Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 in my 30's: #18 Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

First of all, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 
It's my favorite holiday (don't judge), and I thought it was the perfect day to talk about how I recently marked another item off of my 30 in my 30's list

This time I tackled a big one: 

#18: Do something that's completely out of my comfort zone (in a good way, of course).

And thanks to my recent trip to Malawi and our hike through Kasungu National Park, #18 is now recent history. 

I knew this would be quite the adventure when our guide showed up sporting an M16. 

And while we saw several not-so-scary creatures along the way......

.... I was holding my breath as these beauties walked by. 

They were easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 
Completely free; completely in their element. 
They were so graceful and stoic. 

This picture makes them look farther away than they really were. 
They were as close as I care to ever be to an elephant without a big, very strong fence between us. 

But the elephants were small potatoes for my fear factor compared to these guys. 
For some people it's spiders. 
Others fear snakes....or dogs...or bears with big teeth. 

For me, it's hippos. 

I am insanely afraid of hippos. 

We're talking shaking in my sneakers kind of afraid. 
And yet, I faced my fear and stood there, snapping their pictures while they stared me down and made frightening noises. 

My #1 driving force? 


She told me to be brave and to bring her back a picture of a hippo. 

And I 'mom-ed up' to the occasion  pretty sure I earned twenty cool points when I showed up not ONLY with a ton of pictures, but with this as well: 

I faced my fear. 
And facing my fear felt surprisingly good. 

Adios, #18; catch ya next time.
Never did I dream that my list would include hippos. 

Do YOU have a list of things you're hoping to accomplish? 
Do tell. 

I'd also love to hear what fear you would dread facing...... 
I bet whatever it is it smells better than the hippos....

For now, there's a little genie and a precious kitty cat sleeping off their sugar comas in the next room.

Here's wishing a very happy Halloween to YOU and YOU and YOU! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

True Beauty: The Women of Malawi

I am still in a jet-lagged state of mind, but I am DYING to share with you about Malawi. 
To say that I had a wonderful time simply doesn't do it justice.
 In fact,  I had one of the grandest adventures I have ever had. 

And one of the things that stuck out to me the most was the beauty found in the women of Malawi. 
Perhaps it's because I can most closely relate to them that gives them such a special place in my heart. 

Whatever the reason, I so enjoyed these little moments, such as......

...seeing a woman's reaction after seeing a picture of herself for the very first time. 

......talking to a woman about how she gathers the water she will need to provide for her family and the families of those in her village. 

....sharing stories of marriage and motherhood with this beautiful lady, 

....and bonding over laughter. 

....being blessed with a peek at what daily life looks like for a woman in Malawi.

.....giggling over babies and how cute the tiny humans are. 

....recognizing the look on another woman's face and knowing that you've had that same look on more than one occasion. 

While I enjoyed the beautiful landscapes and the roadside adventures and waking up with the elephants, I think it was spending time with the woman of Malawi that I most enjoyed. 

There is something so universal about being a wife and a mother
 that even a language barrier can't compete with.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow I'm headed to Malawi. 
I still can't believe it. 
I am so excited but also anxious. 

Missing my girls will be hard. 
Very, very hard. 
Not being there with my husband will also be hard. 

But I am confident that God has BIG things in store, if for no other reason than this has been an insane week filled with road blocks. 

However, thankfully, I did squeeze in some time to pack. 

Some of the things I'm bringing: 

-good books
-enough Germ-X for an army
-all that I'll need to make PB and J sammiches
-my red blanket that I always sleep with as my source of comfort
-lots of Silly Bands to give those sweet, smiling kiddo faces that I can't wait to see
-my I-pod, fully charged and ready to go
-baby wipes to help get the red dirt off of my feet before I slip into bed
-Lysol wipes
-and earplugs in case the person next to me on any of the eight plane rides I'll take there and back happens to be of the snoring variety

The route: 

Jackson, MS to 
Atlanta to 
Amsterdam to
Kenya to 

I know. It's a little overwhelming. 

But I am excited all the way down to the tips of my toes. 

And my favorite thing I packed? 
That would be my notebook. 
This summer while I was in Africa, Libby and I wrote notes to each other everyday and then traded notebooks when I got home. 
And we're doing it again this time. 
So excited to write to her and tell her about all that God is doing. 
Even more excited to read her messages to me. 

I'll be updating my facebook page, instagram, and twitter as often as possible. There are links to all of those on the right side of my blog if you'd like to keep up.

And to everyone who is praying for us, thank you. 
My precious Bible study group prayed over me this me and reminded me how thankful I am for a God who calls me to step out of my comfort zone and go. 

Please pray for the Clean Water for Malawi group that we will be the hands and feet of Christ and that we'll work to provide the people of Malawi with the Living Water as well as the water they need to live. 

And CONGRATS to Casey Andrews on winning my Noonday giveaway! :) 

Here's hoping for clear skies and good movies on the plane. 
Be back October 26th. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perfect Timing

I leave for Africa in three days. 

And my girl is sick. 
I haven't finished packing. 
I am missing church today, which totally stinks. 
My house is a wreck.
Libby's reading fair project is still in pieces.
I'm totally sleep deprived. 

Please pray for my kiddo. 
I'm a tough girl, but it will be really hard for me to fly halfway around the world while her cough still makes my stomach turn. 

I know God is good. 
I know His timing is perfect. 
I know He has big things in store. 
But, I'm not made of steel. 

Isn't it funny how things seem to always go South at the most inconvenient times? 

Two quick things before I go snuggle my girl: 

1. Have you entered my Noonday giveaway? It ends Tuesday. 
2. It's not too late to purchase something from my Noonday site and have it help get me to Malawi. Think Christmas shopping, birthday shopping, treating someone special shopping..... 

Here's hoping my bags will pack themselves and the animals from Snow White will come and clean my house.... 

Btw, this awesome picture of my girl was taken by the very talented Erin Norman. Check her out and tell her I said hi.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Playing Favorites and a Giveaway

I have spent a LOT of time lately thinking about, talking about, and praying about Noonday. 
I am serious when I say I have never had more fun at work than I am having with Noonday. 
I cannot get enough of it and am so thankful that God opened this door for me. 

I fully believe it doesn't get more fun than a Noonday party. Here are some scenes from Tuesday night: 

The conversation was great. The response was great. The hostess was AMAZING. Fun was had by all. 

And today, I thought I'd have a little giveaway and share some of my personal favorite pieces. 
Sound good? 

 I LOVE this bag from Rwanda! Noonday actually sent several girls through sewing school, and there products are simply FABULOUS! My favorite part about this bag? It's reversible! And it's the perfect size for a weekend away or a great 'everything' bag. And if you are a fan of BIG purses, this one's for you. 

The Nomadic Cuff-- love the beading on this piece, and the colors really pop. So fun!

The Bone Carved Leaf Earrings-- love the detail on these. Also love that they match with just about everything. 

The Mediterranean Sea Earrings-- love how unique these are!

The Tagua Seed Bracelet-- LOVE this! The coloring on it is so beautiful, and it is so comfortable!

The My Catch All Bag--- So I'm pretty sure this bag has my name on it. Love the colors, love the stripes, love EVERYTHING about this one. 

The Bobbles and Beads Jewelry Caddy- this piece is so fun to me! Love the colors, and the size is perfect. 

The Inca Steps Necklace- love how light this piece is. The color is beautiful, and I love the statement of this one. 

The Dulce- It doesn't get more unique than this one. Love how it stands out and yet is so dainty. 

The Cuzco Wrap- LOVE this one. So pretty, so versatile, so feminine. And if you've never snuggled up to alpaca, you are truly missing out.

The Circles Forever Bracelet- To me, this is an every day piece. It is so comfortable and the perfect size. It literally compliments everything. 

And now, this weekend I'll be giving away a pair of these to one of you. 

These were made in India, and I think they are so fun. 

You like? 

Well, here's how you can enter to win. You can do only one of these or all of these, your choice. Just PLEASE LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH THING THAT YOU DO.  One comment equals one entry. Make sense? 

1. Go to the Noonday site. Browse through all the treasures there, and then come back and leave a comment about one or some of your favorite items. What would YOU like to have (or give) for Christmas?

2. Order something from my site. This will count as two entries. Pick out a present for someone else or yourself, and then come back here and let me know what you ordered. This will count as THREE entries. :)

3. Follow my blog or remind me that you already do. 

4. Like my blog on facebook.  

5. Tell me something funny. I like funny. 

This giveaway will end on TUESDAY, October 16th. 
I think this is good seeing as how I leave the next day for Malawi. :) 

Good luck to all of you. 
Here's wishing you a great, family-filled weekend. 
We have big plans of fall festivals, football games, dinner with friends, and packing for Africa. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Out of the Box

I love that my girl tends to be a little out of the box sometimes. 
She's not afraid to try something new and has such a wonderful variety of interests. 
Her newest venture? The piano. 
She is all about writing songs these days. 
Am I raising the next Taylor Swift? Perhaps. 
Only time will tell, I suppose. 

Here's hoping your weekend is full of girl movies and hot tea. 
I'll be working on some Noonday goodness and helping Libby start on her reading fair project since it's due just days after I return from Malawi. 

Speaking of Noonday, did you know October is Fair Trade month?
 I'll be going all over spreading the Noonday love in November, but I still have some spots available on my calendar and would love to come to your home if you're interested. If you live in the Mississippi area and would like to know more about how YOU can help artists around the world provide schooling, health care, and basic needs for their families, email me at and check out the Noonday link on my sidebar. Here's hoping to hearing from you soon. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Loving Lately

God never ceases to absolutely amaze me. Here lately, I've been in awe of the people He has put into my life. Just over two years ago, Africa wasn't even on my radar. It didn't consume my thoughts. I knew very, very little about the people, their culture, and their hearts. I didn't know anyone who was especially interested in Africa or had ever been to Africa to serve and help. And I certainly had no desire to quit my job in an attempt to work full-time to better the lives and situations of those living there. 
And then God opened my eyes. 
And not only did He open my eyes, but He has brought several people into my life in the past two years whose hearts are also full with love for this land far, far away. He has gifted me with friends who share my passion. 
And one of them is this girl.
Laura Beth is truly one of the most AMAZING, INSPIRING people I have ever met. Why she wants to spend time with me blows my mind. She recently returned from spending two months in Uganda and Kenya, and there is so much I can learn from her about giving and serving. We had dinner last night, and in the midst of the week I've had with my grandmother (who is really, really not doing well), time with her was a breath of  fresh air. To me, Laura Beth is a big flashing sign that says, "McCall, God loves you." 
I am so overwhelming grateful for people like her who have come into my life. 

And in addition to loving laughing until I almost cry and catching up on all the amazing things God is doing in her life and what her next steps to serve will be, I am also loving these things this week:

-This post by my favorite blogging where she openly shares how being a mom may not always be the most fun thing, but it is oh so worth it.

-The talented lady who designed this here blog has had some big news as of late. So excited for all God is doing in her family.

-I have been praying hard for little Amon. Join me?

- I have started doing this Bible study with a group of ladies at my church. So excited to see how God will use it to teach and grow my heart.

- Did you get the chance to watch the Half the Sky mini-series this week on PBS? If you missed it, you can watch in online until October 9th. I'm reading the book behind the show now, and it's blowing my mind. Women can give so much to our world, and yet, so many cultures continue to view them as 'lesser' for whatever reason. I honestly believe that all women everywhere should take note and take action.

Here's hoping your agenda this week is filled with pumpkin patch visits, coffee dates with dear friends, and some time to cuddle up with a good book. 
Speaking of good book, I leave for Malawi two weeks from today, and I am STILL on the hunt for something good to read on my very long plane rides. Thoughts?