Worthy of Our Calling

Living out Ephesians 4:1-3

A Day in the Life

Many wonder at our days here.  Why do we have to be here so long, what do we do, we must be so busy.

I would love to answer some questions that people actually have, so if you have them, comment on this post, I will try my best to post a FAQ (as it pertains to our family) next week!

For today, I’d thought I’d give you a run down for our day.  Today was our first full day at our apartment.  We really enjoy this place, it is new and fresh and clean.  We are on the 3rd floor, so there aren’t bugs like there were at our last place.  It is much closer to downtown Kampala, but is in a quiet, safe part of town.  We have a kitchen, with an oven (that we are assured will be working by Saturday for Micah’s birthday).  We also have more then one toilet for the 6 of us :).  We have a full set of dishes and a nice sized fridge.  We have more beds for the kids (2 instead of 1) and space to really unpack for the first time since arriving in Uganda.  We are no longer living out of suitcases!  They are put away under our beds for now!  We also have consistent, fast wifi, which was lacking at our last place and is such a blessing with keeping up with friends and family back home.

We miss our friends (the 2 other families) that are still at the lodge.  We will actually go down there tomorrow for church, lunch and pedicures with the girls (girl time!) and to let the kids play.  They are happy for that!  We also miss the outdoor space.  This is more of an apartment (though they still come clean every other day!) than a guest house/lodge, so the bottom floor is parking and paved, no green space right here.

So today we had NO PLANS.  Usually during the week we are waiting to hear if we need to go into town for something, and we have our schooling, etc.  Before, on Saturdays, the kids played all day outside.   We would maybe go to the grocery store or go visit the Kirabo Seeds kids.  But every trip took time, driver, etc.  The grocery store was 2.5-3 miles away, one way, so walking there was a chore with 4 kids, 2 of which want to be carried.  So we’d have to pay a driver to come get us.

Today, we had no school and a day to explore.  Since the first day we found this place, the kids wanted to go to the ‘workout room.’  I’m all for increasing interest in exercise, so I promised them after breakfast we would head down there first time.  We were given pancake mix before we left that we brought.  We used it once with all 3 families and it was such a good taste of home.  I had planned our first big breakfast to be pancakes and eggs!  I missed the batter, turned the gas on, hit the pilot light, and nothing.  We tried everything and couldn’t get it to work.

So, we made do with toast, fruit and juice and called it a meal.  We have bought a few stuffed animals/dolls here for the kids to take home.  This one is Anna’s, but she was being ok sharing it with Judah this morning (or, that may be while his smile is so big, he had taken it from here, LOL).  He immediately put it on his back like al the moms carry their babies here.  I thought that was so funny because the first time I put him on my back he was like ‘what are you doing!’

photo 1

 

One of our other priorities was covering this big window above our sink.  It looks out into the hallway of the building, and there is a thin curtain in front of it, but you can see through it.  Especially at night when we have lights on.  Some of the other apartments have butcher paper up, but we don’t have that, so we did what any good Texan college student would do, and used foil!

photo 2

After that, we headed down to the workout room.  It has 2 bikes, a treadmill, and this equipment.  It has another one still in pieces in the corner, and a bar with a few weights, but nothing to hold them onto the bar.  All very safe ;).  So I spent some time on the treadmill while Eric was on a bike.  Cara and Micah took turns trying to be strong on this thing (below) and Judah just followed everyone around.  I ended up giving Anna my phone to have 5 minutes of peace while I walked :).  She was going to hurt herself.

After I walked/ran (I say that loosely, it’s been so long I think I only did 3 times of 90 seconds, and that was rough!), I tried out a few exercises on the machine.  Cara and Micah took turns walking on the treadmill and Eric carefully did some bar exercises.  Judah was tired of not being held, so he joined me for my last rep.  And just so you know, do you know what’s hot?  Working out here with one window open and no breeze :).  We were mighty toasty when we were done!

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After that, we decided to hit the road.  We needed to find a rolex stand nearby.  This was a staple at our old lodge.  When it started getting to be dinner time and we had no idea what to do for dinner, Eric & Andrew (and sometimes all of us) would head up the hill to the rolex stand.  Rolex is most similar to a taquito back home, but different.  It is chapati, which is a staple here, with a fried egg on top with some tomatoes.  Chapati is like a thicker, whole wheat tortilla, but better :).

Chapati costs 500 shillings (about 20 cents) each, and Rolex cost 1,500 (about $.60).  So, we can usually feed our family for $2.  They are also huge, so Anna and Judah will share 1 rolex, most of the time the big 2 will as well.  We always order extra chapati (and now we are so happy to have a microwave to reheat them).  They make great holders of PB&J, butter with powdered sugar, or our favorite, the off-brand nutella!!  It tastes like a chocolate donut almost.

We started walking up the hill and found a guy!  Eric told him to make us 10 chapati and we’d be back in an hour.  We rounded the corner to the Capital City shopper’s village.  It is similar to the Quality shopping village down in Lubowa where we were staying.  The grocery store though is bigger, two stories, and has more of a walmart or target feel.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re still in Uganda, but it has office supplies (Cara was so excited to get a big piece of manilla paper!), kitchen supplies, clothing, bedding, along with food.

We got a few supplies and stopped at the counter for some quick samosas for lunch.  Samosas are typically 2,500 shillings for a pair (about $1).  My kids typically only eat one.  They are similar to an egg roll or empanada.  Our favorite are the beef ones.  They take seasoned meat and veggies (this varies, sometimes it’s carrots, onions, peas, tomatoes, just what they have on hand) and then bake or fry  them in a thin dough, like an egg roll type, in a triangle shape.  I just assumed they fried but I heard a lady today that was ordering ask if they were baked or fried, and they said baked!

We went to check out and realized we had walked and we might have bought too much :).  We did buy a basin though.  Our old lodge had a large bath tub.  This place has 2 showers.  So we bought a basin (less than $2) to put water in to bathe Judah (PS – he LOVED it tonight, knew right what to do verses in the bathtub when he thought he was in a swimming pool).  So, we put Judah in the Ergo on my back, each kid carried a bag (before they eventually handed them to us) and Eric carried the basin with the rest of the items in it.

I’m sure we were a site to see walking the 3/4 mile back to our apartment.  We stopped and got our chapati and headed home.  The picture below looks like Cara is going to be hit by a car.  I assure everyone it was just the angle and all was fine.  Only Anna we have to keep out of the road :).  I downloaded this picture earlier and told Eric it was going to make people nervous!

photo 4

After our excursion we came home and had a little snack (we ate the samosas while we walked) and then put Judah down for a nap, around 2:30.  He slept passed 5!  I took a shower, played with Anna a bit and then vegged on the bed posting pictures online.  Eric let the big 3 watch Disney Jr for an hour and they were in heaven!  We didn’t really have tv at the lodge.  There was one in the main house where we ate breakfast, so it took an army to pull them away (because the lodge staff always turned it to Disney or Nick Jr. when they saw us coming) to go start school.  Our apartment came furnished with DStv, so we hope to use it as reward and not have them want to be glued to it all the time.  But it was nice today, we all had a little quiet time.

After nap time we started cooking dinner. We had the lady here show us how to do the stove (she actually couldn’t figure it out, she had someone else come show us – so it wasn’t just us!) and we decided to do pancakes and eggs for dinner.  We don’t cook on gas much (we have an electric stove at home) and we didn’t have a non-stick pan here, so it took awhile before we got the hang of things, but it worked and the kids loved it.

We have 3 balconies here and Cara hd been planning a tea party/picnic all day for us to go outside and eat.  After dinner, the kids colored and played and Cara wrote out our menu.  We pulled out 2 chapati, heated them up, slapped some nutella on them, sliced them into finger foods and she served us on the balcony :).  She was so happy!

photo 5

After that, we took baths and got in PJS and then we hooked up my computer to the tv and facetimed our moms.  The kids were a bit crazy because they could see themselves on TV, so it was a little hard to hear :).  We got to see both our moms, then it was bedtime.  Their room has a king and a twin.  Cara gets the twin, the little two are on the king normal and Micah lays across their feet.  Here is what it looks like when we start.  I went in to check an hour or so ago and they are all over the place :).

cuddled up under the nets

cuddled up under the nets

I’m up in the middle of the night again.  I got a rash on my leg that itches on Wednesday, today it was bothering me.  Also, we’re out of pullups so though I crashed almost immediately after the kids, I woke up worrying about Anna peeing in the bed!  So I took her potty, put some cream on my leg and then couldn’t go back to sleep.  I have no idea where my glasses are, so if this post is full of typos and misspelled words, i apologize :).

Tomorrow we are actually going back to the lodge.  Gilbert, our driver, always heads down to take the Svalesons into town to their church (they found an Acts 29 network church to attend before they left online and have really enjoyed it). We are catching a ride down to the lodge with Gilbert and then will attend Watoto south with the Browns and Kirabo Seeds.  After, we will walk up to Quality for lunch and then Marissa and Brittanie and I are going to get pedicures while the boys take the kids back to the lodge to play.  We are praying that their process speeds up and this might be one of our last times to hang with them, well except Monday.  We are planning a semi-going away party at the orphanage for all the kids there (well, for Uriah, Judah and Jude Daniel).

Thank you for reading and loving us through this process!  We can’t wait to hug your necks!

Introducing….

On Friday, October 17th, 2014 we received our written ruling granting us legal guardianship of our son, Judah!  He is a 3 year old little boy who is learning to love and trust again.  We have fallen in love with him and do more so each day as we learn more about him, his country, and his personality.

We have been here in Uganda for 5 and a half weeks and are looking at probably that much longer before we get to go home.  We have started the passport process.  After we receive that, we can go to the IOM for his medical visit, and then schedule our visa exit interview at the American embassy.  There are some hurdles along the way that are known, that the first two families here with us in town have been dealing with.  We are praying most are ironed out before we get to the embassy.  New procedures are in place that our agency didn’t know were being implemented yet, so we are the guinea pigs.

Here is our son, Judah (Praise God) Mugisha (Blessing) Newsome

 

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He was just waving, but everyone thinks it's a Sic 'Em Bears!

He was just waving, but everyone thinks it’s a Sic ‘Em Bears!

Happy boy

Happy boy

Family photo at Murchison Falls

Family photo at Murchison Falls

Being silly with the siblings

Being silly with the siblings

Our first family of 6 photo

Our first photo as a family of 6!

 

 

Read Along with Me!

I try to post every day in our adoption group on Facebook, because I’m not journaling like I should be and I want to remember some things.  This was my post today:

Wake. Breakfast. School. Quiet time. Read Alouds. No ruling yet. Get me out of this lodge. Went for a walk. Helped. Made tacos for dinner. Had dessert. Baths. Kids in Bed. Friends arrive back home (they went on an outing). Repeat :).

Linda went to sit and wait for our ruling today. It is on the judge’s desk, but she heard another family today. Tomorrow is independence day in Uganda, so no government workers will be at work. So now we are praying for Friday. The Browns were told their passport is read, but not their written ruling, so the lawyer thinks it’ll be hard for them to pick it up, but they are going Friday to try.

Tomorrow all 3 families are going to go visit our boys’ orphanage, then we are going to Kirabo Seeds to play with the kids since they have the day off school We arrived a month ago today! I’ve started crocheting and knitting. Cara and I can learn crochet together ;) I’ve started a scarf with yarn I’ve had for years, glad to be doing something with these idle hands. I’m hopping off to read until bed. Need to fill my mind with good. I’m starting this book if you’d like to read along!

I’m short on words.  Short on patience.  Short on respectful speech.  However, not short on time, though I’m using my time poorly.  So, I’m closing the computer and starting Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things tonight. Care to join me?

Heart Struggle

What can I say?  I’ve got nothing.  I feel like my time here is going through the motions.  Don’t get me wrong, they are beuatiful, fun, motions.  Not much cooking or cleaning, gorgeous scenery.  But I feel like we’re missing it.  I don’t want my kids to miss this.   They are so used to it that it probably feels like home to them.  They have friends here, and time outs, and bedtimes like normal.  You know how kids are, they adjust pretty easily.

Then there’s us.  I don’t know about Eric, but I know I’ve been struggling.  And it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.  My two friends I’ve met while here, Brittanie and Marissa, are all processing their struggles too.  I fully agree with Marissa, this feels sort of surreal.  But it hurts to know life is still going on back home.  I hoped we wouldn’t miss anything.  I knew we would, but I don’t like my family and friends lives going on without us!  (And don’t start with the, “What did you think was going to happen?”  I have a brain, I knew!) :)  This is a hard spot to be in, especially when you have people who are not very supportive.  I try not to hit publish on things like this, because I don’t want to get the ‘you brought this on yourself’ stares and whispers.  But, I know I have so many friends willing to intercede for us, so I want to be truthful.  This is hard!  Not harder than I imagined or thought.  Just hard.

For me, getting my heart and my head on the same page has always been a struggle.  I have loved Jesus for most of my life.  I trust Him with all of it.  I know He has a plan and that plan is for my good and His glory.  I know that His timing is perfect, even if I’d prefer my timing.  I know that when I’m down, I just need to open His word and replenish my soul.

I know all these things.  I even do them sometimes.  But what, then, if nothing changes.  

I am still in week 2 of a bible study I was given before we left.  We’re starting our 5th week.

I can’t get in a good routine.  I stay up late talking to friends or blogging or reading, because I can’t turn off my brain, and then my kids wake us up in the morning.  I’ve gotten up a few times for quiet times, but there is no place to go.  I feel like I can’t escape to get that quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, Eric has been downstairs with them all while I’m upstairs, but I’ve been working on accounting or beads and I’m choosing not to invest in my relationship with my savior.  See.  I know all this.  And I still choose poorly.

I feel dry.  I have read my bible.  I feel like I’m skimming a book.  I read a whole chapter and then not know what it says.  I can’t absorb to memorize anything.  Just Sunday, while I was praying before taking the Lord’s supper, I was confessing my lukewarm-ness.  My seeking other things instead of the Lord.  My anger.  My impatience.  My sin.

I don’t want to miss this.  This undetermined time in a foreign country with my whole family.  This intentional bonding time with Judah.  This is all we have.  When we get back home, it’ll be back to the grind of work and coop and church.  We love all those things – those are some of the things we miss most – but an extended break is nice occasionally.

When I do read, I’ve been reading the Psalms a lot.  I was reading Marissa’s blog earlier, and she quoted Psalm 94:

 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.  Psalm 94:18-19

 

psalm94

 

I want God to bring me joy.  I am thankful for a God who supports me.  I want to let the Lord help me. In reading the whole chapter, verse 17 jumped out at me:

If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.

Lord, please be my help.  I can’t imagine surviving these next months without your help and your word.  I don’t process well in silence.

Then, verse 22.

But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.

Does anyone else have struggles with letting the Lord be your stronghold?  I can say He is my rock and my refuge, but do I let Him be?  Do I run to Him for ALL of my needs.  I sure want to.

So will you join us in prayer?  This is just my personal struggles.  It doesn’t even scratch the surface of our son, our relationship, our 3 biological kids.  We desire your prayers and need them.  Lord, be with our hearts as we set our minds on you!

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