Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holla If You Love Surprises!

Do you hear that sound? That's me not holla'ing because I hate surprises with a passion.

But, this isn't about me. It's about you! And I promised I'd share a special surprise with you.

Why the special journey to lose 17 pounds in 17 weeks (now down to 14 pounds in 16 weeks. Yay, me!)?

No, I'm not renewing my vows. That would be fun though. 

Ok, I won't drag it out anymore. I had to delay by one day already because I was knocked over by a nasty bug--the stomach kind. More about that tomorrow.

So, the big news is.......

We are traveling to the U.S for a 2 week trip in late January / early February!

For the first time in nearly nine years our family will be traveling together to Texas and Alabama. Troy is thirteen and the last time he was in the States he was 4 years old. What a crazy ride this will be for him!

We will be attending a 3 day missions conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The rest of the time we will be in Houston, Texas visiting family (my babies!) and friends.

Where do you all come in to this? I really hope I'll be able to see many of you during our short and hopefully sweet time in the States. To that end I'm trying to plan a big ol' party (we'll be in Texas so I had to use the vernacular) so we can see as many people as possible. 

Any ideas? Should it be a dinner where everyone can eat while we stand up and talk and answer questions? Should it be more of a free for all cocktail (not really) and finger food time so people can come in and out and look at displays and get to chat with us one on one? Should it be a combination of the two or something completely different.

Tom is a bit nervous about organizing this type of gathering. And with good reason, poor guy. 

When Tom was a missionary in Bangladesh, he and his colleagues organized a special Christmas pageant. The hope was that they could sell tickets which would go a long way toward raising their annual budget and would also get the Gospel message out. They booked a conference room at a fancy hotel, sewed costumes for the performers, organized food, practiced again and again, sent out invitations and finally the big day arrived. The drama group and singers gathered nervously in the hall waiting for the invited guests to arrive.

And they waited and waited and waited.

No one showed up! Finally someone in the group invited three of the hotel guests who were waiting in the lobby to come sit in. Now there were three attendees (non-paying though they were) so the show had to go on. The entire pageant and concert was put on for three people!

Handsome Tom and his guitar. He was 20 years old.

Fast forward to 15 years in the future. We had come to the end of our planning and preparation for our move to Africa. We decided to have a send off meeting where we could do a formal presentation. We booked a room at the local library, Tom spent hours putting together a Power Point slideshow that would be shown on the large wall screen. We printed up programs, sent out 200 invitations and covered a long table with delicious cakes, pies and finger foods. We practiced the songs we performed as a family and were ready to go.

The gang's all here. This was May, 2001

The evening came and to Tom's horror (he had been dreading a repeat of his past) ,only 6 or 8 people came. We went ahead with the whole program and everyone had a good time (they all got to go home with armloads of food) but it wasn't the big shindig we had envisioned.

Why that trip down memory lane? Because we do not want history to repeat itself again! What can we do to make this upcoming event a success? What tips would you have for us?

I would so love to see each and every one of you this coming February. I'll post early and often about any dates, times, etc as I know them, so anyone reading this can come out for the fun.

P.S I had some adorable photos to add to this post but Blogger and/or the internet are not cooperating!!! I'm really sorry. If I can get them added later I will and will post an update asap. Thank you for your patience with my African life. Update: Photos done. Blogger conquered!


  1. How fun! Well, I have family in Houston (so I travel there at least a few times a year), and I would love to come visit with you and the whole fam! What a bummer that your last two parties fell flat, but you can't control who comes and who doesn't. I'd recommend planning something really casual, just in case your headcount is really small. Maybe at a local restaurant? And what about getting RSVPs from people that you're expecting?

  2. Man if I didn't live in Michigan I would totally come to see you. I don't really throw parties, so I can't help you, but I would go for a relaxed pot-luck type of event personally.

    I can't wait to hear how your kids respond to being back in the states!

    Hugs & love,

  3. Blogger was acting up for photos for me all day yesterday too so it wasn't just Africa.

    I'm in Houston so I'd love to get to meet you while here. There aren't a lot of restaurants that have "party rooms" anymore. Maybe a local church could let you use their fellowship hall? And provide the munchies, etc? You can send out an Evite once you have the details down.

    My women's group at church as been making pillowcases dresses for little girls. We have quite a stack of them now. We were sending them to Haiti but could you use them instead? I can save them up for you and y'all can take them back to save on shipping. Or I can mail them. I'm used to African mail - my parents were in Lusaka at the Baptist seminary for 2 years. :)

  4. Hi Hippo-sista. Wow. It sounds so wrong. lol. Thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods and what a full and exciting neck of the woods you've got. Can't wait to read more.

  5. I had to chuckle at the first go-around. (I can do that because it was a long time ago)... the 2nd time around, I was there (I think I helped institute it, LOL), but at least you got a couple of supporters out of that one.. I think this next one will be lots better. We're learning a lot as we go. (I'll be there)

    I think the idea of having it at one of the churches is a very good idea.

    Looking forward to seeing the brood soon!!

  6. Very cool...it will be so different coming home for so long! I'd also check with local churches- many have large rec ares or rooms that would be perfect for a meet & greet, show & tell type of event where you could bring in food. There are tons of places here that will cater smaller snack foods (think Chick-fil-a or Jason's Deli). I'd start contacting various churches in Houston that have strong missionary ties & possibly some church schools, where they might get the kids to attend as a learning experience. There is so much you can do online to spread the news & promote the event- create a facebook fan page, with updates. Contact some non-profits in the area or some NGO.

    Good luck- let me know if I can help you coordinate anything in Houston!

  7. Renee HolleyOctober 06, 2010

    You can count on us to be at your shindig. Maybe Robin can fly in for this one. Sarah is anxious to talk to you about coming next summer. She has been saving up. She'll be emailing you as soon as she finished college applications.

  8. Have your guests RSVP way in advance so you'll know for sure that at least that many will show up.
    You can still make it a casual come and go thing, but have people commit to at least drop by.
    Love you!


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