Sunday, August 31, 2008

Russ Turns 30 - Day 5 (evening)

To end the week of fun, I had Russ a "kid-style" birthday party. Emily, the writer, wrote me a cute phrase.

Russ is turning 30 and this day is his
So come celebrate with pizza, people, and this big kid.
There'll be Dr. Pepper, Dave Matthews, Darth Vader
Good food, his wife, and even lightsabers.

So that gives you an idea of what the party was like. We even included LOST and the Tennessee Vols. I am married to such a big kid. I have never seen so many toys given to someone when they turned 30! But, that is what I adore about my husband.

He had a great time seeing people and reconnecting with some he hasn't seen in years. Special thanks to the Berry's for hosting the party in their backyard!

How weird is that..I am married to a 30-year old?!!!!!


Russ Turns 30 - Day 5 (morning)

On Russ' actual birthday his dad came driving up in a loaded down 1970's pick-up truck. He decided to surprise Russ and build him something for his big day. So, Russ and his dad (well, mostly his dad) built a large wooden shed in our backyard. This is so great because we needed one but didn't want to pay mucho dinero for a nice one. Plus, it was really sweet to see them outside working together. Thanks Mr. Terry!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Headed to China

I have always loved to travel but had never gotten a chance to travel internationally until April. It was during that trip that I got to go to Africa and Europe. Now I get the chance to go to Asia during October. I have never really been interested in going to China but about 2 months ago I began to feel a tugging on my heart. I can't really explain it but I began to read about China and how Christianity is on the rise. And then the opportunity presented itself. So I knew God wanted me to go.

I will be traveling with 7 other women to China October 25- November 3rd. We will be going through an organization called Follow One.

Follow One sees ministry in China strategic for these reasons.

* Most experts fully expect China to lead the world in economic, military and political power in the 21st century.

* This is a kairos moment in history. God has sovereignly decided to pour out His Spirit on China.

* China is uniquely positioned to influence North Korea, one of the darkest places on the planet.

* The Chinese Church sees itself as called and positioned to take the Gospel through the Muslim and Hindu world.

* Making an investment in the Church in China is an investment in the evangelization of the world.

I am so excited about this opportunity. I will update you closer to time about specifics on the trip. Please pray for the relationships that will be formed and the people that we will meet. Pray for the people that risk their lives daily to share Jesus. Also, pray for Russ and I since this will be the longest we have been away from each other since we've been married. The last one seems petty compared to the first two but I want to pray about everything that could keep me from focusing on sharing and learning.

Anna P.

Russ Turns 30 - Day 4

Russ has a special friend who lives in Nashville. They love to get together and talk about deep issues such as sports, music, and famous people. They have a deep love for each other but rarely get to see each other. So, I planned a meeting.

He was to arrive in Memphis around 9 pm. We took a few friends with us--letting it be their idea as to why we were going to Memphis so late. We got to The Rendezvous around 8:30. Perfect. He was just going to walk into the restaurant while we were eating. Not perfect. They were running late. Let's just say the night ended with our friends challenging me to eat my entire meal and me singing and dancing to Shakira. Wasting time is not a talent of mine. Neither is staying cool during awkward situations. So I danced and ate. A lot.

Needless to say, we finally met him at The Peabody and Russ was completely surprised. It was this night that he finally said "Turning 30 isn't so bad." Mission accomplished.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jesus in Beijing

In light of the Olympics and my upcoming trip to China, I am reading Jesus in Beijing. The product description of the book describes it as "the great unreported story of the Chinese giant and its enormously rapid conversion to Christianity and what this change means to the global balance of power." The author David Aikman is a former Time magazine Beijing bureau chief. So we shall see.

Have any of you ever read this book??


Russ Turns 30 - Day 3

Part of Russ' birthday included this 6'3" cut-out. Yes, I paid good money for him. I should get wife of the year for ordering this!!

I ordered it in plenty of time for it to get here by his birthday. But, in my life nothing ever works out like it is supposed to. It was to be delivered to our friends house. I called daily to check on the status of "the vader" only to be let down each day.

Two days before his birthday it had not arrived. According to UPS, it had been delivered 3 days earlier. So, I went on a search around Tupelo to find him. I searched in garages all around the neighborhood. Finally, 5 hours later, he was found.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Town

***From journal while in Ghana
The last day of visiting towns is pretty nice. We see the school in Bale is well established. We hope to help build a place where the teachers can come and stay. This way it helps them recruit quality teachers who can live in the same town as the school.

The dancing is great. The crowd falls in on us, and then they bring out the instrument.

They have a wooden xylophone. Handmade. I get all excited about the way the thing looks and the way the thing sounds. I play at it for about 20 minutes. The longer I play, the more the crowd starts to pinch in on me. They are confused by my playing, which sounds odd to them. Rhythm and melodies and sounds are totally different in African culture. There seems to be less fluidity, more repetition, but the energy and spirit are all unique.

I read an article years ago about the evolution of Hip Hop. The article traced the roots from modern day back to Blues, back to Southern Spirituals, all the way to African drumbeats. As I stand in a circle with other people around singing and dancing, there is a spontaneity to it all. In a place with no running water and no television, I am aware of how much american music has been influenced by these people on the other side of the world.

In fact, I begin to become aware of how much I have been influenced in a span of 12 days. In reality, it has taken me four months to begin to wrap my mind around the things that God has taught me.

No matter where you are, there is a need that people have to hear the gospel. The news that God wants to be in relationship with people despite our flaws is amazing. The realization that he sent Jesus to come and pay a price we never could is humbling. The idea that everyone can have access, no matter where you are or what you come from, is what I'll remember most about this place.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Frank!

In the midst of Russ' 30th birthday we forgot to write a post about Frank. Frank (our child through Compassion International)turned 7 on August 11th. We love him so much and hope that he had a great birthday!

Russ Turns 30 - Day 2

For the second day of his "Week of Fun" we went to see Dave Matthews/Willie Nelson at Autozone Park in Memphis. Willie was great as always. I had seen Dave before but he was INCREDIBLE this time. So much fun for Russ to see his favorite the week he turned 30!!

Anna P.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poor me.

My day is very serene until 3:30. And at 3:30, the fun begins. The girls come home for school and suddenly the house is a home. But today at 3:27 I stopped at the Fred's located near the girl's home to get flour for another staff. I roll into Fred's parking lot in my beautiful, gold, minivan at 3:27; pull up to the curb and hop out, hoping to still be home by 3:30. I was a woman with a plan and a mission. I run to the back where all the food items are kept and begin to search. No flour. I run to the front and ask the manager. No flour, mam. To which I scream out--We have got to get a grocery store on this side of town. Now I will have to drive all the way over to the Kroger 4 miles from here.

Wait--4 miles. And then it hit me. I have gotten so used to the luxuries of living in America that driving 4 miles in my air-conditioned car to a grocery store full of options inconveniences me. There are people in other places that have to walk way more than 4 miles just to get dirty water. I used to think poor them but now I think poor me.

Anna P.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

my so-called life

I am not a great writer nor do I know how to spell (just ask Emily who revised all of my papers) but I do know how to share honestly. While I don't keep up with this blog often...I do think that it is a great way for us to be linked to people we may or may not know. Here's a little bit about us. Russ and I live in Tupelo, MS. He is the Junior High Youth Pastor at this church. I am the education/activities director at a girl's home in town.

We have been married for 3 years and get the question "Isn't it about time for you to have kids." AND YES--we fully realize most people that are married for 3 years start to have kids by now. But, we are not about doing what is expected of us...even though it has taken me 26 years to have the guts to do what I want not what others expect. I am a former perfectionist that has realized in the past 3 years that the attempt at perfection is both exhausting and no fun. God can do so much more in your life when you let go and let Him work. So, I have jumped as far across the line the other way as I can.

Now, back to kids. We feel like God is calling us to adopt our first child. We have gotten every reaction to this. We have heard statements such as "you don't want to do that--you want to have one first and see how you like it and then maybe adopt later" to "oh, so you can't have kids." I was very judgmental at first towards people that made these comments but now, with a LOT of help from God, realized that adoption is not talked about enough.

Basically, last September we felt God revealing to us that we should adopt instead of me birthing our first child. I will fill in the details in other posts but for now He is calling us to wait. We are not sure at this time where our precious child will come from but we trust in God's goodness and faithfulness. He has shown us the outcome (a precious child) so we must trust that He will give us the steps to get there.

anna p.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russ Turns 30- Day 1

Russ turned 30 on Saturday so to make the transition into an older, more refined man easier, I created his birthday week. Starting the week before his birthday, I decided to do something special for him each day leading up to "THE BIG DAY." Day 1 was a surprise. I was so proud of myself for keeping it...I tend to not be able to lie very well (as some of you know).

Russ' favorite place on earth is Camp Lake Stephens. Most of the people in his life he has met through this place. SO, I had a few of his friends to meet us at camp last Friday night. We camped out in the new treehouses, grilled out, made smores by the fire, and did the zipline until we couldn't move. He was very surprised and it was so much fun for me to see him get so excited about seeing his friends in their special place.

anna p.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Adoption is Greater than the Universe

So...long time without posting!! We have had a crazy summer. But, I just wanted to share this video with you. As many of you know, Russ and I would love to adopt one day and I think John Piper does a great job of describing adoption. Please take the time to watch this!!!