Monday, December 29, 2014

It's time

So, i was thinking that i should write another blogpost over the holiday weekend....but here it is Monday...and well...i almost made it. LOL!!

So much to catch up on, I'm not sure where to start.  I'll start with my job. Yep. I joined the ranks of those paying taxes from the labor of their hands.  (Which I do need to change my deductions for that because as it is setup now...i have NONE.  I have no desire to give uncle Sam anymore than i have to.)   I started working at Fedex a week and half before Thanksgiving....which also coincided with Fedex's busiest time of the year.  Sore....sore....SORE!!! I was so sore, i have been so sore that i seriously could hardly move! The guy who trained me told me that i was going to be sore for the first week or so....THAT was an understatement!  Let me tell you though...that i really enjoy my job.  i like that it starts way early and that I am done by the time my kids are up, eating breakfast, and starting school.  It means that I can listen to Indie read her Science and Social means that i can help Corban out with his English...Montana with her Math (yep! Math!!!!) and Jachin with his English and math flash cards.  Now, granted we are still in the process of working out a good routine...but I'm thankful, truly thankful that my job at Fedex still allows me that precious time with my kids.

About Stephen....i bet you are all wondering where that is at. I had sincerely hoped that he would be with us by this time.  He's not and won't be for a while longer....we have had to find housing first.  we have been homeless since we left, that does not mean that we haven't had a place to stay. Many loving friends and family in the church have taken us in at various times in the past 3 months for which we are truly grateful.  I'm especially thankful for the Parsleys in Connersville, the Harbours in Wauseon, the Nichols in Oklahoma City, and the Fergusons here in Williston, and for all those that I have missed.  Finding a place of our own is what has caused the delay and we hope to have that rectified within the next month or so.  Moving is just so hard...whether it be picking up and moving across town, the country, or the globe...and trying to manage an adoption in the mix of gets a little hairy. We need an address, and then we can begin all of the paperwork on this side of the ocean. I'm very thankful that he is with a good family in Ghana while he waits for us to get everything together.  Please pray for him and the family he's staying with...the Boatengs.  Stephen turns 13 on January 6!

Time is quickly slipping away again since we started school back up.  The days just seem to run together. I'm glad for it...glad as i hope that it will help the winter to pass all the quicker.  Time just seems to be such a precious commodity....I look at Montana and think i only have a few more years with her....then i look at Indie and am glad i have a bit more time with her yet. My boys talk about what they can do to make money....and i just wish we could slow down a bit.  the days slip easily enough away...and i grow more sensitive about making sure i make the most of my time.  I know i have room for improvement in this...i just pray, Lord, help me to count my days that I may build wisely.  May I be the kind of woman that is faithful with her time.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


When i was a kid, we used to eat at this cafe a lot. It was called Crossroads Cafe. It was at a Flying J truckstop years ago; I don't think it exists any longer. It's that kind of place now that i search out to eat at when we're travelling. It's a cafe :-) you have daily special and all the watiresses know your name, and even likely what you'll order. I always liked when we ended up meant a grilled cheese or cheese burger with french fries and ranch dressing.  I enjoyed it. I enjoyed Crossroads.

Here we are at life at another kind of crossroads. It seems I've had a few of those in my life.  Haven't we all?!  While I don't know if i enjoy them as much as the cafe by the same name...I think I should.  At a crossroads, you get to reflect on your journey so far, assess where things are currently at, and then move on in one of many directions.  We are moving on...literally.  Hopefully, Lord-willing, we will all be back in the States.   

A few of you may have known that I was planning on coming back to the U.S. for my brother's wedding in September.  I was then going to work for two months to save up some money to help Steve get going with a business.  You can read about that in my previous post (no, I didn't post that one on Facebook as it was written more for the ones who knew and wanted to know why). You see, when we came back to Ghana almost 2 years ago...we had a plan. Steve would find work here to be  able to support our family. We would work with the church and school.  His work would provide the way for us to stay here (residence permits). It was going to be great! But then we found out that the existing government really discourages foreign workers (some for good reasons, and some for not so good reasons).  Steve explored the mining field, the development sector, and the non-profit sector. All of which came to nothing.  It was discouraging. His fluent Twi abilities really meant nothing without a Master's degree or a Ghanaian wife (i offered to become one).  Enter the first crossroads.  Steve really had to sit down and think what could he do? What would he like/enjoy doing?  The crazy man likes math. So he considered what he could do in that field.  It came down to trading.  He's checked it out. He's done his homework, he's been researching and paper trading, some, since last November.  This is what he'd like to do, and why I was going to work and save for a couple of months so that he would have a small lump sum to begin.  That was the plan.  Up until a week and half ago.  

Steve went to the immigration office to find out what we needed to do to renew our residence permits prior to my departure since they expire the end of August.  We wanted to have that taken care of before I travelled.  What he found is that the costs had increased and that we would also have to get alien registration cards (something that we haven't had before).  The total cost was going to be very close to $1500.  We did not have this kind of money.  In fact, we have been juggling our budget every month to try and make ends meet, only to keep cutting back on our food budget more and more.  Steve looked at what we had (nothing) and what it would take over the course of the next three months to cover the expenses (a year's worth of rent coming due in October) and we "could" do it if we cut our food back to $100/month.  $100 is not reasonable or doable.  What we saw is just that we couldn't continue on the path we were on.  

Enter crossroads number two.  So simply...we are moving back to the States.  We are going to find jobs, and we are going to work.  Work to be free from debt. Work to be free to do what we love, travel and encourage the saints.  We are going to go where the job market is good and kind find work that will suit our skill sets.  We have decided to join the Nichols family in Oklahoma City.  Now, I will be the first to tell that never, EVER, in my life have I EVER wanted to live in "tornado alley".  This is going to take a lot of prayer and trust, at least on my part, and it's going to be an adjustment for all of us.  We are going to live and work close to the Nichols to find those who are looking for the hope and salvation that can only be found in the Gospel of Christ. Our focus will not merely to build up our financial house...but it will, even more importantly, be to build up the spiritual house of The Lord.   

Of course there are other reasons and things that had to be considered as well.  If you would like to know more, Steve or I would be happy to discuss them with you, once we get back to the U.S....or before if you live in Ghana.  The next 30 days look to be filled with a lot of craziness.  We have to sell most all of our possessions, and trim things down into suitcases to move across the Atlantic, yet again.  We have the concern of housing when we get to OKC, and needing a vehicle to get to and from the job site(s).  Trying to figure out how to get our dog to come with us...and seeing if we can adopt Stephen Karikari who has become as much a member of our family as any other.  The latter is one that needs serious prayer.  Stephen's mother is willing to give him up so that we can adopt him, but there is extended family and his biological father (that has had so very little to do with him), and those things carry more weight here than they would in the U.S. 

So please, pray for us.  Pray for wisdom for us as we move forward.  Pray that we will have clarity of mind and thought to make the many, many decisions that need to be made in the next month before we leave.  

You know...looking back on the last almost two years here.  We have no regrets.  We are SO VERY GLAD that we got to be reunited with those whom our souls love.  So glad that we've had the opportunity to get closer as a remember what the really important things in life remember that the fast pace lifestyle isn't all what it's cracked up to enjoy family nights again (we won't be giving that one up again!) grow up and learn and get a fresh perspective.  Very thankful we are.  

Just like I enjoyed eating at Crossroads as kid...I'm enjoying the crossroads in life, too.  Something new, something challenging, something altogether different.  With Christ in me, a spiritually minded man to lead me, super kids to love on and train, and amazing friends to work with...everything is AWESOME!!   

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why work?

Ok, so...this post is to help others who wonder why I'm going to work while back in the U.S.

First, we would have loved to come back as a family.  We all really enjoy traveling together.  It is always such an adventure for us!  However, we couldn't.  My brother got engaged last year and we knew the wedding was going to happen this year, and we just couldn't make a trip happen.  In stepped my brother's fiancee. She offered, as a surprise gift to my brother for the wedding(which by the way, is no longer a surprise, it was a bit TOO BIG of surprise to keep secret), to pay for me to fly back for the wedding!!! I was beyond excited!!  And how more perfect could it get that their wedding was going to be in Montana (they both live in Illinois) and just one week after MT family camp!! The timing is perfect!

Initially, i was just going to go back for three weeks.  Just enough time to get adjusted to the time difference, enjoy family camp, and be able to be a help with all the preparations that needed to happen for the wedding. Then head back to Ghana.

But then...Steve and I got to talking.  It has been rather difficult for Steve to find a job here. The current government does not look favorably on foreign workers and there are a lot of hoops one would have to jump through to get work here, and the companies hiring are not all that willing to go through the red tape in order to hire a foreign employee. He's looked into the mining field, the non-profit field, the development field...and nothing. He would have to do one of a couple of things. Go back to school and get a masters for the particular field he'd like to enter, or be willing to do volunteer work for a couple of years and then gradually move his way up the development ladder.  Either of these would take a lot of money and relocating.  Yet, his desire is to provide for us.  So he started looking into stock market trading.  He loves numbers. He gets all excited at these charts that he shows me. Trading like this does not take into consideration his age or past schooling, and he could get started in it right away.  He's been looking into things since last November.  Studying, researching, listening to podcasts and online videos have filled his free time. But now...he is looking at doing some actual trading, and well, honestly, that means some up front money that we don't have.  This is where my working comes into play.

Would Steve prefer to go back to the U.S. and work an extra job to get the money? Yes.  Is he at all delighted with the prospect of his wife working so that he can have the upfront lump sum that he'll need?  No, he isn't.  Let's look at things though.  We won't have to come up with the funds for a ticket. That's been very generously being taken care of by my soon-to-be sister-in-law.  I'm already going to be back there, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity.  Here is how I look at it.  I have an opportunity to show honor and respect to my husband by willingly working and making it possible for him to do the work that he desires to do so that he can provide for us, his family.  He can't just go pick up a side job here. We don't have the funds to send him back and honestly if we all go back to the U.S. the living expenses would eat into the money we'd like to save and it would take longer.

In a nutshell, my working while being back this time is what needs to happen to move our family forward.  This is about teamwork, and what each individual part can do for the advancement of the team.  My individual part will, Lord-willing, be working this fall. So that Steve's individual part can be trading with it this winter.  Both parts working for the team for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health till death do us part.  I love and respect my husband for who he is and for what he desires to do.  I'm willing to help him in whatever way I can.  To God be all the glory!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The robbery

Ok, so i want to write this and have it be the first blog post since all our stuff was stolen.  i want to write about it and move on.  Which we have already, but this will make it final and complete.

On April 9, Steve, Indie and I came home together. We walked home from school. We came and unlocked our gate, made our way up to the house.  We unlocked the gate to our porch, and then unlocked our front door.  I was the first in the house and noticed immediately that light was pouring in from our hallway.  I thought that was ood. I thought that maybe the door to Nancy's room had swung open (which it never does).  As i got closer, i realized that the light was coming from a side door in the hallway that we never use...and at this instant, i knew.  I knew that we had been robbed.  I turned and in one motion saw that our device area in our livingroom had been wiped clean. I moved toward our bedroom fearing that our documents and bank cards had been stolen.  As i entered the room, I saw that it had been ransacked.  Everything taken out and gone through.  Immediately, i fell to the business of looking for passports and vital documents, bank cards etc.  Quickly, and VERY thankfully, i found all of our passports, cards, anything tied to our identity.  Whew! Praise God!  Then  began the task of finding out what was taken.  I was in a state of shock, I'm sure.  I remember not knowing what to feel.  People had gone through our things, our personal belongings, had handled them. It was strange.  and went one.  When we were on our way back to the was lunch time, and we were hungry.   Steve left to go to the police station and file a report.  i stayed home with Indie and fried up some yam.  We had the rest of our kids stay at the Boatengs until the police could come, but nothing comes quickly here.

We had all of our devices for communicating with loved ones, family, friends, Christian brothers and sisters, stolen.  All we had left was Steve's blackberry.  One phone. And we were thankful.  Thankful, that of everything most important to us none of that was taken.  Our kids were safe.  Our eternities unchanged.  What did the robbers get?  A macbook, a samsung tablet, a camera, 4 phones, all chargers an accessories, 2 modems (one fixed, one wireless), power bars, all the money we had in the house. This is what i can remember.  You know what else they took?  All my pictures from the last 8 years.  All my files and documents.  I suppose i am partly to blame for that....should've had them backed up somewhere.  I will from now on.

So what have we done since the robbery?  We have made our house more secure.  We've added 8 more locks on 3 doors.  We replaced the door that had been destroyed and broken into with a pick axe. We were thankful that we could still communicate through Steve's phone. And we rested in the fact that the things that were/are truly important to us were unharmed.  We had no plan to replace things.  We simply couldn't.

What happened next was God's doing.  There were really only a few people who offered to help us, but help us they did!!  Within a day we had the money that was stolen replaced. Within a week, we had enough money to replace almost all of the above items. Within a month, we had enough money to completely replace all items and make the trip to Accra to pick them up at the airport.  God is good! He totally replaced and provided for us through His people. We are so thankful!! So thankful!!

Our hope is not in this life.  It could all be taken again.  I pray not.  Ultimately, though, our hope is for heaven where neither moth, nor rust destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  Our hope is one that is both sure and stedfast and which goes beyond the grave.  What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who is against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of  God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

An attempt at pictures

Jachin and Corban next to a fishing boat. Corban is holding a coconut.
Jachin, Indie, Steve, and Corban on the boat
So....I have been wanting to do a blog post with pictures for a while, but i'll be honest, i haven't been brave and pictures on or from the computer have not been friends for about 2.5 that 's a long story, but it left me an emotional wreck and i haven't yet quite gotten over it...if only i could figure out how to combine pictures from my camera, and on my tablet...and have it all work there...but for some reason it isn't happening....which then forces me to use the computer...ugh...if only i could get the picture to do little thumbnails so that i could see the pictures before choosing them...and if i didn't have to download all the pictures on my sd card every if someone out there could lend me a helping hand i would greatly appreciate it!  So, i am hoping with this post i'll be on the road to recovery and bring some life to my blogposts with some more pictures...
 Steve and the kids building a sand castle at Axim beach

These pictures are from a year ago....they're the only ones i have the computer right now...when i figure out how to get the ones off the tablet i can do more...or i will just take more pictures with my camera...but maybe i won't until it can get really should be easier...shouldn't it?!  So, please enjoy the pics i've chosen. :-)
Corban, Nancy, Montana on the boat headed out to the lighthouse island last year on Montana's birthday.

All the kids on some really cool rocks 

We were able to spend about 5 days at the beach last year. it was so relaxing and lovely.  Really hoping to be able to take my mom to the beach when she comes at the end of May.  And hoping that i get this picture thing figured out...i need help....anyone? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This time of year

It seems that I find myself saying this a lot...this time of year.  I thought I'd share this with you.

This time of year the water doesn't come on as long or as often.  I'm not sure I'll ever be "caught up" on laundry until May/June when the rainy season is in full swing again.  When the water is one for only 12 hours at a time every other day, you can only get so much laundry done.  Especially when my little front loader takes two hours a load and most of the time that the water is on is in the middle of the night.      This time of year, i must remember doesn't last forever and there will come a day when i won't have to think about losing sleep for the sake of clean clothes.  

This time of year is when a "cold" bucket bath isn't really that cold and you actually look forward to it. Most of the time I heat water to take my bucket bath.  Hmmmm....wondering what a bucket bath is?  A bucket bath is, yep, you guessed it, filling a bucket to take a bath...I'm sitting here trying to think how many gallons is in our bucket.  3? 4?  This time of year...if i do want a warm (never hot, no, never hot) bucket bath i heat my trusty electric kettle that will hold 2 quarts of water to boiling. I dump that in a bucket and then fill the bucket to almost full, this time of year. :-)  Now if it is during the rainy season, i only fill the bucket half full as the water coming out of the pipe is much cooler than it this time of year.  

This time of year is when the kitchen is an easily 15-20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house.  You  know that feeling you get in the summer when you walk into a greenhouse...yeah, like that!  This is the time of year when you get sweat mustaches. Ever had one of those?  :-)  This is the time of year when I go change my clothes between making supper and eating supper because I simply cannot sit at the table  that way.  It would be akin, I imagine, to trying to sit down at the table immediately after working out or going for a simply want to take a shower and then enjoy your meal.  

This is the time of year when the heat literally zaps you of most of your energy stores...and you're left wondering am I really that tired? To get anything done, you really have to set your mind to do it otherwise, it isn't getting done.

This is the time of year when the coconuts will crack of their own accord because the weather is so dry. 

This is the time of year when after it rains (which it rarely does) that the termites come out (I'd say out of the woodwork, but it really is just out of the ground) and you know what that means?  Hundreds of tiny (for right now, the bigger ones will come as we get closer to the rainy season) termite wings all around our outside lights and sometimes our inside lights for the termites that have found their way into my house.  

This is the time of year when i can get the really nice roma-like tomatoes in the market and food prices will gradually increase until the new harvests of food come into the market another 5 months away.  

This is the time of year when walking anywhere will get you super dusty, orange feet.  I have my walking Birks and my school Birks.  When I needed to walk to school instead of ride my bike, i had my Birks that I walked to school in and then changed in to my school Birks upon arrival.  So they were kinda like my snow boots.  :-)  Except maybe I should call them dusty sandals. hahaha!

This is the time of year when power rationing begins.  It's the time of year when the lights go off right on the hour  you know that it's going to be off most of the day/night.  So far, for us here in Sunyani, that means that if the power goes off at 8am it will likely not come on again until 5pm.  Of course, that's not entirely consistent...but that is the general rule.  I prefer it that way.  Power off during the day on and on at night  at least this time of year.  

This time of year is tough on so many different levels...and not just limited to the ones I listed here.  But you know what?  My God knows this.  My God knows all about this time of year and I'm thankful.  I'm thankful that He cares and He knows.  I'm thankful that He has given me His Spirit to help me overwhelming conquer through this time of year.