Welcome to 2018!

So, clearly I'm not a consistent blogger! I've found that being a wife, mother and one woman business owner is a challenge... a fun one, but definitely a challenge... and sometimes things take a back seat (like my neglected blog, website, a messy house and exercise!) I really want 2018 to be different. I have a plan (for all of those neglected areas) a good one, but it's all about the execution, so we'll see when 2019 rolls around! 

This past year was amazing! In 12 months, I made a trip to Swaziland, in Africa, and 2 trips to Honduras. In 2016, I made my first trip to Honduras. Our oldest daughter had been going there for a couple of years, and one day one of the young men, who lives at the home asked her, "When is your mother coming?" Her answer broke my heart, "She goes to Africa, so she'll probably never come." It didn't seem to bother my daughter, but it bothered me. So we went with her that summer, my husband, our younger daughter and I.

After my first trip, I wasn't sure I would return, but then we did, in August of 2017. Don't get me wrong, I loved it there, but I somehow felt disloyal to Swaziland. But then, the plans for the January women's trip, to do a women's conference, started and they asked me to go and lead a retreat on joy. I had one BIG obstacle in the way though, I had deferred my summer jury duty and I was due in on January 3. I sent an email, never imagining that they would move it again, but they did! 

I was tired from the fall season, I can't say I really wanted to go, but in my heart, I knew that God was leading me back. So, I said a grudging yes and started to plan. Even up to the day before I was supposed to leave, I was still whining. Thankfully, sometimes I guess God overlooks the attitude of our hearts, when it's not stopping our obedience, and leads us on with kindness. He had a HUGE blessing in store.

It's not a blessing that I can point to with a BIG story though... It was a blessing about relationships. It was about a group of 16 women who came together with the most beautiful unity, for a common purpose. It was about a sweet opportunity to share what God has taught me about joy with a beautiful community of women. It was about friendships that grew leaps and bounds with the staff women... I LOVE those women!! It was sweet moments with a young woman, one of our interpreters, that is becoming such a good friend. Our hearts are linked in so many ways. 

It was the blessing of a family that we visited a couple of times, we didn't do anything for them, we just sat and talked and learned about their lives. It was the hug of a young man at the ministry, that changed from an awkward hug, at the beginning of the week, to an all out 'bear hug' by the end of the week. It was all about the joy of people, from different cultures and languages, separated by miles and miles of distance, sharing their lives with each other.

We are headed back in August and I already have the dates for January 2019, on my calendar! Guess that grumbly attitude is gone!! 

I'm excited about the possibilities of 2018... I will continue to give at least 10% of profits to Heart For Africa, I've added a sponsorship for that amazing young man in Honduras, and we'll be travelling again. So your purchases continue to make a difference. But no matter what 2018 ultimately brings, I am thankful for my faith in an amazing God who leads with kindness and grace and loves us beyond our wildest imagination. Happy New Year!!