Friday, September 30, 2011

Amazing Apple Dip

Across the country it is starting to feel like FALL
If you live in the lovely state of Arizona it is still in the 100's....yeah.... weather wise we may start feeling like it's fall by mid November. bleh. However, I will not let this discourage me! I've got my pumpkin spice candle from Walmart and have already been busting out the fall-ish recipes. 

This recipe is perfect for fall! It's like a Caramel Apple but 10x better! Perfect for when hubby is at a baseball game and you have the whole thing to yourself a fun fall party or get together. 

Here's what you need!
2 (8oz) cream cheese squares, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 jar caramel topping (for ice cream)
1 large Symphony Toffee and Almond candy bar, crumbled
Sliced Granny Smith apples 

Did you know taking pictures of food is harder than it looks. 
 Cream together, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. 
Spread mixture in a pie plate. Next pour the caramel topping over and top with crumbled candy bar. Cover and refridgerator until cold for best results. Eat with a spoon. Serve with sliced Granny Smith apples. .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 1 Part 2 (Written By Josh)

This post is a mess, I know. I gotta get it out somehow... 

The bus pulled up to M1. There weren't many children around. Most of them were lining up for breakfast. A nice mixture of corn meal and excessive water. It was a late breakfast, but that's because a couple of the children have to cook it themselves for the rest. I'd have to guess that there were 200 kids there, anywhere between the ages of 5 and 18. Most were probably about 11 or so. We all kind of meandered off the bus looking around, not sure what to do or where to start. Some of the children who happened to be near the front building saw that we were there and slowly came around. We met some of the social workers and the gentleman who runs M1 and everyone was kind and cordial. After our greetings we ventured further out to meet the children. 

[It's amazing how I could be walking around in a place, compared to American standards, that's filthy, with children who haven't bathed in who knows how long and I can feel like I'm the dirty one. It was so apparent that I came from a life where I had plenty to eat. But that's not the problem. The problem is that I have so many options that I "struggle" with frustration because I can't decide what to eat. It was also apparent that I had plenty to wear; the four outfits I brought on the trip were more than any of the kids had, yet I continue to "struggle" with buying more and overspending if they fade or I just get tired of them. Like how I look is somehow a part of my identity and I'm newer when my clothes are newer, forgetting that I have been made a new creation in Christ, clothed in His righteousness. My affluence was apparent and I felt like the kids were staring at it, disgusted by it, or maybe just I was. Now, I understand how when you come across this way of thinking it is where a lot of people start to make excuses and even pawn off their overindulgence on being "thankful" for God's blessings. We easily forget who our model is. Who our Lord is. Jesus never lived in luxury. He even challenged those who would follow Him to consider the cost before doing so(Luke 14) because it is so great. He reminded His disciples that He had no place to rest His head, informing them that as a servant is no better than his master, so we are no better than Him. If it happened to Him, it will happen to us. Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 the generosity of the Corinthian church.  He reminds them that it is written in Psalm 112:9, "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever." This is what we are called to and I was feeling God's discipline in me for my years of disobedience. I am so thankful that I have a Father who loves me enough to discipline me back into His righteous ways (Hebrews 12).] 

Once the children were done eating, we all squeezed into their worship room and began worshiping God in song. This was one of the most fun and most thrilling experiences of my life. The children were loud and enthusiastic. Most of the songs were in Lugandan, but some were in English. Thanks to God's convicting, I moved in amongst the crowd of kids and began worshiping with them. I don't want to give the impression that all of the children were born again believers in Jesus. Just like anywhere, there was a mix of both believers and non-believers, yet the majority of the children were joyfully engaging in this spectacular, worshipful interlude, where hope overcame all of the world's oppression, sickness and faithlessness, and we were communing together with our loving, reliable, freedom giving Father in Heaven. We weren't standing with our hands in our pockets, looking at our watches and trying to sing as quietly as we could so no one else might hear. Even if we didn't know all of the words, for the sake of joy, encouragement and praising Jesus, we were singing loudly, yelling even, making joyful, victorious shots to the Lord, dancing, hugging, bowing our heads and lifting up our prayers in a swarm of supernaturally unified voices that transcended race, age, and class! It is truly an experience that I will never forget and that I yearn to experience again. Not just there, but here in America as well. Oh how I wish the people of God would be freed from the bondage of debt, materialism, consumerism and concern for our image and worship in an undignified way! And not just in song! I pray we will be freed to: love even if we are trampled on, strive for the justification of others and not ourselves even if that leads to imprisonment and give our material blessing to others in need until God is all we rely on and rejoice in! Oh how I wish we would love like Jesus did and be obedient to the Father even unto death on a cross! He was accursed, made into sin though He knew no sin so that we could be redeemed, restored, renewed, remade, vibrant, victorious, joyful, jubilant, Jesus-like, healed, healing, helpful, hopeful, holy, saved!

and if you didn't see this video in the previous post. 


"Come back, 
and bring others with you."
As we came to the end of the trip this is what Moses, the Director of Sixty Feet Uganda side, requested of us who were there. 

Moses is in the trenches of ministry everyday. With little to no rest, he is pouring himself out everyday as the hands and feet of Jesus to the imprisoned children of Uganda. He is not ignorant to the needs in his country, he knows, he has been there. Yet, instead of asking that we just pray and send a check (we NEED to be doing this too) he says COME. 
Come and SEE

Come and TOUCH
Come and SMELL
Come and TASTE
Come and FEEL
Come and HEAR

Come and LAUGH


Go here to learn more about SixtyFeet's upcoming trips and how you can get involved. 

{I hope to write more on our call to go in an upcoming post soon!}

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"Do all things without complaining and disputing" 

Philippians 2:14

"nor complain, as some of them also complained
and were destroyed by the destroyer." 

1 Corinthians 10:10

I know I should not complain. I have read verses like these many times but always just tried to justify myself. I never saw just how ugly my complaining is and how much it robs me of joy until I was in Uganda. 

I saw children and young adults who despite being in prison, had more joy and love than I have ever experienced in my entire life. 

Running water, Electricity, Health care
For the majority of the world these things are luxuries. 

When I got home I made a list. A list of things I often find myself complaining about. 
This list makes me feel ashamed. Many of the things I complain about are things that so many around the world live without and would be more than happy to have to "deal" with everyday. What a sinful, ugly heart I can have. 

Having to do Laundry. 
I didn't see a washing machine anywhere. Even the nicer guest house we stayed at washed our clothes in buckets and hung them up to dry on a clothes line. Soap isn't even a given either. This would make it even harder to do if you had no running water and had to hike a mile there and back to get water, which is what the kids at M1 have been doing for the last 3 weeks. How hard I work to remember to do laundry and push a button....and I complain. 

The monotony of Cooking dinner every night
Yes this young man is stirring this huge pot of food with a large stick and No it's not easier than it looks. Oh don't forget to add in the 1 mile hike back and forth carrying water to actually cook this meal. Oh how hard I have it with my 20 plus electrical devices I can use to help prepare my food.....

Health care and doctor office wait times / hospitals
I had the privilege of staying with a sick boy over night in the children's ward of a local hospital. Why do you ask? Well, every night all the doctors and all the nurses but 1 leave for the night...yeah.... I think the last time I was in the hospital with one of my children I complained about being bothered too much and the remote for our cable TV not working. Seriously... 

Grocery shopping 
This picture almost sums it up on its own. Not sure how locals could tell what was good or not but I am sure I wouldn't have any idea without my precious "use by _" stickers. I am beyond blessed to be able to easily buy good food for my family. How can I complain...

Nothing cute to wear.
I saw children, many half dressed in clothes that were dirty, ripped or too small. We had a boy ask for a new shirt because his was so dirty and he said he smelled. I throw my kids clothes in the donate pile because they got a stain from lunch. I have a closet and dresser full of clothes. Way more than I could ever need and still I think I need more.... wake up.

Nothing good to eat
The children we visited eat the same thing almost everyday. In the morning they drink their porridge which I have heard described as Cream of Wheat with 3 cups extra water. Then for lunch/dinner (1 meal not 2) they get Posho, a cornmeal like food made with water. If it's a good day they also get beans.  No fruit or vegetables and the entire time I was there with them I never saw them drink anything. I complain if we eat the same thing a couple times in a month... 

{I don't want to forget this. I also don't want to just move on and just be "thankful I have been so blessed ". What I have been given wasn't because I am some how special. I don't believe the Christians in America have been so richly blessed to just stop at being "thankful" and then turn around and use all our resources on our own selves.}

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 

2 Corinthians 9:11

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 1 - Part 1 (Written By Josh)

After approximately 22 hours of travel, we finally landed in Entebbe, Uganda at 12:30pm local time. We were joyfully greeted by the Uganda ground team and Earnest & Catherine. It was very kind of them to wait up so late to greet us. We also got to meet our bus driver Abus. Yes, Abus drove a bus. We learned that he is a Muslim, and an awesome bus driver, so please keep him in your prayers. We spent a lot of time with him and are praying that God will use that time and future opportunities to reveal himself to Abus. 
LOVE Pastor Ernest and Mama Catherine, here with Joy
About an hour on the road and we had reached our living quarters. It was an 8 bedroom house and we all paired up for rooms. After getting settled it was about 3am before Christen and I finally got to bed. I think it may have been a combination of the jet lag and excitement, but 6:30am rolled around and I was up taking photos of the sunrise! I knew that running on 3 hours of sleep for what was coming next would be rough. We had breakfast, a morning
devotional, piled in the bus and we were off.   
Views from the porch
Pretty intense gate! 
What I first saw on the streets was on of the greatest cultural shocks of the trip. Traffic was mad. People were driving and walking all over the road. There were multiple times where I flinched because I was sure a passing car was going to fillet us. A lot of the roads had no lines and industrial sized pot holes. Thankfully though, Christen, who gets super car sick, was fine the entire time. 
As we drove to M1, there was a lot to look at. Many of the streets were lined with tin and wood shacks or run down concrete shops. Almost all of them were selling anything from mobile phone service to meat on a stick. We even saw a fish market and several meat markets. None if it was on ice, and none of it was stamped with expirations dates. You had no clue how long anything had been there or where it came from. I guess the locals are just experts at eyeing bad food, which would be a useful skill to have. 

We finally made it out of the city and into the beautiful green, rolling countryside. The smell went from a thick diesel exhaust to the smell of an overgrown marsh (there was a lot of swamp land). We drove and drove in anticipation of seeing the place and the children that we had long been praying for. We passed through one more row of shacks selling bongos and then we saw the infamous sign......

Normally I would leave you hanging there, and it makes a lot of sense to do so because it is very suspenseful, but we had a group of very unique men who were well balanced in serious work and...goofiness. 

We had to stop the bus to wait for the rest of the ground team and we happened to stop right next to a group of young men who were boda boda drivers. Now if you don't know what a boda boda is, you should look it up in the dictionary...although I'm sure that wouldn't help you either. It's a flimsy motorcycle taxi. We're not talking about a Harley Davidson here; more like a moped (mo-ped). The drivers were entertaining (and I think they were pretty entertained by us as well). They even let Judd drive a boda boda! He did pretty well and apparently had practice from back home. Then came Jonathan. Jonathan's turn went something like this: [Excitedly jump on the bike!!!] [Kick start!!!]...FAIL. [Kick start again!!]...FAIL. [Kick start again.]...FAIL. [The driver kick started it for me!!!] [Off I go!!!]...[bike dies]...FAIL. [The driver started it for me again.] [Off I go.] dies...FAIL. [Driver jumps on the back of the bike and tries to drive it for him..]...[ok, I guess]...eventually he realized that he was popping the clutch and then he got the hang of it, but to watch him enthusiastically try over and over again was hilarious! He is such a good sport and his church is very blessed to have him. 

Strike a pose
There he goes!
This was even funnier in person

We had a fun time waiting and took some pictures. The girls even took a potty break in the bush with the cobras (well, they didn't see one but Abus said they could be out there). As soon as the Uganda team arrived, we were off; being led by the Holy Spirit down a dirt road to a destitute place that would serve as the setting for some of the most memorable and spiritually impactful times of my life. 
Brave Girls

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Over The Rainbow {1st Birthday Party}

For my little girls 1st birthday I wanted to do something bright and fun. The rainbow made from streamers turned out great and looking at it just made me smile. I made her tutu and the cupcakes too.

Doesn't it just make you feel happy!
Tickle time

Gotta love the rainbow tutu
Mostly pre-made food blamed on jet lag, but I did make the pasta salad!
I thought the cupcakes turned out so cute, I got the decorating idea from here and the recipes for the cupcakes here and the cream cheese frosting here
Messy Face, she loved it!