Oh, how things change.

9 06 2011

It’s weird to think about how things have changed in my life in the last year. And how happy I am that they have, even though I fought the process every step of the way.  Let’s go back to 2010.

January 2010 was the first time I ever met my brother, sister (in-law), nieces, and nephew.  It seems strange that it hasn’t even been 2 years since we made contact.  It is like we didn’t miss out on anything.  They are my family and I’m constantly amazed at how unforced the developing of our relationships have been.  God really did know the timing for us to meet. 

Then in February I started dating this guy (for the sake of this blog, let’s call him Monty).  Monty and I had a long distance relationship and it had its ups and downs, but, overall, it was a great experience for me.  I don’t regret dating him and I look back on our time together with fondness.  Monty is a good man.  But our lives were going in different directions.  He has a daughter and what’s best for her trumped what’s best for “us” any day of the week – and rightfully so.  I could never ask him to choose between us.  Finishing my education is non-negotiable.  And that could take me anywhere.  One of us would have had to give up on something  that is very important to us – and we both felt like that was only going to breed resentment if we tried to continue our relationship.  So we ended it, on good terms.   I don’t talk to Monty much anymore.  He’s seeing someone else now and they seem very happy together.  And I’m moving to South America – something that couldn’t have happened if we had stayed together.

In August, my youngest nephew was born.  Landon Rhone 🙂  Oh, how I love that baby.  I was totally shocked when my sister said she was pregnant, but this precious little boy has definitely brought us closer as sisters.  I do hope I get to see him before I move since I’ll be in South America on his first birthday.  I guess I’ll just have to get him something awesome from Colombia as a gift.

In October, I was unemployed for a month.  That was actually not that scary.  My bills were all paid and I saw people being generous with me all the time.  Unemployment, though seemingly scary, ended up being a time of prosperity and encouragement for me.  I’m so glad I went through that.

Last November, I had to move. I was living in a townhouse owned by some friends of mine.  I had told them when I moved in that if they ever found a buyer to just sell the place.  The sold it in November.  So, I moved to the highlands – where I currently reside. 

Since my unemployment and my move, my budget has been getting steadily more restrictive.  I have felt like every time I pay a bill, I was using borrowed money.  I have felt trapped by my financial obligations and I have been praying for months for a way out of them.  I didn’t expect it to be Colombia as the answer, but I’ll take it 🙂

Then, sometime in the fall, we found out my oldest neice was pregnant.  She was very young – very.  It was world shattering at the time.  I had no idea how to respond.  I remember adamantly refusing to call it a “mistake.”  I never want to think of my precious little Addilynn coming into this world as a mistake.  She was a surprise, for sure, but no mistake.  Our family had a hard time adjusting to this new development, and an even harder time learning how to respond to it.  But, despite Kendra’s age, she’s handled this parenting thing like a pro.  Addilynn is the best thing to happen to our family in a long time.  If she’s not one way that God intends to restore and heal my family from the things that try to destroy us, then I don’t know what is.  She is redemption. Period.

she is fat, also.

And through all of that, there was the thesis.  That nagging little assignment that was the difference between a degree or wasted energy.  I was convinced that God had good things in store for me when I finished.  Not because he was holding out on me, but because the thesis writing process was making me who I needed to be to receive the good things.  I was right.

A lot of other stuff took place last year, a lot of really painful things, a lot of really great things, a lot of really personal things that are just none of your business. 

When 2010 was over, I was ready for 2011.  I ended 2010 exhausted, broke, and very unhappy.  After the break up with Monty, the moving out, and the budget crisis, I felt hopeless and faithless.  Good thing my faithfulness has nothing to do with God’s faithfulness to me.  I remember talking to my pastor Chris and telling him I thought that my faith in breaking it off with Monty, quitting my job, and moving to a new place was going to be rewarded with a season of good things.  I was so mad at God for me being in a worse financial situation than before, by being alone, and by not giving me a job in a school like I had prayed for.  I was so sick of 2010 by the end of it! 

The first couple of months of 2011 didn’t really start out much better.  My budget didn’t change, my anxiety of doing it “alone” only increased, and I was still working insurance – not teaching, which is the dream. Where were my good things?  I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now. 

I had to learn to trust others with my money.  I had to learn that living alone and being single does not mean I’m living this life “alone.”  I had to finish my thesis.  I had to learn the value of my family.  I had to recognize the things God has called me to and be willing to pursue them no matter the cost (i.e. ending things with Monty).  I had to learn to live on very little, trusting that God will provide for my needs – and trusting that if it’s not provided, it’s not a need. 

In short, I had to grow up.  Yes, there is a lot more growing to do.  But I am convinced that those lessons must be learned the hard way – only this time in Colombia.  Hopefully, I won’t fight them as much this time.  Hopefully, I will trust that God is in control even when I don’t understand the way it’s happening.

So, I’m moving to Colombia.  I’m excited, terrified, nervous, exhausted, happy, sad, and invigorated all at once.  It’s a weird place to be in.

Until next time…


Things are chugging along nicely….

8 06 2011

Everything is falling into place. 

The guy who applied to take my apartment was approved.  Now we just have to get up to the office at the same time to sign the paperwork.  That’s the difficult part.  My schedule is more full than it has been in months.  Between fundraising, work, and other miscellaneous things (ie church, birthdays, etc), my free time is lacking. 

My vet and insurance monies are paid up for the rest of their contracts.

My internet is scheduled to transfer to my sister on July 1. 

My vaccinations for Hepatitis and Yellow Fever are scheduled.

My electric is scheduled to cancel.

My phone will transfer to friend.

My passport is good until February.

THE DATE IS SET FOR ME TO LEAVE!!!!  This is the biggie.  I’m leaving OKC on July 3 to go spend the holiday weekend with my family.   On July 6th, I leave for Colombia.  This is really happening.  First, I will go to Cartagena, Colombia for a week or so and work in the Nelson Mandela barrio.  I think it will be really good for me to start my time in Colombia working in Cartagena.  Then I’ll go to the Castro home on the 15th.  That will give me a couple of down days to get settled in my new “home” before I start teaching.

Speaking of teaching: to all of you million readers who have ever done something like this before – I need some advice.  I’ve never taught english as a second language.  It’s definitely not going to be like teaching grammar.  So, give me your advice, tools, suggestions, prayers!!  I covet it all!

You want me to do WHAT?!?!???

6 06 2011

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.  “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”  Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.  And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”  – Mark 10: 17-23


I used to think (and I’m pretty sure I’ve said it out loud) that if Jesus ever asked me to sell all I have that it would pretty much suck.  Well, I’m kind of at the place now where that has happened.  Going to Colombia is changing everything.  At first I thought, “I’ll just get a storage unit.”  Then I realized that costs money and if I sell my stuff I raise money……hmmmm.  So I’m selling some stuff.

I’ve noticed that most people don’t understand why I’m doing this.  There are several reasons why I think I should.  A list?  Of course!!

1. Why should my stuff sit in storage for a year when someone could make good use out of it?

2. Why should I pay for a storage unit?  Seems like a waste of resources to me.

3. I don’t want to be bound by my possessions.  I want to know that at any minute, I can let them go.  The best way to do that is to just let them go.

4. Jesus says it is hard for the rich to get into heaven.  By American standards, I’m not rich.  But in the grand scheme of things, I am loaded.  And I don’t want that wealth to hinder my relationship with God.  You’ve read my posts on budgeting right?  Well, if not you should.  You can hear the anxiety talking – all over things.  If getting rid of my couches frees up some of my anxiety, then I should have done this a long time ago!

5. So, for now at least, I’m not selling everything.  Just a lot of things. I’m keeping books I’ll use for school, things I’ll need for cooking when I get back, and some clothes.  A few other odds and ends as well.  But, for the rest I just can’t find a practical purpose for holding onto.  So it goes bye-bye.

So basically, when Jesus says “sell all you have” it’s really not all that bad.  My guess is that if the guy in the story would have just done what Jesus said, he wouldn’t have been sad for long – and he’d be happier for longer.  It’s just stuff.  And you can’t take it with you.