Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week Without Walls

Last week we had a "Week Without Walls" - it is a time of serving the community and those around us. Students participated in various activities at school, at a local nursing home, at a neighboring school, and at a farm that cares for at risk orphans. Students swept, cleaned, taught, painted, shared, sang, and labored all for the purpose of changing our focus on self onto the focus of others... from "me" to "you".

I love our students and their hearts for others...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fro Yo Church

I came here as a Christian missionary, totally not having any idea what exactly a missionary was nor entirely sure I wanted to be one. I would have said I was in love with Jesus, loved God and loved people.

"Church" was a concept that was hazy to me. In fact, let's just not go there... Go, or don't, but whose business is that anyway?

I was thinking this morning as I was in the shower, "Okay... what have I learned? What has changed? How have I changed... And how can I be 27 years old and still getting soap in my eyes, seriously?"

I thought about church. How passionate I was to serve and be a very small part of a very big church in Atlanta.

Coming here, however, I was very messy. I had all the ducks in a row as far as some could see, but inside... oh man. If you are a fan of Picasso, I'd be your girl.

And guess what, I still am. STILL oh so messy! In fact, a dear friend sent this link to me yesterday, saying I would probably appreciate it. Yup.

So... back to shower.... soap in eyes... trickle of water coming out of the shower head.... changing from ice to steam within seconds... my two hands turning both hot and cold  knobs to unlock the secret code to warm... Church, right.

And I thought... Church. I want to be a part of a church when I go back.... Who am I? Who is this girl?
You see...  about ten years ago, I sat my father down at a T.G.I.Fridays table (or was it Chili's?... all the same) and told him I was not a Christian and thought he should know. 

It wasn't the God thing or even the Jesus factor.
It was the church.
I thought: church = Christian

And you see... church is messy!
(wait... you think so too?! You already knew that?!)

For me, I didn't want to be a part of that. I wouldn't fit in, or it wouldn't fit in exactly to my code of conduct, or I would just be surrounded by hypocrites, or worse, I would be one myself... No, I'd rather live my messy life alone where I can love God and love people and eventually come to realize that Jesus was both of those.  Can I get an amen?

Right... But let's get down to the gritty... God LOVES his church... in fact so much so he wanted to marry it (remember those childhood days when you'd say, "well if you like it so much, why don't you marry it?" HA! He did!!!)

So... If church is messy... and God LOVES his church... so much so that he married it.... that's me.
And that's you.

So I wondered... why do we stay away?
Why do we choose to not go there? not be a part? not see it for what it is?
How can we claim to love God, love people, and even love Christ, but not join in the marriage?

I had this mental image of FroYo (totally cool, hipster slang for 'frozen yogurt', because let's be honest, 'frozen yogurt' just sounds like a healthy knock-off of the good stuff).

Nowadays, all over the world, you can go into a FroYo joint and test 8-15 different flavors of the creamy goodness you can claim as healthy before deciding on AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! Granted, you pay for what you take... but the test is free!

That's how I think we've come to view church. We'll take the free and get our fill, but when it comes to actually making the commitment to joining hands with the cup and making an offering... we're hesitant.


You can get your fill on all the free blessings, but you're missing out on the special toppings.

My point is this: Church is the body of Christ... people. And we're all messy. And we are all loved.
And as my man James says so clearly: We are the only ones that are causing the division among us.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? - James 4:1

So Church,
Let your roots be in Christ.
Let your core be thankfulness.
And let your fruit grow and be shared to spread the seed.
And let us pour generously into the cup that has already been paid for us.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Water from rocks...

The nation of Israel was led into the wilderness...

Complaining, they asked, "Why have you brought us to this wretched place?....where there is no food to eat nor water to drink... simply to die?"

Then the glory of the Lord appeared.... and the Lord spoke to Moses, guided him on what to do...

So Moses did just as He commanded. With his rod he struck the rock twice, and water came forth abundantly.

....a shorthand version of Numbers 20:1-11

It's easy to see this passage and say "Wow. God is good."
God is good.

He warrants respect and asks obedience.
He leads and He provides... always.

You could easily read this passage and stop there,
but that's not the end of the story.

 12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 

Sometimes we don't know where we are going, how we will get there, or what the journey will be like, but we are called to faith and obedience.

I came here on that faith and obedience - not knowing what I was getting myself into nor how I would survive. No doubt my mind, my heart, and my being had fears.

Every step of the way My God has provided for my heart.... my safety... my loneliness... my comfort.... my everything.

And my journey is not over, but surely He is delivering me to this promised land every day
the land of peace... of grace... of joy... the place of rest.

If I don't suffer, if I don't hurt, if I don't need...
God is limited in His ability to show His mightiness and power.
He is almighty.
But if I don't enter the wilderness, I may never see the glory of God.

Praise the Lord for my every lacking, for my every desire, want, and need.
Praise the Lord for who He is, and where He leads.
Praise the Lord, forever is the song I sing.



Celebrating life

"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I have learned...

As I sit here and think about words to put down as emotion that's flooding my heart,

I cry.

I Have Learned.

I have learned to live without.
I have learned to crave.
I have learned to hunger.
And I have learned to be satisfied.

I have learned vulnerable.
I have learned fear.
I have learned weak.
And I have learned grace.

I have learned family.
I have learned friends.
I have learned to be a part of and to miss.
And I have learned relative.

I have learned silence.
I have learned to listen.
I have learned to speak.
And I have learned peace.

I have learned truth.
I have learned forgiveness.
I have learned raw.
And I have learned love.

I am beyond blessed by all of the hard and challenging lessons I have learned. I am forever thankful for all of the gifts and blessings God has simply poured into my life. Every moment, every day, through the hardness and pain, through the blessings of the rain, forever I am thankful for the day.

"Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples."
-Psalm 96: 1-3

Friday, January 17, 2014

And the beat goes on...

It's been a while.... This has been life...

Our school's main fundraiser for the year is Fall Festival. Students and teachers set up festival booths... There's an international food fair... Music... Dancing... Prizes... Good times....

Some of my students from this year and last year...

y mi comida arabe... mmmm

I was chosen for "The Big Toe Award"... which signifies someone who plays a small, important role in the functioning of the body.  

In November, I had to make a very hard decision about next year. I came here on a two year contract, and this is currently my second year. Therefore, I had to decide whether or not to renew my contract. Over two months and through a lot of prayer, advice, discussion, more prayer, more advice, more prayer.... I decided that I will not be renewing my contract for next year.

I love this country. I love my job. I love my family and friends here.
I've been starting to take pictures of the places where I live and work when I simply say to myself, "Wow... This place is so beautiful...I'm going to miss this..."

The school gate hill...

Bus stop at the bottom of "The Death Hill"

Quarter of the way up "The Death Hill"

The walk up "The Death Hill" to my house...

Top of "The Death Hill" aka my street

The view from my bed...

Cards on the patio...

A fun rainbow run in the concha (shorts and tank tops ALL YEAR LONG!)

Christmas in Caracas...

Christmas in Atlanta...

Family Night at the Nutcracker!

Night of Lights date night with Michelle & Rob at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Old college friends reunion

Trip to Nashville

Venezuelan Arepa Night!

And now.... TODAY!

I got to see another city in Venezuela, Valencia, as we went to VANAS which is an international English schools' teacher conference. I love the opportunity to get new ideas, insight, and inspiration into the profession I love.

A view on the drive...

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens..."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This is Venezuela...

Friday was scheduled to have our second Fusion - late in the afternoon we were told that a fumigation process was going to be coming on campus at 3pm to take care of our mosquito problem.... T.I.V. 3pm = 3pm-8pm, so we decided to cancel Fusion for the evening. At 3:20pm, as soon as all the students had left, the company called and canceled the appointment altogether. T.I.V.

On Saturday, we gathered as a staff around a campfire... roasted rainbow fruity marshmallows, stuck them in between some oreos and/or vanilla cream cookies, and made some Venezuelan s'mores! We sang songs together and played some campfire games (which I lost!). It was such a nice time shared together. I came with a hoody to be 'bundled' around the fire, and then remembered.... Oh yeah, this is Venezuela - off came the hoody and down came the sweat :) Totally worth it.

New roommates!

Some past days....

Kelsey needed a hair cut... T.I.V.
Baby Eli!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

That's How Love Works...

1 month in.... Wow, and the only reason I believe it's been that long is because on Saturday I went to to the 1 month birthday party of Baby Eli, our newest ICS community member :)

Busy would be an understatement.

This year I am teaching 6th (World Geo I, Bible, & Math), 7th (World Geo I & Bible), and 8th (World Geo II & Bible). I am loving my classes :)

Elementary strategies in a secondary classroom is pretty fun... Wall Talk

I am sponsoring Fusion - our secondary school youth group - and running a student leadership Fusion team. We had our first Fusion last Friday... we had a GREAT turn out, and the kids had a blast!


I am mentoring a high school lady during my lunch period.
I am tutoring two days a week.


...to sun down...

 These days are surely jammed pack.... But it's the little things that always seems to bring a smile to my face. This has always been my favorite part of my run in the concha - finally, I have captured it with more than my eyes...

Anything you work at with all your heart is always worth the work.