Tuesday, December 13, 2016


After a (for me!) uneventful trip, I arrived safely at home this last Wednesday. It has been so good to be with my family, and I look forward to the next few months of rest. Because that is what I am desperate need of, rest.

London and Bath were amazing; I’m so thankful that this personal treat worked out! As I held out on Christmas music until I left the station, it was a real treat to see, hear, and smell all the Christmas in England. Mince pies! Roasting chestnuts! Mulled wine!

Right now I’m pitching in on various family projects, working through some things I need, and just enjoying being home in the States. I picked up the care I’m leasing from MTT yesterday so I have my own wheels, and I’ve pretty much got my new laptop and phone figured out.

I'm home!

The nerd in me had so much fun at Bath!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Last Week

As I work through my truly daunting list of ‘Things that MUST be done,’ ‘Things that probably aught to be done,’ and ‘Things I would LIKE to be done’ lists, I’m so grateful to be finished with report cards. Huzzah—I survived 7 years of the crazy! I got an average of 5 hours of sleep each night last week, and I was on the verge of tears a few times, but there were no major meltdowns, and so far I have managed to snatch a few naps while also being productive. God is good.

Lets see… A lot of this last week is a hazy blur as I marked, wrote report cards, and worked on a variety of end of term related projects. I celebrated Thanksgiving two days late with Beth and Ruthie.

Progress continues on the covered play areas; they are starting to pour the floor.

We celebrated leavers party tonight--games, food, and the presentation of bibles to the leavers. The theme was Bible Characters.

And, the Zambian skies are again amazing. Just two more days till I head out!

Monday, November 21, 2016

"I have no great joy than this,"

"to hear of my children walking in the truth." - 3 John 4

The highlight of this last week was to see one of our grade 9 students obey the Lord in baptism. Having watched this lovely young lady grow up from grade 3 onwards, to see her making this public profession of the new life I have seen in her was truly special. It was also special that her dad, a missionary at a nearby station, was able to baptize her as part of our joint prayer meeting. The Lord has really been working in the hearts of particularly the junior boys this term, and Satan has also been at work, but to see these glimpses of what He is doing is such a privilege.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thus begins the last 'normal' week of school

I’m trying to remember what all happened this last week. Um… Half-term, the 7-9th graders made it safely back from the Copper Belt sports tour, my kids were totally ‘hung over’ for most of the week, and I had a busy weekend on. I’ve been working through preparations for next term—things as mundane as notebooks and binders set aside and labeled and the more exciting such as a big ‘where to find it’ document for whoever fills in for me. I have my big bag half packed, and I need to weigh it to figure out how much of the stuff currently stacked on top of it is going to get to go home that way.

So far my shoulder is holding out; I’m being very careful how I use it. I’ve started playing through the whole program once a day to try and build up some more endurance, and I’m being careful how much I knit to avoid straining it prematurely. Please pray that I’ll be able to make it through the program and the rehearsals without too much pain.

Parting shot: The skies here remind me to lift my eyes up to my Maker and the source of my strength.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

His Mercies are New Every Morning

I am so glad that there are new mercies for every morning, and that no week lasts forever. This past week was quite a challenging on several levels. For one thing, last week my grade 7 students had seven national exams to write, and directly after writing the last one on Friday morning they and the grade 8’s and 9’s headed down to Chingola for their annual Sports Tour. So, there was a lot to do to get ready for that, and there was a lot of shuffling classes around to make sure that the most vital things were accomplished. Grade 6 wasn’t left out of the testing joy either—Phil had me doing a lot of Key Stage 2 (the British systems) assessments with them that ended up filling up a lot of the week as well. There was a personal melt-down early in the week when the last straw was reached over a vacuum cleaner (don’t ask), and I wadded through so much marking. I had to get the grade 9 students ready for the practical part of their music exam, and there was, of course, the usual duties and things to accomplish.

After that, what a blessing to have a weekend off! To have the chance to make my favorite molasses spice cookies and a big pot of chili, drink good tea, knit, spend time with Ruthie and Beth, and just breath. It was a rainy weekend, so I got to enjoy the sound of rain from the comfort of my house for once! It is in the midst of times like these that the Lord’s goodness shines out all the more, and after some sleep, some time alone, and some time with Him, I am feeling better. So, just in case you thought I was some kind of super Christian, I am in need of grace just as much as the next person!

Parting shot: Grade 1 and 2 girls roller skating this half-term.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 8

Last week was…intense. While I didn’t have a sudden invasion of grade 9 music students and power stealing teachers, my cleaner for most of the school buildings didn’t show up for work all week, and I didn’t hear anything at all from him until Friday afternoon. I suspect that the only reason I heard from him then is that the ‘bush telephone’ had let him know I was starting to shake the bushes for him. Thankfully he came into work this Monday, so while I am writing a letter for his file, hopefully this won’t happen again. My students probably hope so—one of them who was out to lunch for large portions of Friday afternoon ended up doing some community service cleaning in the admin!

This week is also an intense one in my classroom; my grade 7 students are writing their national exams. They need to keep up with the core items of their regular studies as well, and then on Friday as soon as they finish the last exam the grade 7-9 students are heading down to the Copper Belt for their annual sports tour. So, before they go, I am trying to get two pieces of paperwork done—one for the Teaching Council of Zambia and one for Imigration, as well as a baby gift that I want to send to some friends. I’m trying to get corrections done and make sure that while not overburdening my grade 7’s, that I’m also getting done what must be so that we can finish the term in good shape.

I’ve also started the lists of things that must be done before I leave Sakeji for my furlough on the afternoon of December 1st. It’s hard to know how much to put and how much to leave to my substitute’s good judgment. Speaking, of, that is a prayer point—who will be taking my class while I’m away. So, prayers for sanity, strength, patience, and grace would all be appreciated!

Parting shot: I love frangipani blossoms like these ones; so lovely!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Unexpected Meeting and Independence Day

Last week I had an exciting Thursday; I was supposed to take our three grade 9 students in to the local school where they are writing their national exams for a run through of the practicals on the music exam, but much to our surprise, the whole grade 9 music class and three teachers pitched up here! So, there was a scramble to set something up in the hall, we had to source a CD player to play last years test, and when their two CD’s didn’t work I had to run and get my iPod on which I had thankfully just put a copy of the 2015 music exam. We gave the kids the exam, and then the music teacher and I sat down and marked them all using the answer key we (really mostly I) had made. All in all, two hours of my day went to this most interesting of exercises. I was a little stunned when they left to see the number of electronics they had brought with them for apparently the express purpose of charging them on the sly off our electricity…oh Zambia!

I was off this weekend and got to spend some time with Ruthie and Beth as well as get some rest and try to dig myself out from under marking mountain. Today, Monday, is the 52nd anniversary of Zambia’s Independence, so we celebrated with our traditional swimming gala, lunch at the river, and bonfire in the evening. Heavy rain this afternoon curtailed some of the house events, but as it is very much needed I was thankful. Here are a few pictures:

The flag raising in the morning,

And the bonfire that evening. No picture of the swimming gala as I was rather busy getting kids to their races! Happy 52nd birthday Zambia.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Slower Week

I was on this last weekend, so that meant that there were two damaged toes to deal with at the river, a splinter, and a grievous green mango eating incident. I had Ruthie take some pictures of the first part of Sunday school--the nice part where I still have 240 power! Here I am directing the juniors into my classroom for some singing before we split up,

I did a lot of marking this past week, so much so in fact that I was able to enjoy a Saturday evening with NO MARKING. What a nice treat!

This week I will be switching back into history; Tim has taken my science class, so I am excited to dive into ancient Greece. I have an interactive notebook resource that I'm excited to use, and of course I love teaching history. That's pretty much all for now--a slower week is a good thing now and then!

Parting shot: I enjoyed this glorious sunset a few nights ago.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Two weeks--Birthday Party and Half-Term

These last two week have been so, so busy, so yeah, blogging didn’t happen. This weekend I was off, it was half-term, and I powered through a good portion of my to-do list. I would like to think that I leave myself some goals, but the bottom line is that I just put more on as I cross things off.

First, a few pictures from our farming birthday party.

Half-term was a nice time of not just marking and accomplishing, but also some rest. My swim supervision turned into dorm supervision due to a big rainstorm on Friday, but after that we had lovely weather in the afternoons that let the kids take advantage of the lovely river playground. I even went swimming after lunch on Saturday! Here are a few pictures.

Rainy afternoon in the dorm,

'Bag supper' in the rain.

The amazing chocolate chip cookie dough cake I made for Bethany,

And down at the river on the second day of half-term.

Parting shot-- A lovely sunrise over the misty soccer field before early morning swim this half-term.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Challenging week with good moments

Last week was not the best week I’ve ever had, but God gives more grace! My students had their math brains hijacked by aliens (at least that explanation would be slightly better than the one I suspect), I felt like for everything I remembered/did another two weren’t taken care of, and I was tired, tired, tired. There were moments of laughter as well; I had a projector appear in the bin where I put the cleaning cloths for my cleaner (eventually we figured out that one—child listening error), and I got my junior music classes started on their pieces for the Christmas Music Assembly. I had some great hugs from second graders, and gave my piano students Christmas music. I read a great book, Unoffendable, and did the usual cleaning cloth laundry.

After all that, it was such a treat to have a girl night with Ruthie and Beth on Saturday, and then to spend Sunday afternoon out at the cottage with Tanis and her girls, Ruthie, and Mare. We put our chairs out on the shallow ledge of the river, ate brownies, talked, laughed, and in my case knit. It was so relaxing and such a treat after all the hustle and bustle of the week. I knew that I wouldn’t have the time to do something like that later in the term, and I’m so thankful that I got to fill my soul with some quiet, good fellowship, and time enjoying God’s creation.

Parting shots: That afternoon when we set a good part of the back of the school on fire...

And this is how paw-paw grows. See the yellow one? Almost ready to enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Some snippets from the first full week of school

* My cleaning woes have quieted down a bit now, but it was a very, very busy week, and I was tired, tired, tired!

* We had an epicly awful fire drill on Saturday; Lower School didn't hear and some kids were out for fitness groups--over 8 minutes to get ourselves assembled. When clean up started right after, I went into my classroom and jokingly remarked, "Well, we lost Lower School!" And then the 9th grader and I said in unison, "They're all dead!" to which the 5th grader asked how we managed to say that together. Great minds?

* We had board meeting on Friday; everyone traveled safely, and there was a good fellowship time afterwards.

* I have really been enjoying getting to know the two lady short-termers; one is a 'repeat visitor' and one is new, but they have been such a blessing to me.

* We have had a few good rains--early in the year for us, but very much appreciated!

Parting shots:

Wild Zambian skies,

Kids hard at work,

and Sunday river.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

Today start the first full week of our third and last school term of 2016. The week and a half before the kids arrive are full of standard teacher tasks such as going through textbooks, rearranging and cleaning classrooms, and planning. Because this is Sakeji, there have been more exciting jobs to do as well—hospitality for 5 newly arrived short termers, a trip into Ikelenge for a few supplies, moving two classrooms from their temporary locations into the mostly finished lower school, coming up with new cleaning schedules, ordering two terms worth of cleaning supplies from a new company, and a quick trip to the Copper Belt for cheese and butter among many other things. Thankfully I wasn’t involved in all of them! There is an incredible amount of work that goes into getting ready for a term, and while there are always ‘hiccups’ along the way, God is faithful and provides strength and grace.

As mentioned, this term we have 5 people out to help in various areas ranging from filling in for the Ronald’s as dorm parents, co-teaching grades 1-5 with various other staff members, and of course Sunday schools, craft times, supervisions, and all the other odd jobs that need doing. It is such a blessing to have this help; my science class is in capable hands this term, so I have a little extra time to work on the Christmas program music before we switch to history. Three of our short termers are ‘repeat’ visitors, so they are slipping into routines and schedules well.

I am planning to be away on furlough from December of this year through at least April of next year. I am so excited about getting to spend Christmas with my family! It has been two years since I was home, and I feel that the Lord is calling me to serve my family and recharge for a time. We don’t know who will be filling in for me at present, but are praying that the Lord will exercise the right person to step in while I am away.

As I finish off this year, there are some specific ways to pray for me this term. First, since I will be away for at least a term, I am working on planning and doing as much ground work as possible now so that the people who fill in for me will have as little inconvenience as possible. This is a bit challenging as I have full responsibilities this term to work through as well, so prayers for wisdom and strength are always appreciated! Secondly, I injured my right shoulder a little over a year ago, and it has been giving me trouble on and off ever since. Stress definitely makes it flair up more, and unfortunately, playing piano for extended periods of time also makes it worse. So, prayers for wisdom in how to use my practice time to best effect, and to be able to play the Christmas program without being in great pain like I was last year would also be greatly appreciated. And thirdly, for 2017 at Sakeji. At the moment we are still very much in need of more full time teachers, and there is an initiative from the board of education in Zambia that we might have to comply with that will greatly complicate our ministry. As always, this is the Lord’s school, and we look to Him to provide and direct for the future.

Thanks again for your prayers and for keeping in touch with me. I could not do this ministry without your support. I hope to see many of you when I am home, and look forward to catching up on your lives.

May we be found faithful, wherever we are called to be!

Parting shots--some pictures of the refurbished lower school--the bathroom, the grade 3 and 1 rooms, and the back room respectively.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dry Season

When you can see your daily walking path joining the tire marks on the airstrip...

This time of year there are splashes of scarlet in the dry bush to tide you over till the rains come and things go green again,

and the afternoon sky is filling with clouds after the rushing winds have blown all morning.

And teachers at Sakeji are beginning the never ending process of getting ready for term! One math test written and literature unit planned...a million other things to go!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cottage Trip

We as a station (all 12 of us counting the 5 staff kids) went out to the cottage for a cookout this past Saturday. We took my brazier and a cool Menonite barbeque stand and they worked beautifully. The kids got to swim, the adults got to chat, the bugs weren’t too bad, the river was cool and peaceful, and it was a nice break from our little world of the station.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What do teachers do while the kids are away?

* Put up some very appropriate wall letters in their living room.

* Hang a candle sconce and a picture frame in their rooms.

* And get given a new set of pots to replace the totally motley collection they have been using for the last 6 ½ years!

Parting thought:
* While I was in town, I ordered a rump steak for dinner one night. Much to my amusement, the chef came out and asked if I would like my “lump steak lare, or medium lare.” We had heard vigorous pounding coming from the kitchen, so I can only assume there were working on those ‘lumps.’ TIA! (This is Africa!)

Parting shot: The clouds are back!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Road Trip!

Last week I took a quick trip down to Solwezi with Jill to pick up some perishable supplies and to get off station. Some highlights include:

Staying at Mutanda Nature Lodge--lovely place and good food!

Buying a brazier up-cycled from a drum; actual picture of mine in use to follow.

We got to drive past some pretty big bushfires,

And I found a few personal treats including this fun hat in the stores at the new mall.

We had some car trouble, but the Lord worked things out for us and took care of us. Now, I have a few weeks to recharge and prepare for the last leg of this school year. With His help and strength, I can do all things!