Monday, September 28, 2015

And Then Summer Became Fall

     September is winding down and October will be here soon. It is a little crazy how fast this year has gone. My love and I are coming up on the one year anniversary of moving into our lovely home. A lot of good has happened in this year. I successfully had my first vegetable garden, My love and I finished paying off my student loans(Yay!), we've laughed and cried and been blessed with a beautiful life. And now, Fall is starting to show his face. The colors are changing, the sun is shining from a different position in the sky and the bright colors of summer flowers are being replaced with the rust reds, oranges, and yellows of Autumn's finery.
     I've been thinking lately about who God is. Rediscovering the One I put my faith in when I was just a little girl. I decided to do this because I realized that a big part of the reason I worry is because I have a skewed understanding of who God is. I need to relearn who He is and then I need to find my way back to the child's faith I had when I said "Jesus loves me this I know..." Because the One who turns Summer into Fall does love me. He loves me and you so very much. It's not just the words to Sunday school song. 

Happy Monday!

"Autumn paints in colors that summer has never seen." ~Unknown

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Formal Affair

     This morning, a couple ladies from Church put on a Fall tea party. I woke up wondering if I should call and see if this was a "wear something like I'd wear to Church" event or more casual. But then, I just decided to call the Lovely Keren Ruth and see if she just wanted to go ahead and be really formal with me(She's good about spontaneous adventure that way.) And so we did. Out came my garment bag of bride's maid dresses. It was lovely.
      I am truly blessed to have a friend like Keren. I have often thought that I sure lucked out when I married My Love because not only did I get him, but I got an amazing friend in the deal(Keren is Luke's sister.) Friendship is such a gift!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."” ~C.S. Lewis

Monday, September 14, 2015

Beautiful Days

     Today is beautiful. The sun is shinning, the air is breezy and it's warm but not hot. The light is changing and the days are starting to have that Fallish sort of feel. It's nice. I really love this time of year. My sunflowers are taller than the porch roof now. They are so fun to look at.

      School is of to a running start and I do believe that this is going to be a great year. My garden continues to do well as does the Lovely Keren Ruth's. Last weekend we made a giant turkey roaster of spaghetti sauce. When I canned it it came out to 14 jars. That was satisfying. 
      Last Thursday I went out for ice cream with the girls I worked with this summer(and the past couple of summers). Friendship is such a great thing and I love to watch how it grows. We laughed and laughed hard. I am blessed.

     This week the Lovely Keren Ruth and I watched the movie Julie and Julia and were thus inspired to try our hand at French cooking. So, the other night we made Beef Burgeon and French bread. I will say that French cuisine is not for the cook who wants a fast and easy supper. Good grief there were a lot of steps. But it tasted good.

      I am getting super excited for this coming week because it is Jackpine time. There is nothing quite like camping in the coolness of fall with some of your favorite people. And this year is even more exciting because my dear friend Miss Polly is coming up early to spend a couple days with us. Actually both Polly and her brother Bob, one of Luke's closest friends, are coming. It's going to be good.
     And to top it all off, we bought the new Matt Kearney cd the other day which is just full of good sounds. Flowers, friends, music, and memories in the making. Life is good. Happy Monday.

"A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are." ~Unknown

Sunday, September 13, 2015


    I love babies, I always have. I have multiple pictures of me over the years holding some baby or other. They are just so sweet. I look forward to the day when My love and I have our own little snuggler, but until then, I have great friends who are willing to share their babies with me.
    This morning at church, I was holding my newest little friend. He was tired, but resisting. He wasn't really upset, he just couldn't quite figure out what he wanted. He was wiggly and fidgeting, he would lay his head down then pick it back up. He just couldn't seem to relax.  I rocked, swayed, and rubbed his back until he finally gave in and fell asleep. One of the best feelings in the world is when that sweet little 8 pounds of wiggliness finally calms down enough to relax into you and fall asleep.
    As I was holding that sweet little guy I started thinking about how even as adults we sometimes struggle with that very same thing. We struggle to relax into the arms of the One who is holding us. Our heavenly Father has us securely in His arms. He loves us so very much but as He holds us, we so often struggle to calm down and rest in Him. We flail our arms, wiggle, feel frustrated, lay our heads down only to pick them up again. Resisting.
   Why is it we so often fail to rest in His love? Perhaps it's fear, or guilt, or the desire to hold onto control. Sometimes I think it is because we simply don't know how to just give it up and rest in Him. We are so used to the feelings of anxiety that resting in His peace is almost a foreign concept.
    But the One who knows what's best just keeps holding onto us. He sways and rocks, pats our back and whispers to just calm down and rest in Him. And just like holding that sweet baby as he finally fell asleep was an amazing feeling, when you finally relax into the Arms of the One who holds you, a feeling of peace will engulf your very soul... And peace is about the best feeling there is.
Happy Sunday

"Peace begins with a smile." ~Mother Teresa 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Confidence and Hope

     Last night, I was reading in the book of Hebrews. Two words that stuck out to me were "Confidence," and "Hope".

Hebrews 4:16
"Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

    The One who speaks life into our souls will fill us with confidence in Him if we open our hearts to Him. He is love. 

Then there was hope. 

Hebrews 6:17-19 
    "In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,  so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil."

      I love the part of that passage that says the hope we have(in Jesus) is an anchor of the soul. We must hold onto that hope or we are going to be splashed around. It is an anchor, a safe place, security. 
     The two words I picked from my reading in Hebrews really go hand in hand. The One who designed this life gives us hope. But, the thing about hope is that without confidence the very essence of hope disappears. So, you need hope and confidence together. Hope in the One who gave you life and be confident in it. 
Happy Monday.   

 "What gives me the most hope every day is God's grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God." ~Rick Warren

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Namibia Adventures Part 5

 And then, my time in Namibia began to wrap up(Parts 1 and 2 and 3 and 4). 5 months was almost over.

January 11, 2009
"When I got on the plane back in September(it feels like so long ago), I felt like I was setting out on a grand adventure, heading into the complete unknown. Now as I'm seeing myself at the end of this time here, I wonder if I've accomplished anything, and if I've changed. I hope so, but sometimes I just don't know."
February 7, 2009
"Wow, I can't believe it. The day after tomorrow I will be going home. It almost doesn't feel real. My last day in Rehoboth was good. I gave each of the kids a jar of peanut butter and a balloon and Amanda gave them coloring books, crayons, and gum. IT was fun but sad knowing that I will never see them again. It was also sad because you know that the kids don't understand that you won't be coming back. Stuff like that is just too hard for a 6 year old to fully comprehend. It was so weird to think as I was walking around town that it was the very last time.  I had to say goodbye to Catherin and Heidi tonight and it seems like goodbyes just never get easy. I just can't believe my time here in Namibia is over. When I think back to those first days here and all that's happened since it feels like such a  long time, but when I think of it as a whole, I just can't believe that it's already done--it feels as though it went so fast. For more than a year I had been looking forward to and working toward Africa, and now that it is over I'm like, 'Now what?'"
February 9, 2009
"Well, I am now sitting in the South African airport with Amanda. We have made it through one flight and all the scary checks and now we have and 18 hour flight in front of us. We met this cute old couple today from Texas of all places. She started talking and didn't stop. They were on their way home from visiting their son and grandkids in Windhoek. Apparently they are missionaries there. I tell you, you just never know who you will meet and where. I still can't get my mind around the fact that I'm going home."

     I have been home 7 years now and know that God did use those Namibia adventures. He used them to set me on a new course. Because of my experiences working in a tiny school in Rehoboth, Namibia, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. Because I wanted to be a teacher I needed to find a college, which lead me to Northern MN where I met My Love. So here I am.

 “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~Douglas Adams

Friday, September 4, 2015

Happy Friday

The thunders rolling it and it's a beautiful sound.
I just finished a book that made me cry in a good way.
I laughed hard today with friends.
Had dinner out with My Love. He's a keeper!
Happy Friday.
"Every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun's shining or not." ~Marty Robbins

The Namibia Adventures Part 4

    Namibia held a lot of adventures for me besides the school...(Part 1 and  2 and 3)

  I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn
October 13, 2008
"Pastor Eugen took us to see some old rock paintings. That was cool, but the trip itself was the most fun. Everybody but Cathi went. We rode in the back of a pickup. There was so many rocks. Massive boulder scattered all over the place. It was like God had randomly dropped His bag of pebbles." 

     I had the opportunity to go to Swakopmund with Amanda and her host family. I got to climb a sand dune and play in the ocean.
November 14, 2008
"Well today we set out on our grand adventure. Destination: The OCEAN! Amanda and her family picked me up at 1 pm and we were on our way. It was a very long drive. We arrived in Swakopmund just as the sun was beginning to set. So, we got to stand on the beach and watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean as the tide surged in over our feet. It was breathtakingly beautiful. "
November 15, 2008
"Today was awesome! The first thing we did was head to the sand dunes. They were absolutely amazing. We got to climb Dune 7. I made it all the way to the top. It was a lot of work. And, it was the weirdest thing because the sand was constantly moving out from under your feet. It is kind of like what I imagine walking on water would be like. Then we ran down. The sand was so fine it stuck to your skin like golden glitter. It is cool because Swakopmund is a place where desert meets ocean. We were driving along and out one window you saw nothing but sand and dunes and out the other the waves were crashing in."
Dune 7

  I got to go North to Bush Land.
December 16, 2008
"We got to ride on top of the combi(van), and that was so fun! The Bed and Breakfast were we stayed at had a pet lion. Apparently he had been a house pet for the first four years of his life. So, I got to run my fingers through a lion's mane. For the most part the whole weekend was a bunch of driving. But it was beautiful and I'm so glad to have gotten to see that part of the country. Throughout the weekend I saw: a lion, zebra, rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, cheetah, wildebeest, springbok, and a bunch of other antelope species. It was a grand adventure." 

Dung beetle

On top of the combi.

     I spent the new year in Cape Town, South Africa with Catherine and her host family. We got to go to the top of Table Mountain.
December 31, 2008-January 2, 2009
"New Year's day we went to Table Mountain. It is this huge mountain that is very flat on top. We got to ride the cable cars up. There was a big cloud covering the top so that you couldn't see much, but it felt like you were on top of the world. You would look over the side and just see clouds, and in the spots where it was clear the view was magnificent. We are now on our way back to Rehoboth. Woopie for 16 hour car rides.  

The ride up.
Standing on the top.

I got stitches in my head...
January 5, 2009
"Kristen, Mackenzie, and I were walking home. We were talking, and I must have been really into the conversation because I ran smack dab into a road sign. So, there we were on the side of the road and my head is gushing blood--Who runs into signs? I went between laughing because it was so ridiculous, and crying. We managed to get a taxi back to Kristen and Mackenzie's house then their host family took us to the hospital. So now I have 3 stitches in my head."
 My trip introduced me to a lot of great people. My team and supervisors, our host families, the people at the Church I attended, and the ladies at the school. 
This is Keziah, one of the girls I became friends with through the church's youth group. 

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." ~Jawaharlal Nehru

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Namibia Adventures Part 3

     During my Namibia Adventures(Part 1 and 2) I got to work in a small preschool in Block E. The town of Rehoboth is divided into different blocks. Block A, B, C etc. Block E was the poorest section of town. The school was a one room metal building with a dirt floor. It was run by two woman named Selvia and Linda.

September 22, 2008
    "Today was my first day of school and I loved it. The kids came stampeding out of the building when they saw us and globbed onto us. There are about 30 kids and only 2 women working full time. The school is just a one roomed shed. Selvia, the teacher, is very excited to have Cathi and me come on a regular basis. The kids love to rub my arms and mess with my hair. The kids bring a lunch to school, but some of them didn't. So the teacher stands in the front of the room and these 3, 4, 5, and 6 year olds split their own sandwich or slice of bread--or whatever they brought--in half and put part of it into the basket. So that way, everybody gets something, even if it is only a slice of bread." 
September 24, 2008
    "School was very good this morning, but very tiring. The kids are amazing but they kind of sap energy right out of you. They figured out how to say my name today so they kept me running. They all want to show you what they are working on....There is one little girl at school named Damas. Actually her real name is Vicky but she goes by Damas which means 'Dark skin". So she goes by Damas and there is another little girl who goes by Namas which means 'Light skin.'. Any way, Damas is a beautiful child with huge brown eyes that are pretty much always sad. Her and her brother Ricky Jr.  have a very hard life. There is another little girl named Jenesly. She is 2 years old and a tiny little slip of a thing. She is like a little pixie. I got a puppet out and she started talking to her and she freaked out. It was rather humerus. Now she gets irritated at people when they get the puppets too close to her."

     My time in Namibia was good but it was also very hard. I struggled a lot with my attitude and motivation for doing stuff, homesickness and knowing how I was supposed to handle some of the situations that I found myself dealing with.  

October 12, 2008
"I'm really struggling because I don't feel like I'm doing anything here. School only takes about 3 hrs and even when I'm there I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything, or even like I want to be there. Then I spend the rest of my day not doing much. I feel bad about it, but I don't want to get up and do anything about it. I'm just really feeling a lack of motivation. I want to be used by God, but I really need a boost of motivation and some creative ideas for school." 
October 13, 2008
"I discovered that working on the alphabet in the sand is a lot more fun than sitting at tables! At lunch this morning, I was ticked. Even with kids sharing their food, there was not enough to go around. It makes me mad that these kids don't have enough to eat and I tend to get self-righteous and judgmental. And then I realized that I could be doing more to help the situation. So, I got some bread and peanut butter to take tomorrow. But I really want things like that to come from my love for God and His children. I don't want to do it simply as a conscience cleaner. 
October 17, 2008
     "Cathi had bought a bag of oranges for the kids. What a treat. The kids are so funny because they eat the orange peel as well as the orange. The other day Cathi had taken an orange for herself. She had the peelings on her lap and was letting the kids take pieces. Then Ricky came up and took them all in two little fists and sat on them so that the other kids couldn't get at them while he was eating them. It was hilarious. He is a smart little whip. He is only 5, but he can count better than many of the older kids. The other day we were working on counting. We had some of the kids in row on the floor and the other kids were counting them. A lot of them were really struggling and then Ricky got tired of watching. So he got up, marched over, and counted them up. 1,2,3,4,5! He then sat back down glad that things had finally been taken care of."

I truly believe that The One who wrote the adventure sent me to Namibia to spark something new in my heart.
October 20, 2008
"Ok, so here is an interesting scoop. I have always been adamantly against the idea of being a teacher. I never thought that I'd be good at it, and I never wanted to do it. So, it is odd that lately I have been having these little thoughts pop into my head that I could be a teacher and that I might actually like it. It is so odd and kind of neat. I don't think that I'm making it up either because this would be a 180 degree change. I have been praying and asking God to take this all away if it is not Him and to grow the desire in me if it is. Before coming here I prayed that through this trip God would give me direction for my life. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I'd start thinking like this."

Oh the Adventures!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Namibia Adventures Part 2

Recently I started writing about my adventures in Namibia, Africa. Here goes part 2.

Adjusting is always interesting.
September 20, 2008
"Well, I'm in Rehoboth. I got here yesterday. I am staying with a widow lady named Karla. Last night I went to the youth group of the church that I will be attending. Amanda and Alli will be going there as well. They had a welcome party for us. Everybody wanted to feed us...After youth group, Alli's family took her and I to the Rehboboth show, a.k.a. the fair. We were introduced to a Rehoboth specialty, grilled bread and sausage. It was quite good...When I got back to Karla's she fed me again. I went to bed feeling incredibly full!
     Back to today. It is 3:15 pm and I feel very lonely. I just want to be with the girls. I wish I had been paired with someone. Cathi just sent me a text message. It said, 'I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not be afraid for I am with you; do not anxiously look around you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.' Isaiah 41. Karla was nice enough to take me over to Cathi's. I gave Cathi a hug and sobbed on her shoulder before we even got inside. It was good to spend time with her. It is funny how 2 weeks ago I was in tears because I didn't know my team and I wanted to be around someone familiar. And now I was in tears because they were the only familiar people and I wanted to be with them. It is amazing how fast you can bond with people when they are all that you have."

    Cathi became a truly dear friend over the months of the trip. She and I both worked in the same small school so we would walk together every morning. We laughed a lot and I truly enjoyed her company.

"A Friend is what the heart needs all the time." ~Henry Van Dyke

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Namibia Adventures

     This past week I re-read the book Christy by Catherine Marshall. It's a beautiful story about a young girl who heads to the mountains of Tennessee to work in a mission school. The last time I read this book I was 19(the same age as Christy in the story) about to head to Namibia, Africa on a 5 month mission trip. My assignment was a small pre-school in Block E, the poorest section of the small town of Rehoboth. I remember thinking about Christy and feeling like I could really relate to the story. I was young, away from home, working in a place that was foreign to me, not really knowing what I was doing.
      I love that I had this experience, but it was hard at the time. I remember being frustrated and homesick, but I also remember learning. It was on that short trip that God started to work some changes in my heart. He planted in me a desire to teach, something I had always adamantly said I didn't want to do. But here I am, 7 years later, about ready to start my third year teaching in a wonderful little school that I love.
     While I was in Namibia, I decided to keep a journal. I wrote down my experiences and stories.

September 8, 2008
 "Well, I'm in NY, and I'm alive. It has been a long and interesting day. I woke up at 3:30 AM this morning and could not get back to sleep. It was very hard to say goodbye at the airport and it was kind of scary navigating the airport by myself. But, it all went without a glitch. So far this has been a stretching adventure."

    The airport was just the beginning of the adventure. I met amazing people, ate new food, saw beautiful places, and glimpsed the beginnings of a new adventure.  I also learned how fast you can make close friends when you all feel like fish out of water. The team of girls I went with: Amanda, Cathi, Kristen, Mackenzie, and Alli, were wonderful. 

September 11, 2008
"Well I'm finally in Africa."
September 12, 2008
"We will be staying in the capital of Namibia--Windhoek-- for a week of orientation before we actually get to Rehoboth. The interesting thing is that the hostel lost our reservations. So, for tonight we will be staying in a co-ed dorm. AWKWARD!!! Oh well, it will make for a very interesting story to tell. It is rather warm here and this is the cool season. I don't want to think about when it decided to get really hot! But as they say, "It's a dry heat."
September 15, 2008
"Today has been a good day. A woman came over to talk with us about AIDS. She is a good friend of Suzanne's[Mick and Suzanne were the missionaries who oversaw us while we were there]. We all went to take her home. On the way back we drove through a very poor section of town. It was heart breaking to see. It is mind boggling how in 10 minutes, we can go from this big modern city, to such poverty. It really makes you feel guilty. 'LORD, my heart is wondering.'"

    That short week in Windhoek was great. My team was not the only one going through orientation. There was also another family, the Rowells, and young single woman, Catherine, who were also going to Rehoboth as well as a couple of guys that were headed for another small town. After the week was over, we packed up and headed for Rehoboth.

"God's invitation to us isn't 'Shut up and listen,' but 'walk with Me and help me serve."
 ~Leonard Sweat