gallstones & ethiopia: an update

Some of you probably saw my updates on Twitter and Facebook last week, but I ended up in the ER early Thursday morning. With gallstones. Over 40 of them. o_O I didn't even know it was possible to accrue such a huge collection, but apparently it is. (And it's confirmed: I'm an overachiever.)

I took it easy for a few days until all the pain subsided, and I'm now back to normal. (Well, my normal). Surgery is scheduled for a few weeks from now and I've got meds to bring with me to Ethiopia in case I have another attack there. (Pray with me for that not to happen?)

We leave in a week. A week!

Oh, we are going to host a live Twitter Chat while we're in Ethiopia, and I don't want you to miss it. I figured I'd tell you now so you can mark it down on your calendar or sticky-note or whatever you do to try to remember stuff. Because this you need to remember!

1-Hour Live Twitter Chat with the FH Bloggers Thursday, July 12th 2 PM Eastern / 1 PM Central #FHBloggers

We're going to be answering your questions, sharing our experiences, and giving away local Ethiopian crafts. It's gonna be fun! Help us spread the word on Twitter and Facebook??

Click the text below to tweet it out:

Join the #FHBloggers in Ethiopia for a live Twitter Chat on July 12th! More info:

... ... ...

This video is a great introduction to Food for the Hungry. It's less than two minutes long, so push pause on life and watch this real quick:


... ... ...

Click here to see some of the beautiful children up for sponsorship in the communities I'll be visiting. For just $1 a day, you can make sure an Ethiopian child will receive meals, clean water, medical care, and education. More importantly, you can make sure a child knows he or she is loved, valued, and believed in.

Will you join me for the Twitter Chat on July 12th?

spit it out

A conversation from my last babysitting experience, just a few weeks ago:


Little Sister: There's another word I can never say right.

Me: Oh yeah? Which one?

Little Sister: New International Virgin. You know, like the Bible?

Me: [laughing] Mmhmm...

Little Sister: [trying to sound it out] Virgin... Virgin... Virgin... See. I can't say that word.

Slightly Older Sister: That's what Mary was, right?

Me: Umm, yeah. So, whose turn is it on Wii Bowling?


What word(s) do you have a hard time saying?

four-minute friday: do me a favor

Go. I've been contemplating my four-minute post for a few hours now and, with no clear topic in mind, I finally decided to just start typing.

Last night was my last intern class of the year. It was overwhelmingly incredible, to say the least. But I already blogged about that over on the Field Blog.

This afternoon I'm taking the interns for their last visit to Hope House. I know it's going to be emotional; they've poured themselves into these kids for an entire year...

We leave Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 4:00 to drive to Cape Town for a week of debriefing. I'm looking forward to one last hurrah with them. And I can't wait to see me some jackass penguins. (I'm serious! They exist! And they live in Africa!)

I talk often about the revolving door of my life in ministry --- how I tire of the constant turnaround of people. I must confess: I've grown to dread this time of year. All the goodbyes and the need to reopen my heart to start over? Man oh man, it's hard for me.

So will you do me a favor? Every time you drink a hot frothy beverage in one of those gloriously divine red to-go cups, remember me and say a quick prayer for my heart.


four-minute friday: pablo

Go. Last week at Hope House (the orphanage we work at each Friday) the interns told the story of Paul's conversion. Matt narrated and Shannon played a very dramatic Paul. (You've gotta overcompensate when you're the wrong gender for the part...)

After explaining how God got Paul's attention and asked him to "work for Him", Matt asked the kids how they thought Paul responded.

One girl raised her hand. "He said, 'Yes'."

"That's right," Matt replied. "And what do you think God said next?"

There was a long pause. A little boy stood up to answer. "He said, 'Thank you.'"



late night scribblings

Penned in my journal on my night in Naples---

: :

I played at a park today with little Alece. She had me running and tagging and laughing until I was fully out of breath. Catching a glimpse of her smiling face as she went down the slide, I was struck again by an overwhelming thought.

Here in Italy is a four-year-old Alece. Back in South Africa is a four-month-old Alece. And there's even a seven-year old Ayrton Alece in Iowa and a twelve-year-old Arianna Alece in Florida.

Four young girls, peppered around the planet, all given my name. I can't keep my eyes from welling up at that thought. The honor of it. And at the same time, the responsibility of it.

I want to live a life worth naming a child after.

30 hours

While we were in Sicily, I bought a last-minute ticket to Naples to spend a night with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years. Bonnie and her husband Brian minister to American military youth at a naval base in Italy; last time I saw them was three years ago, when they were doing the same thing in Germany. We'd gone to visit them because it was their daughter's first birthday. And their daughter's name is Alece.

Being so close to where they're currently living, we couldn't resist the chance for me to see them again. Little Alece turned four the week before I arrived. She's absolutely beautiful! I couldn't get over how grown up and independent she is. One of my highlights of the whole trip was hearing her belly laugh whenever something really funny happened.

Bonnie and Brian had two more kids since I'd seen them last. They don't any waste time! Bella and Cal are adorable, and I loved every minute with them.

We only spent about 30 hours together, but it was wonderful to catch up with my friend, attend one of their youth events, play with my little namesake, get leg-hugged by a toddler, and hold a cuddly infant.

four minute friday: hope

Go. I'm off to Hope House in an hour. That's the local orphanage I take our interns to each Friday afternoon. This is one of the things I missed most while I was in America.

I love watching the kids' eyes light up as they learn something new. I love seeing them shoot their hands in the air, volunteering to help with the object lesson. I love the zeal with which they recite their memory verses.

But mostly I love sitting quietly with one or two of them, lavishing them with love and feeling my heart be strengthened.

I've been hearing stories of how much the kids have grown, and all the new things they're capable of doing now. I'm looking forward to seeing a healthy Nkosi, a walking, talking, happy Katleho, an interactive Mbali. I'm looking forward to seeing our interns in action, doing what they do best.

I'm tired today and feel like I don't have much to offer. But my arms aren't too tired to hug and to hold; that much I can do. I can be a quiet refuge for a child who needs just that.

This is the perfect ending to my week.


kitty litter

I just reread an email a friend sent me after my surgery a few weeks ago. I saved it in my inbox because I knew I wanted to read it again. But I couldn't remember exactly why when I clicked on it tonight. And then I got to the last sentence.

"Oh, and Kitty... I sure am glad you woke up."

There is so much love, understanding, and care wrapped into that sentence. My heart can feel the hug of Amy's words in a way not many will ever understand.

And soon I'll be hugging her back. For real.

Our dearest friends arrive in South Africa today, after about 24 hours of travel with two kids under three: my Peaberry namesake and my raspberry-loving Siloh. I cannot wait.

Off to pick up some Kitties!