Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Phone Call That Changed Our Lives

Two nights ago the phone kept ringing at 12:30am, 1:30am, and 1:40am. Sadly the phone was in the girls' room..so I got up each time it rung. Finally I got over my laziness and took it to my parent's room. I heard the phone ring two more times, and forgot all about it. When i woke up that morning, I went out and Dad was on the phone. I asked my mom who he was on the phone with and she said "Angel." (Who is Katelyn's wonderful boyfriend) I knew why, but I still asked.
"Angel proposed to Kate!" 
My mouth went dry. I felt as though I couldn't breath.
"Kate said yes, but he had to get dad's permission." Mom kept talking, but it was as though my ears didn't work.
Kate and Me :)
My big sister is engaged. My best friend is engaged. The girl who broke her toe on my shins is engaged. The girl who I stayed up late into the night with laughing, scaring ourselves so bad we had to walk up stairs holding hands, then spend more of the night in her bed laughing about how stupid we are, is engaged. The girl who i shared a bed with for the first 8ish years of my life is engaged. My mind couldn't wrap around it.
The whole day I felt as though i was in a dream. A dream that i knew was coming, but it now here.
The words "Kate's engaged" kept echoing through my head all day.
While eating breakfest.
Kate's engaged.
While reading on my bed.
Kate's engaged.
While playing outside.
Kate's engaged.

It was a very bittersweet moment.
I felt like Miss Potter, in the movie where she's in her country house and she tells herself "No tears!" and then it flashes to the next scene and she let all of the tears that she had been holding in all day fall. Because all day i kept telling myself "No tears" and last night, i cried. Not much, because i was so happy for them. It wasn't the thought that I'm losing her...but the thought that my big sister is going to be married.

Kate and Angel have agreed to wait till we get home for the wedding (well, Kate already said that she was :) We will be back from October-Janurary. But i knew that they couldn't wait that long for the engagement pictures, so I messaged Kate and told her that I was super upset that I couldn't take them. And last night she messaged me "We're waiting till y'all get back to take our pictures." No matter how much I told myself "No tears." They still fell.

The amazing couple, Angel and Kate!
Congrautlations to Kate and Angel!! I'm so happy for you guys!!!!! And I love you both dearly <3

p.s. What do you think of the new design?? My photography name is still Silla Jo Photography, but since i post more then just photography my blog's name is Simply Silla :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Home.  Home is where you can rest.  Home is where you lay in bed for hours and eventually fall asleep.  Home is where you want to scream into your pillow. Home is where you can’t stop laughing. Home is where you argue.  Home is where you laugh.  Home is where you fight.  Home is where you smile.  Home is where you cry.  Home is where you make memories.  Home is where memories are being made.  Home is where you love.  Home is where you hate.  Home is where you feel safe.  Home is where you begin. And home is where you end.

Home is not a building with a roof and bricks. It’s not a warm bed with a nice pillow underneath you. It is where the heart is.  It’s where your family is.  It’s where you are.  And home is here. Where I live.  In Uganda.  Even when I want to scream.  It’s home.  Even when I want to run away and never come back, it is like a mother’s embrace whenever we drive into the driveway.

Sometimes I want to lock myself in my room and not talk to anyone, but when I hear Garrett’s laugh it’s like a bucket of cold water being dumped on my head on a hot summer day. When I cry in my pillow and pray for God to me take back to America and Annie says, “Even though we don’t like Uganda sometimes, God still wants us here.” it's a reminder that even my little 8 year-old sister knows where home is - not where we want to be, but where God wants us to be.

Home is in my brother’s kiss. Home is in my sister’s smile. Home is in my mother’s hug. Home is in my Dad’s laugh. Even when times are hard, I know I’m home. Because by the end of the day, when I crawl into bed, and close my eyes, I feel at home.

Laura and Benji playing Phase 10 :)
Annie and Garrett! I told them to smile, and this is what I got <3

Annie underneath the tree in our yard :)

Katelyn and Me <3
my Mom and Me :)
Photo credit to Danielle Gordon

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Presenting..our surprise!

Ok so I know i'm a bit late on posting the surprise, but our power was out for a day, then our internet was out for 2 days, and our power has been out all day today! :( But here's the surprise!

On Friday the 13th (our anniversary of being in Uganda for 1 year) we went swimming with some of our friends here, while Dad was in Kampala getting the last of our things. Now I knew the surprise was coming (it's kinda hard not to HEAR things in this house :P) So after swimming for 3 hours we headed home and waited Dad's return. Once we heard his horn honk at the gate everyone ran out to meet him. And this little fella was at the wheel with him :D 

This is Severus (named by Me! But agreed on by everyone :P) Isn't he so cute?!?! He is....part German shepherd and....well we don't actually know what kind of dog he is! But he likes to be in the center of attention (like yesterday my mom and I were cooking in the kitchen, which is small as it is, and he laid right in front of the oven...) 

He's a super sweet dog though, and we're very happy that Dad brought him home to us :D 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life as of lately

Ok so lately I've failed at posting..but I do have my reasons :) 

One. We moved from Kampala to Gulu (which if you've read my last blog post you'd know that was quite an adventure!) 
Two. My computer has been being really stupid! Apparently the battery has died...officially. It only works when it's plugged in, and power has been off and on. So we're going to have to have a new battery sent over :(
Three. I've been sick...
Four. I've gotten my sewing machine!!!!!!! (I can check that off of my New Years list :) So I've been glued to my desk sewing clothes for Annie's doll :)
Five. I got the Hunger Games trilogy (for those of you who have read it, you know why I haven't been on the computer much :) 
Six. My Dad brought home a wonderful surprise when he came back from a quick trip to Kampala on Friday (I'll post what it was later on in the week!)

But I promise that I'm going to try and post more, especially once we start working at a babies' home!!! 

But so far we are all loving the small town of Gulu! It's so much more relaxed then Kampala, it's wonderful :) 

Plus my mom is able to drive without the fear of hitting something or somebody, or something/somebody hitting her ;) 
So we're planning a trip to the market for me to get fabric so that I can start making bags! 

Also our missions director came! It was great to see him! And we has able to bring my sewing machine (<3) and a bag that my grandma and aunt so lovingly put together for us (thank you Grandkate and Lydia!) And in the bag we got Christmas presents!! I got the Hunger Games trilogy (OH MY WORD!!!! They are so good!!), a Harry Potter fact/quiz book, a daily knitting calender (each day has a new pattern on it!) and 2 beautiful charms from etsy :D 

The white one with the doe says 'Always' (it's a Harry Potter thing :P) and the other one is a silver camera with a purple jewel in the lens :) Isn't it fabulous?
I really love it :)

Be on the look out for my next blog post to see what our big surprise was!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Moving to Gulu! Oh my...

Whoo…this past week has been crazy! We’ve moved from Kampala to Gulu (which is a 4-5 hour drive..) Which doesn’t sound so bad, except for the fact that half way to Gulu you begin to drive on this road that probably came from the moon! The potholes on that thing could literally kill someone..they’re HUGE! But it gets worse…I’m gonna start from the beginning..then let my dad take over :) (this should be fun!)
All was going well, we had a moving truck that was coming the night before we left so we could pack It up, we had almost everything packed, we were all super excited to move! We said all of our goodbyes. Then, as Annie puts it, Satan attacked. Our friend who found the guy with the moving truck said that the guy (who was going to be driving EVERYTHING we owned to Gulu) had disappeared, and turned his phone off. So my dad frantically began calling all of our Ugandan friends asking if they knew ANYONE who could drive our things for a dissent price. Finally after many phone calls, at 7pm we found a truck!

So the truck arrived and we packed in up, with no power, in the dark, by candle light..At last around 10pm we went to bed thanking Jesus! Not knowing what else Satan had in store for us…

We all woke up around 6am, ready to leave! The driver was here the truck was packed, the driver was here! We were set to go! And so at 7:27 we had finished packing the last minute stuff and had locked our doors to the house and all packed into the car, until we found out that the driver had to tie down the tarp (which took 20 minutes) then get the engine ready (which took around 15 minutes) so we all got out of the car, played with the neighbor’s kids for the last time, said goodbye around, prayed for one another, then got back into the car.

We all sang and laughed at funny memories! And about an hour and a half of the way into the trip our moving truck broke down..about 30 minutes outside of a little town. Dad got out, and the rest of us sat in the car praying that God would fix the car so we could continue driving. But as 2 hours ran by we had to come up with some options..the best one we thought of was for my dad to wait with the things while mom drove us the rest of the way to Gulu (now let me just let you know that my mother has only driven ½ of a mile (1km) in Uganda..ever! And that was in a nice part of Uganda)  And now..she was going to drive us to Gulu..on the road of death…Oh Jesus please help!!! The whole time we were driving I kept hearing in my head the Carrie Underwood song ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ that soung has a whole new meaning to me :P

Thankfully Jesus did take the wheel, and we had a safe journey! We sang and talked and prayed for Daddy. Every so often we’d get a call from him asking how we were doing, then we’d ask how he was doing, and there was always worse news…It broke our hearts that we were on our way to our new home while Dad had to wait in the 91 degree sun (33c). My mom handled driving so well though! She stayed on the right side of the road, and was perfectly calm! I was super proud of her! Oh and did I mention that there are these GIANT  buses that enjoy driving in the middle of the road…and Ugandans favorite hobby is passing people (especially when fuel trucks are coming on the other lane) Oh my..

Well we got to Gulu safely. Went to our new house, our wonderful friends brought over mattresses and pillows and blankets (because everything we owned was with Dad in the middle of Uganda somewhere..) And at around 8pm the power went out..But we still didn’t complain because we thought of Dad, wherever he was..
We woke up to the driver and Dad unpacking the truck at 5:45am :)

Know I think it’s time for Daddy to take over! This is the adventure of Scott Abandoned in Uganda!

I have moved a few times in the U.S. the steps are usually pretty simple after you have you stuff ready to move.
Step 1. go online and hire a moving company, give them the addresses you are moving to and from.

Step 2. supervise as they load your stuff.

Step 3. Drive to your new address and wait for your stuff and supervise it being unloaded.
(there is also the U-haul move, just insert yourself in the place of the movers)
Here are the steps to a move in Uganda:
Step 1. start a few months before you move and find "the man" that owns a big truck

Step 2. argue and eventually agree on a price

Step 3. have the price change a few days before because fuel prices have gone up since you agreed on the price.

Step 4. argue some more to make "the man" honor his original price

Step 5. the day before the move "the man" with the truck, be told that he has gone back to "the village" and is no longer in town. He will not answer his phone

Step 6. Go find another man with a big truck and argue and agree on a price and tell him you need the truck right away, to which he agrees and is on his way

Step 7. Wait 2 hours then remember that "on my way" in Uganda means "I might be there in 1 hour or 5 days"

Step 8. find another truck

Step 9. start the price negotiating all over again and agree on a price.

Step 10. truck arrives after dark , load the truck yourself (along with wife and children) by candlelight

Step 11. have someone guard the truck overnight so no one comes and steals everything off of it

Step 12. Pay the owner of the truck half of the agreed price to pay for the fuel to your new place of residence

Step 13. after the owner of the truck leaves the driver arrives to tell you that he needs to borrow money to buy fuel for the trip because he spent the money the owner of the truck gave him to buy fuel on a family problem.

Step 14. refuse to pay the drive and call the owner of the truck to complain about his driver asking for money

Step 15. get all info of the driver and truck and follow the truck closely because everyone has told you to not let the truck out of your sight because the driver will disappear with the truck sell your stuff and claimed he was robbed.

Step 16. the truck, if you’re counting that’s truck number three since we started, breaks down.

Step 17. its 9:30 and you’re in the middle of nowhere on a Uganda highway and the driver says he is going to get a mechanic

Step 18. an hour later the driver arrives on a motorcycle with two mechanics.

Step 19 Ugandan police pass by to ask why you are on the side of the road with  family, you explain we are moving and the broken down truck in front of you has your things on it. The police says you should have them fix the truck and get it off of the side of the road

Step 20. agree with the policemans brilliant idea to have the truck repaired

Step 21. have driver tell you the truck cannot easily be fixed and he needs to go and find parts to make repairs but will be back in less than one hour.

Step 22. the police from step 19 drives back by to ask where the driver went and says not to leave the truck because the people from nearby villages will come and steal everything if its left unattended

Step 23. send wife and kids on without you, remain with your belongings

Step 24. pray for wife and kids because wife has never driven in Uganda, but you have now sent her on a 5 hour drive on Ugandan roads (details on that in later steps)

Step 25. wait 2 hours and call the driver who won't answer his phone,

Step 26. begin calling the owner of the truck, who tells you he has another truck he is sending and will be there in 30 minutes

Step 27. after the 30 minutes turns into 2 hours call owner of the truck several times

Step 28. driver and owner of the truck turn off their phones

Step 29. the friendly and helpful policeman mentioned in steps 19 and 22 comes back by to say it is getting dark soon and if the truck is left overnight it will be robbed of everything and I would be beaten and or killed if I tried to defend it

Step 30. wet yourself slightly

Step 31 pay someone to go into the nearest town to try and hire another truck to complete the move

Step 32. receive a call from the person you paid to tell you he has found a truck, that would be truck number 4

Step 33. realize all you own is in a truck broken down on a road in the middle of Uganda and are desperate and any chance of negotiating does not exist

Step 34. truck number 4 arrives and you begin unloading what took 4 hours to load the night before in 30 minutes and begin to load truck number 4 in record time as the sun gets low on the horizon

Step 35. A different mechanic arrives and begins to work on truck number 3, but driver and owner still have phones turned off

Step 36. after a 5 hour absence the driver of truck number 3 arrives and the scene to see his truck unloaded and a large sweaty, hungry, thirsty, and irritated white man loading another truck.

Step 37. driver becomes enraged and demands full payment for the move

Step 38. decline to make full payment and demand deposit back

Step 39. driver of truck number 3 disappears again

Step 40. driver of truck number 3 reappears with 5 Ugandan policemen to have me arrested

Step 41. take a nice drive back to police station with the afore mentioned policemen, while one remains to look after truck number 4 that is now loaded

Step 42. arrive at police station and appear before the head of that particular police department to plead my case

Step 43. have driver of truck number 3 lie about being absent all day and assure them that he was with the truck and me all day working on the truck and has not been paid a deposit.

Step 44. have the frequent passerby policeman from steps 19, 22 and 29 show up at just the right time at police headquarters to inform his captain of the drivers deceit.

Step 45. watch as the driver of truck number 3 is arrested for lying to the police and truck number 3 impounded until the deposit is fully refunded.

Step 46. grin slightly

Step 47. have truck number 4 pick up at police station and continue journey

Step 48. wonder why headlights are not used until 3 hours after sunset.

Step 49. assume that Ugandan roads have been involved in an asphalt erosion test since the Nixon administration and have allowed testing for land mines on the parts that aren't eroded yet.

Step 50. fantasize about having and extra stick of deodorant to give to your new best friend, the driver of truck number 4

Step 51. have truck number 4 begin to squeal like a banshee and pull over

Step 52 have stinky (new nickname for driver of truck number 4) say that the U joint that has been giving him problems for some time has finally gone out

Step 53. consider murder after having a single tear roll down cheek

Step 54. wait an hour while stinky has a friend bring one of the U joints off of one their other trucks

Step 55. rejoice as repairs are made in less than 20 minutes

Step 56. after driving for an hour the driver pulls over again, the reason....."to take tea"

Step 57. recite 4 letter words learned in Junior High quietly to self

Step 58. after a 30 minute "tea time" back on the road

Step 59. go through 3 police checkpoints and give them a small payoff each time to avoid being fully inspected

Step 60. cringe while Stinky is forced to make the road his personal slalom course avoiding a small percentage of the potholes while convinced you have heard everything in the back of the truck either fall off or break

Step 61. if Stinky was a boxer his name would be Gaseous Clay because apparently b.o. was not enough of an assault on the world of odors

Step 62. imitate a dog and hang head out of the window of truck number 4 to maintain consciousness while Stinky continues his assault on my olfactory system

Step 63. compare the ordeal to those of the S.S. Minnow

Step 64. what was supposed to be a 5 hour tour ends in just over 18 hours.

Step 65. Ask God for forgiveness for a day filled fantasies of verbal abuse, murder, dismemberment, hygenic insults, military invasion, pushing a certain driver from a moving truck (#4) and driving it myself. I will miss you and remember you always Stinky, all my love Scott

Annie underneath our beautiful tree :)
I think I'm in love <3

So thankful that God got us here safely! And I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us here :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our First Christmas in Uganda

Christmas is a day where we celebrate our Savior leaving His throne in heaven, where He was worshiped every hour by angels, and coming down as a baby. A little, innocent baby. For you. Who’s mom had to change His diapers (or whatever they used :P). For us. Who fell down a scratched his knee. For us. Who had to grow up. For us. Who was spit on. For us. Who was beaten. For you. Who was killed. For us. But it all began on a wonderful night when there wasn’t room for Mary and Joseph in the inn and they quickly ran to a stable, and our King was born! He was born in a stable, and laid in a manger. Our Savior. Our King. Our God! In flesh! For us.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12

I love Christmas time! Something about just makes me happy :) This Christmas was our first Christmas in Uganda! It was so wonderful! We started the day off with getting up and reading the last chapter of 'Jotham's Journey' then opening presents. I got a photography book, a beautiful purple bracelet, candy, and an apron :) After that we ate some yummy cinnamon rolls (thanks, Mom!), then, around noon, we went over to the Gordon's house! We spent the day cooking, swimming, playing risk, playing psp, barbequing, and talking! After supper and dessert we left their house at 7:30, and headed home (driving in Uganda at night is a dangerous job! I"m very proud of dad for braving it :) Once at home we all snuggled into our beds and listened to dad read the Christmas story. It was a wonderful Christmas!! I really really enjoyed it :D

Nate and Laura reading some new books

Annie playing with her new jump rope :)

I love this little boy!

The little boys got these cool wooden animals!

Mom's yummy cinnamon rolls (I got this picture right before the put them in the oven :P)

Christmas music sailed it's way through house all morning

Annie's new doll, Teddy :)

Then we got to the Gordon's house! 
Benji playing psp, and Josiah on his ipod (I think..)

Garrett and Nate spent most of the day playing in the pool :)

Laura and Riana talking/swinging

Jed and Nate playing

Charlotte and Annie swinging :)

Josiah and Benji

Then the older boys played Josiah's new Risk game

While watching Top Gear one the wall..with a projector :)

I saw this lighting coming through the glass..it was practically screaming for me to take a picture :)

Dad and Mr. Gordon grilling 

Lily :)

Then it was time to eat!!!!!

Oh and the Gordon's made this amazing punch! It was really good :D 

But through out the whole day we thought of Katelyn and Josh back in the States <3

How was your Christmas?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy new year!! 

Last year was a year of battle. A year of struggle.  A year of tears.  But a year of grace.  And year of forgiveness.  A year of love.
It was a year of taking big steps. Moving to Uganda! But throughout the year God’s presence seemed to wrap itself around us like a blanket.  His love for us kept us going.  His encouraging words seemed to be whispered in our ears through the day. God’s blessings has been shown to us throughout last year! Through the little things and big!

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

Blessings by Laura’s Story

Oh my goodness! That song really brings me to tears each time I hear it…
It had really helped me through this last year…when I’ve wondered where God is.  Why He isn’t talking to me.  Why can’t I feel his presence...

What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

Such a beautiful song! If you haven’t heard it then go listen to it…now! Go! It’s amazing!

Some songs that have really helped me through this past year have been..

Blessings-Laura’s Story
How He Loves-David Crowder Band
All is Grace-Shaun Groves
Remind Me Who I Am-Jason Gray
Marvelous Light-Charlie Hill
Desert Song-Natalie Grant

If you haven’t heard some or any of these songs...you really need to listen to them! They’re amazing!
Really really great songs!

I was going to post my favorite picture from this year, but I couldn’t pick, so I’m posting my favorite picture from December :)

This is Hannah! We went to her family's house to celebrate her's and her sister's birthday! It was SO much fun :D 

This year I want to deepen my LOVE for Jesus! Not only in the good situations, but in the bad and hard. I want to learn to hold His hand.  Always.  I want to read His word each day! And I want to share His love to the lost. I want to know what God wants to do with me.  I want to know what I am going to do for the kingdom of God.

Also this year I would like to-

1.       Read through the WHOLE Bible
2.       Purchase a canon 60d or 50d
3.       Get my sewing machine from America to here
4.       Actually complete a 30 day challenge
5.       Start making bags to sell
6.       Make an etsy shop
7.       Buy a Ipod touch and get Instagram
8.       Reread the Harry Potter series
9.       Eat a Subway sandwich (when we go back for furlough)
10.   Get my driver's license!

What do you want to do this new year??

p.s. Christmas post shall be posted in the next couple of days :)