The Old Testament prophet, Nehemiah, once said “I cannot come down because the work is too great.” He was rebuilding the wall that was in ruins and didn’t want to stop doing [God’s] work.
I feel this way about South Africa. It’s no secret that Africa confronts dire poverty and a growing AIDS epidemic, but it’s entirely different to be here–in the midst–it’s overwhelming. (When was the last time you prayed HARD that a 7-yr. old’s HIV test would come back negative?) It feels much bigger than anything one person could even make a dent in. But once you see what we’ve seen there is no turning away. We’re now responsible for the things we’ve witnessed. In all honesty, I am willing but have no idea where to begin.
Recently I listened to Craig Groeschel speak about “Ridiculous Provision” from the life of Elisha. AMAZING! ( watch it here)
When the widow seeks help from Elisha, he asks her two things: what do you want me to do? What do you have?”. At first, the widow replies that she has nothing to offer–except a jar of olive oil (symbolic today of Holy Spirit). Elisha told her to collect every empty jar she could and continue to pour out the oil. She did and filled several jars–until there were no more empty jars. When she ran out of empty jars the oil stopped flowing. Groeschel makes the point that God starts with what we have (empty jars) and then fills it.
So– when I look around me and see hunger, disease, hate, indifference, innocence lost– I feel that the question is posed to me: “What do you have? What do you want Me to do?”
I don’t know the answer…yet. But I think it’s the right question to be asking.
For now, I’ll work from these truths:
1. The work is too great and I cannot come down from here
2. I have some “oil” that I can start pouring out
3. God needs empty jars before they can be filled
So many have asked about where we live. I figured a picture is worth a thousand words. So, here you go…
Dining room (one big room shared with the living room):
Kitchen (kitchen sink is behind the partial wall with washing machine and leads to my “backyard”):
Patio and “garden” (right behind the living room):
And, if you can picture our home laid out like a tic-tac-toe diagram, we have a small courtyard right in the middle.
Outside view (ocean behind me, our complex is the green and brick on the far left):
I wanted to get some outdoor pics, but it was a “monkeys wedding” kind of day. Naturally, I didn’t stray too far from home.
We live in a very safe, quiet part of town called South End. It is situated between the poor areas downtown and the uber rich in Summerstrand. We feel incredibly blessed to find such a quaint, affordable, dry (mold is a huge problem in other places), and safe place.
Throughout this whole process I’m learning that home is truly where your heart is and life is what you make it.
So…being from the Midwest it’s a very strange kind of day. It’s raining and sunshine all at the same time! Come to find out that’s very common here and is referred to as a “Monkey’s Wedding.” In all my research, about 10 minutes worth, no one knows how the expression came to be, buy every South African knows what it means. It has Zulu origins and quite literally translates as the “wedding of a monkey.” The cool thing about Monkey’s Wedding-type days is that there is almost a brilliant rainbow throughout the day.
Random post, I know, but I told you it was a weird kind of day…
Category : The Recipes
“Molo!” (Xhosa greeting)
“Unjani?” (Xhosa for ‘how is -all- your family?… Because it would be rude to only ask how one is doing.)
I’m not a huge rosemary fan, but I couldn’t believe how well it accents the spinach and peppadews in this recipe. While it is my recipe, I cannot take credit for the inspiration. Our townhome is on the top of Baakens Valley overlooking a small, quaint coffee shop called the “Friendly Stranger.” This coffee shop has an eclectic vibe, mismatched table wear and coffee cups, live music, award winning baristas, the walls are large hinged doors that can be moved to the side for an open-air feel– and to top it off– the most AMAZING food! I was determined to recreate their version of a spinach muffin (and came pretty close!). I wish that you could join me for one of their muffins in person, but (unless you’re planning a trip to South Africa) we’ll have to enjoy the same muffin miles apart.
Spinach and Rosemary Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease muffin tin with canola oil.
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 (250g) bag of spinach (rinsed, dried, and shredded)
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (I like medium)
1/2 cup diced peppadews (sweet piquante peppers)
2 T. Parmesan cheese (finely shredded)
In a separate bowl, mix:
1 1/3 cup milk
90g butter, melted
1 T. Dried Rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
Add milk mixture to flour and stir just until combined.
Drop by spoonful into greased muffin tin (to the top), place in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold (I prefer warm with a piping hot Americano). The Friendly Stranger garnishes it with additional shredded cheddar cheese. Either way–
Category : Upward Thoughts
Love this poem by Emily Dickinson:
I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.
Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.
Kasey always sums up life to be: Love God. Love People.
We’ve had a lot of questions about why we chose to name our first daughter Genesis– Genesis Grace. The short answer is that I believe she is the start, the beginning, of something great (I’ll share about defining greatness another time.) In truth, we had the name picked out years ago and when we heard that it was a girl we knew she was going to be named Genesis. As the months of anticipation grew, we began to think about what scriptures and what prayers we want to speak into our daughter. This is what we pray for our Genesis Grace every day:
The beginning of grace
We pray into her life:
Beacon of Grace
“Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John 1:16
Learn Like Mary
“Mary, sat at The Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught…then The Lord said, ‘There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her’.” Luke 10:38,42
Heart like Mary
“While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.” Matthew 26:7
Courage of Esther (to stand up for the weak, the oppressed, and the persecuted).
“Who knows if perhaps you have come here for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
“I will go to the king…and if I perish, I perish.” v 16
“Grant me my life– this is my petition. And spare my people–this is my request.” Esther 7:3
Embrace the love of her kinsmen redeemer
“Spread the corner of your covering over me, since you are our kinsmen redeemer.” Ruth 3:9
As I was thinking through this prayer, I realized that praying it alone isn’t enough. She is going to need to see all of these things modeled in me. I’m not praying things over her that I wish were in my life– I praying that these things become life to me. This is the legacy I pray I leave for my daughter.