My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Running to the ball...not away from it.

I was never good at fact I was terrified of them.  I have always been the girl that would run from the ball.  In gym class, or recreational sports, I would literally pray to Jesus that the ball would not come near me, because if it did, I would not be able to bear the embarrassment that would surely follow when I tried to "do" something with said ball.  I wouldn't be the one on the court screaming "I'm open!!!"  I would do my best to hide myself from the line of vision of the person looking to pass the ball.  One time I was playing Ultimate frisbee with a bunch of friends from camp.  Tony (my husband) threw the frisbee in my direction and I actually ducked... it landed on my back.  When I stood up Tony said "What were you doing? I was passing it to you!" I yelled back "You were?! No one passes it to me!"  And they don't... ever...because they know what happens when they do.  Tony had faith in me (or he was just trying to make sure his poor little awkward wife got some playing time)  

Tony was the opposite.  He grew up playing every sport you can think of and was better than average at most of them.  He knows so much about training for something and accomplishing his goals.  I have never trained for anything sports related.  I have gotten hit in the face with more balls than you can count (Forgive me, I really don't know any other way to say that).  But Tony's athleticism and perseverance inspire me, after watching him train for and run the Indy Mini Marathon this spring,  I was floored.  I didn't realize the human body could run for over two hours.  I remember throwing up after running the mile in middle school.   

So I wanted in on the action.  I wanted to feel like I trained for, and accomplished something.  But I never wanted to do it for me. I wanted to do it for them.  
My triathlon is getting so close! Today I swam 800 meters and ran three miles so I am feeling pretty good!  I know I have trained hard for this and I know I am ready.  Today after dragging myself to the gym, I came home and opened my e-mail to find pictures of the progress of the building of our school...what a reward!  I promised to raise them $1300 (100 dollars for every mile I go in the Triathalon)  I am only at 550 still, so I have 750 more to go and I only have 25 days to do it! Please, if you feel led, donate to this project.  It will be a safe haven for children to go during the day, a place for them to learn and play, a place where they can hear more about the One who created them.  I have been training hard for this and I would love to see my prayers of raising this money answered.  God Bless you all for your prayers for me as I continue this journey and for your donations for the kids.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just build it again

Last night, after a busy weekend of cleaning our garage and spending the first family day we've had in months, we sat down to watch a movie after we tucked Max into bed.  The movie was called "Machine Gun Preacher".  Intense movie.  It's about a drug addict who turns to God and then goes to Africa.  He witnesses the atrocities of war and he deicides to help the children of the Sudan by building an orphanage.  He builds it dangerously close to the violence and when they burn his orphanage down, he is crushed.  When he is at his lowest and ready to give up hope he calls his wife and tells her he can't do it anymore.  His wife tells him to quit crying and build it again.  Just build it again.  

We complain so much about our struggles in life, when some of us (myself included) have no idea what the word struggle really means.  

Today I woke up and headed to the gym, ready to put my work in for another day.  As I rode the bike, I listened to a song I hadn't heard before.  It reminded me of the man they based this movie on.  He wasn't perfect, far from it.  He sometimes did whatever it took to forward his mission.  Sometimes I feel like I go about it all wrong.  I want so bad for people to CARE about the things I care about, but they certainly won't care if I am bashing them over the head with it.  

In the Sudan and Uganda, children have been forced to become soldiers, murder their families, lose their innocence. All over the world, there are kids dying of hunger and disease, without the opportunity for an education.   I think of the way I used to check every fifteen minutes when Max was sleeping, to see if he was still breathing, and then how I would stand there just watching him breathe, feeling such peace knowing he was safe.  

So I am running, biking, swimming my ass off until I raise this money.  We are going to build this school.  

Here's the update $550 raised...$750 to go! 

Go to the donate button if you want to help me reach my goal.

The song I listened to this morning:

I can't promise you that I won't let you down
And I
I can't promise you that I will be the only one around
When your hope falls down
But we're young
Open flowers in the windy fields of this war-torn world
And love
This city breathes the plague of loving things more than their creators

I ran away
I could not take the burden of both me and you
It was too fast
Casting love on me as if it were a spell I could not break
When it was a promise I could not make

But what if I was wrong?
What if I was wrong?
Oh, what if I was wrong?

But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight
And Oh hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

And now this land
Means less and less to me without you breathing through its trees
At every turn
The water runs away from me and the halo disappears
I'm not whole when you're not near

So what if I was wrong?
What if I was wrong?
Oh, what if I was wrong?

But hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight
And Oh hold on to what you believe in the light
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight

Hold on to what you believed in the light 

-Mumford and Sons

Monday, July 2, 2012

Inspiration Motivation

Today the last thing on the planet I wanted to do was go to the gym.  The thought of loading Max into the carseat, packing both our bags, unloading him out of the carseat, dropping him at childcare, getting dressed, running on the treadmill, taking a shower, picking him up from childcare, and then driving home, completely exhausted me.


I did it, and here's why:


From the people that are giving from their already tight budgets.


From the little faces of Kenya kids dreaming of getting an education.


From the thought of living a long healthy life for my child(ren)


From the women who wake up on the other side of the world and have the same dreams for their children that I have for mine.

I am sure there are more days than not that they don't really want to get out of bed, and they have better reasons than I.  So I did it.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting me and the building of this school.  You have inspired me.  I know for a fact I wouldn't have the motivation to do it, without your selfless donations and prayers.

Donation update: $450 raised $850 left to raise!