Sunday, January 30, 2011

the GOSPEL perspective

inspiration: my first sunday at Seacoast Church

this morning was my first Sunday in Charleston and i worshiped at Seacoast - West Ashley campus. i must say, i was very impressed.
of course, i felt a little awkward sitting alone in a room full of people i didn't know - but i've endured that "awkward" feeling before, and it led to amazing things. it was weird not seeing someone preach on stage - Greg Surratt's sermon was streamed from Mt. Pleasant (the main campus), but it was a GREAT sermon.

i came in on Week 3 of a series entitled "The DNA of Joy" and they're going through the book of Philippians.
this excites me 1) because I love Philippians and 2) it's a true study of the Bible and I need more of that in my life. i'm going to do my best to catch the first two sermons sometime this week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

adventure is out there!

inspiration: i encourage everyone to make their own adventures!

i've been immensely blessed with opportunities that i never dreamed would ever come to fruition.
i had the absolute most amazing college experience ever.
i am convinced that my friends are the best. ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i got a job right after graduation.
i'm now living in charleston!
i'm loving the company i work for and can't wait to start on my "real job" next week!
i've been skydiving.
i've served in Costa Rica.
i was blessed immensely with an amazing church family.
and i can't wait to see what God has in store for me here.

i've been on lots of "adventures" and i love sharing my adventures with everyone.
but with all that said, if i'm being honest, it's a lot of pressure.

Friday, January 28, 2011

the start of a great adventure.

inspiration: my first few days.

the first few days have been pretty slow and low-key.
next week will start the BIGGGGGG adventure! i have meetings with my manager, Darren, and Brittany, the manager of marketing to discuss all the features i will be implementing into Panacea (the sales database) and all the projects i will be working on.

it's horribly overwhelming to think about. but incredibly exciting to think about, too.
i know my job is important though: Panacea is MY responsibility. MY "big thing". and i am going to do the best i can working with it.
it will be a massive learning opportunity, for sure.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"she's in charge of the sales database"

inspiration: I was introduced as "Nikki - she's in charge of the sales database" at work.

Day One: pretty awesome!

i'm now officially working for Hawkes Learning Systems. it's an incredibly laid-back environment for a company that has been growing exponentially for the last few years. casual dress code. super friendly and enthusiastic co-workers. three words: i. am. pumped!

the rest of this week will be pretty low-key, lots of learning and getting bombarded with information about the system i'm working with ("Panacea" - most widely known as the "Sales DB").
i'll probably start hardcore working in it on Monday (or so i've been told), but i got about a 10 minute briefing on part of it today and i'll get more info tomorrow, but i am super excited!!!

"i can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
-philippians 4:13

i have NO idea what to expect.
only to be bombarded with knowledge.
but i'm up for the challenge and excited about the opportunities that lie before me.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, January 23, 2011

my legacy.

inspiration: i want to do more than just exist...

tonight was my last small group at the Denley's :(
it was a bittersweet evening, but i'm glad i got to spend my last evening in Clarksville with the people i love!

our discussion stemmed from our sermon this morning about walking in faith. this morning, Ron talked about our trip to costa rica and talking with jason and kerby about their walks of faith at our devotional one night. and our discussion started with that and slowly branched off into how we can only see up to the horizon and what's beyond is unknown or unseen. everyone in my small group is either a student or recent graduate. we're all still trying to figure out where life is taking us and what our purpose is. we're all kind of walking in faith where we are now and trusting that what we're studying (or what our degrees are) is not going to be wasted. none of us know what the future holds. it's easy to look around us and compare ourselves to each other; sometimes it's a good thing, but sometimes it can hinder us. like, for me, seeing others succeed makes me want to succeed as well, but it also can be overwhelming when i don't.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

do not be afraid

inspiration: less than 48 hours.

in less than 48 hours, i will be moved (hopefully) and working on "settling in" to a new place.
living in a new city.
a new state, for that matter.
about to start a new job.
meeting lots of new people.
and beginning a new life.

not gonna lie, all this "new" is kind of overwhelming.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

trying my hand at something new...

inspiration: i'm going to submit something to Clarksville Family Magazine

i've been told i'm a good writer.
i've been blogging for a little over a year and i love it.
i, honestly, don't foresee it becoming anything more than a hobby (but you know how that goes. i never thought i'd go on a missions trip. i never thought i'd be willing to move out of Tennessee. God's plans always override mine!) but after talking to my dear friend, Brenda, who works for Clarksville Family Magazine, i thought i'd give it a shot and write something to submit.

so i did.

not going to give any details away, just in case it is published at some point.
but i'm very excited about the possibility!

it was incredible, though, because i *thought* i knew what i wanted to write about. i even started writing out my story. but in His typical fashion, God started tweaking my heart, laying different words and Scriptures on my heart, and I ended up completely changing what I wrote about. I LOVE those "Jesus" moments!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

living on a prayer.

inspiration: my first TRUE faith test in a long time.

i've never been so scared in my life.
i'm truly relying on God to come through for me.

as i sit in my living room floor (i have a perfectly good couch and three perfectly good chairs within 10 feet of me, yet i always choose the floor...), avoiding packing up my life, there is no doubt in my mind that God is wanting me to move to Charleston.

it's a new chapter of my life.
it's a new adventure.
it's a time to rely completely on Him.

Monday, January 17, 2011

waiting for God's best.

inspiration: not gonna lie. i struggle more with this whole "singleness" thing than i ever let on.

"Few things have the power to make us feel as sorry for ourselves as has loneliness."
-Passion & Purity, 116.

i began reading Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot on the way to Costa Rica and i sat down today and finished it. i must say, i admire Elisabeth & Jim Elliot in their pursuit of Christ first and foremost in their love lives and romance. later, Jim was killed for professing his faith and Elisabeth stayed to continue to lead the peoples who killed her husband toward Christ.

a strong and admirable woman, elisabeth also was very vulnerable in sharing her thoughts with readers. i found myself walking in the same shoes she once walked. i know i'm not alone in my feelings of loneliness and singleness, and i'm also empowered and strengthened by the promises of God's providence of a husband, if marriage is in His plans for me.

the last few thoughts...

inspiration: the last few thoughts about costa rica...

  • i learned the value of "flex and bend".
  • i want to take more little leaps of faith in this next year.
    my first step of faith is to start sponsoring Jason and Kerby with portions of my income and tithing to the church.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

what costa rica taught me.

inspiration: a frustrating situation at MIA

when you read this, i will probably have been home for quite a while though, and hopefully i will be with luggage. otherwise, there will be someone with access to a week's worth of dirty laundry...and rain boots...
...but God is faithful and will take care of my polka-dotted suitcase wherever it is.

at the current time, i'm sitting in the miami airport.
my and the Pennington's luggage followed yellow dots to the checked baggage while the rest of the other members of the team followed orange.

Friday, January 14, 2011

the "john the baptist" life.

the "John the Baptist" life.

tonight, regina and michael led our last devotional.
michael started off by referencing "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus and how it talks about giving up the conventional life in order to live like a barbarian, meaning in faith. he referenced scriptures in John 3 to describe how, for example, John the Baptist lived. michael's words "living in the desert, wearing camel hair, and eating locusts and honey is NOT normal".

we're called to live in faith. jason and kerby had complete faith in their calling to move from their families, their lives in the US, to sell their possessions and move to Costa Rica, not knowing where money will come from or what to expect. but after talking to jason and kerby a couple nights ago, jason expressed that out of all the places he has lived since college, he has been most at peace in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica: Day Seven

PICTURES FROM TODAY

flex and bend.


that's what our motto has been all week.
so even though we were scheduled to go see a volcano, go ziplining, and go to the market, the "flex and bend" was still in effect.

when we left Franco's and headed up toward the volcano, it seemed to be okay. but when we got higher and higher elevation, it started to rain. and by the time we were at the volcano park, it was pouring down rain and downright cold! flex and bend.
when we got to where we could see the crater, it was completely white. we were in the clouds and it was raining and wet and we didn't get to see it. flex and bend.

then, we were worried it would be raining too much to go ziplining.
so we made our way to the canopy to go ziplining. they said we could go, but we probably wouldn't make it through the entire zip. we were going to do 8 instead of 10 lines. flex and bend.

then on the second or third zip, there was a group of seven or eight of us huddled together on the platform waiting to zip. it was raining. cold. miserable. everything uncomfortable you could possibly imagine. flex and bend.

when we finally got to zip, we were greeted at the other end with "Dr. Boles got injured and they've called an ambulance to take him to the hospital." flex and bend.
also, the rain kept coming and coming and we were told that the next zip was going to be our last one. so we only got to do, i think 4 lines. flex and bend.

Dr. Boles is doing fine! He was given some pain medication on the way to the hospital, but still in good spirits. He wanted us to enjoy the rest of our day! But please keep him, Cathy, Courtney, and the doctors that are with him in your prayers!

so when we all came back to the shop/restaurant where we were supposed to eat lunch, we were all soaking wet. freezing. and slightly miserable. flex and bend.
we realized we couldn't come back to Franco's for dry clothes because it was a two hour drive and then an hour back to the market. so flex and bend. in wet clothes.
thankfully, Sarah lent me her UT Vols jacket (the ONLY time i will ever be caught wearing UT orange!!) and so i wasn't completely miserable the entire time.

so we made our way back towards the market.
bumpiest. ride. ever. flex and bend.
i somehow managed to catch a few Z's on the bus (how, i have no clue because we were bumping around so much). and i think Jen said she snapped a picture of me sleeping (i'm sure it's attractive as there is like a 99.9% chance my mouth is WIDE OPEN! lol)

but we came to the market. we had an hour to browse and shop.
i bought a bag, dress, two magnets, two necklaces, two bracelets, a mug, and a keychain for $58.
leaving me just enough money to buy a meal at the miami airport tomorrow. flex and bend. but at least i'll be flexing and bending in style ;)

it was definitely a "flex and bend" day because of the weather and unforeseen circumstances. but God has been with us all day and is watching over us continuously.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

so go tell your friends.

emotional devotional

jennifer harper led us tonight in our devotional:

she mentioned how the times that she has heard most from God was when she was on missions trips or at conferences or during revivals. those aren't the only times God is speaking to us though; however, they're times where we are attuned most to His heart.

Costa Rica: Day Six

PICTURES - Album One
PICTURES - Album Two

i can't believe it's almost over... :(
this has been one of the most incredible weeks of my life!
knowing not only how God has changed my heart over the last year and a half, but also how much I've grown in my relationship with Him. i guess the whole "Trust God" thing really is 10000% true!

today was our last day at the Project and I'm so bummed!
i've helped de-nail boards, carry posts, chop trees, dig holes, place posts in the ground, play with the daycare kids, and i've bonded with some of the most amazing people!! it's been an absolute BLAST! i can't wait to serve on a missions team again!!! :D i would absolutely love to come back in March and (selfishly) praying I can. but i will definitely see what God works out.

  • breakfast. Project at 8.
  • got one board de-nailed before going to help with the daycare! (huge deal. it had a lot of nails in it and i finished it in less than 45 mins ;))
  • helped with the daycare. a group of us rotated to 4 classrooms (2's, 3's, 4's, and school-age, I believe). the 2's cried most of the time, but finally some of them started playing with us; the 3's had a blast playing with Play-Doh and a few of them took pictures and made a video with Sarah's phone; the 4's role-played Noah's Ark with animal toys we bought yesterday at HiperMas. that was a lot of fun! and the school-age kids made folders and we all signed each others, like a yearbook. thatttt was a lot of fun. the boys are "muy loco!"
  • ate lunch.
  • went back up to Adolfo's and helped dig holes again and set the posts. we got them all set! (even though they had to redo all the holes!!) we dubbed ourselves the "Foxy Fencers" (and Steve) -- because it was all women who did 99% of the work and Steve Jr.
  • also, when we finished with the posts, several of us "poisoned wood". basically, we put a stain on it to get rid of and prevent termites. some of it got on my arms and stuff....but, hey, at least i'll be termite free!!
  • we played with the orphans today. loved it! we gave them Ring Pops. i chased Mainor and Roberto and Jenny around for a long time. the boys kept calling me and Sarah "crazy" (psh. us, crazy?! no way!!!); some of the kids got their fingernails painted. and of course we took lots of pictures!
  • ate dinner at 6:30. i ate my lasagna and salad, PLUS sarah's lasagna (cuz she didn't like it -- ella es loca!
  • we did our devotional. it was an incredibly emotional one for all of us because a lot of us went around and shared what was on our hearts and how it impacted us all
  • Jen, Brenda, Chad, Robert, and Pat played Phase Ten. we are a crazy bunch! but it's been such an amazing experience getting to serve and get to know one another and to also see us all grow closer in our walk with Christ, as well :)

Jenniferisms

"How many inches is that?? I'm too old for all this 'metric' stuff!!"

Jen: "How do you say 'Jason' in Spanish? Is it like jaSON (said with french-like accent)"
Me: No. I think that's French!!

Robert: "I'm a Ritz cracker."
Jen: "Well, I'm an OYSTER cracker!"

"I'm so much funnier online..."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

servant's heart

inspiration: Chad and Brenda Hunley's devotional! i love them SOO much! they are incredible people! Me encanta mi Brendita ♥♥♥

brenda and chad hunley led our devotional tonight. they read luke 5:1-11 about the calling of the first disciples and how two fisherman (one of which was Simon Peter) had been fishing all night and caught nothing. Yet, when Jesus told them to lower their nets and their boat was overloaded!!

Peter's response was "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man."
Jesus' response was "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."

after they returned home, they left everything and followed him.

Costa Rica: Day Five

Costa Rica: Day Five


ALBUM ONE!
ALBUM TWO!

  • breakfast at 7. Project at 8, like normal.
  • i pulled nails for a couple hours.
  • then went up to adolfo's place to prep the land to put in posts for a fence.
  • there was a ginormous TREE we had to chop up and move.
  • jen, judy, brenda, myself, steve & caleb thomas hacked and hacked and sawed and sawed that tree.
  • one of the team members pitched in her own money to buy a chainsaw for the Project after seeing us struggle and fight and fight and saw and struggle.
  • we got the first and last post set and string attached.
  • tomorrow, the holes for the posts will have to be dug and the posts will be set.
  • i was able to get a lot of pictures of the team working and all the things we're doing at the Project.
  • we went to "Hipermas" today. it's the Costa Rican equivalent of Wal-Mart. pretty neat.
  • i got a bunch of goodies for $12 (it was like ~5400 colones)
  • we, as a team, are pitching in money to get Jason and Kerby bikes! their only mode of transportation is walking and occassionally the bus. but for grocery shopping and to and from the Project is all walking. i'm SOOO excited to see their faces when we give them to them!! they're going to be so happy!
  • delicious dinner.
  • delicious dessert.
  • a new secret bond has formed between myself, brenda, cathy, gail and judy! :)
  • "mi Brendita" and Chad are leading devotional tonight. i know they will do great! :D
  • me encanta Brendita ♥♥♥
  • ---
  • we just had our devotional with Jason and Kerby.
  • the devotional was about having a servant's heart and leaving everything to walk in faith and follow Christ.
  • Jason and Kerby LOVE their bikes! it was an emotional, but EXTREMELY rewarding experience!


Jenniferisms:


Jen: "Sharon said I would love you!"
Me: "Sharon said I would love you!"
Jen: "Sharon is SOOOO smart!!"

(after falling off the log she helped ax down)
Jen: "TIMBER!!!"
(a few minutes later)
"I'm not bleeding. I'm okay."

"Wanna smailllll (smell) me?!"

Prayer Requests

  • the team and their continued walk with Christ
  • the Project and all those involved
  • Jason and Kerby. something i realized today is that their job it can become incredibly stressful. it's been so much fun working and serving with them, that sometimes i forget that it truly is WORK.
  • my personal walk with Christ and leaning on His complete providence for me
  • the kids at the homes

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

on a mission.

inspiration: Dr. Boles' amazing devotional tonight. i am so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by a team that i not only get to serve with, but also grow in Christ with!

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:16-20 (The Great Commission)

Costa Rica: Day Four

Costa Rica: Day Four


  • today, we ate breakfast. i woke up to the smell of bacon. it was heavenly.
  • went to the project.
  • i pulled nails again for about two hours.
  • then helped load concrete posts up to Adolfo's house to construct a fence (probably tomorrow)
  • lemme just say, those concrete blocks were over 100 lbs. each. it took three or four people to carry one. but we got a system down with wheelbarrels, it only took two of us to transport them from point A (the worksite) to point B (Adolfo's house)
  • it was me, kerby, jennifer, brenda. gail and yolanda and sarah helped before lunch; after lunch, we recruited a few of the guys to help, but for the most part, it was the mighty strength of woman power (and Jesus!) helping us get those blocks back and forth.
  • for lunch, we had spaghetti and vegetables (huge portions, lemme tell ya!)
  • it was delicious.
  • and it seems wrong to gain weight on a missions trip. but the food here has been fabulous (and i'm a picky eater!!!)
  • we transported 18 of those suckers before and after lunch
  • i got some good sun today! (and tanlines!) :D (love the weather here! def. beats snow ;))
  • we stopped at a bakery on the way home tonight: mus anni. one word: delicious!
  • i'll haveta post pictures of what i got later. i took pictures of the signs but dinner is at 6, so i haven't eaten it yet.

we have dinner at 6 and devotional at 6:30 or whenever we're done eating. i'll try and blog later tonight, too, if i can.

a few prayer requests:

  • continued safety and strength of our team.
  • the Project
  • the team from New Jersey
  • Jason, Kerby, the kids, and other staff that have been working with us this week

Jennifer-isms

Jennifer Harper is hilarious and I love her so much (and I hope she reads this!)
I'm so blessed to know her and to get to serve with her (plus, she does a fabulous job cutting my hair. i got my "hurr did" before i went to charleston - that's why i got the job. she gets all the credit ;))

but she is HILARIOUS! and here are her quotes from today. (hopefully she won't kill me ;))

(at breakfast)
"Papaya...I'm gonna try ya...I may not like ya..."
(after trying)
"It's alright, but it ain't no MANGOOO!"

(Jason Harpst has a verse from Joshua and Isaiah tattooed on his leg)
Jen: "We're gonna read Jason's leg for our devotional...Wait, nevermind, it's in Hebrew"
Jason: "It's in Spanish"
Jen: "Oh....well, it's all Greek to me!"

(at lunch - Kerby told us we were having spaghetti)
"But it looks like lo mein noodles!"
(after like ten minutes of trying to convince me it was lo mein, i got my plate)
"It IS spaghetti!"

Steve: "There are no stupid questions..."
Jen: "...just stupid people."

"Can I tell you a question?"

Monday, January 10, 2011

made new

inspiration: the awesome devotional from Brittnye and Matt Pennington. this is a couple that i am so excited to get to serve with. not only were they part of Team Awesome but they are a great couple with great hearts and a great sense of humor! it's been an honor to serve with them!

Matt and Brittnye pennington did an amazing devotional tonight that really spoke to my heart. for a few hours this morning, i pulled nails and screws from donated wood.

it was tedious.
it was frustrating.
it was hard!

Costa Rica: Day Three

Costa Rica: Day Three


  • got up at 5:45 to shower.
  • uploaded pictures (finally, i was able to get on the internet)
  • breakfast. delicious! another clean plate ;)
  • got to the Project at 8
  • we learned a little about the history of the project. it started with $20! and it's amaaaazing how much has been accomplished through the vision and God's providence for the project! the pictures of the buildings and land you see, has totally been God's blessings!
  • we got our assignments
  • before lunch, i pulled nails from boards. it was incredibly hard work and really frustrating. never in my life, did i think i would be so frustrated at a nail!
  • for lunch, we had ham, rice and beans, and some cabbage salad (which i didn't eat...i don't like cabbage :/)
  • Jennifer's quote from lunch about the drink we had: "I thought I was drinking fresh-squeezed nectar from the gods, but Jason told me it was a powder they mixed with water like Kool-Aid" (haha. she cracks me up!)
  • after lunch, i helped clear Adolfo's (the guard at the Project) yard. it was full of debris and garbage and junk.


  • we just got home from work. i am exhausted and my feet are KILLING me. but i feel so honored to be a part of this team and to be doing this work for such an amazing cause! i can't wait to go back tomorrow!


Funny story: Last night, at the prayer walk, Ron introduced me to a guy from the other team, Michael. He is about to graduate from Rutgers and we talked for a few minutes. This morning, Ron came into the room I was sitting in and said "I was trying to help you out last night by introducing you to someone single...Just lookin' out for ya" ... Haha. Thanks, Ron -_-

A few prayer requests

  • our safety and health
  • for a good night's rest
  • praise for the dinner that is being prepared now
  • our team as well as the other group here from New Jersey
  • the Project
  • Jason, Kerby, and the kids.
Costa Rica Pictures: Pictures

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Costa Rica: Day Two - Pictures

Breakfast. Delicious.

The kids with all their gifts!
(Angelee, Mainor, Jenny, Ericka, Sol, Isaac, Roberto, Sharon, Luciano)


Ericka and me.
She has the most beautiful smile!

Isaac and Roberto jumping rope.
Isaac was the "Jump Rope King" today!

Sarah and Angelee

Mainor enjoying a Reese's.


And Blogger is being mean and taking eighteen billion years to upload photos. So here's the link to my Facebook album. Hopefully it will work:
Costa Rica Photo Album

Costa Rica: Day Two - Part Two

Costa Rica - Day Two: Part Two!

  • we just got back to Franco's for the evening from our prayer walk.
  • it was my first prayer walk and i never really knew what to expect.
  • we went back to the project church and worshiped. again, the language barrier was present, but it didn't keep us from worshiping! it was actually neat to be singing a song in english while the worship team sang it in spanish (we sang "God of Wonders" and "Came to My Rescue" and another Hillsong song that I didn't know...)
  • we broke into smaller groups and prayed for different parts of the project, then went out to some new land that the project acquired and prayed there, and also for the areas in the community that is plagued with drug abuse, prostitution, violence, etc.
  • it was a great experience because no matter what we prayed for or where we prayed or how we prayed in groups, we were all praying for the vision of the Abraham Project and for the will of God to be done in all areas.
  • btw, our group was "Team Awesome".
  • we came back, went over the itinerary for tomorrow and i led the devotional. it was about spiritual gifts and how no matter what our talents or gifts are, they will be used for the glory of God. i'm so blessed to be part of an incredible team. each one of us is blessed and without any member of the team, it wouldn't be "right". i know that i am still wondering just how exactly i will be "used" over this next week, but God called me here for a reason, and i know that His will will be done and His glory will be shown through me.
  • At the prayer walk, Ron mentioned that we may not see the fruits of our labor, but everything will work together for the glory of His Kingdom!

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." -1 Corinthians 12:4-6

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are manyh form one body, and each member belongs to all others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." -Romans 12:4-6

Like I mentioned to my team earlier, Jennifer approached me about doing a devotional this week and I declined. But through a series of events and God placing these Scriptures on my heart, I trusted God would use me and hopefully the words He gave me were well received by everyone.

Well, we officially start work tomorrow and I'm excited!!!

Prayer Requests

  • a good night's rest tonight
  • for the team as we begin our projects and assignments tomorrow
  • safety for the team
  • the kids. Jason and Kerby.
  • the Abraham Project
  • the neighborhoods and people we prayed for tonight. that they would be convicted of their struggles, drugs, violence, etc. and they would turn to Christ and be filled with HIS love!

A few pics to come soon :)

Costa Rica: Day Two - Part One

inspiration: "Nosotros tenemos un linda vista del rio azul" -My and Jennifer's first sentence we were able to put together on the bus ride home: "We have a nice view of the blue river". We passed through two areas of town (Linda Vista and Rio Azul) that are rougher areas. Linda Vista translates to "Nice View" and Rio Azul translates to "Blue River" :)

  • i got the most sleep last night that i have in about a week. slept from like 9:45ish-6:45.
  • took a shower (we were told not to touch the "widowmaker" -- the showerhead -- otherwise, you'll get shocked. I'll post a pic later ;))
  • ate breakfast. DELICIOUS!
  • ((i'm gonna gain weight on this missions trip. i can feel it, now. all the food here has been soooo good!!))
  • went to church. it was amazing that even though there is a language barrier, we were all praising the same God! such an amazing feeling!! Ron Edmondson led the sermon and he did an amazing job!
  • went to the Abraham Project facilities; saw the kids homes, church, and medical center. the story behind it all is incredible! i'll post more about it tonight.
  • ate lunch and played with the kids at the Project! we brought them shoes, coloring books, teddy bears, and lots of new toys to play with! i jump-roped and turned jump ropes for a few of the girls for, what seems like forever. but it was so much fun! Isaac is the jump rope king!!
  • i can't wait to go back and see the kids! there are 11 at the project...
  • tomorrow, we will start work at the project. i have no idea what we will be doing, but i'm looking forward to it!! :D

we just got back. dinner is at 5PM and then we're going on our prayer walk at 6.
i'm so glad to be here and so honored to get to serve with an amazing team!! :D

the internet here at the B&B is pretty sketchy - in and out, depending on what room you're in and how many people are online, and it's taking a long time to upload pictures. so i'll post them tonight in a separate blog (and of course, on facebook, too :)).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Costa Rica: Day One

inspiration: Costa Rica: Day One!

  • we left BNA late this morning due to snow. we had to wait for them to do "de-icing" stuff.
  • we arrived in Miami a little late, but it was BEAUTIFUL! i loveeeee flying!
  • a few of us ate lunch at Corona. i ate a burger the size of my face. almost every bite. and it was delicious!!!
  • funny story: some of the group members were looking for fast food in the Miami airport, but there wasn't any...but we arrive at the San Jose airport and what do we see? Burger King. Church's Chicken. Etc. Hahaha. I found it quite ironic, actually ;)
  • My goal is to not eat any "American" food. I'm in Costa Rica for goodness sakes. I'm gonna eat food I can only eat in Costa Rica! :D
  • The San Jose airport was interesting! When we were walking out, there was like a mass crowd of people at the door offering taxi rides. Robert said "Oh my goodness, it's like a mob!!" Haha. Definitely made me laugh.
  • The bus ride from the airport to the B&B where we're staying ("Franco's") wasn't too bad. Traffic was crazy and, while I prefer window seats on airplanes, I'm thinking my logic is the opposite for bus rides. I don't wanna see how close we come to hitting other cars/getting hit by other cars!! Traffic is RIDICULOUS!!
  • A few of us walked to a market that's like a block away from the B&B and I got a bottle of water and some "Chiky" cookies (which Kerby said are realllly good!) for 1400 colonies (~$3) (i have no idea how to spell it properly, but it's pronounced like "kuh-LONE-ees". the singular is spelled "colon" but i don't wanna type "colons"...that just seems weird)
  • i'm slowly getting used to doing the quick conversion from dollars to colonies (500 colonies roughly equals $1). I have a few colonies now :) one word: legit.
  • we went to a mall where we ate dinner in the food court area; i had chicken tacos and some amaaaazing black bean dip!
  • ((pretty sure i'm gonna be hittin' the gym quite a bit when we get back. i've eaten myself silly today!!))
  • tomorrow, we're going to church and we're going to get to have playtime with the kids afterward, which is what i'm really looking forward to!
  • tomorrow night, i think i will be leading a devotional, so i pray that i am able to articulate the words God has put on my heart. i'm not the most eloquent speaker, but i pray for God's strength to provide His clear and concise message.
Regina Hampton shared a quote that made me smile. She said there was a little girl sitting behind her on the flight from Nashville to Miami that asked her mom "Are we going to go high enough to see God?" Absolutely precious. How wonderful it is to just be humbled in my life by a little girl I don't even know. What would my life be like if I wondered about the majesty of God like that! I'm so excited to see how God will work in my life this week through the kids at the Project and at the day care!

A few prayer requests:

  • Continue to pray for the team's health and safety
  • For us to stay strong in God's strength this week
  • flexibility for the team. we don't know what to expect!
  • that i will speak God's words for tomorrow's devotional
  • Jason and Kerby!
  • the other team that is with us
  • the kids!!
  • that God would work in our lives and change our hearts this week!

A few pictures:

My boarding passes!
 
 It's so amazing to be above the clouds and still see the ground below us!
 
 Hello, San Jose!!
 
 My first passport stamp!!
 
 We had just a little bit of luggage. And that's the bus we took from the airport to Franco's
 
 Me lookin' a hot mess on the bus. I was sweating! But it was better than being in the snow ;)
 
 Mountains of Costa Rica!!
 
 La Casa de Franco -- the B&B we're staying at.
 
 The sign
 
 What I had for dinner. Delicious. I have no clue what "Exquisitos Tacos Al Carbon" means...but in my mind, i'm thinking it means "exquisite carbon tacos" ;)
 
 3 chicken tacos. Refried black beans. 'Twas heavenly, except i don't like pico de gallo :(

Friday, January 7, 2011

take THAT, satan!!

inspiration: "Our God is greater. Our God is stronger. God, you are HIGHER than any other!!"

i woke up this morning feeling completely under spiritual attack.
you know when you wake up and you feel like you're just not worth anything? you feel completely unprepared for anything and everything? well, that's how i felt. it was the strangest feeling, considering i had just interviewed for an amazing job with an amazing company in an amazing place! (Web Developer position with Hawkes Learning Systems in Charleston, SC). but for whatever reason, Satan decided he was going to thwart my attempts to praise God by placing fears and insecurity in my mind.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

charleston/travelling in a nutshell.

inspiration: my trip to charleston.

i'm beyond tired right now, but i wanted to give an in-a-nutshell recap of everything that happened over the last couple days. just making a list cuz i wanna keep it brief. and lists are how i roll...

Monday, January 3, 2011

anxiety.

inspiration: my stubborn self. i would do really well to take the advice i give to others.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
--Matthew 6:25-27

it's 11:30 on a Monday night.
i'm so very tired physically, but still running at about 150 mph mentally.
i need to learn how to slow. down. and. breathe.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

virtuous character.

inspiration: a story i heard on the radio

about half the time i'm in my car, i listen to WAY-FM (the other half is spent between CDs and 107.5 or some other "top hits" station). it's the Sunday custom to listen to the week's 20 most wanted with Marcia Ware from the time i get out of church until i get to my apartment (all of 10 minutes). sometimes i hear a couple songs, sometimes i hear a bunch of commercials.

but today, i heard a "Heart of the Matter" story that truly caught my attention.

let me back up to say something. perhaps this is part of the culture's thinking or it's just something that i seriously labeled in my own mind and was content to think this way, but prior to hearing the story i am about to re-tell, i had envisioned women as being the sole "victim" in relationships where emotional and spiritual abuse is present (be it through a husband that isn't "there" for his wife or a husband that refuses to go to church, whatever the case may be). and when i think of "Heart of the Matter" stories with Marcia, i guess i've only come to expect women to write in and share their stories of heartbreak and turmoil and pain.

just as he was commanded

inspiration: Genesis 6:22
"Noah did everything just as God commanded him."
-Genesis 6:22

A verse that I'm sure is often skipped over. I know that as many times as I've heard the Noah and the Ark story, I never really paid attention to it until this time.

"Noah did everything just as God commanded him."

What would my life look like if I did everything God commanded of me?
What if, instead of living life for my agenda, my wants, my desires, for ME, i lived to serve God.
What if I was truly radically abandoned to Him.
What if I truly trusted Him like Noah did; that even when things sounded ridiculous and didn't make any sense at all to me, I would still do them?

...just a thought I had after reading these passages this morning...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

this is me.

this is me...

im a hopeless romantic (although most of the time, i just feel plain hopeless)
my standards are high and they're not coming down.
i know i'm worth the battle...
i'm worth the pursuit...
i'm worth fighting for...
i'm not perfect, but my imperfections make me, well, me.