The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

Thank you

We just want to start by saying thank you to our friends and family in the US, Botswana, the UK and elsewhere for your support in various ways as we transitioned from Botswana to the US. We miss our amazing friends and family in Botswana and remain excited to be closer to other amazing friends and family in the US. We love you all so much and feel so loved by you. It has been a blessing to reconnect with many of you in Maryland and get to know others during our frequent trips into town. His People Gabs, THANK YOU for graciously and generously releasing and sending us out. Monument Church, THANK YOU for welcoming us with so much love and enthusiasm. 

Increasing Dependence on God

We left Botswana over 8 months ago. Our intention was to stay with Laura’s parents in Lititz, PA area for a few weeks (up to a couple of months) while getting jobs sorted out, and then move to Gaithersburg, MD. For a lot of reasons, this seemed like a plan that would work. However, despite our efforts, that door has not opened, at least not yet. We trust that God’s plan for us has included this season of patience and persevering in faith (with lots of stumbles and lessons along the way). Our planning decreases daily while our dependency on our Father increases. His hand of direction becomes evident when He closes some doors and open some. He makes is easier to TRUST AND FOLLOW HIM when it might not all be making sense.

Act 16: 6-10: The call to Macedonia?

With the help of Laura’s parents, God has provided a home for us in Akron, PA, just outside of the city of Lancaster. The way it happened has been providential and we believe it is the Lord’s doing. It appears that, at least for the time being, He is redirecting us.  We are scheduled to close and move into our new house in April. We are so grateful! Lancaster has an amazing legacy of faithful believers and we have enjoyed our visits to several local churches here. We look forward to fully engaging in one of them.


The house we are under contract for!


As for work, Laura is a StoryBrand Certified Guide, marketing consultant, and website designer. If you’re curious about what that means, you can take a look at her website: She has customers locally and internationally whom she loves working with. Now that we plan to stay in Lancaster, she is continuing to grow her business while also being open to full-time jobs that would allow her to continue this line of work as part of a team. KG is continuing to provide regulatory support to some pharmaceutical companies with products in Botswana while studying hard for his pharmacy board exams in both the USA and Canada. We really appreciate prayer for us work-wise.

Children are a blessing

The girls are having a lot of fun through all this! They love and enjoy their grandparents. They think ‘Pops is tops’ and ‘Mumzy is the true Fancy Nancy’!

Our girls with their grandparents and cousins.

Flowers and Sunshine

Flowers and Sunshine

Today has been a really nice day. To start with, I have THREE bouquets of beautiful flowers in my kitchen. Daffodils from church on Mother’s Day, amazing brightly-colored roses from Bethan as a “welcome home” gift, and red roses from Kagi when I arrived last Tuesday. The sun is shining brightly, and after yesterday’s frigid temperature today has been warm.

Kagi and I are having a friend from church over for dinner. I’ve been working on the meal, laundry, and cleaning the house (finally) for most of the day. I also got to exercise (a little) and went to the nearby tennis club to inquire about a part-time job. I’ve actually been really busy, and I’m not done with everything yet.

I have two thoughts for today. First, it is good to work. This has been on my mind a lot lately, but today was a great reminder. Sometimes working feels fun and sometimes it doesn’t, but the rewards are always worth it. Mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually, it is good.

Second, I have continued to think about what I realized during last night’s church prayer meeting. I was struck while we sang the song Bless the Lord how often I rejoice or despair in my circumstances — hoping in God for good things to happen in my life rather than in rejoicing in Him. In fact, I even rejoice in His creation more frequently than I do in Him. I love people — both specific people and people in general. I also deeply enjoy other elements of creation. I rejoice in animals and scenery and flowers and sunshine. I thank God for them, which is good, but there is so much more to it.

I think it’s right to enjoy creation. Really, I think it’s good and suitable. People are amazing. The rest of creation is amazing. I could never make any of it, it’s so far beyond my creativity and ability to even understand. But it pales in comparison to the Creator. It’s nothing in comparison to Him. He’s more beautiful, intimate, majestic, complex, and the list goes on. The creation should make me more interested in the Creator. It can be delightful and wonderful, but it cannot replace my hunger for the One who made it all. It should never be the primary source of my joy. He should.

The beautiful thing is that the more I can keep that straight, the more joy I know, the more courage I can demonstrate, and with all the more accuracy I can live my life. I can glorify Him all the more, which is the best use of my life. It’s exciting!

Unnatural Grace

Today I was thinking about grace. Grace sounds so nice. It brings images to mind like a graceful flower or a swan. Beautiful, peaceful, gentle, natural.

In the dictionary, I found some interesting definitions here. Grace is a deep word. I’ve heard it defined as unmerited favor. The word can be what a king does when he visits a peasant. It can mean approval, favor, mercy, or pardon. It can mean “sense of propriety or right,” which seems to contradict some of the other definitions. Our Sunday school teacher in Spokane keeps saying that grace is scandelous. It doesn’t seem right. It’s unnatural.

In my observation, grace is hard. It’s costly and active. It demands tremendous self-sacrifice to bestow unmerited favor. It’s unfair.

This got me thinking about my experience with grace, especially as it relates to conflict. When my siblings and I were kids, we were great at getting underneath one another’s skin. Allison and I are the closest in age, and had the most run-ins. She was always a lot cooler than me and although 13 months younger she was always socially a step ahead. I remember several instances when it went like this:

She did something that hurt my feelings.

I could have chosen, at this point, to respond with grace.

However, I responded naturally, and got angry. Acting on that anger, my fists started flying. I was always a lot bigger and was also a good fighter, so the physical odds were decidedly in my favor.

The circumstances, however, were not. The one who gets in trouble when a fight starts is almost always the big one who is punching, no matter what the little one did to deserve it.

I have a vague memory of my mom making me apologize while I was still seeing red. Imagine her holding me back so I couldn’t continue the physical onslaught.

Mom: “Laura, apologize to your sister.”

Laura (spitting the words): “I’m sorry.”

Allison: “Mom, she didn’t mean it!”

Mom: “Laura, you know how we do this in our family. Look her in the EYES, say you’re sorry, and ask her to forgive you.”

OH the pain of that moment! Trying to make myself apologize was swimming against the current of every emotion in me. Sure, I knew I shouldn’t have been beating my sister up. But from my perspective, she totally deserved it! I had reacted in the only way I knew I could win. In my eyes, I was justified.

If I apologize, doesn’t she get off scot-free for what she did to me? Worse, to ask for forgiveness was to ask her to be gracious to me. Maybe she would see that as weakness and use it against me. Still, I knew I wasn’t going to get out of the situation until I did an unnatural thing: apologize.

Breathe. Stop looking at your feet. Just get it over with.

Laura (pushing out the words while trying to make eye contact with her smug opponent): “I’m sorry. (Long pause, breathe, breathe, breathe.) Will you forgive me?”

Mom: “Allison, tell her you forgive her.”

Allison (reluctantly, and looking a little less smug): “I forgive you.”

Although somewhat forced, she did grant me favor with those words.

In that feeling of swimming upstream against my emotions, I was learning some big lessons. I felt I had the right to make her pay. She hurt me, and how else could I convey how hurt I was other than to show her what hurt feels like? Still, I wasn’t right to make her pay. In hindsight  here is no way I could have punished her fairly. You may think that my reaction was disproportionate to her crime. But it certainly wasn’t to me!

The Bible has a lot of unnatural commands regarding dealing with conflict. This one comes to mind today:

Romans 12:17-21
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary:

          “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
          if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
          In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Allison is far from evil and neither is she my enemy. But what if I had in mind that I would fight with kindness, giving her grace when she offended me? It would have been a lot less painful for me, for starters. I should have done that unnatural thing then, and I should do it more often now.
Six Months

Six Months

Today marks six months since the most significant and best day of my life, when Kagi and I got married. It was a wonderful, wonderful, meaningful day of celebration with many of our best friends, full of excitement and anticipation. I married my best friend who I love and trust and enjoy. Not much gets better than that.

Photo credit:
This half-year has been something… certainly not been what we expected. It has contained some of the best and some of the hardest days in my memory.

On that day of our marriage, I so looked forward to being together, but I expected that, knowing myself, it would tough for me to make the transition from being single to married. In actuality, though, it was great fun. Kagi is my best friend and it is so fun to do life together. I love that in the times of both bliss and conflict we were building our life together. Work in marriage is purposeful and should pay dividends for decades to come. I really like that.

On the other hand, our circumstances have been very hard. Due to (mostly) unexpected visa issues we’ve physically been together for only about two of the six months. After being on the road for several years and being long-distance for much of our dating and engagement time, I was thrilled to live together and have our own home — something I’ve really missed over the last few years. I couldn’t have been more ready to really live somewhere — to get my stuff in one place, to decorate, and take a break from living on the road. Sadly, the unpredictable nature of life on the road has only increased for me since being married.

With all of the turmoil, I have occasionally struggled deeply with disappointment, disillusionment, and even self-doubt. On that day of our marriage, I so looked forward to being together. I looked forward to getting some balance and steadiness back in life. I love Kagi and so want to live our life together, and even now I am here, on the other side of the world, having too much to do but feeling unable to do anything productive (probably a topic for another blog). At times, I fear that this time apart will damage our relationship. I fear that I am going to completely lose it.

In thinking about it today, however, I am thankful that even though I couldn’t have imagined this kind of a start to marriage, God has graciously sustained us. I am so, so glad I married Kagi, and even knowing what has happened so far I would do it again even more confidently than I did six months ago. And I remember some key things I have been learning:

  •  I don’t know how many days we will have together, so I will be thankful for every one we are given. If I can learn that lesson well and live it out for years to come, it also should pay dividends. That helps. 
  • Although we don’t have much right now, we seem to have enough for today. That is a blessing and something I want to be truly thankful for. 
  • We are so blessed with friends and family on whom we really have needed to rely on to get through this. I don’t take one of them (you) for granted and when I think about you I remember that no matter how difficult things become I am (we are) lavishly and extraordinarily blessed. 
  • The Lord who supplies all my needs is present and is good. When I am frustrated with people and institutions as I have regularly been of late, I am challenged to remember this: Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. In my mind it sounds a little more like: Some trust in governments and some trust in money, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Oh Lord, let it be that I respond in trust and rest in you no matter the circumstances. And please make a way for us to be back together soon.

Blind Man Walking

Today is another beautiful one in Spokane. The sun is shining, it’s about 50 degrees F and many many people are outside.

I was driving with Jen, my sister from Ghana, and we saw a man walking very deliberately on the crosswalk ahead of us. I realized that he was blind when he reached the opposing sidewalk.

I am writing about him because I was so incredibly impressed during the minute or so we sat at that corner waiting for the light to turn. He walked to the light post to push the crosswalk button and used his stick to feel out his surroundings. There was a couple already standing on the corner, and he had a difficult time working out what they were before they spoke to him. It seemed like he was a little thrown off, and had to go back to the post to figure out which way was which, where the ramp to the street was, and so on. He went back to what he could recognize, thinking hard. Light post, curb on this side, curb on that side. He was obviously taking every sound seriously. Cars this way, cars that way. Movement here and there. Back from the curb farther — a safe perch for analysis. He was working hard, but he was figuring it out.

For some reason I can’t quite identify, I was deeply moved. Maybe it’s because I know the feeling of being a little thrown off, lacking critical information but needing to figure it out. I too know the feeling of needing to go back to the basics — what do I know — to figure it out. I hope in those situations I handle myself with some fraction of the poise I observed in that man today.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

Although I am disappointed that I am still not back with Kagi this Valentine’s Day it has been a very nice day.

First of all, I woke up earlier than usual. I like it when that happens these days when my schedule is pretty flexible. I like the morning a lot.
Second, the sun came up. I realize I get too excited when the sun comes out, but I am not the best at handling the grey Washington winters. Today it was special. It was bright and the sky was beautifully blue.  About a third of the way into my run this morning it occurred to me that I was running in a tank top! I started wondering if my skin could take all of the rays or my body the Vitamin D. It seemed like a valentine from God, who even in a dark season was letting me know that He remembers and loves me.
Third, I have praying that there would be a way for me to go back to Maryland if I am going to be in the States longer. I was planning to wait until today to see if I got my visa before really trying to book something.  The reality is that I’m not in a financial position to be spending money on unnecessary tickets. As I was getting cleaned up and ready for the rest of the day it occurred to me that I have some frequent flyer miles. I checked into it, and it looks like I have almost enough for a ticket next week. I think my mom is going to give me the remainder of miles I need. I have a ticket reserved and will make a final decision by Saturday.
Finally, I got a very sweet Valentine from my husband and had some really nice phone conversations with friends and family. Tonight I’m hanging out with my mom and brother which should be fun.
To close, I thought I’d show you the one who has been on my mind:-).