Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Poem for the birthday girl

A very happy birthday to my baby-bear, Shelby. 22 years old today! I love you to the moon and back. Wish I could be with you.  Here is a little poem I wrote for you. :-) Love you much, Shelby!

Ten fingers, ten toes.
Blue eyes and a cute nose.

Squirming, screaming,
Your papa beaming.

Midnight cries and feedings,
First steps and your mama pleading
for sleep, precious sleep.

School days,
Your sassy ways,

Feeling brave,
And misbehaves.

Leads to timeouts
And your shouts
As mama does some spanking.

Missing teeth, braces, and makeup,
All too soon, my baby is growing up.

Friends and School dances,
Not always studying, & sometimes taking chances,

What ever you did and where ever you went,
God usually gave your mama a hint,
Kept you honest and safe.

Graduation came all too soon,
Mama cried her usual tune,
Baby is growing up.

On your own,
Working and a home.

Paying bills, cooking and cleaning,
No longer on mama are you leaning.

No more a baby
But a beautiful young lady.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Missing home


For the most part, I have not been homesick. But every once in a while I get a deep ache for home. Mainly for my daughter, Shelby. I actually have no home to go back to. I gave it up when I knew I would be leaving the country. Shelby moved to a different state 2 months before I left. So even when I go back to the states, I won't be staying in my home city. I will visit, but will spend most of my time in Shelby's home. Shelby's home. I can't believe I just typed those words. My baby is grown. She is no longer a baby. She has outgrown my lap years ago. It is hard to believe that 22 years ago I was eagerly awaiting her due date. But in Shelby fashion, she was a day late. Tuesday is her birthday. This will be the first birthday  I have missed. And it is making this mama's heart hurt. She is in good hands. My sweet friend whom I've known since college lives in the same city as Shelby. I refer to her as my babymama. :-)  I know Shelby is being looked after, whether she wants it or not. lol.

Looking back on the last 22 years, I can honestly say I wouldn't have done it differently. Having a child outside of marriage was definitely not a good decision, but the things she and I have gone through have helped to shape the person I am now. I cant imagine my life without her. Things have not been perfect. She didn't have everything I wanted her to have. But we never starved, always had a roof over our head and clothes on our backs. There were days I cried out to God in desperation for help raising her. My constant prayer for her was that she would know the love of her heavenly Father and that He would fill the void in her life caused by not having an earthly father.  I was not the perfect mother. I made my share of mistakes. It is my hope that she knows she was loved, wanted, and cherished. From the moment she entered the world, I have loved her and been thankful to be her mama. She has made me proud. Despite some minor learning challenges, she made it through school. The day she graduated was a moment I will never forget. She is now a certified nursing assistant and I couldn't be prouder. She is working hard and living on her own.

Who knew that we would one day be living on different continents? Life is funny that way. As much as I miss her, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know I am where God wants me. Just as she is where God wants her. So, as her birthday approaches, instead of being sad that we are separated, I will choose to rejoice that she is doing well, and that He is watching out for her during my absence. She is, after all, His. I know she is in good hands.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Family. This one word can stir up many feelings. Some good and some painful. Family is where one should feel safe, accepted and loved. In Psalm 68:6, it says, "God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." (NIV)  
I have lived every part of this verse. I have been the rebellious one who thirst for the comforts of acceptance and love. And I have been the lonely who was placed in a loving family. I have been accepted, loved and very well cared for.   We have studied God's Word together, eaten together, cried together, laughed together and prayed together.  As I begin this new journey in my life, I will leave this family (geographically only) behind. My heart breaks as the day of my departure draws closer. Yes, we will stay in touch via email.  But it won't be the same. I will miss their physical presence. I will miss babysitting their precious girls. I will miss cooking for them. I will miss praying with them. I will miss just being with them. They accepted me and included me as part of their family and I will be forever thankful. 

The above paragraph was written in July. I never finished it. I left for Suriname, August 2, 2013. I have never in my life felt such peace. I can honestly say I am exactly where I am suppose to be. That certainly hasn't stopped my insecurities, but I have a deep settled peace knowing God has placed me here. I am having to constantly redirect my thoughts when they begin to travel down the road of "what have I done?" ;-)  NO regrets. However, the transition has not been without heartache. But through it all, I know God is with me and will guide me through this time in my life. 
I know those close connections will come. I am learning to lean on God and trust Him completely. He is my one constant here. When I begin to feel lonely and disconnected, I turn my thoughts and heart to Him.  He is my comfort. He is my calm when I feel like I am about to break. He is my breaker in the storm when I feel like I am about to go under. He is my family when I feel like I am alone.

This song, "Oceans" has become my heart cry here in Suriname. "I will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace."  Resting in his arms.... doesn't get much better than that. :-)

Finally, a Suriname post! ;-)

 Ten weeks ago I arrived in Suriname. I am certain this is where I am suppose to be. However, there are just a few things I am starting to miss. Yes, I miss my daughter the most. But beyond that, the things I am missing are a bit surprising, if not strange.  I miss my former house. I was very blessed to live on a farm. My view was spectacular. Whenever I would turn down the lane after a long day of school, I would sigh with relief as I turned down the lane. Home was a place of peace, joy and solitude. I miss sitting on the porch watching the birds, squirrels and whatever else would stroll by.   I miss my comfortable recliner and that old red couch.   That couch was the best napping couch ever!  I miss watching college football and cooking/eating hot wings every Saturday. I miss Valdosta in general. Traffic was nightmarish at times, but there is just something about that place I love. Maybe it is because I raised my "baby" there. But Valdosta will always have a special place in my heart. (The crazy drivers, not so much.)  I miss going to the store whenever I felt like it. I miss drive-thrus and late night Waffle House runs.

     With all that I may miss, one thing is for sure, if given a chance to choose again, I would STILL choose Suriname. I know this is where God wants me. I am in love with my students and with the people here.  The wildlife I see is different. Instead of squirrels scampering on the ground, I see Iguanas running around. I see different species of birds. Instead of Georgia pines and pecan trees, I see palm, coconut, and banana trees. No beautiful lane to drive down, but when I turn the corner and see my house at the end, I still sigh in relief. Mainly due to the fact that, by this point, I am hot and sweaty from the walk home. ;-)

     I am enjoying teaching the different nationalities that are represented in my class. I have children from Brazil, Guiana, Tanzania, Italy, Holland, South Africa, USA, and China. Afternoon dismissal is my favorite. NOT because the children are leaving (hahaha) but because of all the different languages I hear as parents and drivers come to pick up the children. The first week of school, it made me cry. All I could think was Jesus loves every single one of these people. And what a privilege I have to be here to minister to the different nations.

     I will try to be a little more diligent about updating my blog. I do post pictures on my facebook page. Look for the "Suriname Album" to view the pictures.   Your prayers are appreciated. Please pray for me and the students and faculty of IAS.  I do hope to come home for Christmas. That is still up in the air at this point. (ha...no pun intended!)  Thanks so much for your prayers!