Monthly Archives: July 2012

WMM Training Complete


After the CMDA conference was complete, we travelled from Bristol, TN to Boone, NC for the World Medical Mission portion of our training. As if our heads weren’t spinning enough from the first 2 1/2 days of information, we sat through 3 more days of lectures. Here are the highlights:

1.) The Samaritan’s Purse headquarters are beautiful, and I’m privileged to be representing them as part of the post-residency program. (But nothing I ever say in my blog represents Samaritan’s Purse, World Medical Missions, or the Post-Residency program…I need to figure out how to display this statement on my homepage.)

2.) Hannah gets fussier and fussier each day away from home…And so does her mommy.

3.) There will be no PDA with Aaron in Kenya, especially in church. (I had lunch with a woman from Kenya, and I got lots of info about the culture. It was fun to ask so many questions and get them answered right away.)

4.) I don’t have enough time or energy to get everything on my to-do list accomplished in the 5 1/2 months until our departure.

5.) We learned A LOT about electricity, benefits, conflict resolution, etc. specific to the Post-Residency program. Nothing profound, but it was helpful and necessary.

It’s good to be home. The boys missed Aaron and I but they had a great time with the family. Noah’s favorite part of the week was seeing Jonah at Sight & Sounds Theater in Lancaster, PA. Jacob loved being at Pappaw’s river. Levi can’t talk enough to tell me, but I’m guessing his birthday party was among his favorite events. We are blessed to have parents who can care for our children so well when we are away. Thanks to Nana, Pappy Phil, Grammy and Pappy Steve and everyone else who spent time with the boys and made their ‘vacation’ very special!!


CMDA Training Complete


We just completed the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s portion of our week-long training. It was two and a half days PACKED FULL of great information and food. Right now, I’m at the hotel in Boone, NC while Hannah sleeps and Aaron is having dinner with the group. Here is an update of some of what I’ve learned so far.

1.) I can wear make up. (I know. I know. Not that important, but it does bring me joy.)

2.) Almost all missionary kids LOVE their mission home better than their U.S. home. (super encouraging!!)

3.) Culture determines A LOT more of our lives than we realize. (I was beginning to realize this as I’m reading On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale, but it hit home even more this weekend. There was an anthropologist who really explained things well. Did you know that even the way we explain why people are sick is dependent upon your culture?? What about the way you value money? Or the way you enter a room? Or your work ethic? So, so much is influenced by our culture which is why we’ll experience culture shock both when we enter Kenya and when we return to the U.S.)

4.) While we think our mission field is Kenya, our real mission field is in the U.S. We are touching many lives just by making this decision. I never thought of that, but I’m glad that fact was brought to my attention. It makes me more intentional about how I live my daily life.

5.) I don’t want to live in America. This was the most shocking discovery of the weekend. I’ve been spending so much of my time mourning all the things I’m giving up. Then, I watched this video of a Muslim’s perspective of us. (I wanted to post it here but I couldn’t find it online.) It made me sad to call myself an American Christian. I think God made me to live outside of my culture. That doesn’t mean that I’m prepared to go. It does mean that He has equipped me with all the right ‘raw materials’ so that He can mold me into the missionary He wants me to be. At this point, I have not many ideas of what He has planned for me, but I’m so convinced that we have made the right decision to move to a foreign country with the purpose of bringing people into the kingdom of God.

6.) In the time between now and January (when we leave for Kenya), I have a lot to do! Read, read, and read some more. Pray, pray, pray and pray and then pray more! And continue to evaluate Who my owner is. When I pick up the cross, I die to myself. Only then does God become my Owner.

This conference was designed for all medical missionaries and their spouses. It was in Bristol, Tennessee. If you’ve ever considered going on a medical mission, I highly recommend this conference.

Tomorrow we begin the Samaritan’s Purse portion of our training. I’m sure it will be as encouraging and enlightening as the CMDA portion was!


VBS Missionaries


The sweetest, most humbling thing happened this evening…

If you follow us on facebook at all, you might have seen that we are the featured missionaries at our church’s Vacation Bible School. Each year our church, Salem Bible Church, chooses one missionary family to support. The missionaries speak to the kids through presentations, hang out at their display table to chat during craft time, and challenge the kids to raise enough money to reach a goal.

This year, we are those people. Monday, I introduced the family to the main group of kids and gave them the monetary goal. (Aaron was working, so I had to public speak!! Yikes!) I made a little display to keep track of the money raising. For every $200 raised, we put a member of the Kelley family into the plane. The goal was to raise $1200 by the end of the week so that all 6 of us would be in the plane together. In the picture, we hadn’t collected any money…

On Tuesday, Aaron and I presented to each of the 3 groups at VBS. (Our church is awesome and runs 3 separate VBS curriculums based on age. I love my church!) First, Aaron talked with the main group of kids, those that completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Then, I spoke to the preschool group. And finally, Aaron spoke to the middle and high school group. Each presentation was a little different, but we basically explained our plans to leave in January for Kenya to be medical missionaries.

Today, since Aaron had to work again, I was by myself at the display table. Here is what it looked like on Monday…It looked a little better tonight, but I didn’t take any pictures. I think you get the idea though.

Not too many kids approached the table, but it was nice to chat with the few who did. Here is where the sweetest, most humbling happened. One little girl came right up to me and asked if I was the missionary. I said that I was, and she plunged her hand into her pocket and pulled out a fist-full of change. Then, she spilled it out onto my display table. How generous! You see, the offering is taken during the opening, but she was late and didn’t have a chance to put her money into the bucket. I think most kids would have kept the money, but not this little girl. She was determined to get that money to me, and she wasn’t waiting until tomorrow. I just love her faith and willingness to obey.

It reminded me of the story in the New Testament of the woman who gave a small amount of money but was counted more generous than the man who gave a lot. (Mark 12:41-44) Wow! I am so challenged by the faith and generosity of these kids.

We leave for our training tomorrow, so we won’t be able to attend the last two days of VBS. That means that we won’t be in attendance to receive the money these kids raised at the closing program on Friday. I’m sad that I won’t be there to witness the joy these kids will have when they see how much money they collected to help us get to Kenya. I’m trusting that God will work through these kids, that He will multiply their gifts, and that He will bless their lives. We serve an awesome God, a generous God, a God who loves a generous giver. He is well-pleased with at least one little girl tonight. Well done, good and faith servant. Well done!

Bucket List: Philadelphia Zoo


Yet another item checked off the bucket list!

We have lived in the Lehigh Valley for 6 years, and we finally took the kids to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday. My mom came along to keep our monkeys at a safe distance from the monkeys living at the zoo. 🙂

One of the boys’ favorite things was the merry-go-round. Jacob was so excited that he got to ride in a turtle’s shell. (In case you aren’t familiar with Jacob, his favorite animal is a turtle.) Levi was  a little freaked out my the monkey, but he liked the butterfly with a handle.

Noah had his face painted like a snake right before the ride, so he thought it was only appropriate that he ride in the basket with his friend snake. (He’s so cute.)

All four kids were so good the entire day, and they had so much fun. Here is a picture of Miss Hannah. She spent most of the day being cute in the stroller…and blowing razzberries, her new favorite activity.

On a side note, I have a Noah story. We were talking about moving to Africa, and he asked, “Mom, so where are we moving: Kenya or Africa?” I tried to explain that both were correct because Kenya was in Africa. I think he gets it now, but it took some analogies. This is a cool picture of the animals we saw at the zoo and might see when we move.

My favorite animals were the giraffes. Quite an amazing animal that gives testimony to the awesome workmanship of Creator God.

Oh, wait. That’s Hannah dressed as a giraffe. Here is the real giraffe.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Pancake Mix, etc.


When Aaron was in residency and we had a very limited grocery budget, I began making my own baking mix (a.k.a. Bisquick). It made my mornings a little easier when pancakes or waffles were on the menu. Well, I wanted to expand my uses for my pancake mix. If I mix of a huge batch of baking mix, what all can I make with it?

I’m assuming that I can find these simple ingredients in Kenya. (I’ll be really sad if I can’t.) And I’m hoping that this mix will save me a little bit of time as I make all the recipes I’ve been finding. I’ll share a couple here. But, first, here is my recipe for baking mix.

Baking Mix (from Healthy Meals for Less by Jonni McCoy)

8 cups flour (I use at least 2 cups of whole wheat.)

1 1/4 cups powdered milk

1/4 cup baking powder

1 Tbsp salt

2 cups shortening (This is NOT low fat!!)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix well. Cut in the shortening until it looks like coarse cornmeal. (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do all the mixing and cutting. The large bowl is barely large enough, but it works.)

Store in an airtight container. It does not need to be refrigerated. (I posted the waffle and pancake recipes right on the container.)

To make Waffles, mix 2 cups of the mix, 1 1/3 cup milk, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and 1 egg.

To make Pancakes, mix 2 cups of the mix, 1 cup milk and 2 eggs.


Shortcake Recipe

2 1/3 cup baking mix

1/2 cup milk

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425. Mix ingredients. Drop 6 spoonfulls onto baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes.

I had raspberries and blueberries, so I sprinkled them with sugar and had a wonderfully delicious Berry Shortcake dessert. Of course, you could use strawberries or a variety of fruit. The boys loved it, especially because we topped it with Rediwhip!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 3/4 cups baking mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in baking mix and chocolate chips. Drop onto baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack.

These were really good! I can’t wait to try more cookie recipes from the Bisquick website.


Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (also from Healthy Meals for Less)

2 cups baking mix

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop golf-ball-sized spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake 450 for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.

These are great with soup, or just about anything. The garlic wasn’t strong enough, so I think I’d add more (and maybe a variety of spices) next time.


Hope you enjoy these recipes! Next cooking adventure: Brownie Mix. 🙂

Oh, What a Monday!


Here at the Kelley house, I dread Mondays. Everyone, especially me, is tired and cranky. It doesn’t matter if our weekend is super busy or super relaxing. Mondays are just hard.

Yesterday was a Monday. A particularly bad Monday. The boys were fighting, whining and complaining all day. I was having a pity party, holding back tears and reacting instead of responding to the boys all day. I tried my best to entertain them without the use of a screen. When reading about Kenya, they complained that it was boring. When playing outside, they were so loud that I thought the neighbors might call the police. At 4pm, I posted on facebook, “Is 4pm too early to put the boys to bed?” Oh, how I wish I had either put them to bed or sat them in front of the TV!

As a last resort, I took Hannah upstairs for a little nap and then took the boys to the basement for a change in scenery and a fresh supply of toys. That lasted about 15 minutes before Noah threw a large exercise ball at Jacob. The ball bounced off the back of Jacob’s head, and then his head bounced off the corner of the chest freezer handle. He immediately burst into a frantic cry. Because I had heard crying ALL DAY, I didn’t panic. I just walked over. I think I even rolled my eyes. But then I saw blood…

I scooped him up into my arms and ran up the stairs. Prying his hands away from his face, I saw a small but deep cut. Aaron was at work, so I called him to see what I should do. We decided that I would bring Jacob (and the other 3 kids) to the hospital where he was working. Unfortunately, that was in Bethlehem and it was rush hour. Not wanting to waste any time, I rushed to get everyone in the car. I pulled a muscle in my leg, forgot Hannah’s diaper bag, and couldn’t find Levi’s shoes. We did manage to get there safely.

The traffic was horrible, so I tried to take a detour. Jacob fell asleep somewhere along the way. Levi had no pants and Cookie Monster slippers for shoes. Hannah, who was sleeping peacefully prior to being thrown into a carseat, was screeching so badly that Levi was shushing her. And Noah didn’t know if he should worry about himself, Jacob, or my inability to find the hospital. After several missed turns, doubts that I should even go to the ED, and ‘recalculations’ from the GPS, we found Daddy’s hospital.

Thankfully it wasn’t busy and we were taken back right away, and shortly thereafter, Aaron found us. What relief! The boys think Daddy can fix anything (and that Mommy is completely incompetent, especially when it comes to booboos). Dr. Daddy held Jacob while “Daddy’s friend” tried to glue the cut. The stupid glue didn’t work, so they sent us home with Vaseline and a Band-aid. (A little frustrating since I had both of those items in my house! Grrr.)

We finally left the hospital at 7pm. We were all tired, cranky and now hungry. When I asked Jacob what he wanted to eat, he said, “A sandwich with lettuce and cheese.” After a few clarifying questions, I determined McDonald’s was an acceptable fast food restaurant and the grilled chicken sandwich with cheese (and bacon) would satisfy his tastebuds. Here he is with the gluey wound and his giant sandwich.

The story has a happy ending. Aaron was able to pull all the old glue off the wound this morning (at home) and re-glue it with a different (and much better) glue. Then, Aaron took Jacob to Target to buy him a present for being so brave. Ever since they got back, Jacob has been acting like nothing ever happened. I’m assuming that means he’s in no pain. Here he is with a closed wound, Turtle and his hospital anklet. What a cute little goof!

The Purge, Part 3


And so it continues. We continue to purchase the things we need for our move as we try to purge, purge, purge all the stuff we’ve collected over the past 9 years.

Yesterday was our third yard sale attempt of the summer. This time I went to Emmanuel Assembly of God church in Allentown. I purchased a spot, set up my stuff, and sold a ton. It’s very encouraging to have selling success…and very liberating to rid our house of some of our excess. Some things are hard to let go, like the clothes Hannah just overgrew and souvenirs from some previous trips, but overall I love purging. 🙂

Perhaps the best part of the morning was that I was alone! Yes, I left all 4 kids at home with Aaron. (I know what you’re thinking…Yes. They all survived.) I woke up early and left before they had breakfast. Aaron had to take care of the blueberry poop in Levi’s diaper. He had to figure out how to give Hannah her bottle and cereal AND feed the boys breakfast. He had to remember to take Levi to the potty. He had to change Hannah’s cloth diapers and remember to feed her again at 11a.m. Plus, he had to keep the older two boys alive. No small feat, but he did manage. The house was a wreck, the older two never got dressed, and I’m pretty sure there was a lot more TV than when Mommy is in charge…But they were all alive. Good job, Daddy! (The heat was record-breaking, so I’m thankful that he was up for the challenge.)

I’m also thankful for other people selling or giving away their old stuff. We need to have enough clothes for all 4 children for 2 years, and friends are supplying that need abundantly. God is good…All the time.