May 31, 2012

This Wide-Open, Spacious Life

Currently: at the public library, because my new apartment doesn't have internet yet. (p.s. any suggestions for good summer reading, anyone?)

Ever since I first stumbled across Katie Davis’s blog a few years ago, I have been in awe of this girl who, though just one year older than me, lives in Uganda with an adopted family of fourteen girls, and runs and sponsorship and feeding program for two hundred more kids. Seriously. This past week I read her book Kisses From Katie, and through it felt like I learned a lot and was convicted of a lot. “I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. Absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that it hurts and then more,” (p.253) says Katie, and she wholly lives it, too – always giving the glory to God.

One part that really stuck out to me, however, was a passage she referenced from 2 Corinthians 6, but she included it in the Message paraphrase:

“People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…
in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, 
steady hand; with gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth 
and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; 
when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; 
true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God;
 terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, 
but refusing t die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; 
living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all. 
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long 
for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life
We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel 
comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, 
but you’re living them in a small way. 
I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. 
Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

That last part, that last sentence, seizes my heart and makes me want nothing less than that – than a life wide open and spilling out love, not closed up and small. Don’t you agree?

[image via The Journey]

May 28, 2012

Least Favorite Things

Currently Reading: Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
Currently Listening To: (Kissed You) Good Night by Gloriana

This is my room right now. Ughh.
Least Favorite Things:
1. Packing
2. Cleaning

What I have spent my entire day (and most of yesterday) doing:
1. Packing
2.  Cleaning

Let me tell you, clearing out a big ol' house that eleven girls lived in for a year is no easy task...especially in 91° with no a/c. But tomorrow, I'll be moving into my new apartment. Which has not only a/c, but two bathrooms for four girls, as opposed to two bathrooms for eleven girls. I will not know what to do with myself.

In the meantime, however, I'll just be here packing and cleaning...

P.S. My Coke poster broke (yes, broke, not ripped. Who knew.) right in half when i took it off the wall today. I am distraught.

May 27, 2012

Summa Plans: Colorado!

Just FYI, everyone, I'll be spending the majority of the summer in Colorado! Here's the support letter I wrote, which explains a little more what I'll be doing:

“Where are you from?” may seem like a straightforward question, but when people ask me that I’m not always sure how to answer. Do I say where I was born? Where I grew up? Where I live now? How much of my story are they actually interested in hearing? During my first year of college, when this question was asked constantly, it took me several months to develop a succinct yet satisfying answer – “I grew up overseas,” I say now, which allows people to choose to ask more if they’d like. Yet despite moments like this, I love that fact that I am an MK (Missionary Kid), or a TCK (Third Culture Kid). So much of my adult identity, how I see the world, and the things I value grow directly from my experience of growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I know what it is like to not feel completely at home in either my home country or the country I grew up in, and from here, it’s not hard to understand myself as a “stranger and alien” in this world (as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:11).

Because of my experiences in Ethiopia, and attending an international mission school there, I have always been drawn to other MKs and TCKs. I am currently studying to be a Secondary English teacher, and, if you know me or my family well, you probably know that I have always intended on eventually returning overseas to teach at an international high-school like the one I went to. This group of kids is a demographic where I see a certain set of needs that, as a TCK myself, I am uniquely equipped to help.

With these future goals in mind, I am especially excited that this summer I have the opportunity to minister to a group of families who are beginning their international ministry, just like my own family did when we first moved to Ethiopia! My team and I will be working to build important connections with children and teens from ages 5-18.  Some of the goals of this five-week program are to teach these new MKs to handle issues of transition, of expectation, and of identity. We will be using a multitude of activities and discussions to approach these topics so they may have practical and successful tools in their transitions. But more importantly, our goal is to build relationships with these kids and their families so that we may be the hands and feet of Jesus as He communicates to them how much they are valued and how they are individually precious to Him.

The ministry I will be going with is called mk2mk, a part of Campus Crusade for Christ. Mk2mk seeks to build up missionary kids to impact their world for Christ, wherever they may be. This summer I will be serving in Ft. Collins, CO, assisting a cross-cultural training program for newly assigned missionaries.  Some of the concepts deal with expectations, transition, tools for observing and learning about a culture, language learning and communication, healthy friendships, coping with stress and healthy family dynamics. The curriculum is enhanced with Bible study, games, crafts and role-playing.

Though I will be spending the majority of my time pouring into the children and teens, I will also be there as a resource for parents and single adults – there to answer all kinds of questions about life and success as an MK. My team and I will be participating in a panel during one of the adult training sessions to give them a better idea of what expectations they can have for their own children or those on their extended team overseas. We also aim to build a life-long relationship between these families and mk2mk that, I believe, will be a helpful resource to them as they follow the call to the ends of the Earth.

I have seen God working already in bringing me to this position that so perfectly fits my experiences, my interests and my skills – combining what I am learning through my five-year Masters of Education program I am in with my missionary background as well as my involvement in UVA’s chapter of Cru for the past four years. I would love for you to partner with me during my summer through prayer and/or financial support. I look forward to seeing how the Lord will use us together to impact the kids and families who are about to set out into the world for the sake of the gospel. If you have any questions please contact me and I would love to share more with you about this great opportunity!

God is so good and I am way over on my support, in case you were wondering, but of course I would still love your prayers! I'll head out June 10, so I'll still be able to work in some Charlottesville adventures (including moving, ughh) before then. But I can't wait to hang out with a bunch of MK kiddos in just 2 weeks!

[image via Pinterest]

May 25, 2012

Thought of the Day

Currently Reading: A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Excited For: Mary Catherine's wedding tomorrow!

Quote by Augusten Burroughs.
Image via Pinterest.

May 24, 2012

The Art of Fake Graduating

Currently Listening To: Shake It Out, Florence and the Machines
Disclaimer: The past few weeks have been so full – full of work, full of fun, of relaxing at the beach followed by the busiest of weekends, of packing and goodbyes to close friends and ending a chapter of life. I decided to break from the blog and just live it all, but now I am really grateful to be back, to have the chance to write here once more. Once again, thanks for bearing with me!


This past weekend, we graduated! But here’s the thing: for those of us in the five-year education program, we have to wait til next year to really graduate. Even though I’ve finished my major requirements, I’ll get my Bachelor’s (of English) and Master’s (of Teaching) at the same time a year from right now. But as all my friends graduated now, and I have finished undergrad, there was no way I wasn’t going to celebrate with them. Thus, as my new friend Merritt coined, it was my fauxmencement.

As my parents are in Kenya, I was on my own in a weekend full of families…but it turned out just fine, because they all wanted to adopt me (a special thank you to the Stricklands and the Bodkins for letting me tag along to fancy dinners and vineyard picnics!).

Having a house graduation party on top of Afton Mountain with a sleepover after, party-hopping for two days straight, realizing the number of dresses that needed to be worn in one weekend and raiding each other’s closets last minute, processing (meandering) down the Lawn while trying to keep tabs on all 25 people I was with, sitting in the heat listening to Katie Couric and hoping I wouldn’t get a one-shoulder-dress burn-line, and spending the afternoon eating Little John’s and drinking wine at a vineyard with my good friend Brecklyn and her family….all of these things made for a wonderful and highly successful fake graduation.


And if you ever fauxmence, let me know. I can give you some tips.

(pictures 1, 2 and 3 by David Drewry; pictures 4, 5 and 6 by Margaret Montague)

May 12, 2012

Done and Done.

Friends. The reason I have been absent for so long because my view has looked a little like this for the past two weeks:

Seriously though, this may have been my worst finals time yet. (#fourthyearnofair..?) It consisted of no actual exams, but instead a deluge of papers/projects/unit plans, right up until the last day of finals, so that every single day for like ten days straight was just me going to various locations and writing things. It felt like it was never going to end, and I felt a little defeated at times. But the good news is that I made it through, and when I printed and turned in my 97 page unit plan today (NINETY-SEVEN!), we were in a much better place.

And now, guess what? I get to go to the beach tomorrow!


Thanks for bearing with me, everyone. I can't wait to be back in the swing of things in terms of blogging -- I miss it! So stay tuned for beach week, summer plans and fake graduation...
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