be sure to check our BLOG for my team that is in africa right now!!!


it's a girl!

it's official: i'm a grown up. my friends are having babies!!
sarah cherry rice delivered charlotte ann rice today at 6.3 lbs - and she was 3 weeks early!! we've been calling the little bump "pat" the last 9 months, because sarah and her husband teddy refused to know the sex. i hope little charlotte likes green and yellow! :)

here's me and the mama about 2 months ago...



i easily fall into fear when i approach the unknown and the depths of darkness.
as much as i want to plan for this Africa trip (we leave in 4 days!) i know there is going to be so much darkness - physically and spiritually. i was reminded this morning of the truth in Psalm 139 - "even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as LIGHT with You."
i'm praying that even in the depths of the unknown and the cries of the broken, that He brings LIGHT and healing.

"Let Your Light Shine" - Bethany Dillon

The Calmer of the sea
Here in this room with me
So gently welcoming
The weakest things in me
You are the blood over
The door of my heart
What pain You spared me from
How could I know it all?

Oh wonderful love, You died for me
The power of Your life is in me

Father, let Your light shine down on me
Father, let Your light shine down on me
No matter what the day or night may bring
Father, let Your light shine down on me

Oh Jesus, You became what was my deepest shame
That at Your very name
My calloused heart would change
How could You, oh perfect One
Love me, when I have done nothing that's worthy of
My freedom You have won

Oh wonderful love, You died for me
The power of Your life is in me

Father, let Your light shine down on me
Father, let Your light shine down on me
No matter what the day or night may bring
Father, let Your light shine down on me

Open up the heavens, Poor down Your Spirit
Hold me God
Jesus, wherever You lead, I'll sing harmony
Hold me God


perspective (Africa Countdown: 1 week!)

so anyone who has had a conversation with me over the past few weeks knows that i was very much looking forward to july 11 -- the day the new iPhone came out. i've been patient, waiting for the price to go down, and yesterday was the day.
so i wake-up early, and go get in line at 6am. (the store opened at 8am, so i'm thinking SURELY i'll be out of there and into work by 9 or 9:30, right?) well...
it's 9...it's 10...it's 11...and i'm still about 20 people back from the door. as it gets later and later my stress level is rising because i'm supposed to lead a volunteer training meeting at the office at 12:30. (at-least i brought my laptop to catch up on emails) i finally get in the door at noon, and i'm thinking, ok, this will all be worth it when i have my phone. they start asking me questions, and i'm trying to hurry this process along, and then...

apple: "so, you're a mac user, right?"
me: "yup" (duh)
apple: "and you have leopard?" (operating system)
me: "well...no...my computer is 4 years old, so my operating system is a little older..."
apple: "well, you can't sync an iphone to that old OS."
me: "so..."
apple: "so, you'd have to buy the new one" (aka, that will be $130 more please.)

i'm thinking, fine, you know what, that's probably not the end of the world, my computer could use a face-lift. but i feel a little thrown off guard. and then...

apple: "alright, you're an at&t user, right?"
me: "yup" (for the last 10 years, c'mon..)
apple: "and you're eligible for an upgrade?"
me: "yah, uhhh...what? can't i just renew my contract?"
apple: "well, why don't you call at&t..."
i proceed to call at&t, wait on hold, then find out that NO, i'm not eligible for an upgrade...until may 2009! aka, i can NOT get the $199 iPhone...i instead can purchase it for $399. i beg for more options...none. are you KIDDING me? all information that would have been real useful 6 hours earlier.
apple: "so, you still want to purchase your iPhone?"

the facts are all running around my head: you just stood in line for 6 hours. you now have to pay almost $350 more than you originally intended. you are really late for a meeting you're in charge of. you feel completely out of control.
i can feel the tears rising, and just politely tell the apple people that i have to walk...i can't afford this.
i run out of the store, defeated and disheartened.

as i process this chain of events, and even more so how it affected my whole day and my outlook, i can't help but think this is a strange way for God to prepare me to leave for Africa one week from today. we live in a culture that EXPECTS things to go our way, and that there should be no reasons why we can't have what we want when we want them. my friends in Africa on the otherhand live with GRATEFUL spirits - thankful for one more day to spend with the people they love and one more meal to fill their stomachs. their only EXPECTATION is for God to supply every NEED.
i'm sure i WILL get a phone that allows me to access the internet at rapid speeds right at my fingertips someday...but today, i pray i'm thankful for all that i DO have, and although i'd love to get those 6 hours back, i think i'm gonna be alright.


she said yes!

so, apart from my own engagement someday, i think this is this most excited i am about someone getting married! my roommate, brooke, and her boyfriend, justin, got engaged tonight. i've watched this relationship so closely (literally) and am so thrilled for them.
i even got to be in on the plans tonight... her sister and mom flew in as a surprise, and we had a little party planned for them after he proposed. it was such a sweet time, and i'm looking forward to walking in this journey with her the next 6 months until the wedding.

the sad part is knowing she is leaving and i'll be looking for a new roommate. my expectations are high, because brooke is like a sister to me. but i know God will provide...He always does.


(still) in dependence.

on the 4th of July last year i blogged about Independence Day. it was some good truth that i'm STILL trying to live out. learning to be vulnerable and willing to invite others into my story to help me be me...messy, quirky, needy me. i continue to marvel at the community God has birthed into my life in Nashville. i depend on them for so much, and i'm so grateful.

here's just a handful of some of those amazing people at a trip out to the vineyard last month.


Africa Countdown: 17 days!!

today i got my 4th and final vaccine for our trip. i have now received typhoid, hepatitis A, meningitis, and yellow fever shots -- ouch! i still need to get my prescriptions filled for my malaria pills and some other meds.
support update: i'm about halfway there on donations -- i got a big check in the mail today! it's so humbling to watch God provide.

so i thought i'd give you a personal story, to give you an idea of the beautiful women we will be spending our time with in Gulu. this is from one of our Mocha Club artists, Matt Wertz:

"One of the women that the Village of Hope is serving is named Grace. I got to sit down with her as she told me her story. How she was abducted at 14, given to a 50 year old Commander in the LRA, gave birth to two children and then, at age 28 escaped, losing both of her children, one in crossfire and one to disease. She spoke in a daze, far removed from the room we were sitting in, as she recalled the fear and pain she experienced in her 14 years of captivity. She lost her childhood, as well as her opportunity to love and to be loved. The Village of Hope’s goal is to give those things back to her."

see the rest of his thoughts on the mocha club blog
to see pictures from a previous trip to the Village of Hope go to our flickr page