Friday, December 28, 2012

Kwanjula Part One

What is that you ask.  Well here goes. A Kwanjula is basically an African/Ugandan betrothal ceremony. The word means to introduce.  It is a day when the bride-to-be formally introduces her future husband (and his people who escort him) to her parents and relatives.  Some of them have already met but this is a time of publicly acknowledging their engagement. 

Andrew and Fiona celebrated their Kwanjula on November 25th.  

The party was held near Kampala Uganda.

 View of beautiful Kampala from the deck of the Cassia Lodge.
Lake Victoria is in the background.

 Xandi & Baby, Laura Capp and Fiona

On the chosen date the bride's family gathers first. 

Here are some of Fiona's friends and relatives.

  These traditional dresses that they are wearing are called Gomesi.  Fiona wore this for the first half of the day.

  Then Andrew's friends gathered.

Kanzu and Gomesi are cultural dresses for males and females respectively.  Here are the guys in their Kanzus.    Andrew said that he had to have his suit coat buttoned or it would be considered a declaration of war.  He was careful to button all three buttons.

Andrew with the many gifts that he gives to Fiona's family. 
Notice the basket with 5 chickens! 

There is a traditional Mutwalo, bride price, required.  It may involve a number of cows or simply a Bible.  It depends on the family.  There are also other items that are required.  These baskets, Bibos (covered in netting above) contain all sorts of things: fruits and vegetables, bread (a good number of loaves), sugar, salt, soap, paraffin, cooking oil, curry powder, sugar and a host of related items.

 Andrew's group had to seek permission to enter from one of Fiona's family representatives who gave them a really hard time. Sometimes they require a bribe! 

Andrew's side coming in to the party.  His tent is set up opposite Fiona's.

 Andrew was also required to give the official brother-in-law a cock.  I bet he was glad that he has had all that experience raising chickens with our family.  "smile"


   Xandi acted as his sister and Judson as his brother.

 Here are Andrew's friends bringing in all the gifts.

I'm not sure if this took place before the gift exchange or not but Fiona's Aunties served Andrew and friends a chicken dinner.  It was first smoked and then steamed in banana leaves.  It was yummy.

So far Fiona wasn't even allowed in the celebration.  She missed about half of everything and stayed in a room off to the side.

Part 2 to follow shortly.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cousins ~~~ Aunts and Uncles ~~~ Wonderful

 My cousin and her husband came down from Wisconsin to visit last week.  They "kidnapped and wrangled" my Aunt & Uncle to come along!  "wink"  We had a blast.  Oh my . . . . . .

Ken, Randy, Jeri and Denise
 Mom got her photo albums out.  That sparked all kinds of stories!  Matthew was with us and he got a glimpse of my life he hadn't heard of before! 

Mom, Uncle Dave & Aunt Dody 
Seeing my Aunt and Uncle was a special treat.  Aunt Dody looks so much like my dad.  They have some of the same mannerisms too.  Imagine, after all these years living away from each other and you can still see the family resemblances. 

Thank you, thank you, to Denise for going to all the trouble to get us together!  Hugs!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Finished !!

 Sigh.  It feels good to finish something.  (Especially since I'm not even close to being finished with the unpacking from our move in February)  Even so I started this quilt after we moved and actually got it mostly done by Stephen's 2nd birthday in August!! I "gave" it to him then but didn't let him take it home..

Gretchen and her family came up over the weekend and I relinquished custody to Stephen. 

He loves trains, train tracks, railroad crossings and train whistles!  When he visits our house all activity stops if he happens to hear a train.  By looking at it you can tell that the quilt is a BIG hit.  I am most gratified.  "grin" 
Here is my most recent photo of our engineer.  I sure do love this little man!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grandma's Garden

This year Mom (Grandma to everyone else) had a few plants put in her raised garden bed.  You know, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini.  They thrived under her care.

She kept us STOCKED with cherry tomatoes and occasionally a zucchini. I think she picked tomatoes by the gallon.  We loved it.  Thanks Mom!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Company !!!

We love to have people visit us, stay with us, work with us, eat with us, play with us!  We love company!  "grin" 
Since the end of the convention we've been blessed with the visits of lots of friends and family. 
I wish I had more pictures to post, but here's what I have. 

 We can't get enough of these girls.  Oh my they are sooooo much fun. 

 Here is our diminutive swimming visitor!  Alaina loved being in the pool.  She's learning little by little how all this works.  It took a while, but she did let go of Daddy and float a bit, brave girl!!

We set this little pool up on the deck for Stephen.  Notice he has swim noodles conveniently located  so he can float if he chooses.  "wink"

When you asked him what he was doing he'd hardly look up and just said "swimming, swimming". 

Our Mexican relative Matthew stopped in for a brief time.  HA! Boy can he eat a relative out of house & home. He didn't stay too long though.   "wink"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

He who finds a wife . . . . .

We are incredibly blessed!  Our whole family is excited to announce Andrew's engagement to Fiona Forster!  
(picture taken in Kampala at the restaurant where they had their first date)

 Thanks to Skype -- Andrew has been able to introduce us to this sweet, beautiful, sparkling woman. We already love her and look forward to welcoming her into our family!!

 Here is Fiona enjoying a game reserve in Kenya.

Fiona is a CPA.  She and Andrew met through his work with EarthWise Ferries.  
She loves the Lord and has a heart of caring for others. 
Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves and Fiona has walked this out in personal sacrifice and service.

They plan to marry here in the States and we can't wait to meet her in person. 

Imagine - - - the Lord taking Andrew all the way to Uganda to meet his wife.  WOW

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 18: 22

Friday, June 29, 2012

May Happenings

May had some wonderful happenings.  One of the happenings was Andrew. 

He made a quick visit home!

 We always celebrate with food.  Actually that is more important than usual when Andrew comes home, because he can't get many of our foods in Uganda.  example - watermelon, blueberries

{Of course we have to feed everyone else as well. } "wink"

"Partners in crime." -- according to Haley

You did notice my beautiful Mother's Day flowers from the kids, Ken and my sweet Mom?! 

I must have forgotten to say "smile". 

We love you Andrew.  XOXOXOX

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Those Thomas Sisters !

We had a wonderful visit from my Aunt Marylyn.  She is Mom's younger and only sister. 

She calls us all honey, says ya'll and speaks with a warm southern accent.  (I love to listen to her talk.)She stayed with Mom for 2 1/2 weeks and they had a blast.  (Such a blessing to have a sister!)

We headed up to a large green house in Sturtevant that has a cute little sandwich cafe' and gift shop.  That's not even mentioning the rows and rows of beautiful plants.  (Boy, talk about temptation.  You'd be proud of me ----- I only came home with one Caladium plant.)

Is it true that you go through a second childhood when you are mature enough that you don't care what others think??  YES  They were so much fun!  We laughed at all their remembrances.  Oh the stories.  They ate their chocolate first and didn't hesitate to joyfully encourage and love on each one of us.  Wish I'd gotten more pictures.

Thank you Mom and Marylyn for all the fun.  We hope this Texan can come up again soon.  XOXOX

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Incredible Inflating Baby!


 This is what James looked like when I saw him last.  (Grandma commentary:  Cute isn't he?)

This is James now!!!  (Look at that double chin!  Those rolls!  smooch

 When we were there he got his first bath.  He did great.  He scrunched up his face but didn't cry!  (marvelous child)

Look at him  now!!  (Old Pro)  He's really doing well and Gretchen says that he's started smiling!!  I think he looks like a balloon that someone has started blowing up.  (Isn't he darling.  Can't wait to get my hands on this baby again!)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Opening the Pool

The pool at our new house is a blessing from the Lord.  We really enjoyed our previous pool and I thought that when we moved we'd have to give that up.  Then we found this house and low and behold there was a pool!! It's a beautiful pool with a deck.  Nice, no more wobbly ladders to climb. 

Since the pool hasn't been used for 2 summers the water that was trapped in the pool cover was AWFUL.  Imagine 2 years of stinking rotting leaves.  It was slimey, green, buggy and disgusting!  My sweet and faithful husband spent two days removing the trapped water and then conditioning the pool.  I'm thankful that he's practically a pro at this time. Most folks would have been too intimidated by the job.

I'm glad Ken started the job when he did.  Today when the air temperature hit the mid 90's we were ready to have our inaugural swim!!  Whoopie!!

The water was a balmy 72 degrees.  {You could have heard us screaming at least a mile away as we got in.}   Once the numbness sets in it's great fun.  "grin"

Come join us . . . . . once it warms up a bit. 

Can you guess which one of us was brave enough to jump right in??

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grandson #2

Our family has been blessed again.
Today is the birthday of 

James Edward Phillips
6 lbs. 11 oz

He has a healthy set of lungs and nice dark hair!  Happy Birthday James!

He is Kyle and Gretchen's 3rd child.  Nate says that 3rd children are perfect.  I couldn't agree more. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You just HAVE to read this book!


As I was talking with my friend Sherry K about Uganda she asked if I had read this book.  I hadn't.  Then I found it on Amazon when I was ordering something else.  

It is the story of a young American woman and what the Lord does in and through her as she "works" in that country.  I thought that since Andrew is in Uganda that I should read it.  I am so glad that I did.  

On one level it helps me to understand what Andrew is facing everyday.  I hardly can imagine.  I shutter to think of it.  On the other hand I am challenged, encouraged, convicted.  I cried my way through the book.  After reading it, my faith has been refreshed.  I find myself hungering and thirsting for more of the Lord.   
It comes at a perfect time in our family's adventure.  We have just moved.  We are in a neighborhood for the first time in many years.  I have been seeking the Lord for my new neighbors.  My heart swells with excitement to see what the Lord has in mind.  I find myself trembling and saying Yes Lord, Yes Lord, yes yes yes.