Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It was the sweetest day.

I've written about 15 blog posts that are just waiting for me to finish and publish. No need for excuses or a laundry list of all that has been our life lately. I'm just going to tell myself that at some point, I'll finish them.

Until then...

The last day of November was the sweetest day. Madelyn and I played outside for hours. We sang songs, talked about how we miss MeeMaw Fee, learned about pine cones and ducks. For the first day since I've been home from Uganda, I was able to just soak in my time with her.

It took me a month to realize that I am right here in these moments, not by chance, but because this is where God has our family. This is where God has me. He has given me a heart for Africa and he has called me to be a mom to Madelyn and a wife to Luke. Not to neglect what He has placed on my heart. Not to neglect my calling.

And today, I was able to enjoy my calling.
To listen to Madelyn share about her cow. Her fav part of her plush nativity set.
To giggle with my little one whose face was covered in the strawberry Greek yogurt from breakfast.

To share with her about Advent as I have done each day since it began on Sunday.
To hold her close and be 100% present for her.

It was the sweetest day.

Goodbye, November. See you next year!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

daddy's girl through and through


Dear Joshua,
I have not stopped thinking of you since the day we drove down the steep hill and away from  Minekye. I remember watching you timidly look around as your class mates and friends hugged and greeted my team as we tried to make our way up the hill upon our arrival. When I saw you, you reminded me of my sweet Madelyn. She's a little smaller than you, but for this mom, your little cheeks did something for my soul. I gave you a hug and then you looked up at me with the sweetest little eyes.
You held your arms up, just like my little girl does when she longs to be held.
And so, I held you.
I was pretty much worthless as a member of our team from then on. They handed out snacks, picked up trash, danced, sang, distributed packets and I, well...I held you.

You wanted to be held.

I wanted to hold you.

I did take some pictures of some other children there. I would put you down for a brief moment and you would wait for me to pick you up again.
And so I would.
One of the teachers at the school, David, saw me holding you and began to share with me a little of your story. The more he told, the more questions I asked. He told me that you are his neighbor in the village at the bottom of the mountain. That your mother and father had passed, most likely from aids. That you and your siblings live in a hut with your aging grandmother who struggles to provide food for you. That your possessions are few and that you sleep on the bumpy ground.

The next thing he told me showed me yet again, as it had been proven time and time again on my trip and in the years leading up to it, that the work Pastor Emmy and his beautiful wife Sarah (aka Supermom) began in Uganda is a work that is of the Lord, a work that He is continuing to use and is blessing. Joshua, he told me that he was so excited when classes were starting to be held for the first time at Minekye not long before our arrival. He never mentioned anything about teaching there without pay (as is the current situation). Or the long, up hill trek to work each day. He told me that he invited you and your siblings to come to the school with him because he cares about you. That he wants you all to learn. That he wants you to have a bright future. That he knew if he brought you to the school at Minekye you would learn about Jesus.
Teacher David asked me when I would be returning. I told him that I did not know, but that if the Lord willed I would definitely be back as soon as I could convince PCM to let me come. He told me that when I returned I would return to a smiling Joshua.
One who is happy.

One who is learning.

One who is healthy.

One who knows the Lord.

That I would return to a young man whose life had been impacted by the school there.

Sweet Joshua, my time with you was too short. Leaving you was hard for me. But I am confident that what Teacher David said was true. Some day I will return to see you thriving.

Thriving because of a neighbor who cared enough about you to invite you to his school.

Thriving because of a young couple and his wife whose hearts for orphans led them to sell their house and start the first Parental Care Ministries school before you were even born.

Thriving because of a God who loves us so much that He wants the best for you and provides a way.

With love sweet Joshua until I see you again,
Kathryn to see how you can get involved in the life of an orphan like Joshua.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

super girl

Nothing beats a picnic in the living room with a front row seat to watching Tangled for this sick little Super Girl!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

life lately via Instagram

I loved coming home to this sweet home made sign. My hubby is awesome.

I got MK a few treasures from our stop at the equator in Uganda and was delighted when she loved them! She was so excited and kept thanking me! Such a sweetie :)
My sister came in town for a quick visit with one of her mentors from South Africa! We ate at Don Juan's (her fav) and enjoyed some good conversations!
We took our little ballerina trick-or-treating. She was so cute and had so much fun!
MK had fun riding all the little rides at the mall during a PCM Chick-fil-A night.

Packing. Packing. Packing.
Luke brought me these beautiful calla lilies and a delicious Italian Baby Jane cake. Two of my favorites for sure! I may have hinted at the cake! Ha!
 My sweet friend Mariann dropped off some sweet things that morning. Such a fun little blessing!
 And Madelyn enjoyed the blue cupcake for breakfast!

The new house has rose bushes! I love the roses, but don't know the first thing about taking care of them. I guess I will have to learn...
After lots of packing, we picked up the U-haul. We had to get a semi small one because that is all they had available so we have made lots of trips back and forth in our cars! Yuck!
My dad, brother and mom helped us move while my sister helped entertain the munchkin. I am so thankful for all of them!
 This was our view out the window from our bed after our first night in the new house. Beautiful!
MK loved eating lunch after church with her cousins. She was a bit of a grump during the meal (thank goodness for iPhones) but still loved her time with the girls.
PCM had an awesome event called "The Heart of an Orphan". It had different stations where people could have a peek in to their daily lives. From seeing the clothes that they wear to eating a bite of one of their staple foods, it was just a neat time. I had the privilege of sharing a little bit about how special child sponsorship is!
 Emily loved trying to carry the blankets it on her head.
 I was worried Madelyn wouldn't like the idea of moving, but we were pleasantly surprised with how well she has handled the transition. It hasn't phased her one bit!
We made a trip (and now it can really be considered a trip since we are 35 minutes from it!) to Target to try to find the match to some curtains we already have. The new house has lots of windows (which I have grown to love) but since we have neighbors privacy is necessary!
Luke and I watched a big storm roll in one afternoon. It looked pretty eerie out over the lake, but made for some beautiful colors in the sky as well.
MK is finding a new home for each of her toys.
We still haven't ditched the pacifier at our house. I guess the only thing that gives me hope is that I have never seen a kindergartner with one in their mouth! Ha!
After a week of no TV, she was relieved to get to watch an episode of Blues Clues. She loves the "mail song" as she calls it. 
At an event called Super Night with Supermom we made these super cute felt pins. I made mine in to hair clips for MK because I am so uncool (probably proving my point by using a variation of the work cool) and never feel like I can pull off anything trendy.
My tough little girl has suddenly turned in to a drama queen when it comes to boo boos. Everything hurts "so very bad" and needs a kiss. Oh my! Where did I go wrong?
 It's footie PJ season again. Love it!
I have done about eight fall photo shoots since I've been home and have nine this weekend! I can't wait! I love scoping out beautiful locations.
MK's cough started sounding pretty rough so I took her to the doctor this week. Hopefully the steroids and antibiotics will get her back to her perky little self in no time!
I made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner the other night. I cut MK's in to fourths. I have seriously waited all my life to do that. I love being a mom.
So that's what our life from the last two weeks in a nut shell via Instagram photos. Even though I don't feel like it makes us sound near as busy as we've been. Ha!

Monday, November 14, 2011

And then there was the day we said goodbye...

Since I returned from Africa, life at the Bilberry house has been nothing short of crazy. We've been moving, working, trying to sleep, taking lots of family portraits, attending some awesome events and flat out just trying to hang in there!

Madelyn has been quite the trooper through it all. My husband is superman and hasn't stopped moving (pun intended) in two weeks. My mom is the bomb (Mom, that means you're awesome!). And me, well I have been an emotional mess trying to process Africa, dreaming of the day our house will be in order again and realizing that I was a bit more attached to the house we are leaving behind than I once thought.

So today, we said goodbye. It won't be the last time I walk through the doors, because I have to meet the realtor to hand over the keys and garage door openers, but it was the last time my family of three will be there together.

As we watched Madelyn run through the front yard just as she has done since the day she gained her balance and her two little feet coordinated enough to walk, my mind flooded with all the memories of that house. This is the house my husband and his family lived in when we met. The pool that our friends gathered around and we witnessed Luke's sister be baptized in. The yard that we played a game of mud football in as seniors in high school, not realizing that we destroyed the yard until the next morning (sorry again, Shorty). The room that we gathered in with 20-40 other students to have Bible study on a weekly basis. The doors that were always open and welcoming. The path that I broke my tailbone riding a go cart way too fast around. The patio that I listened to Luke learn to play the guitar on. The room where Luke and I decided that we felt more for each other than just the friendship we had enjoyed for three years. The house we went to show his parents my ring the night he purposed.

And then, after he had moved out and they had moved down South, it was the house that we moved in to as a married couple. The house we learned we were pregnant in. It holds the room that I spent weeks on bed rest. The house where my Grandma and aunts came to visit us. The house that held many family gatherings on both sides of the family and together as a big group. The house that I woke up at 3am on the morning of September 24, 2009 to shower and prepare to meet our sweet Madelyn. The house where we created a special little space for her. The house that after days of being unsure if we would ever bring her home, we drove up to signs and balloons that Gigi and Papa put out and walked through the door with our newborn Madelyn Kate for the first time. Not to mention all the firsts that followed. Baths, smile, Christmas, giggles, Birthday, steps, snow days and so much more.

It's the house that will always be the house that watched two young high school friends turn in to high school sweethearts and then in to a family of three.

And then there was the day we said goodbye.

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