28 October 2012


We have just spent a most wonderful week in Cape Town and on the coast outside Cape town. You’ll get to see more of it in the future. But these days I am too busy being lazy and making new friends and exploring new cities (Johannesburg this week!) and shopping and making sure my husband drives on the left side of the road to take the time to recap all we’ve done.

I wanted to show you one ‘best of’ pic of our time at the coast, but frankly… it’s just impossible to choose one. So instead you just get a belly shot taken while at the beach house.


It’s amazing how refreshing it is just to do my hair (NOT in a ponytail) and put makeup on (and not have it soon melt off from sweat) and wear normal clothes and even snuggle up in sweatshirts most days. Glorious. The simple pleasures of life are many!

Honestly, our time so far has been incredible. And I feel like there are no words to express what I feel in my heart. Maybe later there will be.

God is good. Glory halleluiah.

18 October 2012

Trip Time!

This past six months in Africa has been one of the hardest seasons ever. Possibly one of the very hardest of my life. It definitely rivals our very first six months in this country over six years ago… and that initial adjustment was pretty darn rough.

In August after we finally got our visas, we really felt the need to take a little vacation and get some perspective and rest. However, at that point in time I was spending most every day lying in bed sick because of little one in the belly! We thought how silly it would be to travel somewhere fun and then I’d just be in a different country doing the exact same thing… laying in bed and complaining. That didn’t quite seem worth it.

THEN we opened a preschool and have been running the preschool and doing a million other things (it feels like). And our chance for a little trip faded in the past in the midst of the whirlwind.

However, another chance has arisen! Glory be! A local holiday is coming up so there will be a break from preschool. And two INCREDIBLE friends have agreed to run the school for me for an extra week so we could take a trip. Wow!!

We discovered that we had enough frequent flier miles to fly the family round trip for free (well, some small fees are required) anywhere in Africa. Really?!  Anywhere in Africa?! And if you can go anywhere in Africa on uber-cheap tickets… you may go as far as geographically possible, right? Cause that costs the same as flying next door and frankly, who wants to go next door when you can go anywhere?!

And so tomorrow we fly to South Africa! Woot woot!

As we booked our tickets, we were blown away at the savings. God ALWAYS provides for our needs, but He also blesses us so much beyond the basics, often in creative ways…

We got 4 award travel tickets (frequent flier miles baby!) for 50,000 miles and a fee of $102.40. A hundred bucks?! That’s it?

frequent flyer miles

We cracked up, because before we confirmed our purchase we were given the option to pay full price for the tickets (the pic above)… maybe we’d prefer to pay the $3,323.60 it should cost us?  Um… NO THANKS PEOPLE! We’ll pay the hundred bucks and take our tickets without chucking out three thousand, thankyouverymuch!

Such a blessing. People who don’t save frequent flier miles are nuts. No offense. I’m just sayin’!!

Aaaanyway, beyond that, Mike’s buddy from years and years ago has hooked us up BIG TIME with some incredible housing and vehicles to drive. We were ready to stay in a hostel or whatever cheap accommodations we could find, but once again, God has blown us away and blessed our socks off (actually… our socks on, in this case!) with His provision through His generous children.

Such a blessing. Huge.

Speaking of socks, I’ve had to dig out all of our warm clothing in preparation for this trip. It’s supposed to be 50-80F in South Africa and frankly that may as well be sub-zero to our bodies which are accustomed to this here Sahara Desert. We are gonna be cold I’m afraid! So I’m pulling out all of our warm things, including socks which we haven’t worn in months and months. When my boy H realized he was going to get to wear socks he got SO excited.  He jumped up and down and gave me a big kiss and hug. You’d think I’d have just given him a puppy. Nope… just a promise that he can wear socks.  Ha! How life in Africa changes our perspective in so many areas…

He is equally excited to get to eat cereal. And for some reason I can’t stop thinking about cream cheese!! We’re going to drive on some coastal roads, see us some safari animals, meet up with old and new friends and do other ‘normal’ things that will be so refreshing to us. It’ll be nice to have a break from the third-world.

Once again, all glory goes to Jesus for this incredible opportunity, who gives us SO much more than we could dream of or will ever EVER deserve. We’d be fine if we didn’t get to travel this year and we know most people never get to take trips like this. We are humbled at the lives and opportunities God has given us. I get tears in my eyes when I think of the ways He’s blessed us in travel in the past and in the present. I really feel He shows His love for us in this way and my heart is so grateful. So so grateful.

I can’t wait!

17 October 2012



Check out this cute cheese-ball head last Christmas.

I do believe she is her father’s daughter…

15 October 2012

A Nook Family

Last Christmas we were gifted with a Nook!! Switching to e-readers wasn’t something we were planning to do (we are definitely not on the cutting edge). But my family was right… it was a perfect gift for a family with our lifestyle! So after one week of owning one, we promptly bought a second (refurbished) one ourselves! It was SO perfect for our fam!

One reason why we like The Nook over the similar Kindle is that you can insert a mini-SD memory card in a Nook which increases your storage capability hugely! And we have Nook Colors, so we can load and play movies on them also. 

And now… we’re a nook family!


Last year in Colorado, my boy found a ‘nook’ just his size to play on The Nook! Since it has wireless internet capabilities, we can pull up Starfall.com and he can play and learn all by himself. He loves that.


Also girlie in Colorado playing on it. Look at how much littler she looked then! A baby! Usually she asks to watch “Dowwa” (Dora) or “Max and Wuuuuvy” (Max and Ruby). Both of these are DVDs we own that I converted the files of and loaded them on the mini-SD cards. There’s even a  little My Fair Lady and Celine Dion in Concert (go ahead, laugh!)  on there for my enjoyment. :)


These things were amazing when we drove cross-country in the spring!


It wouldn’t hold N’s attention quite as long as H’s… he could put on the headphones and watch Despicable Me three times over if we let him. Can’t blame the kid. That movie is the best.


Also useful on airplanes.


And airports! Pair it with two suckers and you’ve got a no-fail situation on your hands.


We’re not big TV people at all, but when traveling… it sure does make things a lot easier.


And in Africa… still chillin’ sometimes with the Nook Often during Sweet N’s naptime.

Not to mention Mike and I do actually read books and magazines (me) on them very often! I managed to get a few tablet editions of magazines for free and when they’re ready they just pop up on my screen… Glory!

Why do I tell you all this now? This week we’re charging ‘em up and getting ‘em ready to go (and I’ve been saving up my magazines for weeks!)… we’ve got a trip coming up! Whoo-hooo! Stay tuned!

12 October 2012

Faux Fall

I wish I could say it’s beginning to feel like Autumn around here, but the opposite is true. It’s still well over 100 degrees daily and still humid! Whew!

So, I am forced to pretend. What else is a fall-loving girl to do?

A month or two ago I began to think about decorating for fall. Yes, I am a dorky slightly obsessive and very devout plan-aheader. I can’t deny it. I was shocked to discover that I had NO Autumn decorations. WHAAAAAATT?? I have no idea how to explain that fact. I’ve lived here for six years!

Breathe Suzanne. Breathe. You can handle this.

No problem. I can just run by Target (Big Lots, more like!) and pick some up. Said no one here ever. Guess it was time to plan some crafts! So I headed over to my handy dandy Pinterest board specific to fall projects (oh yeah!) and  then these projects were completed over several weeks using my ‘Baby Steps’ tactic. It worked wonders again for this busy working pregnant Mama!


First up is this fall leaf garland. I have been bringing felt over in our luggage little by little so I had some colors to choose from. Thread from my cupboard and brown ribbon from the local market was all I needed to finish this project.


Glory to My Cute Stamps for this idea and the leaf shapes.


A couple nights snipping the shapes, a few snippets here and there sewing the ‘veins’ on my machine and then one evening  hand sewing the leaves onto the ribbon when the kids had friends over to play.


I made two garlands… probably at least 10 feet in all!


Also, I created this display.


The pumpkins were made entirely from things I had on hand. I just ripped open an old pillow for the stuffing. Halleluiah!


The Thompson Family inspired these fabric pumpkins. They were very easy and took overall a lot less time than the felt garland. And I made 8 of them in different sizes.


And daisies aren’t exactly known for growing in Autumn… but I had this on hand (thanks Ma!) and the colors were perfect. So a few evenings I used this Martha Stewart kit to whip up some paper daisies (while watching a movie) that are in the vase on the table. So relaxing and refreshing to me to do stuff like this.


And next… here is my palm tree! I bought it because I can hang things from it for each season. I had a similar one a couple years ago that I decked out for Valentines day. But it died and now it’s been replaced! (Ignore that awful plastic pot… I need to do something about that!)


Mike got a huge kick out of me the night I made these using some crafting wire I had.


He thinks they are childish and silly (in a nice he-loves-me-and-my-quirks kind of way), but I think they’re rustic and charming. Ha!


And last but not least. After a month or two of baby-steps-crafting I decorated my living room in about four minutes flat and then sat down to enjoy a few bites of the first pumpkin custard of the season. It only seemed fitting.

Three cheers for faux fall!


11 October 2012

Lil’ Performers

My kids have been singing a lot more since we started preschool. I always wanted to be that Mom who would sit on the floor every day at home together and sing kid songs and do fun motions with them. But let’s be honest… it just never happened.

But at preschool… it happens twice a day! And it’s so fun.


Because of that, they’ve been singing more at home. Glory!


Granted, we don’t stand up on tables with song books to sing at preschool. That’s how we sing at church (well, except the standing on tables part, ha!). But at church, “Baby Bumblebee” isn’t exactly in the songbook.

Aaaaanyway… here’s a lil’ concert my girl put on awhile ago.


Isn’t this classic? Little sister singing her heart out, big brother covering his ears.


It didn’t phase her.


And here they are together, singing a “Happy Birthday” concert to their Aunty!

They’re the best…

09 October 2012

Busy Bees

Our schedule these days looks different than it ever has. Most days I feel good about that and honestly some days I miss having more time at home with my kiddos, alone.

But, it is what it is and it is what it’s SUPPOSED to be so that’s that.

Therefore, because this folder of pictures wasn’t getting added to anymore and before they get too outdated, I’m posting a series of photos of some of my children’s happier moments playing together at home, when that is what they did all day, most every day! All moments were not happy, but in these photos you’d sure thing they were!


Playing bookstore. This is only one type of store that they opened during the summer. There were MANY stores in our house. Lil’ entrepreneurs…


I think this was a boat. Yes, I let my kids play on the table. It makes them happy.


Parade! Sweet N is holding the lil’ thing playing music that H had hanging from his ‘fishing pole’.  They’re ‘marching’ around the house. You might call them creative.


Superman and his lil’ assistant cleaning up sand outside on the balcony that they threw out of the sandbox. Nice teamwork!


Doctoring up the baby. Superman to the rescue again!


Playing traveling. This is a common game with my kids. And soon to come true again in real life… stay tuned!!


Playing picnic. In this scenario Sweet N (with a cupcake hat on?) is a puppy and H was feeding his puppy. Cute.


Traveling again. To a cold climate, apparently, since they felt the need to cozy up in their hoodies even though I am certain the temperature outside was well over 100 degrees (and maybe not much cooler inside?)

They sure are fun!!

04 October 2012

My Lil’ Chopper

My boy loves it when I give him jobs in the kitchen. Read: I cannot ever prepare or cook anything without ‘help’!!!  Aaaaacckkk!

I use his ‘help’ most of the time he offers, but I really like it when his ‘help’ really is a help!

So when Grammi sent us this knife a bit ago (and another smaller one for Sweet N), I was pretty excited.


This a curious chef knife. It cuts easily with a sawing motion, but isn’t sharp enough to harm little hands. It’s difficut for H to cut carrots or something else really dense… but my boy can chop other fruit and veg just fine and loooooves to get to do so.


Here he is chopping cucumbers for his and hand sister’s school lunches… all by himself!

03 October 2012

Pardon Me, But Isn’t it October?

Yesterday the whole fam was out and this is what the sky looked like.


These photos aren’t the best, but they give you an idea…


Dust storm is rolling in!!!


Regular sunny sky quickly being covered by giant cloud of dust. Quick! Run for cover! We were happily in our car, but many more were not. Poor things.


And a few minutes later it had descended on us.


And then laaater…


It started POURING rain.

It’s October. Sand storms and rain are supposed to be done for awhile, but this a surprise storm and it was a big one! Riding in the car on the way home we had the windows cracked to cut down on the steam on the windshield. It was a bit chilly and my boy said “I am frosted up in here!”

Ha! It was cold, but we laughed, because my normally well-spoken and large-vocabulary boy didn’t quite have the right phrase to express the unusual sensation he was feeling in his body. He he.  We’re not often cold around here…


They were already soaked so they enjoyed some playin' in the rain time before a warm bath.


02 October 2012

I am an Employer

Let me repeat it for my own sake: “I am an employer. I am an employer.”


I’ve had quite a few ‘is this happening?’ moments lately. Also ‘am I really doing this?’ and the most common: ‘What in the world do I think I am doing?!’

One moment was last week when I walked another interviewee to the preschool gate after we had a chat. And by chat I mean that I asked a series of questions that I thought would be good to ask a potential teacher’s assistant which were then responded to with one to five words and a stare back in my direction. Oh my. That’s when the thought “What am I doing?!” came up. 

What am I doing conducting interviews? What am I doing conducting interviews for a position in an area that I have absolutely ZERO experience in myself (save the last five weeks)? What am I doing trying to judge how well/not well other ladies could fill the position I am looking for? WHAT AM I DOING?!!!

I suppose the answer is… I’m not doing much… God is doing much more. He, more than anyone, knows that I could not do a stitch of this without Him. These days I am stretched, pulled, challenged, exhausted... but He works on through this weary vessel. I conducted these interviews this week because I could use a bit less on the ‘exhausted’ front. This Mama is wiped out all the time (can you say in my pajamas at 5:30?) and my circumstances aren’t going to change until February… when this baby comes out of the belly and maybe I’ll be MORE tired and stretched and pulled?! Oh my word.

I say it almost everyday and I’ll say it here. It’s a good thing God spoke so clearly about this here preschool. This is hard stuff at the strangest, most challenging time I can imagine. I don’t know what He was thinking, but all I know is that I am confident this is the right thing and it’s His word to me and ONLY HIS WORD TO ME that gives me the strength to push on. Oh Jesus, I’m so glad you lead and guide and speak. What would I do without You?!

End of sidetrack.

Aaaaanyway, as I sit here in my office at the end of a patience-challenging, body-fatiguing day with my stress-relief music playing (that is literally the name of the album) and my kids sleeping at home (their Daddy is with them), sometimes the weight of what I  am doing (God, actually, need I be redundant) can sink in.

I have several goals that I’d like to achieve for this preschool. I won’t list them here, but there are several things I’d like to see happen through this school. And while providing jobs isn’t at the top of this list, it is most definitely ON the list. This is Africa. Africa is hurting and many of it’s people are hurting too. Life is hard. And the economy in this particular country  has made life even more challenging in the past year. My cross-cultural life has it’s challenges, but in terms of seriousness, they pale in comparison with many locals who know nothing else of the rest of the world and have so much less than I.

But now I am an employer. An employer? An employer. I employ four ladies. One in my own home and now three in my school. That’s four families that are given steady work and provision that otherwise may have much less. It’s a number of mouths that may eat less if I didn’t have an envelope to give them at the end of each month along with a smile and a hearty “Thank you SO much for your work.”

I feel strange as an employer. I feel out of my comfort zone and stretched. Yet I feel confident God made me capable, gave me all the right giftings for this job (who knew!?) and that He, through His bless-ed grace, allows my humble offering to bless these four families with honest work.

For this, today, I am thankful. And I wanted to take time to reflect on that bigger picture before I shrink the picture back down and dig into next week’s lesson plans…