Tuesday, June 30, 2009

These pictures will be carried with me, alongside the dear memories that were made. It is not about the number of stars upon the ceiling,
instead it is about the attention paid to these dear, precious children.
They just long to be loved and chased in games of freeze tag.

So I haven't returned to this for a few days, in the attempts of resting, spending as much time with my family as possible, and ultimately saying goodbye and hello silmultaneously. It was hard saying goodbye to Mary Beth and Lou, the whole office staff and Suburban Bible Church, harder than I realized. It is amazing the bond that forms in such a short amount of time. Now all I have, are my memories of that beautiful time. I got home Friday evening and the Caruthersville gang showed up not too many hours later. We took them on a tour of the house and visited for awhile. Then the next morning we ventured out to the Goodwill, Tonya's favorite store, where I saw Derrick and we chatted about my possibility of coming back...It was so nice having them here. We all watched New in Town, and spent Sunday morning outside enjoying each others' company. I unpacked to pack again. Oh what a summer :]. Always on the go.

This week is passing so very quickly; I had a feeling that it would...Here it is, already Tuesday. Wow. Mom and I enjoyed catching up on So You Think You Can Dance these past two nights. It has been so nice to be back and just take all of these things in, no matter how minor they seem to everyone else. I delight in the small things, cause they are more than enough for me. Hmm.

It is so good to be home. Almost like a breath of fresh air. God is good to me. I just don't have the words to depict His beauty.

"No we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

I am resting in the fact that God is already in Mexico, that He is waiting for me with open arms. That is what is going to keep me going; I am resting in His confidence. Knowing full well that in my weakness His grace is made perfect. That He will give me the words in the native tongue, I long to become my very own....

Friday, June 26, 2009

My time is already up?

raining sheets here, it is them that are,melting and washing away my every fear

ah the rambling it never ceases...

i have read seven books since coming here.
the other day i had a dream in spanish.
just a couple things to be mentioned somewhere along the way perhaps.

it's june 24th. i have one full day left here.
i can't rightly believe it is time to leave. my mind cannot grasp the fact that it has been a month. lou took me out to lunch today. faith hung out with me this afternoon following me around the office. when vbs was over she came up to me and said today is your last official day right?and then she got all excited when i told her i would see her tomorrow. it has been such a blessing working with dakota, covenant, faith, kelly, and amanda...mary beth and i took it pretty slow tonight, which was nice considering I didn't leave the church aside from my lunch outing.

Today, was such a beautiful day. I don't have the words to express what I am feeling. The office staff gathered for a chicago style pizza lunch since it was my last full day. We joked around, laughed, reminisced about what has been accomplished. It was wonderful, they gave me such a beautiful card, a mug, a scarf and a gift card to my favorite store; though their very love has been more than enough and blessed me more than they will ever know. Dakota and Luke came down the hall to visit me soon after while their mother was talking to Lou. Luke is so adorable, a little old man, his vocabulary is huge for his age and he is just a delight. One of the first things he said was, "I heard she was leaving." It was such a sweet visit with him and his sister. Dakota asked me some questions about where I am headed next and then they ventured off. I did a few other little things here and there and once again stayed until VBS started.

I helped out with the preschool registration, and in the classroom. Then Mary Beth and I went to the gathering service for the play and singing, and after the play was up I went over to the girls I have been working with, I happened to walk over just as Steve started to pray and Faith wrapped her arms around me. We took some pictures, and they kept saying how sad it was to see me leave. Daily emails were promised on their end and then we went up to grab Faith a copy of my email from the office, when her flip flop ended breaking. So we traded; I taped up her bright lime green flip flops and sported the duct tape look. Then they were off, and I went back to the preschool, where we had story time and sang. Then, I finally let myself go with the abandon that Lou has been previously mentioning to those in the office--the side of me that most of the time is replaced with a quiet sense of reserve. I let the boys chase me and we played a good game of freeze tag, though mostly they were just out to get me. I didn't stay frozen long enough to tag any of them. It was fantastic. Haha. Hmm. Then Luke's parents came in and we talked a bit about of what is ahead for me, said our goodbyes. I gave Faith a hug and promised to visit her, and she said, "I hope so, because your such a nice girl and I will miss you..."I went up to the office to retrieve my belongings, walked out to the parking lot and saw Dakota and Faith outside talking and walked over to them again and said goodbye. If you are a fan of Dawson's Creek I felt like Jen, before she gets in the Taxi to say goodbye to Capeside after they finish shooting Dawson's movie. Audrey says, "They are never going to leave are they?"Joey and the rest of the gang just keep saying Goodbye, we love you.... That was the moment, except there was a promise of girls' night out upon my next visit among the goodbyes and love you.
Those girls will forever be dear to my heart...

As well as the Lanes, whom I just bid farewell to. The hospitality they have shown me is absolutely amazing. I leave with a grateful heart with prayers on the tip of my tongue for these dear people, knowing that visits will need to become reality at some point in my future because the impact has been more than I would have ever deemed possible....It has been such a wonderful time here. My heart cannot fully explain how much of a blessing it has been working with Suburban Bible Church during this month. These dear people will never realize how much they have blessed me. I am left awestruck because once again, God has given me eyes to see that there was a reason for me being here. Eyes to see that it was worthwhile and that the people I have met are just another depiction of the God of Wonders, the beauty that is found when surrendering to a call even if you are fighting fears. There is beauty and freedom in surrender, and nothing will stop me, this undeserving daughter, from singing. Oh how He loves us...

Bidding you goodnight and farewell from this residence in Valparaiso and Highland, Indiana. The next time you will hear from me will be from home sweet home for the little less than I week that I am there. Then a slight hiatus for twenty-one days while residing alongside my heart in Mexico....

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Wedding Spurs My Thoughts to Spin with the Music at hand...

Days 20-22

Hmm. I went to a wedding on Saturday and it was absolutely beautiful, such a true depiction of a divine romance. With each wedding that I take in, my eyes happen to glance at something that is beautiful, and true, and right. Something that spurs the longing within me to rise again, tempts me to lose myself with the once dulling desire and the once fading ache. I find myself wondering if it is alright for my little girl dream to appear from the dust. Something so poignant and touching to my eyes. I just find myself wondering if something so beautiful will ever be called mine. I long for God's desires to become my own, I want that more than anything else. I will not settle; I cannot let go of my passions. This is all for Him and I know that He will grace me with contentment and peace if I am to walk with Him, alone. I know that He is enough, and all I need.

Crazy, that my thoughts can run with the sight of such an event. However all in all, Kady's wedding, was absolutely beautiful. And if I were to be true with myself, I would hope that if a wedding is something God desires for me that mine might look as beautiful.

"Til Kindgom Come" by Coldplay is something so beautiful and indeed wedding-worthy. The lyrics are so true of the waiting that accompanies us all....

The book I have been reading mentioned something along the lines of my thoughts of longing and I might as well mention it:

"This is the real danger zone, because it seems that there is no other choice to put away this part of your heart. But to send your heart into exile because your longings have no hope of being met is to exile your heart from the love of God. And He would have your whole heart. It's hard to tell whether God is arousing some desire so that you may seek a new life or simply so that this part of your heart may be made whole in Him. But whatever else may be the case, you have to begin by giving this part of your heart back to God. Above all else, your heart must find a safe home in him."

As I wait, the beauty in this divine romance that is at the tips of my fingers is more than enough. Oh, the beauty of My Maker, astounds and leaves me awestruck.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Days 16-19

Day 16-19. Ha.

Oh man, I am so behind. Yet I haven't had a spare minute to begin to describe my most stressful and challenging week since I have been here. It isn't so much that much more was required of me than the rest; perhaps this is just what happens before a team of anyone can attempt to have a huge event. VBS is stretching us. It seems that some are losing sight of the reason behind it all, and I have found that to become very frustrating. These children have no expectations of how many stars are on the ceiling, no expectations of cardstock bookmarks... I understand that these adults want so badly to keep being driven, to reach perfection in their eyes, to keep doing and doing. Maybe they don't even see the harm in the constant doing and pushing for more and more, maybe I have the eyes to see it because of so many previous VBS' in the past in Mexico, with the children who uttered shouts of glee at the sight of a room decorated by a pair of people, who were in awe of fake snow. I know it is different in the states, I do realize that. Yet I think the eyes of most children are the same, that they all want to be loved, to feel the affection, to know that up in Heaven God has His arms open wide....

It has been difficult this week, to say the least. But above all, God has brought me through it. He hasn't left me.

I have decided that I will probably be leaving here a week from today, just so I can have a little bit of time with the family, a little bit of time to unwind and unpack, only to pack again and be off to Mexico on July 4th.

More is probably to come on this, but right now I just don't have the brain power. I have been going and going nonstop today, and I just need to allot myself a mental break here in Starbucks'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 15-- A Welcome Outing in the Mix
So, as mentioned before, today was a day where rest was welcomed and enjoyed. A day without a schedule, a day that could flow with my own liking. Prime reason for venturing out of the house was to find something to wear to the wedding. I brought along an option or two, but to me, it is so very hard to know what to wear to a wedding.So I went out looking first at Kohl's, and then TJ Maxx. I did find an amazing skirt at TJ Maxx, but resisted the temptation because of the 25 dollar price tag. Amazing, yes, but convincing myselfto spend that much on a skirt--didn't happen. After that, I ventured to Panera for lunch and to enjoy a bit of a connection to the Internet for a bit. I then, went to Family Christian and was able to get two booksto keep me company--since I am reading like crazy. I went over to Old Navy, and found nothing wedding-worthy there either. I then ventured across the road for Starbuck's, it was a "You Deserve It Day,"a day that unless you are Kristi or Ashley Collins, probably wouldn't make much sense, but oh well. Finally, I went to Target thinking maybe I would find something on clearance, yet instead I walked around the store with "Slumdog Millionaire" and "He's Just Not That Into You...." And with my Mom's encouragement I ended up buying both. They were sale items, and the nights here are a bit [hmmm I can'tfind the word to use] it isn't that they are boring, cause I find contentment in the smallest of things, oh well place what word you prefer in that sentence...Perhaps, re-wording it to be that the items of entertainment I have brought are dwindling would be easier to understand than the former...

*The book I have mentioned quite a bit in this blog, illuminated yet again, another amazing point. I feel as if I must share it: The piece centered around our interactions with people, and posedthe challenge of reflecting Jesus' encounters with people. What drew me about this--was the author's depictions of how when we often try to help people we lose ourselves:

"We tend to jump in, as opposed to walking with God. Either we give too much or give too little, or we offer what is needed at the wrong time....What would happen if we began to ask Jesuswhat HE is saying when it comes to the people in our life?"
Eldrege mentioned that when He asks for guidance what he often hears is: "Give them to me."

"I know I am not alone in this bent to carry people. I'll worry about them in the night. I'll get paranoid with what someone thinks of me. I'll find myself having conversations with them when they aren't here. I'll feel as though I am not offering enough...."

Ultimatlely, it comes down to the fact that we never stop to ask God about it.

The bent he mentions is something that is so close to my heart. I often convince myself that I am the one to carry the burden of those hurting. Yes, of course, God wants me to love those and oftenlift them up; though He has never asked me to carry it all. I get lost in this battle quite frequently and this challenge is something that I am going to take to heart, because the hurting children are His and I shouldn't try and take the claim for them, I am going to give them to Him, love them with all I am, but not become convinced that it is all on me. He has taken care of it, He sees the bigger picture--that to my eyes, is missing.

It is a few hours later than once I started and I am in the middle of doing laundry. And I'd love some chocolate right about now. We just had dinner, but chocolate sounds pretty fantastic.Although, my stash of granola is no more. Nothing for this, "I have the munchies" moment [referencing a line from How to Deal] :]. Hehe. Wow, I am so random. Well, farewell for the evening. Perhaps, I willrummage through the pantry and see what the Lanes are hiding ;].

Monday, June 15, 2009

These are the days of my life...

Day 13:
Today, I was able to sleep in and enjoy time away from the office. I started my morning reading my fourth book since being here, and a couple hours later Lee ventured down and said they were venturing up north to look at some furniture and asked me if I wanted to join. After not much thought, and claiming that this was one for our "adventure book" [last night we went to see UP], I decided to tag along. We stopped to get gas and collect drinks and then drove to Taco Bell for something to hold us over. Then, we were off. I managed to get my first real glimpse at the windy city, from the truck windows, of course. Yet, it was still nice. Our two hour trip reached a total of about three hours, I believe--due to the crazed traffic caused by the Blues Festival, and perhaps just the norm of city traffic. We ended up arriving to the house and the furniture wasn't worthy of being purchased---so we began the trek back not long after a couple of looks. It was on the way that I finished the book I had started just this morning. Oh, I am quite scatterbrained it seems. After that, we went to Olive Garden and it was amazing like always; the conversation was light-hearted and full of laughter. I am pretty sure it did us all some good to just get out of the car. I think I shall stop here, because sleep is not far off from this point.

OH, I forgot on the way back, God and I had a beautiful time together. The freedom I have to talk to Him is something I often take for granted. Though today, I found myself coming back to Him in prayer.And it was such a blessing. My eyes fell upon a certain scripture in Romans 4, just a couple days ago and then today, the book I have been reading mentioned it--so it is beginning to resonate with me..."Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God,but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised."
*When referencing this verse John Eldrege pointed out, "Abraham's faith was based on a clear and specific promise of God. "God had power to do what he promised."

What kept me from turning back on June 1st was the knowledge that God was already there waiting for me in Chicago, it wasn't that my faltering faith and doubts would possible lessen His presence, or keep Him from being by my side. It was the assurance that God is who He says He is, and is going to do what He said He would. So this verse more than registers with my heart, because the truth is so very relevant to what I have faced and what I will continue to face. Yet I can hold tight to John 16:33. God is a God of promises, and a God of promises KEPT.

Day 14:
Hm..So today started significantly earlier than the yesterday, of course, being that it was Sunday. Sleep just didn't seem to be on my side last night. Yet, all is well. Due to the threat of a migraine that I believe was my culprit for lack of sleep. I made a stop to Dunkin Donuts [I probably obliterated the spelling, keep in mind it is my first time, dear friends] on the way in to church. I must say, that their chocolate chip muffins are amazing. That was my first time, if you don't count once at the Miami airport. Well worth the stop, and the 3.17 I paid for it and some caffeine. When I got there the girls were already assembled and ready to practice God of Wonders. So I thus took my familiar spot on the front row to help them out with the motions. Beforehand, Lou came over and greeted me. It is still amazes me that I have been given this opportunity to work at his church. Just such a blessing. The service started and the girls did a wonderful job yet again. The message centered around seeing both today and tomorrow with God's perspective, and the final song was Mighty to Save. Megan the little seven-year old that is at the church almost as much as me during the week, came over and stood next to me at some point during the song. Her voice was so pure and sweet; she was singing with child-like abandon and it was absolutely beautiful. After the service, I ventured to the four and five year-old room, class was quite the adventure. I was joined by three other adults that were new to the scene as well--so we kind of just made up our own schedule. That was just fine with me. After church I went out to eat with the Carl, his parents and Lee to Applebee's. Oh it has been grand eating these past two days :]. It is crazy to think that this coming Saturday is Kady's wedding. And that a week from this Monday is VBS; my time here is swiftly coming to an end.

*Random note to followers, not one of much importance. Though not much of this ever really is, haha. I shall have this huge house to myself this coming weekend. I won't know what to do with myself; most of Saturday will be spent at the church albeit for Kady's wedding and then decorating for VBS.... but still it shall be quite a change of pace.

I like to think I have conquered the messy updo that you see on Lauren and Lo on the Hills. Key phrase: I like to think. Ha. Oh well, it is easy and it works for me. I have reached the point of the awkward hair stage, the middle length that makes you either want to chop it all off, or you are strong enough to keep fighting off the temptation of venturing to the nearest salon.

We just went out looking for property: Lee, Carl's mom and I, and the owner of the house said, "I assume that you are the mother, the daughter, and the grandma." Lee replied, "Well I should be the mother, but I am not." The woman thought we both seemed to hold a resemblance to each other. That is a first, but to be expected.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. A day off, nothing required of me. Of course, not much is required of me on the weekend---but I kind of run into things, which are nice outings, but like yesterday they tend to take up most of the day.

Fourteen days without any T.V. You could almost say that I have stuck with my just one soda policy, and exchanged the once usual other two for water...There are off days, which are to be expected, with my recent bouts of migraines here and there. Three days, I have been connected to the GRAND World Wide Web, for more than the occasional five minutes at work. Sad thing is, my usual connectivity length probably was much greater than all of my wi-fi outings combined, I am actually quite sure of it. All in all, I have made some significant changes, for the better. I am sure when I venture home I might splurge a bit, before I am off on my next adventure. Yet I am also sure it has been a good thing, and that for the most part these things shall stick with me.... It is with His strength that I have been able to do this, His alone.

Each day I continue to find myself awestruck, that I actually made it here, that I actually stayed.I haven't been held hostage by distractions this entire time of my being here. True, it is only fourteen days, not a big deal. Though, the girl that once had at least one show a night, three sodas per day, and connectivity to the Internet all day long--has reasoned that there is more to this life and been able to see more of His, dear beauty that was once silenced in comparison of the distractions of the day. Awe, I think I have fallen into my rambling pattern, maybe it is time to forgo this for the time being....

Returning to jot down a few more things. Ha. I guess that is what I get for starting to write about my day during the middle of the day, instead of waiting until that day is indeed done. Carl's mom, Lee and I played a few games of rummy and chatted about my future plans. I said goodbye to them, because with Lee and Carl being out of town this next weekend, we won't be having our traditional Sunday lunch, and then the next Sunday I will have already been gone, or be leaving. After they left we all stood around in the kitchen and realized that we were all hungry, so we set about making a frozen pizza, and then they put on their favorite movie, "That Thing You Do," I am surprised that I haven't seen it before. It was pretty fantastic :]. Ranking up there with Moonstruck and Never Been Kissed, I'd say. Some people would find that hard to believe as a compliment, but it is indeed a compliment coming from me :).

Okay, so by the looks of this, I am a person who never stops talking. I should really turn in now.
My prediction of Day 15 includes: a retreat for wi-fi most likely lunch at my second home, a search for a dress for Kady's wedding, and quite possibly a book or two since I am left with just one that is unread. Plans could indeed change, I should really do laundry at some point...We'll see. ;].

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day Number 10:
Okay, so I had a decent amount written about day number ten and it was lost in the mayhem of computer updates. I haven't been able to grasp the correct day at all; in my mind it has been Tuesday, June8th. The funny thing is, that is not even possible. So somewhere in the mix of cutting a little under three hundred crafts (mind you, which are still an ominous stack, not yet fully accomplished), running to the copy machine, transcribing certain documents, and piecing together a packet--I have lost two days. Here I am still grappling with the idea that, yes, today is Wednesday. And yes, I have been here ten days. Wow. It truly seems like just yesterday. Lou has already started scheming a plan to keep me here rather than translating. And while the last attempt at gathering my thoughts left me feeling mostly dissapointment...since then the affirmation I have received has left me feeling better.It isn't that I go through my life living for affirmation, alone; however when I find myself lost in a new environment I struggle [well, even in the familiar, to be honest] I never feel good enough. I always fearthat I am not doing good enough. I think this is enough for today. It barely graces the surface of the busyness and the crazed state of the office, but I am tired and I am hoping to open one of the books that graced the doorstep, today...More to come much later.

Day Number 11:
A lengthy day...playing catch-up on piecing together the packets for this evening's big meeting with teachers and crew leaders for VBS. My mind turned to mush upon many an occasion between editing and rediting and compiling one packet after another. Yet, thankfully at 5:15 all was compiled forty-five minutes before the meeting was to begin. More cutting was also accomplished, and soonI will be able to say IT IS FINISHED!! Oh hooray, that will be the day. I believe, it shall call for a Starbuck's celebration, because it has been quite a feat. I just read something I found indeed worthwhile for today, especially. "This gives us a new reason to pursue holiness---we might not always be able to rouse ourselves to fight the battle on our own behalf, but we may find a deeper resolve when it comes to loving others. Don't give way, don't surrender. You are needed." This quote and the excerpt I read today were so appropriate. Today, I found myself losing resolve, the inkling to just say, "I need to step away for awhile." To just lose heart and take on a discouraged attitude, of thinking we'll never finish. While I admit, I indeed, took on a withdrawn attitude more than I should have. I kept going, becausesomewhere inside of me this very quote resonated before my eyes were drawn to it this evening. I knew that this wasn't about me, that all the while I should keep going and do this for Mary Beth, ultimatelyfor my Father. It was completed, and now my brain is looking forward an easier day tomorrow...We shall see.

Day Number 12:
I ventured to Starbucks in my giraffe tee, thanks to Niki's wisdom. [ On my way to work this morning]. Aside from that I helped Sue set up the Worship Center, and organized and straightened things for Mary Beth. And I FINALLY FINISHED THE ROCKETS!!! Thanks to Craig's help with the assembly process. It was nice to chat with someone not far from my age while attempting to complete the never-ending pile of rocket growth charts. Mary Beth left to feed her kids, and then called back in saying she probably would not make it back in--so she gave me a little more to complete. And since my heart was set on leaving early today---I completed everything in record timing. Here I am, connected to wi-fi in Starbucks not far from the house and feels absolutely wonderful to be out of the office. I can't really think of anything else worth mentioning. Although, I am trying to down an iced-coffee while fondly remembering Kristi Lee. I honestly don't know if I will be able to manage it, although we shall see. :) I am signing off for now. Farewell, friend.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day Nine and My Mind Cannot Seem to Unwind...

So, I am currently sitting in the "business corner" of my new home, Panera. Second day in a row, but with time on my hands before my next commitment and the desire to feel connected has me sitting here in the only place I am certain that has free wi-fi. I am stumbling to find words and I seem to be heaving a small sigh.I don't know how good for me this being connected is. AH, I am such a contradiction at times. I look to this time, in hopes of chatting with a dear friend, though I am instead retelling myself my story to the likes of my computer screen, in the background is the rumble of deep conversation of two men chatting up the business. I am fighting my first worries, as well. In an hour or so, I will be going back to the church to lend a hand with Middle School---and it is so different. Little kids don't seem to pass any judgment, but here I am, and all I can think about is what will they think of me? I know it isn't even a big deal; I know that I am who I am. I have no desire in putting up a front, and in the back of my mind I know, that it will all be okay. That there is no need to worry. NO need to doubt. God has this taken care of, just like He had this whole opportunity taken care of.

Anyways, hmm. Let me recount my day...I made copy after copy. Ventured to the staff meeting and it seemed that my list kept getting longer, with nothing being able to be crossed off. No one was disappointed with my somewhat lack of productivity, but myself.

Oh Father, I just need to rest in You. I just need to sit and bask in Your silence. I need to let myself unwind, and stop trying to do something. I think I am trying to overthink, overdo. I am losing sight of why I am here. I am losing sight of myself and who You are, all I seem to be seeing is my fear. I falter by trying and pushing myself constantly. Times like this, when I just want to be lost in the chattering of children, lost in the current of laughter, lost in the brownest of eyes I have ever seen. There is a clarity there, that I haven't come across here. Yet Father, as You wrote through me just mere days ago, there is beauty in this waiting state. So thus, I will trust. Thus, I will not rush to push myself into the busyness. Thus, I will be content in Your silence.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day Eight:

Last night, I was off to sleep at 7:30. I can't remember the last time that has happened. Of course, it was due to a migraine, but very well...

So, I have been sitting in Panera for three hours now, appreciating the wi-fi, and the sounds of people. I believe, this is my first outing to a restaurant, alone. Sure, I have had many a take-out; though I have never sat in a restaurant like this before. As odd and insignificant as this may sound, for me, it is quite significant. All of this has taken place, due to resting in His confidence.

Aside from the rambling above, another honorable mention, would be that this has been the most extensive time I have spent on the Internet since I have arrived here. The most extensive amount of time that I have alloted myself for any of the usual mere distractions that were once quite habitual in my life. One soda, or pop, as it is called here, per day. Oh I am sure, I am boring followers of mine. Yet, writing is my outlet; and this is true in any environment.

So I have an hour and twenty minutes before I need to be anywhere, and I am thinking I am in need of a change of scenery...

Venturing in His Confidence...

Day One:
I made it up North, so here I am. In the days that come to follow, you will hear stories that intertwine together, that my stay here is of such, composed. There may be times that don't make sense to the reader, however in some way it has made sense to me. Thus, I will publish even the insignificant in some eyes.

Day Two:
So this stranger has ventured out into another day. Toured the building for a second time and shared a story, known as mine. Shared in the staff meeting and the feeling of home finally began to resonate. Taken to a small-town restaurant, ventured in the company of the Spanish language. Recounted memories and making children bulletins also accompanied my day in this new world. After a twelve-and-a-half hour day one among a bout of sickness and lack of caffeine, and a day without getting lost....I can finally say that this is where I belong for the time being.....

Day Three:
Sigh*. I made it home before 9, and I must admit that this work though less strenuous, it doesn't make it any less tiresome. Perhaps, I am still adjusting to the new environment.Or maybe something completely different. I am unsure. Lou has definitely mastered my hermit life and turned it upside down--scheduling lunch after lunch. Today, I had lunch with the middle school youth guy, Jake, and was slightly nervous about the idea. Yet, he took me out for Chinese, and conversation came a lot easier than I had hoped. So I know that God was there, because His words are becoming more evident with each passing day, where two or three are gathered, there You are...So I managed to not get lost, and have a proper amount of caffeine intake, and I have lunch and dinner plans tomorrow. I absolutely am growing to adore the people I work with, especially Mary Beth. There is just a comfort level that has certainly been there since day one, which seems like years ago, but it was only two...And when Josh and I ventured out to eat, Sue made sure he was taking care of me..So in certain ways, I already feel at home here and the pace seems to not be so foreign. Of course, there are just aspects that will take more time. Yet, I know that God opened this door for a reason...So I shall keep moving from day to day....I am not sure of the work I am doing is in fact significant, or if I am helping....Though I will just keep at work, because this is all for Him.. No matter if it is just making copies or decorating a room. I will just keep lending a hand for these dear people here. I am just behind the scenes, but that is certainly okay with me. Thank You Father, for bringing me here. I pray that you would use my life to be a blessing to these dear souls around me, that I might provide the encouragement and help that is needed while I am here. Dear Father, I pray that You would continue to mold me into a woman after your own heart, break my heart for what breaks yours. God,use me to the fullest. I love you and I am so grateful that You are here with me....

Day Four:
So what I have seemed to ascertain these past few days is that my story is quite hard to gather. Miles have been shed in my journey, and a good amount of distance. It is hard to explain and understand,though I know that God has indeed orchestrated each and every moment, each and every mile. Gratitude indeed rests upon my heart, because Jesus has gone ahead, and it isn't about me taking Him somewhere else. He is already there, and the beauty in this assurance--happens to astound me, leaves me speechless.
Yet again, I made copies and shared in ice cream cake with the office, and Lou told me that we share something in common, that we tend to associate ourselves with those much younger....I braided Megan's hair, prepared some more for VBS, finished decorating the room...and managed to actually feeling the stress of being stretched in the office. I finally happened upon a familiar face with lunch with Kady, and it was a welcome relief and blessing to catch up. A few more hours were spent in the office and then, Lisa made it to the office and we ventured to eat Mexican and share in our adventures of past. We found a common liking in reality TV and Latinos. I came back to the house and went out on a drive with Carl and Lee, a nice distraction. It feels almost natural now, and for that I am grateful. So no matter how hard my story may be for some to take in, I would change not one aspect. Everything has led me to this place where I am now; no matter that years ago I could have never imagined myself to do this, or have such a longing to be on a foreign field. I was reading today that we aren't to live our lives saying maybe some other time. Now is the time. So when it comes to this moment, I know that I couldn't just sit back and say maybe next time to venture this distance, or for that matter what is to come in July, and then soon after in the fall with language school---I must keep pressing onward, and not looking toward what is behind..I haven't got it all figured out yet, but I am not going to stop moving forward...this is all for Him.

Day Five:
I tried to make the trek to the church and pick up tickets this morning, but failed miserably in that area. The directions seemed to veer me off onto an unknown path and before I could forget how to get back to the familiar I just stopped. Yet, the only person that seemed to be upset with me was indeed, myself. I then, shadowed a meeting and was enlisted as the photographer for VBS. I was given some jobs to do with the discovery of my much-loved handwriting. So I once again, prepared some crafts for VBS, cut some projects in half, and created a sign-in sheet for the VBS Nursery. The girls met up with me not long after, and we practiced our song. Once that was over, I went into the main office and found Lou and asked him if there was something I might be able to do--and so it happened that the next few hours we worked side by side sending out job openings to different universities. Oh, I also saw Sara Rodriguez, who was adamant that if I was ever to get in a bind to give her a call, or let her know if I needed anything at all. So yes, my days may seem boring to most, but I find myself in quiet agreement with them. It seems that no matter how little the jobs are that I have completed they seem to be helping out these dear people--cause with each day that passes I am receiving quiet affirmation. I am basking in God's peace and He has indeed showered me with contentment here. So much so, I am having trouble figuring out when I should leave. I sit here, in silent amazement, because God takes the most frightening circumstances in my eyes, and He turns them around into something beautiful. Oh the miles, these eyes have seen, the people this heart has loved--all of these are a gift from the Father.

My day ended with dinner with the Lane's, a comical affair, maybe at least a hour and a half, close to two hours because our waitress forgot to send our order to the kitchen, and then when it finally arrived the man helping her ended up dropping half of mine. Oh, it was quite the release, after what seemed like a long day for all of us. Stories were shared, and I must say that the comfort level here is also growing. For this truth, I could not be any more grateful; because even those who aren't experiencing such express their hesitancy when I share it. Though I don't think I could ask for a better home. Laughter is shared almost every day, and each day that passes I learn something new...

Day Six:
Oh how good it is, to be off and away from the busyness and stretched life of living it up in the office. I ended up reading an entire book and helping Lee put up blinds, which was another comical affair. Resting up on the balcony and then eating outside culminated my day..

Day Seven:
So I woke up pretty early with having to be at the church at 8:30 with the girls, so they could practice. When I got to the church it was just Covenant and I, and immediately I met this adorable nine-year old girl named Hannah who became my close friend, and tagged along with me. Hannah mentioned she needed to fill out a prayer card and pray for her mom to be able to come to church. Oh, that struck a chord. It is completely evident as to why Jesus encouraged His disciples and His people to have child-like faith. The DVD didn't want to work at first, so I was told by this woman to run up to the balcony. Problem was, today was my first Sunday..and it is my first week here. And of course she didn't realize I had no idea how to get up to the sound room. Yet, everything got straightened out and the girls practiced twice and then the service began. Announcements were made, and the girls followed. They did really well for the little time we had practiced. Right after that Lou went up to the pulpit and said I am sure that you all were able to see the girls from the stage, but probably not the girl up in the front row helping them out. So with that mini-introduction, he had me stand up so the church could welcome me. After that I ventured to Hannah's classroom so she could show me around and introduce me to her teachers, and then I went to the four and five year-old room. It was a little crazed, just like I remember. It was wonderful to be back around children, though. Amazing how little time it takes before they walk over and sit right beside you or hold your hand. When church was over we went out to eat with Carl's parents, which was really nice.

I almost feel a little juvenile as I attempt to gather my thoughts and recount my day. Yet, I figure if anything this is what I will go back to, in hopes of finding a somewhat good thought in the bunch of rambled madness. Otherwise the constant going that is seeming to become my routine would drain me of having any memory of the small blessings here and there and along the way...