Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Charnelle and I- 2017

We were so blessed to have Charnelle visit us the day after we arrived home from our counseling retreat.

Charnelle holding Heather 9 months old in 2005, during language school. We are in a taxi going out to eat together.
We first met Charnelle in 2005 when we were going to language school together in Morogoro, Tanzania. After language school, she was based near Moshi, and we were living in Arusha, which is about 40 minutes drive away so we could keep in touch.  
2011- We stayed with Charnelle for three weeks while we looked for a house

Our kids grew up knowing Aunt Charnelle, and her two dogs, Fredrick and Tandi.  She was a constant in our lives.  In 2012, she moved from Tanzania to South Africa, and now she teaches at an international school abroad.  In 2013, she came to visit us in Arusha.
Charnelle visits 2013

Now, when she came to see us again, it was so refreshing to see her again.   There is something about seeing a good friend that has known you for a long time. They can help give you some perspective, and help you think of the big picture not just what is happening in the "here and now".  But, also, just knowing they accept you for who you are and where you are, and you can pick up again where you left off after years without seeing eachother.  
I am blessed to call Charnelle my friend.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thinking about Heather

 Disclaimer:  We feel safe where we live, and we actually live in a very quiet neighborhood. Sometimes, I don't know how much to share.  I don't want people to worry about us.

Heather is 12 years old, and will be 13 in 3 months.  This is very shocking to me!  I worry that she is isolated.  Besides her brother, father and me, there are very few other people for her to talk to that speak English.  She talks to her sister on the phone once a week and her grandparents when they call.  She is friendly with our friends and their babies.  There is one girl her age that lives here in a yacht in the port.  They get along well enough, but we don't see them very often.

I feel like we are in the Little House in the Prairie book... living out in the middle of nowhere, alone.

But, we aren't alone.  In fact, our neighborhood has had several incidents.  Right outside of our gate, a thief was stoned by the neighbors, and although we stopped it and called the police and he was taken to the hospital, we do not believe he survived.

Just around the corner from our house, our office that we share with another NGO was robbed, and the guard was slashed on his arms. The thieves got away with a cooking gas canister and some rakes.

And, a block away, friends of ours were caught up in a flash mob when they pulled over to help students that had been hit by a motorcycle. When they stopped to help, people assaulted their employees who were with them, tried breaking the windows of their car, and tried to steal their computers out of their car.

Because of these things, we do not allow Heather to go out alone.  She likes to bike ride alone around the block but I will go out and walk on the street to keep an eye out.  The house next to ours is owned by the government and is called State House.  While Heather and I were out a few days ago, State House had incarcerated men clearing their lawn. They were wearing orange jump suits and had an armed guard watching them.

So, as you can see, we are not really "alone".

Heather has asked for me to apply for her to go to RVA, the same boarding school as her sister. She wants to go when she is in 9th grade, which is two years from now.  It was so hard for me to do, but I sent her application in.  

I know it's what's best for Heather, but I will miss her, like I do Katrina.  And, it will be so quiet at home with just Jonathan here with us.

Update: While we were at our retreat in Kenya, Heather was a part of an MK teen girls' support group with about 5 other teen girls that were at the retreat. (Katrina was not a part as she had homework to do.)  She developed some good friendships, and they are going to keep in touch by writing and emailing. I'm so glad she had that opportunity.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Katrina turns 15

This is Katrina as a baby.  I am so young!

Katrina is now 15, and I can't believe how much she looks like me.  Oh, by the way-- she is now 5'4"... she is officially an inch taller than me. WHAT?!  :)  
Happy Birthday, Katrina!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Healthy Sadness

               Because of the status of our work permit, I feel myself rather unsettled.  This causes me to be emotional, sad, tired and irritable.

   No-one likes to admit when they are feeling this way.  When those feelings come to you, it seems natural to retreat into yourself and your own world, to "allow" yourself "treats", and to wallow in self pity.  In the moment, these things appear to make you feel better but it's actually making it worse.  What does help is counterintuitive-- do what you DON'T feel like doing: spend time with friends and talk about their problems and issues not yours, pray for other people and do something to help someone else, take care of yourself physically and spiritually even if you don't "feel" like it.

 You will find that sadness and defeat love to feed on an inactive and unhealthy mind.  I'm not saying that doing these things will suddenly make you feel happy.  But, there is some law in place that it is harder to stay down when you are taking care of yourself.  Somehow, we unconsciously
know that, and maybe we don't want to feel better just now.  That is fine too-- there is a healthy grieving process... healthy.... meaning- stay healthy while you grieve.

Be blessed.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

My published article

I have written an article that was published in Old Schoolhouse magazine, about homeschooling in Tanzania.  Please click on the link to read my article!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Salvaging a Homeschool Day

  Have you ever had a day when school just WAS NOT HAPPENING?!

The baby got sick, the phone won't stop ringing, there was a family crisis or maybe you are sick?

               Can this day be saved or should it be written off?

This day can be salvaged!!

               First, think about what are your bare minimums to call this a "school day".   Think about it. Even in public school they have many days that have assemblies or class parties most of the day but it is considered a school day.  What are your bare minimums?

    For me- it is Spelling and Math.  If those two subjects are done, it's a school day- what I like to call a "half-day".   What subjects do you have to get done to feel that school was accomplished?  Some days those are all that will get done.

      What if you are at your wit's end and no formal school is going to get done today.  Maybe you are sick yourself and the kids are on their own.

               Older kids may be able to do some of the work on their own, or bake cookies.  Younger kids may like to cuddle and look at books with you, or do art projects.  Let them watch a nature show or educational video.  It's not the end of the world.

    -----   It's the end of the day and literally nothing got done.  ------> Read a bedtime story together.  Have them read a book and you read a book or take turns reading together.  Talk about the day and how to have a better day tomorrow.  And pray.  Sometimes all we can do for our family is pray and put them into God's hands.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goalie Katrina

     I'm so proud of Katrina!  She is the goalie for the Girls' JV field hockey team!  She even subbed for the Varsity team and her team won 4-0, and she blocked 2 shots.  I am amazed. The most sports I did in high school was bowling and tae kwon do.  She is so strong and determined!