Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Gatlinburg Adventure!

Here are a few pictures from the week we spent here in Gatlinburg!  We leave today to head back home and back to reality with work starting on Monday.  I have to say that this has probably been one of my favorite breaks so far and I have truly enjoyed all the time we got to spend with family this break!

 Our Cabin - Legacy Peek!
 A few pictures from our visit to the Titanic exhibit.  This was a very cool exhibit where you even get assigned a name that you are going through and you get to find out in the end if you lived or died!

 Some pictures below from the aquarium...definitely a great place where we saw some of our favorite sea creatures!

 An eel above and a saw shark below...had never seen one of these before and it swam right over our heads!

 Two of our favorites, the leafy sea dragon (above) and of course the penguin...this ones name was Norman!
 Here are some pictures of the inside of our cabin...the place we stayed at was called Gatlinburg Falls and I would definitely reccomend it!

 And of course a few pictures of the snow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Open The Eyes of my Heart...

I felt like I needed to add a special song to go along with the pictures from Africa.  One of my favorite times of the day was our devotions and this is one of the songs that we would sing on some of the days.  I feel like it kinda sums things up when I listen to the words and it makes me think of the way that the Lord opened my eyes while I was in Africa!

Africa Pictures...

Well I know i've been back for 3 weeks without an update...but between recovering from jet lague, time change, Thanksgiving, finishing up my grad school class, and getting back to has been a busy three weeks to say the least!  I have just today started going through my over 600 pictures from Africa and thought I would post a few while I have a chance to do so! 

I have talked to many of you since I have been back to share stories, etc and look forward to talking to many more!  Africa was a life changing experience to say the least and I know that I will never be the same again which is SUCH a good thing!  I truly have learned to thank my God every day for the things that he has given me in my life and I can't wait to see what is to come!  Here are a few pictures from the beginning of the trip to start things off and I will post more again soon!

 Above is the view from our plane of the sunset when we were flying over seas.  Our trip started at 2:45am when we met at the church and then drove to the airport to leave at 6:10am.  We flew from Charlotte to DC and then went from DC to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a stop in Rome to fuel up (about 17hrs) and then we went from Addis Ababa to Lilongwe with a stop in Lambashi (about 6hrs) for a total travel of about 25 hours when you include layovers...WOW!!
 This is a picture of the mountain we saw from the plane when we landed in Ethiopia.  I'd say one of the highlights of the flight had to be seeing the Nile river from the plane which unfortunately the light wasn't good for me to get a picture.
 Below is a picture of the group we were greeted by when we got to Malawi.  I had never been greeted with such love and warmth by people that I had never met before and looking back now I never knew how much I too would grow to love these people over the next few weeks!
 This is the "coaster" (named by the bumpy ride) which we used to travel in while we were there.
 A picture of the view of the lake...Kamuzu Dam...where we were staying at the first week that we were there.
 A picture of my bed the first week we were there...mosquito net and all!  The accomodations were better then I had thought to begin with and although the showers we took were definitely cold...we were thankful just to feel clean!
 The outside of the building that we slept in the first week in Nsanje (Na-sin-ja).
 A picture of some of the houses we saw the first day that we went out into the villages...most houses were built of brick with straw rooves and dirt floors.
 Baby Angel...pastor Jackson & his wife Mary's precious baby girl that we got to spend some time with while we were there!

 These are pictures of the church that Pastor Jackson is with and where we went to church the first two Sundays that we were in town. 
OK I think that's a good start...more pictures of some of the work that we did while we were there will be coming soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All My Bags Are Packed...

and i'm ready to go!!!!  :)  We meet at 2:45am at the church to head to the airport for our 6:05am flight!  We then go up to DC and in DC change to Ethiopian airlines and fly to Rome and then on to time should be about 26 hours and we should arrive (from what I figure) at about 8:30am on Saturday NC time.  If I am able to use the internet I will be posting and adding pictures here when I get a chance so keep checking back while I am gone! 

Before I go I wanted to update with a few pictures of what we have been up to over the last two weeks!  Tara came down for a baby shower and it was great to see her & Justin and celebrate with friends to get ready to welcome their new little girl in March!

 Above is the diaper cake I made for little "frogger" and below is the cake that Melissa's mom made for the shower!!
A picture of Tara & I
 Tara, Robin, and litle Anna...I thought this picture showed off her sweet baby belly!!!
We also had a great time celebrating Halloween with some friends last weekend and of course dressing up our little puppies for trick-or-treating!
 Above is James's traditional Power T pumpkin and below is my pumpkin for the year!
 Our little AJ the shark!
 Kaiden was a little excited about his first halloween as a spider...kinda hard to get a good picture of him!
 AJ and his little girlfriend Bailey!
 Well that's about all that has been up with us besides going crazy getting ready for the trip!  Hopefully next time I update I will have some news from Malawi!  Please continue to pray for our mission group and all that God has in store for us while we are gone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 Weeks and Counting...

I can't believe that we leave TWO weeks from Friday!  Several people from the mission team left on Monday and a few others leave in the morning (including my dear friend Dwight who got me interested in this wonderful trip) so please keep them in your prayers as they are traveling!  It has truly been amazing to me these last few weeks as I have been helping the team get ready for the trip how much there is to do that I never imagined.  I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have been able to feel God's presence while counting out aspirin and packaging it for other people.  It is crazy how several weeks ago we were so short of items that we were going to take on the trip and suddenly they all started pouring in and we have almost met most of our goals now!

One of the things I am most excited about taking to Africa is something that has personal meaning to me.  My wonderful mother agreed to knit some scarves for the women who are AIDS patients in Africa that we are going to visit.  I could tell she was a little worried at first about time when I told her that we needed 15-20 scarves in about 2 months time but sure enough before I knew it she was giving me 19 beautiful hand made scarves that she poured her love into while making each one!  I can't wait to take them over and get some pictures of the women in Malawi wearing the scarves.  Here are a few pictures of them before they got packed...

I also got a list of items that I need to pack to take to Africa (in my 15lb carry on and back pack...yikes that's not a lot of space)!!!  So...I am going to take a moment to beg and borrow here becuase my thought is that some of you may have the things that I need and maybe would let me borrow them so rather then spending money on buying these things I can take more money on the trip with me so here goes!!  If anyone has any of the items below and you are willing to let me borrow them PLEASE let me know, it would be greatly appreciated and might even get you a little gift from Malawi (yes I'm willing to bribe you)!!
* A "carry-on" size suit case
* deet (bug spray) wipes
* money belt that will fit under clothing
* blow up pillow for the plane
* baby powder
* eye drops
* light weight flashlight
* small bottles of hand sanitizer
* a plug convertor
I realize that some of these things are things you may not want me to return but thought if anyone has them laying around the house and are not using them they could go to a good cause!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Just over one month from now I leave on my mission trip to Africa.  As many of you know I am so excited to go but yet so nervous at the same time.  I am going with a group of about 20 amazing people that are all part of a mission group called Missions 4 Jesus.  God definitely played a huge part in leading me to learn about this group after my life long dream of going to Africa.  It was one of those things that I had thought about for years and talked about over and over but was always to scared to go.  Well this time when the opportunity came up my wonderful husband decided that he wasn't going to let me take no for an answer and before I knew it I was signed up and on my way raising money for my trip! 

I have already learned so much about myself through this process of preparing physically and spiritually to go on this trip.  I go back and forth between feeling nervous and down right scared but every time I feel that way I am relieved to know that I am a child of such a wonderful God who will watch over me and take care of me while I am gone.  And as Dwight (one of the men on our mission team who lead me to go on the trip) told me the other day..."we haven't lost anyone yet" i'm sure i'll be OK! 

It seems like forever ago that I was having to think about getting my shots for this trip...with four shots complete and one more to go tomorrow I am so happy to be almost done with that!  I know that this next month is going to fly by and before I know it November 5th will be here and I will be getting on the plane to start what will surely be one of the biggest life changing experiences I will ever have.  I am so thankful to know that I have had so many people supporting me and praying for me and know that those love and prayers will continue while I am gone.  I can't wait to get back from the trip and share with everyone what I lived and experienced while I was there!

I appologize for kind of skipping out on the blog the last two months but there has honestly been so much going on that I just didn't know where to start!  I will do my best to update more as I prepare for this trip over the next month and will definitely have LOTS to share afterwards!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Day At The Beach!

Today I had a great time hanging out in Ohio and we spent a while at the beach this morning.  It was a great time and a lot of fun to watch Molly play in the water and in the sand!  Here are some pictures from our day!

Mommy & Raina getting ready to go out in the sun!

Heading out to the water...

Molly hanging out with Auntie Tara & Uncle Justin in the water!

Here comes Mommy bringing all the fun stuff for the day!

Molly building her sand castles.

Tonight when we came back Tara & Justin had to go to a meeting so Melissa and I took the girls out the back yard and had a frosty party while Melissa painted toe nails!  Good times...

What a great & fun day!  Can't wait to have a few more days of fun in Ohio!