Monday, December 20, 2010

Wedding planning part 1

Man, y'all. There is way more that goes into planning a wedding than I realized. So far we (Justin, Mom, besties and I) have venue shopped, gotten my ring sized, dress shopped, registered (only at Bed, Bath, and Beyond so far) Here's our registry if you wanna take a look. Let's start with that......

Yesterday we spent 3-3 and 1/2 hours at BBandB deciding what we wanted our currently non-existent residence to look like. Ha. Let's talk about being unprepared. I feel like it could've been shortened if we would've thought at all about what we wanted our home to look like before walking in those automatic doors, but we didn't. Really though, it was so fun. The whole thing started with Justin telling everyone we walked by that we were getting married. He asked another couple with a gun if they were getting married and the man very shortly said, "Yes." He did not seem excited to be registering at all. I giggled a lot. When Deanna, the very friendly Bridal Consultant, was helping us set up, she asked if we wanted China. We said no we didn't really need or want it. She said that was fine, but thought we might want something pretty to look at every day. Justin said he would look at me everyday if he wanted to look at something pretty. I giggled some more. She said that that was the perfect response. She was right. I sometimes forget how sweet of a man I have. He does stuff like that a lot. Thanks, beau.

Anyways, the first section we came to (because I like to go in order) was towels. I immediately wished I would've thought a little more about registering before that second. I never paid attention to how many towels there are. It was kind of a funny start because although I think I'm not picky, I didn't like either of the 2 colors Justin picked. I think this is mostly because I didn't know what anything else in the bathroom (the shower curtain for example) would look like. We got some neutrals that will hopefully match anything. Shower curtains are overwhelming my Google Chrome tabs currently. I'm probably gonna end up just buying one with a gift card instead of registering for one though. How do you pick stuff if you don't know where your living or what your going to own? If there are any wifeys reading this, please please please give me any advice you have. I'm compiling a book of knowledge...promise.
After bath stuff we came to comforters. Let's be real. I'm a girl. A girlly girl. I love flowers and pink and stuff like that. I'm marrying a man who is a manly man and doesn't love flowers and and pink and stuff. I really like the one we ended up picking, but it was a funny process getting there. We actually picked out a duvet, and it was really funny trying to explain why you'd rather use a duvet than a normal blanket. Justin thinks they're dumb.
The whole experience was so fun. It kind of felt like I was doing something I shouldn't. I was so tired by the end though. There is a lot of stuff in that store, and we have no idea what stuff we actually need. I of course, don't want just anything, I want to pick out stuff I love which takes even more time. There was just way more to it than I realized. Apparently we're supposed to register at more stores, but I don't know where. I love Target, but multiple people have told me it's terrible for wedding registers. Again, suggestions please?

After that we went to see the new Narnia movie. It was good. The first was my fave though. It was so fun to spend a whole entire day with just him. I don't think in our whole dating relationship we've done that. I think that's good. We never wanted to be hanging out with only each other, but being engaged is fun because now we can and it's ok!

We have also venue shopped a little bit. I'm learning so much about fees and rules that I think are dumb. Examples: you must have a licensed caterer at some places, there is fee for electrical feed at some places, it's usually $1,000 more to reserve somewhere on a Saturday than any other day, cake cutting fees? Man, I'm learning so much.

And, I bought a dress. I'm excited. I'd show you a picture, but that would just be silly. On the topic of pictures, I'll show you some I swear. They're not in my possession right now though, so it's pretty impossible.


Monday, December 13, 2010

I have a very pretty ring on a very important finger

That's right y'all, I'm engaged. Engaged. En. Gaged! Meaning I'm getting married. Meaning I'm gonna live with a man that's not my daddy or brother. Meaning I'll have a kitchen. Meaning I get to plan a wedding and (more importantly) a marriage to the man I LOVE. Love. I can say the word "love". That's neat, huh?

Because I'm a terrible friend and can't return all of the phone calls I said I would, here's the story until I actually call you. Forgive me please?

Saturday Justin and I helped some friends move (who knew it was happening so I'm now told) then went on a date. We planned to go to my parents house for chili that night. I'd been inviting people all week as had my parents. Anyways, to start our date Justin picked me up, and when we walked back out to his car there was a ticket on it, what looked like a ticket at least. Really it was a note for me.
     *To ask me out for our first date Justin put a ticket envelope on my car which also led to a scavenger hunt. This eventually ended with him asking me out. 

I read the note which basically told me that I was going on a scavenger hunt, he would be my driver, I got clues wherever we went IF I asked to go to the right places. I read clue #1, and we headed off to Gulley Park, where we went on our first date. I found another clue and throughout the whole thing we ended up going to about 9 or 10 more places. Everywhere we went was somewhere we've been together. At one point I had to go to McDonald's, order what we did on our first date, and ask for Richard. Then, some man named Richard gave me the next clue. Eventually we ended up at the square to look at the Christmas lights.

We walked around the square and ended up in front of the U.S. Center for World Missions. There were rose petals on the ground, but I hardly noticed since I was wondering how they got the Christmas lights on the really tall middle parts of the trees to look so great. Justin then grabbed my shoulders and told me he wasn't thinking about cherry pickers (which was my suggestion for how the Christmas lights were placed).
Then I noticed the rose petals.
Then he said he wanted to talk about our future.
Then I don't totally remember, but I know he told me he loved me (which he'd never said before) and that he wanted me to be his wife.
He got down on one knee (with the ring box upside down) and asked me to marry him.
I asked if he was serious. Yep.
He said yes, and then I said yes.
Then I hugged him a lot.
Then we went to my parents house for our engagement party which I'd apparently been inviting people to all week.

I'll post pictures when I get them back and keep you updated on how this whole wedding planning thing is going because I can already tell you that there is so much more to it than I knew.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I know, I've slacked.

So, I said I would do better this time, and I was....then I wasn't again. Oops. Life hit me in the face, and this was the last thing on my mind. Correction: probably 2nd to last. Homework was last which is why this week is kicking my butt. I'm so good at procrastinating. Thanks, mom. :)-kidding.

I had a wonderful thanksgiving with almost the entire side of my mom's family. I might have pictures later. I'll try real hard to at least. There were so many people staying at our house. The den was like a little camp for all of the kids. We played lots of Banagrams and a little bit of Life, and my brother, cousin, and I all got dominated by Justin at Monopoly.

AND we went to see Tangled. I was excited. I loved it. :)

My uncle went hunting and killed a bobcat. That was gross and neat.

I loved loved loved spending time with my fam. I am so so blessed and get to have wonderful parents and extended fam.

Good news: The heat in Humphreys finally got turned on.
Bad news: It wasn't working on my half of my floor.
I've been doing homework (and sleeping in) a onesie and one glove. (You can't use a mouse on a laptop with a glove on, so my right hand just had to deal with it.) One night I slept with a hot hands in my onesie. True story.
Best news: The heat on my floor got fixed yesterday. Praise. The. Lord.

Well, my random 15 minutes I didn't know what to do with is up, so hopefully I'll update again sooner than last time. :)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

In case you didn't hear, it was my birthday.

My 22nd birthday to be exact. And, if you know me, you know that I LOVE birthdays. This one may have been the best yet, and I have had some stinkin' awesome birthdays.

My birthday was on Monday, but my birthday festivities started on Friday when my lovely boyfriend took me on a date. We went to Jammin' Java, went to Mexico Viejo (my fave), and then went to Barnes and Noble to color and look around. He love love loves to plan not normal dates, but I really enjoy low-key conversational dates, so this was perfect. He picked me up pretty early, but I kind of assumed it was because he had to work at 7 the next morning. After all of that we went to his apartment to hang out in the hammock (except not really because I was way too cold for that), but then we walked into his apartment and so many of my favorite people were there!!!

I was totally surprised! I knew my parents were having a party for me on Monday, so I didn't expect this at all. Way to go, friends. 
At the party my friend Julie made me a devil's food cake (from scratch!) and strawberry cupcakes, and my friend Nathan made homemade apple pie. Yep. I'm one spoiled girl. There was a piƱata which I got/had to bust open, and my favorite candy was in it! 
After that we played one of my favorite games (Naked, SWAG, Fishbowl...whatever you like to call it) Celeste version. That meant that at least one thing that each person put in the bowl had to be related to me somehow. That was slightly weird for me, but still really fun. 

It seemed like every time I walked into my room between Saturday and Monday there was another surprise in my room. I feel so loved. Seriously, I have the best friends ever.

At my parents' house on Monday we went on a hayride, mom made tons of manicotti and ravioli, and everyone brought recipes because my mama is putting a recipe book together for me. I'm. So. Excited.
I don't have many pictures from that night because they accidentally ended up on another camera, but here are a few.

Best birthday ever. Thanks everyone. Lovelovelove you tons. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My trash can is full of tissue, and my head feels like a balloon

I don't know what a balloon "feels" like obviously, but I would imagine that my head is the way a balloon would feel if it could it's going to explode. 

A couple of years ago I got tonsilitis and a sinus infection back to back or at the same time...I don't really know. This followed a spider bite that made my whole body break out. Ever since then I get super super allergic a few times a year, and my sinuses get so full of gross stuff that I feel like my face is going to explode. My teeth hurt. My throat hurts. My nose hurts from blowing my nose so much (Chels, I promise I didn't have a runny nose when I refused your kleenex:). And, I have a really great boy-in-puberty/manly-girl voice. Ha. 

This sounds really dramatic and terrible. It's not that bad. I mean, it's not fun, but I'm getting a lot done around my room with my door closed. I'm drinking lots of tea and coffee and even soda which I can't usually justify if I'm not sick. I enjoy alone time and getting stuff done, so I'm soaking up this sick time with some bluegrass and cleaning/catching up on things all while being in my pajamas. It's rather enjoyable for being sick.

Surely something has been going on in my life to keep me from updating this in about 2 weeks, but at the moment I'm not sure what other than:
Losing my ID-I've managed to keep up with my student ID for 3 years, but within the past week I've lost it twice for a couple days. The first time, I was praying about where it was (I knew I lost it within a 2 hour timespan between Humphreys and Starbucks which are maybe 30 yards apart?) After 2 days I had resolved to pay $18 for a new ID and then, no lie, it fell out of my Bible. I was ecstatic. Well, this time I've managed to lose it (on Thursday...still don't have it) somewhere in Humphreys. Yep. I've checked everywhere I can think of (seriously, I dug through the trash), but yet again, it looks as if I'm going to have to buy a new one. We'll see. 
Taking my first test of the semester-That's right. It's the 10th week of school, and I just had my first test. It was a mid-term. I was way out of practice of studying. My classes have lots of projects, but not so many tests. 
Going to a Ben Rector/Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors concert-I love live music. I love Ben Rector music. I now love Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors music. I didn't feel well, so my singing voice was basically non-existent, and we were in a pretty tight space, so for the sake of keeping things from being awkward my dancing was pretty limited as well. Still though, it was fun. I got to see my girls have fun. That's fun to me. It was a good night. AND, I got to see my sweet friend in line. Bumping in to her is my fave. We've been bonding over changing the world together since we were freshmen interning with TOMS. Now, we're both about to graduate. Watch out, world. 
Doing that Halloween thing-Here's the deal. I don't love Halloween. I used to, but since being in college I really don't. Well, I found out at the beginning of October that I have a boyfriend who loves Halloween, or at least thinks it silly that I don't like it...I don't really know. All that to say him and his roommates decided to have a Halloween party and make costumes mandatory. If you don't know this, I'm stubborn. That made me not want to dress up. Don't worry though, I'm a little grown up. I dressed up. By Friday, I had a decent attitude about the party (I hope), and I even won half of an award (cutest couple. Ha.). 
Justin is Dr. House. I'm a housewife. I know. It's a stretch that they go together. 

I'll try to do better this week. 

Lovelovelove y'all. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yep-midweek update-be impressed

Why? Because I'm putting off homework. Duh. 
What? Coffee and social justice-I love coffee. I love orphans. I want to help. I like how they help. The link above is for a neat video, but if you go here you can see more of what they do. 

Also, I'm pretty certain I could make it on an all liquid diet if it weren't for caffeine jitters. Not to like, lose weight or anything, but because I love beverages. 

My birthday is in 19 days. I'm really excited. I love birthdays. Not just mine, of course. I love all birthdays. :)

Happy Wednesday....maybe I'll be productive now. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's making up my life now

It's halfway through the first semester of my senior year, and I'm so excited. Don't get me wrong, I love college, but I do not enjoy the student part. Lame, I know. I feel super blessed to get an education and all that, but after 16 years of school, I'm a little over it. Anyways, this is what's taking up my time and thoughts this week :)
  1. Why do we have some of the interactions that we do? Like, is there a divine purpose for them? I don't see it, but there probably is.
    1. Example a. Small talk with people you hardly know, but still see or used to know but haven't seen in forever. Generally awkward. 
    2. Example b. Walking to Humphreys with some of the girls I was talking about how I felt like a bum (I decided to adorn myself with athletic shorts, a pullover, and no makeup that day), but that I didn't want to really change or dress up for StuMo that night. Kels told me that I could totally fix my outfit by putting on jeans and a headband or bow. This boy that was walking behind us walked passed us, turned around and looked at me, and then goes, "Yea. I could see that." What?! Who are you, sir? I don't even know you! I laughed and said thanks then I felt bad because he darted off. My outburst of laughter may have made him feel awkward. Oops. Really though, what was the purpose of that interaction? I'll probably never know, but it was funny. 
  2. For the second time in my college career the fire alarm went off when I was showering. True story: I was showering. I thought I heard something, but I figured someone was messing with my door. Then it got louder. Then I heard a voice. Not just any voice. The voice that says, "Attention. An emergency has been declared. Please evacuate the building. Do not use the elevators. I repeat, do not use the elevators." Awesome. I got dressed and headed downstairs where 350ish people were standing outside in the cold. One thing I've noticed in my 3 years of on campus living: girls almost always get dressed if they were in the shower when the alarm goes off. (I've never seen a girl in a towel, but I'm sure it happens, that's why I say almost always.) Boys on the other hand come down in a towel or robe or boxers (because the extra 5 seconds for pants is too long I guess.) Seriously. Every. Single. Time. I've seen multiple boys like this each time there's been a fire alarm from my freshman year til now. I don't get it. 
  3. I was meeting with the woman who disciples me this week, and we were talking about what I'm going to do when I graduate. That seems to be the question of the year. Here's the thing though; I don't have the slightest idea what that answer is. That excites me. I think that stresses a lot of people out, but I think it's really cool that I could be doing almost anything 8 months from now. Anyways, she challenged me to make a list of anything and everything I would potentially want to do when I graduate. I love lists, and I love dreaming, so I'm really excited about it. This is what I have so far, but feel free to suggest something. I'm obviously pretty open. :) 

    Anyways, I'm now getting frustrated with my inability to use pictures how I want or complete my list, so I'm done. :) Have a great weekend, y'all!


    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    No Spend Week

    1. Happy Saturday, y'all. I love quiet Saturdays. 

    2. After reading this blog I decided (and coerced a few of my friends) to do a no spend week. I don't spend that much money. I mean, my room and board and school are paid for, and, let's be real, if I go somewhere with Justin he generally pays for me because he's just a gentleman like that. Still though, I'm really great at unnecessary WalMart trips, Sonic Happy Hour, buying music, and buying things just because they're cheap. It's been relatively easy and has shown me how much random stuff I like to purchase. Now, we (the girls that did it with me and myself) have decided to do a no spend week once a month. If we do it once a month for a year that's 12 weeks, or 3 months, that we aren't spending money! That's so cool. It hasn't been hard this week because I haven't been forced to get creative for anything (example, baby shower/birthday/pot luck etc.) I'd be kind of excited for that though. :) Anyways, we're done on Monday, but will do it again next month. You should totally do it with us. :)

    3. I get to go home today and I am SO excited. I miss my home and my mom and my dad and my aunt and my uncle and my cousins and my bestie and my Blakely and my puppies and I think they're all gonna be there. :) 

    4. That's all. Lovelovelove ya. 

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    I love Saturday mornings.

    If you know me well, or at all, you know that I do NOT love the cold. In fact, I kind of hate it. I do however enjoy the inbetween summer and fall period before it gets really cold. 

    Just so you know I'm not a total hater about the weather, here are some things I love about pre-winterchillyweathertime:
    • Hot bevvies
    • Craft. Fairs. (Mom just told me Applefest is this weekend!)
    • Holiday decorations...not really halloween, but fall/Thanksgiving/Christmas
    • Leaves changing colors
    • Being able to wear shorts and long sleeves
    • Using the feet heater

    This has been an unusually busy week, so I was really excited for a weekend with the girls thrifting, yard selling (saling?), and just hanging out. 

    Even better, I got a bonus--usually Thursdays are my least favorite day. I have stuff from 8am-10pm, so they just aren't fun. This Thursday however, staff meeting got canceled, and someone was working my desk shift for me, so I was free at 2pm! Wooooo! Sure, I could've been productive and done a lot of things that "needed" to be done, but guess what I did instead?

    I along with my friends Rachel, Kelly, and Kelsey went to Mama Z's in Tontitown for dinner and then we drove to Siloam Springs to go to Barnett's and get shakes. I'd never been to Barnett's, but I am now a fan. The peanut butter fudge shake=best.  

    The thrifting, saling, and hanging out was wonderful as well. We had a few good finds as well as a few funny ones. Bunny statue collections at an "estate sale" for example. (It was a lammmeeee excuse for an estate sale.)

    On a totally different, but still very autumny note I'm currently loving banjo-y music. Autumn is a bluegrassy season. Here are some faves:



    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Does this count as an update?

    Y'all. I think this is really funny. I don't have a mini van or a family (I mean I'm not a mom. I have a family.), but I still think it's hysterical. 

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    It's 1am, and I have homework due at 8am that I've yet to start. Oops.

    Top 5 favorite things right now:

    1. The 5th floor and the girls that live on it.
    2. How God created us for community. 
    3. Coffee (I think this is almost always on my T5)
    4. The idea of heaven being a home. 
    5. Living and loving Jesus and not living and loving a list. 
    I'll elaborate on these later. For now, you should think about these things. :) 


    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Do you know much about tanning lotion? You don't do you.....

    Yes. That (if you didn't already, please note the title) was said to me. I know. You're shocked. Believe it or not folks this bronzed glow is all natural.
    Sidenote: In case you didn't know, my parents bought a tanning salon (Tan with TLC on Garland), and so I help out as any daughter would.

    I spent more time there on Tuesday than I've spent in a tanning salon ever. Promise. I'm not really a tanner. Let's be real though-it's a pretty great job. The shop bought me pizza, and my sweet boyfriend brought me a milkshake (without me asking. duh). Hard life.
    So, here's the deal, y'all: after obsessing over a few blogs of women that I adore and want to be someday, I decided that I would do better to keep up with my own. I mean, if they can make time with their children, husbands, and grown-up lives surely a senior in college can, right? We'll see. :) That along with my bestie being across the country and encouragement from others led me to commit to this whole blog thing til the end of the year (for now). 

    I hope you enjoy it. Tell me if I'm slacking. I'll do better. :)

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Still feels like India....

    So, I've been back for a little over a month now and am living in Humphreys once again. In case any of you forgot or don't know, Humphreys doesn't have AC. All that to say it sometimes feels like India when I wake up drenched in sweat. Although it still really isn't near as hot here, it reminds me a lot of summer. 

    I promised one more India post, and although it's late, here it is. Enjoy!

    I learned a ton this summer. After thinking and praying through it, I made a list (because I love lists) of some of the big things I've learned. Here are a few:

    -I'm really dependent on my friends and family. This summer I was forced to depend on the Lord and prayer, and it was incredible and necessary (and an answered prayer!). 
    -God is faithful. I knew this before, but didn't experience like I did this summer. He is faithful to come through always and in His perfect timing (example; support). He is faithful to answer prayers, and He is faithful to always listen to us and love us even though we don't deserve it. One small way I realized that this summer was when I was praying about our trip to the Taj. Among other things I was praying for a safe trip because it was a 4 hour drive, and driving in India is scary to me. I've prayed for safe travels many times, generally because I feel like I should, but this time I really felt like we needed the Lord to get us there and back safely. At that moment I realized on a very small scale how faithful He is to listen and care for us, and answer us even when we aren't praying for the right reasons. Needless to say, I feel like I know His heart and desire for us to pray much more now than I did before. That makes my heart smile. 
    -God is good and merciful in all situations. Even when we were in the slum, even when we were hot, even when I saw beggar children, God was and is always good. One way He really blessed Beka and I this summer was by giving us the ability to not be blinded to the horrible things around us (like the beggar children or the dead rats we were stepping over in the slum water that the children played in), but still not to be so overwhelmed by them that we couldn't function. As I said earlier, India bombards all of your senses, and there is just so much going on that it would be really easy to focus on that instead of what we there to do. God allowed to see and experience so many things, but not be overwhelmed by them. 
    -Just by working with both Hindu and Muslim women this summer, God grew my heart for both of them a TON! I have prayed for Hindus and Muslims many times, but again, it was more because I should, and I wanted to be obedient.
    -I learned a lot about the importance of rest this summer. Spiritual, mental, and physical rest. Indians value rest, I think, much more than Americans do. Granted, we may get more done in a day, but Indians value relationships more than getting stuff done. This can be frustrating, but through Didi caring about how much rest we got I learned a lot about how much God cares for us and our well-being. 

    Even though the summer is over I would love to ask you to continue to pray with me. Here are some things I'm praying for:
    -Each of the women I met/worked with this summer. I would LOVE to give you a specific one to pray for if you'd like. :) Seriously, ask me. 
    -That I wouldn't put this summer away in a shoebox, and pull it out just to tell stories. I want God to continue to work in my heart with the things I experienced this summer. 
    -For guidance. I graduate in a year and have no idea what I'm going to do. That is both scary and exciting. 

    Here are 2 videos for you if you're interested. The first one is about the organization we worked with. The second is of my sweet friend, Priyanka. The slum you see in the videos is the one we worked with, and the women/children shown are the ones that we worked with as well.

    I will attempt to keep up this blog thing during school for those of you that have asked, but don't get your hopes up. :)


    Monday, July 12, 2010

    So, it's been a while.....

    I know. I said I'd do better at posting this summer. BUT, our computer access was super cut off, so I didn't really have a chance. (by cut off I mean the people who owned the computer needed it, so we didn't have one anymore. Ha.) Anyways, I'm sorry. I'll update you and then some and even post some pictures to show you what's been up.

    Right now I'm sitting in Orlando! We are home safely after lots and lots of traveling! I'm happy and sad to be back at the same time. Again, thank you so much for supporting me and praying for me. Y'all are the only reason this summer could happen.

    I don't really remember what all I've told you, so my apologies in advance for any repetitive info.

    The organization we work with, Sahayak (I can use names and stuff now that I'm back!), does the income-generation program for the women that live in the slum. We were asked to create a product for them to make that could be sold in the States/the western world. After trying all sorts of jewelry, headbands, and Christmas ornaments, we came up with (with the help of Sarah Allen......a chai packet! Everyone in India drinks chai. All the time. At home, I don't like chai. In fact, after having it from Starbucks, I hated it. Ha. But, it's so good and so much different in India. Chai is literally tea. Chai means tea in Hindi. They add some spices to some, which I think is what most coffee shops/restaurants at home are shooting for when they serve it, but it's not the same. We made 40 packets as testers/samples to bring home with us, and if they go well, Sahayak will start making them and selling them! Each packet contains the tea, sugar, spices, instructions, and a strainer to make real, delicious chai. And, they all come in cute bags that we bought at one of the many incredible markets we visited. I'll have a few of the packets left at home, they're $5 if you wanna buy one, but even if you don't, let me know what you think about them. Do you think they will sell or is it silly? Shoot me straight. We need to know more for them than for us. :)

    Now to the markets. There are tons and tons of different markets here. I could've spent so so much money, but luckily, I didn't bring a ton. We went to an export reject market where a lot of Old Navy, Gap, etc. reject (messed up) clothing is sold. I think this was my favorite market. They also had housewares, shoes, jewelry, bags, my teammate Beka bought peacock feathers. It was great. Of all the markets, there a few wholesale markets that sell almost anything you can imagine in bulk for ultra cheap. They are filled with people all the time, as everything else in India is, and can be one of the most overwhelming things you experience ever. We bought things like tea strainers, tea, sugar, beads, ribbons, wire, hooks, and bags there. You can also go to the steel market or the plastic market or what I like to call the party favor market to look for other specific things. Seriously. They have everything. Here's a picture of one that we frequented for jewelry supplies for Sahayak. 
    It was pretty early, so it wasn't super crowded then. And, please notice the power lines. They were like this in every market we went to. It's really funny/neat/scary to me. Ha. Within the markets there are usually temples and mosques. Here are some beautiful doors that were part of Jain community in one of the markets we went to. Aren't they so colorful and fun?! (If you wanna learn about Jainism, here ya go: I didn't really know a ton about it before.)

     We also visited a Hindu temple while we were there. It was really sad. They are EVERYWHERE. I saw people praying to these creepy looking little statues and presenting them with offerings. As we walked through, our Indian friend told us what each one was. We walked through again and just prayed for Hindus and the temple and the people there. It was heartbreaking. Here are two of the probably hundreds I saw this summer.

    OH! We got to go the Taj Mahal! It was so fun! Beka and I went with our Didi (I don't know if I told you, but Didi means eldest sister in Hindi, and that's what we called our Indian girl friend who took us everywhere. We love her and miss her tons.) We left at 6am and rode 4hrs in a car to Agra. We got a tour guide named Lucky who loved Didi. Here are some pictures of the drive there and the Taj itself. This was the one and only time I wore my jeans there this summer. I only did that because our car was air conditioned (praise the Lord. AC is not normal here.) I still regretted it.
    The really colorful picture on the right is the back of a truck. All of the trucks here are super colorful and super painted. Also, all of the pictures above are totally normal things in India that you see on a day to day basis. Crazy right?
    I had to.
    We had to wear shoe covers, but we wanted to be cool, so of course we didn't actually cover our feet. So cool, I know.
    Our auto had to stop one day to get fuel, so while we were waiting the driver let us have a photo shoot. It was fun. :)
    Those are my dirty feet from walking through a market when it started raining. During the end of our time here, the monsoon came, so it rained tons. It helped the weather a lot though. We moved from around 115ish to 95-100ish. It was great!

    Without a doubt, my FAVORITE thing we did in India was go to the slum. We went about twice a week, and we also saw the women when they were making jewelry. I love them. They are so sweet and kind and generous and welcoming. And, oh the children. I cannot talk about them without getting a huge smile on my face, and I'm nearly crying thinking that it's more unlikely than likely that I will ever see them again. But, here a few gems for you. I'll try to keep them minimal even though I could post tons.
    That's all I have for now. I'll continue to post a few more things as we go through debrief, but hopefully this is more than enough for you for now. I miss you all! See you soon!

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Halfway Finished!

    It's so crazy how fast time goes by here. I am now nearly halfway through my time here. I know it's been a while, but here's a little bit of what I've been doing. :)

    We went to Jama Masjid one day, (,_Delhi) and it was crazy. The mosque itself was beautiful, but it was so sad. Also, we burnt our feet off. You have to take your shoes off to go in, and I don't know if I've mentioned this, but it's stinkin hot here. We were there at like noon, so it was extra hot. My feet were sore for days. I made friends with three 8-10ish year old boys who used the few English sentences they knew on me. They asked my name, where I was from, one called the other crazy, and one said, "I'm fine?" Yep. He made it sound like a question. It was precious.

    Yesterday, we went to a Hindu temple. It was creepy and sad. All of the idols here are crazy, but in the temple, seeing people worship them is really heartbreaking. They offer them food, and pour milk on their heads, etc. It's crazy because some of them barely have enough to eat, but they still continue to do it.

    I'm learning how to cook! I may have already mentioned that, but I'm really excited. I can make like 5 or 6 things now! Well, I can help someone make them. Hopefully, I'll be able to make them on my own at home.

    Shopping here is crazy. You bargain almost everywhere you go. It's kind of fun, but towards the end of the day I really would prefer fixed, not super marked up prices. Still though, their "expensive" stuff is really not that much to most Americans.

    We've been to the slum 3 or 4 times, and it is my absolute favorite thing we do. The children teach me Hindi words which I love because they're kids, and I remember them better that way. Yesterday we got to just sit with the women in the literacy class and ask them questions about their life. It was so great! Our Indian friend (Didi...well, that's what we call her. It means eldest sister in Hindi) translated everything back and forth for us. She's so awesome. We spend a ton of time with her. She teaches us things, helps us out a ton, but still makes us do things on our own. She's a super servant too. I love being around her. (Which is good because we're with her like 6 days a week.) :)

    I. Love. Indian. Children. They're all soooooooooooooooooo cute. Really. It's really hard for me to see them selling magazines, vases, statues, etc. in the streets at night. It's even harder for me to see them begging for money for food, but when you offer them food they refuse it.

    We're creating a new product for the company we're working with, and I'm really excited because we're bringing them back to the states to test sell it there. Get excited.

    We're going to the Taj Mahal tomorrow! I'm so excited!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and I got a hoop nose ring. Sorry daddy. (I'll put the sparkly back in when I come home:)

    I have so much more to tell you, but that's all for now. I'll try to update sooner next time. :)

    Lovelovelove you all!

    Oh, and here are a few more points for you
    -Continued unity and closeness for Beka and I.
    -That we can make the best use of the remainder of our time here and serve everyone we're around as much as possible.
    -Continued safety. Being a white girl here is a little weird. We stick out a lot. Ha.
    -That the women and children in the slum would know that we genuinely care about them, and that we can be some sort of light to them.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Oh my goodness it is madness here.

    I was talking to someone the other day about how to even begin describing India, and some said, "It's like a fair!" That's totally true. More true than anything else I can think of to relate it to at least. Ever since getting off the plane I have been bombarded with heat and smells and colors and dirt and grime and noises that I don't usually, if ever hear. Ya know how at the fair you smell food you don't normally eat, animals you don't usually smell, people you don't usually smell, you hear lots of loud big noises and a murmur you don't usually hear while seeing lights and colors and people you hardly ever see, and how you get dirt on you even if you just walk around? That is India....where I am at least. I feel like my senses are being assaulted all the time. This sounds bad, but it's not. It's so India is what I'm learning. There are soooooo many people here that I don't really see how it could be any other way.

    A few things you should know:
    1.Traffic here is out of control. Street lines are mere suggestions, but it's totally fine if 3 or 4 cars drive where 2 would in the States or if it's clear to just drive in the lane of oncoming traffic. There are scooters, motorcycles, tiny tiny cars, autos, and rickshaws everywhere. In case you don't know, this ( is an auto. That's our main mode of transportation. My teammate and I caught and bargained for one our own today. Generally, the auto driver tries to super rip off westerners because they don't know better. We know how to get the correct price now (in Hindi!), but even if we didn't, what they consider to be a really high price wouldn't be that much if it were American dollars. 1 US dollar equals about 45 Rupees. Our normal auto ride costs 50 Rupees, and it's about a 20-30 minute ride. Also, people honk all the time. Not to be rude, just let the other drivers know they're there.
    2.There are beggars and poor people everywhere. It's heartbreaking. It's really really hard for me to just walk past them, but there's really nothing I can do other than pr*y for them. The children are the hardest for me. It's even harder to know that many of their parents are raising them to do this starting at a very young age. Today, 3 children, the eldest being no older than 7, came up to me, said hello in English, held my hand and asked for money. I was ready to grab my wallet and give them everything I had. I'm a sucker for kids. Lucky for me, our sweet new Indian friend we'll be spending the summe with told them something no in Hindi, and they left. I'm sure many of you are reading this thinking that she and I are jerks. Until you see or understand the mass corruption and poverty that is going on here, please don't think that we are heartless. I no where near fully understand it, but I've already seen enough to know that giving to them is not always (usually) what's best.
    3.BUT, we have our first day in the slums tomorrow, and I'm SO excited. It's a weird thing to be excited about, I know, but the organization we're working with is doing so much to empower the people in the slum! The slum we'll be working in is one of the largest in the city and contains between 45-50,000 people. That is 20 times the size of my hometown in ONE slum. There are so many slums here. More than I can imagine or describe even. They are literally on every street, sidewalk, and corner. This isn't why I'm excited though. I'm excited because we will meet the women this company is working with in their Income-Generation program. Some of the women come to the local ch**ch to make cards and jewelry. Working 2 days a week increases the women's income by 30%! This empowers the women and has aloud them to install a water pump in their slum. People in the slum thanked some women from the organization, and they told them to thank the women from the slum. Their work paid for it! The goal is to empower the women to hopefully get out of their situation at some point, and of course, tell them about our sweet Father. Additionally, this organization runs a medical clinic for the slum and A PRESCHOOL! I've been told that I can help come up with curriculum and teach some english/help out as much as I want while I'm here! The children in the preschool are from 1-5. I know it will break my heart to see them in this setting, but it is so cool to know that they are being helped and reached at the same time. Also, during the time we are here, my teammate and I have to come up with a 6 lesson series about different values to teach some of the adolescents in the slum. Each value will be accompanied by a elb*B story, activity, and craft. This means that these children will have the G*sp*l shared with them directly! I am so excited Papa has aloud me to be a part of this.

    I have Hindi homework I need to do, but I'll try to update again soon! Thanks for reading and thank you so so much for lifting me up! Here are some more requests of mine, and really SEND ME YOURS!

    Against sickness (also called, "Delhi Belly"). I'm only here for a short time and really don't want to be sick.
    That I'll be able to sleep. I've woken up around 2 or 3 every morning and stayed awake until 5 or 5:30 every night since we've been here. It apparently takes one day per hour of time zones you change to get back to normal, but I jumped 10.5, so I'd really like it to be done sooner, and to get some rest! The heat takes a ton of energy.
    That I will be a teachable servant while I'm here to my teammate, field mentor, and the women/children I work with.


    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    I'm here!!!

    I'm here!

    This will be short, but I am here and safe. Thanks for lifting me up. I'll update you ASAP. All I can say about India right now is that it's hot, stinkin' hot actually, dirty, neat, full of people, and has a very distinct smell. Ha! Don't let those words fool you though, I'm super excited to be here.

    Hope y'all are having a great summer! Lovelovelove!

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    See ya States!

    I'm hopping on a plane for India in a little more than 24 hours! I'm SO stinkin' excited. Training was great, but really. I want to go.

    Here's what I have learned at training: (this is the ultra brief version. I mean, I've been here for almost a full week!)
    1. I will most likely be spiritually attacked in India.
    2. I will most likely experience culture shock.
    3. My teammate and I will most likely experience conflict.
    4. I will mess up in India.
    5. I will most likely get sick (like food sick, not serious sick) in India. (That was really more from friends, not training. :)
    6. I'm still so excited to go, and not really scared even though I probably should be.

    ~I'm surrounded by awesome people. Really. There's close to 100 young people here going to the nations this summer. PTL!
    ~I'm learning a lot about myself already while I'm here. That's good/difficult at the same time.
    ~After talking to some staff, I've decided to redo how I'm doing emailing/blogging this summer. My sweet friend has volunteered to be my editor for the summer. You can send emails to the same address or whatever, but Sarah will now be checking my email/editing anything that can't be sent to me and changing it, so I can read it while I'm gone. So, moral of the story is don't send anything you wouldn't want someone else to read. :)

    How you can be lifting me up:
    ~Closeness with my teammate. She's awesome. I want to continue to be awesome together and love and serve one another.
    ~I will pick up the language, Hindi, as quickly as possible.
    ~I will be a blessing to the people I'm around and staying with.
    ~That my heart will hurt for our Father and His lost children. I want to be burdened with this.
    ~I want this to be another life-changing summer that draws me nearer to our sweet Father.
    ~Against everything mentioned about that I said will most likely happen. :)

    I love you all so so much! I'll try to keep you updated pretty regularly!


    Monday, June 7, 2010


    Oh my goodness, I am so excited! I FINALLY got to meet my teammate today! She is incredible! I cannot wait to spend the summer with her!

    For the past 2 days I have been in Palm Beach, FL doing a leaderish type of training for this summer. Rough life, I know. However, although we are in Palm Beach, we've been spending most of our time in a dorm/cafeteria/classroom. I did get to go to the beach this morning, but it required getting up at 6am to fit it into the schedule. Worth it? Debatable. We did see dolphins though, so that's super excited.

    During the training we've been instructed on pretty much anything and everything you can imagine to prepare for this summer. It's super overwhelming. There's so much that goes into everything that I had no clue about. It's challenging, but I know I will grow a ton from it. :)

    It's only training, but ridiculous/funny/awesome things have been happening already. I've used 17 pages in my journal, and I've only been here for 4 days! All that to say I should have lots of stories when I get back assuming I keep it up.

    **Sorry this is all so random. I'm doing it in short intervals when I have time.

    Fun facts:
    1. There are 10ish people (I don't remember if it's 10 or 12) here from UofA. Isn't that cool?! We make up 10% of the total group! NWA is so great!
    2. A lot of the students here go to Christian schools where the ratio is like 1 guy to 7 girls. Isn't that nuts?!
    3. Less than 1% of North American missionaries go to unreached peoples (You can read about what an unreached people group is in my last newsletter). Most of the teams (about 21) this summer are going to unreached peoples! Isn't that cool!?
    4. I'm still in America which is why I'm using all of these "Christiany" words. :)

    I miss you all!

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    See ya Fayetteville!

    So, I'm leaving for Florida for Training/Orientation in less than 8 hours! (This will be short. I'm going to bed soon :)

    I just wanted to assure you that you are in the right place. This is where I will be updating this summer. Don't let the older posts confuse you. They're from last summer. :)

    Thank you for reading and lifting me up! I so appreciate y'all!