Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our House, in the middle of the....

...Farm! I've been wanting to give you a sneak peak of our home in Zambia! I'm figuring that you will think it is actually pretty nice! I think it is NOTHING like people envision! It's not a hut, and it's about the same size our home is now!
It's located about a 20 minute walk from the school, and is on the "outskirts" of the compound (what people think of a village... only it isn't a village, it's a compound).
The house sits on about a 6 acre farm that LifeSong owns. We are kinda on the front middle acre, with a wall around it. Anyway... check it out... Shane got to stay last night in the house for the first time! Now, if he could just get water in the house he'd be doing a lot better! Pray that happens this week!!

This is the front... obviously. Shane is hoping to get a screened in porch on the front so that in the evenings we can sit outside without getting eaten by mosquitos.

One of our bathrooms! Don't be jealous of the pink tub... KG will like it! Getting tile on the floor to... from what I hear.

This is the living room and dinning room! spacious huh?

This is where the work happens.... ha.

Here is our front yard. I think those are mango or avocado trees (the big ones) and some lemon and lime trees... so I'm told... YUMMMY!!

We are so grateful for our new home... and I have visions of what that home holds for us.... Praying it glorifies God in a mighty way.

On a different note...I'm thinking that we are getting into our new groove. The first week is over.
This is our last week in TX... too bad it's gonna be the hottest one yet... 108 they say. AND I'm missing my only winter (in Zambia) right now... won't get another one for another YEAR!! Blast! ;)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not a piece of cake...


Let me just be honest... while it is easy to blog about the good things... funny things... exciting things... it's certainly not easy to blog about the hard things. Yet, to fantasize something is not truth, it is only a lie.

This is hard.
Are we surprised or caught off guard by it? Not really... but that doesn't make it easier. While I'm fighting
daily demands
whining children
packing up a house...

He's having reality smack him in the face of how hard life in Zambia really will be:
the HUGE learning curve,
the endless to do list,
being alone,
death, etc...

And before we know it, things we thought we had given over and surrendered, we find holding once again. Fear, anxiety, desire for comfort... the list goes on and on. But, we must combat it with truth... and of course, Jesus never disappoints with His word:

"In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. and take the helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Eph 6:16

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation." Is 12:2

"For nothing will be impossible with God" Luke 1:37

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Cor 12:9

"I AM A MIGHTY GOD. Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day's demands against your strength. What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources. When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.
I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in my presence, trusting in My Strength."

~Jesus Calling~

(Shane... I believe this one was just for us both... I know we are well aware of our weaknesses, especially when we are apart... But we MUST rely on the TRUTH and true strength that comes only from the LORD... and He is here with us both... I love you & the man you are...)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


.... feel it??? That's called writers block...

It happens to me when there are so many emotions mixed with so many demands. Where to start? How do I sort through all this? Where's my mom and a big glass of something?

I talked with the Mr. today... and after a delayed flight or something like that... He and my dad finally made it to Kitwe and are settled into the SHAMA-BINGA-BABY! That's the super sweet lodge... It's really just called the Shamabinga Lodge and Resort... but we like our name for it, personally. It's really quite a beautiful place... and you can't beat the kind people who own it! See here....

That is also where the Zambia bloopers was taped.

In the next day or two I'll give you a tour of our home in Zambia! Quite exciting!!

On the home front... yeah, that's the part I'm not quite ready to process yet. Let's just say things are quite busy here... and leave it at that. ;) I've got a little over a week to be all packed up and leaving TX... one. step. closer.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twas the Night before...

2 Years ago today... We saw THIS sweet face for the first time...

In less than 3 hours... the Mr. will be boarding a plane to take him to THIS place...

Kinda glad God doesn't give us a flash forward of our lives... we'd never believe it if we saw it in advance!!

(for those who have emailed and left messages... thanks. We are doing pretty good. Of course, 2 days down... 37 to go! ask me again in about 20 days.)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The next 24 hours...

There really are no words to describe the emotions...
You KNOW God has called you to it...
After the initial hesitation and physical illness (no, really)... We're IN completely...
The preparation to get to this point was really... sometimes hard, but not horrific...
And you suddenly realize that you will "never be ready" for this...
When you THINK your faith is strong... but then it's time to actually jump...
You realize that it takes WAY MORE than what you have.


I can't do this... alone.
I'm dreading the next 24 hours, where I'll say goodbye to my best friend and husband... the leader of my family.
You say "this is worth it"... but there are moments I doubt it.
The dread of tears shed... by me... by my kids... by my man... ugh.
6 weeks is a L.O.N.G. time (you military wives out there, feel free to make fun... I'm a complete wimp!)

Despite all these emotions... I lift my eyes from my feet *attempting* to tread water and I look for HIS face. And there... We find our strength... JOY... and ability to look PAST the next 6 weeks and into a life God has most certainly called us to.

Please pray for us... Pray for the Mr. as he travels from here to TN... and then to Zambia on Monday.

It's then... the stories will begin. Our life in Zambia begins... NEXT WEEK!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Story...

Our story... wow. So much to say. Where to start? How do we even adequately express all that God has done in our lives? The redemption, the stretching, the beauty from our messes, the so many blessings, the stripping of control, the journey we never thought we'd do... wow.

Here's just a small glimpse of "us" and "our story" ... at least from the past few months... This will be added to the "Our Story" section soon.

***A HUGE shout out to Corey Lamb and the communications team at our church for putting this together as part of our send off. YOU.ARE.AWESOME. ***


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flashback to one year ago...

As the "end" approaches to life as we know it in Texas, I've been quite reflective. I went searching and reading through old blog posts (ah... that's the purpose of blogging...) and read our FIRST blog post on this blog... which was exactly a year ago this week. I actually Laughed Out Loud (not just saying it). Because if my life were a movie in which I had written the script for (which a. it is not and b. glad someone else is writing the story of my life)... one might think it was a foreshadowing of things to come...

"Over the past 8 months, we have been "cocooning"... even in blog world! ha! We brought E home from Ethiopia the day after Thanksgiving and put our blog to private at that time. I think there were things on my heart and mind I wasn't ready to share with the whole world. During this time, we have been refined... re-defined... and ready to re-enter the public blog world...haha!
It truly has been one of the hardest, and yet most beautiful times of our lives. God has litterally stripped us of all "assumed control" and has shown us what it is REALLY like to gravel at the feet of Jesus. He's revealed parts of our hearts we didn't want to see... and it has left us with choices to make. We simply want to "leave it all on the court" in this life... and we want to challenge others to do the same. To start this blog... I want to just copy one of my posts from this past 8 months to give you a glimpse into the McB journey...

Here's the thing... I don't know why... but God is bringing us to a place we've never been before. I don't know what that looks like or what he will do... but I'm pretty sure it's gonna look crazy to anyone who doesn't understand the WHY of what we are doing. I just don't want to live my life with regrets, or boundaries placed upon my life by ME... or Society... or anyone. I want to only accept the boundaries placed within my life by God Almighty. I really want to GIVE HIM MY ALL.... What does that look like? My time... energy... service... love... money... house... comfort... car... TV... reserve... I just want to LOVE LOVE LOVE. him... others... the people on the street we want to avoid looking at... people I disagree with... those who are hurting... those who are blind... the self-righteous... the sick... the poor... the orphan... the diseased... those without clean water... the homeless... the druggie... the prostitute... the atheist...the sex-trafficer... the victim... the offender... I really want to LOVE like Jesus. And I'm starting to think that may start to look pretty crazy... At the end... when I stand and look at Jesus...I want to know I loved with HIS power and not what "I thought I could do." Simply Love with the love of Jesus...

We are excited to start this new journey.... one of learning... stretching & growing... one of meeting the next McB... one of shedding the unnecessary. We hope you will join along...laugh at us... see the messes we make... and see the Maker redeem!"

Yeah, I had NO IDEA what God was up to in our hearts... and honestly, still don't. What I know is this: HE IS ABLE.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever." Eph 3:20-21


Friday, July 15, 2011

And the survey says....

Ok friends... if you have ever wanted to express yourself... now's the time to do it! We are heavy in the packing stage of things, which has brought forth quite a few questions. So... this is my survey! If you read this, I need you to help! Just leave your comments answering any or all of my questions.

1. What are the top 3 kitchen items you would take to Africa?

2. What are the best children's books you would take?

3. What are the best toys/activities that occupy kids on a VERY LONG plane ride?

4. What would you put on your iPod? Favorite Worship Songs? Best all around music?

5. What Podcasts do you listen to?

6. Favorite games?

Thanks for your input!!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Truth or Die...

I'm sure you remember that infamous game we all played "back in the day"... TRUTH or DARE... It was always painful to tell the truth... but sometimes equally painful to act out a dare!

This week, I find myself in the need of TRUTH or I'm gonna DIE. Not in reality, but spiritually... emotionally... relationally.


The father of LIES chokes out joy. He uses circumstances in our lives to attempt to gain the "high ground" of our minds.

he says "You can't do this."


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:13

he says " You aren't strong enough to handle life there"


" Do not fear, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Is 41:10

he says " You are crazy to leave this life you have... good friends, good ministry, everything at your fingertips..."

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mat 6:19-21

he says : "You don't know what you are doing, You can't do this job"


"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph 2:10

he says "Be jealous of X, Y, Z"

"And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
Ecc 4:4

he says "you are going to screw up your kids"

" He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge" Prv 14:26

he says "They don't love you and will forget about you once you are gone."


"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Ps 139:7-10

he says "be afraid of the darkness that awaits you..."

"If I say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you." Ps 139: 11-12

I'm choosing TRUTH this week... taking all those thoughts CAPTIVE and to the one who can FREE me from them! God so desires for us to be FREE... and LIVE in HIS TRUTH! Oh, but it's so hard not to swim around in the yuck... Praying we all can stand on truth when the lies come...

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night, He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither..." Ps 1:2-3


Monday, July 11, 2011

What it looks like on the inside...

Well, my friends certainly whipped me into shape... it feels overwhelming and like a ton of pressure to pack 10 bags and call it your life. What to choose, what's the most important, what can't We do without? Honestly, it's quite convicting to see that when it comes right down to it... we really don't NEED that much. And yes, even in 10 bags for a family of 5, there's still quite a few luxuries.

All that to say... my house is quite empty....

BUT, my heart is SO FULL!!!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Goodbye says it all...

This past week we had 2 amazing "goodbye" parties. In less than 2 weeks, the Mr. will get on a plane to Zambia!!

We've had an amazing time connecting with friends that, honestly, feel more like family. The challenge, generosity, and love felt through these friendships have been indescribable. It's been great to be with such amazing people. However, when the party is over... you have to say "goodbye"... that's the downside.

Here are just a few pics from our "goodbyes" thus far. I really stink at taking pictures and being social at the same time. You can guess which one I chose, thus I really don't have that many great photos with everyone! (I took a picture with my heart, ya'll)

And now... let the packing begin!! In a couple of hours I have 2 amazing "home organizer" friends gonna come and whip me into shape... I'll let you know how it goes.


Baking with Norah Jones & Jack Johnson...

Hey friends! So, I have STUNK at blogging this week... but ROCKED at spending time with amazing friends! (that's another post)

So... here's the deal... you probably won't see another recipe on this blog, because I'm about to give you all I've got. ha. I'm not necessarily the best cook in town, but I can make a mean strawberry pie and peach cobbler. So... thought I'd share my recipes with you... since my granny was so nice to share it with me. :)

I believe it started with a lady named Mary Starr? I suppose she's my granny's generation of Paula Dean. But I love to bake with a little Norah Jones and Jack Johnson on the radio... ahhh. Anyway... here you go!

Strawberry Pie:

1 cold, cooked pie shell (deep dish is best)
1cup of sugar
2T of cornstarch
1/2 t of salt
1 cup of boiling water
4T of strawberry jello
1lb strawberries

Boil water. In a bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add to water and cook until thick and clear. Add Jello. Pour over your crust with strawberries added already. Let set in fridge and top with cool whip when ready to serve. :)

Peach Cobbler:

1/2 cup butter
2 cup sugar...divided
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of milk
4 cups of sliced peaches
1T of lemon juice
some pumpkin pie spice to your taste :)

Melt butter in 13X9 inch pan with oven set to 375. Mix 1 cup of sugar, flour, and milk. Bring peaches to boil with lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar (I add a bit of water, but not too much) and boil for about 3 minutes. Add spice if you like.

Get melted butter pan out of oven, pour batter mix, then add peaches. Cook at 375 for about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with... you guessed it... vanilla ice cream :)

*you may not only love like crazy... but please, eat like crazy! ;) *

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What the "Gottcha Day" video didn't tell you...

You know this... we've seen a ton of videos that bring us to tears... it shows a waiting family, a waiting child, and the glorious day where they "instantly" become a family... in love. The video ends with hugs and smiles. We are hooked, and some are convinced this represents the adoption journey. (here me out here, i'm certainly NOT anti-video... we have one, and I believe it is a BEAUTIFUL picture of the gospel... of a family's start of a story... and it certainly SHOULD be celebrated!)

What I've found, though, over the past couple of years is that adoption is so easily fantasized. I was guilty of it, despite my walking with many families through it as a social worker. We want to think "that's not going to happen to me" or "because I'm adopting an infant it will be easy."

I've worked with families recently who have said "Wow, I didn't know it was hard." And some even consider walking away from a child.

So... Here's 10 things that OUR video... nor anyone else's I've seen... doesn't tell you:

1. You might not feel the way you expect when you get "The Call." While I've been madly in love with E from the beginning, when I saw his picture I wasn't necessarily overwhelmed with emotion. I knew he was the son God had for us. But ultimately I was in love with the possibility of being in love with him.

2. While you are all excited and counting down the days until you meet your child, they basically have no idea about you (unless they are older). They are just living life until one day this strange couple shows up and starts snotting all over them.

3. They might not like you at first... and you might not like them. Check out the first pic we have of E as he is laying eyes on us... yes, it is SCREAMING that he is in complete love with us... LOL. It also took us almost 2 hours before we could pick him up. We didn't take him with us the first day, because we felt it was too difficult for him. Slow and steady... and it was miserable for us, but in the end it was the right thing for him. And there were times in the first 6-9 months that frustration was the overriding emotion.

4. Your children will grieve. They will be sad to leave whatever environment they were in. They've built relationships, bonds, and routine that will be missed.

5. Because of this grief, they may not want you to hold them... they may actually hit, kick, scream or bite at you. Luckily for me, E took that out on his siblings at first. We went from 99.9% happy to 99.9% conflict when E came home. Happy to report, we are back to approximately 94.3% happy. Pretty darn good.

6. Regardless of age... YOU and YOUR CHILD might be EXHAUSTED due to little sleep, sleep disturbances, etc.

7. There's no guarentee for a happy ending.

8. It takes a LOT of work... and you may find yourself locked in the bathroom crying. (and I ain't talking about the happy tears, either)

9. There will be days you say "did I just ruin our lives?" (the answer is no)

10. The most tender, sweet moments that occur make the videos look stoic in comparison. I look back at our video now and think... wow... we were just getting started. We are MADLY in love now in comparison. It's kinda like marriage, with age it just gets sweeter. (I didn't necessarily say easier)

So hear me on this... adoption is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and amazing journeys of our lives. I'm blessed to say that with E, many of the difficulties disappeared within the first year of being home. I just think so often times we get caught up in the emotion, and sick of the wait... when we could be using that time to spiritually prepare, and educate ourselves for the journey ahead. I also don't want any families out there to think they are weird because they didn't "feel" the way they thought initially. Of course, there are families who would say they didn't struggle with ANY of these things, but I would venture to say that is the EXCEPTION to the rule.

My prayer for my family, and for yours, is that we love our children the way they are... that our relationship with them will help them and us become more fully the person God created us to be... and that regardless of how hard the road may be ahead, we know God has called us to walk it.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

water for a dry land...

While our life has certainly been all things Zambia the past few months, Ethiopia certainly holds a very close part of our hearts as a family. I so often pray for E's birthmother, that if she is still alive, she can sense God's presence. You might think this weird, but I actually pray that God would be with her and let her know that E is doing alright... to give her some sense of peace.

As I'm getting ready to go stuff my face, enjoy food and fireworks... and when it's hot, I'm gonna get a nice cold drink... THIS article came across my attention.

Particularly this part:

"In Ethiopia, the estimated number of people in need of emergency food and non-food assistance was revised upwards from 2.8 million to 3.2 million. Nearly two thirds of the requirements were in the southern Somali and Oromia regions as well as in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, where shortages of water and food were recorded. Cereal prices there have continued to rise, with inflation rates close to 30 percent recorded in April. "

You see, E is from the SNNPR. He has family there. And things are bad.
I can't continue on about my nice holiday weekend without stopping to pray for the other part of our family that is in Ethiopia. I'm praying that God would quench their hunger and thirst, even without food and water... He could do that. Won't you pray with me for this crisis?

"He turned the dessert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs of water." Psalms 107:35