SA

Shelby Ausband or South Africa? Reverse the letters and get All Smiles? Whichever you prefer works for me.
Happy birthday to the coolest 13 year old I know, my brudder!
I mean really, he is cooler than cool. He is the frattiest TEENAGER I know, such a southern gentlemen, has the biggest heart and sweetest smile, the perfect child (seriously), such a child-like faith, gentle and kind spirit, so generous (most of the time), he keeps me inline (for example: teaching me that Amsterdam is in Holland, NOT Canada) and wants to be just like my daddy so you know he is headed somewhere BIG. I love this kid more than any other. How could you not? My sister and I always talk about how KEWL we think we are because we have a little brother. He keeps up young and wild and I love it. Tripp is such a dreamer, it amazes me. He wants to be the best. I cannot say I will ever be as cool as he already is. Agree sissy? 
I miss my sweet fam so much I cannot stand it. Sending my love all the way from SA. 
Tripper- I am so so proud of you. Teach me how to be like you. I hope your birthday is the best yet. I cannot WAIT for you to see what I got you. PS- just a little secret, I spent the most on you cause like I said, you are the coolest. Can we go see a PG-13 movie RIGHT when I get back to the states pahh-lease? (oh wait, haven’t you been watching those for a while now… no fair) But really, I cannot wait to hang out with you. I cannot wait to see what the Lord teaches you at church camp. Be His buddy! Oh and like I always say… STAY AAWAY FROM THE GIRLS. Keep being awesome and I love you to the MOON and back. 
lkadjfa;ejrioewjfdms;klafjek;lajfls  I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU ARE A TEENAGER…. slow down. 
SA loves you Tripper! 

Happy birthday to the coolest 13 year old I know, my brudder!

I mean really, he is cooler than cool. He is the frattiest TEENAGER I know, such a southern gentlemen, has the biggest heart and sweetest smile, the perfect child (seriously), such a child-like faith, gentle and kind spirit, so generous (most of the time), he keeps me inline (for example: teaching me that Amsterdam is in Holland, NOT Canada) and wants to be just like my daddy so you know he is headed somewhere BIG. I love this kid more than any other. How could you not? My sister and I always talk about how KEWL we think we are because we have a little brother. He keeps up young and wild and I love it. Tripp is such a dreamer, it amazes me. He wants to be the best. I cannot say I will ever be as cool as he already is. Agree sissy? 

I miss my sweet fam so much I cannot stand it. Sending my love all the way from SA. 

Tripper- I am so so proud of you. Teach me how to be like you. I hope your birthday is the best yet. I cannot WAIT for you to see what I got you. PS- just a little secret, I spent the most on you cause like I said, you are the coolest. Can we go see a PG-13 movie RIGHT when I get back to the states pahh-lease? (oh wait, haven’t you been watching those for a while now… no fair) But really, I cannot wait to hang out with you. I cannot wait to see what the Lord teaches you at church camp. Be His buddy! Oh and like I always say… STAY AAWAY FROM THE GIRLS. Keep being awesome and I love you to the MOON and back. 

lkadjfa;ejrioewjfdms;klafjek;lajfls  I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU ARE A TEENAGER…. slow down. 

SA loves you Tripper! 

1. Just one of the few families that Eliza saw. 

2. They don’t play.

3. His fur was prettier than any coat I have ever seen.

4. Ugh ohhh… just a little bump on the head for the angel. 

5. No comment for this thang. 

6. This is Jake getting a “back massage”…

7. Here we go… I was already shakin’. 

8. Not real sure how I fit through this rock and a hard place. I think I may have broken a few rocks.

9. I hate you missed the fall. 

1. This would be the cage on the boat that separated me from the Great Whites…

2. PTL for wet suits although I DID get a bit of a brain freeze.

3. Is this the Wild Thornberry’s family vehicle or what?

4. Machiel rocks my little world… seriously though. 

5. So elephants really are cool but not such a pleasant experience for my behind.

6. Sweetest children with the biggest hearts. 

7. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, bungyyyyyyyy! I am not being dramatic like usual, just simply about to jump off a bridge. 

8. Just so you know, for once I was silent because a scream makes no noise when free falling like this.

9. I saw enough kudu to save my life. 

10. Oh just waking up to my favorite thing on earth, the sunset for a morning safari in SA- Life is good. God is great.

Just call me Eliza Thornberry… ET.

“Recognize I’m back”, said T.I. or S.A. I am still smiling from this past week that was full of adventure like never before. BTW- I didn’t die like I thought. I spent the whole week simply redefining words such as: love, life, adventure, family, fear, boldness, courage, thankfulness and laughter. I would give you my definitions but you would have to actually experience what I did to fully GET them.

This indescribable week began at 5 AM on an army truck/trash truck/Wild Thornberry- like type of transportation. It was the coolest thing I ever did see, not to mention I LOVE bus rides especially with great people like my fellow Bafaners. Hey and let me not ever forget our guide for the week, Machiel (pronounce that how you prefer). Just another cool kid I got to know with shoulder length blonde hair, rockin’ J-Steps with his pants half way down and a smokey quartz necklace wrapped around his neck. Interesting to say the least. Catnap 1 was already complete at 7 AM when we were woken up to what we thought was a snack/flavour water stop. Little did we know we were about to go swim in the Atlantic Ocean, which is about 17 degrees…celsius but still really cold.  Why were we swimming at such a time? Ohh you know, just because that is when the largest great white sharks in the world are MOST active. To clear things up… we went shark cage diving with 3 and ½ meter-long sharks that feed on penguins. Still in awe, we hopped on our whatever-you-wanna-call-it truck and headed to our first hostile. (By the way, my new obsessions). Night full of fun- we had it. Day 2 came bright and early with elephants. They aren’t the smoothest, prettiest animals I have ever seen either. Wear a bicycle- like, major padded seat if you ever get the opportunity to ride one because that spine will do some damage. Monkeyland, geez those things are creatures for sure. We got to spend about 2 hours with the precious kids in the community- always a pleasure. Onto the greatest adrenalin rush I ever DID have, the highest bungy jump in the world… off a bridge might I add. Ya’ll, go ahead and add Bloukran’s Bridge to your bucket list. I screamed like I was a newborn, and taught the guys how to do tha stanky leg. Enough said. Hostile 2 was just too great, just as I expected. We for sure left our mark in that log cabin. Still grinning from ear to ear, it was time to start day 3. We zip-lined through the falls… again I am amazed by such a perfect creation. We had to take a long but great ride to our 3rd night’s resting place, which was the largest national park in SA. Got to check off something on my bucket list there- a night safari. Never seen animals as such. Ostriches, elephants, owls, those were the somewhat normal ones we say but as for the others, I won’t even try to spell them. Oh and just know we saw a black rhino as well. Just a few hours of sleep and then off for our morning safari on day 4. I have never seen so many elephants, they filled the road on numerous occasions and we don’t find that too often in McDonough, Georgia. One of the windows in our bus shattered to pieces…somehow; wish you could have seen how we fixed it. Also, I am pretty sure a few of the animals stepped on and ate the glass. “Cheetah girls, cheetah-licious” would not get out of my head. Why? Because I was just prancing around in a cage with a cheetah that was as big as me. Thank goodness he did not know that I LOVE a good cheetah fur coat. Whoopies. I may have let that slip while I was there. Hostile 4 was great and familiar from night 1. We made ourselves at home in the bar, oh and it is right on the beach of the Indian Ocean. I touched it. Day 5… this week flew by too fast but man was a hilarious morning, I won’t even try to explain how much we laughed. I think we wet our pants especially when we saw the prettiest birds in the world… ostriches. NOT. The eggs they lay are as big as your head and mine and I will refrain from what the boys called their privates and how they go potty. I gag when just typing this. Onto the caves… I was shaking in my boots a little bit. I was amazed. I had to shimmy my bod through holes that were as big as my pinky toe. I got brave towards the end and climbed up on a high point. Needless to say… I slid the whole way down. We ended the week with a perfect ending and my favorite… a long bus ride. I love those Bafana’s so darn much. I have had enough cashews and flavoured water to last me a lifetime but I would do that week every single week. I pushed myself harder than I ever have, I have laughed harder than I ever thought was possible but I would do that week every week for the rest of my life if you didn’t already know that. I am so thankful for new friends and for the opportunity to be here. Cough cough… my parents are too good to me. I saw yet another side of creation that amazed me. I find it truly amazing that the Lord has the ability to completely redefine those words for me, through His own work.

Ya’ll- I miss the Wild Thornberry’s.

Recognize I am back but better than before too.

Cheers to adventure.

Miss ya’ll,

ET or SA  

I’ll stick to my motto.

"If I die young, bury me inside." once sang my best friend, Mallory. Inside/in satin- which ever works for you. I would prefer to be buried inside, wearing all 3967 of my bracelets and the bejeweled blue jeans shorts that I wore everyday of my childhood and my daddy’s vintage UGA athletics sweatshirt.

That is her motto (which I love) but here is mine… “If I die, hey it was my time to go, right?” It may be my own quote but hey, who can argue that one?

Why am I talking about death while I am in a place that is so filled with LIFE? Because tomorrow or in a few hours, I am heading off on an adventure to say the least. I have no clue what to expect but that is what I am most excited about.

What I DO know:

1. I am doing the largest bungy jump in the world. 2. I am swimming with great white sharks and where shark week is filmed. 3. I am riding on an ostrich AND an elephant. 4. I am getting a little closer to death than normal. 

I just thrive off of these moments where I can be a rebel and live a little crazier… oh wait, I think that is everyday for SA. 

Just remember: If I die, it was my time to go. No need to be upset, I’ll meet ya in Heaven. Smile. What a glorious day that will be. I am ready to soak up some more of God’s creation, learn,  get to know new people, laugh with friends (maybe wet my pants), and give adventure a whole new meaning. 

PS- My mother is gunna have a hemorrhage after she reads this.

PSS- It is opening day at Camp Greystone tomorrow!!! So hard to miss out but I KNOW it is going to be a close to perfect kinda summer… nothin’ new there. I’ve got chills already.  

PSSS- I need a favor. On Wednesday, my sweet Bebe is having his heart valve replaced. Not such an easy surgery. Say a prayer. He is simply wonderful. Thank you.

I really dont think I am gunna die in SA but only He knows,

SA 

I’ll stick to my motto.

"If I die young, bury me inside." once sang my best friend, Mallory. Inside/in satin- which ever works for you. I would prefer to be buried inside, wearing all 3967 of my bracelets and the bejeweled blue jeans shorts that I wore everyday of my childhood and my daddy’s vintage UGA athletics sweatshirt.

That is her motto (which I love) but here is mine… “If I die, hey it was my time to go, right?” It may be my own quote but hey, who can argue that one?

Why am I talking about death while I am in a place that is so filled with LIFE? Because tomorrow or in a few hours, I am heading off on an adventure to say the least. I have no clue what to expect but that is what I am most excited about.

What I DO know:

1. I am doing the largest bungy jump in the world. 2. I am swimming with great white sharks and where shark week is filmed. 3. I am riding on an ostrich AND an elephant. 4. I am getting a little closer to death than normal. 

I just thrive off of these moments where I can be a rebel and live a little crazier… oh wait, I think that is everyday for SA. 

Just remember: If I die, it was my time to go. No need to be upset, I’ll meet ya in Heaven. Smile. What a glorious day that will be. I am ready to soak up some more of God’s creation, learn,  get to know new people, laugh with friends (maybe wet my pants), and give adventure a whole new meaning. 

PS- My mother is gunna have a hemorrhage after she reads this.

PS- It is opening day at Camp Greystone tomorrow!!! So hard to miss out but I KNOW it is going to be a close to perfect kinda summer… nothin’ new there. I’ve got chills already.  

PS- I need a favor. On Wednesday, my sweet Bebe is having his heart valve replaced. Not such an easy surgery. Say a prayer. He is simply wonderful. Thank you.

I really dont think I am gunna die in SA but only He knows,

SA 

Here’s to the week: I have smiled more than ever. I have smiled bigger than ever. I have loved on the unloved. I have seen things I never thought existed. I have seen the most true picture of poverty but at the same time, the most true picture of happiness. I have seen God do BIG things in Sir Lowery’s pass. I have a new passion. I have learned how to dance better. I have taught the Stanky Leg. I have new relationships that I have promised to continue. I have had a wonderful Soup Mom for a week. I have been loved on. I have been encouraged. I have been challenged. Notice all the I HAVE’s? Yeah…. I have realized this week how much I DO HAVE. I am thankful that I HAVE been given so much because without that- I would not have had to opportunity to be over here in SA sharing with those who have very little. 

I have and you have so let us be thankful and GIVE. 

My mind has been going 90 to nothin’ this week. I really mean it, ya’ll. 

"To whom ANYTHING has been given, MUCH is expected." Yepp, anything. That is what it says. What a challenge we got from the wonderful Co-Do. 

Just a quick story: before I left the states for this adventure, I remember reading on someone’s Facebook how much she hates when people put up pictures of themselves with cute children that are poor and helpless. She went on to say that just because you take a cute picture with the poor, cute nugget does not mean you are a good person or saving their lives. Ending it with a… “get over yourself”. I say this not to gossip but to tell you how much that challenged me. Don’t you worry- I am about to change my profile picture to one of those pictures that girl was describing. I am going to upload all 873 pictures I have taken with these children. It challenged me in the fact that I had to remind myself of a few things: 1. Those pictures are not of me being a good person but actually obeying the Lord’s commands for once. 2. It is one of the simple things He has asked us to do (serve others), not one of the things that makes us “a good person”. 3. They remind me of how little I do and how much more I need to do. 4. I am not the one saving these kids, Jesus already did and let me tell you, THEY KNOW IT TOO! 4. I am not the one giving these kids happiness, Jesus is. 5. He is shining through my friends and I so that we can be an example of that great love. 6. He is using them to paint a true picture of happiness and thankfulness to my friends and I. I got over myself real quick after I saw their way of life.

Here’s to… the cute little needy children that I HAVE learned so much from, that I am obsessed with, that I tried to pack in my suitcase, that I will see again, that I know I did not save, that have been an example of Christ to me, that will be in my next few profile pictures.

I hope you love the new SA pictures,

SA

A. Sadie is wonderful, precious and too good to be true. B. I just wanted to give you a visual of a literal mountaintop here in SA. 

A. Sadie is wonderful, precious and too good to be true. B. I just wanted to give you a visual of a literal mountaintop here in SA. 

Let Him build your mountaintop.

Do ya ever have that day where you truly don’t have a single thing to fret over yet you come up with a million? Last night was out of the ordinary for me, I couldn’t seem to find that smile that usually never goes away. I could go on and on with the list of things that were eating me up last night but here is the problem- NONE of the things that I was upset, worried or down about really had any value but it took a day like today to realize that. I woke up this morning thankful for another day but still just down and out if you will. I sent an oh-so-annoying, diva-like email complaining to my sweet sister (don’t know how you deal with me). By the way, I sent her that email at 9 AM, SA time which means 3 AM GA time but I won’t lie, I was really thinking she was going to be awake at that hour. Class came and went in no time. Lunch with my roommates and friends was great, but then again when is it not? 15:00 rolls around (get on SA’s level to figure that out) and it was time for the townships. We call these people poor but I continue to ask myself, are they really poor? These kid’s have a smile that is far greater than a Christmas morning, Santa has been good to me kinda smile, if you will. They have child-like faith like I have never seen before. They make the most out of the simplest. What I am getting to is that they sure aren’t poor in spirit. They may be financially poor but they aren’t poor and selfish when it comes to happiness, thankfulness, gentleness and love. That right there is my latest challenge because I have come to the conclusion that for most Americans, we make ourselves the poor ones when we look for happiness in the tangible, earthly things. I made myself poor last night when I was searching for happiness in those things that turned my smile up side down. I am so thankful for days like today when I need to be humbled. I met my soup mom tonight, Mrs. Myra, and she is a GEM my friends. She has eight brothers and sisters, five children, and four grandchildren and here is where it gets great: WE-HAD-A-DANCE-PARTY-TONIGHT. Her 17-year-old son had all my kinda music so you know I was smilin’ now. I taught Mrs. Myra how to do the stanky leg while she taught me how to speak Afrikaans. We had a ball. I cannot wait to return to the townships tomorrow.

I got back to the apartment to check my email and of-course, Kenz came to the rescue to only assure me of what I had learned today even though I had not even told her yet. I just gotta tell ya what she taught me… praise the Lord for the valley because it allows Him to make your next mountaintop that much higher.

Did ya get that?

I was in my valley last night but ironically the time when I am down the most, He gives me an opportunity like today to start building that next mountain. How big can He get? I just love it. I am thankful for last night. Praise Him for having you where you are cause He knows and he has intentions, for your next mountain is being built up. And speaking from my experience here in SA at Table Mountain, the higher the mountaintop, the more perfect the view.

Deuteronomy 8 was MA’s suggestion, now it is SA’s to you. It fits perfect.

Read it and love it,

SA

Let’s talk about this perfection PAHH-LEASEE! 

By the way- this picture may be not-so-perfect but my roommates are pretty darn close to it! 

It’s a great day in SA,

SA