So now what? I've been to Africa. It stole my heart. I came back.
I continue to love living my life in the States with my amazing husband and our adorable 'babies'.
@Freepeeps. I continue spending time with all my friends, laughing, playing and having fun with them and their amazingly cute little babies.
Are you back to 'normal' yet?
This is a hard one to answer. In short: no. But that's okay. I won't ever be 'normal' again. My journey to Africa has changed my life. Yea, a LOT of people say that after a mission trip. But seriously. It has for me. Maybe this will help-
My life in summary before: I had every day planned for at least a month in advance, if not more. I went shopping about once a week, maybe twice, but would always wander over to the non-food section to browse the clothes or shoes, or housewares. I was a sale hunter, if there was a huge sale I would be there. I was a liar. GASP! I know. I would tell people I would pray for them, but would usually forget. I wasn't intentionally lying, just to be clear. I was just so planned out and organized that I would forget if I didn't write it down. I was a neat freak - my house was almost always spic-n-span, picked up, not cluttered. My yard was always mowed, bushes always trimmed, flowerbeds always weeded.
I live life a day at a time. In the next month, I only have 4 things on my calendar. I'm not a hippie or anything, some things kind of have to be planned. :) Every morning I wake up and pray for what God would have me to do that day. When we go shopping - which is once a week at the most, usually once every ten days or two weeks - I have no desire to browse the non-food stuff. I get in, get what we need and get out. I just don't have the desire to 'shop'. Even if there's a big sale. I don't need more stuff. I've got more than enough. I pray unceasingly, expectantly and boldly! If someone asks me to pray for them, I do it right then and there. I am always in prayer - it's like a conversation I have with my Father all throughout the day. I also pray with my husband now. Every. Single. Night. We pray together and I love it. It's brought us so much closer together, not only with each other, but with God too. I am still a neat freak, I like things to be neat and orderly. But I am not OCD about it anymore. Case and point: my backyard with three weeks without being mowed. We had weeds back there almost as tall as me. Seriously. It was bad. We just had better things to do - hang out with friends, grow our own relationship, and plus it had been rainy and we all know you can't mow the grass in the rain. :) If you just drop by my house, it will mostly be in order and clean, but chances are there will be a stack of mail on the table that needs going through, there may be some throw pillows on the floor instead of neatly placed on the couch. There will probably be a few dirty dishes in the sink. You might even see a small layer of dust on our shelves. I'm okay with that. Because it's life. We all get dusty houses, we all get junk mail mixed in with real mail that needs to be sorted - why put up a front like I've got it all together? It's just not worth it to me anymore. I'd rather be real.
When are you going back?
We, or I, or Bill, will go back whenever we feel the Spirit lead us to. If it was up to me I'd go back tomorrow. But that's not God's plan, and I'm all about following Him these days, so until He gives me (or Bill) the go-ahead, we'll hang here in the States. We might both go next time, it might be just me again, or it might be just Bill. Again, whatever the Spirit prompts us to do, we'll follow His lead.
What are you doing to save/raise money for next time?
We've set up a savings plan and are putting aside a percentage of our income to go strictly toward our Missions Fund.
I'm also still doing portrait sessions to raise money.
Any and all money that I get from these sessions goes straight into the missions fund. I will continue to sell prints as well. All money from those sales will also go directly to the missions fund. When we get the prompting from God that we should head over to Africa, I may seek more support, but again (you will notice a theme) we'll follow His lead on that. :)
So there ya have it, those are a lot of the questions I've been getting from people lately. Do you have a question I didn't answer? Feel free to leave it in the comment section and I'll get back to you, or publish it on the blog as soon as I get it.
Thanks for reading and joining me on this journey friends, it's been good!