Thursday, September 9, 2010


as of saturday, we will have been in tanzania for four weeks, and to some extent, we have reached a routine. of course, as i write this, typical will change, african culture will inevitably seep in, and typical will refer to the ebb and flow that is the one constant here. i have been reading a book about the story we write of our lives, and how to make those stories exciting, worth living and not just humdrum. that has given me LOADS of perspective when my western, routine and schedule craving self starts to take over. i am on an adventure with my family and each situation and circumstance is potential for a great story. and, if we go at it right, potential for a great story with great impact on us and on others.

but, all that to say, here is a window into what typical "generally" looks like.
- the day starts with casey leaving for devotions at the church office at 8. we have had our breakfast (or, casey and asher and leisha and leah...i lag a little) of toast with peanut butter, a bowl of oatmeal (something our little family has added for the little man's sake), and tea. casey attends devotions for an hour and then begins his work day at the church office.
- lucy lays down for a nap between 8:30 and 9 while asher and i tromp around in the sand outside the house. sometimes he digs with his cars, reads stories, or helps me fill water buckets for the day.
- asher, lucy and i begin our five minute walk to the church after lucy wakes up. this is between 10:30-11:30.
- we hang out and i email while casey corrals the kids. we generally have more tea, eat mandazi (african donuts) and asher gets a sucker :)
- we make our way back home for lunch, which is usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some cucumbers and bananas or oranges.
- and, nap time for asher usually starts shortly after, between 1-2. he will rest and perhaps lucy will rest, or, she will just spend her time scooting around on the couch, coming dangerously close to the edge. her nap is still all over the place, but, she will nap at some point.
- casey makes his way home around 5 and spends the next hour burning through some of asher's energy in the front of our compound. they play tag, or deliver "eggs", or take naps on the front steps. i generally sit with lucy in the shade, thankful asher's energy is diverted towards someone else and LOVING watching them play.
- we start bedtime routine around 6, with the kids taking their bucket shower in a bright green tub we bought at the market. it is perfect for lucy, nice and deep and spacious. it is a little small for asher, but he can still sit and have a few guys to command and swim through the water. casey and i try to grab our bucket showers at the same time. it becomes a big hour, but one of my favorites. we are all in the bedroom at the same time, smelling fresh and SOMETIMES calmed from the warm water and quiet space. we have taken up to playing with a beach ball in the room during this time, hitting it wildly around, hoping it lands either on top of the mosquito net stretched across the top of our bed or loudly smacking someone in the face. it is a good way for us all to play together and be rough but not have anybody get hurt.
- lucy is generally in bed by 7.
- we retire to the living room where asher will eat his dinner of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cucumbers and maybe a tomato (are you seeing any themes here?!) we have made hamburgers a couple times or pasta and those nights asher is thankful for a change.
- we will eat dinner, generally a big o' plate of rice beans, with leisha and leah between 7:30 and 8:30. asher will head to bed after he has greeted and delivered dinner to our night watchman. this is one of asher's favorite things. he loves to say "karibu chakula" (which means welcome to your food literally, but is more like your invited to eat) and "usiku mwema" (which means good night) and maduka, the watchman, sweetly corrects asher's pronunciation and they go back and forth for a few minutes. it usually ends with asher doing a little jig, us all laughing and then shuffling asher off to bed.
- our evenings have been soooo relaxed and i am thankful for that. we will either all sit around and talk about deep or completely superficial things or we will split off and watch a video. casey and i have been sooo exhausted with lack of sleep and sick kids that decompressing with a movie is about all i can handle. and, although sometimes i question whether we should be watching videos at all, today, i am thankful for it. it gives me a little mental break.

throw in some walks to the market for various items, swahili lessons for an hour twice a week, walks to al and tiffanee's house (an american family staying here that work with mennonite central committee), church meetings here or there, and a day for sabbath, and that is typical.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


we are on retreat this weekend. we were very excited to welcome our friends from the states to dodoma yesterday, and while all the full time staff of lahash are together (erin and cristine, you are greatly missed), we are taking some time to rest, sit in solitude, and charge for the busy two weeks ahead.

i have taken a hot shower, sat on a very comfortable couch on the porch, and enjoyed the breeze outside our guesthouse. and in this time, my thoughts have drifted to delight. for those that know me, i think one of my greatest creature comforts, and something i take great delight in back home, are my showers. hot ones. that are lengthy. and, today as i showered i noticed i did not need a lengthy shower, nor did the water need to be near scalding temperatures for me to delight in a shower. as i sat on the porch, i did not need my own porch or even my own home to delight in a place of rest and quiet. as i enjoyed the breeze, i delighted in the way it cooled me, the way it swayed the trees and the refreshment it brought.

these simple things have caused me to reflect on what i have delighted in the past three weeks. if i have allowed myself the space and the perspective to delight in simple things. and, if i am honest, my thoughts have been more of plodding through, trying to have patience when weary from lack of sleep and sick kids, trying to achieve some sort of normal when it seems all is definitely not so. delight, perhaps, in the beautiful bougainvillea that surrounds three full sides of our compound at "home," or in asher's excitement in greeting and delivering chai to our night watchman during the evening, or in the way we have mastered, and can even enjoy, our walks to and from the church in the mornings. i have had much to delight in the past three weeks and just failed to take time to notice.

i think my failure to delight in the simple things keeps me from enjoying the delight my savior sings over me, and i, in receiving that, can sing back. all of these simple things are merely an expression of Christ's delight for me. i need only to stop, open my arms, and receive.

so, i receive. yes lord, i receive and sing back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a birthday breakdown

- chocolate chip pancakes cooked over a kerosene stove, complete with birthday candles we blew out twice. casey ROCKED the pankcakes...they were awesome!
- a treat of grapes for lunch. casey calls them "slip skins" because that is what he called them growing up. the inside fruit slips right out of the skin.
- an afternoon time playing with our friends, kiarra and kaiya. they played with beach balls and water balloons and baby doll strollers. they had juice and popcorn and basically transplanted america into the sand and expanse of dodoma :)
- a dinner of lasagna and fruit salad, complete with a homemade birthday cake topped with dinosaurs! it was amazing! our friend, tiffanee, definitely went all out.
- fun conversations during our walks to and from church and to al and tiffanee's. - we had a relapse before bed when mommy fell apart and cried for a while, but, we are learning that is all a part of this experience. casey and i had a great conversation and hopefully we can translate that to asher as well. please lord help us be intentional and provide perspective in this experience and especially to our little boy. help us grow closer to each other and closer to you. thanks for celebrating with us around the world. asher received so much love from all of you, even though we are far away. love love to you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


today, asher, you turn three! i am feeling kind of emotional as i write, and i think it is because here, in tanzania, there is no pressure for elaborate parties or gifts. today, i get to focus on celebrating you, my son. celebrating who you are and who God created you to be. and, i am aware at how you have shaped me. how you have changed me. and i am so thankful.

thank you for the vivacity at which you enter life. at times that means life is tragic and desperate and all around terrible, but most of the time, that means life is full of excitement and distinct color and light. you take such delight in things and that has taught me how to celebrate the little things more. you are intuitive and tenderhearted, and that challenges me to be more aware. you have so much energy, and that prompts me to put a little more bounce in my step, a little more gusto to my day.

we are so thankful for you, asher! happy birthday, little man! we love you.