Wednesday, March 29, 2006


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After a week of maintenance problems with our water heater, (you wouldn't believe how a small leak could turn into a major ordeal when the plumbers tried to install a new water heater) power outages, a dead laptop, water outages, no email, AND a book deadline on Saturday, I haven't been keeping up my blog the past few days. So more pictures and updates soon!



Monday, March 27, 2006


I’m sure you’ve had one or two of “those days.” Days when nothing goes exactly the way it’s supposed to. And for me, it’s just noon!

I knew it was going to be a jam packed day, because it was Scott’s only free day this week. At five till seven Scott dropped off Gabriel at his ride, and I took the little ones to school, with Max the cat in tow who had an eight o’clock appointment at the vet. I met Scott at the mechanic where we waited to have his truck dropped off. There’s a problem with the brakes. Not something to mess around with.

I’m home by seven thirty, ready to whip out a chapter. I have a deadline on April first, but with it pretty much finished, I decided to try and write four chapters for my next deadline and finish the story this week. My in-laws arrive next week from the States, and I’d like to spend time with them before they head off to Zambia on a ministry trip with Scott, rather than spend the whole time working.

I sit down at my desk and turn on my laptop.

Nothing happens.

Strange. I’d worked till about ten thirty the night before and everything had been fine. I try plugging it in to the charger.


My laptop is dead.

To a writer with a deadline in five days, this is not a good thing. I try not to panic. Not only is the latest version of my story on the laptop, Scott needs to use it the rest of the week as he will be training people and needs to use the projector with the laptop.

I take some deep breathes as Scott tries to look at it. But there’s no mistaking the fact that it’s not turning on.

I head to Tzaneen, praying the whole way, while Scott gets the eight guys we hired to start working in the back of our house. Things grow so fast here that we have to get rid of all the brush that not only is a fire hazard, but a breeding ground for snakes as well. Not a pleasant thought.

Tzaneen is the closest town that can really be called a town. I rush into the computer store and declare my emergency. Now, normally, nothing gets done quickly here. We’re still waiting for the guys to come fix our flooded kitchen ceiling. They promised they’d be here at eight o’clock. Of course, they’re not here. And not only do things get done slowly, it usually takes at least two or three attempts. I prepared myself for the worst.

I hand the guy my computer, prepared to beg.

He opens it up and asks me what the problem is. It won’t boot up, I tell him. Dead as a door knob.

I can tell he’s confused, which bothers me. He’s the expert. Not me. He turns the computer around to show me, and my eyes widen. It was booting up.

Oh, yes. I do believe in miracles!

I head home feeling a huge burden lifted off of me.

So, it’s twelve now, and I have an hour and a half until Gabriel returns home--and one sentence written on my next chapter. I still need to feed eight hardworking guys, go back to Tzaneen and shop for groceries for the next two weeks, not to mention my two deadlines and my sweet kids, and husband. . .but one things keeps coming to mind.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

So rejoice today. Because God is good!


Saturday, March 25, 2006


Or so we thought. The small leak in our water heater turned into a bit more than that with a little help from our plumbers. I walked into the kitchen while they were fixing it and water was flooding from the ceiling onto my counters and the floor. We hurried to get buckets, move everything off the counter, and lay down towels across the floor. They finally got the water stopped (I still don’t understand what they did) and replaced our hot water heater, but will have to return on Monday to replace our ceiling!

Needless to say, it’s been a busy week. Gabriel turned nine! Hard to believe that my little boy is growing up so quickly. He loves his new school and is doing so well. Friday night, he participated in the school’s Big Walk fundraiser, and he did 77 laps which equaled about 30 kilometers. His feet hurt today, but not enough to stop him from riding his new bike for a while this afternoon. We live at the top of a big hill, though, so coming home I followed him, but he was so tired after riding around at the school, so I attempted to put it in the trunk of our little car. Thankfully, a nice man in a truck stopped and drove it up the hill for Gabe.

Scott’s been going to our second round of BTCL Bible classes all week and they continue to go well. He’s putting a report of his trip to Mozambique together and I will share some of that next week.

I have a book deadline next Saturday, so I’m busy doing all the last minute edits. The book’s a novella collection called Sweet Home Alabama. It comes out in December and will be a really fun read. Here’s what the publisher says:

An anonymous, old-fashioned love note-a literature student's homework assignment-has been misplaced by its author. Jason finds the love note and mistakenly believes his new employee, Nicole, is hopelessly infatuated with him. When Zak finds the note on his tool cart at the garage, he's convinced Ellen's snobby friends and wealthy parents no longer pose an obstacle and plots an all-out strategy to win her heart. A matchmaking sister uses the note to ignite romance between Samantha and friend Garrett. And the note causes a collision of mistaken identity for Callie and Darryl and results in true love for two lonely souls.

It’s a fun, lighthearted story you won’t want to miss, set in a small town in Alabama.

I had some pictures to post, but our email’s down (again) and I can’t get them from Scott’s computer.



Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Not far from us, children live in squatter camps, temporary shelters made from tin, cardboard, and other scraps of material. In the cities, children stand on the street corners begging for a few rand. And then there’s the issue of HIV/AIDS. Millions of children under the age of 18 have been orphaned from this epidemic throughout southern Africa. Unfortunately, the problem only continues to get worse.

The difficult thing we are seeing is that traditionally in the African culture, families have relied on extended family members to care for orphaned children. But what does a grandmother do when all her children have died and she now has five, six, seven, or even eight children to raise on her own.

We are thrilled to be able to work with men like Cornelius, a Christian man who directs our orphan ministry in Zimbabwe. He’s become a spiritual mentor to the orphans, a father figure, and friend. In conjunction with our ministry, he insures that the orphans have their school fees, uniforms, supplements their food, ensures they have proper medical care, spiritual support, and more. Another positive thing is that the orphans all live with their extended families.

We want to affect the lives of these precious children one at a time.

“And Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16

If you’d like more information how you can be a part of this ministry and help support an orphan from Zimbabwe or Zambia, please contact me.



Tuesday, March 21, 2006

OUR SNAKES SPEAK ENGLISH. . .at least according to Jayden our four year old. He told me if he sees a snake he just has to tell it to go away, and it will. Needless to say, I had to have a reminder about what to do if they really do see a snake. Never expect a snake to cooperate with your directions!

We’ve enjoyed a four day weekend with Monday and today being holidays. Sunday afternoon we drove out to a rural community and ate Ghanaian food with a family we met last fall. He’s a New Yorker working on his PhD, and she’s Ghanaian. A number of us have been sharing Christ with them, and we found it a great opportunity to be with them and develop our friendship. They have three beautiful kids and we had a great time. The kids had a blast, playing soccer in the street, picking corn to roast, and chasing chickens.

Then today we’ve been invited over to another family’s house for a BBQ. This is the family of the doctor who so graciously drove me to the hospital the evening Jayden hit his head. They also have three kids who are all close to our kids so we are looking forward to tonight.

Scott is at one of the leadership training classes right now that are meeting everyday this week as it’s the third week of the month. Hard to believe how fast time goes by.

Oh, and I forgot to mention our latest water feature. We now have one in the kitchen. Yes, it’s really a leaky hot water heater from the attic that’s making puddles on my kitchen floor. We have to get it fixed, but until we can get someone to come out here, we have to change the bucket twice a day.

Tomorrow, Jayden's participating in a track meet at his school for the little ones. He's so excited about this and as long as it doesn't rain, I'll have some pictures to share.



Saturday, March 18, 2006


Scott, Allen and Janelle should be on their way home now. They will fly into South Africa from Mozambique then drive the three hours home. I’ll let you know some of the highlights after they return.

As for the humid weather. . .It’s driving me nuts. Mildew is beginning to take over my house. We’ve got a serious problem in our bathroom ceiling. Knew about that when we bought the house. The whole bathroom is going to have to be gutted soon. But now, with the weather wet, cold, and wet, things never dry. My clothes are mildewing, my shoes are even mildewing. The bedding always seems damp. It’s getting bad.

Nothing here, of course, is climate controlled which makes the matter worse. I pulled out my book on how to clean anything for some advice. They say you should burn a 60-watt bulb in your closets continuously. But that’s a bit of a problem if you don’t have a light in your closet.

So, I’m off to wash a few loads of laundry and hope my clothes aren’t ruined.

Any advice?


Thursday, March 16, 2006


While I am in the midst of writing a cozy mystery for my publisher, Max's disappearance has nothing to do with my latest deadline. Max is our five month old kitten, dedicated to ridding our house of mice and other pesky rodents. . .Until he disappeared two days ago.

I have to say, that despite the fact that I hate him sleeping in our bed (no matter how many times I toss him to the floor or lock him in the scullery he always manages to find a way back), he is a sweet cat. If you sit down to read or watch TV, Max will be right there, curled up in your lap, purring away. He loves to play, loves the kids, and even loves our two huge German Shepherds. So needless to say, we were all quite distraught we hadn’t seen Max for 24 hours.

I tried to prepare the kids for the worst as we had our nightly devotional. Granted, most cats are independent and like to go off on there own. But Max is different. He’s almost like a forth child. Very social, and always in the middle of everything. I was worried. Not only do we have monkeys in our trees, cars zoom down the winding road above our house without a second thought.

The kids took turns praying for Max before going to bed. They were sad, but seemed to understand the reality that sometimes things happen and animals die.

As I was tucking in Jayden, I heard a noise. Max? I heard another, louder cry. It was Max, but where was he? You have to understand that Max likes to sleep in weird places. Inside baskets, under beds, even inside my closet. Apparently this time, though, he’d chosen the wrong place to sleep.

I opened up the bottom drawer of Jayden’s dresser. . .and there was Max.

“Jesus sent him back to us!” Jayden yelled with joy as he grabbed Max.

Yes, he had. Praise God for unexpected blessings. . .like finding Max.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Gabriel and I just finished reading the story of Eric Littell, the Scottish runner who won a gold metal in the Olympics. Wow! What a powerful story. Not only was Eric a man who used his running for God, he later dedicated his life to serving God in China and died in a prison camp. When we finished the book, Gabriel looked at me and asked me if I would die for Christ? My heart skipped a beat, surprised at the question, before I said yes. The question has stuck with me ever since.

We haven’t all been asked to lay down our physical lives, but we have been called to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and live for Him.

It’s heavy stuff, I know.

If you haven’t heard of the book Jesus Freaks, then you’ve got to pick yourself up a copy. The book is filled with stories of people who have given their lives for Christ and His message of freedom. Stories of those who stood for Jesus.

"It is said that there are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 AD--in the days of the Roman Empire. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there were close to 164,000 Christians martyred around the world in 1999." from the book, Jesus Freaks (dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs).

"Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering but imagine that you are there with them." Hebrews 13:3

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?” Matthew 16: 26.

It’s something to think about.



Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Into Inhambane. . .

Scott, Allen and Janelle have arrived in the hot city of Inhambane, Mozambique. They had to cross the water on a water taxi a couple of times, and Scott even got to try his hands at the control of the small plane they were taken in on. The plane was flown by a mission aviation pilot, in order to get to the remote places they will be visiting.

During this time they will be looking at two unreached tribes with prayers that God will direct them as to which group He is calling us to target for a church planting movement.

They have a number of people they will be connecting with, though we are all praying that there is fuel. The truck that normally delievers the fuel to where they are going is broken down, so this of course will determine their actual scedule. Life is never dull.

Please pray for their safe journey! And that God will guide them to the people He wants them to see.


Monday, March 13, 2006

We had to postpone our game drive into Kruger on Saturday. There was just too much to get done before Scott left for Mozambique last night. Instead we took the kids to eat at MacDonalds (No, I didn’t spell it wrong, this is not your American fast food restaurant J). They have a big jungle gym there and the kids had a great time playing. Then we walked across the Tzaneen Dam. It was hot, but beautiful as you can see for miles in every direction. It was fun just spending some time together as a family.

I’ve been thinking a lot about purification and working to allow God to cleanse my heart. I want to be totally in line with God and His word. I think we often forget that we are called to be different. That we as Christians have been called out of the world to live as lights for Christ. But the lines are being drawn and we have to make a choice as to which side we’re going to stand on. We’re in a battle and we have to be prepared.

The area we live in here in South Africa is a place very dark place spiritually. There is a rain queen who rules over this area, leading many to live in darkness. Jesus Christ alone, though, is Lord, and we long for Him to be the Lord over all the people in this area.

While Scott spends a lot of time traveling and discipling people to be strong in the word of God and to become strong leaders in the church, we also have a heart for the surrounding area where we live. A lot of prayer is going into a work that will begin soon on the farms in the area, a huge area where people need to know God. We are also starting a cell group in our neighborhood that will begin in the next week or to. Right now we are inviting people. This group will target primarily the gardeners and maids that live and work in the area. For those of you who read this blog regularly, please pray that God will work mightily in our neighborhood and bring many to Him as we strive to help lead them to Christ and disciple them further in Christ’s teachings. Here are a couple pictures of David and Emily, new Christians who we are working with and who will be apart of this new Bible study. They work for us and have become a part of our family in many ways. Now we want to equip them further as they have a heart for sharing God’s word with their friends.



Friday, March 10, 2006


Tomorrow we've decided to take our day off and head out on a game drive. It's so nice to be only an hour or so away from Kruger National Game Park, though we don't go near as much as I'd like to. Our last trip was over the Christmas holiday and we didn't see very many animals, so tomorrow we plan to head south into the park and hopefully we'll see more. We're planning a special family day before Scott heads off to Mozambique on Monday. We usually picnic along the way, so it should be fun.

I'm posting pictures of animals from other game drives we've taken since several people have told me they love the pictures. Hopefully I'll be able to get some great shots tomorrow!



Wednesday, March 08, 2006


One of the goals we have as missionaries is to reach out to under reached people groups and tribes. In Zambia, we’re working among the Lozi tribe. Here less than four percent of the population claims to be Christian of any kind. The facts are startling that so many people still need to hear about Jesus. Scott travels to Zambia several times a year to continue teaching the leaders of the churches there to be Biblically sound, to be evangelistic, and to grow in their faith so the churches will be healthy.

We are now getting ready to start a work in Mozambique that will be similar. Our team met together on Monday to strategize, and I was shocked at some of the things I learned. One of the tribes we’re looking at targeting is called the Tonga tribe. It’s located in southern Mozambique and from the current information we have, this tribe of about 230,000, less than one percent claim to be any type of evangelical Christian.

The need is great. Please pray that God will go before us, and that He will raise up the people He’s chosen to go with us into Mozambique to spread the good news of Jesus!

These are some pictures from one of Scott's last trips.



Saturday, March 04, 2006


Okay, I know that most of you are looking forward to summertime, but it’s still summer here. . .or so I thought. We’ve had about five days of rain and today I’m shivering in my living room, even while wearing a coat, long sleeves and socks! I guess I can’t complain though as the area has been in a drought the past few years and this rain is an answer to prayers. Still, it’s cold. Makes me realize that winter is on the way for us.

These are a couple pictures I took yesterday of the mist rising in the valley. It's the view from our house and one I never tire of. On a clear day you can see for miles, but on cloudy, overcast days the mist settles into the green mountains and valleys around us, leaving a stunning picture.

My good news for the week is that there are no accidents to report from our household and everyone is well! Jayden stayed home for the week, doctor’s orders, but is really ready to go back to school. It’s been nice spending time with him one-on-one.

This next week is already looking busy. Besides all our normal activities, we are planning to start a weekly neighborhood Bible study. I’m excited to see how God will use this group to grow in Him and spread His love!



Friday, March 03, 2006


Raise your hand if you’ve ever dreamed of writing the great international bestseller. Patty, in her comments, called writing a journey, something I’ve always referred to it as. Like any journey, it has it mountains and valleys, its peaceful seaside stops and trips into the harsh badlands.

Where does one begin?

If you have questions on how to begin, where to get good advice on writing, or any other writing question, put it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. I don’t have time to do personal critiques of your work, but I can try to aim you in the write direction. If you haven’t read Gina Holmes interview of me on her blog site, check it out at It will definitely show you that writing is not always easy and the journey to publication can be tough, but with a lot of perseverance, prayer, and hard work, you can get there.

Here’s a great place to start if you’re interested in writing. Check out for some great resources on writing. I joined the group just after it started and let me tell you, for $35 a year you just can’t beat all the classes, forums, and resources that are available. They also host one of the premiere conferences each year. Check it out, leave me your questions, and don’t forget to vote!



Thursday, March 02, 2006


I have to say we are very blessed to live in Africa and have wireless internet that actually costs us less than regular dial up. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without a few quirks. For instance, right now, I can receive mails, but can’t send them. Hopefully it will be fixed soon as I wanted to respond to some of the comments that have been left recently.

Had an interesting phenomenon here the other night. I kept seeing weird shadows on the lights outside and opened the door to see what it was. Much to my surprise there were hundreds of butterflies flying around the lights. Now we always have moths flying around at night of every shape and size. They nose dive into your hair and are basically annoying. Once dusk hits, we run around closing all the windows and doors not from the fear of a break in, but from the insects. I suppose it’s the rain this time of year that brings them on in full force. The picture of the butterflies in the rafters really doesn’t show you just how many there were, but the instant I opened the door and stepped outside to take a picture, I had to jump back inside, because they were literally everywhere!

I’ve included a couple pictures of the butterflies as well as a photo of our oldest with his second place trophy for his last relay race. Go Gabe!