Monday, December 17, 2012

Deck the Halls

It's Christmas time!
(And my first Christmas with an SLR, so I'm having extra fun playing around with the lights!)

 The School Room Thankful Window

 Countdown to Christmas! Something fun or something sweet every day!

 Jason and Toby. These guys are adorbs. =)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Paint me a Rainbow


Pictures from Sonya, who missed out on all the fun by just watching. =)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The other side of the world.... only as far away as you let it be. I'm not really sure what that means, but it sounded like a good opening line. =) I've been in India for two weeks today and it's becoming more like home every day. I love India and I love my family here and I love every minute of knowing I'm right where God wants me!

We're beginning to get a nice routine with school, which I'm also loving. In fractions and spelling and algebra and grading and planning I'm finding a whole new niche for myself that I'm fitting into and thoroughly enjoying.(Okay, except for the red marks that I have to make and the times that I'm just as stumped with Algebra 2 as my student.) In between helping my pupils and working in the planning and grading books I have nice chunks of time to spend doing things like this(keeping in touch with my home people), finding fun things for us to do, and studying the Word. I've had some fun challenges figuring out how to help Sonya(my 10th grader) study for her many quizzes and tests with the huge amount of material that they cover, and planning history lessons on India for Judson, my 4th grader. 

Becca's family is here right now, so we're also doing fun things with them. Tomorrow we're planning on going to the zoo and meeting up with the kids from the slum school who are also going there for a field trip. 

Living in India and having extra time to think and study is giving me lots of thoughts about life and how I should live it. Lots of things to sort out in my mind and my life. Oh, to be like Thee!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm here!

It's official! I'm a world traveler! =) Arrived in India this morning at 5, got home at 6, and promptly went to sleep. Till, um, 4:00. And now, I'm headed back to bed. It's been a long 48 hours. Otherwise, I'm settling in and enjoying my new place. Tomorrow I'm going to look over the school stuff and try to make some head way there, with school starting in full Monday. And so the new adventure beings! =)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Memories of Grace

I spent a while this morning digging through boxes from our recent move to find my last journal, a beautiful book published by Ellie Claire that my best friend gave me for my 17th birthday. It's such a special book, because it tells the story of so many blessings and struggles, graces and lessons, gifts and tears. I wanted to read what I had written a year ago, when I went through a particularly painful time. I read the words and remembered the tears that had fallen while I wrote. And the sweet thing is knowing the joy that came in the morning, that faithfulness that God proved to me, the assurance that He was enough for me, the healing of my broken heart, and the fresh look on life. He is so good. It was a good reminder to me to continue journaling His faithfulness so I can look back and not forget. I don't want to forget the grace, the goodness, the day by day filling of my soul's deepest needs.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

two weeks

In two weeks I'll be landing in India, my home for the next six months. Till then I'm shopping, stocking up on all the things you don't realize how much you use, and spending some time in extra college work and job work. It's a busy season. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Letters Home: The End and The Beginning

   Dear friend,  
      I fell in love with India and its people while I was there! God taught me so many things about myself and my priorities and about Himself as well. I am very excited that He has opened up doors for me to serve as a school teacher for the Gunti family! I will be teaching their three children, Sonya(15), Jason(13), and Judson(7) in their home and living with them. I won’t be going out nearly as much as I did on this last trip, but I will be able to help with the Christmas gifts to the school children, VBS, etc.  I have already received my visa, praise the Lord! India requires visitors to be out of the country a minimum of two months before reentering, so I plan to go back in the middle of November. India also does not allow visitors to remain in the country more than 6 months, so that is how long I will be staying. I am so happy to be going back! I can’t wait to see how God will work!  I currently do not have the funds for my plane ticket, but God has always been faithful to provide when I am in His will, so I trust Him for that. If you feel led to help provide for that need, I will be blessed! Most of all I continue to need your prayers!  Please pray that I would be a blessing to the Gunti’s, that I would grow in my walk with the Lord, and that the Lord would provide for my health and material needs. Thank you again for your love and prayers! They mean so much! Satan does not bother with subtlety in India as he often does here, and I feel desperately my need for Jesus!
     So this is the end of the stories of my trip to India, but it is only the beginning of the rest of the story! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letters Home: The Rest

My apologies for the weird picture layout and the poor picture qaulity. Blogger was giving me fits and I didn't have time to mess with it.
Dear friend,
     Our week seemed to pass in a blur. It felt like we were there for weeks and yet like we had just arrived. Monday we first went to the English center for young people where we met the students. Austin Musser taught a class on computer basics. That afternoon we drove about an hour to GLM’s Slum School and boarding school. The children all learn together and those that are in the boarding school live there while the others live in the nearby slums. School had just let out when we arrived, so we sang with the children and told them a story. After we gave them candy the children from town left and we spent the rest of the evening playing with the children from the boarding school. This was definitely the highlight of my trip!


Tuesday we went back to the English center where I taught a lesson on sentence types and punctuation. Afterwards we played games with the girls to help them practice their English. When we sat around just talking, one of the girls said, “Tell us about God! Tell us all about Him!” We were so grateful for the opportunity! 
Tuesday evening we had kids club for some slum children and we acted out the story of Esther for them. They cheered and clapped when Haman was taken away! =)

Wednesday we drove an hour away to a slum in Hyderabad for a medical camp. Because of safety issues we girls were not able to do much besides sit in a corner and watch, take pictures, and talk to children that came over in curiosity. We were a little disappointed we weren’t able to help, but we surely did enjoy the kids. =)

Thursday the men headed to Ijeea about four hours away for weekend meetings, another medical camp, and kids club. We joined them Saturday morning for the youth meeting. This involved messages from several of the guys, kids club, and a session where each of us girls shared something with the youth girls about our worth in God’s eyes. It was late when we left and the four hour trip seemed very long indeed.
Sunday we traveled again in order to go to a baptismal three hours away. When we were about to close our church service and go to the baptism location a Hindu group showed up with the police and media. They "wanted to make sure we weren't forcing people to become Christians" and they weren't extremely disruptive or anything, but the Police did ask us to stop till they talked to a few people. Eventually they decided to postpone the baptisms and get us out, since having Americans present just makes things worse. A few miles down the road a group of men stepped into the road and told us to pull over which we did, with a police car right behind us. The drivers got out and locked our doors and after a minute or two the group told us we could leave. We think the police just pulled us over to make the Hindu group happy because they didn't seem to have a reason. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we got away from that area. There were articles in two newspapers about the incident, one which reported as it was, and one which said we were forcing them. The next day the people from that church met us at a church in between Hyderabad and their village to hold the baptism. Since coming back I was told that that very week the whole village came down with dysentery and flu and was very sick—except for the Christians! Apparently this was also written about in a newspaper.

Tuesday we visited a school in one of the sand quarries and also saw one of the camps where the children live. They were primitive at best. And then, very sadly, Tuesday evening we left Hyderabad and flew the long 24 hours back home. God blessed us with good flights coming and going! I flew home from Plain City the next day.

Now I'm longing to be back. But I'l tell you about that next time!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Letters Home: Sunday

This is the second in a series on my trip to India. Read the first letter here.

Dear friend,
After a long exhausting trip we arrived in Hyderabad at 7:30 yesterday morning. We were so tired it felt like it was night. I took a nap in the morning and afternoon and we all just relaxed all day.

We had so much fun giving the Gunti's our suitcases full of groceries and things for Good Life! They were so delighted, and barely had room for it all!

After going to bed around 10 last night I woke up at 6 when the power went off and the fan and ac stopped covering the sounds of mosquitoes and people talking and horns blowing and that pet dove who's neck I'm gonna wring one of these days.
     Church started at 11, so we sat around the Gunti's living room singing till noon and got there at 1. Oh, and we were on  time. We drove on red dirt back roads to a little village where a group of 30 or 40 men and women plus children sat on a rug under a fabric canopy singing. There were chickens and cows right outside and children running all over barefooted and by themselves. The people loved Jesus so much. The children jumped and sang and the parents bowed on their faces and prayed. Sam gave one of the guys on our team about 15 minutes notice before we left that he wanted him to teach Sunday School with one of the flannel graph stories we brought over. He did great and it was great fun watching the kids interact with the story. Around the adge of the church fabric was tied to make walls. Near where I was sitting in the back there was a hole torn in the fabric and a crack between two sticks. Some children kept peeking in the hole and listening and giggling. I watched them through my hole and just about burst out laughing when one of them reached in to poke my arm and then ran off giggling with his little friends. White people are kind of a novelty. We ate lunch in the village(around 3=) and then headed home.

Jess, Rachel, and I in our Sunday punjabis.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Letters Home:The Beginning

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell about things that happened(I know, you people that know me well are raising your eyebrows, but I promise it's true!), so I thought the easiest way to tell about my time in India would be to write as if I was writing a letter, since that's kind of how I journaled while I was there. I just might make it a habit when I go back. =)
Dear friend,
I made it the first part of the way! Landed in Ohio just fine and after spending the afternoon with a local family I met with my group at United Bethel. We had supper together and then settled down for our orientation. Richard Swartzentruber helped us to think in our first session about where we are going and why, with a close look at some of the things that make India unique. Our second session dealt with cultural contextualization--understanding that how things are done in other cultures is not necessarily wrong, just different. After we ended for the evening Rachel Horst and I went to my Uncle Lester and Aunt Janet's for the night. After a bit of a slow start in the morning we all met again at UB for worship. Richard challenged us with Deuteronomy 8:1-5 and some thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:8. He encouraged us to go before God with our hands up--an act of surrender. After some singing and prayer time, Clyde Byler gave us a challenge on going with a servant's heart from Matthew 25:14-30.  Rebecca Joy, the secretary for Good Life Ministries who is on furlough right now, gave us some tips on the culture and language. Then we brought all our luggage together and tried to fit more items into our already full suitcases. We stuffed and crammed and unpacked and repacked and weighed and emptied again till we were as close as we dared to our limits. When we finally arrived at the airport 2 hours later we had a hard time juggling all our extra luggage. We had a little mix up with an extra suitcase getting checked in, but we finally made it through with plenty of time to spare.

Even our carry-ons made a huge pile!
We finally set off on our first leg of the journey! I sat beside a sweet Indian couple with a little girl but didn't sleep much during the eight hour flight. When we reached Paris the next morning I was ready to crash. And that's where I'll leave off for now. More later!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2nd day home

I know the question is coming. People are already asking me. "How was India?" they say. How am I supposed to answer a question like that? It was heartbreaking, but it gave me great joy. It was crushing, but it gave me reason to hope. It was tragic, and it was triumphant. I went to teach, but they taught me instead. I wanted to give, but they gave to me. It's left me reeling and angry, but grasping to Jesus. "How was India?" they'll ask. And I'll just smile and say, "It was amazing," because that's all most people really want to hear and maybe all I can say right now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Two days...

Wednesday morning I'll be leaving bright and early (Or, dark and early since it'll be 4:30) for the airport! I'm flying to Ohio where I'll meet my team and have orientation and then Thursday evening we're flying to India! Till then I'm working on college classes and packing and catching up on sleep.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

  When You said"Seek My face," my heart said to You, 

"Your face, O LORD, I shall seek." Psalm 27:8

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My biggest fear...

My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus' 

words and walk away, content to settle for less than

radical obedience to Him. ” 

My latest creative endeavor!

It's one of those things that when I finished, I leaned back, sighed, and said, "It's beautiful!" 
And I love making beautiful things. Beautiful music, beautiful photographs....I just delight in them! I used to think I didn't have any creativity, but now that I'm discovering it, I am having so much fun! =D
I bought this desk(Which actually didn't look as bad as the before picture; I forgot to take a "before" picture till I had sanded and cleaned it, hence the scratchy white look.) at a antique shop when I was searching for a writing desk a while back and it was just what I wanted. I was  delighted to find it, especially since it was in my price range! I love the drawer in the middle and the deep bottom drawers that are really the depth of two drawers with a faux front. It's just perfect. Except that I didn't really like the wood color. So, without much afore thought and really on the spur of a moment, I decided I would like to paint it the color that our room will be when we finish it. I put it on my bucket list for the summer, and this past weekend, I finally got it done! It didn't take long at all, a couple hours of prepping and priming, and two coats of paint, and I now have a desk that is not only exactly what I need, but every time I look at it I sigh and think, "Wow, I made something beautiful!" Hm....I wonder if that's how God looks at His creation. There's a thought for you to think on. =)
Do you enjoy creating beauty? What is your reaction when you create something that is beautiful? Do you think that is God's reaction to us, and, if so, what are the implications of that in your mind?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

What is the difference??

“So what is the difference between someone who willfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who willfully indulges in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor? The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves the social norm in the church.” 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Exactly 45 days...

till I go to India!!!! I'm really trying to not calculate that daily.  =) Meanwhile, you can get acquainted with the ministry we'll be helping at their website, by clicking the picture below. If you look at the pictures of the medical camps, you'll get a glimpse of what it will be like as we give glasses to children in need.( Except the picture keeps disappearing, so you can just go to )

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes" - Erasmus 
(Tis so true! I found a little thrift store in Maryland with a $1/bag book sale and picked up all of these[minus the two top books which were a gift from my students] for $2! Score!)


I've been back from Maryland a little over a week and finally have some pictures together. Rather than try to post them all on here, I added them to my site at everydayserendipity.shutterfly.comm, so you can head over there if you'd like to see them!

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 
~C.S. Lewis

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pray for me?

It's official! I'm teaching VBS to preschoolers in Maryland for a week in June and giving eye glasses to children in India in September! (!!!#SSOOOO EXCITED!) Pray for me? Please? I didn't put it on my prayer card, but I would just be so grateful if you'd pray that I'd have creativity in teaching my class and that I'd be able to know how to make it fun and make it stick! I don't have a natural supply of creativity, so I'm trusting God to come through on that one! =)


I took my camera to work with me the other day, and the boys and I just had a blast!
It was a really warm day, so we got out the popsicles and went on a walk to the park!
Dom really wanted that popsicle!
Uh-oh, where'd it go?
Sliding with broccoli! We munched on broccoli all morning long! Shameless health nuts! =)
"What'd ya want woman?"
And my favorite...
I love my babies! =]
 Linking up at The Simple Things...

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