life

How are you stepping?

I got a text this morning from a #village member. Because of the time change I got it early in the morning and did not see it until I woke. Attached to what they said to me personally was a photo of their devotional from the 9th. (The day they sent the text).

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They were saying they thought of me when they read it, and explained why. I read it and I wept.

It has been a difficult few days for me. I’m tired, my heart is weary, and I have felt anything but worthy of this time I have in Israel with My Father, My Savior, and the sweet Spirit. My heart is heavy with burdens of others in my village, in this world, things that He is working out in me.  I look around and see division, evil, the lost who are blinded, hurts and suffering. It makes me long for heaven. It makes me long for the Messiah to return triumphantly and end the drama of this world. But at the same time my prayer is He would delay so that more would come to know him as Savior.

I am grateful for this perspective, especially in this divided place that is Israel. It feels like a game of walking across the ice some days… Muslims, Jews, Christians, Palestinians, some who know the Savior as Lord, some who don’t. You can’t tell where anyone is in their heart. Unrest feels on the brink moment by moment in crowds of people.   I am continually amazed that our Father is NOT UNAWARE of ONE person. He knows each and every heart that walks this earth. He works. The Son intercedes and waits. The Spirit comforts, convicts, speaks truth. Not just here. But the whole. Entire. Planet.

Yet He speaks to me intimately. His child. Compassionate and Gracious (Ex 34). And I am humbled. That He holds my hand. That He shepherds me. That He chose and adopted me (Ephesians 1)  He does the work. I didn’t do a thing to earn it or make it happen.

And because of that I think, how can I NOT do what He asks? Follow Him. Be His. Whether it feels easy or hard. And while the view on the mountain top is beautiful and quiet and breathtaking….getting to the top of the mountain will take your breath away. It will exhaust you. It will be painful. Trust me, I have walked up hills here that do that. MOUNTAINS will really do that to you. Even if you walk circular paths up the mountain, you still get exhausted. Actually that way is further on the mileage meter. It is quite difficult to walk straight up a mountain. We forget that. Sometimes the path that feels like it is going no where is really just the path circling up or around to where He wants us to be. If we chose, we would try to race up the mountain which is dangerous and also stupid.

He knows best. So trust Him.

In the journey rest in walking with Him. Listen to the lessons He speaks. When done with the view continue to listen. Be prepared to do the work in the valley too. He doesn’t operate differently because of locality. It is often us who do. He is consistent and patient. We just need to pay attention to Him in it all.

Whether we are in the waiting that often feels painful and too quiet or rejoicing in what feels like an arrival or the end of the waiting…He is Aware. Psalm 139:2

As we take steps, stop, wait, run, crawl, or simply stand…We do it in Faith. Faith He imparts to us. 2 Corinthians 5:7

May our view wherever we are not be so telescopic, microscopic, or narrow we fail to see the view of right where He has us. Even in darkness He is our light… so that we can see. May we rejoice wherever He has us that He is there. We are never outside of His presence. He said so. John 8:12 Psalm 36:9 Psalm 139:11-12

So I say all this to say, no matter where we may be, may we see His hand. Not what He is doing next. Why He is doing what He is doing. But His hand that supports us. His hand that holds us. The hand of our Father. Our Shepherd who loves and cares for us. Who speaks our name and calls to us. Psalm 73:23 Psalm 139:10

May we quicken our pace with anticipation of what He has for us in our next steps. 

May we all Be His.


The story, with the back story, of the story of, well. Him.

The difficult thing about having a blog is somehow writing what you really are thinking, explaining it, and hoping that somehow it makes sense yet doesn't make anyone think poorly of you, get mad at you, or think you are crazy by the end of it. I want to write about my recent trip to New York, but in order to do that well I have to tell the backstory.  In any good story, there is always a back story to set the tone.  This back story doesn't exactly give me good feelings and probably won't give you warm fuzzies...but hang with me.  There is a reason I am saying all this. 

I have a bucket list.  I have mentioned it before on the blog perhaps.  For those of you who don't know it.... It was this:

Brooklyn Tabernacle Tuesday Prayer Service
Photo with Aubie (Yeah. I have taken plenty of photos of my people with Aubie..never one of myself WITH Him)
Grand Canyon
Go inside the Statue of Liberty 
Spend a night and day near water that is cobalt blue or crystal clear....preferrably in one of those huts with a glass window in the floor. 
Get my friends together for a weekend, so they can know each other and I can celebrate His goodness to me through them together. For once have them all in the same place and they can see how awesome they each are and hopefully like each other just a touch of how much I love them.
I recently added "Go to Acre" on my list since moving back to Auburn. 

I have checked off Acre. IMG_7808
 Aubie, IMG_7736
and this week particular week, Brooklyn Tabernacle and Liberty  were on my list to be checked off. 

When I was in college, Seminary or somewhere along the line I heard about Brooklyn Tabernacle Church,  but I never got to go on my trips to NYC.   Long stories, but I have been to the Statue of Liberty multiple times, but never got to go inside of the statue. So I decided in March that I would just make plans and dgo. If no one could go, I would just go alone.  I had enough Southwest points and booked so early that the ticket was free.  I asked several folks if they could go.  They couldn't so I went ahead with plans to get those items on my bucket list checked off. 

I was going to go on Tuesday morning and come back late Wednesday. Cheaper ticket, and only one hotel night.  I planned it for July 25-26.  My Birthday is July 24.  I thought it would be a good way to start off my 44th year (I turned 43....so this is my actual 44th year of life :) 

The hard part of the back story... My birthday was Monday.  I really don't like my birthday.  I haven't in a long time. Let me explain why, and hopefully you will understand where I am coming from... 

My Momma was one of those Betty Crocker meets Martha Stewart types.  I think because she enjoyed it and also out of necessity.  We didn't always have a lot of money to do a lot of things.  She did homecooking, sewed most of our dresses, made do with what we had.  Every birthday she would make our birthday cakes, themed with something we liked.  IMG_0230
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My cakes varied from Holly Hobbie to Big Bird and Cookie Monster to PacMan and somewhere along the line I decided I loved Great American Cookie Cake..all chocolate Icing please.  So that is how we went except the one year I was in trouble and didn't get a birthday (another story for another day). 

My 24th birthday my Mom was very sick, and we even got hospice on board that week and shopped for funeral arrangements.... We knew she wasn't doing well.  But she made sure that I got my cookie cake, even though she wasn't eating much, we gathered in her room and the Happy Birthday happened.  That was the last birthday I had with my Mom.  Mine was the last birthday she celebrated before she died 12 days later. 

So a lot of the time my birthday feels hard. And even lonely. 

The next year I was in Fort Worth and had just returned with the kids from camp...I didn't really know many people in FTW.  And pre facebook if people didn't know it was your birthday and you didn't mention it, they never knew.  From what I remember I asked a girl I kinda was getting to know if she wanted to go to dinner.  I don't even remember if I told her it was my birthday.  I do remember that week at camp getting emotional and bawling on one of the Fuge staff over it all...In God's kindness it was a good day overall dinner and hanging out with a future bestie. No cake or cards or gifts that I can recall.  But it was ok. 

The next four years I was working for Centrifuge so birthdays were work days and usually the whole camp knew.  One of those summers a couple sweet friends celebrated birthday week and another camp summer my birthday was actually my first full day in NY and I spent it running around town with my friend Buzz- ended with Phantom of the Opera and doughnuts in a hotel room with my team. My family sent cards and gave the shout outs but life just felt very different with location and folks always seeming to be different year to year.

When I moved to Auburn there were lunches with coworkers and dinner with my parents. Because of life stage and being single my birthday turned into inviting people "out to eat" or "come over to hang out at the house and we will have burgers" Because there isn't the typical husband and kids to make much of you when your calendar flips to turn you a year older. My last birthday in the US before I moved to Honduras I hijacked Sister Girl for a day in Birmingham followed by "Hey everybody let's get together at Laredos" and I got the cookie cake..because I wanted to eat it and I knew it would be there if I got it.  James actually got one too, she knew it was my birthday and wanted to make sure I had it.  I really just want my birthday to be about hanging out with my people...but if I didn't move to make it happen I usually ended up at home doing nothing. No celebration or hoo ha, quiet and yep. Alone-Ish. 

Don't get me wrong- there were small gatherings and ridiculousness like Sarah being obnoxious about it.  There have been yearly Happy Birthday Videos and the stellar cards (I still have that "The Office" Card Barbara.  Good call). I am grateful for my life and what I have.  But birthdays always feel hard.  

In Honduras there were teams who found out it was my birthday and blessed me with cards and rice krispy "cake" and my kids usually were completely obnoxious with the eggs and flour. But I always felt at a distance about my birthday, realizing for a lot of my kids a big deal wasn't made of them, so I was really ok with not a lot being made of mine. I don't like the singing Happy Birthday thing...I really just want to be with my people more than anything.   My 40th birthday was weird. Well intentioned but really not at all what I wanted. (I wanted pizza or Chinese. I got a random buffet at a Honduran restaurant that was really quite... no bueno). 
 
So coming back to the US felt weird after all that, back to what I thought I knew and comfortable with...but I have found to be so different. I anticipated Lots of time with friends. Birthday celebrations for and with my friends. Good convos about all the things I haven't gotten to talk about... this is what I have missed over the past 4 years. What I have found is disconnection and a lot of alone time, isolation. I feel like I came home from college and everyone has moved or moved on. I don't fit or feel at home in Auburn. I've found what has felt like loss and disappointment. Grateful for where I am. But really quite opposite of what I expected and hoped for in my return to "regular life."

So Birthday 2017 was different.  Quiet. Stuck in traffic in ATL due to a gas truck turnover is how my birthday officially started.  Went to work. No cake. No cards. No gifts.  Homecooked meal with my Halls and packing for NYC that night. .  Facebook greetings, some texts and the annual sing o gram video message from a #village fam. And as much as I tried to prepare myself for that particular day...it still was hard. Being single feels amplified on a birthday that felt like Monday did. It echoed loudly the empty feeling that 8 months in Auburn have felt like to me.

So Tuesday morning predawn I found myself driving to ATL to catch a flight to NY.  When I wasn't asleep on the flight I was crying.  I am sure if the lights were on in the plane they woulda wondered who died.  I felt alone and sort of forgotten...and on my way to a city with a billion people. By myself.  Not at all feeling what I thought I would feel this day when I booked the ticket 4 months before.

This is what is hard...how do you explain- you feel lonely without it sounding like a pity party and selfish?  How do you talk about real feelings when everyone has a hard time with the stage of life they find themselves?  Because I don't know how to bring it up, talk about it....for weeks, even with my closest friends I have said nothing.  I felt I lost the community I had before I went to Honduras, things have changed so much, and all this felt amplified on my birthday.  I felt deflated and defeated. Forgotten and alone on that plane.

So when I got to New York I checked in to my hotel room and headed to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) to go see my suit of armor.  The short version of this story is that I took a photo of a suit of armor years ago on a NY trip...and the Lord used it to teach me about our armor- Ephesians 6.  It has a dent in it's breastplate on the front  that was intentionally left there when it was made. Basically He is our defense...our armor is battle tested and trustworthy.  Breastplate of Righteousness is His blood shed for us.  I will have to work on a blog post on that.  If I have done one before I can't find it.   IMG_7982
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I walked into armor hall and took a photo of the armor and of the sign (I previously did not take a photo of the details for the armor and have regretted it for years).  I walked off and decided to wander around the museum some more, but I felt like I needed to take time to go back to my armor.  I went back and actually read the info on the armor.  I realized it said that there is a dent in the back of the armor (this particular armor was fired at by a pistol and the dent would be left so show the future armor wearer that it was trustworthy).  I am not sure why It hit me like it did, but when I realized the armor had not just a dent in the front but in the back I wanted to lean on the glass case and cry.  I could only think "He not only goes with me... in front, He goes behind- He guards me in such a protected and sure way.  His death and victory over death and sin by His resurrection is the dent if you will that proves He is trust worthy.  What better guarantee can you find anywhere that is so trustworthy?


I took a photo of it and as I walked around the museum it was as if a light had come, the heaviness was lifted...and the loneliness I had felt so strongly broke.  As I went I was texting the random thoughts to my friend and photos of things I was struck by as beautiful.  He was just reminding me for the thousandth time that He is aware of me and my needs and I can trust Him.


That afternoon I went to a cathedral which is another story...but it felt empty after the Met. Irony of ironies... a church feeling devoid of Jesus. Lots of other things that really had nothing to do with the God I know.  I finished up there and headed to Brooklyn to eat dinner somewhere before prayer service at Brooklyn Tabernacle.  


I saw on my google map of Brooklyn Shake Shack so I went there.  I ordered and sat down in the bar window next to a lady who was cleaning up her spot while she waited on her food.  As I sat there I kept thinking I need to ask her if she lives around here.  She ended up asking if I could guard her spot when she went to get her food.  After I got mine I asked her if she lived around in Brooklyn.  Keep in mind I DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS.  It is weird, awkward, and I NEVER DO IT.  And here I am TALKING TO A STRANGER. IN BROOKLYN, NY.  For the Love. 


Turns out she lives in Long Island like over an hour away.  But she used to live in Brooklyn for years.  She said she went to church near the Shake Shack....yep Brooklyn Tabernacle.  She was a member way back in the day even before they were in the building they occupy now. So I laughed and said "Of COURSE YOU DO" in my head.  I ended up explaining that Prayer Service is on my bucket list.  She is on the Brooklyn Tabernacle prayer team (Of COURSE she is!) and drives in 3 times a week for Church, her prayer time in the prayer room, and Prayer service.  I talked about my life a bit and she was so excited that I was there.  She said She was going to take me, introduce me to people, and she would GET ME TO MEET THE PASTOR.  Dude.  Really? I feel like she was almost more excited to meet me, and hear my crazy life story.  She kept saying "The Lord is speaking to me so much through you right now!" Which just felt crazy, because I was just telling her what the Father has done in my life. 


So here I am thinking I am going to Brooklyn Tabernacle, alone, sitting in a room full of people, awkward and feeling isolated while surrounded by people.  And Instead the King of the Universe has sent me a friend that literally as we walked into the church is not only introducing me to folks, she is asking if I have any questions or need anything... 


Prayer service was great.  I loved the worship, the praying, the encouragement of being in a body of believers- sisters and brothers that just were there to praise the Lord and pray.  Brenda kept introducing me to everyone as "My missionary friend that lived in Honduras from Alabama" which just made me laugh.  It was a blessing to pray with her for prayer needs we were given, and the missionary couple residing in Africa that shared during the service.  After service Brenda bee lined me to Pastor Cymbala to introduce me.  It was all too crazy to be real.  But it was His plan.  


I found out the night before that BethAnn (A girl who used to live in Auburn) had moved to NYC in November and she was free to come meet me.  So she came during the service and met us right after.  Brenda was going "to be my personal uber so I didn't ride the train!" (which would have meant an extra 45 minutes each way to her.)  Because BethAnn was with me she said we would be ok and we headed out.   IMG_7903



BethAnn and I got to catch up about our crazy lives.  She had been in CA then moved to NYC and God just had to work out all kinds of details to get her to where she was that day.  It was awesome to get to spend time with her.  


I could go on to talk about how I got to talk to my bestie on the phone for a minute about how crazy it was that God was so sweet to me to send me a friend to go to prayer with...who was on the prayer team and I got to sit up front and meet the pastor.  I could talk about how I got to talk to my kid for awhile- she broke up with her boyfriend and I was so proud of her...who she is  growing as a child of God.  I could talk about my trip to Lady Liberty and going inside of her finally.  The phone convo I had with my bestie about what He is doing in both of us.  How I do not know my plans after Israel but I am trusting Him to show me.  I could talk about my time at the 9/11 Museum and Memorial. The lessons learned as I went to the transit museum, riding through the subway, sitting in Trinity Church as He spoke through Psalm 20 & 21 as I sat there and just "happened" to flip to that very page.   I could talk about the peace and safety that He had shown me the day before. How every where I went He overwhelmed me with the almost tangible reminder of His presence.  Of Him.   I could stumble through trying to explain how He just kept speaking to my heart about all the things that hurt so much. 


But those are hard things to talk about.  How do you explain things that are intangible but life changing that He does in your heart?  I still don't know. I just know that the Father showed up that day in The Met, made His presence known to me, showed me truth I needed to see again, and just kept pouring out his Mercy and Grace to me as I went through that day.  Wednesday I still didn't have all the words and thoughts processed as  I fumbled through a phone convo with my bestie on Liberty Island.  But that worked out  because when we talk only about a third of the words that are in my heart actually come out and she gets it... I found myself saying things that were true in my heart that I was just realizing as I said them.  Saying dangerous things that He is working out for my good and His glory.  I said something and her reply was "I didn't know you were considering that."  My response was- "Well, it's something that really just became real to me. So yes.  Sounds like I am."  Because this is how He works things out in us.  Sometimes in a non linear way.  But always very real. 


So here is what I want to say.  Life has been very difficult.  I have experienced a lot of circumstances and expectations that just were not in my head when I flew back to the US in November   A lot of alone, quiet days and nights.  A lot of heartache and loss I did not expect to experience.  I miss my kids.  I miss the ministry, talking about Jesus in multiple contexts (with my kids, with teams, with volunteers and some staff).  I expected to settle into my job, my church, get a house, and find those things that give stability in our day to day world. In coming back to the states I didn't have a handbook or any hints on how to leave a life behind and segue into a new one.  So I have just had to fumble through not knowing really how to process or talk about it all.  But what I have found is that in the hard and weird lesson, it has brought me closer to Him. 
 
I have found that in the times that feel unexplainable His presence is constant and His love unrelenting. When nothing else seems certain, He is. 


I share all of this because I think we all experience things that are hard.  We often don't know how to talk about them.  Sometimes we just talk about the hard things, then don't talk about the things that He works out in our hearts.  You may have followed along my journey and seen the bloggable moments.  The instagram pieces and twitter feed of what my life has looked like.  Those things are easy to share- the somewhat tangible moments that are events, places, or people.  But I felt like sharing those things that aren't. Because we all experience them in some way.  And He is in them.  


Does my heart still smart over the "Non Birthday," if you will? Yep
Does Auburn still feel like it is not home? Yep
Do I still feel like I don't fit in in most contexts as a single former missionary female? Yep
Do I know how to talk about it all without crying? Nope
Do I know that He is at work in my heart daily? Absolutely
Do I know that life is hard work, and will be tomorrow? Yep
Do I expect tomorrow to feel easier? Nope
Do I expect some days I cannot run, I cannot fight other than to just stand? Yes.
Do I know that He is with me? Yes
Do I know that He will be tomorrow? Absolutely
Do I know that He has to be enough? Yes
Do I know that life will be hard but heaven is coming and my hope is in Him? Yes
Do I know that all of this is worth it? Yes. 
Because He is in it.  Because He has said it.  Because, well, Just because Him. 

So I tell you this to say, wherever you are, trust Him. He is worthy.  He really does love you. Even when it feels so hard you just want to skip it.  He really is trustworthy.  


He calls us into battle and leads the way.  He doesn't just say "Hey you go there and do that! See ya on the other side"  No, He is with us.  
Because He defeated death...on the cross took our sin and shame, and in victory rose again,  we can trust whatever He says.  Whatever He calls us to.  Even when it feels hard.  His presence that is always there...if we just look, we will see Him.  And He makes it possible.  


I think of Moses multiple times arguing, if you will, with God about his abilities or what He needed to do...and God continually reminded or told him "I will be with you. I AM." Moses was repeatedly reminded by Yahweh that He was with Him, He would go with him. And He was, every step, every moment.  Why would we think that somehow he has changed His mind when He has said the same to us? 
 
He promises His presence to us.  In case you need proof, here is a list: 
Isaiah 57:15, Acts 17:28, Psalm 139: 7, Exodus 33:14, Psalm 16:11, Jeremiah 29:13, 1 John 4:12, John 15:9, Matthew 28:20, John 14:16 
Just to name a few.  ;)



So keep going.  Keep stepping.  Standing.  Running. Doing what He has called you to.  Trustworthy and True our King and Savior.  Our Father.  
Him. 
Be His.  
 
 PS- I DO talk to strangers...in many contexts and for various reasons.  When in leadership roles or with others I am all over it.  But typically when alone I don't so much unless there is a stirring in me to step outside of what feels comfortable...and usually good things come of it. 
Just wanted to clarify that point :) 

"T-Minus 60 days" or "What in the World?"

I check in on Delta to go to Israel in 60 days.  What has felt so far away is suddenly feeling really close. 

The surety I seem to have most days doesn't seem very sure at this moment.  My job will be ending and I will be headed to a country I have never been for 3 months.  Trusting the Father to once again provide what I need.  He always has, but once again I will be in a position to not be able to "do" anything about it. 

I recently asked for people to share on FB the word they thought of when they think of me, or the verses they think of or pray for me.  It's for a quilt project that somewhere in the future I will get done... The answers were humbling. 

Capture

The thing is, I don't feel like any of those things right now. I am thankful that any of you may see anything good in me...It is just Him.  Really is, because I really can be a jerk.  I am saying this so that you guys will know...the good things you may see  come with struggle and uncertainty in my heart a lot of days.  I want to put my head on my desk and say "what was I thinking?" I want to fast forward this crazy life straight on to heaven.  I want to have the "surety" of a house, a family in those 4 walls, a job I go to everyday that I really do love (I don't hate my current job...but it's not my long term joy. haha).  

But feelings aren't what we go by.  Feelings will fail you.  Everytime.  

His word.  His word is what we go by.  His Truth.  His certainty.  His plan.  His promise. 

And what He promises is His presence. His love. His grace.  Christ's salvation. 

I just have to surrender control to receive it.  Because the more I try to think I am in control the more out of control life feels.  In order to have peace I have to surrender control, and let Him work. 

I've been reading several books and the theme the past few days has just been pointing back to him.  We look for home- it's in Him.  We look for all these things to make us FEEL better...it's Him. John Owen's described our human dilemma pretty well.  Our indwelling fleshly self/sin wars with God and what He has that is good:

"Keep a constant, humbling sense of the secret aversion to spirituality that lies in our nature.  To see it's effects is a powerful inducement to walk humbly with God.  The fact that, after all the self- disclosures God has made to us, all the kindness we have received from him, all the good he has done us in all things there should be such a heart of unkindness and unbelief still abiding in us as to hate communion with him ought to cast us into the dust and fill us with shame and self loathing all our days! 

What have we found in God in any of our approaches to him, that it should be thus with us? What iniquity have we found in Him? Has he been wilderness to us or a land of darkness (Jeremiah 2:31)" 

(And the best part!!-)

"Did we ever lose anything by drawing near to Him? Have we not rather received all the rest and peace that we have ever had in this way? Is He not the fountain and spring of all our mercies, of everything desirable? Has he not made us welcome at our coming? Have we not received from him more than heart can conceive or tongue express?"

He goes on to say- then why do we not approach Him? Trust Him? Why do we think our ways are better?

He is so good to us, and we doubt Him.  We try to create circumstances that seem better than His... 

And yet He loves us.  He gives to us. 

"Christianity means we get Mercy, God gets Glory, We get Joy, God gets Praise, We get Hope, God gets Honor" John Piper

What a deal! God sets up the universe in such a way that His Glory Praise and Honor would be a function from Him giving us Mercy, Joy, and Hope! 

I'll sum this up by saying this: " The Holy Spirit won't lead you where the Father doesn't want you to be and where the Son won't get glory if you stay." Jackie Hill Perry (Thanks Bu for the #truth tweet) 

So I am going to put my head on my desk and say "Holy Spirit lead where the Father wants me to be and the Son will get glory."  And ask Him to enable me to do so.  For His Glory, Praise, and Honor. And not listen to the feelings that my heart are screaming at me today... 

May we Be His.  Wherever that is.  Wherever we are.  Wherever He is taking us. His. 

 


collision

This was a blog post I evidently worked on during a week or two in the US after my first 4 months in Honduras. 

 

There are moments in life where things seem to collide.  Some call it coincidence.  Some call it Karma.  Some call it fate.  I call it the hand or plan of God. 

There are times when there is an undeniable theme in our lives.  Sometimes it is sweet things like grace. Provision. Love.  Sometimes it is Sin. Forgiveness (when you don't want to forgive). Patience. Longsuffering.  We love those lessons that seem like a balm.  But not the ones James speaks about that build up things in us due to trials or because of our sin.  Those we can live without, right?

I shared with you guys about the Cross Centered Life.  It is still a theme.  One that I am learning more about daily.  How to cling to the cross in a new way that is freeing.  Freeing from the junk that distracts my heart and screams that it (or me) are more important.  Freedom from legalism.  From the way that we too often live in- the world's way. 

I found my book "Embracing Obscurity" when I came home and started reading it again yesterday.  I didn't take it to Honduras because I thought surely I wouldn't need to finish that book in Honduras.  There is nothing but obscurity to embrace there.  Oh. So not true.

Since before I left Honduras last week the Holy Spirit has been whispering truths to my heart and shining his Holy Spirit life on sin and just simply the ugly things I have clung to.  And this week with the Cross Centered Life continually before me, comments from friends that love me enough to be honest and not leave me like I am and in reading Embracing Obscurity I realize God is slowly wrecking me.  Breaking me down so He can put me back together whole. 

I am learning I have a long way to go as far as dying to self goes.  So very far.  I would glady hear and obey God's call to go to Let's say "AFrica" than to just let the guy beside me have the right of way when I am impatient and in a hurry. (EO Example)  I am not afraid to do the mundane.  The behind the scenes work. But when it comes to someone infringing on my space, my stuff, my way sometimes I bow up like a small kitten staring down a great dane. Selfishness and Pride. I chose who is "worthy" of my time and sharing His love with. I am a jerk and a hoarder of good things. 

It is not comfortable. It is not easy. I try to hide how I really feel, but He knows. And He loves me and calls me to more, to change. To be like Him. 

 

Note from June 2017- This is clearly not done...but it seems like something I want to share. Because I still struggle with it.  I am still humbled by seeing how He worked in my life then, how He still does.  How He loves me when I feel unlovable and completely selfish.  But that is His nature.  To love and work out His best in our lives.  For His Glory. So yes, Holy Spirit do that.  


For lack of a blog title... Him. And What's next. Maybe.

4 years ago today I had just started my 3rd week of what would be 3 ½ years of living in Honduras. 7 months ago this week I returned to the US from that life. My anticipation was to return back to the US to settle into normal US life…pay off my car, work on getting out of debt, saving up money, buying a small piece of land and build a little home. I looked forward to lunches with folks, long dinners with people catching up and hearing what the Lord was doing in their worlds. Times back at Auburn Women’s basketball and Softball, times at Stone Mountain with my littles, freezing to death in the air conditioning, and just in general doing what I want because I am not working 21 days in a row with a day off, no car and little money.

I found some of that. But I found my reality would be very different from the expectation (Isn’t it usually?) What I thought was the dream the Lord was handing back to me, long shelved, to build my little house didn’t come to fruition. As time went by I lost the desire. The reality of it didn’t fit my life’s reality. The job I was hired to do transitioned into part of the job I did back at the Arbor years ago. The stress of work radically shifted to a different flavor. Trying to rent a small house for August fell through, twice. Trying to rent my old house, up for sale again for almost a year didn’t happen. I felt the doors closing to what I thought life would be.

The friends I hung out with, now over 4 years ago, have changed. They have moved, moved on to other things, changed churches, had life shifts. Dinners and lunches didn’t happen like I thought. Settling into my life from over 4 years ago didn’t happen. I have changed, life has changed. My expectations weren’t fulfilled like I thought they would.

So I find myself feeling unsettled and uncertain. Asking the Lord over and over again in February and March….what do you want me to do? The only thing that felt certain was the job I am in now will end, and when it does my time at the Arbor will once again end. And I am ok with that. In a venting moment one day after work I said “I would be happy to just go and clean hotel rooms at this point.” To which my friend replied “You can volunteer to do that in Isreal for 3-6 months!” As time went by that just seemed to make sense. In my heart as I prayed I kept thinking and hearing “August” So I made plans for what is next…Isreal.

Application filled out, sent in, approved. Plane ticket looked up….$850 which is half of what it normally is…purchased. Isreal for 3 months.

Isreal.

Somewhere I have never really “wanted” to go. Last December I thought it would be nice to go with my friend Wayne and his tour group. But I had a car to pay off and a new job with no vacation time. And now I am going for 3 months. The irony of my life, headed again to a country that has never been on my radar. Details very unknown (to a planner like me there is a certain amount of anxiety in that.

And I don’t know what is after that. Praying He shows me (He will, but praying He shows me in the timeline I desire. Haha) Praying it will be my dream job of missions/evangelism in a church body. Serving. Talking about Him. Seeing Him at work through people. Seeing lives transformed by Him.

People keep telling me how ________________ my life is. (Crazy, flexible, obedient, cool…pick the word). It is. My life is crazy. If I sit and think about it too long I almost start to hyperventilate.

I have no home. No husband. No boyfriend. No kids. Soon to be no job. In a lot of ways unattached and feeling out of sorts most days. I don’t get to carry the labels that most folks have that define them. I find it hard to chit chat about my life because some days I don’t know what to say about it other than “I am just doing what He says, leads, tells me to do…and no it doesn’t really make sense most days.” And that is hard to chit chat. I don’t have kids to discuss and find common ground with others. I go to work and go home most days. I try to stay home and not spend money on things I don’t need just because I am bored and filling time. I read a lot. I’ve taken up adult color by number…it’s calming kind of like Legos, and I don’t have to think about it. I spend a lot of time with Him. In a lot of ways my life is boring, sprinkled with the random that day to day life holds. But it is where He has me and time and again He tells me to wait. To chill. To be content in Him. To find Him in the struggle of what isn’t.

So for those of you who this is news to, I am sorry. I don’t know how to once again, like over 4 years ago, say I am off to some new unknown. I don’t know how to make sense of that. I don’t know how to say “Will you pray for me? Will you support me? Will you walk along side me?” When I can only say I am going to Israel for 3 months to volunteer at a Messianic Jewish community that has a hotel, conference center and a biblical garden. And I have no idea what I will be doing but serving. And most of the time I can’t even spell Israel correctly.

But what I do know is He is clearly with me. He has continually said over the past month…ME. Just Me. Seek Me. Be with Me. Find Your Home In Me. Find Your Satisfaction In Me. Look to Me. Surrender to Me. Give Me Everything. Die to What You Think You Want or Need and Get What I Have For You. I Am With You. I Am.

And that feels really hard. It feels lonely. But it doesn’t feel alone. Over this past week I have had time to spend with my village in Texas and in Ohio. And repeatedly I weep at the thought I am blessed to live the life I get to live. To get to fall more in love with the Love of My Life. The one I never have to worry will ever leave me. Even though some days it hurts because I long to be with Him. To see Him face to face. To cease the struggle that is this world that is so easily distracted and distracting from the truth. From Him. Spinning to grasp everything but what matters, and do the things that are far from eternal. I weep at the thought that I cannot imagine life any other way. Even in the hard and the not making sense and the longing for the hope that is heaven, eternity with Him…there is a rest in my heart that cannot let go, because I cannot let go of Him. And He will never let go of me.

I’ve been reading about the life of William Wilberforce this week. It is much like the movie Amazing Grace depicts and so much different. Did you know that it took over 40 years for the abolition of slavery to finally pass? That it was voted on 3 days before his death, and they were finalizing the details as He died? So often we look at the tasks of our life and want them to be finished, to get tied up and done in a hurry. We get so frustrated and irritated that it takes longer than we think. But I am reminded again and again that life is a race…and not a sprint type race, but a marathon. And we are called to run in such a way to win the prize, the work being done by Christ, but we are called to work it out in our lives with His guidance. It is not easy, but it is worth it. To do what He has called us to, even if it takes over 40 years to see what we think is the fruit.

I look back over my life and see few things that I’ve been in for more than 4 years. I told Bufanda that my life is like a Hashbrown order at Waffle House- scattered, chunked, smothered, covered…depends on the day. But I guess at the end of it there is something good…I see His hand in every step of the crazy map of my life thus far. And what I thought would look more settled and straightline isn’t happening. So I surrender what I thought it would be back to Him (don’t we all do this over and over in some way in each of our lives?)

I am thankful for those who remind me we run this life thing together. My Coveys in the seemingly last quarter of an adoption journey of their little one. My Millers who are almost to the end of adopting their second little girlie. My Taylors who after years of struggle and waiting brought home their little one. My old folks at work who remind me about how God takes care of our needs. Punctuated by “every day.” Coming from an 89 year old one tends to take that statement with a good bit of credibility. The truth of his word that over and over again calls us to sacrifice. To love. Because He says, because it is best. Because it is worth it…because it makes us more like Him.

So I am grateful for those of you still along for the journey. For those of you who put up with the random that is my life. For letting me ramble about the often lack of clarity that my world looks like in the details. To those of you who pray for me, I would humbly ask that you would continue to do so. To those of you who wish to join me financially again for the next out of country adventure, thank you. To those of you who simply follow along and ask the Lord to keep doing what He does in my life, I’m grateful.

I love you. I pray for you. I cherish you. I love to see how the Lord is working out things in your lives. How you love Him. How you reflect Him. You make me want to be like the Jesus I see in you.

So let’s be after Him. Let’s be His. Because He is the one thing that is no doubt worth it all.


Love shows Up

I recently went to surprise my friend for her 40th birthday. I had planned the trip 4 months before. Because of winter storm jalepeno or whatever it was called, I moved my flight up because of a possible ice snow whatever situation in Atlanta. I had been caught in an ice situation the week before so I didn’t want to relive flying 1000+ miles out of the way to get there.

So I left work earlier than anticipated and flew to Ohio. My flight was delayed, no big. Picked up my rental car- a sweet NEW rental car. Google maps led me astray and on a crazy route until I corrected it… I was on my way to the restaurant she told me she was meeting up with some college friends. But then she wasn’t there.

So I killed some time going to WalMart to pick up necessary items- Dr. Pepper and some yogurt (late night snack). All the while hoping she would be at the restaurant (There were two and I was guessing on the location) and also hoping she drove her car so I would know without going in and looking I found them. I saw her car, parked and even saw her through the window! So I went in to surprise her. I anticipated after the shock wore off a bit they would invite me to stay but I had decided to go to her house and wait. I didn’t know them, and it was their party and I didn’t want to mess with it.

I went in and surprised her- I said Hey and she freaked out and said “What!? Why are you here!!?” I said “It’s your birthday week, why wouldn’t I be!? And I love you!” And basically left and drove to her house.

On the way to her house I started to think about her and her friends and praying for their time together. That it would be encouraging, the gospel would be spoken, and lives would be changed because of it. I also started thinking about why I decided to stop at the restaurant. Well, it was on the way home. And it was way more fun…she never would expect me to show up at TGIFridays on a Thursday night. And I didn't want to sit and wait at home for her without seeing her first. But mostly because it wasn't what she expected. 

My motivation for coming her birthday week was really just to help her however I could and tell her I love her. And it occurred to me that is just what love does- it shows up. I told her that the next night. I just wanted her to know that I loved her, and the Father loves her. And love just shows up. Over the next couple days we had several conversations and it came up in conversations with others about God’s presence and who He is. And How he shows up.  He is present. And rarely it's how we expect it. 

On the way home from Atlanta after my delayed/cancelled flight I was thinking about what “Love showing up” really means. It often costs more than we think it will. In my plan to come I knew her husband was taking her out overnight Sunday night. I kept the kids and had plans to do some things Monday so she wouldn’t have to deal with them before my flight out that afternoon. As Sunday night went, my throat started hurting more and more and by Monday morning I really felt terrible. I could have backed out and texted her and said I can’t do it. But I had committed to it. And love honors commitments. It’s what love does.

I couldn’t help but think of the cost as I left on my delayed flight to Chicago. In Chicago my flight was delayed then cancelled. I could have slept in the airport for 7 hours and caught a flight out but I felt terrible so I got a hotel to spend the night. Then flew out the next morning- missed work and finally got home at 3:30. And then had to drive to Montgomery 30 minutes after I got home then and back to Auburn. Still not feeling so good. So it cost more money (hotel and lost work time), time and energy than I anticipated.

As I drove from Atlanta to Auburn then to Montgomery and back to Auburn I just kept coming to what it means for Love showing up. Love to be present. And how much the Father shows His presence to us. I can’t help but think of the cost it required- Christ coming to the earth, His life, His death, His Victory over death and sin in his resurrected life. That the Holy Spirit has come to us, he is given to us day by day and moment by moment. That Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. The cost for all of this, and continues to take.

Sometimes in our preconceived notions we seek to love people. And to love people well, like Jesus. But then things get difficult or hard or messy or cost too much we want to back out. To say it’s not worth it. And I am so very grateful that our Father in heaven didn’t say it’s too hard, it’s not worth it. He didn’t say it and he is still not saying it. Every single day and moment in ways that we don’t always see or even imagine He is still pursuing us.   I am thankful for the way He reveals His presence to me.   Like a bird art display in the Chicago Midway airport, a song on my ipod that reminds me of who He is, the truth he brings. Conversations about my R2D2 carry on that lead to conversations about Him. The way that He provides, humors, and delights. The way he gives us desires of our hearts, because when he placed those desires in our hearts, of course He will fulfill them. Because I asked Him to give me his desires. The way He consistently shows Himself. Because He is love. And love shows up. Even when we don’t always expect it. And usually not in the way we think He will.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am humbled. Because of His love I have life. I have hope. I have His continual presence. I have just what I need. Because of Him.  

Ephesians 3: 14- 19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Be His.


Semana Santa!

Had a team of High Schoolers from Florida leave Friday and a team of Union University folks come in Saturday.  Like the countdowns in the states our kids have been waiting Holy Week to start.... School is out just now and so it begins.  Week of Hot, dry, but NO SCHOOL for anyone and the boys only work half days.  Yah for all that...except the hot. 

So we have made a schedule for my girls so they know what we have planned and they are already asking questions about it.... Sunday tournament for prizes with a few of our card games, Monday we are doing the infamous waterslide in our yard (ours is the best).  I am considering bringing not only soap but maybe some vegetable oil...seeing as the grass is already dead we cant kill any plant life. Ha. Tuesday is  movie (and popcorn, they don´t know about the popcorn) and soccer court after dinner.  Thursday is water balloons and water games and probably just chaos with water.  Friday and Saturday I didn´t make plans because I will be Headed to America!! Katja wasn´t sure what she wanted to do with the girls yet. 

Mixed in there will be Wii time for those who have earned it.  I have discovered that the couple of groups that have gone are mostly terrible at tennis and half are terrible at bowling and the other half are awesome.  I got Mario Kart for them and they have enjoyed playing that but don´t fully understand what to do with the extra stuff.  It´s quite fun to watch them. I´ve videoed several times but whenever I video it is just boring. Will keep trying to catch them doing something loud and entertaining.  They keep asking for dancing games, but I have to make a list of acceptable songs on the discs. Because some are just....um nope. Not listening to that song! 

We have planned lots of activities for the kids and now the weather decides to up and rain all night and this morning... go figure.  It´s cooler for now which is nice but messes up time for non water related activities. My kids are dying to get wet, even when it´s not hot. 

So we start spring break today and I am finishing up my time here for my vacation to America...land of the fried food and easily available stuff I want and need. And My people!! Almost all my people! (Some I can´t see this trip :( 

So if you haven´t told me you want to see me, please let me know! And don´t forget I have a pow wow on April 16th if you want to come hang out!! 

Thank you guys for your support, prayers, and encouragement for me and my kids. 

Be His

 

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Part of the square in Guiamaca (We drove through on the bus, I rarely go to town)

IMG_2356 Art in Teguc at a round about. Yes, that´s a pig with a soccerball in it´s mouth on a plate of money on the right.... ha

IMG_2264My Little Big helping me make a cabinet for our tv and wii stuff a couple weeks ago. 

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Start of a sunset the other day.

IMG_2327Found one of the kitchen girls behind the kitchen after lunch like this. Told her next time David brags to everyone at church about the hard working kitchen girls I will have the sound guys put this picture on the screen hahaha. 

 


Ain´t happenin

I was going to post some more photos from Christmas but the reality of the internet here, even the fancier faster one in the office, is just way to frustrating.  I will try to make sure to post more when I am in America in April.  Speaking of America, friendly neighborhood reminder- I will be in the states March 25- Around the end of April.  So if you want to see me let´s plan something! 

School started yesterday and I have to say, like I said last year about this time, so ready for school to start! The kids were antsy and starting to act a bit nuts and we need some more structure and better schedule than the holiday schedule.  

As usual, I teach my kids what I learn, and last week´s circle on Wednesday morning was about Sin. Because I have 90 teenagers it is easy for folks to throw around reminders of past stupidity.  Sometimes I remind them because they are making new poor decisions and need reminders of the past ones. But I try to not put a kid in a box of being a "bad kid" and reinforce sometimes what people in their pasts have said. So, we talked about sin. 

I was explaining to the kids that when we are in Christ He has taken our sins to the cross.  We still sin, but we confess them and move on, letting Him change us.  We don´t allow the enemy to keep bringing them up again and again, reminding us that perhaps we are just trapped. That we can do no better. That we will never be free.  That we are condemned by our sins and cannot walk away from them.  

I know the tendency is to allow him to speak to us like that, and too often to listen.  But the bible says different.  Several places it talks about how God forgets or throws away our sin. And these are in the OLD TESTAMENT before Jesus! Imagine, in a system of forgiven sins in the temple with animals and shed blood God forgives, forgets, throws away sins! 

If you need to see it to believe it....Here are just a few:

Psalm 103:11-12

Or as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:8,18-19

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Do you see that? He throws our iniquities- our wickedness into the sea!! Have you ever thrown a rock into the sea and then tried to go find it? It's basically GONE.  So when we stand in forgiveness because of Christ's work on the cross...we are forgiven.  And our sins are not to be found again! Into the SEA. 

 

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When we think of sin we think of justice. And Justice for wrongs would be imprisonment, repayment, retribution of some sort.  This says He is Faithful and JUST.  And His Justice for us is to forgive our sins! How crazy is that?  He sends His son to die on a Cross, kick death in the teeth, so that we can live forgive and free....and in His Justice which is mercy, grace, and forgiveness because of Christ!

And as I explained to my kids, somehow we let the enemy try to tell us we aren't forgiven.  We will not be free, we cannot change....and live in the sins of our past.  Such a big fat liar. 

I long to totally understand and live in this myself.  And I long for my kids to understand this and walk in freedom.  He is so good to us and we fail to look to Him and walk in His freedom far too often.  I pray we see Him as He is, and the gifts He has for our hearts! 

Please pray for some of my kids who are making poor decisions regarding school right now. And for the people they choose to hang out with that are bad influences.

Please pray for wisdom for me and other staff.  

Pray for rest and restoration as we spend time with the Lord.  To be diligent in taking the time when it is open.

Please pray if the Lord is leading you to become a financial supporter. One time gift or regular giving.  When the funds don't come for me to remain here, then I can't stay.  I don't want funds to be an issue to my remaining here with my kids. 

I'm grateful for you guys. For your support and your prayers!! You don't know what it all means to me and my kids!! 

Be His

 

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P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 


Feliz Navidad

I know some of you have been waiting for a post about Christmas here...so here you go. 

We celebrate Christmas here on the 24th- lunch this year was hotdogs and then we do gifts.  Thanks to the amazing coordination of Sarah and Amy helped with team help all gifts were given out in about 45 minutes. Between lunch and Gifts we took photos in the pavilion with the blow up tree and penguin I found for 50% off in Teguc. I think it was like 10 dollars a piece or something less. 

I had asked for help to surprise my girls and folks from CA, OH, GA, TN, ARK, and AL all pitched in.  I got bags with shampoo, conditioner, body scrubs, pens, word search books, socks, chapstick, hair ties and claw clips, candy, deodorant and each had sandals/flip flops given to them a few days before Christmas to wear for the day.  I was astounded at how much stuff I had...more than covered my 94 kids! 

I think I had 14 boxes in my den and I told my poor roommate I would have them out when she returned Jan 4 but because I have some extra things I can't get rid of them til I get my storage space secured which is a whole other thing. Ha She said its ok though.  

I started working on the bags the morning of the 24th while the girls were beautifying themselves and after Christmas gifts it took me another while.  I think 8 hours total.  

Christmas morning (25th) while they were eating breakfast the team helped me move everything to the pavilion.  When they saw the bags on the tables when they came out after breakfast they all came running and yelling.  I explained that friends had sent it all down- the same ones that sent the sandals.  They all hollored and yelled and cheered.  It was too hard to film as they hugged me and thanked me.  They talked about those bags for days.  And I was corrected by several saying they would love stockings... to quote one "We can have bags anytime but stockings only are for Christmas!"

 

So enjoy the photos and little bit of video.  I cannot thank you enough for all your help to surprise them.  I was expecting them to be more nonchalant than they were and were so happy to know they were beyond excited. Such simple things too. Thank you! Thank you a ton of times! 

 

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I have more but the internet is being sassy. So I will post these now and work on the others at another time.

Thank you for your investment in what the Father is doing to love on these kids here. I can´t do it without you!

Be His.

 

 


The America goings on of October

Before I can blog about anything more recent than 1992 I need to update you guys on my time in the states. And since I have some good stuff to talk about I figured I better get on it. 

I got to fly home one more time First Class.  I was blessed with a ticket from a friend who´s husband flies for Delta, so if there is a first class seat open after everyone else on standby gets seat assignments I get it.  Such a blessing for a girl like me to be sitting in first class. 

After doctor appointments, dentist appointments and some running around I got to seeing my folks.  Spent some time seeing Robert and his wife in Montgomery.  Amazing to see how life has changed for us both when I met him back in 94. After stopping by my sister´s house to hold my 2 week old Nephew James and see my girlies I got to see Jamie James and her crew and witness PJ losing his first tooth. He was shocked and surprised as he at his veggies and rice. Haha

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I got to go by James´classroom at Pike Road.  Crazy that I grew up nearby and Pike Road was a country store and a railroad crossing back then.  Now there are neighborhoods and even a school.  Was cool to see so many races and ethnicities in her class.  They were journaling and would say "Mrs. Shelton´s friend how do you spell daughter, or Atlanta, or Micaiah?"  Such a joy to watch her patiently work with her littles in that room. They journaled on the floor because there are so many kids they don´t have tables and chairs for them all.  The kids dont seem to mind at all!

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During the first week in Auburn my Barbara went shopping for a few things at Sam´s then went to Big Lots to pick up some things for the Christmas surprise I have for my bigs.  When we were checking out the lady asked if we had found everything.  I told her they were short a couple things because we needed 11 of each but that was ok.  She asked what we were shopping for and I explained my 85 kids and what I do.  She thanked me and thought that was all great.  The lady behind Barbara in line said "What are you buying that for?" She explained again what we were doing and the lady handed her $40 and said "Please put that towards the balance" Pretty sure Barbara and I both were about to cry a bit.  It shocked Barbara I know and I laughed and said as we left that´s how God does stuff for my kids.  I would have taken a photo with the lady but my phone was in the truck! Barbara saw her coming out as she got ready to leave and stopped her and took a photo.  The woman shared that one day she hoped to adopt and just prayed that maybe her gift would come back around to her.  IMG_0617

I left that experience to a ladies small group lunch/meeting where I got to hear the testimony of a woman who adopted 2 teens from the Ukraine.  And then one of the lady´s shared that her husband´s boss was giving them $10,000 towards her adoption and their needs.  We were all in tears and my heart was just full over how the Father takes care of his kids as we all trust him in what we are doing.  I couldn´t help but think of my Covey´s and tell Carrie the stories to encourage her as they walk their adoption journey. Then I got to share a bit about Emmanuel and realized after I shared that most of the ladies there were helping with the Christmas surprise. Such sweet stuff.  

After a busy week of running around I picked up my littles in Montgomery and headed on our way to CFA in Opelika to spend the night.  Saturday morning we were headed to Stone Mountain but it was raining and a mess so we called that off last minute and went to NorthPointe mall.  Aunt Stina met us and a fun time commenced.  Lego had a display throughout the mall so we experienced American history via Lego.  And you KNOW i was lovin it. Stina brought a cookie cake (to welcome me back and we all know that any cause for cookie cake is a good one).  She even brought plates napkins and a knife so we could eat it in the truck! Way to plan that out Stina. 

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IMG_0732  IMG_0660 I appreciate this kid and her love for a map in her hand.  

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It was not so rainy so we headed to Stone Mountain and got to walk around the non crowded park and experience the Pumpkin festival and catch the laser light show in the rain...but so good.  We got to do our favorite things except the skytram and dipping dots.  I will miss going to Stone Mountain Christmas this year but have already calendared our date for my next trip to the states. 

After more people and visits and general running around Auburn I went to Atlanta to see my bestie from Texas. She was in town for a nursing conference.  Long story short I had to rent a car that was supposed to be a Corolla or equivalent and this is what I got.  Problem is I had about 14 boxes to take with me to Atlanta to be taken to Chattanooga.  I was determined to get 9 and my suitcase...I made it fit. When I got to the hotel it was a better deal to valet park and the guy had to be laughing at my car all packed up. We ate dinner then walked around and ended up at the Ferris wheel next to the Tab.  Was really neat and just a touch scary when that basket started swinging.  IMG_0770  IMG_0784

Next morning headed to Cheryl´s in Woodstock to take the boxes to the warehouse in Chattanooga.  Found a hole in the wall footlong hotdog place that has been there forever and followed that meal with an amazing steak dinner cooked in an amazing backyard by Cheryl.  Blessed to be spoiled like this.(For the record..not my wine, Cheryls.  That was for the photo.)   IMG_0798

Some of you will be humored to know that my rental car was FULL UP with ants on the passenger side.  When I turned the car in the lady jumped wiping off her pants (she had sat down in the car to check the mileage. haha) God has a sense of humor. Of that I am sure. 

Ohio to hang with the Ohio #Village Chapter. Got to have sushi for the first time ever (thanks but too fishy for me) and also got to go to Old Man´s Cave after talking about it for 2 years.  Turned out a great day for walking and picnicing.  Was really super cool to see and hang with my Coveys.  And Nora made my sandwich with love.  Just gotta love that. IMG_0819  IMG_0824  IMG_0807  That would be brownie waffles with homemade ice cream and Carrie´s Salted Caramel.  Dare I mention all the other foods I consumed and naps I took in Ohio...


 Ended up sick the morning of my flight back and with construction stupidity thrown in I missed my flight.  No big (except for throwing a major wrench in Carrie´s schedule and me feeling terrible). I didn´t want to be on a plane anyway... So got a one way ticket and left the next day.  I got blessed with some stuff for me and my bigs so I had to check a box on the way home. After 10 days of Covey time, VGF churching and some stellar naps and reading I headed back to Auburn to finish up the trip.

I met with more folks and hugged on some more people and was even surprised to see Susan Gaston at my parents house! Seems her and my niece are buddies.  Such a sweet surprise!

Got to watch an Auburn football game with my Spencer peeps and dipnation.  And I will just stay away from watching anymore...overtimes...too stressful.  This is how my Spencers watch the 3rd overtime... IMG_0866standing and a bit into it. 

One thing I have been wanting here is a fully functional washing machine. The one I had to share with some others only worked on delicate..which means my clothes were never clean.  Dad found one at a friends and got it for me.  When I saw it in his garage I hugged it.  He asked me why and I told him because I loved it.  I also hugged it when it arrived last week and got hooked up.  Clean clothes!! Hallelujer!

I finished my trip out with a trip to Cottonton Baptist Church.  It´s down near Pittsview.  Their pastor had come with another team in September and invited me.  I ramblingly shared about Emmanuel and how we are all adopted by the Father through the blood of Christ and answered a lot of questions.  As we stood in worship at the beginning of church I was reminded of how in College I went around to a lot of little country churches with my friends doing drama and singing and it was just a sweet time with that body.  They all were so sweet and all wanted my prayer cards to pray for me.  So grateful for that.  I told them I need that daily.

The next morning before dawn I headed to ATL and back to my bigs to see what trouble they had stirred up while I was gone.  

 

So, now I have caught you up on my time in the states. Later this week will catch you up on some Honduras stuff with my bigs. 

Thank you for all you do to support me being here with your prayers, encouragement, and funds.  If you wish to contribute something please send to (they will send your tax receipts)

Central Missionary Clearinghouse
PO Box 219228
Houston, TX 77218-9228 

Thank you all my #village peeps.

Be His