Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday 9.26.13

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
-Psalm 30:11-12

15. my baby brother came to visit for the weekend
16. rained!
17. fall leaf Sunday School crafts hanging in my window
18. bringing honeycrisp apples home from church 
19. an invitation to pick apples at a church members house
20. driving past the mum and pumpkin stand
21. evenings spent making muffins with a candle burning in the background
22. Colts win
23. fall season premiers started this week
24. coffee
25. cold evenings meant for drinking tea
26. allergy medicine
27. staying within my (strict) budget
28. unexpected sources of income
29. walking to the middle school to sub and seeing students gathered praying for see you at the poll
30. tomorrow=Influence Conference! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Bucket List

The past 4 falls I've spent out of the country. Three were in China, where they do have fall, but it fails in comparison to fall in Indiana. Last year I was in South Africa and Swaziland where, instead of fall, they were enjoying spring. Needless to say, I am planning on taking full advantage of fall this year, my first one at home in 5 years!

  • pumpkin carving 
  • a trip to an orchard and/or a pumpkin patch
  • drink lots of pumpkin spice lattes!
  • invite friends over for an afternoon of watching football, eating chili, and drinking cider
  • go hiking
  • take pictures of the changing leaves
  • jeans, sweaters, scarves, and boots
  • curl up with a good book
  • invite friends over for a bonfire complete with ooey gooey smores
  • make recipes I've pinned on pinterest
  • rake leaves and maybe even jump in them
  • hand out candy on halloween
  • go to Seattle
  • bake with pumpkin and or apples as often as possible
  • surprise people with baked goods
  • cook and host Thanksgiving dinner
  • enjoy coffee dates with friends
  • take time every day to be thankful for Gods creation
  • decorate leaf shaped sugar cookies
  • read at least 5 books
  • hammock curled us with a blanket
  • light candles whenever I can
  • go to the covered bridge festival
Here's to a great fall!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

So I'm Going to the Influence Conference

You know the times when God puts something on your heart and won't let you let go. Even when you try to forget about it. Even when you convince yourself there is no way you can afford it. Even when you say this is way out of your league. Yeah, that was the Influence Conference for me. But, like most things God puts on your heart He makes a way for them to happen, so I am super excited to be going to the Influence Conference this year! It's all last minute but it's amazing for me to see how everything has come together in the last day. So, I am linking up to get to know some of the attendees I have the privilege to meet next week!


2 things I'll be sure to have packed in my bag
  • Like so many others I'll be sure to bring a cute notebook and good pens. I am super ocd about pens so it is extra important for me to have a few extras in case I lose them or they run out of ink!
  • Can I say an open mind (I guess I can say anything, it's my blog, right!) But really, this is kinda a huge step for me so that will be a great thing to ave. (Oh, I'll have coffee, snacks, and will have my nalgene on me at all times!)
2 things I am looking forward to
  • Community!!!! Since moving back home one thing I am desperately missing is community and the idea of 2 1/2 days packed with it is super exciting, even if part of me it terrified because I don't know anyone!
  • Learning, or at least beginning to learn, why God wanted me to attend
So, that's it. I'l so excited to meet new people, make new friends, worship, and learn more about what my influence means for the kingdom of God!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thankful Thursday 9.13.2013

  • My computer died the second day I was in China this summer. Today when I got home my new computer was waiting for me!
  • There is finally a coffee shop in town!
  • pumpkin spice lattes from said coffee shop
  • 3 sub jobs this week!
  • sweet conversation and a picnic lunch with Amie
  • driving and seeing nothing but corn fields
  • hugs from kids after a long day of subbing
  • clouds and blue sky
  • shopping at Target and finding awesome clearance sales
  • home-cooked meals
  • air conditioning and 90 degree days
  • cheese curds and root beer
  • surprise messages from friends 
  • homemade vanilla iced coffee and shereadstruth to start my mornings

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: Great Wall

Just another trip to the Great Wall, because I had only been there 8 times before...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Feeding the Hungry

As I was watching the news this morning I saw that September is national hunger action month. While traveling around the world the past year I saw countless examples of hunger and poverty. Many of the organizations I served with offered the only balanced meal a child would receive each day. However, one experience sticks out in my mind. Here are the events that unfolded minutes after we arrived at our ministry site for the month of October...
As we arrived to our new ministry site we were welcomed by two trucks full of tons of food. Beam Africa had received a donation of tomato sauce, bananas, butternut squash, and cabbage just in time for our arrival. So, of course, we were immediately put to work unloading everything. 

As quickly as we had everything unloaded people started showing up ready to receive food. Several area organizations came to stock their pantries and word quickly spread in the community as mothers, fathers, and grandmothers came with wheelbarrows, baskets, and boxes to see what we had to offer. Lines quickly formed and in the organized chaos we distributed all we could.

It was such a humbling experience. About half way through we could no longer give out fresh vegetables. Many would ask if they could have just one for their children, but we had to say no again and again. The people understood, but at the same time it was hard for me to say.

But, at the same time, we were able to serve so many people. We were able to give these families a little more, a little extra so they could eat. I prayed over the food the it would nourish
  the families who would consume it and over the recipients that they would use the food wisely being a blessing instead of a curse. I was able to tell them that God loves them and to have a great day. God used me to be His hands and feet feeding His hungry children.

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with my now three days and have nothing to eat. and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."    -Matthew 15:32

We may never know how many people we interact with each day struggle with feeding themselves and their families. How many parents sacrifice so their children have enough to eat. We are called to do our part. Not to just give out of our excess, but to give generously. 

How many of us have food in our pantry that has been sitting there for months? Today I want to challenge you. Find that food, and even add a few of your favorite things and donate them to a local food pantry. Do you part in helping to feed the hungry.

Hunger Action Month. Together We Can Solve Hunger

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Life Lately

Life. Is has a way of not working out the way you think it will. Lately my life has not gone the way I thought it would.

This time last year I was getting ready to leave on an 11 month mission trip. I would be going to 11 different countries, one per month, partnering with a local ministry, serving and loving the people we interacted with while spreading the Gospel. This trip ended up being completely different than I expected. I loved being able to meet people from so many different cultures and share God's love with them as I served them to the best of my ability. I learned so much about myself and about the God I serve. I also had to stand up for my faith in ways I had never experienced before. 

8 months later I found myself at home. Yes, I left early. God gave me an opportunity to return home for two months and then return to China for two months to serve at T.I.P during the summer. 

This is, of course, not what I would have ever expected. But it is exactly what God had planned. Being in China this summer is exactly where I needed to be. I was blessed with amazing friendships and was able to see God move in amazing ways.

Now I find myself back at home. And right now, that's life. It's exactly where God wants me. Why, I don't completely know, but I'm excited to continue the journey so one day I'll look back and be able to say, that's why, knowing it all will be even better than I could ever plan.