Category Archives: Asperger’s

GAPS Diet Anniversary

We spent our GAPS-Diet anniversary on vacation at the beach. Somehow it is hard to believe we have been grain-free for a whole year! The following is an abridged version of our one-year overview. Go here to the ‘Our Diet’ tab for the whole enchilada. Or if you have lots of time to read, go here for all our GAPS-SCD links.

We originally started GAPS for the health of James and I, but the other three have seen benefits too. Kent, Joel and Anna were never feeling sick, but they are healthier and stronger now for having gone through GAPS. In June, the three of them added potatoes back in without any trouble, so they are officially coming off GAPS gradually. Next will be sweet potatoes, fermented millet porridge, sourdough and eventually rice and sprouted grains (maybe by Christmas?!).

In the past 6 months, I have been able to discontinue blood pressure medication and daily antihistamines. For the past 20 years I have taken daily antihistamines to control my running nose. These are no longer necessary.

As a primary schoolteacher with a weak immune system, I was prone to getting colds and developing secondary infections every time. If only I had a dollar for everytime I was diagnosed with sinusitis or bronchitis (or both)! My second year teaching I think I took 12 different courses of antibiotics. I was on antibiotics more than half of that year! Ten years later, our GAPS journey has changed all that completely!

During our 2nd month on GAPS, I got a cold I couldn’t kick. As usual, it turned into bronchitis, and I took antibiotics as usual. The 5th month on GAPS, I got a cold and was able to fight it off a few days later without getting infected! (This had probably happened twice in my living memory.) The 9th month on GAPS I got a cold, but fought it off within 48 hrs. The 11th month on GAPS we traveled internationally (gets me every time!) and as expected, I got bronchitis a few days later. I doused myself in bone broth and slept lots. I upped my doses of probiotics and FCLO (fermented cod liver oil – in capsules!). And 8-10 days later it was gone! Finally I don’t have to be envious of people with an immune system!

The biggest gains in James’ healing happened in the first 4 mos. on GAPS. But the more subtle changes we see a year later are just as significant. He has very few Asperger’s meltdowns – maybe 1-2/mo. where they were daily or more often than that a year ago. He regained all his auditory processing in the first 2 mos. His allergies seem gone. He hasn’t needed antibiotics of any kind in 14 months. His sensory processing troubles with tactile under-responsiveness are gone, fading gradually over the past year. They have left in their wake a few gross motor issues we can now address (basically re-learning to keep your balance when you’ve been mostly numb for 4-5 yrs or longer). The last pieces of tactile numbness have faded in the past month or two.

This week we’re preparing for another homeschool year. I found myself taking down the labels on his workboxes. I made them in desperation, searching for answers, 3 years ago. We haven’t needed that familiar structure and routine for months. A wave of nostalgia hit me like I was putting away the last of the baby’s pacifiers. My baby (10-yr-old baby) has outgrown his Asperger’s supports. Whether we technically still qualify for a diagnosis is really not important. James is feeling and doing great! The bulk of the work we have left to do is in social skills and organizational skills, but I can’t think of too many 10-yr-old boys who have mastered both of those already…

We are so thankful for the healing protocol of the GAPS Diet (and for SCD too!). They have served us well. I am a bit nervous about re-introducing starches and sugars, but we’ll get there as they say in Swahili: “pole-pole” (step by step, or slowly, carefully).

GAPS Intro. Round Two

We are quickly approaching our One-year mark for beginning the GAPS diet. More details of that history are above on the ‘Our Diet’ tab. For months we have felt healthy, strong and stable. There have been minor skin things here and there (we DO live in Congo), but no illness per say.

I have mapped out our next steps or the ‘GAPS Exit Strategy’ as I call it. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests maintaining the diet until you have been feeling good, normal, strong, etc. for at least 6 months. I feel we hit that mark about 6 mos. ago and are nearly at the end of the benefits we can get from GAPS. We worked our way up to high doses of probiotics. And have already worked our way to a normal maintenance dose recently.

So, per her recommendations, we will begin slowly re-incorporating into our menus boiled new potatoes. Then soaked, sprouted, sourdoughs of gluten-free grains. Typically quinoa, buckwheat and millet are good places to start. Sadly, millet is the least tasty and the only one locally available. No buckwheat-farmers in East Africa…

We already eat all vegetables and fruits, meats, nuts and eggs without trouble. James tolerates butter and homemade yogurt well. We have not ventured as far as cheese quite yet. His progress may be different than the rest of us, but I hope our paths don’t need to diverge too much.

I have had some mild tree nut reactions (tingling – no longer the anaphylaxis/run-to-the-hospital) with cashews, but no issues with peanuts or almonds. Cashews and hazelnuts remain on my allergy list, but 5-6 others are OFF! James has had a strange tingling with avocado, so it looks like that one will remain a ‘very occasional’ food. This is more complicated here in Congo where we have 5 trees dropping huge, luscious avocados twice a year. In the US, avoiding avocado will not be difficult for him. Last year he tested positive to some 30 foods. We have yet to challenge all of those, especially the three biggest: wheat, corn, soy.

So the rest of the family is moving forward full speed ahead toward gluten-free sprouted sourdough and potatoes, while James and I still have a few residual things that could use healing. For this reason, I decided it would be beneficial to have the two of us go through GAPS Intro again. There aren’t any major symptoms to clear, we just want a deeper cleanse of our system. So last week I boiled up and froze gallons of bone broth. Monday we hit it hard with soup, soup, soup and tea, tea, tea. We also had wonderful steamed pumpkin. Did I really eat half a small pumpkin?

I am hypothyroid, and have been concerned this time through Intro. that we not go anywhere near ketosis and super low-carb. I have had raw honey in my tea whenever I feel like it and plenty of pumpkin. After only 3 days I’m feeling great! So we’re continuing pretty quickly through the Intro. stages and not really obeying all the rules (like instead of 1 nut butter pancake today, we ate as many as we wanted topped with ghee and raw honey). Maybe I will just declare a soup fast one day of every month. It feels good!

By the end of the week, we will likely be through the Intro. stages and then join the others in trying out potatoes. James will need to try cheese first. Though a couple spots of eczema showed up when we added yogurt. I can’t tell if that is because the yogurt we can make is from nasty dried milk powder or because he really does have issues with dairy. That decision will have to wait until we are back in the US in 6 mos.

James has always had HORRIBLE eczema in Africa. The allergist in the US tested him for all sorts of tropical grasses and the scores were off the charts. Unfortunately, grass in the tropical sun all day pollenates all year round and is airborne. No matter what I plant in the backyard, he would still be constantly reacting. As soon as we return to the US it disappears. The only thing doctors have to look at is all the scar tissue (from the skin on his arms and legs, you’d think he had the chicken pox about 20 times over). But GAPS completely removed his eczema – In. Africa. It just left around Month 3. He got those couple spots back again, but they are now gone too! No amount of cream, aloe, gel, bath salt or anything could solve that itching skin. But changing how he eats did. It allowed his body room to process the airborne allergies without being overloaded by un-digestible foods.

We are keeping the supplements that we’ve seen working, which for James is: magnesium citrate, ProOmega EFAs, 5HTP, fermented cod liver oil (FLCO) and Primal Defense probiotics. If any of those are missed for more than a few days, he feels (and we see) the difference! The rest of us take FCLO and Probiotics – it has made a huge difference in our immune system and overall health. After we get back to the US, we will transition from Probiotics to eating lots of fermented foods. We plan to continue the FLCO and add elderberry for cold/flu season.

There’s where we are for now. Very happy with our progress and hoping the Exit Strategy works out well for everyone. Gonna go make some yummy applesauce!


365 days ago we reluctantly entered Autismland.

365 days ago the specialist looked us in the eyes, and said the words that would echo through our past and future. Like a snapshot it seemed that time stood still.

“qualifies for a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome”

365 days ago we got confirmation of what we suspected (or was it ‘feared’?).

365 days ago marked the beginning of our quest; a quest for knowledge that would require all the strength and energy we could muster.

Like the beginning of a quest to climb Himalayan peaks.

We found maps.

We bought every guidebook.

We read reviews, testimonials and blog after blog.

We sought out testing, doctors, specialists, therapists.

365 days of putting one foot in front of the other.

365 days of climbing one of the highest peaks we ever attempted.

We learned.

We stretched.

We re-learned.

We gained ground.

365 days of just plain hard.

365 days hailing victory after victory.

In this one tiny slice of time, God has shown us in His mercy what is good. He has guided us to truth and restored many things in James’ body.

365 days ago, James had very little auditory processing. Today he has no difficulty whatsoever.

365 days ago, he avoided hugs and eye contact. Today he initiates both daily.

365 days ago, he was itchy with eczema all over. Today it is 95% gone.

365 days ago, he had meltdowns without rigid routines/schedules. Today he is happy to make it up as he goes along.

I cannot list them all. Like the melting of a glacier, these small (nearly invisible) victories have been won inch by inch.

Click HERE to read back over his journey this year.

Dripping, dripping, the obstacles melt away.

I almost forget where they were.

We are praising God today for the hard-won empty spaces.

Empty spaces that allow James to run free!

Keeping up with the Jameses

Most parents who homeschool seem to want one of two things: To give their child all the good parts of a ‘normal’ education (without wasting their time on the stupid parts), or to unschool them and let them follow their own interests and motivations to in-depth studies of just about anything. These are gross over-generalizations, and we could get into details, but let’s not. We are fans of the idea of traditional school – as long as it involves Truth, just in case you were getting worried.

The one thing that both Kent and I struggled with in our school years was feeling bored. There are only so many days you can sit in your sixth grade honors class watching the substitute teacher mispronounce the weekly French dictation. One day I logged over two hours of doing nothing while my teacher tried to deal with discipline issues. I have vivid memories of watching in utter disbelief while she (into her 60’s) actually tried to chase down my unruly classmate – a hyperactive 12-yr-old boy. Around and around the room they went. The rest of us got little but entertainment out of many a school day.

(Insert Disclaimer here: I do recognize that social development is not a waste of time, and do not promise to homeschool forever – one year at a time.)

All that to say, one of my motivations for educating our children well is not wasting their time. Childhood is short enough already.

All three of our kids are ‘smart’ and often I feel it is less my job to teach, than to direct their energy and get out of their way. We’ve been too easy on them allowing them to answer things orally instead of writing things out (and complaining), so the rest of our year is going to be ‘writing intensive’. The first day of school in ‘writing instensive-land’, James was going to earn a game of chess with his Dad after school as a reward. He happily wrote all morning long.

We came to Greek mythology, and it was time to study the contest between Arachne and Pallas Athena (both good weavers and proud… you can probably guess who lost and was banished to spinning webs…).

“Oh Mom. I already read it.”

“Really? When?”

“Last week sometime.” (and proceeds to describe every detail of the story)

“So, how far did you read?”

“To the end.”

“You finished the Greek mythology book for the year?”

“Yep. And the American history book too.”

The speed, voracity and accuracy with which he reads, no devours, history and math books scares me. He has corrected me on the details of Old Testament history! He reads it super fast and then can recall every detail. Freaks me out. I have to remember that God has great plans for these gifts and I need to direct here and there and then just get out of the way! Looks like he also stole the Roman history book off my desk this week and finished it when I wasn’t looking.

Not sure what he will do with a head full of history and math, but I suppose we don’t really need to know yet… During his Asperger’s diagnosis last year, they told us he was “charming and very bright” but his scores (as is normal) were vastly varied. Working memory: 90, Visual processing speed: 135, etc. With the improvements in his diet and the elimination of quite a few distracting sensory issues, came a faster clarity of thought (still pauses before multiplication/division facts) and less difficulty focusing during school.

He finished his afternoon jobs/chores, and curled up on the couch with a book about traps to set for a chess opponent.

At the big match of the day, they enjoyed setting up our new hand-carved African soapstone set. They began playing. I could tell Kent was wanting to go easy on James. At some point, he bailed on that plan and tried to save his game!

James played him well into the end-game and was 1-2 moves from a stale mate when he lost. Kent is no casual chess player; he played on a chess team (albeit years ago). There I admitted it. Kent lettered in chess. James blew him out of the water and challenged him with a real game at age 9!

I think both of us will have to have supernatural wisdom in raising and keeping up with James.


I am trying to do 10 minutes of deep pressure/holding with James each evening. I don’t always feel like following through, but he reminds me. And it’s good for both of us. It’s been two weeks and this pseudo-poem as been swimming in my head lately:

He eagerly scrambles into my arms.
They can hardly hold him anymore.
A boy barreling full-speed ahead toward the teen years.
Proud to be as tall as Mom’s shoulders.

But we have ground to recover.
We must go back before we go forward.
His eagerness reminds me of his toddlerness.
The ruffling of the blond hair.
The holding was necessity then.

But we forgot.
He ran.
He went numb.
He forgot the feeling, the loving.

I try to hold him tight enough.
To squeeze his numbness out.
Feel this holding.
Feel this loving.

You are loved.

And my arms go numb.
Numb with the holding.
Taking on his numbness, I begin to feel less.
He begins to feel more.

It is a daily gospel.
He who takes on our numbness.
So we can feel.
So we know we are loved.


It’s been a couple months since I shared our diet and progress here. People often ask, “What do you eat?” “How long will you stay on this diet?” “How is James doing now?” I’ve updated ‘Our Diet’ page with details about what is going on – now that our family has been completely grain-free for 6 months. I also listed lots of links of other bloggers posting stellar grain-free recipes. I could not have survived this year without their help!

Here are some of our highlights:

**My allergies to egg, avocado and almond are completely gone (I suspect my reactions to black bean, and milk powder are as well, but I haven’t yet challenged them.), and I can eat them everyday without any reaction at all. My occasional insomnia and heartburn are also completely gone. I’m able to take fewer antihistamines for airborne allergies.

**Our family has only had one cold in 6 mos and none of us needed antibiotics.

**James continues to feel more and more tactile sensation each week. He has regained the ability to hop on one foot easily, and the coordination to run faster than his brother again! He got a trampoline for Christmas and spends time on it everyday.

**His eczema is 95% gone. He has grown 3 inches, lost 12 lbs. and has much more energy.

**He is also much less ‘stuck’ in routine. If we change the schedule for our school day, he doesn’t mind – just goes with the flow (which hasn’t happened for about 6 years!).

**The days of emotional meltdowns are not our ‘normal’ anymore.

There are no words to thank God enough for James’ progress this year! Last night I held him wrapped tightly in a blanket (still loves deep pressure!) next to the Christmas lights.

He began to tear up.

Such a sweet spirit.

He said he was just so happy.

And so sad at the same time.

I asked what the sad part was.

He said, “I’m sad that I didn’t feel this or like [being held] for so many years.”

I think he can see now that he was missing out on the emotional connection that goes with cuddling for most kids. He stopped cuddling around age 3 – he didn’t like to be touched. He grieves that now 6 yrs later, which is a healthy thing to process.

Looks like we have a few years of cuddling to catch up on!

Remembering 2011

I didn’t take this time of holding the ebenezer, remembering the year as He laid it before us, last year – we were savoring a visit with family in the US… Sad that the last backward glance at a year of living and loving was here in 2010. Two years later, our life here is SO different!

But how to quantify that?

What was 2011?

If I had to choose one word, I would have to say 2011 was a monumental year for Kent, this work and our family.

The year language development work exploded here in Bunia with 10 different language communities.

The year Kent became a Linguistics Consultant and helped teach a graduate-level tone course.

A year of long-sought-after solutions for our son’s health.

The year we entered Autismland, and found our way.

Another year of taking homeschool ‘on the road’, moving, packing, settling and moving again.

The year I learned to quilt!

The year Joel finally lost a tooth (actually 5 teeth are now missing at once!)

The year we dared to go 100% grain-free.

The year Kent started commuting on a motorcycle.

The first year we really grew our own food.

The year we finally understood our sweet James and watched him come out of the fog.

The year we finished renovating our tiny kitchen.

The year our living room doubled as a ballet studio.

Another year to enjoy this beautiful, bug-filled country (only 1 bat, 4 grasshoppers, several crickets/cockroaches and several hundred ants and mosquitoes made their way into our house this year – much fewer than previous years!)

The year we had to learn how to cook and eat all over again.

The first year of my life that I crossed food allergies OFF my list!

The year Joel became a great reader.

The year everyone began learning piano, French and Latin in earnest.

The year Anna started and aced kindergarten math.

The year we grew close to Congolese friends.

The kind of friends who make you want to sit on stools around the cooking fire all evening ‘chewing the news’ as they say in Maasailand.

A year to taste and see that the Lord is good.


A year of paperclips on our paper timelines.


A year mixed of storms and clear skies.

A year rooted in His steadfast love.

A year to hold fast to faith in Him who works all things for good.

A year that could have broken us,

but strengthened us instead.

Rabies & Balloons… Except Not

Over dinner just now our family discussed just how wild a day we have had, and Kent asked, “Are you going to blog about this? Because if you don’t, I will!” You see, I had a peaceful, quiet extra Sabbath day of rest in mind. Today is national election day. Voters are out in large numbers and exit polls seem to sound positive about the experience. None of our regular folks were coming here to work all day and the house would be quiet. I thought I might even wear pajamas all day!

Except not.

Very late last night one of our friends came by on a motorcycle taxi in a frenzied panic because his 7-yr-old daughter, Deborah had been bitten twice by a rabid dog. By the time he told us the whole story the dog had been on the loose in his neighborhood ‘across the tracks’ 12 hours, and had bitten 16 people! We sent him to the hospital and told him to return right away if they didn’t have treatment in stock. He was so scattered, he forgot his daughter’s middle name. I would have too. It sounds like one of the little friends she was playing with on a placid Sunday afternoon was bitten in the head and was already showing dangerous signs of rabies. Who knows for sure if it was panic or rabies, but neither are good. And the dog is still out there.

In case you hadn’t thought of rabies as anything other than a shot at the vet for your pet, it is alive and real, killing 100% of its victims slowly in a matter of days, weeks or months. I am not a huge fan of vaccines, especially for non-essentials like chicken pox, but rabies?!! I praise God for the science that created that vaccine! It saves countless lives. Unfortunately, it costs about 10 times the normal family’s monthly rent. Take your monthly rent/house payment and times it by 10. Pay that ‘out of pocket’. Would you do it? Of course you want to save your child’s life! But how do you pay that off when cash is required, there are no banks or credit cards? Congo has a friends-and-family network for such a time as this. Works beautifully! Well, we hoped as they didn’t return last night that he found treatment at the hospital.

Except not.

He was back with little Deborah this morning. The hospitals don’t stock it. It is not a very stable vaccine, needing to be kept cold (nearly impossible here!) and is therefore expensive. We were able to make some calls and verify that there was indeed a supply in town that would be available tomorrow morning. Deborah will get her shots. We are all thankful. My Mama heart was very proud of my kiddos all praying for her and for the medicines to be found, and then making her snacks and drinks while she listened to the men calling all over town, working for her life. The teeth marks in her upper arm are very real! Sadly, by the time they left the dog had been on the loose for about 20 hours and had bitten 23 people (that they know about) – many of them children.

Without any workers today, we had hours of handwashing dishes, cleaning floors, etc.

Except not.

All these tasks require WATER! Our water tanks are empty today and we are using large bins of water hauled over from a friend’s house. The boys pitched right in and we finished most of it before 9am – in time for school! Meanwhile, James discovered a large rat we trapped in the pantry. While we are thrilled to kill another one (8-9″ long without the tail), we overlooked his passing for probably 24 hrs and had a stinky trap to deal with (to be fair, the boys in the family had a stinky trap to deal with…) =).

SO not a lazy day off! It was time to teach school.

Except not.

We still had to eat! In between instructional moments, I cracked 41 eggs, chopped 6.5 onions, baked a double-batch of raisin cookie bars, baked 2 quiches for tomorrow, made 2 salads, brewed two cups of coffee, heated up leftovers, gutted and sliced up a huge papaya from our backyard, made a thermos of tea for our night guard, and a pot of rice and meat for him as well. How ever will I do it when they are teenagers?! It’s probably not more than most busy Moms, but I felt a bit like I was on a roller coaster. Or maybe one of those funky carnival rides where you don’t know which way you will turn next…

We tried to decorate our tree too. We got the lights up yesterday and were looking forward to pulling out a few favorite ornaments…

Except not.

We took them to the US last Christmas, and the best ones didn’t make it back into the right storage box, so they are MIA. Mommy fail.

This evening Joel was on duty as ‘dinner helper’. In searching for a replacement bottle of gummy vitamins he found a huge bag of skinny balloons stashed away from Kent’s balloon-making days. You didn’t know I married a balloon artist?? It was Kent’s introduction to missions – making balloon animals for kids. He’s pretty good too! So Joel convinced Kent to make him a ‘light saber’ balloon. Anna quickly ordered up pink poodle.

Except not.

After the 4th attempt popped, we resigned ourselves to the fact that these balloons sat in a box for one year too long and were basically worthless.

Except not!

Anna discovered that by tying 8 long pink balloons together at one end, she could make an ‘octopus’! And the rest of the evening was spent making various octopi, sting rays, and jelly fish in various balloon colors. Maybe we’ll hang THEM on our tree! =) Anna’s two favorites were white and pink, and at least one was named Princess. Why not Princess the Pink Octopus?

When life gives you popped balloons… make an octopus!

So our not-at-all-lazy day at home today turned into some kind of carnival ride full of twists and turns. And I’m so proud of my kids taking all those left-turns in stride! Two months ago, a day like today would have included hours of emotional meltdowns. Today we rolled with the punches. We took the left turns. We hauled our water. We helped our friends. We were content in every kind of circumstance. I’m just so thankful.

Got any old balloons? You know you should make an octopus! And smile.

What NOT to Eat

It is weird.
Yes, I’ll admit it, ‘the diet’ our family is on is weird.
I sometimes feel like I am constantly explaining.

What can you eat? You really don’t eat rice?
Are you sure you don’t want a cookie?

Wow, that diet seems hard!

Aren’t most truly good things also hard? Trying an ‘autism’ diet wasn’t a big deal to me as someone who has altered her food for years to avoid allergic reactions. We also travel around the world for a living, which would be miserable if we only liked Cocoa Puffs or Wheat Thins. We’re accustomed to eating foreign foods and other ‘weird things’.

So we tried new things! We learned new recipes. Don’t worry, we still eat brownies with the rest of them. They are just made without flour or sugar. We finally know what NOT to eat: No flour. No sugar. No grains. No potatoes. No noodles. No rice. If you or someone you love wants to invest time (realistically 1-2 years or more) to eat toward a stronger immune system, check out GAPS and SCD!

Here is more background about our choices, and some links if you actually want more information or need help getting to sleep in the middle of the night…

So what do we eat?? Over the next few posts I invite you to try a new recipe, if you’re into that kind of thing, and ‘eat along with us’! For the next 6 days I will post one recipe from this diet that we have come to love and have made recently. And who knows? Without all that flour and sugar, you might enjoy guilt-free seconds on brownies!

The OT Journey: Parting of the Waters

As some of you may remember, we learned of James’ need for an OT (Occupational Therapist) about 2 weeks before leaving the US. That was simply not enough time to get in to see one. We returned to Africa in faith that we would find the Sensory Assessment we needed somehow somewhere. We tried working with two different OT’s by Email long-distance in July. Neither one could help us.

We planned extra time in Kampala, Uganda last month to search one out. We went to town armed with 4 possible contacts. One by one they fell through: out of town, not an OT but a PT, on vacation, etc. I had one last lead in Nairobi an hour’s flight away, but really hesitated to spend a lot of money chasing a lead that might fall through like the others. If Nairobi fell through, South Africa or Europe were our next options.

Now begins the long list of the ways God provided for James and I on this trip, miracle upon miracle to the point that I felt like Moses must have felt standing in the Red Sea watching walls of water stand up straight in the sky:

–This popular Belgian OT had exactly the experience, training and recommendations we needed, but was ‘hard to get in to see’… She answered the phone the first time, took time to talk with me, Emailed me right away some forms to fill out (even though she was traveling to another country the next day), introduced me to her ‘Autism Team’ who arranged all our appointments for us, set up an appointment with her one week away, and her associates even did some shopping for snacks that were on James’ diet! (Thank you Karolien and Trixie!!) Like I said, walls of water.

–With the encouragement I had from the Emails, my conscience said to go ahead and plan this trip to Kenya. We would need a place to stay, and had heard of a new guesthouse on our office compound. I wrote and it was booked already for the two nights we needed. The same day I got a second Email saying that the previous guests were actually leaving the day we would arrive and someone else was coming in the day we would leave. It was available to us for the two nights we needed. Exactly. I couldn’t have even planned that. Walls of water.

–I knew we should book it, Kent gave me the green light, but the cost was prohibitive to buy two plane tickets at the last minute. We usually fly this back and forth to Congo. And now we were flying in this! (You would have to chuckle with me at James in the window seat eating his mixed nuts like a king!) We asked our team to pray for provision of costs. Immediately someone wrote who felt led to cover the entire cost. Walls. of. water.

–So off James and I went up to 35,000 feet. Kent always handles the money side of life. My plan was to arrive and get Kenyan shillings from an ATM. I forgot contingency cash and it wasn’t until we started the descent that I realized I had no way to pay for our visas to get into the country. They have to be paid in Euros or Dollars. I had neither. Yes, God can provide for my stupidity. James and I prayed right then and there that God would make a way. Upon arrival I noted the airport has changed a lot in the past 3 years. There were ATM machines everywhere! I got one to work for me right in the concourse and walked up to the nicest immigration official I have ever met. She let me pay in shillings! AND charged me $20 instead of $50 because we would only be there 48 hours. Dry path through the reef.

–The night before our flight, we got out passports and realized that mine only had one page left. Doh! The tourist and transit visas take up one page each! It was the weekend, and no embassy was open anywhere. We looked up the consular officer online and called the emergency number. She was very kind and said if I could get into Kenya Monday morning, they could install new pages in 15 minutes while we waited Monday afternoon! It is a little nerve-wracking to know you can almost get into a country, but won’t be able to get out until something is fixed. The one page I had left, did have a small corner date stamp, so I would have to beg that they work around it and not cover it up… The exit guy from Uganda snuck in his stamp on a busy page just because he was nice. He didn’t have to! And the entry into Kenya lady was a saint who stuck her sticker right on the edge and had to wrap on edge over the other side. Why do I worry?? Our office team in Nairobi were waiting for us to arrive, praying all would work out for the extra passport pages. They are awesome! We love you RBS! As we drove off in one direction to our first of three appointments, they drove off in the other direction with my passport to get the extra pages added. Marvel with me.

–So now that we were in the right country, with a taxi to our guesthouse, we needed to figure out food. It is pretty easy to stay on James’ diet here in Congo where everything has to be made from scratch everyday anyway. But driving by Java House and Pizza Inn at lunchtime was pretty tough! I had written ahead asking my colleagues to buy a few staples for us so we could prepare our own foods. Not only did Karen buy my whole list, she scrubbed and soaked all the fruits and veggies for me ahead of time and had them in ziploc bags! James and I thoroughly enjoyed lots of apples, grapes, chicken and broccoli (things we can’t get here)! Water standing up.

–Nairobi has a shortage of roads. Or an excess of cars. Either way, there is smog and bad traffic. Everywhere. All day long. The taximan we used is a good friend of a friend. He somehow skirted most all traffic jams. Where I planned 60 minutes to get across downtown, he would make it in 30. Where I planned 30 to get a few miles away, he would make it 15. We ended up slightly early to every appointment. And every appointment was a bit like drinking from a firehose, but exactly where we needed to be and learning things that we can do here at home. I brought James his DVD player with Lassie season 1 and he never used it. (Though we did borrow 2 Hardy Boys books and the Secrets of Nimh and he read all of those in his 48 hrs…)

–James scored below 2% for processing and reacting to the sense of touch. We suspected as much. This was confirmation. What was wonderful news is that he doesn’t have other sensory troubles. YAY! He had so much fun at the OT studio, he didn’t want to leave – even to go on an airplane. We came back with pages of advice and ideas for therapy at home, and better than that, the therapists are happy to help over Email until we see them again next year! Can you see that water standing up?

Oh me of little faith.

It was truly marvelous to watch God move every obstacle right out of our way. And much of that was possible through a multi-cultural, multi-national, amazing team of colleagues! I am grateful to work alongside them.

Hugest thanks to all those who gave and prayed us through the water. Also to Karen, Olivia, Judith, Emily, Serge, Joseph, Trixie, Liz, Karolien, Josh, Audra, Gabe, Raeleigh, Rod, Emergency Consular Officer lady, Embassy people, and RBS!