Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

As the saying goes, what a difference a year makes. This time last year I was trying my best to keep it together emotionally, as I prepared myself for some big changes. The first of the year brought Megan heading off to Uganda, while at the same time, Carly and I were preparing for our trip to meet baby Henry. Talk about an emotional beginning of the year!

And now, Megan is back in the states and we will soon be celebrating Henry's first birthday. What will this year bring? Only God knows. However, this Christmas was truly a relaxing, joyful one.

The beginning of December brought the girls back from college along with lindsey's friend, Preston. We showed him some of the island and enjoyed spending time with this, ahem, friend/boy...

Christmas also brought Carly's big theater debute in It's a Wonderful Life. Her one famous line, "She went looking for you with Uncle Billy" simply stole the show!

Christmas not only brought all the kids back home, but even Grams was here with us to celebrate Christmas day!

And, of course, the star of the show, the king of the castle was Prince Henry!



and more Henry!

Oh, how I love having a baby in the house again.

It felt so good to have everyone home.

I hope you had a Christmas filled with family, friends and time spent together, enjoying each other's company!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A mother like me.

She was a mother, one of millions on this planet. She was not the mother of a president, the wife of a movie star, or the voice of a nation. She was a mother and wife. Like me. Maybe like you. She was faithful to her family; cooking and cleaning for them, loving and laughing with them. Living.

Although she lived in Mokono, Uganda, she became intertwined with my life; me, another mother who lives on the other side of this planet from her. And while I only talked with her once, she was in my prayers and thoughts, for she was my daughter’s Ugandan Momma during her home stay experience in Uganda. Her momma shared her life with Megan. She taught her how to cook Ugandan style, how to wash her clothes Ugandan style, and even shop in the market. Megan didn’t just live with this family; she loved them and grew in Christ because of them.

She was a teacher and a pastor’s wife, but more importantly, she was mother to Isaac, 9 years old and Deborah, 8.

And little Dorcus, just 2 years old. Baby Gloria,born after Megan left, is just 2 months old.

Sadly, Megan’s Ugandan Momma died in a tragic car accident on October 30th. She leaves behind a husband and children who loved her deeply and depended on her incredibly.

Because we live in America, we will never understand the struggle of raising a family in a small village in Africa. But, we as mothers can understand the love we have for our family, and how deeply she will be missed by them.

Jennifer leaves a hole in this family’s life that will never be filled,and Joseph, the father, is now faced with the struggle of taking care of the children alone. Money is never completely the answer to every problem, but it is something that can help this little family. Which is why I ask you, will you help? I have posted below the address of Mark Bartels, the Director of the Uganda Studies Program. He works with placing families with students who attend Uganda Christian University and are in the Home Stay program which Megan participated. His address is in the states because sending money directly to Uganda would probably not get to the family. However, Mark will make sure that the family gets it. Please, consider helping out a family who has helped so many others and who now need our help.

-Kelly Hall

Below is the email I received from Mr. Bartels.

I am writing you all with some sad news about your Mukono host family. Several of you already know that last weekend the family was involved in a car accident and the mother, Jeniffer, died. Rev. John Joseph has a broken jaw, but is on his way to a full recovery. The children are all ok. (John Isaac-9 years; Miriam Deborah-8 years; Miriam Dorcus-2 years; Gloria Jeniffer-2 months;). They were traveling for the baptism of the youngest two children. The youngest, Gloria, has been taken in by another pastor and his wife, at least for the time being.

There are only 4 of you who were hosted by the Bumanye family (Bethany, spring 2005; CarylMay, fall 2005; Abigail, fall 2009; Megan spring 2010) because they spent 2006-2009 in Lugazi, a town about 45 minutes towards Jinja. They also have a USP student with them this semester who is staying with them for the entire semester. She spent the last week on campus but is returning this week to the family.

I am writing primarily just to let you all know about this incident. I realize some of you may have maintained closer contact with the family than others.

A couple of you who already heard of this have asked what you can do. If you are interested (and only if you are interested; don't feel any pressure) there are a couple things that would be appropriate.

First, write them a letter or card. You can send it to us and we will deliver it. Just knowing that you are thinking of them and praying for them will be an encouragement.

Mark Bartels
Uganda Christian University
PO Box 4, Mukono

Alternatively, you could email me a message and I will either print it for them or rewrite it.

Second, if you are able and willing, you could make a donation. As you know, when something like this happens in Uganda, many people make small contributions to help the family through the time of need. The USP has already made a donation, including buying baby formula for a few months. If you want to send anything, you can send a check to me in the US, and I will give them shillings here. Unfortunately, we don't have a method that is tax deductible, but I am assuming any amount sent will be small, so that probably isn't an issue. If you want to donate something, but don't have much money, even $10 is more than sufficient in communicating your care. You can make the check out to me and mail it to:

(Please leave a comment on my blog if you would like the address.-Kelly)

Again, please don't feel any obligation to do this.

If you all have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me. I don't think all 4 of these addresses are current, so I am sending the same message out via Facebook.

Obviously, this is a tragic loss for the Bumanye family and for those connected with them. Rev. Bumanye has demonstrated faith in many ways throughout this incident, including his gracious response to the young man who was driving the vehicle.


Mark Bartels
Director, Uganda Studies Program
Uganda Christian University

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Our church hosted a Trunk or Treat in downtown Oak Harbor. Crazy
buzy! We set up a trunk and passed out massive amounts of candy.

And while you can pretty much guess that my friend Deb is a clown, some had problems guessing mine. No, I am not Michael Jackson. I am Joe Cool, geeeeze!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

Yes, even though the only remaining kids at home are now 15 and 13, they are not too cool to pick out pumpkins in the pumpkin patch. Which makes Momma happy. I even took pictures. And ignored the snarky remarks they constantly hurled at each other.

Look! They give the illusion that they get along!

Last of all, this could simply be the reason why Stevie is at times quite grumpy. We simply don't feed him enough. Good thing he picked out a really big pumpkin. Eat up, Stevie!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Henry Goes to Washington- Part 2

This past weekend brought Allie and Henry back home. And although the sad occasion was the funeral of Allie's childhood friend, we did have a chance to get away to Port Townsend on Saturday and enjoy one of Washington's very elusive sunny days.

Henry had his very first ferry ride. Although the ride got a little rocky, and Allie questioned the sea-worthiness of the little boat, Henry had a great time!

I also learned another lesson: Never depend on ferry workers to help you when getting around cars with a stroller. G'ma lost her cool and ended up hefting the thing all the way up the stairs. Grrrr.

The day ended with Henry in the pumpkin patch...even if it was in the middle of Albertsons. After calling around to find an open pumpkin patch, we had to get creative. Did he care? No. Will he remember it? No. But at least we got the picture!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stevie Hits the Bull's Eye

Check this out! With the beginning of the school year, our program started off with archery in P.E., thanks to my friend Charlene. She has come in to teach the kids, and they love it! And we have discovered that we have a William Tell in our family-check out the apple. He was the only kid who got it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Karli and Hans Go For a Dip!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Big Day

A couple of weeks ago the sisters pledged to get their ears pierced together.A true bonding moment in the jewelry section of WalMart.

Unfortunately, after Megan's ears were pierced, we realized that they were crooked! Good thing she has a high tolerance for pain.

Summer Mornings

My favorite place to be on a sunny summer morning.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last Field Trip

This past Monday was the last field trip of the school year for us. We visited the sealab at Fort Casey, something that I have been taking the kids to since Allie was little-and this guy is still there growling at the kids and making them laugh. I always enjoy it.

After the class time, we made our way down to the water and slipped among the eel grass and kelp to investigate the tide pools.

And hold kelp crabs.

And sea cucumbers.

Aaaahhhh.......I love my island.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Megan is Home

Megan is home. She is back to her family, friends, and familiar surroundings.

And while she is here physically,

I sense that she left a part of her heart in Africa.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Death to the Duck

Get the hint?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One of my pet peeves

Okay, so I have spent way too long laughing my head off at the blog, Hyperbole and a half; Thank you, Allie. But this blogger has inspired me to list some of my pet peeves that I see daily in writing.

Such as using little "i" instead of "I" as a personal pronoun

Using a little i this way says so much about a girl.You don't find boys doing this, do you?

Using the cutesy little i says to me: "Hi! Don't you think im adorable? even though i spend waaaay too long thinking about boys who are hopefully thinking about me, because hey, i think about myself a lot. When i grow up i want to paint toenails for a living. And put glitter on them. When i write my i's, i like to draw a cute circle for the dot. i say that i don't like boys, but i dress like i do. i really like boys. is he looking at me?"

It makes me want to say, "Honey, pull up that little i and cover up that dot! Pleeeeeease!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Candy Man Cometh

The Candy Man cometh. He lumbers down our driveway in his beat up white van, and hikes up his jeans as he steps out and greets our golden retrievers. To Hans and Luke, he is Willy Wonka, the man to be loved, slobbered upon and worshiped. He is...the ferrier. The trimmer of horse hooves and the one that my dogs adore; for to them, horse hooves are the ultimate in dog chewies.

If you have never experienced the look on a dog's face as he gnaws on a hoof, jowls all frothy and foamy-white, then you do not know the look of heaven on a dog's face.

But to Hamlet, the obese, mini (haha) Dachshund that we are doggie-sitting, this is a new experience. While the other dogs reverently sat around my horse, eager for the Candy Man to throw them a trimming, Hamlet was clueless. Until he happened upon a piece that the others had overlooked. Suddenly, Hamlet was prancing around the yard as if he had just discovered the Golden Ticket. However, this ticket is dirty, smelly, and gross to us humans. And really, it's just a very large, disgusting toenail. eeewwww.

So when Hamlet pranced up to the porch with it, and proceeded to walk into the house, I snatched it from him.Hey, we may be in the country, but THAT thing stays outside.

Yep, Hamlet is a city dog gone country!

Author's note to self: When a doggie over-indulges on hoof chewies, remember to contain him in a room with linoleum. DO NOT put him in a warm car and take him for a jaunt into town. Bad idea. VERY bad idea.

"Ooohhh, my aching belly!"

Henry's First Picnic!.wmv

Man, oh man. It feels as if it was just yesterday when I was so in love with my little one. And now my "little one" is in love with her little man. Time, you really can fly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fat Camp for Ham-butt

While others travel off to exotic places, I am the one that is called on to dog-sit.

So when my mom and sisters flew off to Spain, Hamlet came to stay with us.

Now, this mini long-haired Dachshund isn't typical. raised primarily by my eighty-five year old mom, he is NOT mini, and he is truly a mama's boy.

But Hamlet catches on quickly, realizing here at the Hall's that he's not the center of the house, as he has two other Dachshunds to deal with! And surprisingly,Hamlet is fitting in nicely; finding that Stevie's bed is the place to sleep, the cat is a fun action toy, and if he gives me a pitiful look while he tilts his head just so, he can come along for the car ride.

However, this week it's fat camp here at the Hall House. Not just for me, but for the... ahem... MINI long-haired Dachshund.

Truly, Hamlet is as big as a Savannah pork-butt roast at a Fourth of July covered dish dinner at The Mighty Lord's Perpetual Grace and Enveloping Arms Church. (How's that, Allie?!) and now that he's here, it's time to whip him into shape! Gone are the cookies and treats; instead it's three mile hikes. Maybe Hamlet and I will inspire one another to lost a few pounds!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

HaPpInEsS is...........

Children that leave such sweet comments that make me tear up!!!!!!

Thanks, Peanut and Loula Bell.....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's in the Choosing

"What am I doing wrong as a mother?"

How many times have I assaulted myself with this very question? Too many times. And it is so easy to do. Fearful of making the right decision, I convince myself that their very life depends on the decisions I make.

Or the rant I hit them with the night before comes back to haunt me and whispers in my ear, "They will carry that with them for the rest of their lives!"

I could spend hours mulling it.

But lately when I look at my kids, I see such strength and awesome qualities, inspite of me!(Thank you, God!) And I especially see this in the three that are out on their own. But you know the greatest, most amazing characteristic that blows me away?

It is that they are brave.

Yes, brave! Not brave like, go-off -to-war-and-slay-thy-enemies brave, but step-out-and-choose-hard-things, brave.

I see three young women who are stepping out with much courage into this big world. Sure, at times it can get scary. And at times fear can keep us from doing something brave. But, it's in the choosing where we grow.

like birthin' a baby. Scary.

like leading a worship team. (Don't even ask me to sing in front of people!)

like leaving everything and everyone you know and living in a third world country where cockroaches love to hide in the squatty and jump out at you at night, making you hold it 'till you get a massive headache and are about to wet your pants, until you are able to shoo them all away.

'nough said.

I am finally realizing that, while education is very important, there is this characteristic of choosing to be brave that is so incredibly valuable. I don't believe that we are just born with courage in our hearts, but it's in the choosing where it is developed. And without the choosing, we don't grow, learn, experience, change; become an adult.

But fear, self-doubt, and perfectionism can be such a courage killer. It can suck the courage right out of a person. I know that as well as anyone else, and that is why I am so in awe of my brave young women!

Which ultimately leads me to ask myself, "When was the last time I chose to be brave and do something hard?"


John Bingham said, "The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

I am so very proud of you girls for having the courage to start.


Have you ever considered following a blog? How about mine? I mean, not that it matters to me or anything because,hey, it's not about the numbers for me. really. Okay, just a little. What grinds my gears are those blogs out there that are full of simple sentences, misspelled words and run-ons that have a bizillion followers! Unfair! It simply sucks the creative juices out of a blogger. Just thought you'd want to know.

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