Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day off!

Since I last posted on here I started my new job - teaching a combined class of 3rd and 4th grade at the small private school where Luke and Abby have been attending since last year.  Will now goes there, too, so we all get to go to school together everyday.  I really like being in the same building as my kids all day.  I really don't see them until after school but it's a great feeling knowing that if they need me I am close by.  I've been a stay-at-home mom since Will was born.  Except for the three years I home schooled (2 for Coleson, 1 for Will) they have always gone to school and I was available to volunteer at school or stay home with them if they were sick.  When we returned to the U.S. last year I knew that I would eventually have to return to the work force.  I worked for 6 months as a secretary, 3 months of  which were full time.   I missed seeing my kids and being a part of their lives.  I realized then what a blessing all of those years at home were.  Now, I'm once again blessed to be able to ride to school with them in the morning and go home with them in the afternoon.  And because we are a small school, they can pop into my classroom to say hi or store their lunch boxes by my desk.  All of them helped me get my room ready before school started.  Abby worked hours helping me organize and clean.  I could not have done it without her.

We are at the end of week 2 of school.....and today, Thursday, we have the day off due to heavy wind and rain caused by Hurricane Isaac.  The authorities were not sure exactly what track the storm would take nor how powerful the winds would be so they cancelled school yesterday for today.  It has been lovely to be at home in the middle of the week!  I'm still in my pajamas and it's just past noon.  I've mopped, done laundry and cleaned a bit.  I didn't have to bring home any lesson plans since I got those done ahead of time so I have felt like a free woman.

Teaching again after 18 years away from the classroom has been challenging to say the least!  And, teaching two grades in the same room is HARD, y'all!  Thankfully I only have 12 students.  Yes, 12.  I know, I'm a weenie.  But I feel exhausted at the end of the day from going from one subject to the next, trying to keep some very active/easily distracted students in their chairs and on-task and actually trying to teach them something.  I do love my class.....lots of sweet kids who are eager to learn and eager to please.

No pics yet.  Maybe soon.  So I'll leave you with my current stream of thought since it's SO very interesting.....NOT!

I'm getting very sleepy because it's cloudy and I can hear the wind and the rain and Will playing soccer on the PS2.......I wanted to listen to Abba earlier but we don't have one single Abba song on our iTunes.  How did that happen?  I have a pork loin thawing for supper.  While looking on Pinterest for recipes I got distracted by math games for my classroom that I needed to pin.   Still don't have a recipe.  This weather makes me want to bake.  I mopped today.....first time in a long time.  It's not a good thing that my kitchen floor is gray.  I can't see any dirt.  Or maybe that IS a good thing.  Made a pot of coffee this a.m. instead of my one cup with the Keurig.  It was lovely.  And it went well with the blueberry muffins Luke made for b'fast.  Coleson and some friends are coming home tomorrow for the Labor Day weekend.  He's enjoying school - the beginning of his 2nd year at univ..  He's a Mass Communications major now.  He's still playing guitar, singing and writing songs.  I hope that one day when he is famous he'll buy us a nice house to retire to. :-)  I miss Africa.....a lot!  But I'm peaceful and content here.  I actually love where we live.  I'm speaking to a ladies group next month...on Living Outside the Box for the glory of God!  That should be fun.  It's now time for my Hurricane Isaac nap.  Have a good day, peeps!

Friday, August 03, 2012

I don't even know what to title this post.  I am feeling so blessed by all that God has allowed us to do and with the new people He has brought into our lives plus the opportunity to live near family and old friends again.

The summer camp season is over and it was a success.  Kids were presented with the gospel in a variety of ways and many responded and gave their hearts to Christ.  The kids were also challenged in their walks to choose wisely, rely on the Lord and stay in His word.  I pray that the seeds planted will grow to fruition in their lives.   I was blessed to have been able to participate in the last two weeks of camp.  Coleson and I led a music track each day (5 per day the first week and 3 the 2nd finger callouses are back!) and it was such a blessing to see him lead and interact with the campers in such a humble yet fun way.  Will was an awesome camp staffer and spent many hours working very hard in a variety of ways all summer.  Luke helped out running the power point and helping corral kids and lead songs.  Abby also helped lead songs as well as her favorite job of helping in the snack shop.  Getting to know and growing to love the camp staff was an unexpected blessing as well.  Most of them came back last night to our home for a "reunion" (yes it had only been one week!).  We hope to get together monthly throughout the year.  They are a great bunch of young people.

My sweet mother in law is visiting this week and like my own mother, she can't sit still.  She has been working in our yard, trimming and watering. I was out helping her trim the other day and now have all the insect bits to prove it.  OH MY WORD, I can't stop itching!  I now officially HATE ants.  And I either have a spider bite or poison ivy.  UGH!

Will has decided to play football this year.....yes, American football!  After a year of saying he would NOT play he decided to give it a try.  After the first night of practice (they are practicing from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. because of the heat) he loves it!  I think his large presence alone is going to be a bit intimidating to opposing teams.  I'm proud of him for trying something new and continuing to adapt to this new culture.

School starts Aug. 20.  Until then I will be trying to get my classroom ready and become familiar with the curriculum I will be teaching.  Right now it looks like I will have 11 kids in my class.

It's funny how much we all miss Africa.  I think about it everyday.  I am peaceful and content and so very thankful for our new home and new season of life yet I still miss so many things about Mozambique and our friends there, like....... buying bananas from my banana guy who came to my gate in the mornings.......and my Thursday morning Bible study girlfriends.........and my Wednesday youth group at CAM the CAM "family" to name a few.  

I am still trying to get our house sorted out.  There are still pictures to hang, shelves to assemble, bookshelves to fill....but it's looking more like a home everyday.  And it's slowly starting to feel like our home.

Abby turned 11 yesterday!  I'm sad that her days of being a little girl are running short.  I love that she plays with dolls and pretends and loves her Littlest Pet Shops and Polly Pockets.  In one way I want her to be a little girl forever.  But, I love how she is growing up, too.  She is such a great help around the house, she keeps a running tab of the money in her piggy bank and even has her cash budgeted....the biggest account being the money set aside for a new American Girl doll.  AND she got her ears pierced this week!  That was a biggie for her.

We occasionally see my parents, who now live nearby.  They are busy working on their house, getting it ready to move in.  They have done a TON of work. It's so great to have them nearby.  Now if I can just get my siblings to move closer! :-)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Let's Play Catch-up

*** I can't get the pictures in the right order today.

Since I'm sick and stuck on the couch today I don't have any excuses to not give an update.  And maybe even some pics.

Charlie: Since April 1 he has been director here at Camp Harris or Harris Baptist Conference Center.  Or I've thought about changing it to Harris School for Wayward Boys and enrolling my children. Just kidding.  He loves his job and I think he's great at it. But I'm a little biased.  We are in the middle of the busy summer schedule and when camp is going on Monday - Thursday, it's hopping around this place. He is learning some new skills - like pool maintenance, how to get a zipline up and running, dealing with demanding people (oh wait, he already knew how to do that....he lives with me!), and getting toilets unclogged.  Thankfully he has a lot of help - there are two ladies who work here all the time (one lives on the premises, one just down the road) who have kept things running since last fall when the camp lost their previous manager.  These ladies are AMAZING!

Coleson:  He's been working at Pine Cove camp in east Texas since May 18 or so.  BUT he is coming home this weekend for the rest of the summer - wahoo!  I miss that boy.  He'll start his 2nd year at Ouachita Baptist University in mid-August.

Will: Is currently on his way back from a mission trip/choir tour to Washington D.C. and points in between with the youth from our church. I think they have had a wonderful time and he is due home tomorrow with more dirty clothes than I want to think about.  He's on camp staff here at Harris this summer and has had a great time.  It's so cool to see this big ole' teddy bear of a guy playing with, hugging on, encouraging these little kids who come to camp.  He has worked hard and I'm proud of him.

Luke:  He also went on the trip to Washington D.C.  This may be his longest trip away from home.  The pictures people have sent me of him show that he has really enjoyed himself......wearing a Abe Lincoln beard, his face covered in chocolate, posing on the Metro.  He too will bring home lots of dirty clothes.  He has been helping out a lot during our camps - selling snow-cones, working at the snack shop, and generally hanging out with the camp staff.  I'm thankful for these great role models for Luke to be with.

Abby:  She is always busy with something.  She LOVES to help out at camp - especially working in the snack shop.  She has helped serve food, helped with crafts.  She reminds me of her Mamaw Suzan.  She doesn't like to just sit, she likes to be doing something.  Yesterday she was watching old Andy Griffith shows while working a big puzzle.  She is enjoying our two new outside kittens, Zoe and Mavro and keeps them fed and watered and loved on.  She's also become an ace at cleaning up the kitchen!   Her favorite thing, though, is the camp pool, which is practically right out our back door.

Me: I've been working as a secretary at our church since January but that is about to change.  I've been hired as a teacher at my kid's school, Mt. Olive Christian School.  I'm scheduled to teach a 3rd/4th grade combined class and I'm really excited about it.  I'm nervous because although I'm a teacher by training I have not taught in a classroom in a LONG time!  Yikes!  But I'm hoping life experience, mommy experience and maturity will help me be an OK teacher.  The cool thing is I will go to school with my own children and come home with them each day and have all the same holidays they have.  I am SOOO happy about that.  And I'll have summers off to help out here at the camp.  That is a biggie.  I have loved my secretary job, especially the other secretaries I work with (they are my new BFFs!) but I only get 5 days off a year.

I've been enjoying getting settled into our house.  It was built in the early 1920's and housed the principal and teachers for Harris School which is now the camp.  It is BIG - 7 bedrooms (we don't use them all as bedrooms), living room, sun room, foyer, dining room, kitchen, two (INDOOR) bathrooms :-), and laundry room. We moved in two weeks ago and are slowly getting things unpacked and hung up.  It is so wonderful to have room for everyone to spread out and have their own rooms.

My parents returned to the states this week from Kenya and will retire to a town just a few miles from here.  For the first time in a LONG time our entire family will be living on the same continent!

Coleson moving out of the dorm!

Playing field at Camp Harris
Aunt Sharon, Uncle James, and Harley

Mom at our house on the 4th of July!

Dresser that we bought at a second hand store and repainted

The frame on the right is what the one on the left looked like
before.  They are out of our church and were free for the taking.
I painted it with chalkboard paint and I love the way it turned out.

Uncle Frankie at our house on 4th of July

Aunt Liz at our house on the 4th
My funny Daddy 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

On my mind today......

I'm home from church today with a sick girl.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on what is going on in my mind.  HA HA HA!

*Let's start right there......I write "HA HA HA" because I refuse to write LOL (oops, I just wrote it).  For some reason those 3 letters irritate.  Am I the only person that gets irritated over really, really dumb things?  Like at work I have these really ugly blue Post-It notes (I use Post-Its a lot) and every time I use them they make me mad.

*If I ever go into a coma, will someone remind my family to have my face waxed every week or so since I won't be there to pluck, trim and otherwise control the facial hair growth?  If they don't I'm pretty sure I would grow a full beard and mustache within a couple of weeks.  (And why did I think that mustache had an "o" in it??

*In our new house we have a stand alone (is that what you call it?) bathtub with a shower.  That means I have to have a shower curtain that goes all the way around the tub.  Do they make extra long shower curtains for that?  Or do I use two?  I've never done this before.

*When our last few bananas became overly ripe on the kitchen counter a couple of weeks ago a flock of fruit flies arrived.  Even after the bananas were gone, the flies stayed.  They are driving us crazy.  I have had a few fresh veggies sitting out, gifts from a friend's garden, and the flies love those.  I read about a home remedy to get rid of them where you put apple cider vinegar and Dawn dishwashing liquid in a bowl and it will attract them.  I'm going to try it once I get some apple cider vinegar.

*Someone gave us yellow squash from their garden last week and it was SOOO good.

* I saw some Brazilian ladies in Target last night and attempted a conversation in Portuguese.  It didn't go so well.  I'm SO out of practice.  I understood everything they said, though!

*We hope to move into our house at Camp Harris in a week or two.  The floors are pretty much finished and the big appliances in place and hooked up.  There are just a few more things to get done before we can move in.   For a few days our commode was sitting on our front porch. Thankfully that's been moved back to where it should go.

*As much as I don't want to like the sitcoms on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, I like them.  Their kid actors are so good!

*Meditating on James chapters 1,2 3

*Now I'm off to take care of the sick girl.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You Thought I Disappeared Didn't You?

Well actually you didn't because two of the 6 people who read this blog are also my Facebook friends and they know I'm still around.

So here's the Reader's Digest version of our life right now:

Charlie started his new job on April 1 as Manager/Director of Camp Harris (or Harris Baptist Encampment).  This is a small camp about 10 miles from where we have been living since June.  It serves all of the Southern Baptist churches in several associations in north Louisiana as well as any other group that wants to use the facilities.  It's open all year round and can accommodate quite a few people.  In the summer, week long camps for children and teens.  Also weekend retreats, rallies, or family reunions can and are held there.  I'll try and post the link .....yay, I think it worked.

Charlie loves his new job and so far it keeps him VERY busy.  It was so wonderful the way God has taken care of us and led us.  Our job with our mission agency ended on March 30 and Charlie's new job started on April 1.  Not a day without a job!

I started working full time at the job I had been working at part time, as the secretary at our church.  I work with our youth minister and children's minister.  Right now it is very busy as we are gearing up for Vacation Bible School June 4-8.

Coleson finished his first year of university and did well.  He started his summer job last week working at a Christian camp in Texas.  He will work as a lifeguard among other responsibilities.  We've heard from him a few times and he's doing great besides being tired from all of the training.

Will successfully finished grade 10 and his first year of school in America.  He is enjoying being out of school and playing pick-up soccer matches with friends and watching old TV shows on Netflix.  He will probably be working out at Camp Harris this summer.   He's learning to play the cajon (box drum) that friends made for us.  He will be going on a couple of summer trips with our church youth group and he's looking forward to that.

Luke is happy to be finished with grade 7.  He's officially a teenager. YIKES!  He will also go on the summer youth group trips.  He has some big summer reading assignments for school that he needs to start working on.  He's thrilled about that!

Abby is finished with 5th grade and pretty happy about it although she loved her teacher.  She is brown as a biscuit from swimming at friends' pools.  She's also been doing quite a bit of babysitting and she loves it.

Camp Harris comes with a house for the director.  Unfortunately it had fallen into disrepair.  It is a sturdy wooden house built in the 1920's and originally was a house for the staff of the school (Camp Harris was originally Harris School).  Thankfully, many area churches have been working to restore the house and get it ready for our family to move in.  This week professional flooring guys have been working to install carpet in some rooms, vinyl flooring in some, and refinish the pine floors in some areas.  The big appliances have been ordered and I'm looking forward to having a fridge with an ice maker!!!!

There are still a few projects left to finish (like some ugly wall paper that needs to be painted over, the outside siding that needs to be power washed and landscaping in the front yard).  OH, and a new roof!  But we can live there while these projects are completed.

We are so thankful to First Baptist Church of Minden, La that has allowed us to live in their mission house during this transition time.  We've actually been here since June of last year and we are anxious to get into our own space and spread out.  We are accumulating many things in this small 2 bedroom house, to the point that it is starting to look like an episode of Hoarders.

I will try and post some pictures soon.  If you live in our area and need a venue for a retreat, camp, meeting, family reunion, party, scrapbooking weekend, quilter's weekend, or anything else, give us a call!  We are in the phone book.  If you are our friends and want to come visit, COME.  We have tons of room for you!!!

The camp has a pool, a pond with a few fish, a zipline, volleyball sand pit, dining hall, coke machine, beautiful trees and fields, birds, sunshine and quiet.

A year ago we never oculd have imagined that this is what we would be doing now......director of a camp......secretary.  God is good and He has a plan.  You can trust Him.  Even when he takes you somewhere and you have no clue where you are going.

Friday, March 09, 2012


If you are my Facebook friend and happened to see a recent status update you know that our family will not be returning to Mozambique. We feel that the Lord has led us back to the U.S. and we wait expectantly on what he has for us to do here.

Moving back to America has been just as dramatic and in some ways as uncomfortable as leaving to move overseas in 1997. I continue to occasionally experience reverse culture shock. I still get excited about going to Walmart. Our family feels like fish out of water sometimes. But we are adjusting and are peaceful and joyful about where we are.

We are still in north Louisiana. We are praying about job possibilities for Charlie. He has interviewed for a job that he really wants and feels really great about. Hopefully we'll have news to share about that soon.

Will continues to walk to and from school each day and people still tell him they feel sorry for him for walking - even though he chooses to walk to school. People in this part of America don't seem to realize that in most of the rest of the world people actually walk everywhere!

I will continue to blog about this new season and this adventure we call life!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 on the Tenth (on the Eleventh)

10 strange and random things from my brain on this cold Saturday:

1. I am craving birthday cake. Store bought birthday cake with thick frosting.

2. I am doing Weight Watchers. I am slightly afraid to type this because I don't want to jinx myself. But I don't believe in jinxes, so I'm telling you. I'm on week 3. Wore some old jeans today. (And now you know why I'm craving birthday cake.)

3. I am COLD today. I always think that I want to live in Colorado or Switzerland. But, when it's cold all I want to do is wrap up in a blanket and do nothing. Which is exactly what I have done today. Of course our house is drafty and I don't own appropriate winter weather clothes. If I move to Colorado or Switzerland I will buy some. And live in a warm house.

4. I now love black beans.

5. I don't feel like I will be 45 soon. That is 5 years from 50. FIFTY!!!!! I say this every year, don't I? I don't feel _____. I guess I'm not aging well.

6. I miss my friends. Yes, I have friends nearby and I am SO grateful for that. But, I miss my friends who live far away from me - in Niverville, Manitoba, Canada....and Oakville, Ontario, Canada.....and Mzimba, Malawi......and Maputo, Mozambique.......and Tete, Mozambique.......and Johannesburg, South Africa......and Hemel Hemstead, England....and Minneapolis, Minnesota....... and Denver, Colorado. So I'm giving a shout out to Heidi, Linda-Joy, Michelle, Katie, Elaine, Sarah, Sally, Lynne, Stacie, Sharon, Aleta, Karla, Tia, Alice, Francisca and Jeannie, to name a few. I wish I could afford to fly all my friends to one place (like Colorado or Switzerland!) and have a big Friend Party. And eat birthday cake. And black beans! :-)

7. I am completely hooked on the show Downton Abbey. It's a British ITV show that is shown here in the U.S. on PBS under their Masterpiece Classic heading (not sure why.....I don't understand PBS). It comes on on Sunday nights and we never get to watch it then because of church. We watched Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix then now we are watching Season 3 on-line on the PBS website. The actors are so talented and the story is such a great mix of romance, comedy and mystery. The English countryside makes me want to fly to England right now! (Sally, I'll be staying with you and I want to meet Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, OK??) And the women's period costumes are amazing. I am so excited that they are filming season 3 right now!!!!

8. My children growing up makes me happy/sad. I'm happy that they are maturing and changing and learning things. But getting older and leaving home is not fun! I miss Coleson (who loves university life!) so much. And Will is at the stage where activities away from home, with friends, are more appealing than hanging out with us. I'm glad and I understand. We are boring. (see #7!) And, I did the same thing when I was 17. I want my kids to be normal and active and have a social life. I just miss the days of all 6 of us being together. I really don't want them all to be 3 again. But, sometimes I miss them sitting on the floor at my feet playing Legos and cars drinking juice from sippy cups. However, I'm glad they can take a shower by themselves, take care of bathroom issues without my help, dress alone, cook their own meals if they need to and stay alone without burning down the house or cutting off an appendage.

9. I've been reading through Hebrews a lot lately. I love Hebrews. My favorite verses are from chapter 11...."By faith, Abraham......" I hope at the end of my life I can look back and see where I trusted God and be able to say, "by faith, Angie........"

10. Our teen girls missions class at church here in Louisiana collected goodies to mail to some of our colleagues in Maputo last week. It was so strange to be on this side of the mailing process, filling out the form at the post office, remembering all the times we received packages on the other side. I can't wait for them to get their yummies.