Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wood Family Visit

We were so blessed to have part of Andy's family come to visit us this week! After church on Sunday, we headed up to Lake Tahoe for a couple days of beautiful landscape and memory making. Here are some of my favorite pics!




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Very Inappropriate (but funny) Post

The other day while we were out and about as a family Caedmon needed to use the restroom. Because of my previously mentioned phobia of public restrooms, I always pass that buck to Andy when he's available.

When Andy and Caedmon arrived at the restroom, Caedmon announced that he needed to go poop. Andy said, "Aww, Caedmon. This bathroom is really gross. Can you hold it? How bad do you have to go?"

Caedmon thought for a moment and then replied, "Umm, I just have one piece."

Well, I've never quite thought to quantify it that way, but how else would a 4 year old know to answer that question? Ahhh, Caedmon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting It Done: My List

A couple weeks ago I shared with you (part of) my "I JUST DON'T DO THAT" list. It's actually quite long, but I thought 10 was a good even number to share. I could have also included things like "I don't clean my car" and "I don't serve creative lunches to my children" but, I mean, really? Who needs to know that?

Today I thought I'd share with you the things that make it to the top of my priority list on a day-to-day basis. My list is very small, fluctuating between 1-4 items. The crazier my season of life, the fewer things get to be on my GET IT DONE list. For example, when we brought Sammy home from Ethiopia my list had about 1 or 2 things on it.

So,without further adieu, here is my list in the order that they normally get accomplished:
  1. Work out
  2. Shower
  3. Time Alone with God
  4. Write a blog post

It's pretty noble, huh? Nothing like setting high expectations for yourself! If I get all 4 of those things done in a single day, I feel HUGELY successful. (You'd be amazed by how few days that actually happens.)

Next Monday I'll write a post explaining why those 4 things are important to me and what my system is for getting them done. Overall, the reason I prioritize those things is because they are areas of my life that I value but are, unfortunately, the easiest to get neglected. Life will happen, filling up every second of your day. And if you don't intentionally prioritize the things in your life that you value the most, they will likely get overlooked.

There are seasons when the list has to shrink...having a baby, starting a new job, moving, etc... Any major life transition requires adjusting to a new normal. Those are the seasons that we have to give ourselves lots of grace. I didn't work out for FOUR MONTHS when we brought Sammy home. I wasn't sure that I'd ever get it back together and I felt pretty rotten about myself. But after the storm settled, I found my rhythm again.

When my list has to shrink, the first things to go are working out and/or blogging. I really try to prioritize my time with God even in the midst of craziness because I know that's what keeps me grounded and gives me proper perspective on life. There was more than one day when we first brought Sammy home that I didn't get a shower, but by-golly I was going to read my Bible! (Please don't take that statement to mean that I never miss a quiet time. I absolutely do, but I never drop it for a full season.)

You may think it's strange that Andy and the boys didn't make my priority list. I'll explain that next Monday!

What makes it on your GET IT DONE list?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Preaching To Myself

May I just be really honest for a moment?

I'm having quite a time with Sammy right now. I think it's regression. Could just be that he's 2 years old. Could be a personality thing. I really don't know for sure, but I think it's adoption related. All I know is that he's not sleeping well, which translates into me not sleeping well.

Last night, for example, he came in our room at 11:15 PM, 11:30 PM, 2 AM, and 5:55 AM, and then he was up for good. His naps are typically short, some days 30 minutes, some an hour, occasionally he'll do a "catch-up" nap for a couple of hours. This regimen has been going on for a year now...sometimes better, sometime worse. He slept really well through the night for a few months, but now we're back.

This is new to me because Caedmon was/is a great sleeper. At least 11 hours straight at night, nice long naps each afternoon. Our mornings used to be such sweet times of cuddles and stories on the couch as he'd walk around that corner with his messy hair and join me under the blanket where I had been reading my Bible.

But now, the last thing in the world I feel like doing when Sammy comes bounding out of his room before 6 AM is give him a hug. I feel so frustrated because I can't force him to sleep and I don't know how to break the habit of him getting up multiple times a night.

This morning I put Sammy in the pack-n-play in my room when he came in at 6AM. I didn't want to put him back in his bed for fear he'd wake up Caedmon, but I wanted him to rest more. So I just laid there in my bed beside the pack-n-play and spent time praying about the situation, how I was feeling, and how God wanted me to respond. God brought to mind 1 Corinthians 13.

So I preached a sermon to myself from 1 Corinthians 13. Here it is:

Love is patient.
I will love Sammy by being patient with him. Patience is not even required until a situation is challenging. So I will embrace this opportunity as a way to show him how patient love can be.

Love is kind.
My words and responses to Sammy will be kind, even when I don't feel kind in my heart. I can make a choice to give him a hug. I can speak tenderly, instead of harshly. I choose to give grace.

Love does not envy. 
I will not compare Sammy to anyone else. Sammy is special, unique, and one-of-a-kind. Comparison only brings despair and jealousy. I will be thankful for the gift that Sammy is instead of focusing on things I wish I could change. 

Love is not rude.
I will be courteous and respectful of him, realizing that he is a person with real feelings and he notices how I am treating him. I will use my manners when serving him throughout the day, just like I would if another adult was in the room observing me.

Love is not self-seeking.
I will considered Sammy's needs as more important than my own (Philippians 2:3). Even when his needs seem trivial or unwarranted to me, I will choose to lay down "my rights" to serve him.

Love is not easily angered.
I will practice being slow to speak when I feel anger rise up in me. I will seek to understand how Sammy might be feeling in a given situation instead of only seeing it from my point of view.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.
I will forgive. I will choose to let go of the grudge. I will not let a bad night ruin a perfectly good day. I will let my mercies be new every morning.

Love always hopes.
I will remind myself that it will not always be this way. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And when he is grown and these days are just a hazy memory, I will miss the smell of his sleepy skin as I carry him back to his room multiple times a night. 

Love always perseveres.
Sammy needs to be assured over and over again every day that we will never leave him. We're in this together and we are 100% committed to him. He needs to feel this, not only from what I say to him (that part's not too difficult), but through my attitudes and responses. I will love Sammy with a NEVER STOPPING, NEVER GIVING UP, UNBREAKING, ALWAYS AND FOREVER LOVE...the way Jesus loves me.

I can't love Sammy this way in my own strength, but I have the Holy Spirit of God in me and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. The same power that conquered the grave lives in me!

I don't know who in your life you need to apply this to...a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, a co-worker? I do know that it is God's will for us that we would "Love one another deeply."

Sometimes you have to preach to yourself to remind yourself of the TRUTH that you so deeply believe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caedmon, the Negotiator

The art of negotiation is highly valued in some cultures. Actually, probably most cultures minus the good ol' U.S. of A. We negotiate for some specialty items here, like the sale of a car of home, but most things we just pay the sticker value. In other cultures, almost everything is up for discussion.

Dave Ramsey is a big advocate of at least asking for a discount. It's amazing how often you'll get one just because you asked. Andy's favorite phrase when told the price is, "Can you do better than that?" Ha. Makes me smile just thinking of the looks he's gotten.

Last Friday, we enjoyed our family day at Happy Hollow. We have a membership so we try to get there as often as we can. The last time we were there, Caedmon wanted to get his face painted. The problem was that it costs money and he didn't bring his money with him. So Andy told him to try to remember his money the next time we come and he could get his face painted.

When he found out we were going to Happy Hollow, he must have said at least 30 times, "Don't forget to bring my money!" Andy told him that he would meet him halfway. Caedmon had $2 and Andy chipped in $2.

When we got there they were just setting up all the supplies. The workers explained the 3 different types of face paintings you could get for $3, $5, or $8. Caedmon really wanted a Spiderman mask, which was $5.

Andy pulled Caedmon aside and said, "This would be a great opportunity to practice a little courage and negotiation! You could show the lady your money, tell her what you'd like, and ask her if she'd be willing to do it for $4."

Sounded good to Caedmon. They rehearsed his little speech a few times and then got back in line.

When it was Caedmon's turn, he stepped right up and launched into his speech. But instead of asking for the $5 Spiderman mask, he went straight for the $8 leopard face! Andy & I were trying to contain our laughter while Caedmon stood there with a very serious look on his face holding out his money. The lady just looked at him with a dumbfounded grin. She didn't know what to do!

She asked her manager if she could do it for that amount and the manager said, "I probably wouldn't, but you can if you want." So she did!

Caedmon got a $8 face painting job at a 50% discount just because he had the courage to ask (and because he's ridiculously cute)!

I thought Andy would bust something he was so proud! Negotiation is not typically a desirable trait for a four year old, but COURAGE is! Lord Jesus, please continue to make him BOLD!

(For the record, Andy gave the lady a little extra money so she didn't feel totally taken advantage of!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Please Pray for Luke

I just wanted to remind everyone to please continue to pray for Luke. It's been 2 weeks since that precious 8 year old boy was diagnosed with leukemia. Two weeks of chemo and spinal taps and bone marrow tests and needles and pills and not much fun. He has been such a trooper and has an AMAZING support system around him. The doctors are pleased with the results of the treatments thus far, but there is still a lot of work to do. If you would like to follow his journey so that you would know how to pray more specifically, click here. Worrying and well wishes don't accomplish anything, but PRAYER has power. Please stop for a few minutes right now and pray for this sweet family. THANK YOU!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting It Done: Myth #2

Last Monday I said that when it comes to Getting It Done, Myth #1 is that it is possible to get it all done. It's not. Embrace it. I hope you made your "I JUST DON'T DO THAT" list this week.

Myth #2 about Getting It Done:
Everyone else's life is much more exciting 
and 'together' than mine.

Isn't it so easy to look at other people at church on Sunday, read someone else's blog, or people watch in restaurants and imagine that their lives certainly looks more together than your's feels. I've actually stopped reading certain blogs because they always left me feeling horrible about myself. I'd see all these amazing things that someone else was doing with their kids or with their personal lives and feel like a total failure. 

Twitter can be the same way. We always put our best foot forward in social media. We work out, we have great time alone with God, our kids are adorable, our church is doing something truly significant, yadda, yadda, yadda. Our lives seem so important and glamorous. There have been moments that I've been tempted to tweet, "Overslept. No workout. Ate 6 donuts for breakfast. Yelled at my kids and got in a fight with my husband. Don't feel like reading my Bible. All before 8 AM." I wonder what kind of response that would get. :-) Not that that has EVER been true of me. I mean, maybe some of you people have experienced that, but of course I never have. My life is much more together and exciting and important than that! Ahem...

I recently heard Pastor Steven Furtick say, 
"We compare everyone else's highlight reel to our behind the scenes." 

Most of the time we don't know the pain, trials, sacrifices, and back-breaking work that has gone into such a moment of triumph for that person. We just compare their success to our day-to-day, and are left feeling like they must be some type of "super-human".

The reality is everyone has "junk" in their life. We all live out the mundane moments most of the time. Some days get punctuated with an exclamation mark, but for the most part it's: empty the dishwasher, buy toilet paper, wash the never ending mound of laundry, prepare 21 meals this week, etc... It's life. 

To some, that may sound so depressing. But for me it was an absolutely liberating realization. I find such joy in knowing that mundane does not equal insignificant!

Remind yourself everyday of the bigger picture, the mile-high view, of your life. You're not just changing diapers; you're shaping a warrior. You're not just preparing a meal; you're creating an opportunity for community and engagement to happen around your kitchen table. You can worship the Lord no matter what task is at hand if you have the attitude that no matter what you do, you will do it as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:17)

One closing thought...I once heard a godly woman challenge another group of women by saying, "If the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, it's time to water your own grass!" So my challenge for you today is to create marvelous moments amidst the mundane.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gotcha Day Celebration

We celebrated our first "Gotcha Day" by dressing the boys up in traditional Ethiopian dress, going to dinner at Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant and then enjoying a little Yogurtland. Here are some pics of our family night together. (There's a lot of pictures, but I just couldn't help myself!)

Caedmon asked before we got to the restaurant if he could order whatever kids' meal he wanted. I said, "This isn't the kind of restaurant that has kids' meals." He replied, "Well, I will order Ethiopian mac & cheese if they have it!" Ummm, they didn't. :-)

I was shocked that Caedmon actually ate the food. I had applesauce and goldfish in my purse as a back up plan, but he ate a pretty good dinner. I think we had been building up the experience for so long that he didn't want to get left out. It also helped that you eat everything with bread (called injera). The bread is kind of sour and spongy, but he ate it up. Sammy, on the other hand! That kid was an eating machine! We had to finally stop him because he was gorging himself. We hadn't seen him eat like that since he got over all his food issues from his orphanage days. Wish you could have seen him! He was in heaven...spicy food and all!


Two brothers, ready to hop in their bunk bed and head to sleep.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Gotcha Day!

One year ago today,

they placed you in my arms forever.

No more waiting. No more goodbyes. You were my longing fulfilled.

I thought my heart might burst with joy!

We have been through so much together over this past year. We've been busy making memories of "us". We had some lost time to make up for, you know. 

You saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time while I held you in my arms. You went sledding with your Daddy in Michigan. You have ridden amusement park rides, built sand castles at Myrtle Beach, and played at countless playgrounds. You helped cut down our Christmas tree. You discovered that there are goodies inside of Easter eggs. And you have learned (I think) that dogs passing you on the sidewalk will not eat you.

We watched in agony as you retreated into a dark, lonely place while you grieved and adjusted to your new life in our family. We have rejoiced as your personality began to peek out again, testing the waters, and then finally bursting through to bless the world. 

You have learned a million things this year. English. That's a pretty big one. How to ride a tricycle. How to escape from a Pack-N-Play. But the most important thing you have learned is: we're not going anywhere. This is your home. You are safe here. With us. We are your family and families stick together. While your life may seem to have gotten off to a rocky start, God worked all that together to bring about His plan of having you in the Wood family. He has a special plan for YOUR life.

Samuel Wondimu Wood, you are exactly where you are supposed to be! Today, we remember and celebrate that you made our family more complete, more fun, more joyful, and more rich simply by being placed in my arms forever, this time last year.

I'm so thankful that we "Gotcha". We love you to pieces.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Your Turn

On Sunday morning, it was almost time for us to leave for church. The boys had eaten breakfast, brushed their teeth, and were fully dressed. I just needed a few minutes to brush my teeth and finish getting myself ready, so I put Caedmon on the couch with some books and Sammy on a blanket with some books. Simple enough, right?

Well, as I brushed my teeth I had to dissolve two escalating fights within two minutes. I thought, "This is ridiculous!" So I put Caedmon in a chair for time-out, and snapped Sammy in his booster seat for time-out on the opposite side of the room. Both boys were screaming.

I went back to getting ready and thought to myself, "Oh, cry me a river!"

The screaming continued and began to seem almost rhythmic. Caedmon's screaming finally died down while Sammy kept going strong.

Suddenly, Sammy stopped screaming and said to Caedmon as clear as day, "Your turn."

WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me? That child just loves to scream and squeal so much and was delighted to have someone to do it with. He had become the self-appointed conductor of the screaming orchestra and was making sure Caedmon knew when it was his turn to chime in.

While I tried to contain my laughter in the other room, I heard Caedmon say to Sammy, "Are you even crying? You seem like you're faking it to me." Ahhh, Caedmon, such a discerning little heart.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting It Done: Myth #1

Do you ever feel like you just can't get it all done? If so, you are in good company (with pretty much every single person on the rest of the planet!). I believe this feeling is magnified in moms with young kids. Moms wear a thousand different hats throughout the course of a day and often feel like we can never excel or do a good job at any one thing. Something is always neglected. We are always behind somewhere.

So, I have decided to write a series of blogs (check back each Monday) entitled "Getting it Done". Why? Because I've pretty much figured it out and I tend to get everything done. (Insert ridiculous laughter here.) No, no, no, no, no. These posts will likely offer no new information, but will hopefully be a good reminder to all of us, including me!

Myth #1 about Getting It Done: 
It is possible to get it all done.

I love to think of myself as some sort of super-hero, with extraordinary strength, stamina, and fluidity with multitasking. I love to trick myself into believing that it really is possible to get through my entire "to-do list" in one day. And maybe I could before having the Littles, but priorities have changed and often the "to-do list" takes a back seat to playdough.

To remind myself of this I had to get really clear about the things that are most important for me to get done. I also have to be very clear about the things that I JUST DON'T DO. That second list is probably even more important than the former. 

Here are a few things that I would love to do, but I've had to let go of:
  1. I don't scrapbook. I absolutely love to look at other people's scrapbooks and wish that I had those for our family. But it's just one of those things I had to let go of. I try to get all my photos for the year in a very simple digital scrapbook...but I'm over a year behind even with that!
  2. I don't bake or cook extravagant meals. I cook at home for our family most nights, but it's fairly simple. Baking only happens for guests or special occasions.
  3. I don't clean my house every week. It is a rare occasion that we go to bed without the house being completely straightened, but you could write your name in the dust on our entertainment center. I'll post more on this later.
  4. I'm not committed to returning emails in a timely manner. This is annoying to so many people, I know. But I get very limited amounts of computer time a day and, honestly, I'd rather write a blog than return email. 
  5. I don't sew or do anything crafty. Nothing. At all. 
  6. I don't coupon. I feel quite guilty about this at times and have attempted it on a few occasions, but I just do not have it in me. At least not right now. I just buy the store name brand and tell myself that that's my way of saving money.
  7. I don't iron. I only iron once a week on Saturday nights the clothes that Andy & I will wear to church the next day. I consider it part of my volunteer role for South Bay Church: iron pastor's clothes. Other than that, you're on your own!
  8. I don't garden. There's not even a living plant in my house.
  9. I don't do thrift stores, garage sales, or farmer's markets. Great bargains, I know. But it's a time thing for me.
  10. I don't go camping. Maybe this will change one day, but it's going to take some convincing. A hotel with a bed, clean bathroom, and a pool sounds much better to me.
 A "Stop-Doing List" can be so much more helpful than a "To-Do List". Let the fantasy go that you can do it all and decide the things that you are willing to put aside, at least for this season. And throw the guilt out with it.

I would love to hear some things that YOU JUST DON'T DO. Leave a comment to let me know!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Please pray for Luke

This past weekend, we had the joy of spending time with some precious friends of ours from South Carolina. Kelley & Erik were out here in San Francisco celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary and allowed us to crash their party a few times. It was SO great to be with them. Absolutely a breath of fresh air.

But one thing was heavy on their hearts while they were here. Their 8 year old son, Luke.

Luke just hasn't been himself the past 3 months. They've taken him to the doctor, adjusted the pace of their schedule, and tried a thousand different modifications. But they couldn't figure out what was going on. He seemed to be doing a little better as the summer progressed, but while Kelley & Erik were out here in CA, Luke started doing worse. Could it be anxiety about them being gone? Anxiety about school starting back up? They didn't know, but it was breaking their hearts.

Then I got a text this morning from Kelley saying that they were at the hospital. Luke was diagnosed today with leukemia.

Leukemia? It seems unreal. I cannot even imagine what they are going through right now. They are all I've thought about today.

When Andy & I were in college, Erik was the youth pastor of the church that we went to. He was brave enough to give Andy and me a chance, so we served there with the youth ministry throughout our time in college. Erik gave us a lot of freedom to grow in our leadership and a lot of grace when we made some bone-head mistakes. He and Kelley believed in us and were oh so patient with us. We became great friends during that time.

I'm not sure if the feeling was mutual, but I felt (still feel) such a kindred spirit with Kelley. We were separated by a 7 year age gap and a couple stages of life, but I admired her, loved her personality, and enjoyed being with her so much. I continually sought out as much time as possible with her. We were in Bible studies together. She was my accountability partner while Andy & I were dating. She was a dear, dear friend to me. And though time and distance has separated us, I still feel like I'd love to stay up all night talking to her every time I see her!

Kelley and Erik were both in our wedding.
I was there the night Kelley found out she was pregnant with Luke. I did some ridiculous celebration dance right there in her sister's living room.
And now that precious child is laying in a hospital bed awaiting his first round of chemo.

I realize that most of you reading this blog have never met this amazing family. But surely you can empathize with their pain to some level. If you are willing, would you please leave a comment to let met know that you are praying and/or an encouraging note for Kelley and Erik. I will be sure to pass them along.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kids' Games Pics

Let's see if you can spot anyone having fun in the pictures below...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Drumroll, please!

Andy sent out emails, tweets, and FB messages last week encouraging everyone to get to church on Sunday because he had a big announcement to make. So, what in the world was all the hype about?

South Bay Church has a long(er) term facility!

This process of looking for a facility for South Bay has taken a full year of diligent pursuit. We have come so close on a couple other deals, but I believe God was protecting us from those so that He could provide us with this one! 

Finding a building that would work for us was so much trickier than we anticipated. Here's a few reasons why:
  • Location- we didn't want to move more than a few miles from our current meeting location for this initial move
  • Zoning- California has very strict zoning laws which drastically limits the buildings available for church use
  • Landlords- a lot of landlords don't want to work with a church for various reasons
  • Size of building
  • Price
  • Layout of the building and what renovations would be necessary for our purposes had to be considered
Taking all these factors into consideration, we are VERY pleased with the facility God has provided for us!

The building is about 4 miles from our current meeting locations near the intersection of I-880 and Brokaw (which, obviously, is a huge intersection/highly trafficked area). We are beginning the process of getting the necessary permits from the city in order to meet there, which can take 3-4 months. Then we will do some renovations to the building and hope to move in sometime in the beginning of 2012!

Having a longer-term lease (5 years with options to extend) is a huge step for us as a church. This will allow us to offer a more excellent experience for our Bay Kids ministry. We will dramatically increase the number of people we can seat in a service, allowing us to continue to reach more people with the hope of the Gospel. Also, we will no longer need to invest so much time and energy into set up and take down each week (at least until we start another location!). :-)

South Bay, get ready! Because I think God is about to blow our minds with what He's going to do in our midst this next year. The fall has historically been a season of tremendous growth for us and the momentum of a new facility will only accentuate that. God is expanding our capacity, not for our personal benefit, but because He desires more people to know Him, love Him, and worship Him. Let's keep our focus on the main thing through this exciting time.

It is all about leading more and more people to say "Yes!" to God.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Compassionate Heart

On the front page of The San Jose Mercury this morning was a heart wrenching and shocking account of what is currently taking place in Somalia.

Somalia is said to be the most lawless nation in the world today. More chaotic, dangerous, and complicated than Haiti, Iraq, or even Afghanistan. It is virtually impossible for foreigners to travel to Somalia right now due to the unstable government and al-Shabab Islamist insurgent group which controls much of the country.

At the same time, Somalia has devastating needs and is in desperate need of humanitarian aid to provide food and water for victims of a horrible drought. Aid that is unable to reach them.

Somalia borders Ethiopia to the east. According to the UN, there are 4.5 million people in Ethiopia and 3.7 million in Somalia who are in need of humanitarian aid. Those numbers seem intangible to me. 8.2 million people. That'd be like every single person in the San Francisco Bay area on the brink of about a million more. What in the world do you do with that?

I don't know. But I'll tell you what you can't can't let your heart grow cold or indifferent to it. You can't refuse to look at these pictures because they make you feel bad. We can close the newspaper or change the channel or choose a different website when it starts to get to us, but they cannot escape it. Just because it's not OUR reality doesn't mean it's not real.

I was heart broken as I read the article this morning over breakfast. My two healthy boys sat with me, both only eating a couple bites of their breakfast and then throwing the rest away. (For the record, I do not use the ol' "You need to eat your food because there are starving children in Africa" technique to guilt my kids into eating.)

But, you know what I did do? I took Caedmon in my arms and showed him the pictures of these precious children. I explained to him in child-friendly terms what is going on and then we prayed together for Somalia. We prayed that God would raise up men to lead that country in a just way. We prayed that, somehow, humanitarian aid organizations would be able to gain access to the people and provide them food and water. We prayed that God, in His mighty strength, would somehow intervene.

Some people may think it's poor judgement to expose young children to such harsh global realities. I disagree 100%. While discretion and tact are certainly in order, Caedmon & Sammy need to know that not everyone lives like they do. If I want my children to have a compassionate heart for people who are hurting, they need to see people who are hurting. And they need to see my compassionate heart for those people.

When I was a little girl, maybe around 8 years old or so, my dad went on a mission trip to Kenya. He brought back a beautiful coffee table book with brilliant pictures that I was mesmerized by. I remember pouring over that book, soaking in every picture. There were pictures of the exquisite landscape and cultural celebrations, but there were also images of starving children. Their faces were burned into my mind and I believe that is where my love for Africa began.

Look how God used that little seed planted in an 8 year old's heart. My dad could have never known at that time that he would one day have an African grandson. But God works ALL THINGS together for the good of those who love Him.

I don't really know what to do with this information about Somalia. But I felt compelled to share it with you and I have committed myself to faithful prayer for that country. Perhaps it's something Caedmon and I can pray for together.