Greetings all! It is March 2014. I have to admit that I'm very glad to have 2013 behind me. Really major unexpected losses over the last year, as well as other challenges, made it what I would name as the worst year of my life to date. God has been faithful through it all and has drawn me closer to Him and His heart, but talk about trials and tribulations. Can't say that I'm quite where James would have me be to “consider it pure joy,” but the Lord is growing me into a woman of greater perseverance. He is teaching me to keep my eyes on Him and that which is unseen and eternal. My many flaws often get in the way, but He hasn't given up on me, for which I am tremendously grateful.
|German style "bread time" at home in AR|
I was able to go home to Arkansas for Christmas break, and it was a blessing I truly needed. It was wonderful to spend time with my family, and I greatly appreciated being able to go through the difficult holiday season with them. We missed John oh so much as we tried to celebrate as best we could. I think we managed pretty well, but it wasn't easy. My grandmother and one of my uncles and his family spent Christmas with us at our house. It was lovely to see them, and they filled the house with chatter and laughter, making the house seem not quite so empty without my brother. While I was in AR I was also able to catch up with some friends and supporters, and even was able to attend the wedding of one of my best friends. I am very grateful for the generosity of those who gave so I could be there for a few weeks. Thank you!
|View from my hike on Jan. 25|
|Waiting for a train with Emma|
One of the things I started doing with some of the girls is reading to them before bed every Thursday night. We are reading “Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast” by Robin McKinley. It's one of my favorites, and I'm loving getting to share it with them. There is a handful of girls that come into my room and curl up on the “couches” as I light some candles, and I set out my store of chocolates and candies for them to munch on as I read (not healthy, I know, but whatevs). It's been fun.
|With friends in Barcelona|
Coming up in April I will be attending a conference in Turkey during the first week of Spring Break. I'm looking forward to meeting up with other members of our organization that I met at orientation in Minneapolis in 2012, as well as discovering a new country! I was able to take a weekend trip to Barcelona, Spain in February with a few other RA's, and that was fun, too. Loved to see Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral, and speak in Spanish with the locals (even though they predominantly speak Catalan).
I know this is a long post, and I apologize once again for how they are so few and far between. Ever since my brother's passing I've had a much harder time staying on top of things like blog posts. Thanks for your patience and grace. Please be in prayer for me and my dorm staff as we stive to bring glory to the Lord in our working relationships and with the girls. There are definitely some really stressful challenges that we face, so your prayers are much needed and appreciated! I have personally felt the effect of them. So thank you, dear ones! The Lord is working in ways in which we are completely unaware, but sometimes He lets us see hints of what He's doing, and it's wonderful.
“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”