Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mission Report

Hi Everyone!  I haven't had much time to write here lately, but I want to let you all know we will be having a gathering focused on our time in Africa very soon.  Here are some details:

Missions Report from Josh and Nicole on their service in Namibia

Saturday, April 9 beginning at 6:30

Calvary Baptist Church
1620 Bridge Ave
Albert Lea, MN 56007

Talk about time in Africa followed by Question and Answer session (please come with questions!)

There will be lots of pictures and stories, as well as songs, dance, cultural artifacts, and language.

Children are welcome- this would be a great learning experience!
I know this is short-ish notice, but we recently realized that our summer schedule is really filling up.  (Can you believe we have already booked 13 weddings?  God continually surprises me- more on that later.)  We don't want to put it off any longer.  If you can't make it, but would like us to speak at your church or group, just send me a message and we will see what we can do!

Friday, March 11, 2011

More of Africa 2

More unshared pictures of our life overseas;

In Rehoboth and Rundu:
 A playground in Rundu- few and far between in Africa.  Almost certainly built by foreigners, but greatly enjoyed by the locals. 
 Two boys hanging out under an acacia tree:

 These kids came to play at 5am!

 Mokoros (dugout canoes) on the Kavango River:

 The seven girls (of 24 students) that I taught at Kwakwas.  They called this sand a "river" because it would fill with water (for a few days) during rainy season.
 Some of the youth center kids:
Taken in Block E.  To me this is an amazing reminder that in spite of poverty, kids just want to be kids.  Their resilience inspires me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More of Africa

Without really being intentional, we've more or less put Africa aside since we got home.  There has been a lot to organize, and digestion is best one bite at a time.  Since the new year, we have started to examine it again, to mull over what God taught us, how He might use us, and where we should go from here. 

While going through pictures for the blog makeover (thank you Tara!), I came across tons more that I haven't shared with you.  In fact, I realized I haven't had pictures on here in a long time.  I guess that comes with the territory of having a photography blog.  However, I know that God didn't give me the privilege of capturing these images just so I can keep them to myself.  Although there are too many for me to narrate every one, I am hoping He might use the images themselves to speak to someone or many someones...maybe even you.

For today, I'll start with those from the header, plus a few extra:

Some of the kids I taught at Kwakwas:
Rundu, Namibia:
Me holding one of our little ones at the preschool, Josh with one of our youngest from the youth program:

Dune 7, Walvis Bay, Namibia

Kids from Hope's Promise and the Youth Program:
Aren't they precious?
Some of our preschool girls.  This picture always reminds me of little old ladies at a salon : )

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Look, New Life

Well, in case you didn't notice, CTLA got a makeover!  Woohoo!!!!!!!

Because seriously, it was about time.

After more than two years and 200 posts- which just blows my mind since I still feel like a baby blogger- I was tired of looking at that dreary black background.  At least now I know I am not inspired by dark and boring.

I thought for a while about whether I would keep this blog.  After all, we aren't in Africa anymore- at least for now, anyway (more on that to come).  And I do have another blog to keep up, which occupies much of my time already. 

After thought and prayer, however, I realized I didn't want to sacrifice the outlet and relationships that this blog has sparked.  It is more than it seems on the surface, which is what so many bloggers already know.

It's connection.

It's community.

It's memories.

It's having a voice.

But I needed some new inspiration.  I decided a new look would be the way to go.  Since I had just gotten my photography blog redesigned, I already knew a great designer.  Tara of Our Princess in Pigtails Designs is wonderful to work with and beyond talented.  If you are even considering thinking about maybe wanting to look at trying having your blog professionally designed, check her out.  And, she is way affordable, which was huge to me.  If I had found her sooner, I would have gotten this done ages ago.

As I’ve been looking at other blogs, trying to figure out what mine needs for the redesign (since I only get one shot at this or I have to pay more money : P ), I realized I have no “about me” section. It’s pretty much intentional, but possibly unacceptable. I am reminded of the fact that I want to read an “about me” section when I visit a blog. I mean, honestly, I don’t want to start reading posts every day, and develop a tight internet-bound relationship that I come to rely on, only to find out the author is some sort of animal sacrificer or dictator or supports dealing illicit drugs to pre-schoolers.

[Don't judge my dramatic and fanciful thinking.  It could happen.]

I guess it’s a quality-control sort of thing.

The other day I was trying to post an ad on craigslist. Now, I had already posted this ad and it had run for a full 40 days or whatever the allotted time is before your post expires. So, I post the very same ad, and it got “flagged and removed.” Three times. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? I did the same thing last time, SO WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME DIFFERENT RESULTS?????


Grrrr… I was feeling rather riled up about the whole thing, in case you didn’t catch that.

Anyway, I posted a question to a craigslist forum. Because you can’t just pick up the phone and call them or anything. No, when you have already failed miserably at posting on their technological venue, they want to make you do it again, just to really emphasize that you don’t know what you are doing.

But some kind soul (*bless their heart*) took pity on me and told me how it was. Apparently your post isn’t deleted by some sort of algorithm or anything. Instead, viewers flag it either for not following the rules or because they think it looks sketchy or like a scam or even because they just don’t like you. So really, it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out why you got kicked off.

But the kind soul’s suggestion for improvement threw me- it wasn’t that I didn’t include the appropriate language or links or format, but rather that I didn’t include any information about myself, anything that would make it clear I was a real, live, local person and not just a robot somewhere.

Which makes sense, you know? Why would you read my blog if you don’t know who I am ?
So I will give it a try, open up, and be vulnerable- even if it doesn't come easy.

So, if you're interested you can check out the "About" section for a look into my mixed-up, wonderful, messy, complicated, grace-filled, Jesus-dependent life.

Thanks for stopping by : )