Sunday, April 21, 2013

African Instruments

As some of you know, I am a music therapist. Right now, I am only working with hospice patients, but I have worked with a variety of populations: children with Autism, people with Down Syndrome, adolescents/adults with behavioral health issues, people with brain injuries, pretty much you name it!
I have seen a lot over the years--happy moments, sad moments, heart-broken people, people in physical pain. I like to think that I am a fun therapy. At least, I like to think that. :) Some people are skeptical and afraid that I might 'make' them sing or act silly.
Although I use therapeutic goals to help my patients, I incorporate musical instruments to provide a rhythm, motivation, and fun! Sometimes I sing with my guitar, play piano or harp, listen to a cd and study the lyrics, and sometimes we go all out and bring in small percussion instruments.
For Christmas, my parents spoiled both me and my clients by purchasing African instruments!
The large drum is a djembe. It originated from West Africa and is played with bare hands. The name djembe comes from the saying "Anke dje, anke be" which translates "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose.
If I am working with a group of children or teenagers, there is usally a fight for who gets to play it.
The rest of the instruments are fun, too! Most of them were made in Kenya. Would you believe that my mother found all of these at a ZOO in Minnesota? They were all in the gift shop. They offer a variety of stimulation and sounds for people of all abilities.

This giraffe is not an instrument, nor is it from Africa, but it gets people smiling. The bottom of it is held in your hand, and when you squeese the lever, the giraffe bites down. It is pretty cute and causes quite the laugh.

I am very grateful for my parents' thoughfulness in gifting me with these instruments. Not only will my patients and I get to enjoy them, I pray our children will get to enjoy them as well!

Outtake....photobombed by Mercedes:

Monday, April 15, 2013

april letters to Africa

Today, we sent our April letters to Dominic, Eyouel, and Mugwaneza.
June 20th is our Dominic's birthday, so we gave him the cute card on the bottom right. It is difficult searching for a birthday card for a boy in Kenya at Target! The cards seem to mostly feature white boys, and most are really overstimulating with American cartoon figures or phrases that likely would not translate into the language Dominic speaks.
For Eyouel and Mugwaneza, we wrote their names with the following Bible verse on the front of our letters:
On the back, we wrote to them about school and asked them what they are learning about. We asked them what language they speak and if they learn any English in school. We told them that it is spring-time in Wisconsin and we are waiting for our snow to melt. We asked them what their favorite flower is and told them ours--tulips and lilacs!
Did you ever play with 'fortune tellers' when you were a child? I found an adorable print-out for a child appropriate one online. It has numbers on the outside, letters and animals on the inside, and Bible verses on the very inside as their fortunes!!

Hopefully one of their teachers or peers have seen these before! I know other sponsors have sent them to their children. Otherwise, they can just look at the pictures and read the verses if they get translated. Win-win either way. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

We Bought Our Mugwaneza A House

A few weeks ago, we received a letter from our sweet Mugwaneza, written by her mama, Mediatrice.
I have struggled to find the words to share with you the depth of my emotions from reading this letter in particular. I choke back tears, humbled, and in awe of our Savior--the One who arranged for us to sponsor our girl.
I have always known sponsorship is so good for the children--allowing them to attend school, receive healthy meals, have medical care, and hear about Jesus.
I have always known sponsorship can relieve a mama and a daddy's fears about their children's education, and let's go there--basic survival.
I have always known sponsorship can do a work in my very own heart--breaking it to pieces for our Dominic, Eyouel, Mugwaneza, and their families.
But now. Now--I know the need. I know the aching to help. I know the soul-deep desire to make a difference.
I know this sponsorship thing we've been fills a need, it helps, it makes a difference.
I was humbled and shaken to the core, as I read the translated words of Mediatrice:
Your daughter and her family were so happy to receive the gift of money which you sent her. They used it to cover the house which they live in, they had no house. She has sent you the photo of that house with her mother and her young sister.
We bought our Mugwaneza and her family a house. A HOUSE.
We gifted her family a simple $100. How quickly does $100 disappear in America? A trip to the grocery store, two tanks of gasoline, a few meals out, a new outfit or two.
A small sacrifice for us gave our girl and her family a home. A HOME. They had no home.
I can't get over this. I won't forget this. And I don't want to.
What I want to do is MORE.
MORE giving.
MORE serving.
MORE being a voice.
MORE obeying.
MORE loving.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lord, I Need You

There is a song that has been floating around in my car and in my mind lately. It is called Lord, I Need You. Matt Maher sings about falling apart and finding grace and hope through God. It is a song about needing God.
I don't know about you, but I need God.
He is truly my strength when I fall apart. And fall apart, I do.
When the future is a mystery--what city we will move to, what first house we will purchase, what job I will find, what church we will call our home, when we will see our child's face for the first time, when she will come home--it is easy for me to melt down. Just ask Colin. :)
I need God to know that my future is in His hands.
My future is already planned!
God's future for me is better than my future for me.
So, on those days when I do fall to pieces, I need to fall into the arms of the One who is Holy. He is the only one who can provide ultimate comfort and guidance. I need You Lord, oh, how I need You.

Lord, I Need You ~Matt Maher feat. Audrey Assad

Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need you
Oh I need you
Every hour I need you
My one defense
My righteousness
Oh God how I need you

Where sin runs deep
Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Five Months Dreaming


We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 5 months today!
I hate to do the math, but I've done the math. Based strictly on our waitlist number movement these five months, it is looking like it could take a total of 4 years or more until we receive our referral. Ick.
I asked Colin if he had anything to say about waiting for 5 months. His reply, "It's been too long."
Yes. Yes, it has. And, it will feel like that for a very long time.
But, we know that:
God is always good.
God always has a plan.
God always has a purpose to His plan.
That means that God's plan to have us wait on Him is good and purposeful.