Archives for category: Thrive Africa

gitz bits 2 divider blue

Friday, April 9, 2010


As I was getting my grocery list ready to send to Linda for a Friday delivery, I opened the door and decided one thing:

I needed a lot more food.

I’m so limited in what I eat, and for simplicity’s sake I pretty much eat the exact same thing every single day… but I wanted to make sure Alece was going to feel at home, so…

divider blue

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I stocked the fridge! I think I may have actually seen it shudder from the sheer weight of having to do what it was made for.

And I found it impossible to get a photo without Riley poking his nose in the shot… I may have seen him shudder from the sheer excitement of all the good smells. 🙂

divider blue

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This shot pretty much summed up the previous week of rain, rain and more rain. But I’m pretty sure nothing could damper my excitement about the week to come. Up until Sunday I really was still holding my breath about Alece coming. But when she emailed that night that she was packed and ready for the next day’s flight, she was healthy and nothing was preventing her trip…

…people, I could hardly stand it. I rested up all day so I’d be ready for when she got here, but if I could have walked well I would have been pacing the room. 🙂

divider blue

Monday, April 12, 2010


She’s here! To say Riley fell in love with her would be a bit of an understatement. As much as he is by my side 24/7, I found myself seeing less and less of him as he made sure to spread the love. He’d lay with me for awhile, then leap over to Alece’s chair to make sure she wasn’t lonely.

He’s nothing if not an equal opportunity schmooze.

4.12.10 a

At one point, we were discussing our mutual love of all things Sydney Bristow when Alece mentioned that she was unable to get the final season of Alias in South Africa.

The woman had no idea how all the mysteries of Rimbaldi ended. Or the significance of the Mueller device. And if you don’t know what these things mean, you need to rent all five seasons of Alias and watch them immediately. We spent every evening with snacks and drinks and DVDs… managing to finish the entire season before she had to leave.

And it was fun for me to watch her face when people she thought were dead were really alive. I love a good twist. 🙂

divider blue

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This was one of my favorite things about having Alece here… just the fact that she was here. That I could hear someone else’s keyboard clacking across the room. That she could show me brochures for Thrive Africa and we could brainstorm together. That we’d be on Twitter and crack up laughing at the same things. That we could both be working on our computers, have a thought, and talk about something important to us at any time…

…because she was right there in the room. I forgot how nice it was to have someone around to just BE.

4.13.10 a

Riley, however, didn’t enjoy the computer very much. It distracted her from all the toys he was throwing at her feet in an attempt to woo her into playing.

He’s all attention-seeking like that.

divider blue

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Here’s the truth: we lived in pajamas. And Riley spent most of his time gazing at her adoringly.

He has a crush. A very serious crush.

Another blogger, Mary, ended up driving up from Kansas City this day to meet Alece while she was here and spent a few hours with us as well. I guess with all the talking I didn’t think to get out the camera for random shots… it was so surreal to sit around with people who are normally little avatar photos next to their Twitter names and then see them in real life.

4.14.10 a

Hence, the reason Alece had real clothes on in this shot that I captured later that day from around the corner.

Look at that dog. It’s love, people.

divider blue

Thursday, April 15, 2010


One of the things Alece had on her list of things she’d like for groceries was chips and salsa. It was at this point that I shared with her that I had never tried salsa before.

Go ahead. Gasp. Faint. Fan yourself like a southern belle.

Because, apparently, that is like one of the seven deadly sins or something.

I had no idea people would freak out by this piece of information, but they did. I am happy to report that I LIKED THE SALSA. And I’ve since learned there are fruit salsas that are now on my list of things to try and fall and love with. I’ll let you know how it goes.

4.15.10 a

For the record, I introduced Alece to a few excellent things as well. Like, she turned up her nose at the idea of green apple Smirnoff, and then fell in love with green apple Smirnoff.

And, the woman had a severe dislike for Oreos. But I made her try double stuffed Oreos straight out of the freezer… and once again made a convert out of her. To the point where she’d grin and walk to the freezer and admit she craved them.

Ah, I had so much to teach her. 🙂

4.15.10 b

And she had so much to surprise me with… like ALLY McBEAL!!! Ohmysoul, people, I loved that show. And we may have squealed at the first disc when all of the funny started flooding back. If you’ve never watched it, you really should. It’s the quirkiest kind of brilliant.

It’s so hard to show you a couple of pictures of a whole lot of nothing and explain how fantastically wonderful the week was. I love that a friend from South Africa, who I came to love as family over a computer, turned out to be the exact same person when she sat in my home.

We ate, we drank, we talked, we laughed, we did absolutely nothing that added up into a lifetime of something.

I had a really good week. And I stored up a lifetime worth of happy.

divider blue

Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:


We may not be able to give much, but we can always give the joy that springs in a heart that is in love with God.
                                                               – Mother Teresa

If you’ve been around this blog longer than a minute, you know I’m all about choosing the joy.

But sometimes, the joy chooses us.

It just jumps right up, hugs us around the neck and reminds us that it’s not something we always have to look hard to find.

Sometimes, it shows up at your door… sits in your chair…

IMG_9510 bw

and becomes your dog’s new best friend.

Alece and I have been friends for a couple of years now. We email and twitter and talk and Skype. We’ve talked about funny things and serious things, television shows and our real life dramas. And now that she’s in my home…

I’ve found it to be just the same. Except I get to hug her, and we still look at each other and laugh periodically about the fact that she’s in my house! 🙂

I never thought this would happen simply because she lives her life in Africa where she runs her mission, Thrive Africa. Her heart is there, her home is there, her passion is there. But right now, for this moment, she is here.

And I love knowing that the relationships I’ve made with people online, the community I’ve built in this age of technology, work just the same as when I see someone face to face. Friendships are about the heart and sharing life and laughing way too hard at ridiculous things. It’s about staying in pajamas all day and watching Alias and randomly getting into discussions that are just as easy as the ones we’ve had through the computer for years.

Number 879 of Why I Love to Blog: Alece is in my house.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me while Riley and I plot ways to keep her from leaving. 🙂


So, Susie was over tonight [Sunday] to watch the two hour Brothers and Sisters movie event. Otherwise known as: two hours of a television show for which they needed a marketing angle. I’m happy to report it was worth the hype. And that next week’s episode looks just as good. 🙂

The point here is that this movie event started at 8:00, and while Susie was here in time to begin the show, we didn’t actually start watching until 9:40. The only excuse I can give you for this is that Susie is chatty.

Not me, of course. It was all Susie. 🙂

We originally had this bright idea that while she was here, she would write a guest post for you all today. But then “she” got chatty. And “she” may have even paused the show to chat. And when she left here after midnight, we realized that our deadline for posting had passed, and she needed to get her tush home to sleep so she could get up bright and early for work. Since I have the luxury of sleeping in I told her she could save her guest posting skills for another day.

Her original thought for today’s [Y] post, however, was going to be y’all. As in:

Y’all… we’re too busy watching a show to write a blog post right now.

So, I thought I would take that concept and run with it.

Y’all… I have held two newborn babies within the past week. Two. And, dear God, they were ridiculously cute. And sweet. And cuddly. And they smelled good. You’ll see one in tomorrow’s Gitz Bits and the other in next week’s edition. But I’m going to post them both right here, right now, because they are too sweet not to share twice:

IMG_9379 Scrumptious Little Noah – 6 weeks

IMG_9483 Smiley Little Joshua – 5 weeks

Y’all… I finally finished cutting Riley’s hair. It was done over the course of two weeks, in multiple stages. He may have gotten a bit tired of sitting through it, and he may have gotten feisty with me. He may have been annoyed because the hair on his legs was so matted he basically had doggy dreadlocks, which may or may not have made him want to bite at my hands.

Y’all… he definitely got in trouble for it. And I may have snapped a photo.


Y’all… that is going to be my favorite picture of Riley until the day I die.

Y’all… I’m going to end this with some very exciting news. Today, at around 4:30 or so, my friend Alece is going to be walking through my door. My mom is picking her up from the airport and bringing her here to stay for the week!

Y’all… it’s really happening. This friend I made while she was running her Thrive Africa mission, this friend who I never imagined getting to see in person as most of her life is spent on another continent, this friend just so happened to have a wedding to attend. In Iowa. Only a few hours from me. And now I get to hang out with her for the whole week!

Y’all… I’m so lucky to have started this blog. And to have made such good friends. I am so blessed to get to spend my days with you. Y’all are the best!

divider red

a to z

Don’t forget to hit me up with some [Z] suggestions in the comment section!

A few months ago, I was reading one of the posts on Pete Wilson’s blog, Without Wax, and he was asking us where our passion lies. People knew their answers without hesitation: human trafficking, feeding the poor, supporting mission work, church plants, youth groups.

People knew their heart’s passion and what they were willing to fight for.

I didn’t. I mean, I believe in all of those causes and have a heart for all of them. I have empathy and a desire to help. But as Pete pointed out, sometimes when we blindly go through life thinking all things are equally important to us, we can miss what God is really calling us to do.

Where is my passion? How do I want my voice to be used?

I’ve been trying to really pay attention, and one cause has stood out every single time.

I believe in Thrive Africa. And more than anything, I want to see this mission succeed.

The reasons are many, not the least of which is that I believe in Alece, the founder of this mission. She is my friend who will be coming here to visit next month, and I’m hoping to twist her arm to write something directly from her heart to all of you while she’s here. I know her. I know her heart. I know how much she loves the people of Africa and feels called to, as her mission’s name reflects, help Africa Thrive.

My faith in Alece is key, because I know that any money given to this mission is being spent for the good of the people she lives with and supports. But more than that, I respect the way they are going about helping the country. You can learn more through their mission statement:

Thrive Africa’s vision is to disciple Believers, equip leaders, and strengthen the Church in Southern Africa. We accomplish this through AIDS prevention, pastoral development, discipleship classes, youth camps, mission trips, and more.

The key word, to me, is that they equip the people in the country. They don’t want to change Africa, they want to empower Africans. Currently, Thrive employs [pay salaries to] 52 nationals… each one a young local leader who they’ve trained and eventually hired. They are equipping the people of Africa with respect and love and hope.

And their way of helping is working.

Currently, 1 in 4 South Africans are HIV positive. Thrive Africa teaches AIDS prevention and leadership development at 10 schools in the poorest area of South Africa. There is an 88% unemployment rate, and 75% of the people are chronically hungry. They have been hungry for food, but also for the tools that can make a difference in their lives.

Thrive Africa is feeding their needs. Before they began this program, one school averaged 40 pregnancies a year among 7th, 8th and 9th graders. In the four years Thrive’s program has been taught, there has not been one single pregnancy.

Not one.

They are currently teaching 4000 students. 4000 lives that are being changed for the better. Knowledge is key. Equipping leaders is key. Spreading the Word has made a difference in lives that have been hungry in so many ways.

Why am I starting to talk about this now? One, because I feel passionately about it. Two, because Thrive Africa is in dire need of help.  According to their newsletter:

They have scaled down costs as much as they are able, and have started an online store to help promote their mission and raise funds. You can check out their store from the graphic on my left sidebar… they have some great products and [from what I hear] amazing coffee. 🙂

If you want to learn more about Thrive’s programs, you can visit Impact South Africa and discover how you can help make a difference. They are changing lives. And those lives will help create a difference in their country.

I’m so proud to be a part of it.