Saturday, February 10, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHAE-LYNN

Our precious daughter has turned 18!  As much as I have enjoyed every step of our children's childhood, having a teenaged daughter who has such a beautiful heart is a special joy.


When the kids turn 18, they get to pick any type of cake they want.  Shae-Lynn chose the chocolate lasagna cake I had for my last birthday.  It is so good and rich!


We had a great time celebrating with two other missionary families with food, fun, and fellowship.  


A couple of months ago, Shae-Lynn had stumbled across some Short Best Friend / Tall Best Friend shirts on Amazon.  She sent the photo to her tall friend Abby, saying that it describes them so well.  Abby's family took the photo down to our local t-shirt imprinter, and he was able to replicate it exactly.  Shae-Lynn's gifts reflected her love for coffee, coconut, and photography.  


We are so thankful for each of our children and look forward to seeing how God uses them in the future in His service.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

BARBECUE JACKFRUIT

Quite possibly, we have found a company that will alleviate my frustrations with internet that has prevented me from frequently posting.  We are giving it a try, and so far so good.  With other companies, I could only upload photos at 6:00 in the morning, and even then it would take about 30 minutes.  Any other time of the day, it would take up to 2 hours or just get stuck.  Right now, in the middle of the day,  I just uploaded 2 photos, and it literally took less than 10 seconds.  I realize this still isn't as fast as most American internet, but I am so excited and hope this good service continues.  It will really help with school work, too.

My kids will admit, when it comes to meals, I am very good to them.  I am not a mother who forces Brussel sprouts or sauerkraut down their throats.  I remember once when Shane was little that I made him eat squash.  As I was cleaning up the mess of him throwing it up, I declared I was not going to be that mean mom.  Instead, I have learned that if I want my kids to like something, fix just enough for myself, eat it in front of them, and they will soon come begging to try mom's special food she is eating.  It truly works!


However, I do enjoy trying new recipes, especially when I see a savings in them.  We have an unusual fruit called jackfruit that is as big as a watermelon and grows on trees.  It is very messy to harvest the fruit, but it is very good raw or dried.  We had heard how some people, especially vegetarians, use the fruit as a substitute for beef in meals, specifically barbecue shredded beef sandwiches.  We were given some jackfruit, so I decided to try it, closely following the recipe online.
It was a failure!  
I even had a hard time swallowing it without the gag reflex kicking in.  My kids were so good in trying to eat it, but they were greatly relieved when I didn't even make them eat the usually required 1/2 amount that was on their plate.  I told them that since they didn't have any stories of their mom making them eat horrible stuff, that I had to provide at least one for them.


Don't feel too sorry for them.  The barbecue jackfruit was quickly forgotten and I was forgiven even before these cinnamon rolls appeared for breakfast the next day.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

DECEMBER 2017

I. LOVE. MY. LIFE.  Having my family with me all day.  Serving our Lord in a foreign country.  Knowing people from all over the world.  I am so blessed.


But life isn't all a bed of roses.  One of the recent thorns in my life has been our internet.  Whenever I want to sit down and blog, then internet is SO slow, that I am not able to accomplish anything.  So, you, my readers, will just have to bear with me as I try to figure out how to be more up-to-date with the postings.

To try to finish up the year, I am just going to do a photo recap of the past few months.

The fair came to town.

Yes, we held this snake.

Skyler, another teen in our household.

Keith left on his birthday, so we just did cupcakes.

My daughter made me an amazing dessert for my birthday!

Keith began the village ministry in September.

October 9 was our Independence Service.

A visitor to our compound.

No more single digit kids in our family!

Moreen and Robert were married December 16.

These were the cakes I made for the wedding.

My kids lent their help with trying to get ready for the Ladies Conference.

54 Ladies attended our Connect the Dots Conference.

There were dots everywhere!

A major bee problem in our roof required a professional to come and remove the roof.

After 3 days, the queen was finally found.

These live chickens are on their way to the market for Christmas.

Our Christmas service included a deaf lady.

Cousins - such love and fun.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO Y'ALL FROM THE STENSAAS IN UGANDA!

Friday, August 25, 2017

BACK HOME

I am sorry for my long period of silence.  This has not been intentional.  In fact, I have lost track of how many times I have attempted to post.  We have even tried switching to a different internet company.  The U factor is at work against me (U=Uganda).  I was surprised when I logged in today and found that a portion of a previous attempt was saved.  So I will fill in the missing pieces (such as all the pictures that didn't save), post this one, and if it finally goes through - then I can write a current posting.  This was written the middle of July.

Landing in Uganda - What a Welcome Feeling.

One of the big adjustments we make when returning to Uganda is the undependability of everything.  I actually started writing this post after one week of being here.  Due to terrible internet service, it took me until Thursday to finish it.  But then when I tried to preview it before sending it out, all the work vanished except for 3 sentences.  Yes, I frequently hit the "save" button, but for some reason, the Uganda factor kicked in and getting a post written and sent has been anything but simple.  So...we will try again.

We got a quick tour of Dubai during our layover.

It is good to be back home.  Sleeping in our own beds.  Putting our clothes in closets and dresser drawers.  Drinking African Chai and eating sweet bananas and pineapple.  Attending the same church.  These are every day activities that we miss when traveling on furlough.

View of Kampala, the capitol city, from our motel room

But there are the difficult adjustments, too.  Water going off every - single - day.  The Muslim prayer call beginning at 4:45 or 5:00 each morning.  The crazy traffic.  The dust.  The noise of living in town.

Roadside market

And there is the beauty.  Green trees and grass.  The welcome we received from our people.  My flowers still blooming.  The weather (between 62 and 78 since we arrived).

I Love Flowers!  It was nice to see them still living in my flower beds.

Our days have been very busy and full as we literally move back into our home.  When we left, everything had to be packed up.  In addition to unpacking, we also repainted our house.  Since the curtains all had to be replaced due to the intense Equator sun, we did some color changing in some rooms.  We don't, yet, have everything back on the walls, but the pathway through the house is getting better and nearly all the curtains are hung.  We don't have any time to be lazy since we have four visitors arriving next week.

Shae-Lynn helped in getting the curtains ready

Keith has accomplished so much in all that is on his list.  He found us a van to purchase within our first week, and he has started paperwork on the ministry truck.  His Ugandan driving permit should be completed this week, and mine next.  During our absence, five of our six dogs died, so Keith has bought 3 new ones to replace them.  The kids all have new mattresses and the girls a new bed frame, too.  He quickly hooked up the water filter and the washing machine and dryer, so we appreciate their availability.

Shiloh exercising the dogs

One of the things Keith and I missed the most was being able to be involved discipleship.  My soul winning team wasted no time in giving me three ladies to disciple upon our return.  What a blessing it is for Shae-Lynn to also have some young girls to teach.

I am humbled that I am given the chair and they insist on sitting on the ground

Shae-Lynn usually ends up with 10 kids listening to her teach the 3 that are being discipled

We are home - the place of service God has chosen for us.  How grateful we are!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

FINISHING FURLOUGH

Furlough is coming to an end, but we are blessed by the many memories we have made.

At one of the homes we stayed at, we were able to enjoy some paddle boats while trying to spot a red-headed snake that would periodically poke his head up.

The race is on!
A stop at Lambert's Cafe is a given on the furlough trail.  Who needs to order a meal with the delicious throwed rolls and free sides?

We ended up having enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
It is always nice to find an outdoor park to enjoy, and this particular one was beautiful - complete with a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Wow - our children have really grown, right?
Sight and Sound Theaters is another stop we love to make on the furlough trail.  We were treated to a personal behind-the-scenes tour by one of the workers there.

Amazing special effects!
Life carries on with milestones.  Skyler is thrilled to have passed his sister in height and will probably pass me up by Christmas.  Shiloh has squeezed passed Stanley, so we will see if he catches up with Shane.

Skyler's "Little" Sister
We ask your prayers as these next four weeks will be stressful with the packing, appointments, decision making, saying good-byes, and flying out.  We need to remember to smile during these times.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

OUR FIRST COLLEGE GRADUATE


Is it possible?  How can we be old enough to have a college graduate?

Graduating Class of 2017
We rejoice with Shane in his accomplishment of finishing 4 years of college.  It has not been easy for him, particularly the first year having to adjust to American culture, but he persevered.  We surprised everyone by flying Stanley in for the graduation, and many tears were shed when he had to leave.

I love our family.
Having Pastor Bob Ross preach the commencement exercises was special for Keith and I since he was the vice-president of the college we graduated from and is now a supporting pastor.

Pastor Adam, Pastor Ross, Daniel (Shane's cousin) and Shane
We have seen growth in Shane's life and are thrilled with the next step God has prepared for him.  


Well done, Shane!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BLESSED TO BE A MOM

This was the first time in 22 years of motherhood for me to be away from all of my children on Mother's Day.  Keith and I were blessed by the generosity of an Alaskan church to fly both of us to Alaska for a meeting that just happened to be on Mother's Day.  However, my children had many surprises awaiting for me when we returned, and I enjoyed each one.  In return, I thought I would write this post as a letter to them, my six blessings:


Dear Children,

I have been blessed.  So abundantly!  I love each one of you so much!  As I look back on the past 22 years of wearing the title "Mom," I smile.  I laugh.  We have made precious memories together.  

Remember --

- The child who emptied the whole bookshelf into the laundry basket
- The one who rinsed his toothbrush in the diaper pail
- The one who was actually named Seaton
- The fearless 4-year old warrior who proudly showed me the snake he had killed with a rock
- The baby who was 17 days overdue
- The quiet child who cut up the living room curtains and emptied 2 boxes of cereal because he was being neglected as I schooled the others
- The one who insisted on wearing mismatched shoes
- The baby who spit up so much that I changed my clothes up to 3 times a day
- The baby who liked to be held upside down

Remember all the chameleons, puppies, and roach and tick invasions?

You have lived through hair lice, chicken pox, maggots, giardia, mysterious rashes, a near drowning, a dogbite, and a fractured wrist and rib.  You have been in 42 states, crossed the equator more times than we can count, rafted the Nile, and had your picture in thousands of homes.  

I have been your seamstress, baker, encourager, teacher, party planner, nurse, doctor, comforter, travel coordinator, cook, camp director, and librarian.  I have loved "being there" for you.  Even as you go off to college and forget the time change and message me at 2:00 am,  I love to talk to you.  Even when I lose half a night's sleep staying up with you, I love to be the one to care for you.  

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.  It is one of the hardest callings on earth.  As each of you leave the home, the heart strings are pulled tighter as the miles between us grow.  This time of life is difficult.  However, I am thankful that the distance doesn't erase my title.  I'm your mom always.  

I love you Shane, Stanley, Shae-Lynn, Shiloh, Skyler, and Savannah.  

Thanks for calling me "Mom."