Saturday, March 29, 2008

Only one?!

When we moved to the bush, people began flooding our house immediately asking for work. Most of them assumed that the white woman would want a house worker to wash dishes and clothes for her and to clean the house. Ok, we lived in a small hut. I was quite capable of taking care of things myself! Every now and then, I would hire someone to handwash Blu's jeans, because those were hard, but the rest I did myself. And people were SHOCKED to see me working.

One day, in town, a man approached Blu and explained that he was punishing me by making me work so hard. The fair thing to do would be to take a second wife so that I would have someone to help me. He was completely serious! He even told Blu, "I will even pay the bridal price, if you will pick out a second wife to help yours!" Blu laughed and said, "If I did that, Darbi would kill me!" (figure of speech...)
The man just sighed and said, "oh yes, those white women, they are like that...." :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Green Crayon

Every Sunday afternoon at 4pm, I would head to the center of our village, where there was a large, concrete slab. (Many construction projects get started in Africa that are never finished because money ran out, so it was just a huge slab!) By about 4:15pm, I usually had about 60 Zambian children ranging in ages from 2 to 15 there. As we pulled up, I would hear them yell "Wa Boola!!!" (She's come!!) And they would suddenly just appear from everywhere!!

I worked hard during the week translating a Bible story from them from English to Tonga, and then memorizing it. (This probably helped me the most in language learning because it was basic Tonga meant for children to understand!) I would share the story, show pictures, ask a few questions, and then we would do a simple craft together, usually just coloring a picture.

I had quite a supply of crayons, but my supply got smaller and smaller with each passing week. I knew that the kids were stealing them and taking them home, but I could never catch any! Each week I asked them to please not take the crayons home so that there would be enough next week for all of the children!

One week, a church in the States had sent me a package of 5 jumbo crayons. These were huge crayons, so it was very easy to keep track of these. I took them, knowing that they would probably end up stolen. Sure enough, at the end of the afternoon, only 3 of the crayons were returned. We saw that we were missing the yellow and the green crayon. I asked about it, and several boys claimed that "so and so" had taken the yellow one. He ran when he heard his name mentioned, but they tackled him and drug it out of his pocket! He ran home crying--I was a bit traumatized by all of this but unsure of what to do! Well, the green crayon never turned up, so I told the kids as best I could in Tonga that I was very disappointed in them for stealing. I explained that people in America sent these crayons so they could have them every Sunday and that maybe I should not come anymore if they could not be respectful and keep from stealing crayons. (I know, I know, it's just one crayon, but it's the PRINCIPLE of the thing!!!!!!) They all just stared at me in shock as we left that day.

Ok, OF COURSE, I was still going to show up the following Sunday!! But I hoped that some of them wouldn't steal anymore.

The next morning at around 9am, we hear children's voices coming to our hut. We look down the road, and there is a group of about 3 kids (who are supposed to be in school) triumphantly holding up a green crayon! They were yelling (in Tonga) "We found it!!!! We found the green crayon!!!!!" They were SOOO excited to proud to have "apprehended" it! The whole situation was hilarious...The funniest thing was that the one holding the crayon and yelling wasn't even THERE that Sunday!! He had just heard about it and helped recover it! I'm sure the whole village was talking about the white woman's green crayon that was stolen!!

*Disclaimer: when we moved back home, we gave each of the kids a ziploc bag of their OWN crayons!! And we also left a huge supply at the school!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Pics

Happy Resurrection Day! I hope everyone had a blessed Easter celebration with your families!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Newest Nephew!!

I had to brag about our newest nephew, Brenden Sky Tidwell, born on March 20th to Blu's brother Cloud and his wife Sammie! He was 6lbs, 13 oz, 18 inches long and was born in Acapulco :) Isn't he cute?!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last Day!

Today was our last day in NYC! We decided to sleep in, because it will also be our last day to do that! So we slept until about 9:30am and then hit the city again! (By the way, I must put that Blu’s favorite part of our whole vacation has been the strawberry iced donuts that our hotel serves every morning for breakfast…)

Anyway, the first thing we saw today was Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. Those were neat to see!

See the ice skating rink at Rockefeller?!

It was really cold and raining outside, but we still wanted to see Central Park, so we took a subway up to the north part of the Park and then walked through. The view from Belvedere Castle was so gorgeous!!


Bow Bridge in Central Park


The building right at the top of our umbrella with the triangles is where John Lennon was killed!

I was so in awe of Central Park. Even though it was dreary and rainy, and BLu’s socks were wet so I don’t think he had the best time, I absolutely loved it. I expected there to be people everywhere, but it was so calm and quiet….you could easily forget you were in NYC! There were tons of different walking trails and it was just beautiful, with fog hanging over the tall trees!!! I LOVED it!!

I am trying to eat at various “unique” places while we’re here, so today we ate sandwiches and soup at an Italian deli called Caprese. (Blu wanted to eat at Wendy’s—we don’t eat there often so he said that was unique enough!)

We were both soaked by then, so we headed back to the hotel for dry clothes and a couple hours of rest! Then we headed back to Ground Zero, because I really wanted to go to the Tribute Center and read the stories of people. It was so incredible….there was an older man in there who was just weeping as he walked along and read the stories—it was so sad.

Then we headed back to Chinatown, because we really liked it the first time! Blu went to a watch repair shop to get his watch fixed, and I got a Dolce & Gabanna purse for $15!!

We decided to go all out on our last night here, and we actually spent $75 on a meal!! Just the two of us!!! It was an Indian restaurant called Sapphire and it was SOOO good! They checked our coats when we went in and we had no clue what was going on!!

Ok, I think I’m done blogging about NYC!! I promise after a couple of days at home, I’ll return to my Zambian stories—I still have one to tell about The Green Crayon!!

Thanks for reading this week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

GMA and Broadway!!!

This morning started bright and early as we left our hotel at 5:15am to head to the ABC studios to get in line for Good Morning America! It was very cold as we waited until almost 7am!! We were starting to get frustrated as they just had us standing inside the studio until 8:30 when they did a segment indoors!! But in the midst of all of that, they talked Cameron Mathison (Ryan on All My Children) into coming down and greeting the studio audience, so that was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!


(I know you don’t know who he is, Jessica, but he’s famous, I promise!!)

Then they did a weather segment at 8:30am, and they did it directly in front of us!! So our families back at home who were watching were able to see us waving on tv!! My mom recorded it and then played it back over and over again for Caedmon and he waved at us!!

Then, Robin took some pictures with us! (notice how my smile wasn’t as big as the previous pic with Cameron!!)


Finally, they told us to go outside for the last 2 minute segment, so we all ran outside, and right as I walked up to the rope Diane Sawyer came over and started talking to the people next to me!!! I was just staring at her! I did get a good picture though!


After this celeb-filled experience, we decided to head uptown to an upscale café called Sarabeth’s. (Thanks for the recommendation Brandi!!) Reese Witherspoon was there 2 weeks ago, and the waitress told us that Julia Roberts is a regular, along with Nicole Kidman (who always sits at table 22), and Lisa Kudrow! I couldn’t even carry on a conversation with poor Blu because my eyes were on the door on the lookout for celebrities!!

From there, we came back to the hotel and took a 2 ½ hour nap this afternoon!!!! We were exhausted (celeb-watching does that to you!!)

At 4pm, we headed out to eat supper at Bedouin Tent. Because I planned all of our meals ahead of time, we are really getting to see different parts of the city, as opposed to just eating on 5th avenue or Times Square. So, we headed all the way down to Brooklyn and got to see different neighborhoods. The food was from the country of Jordan, and it was SOOO delicious and very cheap!!

From there, we headed to the Majestic Theater!!!



We really enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera, although I really think we would have enjoyed it more if we had read at least a summary before we came. We spent a lot of the time just trying to figure out what was going on!! But we did really love the stage/set/curtains—they were incredible!!

When we finished Broadway, we headed out to yet another recommendation of Brandi’s, Max Brenner. I was expecting a little chocolate shop, but it was a huge restaurant with chocolate as its specialty! If you know me at all, you know I was in heaven…


It was a great day, but our feet are starting to ache…. More tomorrow!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

What a Day!!!


Today was so much fun! First of all, our luggage arrived at 4:30am, so that was great! (even though Blu had already gone to a pharmacy for contact solution and toothbrushes!!) But we were glad to have it anyway!

We headed out this morning around 8am. It was FREEZING!!!! The wind was so cold, so the first thing we did was go and purchase 2 beanies and a scarf, but we still froze all day, as you can see in the picture!! Those big smiles are really clenched teeth saying, “Take the picture it’s cold!!”

Our first stop was at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. We were so grateful that we got here on Sunday to acclimate ourselves to the subway system of NYC, because this morning was CRAZY! There was a St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown, so that made the subway crazy. I really wasn’t as frightened as I look in this picture!

At Battery Park we boarded a ferry (for a cheap $12 per person!) to go visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty was really neat—we had monument passes so that we could actually go up into it and take pictures and see how it was constructed! We had to wait in line for about an hour, and then we went through this incredible security system! You step into like a chamber and they blow puffs of air at you! It was SOOOO cool!! We both giggled like 8 year olds when we went through it!

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty is green but was once copper? Copper erodes when mixed with air, so it has turned green over the years—I didn’t know that! We enjoyed a nice lunch at the café on the island—cream of broccoli soup and chili in bread bowls!

Then, we headed over to Ellis Island.
It was so incredible to see the place where our ancestors first landed in America. We saw the big room where they stood with their baggage for processing, and then we saw the three separate stairwells where families were separated depending on where in America they were going. Then, we went and searched the computers for my great-great grandfather! We found some confusing info, but I can’t wait to take it back and share it all with my grandma!


After we took the ferry back to New York, we headed over to Ground Zero. It was so amazing to see the wall of tribute and to see people just stop and stare without saying anything. There are fences up so it’s hard to see, but it is really just a HUGE whole in the ground where they doing tons of construction. It looked like they are working on the subway part of it right now. As we walked all along the site, I couldn’t help but think of my Uncle David, who worked 4 blocks from the towers and came out of the subway just as the second plane hit. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for New Yorkers that day.

After Ground Zero we headed to Wall Street and the financial district. Blu enjoyed himself way too much….


Our next stop was Chinatown...shops were crammed together, everything was written in Chinese, and people were everywhere!!!
They sold fresh fruit and veggies on the sides of the road, and Chinese women would pull me aside and whisper “you want Coach handbag? You want Chanel purse?” I’m not much of a bag person… But we did see a LOT of shops that had recently been shut down due to “trademark counterfeiting!” We enjoyed a Chinese meal of Big Wong King in Chinatown, and now, even though it’s early, we are ready to call it a day!!

We both noticed how much walking New Yorkers have to do!! There is tons of walking, climbing stairs, and you really have to be in shape to get around. I know I said this before, but the multicultural part of the city is just amazing. I have to fight the urge to ask every African man, “are you from Zambia?!!” We also noticed that people look at us funny when we say “thank you” or “I’m sorry!” People have been very friendly and willing to help us though! (except for one man on a bus...but that's another story...his New York accent was so thick I thought he couldn't serious talk like that!!)

Good Morning America and Broadway are tomorrow!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A few glitches, but all is well!!

A few glitches, but all is well!!

We have survived our first day! We got to NYC just fine, but only to find that our luggage did not fare so well! But they assured us that it was on the next flight and would be delivered to our hotel tonight…we’ll see!!!

Ok, we are way too cheap to ride the “Air Train” from the airport to the subway stations (costs $5/person) so we decided to take a bus!! It was definitely an INTERESTING bus ride….nobody on the bus looked quite like us---we were in a side of New York I never thought I’d see!! But it was fine, and though it took awhile, Blu was really glad that we got to experience Jamaica, New York.

Ok so by the time we get to the subway stations from the bus it’s like 1:30pm and we are starving! We didn’t eat breakfast (did I mention we RAN to our gate due to long lines in security for Spring Break) and all they gave us on the plane was a small bag of chips. So we find a Subway, only to realize that there’s no chairs to sit down!! And it was COLD and RAINY outside! So we load up our stuff and head back to the subway station. We finally get to our hotel 3 hours after we landed!!

Blu had warned me that our hotel might not be in a great area, but it is! It looks like a random brick building on the outside that someone superglued a La Quinta sign to, but surprisingly on the inside it is quite nice!! We have a view of the NYC skyline, a continental breakfast, and a McDonalds and The Grind coffee shop next door!!

So after dropping off our carry-ons, we headed on another bus to downtown Manhattan. It’s kinda weird—I printed off all the directions we will need on (which works great!), so we’re not looking at maps, just my directions. So we have no concept of like where we are in the city or anything like that! But anyway, we hop on a bus and I get more and more excited as we pass 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Park Avenue, and then arrive at 5th Avenue!! The first place we headed was to the Empire State Building. Did we go up? NO WAY!! $21/person! A picture does it justice!!

Then, we decided to just hike our way up 5th Avenue. It was so amazing…all the people, the taxis, it is just like the movies—there is no way to describe it! London and South Africa aren’t even in the vicinity of describing the craziness, and today was SUNDAY! So we found a souvenir shop that sold CHEAP tshirts, so we got most of our souvenirs taken care of 

Let’s see…a few other cool things we did—visited the New York City Public Library, visited St. Thomas Episcopal Church for their 4pm service, and visited FAO Schwarz toy store!! It was so cool to see the big piano from the movie Big!!

Blu enjoyed the roasted peanuts on the street!

I didn't really go in!

We finished off our evening with a HUGE slice of New York City pizza from Sbarro. It was great!!

We headed back to our hotel after stopping for some cocoa—it’s COLD!!! We called the luggage people, and they said our suitcase was on the truck to be delivered, so hopefully it’ll be here soon!!

Ok, the funniest story of the day is when we were standing beside two girls wearing the same jacket at a crosswalk. Blu whispered, "Look! It's the Olsen twins!" So he held up his camera to take a picture. Well, as we crossed, a girl saw him and stopped and said "Excuse me!!! Do you know who those girls are?!" She was so excited because she thought they were really famous!! Blu is so mean! :)

More adventures to come tomorrow!! Oh yeah—there are SOOOO many different cultures/races here!! It’s amazing to walk down the road and hear the different languages and accents!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The W

Now I realize that some of you may not be interested in EVERY detail of our Spring Break vacation, but I know my mama is, so the next few days will be detailed!!

Blu's cousin, Jeff, works in Acapulco and has a condo at The W Hotel in Dallas. So he isn't here, but we are his guests tonight since we fly out early tomorrow morning! They valeted our car so that was exciting! :) His condo is AMAZING... The pictures don't do it justice..there is a sound system in every room and tvs in every room including the bathrooms over the huge bathtub!!! We enjoyed the great room service dinner-we had a smoked turkey sandwich and a roasted chicken dinner with potato puree!! We'll probably order dessert later. We feel so spoiled!!

The living room and kitchen

The bedroom we are staying in

Blu was impressed with the statue!

I had to finish my book!!

OK, we fly out in the early morning so we'll post again tomorrow night about our first day in New York City!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


It's HERE!!! I'm driving the kids to the grandparents tomorrow and our vacation will begin!!! On Saturday night, we head to The W Hotel in Dallas to stay in the top-floor condo of Blu's cousin. Then, early Sunday morning, we fly out to NEW YORK CITY!!! We are so excited!! We will be there 4 days and will see the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, Chinatown, the 9/11 Memorial, we have tickets to be in the studio audience of Good Morning America on Tuesday morning, we have tickets to the Phantom of the Opera on Tuesday night, Wednesday in Central Park, and back home on Thursday!!!!

We'll blog while we're there so be looking--I know you're dying to see how these Texas hillbillies survive NYC!! :)

Virtual Prayer Walk

Anyone want to go on a virtual prayerwalk in Zambia, Africa? You're just a click away!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Journaling from a Women's Retreat

So this weekend I went to a women's retreat with my mom at her church. I kinda went just for her. It was a big deal--this lady I'd never heard of but who is pretty famous I guess named Barbara O'Chester came to her church with their team. But you know how it goes--you go in with hesitations and not completely enthused, and God pretty much knocks you over with what He teaches you. I wanted to share some of my journal entries from today here. Not sure why--just felt I needed to before I go to bed...

You can read your Bible every day, talk to God every day, and still have a cold heart toward Him. It's called "Treadmill Christianity." You walk a lot, but you don't get anywhere.

Every crisis/tough thing that happens in my life is for one of 2 reasons - to make me trust Him more, or to conform me to His image.

Being filled with the Spirit isn't like having a half full glass of water (representing the Spirit), and you pray that God will fill you more. When you get saved, you have all the Spirit you're gonna get. The question is, how much of ME does the Spirit have?

Do I TRULY hate the sin in my life?

Christianity is not a self-guided tour.

People tend to feel guilty (I know I do!) if I read the Bible but then don't remember what I read a couple of days later. It's like lunch 3 days ago, though. You may not remember exactly what you ate, but you were nourished!

You may not want to wake up early to do a quiet time because you will start your day sleep-deprived. Would you rather be sleep-deprived or God-deprived?

(I'll skip my entries on the session titled "The Act of Marriage") :)

Submission simply means choosing to live my life in a way that will make other people successful.

Godly children don't just "happen." I have to LIVE and TEACH holy to my children.

Don't teach your kids that God is an activity. Don't teach them checklist Christianity.

Being a mom is not a job, it is a ministry.

Marinate in the Word of God. When a piece of meat is marinated for 24 hours, there is a chemical change that takes place. You can't go back later and decide that you want to "un-marinate" is changed. Marinate in the Word of God.

Aside from sitting next to my mom during the sex session of the conference, it was an amazing and refreshing time.

Don't forget to set your clocks forward!! Night! :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We have a lawyer!!

So Tuesday we met with our newly hired lawyer. We drove to downtown Fort Worth and went into this huge TOWER--I guess a skyscraper is the word. Now, please don't think that we are some hillbilly Texans with cows in our front yard and we'd never seen a skyscraper! But, we are definitely um, low maintenance? That might be the word. SIMPLE! That's a good word. Anyway, I digress.

So we walk in and just stand in the lobby looking lost until a guy in a security uniform helps us. (We are wearing jeans, tshirts, baseball cap (Blu), and a ponytail (me)). So we go up to the 15th floor and there is a FANCY law firm--listen to the name...Bourland, Wall, and Wenzel. Say it and let is just roll off of your tongue...sounds fancy huh? So anyway our lawyer guy and his lawyer lady assistant or something come out and they are dressed in like suits, and then they usher us into this BOARD room, with HUGE rolling chairs around a mahogany table. They proceed to offer us coffee or water that has been set up. I wanted to take a picture SOOOO bad!!! I felt like I was in Erin Brokovich or something!

Ok, now that you really think we're some hicks.. the meeting went fabulously!! Our lawyer is a Christian who works with religious non-profits, especially churches, but he has done several missions non profits as well. They knew exactly what to do, what is going on, and the fee is lower than we expected! So basically, the ball is rolling! We will be setting up our Board of Directors, writing bylaws, and submitting our "stuff" to the IRS to become a 501c non-profit organization!! (Yes, we realize we can do all this ourselves on LegalZoom for cheap, but we (and especially our big donors) felt the need to have a lawyer backing us for added accountability.)

So that's the lawyer update! Oh!!! I have a little plug!! I rarely do this, but our sweet missionary friends who worked in the same town as us in Zambia wrote and produced a film using Zambian church members. It's a pretty neat little play called Detective James Tembo, and I especially love the Zambian music on the film's soundtrack! Check them out here!

And finally, a picture to get you through your weekend:
Our home church in College Station, Texas, did a dime drive when we were in Zambia. Back then, one dime would buy a pair of flip flops for a child, so we got to go to a school and pass out flipflops to all the kids! It was AMAZING :)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

An Update on Life

Wow! Lots has happened in the past week.

First of all, I did get an update on Baby Lily. Last I heard, she was out of ICU and in a room of her own, breathing on her own and swallowing on her own, which was GREAT news!! Your prayers are working!! I'll post more when I know more!

This past weekend was our long-awaited, long-planned Disciple Now Weekend. Basically, this is a weekend for youth filled with food, Bible teaching, staying up late, crazy events, etc. We decided to make this D-Now a True Love Waits theme, so we also did the whole commitment service/ring ceremony thing. We played broomball on ice (SOOOO fun!) and it was such a great time with our 35 youth who attended.

After gearing up for all of this, though, we got news that Blu's grandma passed away on Friday morning. So we had to leave our Disciple Now weekend in the hands of parents/youth leaders and spend the weekend with family at the funeral. Now, the funny part. We left our True Love Waits (sexual purity) weekend, and stayed in an old brothel! It was a place called Coupland Dance Hall that they rented out for the family, where the brothel/inn was above the dance hall. So you climb these narrow stairs and there's poker tables, blackjack tables, sitting areas, and TONS of bedrooms. It looked like what I pictured a brothel to look like back in the day! (ever read Redeeming Love??) So we went to visitation, ate, and then us youngsters all headed for the dance hall and did some two-steppin' late into the night. :) What would our youth think?! I'm sure they all pictured us sitting around in dresses mourning the loss of his grandma (which we DID!), but as we played Texas Hold 'Em and later did the jitterbug, I couldn't help but laugh!

Anyway, between these two events, we are exhausted! My KIDS are exhausted! I will definitely spend this week detoxing them back into MY schedule of eating/naps! Speaking of kids, I know that I have been negligent in posting pictures of them....So here's the most recent..


And if the purple bow got such attention for sister, he had to try it too...

Have a great week!