Author Archives: unashamedgrace

The tale of badly misconstrued measurements

It was a hot hazy day in Ghana, just as every other day had been while we were there. Harmattan was in full swing. We had been there for a few days already and I was starting to think about looking for a dress for Aurora. She had made it very clear that she wanted an African dress and some jewelry. The home we were staying at was just down a short dirt road (subdivision seems like the wrong word….) with a few houses on it a 1-2 minute walk from one of the main roads, we had to walk it every day to go to the market or get to the church where we were teaching in the evenings. We noticed that there was a seamstress right there and decided to stop in and get a quote from her, and pick out a style before heading into the market to find the right fabric.

I know a little about sewing having grown up with a seamstress for a mom (she will freak when she sees me call her that but it is true) so I knew that I would need her waist measurement and the height from nape of neck to floor. Armed with these measurements (via text to my mom) I head across the street with Lesley, Anna and Millicent ready to do business. The problem is that although Ghana is technically an English country, it really isn’t. In the city most people speak a little bit of English, you need to speak slowly (our accents….) and not use big words and you should be ok but the further you get from the city the less English they speak. In Nsawam most people speak a tiny bit at least and the people who came to the teaching spoke enough to understand and communicate quite well as long as we were careful to speak slowly and clearly. Well, this seamstress spoke none. Ok, I can handle this, I have Anna and Millicent, they are both Ghanian and speak Twi as their first language. So they rattle off with her and I just stand there like an idiot trying to be useful.

I chose a pattern and told the seamstress Aurora’s age and start to give the two measurements that I have…. Now my second problem starts. I am not good with details. This is a slight understatement. I really do try but it seems the harder I try the worse it gets. So I start giving measements to the seamstress’s assistant using the numbers and signing with my trusty hostesses there to help if needed.

“Ok. Waist – 43 inches.”

They look at me with confusion, then start rattling off to Anna again. “How old did you say she is?”

“Oh she is 7 but she is very tall so she is more like 8 in her size.”

They continue to look at me with confusion but not wanting to show how horrified they are at my ginormous offspring they calmly write it down. Waist 43 inches.

“Ok, Height – 26 inches…wait a minute….”

Luckily I realized my mistake, giggled about it and tried to explain. Ok no problem. She gave me the amount of yardage I would need and sent me on my way.

Next stop, slightly down the road there was a tailor, I would stop in quickly and ask about a boy’s shirt for Gideon. Since Gideon is a tiny little guy I didn’t bother getting measurements, he is a bit smaller than most African 4-year-olds I hung out with so this would be easy. For some reason it wasn’t. Usually even for an adult outfit this tailor just needs to see a picture of someone and can make an outfit to fit them perfectly. (seriously….skill!) I told the tailor (who spoke even less English than the seamstress, and being a man seemed to understand my signing less than the seamstress had) his age, that he is small and even showed a video of Gideon to him so he would see what he looks like. Nope, I need measurements

“Nope, I need measurements.” he told Anna, but did tell me how much fabric I would need.

We headed off to the market, chose our fabrics and brought them back later in the day. By this time I had gotten a text back from my mom with Gideon’s waist measurement and the length that the shirt should be.

“Waist – 22 inches, length – 14 inches”

“What about his shoulders?”

“Oh, I will have to ask and come back.”

My mom had already sent this measurement, but my dislexia and attention to details flared up here again. She had used numbers to write the other two measurements but had written out “five and a half” for the length of one shoulder so I didn’t notice it. (me with details….).

The next day (time difference…) I get this response:

That’s 11″, it would have been double the other one

Ok, head back to the tailor and tell him, I could do this one alone it would be easy, I wouldn’t need a translator. Caleb went with me.

“Shoulders 24 inches.”

He writes it down and doesn’t even look at me funny.

I leave feeling accomplished.

Several hours later as we are all sitting quietly studying for the evening class I start thinking over what I told him.

“Oh crap. Did I really say that?”

I check the text from my mom. Shoulders are 11 inches, the double it was from the “five and a half” in the first text. Did I say 11? I think I said 24. Where did I get that number from?!

“Hey Caleb, did I tell the guy that Gideon’s shoulder are 11 inches or 24 inches?” I called from the other room.

“I think you said 24.”

I burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter, woke up Lesley and disturbed the guys who are diligently studying. I came stumbling out of the room sobbing, doubled over and attempted to explain what I had done. I say the “double it” and doubled the 11 – except even that doesn’t really make sense because 24 isn’t the double of 11……

I began to picture what this shirt would look like. What this child would look like.

Shoulders: 26″ wide

Waist: 22″ around

Length: 14″

More fits of laughter. Oh dear. “I need to go fix this!”

Then I remembered what I had done with Aurora’s measurements and laughed even harder picturing these two freak of nature children standing side by side. Mr. Football shoulders and Miss Beachball. Oh dear. I am such an idiot!

Thankfully when I stopped in with Paul (our host) he was able to explain the extent of my stupidity and the tailor had already figured out a plan.

It was pretty hard to walk past either place afterwards though without fits of laughter.

Moral of the story: I cannot be trusted with details or measurements.

signed

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
20160209_165728

The tale of the chicken taxi

It was always very dark when we left the training sessions and headed back home. Paul had made it clear that it was safe for us to walk TO the church for sessions (just before 5pm) but walking home was not safe. It wasn’t likely that we would get robbed or hurt walking home all together, but it was very possibly that a ruffian might follow us to find out where we were staying and rob us in the night. Safety is something we are always aware of, we don’t want to put our host family in any extra danger and we don’t want to lose anything valuable, especially our passports.

As we had done every night, we walked to the road, Anna hailed a couple taxis and all the ladies piled in and started for home while the men waited for the second taxi to follow.

The taxi Anna flagged seemed like it might be trouble (it had stalled 2 times just turning around to get us and had no tail lights) but most cars here have issues so we hopped on in and started for home.

I need to pause here to mention that Anna had spent about four hours removing her awesome weave, walking down to the road side “salon” getting her hair washed, moisturized and redone with big curlers that had to sit for many hours before being taken out. It was a long process for her and had taken most of the day.

Ok, back to the story.

The speed bumps here are insane, even going as slowly as possible most cars scrape as they go over, so our driver decided to go a different way which included a fairly steep hill (We are in the middle of some small mountains here.) but avoided all but one speed bump.

After stalling for the 30th time and not wanting to start again, Lesley and I started getting nervous. We didn’t know where we were, ànd knew we shouldn’t walk at night. We were beginning to think we would likely get robbed and I would lose my expensive DSLR and all our money, we were just hoping we would make it home unharmed even if we lost everything.

I sent a text to Pete letting him know that we kept stalling and didn’t know where we were, hoping that Paul could help them find us. The mood in the car was very tense. Did I mention it’s 30C? The fumes were pretty strong too.

Suddenly, the silence was peirced as something large came flying in the window through Anna’s hair straight into the cab driver. There was screaming and flapping and feathers flying everywhere. Finally the cabbie caught a very terrified and parcially plucked bantam chicken. The car erupted in laughter. Even the driver was cracking up. A chicken….flew into the cab….into Anna’s hair….

Apparently a dog was chasing it and the taxi seemed like the safest place to be.

The driver was able to get the car started and we slowly puttered/stalled our way home still laughing hysterically.

We teased the driver alot and waved goodbye to our “chicken taxi!”

signed

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

a loss

About a month ago I, along with many others, was the victim of a cyber attack. I was locked out of all of my websites for at least a month and now that they are finally back (thank you so much Zachary – Caleb’s computer genius brother) and most are unharmed, except this site. My site. I’ve lost everything I have written for the last 2 years. All gone.

Excuse while I got cry and make some strong coffee.

Ok. I haven’t actually cried about it yet but it is a pretty big blow. I know, I know, I should have backed up and I certainly will from now on. I guess I just thought that this would never happen.

Word to the wise (and to idiots like me) don’t keep it all just online! Back it up somewhere, multiple places multiple external hard drives and websites.

So now I will go pull myself together, drink that coffee and later on I will share one of my funny stories from Ghana.

signed

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

what God and “science” really say about me

IMG_9239I saw a heartbreaking picture on Facebook today. The picture shows an adorable little girl holding a page full of lies.

I felt I just had to respond to it.

Our world is so full of lies about what “religion” says about people. This is what God says:

God says that anyone who harms a child is better off tying a millstone around his neck and jumping into the sea.

He sent his only Son to DIE for us, He made us in His image. He gives us hope for eternity. He hears our prayers, He answers them. He cares about the sparrows. He provides for us. He is our fortress, an ever present help in times of trouble. He is a Father to the fatherless. I could go on and on.

According to “science” i.e. evolution we are just a cosmic accident. We came from animals, we are basically just animals ourselves. We have no soul, no hope, no purpose, no life after death.

Now which is really more damaging?

Hope for Heaven through Christ, or a guarantee of Hell whether you believe in it or not?

Like I said, it breaks my heart.

signature

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

a letter to working moms

Dear working mom,

Hi, I’ve been wanting to write you a letter for a while. You see, we stay at home moms (and work from home moms) keep getting letters from you and I thought you deserved a response.

The last letter I read from you was about a week or two ago and it has been on my mind ever since.

Here are a couple things I want you to understand:

1. SAHMs who say inconsiderate things to you like “I could never leave my kids to work” or “how do you do it?” are often feeling very judged by society and their way of trying to compensate sometimes is passing that judgement back to you. No one ever says “oh you are just a nurse?” or “oh…you are an office manager” in those condescending tones used by people when they say “oh you stay at home with your kids?” or “oh ya, that is the hardest job right?”

Yes, you feel judged by us but we also feel extremely judged.

2. I know sometimes it looks like we have it made in the shade but remember when you have your adult conversations at work (even if you feel like your coworkers are children) that we are often longing for an adult to talk to for just a second someone who won’t talk back or hit or whine (although in all honesty a lot of adults do 2 of those three things daily). So when we have play dates or whatever it is often just an attempt at keeping our sanity until bed time.

3. I am not complaining and stay at home moms should never complain because despite the frustrations we may feel, being able to stay at home with our children is a huge privilege that some of you (especially you single moms) do not have. We value that (most days) and even though some of us may make you feel bad we often look up to you.

4. For some of you it isn’t a choice, you have to work. (I am talking mostly about you single moms, or wives of husbands who have been laid off, haven’t been able to find a job or are in ministry or injured or anything like that. ) But some of you do have a choice, you have made the choice that you feel is right for your family. That is the same thing we did. 

5. We as moms (all moms) already have so many people judging us. We have judgment coming from almost every direction. “oh you don’t let your kids have sugar? That is stupid and mean.”, “oh you DO let them have sugar, that isn’t healthy!“, “oh you vaccinate?“, “You DON”T vaccinate?” the list goes on and on and on. We don’t need to be judging each other for choosing to stay home or be a working mom.

In the end there is just so many more important things we could be doing that laying guilt trips on each other all the time for making the choices we feel are right for our families. In the end the only person who will answer for our choices is us and if we are focusing on the Lord and keeping him in our decisions then who is another mom to judge you for it?

SO working moms, know that we support you. We appreciate what you do for your children and so do they. We do not judge you, and next time a mom makes you feel judged just keep in mind that she is probably feeling very judged and frazzled herself and is making the mistake of putting that on you. Pray for her and try not to hate her. 

All of us, as parents, have the hardest job in the world. We are shaping the world. It is scary and wonderful and we can all use all the support we can get from each other.

Love from,

An at home mom

signature

 

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

feeling restless?

Do you ever get that restless feeling, the one that is like an itch you can’t seem to scratch? For me  it is a creative itch, a feeling that i should be creating something and no matter what I create it doesn’t seem to satisfy the restlessness.

IMG_8063

This isn’t a winter restlessness or a cabin fever feeling I am talking about, this feeling can strike just as easily in the summer.

Am I alone here? Do you know what I am talking about?

I am a fairly creative person so if I am not changing the furniture around, painting the house, working on art or some interesting photography I get bored, but that empty restless feeling is different. It doesn’t feel good. It is an emptiness that no amount of creativity can fill.

I think I have found what causes it. I have noticed recently that when I am ignoring God and not spending time reading the word the feeling comes; If i am spending time in the Word every day then it fades quickly and goes away.

I guess all of those times when i was trying to fill that emptiness with art or words or whatever I was trying to fill what could only be filled by God.

I wonder how many of you feel the same way I do and have found that this is also true in your lives.

signature

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Update with pictures

I have left my poor blog abandoned once again for far too long.

Here is a a little update on some of what has happened in our lives this past month. (not in order necessarily.)

Aurora got her hair cut. She has been asking to for a while and we finally got around to it. This was he first hair cut at a stylist. She was pretty excited. We do miss her curls but it is still a curly  just not as tight. and brushing is easier on her. It took a while to get used to how much older she looks.

IMG_20140104_172528

This one is from earlier in December so it is old but cute so I wanted to include it. I signed Leo up to get a Heart Hero cape while he was still in the hospital. I didn’t even know they existed until I was looking doing research after the painting I did for him. I thought it was cool so i signed him up and it arrived one day when we happened to be babysitting him. He looks really cute in it. I didn’t get a picture of the back because he was moving too much and the cell phone pictures were blurring. The back is cool though.20131211_192946 We went to Chicago for the big yearly Christmas party we have there. The kids had a great time with their second cousins. They only get to see each other once or twice a year but they sure have a good time together when they are together. 20131220_145914 20131221_093109 Gideon is talking so much more. in the last month he has changed a lot. he used full sentences and is as cute as ever. He is growing up WAY too fast.

IMG_20140101_104439We have been working on more renovations and continuing the ones we started in the summer. Our furnace died right before the major freeze here. We have been staying warm with heaters but  are switching over to gas from oil so it is causing some renovating to happen in the basement.

That is my tiny update for now since I feel another migrain coming on… more to come.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

friendship, loneliness and the facade of perfection

I’ve been thinking yesterday and today about how we, as women, often misrepresent ourselves and and the women around us. We look at the women around us and assume that they have it all put together that they never feel lonely or desperate or discouraged, and put on a face (sometimes on purpose sometimes not) that makes us look that way to other women.

So many of us women spend a lot of our lives lonely and longing for deep friendship with other women. Women were made to need each other, we need other women to push us to godliness, encourage us when we are down, laugh with us and cry with us and sometimes hold up a mirror to show us that we are behaving like selfish spoiled children.

It is easy to look at the women around us and assume that they don’t feel this way even when we do. It is scary to put ourselves out there and ask for friendship, to admit loneliness and show our hearts and risk rejection. It can also be scary to approach someone you think may be lonely and offer your friendship.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and it reminded me of the days when i was in the place, I had just moved up from Chicago and 3-4 years of intense loneliness and pain . In my naivety I assumed that simply moving  to where there were a lot of women my age and attending a church full of young couples would change that but I was wrong. For months I spent time watching other friendships and wishing to be part of one and not quite sure how. (I am not a quiet person so don’t assume that just because someone isn’t shy, quiet, introverted or because they always have a smile on their face that they are not desperately lonely.) It wasn’t until I reached the bottom and was *forced* by my mom to call of ladies that things started to change. I started to experienced real friendship again for the first time in a really long time.

It is scary to open ourselves up, friendship is hard, it takes a LOT of work to maintain and our lives are often so busy. Maybe we already have one or two deep friendships and don’t think we need more. But what about those lonely souls around us. The ones who smile at us and make small talk on Sundays. The ones who look like they have it all together. What if you could see past that shell into their desperate hearts? What if they are crying for someone to spend time with them and pray with them and listen to their hopes and fears.

I pray that God would open our eyes and our hearts to those around us who are secretly lonely. That we would either be that friend they so desperately need or that we would pray with them for bravery to seek that friendship.

signature

*To those dear women who have become those friends to me, I cannot thank the Lord enough for you. I am so blessed through you.

*I in no way want to belittle the friendships I had in Chicago with the sweet ladies I worked with, if you girls are reading this know that I love you dearly. And Allison, you were a beautiful light in such a dark time and you will forever be one of the dearest friends I have -despite distance and seeing each other only once a year. And my mom and sister, you have always been there for me and I love you so much.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

#PrayforIran

Today is the big day. The day we all need to use our voices in every way we can to remind those in power that we will not forget about Saeed Abedini like they want us to.

That we won’t forget about his family who is waiting and praying for his return

That we won’t forget about the 1 million Muslim people that Saeed and his wife have been praying for for so long. We will join them and pray for at least 1 million muslims to learn to truth of Christ and to be freed from the prison that they are in. If Saeed hadn’t been imprisoned most of us probably wouldn’t think to pray for Iran and the salvation of as many of it’s people as possible. Without Saeed and Naghmeh’s sacrifice many Iranian’s wouldn’t have already heard the gospel of Jesus and learned the truth about Him that Islam has tried to hide for so long.

Once again persecutors have tried to silence the Word and have instead given it a voice and helped it spread.

So Today let’s praise God for the work he is doing through our dear brother and sister. Let’s pray desperately for them: For Saeed’s health, and for strength and grace for them both and their children; For the people they all come in to contact with who are lost and For Saeed’s release.

#SaveSaeed

#FreeSaeed

#prayforIran

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

#FreeSaeed

What a neat testimony. Wow.

I know it is 19 minutes long but it is really worth your time to watch.

Don’t forget to use social media tomorrow to remind Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani that we will not forget Saeed Abedini.  They both have twitter accounts so you can tweet right to them using the hashtags #SaveSaeed and #freesaeed

Pray for continued strength for his family and for Saeed himself.

Pray for the millions of muslims that Saeed and Naghmeh have been praying for to hear the truth of Christ since before they even met.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube