gifts February 5th-21st

 

“The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world. We lay the soil of our hard loves open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for our world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks.” One Thousand Gifts- Ann Voskamp pg. 58

February 5th
One gift stitched, one woven, one hammered

  • the little nose of my teddy bear that has seen me through a lot
  • red, plaid, flannel sheets
  • a dark wood fence, snow piled high on the posts and beams

February 6th
3 gifts found outside

  • frozen-frost covered trees
  • cold wind in my hair
  • geese flying overhead in a perfect ‘V’

February 7th
3 gifts of red

  • a silver-haired lady with a red hat
  • red socks(Christmas print…I can’t bring myself to put them away yet)
  • ?

February 8th
One gift broken, one fixed, one thrifted

  • a happy sunshiney daisy in a table bouquet…broken, yet beautiful.
  • the mug Amy brought me from PNG – glued back together and very useful
  • a thrifted glass bowl with fruit

February 9th
3 unexpected graces -surprises

  •  time spent with Raul(the owner of one of my very favorite local coffee shops) swapping life stories and encouragement.
  • a bloodorange moon hanging low in the sky. One of my favorite things in the sky!
  • ?

February 10th
3 times you heard laughter

  • Kip laughing as I tickle him
  • a round jolly man simply enjoying life
  • a baby laughing at her mommy’s antics

February 11th
3 gifts found in working

  • a sweet, hospitable, black lady serving in a hotel breakfast room
  • a man whistling to himself as he shined glasses. …enjoy work!
  • a man cleaning a table while sharing a laugh with a friend

February 12th
3 hard eucharisteos

  • saying “goodbye”…that means I got to say hi.
  • living paycheck to paycheck…learning to trust and be responsible.
  • cold wind late at night when I go out to my car…warmer weather will be here soon!

February 13th
3 gifts found behind a door

  • a warm, bright blue robe
  • 2 Turkish girls in brightly colored clothes; smiling and saying my name in excitement
  • a room full of beautiful, diverse, ESL students, heads bent in study

February 14th
3 ways you feel the Love of God

  • in a hug from Soo-Jeong
  • in a moment of head-to-toe warmth from sunshine
  • a quiet stillness amidst chaos as I smell a bouquet of flowers…yes, He loves me 🙂

February 15th
3 gifts- one in finding, one in losing, one in making

  • a vintage Curious George book on sale at ARC
  • losing sleep over journaling. It is good to name gifts.
  • bubbling gratin in a corningware dish

February 16th
3 gifts in shadows

  • a man pacing in the big wooden doorway of a beautiful stone church
  • a nod and a smile from the man under the blue cap. I wonder what his story is…I wish I had taken the time to find out.
  • lines formed by bare limbs over snowy ground

February 17th
3 gifts found giving/serving

  • a door held for me by a gentleman
  • a bag of steaming ramen shared with my Korean girls. The smiles and chopsticks flew!
  • a beautiful white-haired head of Grandmom bent over a laundry basket

February 18th
3 gifts on paper

  • a card and envelope covered in cutesy Korean stickers accompanied by words of love and appreciation
  • splatters of stuff in my new cookbook(possibly the most useful gift ever!)
  • polariod pictures!

February 19th
3 gifts that were Plan B’s

  • uh…so I failed on the whole Plan B things. So here are just 3 gifts of today.
  • newborn, Miles, forehead wrinkles
  • Emma Holt: “I am thankful God made trees for me to climb….” Finding joy in an everyday thing we see
  • a griddle filled with grilled cheese sandwhiches

February 20th
A gift at breakfast, lunch, and dinner

  • a really full, unexpectedly cheap, cup of joe
  • a letter from Faith!
  • apple cinnamon calzone with vanilla ice cream melting all over it , shared with a friend

February 21st
3 gifts of white

  • full, wonderful white foam on a macadamia/coconut latte…heaven, I say.
  • a mason jar full of milk
  • stringy white clouds light by the moon

the dare…

I took a dare. Usually I am not the type of girl to take someone up on a dare…unless it is something I really want to do. And this one…well…I want to do. But I know it will not be easy…but that doesn’t matter…it will be good…very good.

For 29 days I will be listing 3 gifts. See this link for a lengthier explanation. Also, here is the link to the various gifts I will be looking for this month. I discovered the link to the specific February list after I started…so from here I will be following the list. I will go ahead and list the first days with what I did though. Without further rambling….

February 1st

  • whispered “i love you”‘s from little kiddos
  • talks with people that understand [adoption]
  • unpaved, wonderful country roads
February 2nd
  • the first few flakes of a snowstorm
  • unexpected hugs
  • adopted brothers
February 3rd
  • steaming cup of coffee, the cup a present from Grandma
  • blank pages to fill
  • the heaviness of a sleeping kiddo

February 4th

  •  a forgotten, fun-sized pack of skittles
  • a warm pair of slippers
  • lots and lots of tiny, unique snowflakes

forward

I am excited. I am maybe even a little apprehensive. That is just me being honest.

2012 is stretched out before me…350 days of unknown territory. I won’t sit here and refuse to step forward…that is not what God asks of me. He asks me to trust Him. And why shouldn’t I? …exactly…there is no reason I shouldn’t.

I will continue to love, even if it hurts. I will continue to walk forward, even if the next small step is all I can see. I will continue to trust, even when I hear the whispers of self-reliance. He will continue to be faithful, because that is who He is.

to love

I had read this quote a while back and came across it again yesterday…great to be reminded of the truth in this!

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S. Lewis

of the past and future

Ladies and Gents(do you even read this blog of mine?)
Happy 2012! Wow, how weird is that? I remember thinking 2000 was futuristic! 😛
I am going to recap my personal life in 2011 and then share a few hopes and dreams I have for 2012.You would have found me living in a little white house with Abby, Rissa, Heather, and her son, Gabriel. We were a cozy, busy, running here-and-there sort of “family”. At this time I was prepping for my trip to Lebanon, Pennsylvania.February came and I turned 21. I had my first birthday pinata and was blessed by all my

friends supporting me in pursuing going to PA. I saw my God’s faithfulness in providing all the funds for the trip! I was in PA for 5 weeks. I left PA with a TESOL certificate, wonderful experiences with beautiful people, fun memories with amazing friends, and a love for teaching English.

Early in the summer I started aiding in ESL classes in Fort Collins. Little did I know how attached I would become to the people(students and the teacher). It was hard to say goodbye to those that I might would never see again, but looked forward to continuing building friendships over the break and then starting back the fall semester. I became friends with some cool Turkish people. I picked up a few Turkish words, love the food, can make the tea, tried the coffee(and almost died!), watched a couple movies in Turkish(sometimes I had English subtitles), and learned a lot about their culture and about mine, actually.

One thing I really love about ESL is learning about other cultures. Also, the relationships. I have a Korean mother, Swiss grandfather, lovely Spanish, Hispanic, Polish, Brazlian, Puruvian, and Chinese friends that *want* to learn English/American culture and are more than happy to share theirs with me. Not to mention the amazing teacher that has kindly taken me under her wing!

Also, I quit work at Penguins(the coffee/ice cream shop I had worked at since moving to Colorado) and Marshalls(I don’t miss retail). I ended up finding a 2 day-a-week nanny job in a neighboring town…then they referred me to another nearby family. In the first family I have a 4yo boy and a 2yo girl. The second family I have an 8yo girl then 5yo and 2yo boys. It is SO much fun being a nanny…I’ve really come to love the kids 🙂 I’ve re-learned how to drive a vehicle bigger than a 4 door sedan. I’ve learned that jeans with spills on them, playdough under the nails, and sticky hands/faces are all apart of everyday life.

In September our little white house family disbanded. It was just time for us to move on in different directions. Abby and I moved to a little two-story apartment in lovely Windsor. While trying to get out of the house and find a place for the 2 of us we learned even more about each other, the faithfulness of God when we seek Him, and how to wait with a smile on our faces and a skip in our step. 😉

Early in October Abby and I packed up for a quick trip to Chicago to visit our good friend, Josh, who is at the Navy base there. We had so much fun seeing Josh and doing some sight seeing in Chicago. I love to travel and experiences new places!
I finally meet Hannah Rose, a dear friend, in person! Oh, the times spent together are such great memories. The tears, laughs, jokes, pictures, coffee/chai, songs…yes, good times.

Around this time I started attending a little church in Milliken(about 13min away). It is a very small church…but, oh, so good. The pastor and his family are fantastic, the families are so friendly, the focus is knowing God and reaching out to the community. I got to connect quite a few from the community on Christmas Eve. So fun!

November…November was monumental.  Kip turned 3. I can hardly believe 3 years has gone by already. He is a happy, bouncy, fun-loving little boy!
I went to Disney World! 😀 Family K asked me if I was available to go with them for a long weekend to help with the kids. I had never been to Disney, it would be considered “work”, and it would be fun to spend time with them as a family. It was a long weekend, late nights/early mornings, lots of adrenaline, walking, and standing in line waiting on characters…but it was all worth it 🙂

 

 

 

December was just plain amazing! Spent some time with McConn’s on Christmas then Abby and I spent a couple days with the Wisharts(a dear family that has taken us in…) Christmas was just so good to relax and enjoy family and friends. Yes, it made me miss my family back east. Gosh, yes. But…I am here. I am happy, growing, and loving life here in Colorado. Not to mention that Christmas is like my very favorite holiday(other than my birthday. wait, is one’s birthday considered a holiday?).

Things I discovered, learned, and realized I love/appreciate in 2011:Skype
Mumford&Sons
swing dancing
the library
having a filled out day planner
kids grow up entirely too fast
Sherlock(BBC series)
coffee with best friends
foreign films
mustaches
pinterest
being crafty
cooking
how much I really love adoption

So moving onto 2012. So far, so wonderful! new friends, new music, plans to start going back to school, and a fresh expectancy for what God will do this next year. Also, I am going to challenge myself to something. For example; tomorrow I start a 100 crunch a day for 28 days challenge. Some other ideas I have are finishing half read books, memorizing poems/verses/chapters/quotes, the Color Run 5k, write 3 people a real handwritten letter, finish a craft project, and learn to make 5 new food items. Do you have any suggestions?!

Questions about my life or comments you can feel free to leave here…I’d love to hear from you!

fall life.

Here I sit in the window of a local coffee shop. I’m listening to my favorite Christmas song [Little Drummer Boy] and entering work hours, volunteer hours, coffee dates, photoshoot dates, and various lists into my day planner. Well, actually I am blogging. I *should* be plugging away at the afore mentioned task.

This season of my life has been…wonderful. But busy. I’ve been working through some life changes lately. Adjusting to a new house, new jobs, new opportunities and other new things I am not ready to talk about just yet.

I am nannying for 2 families now. I really adore the job. I get *paid* to hang out with kids all day! There are defintily challenges with being with kids(that are not your own flesh and blood) for 8-10 hours every day…but over all, the kids/parents are pretty wonderful. 🙂

Eric said the other day “I think you are really liking nannying because technically you should be being “mom” right now.” I looked over at my almost 3 year old, adorable son…yeah, that is probably part of it. Can he really be turning 3 in 2 days? Parents say “Oh! Kids grow up so fast!”…let me tell you, they do! Kip speaks in full sentences and carries on conversations. The other night I was over there for dinner and he says “I wanna sit by Bex…because she is my friend!” Later on I asked him how old he was going to be; “I will be 7.” Yeah, he is fantastically cute.

ESL classes are fun. I have come to absolutely love “my” students. I aid about 8 hours a week right now. I get to Monitor activities, dictate, write stuff on the board, and have fun conversations. Oh, and Monday evening I will be teaching my first solo class. Eeee! I am excited!

Right now I am down to one bible study a week. We are doing 1 John. It is a different group than last year…but it is still good. We have questions to do, talk about, we pray together for each other, eat snacks and drink warm things. I am horrible about doing the questions. November resolution: Do my bible study homework. 😛

So in the midst of all this life stuff it seems I have let some friendships slide…I haven’t done it on purpose. But not taking those extra few minutes a day to connect about life really does affect things. Solution: an hour a week(at least) convo over a cup of something warm with no cell phone or computer to distract. 🙂

Uho. My 2 hour parking time is going to be up soon. I’d better start wrapping up here.

Happy end of October, dear friends!

small

I love how thunderstorms make me feel small.
I love how looking up at all the twinkling little stars makes me feel like a tiny speck.

I only have that two-fifths-of-a-second long scene to live(see Crazy Love by Francis Chan).

I am nothing. I can’t do anything on my own. I am so small. So very small.

But guess what?!

I have a BIG God.

He is everything. He can do anything. He knows everything.

…and while I am just a tiny speck, I have the great privilege of having a personal relationship with Him!

Lately I have been struggling with some present circumstances. Sometimes I hear the Whisperer of Lies saying that I have every right to freak out and take matters into my own hands. However, I am really learning to say “no!”

He knows what is best for me, what will bring me into a deeper relationship with Him. He will provide all that I need. He will never leave me or forsake me. I will be strong and of good courage…and remember that my God has promised and He cannot lie.

I’ll close with this quote:
“Because you don’t see what can be done, you say God can do nothing–which is like saying there cannot be more within his scope than there is within yours. One thing is clear: if he saw no more than lies within your sight, he could not be God. The very impossibility you see in the thing points to the region God works in.”  -from The Curate’s Awakening by George MacDonald

letting go

These past couple months have been…life changing. Nothing hugely exciting happened, just lots of little things.

I came back from PA thinking I would be going to India this fall. When God gave me India a couple summers ago I was convinced that He would eventually lead me there. After TESOL it seemed so…right. I didn’t want to commit to getting too involved in something here in Colorado so when He said “Go!” I would be available. Last month I had to let go of India. Let go of what He gave me…it wasn’t mine in the first place. It was a battle though. “But Lord! Why would you give me something then just expect me to give it up?! This isn’t making any sense! Are you sure you have the right person?” Do you see the wrongness of this? Wow.

He broke me. Many tears, prayers, and talks later, my hands opened…and India was gone. Well, not entirely. There is still a love for that country that I have never laid eyes on. So often I pray for those bound in Darkness in the brothels, the kiddos running through the streets of Kolkata, the people that serve their gods out of Fear.

A dear, wise friend shared this thought that has really stuck with me: “You know, it is not any less holy to serve here than it is overseas.”

God has opened doors for ministry here in Colorado. There is a local ministry to birthmothers(any pregnant lady) that I have become involved with. God is guiding the opening of an adoption agency in the area that I have been asked to be apart of(this is still in the very beginning stages, so I can’t share much). There is a good possibility I will be teaching an ESL class come the end of May/first of April.

When I let go He opened opportunities to serve here. I will serve here and now…holding nothing back. And so I step forward…He is guiding.

Dear friends, these are a few nuggets of Truth and some advice I hold onto:
He is faithful.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice saying behind you, “This is the way;walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.” Amy Carmichael
“Live to the hilt every situation {every stage of life, every season of life, every change in your life, invest passionately in the relationships around you} you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot

aslan is on the move

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.