Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Almost HOME

Moments ago Craig boarded another plane headed back to Nairobi. Now just more planes, airports, layovers, little baggies of salted peanuts, packets of oyster crackers, luggage, funny shaped neck pillows, hopefully no more blown hatches, and the man I love will be ... HOME! It still feels sort of pretend -- like a well drilled in an African village far, far away where there they don't have running water and all the while my own children wage water-war in our green yard with water cannons and a bucket.

Before I know it Craig will be here and I'll face a man gone half around the world and come home. Can't be the same one who left. So begins the next leg of our journey, "Hi, I'm Bethany, who have you become? Tell me everything the same and different so I can love you all the more." How frequently the best things in life are the impossible combination of letting go and hanging on. I don't know weather to laugh or hold my breath.

To all of you, thanks. Thanks for being a hand to hold down the path of this journey. A listening ear, fresh encouragement, fun, {Grin} you've been FABULOUS! Wish I could HUG you all. Please pray for traveling mercies as the team heads home. They sure could do without the 17 EXTRA hours of travel they ended up with on the way there. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009


A note from Craig:


We pulled into the village today and witnessed the drill rig SPEWING forth WATER! As they drill, water is forced out in a GEYSER like process every 3-5 minutes. Less consistent than Old Faithful but much more moving. Some of the mommas from the village said it best, "Praise God, Hallelujah." They are limited in their English but captured the moment perfectly. The drill rig hit water at about 97 meters, and the original goal was 100.

They are cleaning out the hole and preparing to put in the pipe. The estimates on the water are around 8 gal/minute which may seem low for American standards but when the alternative is walking 30 minutes or more to get water from a murky pond, 8 is great! They will be running tests on the water and finishing the pump which could take as long as a month but maybe sooner. We visited with the people in the village and took some pictures of the water shooting out of the drill rig. Joe blessed the well and we loaded in the vans to go.

It really is interesting how little we understand about dirt roads any more, we made it about 10 meters down the trail before we were STUCK. This is after they had delivered a load of large rocks to help us. After getting unstuck and another attempt, we decided to take a different TRAIL. I say trail because they don't really have vehicles passing on through on any sort of consistent basis. We drove down the path, past the murky pond and the "health clinic" to the road. We made it!!! Once back on the road (still dirt but dry) we were fine making it to Kisumu for lunch and our flight to Nairobi.

The airport was an experience. They don't allow you into the airport until 2 hours prior to your flight. There is a nice park like setting just outside the security area that is equipped with chairs tables and shade. We had 3 hours until our flight so we read, wrote in our journals and some even took short naps. A couple of people in our group actually needed to use the bathroom (which is inside) and the heightened level of security/metal detector was unmanned so they just walked in and used the bathroom. We entered later and heard the metal detector go off and the security person just let them PASS on by. After we checked in with the ticket agent (which is past security) we proceeded to a waiting area which is between the "terminal" and the runway. Finally, when we boarded our plane I was lucky enough to procure the emergency exit row, window seat (extra leg room).

The stewardess came to our row and did the usual, "Are you able to man the exit in case it is needed?"


She looked directly at me, "Can you pull that down?" the EMERGENCY handle.

"This?" I reached out to touch the handle.

"Yes, can you pull that down?"

I took this as a question like, "Sir, can you put your tray in the upright and locked position?" SO I PULLED the handle. And BLEW the HATCH!

In retrospect I think she just wanted to know if I felt comfortable being the designated hatch-puller IF needed. I re-latched the handle. She double checked it, and we had a rather uneventful flight to Nairobi.

Today, May 26, we are heading to the Masai Mara, a national reserve, where we will be for the next three days. 6+ hours travel, then we will stay 2 nights and return on Thursday. Fly out Friday and arrive back on Saturday. The time has flown, pray for safety in travels the next few days.

Love you all,


When I told Janie she prayed, "Dear Jesus, thank-you, thank-you, THANK-YOU that they were able to drill 100m and find water. And I just pray you would keep the water clean."

She later added, "Now at least they have a good idea of what they can do to bad guys."

"Oh, what's that?"

"Give THEM the BAD water."

Life is so SIMPLE when you are a little more than four-and-a-half but not quite five.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

83 Meters To Go!

Sometimes I think prayer should be more like this.

"Okay, Momma," she's on tip-toe bobbing from foot to foot, "I'm gonna go for a run now. Get ready, I'm gonna run by again!" All polka-dots and swishing skirt, she half skips like a penny gliding over the water. Zing. Sploosh. A bucket of love runs over.


Here's a note from Craig that you may know how to pray.

  • Speaking went well; I talked about the need to be ready to bear witness. Then I walked through my testimony and then the Roman's road. It went well. Today was Colt speaking at the boy’s high school and he had a good message. There were about 700+ boys there. After a short tour, we went to an all girl’s school. Maybe one of the best parts of the trip. There were about 850 girls and they were singing when we came in. WOW! Singing praise songs and they were almost deafening. It was amazing and moving. They sang a total of 4-5 songs while we were there. We introduced ourselves and after we were introduced, they went wild cheering. When the next person would stand and they would go silent again... 850 girls singing in complete unison and stopping together instantly. It was amazing! We leave for the village at 7am tomorrow and then back to Kisumu to catch a flight at 6 back to Nairobi. The well drilling has started and on Saturday they reached 47 meters and we are shooting for 130 meters... it would be amazing if we could hit water tomorrow while we are there. PRAY!


As I write Craig and the team are on a long and treacherous road back to Kasumu. It's crazy to picture him bumping down that road in a bus full of people for 10 hours. If there is another thunderstorm as there are most afternoons the road becomes a veritable landslide...

Love you all, and thank-you again for your prayers and support. I don't know what I would do without you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Well for the Village

Please join us in prayer. The drill rig is now on site in Adiedo, Kenya. As they bore deep, deep down into Kenyan soil, our prayer is that they find WATER, a pressed down, shaken together, overflowing, splash out onto the land abundance of water.

It's 50/50 odds of finding even a small trickle that qualifies as wet. We're going for pure miracle, a gusher. And so we pray...

Also, please pray for Craig who will be speaking at a near by boys' school.

Adiedo is located in the semi-arid expanse of Kenya where water is so scarce that it can only be found in a few stagnant murky ponds or dry stream beds and ditches. Animals drink from this water and urinate in it. Often times, animal carcasses lie rotting at the edge of the water. It is hard to imagine anyone drinking this toxic untreated water. It is not unusual for a child to go two weeks without bathing or having their clothes washed for lack of enough water.

However, for nine out of ten families in western Kenya, it is the only water available. They trek several miles to fill containers with this mud-like water. During the dry season, after these water holes dry up, people walk even further. Water-borne diseases are the number one killer of children in Kenya

~David Opap – Founder of Spring of Hope International

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Well, I'm sorry to say Daddy is missing a few firsts while away in Kenya. {Sigh} Like today, Lucy's first PUKE. A shame I know. Isn't this the sort of thing we should all be enjoying together? :) Alright, I know him immersed in the underbelly of human suffering has to count for something, but still I hate to hog the fun here at home. :) A few days ago Janie may have said it best, "I'm so happy I just want to grind my teeth." Ha-ha. Grinding away!

Which brings me to a very sincere THANK-YOU for all your prayers. Really, it's not so bad after all.

Putting things in perspective, this next day Craig will be visiting a Kenyan infant orphanage. By comparison, what a fabulous burden: my no longer puking baby.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


NEWS BREAK: For a post that captures the best moment of the whole race click HERE.

Kisses and hugs to Rosie. Thrilled to bits. Thank-you beyond all the silly words of my heart that could never speak as well as that post. Speechless I feel so loved.

Something NEW

Jack makes a "cookie" using every play dough color ALL at once. Jane rides the double-ended rolling pin through the kitchen like a skate board. Silverware everywhere. I unholster our beloved Dustbuster, suck up everything I can: dust, dirt, dough, fuzz, small toy pieces, scraps of paper, lint, pennies, dryer sheets, frighten the baby. Yes, my version of "picking-up".

I say a prayer of thanks as I almost, almost shorten our mailbox to ground level backing out of the driveway. Almost. In the good cheer of that I pass around granola bars and gum until everyone is QUIET. Shhhh. Ahhhhhh.

That's right this is an emergency trip to TJ Maxx, home of the good deal, and as it turns out, the perfect pillowcase.

My sweet sister-in-law, Cerissa, suggested I try making a pillowcase dress. Only a few short hours ago this simple dress was a standard sized pillowcase. A snip here, a cut there, a little ribbon and elastic, and WOW, our new FAVORITE dress! $1.99 pillowcase, $0.30 ribbon, $0.40 elastic. Thanks Cerissa!

For a great tutorial click HERE.

"Momma, is today a special day?" the words roll out in that same sigh that asks how long it is until summer.

Special? I pause. "Kind of feels like it. Do you think it's a special day?"

Janie wrinkles her chin, nods, "Because of God's glory it probably is."

Oh yeah, glory, how did I forget? Just like air.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Are We There Yet?

Daddy sure leaves a BIG hole.

Feels like forever until he comes home and then Jane says something like, "Momma, why does your face look all golden, all, all pretty?" A little manna from heaven, that girl is.

{Sigh.} How many more days?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just Plain Life

Highlights today:

1. A smudgy bruise on Lulie's temple. The swing, OK. The four-year-old probably scarred by freak-out-mom who hopes the neighbors were all at church when the gravity defying stunt unfolded.

2. A cereal bowl full of pee. Yeah, that's right PEE. In the kitchen. On the floor. Jack's brain-child.

3. A fortress of garden stakes also known as "Jack helping plant the garden". I retrieve an upside-down geranium.

4. Naked Jack switched to his birthday-suit half way through playing in the sprinkler.

5. Water hose incident and disclaimer. She didn't MEAN to get him FULL in the face. Hair and all. Riot.

**Pause for a cup of BLACK coffee.

5. The two-year-old reports, "I clean the toilet." And demonstrates. Do we have this backward? Can't we clean cereal bowls and pee in toilets?

6. The cousins come over and all eat dirt. It looks delicious. Jack's runny nose forms an impressive dirt beard.

7. Way past bedtime, we pile onto the top bunk and for the first time all day I really hear the constant trickle of language know as Jane. I bathe in the hospitality of two silly-hearts for more than an hour. Their laughs splash into all the cracks of the day.


It's a wonderful life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Victory Cake

I did it! My first HALF-MARATHON.

Distance: 13.1 mi.
Time: 2h. 7min. 30sec.



The makers of little poke marks in the FROSTING.

Ready for #2.

My sweet friend Rosie snapped some pics at the race that will be coming soon...

Oh, and you can find the cake recipe on my friend Lori's blog, here. Let's just say this is the third one we've made.

Friday, May 15, 2009


"Janie, what about you?"

"My prayer request is to help this whole family be righteous and worship GOD." She is already folding hands and squinting shut blue eyes. The unmistakable tang of faith baptizes our prayer. I slide a little closer. She pauses, kisses my hand.


"You got boogers in your nose," he tells me.


"Sometimes I see boogers in your nose," he wrinkles he forehead. "Maybe you can eat your boogers if you want to."


Over the Ocean

"That where Africa is," Jack points at this picture. "I know that where Africa is." The airport.


"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up on wings like eagles;
they shall run and not grow weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31

The thrill of the wait...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So Goes My Heart


No words.
A thrum-drum rhythm, strides
between us. Breath-sized miles
mark time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

"You are da running girl," he says. Half smile, squint.

Just like his father, an ocean of love.

Tide rolls in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Just wanted to say, thank-you to Momma and Mommy-in-law for making this possible. Look at what sweet grassy feet we've gone on and made. Trouncing through the fresh possibilities of our children I pray we grow them so well. Treasure beyond words. Thanks.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Feeling A Little Stressed

I sleep in. They raid the sugar bowl, crunching down big spoonfuls of sugar. I shower. They head out back wearing only undies to mow the grass with safety scissors. I make dinner. Lulie unloads an entire box of Kleenex on the living room rug after practicing first on the wet wipes. Twice. Things are a little better the next day. They take turns eating crystalized honey out of the dish, open and sample a bag of butterscotch chips, and inform me, "Lulu like it when I cut her hair." Are we feeling a little stressed over here?!

Africa here we come!

(Well, Daddy anyway.)

Friday, May 8, 2009


One of my favorite bloggy friends, nominated me for this award! Thanks Daiquiri. It's a treat to be in such good company.

Okay, the rules are that I list 7 things I love and then pass the award on to 7 other bloggers.

1. Running. Settling into the repetition of feet, elbows, breath, and will marking time.
2. Watching the watery blue of my children's eyes when they tell a story.
3. Stout coffee with whip cream.
4. Planting perennials. Wet dirt, cut grass, children fencing with tomato stakes in the the peripheral.
5. Blowing bubbles.
6. A husband who makes me laugh until I cry.
7. Falling into bed at night dog-tired.

And, 7 blogs I love:
Rock Wood Wire *** R. Feuerstein Photography *** Dan and Cerissa *** Building Our Nest *** Olsons *** Wags *** a time for everything

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So, You're Going To AFRICA

1. Daddy where will you go pee and poop in Africa?

2. If you go to Africa do you turn black?

2. What does it look like if Africa people get a bruise?

3. How do Africa people get rosy cheeks?

4. Make sure you watch out for hippies (hippos) in the rivers, Daddy.

5. Why when people go to Africa they don't turn black?

6. [Pause.] God could do a miracle and do that. [Eyebrows raised.]

7. Why won't the lions eat you, Daddy?

9. Will a gorilla come to you, Daddy?

10. [Pause.] Cause I'm scared one will actually come to you, Daddy.

11. Are there elephants in Africa?

12. How won't the elephants get some water in their trunks secretly and spray it out on you, Daddy?

13. Where are the toilets in Africa?

Just a few essentials.

Anyone think of something we missed?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Up to Heaven

(Click on image for better view.)

"So if Great-Grampa chooses Jesus we could hold his hand on the way up to heaven when we die?" It's the little things that matter when you are four, pouring your own milk on morning cereal, pumping highest on the backyard swing, knowing who will hold your hand on the way to heaven. Janie is helping me pack a card for Great-Grampa. We pray for him a lot, all sorts of wonderful things including heaven. We love Great-Grampa as much as the sky. The influence of a good life reaches right down to the horizon and encircles our whole world. What a gift his disciplined life is to us. Even Jane know it.

Our gift to him is the prayers we offer each night. We submit to Jesus our greatest treasures and pray He will save them, that He walk us on to heaven in the footsteps of our fathers. May he know you, Lord. We bow down to our God who made the sky itself and offer up the ones we love into His care.