Friday, September 29, 2006

Technology and me. . .

It wasn’t too long ago when a blackberry was a juicy piece of fruit and a cookie was something you drank with milk. Today, the world has gone high tech and while I understand blogs, RAM, and hard drive space, I often feel left behind. Because of this, I have to admit that one of the things that always strikes me in coming back to the states after six years of living overseas is that life doesn’t wait for me to return!

Beside the fact that my niece and nephew have grown at least six inches since I last saw them, the technology advances always surprise me. I can never figure out how to swipe my card at Walmart, and who is that man talking into the air behind me with no phone in his hand?

Another thing that strikes me is the amount of stuff on the shelves. I know it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s not as if I’ve never lived in the states, but sometimes I still feel like a backward hick when I stand in front of an aisle of hairspray that seems to reach across the next state line. Is it really necessary to have to choose from five hundred bottles of sticky stuff that all do virtually the same thing?

I don’t think so.

So I skip the self-serve check out lines, don’t carry a cell phone, and try to avoid my ignorance at an espresso bar by ordering a tropical slushy. (That should make me feel at home, right?)

In spite of all my adjustments to being back in the States the past week and a half, it’s been such a joy to catch up on friendships and spend time with my family. Another cool thing has been to have a number of people tell me that they actually read my blog! I’m loving that. For those of you who have emailed me, I am behind on responding to emails as this has proven to be another one of those technological challenges for me as my South African server doesn’t seem to work here. J

Until my next post,


Monday, September 25, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane. . .

Another (late) plane and I’m leaving Dallas on my way to Tulsa to see my mother. The ACFW conference was an incredible blessing. Seeing old friends, making new ones, meeting with editors, times of worship, attending the awards dinner, and being reminded as to why I want to write for Him made it a dynamic three days.

I was touched by so many things this past weekend. Besides working on the craft of writing, I enjoyed the encouragement and advice of other authors who have blazed a trail before me as I listened to their life changing messages.

Some things that I learned--

That success in God’s eyes is rarely the same as in human eyes. By human standards Jesus was a failure. Life isn’t about being popular. It’s about being like Jesus.

If God only worked through perfect people, nothing would get done.

We are to be holy as God is holy. This is success.

That my sale numbers aren’t as bad as I thought.

That it’s offering my gifts up to God daily to be used by Him and NOT sales numbers that really count.

A publisher is interested in my ideas to write international suspense set in Africa. (Yeah!)

I need to swallow my fear, move forward, press on, and keep going.

I didn't take nearly enough pictures at the conference, but I've posted a few below.

Be blessed today!


Some of my writing buds!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Going Home. . .Yet now so far away from home

It’s an interesting place I find myself this morning. Halfway between the two worlds that I know. Frankfurt is overcast this morning, a stark reminder that I’m nowhere near my sub-tropical home in Africa where the sky is always blue. Neither am I near the home where I grew up where red, white, and blue flags fly in the breeze.

I wanted to shed a few tears yesterday and it wasn’t from Joburg’s hectic airport or from the fact that ‘I’m leaving on a jet plane’ played in the background. I was going home, while at the same time missed the home I was leaving behind. It’s an interesting phenomenon, living in two worlds, and being a part of two cultures.

I can’t deny who I am, or where I was born, and neither do I want to. My children, though, who still speak of Texas, now have a South African accent, love braiis, and riding in our bakkie. Gabriel plays field hockey and rugby while dreaming of becoming a Navy Seal.

Cultures mesh, languages flow together, seasons change, and I become more of another culture without ever wanting to lose who I was. And so I find myself going home, so far away from home.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Quick Update

It's funny how everything I see in Africa, I see in terms of would this make a great post or photo to share on my blog. Here's a picture of Gabriel dressed up as Willy Wonka for Roald Dahl day at school. According to Gabriel, whoever has the best costume wins his or her weight in Skittles.

This past week, though, has zoomed by with hardly a moment to breathe, let alone think of something worthwhile to post. Scott returned Wednesday night after nine days in Mozambique. (I will be sharing an update of his trip with pictures this weekend.) With him gone, things are always crazy. This week has been full of keeping up with the kids schedules, heavy book edits and deadlines. . .and packing.

Yes, packing!

I’m so excited because I leave on Monday for a short trip back to the states to see my mother. She called me a few weeks back and asked if I could please come for a short time since she was not able to make the trip to South Africa as she’d planned. It’s been a whirlwind of getting ready not only to see her, but I’m also going to the American Christian Writer’s Conference in Dallas. This is the frosting on the cake as I will have the opportunity to connect with some of my best writer friends, meet my new editor, and pitch an international suspense series. Yeah!

Speaking of writing, I have three books coming out between now and February--a romance, a romantic comedy, and a cozy mystery. (Can you hear the excitement in my voice?) I will be having a number of FREE giveaways in the coming weeks from my blog for all three books so check back often!

Until I return in three weeks, you won’t hear much from me except for a few updates on my trip from the other side of the world. (I’ll try not to bore you with my frequent excursions to Wal-Mart for socks and slippers and such!)

Until then, be blessed!


Saturday, September 09, 2006


I recieved a text message from Scott late last night and am excited that things are going so well. He and Allen are out in a village where they are spending several days discipling Edwardo. Here's what he had to say.

"We are spending the weekend discipling Edwardo. His cousin Joao, just accepted Christ and we will be discipling him as well. Tomorrow, we will go and witness to his wife. On Sunday, we plan to model a house church with the Lord's supper, etc. Lord willing we will have the beginnings of two house churches before we leave next week."

We are excited to see how God is already moving among the Tonga people. Mozambique will be the focus of our work in the coming months as we train and disciple the new believers.

Please pray for this new work and for Scott and Allen as they continue to teach and minister.



Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The price of gas and other commodities. . .

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the cost of living here in South Africa. One thing we always have to deal with is the fluctuating strength of the dollar verses the South African rand.

When we first arrived here, the rand was about 7 to one dollar. A year later, it had dropped below six. How does this affect our financial state? Say, for example, that I spend 1000 rand a month on groceries. (I wish) When the rand is seven to the dollar, it would cost me $142 dollars. When the rand drops, say to 5.8 to the dollar, I’m then paying $172 for the same amount of groceries. As you can see, this can add up quite quickly when the dollar is weak.

The price of fuel has almost doubled since our arrival and right now we are paying over $4.30 a gallon. Cheep compared to Zambia where the cost can rise above $7 a gallon! Another big raise has been beef. Up 33% in the past year. Even when prices seem comparable to the state, the quantity is sometimes only about half the size.

Here’s a sampling of prices:

12 oz box of Rice Krispies $2.50
2 liter coke $1.60
Canned tomatoes 75 cents
Canned kidney beans 88 cents
Canned fruit $1.50-$2.50
Package of Hot dogs $2.45
6 pack of yogurt, 3.5 ounces each $1.50
1 liter of milk $1.00
Olive oil 26 ounces $9.00
Canola oil 26 ounces $1.00
9 ounces Doritos $1.60
1 pound ground beef $2.40
10 avocados in season $1.00

Overall, we’ve learned to adjust our eating to fit the market. Canned goods are very high, but fresh fruit and vegetables are very reasonable.

Another interesting difference is the cost of cars and houses. Cars are very expensive. We have an old used car that cost as much as a new car in the States. On the other hand, land isn’t worth much here, so we were blessed with a nice plot of land and a four bedroom house for much less that we could have ever found an equivalent in Dallas.


On another note, please pray for Scott and Allen as they left for Mozambique yesterday to register with the government so we can start our work there. So far, things seem to be going well. They will finish in the capital then leave for Edwardo’s village, a new believer who has gone home to share Christ with his family. They will spend time teaching him and his family for several days.

Please pray also that our house in Dallas will sell quickly!



Friday, September 01, 2006


Today, on this side of the world anyway, is the first day of spring. We celebrated by visiting Jayden and Mariah’s school to be a part of their fun walk fundraiser. Besides the walk, there was lots of food, a jumping castle, coloring contests, swimming. . .and more food. The kids have been looking forward to this day for almost two weeks, and thankfully the weather cooperated. It’s actually been rather cold lately, so the sunshine was a welcome sight!

The new season also reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for. Because we don’t have television, I recently subscribed to the New York Times headlines through my email. Between the news, daily prayer requests I receive, and the struggles I see around me every day, it’s easy for me to get depressed about life and to forget why I’m here.

This inspired me to make a list of what I’m thankful for. And to each of you, if you’d like, take five minutes over your weekend and send me a comment with some ways God has blessed you recently and why you are thankful. For those of you who receive my posts directly to your box, you can click on the title and it will send you to the web page if you are online where you can leave a comment.

I’d LOVE to hear about what you’re thankful for in your life and rejoice with you!

Here’s a few of mine:

1. My family
2. My mom is flying me home for three weeks later this month to spend time with her and my sister’s family, as well as to allow me to attend a writer’s conference. (see you soon mom!)
3. Our cell group is growing
4. Winter is over

Anyone else?



"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:18