Thoughts about being thankful

So, I am not doing so great so far on this whole blogging thing. I wish I could do better as I truly love writing, but when the inspiration hits me I am either far from a computer or don't have the time to sit down and make sense of any of it. But, I do have good intentions!

Today is thanksgiving the United States anyway. When I woke up this morning, though, I totally didn't remember, but then as I was going up the steps to meet a team to take them to Antigua, I remembered. I must admit I was a little bummed. I kept thinking about all those years of waking up in my comfy bed...being able to almost smell the crispness of the air outside and then watching the parade with my parents while we each prepared our food item to take to grandma's house. Eventually we make it to one of my grandparent's houses, and we all eat way too much food, but we have a great time talking, laughing, and playing games. Then, we turn on the movie the Christmas story...even though we have all seen it a hundred times by now. It is always a great day, and I am sure my family had an equally great one today as well.

I, however, went to Antigua...not bad as it is one of my favorite places in Guatemala. I helped the team navigate as well as did a little shopping for everyone back home. (I got my sister a GREAT birthday present which I am super excited about it.) I also bought my son his first ice cream cone...he has had ice cream before but never in a cone, and I had a blast watching him get super dirty but loving every minute of it. It definitely wasn't my typical Thanksgiving day but it was fun nonetheless.

If I am totally honest though, there was still just a twinge of sadness at not being with all my loved ones at home in KC. Traditions are important in my family, and we have some great ones. I am about to celebrate one year of marriage in just a few days but I think I still struggle with remembering that my family is different now. The old one is still there but I have a husband and now a son to think about too...they are my immediate family. Weird! Being honest, it still feels kind of weird. :) I still feel like a little girl. I sometimes have troubling grasping that I am a wife and a mother!

But, today in the midst of feeling a bit sad about not being in KC, I was able to have a "this is something to really be thankful for" moment. I was helping the leader of the team get to Antigua so I was in the front seat. Well, the leader of this team is one of my old friends from SBU, Joel. He was on the very first team with me when I came to Guatemala six years ago. We were just kind of chatting and reminiscing about that first trip, and we both just had this moment of like, "I can't believe that here we are again", both married, he leading teams back to Casa Bernabe and me living here full time as a missionary and wife. Neither of us would have ever imagined that way back then. So, then I just started thinking about my journey coming back to Casa Bernabe and my relationship with Emy hubby and how it evolved over time and how we are now about to celebrate our first year anniversary. I was so struck by God's faithfulness and goodness to me. I am so blessed! I think my problem is that I have trouble focusing on the present. I spend so much time wishing for what I had or longing for what is to come, that I completely miss the right here and now.

So, today I am saying thank you Lord for my beautiful amazing husband, my precious little son (keep praying for the adoption), my 14 princesses here in my house, my incredible parents in KC, my gorgeous sister and brother in law and sweet little nephew and niece, and all the rest of my wonderful loved ones. God is good. I wish I could be with ALL of them today and celebrate all of the reasons we have for thankfulness, but I will settle for just resting in the assurance that I am loved, and I am blessed to have so many to love too!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!


My testimony

So, this my first attempt in the "blogging world." I have heard much about it and taken the occasional stop while perusing the Internet on some of my friends blogs. I never thought to give it a try myself though until now. I realize that as my own ministry is growing, and I am now farther than ever away from all my nearest and dearest loved ones, maybe this could be a great way for everyone to keep up on my family, my ministry, and me. So I guess here goes nothing!

I feel as though I can't start this without first giving my readers a little bit of an idea of who I am and what I am all about. I will do my best to be as concise as possible as I have a tendency to be a little long winded at times. I grew up in a Christian home with the most AMAZING parents in the world and the best little sister. We were a tight-knit group (and still are) as was the rest of my extended family. It was a very idyllic upbringing. I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of 13, but it wasn't until I was a freshman in high school that I began to really understand what kind of commitment I had really made. It was at that point that I realize God was asking me to not only commit my heart to Him but my whole life. I began reading my Bible daily, journaling, and just growing in my walk with Him. I was falling in love with Jesus more and more each day. After graduating high school, I went off to college at Southwest Baptist University. It was there that things really started to shake up!

It was a beautiful fall day in October, and I was sitting in chapel like any other Monday or Wednesday. The guest speaker was a lady from L.A. who worked for the organization Compassion International. I can't remember her words from that day, but I do remember the feeling I had while listening to her. I started shaking...literally shaking. I knew God was trying to speak to me, but I wasn't sure what exactly He was trying to say. Did he want me to work for that organization too? Did he want me to be a single missionary in the inner-city? What did he want? As soon as I could, I raced back to my dorm room, shut the door, and got down on my knees, crying out to God for answers. I remember opening my Bible. I am not exactly sure how I arrived there, but I eventually began reading in Isaiah 61:1. It says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." In that moment, I knew what God was telling me. He wanted me to be a missionary...a foreign missionary to be more exact. I know for some their hearts would jump at the chance to be a foreign missionary. They are still waiting for God to call them to go, but not me. I was scared out of pants...literally. I didn't want to go. I loved KC and my close-knit family. I wanted to be a teacher and just live near them. That seemed plenty noble enough for me. Why leave??

But, when I had given my life to Jesus Christ, I had committed to giving Him all of it, so if He was asking me to go, I had to go. Although I had had several experiences with stateside missions trips, I had never actually left the country before. That all changed, though, in December of 2002 when I first stepped foot on the soil of Guatemala and began work at an orphanage called Casa Bernabe. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't all glorious to begin with. I thought I had lost my mind those first two days. I was incredibly sick and in bed...and in a foreign country without my mama! Once again I was on my knees, though, crying out to God for answers. He showed me Joshua 1:9. It reads, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong adn courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Thankfully, He healed me not only physically but spiritually as well, and my life changed those three weeks I was there. It was like God kept whispering in my ear all throughout the trip, "This is what I have for you...this is what I had planned for you...isn't it better than all your wildest dreams." Yep, I was hooked. I went again my senior year of college, and after graduating in May of 2004, I moved down there for a year to work with the babies. I came back home to KC in December of 2005 and was sure that God would be sending me right back to Guatemala just as soon as I was able to raise some more support. I learned once again the hard way though that God's ways are definitely not always mine. He didn't call me right fact, I wasn't hearing Him call me back at all. I was able to do some amazing other things like study in Costa Rica and travel to Mexico, but through it all, my heart still cried out for Guatemala. Finally, in August of 2007, God called me back full-time...not only as a missionary but as a wife as well. Through all those years of traveling to Casa Bernabe and working there, I developed an amazing friendship with one of the workers there. We were the very best of friends and over time, it developed into something much deeper. We were engaged the summer of 2007 and then married twice on November 30, 2007 in KC and December 2, 2007 here at the orphanage. We are now serving together here full-time as house parents of 14 amazing girls. I also serve as the team and missionaries coordinator and he also serves as the sub-director here. We wear lots of other hats when the time calls for it, but those are our main ones for now. We are also in the process of adopting a little boy from here.

I feel like if any three words could be used to describe what I feel when I think of my testimony it is "God is faithful." I always think I know what I want or what is best, but God never ceases to amaze and surprise me with everything He has for me...and how it is always SO much bigger and better than what I had in mind for myself! God is good dear friends, and it is so amazing that we get to be a part of what He is doing here on earth!


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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