Friday, October 30, 2009

Life in Crisis

The suspense series I’m working on right now is about ordinary people faced with extraordinary situations. They’re not secret agents or spies sent to save the world, but instead people, like you and me, who’s lives are changed through both the challenges they face and their reliance on God.

But as we all know, a crisis isn’t limited to the pages of a fictional story. And in real life, the ending is rarely tied up neatly. Many of us have walked through a situation where the pain and heartache seemed out of control and there was nowhere to run.

In the past few weeks that I’ve been back in the States, I’ve had opportunities to meet with a number of people whose lives are in crises. As I’ve cried with them and prayed with them, one verse has really stuck with me. Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.

We live in a fallen world. Life is hard. There is sickness, financial struggles, loneliness, and loss and while it’s impossible to always understand “why” there is one thing that we can cling to. Isaiah 41:10 tells us not to fear, because “I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

God never said that all difficult situations will be taken away. In fact I Peter 4:12 tells us not to be surprised at the painful trials we are suffering. But through Christ and the workings of His Spirit, the void can be filled. James tells us that we are blessed when we persevere under trial, because we will "receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12) With God as our strength and heaven as our goal, the journey is worth it.

Keep your eyes focused on Him today!

Lisa Harris

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunset in Swaziland

Someone reminded me today that I hadn't updated for a few days, so I thought I write a quick post. Things have been hectic here as I try to keep up with school, keep the kids on a semi-normal schedule, and do all the "extra" things we need to do. The kids are doing well and are enjoying making new friends.

One of the extra things was my first live radio interview today. It turned out to be a lot of fun and not near as scary as I expected. :-) I'll post a link if they put the interview in an archive.

Thank you so much for your prayers for Allen. He finished the last of his chemo and radiation today. The doctors expected him to be flat on his back during this last week, and yet once again, God stepped in and he's been up and around, and doing well. They have three weeks of rest with family, before returning to Houston to reevaluate what the next step is. Please continue keeping him in your prayers in the coming week!

Lastly, I'll be holding another fun contest (think chocolate) the beginning of November, so drop back soon!



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not of this world

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, how coming back to the US is always a bit of a shock to my system as I step from one world into another. And in a sense, I’ve realized that I really don’t quite fit in completely in either setting.

In Africa, life goes by slower. I shop in the open market, worship on Sunday morning beneath breezy palm trees, and work hard to communicate in a foreign language.

Here in the US, life seems to rush by because of people’s busy pace. Stores are huge and packed with everything imaginable, and while I speak the language, I’m often clueless about various cultural things like TV shows, movies, and music.

This morning I was reading Psalm 91 and was reminded of one constant. No matter where I live in this world, if I make the Most High my dwelling place, He will be my refuge. In this chapter, the Psalmist pens some incredible words about how to find rest in the world we live in.

*He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

*He is my refuge and my fortress.

*He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.

*He will call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I show him my salvation.

Wow! Trouble is everywhere, no matter where we live, but so is our Heavenly Father!

What about you? No matter who you are or where you live, you will face situations that will drag you out of your comfort zone, challenge you, and at times, bring you to your knees. Be reminded today that whatever earthly situation you are facing, dwell in His shelter and He will be your refuge and fortress for the days to come.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

And the winner is...

Before I announce the winner, I have to say I was thrilled by the response to my latest giveaway and loved reading your great beauty tips. Thanks for sharing!

I used to draw the winner to keep things fair and square, so drumroll now please...

The winner of the Swazi Secret gift basket is Muttlets1mom!

Congratulations! Please contact me at with your snail mail address.

If you didn't win, please stop by my blog again soon as I'll be holding monthly giveaways for the next few months including my yearly Taste of Africa Basket, and a Christmas surprise you won't want to miss!

Here are your Beauty Tips:

1. My tip is to drink alot of water and always use moisturizer w/sunscreen

2. Drink lot's of pure water and stay active! Oh and deal quickly with stress!

3. Best beauty tip is to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest, limit sun exposure and use a good sunscreen.

4. Beauty tip: never use soap to cleanse your face. Way to drying. I use Aveeno foaming face cleanser with feverfew, which is good for my face.-Carmen

5. My favourite beauty tip for shiny, strong, and overall gorgeous hair is to dampen it slightly with warm water, then to massage a bit of olive oil into it right before bed, braid it, put a towel over your pillow and sleep like that, wash it out thoroughly the next morning.-Alison

6. My natural beauty secret is to use olive oil as a make-up remover.

7. I work out an hour a day and try to eat healthy.

8. A natural beauty secret I use is resting cool cucumber slices on my erases the dark circles and sometimes even removes my headaches!-Lora

9. I have used olive oil and almond oil to slather my body in after bathing! My body soaks it up in no time!-Annie

10. I spritz witch hazel on pimples-Megan

11. My favorite natural beauty remedy is to make a face and body scub made out of olive oil, sugar, and aloe vera. It's really moisturizing, and it clears up blemishes as well. -Janette

12. 1)Don't sun tan--nothing ages your skin more.
2)Avoid using harsh soaps and chemicals on your face, and lastly,
3)Look at your mom, grandma, and aunts. If you come from a good-skin gene pool, the chances are you'll have great skin too (if you don't abuse your skin).-Janice

13. My skin really improved when i started using oil (jojoba) or shea butter to moisturize.-Mim

14. A natural beauty tip that I follow is too drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin. -Lee



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Settling In

Springtime in Africa. A photo from our garden.

After a difficult time getting to Houston from Tulsa (We were 29 hours late due to airline issues!) we are settled into our new, temporary housing. We've spent the past few days connecting with those involved in our ministry here in Houston as well as fellowship and prayer with Allen and Janelle. Many of you have told me how you are praying for Allen and we appreciate your prayers so much! God truly is doing miracles in his life. I've posted the latest update below.

Remember to leave a comment here for a chance to win the beauty collection from Swazi Secrets! I'll draw the winner tomorrow! And watch for another fun contest next month from the Heart of Africa!

"Dear Loved Ones and Friends!

We have now finished another week of our journey and, today, Allen finished 3 1/2 weeks of chemo and radiation. There is only one thing we can say, and we want to say it again and again. -- God is good!!

We last wrote that Allen had turned a corner and was getting better, but I don't think we really appreciated how much that was due to God's hand directly doing the turning!! Allen continues to get better every day. He is stronger, out walking daily, doing exercises, going shopping with me, he is more spacially oriented, his short term memory is back, he is alert and connected with life. He sits on the computer and I sometimes have to remind him what time of night it is!! :) And we know with certainty that it is God who has made this happen.

We were talking to the doctor this week and were discussing how much better he is. She said that she could see that he was a totally different person than the one she met when treatments started. She said that, yes, the treatments were having their effect, but that really, the improvements were coming "from above" (as she puts it). Also she said that they found that short term memory could return only after the 6 week treatments were complete and then after some time. She was absolutely amazed at the tremendous improvements he has made, and she expressed that to us.

We know it is God who has turned the tide for Allen. It is God who has decided that Allen should live and not die! We want to say that all the glory is His and we are humbled and so abundantly blessed by His kindness and goodness to us.

We are still on this journey, we haven't seen the end yet. But we do know that God is with us every step of the way, because we have seen His sign. We again thank each of you for your many many prayers! We ask you to continue. The journey continues, day after day. But, praise God, we are living in the sunshine of His light, and not in the shadow of death!! He has been so very good to us, and we thank you again for your prayers. You have blessed us and sustained us as we have moved forward. May you be blessed!!!"

Thanks for your prayers,


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Things we love...

...about visiting the US.

1. Public Restrooms that have toilet paper (and don't smell)
2. Unlimited fountain drinks
3. I don't have to make my own maple syrup (I did offer, sis)
4. All you can eat buffets
5. Mexican food (Texas here we come!)
6. Roads with no (or very few) potholes
7. Fall colors
8. Cousins, cousins, and more cousins (And grandparents, of course!)
9. Customer service that actually exists
10. And in spite of 1-9, hearing my kids tell me they miss Africa (And so do I!)

Don't forget to leave a comment on my last post for a chance to win a wonderful beauty basket from Swaziland!



Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's giveaway time!

In anticipation of Blood Ransom’s release from Zondervan in March, (and simply to keep things fun!) I’ll be hosting a number of monthly giveaways with all kinds of cool things, straight from the heart of Africa!

To kick things off, I’ll be giving away with a collection of beauty products from Swazi Secrets! This gift pack contains a range of natural oils and cosmetics produced by a not for profit company set up to empower rural Swazi women. Each product is based on oil produced from the kernels of the Marula tree.
(You can find out more about their products here)

This month’s giveaway contains handmade Marula soap, body lotion, Marula oil (to be used as a moisturizer) and lip balm. The winner will also receive a copy of Massachusetts Brides, my historical romance collection from Barbour.

For a chance to win, leave a comment on my blog with a way to contact you. And if you have a natural beauty secret you use, please share it with us as well!

Want more chances to win? For this contest, those signed up to receive my newsletter who meet the contest rules (You can sign up here or through the link on my blog) will be automatically entered , so leaving a comment on my blog will give you a second chance!

Look for many more opportunities to win neat gifts items from Africa like jewelry, chocolate, photos, and books, including my yearly Taste of Africa gift package in December!

I'll draw a winner on October 15th. Spread the word!


Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Winners must live in North America.

Friday, October 02, 2009

More Rejoicing!

Here's a message from Scott.

"Today at the English Club, Ernesto said he wanted to be baptized today when he learned others were yesterday. Then Lionel ask why he couldn't too. So, after the study, we went down to the water and baptized them.

Sure love these guys! God is doing some wonderful things in their lives. Just wanted to share, Scott"

Scott and the kids leave tomorrow to pick up some things at Allen and Janelle's in SA, then onto the airport to fly out on Sunday. Please keep them in your prayers, along with David and Emily who will be keeping up the studies while we are gone.



English Club

Ernesto and Lionel with Scott

Bay at sunset

Little Scott (I just had to include another photo)

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Today Scott had 3 baptisms, two of which were from the English camp from this summer. Isaias and Ivanildo. Innocencia is a neighbor and friend of David and Emily. It was a wonderful day!