Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out of Africa

I was able to sleep most of the flight to London and then again on the flight to Nairobi.  So thankful that I can pretty much sleep standing  up if needed!  Flights seem very fast to me!  We arrived in Nairobi on Friday evening (3-11-11) exhausted but excited for our adventure.  After standing in line to get our entry visas and waiting for our luggage, we were taken to the Methodist guest house to spend the night.  Free wi-fi was included so I got to talk to my family on Skype. 

Saturday morning we were picked up by Esther Gachokas.  We were able to cram 15 pieces of luggage (each weighing close to 50 lbs.), 7 people, and our carry on luggage all into a van made for about 10 people!  We looked like a clown car when we stopped to exchange our money!  We drove to Naomi's Village in Maai Mahiu.  The drive was a little scary!  Not only are the roads quite bumpy, there are no street signs, no street lights, and from all rules!  We made it safely though and were excitedly greeted by 14 adorable children and an amazing staff.  So many of the faces were familiar from the Naomi's Village website and from the facebook posts.  Such heartbreaking stories, yet such joyful children!!

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18
Joshua is always smiling! Click for his heartbreaking story.
Paul loved to have his picture taken and was always making silly faces!
Mary has a beautiful smile and a sweet personality.
Dennis loves to be held and cuddled.  He is a very sensitive boy.
Mary is quiet and sweet.
Kevin is a bundle of energy!  I can still hear him calling "Auntie Kayla!" and lifting his hands for me to hold him.

Saturday and Sunday were relaxing days to play with the kids and get to know the staff.  We were pampered by sweet Doreen (one of the cooks) who insisted we take breaks for chai tea and cake.  Doreen lives nearby at the IDP camp with her two kids.  She is an amazing lady who loves to serve!  Those children are so blessed to have her!

Monday we got started with the real work.  They guys were busy designing and building toy boxes and a shelving unit for the playroom.  They also designed and built a changing table for the baby room.  Jane, the baby matron, was so excited!  They were able to take wood that was very roughly cut and make some beautiful pieces of furniture!

The guys worked so hard to finish all the projects.
They did not want to stop to take breaks, but Doreen insisted and they were nice enough to comply!


Not exactly what you find at Home Depot!

The finished changing table

I spent the first couple days painting the babies room.  Eliud, the painter, taught me a few Swahili words as we were working.  The room is a beautiful lavender color that will be so soothing for the babies that will arrive soon!

While Eliud put the finishing touches on the baby room I began my next project...organizing and taking inventory of all the donated supplies and toys! I forgot to take a picture of the finished closet FULL of school supplies, clothes, shoes, medical supplies, and tons of toys.

This is only part of the donations that we brought!
Thanks friends who donated!

Our last day at Naomi's Village was bitter sweet.  We were all excited to get back to our families, but we were sad to leave the precious kids and the sweet staff.  We decided to make an American meal for the kids on our last night, so we grilled hamburgers and Stephen (one of the cooks) made homemade fries.  Yummy!  This was the first hamburger for the kids and the staff.  I think they enjoyed it!.  We also served ice cream for dessert!

There are so many stories I could tell about my time at Naomi's Village.  God is doing amazing things!  He has a great plan for each of these children.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  -  Jeremiah 29:11

I cannot say enough how this trip has impacted me and my family.  We hope you will join us in supporting this amazing orphanage and helping these kids make an impact for Christ in Kenya and around the world.  You can read more about Christian Relief Partners and how we are helping around the world.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Today I got my final shot so I am ready to go to Kenya!  Going overseas to work in an orphange has been a dream of mine since I was little.  When the opportunity to go work in an orphanage came up, I jumped at the chance!  My wonderfully supportive and amazing husband agreed to "hold down the fort" while I am gone.  My awesome parents and in-laws have volunteered to watch kids and whatever else may be needed while I am gone.  

I sent out support letters and wish lists and was humbled by the generosity of friends and family.  God faithfully provided the $2400 needed for my plane ticket, food, and lodging.  WOW!  What an awesome God we serve!  

A few prayer requests while I am gone:

*Sanity for my wonderful husband
*Understanding and peace for my children who are excited for Mommy...but already sad about me being gone.
*Safety for my team as we travel
*Protection from illness while we are there 
*Quick recovery from jet lag so we can have a productive time as we finish up some building projects and play with kids

If you haven't already, check out Naomi's Village on facebook.  There are some great pictures and videos of the kids.  You can also check out 

for more information about the orphanage.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kenya Mission Trip

Did you know that in Kenya alone there are currently 2 million orphans out of the 12 million children?  And 700 children a day become orphaned in Kenya – 1 every 2 minutes!  As you know God has given Ryan and I a heart for orphans.  We are active foster parents, adoptive parents, and advocates for foster care and adoption amongst our circle of influence. 
  Recently I have been presented with an opportunity to go to Kenya over my spring break (March 10-20) to work in an orphanage that is just starting to welcome children.  This orphanage is called Naomi’s Village and is located in near Nairobi, Kenya.  I will be traveling with an organization called Lost Orphans International (LOI).  We will stay at Naomi’s Village during our trip and work on various projects.  I am hoping to spend lots of time loving on these children, but I’m sure there will be some manual labor involved as well! 
  I would love for you to be a part of my support team.  You can contribute financially to my trip by making a donation of $25, $50, $100 or more.  My total expenses will be around $2000.  The first deadline for money to be raised is coming up next week (Jan. 23rd).  If you are able to contribute you can send the donation directly to LOI (with Kayla North – Kenya in the memo line) or I am glad to come pick up checks if you are local. 
                                Lost Orphans International
PO Box 1388
                                McKinney, TX 75070
I would also love for you to pray for me and my team while we are in Kenya.  If you would like to receive email updates and specific prayer requests please send an email to  with Kenya Prayer in the subject line.
  Thank you for considering being a part of my support team as I step out in faith and trust God to use me in a powerful way.  Below are websites for Naomi’s Village and Lost Orphans International if you want more information about either of these organizations.
Naomi’s Village -
Lost Orphans International -

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tot School - day 1

I am always looking for a better way to manage my 4 kids during our homeschooling days.   I have 2 kids in school (2nd grade and kindergarten) and 2 kids in diapers!  This makes for an interesting day.  

I stumbled across this blog recently  1+ 1+ 1=1 that incorporates some time for the little ones into our school day.  It is more play than real school, but it still helps my little ones with counting, colors, shapes, letters, and whatever else we can think of.  Today was our first day to attempt this, and I think it went quite well.  I bought some cheap dishpans at The Dollar Tree and put some fun items in each bucket last night.  Most of these were toys that had been put away, so they were new to Baby Broccoli (28 months).  

While Baby Cakes (16 months) was taking his morning nap and Monkey Boy (8) and Banana Girl (6) were working on school work at the table, BB and I were able to do some Tot school.  She loved the one on one time with mom.  I let her choose which bucket she wanted to use first.

We started with the counting bears, but eventually made it through all the buckets. 

We sorted the bears by color.  We counted the bears, and we put them in the red pitcher(also a Dollar Tree find) and poured them back into the dishpan. 

She liked the shape sorter, although she did figure out it was easier to get them in if you just take the lid off!

Overall our Tot School was a success.  I can't wait to try some more fun ideas like the Tot books.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eating my words...

I remember, long before I had kids, I would look at parents of small children and wonder why their kids behaved the way they did. I would never say it, but of course I would children will never behave that way...but of course they do! I remember before I had kids I would see people give their kids junk food and let them stay up late and think they were crazy...and of course I am now that crazy mom! Of course I do try to feed them well...but you'd never know it by the way my 19 month old yells "BURGER" or "CHICKEN NUGGETS" ever time we pass a fast food place! At each stage of parenthood I have said,"How can they let their kids..." but each time I end up eating my words! I think too often as moms we are able to look at other moms and expect that their experience should be just like ours...but as a mom of three I realize that each child is completely different. Each child has been uniquely created by God! They have their personality, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. They have their good days...and their bad. There are many times where I have looked back and wished I had done something differently...but I can't change the past. God gives us those moments of "eating our words" to teach us. I know as a mom I have learned not to be so judgmental of others, to apologize to my children when I make a mistake, and most importantly to trust God with the lives of my children. He loves them even more than I do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

waiting for news...

About 6 years ago we began sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Veniel is now 14 years old now and in 9th grade. Veniel lives in Haiti. When we heard the news of the earthquake in Haiti we immediately began praying for Veniel and his family. Tonight as I tucked our 7 yr. old into bed, he said a prayer for Veniel. He prayed for all of the doctors in Haiti that they would be able to help Veniel if he is hurt. My heart is heavy as I think of the situation, but I love to see how God is using this situation to teach my children compassion for others. We've never met Veniel, but we love him. He sends us letters regularly to tell us about what he is learning in school. He always draws us a picture and includes a scripture that he has read. We hope to hear news soon...please join us in praying for the people of Haiti.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 -A New Year!

It is hard to believe that it is a 2010 already! I don't really make New Year's resolutions, but I certainly try to set new goals for myself.

This year I want to... spend more time playing with my kids, and less time disciplining. I want to have more dates with my husband, even if we stay at home. I want to spend more time writing my book and more time reading good books. I want to declutter my home so I can sit down and enjoy it more. I want to invest in other people so they can know JOY in Christ like I do. I want to build deeper friendships with other women. I want to pray more, read my Bible more, and serve Jesus more. I want to watch less TV. I want to eat healthier and exercise more.

Daisypath Anniversary tickers