Saturday, June 27, 2009

Headed to Uganda!

Ok, well, tomorrow is the big day! I'm headed off to Africa to hug and kiss some amazing kids!

~I'll keep y'all posted when I return. You'll see lots of pics of my 2 and a half week journey!

I'll miss the blogging world. (sorta)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lately, I have felt so overwhelmed. Not necessarily, physically or emotionally, but mentally. Mentally I am overwhelmed. I feel like I have a 100-thing to-do list in my head at all times... and the list keeps growing. I have notepads, receipts, pieces of paper, things everywhere, with little reminders and notes of things to do. There are times in my life when I’ve felt, “Man, I just have so much to do,” but, this seems different. It’s like there’s so many little things and big things to do, that I just want to run away and not do any of them. On my drive to work each day, I’m constantly thinking, “OH, and I have to do that, and that, and that, and that.” I feel like it will never stop. My brain is on overload... with things to do, and deep thoughts.

I don’t even think that it has anything to do with my up-coming Africa trip (I feel like that to-do list is pretty short in comparison!). And, it’s not even like my life is SO extremely busy either. It’s just that my mind won’t quit working, and I’m exhausted. My drive to work in the morning is about 50 minutes in stop-and-go traffic. And I almost fall asleep in the car, every day! Is it because I’m tired? Sometimes. Is it because I’m not looking forward to the work-day ahead? Probably. But, I really just feel like it’s because I’m mentally exhausted! My brain is always asking me to quit thinking!!!!

This is very frustrating for me, because there are so many things that I want to do with my life, and I want to do each of them well. I don’t want to be mediocre at my job. I don’t want to be a half-a** wife (pardon my French – but that’s exactly how I feel.) I want to be an amazing mother some day. Next week – I want to be an encouragement and blessing to hundreds of children in Africa who need my love and attention!!!!!! But, I suddenly feel inadequate in this area. These days, when I arrive home at night, I crash. I mean, of course, on my way home, my mind is racing with alllll the things I need to do once I get home, but then once I get there – it’s a different story. It’s like I’ve talked myself out of doing everything I know I need to do, and I just crash. I might pick one project (dinner) to do that night so that I don’t feel like a total waste. It’s so frustrating. I definitely don’t think of myself as a lazy person. I’ve always had a good work ethic. But things have changed it seems. I suddenly seem lazier than I used to be. I feel like a bad worker. I worry about how I am as a wife to my husband. And I worry about what kind of mother I will be one day! My husband seems to get my mental-leftovers. I’m not usually in the best mood when I get home. My husband is the hardest worker I know. Not only does he work his butt of for me and our future family, but he works hard for other people too. Last night he was at work until 1am helping one of the other guys finish a project. He doesn’t always work that late (most of the time he brings his work home and stays on his laptop until late), but he always does what’s necessary to get the job done. I wish I had this work ethic like I used to. I’m not the kind of gal that thinks women should do all the house-work and chores, but I know that my husband pulls his weight around the house and works his butt off at the office too. So, yes! I think that I should be able to come home at 6pm and put away clothes, unload and load the dishwasher, vacuum, or whatever else needs to be done. But, I don’t. I want to be a blessing to my husband, and instead, I feel like he gets the grumpy-pants version of what’s left of me mentally. Gr.

Anyway, I don’t know why I’m blogging about this. Maybe it’s because I have an old friend that I’ve been back in touch with, who is so good at sharing her thoughts and feelings, and it has spurred me to do the same? Although, those of you who read my blog, know that I have no problem saying what I feel, I just usually try to look at the bright side and be encouraging. I’m not sure if this is one of those blogs. I’m just sharing my true feelings for today. Like I told Trish, the “everything is fine and I’m happy”-mask is a little tiring sometimes.

So – there you have it, blogger world. Please pray that this trip to Africa will (please forgive me if this sounds selfish), also be a time of mental refreshing and relaxation. My Blackberry will stay in Texas - and halfway across the world from me for 14 days and 18 hours (yes, I am excited about this!) No emails from work. No phone calls from – well – work people. Just me, my 2 amazing girlfriends, the beautiful, African children, and most importantly, God!!!! Ah.Yes.God.

“Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us
in the race when all seems lost.” ~ Roger Dawson true for me! No matter what, I will not give up or give in!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009


I know I already posted one blog today, but wanted to post another quick one.

Happy 56th Birthday, Toni Lee Davis, as you celebrate with Jesus, your Creator!

Your children LOVE you and MISS you, but God is good, He is faithful, He is loving... Just as you always said.

June 18, 1953 - June 16, 1995

Love, your daughter...

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Village of Hope

As I previously mentioned, I am going to Africa in less than 2 weeks!!!! [internal squeal!] Two girlfriends and I are going with an organization called Village of Hope. We will be doing many things; helping build houses, teaching and playing with the kids, feeding at the refugee camps, loving on people... wherever they need us!

So, I wanted to share with you the website for the Village of Hope (many of you have received information about VOH already, so this is for you followers who haven't!). I hope that if you are not aware of the attack that parts of Uganda have been under (for many many years), that you would read here to learn more.

The stories of these children are so amazing, and I KNOW that when I get back, their stories will be even more real to me. For now, I'll let you read up on it, and once I return, I'll be full of words to share!

I also wanted to share Cindy Cunningham's blog with you. Cindy is the director of Village of Hope, but she's so much more than that. Her heart and her passion for the children are truly amazing. You can read the story here of how she came up with the vision of VOH. I love to hear her talk about the kids, because it's as if they are her own children. She's a protective mother bear for sure. Please read her blog and pray blessings and protection over this amazing woman as she is truly in tune with the heart of God.

Here is her first blog post after coming back from her trip to Africa. This gives you a taste of what she first experienced:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Invisible Children of War in Uganda
Arriving in the town of Gulu (5 hour drive North of Kampala, the capital) we drove to a city of huts. They refer to them as "camps". Displaced families from north Uganda fled here. WHY?The rebels, who live in the bush, go from village to village, burning down huts, killing adults and abducting children. They take young girls and use them as prostitutes in the rebel camps. The boys are taken to be work slaves and taught to be rebels.So families run to Gulu for "safety". But there is no safety. The rebels still come to Gulu. In the night the raid the "camps" killing, stealing, burning, raping. So each night the moms say goodbye to their children and send them off to shelters (large one room tents) where the children spend the they can be safe from the rebels.We walked the dark streets of Gulu to a shelter where we interviewed children who had been abducted by the rebels, but managed to escape. One 11 year old girl explained how the rebels came and killed her parents in front of her, and then abducted her...raped her... and then after 1 month let her go with these instructions: "Go back and tell everyone what we did to you and tell them, we will do the same to them."A 15 year old boy told about his 4 years of living in a rebel camp. He was abducted when he was 11. They kill you if you can't work or get sick. They put a machete in your hand and tell you to kill the weak child, and if you don't they have another child holding a machete, who will kill you. You don't have a choice. The rebels do this to desensitize the children.As we walked back to our lodging, the streets were dark, just 2 days before the rebels had come to this very place and abducted 48 children. It was hard not to look over my shoulder, fear was thick, my heart raced. How can people live in this type of fear day in and day out?A young boy came up to us as we ate breakfast and said, "I just escaped from a rebel camp, can I eat your leftovers?" We bought him breakfast. I took my bread from breakfast with me, wrapped in a napkin. As we drove to the next camp, I saw a boy along the road and handed him the bread. He wouldn't take it. So I asked them why? I was told that he can't take the bread because UN gives them food once a week (which will feed their family for 1 week) and they are not allowed to take food from anyone else.We walked through a maze of huts, hundreds and hundreds of them. This was one of the 18 camps in this city alone. Children sat on the ground, with flies all over them. They didn't swat them away; I guess they are used to them. A 12 year old boy came up to us crying. He stood in line to get water all morning. Once he did get his water, someone accidentally knocked it over and now he had no water to give his 3 orphan siblings. He is 12 years old, for goodness sake. He should be playing soccer, or watching TV, not looking for food for his family, not being the head of his household.UN doesn't give families run by orphans ANY FOOD. You have to be an adult to get a card which allows you to get food once a month. So the orphan run families have NOTHING!!!!!!!! The girls don't go to school, because they have to find food, and if they can't they will sell themselves into prostitution.The situation in Gulu is not getting better. This has been going on for 23 years. They are born in war and live each day of their lives in war.So who funds the rebels? It may not be P.C. to say, but it is the Arabs, the Muslims. They want to take over Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. So they send in the L.R.A. (Lord's Resistant Army) or the rebels (same thing just different names) to destroy a people, to bring despair, destruction, to kill, rape and steal what little the people have. Who suffers? The innocent! The young! The helpless!I wish I were making all of this up, but I am not! I wish this was just a nightmare that I had and I could just wake up, but this is as real as it gets. Not a reality that most of us in America will EVER see, not a reality that makes us feel comfortable or good. But it is reality!Since I left Uganda, I have had nightmares each night. But thankfully I can wake up from my nightmares...these children will never wake up from their living nightmare."

I know there's alot of links on this page, but please take the time to read them so that you will understand more. I appreciate it so much!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What are we in it for?

Ok, so it's been awhile. Sorry.

But, this is what's been on my mind lately, and after talking to another friend who is feeling the same, I decided I should blog about it.

Many of you know, I am going to Africa soon. In 11 day to be exact!!!!!!!!! Everyone keeps saying it will be life-changing, and that it will really put life in perspective, and that it will change the way I view the world, etc. etc. Well, I totally agree. But the thing is, God is already working on me in that area of my life. (Maybe it has to do with the upcoming trip, maybe it doesn't.)

But, I guess I look at my life and realize I am so Shanen-focused. My prayers sound like this:

"God, thank you I have life today." "Thank you that I have a wonderful husband and family." "Give me peace and mercy and joy today." While these aren't necessarily bad things to be thankful for and pray for, the consistent theme here is "I" and "me."

How often do I pray for those who are losing their lives? Do I passionately pray for the lost? Do I pray for widows and orphans and those who don't have wonderful husbands or any family? And what about that peace, mercy and joy? Am I using that to glorify God and bring others to Him? Or do I simply ask for those because they sure would make my day and life easier!?

Yes, my life is way too much about me, and not enough about my God. I long to be more kingdom-focused. I know this is only the beginning of God working in this area.

I know Africa will be a big part of the mind-change too. I can't wait!!! It's way overdue!

Matthew 21:43 (Amplified Bible)
"I tell you, for this reason the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the fruits of it."

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Monday, June 8, 2009


Nothing life-changing to share today. But, I did find a fun widget I wanted to share.

I saw this on my friend Trischa's Blog and thought it looked fun. You can see where your Blog visitors are coming from (state, and what website.) Pretty cool!

FEEDJIT. There are a few free options you can enjoy, or you can pay $5.95 for advanced options... not quite sure what you get with that though. If you want to know what it looks like in action, check out the right hand side of my Blog to see the Live Feed!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prove 'em Wrong

"A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." ~ Walter Bagehot

I like this quote (surprise, surprise). I like it mostly because I don’t understand why it is that people try to deflate our dreams? Is it because they think we're crazy for attempting them? Maybe it's because they want to protect us from getting hurt if our dreams don't come true? Maybe it's jealousy because they really don’t want us to achieve that really great thing... good or bad intentions, who really knows.

I heard someone on the radio the other day say that someone told this guy to “not get his hopes up.” He made a good point afterwards – what good is hope if you aren’t hoping for something good? Better to not hope at all, then to not get your hopes up.

So, this post is two part;

1. Don’t let others determine your destiny. Whether or not their intentions are good, they are not your Master. There is only One. One who desires that you live your best life, blessing others, and being all you were created to be. There will always be naysayers, or what I like to call “Sparkle Snuffers”, but I know that at the end of my life, I want to look back and know that I lived my life to its fullest and that I changed the world! (even if it’s a small portion of the world, my world!)

2. DREAM BIG!! (I feel like a broken record on this.) Life is too short and God is too good for us to not be doing something we are passionate about. Live in your Sweet Spot, Peeps. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my Blog header.) God has created and designed us with special gifts, and He desires us to live our life to the fullest – in complete passion. Don’t lose hope!!! Dream big and expect!

Much love today to the blogger world today.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ah, the life...

I’m not sure that this is how I would describe success, but I do like the idea!!

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” (Bob Dylan)

How many of you are living your dream – and doing what you want to do with your life, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed?!


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