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Thursday, March 31, 2011



As I write this, my heart aches. Stopping to remember my sister-in-law is such a bittersweet thing. Many of you have asked how my brother is doing since my sister-in-law passed away. He and his children are doing well. They have many changes coming around the bend....one leaving for college, one headed to Washington to work for the summer, and the two youngest still at home with Dad. Through Lane Anne's suffering, my brother blogged about living life...through the hard times and the sweet moments that our sweet Savior gave each of them to remember. Tim and Lane Ann were the most significant model of walking by faith that I have ever had in my life. I have to say that if they had not gone before me, and I had not watched FIRST hand how Christ provided for them OVER and OVER and OVER again...I might not have EVER stepped out into the adoption world. Their love and faith is a PURE example of faith.

As Tim blogged, a love story unfolded before our very eyes. Every time I would sit down to read, I would pull out the tissues......it was BEAUTIFUL. SO, after many people telling him that they would LOVE to have it in print....your wish has come true!!

Tethered

The Essence of Grace

This is a love story that chronicles the love between a man and woman until "death do them part." It started as a simple blog aimed at correspondence between family and friends. Whether the spiritual transparency depicted in these journals, spiritual truths contained herein, or unguarded honesty attracted others is hard to ascertain. One thing is certain. As this story was shared from one person to the next, those reading this courageous display of love amidst human suffering spread into the thousands. If you or someone you love is suffering from disease, death, marital problems or stuck in the throes of grief, this book is sure to challenge, inspire, and strengthen all those who read it.




You can purchase a copy on his ministry's website...disciplethenations.com. We all have suffered loss at some time in our lives. This book will give you HOPE.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Calling all prayer warriors!

My friends, Tesney and Greg Davis are trying to adopt a little boy from Russia who has Downs Syndrome. His name is Kirill. The judge said no, that he would be better off in an institution for the rest of his life b/c of his "medical condition". She called him socially unadaptable. Is satan at work or what?!?!

As we all know, special needs children are typically not cared for in orphanages. The caretakers do well to take care of the "normal" children. You throw an extra "need" to be cared for at them and they feel overwhelmed. These children ARE the FORGOTTEN ones. IF they can get the chance to receive love and the medical care that is needed, they will flourish...satan knows this.

Here is the link to her blog which tells their story. They are appealing the decision, but things do not look good. They are asking for everyone to spread the word (especially to politicians, celebrities, news media, etc... anyone that can help get the word out so that the judge will be pressured to reverse this decision.)

Most of all PLEASE PRAY for this PRECIOUS little boy and the children like him who await their court dates, facing the same judge.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12


Thursday, March 24, 2011

NEW SPRING GEAR!!!!


147 MILLION ORPHANS

JUST IN TIME for EASTER!!! Gwen and I are so excited about our new Spring line!! We have some of the most fabulous colored baseball tees to give you the little "pick me up" from the doom and gloom of winter! We have two new bags, hats, Nike athletic gear, golf shirts, and much more coming over the next few weeks!! Here are just a few to get you excited!! purchase a shirt, feed a child, and give it as a gift for EASTER!!

Also, look how fun these red beads are that katie is rockin'...the Karomojong women have stepped out of their comfort zones and trying something different! Look how cute they are!

Also, visit 147millionorphans.org and se our new foundation that we have set up!!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

more pics from our trip

Sarah, Jane and I...If my little sister MillerAnne could have a twin in Uganda..it would be Jane! They are JUST alike! We laughed all week at the similarities of the two of them....
Yall have probably heard my mom talk about Kristene...she is beautiful on the inside AND out and is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet...Not to mention she cared for Josie (along side Katie) when we had to leave her in Uganda, because of her tuberculosis...she is an angel on earth!
Dad's rockin' the Mocha Club shirt...I LOVE their motto/trademark ("I need Africa more than Africa needs me")...
Annabelle and Jane....precious! Annabelle didnt want to leave when it was time to come home...


Since bringing Josie Love home, our family has broken hearts for the children in Africa with HIV. These pics are from a childrens home called "Our Own Home" that cares for HIV children. This little one (Moses) is one of our "all time favorites", he's so precious.


One of my favorite things that we do while we're these is help feed the Amazima kids... for most, it is their only meal of the day and the delight in their eyes and the smiles on their faces just warm my heart. Each child wears their "Sunday's best" to worship day and most of the clothes are torn, dirty, and worn out...it really is an eye opening moment. These children have NOTHING...barely even clothes on their bodies, and yet they laugh, smile, and have more joy than most everyone I see each and every day. I know that these children bring Christ so much joy as their voices echo through the fields of Jinja singing and praising HIM.

more to come later....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

pics from our trip





Our boat ride on Lake Victoria was a lot of fun...the breeze felt AMAZING, and it was a relaxing time that was much needed.



Sarah Crane (in the red-sleeved 147 million orphans shirt) helped my mom and Gwen with 147. She has such a servant's heart and love for orphans that she has committed the next year of her life to serving in Uganda. It was so neat to see her at Amani the day that we visited....LOVE her.


On the day that we went into the Massese village to purchase beads for 147 Million Orphans, there were several people who needed medical attention, so Katie put on her gloves and went to work. This little angel had pneumonia and was having trouble breathing. There were several children that had such bad ear infections when Katie would swab their ears, big clumps of grey/green mucus stuff would come out on the q-tip she was using.




Some company/factory dumps their ashes all around this village, and this man happened to step in them while they were still hot...it hurt me just looking at the poor guy...




For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Hebrews 3:4






Here are a few pictures of us building Agnes's brothers home. I was bound and determined to carry those big jugs of water down the hill to mix the cement....to think that 3 and 4 year olds carry them for miles is unimaginable to me (by the time that I reached the top of the hill I was gasping for air and woke up sore the next day!)



Much more to come the next few days.... :-)


Friday, March 18, 2011

The past few days...

Sorry for not keeping y’all updated the past few days, we moved to a hotel that doesn’t have Internet unless you are in the shop, which closes at 10…

Today is our last day…in the past few days, we’ve definitely stayed busy. We’ve been to the shops in Jinja several times, helped rebuild Agnes’s brothers house, visited the Karamajongs and bought more beads for 147, had Bible study with people from the community, visited Amani Baby Cottage and Our Own Home, gone on a boat ride (all 20-something of us), and spend A LOT of time at Katie’s with her girls.

Building Agnes’s brother’s house was hard, but rewarding. We separated and stacked bricks, made cement, fetched water from the well (I’m still sore from carrying those jerry cans…I can’t imagine having to carry them for miles…), and Mallory Prossy and I made PB sandwhiches for all 30ish of us. It was a good day, and I think we all felt pretty accomplished by the end of it.

Spending time with the Karamajong women in Masesse was awesome as well. We met the women who make the beads, held their kids, talked to children from the village, and had a prayer request/praise time with the women where they were able to share and have Katie and our crew pray for them.

What was really weird was going back to Amani. There are 8 kids (soon to be 9!) that live in Nashville that have been adopted from Amani, and I hadn’t been there in 2 years. The last time I was there was when I met Josie…it was so strange to think that if we hadn’t adopted her, she would still be sitting there in that yard, probably much sicker than she was when we first saw her. I can’t imagine not having her at our house, running/waddling around screaming and singing and laughing.

Last night we went on a boat ride on Lake Victoria. We split into 2 boats: Dad, Katie, Patricia, Mallory, William, Prossy, Agnes, Margaret, Lochoro, and I on one, and Michael, Annabelle, Joyce, Sarah, Sumini, Zuula, Helen, Scovia, Grace, Jane, Tibita, and Mary in the other…it was so fun. We were able to relax and fellowship with each other, and just enjoy the beauty of the lake. We saw monkeys and a (huge) lizard, and lots of other interesting animals, as well as the “source of the nile”. I think it’s safe to say that we all had a ton of fun.

Today is our last day here, and I don’t think any of us are looking forward to saying goodbye. We had to say goodbye to Katie, Grace, and Tibita last night because they had to go to Kampala early this morning so we won’t be seeing them, and it was HARD. Tibita cried, which caused us to cry…and that was only saying bye to 2 of 14. Today will be rough, but I’m lucky enough that I get to come back in June with my mom and Gwen, so I can say that I will see them soon.

Michael is going to post his thoughts on the trip when we get home, so that should be up in a couple of days...our flight flies out of Entebbe at 8 tonight (about noon Nashville time), so we should be home tomorrow night. I’ve had an amazing time and can honestly say I feel at home here. I can’t wait to be back again (hopefully for longer next time J).

Grace

PS-I tried to upload pictures, but (like I said), the Internet is not cooperative. So I'll upload when we get home!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A different perspective...


*This is Grace, really quick. Annabelle is going to blog about what she's thought of the trip so far because 1-I'm sure it will be awesome for yall to hear things from a 3rd grader's perspective, and 2-I'm too tired. Hahaha, I will update tomorrow and try to sum up today/whatever happens tomorrow, and post pics.....enjoy!*


THIS IS AN AWESOME TRIP!!!!!! But I also miss my family and friends, especially my best friend Emma. I love playing with all those children. Today we went to visit 2 orphanages: Amani and Our Own Home. My favorite part of the da
y was visiting all those children!!!
We'll keep yall posted. Same thing that Grace said....
.enjoy!
Love,
Annabelle

Monday, March 14, 2011

We had a FABULOUS day today!
We started off with going to Jinja to do a little shopping and had birthday lunch at the Source Cafe (if you're ever in Uganda, their banana bread is the BEST...can't beat it). Going shopping (if you can call it that) in Jinja is always fun...you get to bargain with the people and experience alot of the culture here. My favorite part is picking out things for my friends and family..its always comforting to bring a little bit of Africa back to Brentwood. :)

Anyways, after we left the market we headed back to Katie's and hung out. AND we had 2 guests join us...JANE and her mommy! (Some of you may not know her story, but it was awesome to see her precious face again!)
Alot of times while we're with all of those kids though, it's easy to get caught up in playing with/occupying the little ones and forget that the older ones need some quality time too...so this morning, Mallory, Prossy (15), Margaret (12), Agnes (12), and I all got to hang out and talk...we had so much fun! The girls locked their door and we sat in their room, laughed, ate dum dums, and talked for a good while.
I've specifically loved talking to Prossy though. She is SO sweet and full of joy, you can't help but to love her...she and her sisters have been making magazine necklaces (like the ones 147 sells) and selling them to people locally.
Yesterday, Prossy walked up and gave me one that was all purple (and beautiful). Sweet girl had made it for me before we came, and coordinated it so that it would match our uniforms and school colors...she's so thoughtful and is the kind of girl that I could easily be best friends with.
After we spent some time at Katie's, we all piled in the van and headed to a pool at a hotel nearby to celebrate my birthday! And it was SO much fun. We swam, played soccer, ate chicken and chips, and some cake! (Thanks to Katie for baking it, it was delicious :))
Dad even taught Jane's mom how to swim (which was HILARIOUS)...
I could not have asked for a better birthday! I was able to spend it in my favorite place, with lots of people I love.


Here are some pics....
Mallory and Sumini

Dad and Janie's momma

Uncle Scott and Prossy

Dad and Sarah


Michael, Annabelle and Gray playing soccer with the girls...


I'd like to end with a few words from my Jesus Calling from today....it says:
"It is through spending time with me that you realize how wide and long and deep is my love for you...In a world characterized by working and taking, the admonition to rest and receive seems too easy...But, as you trust Me more and more, you are able to receive Me and My blessings abundantly. Be still, and know that I am God."

As I read this, I think about how easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of what's going on around me...especially living in a place like Brentwood where alot of times your respect/worth is based on how "successful" you are, and people are always trying to work their way to the top.

And I think that's a major reason as to why I LOVE being here. People are not judged on how nice their clothes are, or how many cars they own, or how big their house is. There's not a "ladder of success" that they over-consume themselves with. And they don't HAVE material possessions to get caught up in. They learn that the only way to live is to live with Christ daily.
I've seen this in the children especially...kids who walk around in torn up, dirty clothes or no clothes at all, and live in huts and run-down houses made of dried clay and dirt. Amazima worship day is one of my favorites because you can look and see hundreds of little faces singing how awesome Jesus is, and know that they really do mean what they are singing. They have learned to trust and love God, and understand that His love for them is unfathomable. And when I think about my life in Brentwood and compare it to the time I spend here, I can see that is so much easier to focus on Jesus when there are no material distractions.
SO, I'm holding myself accountable that when I go back to Brentwood, I won't fall into the routine of what's comfortable and get caught up in the busyness of life. and that I'll remember that God has a purpose for me here on earth, and nothing else matters as long as I fulfill what's in HIS plan. I will be still, and know that He's God.

More to come later...
Grace
Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matthew 6:19

Matthew 6:19: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

A few pics to start off.......
Agnes says dad "is her BEST friend"...so sweet
Amazima worship day...reppin' the 147
Annabelle and one of the babies at Renee's orphanage...
Dinner time!

Now for the update...
We have officially completed days 1 and 2 here in Uganda!

I tried to blog last night, but my computer died and it didn’t save, so this will account for our experience so far.

Yesterday, we woke up early and traveled to Jinja, where Katie picked us up and took us to the AMazima worship day. We played, rolled around, got VERY dirty, and Mal and I helped serve lunch. (Preparing 300 bowls of beans/rice/chicken will wear ya out!) It was a great day, and we got to reunite with Katie and her girls…but the jet-lag definitely took its toll. By the end of the day, we were all dirty, bean-covered, and ready to hit the hay!

Today has been packed, so I’ll just give y’all a play by play of our day…

This morning, we woke up and walked to Katie’s, then all 25 of us piled in the van and headed to church. Church went well, it was different from our church in the US obviously, but was definitely a good experience and something I’ll remember.

After church, we headed back to Katie’s, and spent some time with her girls.

Since we have been here, one LITTLE one has specifically stolen my heart.

This is Lochoro. She is 4 years old, cannot talk or walk, weighs a little less than 15 pounds, and is extremely sick. Although she is not one of Katie’s girls, (she lives with her uncle, who leaves her at home alone while he goes to work during the day), she is living with Katie while she tries to get better. When I first saw her, my first reaction was “there is NO way this little bitty is 4 years old”...in my mind, a 4 year old is Caleb’s size (for those of you who know Caleb, he is a BIG dude), and he actually only three. The concept of not being fed for 3 years and starving to this extent of malnutrition is a little bit difficult for my brain to grasp. Especially a child this sweet! I’ve loved bonding and spending time with little Lochoro over the past two days.

Funny story from tonight…she was sitting in my lap eating a “sweetie” (a sucker). I looked up to see Katie’s jaw drop, and hear her say “DO. NOT. MOVE.” ….Because of the IV’s and meds Lochoro’s on, she pooped EVERYWHERE (including in my lap, and if you’ve ever had a child on that kind of medication, you’ll know that their poop is NASTY). So, Katie, dad, Mal and I cleaned up, and I bathed her and got a new diaper for her while Katie made dinner. One of the girls was playing with one of the cameras and just happened to take this picture right after she pooped and Katie moved her from my lap to the floor…hahaha.

One of the highlights of my day today was seeing Abigail Haynes! Baby girl is BEAUTIFUL, pictures do not do her justice. I loved getting to kiss all over her cheeks, love on her, and feed her. What made me happiest was that I was able to look into her big brown eyes and tell her that she has a mommy and a daddy coming to get her soon. And she has a sister who loves her, and happens to be my best friend. I showed her pictures on my phone, and she just grinned and grinned. Here are some pics…

Probably the funniest part of today was seeing the boys get their hair done. Katie’s girls had an absolute BALL braiding and twisting yarn into their hair. And they surprisingly kept it in all night…

I’ll try to post again tomorrow night, we are headed to Jinja in the morning to shop a little bit, visiting Amani and another orphanage, then all 25+ of us are celebrating my birthday with cake at a pool near here. I can’t wait! More to come later….

Grace

PS-I put all of our pictures on facebook, just an FYI for those of you who I'm friends with!

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suzanne
I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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