Tuesday, February 26, 2013

march, you're a big one.

two big firsts for me this month:

1. i'm going to uganda! it's my first time to uganda, and the first time i've (a) gone to a foreign country without jamie and (b) left my kids for several days. our dearest friends, scott and erin, started a non-profit called the mighty river project a couple of years ago that serves ugandan women and their children. the vision of tmrp is simple: empower women, prevent orphans. right now, they are fundraising to be able to move there and serve full-time. in the meantime, they buy products from four women and pay them a fair wage salary each month, then sell those products in the states to raise funds for tmrp. those funds will ultimately help them get on the ground there, but the money is also used towards benevolence projects in uganda. you can read more about tmrp (and you should definitely visit the store!) by clicking the button over on my sidebar. erin and i will be in uganda for nine days meeting with the women tmrp currently supports, checking in on families and individuals who have been served through the various benevolence projects, and making connections with others who may become part of tmrp in the future. i'm also hoping to visit a family who went to our church but who now serve at an orphanage/school in uganda.

unsurprisingly, there are lots of nerves about this trip in our house right now (mostly me for the kids and vice versa), but i'm so excited for this trip. you can't really be friends with scott and erin without starting to love uganda yourself, even if you've never been there, because their love for it is so contagious and real.  three things that give me a lot of joy about this trip:

-- sitting at the feet of ugandan women and hearing their stories (something i really wished we'd gotten to do more of in ethiopia, because i think that's really how you get to know a country and a culture). we had a pretty insulated experience of ethiopia (though, not totally, since we did have the opportunity to visit korah, the neighborhood located within addis ababa's trash dump...and, well, just riding down the streets of addis is startling in many ways), but i look forward to being with people in their homes, in their villages, etc and seeing how daily life is lived in uganda.
-- getting out of the mommy-box. i love my children and love staying home with them, but i get so excited just thinking about getting to serve and give to and love and minister to someone other than them for a bit. stay-at-home mothering can feel all-encompassing sometimes, and i like knowing that this trip will be an outlet of sorts for me to do something else i feel passionate about.
-- laying over in ethiopia on the way there and back (we're flying ethiopian air). maybe it sounds silly, but there's an emotional little spot in my heart that looks forward to being on ethiopian soil, even if it's just in the airport, for a small amount of time and being able to see the land that means so much to our family.

obviously, erin and i would love prayers for our travels and for our time in uganda to be fruitful. because scott and erin are only able to travel over there a couple of times a year, lots needs to get done while we're in country (you can also pray for tmrp and consider giving since being fully funded would entail scott and erin being able to move over there and serve full-time). but i'd also love prayers for my kids and jamie as he's with them most of the time i'm gone (with some help from my mom). these types of things aren't easy for most kids, but they're especially difficult for kids who have a lot of baggage and trauma around a parent leaving (because, obviously, our kids wouldn't be our kids if that parent had come back).

and now, something nowhere near as exciting or as significant as going to uganda, but still a big deal for me...

2. i'm running my first 5k! i emailed one of my college roommates recently and said, "i really wish all the girls could see me now since i wasn't much of an athelete...or an exerciser for that matter. i think a lot of the reason why i didn't play sports or even really exercise was that i lacked a lot of self-confidence (and i could get away with it because i had really good metabolism and walked a lot around campus). after having a basketball-sized ovarian cyst removed last september, i wanted to commit to exercising regularly for my health. i started out using our elliptical, but then i saw a blog post about the color me rad 5k, and i knew i wanted to try it. i've been following a couch to 5k plan since january with some girls in my small group, and i have been amazed at what a little commitment and discipline can do. before i started, i was convinced there'd be no way i could run three miles in a decent amount of time. now that i've done it a few times, i've gotten over the psychological hurdle of "i can't do this" and am now working on bettering my time. i've actually realized that i enjoy running, and my confidence has grown enough that i think i want to shoot for a longer race in the future.

cheers to march!

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