Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Family Garden!

we have decided to convert our concrete pad (that formerly housed a swimming pool) into a raised garden! Each of the kids has their own bed to grow veggies, and we had a family planting party last night!

I love the way the beds turned out! It cost us $20 to have this built.

Caedmon working hard!

He chose to plant carrots and lettuce.

Cambree working hard!

She planted green beans and tomatoes!

Cason was very into his garden! (the broom was just used to sweep dust off the bricks!)

Cason planted cabbage and onions.

Blu's "babies" - his jacaranda and flamboyant trees - needed to be pruned!

We worked from 5:30 - 6:45 when it was cool and breezy and had such a great time together! I can't wait to experience the kids' reactions as they watch their gardens grow! :) (And yes, we're Tidwells, everything is a competition...)

Sunday, September 21, 2014


There is a girl in Mapanza who I have gotten to know over the last four years. I’ll call her Olive. She’s about 21 years old right now. When she was 15, she became pregnant with her first child, Bestina. When I asked her once about Bestina’s father, she said it was all a big “mistake.” Bestina is 6 years old now. In 2010, Olive became pregnant at the age of 18 with her second child, who she named after me. Little Darbi’s father opened up marriage negotiations with Olive’s family, and the two began living as a married couple (that’s how it works here, folks…). One day, the man left for Lusaka and never came back. When Olive found out she was pregnant, she called him repeatedly. Finally, she was told, “He has another wife in Lusaka, he doesn’t want to marry you.” So Olive had Bestina, and she had little Darbi. She was faithful to attend church, Bible studies, and often led out in the youth group and in singing.

Last year, Olive got married. She married a man in Lusaka who she said was a strong Christian. However, as is the custom when a girl has children fathered by other men, her new husband did not want her other children. She left the children with her parents and went to Lusaka to start her new life (a "cultural" aspect of Zambia that we find hard to understand). Bestina and little Darbi come to Kids Club every week, and I often ask them about their mother. They simply state “she is in Lusaka.”

A few weeks ago, I was surprised to see Olive on the dusty streets of Mapanza. She was very pregnant and had come “home” to her village to have the baby. She would then return to Lusaka. At Kids Club yesterday, I asked Bestina how her mother was. “In Lusaka,” she said. “With the baby?” I asked. She said yes. “Was it a girl or a boy?” “A girl.” “Aw…what did she name her.” My heart dropped to my stomach when Bestina told me in her innocent little voice that her mother named her 3rd daughter FAVORITE.

I just stood there, looking at this little 6 year old girl who had been abandoned and called a mistake. “Favorite?” I repeated. “Yes.”

Bestina may not understand what that word means right now, but one day she will. It hit me then that there is nothing I can say to make this little girl believe in her value, her worth. She has been rejected, another has been put in her place and has been given the name of Favorite.

But oh, how grateful I am that there is One who will be able to get through to Bestina and little Darbi. When they were being woven together in the depths of the earth, His eyes saw their unformed bodies. And they are his favorites. Thank you Jesus.

Little Darbi is on the right smiling (the one who doesn't look completely terrified..)

Bestina holding a baby at Kids Club

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Misheck & Gertude!

We had fun celebrating birthdays at New Day today - it was a hot day and perfect for cake & water pouring!

Gertrude was ready to blow out her candle! (the kids have to hurry and blow it out before the other 21 kids blow it out!)

Aunt Niki made her pretty Barbie cake!

She specifically asked for a puzzle and a sports water bottle!

She tried to pour water on everyone who was getting her!

When it was all over, she wrung out her dress and went on her way! We love this precious 7 year old!

This is pretty much what Hildah looks like at EVERY single birthday party...pretty sure she has more fun than any of the kids...combined...;)

Blow Misheck - 9 candles for him!

These two are pretty inseparable!

I had fun making his train cake - Teacher Abby, Caedmon, & Gertrude were all "passengers" and Misheck was, of course, the engineer!

This face... :)

He also got a puzzle, along with some green soccer socks from his sponsor!

He smiled through the entire water pouring!

Time for a picture of the birthday kids...when will they learn?! :) Don't worry...Uncle Blu's birthday is next!!

Just some randomness..

Prince has been going to "preschool" every morning with either Mandy or Niki - fun fun! :)

Sexy goatee! :)

Love this girl!

Just us

Blu's redneck water sprinkler

We searched for this dead mouse for 2 weeks before he was finally found behind my china hutch!

Everyone congregating away from the "dead mouse smell"

Friday, September 12, 2014

Yes and No

This week I had to say no to something. It was something that would be good for me, would be fun, and would encourage someone else. And I still said no. With teaching school, doing all of the orphanage finances, cooking from scratch for my family each day, and teaching 2 Bible studies in another language each week (no pity party intended here – I know we are all busy, I’m just sharing what exactly is on my plate each day), I knew that if I added ONE MORE THING in, I might lose it. So I said no….and then followed the guilt. Surely I could squeeze one more thing in, right? I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If I say no, it might even make me seem somehow “less” of a Christian.

UNTIL I talked to my mom. She sent me a devotion she had read from Lysa Terkeurst. This devotion talked about saying no. Lysa says, “I found myself rushing my husband in conversation. Rushing my kids out the door. Rushing to the next thing and then the next. Rushing to make dinner and then rushing my people through dinner. I had set my life to the rhythm of rush... I’m starting to realize the two most powerful words are yes and no. How I use them determines how I set my schedule. How I set my schedule determines how I live my life. How I live my life determines how I spent my soul... When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul. If I really want an unrushed life, I must underwhelm my schedule so God has room to overwhelm my soul.”

I encourage you to think carefully about the words Yes and No. Use them wisely, so that you live with an overwhelmed soul, not an overwhelmed schedule.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Church @ New Day Today!

Here's a glimpse of our Sunday morning!

Out the door for church, and we realized we matched! Awww... :)

Blu drove a few of the ladies, but I opted to walk the 1/2 mile with Caedmon

Hanging out during singing time!

Cute pigtails :)

Debbie had the kids for Sunday School - about 60 of them for an hour, with not a crayon in sight - impressive!

See our lovely pews?? :)

Look who else showed up matching to church!

I noticed this cute baby who has a string tied around her wrist to protect her from evil, a common traditional belief.

Blu preached a great sermon on being the "salt and light."

This is our temporary building and the greeting line after church!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to School!

We are back in school here at New Day! Our last term started on Monday, and we will go until November 28th! The Langstons, an IMB missionary family based in Zambia, have been here for the last week helping out, so most of these pics were taken by them!

The Tidwell kids ready for their first day!

Axer working hard in Kindergarten

Poor Caedmon got stung on his face by a wasp :(

P.E. time!

Joseph working hard!

Nurse Mandy is taking over Mama Lala's Kindergarten Bible class for this term

Looking good!