All journeys have secret destinations, of which the traveler is unaware.

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. Philippians 4:11b


Not of this world...

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through, if this world was my home, then Lord, what would I do? The angels beckon me to Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

There is so much on my mind lately.  But after seeing some of the news updates online last night I feel a little overwhelmed by the fact that this world is hopeless.  Seeing article upon article and picture after picture of the tragic events that took place at an Elementary school in the States is just....upsetting, to say it lightly.  My facebook newsfeed was filled with status updates relating to it.  I just can’t fathom....
20 children  


Not to mention 6 adults and the person that allegedly did all the shooting himself.  So many thoughts flood my mind in the darkness of this tragedy.  How on earth could the idea to go into an elementary school and just open fire on children even enter into a person’s mind?  How in the world are the families that lost one of their precious children going to ever live through the holidays?  How are the children that survived ever going to get over the fear of just going to school?  How could the media be so heartless to want to interview little children in the wake of this tragedy, making them relive a nightmare.  What would I have done if one of those children was my child?  I wonder how many parents in that area (or in the whole country really) needed this tragedy to happen so they would truly cherish their children for the wonderful blessings that they are.  But the strongest feeling I have right now is this;

THANK YOU GOD, that this world is not my home!

I’m not going to lie, I am not ready (for some admittedly selfish reasons) to leave this world.  I am due to have a baby any day now.  My actual due date was yesterday in fact.  As horrible as this world can be, I want to be here long enough to enjoy my daughter and watch her grow and learn and become a wonderful woman of God.  I got married in February.  I want to live here and enjoy many more years of marriage to the most wonderful husband in the world and hopefully, have more children.  I haven’t seen some of my family and friends in the U.S. in years.  I want to be able to go back to the States and “catch up” with them and let them know how much I love them. I want to take my Ghanaian husband, who’s never traveled more than a few hundred miles, to the States to meet my family (which is now also his family) and introduce him to all the places and people that are so near and dear to my heart.  So in a way, I’m not ready to leave this world.  But at the same time, I am SO ready.  

It seems like there is no hope for this world.  Scratch that, there IS no hope for this world.  The only hope in this world is Jesus.  HE is the hope of the whole world and for some reason, that I just cannot comprehend, people reject and even ridicule HIM and HIS followers.  I pray sincerely that HIS true followers, especially in the States right now, can utilize this tragedy to really show HIS love and real character.  I’ve already seen some of my “friends” (acquaintances?) on facebook remark about Christians getting on their soapboxes and how this is not the time for that.  I agree whole heartedly.  This is not the time for Christians to lecture about  why bad things happen in this world.  This is a time to mourn with those who are mourning and try your best, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to say the right things at the right time so that a seed of God’s truth will be planted in the freshly tilled grounds of some broken hearts.  I shudder to think that some people will be turned off to Christ due to the way people that claim to follow HIM will respond to this event.  I rejoice to think that some people will be drawn to Christ due to the way HIS true followers will respond to this event.  I’m so glad that, as a Christian, I don’t have to mourn over those children the way the world does.  It is tragic and sad that they have been taken away from their families and I know that their families are suffering a kind of grief that I am not personally familiar with.  But it is so wonderful to know that those children will never have to suffer any grief or pain or fear ever again.  They are all sitting around Jesus’ feet and probably even in His lap in the throne room of Heaven right now.  That is the only comforting thought in the midst of this tragedy.  I pray that the parents, friends and families affected will be able to find that comfort.  I pray that true Christians around them will lead them to that comfort and help them to live through this holiday season when all they will feel like doing is letting go of all hope.  I pray that the thought of being able to see their child again in heaven will spur some of them (all of them!) to embrace Christ and to repent and be immersed into HIS kingdom of light and love.  

The quote at the beginning of this post is from a hymn I learned after I came here to Ghana.  I don’t actually like the music that much (its’s kind of old country church style) but the lyrics are one of the first things that came to mind when I read about the shooting.  Upon searching for the lyrics I realize that I have not remembered them correctly, but I’m leaving them that way, because when the song came to mind, that’s how the words came out.  
I just can’t feel at home in this world anymore.  


This time it's personal..

 I have posted some personal things in this blog before, but I usually try not to let it get too deep because frankly, I’m uncomfortable with just anyone being able to see that deep into my mind.  But today, I’m going to share one of my biggest fears....and I just realized it in the last year.

I got married in February.  In April we found our we’re expecting.  Yesterday I found out that it’s a girl.  All of these things are exciting and wonderful things.  In the midst of all these happy occurrences I realized one of my biggest fears.  I am terrified that I will have a child that grows up, like I did, as the “fat kid.”  For some reason the fact that I’m having a girl makes this realization stronger than when I was hoping for a boy.  I think it’s because I’ve seen a lot more overweight little girls than I remember seeing overweight boys.  I don’t know why that is....maybe boys naturally get out and play more...maybe parents make the boys go play more...I don’t know.  But I do know that I grew from the fat kid right into the fat (obese, actually) college student and adult.  I’m 30 years old...and I’ve been fat since I was 8.  It’s sad that I really can’t remember ever not being fat.  

I worked REALLY hard in college and made a significant dent in my weight problem...I lost about 90lbs in about 2 years.  Sixty of those were in the first six months when I got really serious about eating better and exercising.  Once I came to Ghana I didn’t gain any weight....I probably lost some more but since I had started weightlifting it didn’t really show on the scale.  I’m still obese.  I’ve been ashamed of my size/weight nearly my entire life.  I am absolutely terrified that my future children will have this obstacle to face.  I’m afraid that I’ve already put this obstacle in their paths.  I am scared that I won’t know how to make sure they’re eating right and exercising enough.....How could I know when I’m overweight and out-of-shape myself?  

Growing up that way was nothing short of miserable.  Thankfully, I wasn’t a miserable, depressed kid....but I had my days.  There were times when mom would take me to get some new clothes and in the midst of trying things on and finding nothing even remotely fashionable (unless I was a 50 year old woman) I would just start crying.  I got made fun of at school CONSTANTLY.  Children can be really mean and really creative when they want to be.  I’ve always felt like being fat was MY fault and that I’d never overcome it.  

I CAN NOT let this happen to my children.  I want my kids to be healthy, active, happy children.  

I have to be the one to stop this problem for my kids.  I HAVE to overcome it.  I can’t very well lose weight while I’m pregnant.  But after the baby’s born I plan on kicking things into high gear.  I do not want my kids to grow up with a fat, out-of-shape mommy that can’t run and play with them.  The only way for me to ensure that they don’ for me to get into shape and lose weight.  I have to.  They say you should face your fears....but I don’t think that means you have to experience them.  I am facing this fear, admitting that I’m terrified of it.  So what am I going to do about it...

So I’m depending on this for encouragement
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

Now, I know that this verse is talking about persecutions and tribulations that Christians will face for the sake of Christ.  BUT, if He promises that we will conquer those things with His help...what’s a little weight problem to Him?  And my favorite part is that it doesn’t just say we’ll overcome these things or that we’ll get through these doesn’t even just say that we’ll conquer these things.  It says we will OVERWHELMINGLY CONQUER!  I feel like saying Amen!!! when I read that.  

So this is my own personal challenge to myself.  With the help of God, who created everything and has control over every single atom in existence, I can and will conquer this problem.  




So, today I saw the baby for the first time.  I realize that at 7 1/2 months pregnant it's a little late to be seeing the baby for the FIRST time...but I don't live in America..haha. was amazing to see the baby on that little screen during the ultrasound.  AND I found out that it's a girl!  That's the part where I'm speechless...I don't know why, but I feel like I just have no earthly idea what I'm going to do with a girl.....even though, I'M a girl.  So...there it is....She'll be here sometime early in December.  My original due date is Dec. 14th...during the ultrasound today I noticed the date they gave me is December 3rd...but I've heard from several moms here that the original date is usually more accurate here at least.  I keep thinking ..."wow.....a girl...."



I have always hated airlines’ baggage weight limits.  I weigh my bags at home but inevitably find out that my scales are, apparently, not accurate.  More than once I have found myself kneeling on the floor of the check-in shifting things from one bag to another trying to balance out the weight.  Once I even bought and entirely new suitcase at the airport because it was cheaper to pay for a single extra bag than to pay the fee for my two overweight bags.  Heavy baggage is something airlines don’t like...I can understand really, the workers that load baggage on and off of flights must move thousands upon thousands of bags every day.  The weight limit means that most of the bags they move are about the same weight.  Having relatively equal weights helps cut down on injuries to the employees.  I understand that an airplane has to have a specific weight limit in order to fly correctly.  I understand.  
In life, most everyone has baggage of some kind.  These days, my baggage is WAY overweight.  In the airport, when my bags are overweight sometimes I just have to take things out, forget about them and leave them behind.  I wish it was that easy with my life’s baggage.  There are things in my bags that are so heavy.  There are painful memories, disappointments, struggles and moments of doubt and fear that have been hanging around in my luggage for years.  I wish I could just open up my bags and say, “ok, I’m taking you out, leaving you here and forgetting you.”  Done. But it seems like every time I think I’ve dumped something out of my bags, it somehow jumps back in when I’m not looking.  
Reading a friend’s blog this week (Mama A strikes again) I’ve realized, again, that I don’t have to feel this way.  
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  take My yoke upon you and learn from    Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matt. 11: 28-30
Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Jesus, is more than willing to take on my extra baggage.  And yours too, by the way.  He specifically asks us to let him have it.  No bag is too heavy or awkward for Him to handle.  And He doesn’t have a weight limit.  He can and will take ALL of our bags for us.  If I ask Him and trust Him, He’ll even get rid of all the bags that He knows I don’t need.  The bags that are just weighing me down.  

But here’s the smack in the face that Mama A’s blog frequently offers.  In order for Jesus to take my baggage for me, I have to STOP THINKING I DON’T NEED HELP.  I have to stop telling myself, “oh these bags aren’t that heavy.  I can handle it...”  Reality check, they ARE too heavy and I CANNOT handle it myself.  There is a reason professionals load baggage onto airplanes.  If the luggage doesn’t get loaded properly, bad things happen.  The bags shift around, things get broken, it can even crash the plane.  When I think I can handle my own baggage, bad things will happen.  Things will shift, get broken and I might even crash.    Once again, pride needs to take a backseat (actually, pride can just take a hike) and let humility take the lead.  I DO need His help.  So, I’m checking my bags.  This time I’m gonna leave the heavy lifting to Jesus.  He can handle it and He enjoys helping His little sister out.  



Not MY kid...

This post is somewhat inspired by the truly amazing “Mama A,” you can find her blog HERE always do what she says :-)
Thoughts on parenting by an unexperienced Mommy to be.....
Ya know, now that I’m going to actually BE a mom, I have a tendency to look at kids (and there parents too) a little differently.  
Now I know what you’re thinking, “who are you to judge parenting.  What do YOU know about raising a kid?!”  Ok, ok, hold up, wait a minute.  I’m not judging you or anyone else’s parenting.  I’ve just been making some observations about how I think we should raise our child (and future children).  No judging going on here.  Happy? 
I’m actually hoping this post will bring some helpful advice from people who DO know a thing or two about being parents.  Anyway, some observations, complaints, questions about parenting techniques and fumbles I’ve noticed. 
I will not let my kid be THAT kid that no one wants to babysit because Jr. behaves wonderfully for me but somehow has not learned that he needs to behave when someone other than mommy is caring for no no.
I will make sure my child learns how to listen when ANY adult is talking to him/her.  It’s so annoying to hear a parent speaking to their 5 year old and the kid responds with “huh?”  Not gonna work in our house.
If my child is mis-behaving I will not hesitate to to give them a spanking.  Now, I know a lot of people (especially 20-30 something Americans) don’t like spanking. But let me ask you this...Didn’t you get spankings when you were a kid?  No one that I know of personally, has suffered severe trauma from a spanking they got when they were a kid.  ‘Nuff said about that.  
If my child mis-behaves while at home with me, I will not say “You just wait until your father gets home.”  I will discipline then AND tell Eric when he gets home and let him discipline them again if he thinks it’s needed.  Kids need to know that Mommy’s got the moxie to discipline them and they need to know that Daddy won’t accept them disobeying Mommy just because they think she’s “soft.”  
Ok, this is kind of a big one to me....mostly because it really annoys and distracts me personally.  At church, my child will NOT be that kid that makes noise and doesn’t understand that this is NOT playtime.  If my child gets too noisy or playful during a church meeting, we will not just sit in the assembly and let them keep distracting others from the preaching/singing/teaching.  We will go outside and get a little bit of discipline or we will go to the nursery where they child CAN play and make a little more noise without distracting others.  Kids need to learn that Church assemblies are special and important.  
Now, I’m a southerner, though you might not notice it that much if you meet me now days.  I swear it’s in here y’all.  So, in honor of my heritage, my child will learn that “yes ma’am, no ma’am” and “yes sir, no sir” are good ways to respond to adults.  They will also learn “please, thank you” and all those other polite words that so many children’s vocabularies seem deprived of these days.  
Finally, an observation for those of you that are already parents.  Every parent (as far as I can tell) wants people to like their kid.  Guess what, if your kid is an indisciplined brat, PEOPLE WON’T LIKE THEM! And no, it won’t matter how cute they are.  Person A (no relation to Mama A) will say “Oh, Jr. so-and-so is such a cute kid.” and person B will say “yeah, but he is a real brat.”  to which person A will respond, “Ugh, I KNOW!” They won’t like your kid and they won’t respect you as a parent.  
One thing I’ve learned from observing different parents (some I think are great and some not so much) is that when it comes to discipline and children, we need to be consistent.  And our children will need us to be consistent too.  It’s almost painful to me when I see a child being disciplined by a parent when other people are around but I KNOW that they don’t get disciplined, for whatever it is, when they’re at home.  You can see the confusion on the child’s face.  If something isn’t acceptable for a child to do/say in public, they shouldn’t be allowed to do it at home either.  And if some particular behavior is unacceptable, then the child needs to be disciplined for it EVERY time they do it.  They will need to learn that they can’t fool Mommy and Daddy.  They can’t get away with it sometimes.  It’s really not fair to the child to be inconsistent.  
I do want people to like my child, but not because of how cute he/she is (because he/she will definitely be adorable.) I want them to notice how well my child behaves.  I’d rather have someone say “Wow! Jr Sarpong is such a good boy” than hear them say, “ya’know that Sarpong kid is really cute.”  Being cute won’t get my kids into heaven....but if they learn to listen and follow directions and do what is right, eventually they will be able to follow God’s direction and Listen to God’s word with understanding.  And frankly, I’d rather have them win the Crown of Life than win a thousand cute kid contests.  



I have plenty of them.  They are interesting things to me.  Constant reminders of some distant pain.  Working in a kitchen for 3 years gave me plenty of scars from being burned.  Then there's the one on the end of my thumb where I slipped chopping onions and took the very very tip of my finger off.  There's this odd scar on my leg that I've had as long as I can remember and I have no idea how I got it.  And the one on my arm from playing with the dog when I was a kid and her paw came down and swatted my arm, hard apparently.  Faint and faded, but they all carry some story with them of some injury in my life.  

Lots of people have scars and they all tell you something.  Here in Ghana it's very common for people to have scars, especially on their face, that are sort of tribal markings.  Some of those scars were also thought to protect particularly beautiful children from juju.   I noticed a scar on someone's shoulder and I asked him how he got it.  He said when he was a kid he didn't do something that his aunty told him to do and she took the knife she was using to turn something that was roasting on the fire and she sort of pressed it against his shoulder, burning him.  Both of my friends named Esther have scars on their faces, one from tribal markings, the other  from some medical procedure she had as a child.  

Another thing I find interesting about scars is how different people look at them.  When I first came to Ghana, seeing scars on so many people's faces was really shocking to me.  I had a hard time not staring at the scars, wondering how they got them, how old they were when they got them etc.  But now I hardly notice them.  I've gotten used to seeing them.  My friends that have scars, I'm not even sure if I could tell you who has scars and who doesn't because I've stopped seeing them.  In America,most people, ladies especially, are so afraid of getting scars on their faces because we (Americans) think it makes a person less beautiful.  But Esther and Esther are both beautiful ladies.  Many beautiful ladies and handsome men in Ghana have scars on their faces, it doesn't make them any less beautiful.  

I've realized in the last few years that God has given us this physical world in order to demonstrate spiritual things to us in a way that is easier for us to understand.  I have a lot more invisible scars than visible ones.  I have so many emotional scars....Years of being picked on and made fun of at school really cut me up, so to speak.  Years of having a father that wasn't as kind and gentle and loving as a father is supposed to be....more scars.  Some of my scars were even self-inflicted, because I started believing the lies people told me about myself when they made fun of I joined in with their attacks telling myself how worthless, ugly and stupid I was.  Self-inflicted wounds.  The invisible scars take a lot longer to heal than the visible ones.  There's no bandage or ointment to help them heal faster.  But eventually they start to heal and fade away too.  

Thinking about this, and this being resurrection weekend made me wonder; What did/do Jesus' scars look like.  What do the scars in His hands and feet and side and on His back really look like? Or what about the scars He has from working with His father Joseph, doing carpentry?  If I asked Jesus how He got one of His scars what would He tell me?  Would he show me the ones in His hands and say "well, you gave me these..." Constant reminders....but HIS scars are not constant reminders of pain like mine;  HIS are reminders of HIS love....for me and you and all of mankind.