Thursday, December 17, 2009


i just can't wait to go "home" for Christmas. i'm not sure i've looked forward to a holiday this much since my age was in the single digits.

perhaps the anticipation comes from the fact that my expectations only include words such as "relax," "converse," and "enjoy." there are no "big plans" beyond a lovely little party with our beloved youth who are no longer youth. simply family, board games, movies, music, cooking, baking, feasting, and being. that's what it is...being. i can't wait to simply be for a while.

it's been a beautiful, semi-chaotic, rapid semester, and it's time to both reflect and escape for a while. here we come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

a grateful heart.

today, i am thankful for so many things, big and small.

for a husband who seems to know nothing else but to love.
for a crazy/beautiful transition to dallas.
for a job that i love.
for a church that has embraced us, no questions asked.
for a school community that is passionate about the things of God.
for in-laws who call and ask if there are special things my family eats at thanksgiving so that they could help me feel at home during my first married, perry turkey day.
for a family who is already so excited about us spending christmas together that my mom and i e-mail about it almost every day.
for wonderful friends, new and old.
for so, so much more...

but this thanksgiving, i am especially thankful for God's perfect provision and timing in the announcement that...


we are so proud of her, so thankful for her, and so excited to watch God's plans for unfold over the next four years. she's taking a road less traveled by graduating from high school early, in december, and starting college classes in january. we're amazed by her strength, in love with her wonderful humor and personality, and so grateful that she is a part of our lives. God is so good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


As a class assignment this semester, I've "had" to read a devotion from Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest four days a week and then write a journal entry about it. God has used Chamber's words to convict, encourage, and strengthen believers for decades, and I've been incredibly blessed in each of those ways as well.

In our Sunday School class at our church, we've been working through the accounts in the Old Testament, most recently coming to the chapters about Abram (he isn't Abraham yet :)). We've been challenged to see even the earliest recordings in Genesis as a part of our story as believers, recognizing that God is continually unfolding the story of His glory most of all, and our redemption as a part of that immeasurable glory.

Today, I pulled up the My Utmost entry for November 17th, and lo and behold, there's our friend Abra(ha)m! Of all the ways God reveals His presence to me, I must say that one of my favorites, if I can have those, is when He weaves multiple vessels by which He is teaching me about Himself together...or, more simply, when paths cross. Abraham on Sunday, and Abraham (surprisingly) throughout the week strengthens my faith so that I can say things like "Jesus, I know You are here."

In this devotion, Chambers writes of how Abraham "reached where he [was] in touch with the very nature of God." Doesn't that just make your soul sing? Statements like that help me to remember that there is absolutely nothing on this earth that could ever surpass the greatness of knowing God by the kindness and revelation of the Spirit, and through the blood of Jesus Christ. "In touch with the very nature of God" - aware of His essence, confident of His goodness and love, trusting of His justice and mercy.

May God draw us deeper and deeper into His heart so that we can believe more about Who He is, we can know exactly who we are because of Him, and we can love this world around us with the utmost confidence and courage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

see below.

i'm trying not to be a perfectionist anymore.

i think that's an oxymoron.

i don't think that you are supposed to try to not be a perfectionist but, what can I say...this is a process. also, i think the word legalist may describe my thinking processes a bit more accurately than perfectionist. either way, the point is that i'm going to try to calm down a bit...not feel like i have to be on top of everything all the time...

i'm going to have a little more fun, take a few more pictures, read a few more books, listen to some more music, and hide some more Word in my heart. burn a few more candles, learn a few new things, cook a few new dishes, and smile a few more times a day. i have a feeling that though i keep using the word "more" will feel a little less crazy.

...and i'm not going to try to sound poetic...i'm just going to let Life flow through me.

i'll keep you posted....

pun intended.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

love justice.

Invisible Children has launched a campain called "We Want Obama" in efforts to see American government officials take a stand regarding the warfare and child slavery in Northern Uganda. Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which is a guerilla group known for kidnapping children and brainwashing/forcing them into becomg child soldiers. The oppression and abuse have gone on far too long and Invisible Children is putting forth a petition calling for a Citizen's Arrest Warrant for Joseph Kony.

Please look at the site. Please take literally 30 seconds and sign the petition. Please take ten minutes and write your local government representatives through the links and e-mail template provided on the Invisible Children website. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Chet Edwards, and John Cornyn are all among the many officials who are yet to sign the LRA Disarmament Bill.

Children in Northern Uganda are dying. They are dying in spirit, they are dying in soul, they are dying in the flesh as child soldiers forced to be aimlessly fighting for an evil cause. You can do something about this. You really, really can. So do it. Our excuses and passivity don't stand before a God who loves justice.

And this isn't about what you think of our American government. It's about justice. And God loves justice.

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

thoughts from the beginning.

There is a lot to be said for living "a day at a time."

Things like:

"Praise God - I'd be dying if I wasn't."
"How did I survive previously when I thought thinking a month at a time was being responsible?"
"Your grace truly is enough for me."

Life is ever full at the moment but Jesus is ever present - there is truly nothing else I could ask for. Work is pleasant, which is something I often take for granted before remembering that an environment such as this one is oftentimes, unfortunately, the exception, not the rule, and an incredible blessing. School is incredibly constant and the main reason I am trying to learn how to live a day at a time, taking each assignment, book, and paper as it comes rather than thinking about everything due Friday on Monday. I plan ahead, I put it on the calendar, but I can honestly say that right now, I don't worry.

God is good all the time.

Monday, August 24, 2009


school begins tomorrow, its "bouquets of sharpened pencils" (name that movie) beckoning jared and i to greet it. and so, we decide, we shall.

we've been planning this for years and here it is. i can happily say our expectations in terms of details are quite slim, we simply hope to learn, to discover, to enjoy. i suppose those are acceptable things to expect.

speaking of learning, discovering, and enjoying, i've been absolutely delighting in having a keyboard in my home once again. jared and i sang and played together a few times this weekend and i can see it becoming quite a lovely little life hobby for us. how joyful.

also, my friendly neighborhood facebook profile now contains photos of our happy little home. feel free to visit, enjoy, and comment - i do love a good comment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

speed of sound.

oh, my.


i think i've started to associate my blog with ireland..with all that happened that which seems so close yet so far away from this moment. this moment, this moment which has me in our new apartment, sitting on the fourth floor of a highrise, looking out on the seminary's lovely little campus. this moment, which is coming not long after the moment i experienced today when someone looked at me and said "we have an offer for you" and hired me to work for a non-profit. this moment, which has me looking at my husband, my apartment, my new life and thinking "God is so good. God is fo faithful."

and what's beautiful to me, is that i was saying the exact same thing in ireland, and it was just as true there as it is here. our lives have changed in almost every way, yet He, our Essential, remains. and that is why He is good, why He is faithful - because He remains center while all else revolves. blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


in approximately 12 hours (yes, 3am irish time), jared and i will be waking up and headed to the cork airport for our 6am flight. 23 hours later (yes, 3am irish time) and 3 flights later, we'll arrive in houston.

...excuse me, summer, where do you think you're going?

and not just summer, but what happened to the two years of anticipation to come here?

jared graduated from college.
we got engaged.
we got married.
i graduated college.
we worked full time jobs.
we got on a plane.

oh yeah.

it is time to go home, we can feel it. but how is it possible that august is just hours away?

we quit our jobs.
we put all our stuff in storage.
we celebrated our one year anniversary.
we got on a plane.
we spent two weeks with our hosts.
the team came and went.
we spent two more weeks with our hosts.
we're getting on a plane.

ohhh, yeah. that's how it's posible.

we'll miss ireland dearly, but the next stage of our life is knocking at the door and its just about time to invite it in for coffee.

what a sweet summer we have had. words will never be able to capture all we have learned, seen, heard, realized, discovered, and enjoyed. life is sweet when Jesus is leading.

i often wondered how the end of the summer would feel. would i be devestated to leave? would i be counting down the seconds with anticipation? i am thrilled to say that it is neither. the summer could not have been more wonderful, more full. yet, i have grown immeasurably more confident that the Lord gives and takes away in His own timing, and He is also the Giver of all good things. so, when we walk with Him, we can be content to leave the old and happy to walk into the new. it doesn't mean it isn't hard, it doesn't mean newness doesn't breed a bit of nervousness, but it does mean that we are free to be excited and joyful as we walk with God because we are assured of Who He is.

off we go.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


sometimes blank spaces are a little intimidating.
yet, sometimes filled spaces are a little intimidating too.

i feel like our life is filled, somehow, with both of these right now.

today, its a rainy day in youghal and we have little to no plans as ernie and nancy are heading out for the day. at some point, we'll be making copies of fliers for the soccer camp next week, but other than that...the day is ours. blank spaces.

yesterday, we spent the day barbecuing with folks from the midleton church, one of the daughter churches of the cork church (the original church plant in the area), of which youghal baptist is a granddaughter church. we had a joyful day, and i even got to spend time with two of my girls from my quiet time group at camp. then, we joined kate, emma, and their mom, debbie, for a night of watching irish musicians and dancers - it was absolutely splendid. such a "cultural experience." filled spaces.

during our last week here, a northern irish team coming down to put on a soccer camp will be staying with us (well, the 8 guys will...2 girls are staying with jessie) so we'll be busy feeding them, getting to know them, and sharing our house with them. we fly out the same morning that they do. filled spaces.

when we get home...i don't even know what to say about getting home. so many empty spaces, so many filled spaces. catching up with friends, family, and supporters - filled spaces. moving - filled spaces. job hunting and getting ready for school - empty, unknown, exciting, daunting spaces.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. - Psalm 18:19
perhaps God rejoices with us, should we choose to rejoice, in the empty spaces of our life...

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. - John 16:24
ah, filled spaces.

so, my heart says, no matter how planned, how scheduled, how understandable, how attainable the "spaces" in my life may be - I will rejoice! God has gone before me, He comes with me, He follows close behind me...He is in every space of my life. May He continue penetrating further and further in to every corner and detail.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the heart of life.

seeing as i've been away from the blogopshere for about two weeks, i don't think at this point i'll attempt to give a day by day account. i will say that the ten days the team all had together after camps were over were a precious blessing from the Lord. we grew even deeper in our friendships and our knowledge of Jesus as we distributed magazines, led a Sunday morning service, and helped with other random upcomings. our hearts were unified further and it was a joy to bring that unity into other situations as we spent time with families and teens in the area. "they'll know us by our love"...i sure do know those team members love Jesus by their love for others.

as far as specifics, by the time the team left we had handed out 5500 magazines! we are only 500 magazines short of our goal (due only to weather, not lack of persistence!) and, should the skies smile on us tomorrow, we'll be finishing those up with kate (one of our dear friends here) as well as luke, one of the teens in town.

last sunday, we conducted the church service at youghal baptist. mervyn interviewed the team regarding their time here, chris/haley/i led worship, ashley read scripture, and jared preached. allow me to just brag on my husband for a moment. he absolutely blew me away. now, by blew me away i don't mean "performed well," "had a perfect three point sermon" (which neither of us would call perfect anyway), or "was so charismatic and charming we nearly forgot where we were." rather, i mean he studied the Word for hours on end the week before, articulated clearly, and so obviously listened to the Spirit lead. i was so blessed by him that day and we continue to pray that others in the congregation were as well. in case you're curious, he spoke on great faith using the examples of the centurion with the sick servant and samaritan woman with the demon possessed daughter, who are the only two examples in matthew of people Jesus said had great faith. oh to be as transformed as they were, how lovely to know we can be!

sunday afternoon, we had a church bbq here at the tromsness' filled with delicious food, kickball, and conversation. we also got to visit with a couple from the Logos Hope ("A cutting-edge example of international cooperation and cultural understanding, this growing fleet has been sailing the world since 1970, housing at any one time over 600 unpaid volunteers from around 70 countries! These crewmembers have each given several months or even years of their lives to serve on board, promoting world-wide education, cooperation, aid relief, social awareness and a personal relationship with God, in the ports and countries to which they travel."), a ship with an incredible bookstore (which we splurged at due to the ridiculously low prices) and a huge heart for the gospel which was docked in Cork for a few weeks. we had visited it the previous day with the team and several friends from camp whom we met for pizza, ice cream, shopping, and shipping. it was wonderful to meet others with a heart for missions who were following the Lord in such a specific way.

monday, we got to visit the blarney stone with the team - such fun - then eat dinner with a few families and other friends from camp. we have been blown away by the hospitality and openness here, if anything rubs off on us, i hope its that! we then had some time just with the team for their last night which was such a blessing. we rode with them to the airport at 5am the following morning and were sad to see them go, but excited to know that the Lord has such wonderful plans for each of our lives and it will be a joy to see where he leads each of us.

we've spent the last few days communing with friends and getting to rest a bit as we recover from social overload the past month. we're still around a lot of people all the time but jared and i will actually be getting monday all to ourselves which is a huge deal - we haven't had a day together since june 14th and only had lunch alone together once while the team was here. we wouldn't trade a minute of our time with any of them, or with a single irish person, but our marriage is definitely knocking at the door of our hearts asking for our attention, so, its time to grant it! praise God for giving us the blessing of time, perserverance, patience, whatever it may be, exactly when we need it. our hearts rejoice as we learn to rely on Him more and more each day.


Monday, July 6, 2009

finally filling you in.

eeesh. there's a lot to blog about. i keep putting it off because i don't know where to begin, but all that does is add another day to the blogging deficit. so, here i go!

last thursday night (as in ten days ago), jared, ashley, and i headed up to camp to help the rest of the team and their camp officers put on their texas night! we had the best time. we had a rotation of six activities set up - teaching the kids to lasso, a silly string shoot out, barrel racing using horses made out of pool floats (noodles), a pinata, pictures with cowboy hats and lassos, and teaching them how to line dance! ashley and i were the dance teachers and oh my goodness did we have fun. the kids loved it (we weren't so sure if they would) and all came back at the end to do it together! the irish are very easy going, we couldn't have had a better group of kids.

over the weekend, we got ready for the team to come home (made them a ridiculous "we missed you" banner and tacos), and enjoyed having our little family back together for a while. we watched blood diamond (more on that in a future post - whoa.), played uno, and stayed up late talking about relationships, church, theology...all the good stuff :). while those conversations can tend to be frustrating and create dissension, with this team it did exactly the opposite. everybody listened, valued, and encouraged what others had to say. we had such a great time learning from one another. we are so blessed.

after church on sunday, jared, ashley and i headed off to camp! where to even begin with camp? well, in a nutshell, i was assigned to the kitchen while jared and ashley were on the activity team, which turned out to be extremely essential to camp as it rained constantly and we played game after game after game inside the barn. they did an incredibly job coming up with activities that were so fun the kids didn't even notice the rain. working in the kitchen was great - i assisted two other ladies, sinead and olive, who i knew from last time and were wonderful to work with. ashley and jared had a wonderful time playing soccer, basketball, ping pong, and whatever else the kids were up for.

mervyn scott, the local missionary we worked on the magazines with, was our camp speaker and he absolutely brought down the house. he started with luke 24 when the men are walking on the road to emmaus and are met by the resurrected Jesus. Jesus proceeds to tell them all about himself, starting with Moses and the prophets, so mervyn decided to walk us through some of the things he may have told them. he took us through prophecies and articulated the gospel with unbelievable clarity. he also wrote our quiet time (small group) notes which delved further into evidence of the reality of Christ, the necessity of Scripture, and what a life with Christ looks like. the kids were truly taken to a new place this week and it was glorious to watch. two girls in ashley's small group came to saving faith in Jesus this week (hallelujah!) and the five boys in jared's group as well as the four girls in mine each articulated a clear understanding of the gospel which they claimed they had believed at an earlier time. the Lord is good and it was a joy to watch him at work. on thursday, our other team members came to help us put on our texas night and ashley and i again had a great time teaching line dancing - we were absolutely exhausted and sore after dancing for two solid hours but the kids loved it and came back at the end yet again. the week before, haley and john 0'sullivan (their camp director) sang "jackson" by johnny cash and june carter, and at our camp haley and jared sang it together. they did such a great job! all in all, it was a wonderful week, and while we were ready to return home to a house with real walls (we slept in tents), daily showers (the leaders got to shower twice during the week, the campers only once), and a few moments to ourselves, we wouldn't trade the week at camp for anything - God moved very mightily and we met incredible people, both officers and campers.

saturday when we returned home, the other team made a big welcome home sign for us and delicious chocolate chip cookies! we watched movies and caught up, then on sunday we headed to church (still pretty exhausted) and had a day off full of apples to apples bible version (not so sure about that...), movies, and more catching up. today, the half of the team who went to camp first headed off to cork city to meet up with folks from their camp. nancy dropped jared and i off in town so we could have a little bit of time alone together which was wonderful. we had lunch then walked back home and ashley went running on the beach! we'll see what happens next...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

well hey, hay fever.


this morning, we headed out yet again for some more magazine distribution. i'm rather amazed one of us hasn't had our fingers destroyed by frequent the attack dogs (also known as "poodles," "cocker spaniels," and various other dogs who shouldn't be capable of barking and jumping with the ferocity they somehow possess) who run to the door and grab the magazine before we've finished putting it through the letter box. its ridiculous. other than that though, we're really enjoying it - the occasional conversation, the frequent walking, the lovely sun - its been a great way for us to be involved in the community and let us "feel involved" in a very specific way.

unfortunately, jared's allergies flared up in fine form today. he has his medicine, but he didn't for a few days there so we're waiting for it to get back in his system. he's doing okay but the amount he can sneeze in a minute is pretty incredible. maybe i should contact the guinness book of world records. think it would help that his hay fever starts doing a jig in the country where guinness was invented? probably not.

after we finished our magazine route for the day, mervyn brought us home and ashley and i returned to pinata world, which, thank goodness, will no longer be a part of our lives after the next few days pass. they are looking...decent...and we've only had one collapse when we popped the balloon inside - not bad.

this afternoon, we also started studying our notes for the quiet time groups we'll be leading next week at camp. we'll be studying prophecies about Jesus in the OT that came true in the NT, who Jesus really is/said He was, etc. we're really excited about it - please pray for God to speak clearly through mervyn as he teaches and through us as we lead our small groups.

tonight, ashley and i started filling the pinatas with candy and sewing them up...hooray! they aren't the prettiest pinatas i've ever seen, but i can't say i feel strongly about something that is smashed to bits and only used for its insides needing to be attractive. call me hard hearted.

the agenda for tomorrow is more pinata construction (which is also known as "sneaking the occasional mini-snickers bar while wondering if this dye/discoloration on my hands from crepe paper will ever fade"), an hour or so of finishing up magazines (please pray that people will read them and think about what they say, they are all over the much potential!), ashley and i going to lunch in town (hooray!), and the 3 of us heading to camp to see our lovely little friends and help them put on texas night! please pray for a smooth, fun evening and energy for our pals who have been at camp all week. pray that we will be a great encouragement and energizer to them.

well, i'm off to say hey to mr. hey i have hay fever and see how he's doing. love you all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

good thing freckles are irish.

today, we headed back out to town and passed out magazines from about 9-1. it was a very warm day for ireland and i got quite a toasty sunburn on my shoulders and arms - oops! i didn't think it was possible to get sunburned here, learn something new everyday.

this afternoon we were pretty wiped out and are doing our best to not be exhausted by the time camp comes around, so we've taken it easy for a good bit of the rest of the day. tomorrow, we're back to magazines, finally finishing the pinatas, perfecting our line dancing playlist, and decorating our cowgirl hats from the euro store! ha.

ernie called and said camp has been delightful so far! thanks for all the prayers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

the sunny side of life.

i'm going to consider it quite an accomplishment if i am able to keep up with a day by day log of our trip as long as the team is here, but i've done it so far so why not keep trying, right?

now, where were we?

friday, i do believe. this was quite a fun day. in the morning, mervyn scott, who is an irish missionary here in youghal, brought over his 13 year old daughter, bethany, and some of her friends to help us put stickers on magazines and stuff them with letters so that people know they are coming from the youghal baptist community. the girls also helped us make pinatas! we had a wonderful time working together, learning about their school system (which is incredibly different and much more difficult than ours all things considered), trying to mimic one another's accents, and singing together as haley oftentimes serenaded us at our request. it was a lovely morning and afternoon, and as the teens left we all headed out to a pre-camp barbecue. it was technically a night for the officers (counselors) of the senior camp (15-18) which is going on this week, but since our summer team had just arrived, john o'sullivan (everyone calls him "johno" - he's the senior camp leader/host of the bbq) let us all come and enjoy. it was an especially enjoyable night for me as i got to see old friends from my first summer here, including precious emma sly who was in my small group at camp and has just finished her first year of university at trinity in dublin. such a joy. late friday night was lovely as well as we all arrived home and the team decided they were going to gather up blankets, give me a beanie, make some tea, and coax jared and i into sitting outside, playing guitar, chatting, and looking for stars. it didn't take much coaxing and we had a splendid time. they bring so much life to our experience here....they become our "joy and crown" more and more each day.

on saturday, we headed out to the farm where camp is hosted to finish cleaning and setting up for camp. the guys engaged in "manual labour" (spelled the european way quite intentionally) as they hammered tent stakes into the ground, while us ladies washed down chairs and headed out to the "toilets" and scrubbed...and scrubbed...and scrubbed. lovely. around lunch time, the boys headed out to see transformers with two of mervyn's sons and one of the teens, ilyas, who stayed with us over the weekend because he lives rather far from camp, while ashley, haley, ernie, nancy and i headed back to the house where we warmed up hamburgers and settled in for a lovely afternoon of watching bride wars which was much cuter and funnier than i expected! we also watched walk the line, did some laundry, and listened to the guys gush away about the movie when they returned home. johno and ilyas stayed the night and the senior camp folks got packed up and ready for camp while jared and i skyped with his family!

sunday, we headed to church where ernie preached on philippians 3 and 4. the team was introduced to the church and it was lovely to show them another part of what we've been involved in so far and who they are parterning with in ministry while they're here for these 4 weeks. we said good-bye to our senior camp half and then ashley, jared and i headed to the scotts for lunch with their family and the lewis'. we chatted away there for the afternoon and then headed to the radio station (mervyn has a weekly show) where jared and i sang live on the radio. holy cow. we were going to play a recording of "in Christ alone" and then someone suggested we sing it so we played through it twice and on we went. i don't think anyone will be contacting us for a record deal anytime soon but it was very fun, spur of the moment, and a blessing to talk about and sing a song that was dear enough to us to be played at our wedding. ashley then recorded a show to be played this sunday while mervyn is speaking at our intermediate camp (12-15) and did such a wonderful job, so many will be blessed by her joy and sincerity. last night, we came home (which felt incredibly empty with only the three of us) and made breakfast for dinner :). jared and i then got to skype with my dad and sister, hooray!

and, finally, today! mervyn picked the three of us up this morning and we headed into youghal where we "put magazines through the doors" (they have slits in their doors here, not mailboxes). i've told a few people in recent days that its been interesting for me to see how different strategies of ministry are beneficial in different places. in america, i wouldn't be very optimistic about putting literature in people's mailboxes because we are so inundated with "christian" information, especially in texas. however, here, folks are rarely encouraged to read the word of God on their own because of the corruption of the Roman Catholic church in ireland. the magazine encourages them to do just that - seek out the word of God on their own, not relying on a priest or middle man to tell them God's plan for their life but to understand who He is by reading His Word! please pray that the magazines will be effective and that we will be joyful as we walk up, down, and all over town to hand them out. we headed home in the afternoon to continue making pinatas and stuffing the magazines with letters. ashley and i have permanently dyed red hands thanks to the pinata crepe paper which is a bit unfortunate, but other than that it was a delightful afternoon and all the magazines are ready to go!

well, my goodness, i've finished. congratulations if you have read this all the way through. my hope is to write these logs as such, but to also write posts as commentary on things i'm feeling, thinking, experiencing, etc. i want to keep track of our trip but i also love to focus on writing, language, thought, etc, and it can be a tad hard to do that when attempting to recount our day to day experiences. we'll just have to see what happens :).

enjoy a few pictures!

haley and little aaron bateman who fell in love with her at camp clean up on thursday night!

ashley and i working on the infamous pinatas for western/texan/we're practically mexican night.

the guys holed up in their magazine, red shirted, star wars filled world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

beloved brethren.

where to even begin...

the last few days have been full of people, food, tea, coffee, magazines, pictures, driving, and ever so much more. ever since the team got here, our energy level has multiplied a hundred times over and it seems our activities have too, which is the perfect combination! they are an indescribable joy to have with us. daily, i think of verses such as Philippians 4:1 in which Paul refers to his fellow brethren as "longed for," "beloved," "his joy," and "crown" as our team members encourage, serve, bless, and strengthen us, the community in Youghal, teens in the area, and our hosts. they seek to engage with others without dominating the moment and truly listen and respond to what is said to them. we adore them.

as far as this week, as i mentioned in my last post the team arrived on tuesday (after 3/4 of them went to the wrong houston airport and barely made it to their flight - go ahead and give me a heart attack why don't you?) full of exhaustion (sort of...), hunger, smiles, and that undying energy. they ate some dinner, moved into their rooms, and decided their next move would be to talk us into going on a five mile walk into town and back. talk about fun! we had the greatest time enjoying one another, the scenery, and almost being demolished by more than one vehicle and/or dog.

on wednesday, patrick and chris worked on getting the 4You magazines ( we'll be distributing throughout the community ready, Haley hung out with some teenage girls we've gotten to know, and Jared, Ashley, Ernie, Nancy and I headed into Cork to do some last minute shopping for camp. we found cowboy hats for both the guys and girls for the western night we'll be putting on at camp, as well as rope for a lasso, and silly string shooting guns for the shoot out. yeehaw. then, ash, jared and i hopped on a bus and rode to a town called bandon where we had dinner at a family named the jeffers' house and met with fellow officers for our camp and planned about 4230 games.

thursday, we had a day at home that we kicked off with a morning devotional led by Ernie, and some beautiful tunes led by Haley and Jared. then, we worked through all our fun games and such for camp and tried to figure out how to lasso with extremely thin rope. really, we were trying to figure out how to lasso at all. apparently we are not very texan (don't tell). that afternoon, the guys worked on more magazines while ashley and i started making pinatas, which has been especially fun for me as i also made them the first summer i came here for mexican night at camp. we told nancy that texas is close enough to mexico for us to do pinatas at our western/texan night again this year - ha. afterwards, nancy and i headed to the grocery store so that we could get stocked up for this week - she, ernie, pat, chris, and haley have all headed off to the first week of camp so ash, jared, and i are fending for ourselves. we're quite sad that we'll be apart for 2 weeks from the other half of our team (we'll leave sunday the 28th for our week), but we absolutely can't wait to see what God does in these two weeks. on thursday night, we headed out to the farm where camp is held and started cleaning up and getting everything ready. it was so fun for me to watch everyone experience the initial "are you seriously trying to tell me we have camp here?!" thought and then see it slowly transform into "oh, wow, this really could work." while at the clean-up, aaron and emma bateman, two little kids whose grandparents own the farm where we have camp, fell absolutely in love with haley and ashley! so precious. after we cleaned up for a while, we were invited over to the bateman's house for tea, coffee, and biscuits (cookies) and to walk around in their beautiful gardens. it was absolutely lovely. they have three peacocks, by the way.

well, its midnight here and we're off to distribute magazines in the morning so i think i'll call it a night. hopefully tomorrow i'll have a few minutes to at least get caught up as far as what we've been doing each day. cheers!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

they're here!!

and, if you can't tell, its been glorious so far. we love them. they wanted to go on a five mile walk when they got here. they're basically superhuman.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the team is coming the team is coming!

just a few hours from now we'll be staring at the faces of our lovely, exhausted, completely unaware of what time it really is team members. hullabaloo.

here are a few pictures of our time so far. don't get too excited, we do promise they'll get better in the next few weeks!

this is the neighbor's house and the incredible view behind it. when we looked out the window of the airplane as we landed, the view was spectacular patches of different shades of green, much like the sections you see here. beautiful! today is an absolutely gorgeous day, 65 degrees and sunny (please don't hate me texans), the perfect day for the team to arrive!

we decided to take advantage of this lovely day by, drumroll please, doing laundry! they have a dryer but its very expensive to run so we've been doing our best to do laundry on sunny, dry days. i've gotta be honest - if i ever live somewhere that it would be feasible, i'd be totally into line drying my clothes. also i found out that i have a kitchen gadget that will enable me to make my own baby food someday. hippieeee.

well, the computer has decided it would rather not upload any more pictures right now, so we'll just keep you in anticipation. leaving to get the team in twenty minutes!

Monday, June 15, 2009

in other news.

i just came across a website that has some delightful, healthy recipes, and, what's even better, an entire section on cooking for 2! glory. i'm excited about our little home awaiting us in dallas and tonight is the perfect night to find some tasty treats to fill it up with. any favorite recipes are welcome!

lovely tonight.

(title credit goes to joshua radin who you need to listen to if you don't already.)

This afternoon and evening, Ernie and Nancy are out and Jared and I having a stay at "home" date/day off before the team comes tomorrow! Right now, Jared is playing Joshua Radin on the guitar (hence the blog title and the fact that words like "ecstasy" and "bliss" are breezing through my mind) and I'm, well, I'm blogging. We are so thrilled to have a day together and at the same time absolutely can't wait to see our team tomorrow. I can't believe its already time for them to come, this trip is going to fly by. We're doing our best to soak it up and remember the things we've seen, heard, and learned already. Its funny, I remember last time I came I told Nancy I wished I had written down everything she told me because we spent hours talking about marriage (it was 2 months or so before Jared and I got engaged), life, family, Jesus, scripture, being in the world and not of it, and so much more. She smiled and told me that if God was faithful enough to let me hear wisdom, He would be faithful to bring it to mind at the right time. Of course, He has, continues to, and will again.

Yesterday, we went to church in the morning and then Jessie (one of the other missionaries), and the Lewis family (the newer missionaries who just had a baby - Seth, Jessica, Daniel, and the new baby David) came for "dinner." Dinner, evidently, refers to the fact that its the biggest meal of the day, not the time of day it is served. So, they came for dinner at lunch time. We had a wonderful time with them and enjoyed hearing more about what they are in doing in the community, as well as getting to know Jessica's Mom who is here from Virginia helping with the baby. Then, last night we got to talk to the Perrys on skype for a while and then my little sister, Olivia for a few minutes! It was so great to get to talk to family and actually see them - it makes a big difference.

In other news, apparently Dr. Murano is no longer the president of A&M. Gotta love adult drama.

Love you guys dearly, off to hang out with the hub!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

what we're doing these days.

Hello friends,

The last week has been filled with....everything!

The first few days of last week were spent sleeping and being awake at rather strange times, but we adjusted within 3 or 4 days and got in some good movies during our hours of sleeplessness (including Sleepless in Seattle, ironically enough). We stay up later here than we do at home for the most part because the sun doesn't really go completely down till around 10pm, so our bodies are still a little deceived. Fortunately, we get to sleep a tad later than we did while we were working in College Station :).

A large motivation behind this trip (specifically for Jared and me) has been a desire to see what the life of a missionary in a European, specifically Irish, context really looks like. So far, we've discovered quite a bit! Since we've been here, a young missionary couple has had a baby, a friend's grandmother has passed away, we've helped conduct interviews for a radio station position, made thousands (literally) of lecture note copies for Summer Bible Week, read some wonderful books, ate some great food, missed our friends and family, watched rain fall out the window every day, experienced an average of 60 degree weather, and a good bit more.

Most days we wake up with a vague idea of what the following hours will bring, which is a stark contrast to the 8-5 lives we were living before we came here. It has been an adjustment and continues to be (not to mention that we'll be jumping into an entirely new schedule different from either of the two previous when we move to Dallas), but we are grateful that God (and our hosts) are patient, and that we have the opportunity to see that an American schedule is not the only way of life and that what is done here is not wrong, it is simply different. And if we're talking preference...I think we may fit in a bit more with the mentality here than we do in the States :). We'll see what happens!

Love you all and would love to hear from you. Let me know if you'd like to be added to our prayer email list!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We're in Youghal, y'all!

We've arrived my friends! The title of my post is intended to be funny though most people probably don't get it, my apologies. The town we are living in is called "Youghal" - which is pronounced exactly how we say "y'all" in Texas. Crazy isn't it?

We arrived in Ireland around 4pm yesterday, so 10am in Texas. After a crazy amount of sleep, we are filling a bit out of it but great. Today, a group called "The Barnabas Players" from Prairie Bible College left so we had dinner (which is called "tea") with them - they have been here for the past three weeks doing sketches about creation, the gospel, and topics such as peer pressure, in the schools here - which is a really big deal. Praise God for open doors, we know that the team had great impact on the children and youth that watched them perform.

At the moment we're waiting to leave for a prayer meeting with some members of the recent church plant the Tromsness (our hosts) are involved with. It'll be fun to meet some more folks (one of them is a family who recently moved here from Hungary!) One of the new additions to the missionary team here in Ireland is a young family, Seth and Jessica, who have a little boy named Daniel and are expecting their second son, David, any day! Pray for them as they've recently moved, are in a totally new culture, and about to incur another huge change. They are incredibly well adjusted and seem to trust the Lord very deeply, pray for their continued trust and an easy birth :).

We'll do our best to post as often as we can. Much love!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

over the mountains and the sea.

48 hours from now we'll be on our way to the airport after squeezing in about 18 hours to celebrate our first anniversary! too bad a raccoon ate the top layer of our cake after the wedding....although i can't really imagine one year old frozen cake is as heavenly as the tradition makes it sound.

we are SO excited. today is our last day of errands, packing, and last minute-ness. its amazing to think back on the way the Lord has been preparing our hearts and minds for this trip in the years past - we believe with full hearts that He will continue to prove Himself faithful, can't wait to see how!

off to finish up laundry and figure out which 50 pounds of my life will be joining us for the next few months. if any of you didn't receive our first prayer request email and want to please let me know!

Friday, April 24, 2009

its official!

Houston (IAH)Depart 1:53 pm Terminal A to Philadelphia (PHL)Arrive 6:20 pm Terminal C
1,329 mi(2,139 km)Duration: 3hr 27mn Philadelphia (PHL)Depart 10:40 pm Terminal A
to London (LHR)Arrive 11:05 am +1 day Terminal 1 3,546 mi(5,707 km)Duration: 7hr 25mn
US US AirwaysFlight: 728

The day after our one year anniversary, we're headed out across the seas :). We'll be back July 31st...what a lovely summer it will be!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


i've decided to become a coupon clipper. my inspiration is coming from a few things - constant disappointment at the HEB check out counter, a recognition that our budget will likely be shrinking in august, and this blog - written by a lady here in CS who i've never met but stalk a little obsessively. her wisdom on everything from marriage to modesty to mama-ing is full of humor, freedom, scripture, and love. so, if she clips coupons, i guess i'll try too!

i signed up for something called "the grocery game" today which gives me access to a lot of coupons and a list of everything already on sale or buy this get this free deals at HEB or whatever store i choose. that way, i can look at the list and menu plan from it. brilliant! the trial is only $1 for 4 weeks and jared's boss swears by this program (so i have someone to get help from, its a little confusing)! you might try it out...

you may be wondering why i titled this post "hippie." partially its because i am listening to priscilla ahn at the moment who is a tad hippie-ish (and a bigger tad wonderful). but mostly because i've realized that the little hippie inside me is so pleased when i find something to start pursuing that's beneficial, helps me feel free, and i can share with others. so, with the coupon thing, i can save money, recognize my budget as a help and not a threat, and hopefully help some others save money once i kinda get things figured out. i can pass thriftiness (without obsession) to my kids someday and help them become a blessing to their spouse in that way. and maybe with my leftover sheckels i can buy one of those cute, hippielike summer scarves at target i've been salivating over and/or buy some art supplies. yes, me, art supplies. the little hippie keeps telling me to try some artsy things out....we'll see...

what do you do that helps you feel free...beneficial....helpful?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

swaggin' it.

click the link, sign up for swagbucks, get points, give me points, get stuff.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

trust and obey.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
- lewis carroll

the title for this post and the quote above probably seem to relate very little if at all. yet, for the myriad of ideas, thoughts, feelings, decisions, and dreams flying around my heart and mind these days - they seem to collide quite nicely. "the time has talk of many things." to pray for many things. to decide many things. and so,

"i will trust
i will obey
i will follow where You lead
come what may..."

see, they fit perfectly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the language of spirit and soul.

my heart/soul/spirit don't tend to speak English. they favor the dialect of music.

just a few they've been speaking frequently, recently:

we are man and wife - michelle featherstone
where i stood - missy higgins
samson - regina spektor

i'm mostly writing this because - thank you Jesus - i got my tuition rebate in the mail yesterday and get to spend it on a piano/keyboard. i miss playing so much, and my parents don't have a piano anymore, so i rarely if ever get to play. my favorite place to sing is when i'm also playing. i can't wait to learn the songs above and many, many more. suggestions?

also - goes episode by episode and gives the songs for each episode of one tree hill. whether you watch the show or not - its very musically savvy (each show is named after a song) and i've acquired some amazing tunes through it.

thank God for music. sometimes English just doesn't do it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

well, i'm sitting here at my parent's dining room table on a lovely sunday afternoon waiting for danielle (my dear friend who is in england at the moment) to appear online so i can skype for the first time! quite exciting.

this weekend, our church did a weekend for the youth called "kardia" which means heart. it was set up like a d-now, one night & we stayed in people's homes , and the theme was "the sex delusion." it breaks my heart for the immorality these kids are exposed to every single day, i know our world has always been gross - but it seems that approval of the grossness is increasing every day. i really believe this was a beautiful weekend of truth, healing, and preparation to stand strong for the right reasons - not just because "True Love Waits." God really is good, all the time. His truth really is true, all the time. and Satan is a liar not on occasion, but all the time, it is the essence of who he is. just as he cannot do anything but lie and manipulate, God can do nothing but speak truth, justice, and love. what a wonderful Savior.

well, danielle and i have found each other so i'm heading out to chat. have a lovely day :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

a reflection of something we're missing.

do you ever have a moment where your eyes are somehow able to break through the natural and seem to peer into the supernatural for a moment?

you look at someone who doesn't know Jesus, but their life, their words, the places they find sadness or even happiness, reflect the fact that they see and experience every need for a Savior yet deny the One Who Saves?

i was listening to this song by Bright Eyes on my way to work this morning and it made me think of that, of them. this is how it goes:

now I know a disease that these doctors can't treat
you contract on the day, you accept all you see is a mirror
and a mirror is all it can be,
a reflection of something we're missing.
and language just happened,
it was never planned,
and it's inadequate to describe where I am,
in the room of my house where the light's never been,
waiting for this day to end.

it breaks my heart. the lyricist is feeling every need for a Savior, for a Comforter, for a Lover - and its real enough to him to put on a cd and send out all over the world. its funny that non"Christian" music can stir our hearts for the Lord. funny that a tv show, a movie, a book can get our souls, our minds, our hearts going in directions that Jesus longs to take them.

look for ways to cling to Jesus. seek out the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that immerse you in a sense of His kindness and love and chase them. then you will be able to love your neighbor as yourself, as you are loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. then you will be able to show those wandering in darkness the beautiful light that can fulfill the "reflection of something we're missing."

the songwriter is right, our disease is one that our earthly doctors can't treat - but our Great Physician can. language is inadequate to describe where we are, but the Holy Spirit can intercede for us with groanings too deep for words. without hope, it is our inclination to just wait for the days to end, but Jesus brings life to the full.

lets go.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

making sense of the world.

sometimes pictures weave a better story than words.


happy inauguration day!

no matter how you voted or feel, let's be excited - this is a joyous, much belated day for America and, well, your kids will study this in history class!

feeling patriotic?

oh, and have a laugh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

my, my.

its been quite some time.

i started my new job recently - learning it and loving it so far.

over the break, jared and i went skiing with my family and our best family friends - the kiltz. well, to be completely accurate, we went snowboarding. yes, snowboarding! my very first time on a wintery mountain and i chose to navigate down it strapped into something resembling a surfboard. there were a few tragic falls and frustrating moments, but overall it was literally one of the most fun things i have ever done - and i have to be honest, i felt quite good that i could (somewhat) do it. i've always written myself off as never having an athletic bone in my body - but it looks like i may have found one or two! such fun.

vacations are really important, you know. remember that as we all start dancing toward building our families, our ministries, our jobs. vacations aren't lazy - they're wise, beautiful, sometimes even daring. though, when a vacation starts to feel daring, be careful. often times we think we're a tad more crucial to a situation than we are. the world will not crumble if you take a few days off - i strongly encourage you to try it, especially my out of college friends. breathe in, breathe out, and have the time to realize you just took a breath.