It has been 3 months since I went on my trip to Kenya.

Lots of things have happened.

Summer ended.

School started.

I got a cold. Random, I know, but getting a cold brought me back to Kenya.

So many days I wake up thinking about Kenya and the experience that I had there. The children there changed my life in ways that I am still figuring out. Things will randomly bother me here in America that stir up feelings for that country. I can’t stand to be wasteful of anything now. The way I treat my students has changed. I am gently reminded that my biggest class of 28 pales in comparison to the class of 98 that I had the opportunity to teach in Kenya. Times of complaining most often turn into times of joy and thankfulness.

When I arrived in Kenya, my mother had packed me every medicine that I thought I could possibly need if I got sick. That is, everything except nasal decongestant. I think it was the air on the planes that made me sick, but nonetheless I got a cold. A cold in a place that is right on the equator and really hot. It was miserable actually. Most days I woke up and thought about how much I hated having to carry around a packet of tissues with me and how much my head hurt from all the congestion. I thought all these things until we made it to the primary school where we worked each day and many little noses of beautiful children were running. I was gently reminded by my Creator that I am more blessed in ways than I can even think of each day. One of those things being that I had tissues to blow my nose. The children that surrounded me each day have probably never even heard of kleenexes. I highly doubt most of them have even heard of toilet paper. I was also reminded of the medicine that we have readily available for such things as a cold. I found someone with medicine and started to take it. I turned around and our guide named Alfred asked me what it was. I told him it was for my nose and head. I immediately felt guilty because he had been sick all week too.

So when I woke up last Thursday with a cold, I grumbled and complained and blamed my kids at school for having germs and for probably giving it to me. And then the Lord automatically took me back to visions of me blowing my nose in Kenya with Kleenex that the children didn’t have and taking medicine that Alfred didn’t have. I tried not to complain then and to just take it in stride that I had a cold. It’s just a cold. It’s not life threatening. It’s not life altering.

It made me miss Kenya and all those little runny noses on kids faces looking up at me for love and attention. It made me remember all the little things that we have here that I take for granted each and every day. Kenya taught me so many more things than to not complain, but right now the Lord is gently reminding me of those moments and those small blessings that we have here. Look for the small things that you have in your life and thank the Lord for them.

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It has been awhile since I’ve visited this place. I finished up my first year of teaching in a whirlwind of end of school activities. The main reason I’m writing this blog is to ask for prayer as I venture out into the unknown known as Kenya. I am a part of a team of 30 people leaving tomorrow. My church has partnered with the 410 Bridge Project and many teams have gone before me. I am really excited but also getting somewhat nervous. I’d like to ask for prayer in specific areas for me and for my team.

For me,

  • Health – last time I went out of the country I got pretty sick
  • Patience with flying and being in a plane for many hours at a time
  • Patience with the people on my team and with relationships
  • Trust in the Lord and trust enough to not worry so much
  • Flexibility in all that will happen

For my team,

  • All of the above 🙂
  • Safety in all of our flights and in Kenya
  • Opportunities to share the love of God and to share the gospel
  • Opportunities to learn and grow from each thing that we experience
  • Openness in each situation

I’m sure there are many more things that we could use prayer for specifically. I just ask that you just pray for us on a regular basis. I’ll update as soon as we get back.

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overwhelmed…but in a good way.

I feel so overwhelmed right now but I’m overwhelmed by blessings.

I’m just now getting home at 8 from a day full of work. Right after school I had a meeting for first year teachers and then a meeting to hand out report cards. I figured today would be crazy, hectic, and no fun at all. But! I was proven wrong.

I walked into my classroom this morning and found a big wooden carved bulldog sitting on my desk. (That happens to be the mascot of my school). I was very confused about what it was and where it was from.  I read the note that was attached to it and found out that it was part of an award. It apparently is new and called the “Bully” award, which can mean something good in English as well as bad. It was given to me for being an inspiring teacher to those around me and for being there for my students. It made me feel very special and honored and was a great start to the day.

I also had many students compliment me today and talk to me about next year. At the parent night at school, some parents also came up to me and complimented me. On the way home I started thinking about all of my kids and how much I actually do enjoy them. I am truly going to miss them next year. I realized how blessed I am and how much I love my job.

It’s about relationships. Relationships with my coworkers, relationships with my bosses, and relationships with my students. I love it. I absolutely do. Thank you Lord for this opportunity and this blessing.

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I woke up early this morning, like 7:00 early.  The snow outside my window, to my amazement, was still there.

I love snow. I love to see it fall. I love to drive in it when it is falling. I love to walk outside in it. I’ve never been one to love to play in it though. Even as a kid, I just wanted to go outside and walk around in it.

This morning, after waking up so early, I decided to get bundled up and walk around outside. It was beautiful. The sun was just rising and there was enough snow to cover my rain boots when I walked. My apartment building backs up to a drainage pond or something of the sort that is filled with trees. They were all covered. I took tons of pictures and enjoyed every minute of it.

When I came back in I realized why I love snow so much, even if I don’t like to play in it. Everything gets so peaceful and quiet when it snows. I know this is not true for anywhere other than the south, but everything and everyone just stops. The busyness of having to do this and having to go there is forgotten. No one drives. We stay inside and play games or watch tv to warm up a little but then go outside and enjoy the snow with kids and neighbors. Kids actually go outside to play instead of playing video games.

In Psalm 46:10, the Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,  I will be exalted in the earth.” It’s kind of silly but profound to me all at the same time that God has to make something like a huge snow come our way for us as a community to be still, to put away all the distractions and to put away all the thoughts of the busy life and be still in awe of His creation.

I love that and I love the quietness.  I want to learn how to be still and quiet in all the noise in this life. Suggestions?

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Most mornings when I drive to work the sun is rising. It has just down gotten to where the sun is coming up and staying up until after I get home. The days are getting longer. I love it.

My drive to work however is away from the sunrise. At first I was sad because I love to see the sunrise and feel like that is the Lord telling me He loves me. Then one day I glanced in my mirrors and realized the sun was at my back. It was such a nice surprise. I know that sounds silly but it made me so happy. It’s funny how often I get surprised by glancing in my mirrors in the morning and seeing the beautiful sunrise. I think I appreciate it more. God probably knew that when he decided that I should live where I live and work where I work.

What are those little surprises in your life that the Lord so graciously grants you?

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If you saw my last post, you know that I am training to run a half marathon in April. There have been days when I definitely did not want to do anything but did it anyway and it was wonderful.

At the beginning of this whole thing, after I realized that it was slightly becoming a big deal to a lot of people, I prayed that somehow God would be glorified through it.  It is just running so I wasn’t quite sure how that would happen.  He has already answered me in many ways.

On the way home from school the other day, the Lord gently revealed something to me about the many aspects of training.

  • I’ve been more disciplined with this training than I have been about anything in a long time.
  • I’ve been more encouraged by people and encouraged more people than I have in a long time.
  • I’ve been more excited about the whole process than I have been about many things in life.

Why am I not this disciplined with my spiritual life? Why is it so easy for me to make myself get up at 5 on Thursday, go to the gym, go teach all day, come home and eat, and then go run, yet so hard for me to consistently have a reationship with my Creator and Savior? The God who provides everything for me and loves me unconditionally. Why is it so easy for me to encourage my roommate and friend miles away to run and keep training? Why do I not encourage them this way in their spiritual lives?

So many questions and thoughts swirled through my mind. It was a wonderful few minutes. I’m learning and the Lord is teaching.

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I’ve always dreamed that one day I would be really athletic and go do something great with that athleticism. Unfortunately my sister and brother seemed to get the star athlete genes of the family. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and love to play them. I’m decent at what I do play but I was never the star of the show.

All that to say…I enjoy running. I’ve always thought it was nice to get away from the world and run somewhere. I was visiting my brother in Tennessee when a friend of mine told us about a marathon and 1/2 marathon in Nashville in April. At first I just thought ‘oh that would be fun,’ but the thought wouldn’t go away. I finally decided why not!? I know that some of you may think I’m nuts but I am really excited. I convinced my roommate to run it with me.

We found a schedule online and began training this week. I think Laura was more excited to make the schedule than the actual running part! 🙂 We have a pretty big sunroom where we keep our bikes and extra things. We put it up on the wall (that’s what the picture is). It has been really fun so far. Hopefully the excitement will continue for 15 more weeks. And hopefully I will be good at this whole running thing. 🙂

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