We arrived home from Ghana on the afternoon of Sunday the twenty sixth. After emptying our suitcases and organizing all of our laundry into piles, we enjoyed the first hot showers that we'd had since leaving the U.S. on the fifteenth. By seven thirty, we were asleep, our bodies telling us it was three thirty a.m. in Ghana. On Monday, the twenty seventh, my husband turned sixty years old. After he went to the church office for a couple of hours, we spent the remainder of the day quietly at home. I puttered around the house and washed all those piles of laundry. That evening we met our youngest daughter and her husband for a nice birthday dinner at one of my husband's favorite restaurants. Our whole family will gather this coming weekend for an "official" birthday celebration.
The trip to Ghana was good, though difficult. All but two of our team got sick with intestinal problems, debilitating enough to keep each of us near the bathroom and in bed for a day. The weather was extremely hot and humid, the electricity off much of the time. Yet, our time spent ministering in the churches, checking in and planning our next phase for the orphanage and farm, and spending time with our Ghanaian friends was rich and sweet.
Coming home, I found myself needing to stay quiet for a couple of days. There wasn't a lot of quiet or time alone on the trip and I needed to process, to do a spiritual debrief. It seemed as though God had been waiting for me to be alone with Him. I'll turn sixty myself this coming summer and I want to finish this race in life strong and victorious. There was some honest conversation with God about the state of my own heart, about things that were weighing me down spiritually. I am desiring to let Him have His full and complete way in me, to not let my own agenda crowd out His. I want this space to reflect that, His priorities to prevail in when and what I post. One priority that I intend to keep is one that prompted me to begin blogging in the first place. Gratitude journaling has been life changing for me and I will continue that practice by posting my lists of blessings here.
Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)
-spending time with our two oldest grands
-my Valentine for over 40 years
-lunch with our two youngest granddaughters to celebrate the oldest's eighth birthday
before we leave for Ghana
-texts that our daughter, grandson and a gal from our team arrived safely in Ghana
-our miracle girl's eighth birthday
-talking to her on the phone before catching our flight
-24 for hours later, we arrived safely in Ghana with the rest of the team
-all bags arrived intact with us
-our daughter and Bishop Frank at the airport to greet us
-waking up to the smell and sounds of Ghana
-iced Via coffee from home
-a good nights sleep
-counting the chickens that we see from our balcony with our youngest grandson
-our grandson shaking the hands of all of the children at the crusade in Winneba
-our daughter and grandson joining in the worship dance
-the food prepared for us by a woman in the church at Winneba
-fresh Ghanaian pineapple
-resting with my grandson
-all of the young people at the church in Winneba
-the joyous worship
-walking on the seashore by the Bay of Guinea in the cool of the evening
- a sobering visit to one of the slave castles
-our tour guide reminding us that the answer to the continued problems of slavery begins
with each of us being transformed by the renewing of our mind
-a safe drive from Winneba to Kumasi,
(in spite of a bit of excitement when the taxi driver that was transporting three
of our team members got arrested for not stopping at a police checkpoint)
-sharing some fresh coconut
-our grandson having fun playing with the neighbor children near the retreat center
-visiting the orphanage and farm and running errands in Kumasi
-Cecilia making us peanut soup with lamb and rice-our grandson LOVED it
-bucket baths after a hot, sweaty, dirty day
-telling my grandson stories
-visiting the little ones at the school
-a Ghanaian wind and rain storm
-resting after not feeling well
-those who prepare our food every day
-"Bright" our Ghanaian "son"
-devotions on the retreat center porch
-Via coffee with boiled water
-the joy in the church in Ankam
-nothing on the schedule this morning, time to rest
-a soccer game with the neighborhood children
-treats for all of the kids
-a safe flight from Kumasi to Accra-hallelujah for not having to take that long drive!
-meeting our friend in Accra for lunch
-sleeping from Accra to Amsterdam
-arriving safely in the U.S.!
-our son-in-law and two oldest grands stopping by to see us
-a hot bubble bath
-our own home
-our own bed