Thursday, January 28, 2010

African Love Song

Have you ever met Lori?

Lori is my sister-in-law, and I can't remember ever meeting a person that I so "instantly" loved.

Some of the first things I loved about Lori were her love of God, devotion to family, sense of humor, her political opinions at our non-political conversations dinner table, her intelligence, her style, love of animals, genuine concern for others, and this is where I will begin.

She is bold and fearless. By day, she is a teacher - through Baylor she educates nurse practitioners. And no, I suppose being bold and fearless are not requirements to be an educator (my teaching family, giggle here) - not unless you are Lori.

She also leads missions to Africa with her students. She is responsible for all areas of each of these trips - including securing all funding for the projects. We are not talking about flying into one of Africa's major cities to observe in hospitals. Lori's teams travel into isolated villages, carrying "minimal" medical supplies, "treating" babies, children, teens, moms, dads, and the very aged. Many are very ill, most have never received any sort of medical treatment in their life. AIDS and malaria are prevalent.

Yes, fearless is a requirement.

There is danger from the elements, country, illness, animals...I'm not sure many would have the confidence to take on this mission. Yet, Lori organizes and leads these trips year after year.

Why on earth would she risk her own health and well being? Why do you think?

If you are like me, you will marvel at these faces. You will long think about those big bright eyes as you try to close yours tonight.

Yes, this Christ filled dedication is yet another reason I love Lori so dearly.

She is about to launch on another journey. Just today I received this request...

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

We are working diligently to get everything ready for the March 2010 trip to Ethiopia and Sierre Leone. My apologies for the lack of regular updates.
One of the team prepared the attached prayer calendar for our rapidly approaching trip. I think she did a great job. I am certain that it has been prayer that has allowed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing trips to be so successful. We have been safe and ministered physically and spiritually to 1000’s of people over the years. This year again we will be doing hard work in tough environments. Sometime we will be physically tired, sometimes we will not have the right medication, we maybe homesick or ill or overwhelmed. Our souls will ache for all the need in the world. It is your prayers that will keep us uplifted and safe and able to meet the needs of God’s people.
I am grateful for all the many types of support we have received over the years. Thank you. We literally would not be going if it were not for the generous donations, physical assistance and hard work of all of you. I would ask yet another thing from you…please consider placing this calendar somewhere during March and pray for the Baylor APN Capstone 2010 team.

In Christ,


She is awesome! What a blessing for that team! And although I will never walk her walk, I will stay on bended knee for her requested prayer. Would you consider joining me in the daily prayer calendar? I've posted it below (I know it's long, but SO worth it):

March 1

Pray for the FNP group as they leave DFW at 7:40pm for their journey to Ethiopia. Pray for: peace for their families as they say goodbye, traveling safety, flights connections, ad successful luggage travel!
Shannon, Sara, Summer, Jamie
Back: Jessica, Lori, Becca, Mary Ann, Ivorry, Rebecca

March 2

Still traveling . . . through the UK and Kenya today. Pray for divine meetings in planes and taxis to share about our trip and the compelling love of Christ. Pray that all of our luggage makes it through customs in Ethiopia!

March 3

We arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning (9 hours ahead of US CST). We are crazy jet-lagged and tired! Pray that God would refresh our spirits and our bodies and that we would have an extra measure of grace and patience with each other!

March 4

We are spending our first full day in Ethiopia! Everything around us is different and chances are we are feeling a little overwhelmed. Pray that God would remind us that He has gone before us.

March 5

Today we hope to visit the Fistula Hospital and Mother Theresa’s Orphanage. Pray that God would give us a deeper love and compassion for the people of Ethiopia.

March 5

Pray that we understand enough of the culture in order to not be offensive or confusing to the Ethiopians we come in contact with- pray for special opportunities to share Christ through our words and actions.

March 7

We are traveling 4 hours on a rough road to the rural Langano area. We will meet up with Kim and Allyson today in the clinic they run! This is what we came for!!! Pray for us to be flexible, organized, and discerning as we unpack supplies and plan for our work in the days ahead.

March 8

Pray for the patients that we will be seeing in the clinic today- many of them don’t have hope and are suffering. Pray that we would be able to give comfort and hope and treat them in an honoring way today.

Pray for Jessica and Becca to feel rested and to be full of joy in their work.

March 9

Pray that our team could be a sweet blessing for the SIM Langano families. Pray that God would give each of us an attitude of service and that we would find creative ways to bless these missionaries!

March 10

Pray for our bodies! Chances are some, if not all of us, may be feeling a little sick and maybe even homesick- pray that God feels near to us as we push through the physical stuff. And pray that we sleep well and awake, refreshed and full of hope for the day!

March 11

Pray for Lori- she has the toughest job on our team- Pray that God would give her grace and peace as she leads and adjusts to the constant changes in scheduling.

Pray that God will provide learning opportunities for Rebecca & Ivory to prepare them for the future.

March 12

Pray for the Ethiopian children that we will see today! Pray that God continues to provide people and resources to meet their needs physically, spiritually, and academically.

March 13

Pray today that God would provide more resources for this clinic-from antibiotics to references to medical equipment to personnel.

Pray that the team will learn creative ways to provide quality care with limited resources.

March 14

Pray for Christians in Ethiopia- that God would give them a boldness to share their faith even during times of persecution.

March 15

It has been 2 weeks of eating Ethiopian food. Pray that God would help us have grace to eat whatever is put in front of us with a thankful heart!

Pray for the people that we will meet today that are hungry- that God would provide for their daily needs.

March 16

Pray that God continues to knit our hearts together as a team--and that we would be grown-ups and communicate clearly when we are upset with each other!

Pray for Sara to not be anxious but entrust her patients’ care to the Father.

March 17

Pray for each team member to be flexible and willing to change plans at the drop of the hat. Pray that God would help us to not be selfish—pray that we would remember that God is in control of all the details (no matter how frustrating they seem to us).

March 18

Today we travel back to Addis Ababa in preparation to leave Ethiopia and the midwives leave DFW at 7:10 pm to head to Sierre Leone. Pray for Shannon, Summer and Mary Ann that God would prepare their hearts as they travel.

March 19

Everybody is tired! The team from Ethiopia is exhausted and the midwives don’t reach Freetown until 8:25pm (6 hours ahead of US CST). Pray again for successful passage through customs! Pray for more refreshment, sleep, and lots of laughter.

March 20

Pray that as the two parts of our team finally come together that there is a smooth transition and a contagious joy.

March 21

Today we will worship together with the missionaries and the believers in the community church. Pray that God would connect us all together despite the language and cultural barriers.

March 22

Today we set up shop in the African bush (it doesn’t get any better than that!) Pray that all the details of this would come together and that people would come from all around. Pray that we would have the resources in our hands and in our heads that we need for this endeavor.

March 23

We are spending the day at Faith Rescue Orphanage where we will set up a medical/dental clinic for approximately 70 children. Pray that somehow we can communicate God’s love to them and meet some practical needs.

March 24

Pray for Gabriel, Sada and Donald and the clinics that they are involved with. Pray for resources and protection of the resources they already have. Pray that God would bless them and use them mightily.

March 25

Pray that in the midst of the chaos and the incredible needs we will turn to God instead of just trying to do everything on our own. Pray that God would get our attention when we are distracted.

March 26

We really miss you guys. Pray that God would remind us that we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” who are praying for us and spurring us on!

Pray for specific opportunities to encourage the believers in this village.

March 27

Today we will be providing some public health education for individuals in this area (primarily women). Pray that God helps us communicate knowledge clearly and that those who attend will walk away with practical things that will help them live healthier lives.

March 28

Our time is up- we are throwing everything into our suitcases and preparing to leave Africa at 11:50pm. Pray that God would speak to us individually about what the future may hold for us in Africa and around the world. March 29
Pray for endurance, patience, health, sleep on the plane, and quiet reflection. We arrive in DFW at 7:15pm—what a crazy, hard, wonderful month!
Pray for the people we leave behind (patients, missionaries, communities). Pray that God would pour out blessing on these people and that many would know the hope of Jesus.

And, (here is Donna loves Lori being overprotective)...would you please just call our sweet Lori's name during your daily prayer...I find such comfort in knowing God will hear her name each day from so many. I wholeheartedly believe she will feel your prayer.

God bless you Lori, and your students. May you always feel His comfort and strength.

I am privileged to love you, safe travels.

You bring a smile to all of our hearts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Sweet (pronounced in three syllables if you are from my area of Texas), is the kind of week I am having.

Have you ever just had a very lucky shopping day?

The kind where you leisurely shop for a treasure, nothing in mind...just the thing that tugs at your heartstrings?

Treasures, are most assuredly, in the eye of the beholder. I recently purchased a bargain box, and feel like I hit the motherlode! And just in time for Tablescape Thursday (click here to go see some really beautiful ideas)!

I was wanting something sweet for my Valentine's table. Nothing in mind...just something that would speak to me...I could see everything in the box and I just couldn't pass it up. (click on photo to enlarge)

Isn't it just perfect? Well, I know, I get a little excited over very simple things, but I really think that Lefton dessert set is going to be perfect with....

our goblets and heart shaped suckers...

Grandma's cut glass vases filled with ice cream salt and tea light candles...

vintage linens...

Vera Wang napkins purchased at a bargain price...

I'm almost ready to welcome the girls over, just a few more things to finish before they get here.

Hope you have something special planned for your Valentine!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Marrying for Valentine's

What to do?

Small corner, dark, leaving our very unique ice box all on its own...again, what to do?

Tea cart, poor condition, may have outlived it's use...again, what to do?

Marry the two of them...just in time for Valentines!

I painted the tea cart some time ago. One of the things I do on all things I paint are "unexpected" touches...did you expect the corner of the plate to be broken?

Now...let's finish dressing the old girl....

Grandma's cut glass goblets brighten up the lower shelf...

Moved the lamp from the bedroom, added one of my cakestands and the silver server...

What do you think? I like the way she filled up that blank corner...I think I'll leave it here until after Valentine's.

I'm going to host a family birthday dinner for our three February birthdays, it will "serve" (hee, hee) us perfectly!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fullness of their grace

Nothing like her...

It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace.
-- Christopher Morley

Mummy...we are all BETTER people because of you. You made each of your children & grandchildren feel they were your favorite (what a gift). You taught your daughter-in-laws the responsibility that comes with loving family deeply.

In the generations you've met, in the generations to are in the words of my husband, our "champion" in every sense of the word.

I'll miss you. I will do my best to walk in your steps. I will strive to treat your family with grace, respect and love. But never could match any of yours...

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3: 13-14

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nothing Says Lovin....

Valentine: noun
A sentimental or humorous greeting card to a sweetheart, friend, or family member on Saint Valentine's Day.
A gift sent as a token of love to one's sweetheart on Saint Valentine's Day.
A person singled out especially as one's sweetheart on Saint Valentine's Day

Warm and fuzzy...oh, yeah!
I will say as I have (ahem) - grown with the "seasons", Valentine's has meant a variety of feelings for me...(fade into dreaming...)

Do you recall making decorated boxes and receiving Valentine's from everyone in your class? I LOVED making the box, and receiving the cards!

No more boxes, but the great HOPE that HE would be brave enough to give you a real Valentine, or at least a note written on a wrinkled piece of lined notebook paper. Never fear, your best friends would always fill your locker with handmade "I HEART YOU" notes!

Pressure!!! A Valentine AND a gift? Would SHE get one, and not you? Would HE go shopping for a gift, would HE give you a sweet card, would HE let his friends know that he was sweet for you? Pressure, pressure, pressure...for EVERYONE! And remember the dances? I loved them...others not so much...but I had my dancing shoes on and a smile on my face!

A Valentine "real date", romance, a gift...possibly a RING?

No money, lots of romance, a night out....IF he remembers! Should you remind him, or maybe your best friend ;p remind him?

NOW YOU'RE GROWN UP (and all that implies ;p)
Money a little easier, but (he says) the restaurants are so crowded! But He did bring home flowers, and a romantic card...and yes, he wants to cook dinner and clean the kitchen. Not a bad deal, at all...if you ask me! (Candlelight required at some point of the evening ;p)...I'm good to go!

OK, can't go any farther than this yet. This is my far!

And yes, I've loved (almost) every Valentine's Day of my 50 plus years.

I'm hosting a party that I'm calling LOVE 2010. I've invited a few ladies, asked them to invite a few ladies, and the idea behind the whole thing is for neighbors (old and new) and friends (old and new) get to meet each other. We'll LOVE eating our heart shaped goodies, we'll LOVE seeing new home decor items, we'll LOVE hearing new ideas of how to decorate, then we'll LOVE teaching our new friends how to blog!
And I am LOVIN' the idea of the diversity of this group...makes my heart smile.

Typically, I don't decorate alot for Valentine's Day, but this has provided a fun excuse to bring out the love.

A quick tour, and a promise of more to come...welcome to the Love Shack! (photos will enlarge if you click on them)

Switched things around, and brought these pieces into the entry. Things I LOVE here...old silver, vintage valentines, scripture, and the vintage baby cups and silver pieces that were the childrens' ( heart skips a beat).

Things I LOVE are the vintage Valentines (not / we'll talk more soon), the Lefton china two tiered server I got as a bargain (YES! thank you Nancy) and Grandma's cake stand.

Things I LOVE here are Lefton dessert sets, Grandma's cut glass vases, Nelda's goblets, vintage table cloth and those cute little pink heart suckers (from the dollar store).

I must admit, I am having way too much fun, it's a youthful (is that even a word?) experience. I've loved being part of Metamorphosis must go see ;p !

Although love (all kinds of love) and romance have been the inspiration behind the decor and this post, I also want to remind you of the greatest promise of love there is.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 21

Come back soon, I want to show you the rest of the house (yes, I said house) is all LOVED up! And, I'll show you how I made the scripture and vintage Valentine trees (on a shoestring budget)!

LOVE to you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mantle Metamorphosis

Those after Christmas you get them? Guilty here - but it's all centered around the decor for me, nothing else.

And, are you like me? I can put up decorations, move them around, create new vignettes a mile a minute! But when it comes to "undecorating" from Christmas, I move at a snails pace and procrastinate even the smallest tasks. Not because I'm lazy, but I dread losing all the color, the sentimental ornaments and decorations we bring out just for that small window of the year. Warm and fuzzy...yeah, that's it! When it's all being packed away, I'm aware my warm and fuzzies won't be back until next year.

Well girls, I can't tell you how happy I was to have met new blogging friends throughout the holidays. It was like a free therapy session...there are more people out there just like me! Woo Hoo...I'm not the only one!

Then, one new friend introduced me to Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch, and her brilliant Metamorphosis Monday.

Spies Spirit: Mantle Metamorphosis#links

Just the thing I needed to pack away the color, and generate a new look. This is where we were at the beginning of the day...

I loved the color the chalkboard and greenery provided for all our holiday gathering photos.

So, now what? I began to pull from different areas, pulled out an artpiece I painted last year...and here we go! In a few hours...this is what we had.

I even pulled a couple of chairs from the dining room to flank the fireplace, something new for this house. They will come in handy for a Southern Living At Home party in a few weeks (my friends have become to rely on me hosting an annual January party to help cheer them up). (The photos will all enlarge for details just by clicking on them).

Everything I paint bears a scripture. The crystal pieces are glasses that I filled with rock salt and tea light candles. They look really great when they are burning, and they cost me $0.00...everything was already there - just had to be put together.

I admit, it's not my "dream" mantle, but I'm feeling pretty good that I pulled it together in a couple of hours.

I really want to bring back the chalkboard for Valentines Day, with a "love" for family theme. So, this little grouping will help me buy some time, and serve the family well for a few weeks.

For my friends that have written for encouragement from the blahs...get up and just get going. I've been to your home, you have great things! Think out of the box, don't put up what was there before your Christmas decorations. Group new things, new collections, new colors together! Be inspired.

"You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens."
-- Ethel Barrymore

Get ready for 2010 to be full of excitement...make it happen! Keep learning, in fact, would you post to my very first LINKY? (it was one of my broaden your horizon quests). I feel so grown up, I think I did it (I just hope the darned thing works)! ;P


Friday, January 1, 2010

3 Favorite E's & 1st McLinky!

At the ripe old age of (swipe my hand in front of my mouth so you really can't hear the BIG number), I never want to stop learning. And by learning, I mean EVERYTHING about life.

I don't intend to go back to school, no new career change in my future (I hope), no big changes on the radar here.

But I definitely want the 3 E's: embellish, enrich and encourage(ment).

By embellish...I want to continue to "beautify" my life, my world. You know me, if I'm not painting, "reinventing" something or rearranging my home, then I'm really not feeling content. I love that type of change! I guess if you can look at this area (for me) as both a strength and a weakness. I just can't an addiction! And I LOVE IT!

By enrich...I want to grow spiritually, deepen my relationship with the Lord. I believe God knows that I put him first, I simply want to be positive. I love kids, kids I know, kids I don't know. When you were growing up, did you know someone that you just knew if you needed could trust them. Not just to assist you in your need, but you could count on that person to protect you under any circumstance. I aspire to be that person. Our family will be enriched this year with the birth of our first grandchild. And if I get started now on the excitement here...this post changes altogether (you can go to see my "lolli" blog at

By encourage(ment)...I want to encourage others, I want to be encouraged by others. And by that, I mean in every facet of life...teach me to try new recipes, teach me a new computer trick, teach me to expand my thought process...get my drift? No one has ever accused me of "being inside the box" (giggle here), but I do feel like I could do, could be, so much more! WOO HOO, I still wonder what I am going to be when I grow up!

So, as a first step out into the wild blue 2010, I am hosting my FIRST McLinky! Feels pretty big to a mature lady that has very little computer knowledge...but here we go.

I want to see one of your 3 E's from your blog post that is your favorite from your blog on * embellish * enrich or * encourage(ment)

Can't feels like Christmas again and I opening the "big" gift! Dime...your turn!