Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ethiopia: July 2013

A few weeks ago I ordered my very first passport, and on July 26th it will receive its very first stamp. To say I am exited would be an understatement! But all that excitement doesn't come without its share of anxieties as well. 

Let me back up...

Even though my spot-on British accent might fool you, I have never traveled anywhere. 

(**Unless you count my family's road trip to the Canadian border where I almost got us detained by the border patrol for mistakingly telling them we had suitcases full of firearms instead of fireworks as "international travel"
 ... which, for these purposes, we won't**) 

So, when an opportunity came around for me to pack up my bags and travel across the world to share the name of Jesus, I was a little nervous. Okay, I was a lot nervous, but that's beside the point. I've known and had a relationship with Jesus for as long as I can remember, but sharing my faith with others wasn't something I really ever did. I wouldn't ever shy away from a conversation about God's Word, but I wouldn't be going out of my way to share anything with others, as well. Does that make sense? I had my little comfortable box and I was perfectly happy inside of it. 

BUT all of that changed last year when I found out that God has opened the door for me to go on a short-term mission trip to Ethiopia with e3 Partners Ministry and my home church, Watermark Community Church, this coming July. My team of about 25 people will partner with Ethiopian Christians as we meet, work and build relationships with the people of Assela, Ethiopia. This could be anything from children’s/VBS, men’s & women’s outreach to assisting in the daily jobs of the residents. The purpose of this trip is to build relationships and share Christ with Ethiopians who have never heard the name of Jesus.

After watching some of my closest friends go through some pretty horrible stuff and losing friends & family members who hadn't completely committed themselves to Christ, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the hope we have in Jesus. The hope we have in the fact that WE DON'T HAVE TO FEAR DEATH, because Jesus defeated it on the cross! Does that make pain any less real? No. But it does make eternal life that much MORE real. And without that promise, I'm not sure this life would be bearable. Can you imagine never knowing about Jesus? Let alone, never even hearing his name?! Not knowing about the HOPE readily overflowing in Him? 

That's why I feel called to go to Ethiopia. 
To tell them about Jesus and His life. To tell them that He loves each and every one of them, and by accepting His life as truth, they no longer have to live in hopelessness or pain. And to share the truth that "God is light and in Him there is NO darkness at all!" 

I'll admit: I don't have all the answers. Not even close. But the beauty of living in the grace of God is that I don't have to. He doesn't expect me to. What he expects me to do is fully commit myself to being a tool, or vessel if you will, for Him to use.

Some people love the thrill and excitement of a new adventure...a land unknown. Not this girl. I like things the way they are: comfortable. I eat lunch at the same places, I get my gas at the same gas station every week, and I even still sleep with the doll that I've had since birth. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is hard. It puts you in a place that's emotional and definitely vulnerable. Paul tells us to call on His name and we will be saved, but before we can call on His name, we have to HEAR of His name. In Romans 10:13-15 it says:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are SENT? It is written,
‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ “

He never said it would be easy--or comfortable...
He calls us to be sent, to go. And that's exactly what I'm doing.

To find out more about how to prayerfully or finically support me, check out my e3 Partners page. 

Thank you to my amazingly supportive family and friends for encouraging and supporting me in this journey so far. I am so incredibly thankful for you!

On the move...

Moving. Moving. Moving.

I feel like that is all that I have done in the last two years. Emily and I moved into a new apartment last July, and, due to some extenuating circumstances, had to move to a new apartment a few months later. 

All this moving around got me thinking... Do you ever feel like you are right where you are supposed to be? 

I wasn't sure that feeling existed for a while. You see, I am quite an indecisive person. I don't like choosing what to wear, or where to eat, and when it comes to life decisions...forget it! I went back and forth four times when it came to picking (and staying at) a college. There is just something about permanence that scares me.

People always ask me how I like living in Dallas. I usually respond with some awkward high-pitched "Greeeaattt! Love it." Which then leaves people confused as to weather or not I am serious or joking. The truth is I don't even know. I grew up in a suburb and I am used to the traffic scene and big city living. But being away from it for a few years and visiting my parents in smaller towns has made me start to re-think where I want to end up. Dallas isn't somewhere I see myself in 10 years, but lately I've had the feeling that it is right where I am supposed to be.

Jobs will come and go, it's just a part of life. But I can tell you that having pretty much all of my closest friends and a huge chunk of my family within a 40 mile radius is pretty special. How does that happen?! So, if you'd like to ask me how I am enjoying Dallas... I will say that it's right where I am supposed to be. 

For now.

Emma's Birthday Celebration

For Emily's 24th birthday celebration, I wanted to do something different than a regular party. So, I told Emily to block off a Saturday in March for her Birthday Party, but she had no clue what we were doing. I had so much fun putting it all together and sneaking around behind her back :)

To start off the day, Em's momma brought her breakfast in bed!

Next stop was JD Chippery's for THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!! Not to be dramatic.

This is where our first surprise guest showed up!

Then the surprise guests kept on coming. The reactions were priceless!

We did a little shopping in the rain. I mean, it was Em's birthday after all. And shopping is her love language. 

JJ made a surprise pop-in for a birthday cupcake and Katie joined us for lunch at Eatzi's!

Maybe my favorite stop of the day was to the Dry Bar. I truly believe that every girl needs to go!! Basically, you go in to get any kind of blowout or hairstyle you want. It was so nice to be pampered for a little while, even though the weather didn't completely cooperate with us. 

Our next stop...the Perot Museum with another surprise guest!

We ended the night at Primo's in Uptown for a little Mexican delight--Em's fav!

So thankful for this sweet friend and roommate of mine. I had so much fun celebrating YOU, Em! Here's to the next 24 :)

Still not over it

Okay, I'm just going to say it... I love Sing Song. 

Like, a lot. I should be over it now, but I'm not. I love everything about the whole weekend! Seeing old friends, reminiscing about old memories, watching the show, cheering, anxiously awaiting the results. Ah! 

This year, my friends and I went back in full force to cheer on our favorite groups. Overall, the show was really great! Then again, I am so biased, I'm not sure I could ever think it was bad. 

Our little Siggies won 1st place and the Senior class won their 4th and final overall award! It was a fun weekend full of tons of reunions and celebrating.

To watch our little raindrops (!!!) go here!

Here's to hoping next year will be less emotionally charged...but no promises. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love winter. I love everything about it. Cold weather, boots, scarves, hot chocolate and all the excuses to get together with friends and family!

I was a busy beaver this holiday season, starting off with a fancy celebration for our friend Clint. Clint has been living/working in Alaska for the last several months, so when he came to visit Texas for his birthday and the holidays, he treated us to a celebration dinner! It was so much fun to have Clint back in Dal for a few days and to celebrate all together. 

On Thanksgiving, Becks and I did the Dallas Turkey Trot. Don't let the pictures fool you...I had to beg her for weeeeks to do it with me...but in the end, I think she was happy :)

Of course we had a dinner celebration on 12/12/12...Our favorite day!

Instead of doing a traditional Christmas gift exchange  my friends and I did Secret Santa and celebrated with a brunch at Oddfellows. SO. STINKING. GOOD. 

A few weeks later, my friends and I did the Jingle Bell Run, too. I'm not sure I would recommend it...but at least we got a few photo opportunities out of it.

I was so thankful to be able to spend Christmas with my parents in Oklahoma again this year. It seems that every year I am more and more thankful for a few days with my favorite people around the holidays. It's always a blessing. Unfortunately, we had "blizzard-like" conditions in OK, so we weren't able to go to Texas on Christmas Day. It was a little weird not to see my extended family, but we made up for it with a late Christmas celebration in January.

Anddd to wrap up an incredible 2012, I was sooo excited to be able to help my sweet friend Corinne celebrate her wedding weekend! She was married to her sweet love two days after Christmas in one of the sweetest I've been a part of. Corinne is such a special friend from college (we worked together for a year and a half) so it was such a blessing to celebrate with her! Love you :)

On New Years Eve, a few of my friends and I stayed in Dallas to ring in the fabulous 2013. 

It is still crazy to think that another year has come and gone, but I am so excited to see what this year has in store. 

October 2012

What a crazy October...I'm not even sure where to begin!

Like most schools, ACU celebrated their Homecoming during the middle of October. I wasn't able to attend last year, so this year I was more than excited to put on my full alumni armor and live it up at all the festivities. Unfortunately, the week of Homecoming, my friend Rachel's dad suddenly passed away. It was such a shock, and after everything that family has been through this year, we were all devastated. My friends and I ended up heading to Abilene mid-week to spend time with Rach and her family. I wasn't really sure how the week or weekend would be, but I can honestly say that it was one of the most encouraging times of my life. Seeing how people loved Rachel, her dad, and their whole family through such a hard time was really humbling and amazing to watch. It is just another reminder of how incredible our God is to put the right people in our lives at the right time. So awesome.

We ended up seeing tons of old friends--laughing, crying and staying up way too late. It was magical.

At the end of October, Emily and I threw a little Halloween party at our apartment. I, of course, dressed up as an USA Olympic gold medalist gymnast--my dream. Then, on actual Halloween, a few of us went to a haunted house to do it up right.

So there you have it. Another month there and gone. Onto the next...