Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Camping" at Howard Prairie

(This is Alisha) trying to get used to blogging before we venture to Africa where I will be blogging frequently I assume. I figure it is a great way to start journaling as a mom too. These pictures are from last weekend where we met our friends the Sampsons at Howard Prairie for day camping. I took very few pictures but thought I would share them. The weather was VERY windy so we didn't really swim. This first picture is of Graysen. He likes to do this thing where he closes his eyes and says, "It's really dark in here." He makes me laugh that silly man.

The little man in blue is Brodie giving his first crack at casting the line. Matt's (Sampson) dad and mom came to visit and brought their fishing poles. 'Grandpa Mike' was so nice to let the boys try casting. Brodie LOVED fishing and was quite excited when we let him know that Grandpa and Uncle Brian both love fishing too. Grandpa Mike even caught a small trout (about 5 in.) and put it in a bucket for the kids to watch. I guess Brodie thought it would be fun to see it jump, so before we could stop him he had picked up the fish and threw it back in the lake. Then he ran through the water after it in hopes of recapturing it :) .

Jonah spent most of his time slurping up water and some mud in the super soaker. He and his friends Brennan and Andrew must have squirted their soakers for over an hour, giggling at what they could shoot. So that was our camping trip. We are going to try real camping with the Sampsons (the kind where you actually sleep there, imagine that!) one weekend in July. Should be interesting with all those little men (the Sampsons also have three boys).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Begins!

Well, we got Brodie graduated off...from Kindergarten. Hard to believe that's over. So Alisha and the boys have transitioned full-time into summer. They've been hitting the farms this week, and Brodie was excited to learn how to catch and pick up a chicken. The other little boy in the picture is a friend from Brodie's school, Andrew, who was also on the soccer team I coached.
But we've been working hard on a getting our letter ready to send out along with the DVD. We're really excited. Brian, Alisha's brother made up a very cool letterhead and footer for the letter. It is awesome. Man, between CJ & Lindsay doing the DVD and now Brian dressing up our letter, we have already been blessed so much in this process.
Other than that, we go to the eMi conference in Wyoming in 3 weeks, right after we return from LA for niece Erinne and new nephew-on-law Travis's (called "Mavis" by our boys) wedding. So I have been working hard on this side job that is paying for our summer travels. It's a big blessing, but right now I'm effectively working 60+ hour weeks so time for things like blogging and sleeping has been tight.
Our plan is to send out the letter and DVD before we leave for LA on the 27th, so pray that we'll be able to do it, and that God will be calling others to join us in this journey. We don't want to "convince" (or even worse, pressure) anyone into supporting us. A line I read in a support-raising book put it perfectly: God has already raised the money by calling others to become involved in our mission. It's just up to us to discover it now.
I really like that, because it takes the pressure off of us, and off of those who we'll be asking and/or sending letters out to. Kind of like looking under things for hidden Easter eggs - "nope, not under this one...or this one...oh, here's one." That's a lot less stressful way to think about it.
Ultimately, we are excited to go and are excited to see God help us pull it off. The house has been quiet, with only one person walking through in the first 3 weeks. A lot of houses for sale right now and not many buyers. That's ok - we're good staying put for a few months.
(I know it's a little random, but I just loved the picture Alisha took of Graysen looking for bugs on the gravel road at the farm.)

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Oops - sorry about the blog drought!

Sorry! We are alive, just insanely busy. Each night, 11:30pm rolls around and we look at each other, shake our heads and say: 1) Why are we up this late again? 2) Man the night just flies by. 3) We hardly accomplished anything. 4) We have so much to do still but we need to go to bed.

Well, we're about 2 hours away from that point now so I have a little time. We have basically been working on a bunch of things, most notably on putting together our budget. That has been much more challenging than I'd thought. I still can't believe how expensive it is to live there. I'm sure many of you would share in my (mis)perception that living in 3rd-world Uganda would be fairly cheap. In a few instances that is the case (health insurance and food are relatively cheap compared to the U.S.), but overall, we're going to be budgeting not that much different from our budget here! Incredible.

Well, it's also a little discouraging, because it seems exceedingly overwhelming to have to raise the kind of money we're looking at raising. I know a lot of people do it, but it's a different story when it's you (us). I know that it is ultimately up to God and we need to have faith, but it's hard not to battle the thoughts of feeling like a mooch and a slouch for having to exist on donations from others. Those are the thoughts of my flesh of late. But I know that God is orchestrating this plan, and we are definitely trusting Him to work out "immeasurably more than all we ask."

I seem to keep running across these devotionals that hit me right where I'm at. One in particular should have been titled, "a devotional for you Brad Crawford, so pay attention." Here's a snippet that hit the bullseye on my heart:

"We are called to believe God with reckless abandon—not just believe that He is there and that He is involved with us somehow; but that He is actively, personally seeking our good and answering our prayers. We are to give up our own strategies and ambitions, to relinquish all "Plan Bs," to recklessly, irrevocably cast ourselves completely into His arms."

I read that and all I could hear was myself repeating the mantra I had been telling people lately: "Well, in the worst-case scenario if God doesn't work this all out then we are perfectly content to stay in Medford." Oops. My feeble-mindedness finds comfort in telling people that if this fails we're just fine staying here in the town we love. But what I'm really saying is, "I'm scared to death and I don't have very much faith that God will accomplish what He's set out for us." After I read that devotional, I was embarrassed that I wasn't giving God glory ahead of time, but was in essence waiting to make sure that He'd come through afterall before I fully signed on. Pathetic.

So the more time goes on in this process, the more we're realizing how much more growth we need in our faith to really pull this off. Making the decision to do it was mile 1 of a 1000 mile journey (actually more like 11,000 miles to Uganda, but who's counting!)

Other news:
* our house went on the market 2 weeks ago - no bites yet, the market is slow. we're just fine staying here for awhile
* i have a tooth that needs a root canal. i'm resisting going to the dentist and just chewing on the other side for now.
* Brodie graduates from Kindergarten this Friday. :) :( :). he's been doing very well in school lately!
* June and first part of July will be very busy - trying to get out the support letter and dvd, i have a large side-project that is paying for our expensive summer travel (thank you God for providing that), we go to my niece Erinne's wedding in LA, then Alisha and I go to Wyoming for the eMi conference over the 4th of July. with all of that going, if we get an offer on our house, i think i'll croak! actually, no, i think we'll just decline the offer! :)
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