Thursday, September 27, 2012

color photography

Since we are a traveling family, one of the things that really excited me about home schooling was being able to incorporate our travels into school and make the places we visit a hands on learning experience. Next month we will spend three weeks traveling around England and Ireland. We've spent the last couple of weeks studying these countries, and the kids have loved it! Did you know that the crossword puzzle was invented by an Englishman? We even found the very first one ever published.

flower

Yesterday we studied Ireland and I found it quite fascinating, as a photographer, that color photography was first invented by an Irishman. We went on a little adventure taking photos and then compared them in color and black & white. I loved hearing which ones they liked better and why. There's definitely a time and a place for both. We also looked at the photos just in black & white and tried to imagine what it was like to only see photographs that way.

drive

Early next week we are headed to Swaziland for a couple of days. That means we get to study another country. I love that my kids are getting to experience what we're reading and see it with their own eyes. It's truly a privilege to lead this life we are living!

reflection

So, tell me what do like about both color and black & white photography?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

heritage day {outside the box}

sushi rollers

Yesterday we "celebrated" Heritage Day. Every S. African I asked didn't really have an answer for what you do or celebrate on Heritage Day. Wikipedia says this, "Heritage Day, 24 September, is a public holiday on which South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people." We encouraged our African friends that next year we must plan some kind of proper celebration.


sushi veggies

adding crab

eg rolling sushi

A holiday is a holiday so we decided to celebrate, even if it might have been a little out of the box. Our newest staff member here just happens to be a sushi chef. Jealous? You should be. Even though there was no raw fish to be found anywhere in our area (they are out until tomorrow), we still made some amazing sushi. I now know the proper way to roll sushi so it doesn't "explode" when you slice it.


sushi on a banana leaf

table of sushi

It was totally amazing. I didn't want to stop eating but my tummy couldn't hold anymore. How was your Monday?



Linking up with Communal Global for Sneak Peeks Around The World.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

english crumpets

Crumpets for tea time. Studying England for our upcoming trip. :)

With our upcoming trip to England, I decided we would study about this country in home school. It's been so fun and the kids have really enjoyed studying about a place they are about to see with their own eyes. This week we made English Crumpets. I didn't actually have crumpet rings, so we had to improvise with a biscuit cutter. They didn't make them look the prettiest, but they sure tasted good!

Friday, September 21, 2012

make your own artwork

Since I'm in the midst of setting up house here in S. Africa, I've been on the Pinterest prowl for some ideas. Check out my inspiration for our TV wall...

tv wall

I already have different sizes and styles of black frames. I started looking at the prints and thought, "Surely I can make my own." So I got started, and I'm so excited with what I have so far. The left is the photo I used and the right is the finished result that I will have printed.

acacia print

flowers

bird

butterfly

In case you're interested in my method, here's how I did it using Photoshop CS5.

1. Pick an image. It doesn't really matter if it's edited or not.

2. After you've opened it in Photoshop, set your foreground color to black and your background color to white.

background/foreground

3. Go to Filter -> Sketch -> Stamp. You can play around with your Light/Dark Balance and Smoothness settings, but 25 for Light/Dark Balance and 5 for Smoothness is pretty good.

4. You might need to "clean up" some areas from stamping. Select the paintbrush and paint the areas you don't want in the print, white. You might need to fine tune some of the black with a small brush.

5. You can crop to get the desired effect and then you're done!

StudioJRU 

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ninth day of school photos

Normally Moms take first day of school photos. Well, apparently this Mom doesn't. On our first day of school, my two little entrepreneurs decided to start a little business. They baked snickerdoodles and shortbread cookies to sell at University Village. In the moment when the light was just right, I couldn't bear to pull them away from their little business.

jman school

his smile

eg school

bored?

Day two was our bi-monthly community braai so it was forgotten. Days three through five, the forecast was rain. And day six? Well, that was our thirteenth anniversary, so Jeremy and I spent the afternoon and evening just the two of us. Then there was more rain. Yada. Yada. Yada. Finally the day came. The sky was beautiful so we got those photos. I knew I had to incorporate the classic Africa tree in my photo. I love those acacia trees!

laughing

at the desk

chilling

miss chatty

Aren't they cute?

And with their teacher. :) The photo of Emma G and I is Joshua's "artistic" shot. Not sure why she looks so bored.

jman & his teacher

eg & her teacher

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

african summer {extended}

You might have noticed, but I decided this week to take some time off of talking about Uganda and talk about life here. In South Africa. And what we've been up to. Honestly I think talking about Uganda has been a nice, what's the word, distraction, maybe?

We've been in S. Africa for 2 1/2 months, and life has felt crazy. I feel like my world has turned upside down. I don't mean that in the negative sense but in the sense that you come here for a purpose and God totally shakes that and flips it. Just two days after I returned from my trip to Uganda, we entered some pretty intense meetings with the leadership team here and some of our leaders and trusted advisors. Looking back, I'm quite amazed at the process and the things God did during that week.

cute dudes

There were a lot of great things that happened, but the one that you all might be interested in is the shaking and flipping part. When our family felt like we needed to come spend an African summer here, we had no intention of taking on the point leadership role again. There's things that God has been speaking to us about expanding the work of Ten Thousand Homes into other locations, and that's where our heart has been the past several months. However, as we engaged the process of who should be point leader here in White River, it was clear that God was asking us if we would be willing to take it.

I wrestled. I cried. God has asked me to dream over the past couple of years and quite honestly, taking on that role was not in my dreaming. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had started to dream bigger than what has been right in front of me. Through that process, opportunities came my way that blew me away. The interesting thing was that they went beyond ministry into blogging opportunities and connecting with people outside of what my "world" has been the last 16 years. As I questioned God on this several months ago, I felt like He said that these connections wouldn't stop but would actually come together and be an important part of Ten Thousand Homes.

he made a friend

Somehow, though, taking on the role of point leader here felt like I had to really weigh these opportunities, because location does change things. It was hard, to be honest, but I was reminded of some key things that God spoke to us during sabbatical. One, that we were to not let this place, here in White River, South Africa die (not that it's necessarily dependent on us to survive), and two, that we weren't totally finished with this place (we had other interpretations of what that meant). So, we said yes.

When God spoke the word risk to me at the beginning of this year, I had no idea just what a step of risk He would ask us, ask me to take. As I've pulled my belongings out of storage and spent the last three weeks setting up house, I've processed all of this. It's hard to see how certain things He has spoken to us will come about with taking on this role, but I know that I see through a glass dimly and that He sees a bigger picture. I say yes and take the step, and I'm trusting that He's going to meet me, meet us, as we step in faith.

all her friends

Before we came here, our desire was that we would travel back and forth more between Africa and USA. Taking on this role doesn't necessarily change that. We will still be traveling quite a bit for fundraising purposes. In fact, next month we will return to the U.S. via Europe (we'll be spending about three weeks fundraising in England and Ireland). Since we weren't planning on this leadership position, we have several things we need to sort out like applying for visas and fundraising to buy a car here. My dream is still to have a home here in Africa AND a home in the U.S. I used to think that was too extravagant, but now I totally believe that it's not and that God wants to fulfill that dream. I now have a home here in S. Africa, so I'm 50% there!

Please continue to pray for us in this transition. The kids are super excited to be living here in Africa again. They've reconnected with old friends and made new ones. They are settling in well and are loving home school. For that, I am extremely thankful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

getting into routine after an epic summer

Sometime the end of July, I was contacted by Tommy Nelson, inviting me to be a part of their Top Tommy Nelson Mommy team. The team consisted of six ladies and they were bringing on six more, totaling twelve. I was honored to even be asked. As I prayed about it, I felt that I should do it! I am honored to be a part of this team and look forward to contributing monthly over there.

sweet?

Today my first post, Getting Into Routine After An Epic Summer, is live! I invite you to go and read it and comments over there are welcome. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

a wet weekend

Summer here in the Lowveld means rainy season. It seems as though the rainy season is striking a bit early this year. It was one wet weekend and not just wet but cold, like chilling to your bones cold. I don't like being reduced to talking about the weather and moaning about too hot, too cold, too wet, but this cold, wet weather has made me quite the recluse, perhaps with an edge of grumpiness. It was so cold and wet yesterday that I stayed in my pj's all.day.long.

Sweet kids

We did have a bright spot in the midst of it all. Emma G and her friend (who happens to be five years older than her but also happens to share her love for baking) concocted a brilliant plan Friday evening. They (along with their siblings) decided to cook dinner for their parents. I helped them as needed with the menu, but they made the shopping list. I took them to the store, but they purchased the groceries with their own money. (I hated them spending their own money, but then I remembered that insisting on paying would rob them from the blessing.) They made salad and homemade pizzas, decorated the table with a tablecloth, candles and flowers, and even washed the dishes. I told you it was a bright spot in the midst of our dreary weekend.

Any bright spots in your weekend? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

james :: a pillar of strength

This week I've been telling stories of some of the amazing people I met in Dino...Tonny, Sharon, Connie's family, and today, James.

JamesOkoyo3

The last afternoon in Dino, I sat down with James, along with a couple of other members on the team. It was fascinating hearing about his life and reflecting on what a pillar of strength he is to his community.

JamesOkoyo1

At sixty four years of age, I'm sure James has seen a lot in Dino. He, along with several other men, built the church in their village. He told me about his bike and how he rides to other villages to tell people about Jesus. I kindly asked him if he would get his bike out for a photo shoot. He kindly obliged.

JamesOkoyo2

I asked James if there was something he would like to tell the people in America. He said this, "We love you. Please pray for peace." There you have it, friends. Let's join together and pray for peace in Uganda, in Dino.

StudioJRU

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

connie :: a second chance

At the very young age of fifteen, Connie fell pregnant. She says it wasn't rape, because he was her boyfriend. In the same breath, she says, "But I didn't want to." The Western world calls that rape, but in Africa, it's as if that word is non-existent.

Tonny&Katie1

Whether it was rape or not, the fact is that Connie fell pregnant and had to drop out of school. Jobs are hard to come by as it is, but add no education to that, and it becomes almost impossible.

Tonny&Katie2 
sweet jonathan ~ wish i had a photo of him with his mama

That's when God used Adonai Partners to bring hope and a second chance for Connie. They are paying her school fees so that she can return to school and get that education. While running medical and dental clinics in Dino, Connie's mom and dad walked ten kilometers with a gift of a rooster to thank Adonai Partners. I hope you can imagine what a big deal that is and how generous a gift of a rooster is.

Tonny&Katie3

Connie now goes to a boarding school about two hours away. This simple act of paying her school fees has changed this girl's life forever and offered a future for her and her three year old son, Jonathan. Even though school fees might only equal about $2 per quarter, it's still too much for many families. A chance to go to school and receive an education is an opportunity not taken for granted. I pray many more girls will receive

I went to Uganda to capture the stories through photography of what God is doing there through Adonai Partners.

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