yours
It's all Yours, God
My life is Yours, my heart is Yours
My hands and my feet are Yours
Every song that I singIt's all Yours, all is Yours
All belongs to You
Our gifts are Yours, God
All our dreams are Yours, God
All our plans are Yours, God
The whole earth is Yours, God
Everything is Yours

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here are some pics posted from last weekend. Big family fun weekend at Kalvoda's house in Victoria, MN.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here is the new addition to our family-Macy......she poops a lot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Here is our little man being his little charming self this past weekend. He has become an imaginative jibber-jabber-er as he mimicks every sound he hears (especially coming out of his big brother's mouth).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008