"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Monday, March 20, 2017

Upwards Basket Ball, Cheerleading and a Break

One of the fun things that Rebecca, Jimmy and William got to do on furlough was to participate in Upwards Basketball and Cheerleading.  Upwards is a lovely not-very-intense program that encourages the kids spiritually and helps them to better their skills in basketball and cheerleading.  We ended up traveling more than we planned so they missed some of the practices and games, but they enjoyed it so so much!  And they picked up some new skills while they were at it.

We had to laugh a few times at some Ugandan holdovers that crept their way into even this.  The first was when the kids were asked to find a nickname for themselves for all the games.  Rebecca just decided to use what all her friends...in Uganda...call her: Rebecca Kadaga.  The real Rebecca Kadaga is the speaker of Parliment in Uganda...she's well respected and well liked by the majority of our friends in Mbale and our Rebecca ended up being named that by all her friends.  But of course, 99.999% of Americans wouldn't know this.  And so I asked Rebecca..."did you tell them where your name comes from?" She said, "Yes, I told them that's what my friends call me!" (Leaving out the small detail about how her friends are in Uganda because that's where we live...)  So every game, we not only got a chuckle out of how our last name was slaughtered in its pronunciation during the announcements, but also how her unknown nickname was also slaughtered.  Poor MC...we didn't make it easy on him!  haha!

We also had a small incident with a snake in the gym when we arrived for practice one night.  I totally thought, in my Ugandan mindset, that by the looks on everyone's faces we were going walk in to find a 4 or 5 foot good ol' southern rattler...because that's how we look when we see our cobras.  It turned out to be a garden snake (I think) about 10 inches long and the thickness of my pinkie.  We took care of it for them.  ;-)  

Rebecca and her coaches.  Super sweet ladies... so thankful for how well they loved on all the kiddos.

Every game begins in prayer.

William and Jimmy playing. (Jimmy was No 34 and William was No 3)

Every practice and game the boys got stars ironed on their shirts

Then, 24 hours after basketball season finished, William jumped off this pile of mulch and fractured his arm.

He gets his cast off right before we leave and will be in a splint for a while.  And the $20 I spent to get a waterproof cast?  Worth every penny.... especially when he started digging in the sand, when he fell off the canoe into the water and when he went running in the rain.  So much energy, this one...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Outerbanks Day

This past week we enjoyed a visit from some good friends.  We spent one day at the Outerbanks.  This is a total photo dump from a really fun day in no particular order.  We were thankful for some last days of fellowship with friends and (at the beginning of the week) with my parents.  Now we are turning our attention to full time packing.  We are down to one week before take off now...so there's a lot to do! 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Poem by Katelyn

Katelyn wrote this poem today for school.  It is a reflection on the testimony of Augustine.  I found it to be beautiful and she graciously gave me permission to put it on here.

Let me be Salt, Let me be Light, 
Let me be Someone that Satan Would Dread

Oh Lord!  How often I have gone astray
Searching for a remedy, 
I loved worldly pleasures, lust, and play,
And sat down with the enemy.

Then, searching for the direction,
To lead my self-filled soul,
I led myself into imperfection,
And cowered in death's dark hole.

I directed myself down many-a route,
Tried many beliefs, tried every sin
But they did not please, it left me in doubt,
Knowing that I by myself could not win.

But I could not find truth
I could not find light
It seemed sin were a sleuth
And day turned to night.

'Twas simple guilt, 'twas sinful charms,
'Twas my wicked heart trying to harden,
But I put it aside and ran into thine arms,
Begged your forgiveness, and pleaded for pardon.

Now the life of a Christian has already begun,
The race to the finish and the hard sprint ahead,
The Fruit to grow, and the sin to shun,
So, let me be salt, let me be light, let me be someone Satan would dread.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Bullet Post Update

::With 32 days left before we leave to go back to Uganda, we are beginning to ramp up preparations.  We can take 22 suitcases with us...full of clothes, school books, and a variety of things that are either difficult to find in country or very very expensive in country.  The kids are, for the most part, excited to go home.  For some of them, they are probably tempted to count minutes till we leave.  For some of them, they are still cherishing every minute left with cousins.

::I appreciate everyone's prayers for my health.  The doctors at Duke settled on a diagnosis of Primary Adrenal Insufficiency (AI) because of a form of non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia. (CAH)  I was likely born missing a partial enzyme that helps the adrenal glands produce the cortisol they are supposed to.  AI is a fairly rare disease and non classical CAH is a rare form of AI.  Many doctors haven't even heard of it...sometimes it's even featured on TV series that deal with rare diseases.  Often times people are surprised to hear that there is a group of people walking this planet that need daily steroids to stay alive.  AI is also a bit of difficult beast to work with, because your body doesn't produce the exact same amount of cortisol every day.  So I can't just take one pill every day and call it good.  If you are under job stress, a super busy day, have a difficult conversation, get in a car accident, or have surgery your body requires differing levels of cortisol for differing levels of stress.  Most stress is unpredictable...we know not what a day will bring...so more often than not, AI patients who loose the "fight or flight" hormone will have a few more sick days (for me that means lots of pain, fevers, stomach aches, nausea, racing heart, horrid brain fog, and lack of sleep) as we work in retrospect to gain back (cortisol) what God originally intended the body to do in tandem with life.  I carry a shot kit of steroid in case I were to ever find myself in a situation of sudden severe stress since patients with AI can easily and quickly go into shock. That is called an Adrenal Crisis and it can quickly lead to death if not stopped by a heavy dose of steroid. The positive news though is that most patients with CAH (me included) don't loose their ability to produce another hormone called aldosterone.  This offers me a level of protection (though not complete protection) from an adrenal crisis and I'm very thankful for that! (That's been the great news of the past couple weeks!)

I've known for quite a few years that this is my reality.  But it never fully set in until the doctor told me that it would likely be like this for the rest of my life.  Somehow I had always held out hope that if my life were to calm down enough (like maybe after Eric retires and the kids fly the nest? ha!) that I would someday be able to come off the steroids.  Well, that doesn't seem to be the case.  Seems like this is my "thorn" that God has given me to carry for his glory.  I do wonder sometimes at the idea that my life calling (homeschooling nine kids on the mission field?) doesn't seem to match with my diagnosis (take meds and do what you can to avoid stress. hmmm...)  I was convicted the other day though, that while I might not be able to do as much in life as I want, what I am able to do, I want to do well for the glory of God.  If I am able to do another activity with the kids or in the ministry, I want to do it for the glory of God.  If I am only able to sit on the couch for the day, well...that too should be done to the best of my ability for the glory of God.  Andree Seu says something like, "If the king asks you to conquer the hinter lands one day and shoe his horse the next, you do them both without slacking...for he is the king."  This is the cross that the King of Glory has called me to bear, so may I do it without slacking for his glory.

::We have several (about 10 plus) more churches to speak at through Michigan and Ontario, one more flight out to Oregon for our previous church's 25th anniversary, then a week of visitors, and then a week to pack.  Pray that we will find some rest, some time to pack, and a few more precious memories in it all.

A Week of Vacation to Myrtle Beach

 We just had a blessed vacation with Eric's parents at Myrtle Beach.  We were so thankful for a week of fun and rest.  Here's our photo dump from the week.

The younger members met the chic fil a cow for the first time.

We had some amazingly warm weather for February.  The sun was such a blessing to play in!

7th floor ocean view

A few of the hotels outdoor pools were heated and they would turn on the water slide at our request.  The guy that came was impressed that he had lots of customers and then was shocked to find out that they all called me mama.

Still thanking the Lord for a sweet time of rest.

A little Ugandan influence:

"Look Mama...It's a Bantwe!" (Big headed person and all the shared cultural connotations that go with that phrase)

 Yay for an amazing husband to do life with!

We took the kids bowling for the first time ever.  Lots of fun!

The kids and Eric have been training hard for a 5K.  They weren't to sure about running on the beach, but they are doing great sticking with it, even on vacation!

We also taught the kids Up and Down the River: the tradition card game of the Tuininga clan.

 Probably the most fun we had was going to a jump house.  (Talitha said it was more fun than anything else except going back to Uganda! haha!)  There were trampolines for all of us and then some.

This little guy jumped on my leg and decided to sun himself there while I continued reading my book.

These girls can talk their daddy into just about anything...including waking up before dawn to watch the sunrise.