Wednesday, December 4, 2013

if you don't already read the broad river community church advent guide...go read it now.

if you aren't eating peanut butter poptarts already...go get some now.

those are my two public service announcements.

life is good friends. it hasn't been an easy 6-8 weeks lately but sunday night i learned peace again. sunday night chelsea picked me up and we drove to target just to walk around. we talked and laughed and listened to good music. her jeep is a little slice of home for me, i've been riding around in it for the past 6 years. it's my favorite. at target we wandered and had no agenda and didn't feel rushed and we bought playing cards and decided to share a drink together at tavern 24. so we got drinks and a side order of fries and played round after round of speed. no agenda, no rushing. it was 9 on a sunday night and we were playing cards at a bar together and it was good. we started talking about life and transitions occuring and hopes and dreams for our futures and then peace and hope snuck up in me.

 i've been anxious about brazil and health things so long that i forgot peace and hope and joy and love existed. i've been living so frantically for so long. i told chelsea i was ready. i was ready to leave boiling springs. i was ready to move to brazil. i'm ready to move to richmond. ready for this next chapter. i haven't been ready until sunday night. chelsea agreed that i was erady. she said she's seen me grow and become who i am today and has watched me get up and just do things that i want to do. colorado, grad school, cdh, brazil. so, as we sat there and talked about our friendship and the impact it's had on our lives i still knew. still knwe i was ready.

monday i ran into my friend tyler and he looked me in the eyes and asked if i was ready to go. i said yes. he said, i can tell.

monday i rode all over charlotte with caroline going to doctor appointments and she got in my car when we left and said Hannah, you are different. you are calm. you are peaceful. I haven't seen you like this in a long time.

tuesday night at women's prayer Heather said, you are different. you look better. you seem more healthy.

friends, my hope is back. even on monday which was full of doctors and numbers and not a lot of hope i ended the day with an email to my family that ended in saying that I had hope. I have hope that Jesus is more than all this mess. I have hope that Jesus knows my little body better than any doctor. That decisions I make at this point Jesus promises to meet me in them. I have hope that He will be for me in the decisions I make and if they are wrong His grace is bigger than my mistakes.

I maybe haven't felt this alive and full and hopeful as I did the first time I went to Brazil.

I'm ready.

(i also know that when push comes to shove and I have to get on an airplane in 6 weeks to move to brazil on my own for 6 months I may not feel this way. but I'll read this post over and over and over and know that the Lord that has given me this hope now hasn't changed and will never leave me-so I will find my hope again if somehow I drop it along the way)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"tell me about you. brazil is soon. you need to quit a job. you live with a boy. youre eating new food. tell me about it" -Christine in an email today.

That sums up my life pretty well. I have been in a season of busy/rest and of creating new normals. Creating new normals is scary. It means you are tired and up and down a lot and in my case-not very compassionate but demand compassion from everyone else because "my life is changing and i just need you to give me grace" and then i forget that everyone's lives are changing-big or small- and they need the grace too. I forget that. I've been reminding myself that a lot this week after a few weeks of tempers, tears, and being incorrigible. 

Brazil is soon. Brazil isn't what I thought it would look like or be. I thought Reid was going. I thought I'd be going with Crossroads. I thought I'd have community with Mark and Paige (i will...just starting in april) But, I know I am called there. I can't be discouraged or bitter about the things I thought. I can only continue to be faithful and obedient to the Lord and know that this is His plan. plan and He's just tagging along and promises to be faithful if I am too. Either way it is good. If my life has taught me anything it's that I'll never be stranded anywhere. I'll never be alone. I'll never have to feel desolate and destitute. I can always choose joy. 

I have 6 jobs. Hopefully soon to be 5 again. After Thanksgiving it'll be 2. That is good. This season has been so fruitful financially. I am so grateful. It's so crazy. This town has loved me well. I have been given so many opportunities to serve and love people that love me. God does this crazy thing always where things work together and work out in the moment and in the future. This seems silly to say but working at the Gap and at the coffee shop have given me so much confidence in my future. I can be understood when speaking to strangers, I can learn new skills, I am a reliable employee. I am efficient and effective in the jobs I do. I am not hanging my hope or my life on these traits but they are good for me to learn. 

I do live with a boy. 4 of them but specifically Josh still. We adventure, we laugh, we don't take life too seriously, he makes me slow down and rest more than I'd like to but it is so good. Grateful for this fun season of life with him.

I've started making my own food. Specifically, I've stopped eating sugar. I started 3 weeks ago and I've replaced 4/6 cans of ensure daily from my diet. I had really bad sugar withdraw headaches. I was grouchy as shit. I demanded more from the people I love than I ever should. I'm mostly past that point. It is good. I feel good. Everyone in this town asks me how I'm doing with it because Britt told everyone. Chelsea and I have been praying that it works. That it's real and not a fluke. It's crazy. 

I've learned things along the way too

  • just because you cry, doesn't mean you haven't made progress in life. doesn't mean you aren't healing, or processing life well. it's okay to cry.
  • you can't let how you feel affect how you treat others. you can't act like a bitch all the time because you are going through sugar withdraw. you have to deal with it. this goes for most sicknesses. there are exceptions.
  • my computer can last 2 hours on a 33% charge. 
  • seasons are seasons. chances are they aren't going to last forever. embrace them. live fully in them. love fully in them. 
  • you will find that is is necessary to let things go;simply for the reason that they are heavy. 
  • "here's the thing. peace isn't the absence of distraction or annoyance or pain. it's finding me, finding peace and calm, in the midst of those distractions and anoyances and pains." 
  • "people need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. so i just try to hold space and time for folks."
  • "the only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love. not advice, not questions about our choices, not suggestions for the future. just love"

Monday, October 7, 2013

I have been running lately. And I didn’t know it until yesterday. Running from things I don’t want to deal with. Running from (potential) shame. Running from actually admitting things in my life that hurt me or people that have hurt me. I spent time with Chelsea yesterday catching up on life and sitting with her in hard things and before we sat in hard things I told her that my life was good and I was content and that it was calm and easy to breathe right now which is not a lie. As we waded through things in her life and she let me listen and love her I realized there were things that I didn’t want to deal with that could affect my content state of being. I still don’t want to face those things. I still don’t want to acknowledge them. But they are looming closer now. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen and I may get kicked in the ass later in life for not dealing with them now but that’ll be alright too.

also, I realize I’ve been living in a false reality. Which goes along with the above. I read a blog by Ellie Holcomb a week or so ago and she talked about how she’s been so good at lying to herself for the past few years and it wasn’t until she started going to counseling recently that she realized it. My first thought was to be shocked that Ellie Holcomb just admitted and really would lie to herself and about herself and live in a false reality. Her life seems so perfect. And then so quickly I realized that I was living in a false reality even about people like her who I don’t know—I so often think other people have it all together and must never have messy lives like I do. Dumb. So Chelsea and I waded through the waters of realities and perceptions and expectations. Heavy things. I lie to myself about things that happened (things that I maybe wish would happen but haven’t or things that could happen even though they probably never will) or how I see myself or how others see me, and I lie to myself about what other people’s lives are like.

Brandon and I talked the other day about how people perceive us. He talked about how he wished people would perceive him as the person he wants to be (his potential) not who he is now. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately because I thought at the time it was a dumb thought. I thought you should take people as they are and not just wish they’d be this person you think they could be. I think both sides are right though. You have to be expectant that God is changing that person just like he is changing you but also be okay to sit in the heavy things for a while until they figure life out. If God is choosing to work in my heart and weed out the bad things then chances are He’s choosing to work in other people’s hearts too. I forget that a lot. Again, I live in this false reality that people are either perfect or too messy to have the Spirit weed out the junk in them.

I want to live in reality. I want to live with the messy things that have happened but I want to have a kingdom mindset and live in the glory that is in me that happens to be the same glory that was in Jesus. I want to live in the grace gifts I’ve been given here and not live in the shame or even in the potential shame that I know I could face someday again in life if I gave into it. Not because I don’t want to face reality but because the reality of my life is that I’m forgiven and loved and treasured and that is the only reality I want to choose to live in.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I am grateful. grateful for the ability to run, to laugh, to hang out at 9 year old's baseball games, to stop on the side of the road for a sunflower field, to make decisions about what i put into my body to make it healthier, to have honest hard conversations, for a multitude of jobs, to sit in a tree for 2 hours with josh deer hunting, to make excellent lattes. 

i've been told over and over for the past 12 months that i need to slow down. that i need to rest more. that i need to be by myself more. that i need to do less. i hate being told these things. i hate sitting. i hate not doing things. its the controlling part of myself. i don't know when i got to be this way. but here i am. tring to pray about it, find time when i can, spend more time with the Lord, and breathe easier. when Josh asked me to hunt with him yesterday I thought we'd be like running through the woods and hiding behind trees and stuff. I didn't know I'd sit in a tree for two hours and have to be quiet because once i came up I couldn't go back down. So...I sat. I prayed. I thought about my life. I decided Kelly's spirit animal. I breathed slow and deep. and I was okay. Life went on even though I didn't do anything for two hours., I did it again. I was supposed to clean a house and I didn't have to so I slept in and had a quiet time and sat in the sunshine and went on a run and sat in the sunshine some more and took a nap at 11 am and then went to work. taking life a little slower isn't so bad all the time. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

ecclesiastes 11:10 (NLT)

 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. 
psalm 94:19(msg)
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
    your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
    you calmed me down and cheered me up.

psalm 94:19 (niv) 
When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

things are okay even though they don't feel okay. everyone reassures me that i'm okay. that i'm not lazy. that i'm doing the best i can. that the Lord has me where i'm supposed to be. that if i didn't struggle my faith wouldn't be as real. that doors are closing for a reason. that i'll find the perfect job. that i am loved. that i am wanted in this town and with these people. 

i think those things are true. most of them anyway. my heart on the other hand...doesn't believe them. i feel anxious, i feel like i'm floundering, thoughts consume my mind of not having a job for the next 5 months. of not being able to love people, not being able to visit people, not being able to pay people for services they provide for me. people are being so gracious to me. i have to talk myself out of the thought that there is a hint of pity in their voices and their eyes when they tell me to not worry about paying them. 

but i'm finding hope. in crazy beautiful sunsets, in heart to heart text messages, in driving stick shift successfully, in hanging with smiling babies, in grocery shopping with my best friends, in making davis and walker laugh by acting like a dinosaur, in scripture at perfect times, in friends racking their brains trying to figure out jobs i can do, in the song holy spirit by jesus culture, in honest conversations with josh, in laying with two of my best friends in a comfortable twin sized bed, in ceiling fans at brcc, in encouraging texts from friends old and new, in lunch time phone conversations with sam, in prayers prayed daily for me, in falling asleep peacefully, in an abundance of tears, in grace and mercy i don't deserve. 

i just had the thought that i wish my life was an adventure right now. it usually is but i think i'm missing the adventure. the adventure is now. there's no details, there's no waiting. you just do them (bob goff) i'm going to try to just do it. to choose the adventure and not wait for anything to come around. 

romans 12:1-2 
 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

this is an offering if i choose to offer it. God's still not waiting for the arrival, he's waiting for me to surrender this. all of this. the complaints, the tears, the questions, the joy. all of it is an offering. loving davis and walker is an offering. it is good. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sometimes I have to combat the bad things with the good things in my life. This is one of those times. I need to remember the goodness and mercy that followed me this summer. I talked to Sam about it a lot the day cdh ended and I haven’t written about it to process it yet. This is the start of that process.

camp ended and I rejoiced. It was a hard and good summer. I was sick almost constantly. I laughed more than I thought I would. I didn’t cry much. I worshipped more freely than I ever have before. I was accepted and loved madly. I was pursued fiercely by the Lord. I made more boundaries than I ever have before in my life and the Lord protected me within those boundaries and my life and heart got a lot richer because of it. 7 women spoke truth into my life and heart on a daily basis. I healed more than I knew I had to heal. I let go of anger I didn’t know had deep roots in my heart. I felt more free than I ever have. (I’ve tasted and seen the sweetest of loves, where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone. – holy spirit. Jesus culture.) I told Sarah a few weeks ago that I thought I was confident in the Lord and who He created me to be before this summer but my expectations and reality were vastly different. I felt more whole than I ever have. This wasn’t a mountain top-splitting my heart open experience. It was day in and day out confidence and truth and love from the Lord.

I don’t let the Lord love me how I deserve to be loved or how He wants to love me. We accept the love we think we deserve. What love do I accept? I accept love when I feel easy to love. When I like myself. When I like my life. Its easy for me to feel love in those times because I’m not a mess. When its midnight and I’m in bed drinking and sad its not easy for me to feel love. Its not easy to let the holy spirit work in my heart and intercede for me. When I doubt or feel like I’m faltering I don’t want to accept the grace and mercy I accepted two hours ago when I was happy and content and it was light out. I don’t let Jesus take over the darkness for me.

hunger for more tonight-holy spirit.jesus culture.

Matt told Meghan who told me that we are treasures and we are to be sought not to seek.

surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. God said the creation was good on day one, not just when it was finished on day 7, He says I am good now, where I am, in the messy process, in the 12:30 am tears and prayers. He sees it is good and knows that it will be good further along in the process too. Now that is worthy of my hope and joy.

tonight I changed the atmosphere not just in my room but in my heart. It went from being sad and bitter to spirit filled and hope-filled. Heather fox would be proud. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

life has been full of cool stories lately. of God showing up in ways I could not fathom. of extravagant love. of perfectly timed situations. of driving by myself a lot-but not because i was upset. of unexpected times to rest. of laughs and conversations and ease of friendships.

thursday night was crazy and incredible and good. the holy spirit did crazy things at the night service. we sang holy spirit you are welcomed here come fill this space flood the atmosphere and in the middle of the song clayton came out and gave an invitation before he even preached. he said people needed to confess things, needed to repent of their sins, needed to accept the lord. this camper literally ran straight to me from the bleachers and we ran outside together. she said she had to confess something that she'd been struggling with the past year-porn and masturbation. she was scared and felt alone. i said hey, that was 7 years of my life too you aren't alone. we prayed, she confessed it to god, we prayed more. we held hands and cried and rejoiced in not being alone. in the power of the lord and the ability to be set free from chains that bind us up. in the power of confession. i was blown away by the lord's timing.

i went inside and jessica davis told me she had seen my cardboard testimony that talked about porn and she had a girl for me to talk to. the girl found me after the service and we talked in the bleachers and she confessed it to me and i asked her hard questions. she was 13. we prayed and held hands and cried and she shouted I KNOW I WILL AND AM OVERCOMING THIS. i can't believe it still. i'm so proud of these two girls. the Lord is so good.

today i was reminded of how incredible this town i live in is. i went to pick flowers with gaby for martha's 90th birthday party yesterday. gaby and i picked flowers from the side of the road, then saw leigh ann driving so we followed her to her house. we all got out of our cars at the same time and leigh ann and megan got out and gaby and i got out. we picked flowers and went inside where hayden was doing her laundry. then we went to brittany and ryan's house and hung out with them then got flowers from ruth and brett's. we went to heather and seths and were hanging with heather when seth and brandon came in. they had been at costco together. two grown men just running errands together. leigh ann and megan going to the post office together. gaby and i picking flowers together. this town does life together so well. i think i forget that sometimes. nick and caroline took everyone on crossroads staff to the river today on the echo expeditions bus. homes in this town are open, we run errands together, we never let others ride alone, we make wedding invitations together for hours on a saturday, we eat meals together, we come together to celebrate one another, we pray together, we support each other.

i am so grateful for this week. grateful that even when i am so blind and dumb the lord still desires to remind me of himself. that he loves me too much to let me live in forgetfulness or ignorance to himself.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

i don't love summer camp.

and that's okay. its okay that it is hard. it's okay that i'm tired. because summer camp works. crossroads works. i think for the past year since i saw camp last summer i questioned if it worked. i questioned why there were so much emphasis on the staffers and not emphasis on the youth pastors. i questioned if discipleship ever happened. i questioned if decisions to follow christ were ever followed up on. all my questions and fears were denied this week. it works. lives really are changed. my life is changed because of crossroads. i didn't meet the Lord at crossroads summer camp but my life is still different because of crossroads summer camp. i will be a different person after these next 4 weeks.

i lost my voice the first day of camp. i couldn't talk at all and i was sick. i felt like i was never going to get it back or be able to talk to campers or relate at all. the first dinner we had monday night i sat down with two girls brooke and adriana who were both 12. we talked, i asked a lot of questions, we laughed and they understood EVERYTHING i asked them. not once did i have to repeat myself. and i was sick! that night they both decided to follow christ and i got to advise them with my friend kelly. we talked about the lord and we got to pray over them. again, they understood everything. camp works. miracles work. i don't know how my voice came back the moment i needed it to at advising but seriously. praise the lord. all week i had conversations with girls who were patient and fun and it was good. i told jess i'd be okay if camp was over because i really like my life outside of camp but i also get to see miracles happen the next 4 weeks. and i can do it. i can do anything for four weeks. camp works. little girls facebook and instagram stalk like it's their job and for some reason they loved me and received my love enough to want to still be friends with me after this week. i hope they also took home and received the love of Christ moreso than mine.

so, i think it's okay that i am not in love with summer camp. i'm also not on summer break and this is just a fun summer job. this town and these people are my life and my real life goes on...i sent out 50 support letters this week for brazil. i went to presley's bachlorette party, i snuck in some time with sarah thomas. life goes on in this little town i live in, i just have to make the time for it to not pass me by.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

life has been full of good stories lately.

  • ashley let me save a turtle from the side of the road. his name was tobias and he swam around our pool with a frog on his back. then he got ran over by the mail lady. RIP tobias. 
  • Josh let me cut down a tree with a chain saw...i've never felt so bad ass in my life.
  • i signed up for community college in the fall (just to take one class but its still funny to say)
  • i had to go to the health department by myself to get typhoid and hep A shots for Brazil
  • Micah drove me around the woods on a suped up gator and i got really bad burns on my legs
  • we had our last CDH dinner on Wednesday and we laughed SO hard it was so good. 
  • we finished TTC and all got in the pool with our clothes on/people pushed other people in. so good.
  • micah and i had a really bad night on Monday so we went to get slushees and got cigars instead and smoked them on the patio and talked until midnight.
  • he's been trying to get me to understand that when things are hard i need to talk to people and not shut people out. he's into teaching me this lesson a lot lately. he's good at talking to people...i'm not.
  • thursday night  jeremy micah maggie and i were coming back from gardner webb and we drove to the river and explored the other unexplored side and climbed trees and saw the most incredible sunset i've seen in a while and jeremy made us stand in the woods and reflect on life then we laid on the hood of the explorer and watched the forest light up with lightning bugs and tried to laugh like animals would and shared life together. after that micah jeremy and i sat outside on the patio and they listed all the reasons they loved me and why i was great and sang you raise me up to me. it was weird and funny.
  • maggie and i broke the paper shredder at the office and found a parts dealer named andres and he hooked us up with new parts. 
  • i've drank a lot of slushees lately
  • i'm sunburnt
  • i have 3 more nights in this house with these people. 
  • the summer mix has been bumping and its pretty real good. 
  • we spent 2 thursdays ago on the lake just chilling and talking and trampoline jumping. it was the best. 
  • everyone has bro tank tanlines and that is awesome.
life has been a little hard lately. the week before last was the busiest week of the year getting ready for camp and it was also the 6 year mark of my best friend Jessica dying. Sunday ended with a lot of driving, a lot of crying, and a trip to target. this week was less busy and we were nicer to each other and i was happier. then friday happened and i got sad again and realized that i had made a dumb decision. so more driving and crying and smoking cigars happened. i bought some kool aid and we watched friends and were sad together last night. then christine told me (after she told me it was okay to mope) that i should read psalm 103. i forgot about it until i looked at bible gateway today and it was the verse of the day. well that's great. so i read it. and it was good.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good

he redeems my life from the pit and satisfies me with good. we've been listening to a lot of spoken word recently and i want someone to turn this into spoken word because it is good. i learned this week that i'm still not good at trusting the lord. sometimes i think i'm good at it and then the bottom falls out and it turns out i'm not. this is a good reminder though. he wants to do all these things for me. he wants to forgive me for being a dumb girl, he wants to heal me (that's another blog post for another day), he wants to redeem me, he wants to satisfy me with good. i don't often feel that he wants to satisfy me with good. i don't think he wants to satisfy me with bad or mediocre things but i think it's hard for me to remember that he wants good for me. i had to remind myself and christine that last week when she was freaking out about a good thing in her life and i had to remind her that it was from god that he wanted to give her this good blessing. we don't have to live in fear , god wants us to have the good life. 

this is a good reminder. a good truth for a new morning. 

i'm setting the sadness on a shelf and i won't remember it. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

i'm selling my car and moving to brazil.
i'm going to grad school at vcu fall 2014.
#summerofkitties is upon us. the mix cd is finished so summer must really be here.
life is moving so fast and so fun.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

i'm sitting on my porch in my pjs before i get ready for church and it is so nice. i guess it means i have poor margins in my life that this doesn't happen more often but i wish it would. actually, i've sat on this porch a lot this week in sadness. on wednesday mary and i sat on the porch and said goodbye to eachother for the summer. on thursday i got hurt pretty bad at work and i was sad my best friend had left and before ttc i came out here and read psalm 139 and cried. today i'm sitting here and about to cry because if i think about crying it just happens. i'm also watching a mama bird feed her little baby birds and that is cute and sweet. i'm listening to christ is risen by matt maher. its so good.

trust steadily in god, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. 1 corinthians 13:13
go after a life of love as if your life depends on it-because it does. 1 corinthians 14:1

i have 4 weeks of cdh left. i can either lean in and go after loving these 8 people like crazy...or i can get bitter for how things happened or didn't happen this year. i've spent some of this year being bitter already in the midst of things so i'm choosing love.

phil wickham just came on and it smells like rain and honeysuckle out here. i can't stop thinking about dfocus.

it's may 19th and i was supposed to hear from grad school on may 1st. this is unfortunate only in the fact that if Brazil is my future I want to lean in and start support raising and move forward. i sent in my denial letter to Radford this week. I also cried about that. Micah was rock climbing and Maggie tried to get me to talk to her but i didn't know i was sad about the denial letter yet but i asked micah when he was coming home and he said now if i needed him. i said no but he came anyway. he's nice. so we played with the kitties and talked about brazil.

i am well loved in this house. i will miss lazy saturdays with brian watching shark tank, falling asleep with 3 of my best friends every night, laughing and being scared by zach.

micah had a revelation in family dollar yesterday that we all are the perfect family because we are so skilled.

me- animal knowledge
micah- handiman
ashley- having answers for everything like a mom would
zach- keeping us goofy and honest
maggie- fashion expert
brian- design/party planner
jeremy- pool guy
alexis- child care
anna- musician

grateful for that revelation.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My life is really funny. I’m writing this blog in Word sitting outside the Charlotte Health Center in Meghan’s car while she goes to the chiropractor. Our lives are funny. I’m grateful for her and a free night to drive and laugh and ry and live together.

This time next week I’ll know what the next few years of my life potentially looks like. That is exciting and fun and scary! Not scary mostly just fun and exciting.
I may not move to Brazil but the process leading up to brazil has been really crazy. God has been so involved (as he should be ya know) and its been so good. If nothing else comes of this I still want to write it down and set up Ebenezer’s in my life to remember this time. So I went to Brazil. Then came home and asked Paige when I could move there as a joke. She replied and said she has a job for me and wants me there. I freak out. She says she and Mark have been praying about it since I was in Brazil and they think I’d be such a good fit and good asset for the Lar. She wants me to work in the office because I have good writing skills (in all my emails and messages to her I actually wrote articulately unlike I do in blog form). She wants me to help write grants and scholarship letters and do office things. I inform her that I’ve worked in an office for almost 2 years now and have written grants and gotten them and I love office work. (God thing number one- she asked about office work before I even told her my experience). She said I’d have to learn Portuguese and Portuguese sign language and to drive a stick shift. I’m game. So I see my parents in Chapel Hill the next weekend. I tell my mom and dad and for some reason my mom is literally ecstatic. She says this is what I should do and how do we start and where do we go from here. I tell her to slow down. (God thing number two- no convincing had to happen, my mom wants me to go. She is so good at trusting the Lord with me. It blows my mind) My dad is logical and asks about health insurance. I don’t know. Then I get sick and go to the dr and my dad emails me a lot and tells me he is worried because I’m sick often and what will I do in Brazil. I still don’t know. I tell Paige that and she tells me about health insurance she has. It doesn’t accept pre-existing conditions. Paige goes to a retreat in Sao Paulo and meets the Latin America director of Action International (the organization they are missionaries through) Action provides health insurance for missionaries and they accept pre-existing conditions. She tells the director about me and he is excited and says he is almost positive they would accept me if I became a missionary through them. They accepted a man who was diagnosed with cancer last year. The same day Paige tells me this exciting development my dad emails me about health insurance. He is switching jobs or companies and gets new health insurance soon. Health insurance that somehow has international coverage and acknowledges that on a case by case basis they accept pre-existing conditions. (God thing number 3—two developments on health insurance in one day. Two new options we didn’t have before.) I tell my boss at the vet I may be staying here in August to work until December. They say I can probably have my job back and work full time. Then the started interviewing people and maybe hired someone this week. Womp womp. I prayed about living with Leigh Ann and Brandon and I felt like I should ask them. They happened to ask me to clean their house last week so I’ve been a lot more involved in their lives lately than I usually am. I approach Leigh Ann and Brandon at a t-ball game on Monday night and tell them my situation. I’ve heard they aren’t letting any new people live with them but I figured it was worth a shot. They listen to me and they say yes. I tell them to pray about it and they say no you can live with us from August to February if I need to for free. (God thing number 4—free housing if I need it with a good family. Praise God.)

It has been a crazy fun adventure so far. I think it should be a lot harder than this but it hasn’t been. Paige said I could live at the Lar for free and I would just need spending money and transportation money so even support raising isn’t daunting.
I’ve been thinking about grad school since I got into Radford and I don’t know about VCU yet. I cried to Maggie on Saturday and asked her if I was throwing my life away by not going to grad school and moving to Brazil. She said no, she knows my heart isn’t to be a government social worker. My heart is to help kids. Particularly kids with disabilities. She said I should seize this opportunity. I was nervous to tell Sarah Thomas about it this week but I did. She looked at me and said I should go. She said I can go to grad school anytime (including online in Brazil) and I should do it now while I’m young and single and can.

I might move to Brazil. I’ll know next week. It’s crazy and exciting and so fun. The Lord is just doing all of it. None of this is Hannah Vaughn planning. The Lord is just laying stuff down fast and I’m overwhelmed but not frightened by it. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

i have goals. i have options.

these are the two things zach has told me over and over since i applied to grad school. these are the two things he yelled at me on the phone last night when he ash and brian opened up my radford letter and told me i got in. i got into grad school. instantly my heart sank and later in the evening i cried on the phone to my mom. i was surrounded with love and my best friends though and they assured me that nothing about getting it was a sign. it doesn't mean i have to go or that i can't move to richmond or that i can't move to brazil.

"don't look for signs- if you are looking for signs you aren't looking for God you are looking for affirmation for decisions or choices you are making or aren't making."

i was reminded over and over this weekend by sweet women that the goal in life isn't to achieve my dreams it's to love the Lord well. to love people well. to love my family and friends and maybe future husband well. if i love people well but don't achieve dreams of grad school or being a consultant for non profits or being a missionary my life isn't wasted or in vain. it will still be a race run well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

i think i have to write day by day about brazil before i can write how i feel about it.

  • left saturday the 23rd at noon, got sick, got to atl and played a lot of bananagrams.
  • got to fortaleza after a long overnight flight plus another flight. got picked up in a vw van and headed to the lar (the orphanage) 
  • unpacked changed into church clothes and walked down the street to church.
  • church hung out went to bed in a hammock after killing a lot of salamanders and cockroaches. 
  • monday mindy and i cleaned out a room full of donated toys and put them in piles and laughed a lot and then monday evening the 6 of us and paige (the lar director) went for a walk with 5 of the older girls from the lar. the girls ended up running and meghan and i decided to run (in toms and with backpacks on our backs) and we've never felt so free.  came back and played soccer and made up funny portuguese cheers and felt full.
  • tuesday mindy and i cleaned more rooms that were filthy and organized stuff and lounged at the pool with the kids. we went for another walk/run tuesday night and i outran the girls and they were impressed. came back and played soccer until i felt like i was going to fall over then had a dance party. 
  • wednesday we went to the beach and ate fish we watched being caught and got sunburnt and rock climbed and got a piece of plywood and waxed it and went dune surfing. reid broke his toe. 
  • sunburn continues and turns into sun poisoning. reid makes fun of me a lot for this and i vow to not complain about it even when my skin is so tight i can't get in my hammock.
  • after lunch we go to the school and watch the passion play. nalison is jesus! the play involved a lot of walking but it was so good. loved seeing our kids with their peers and acting out the easter story. it was really powerful. 
  • after this we go home and eat then we go to the city with the girls do play music in the town square and do things called vaccinations. this is where we play music and some of the older girls from the lar approach people who are drawn in by our musical abilities and talk to people about sex trafficking. these girls have been trafficked themselves. they raise awareness of how many girls and boys in fortaleza get trafficked and ask people to sign a petition saying they vow to never be involved in sex trafficking or exploitation of children in fortaleza. then we come home and lead devotions. we act out the lady giving two coins to jesus because that is all she had. ingrid became a christian. 
  • we go to bed after killing two tarantulas who were getting it on ontop of my towel.
  • thursday we go to the slums. we do more vaccinations and then gather kids and hike up to the top of the slums and do a vbs type service. we tell them the story of easter then tell them the entire gospel. it's hot. we go to another slum and do it again. after this we go back to the transition home and rest and chill and laugh until we cry with the girls. then we go out to eat at a steak place and eat chicken hearts and fish eyes and laugh until we cry some more. then we go shopping! 
  • friday it is easter celebration time. we kill chickens. literally. josh caught them then you hold them upside down and they pass out then you pull their necks until they snap then you stick them in hot water then you pull their feathers out then you take out their insides. it's unreal. then we dyed eggs and laughed a lot. 
  • then we had an easter service and told them the easter story and we got to hide eggs house by house and laugh really hard and eat a lot of candy. 
  • then we play a lot more soccer and swim in the pool and hang out. we dye strips of our hair purple and hold girls tightly and wish we didn't have to leave. 
  • Saturday-Sunday afternoon we travel and laugh and sleep a lot.

so that is the like schedule. now commentary and funny facts

  • d's are g's in portuguese so mindy became mingy which became mange. she embraced it
  • reid and i became friends on wednesday when i got sunburnt and he decided to mock me the rest of the trip and is still continuing to do so. i told him our friendship had to evolve past mockery and he said it could and he wanted it to but he'd still mock me. josh and i became friends thursday when we rode from slum to slum and sat next to each other in the van and i said funny things under my breath and he could finally understand everything i said and appreciate it and thought i was funny and we became bffs. 
  • on the first overnight flight to brazil the flight attendent moved the man next to meghan and i and i yelled SEE YA really loud and so anytime we left eachother we said see ya really loudly. 
  • reid broke his toe, josh got electrocuted, sarah didn't poop for 9 days, mange got 1st degree burns, meghan got a rash, and i had a little sun poisoning. 
  • monkeys live in trees, cows and donkeys live on the streets and highways, salamanders, poisonous frogs, tarantulas, cockroaches, beetles, and hornets lived in our house
  • i could sleep in a hammock the rest of my life, i may not buy a bed next year and just sleep somewhere i can hang my hammock.
  • h's and r's are switched so rihanna becomes hiranna which is really really funny
  • justin beiber can bond people together
  • running makes friends in all countries
  • if you don't know how to communicate just say musica and dance really loudly and funny

facts about the lar

  • 80% of children at the lar have been abused or trafficked or exploited. 
  • there are 4 parts to the lar. the little to older girls home (where we stayed) with 3 houses (little, middle, and older girls houses each with a house mom [tia] ), the little to middle boys home right down the street from the girls complex with 2 boys houses, an older boys home, and a transition home where girls in college stay
  • the lar is open for anyone who is considered an orphan which is a child with 1 or 0 parents according to the UN. there isn't an age limit and as long as they are progressing they can stay there. there are no locks on doors. they are brought to the lar by social workers. 
  • one of the biggest things we learned and appreciated is the joy the kids have. with all the junk they have had in their lives they still run to strangers arms and hold our hands and kiss our heads. how do you do that? how do you trust a stranger when you've been abused or mistreated or seen your family killed? the lord is bigger than all that, that's all i know. 
how i feel
  • i'm ready to go back. i want to live there. 
  • things that felt burdensome and heavy here the past few weeks didn't feel heavy there. it was thursday when i realized i hadn't thought about situations or people and was so surprised i hadn't thought about anything bad all week.
  • i ran freely and lightly through the streets of brazil guided by street lights eating cherries off trees with girls until our sides hurt. 
  • the lord was gentle and good to me and i can see his renewal working through the girls i spent time with. 
this is janielle. she haunts me in a beautiful way. she took to me really quick and is so sweet. as you can kinda see in this picture she has tattoos on her arms. 4 in total all over her forearms. one says crazy life, one says her moms name, one says another word, and one is a heart with an S in it. Paige can't tell us details of kids pasts but she said janielle literally has the worst past you can imagine. she said think of the worst things you can ever think of and that is janielles life. so i can't even imagine what she's been through but literally just the thought of someone sitting down and putting tattoos on her little arms makes me sick. i just can't imagine. she is so joyful though. she cried when she hugged me goodbye and wrote me a letter. i can't handle it. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"you know god has also already redeemed that too don't you?"

i'm redeemed. the things i do are redeemed. things i don't acknowledge being redeemed are. things i think are too far beyond redemption are redeemed. it's a process but the fact that i live as a redeemed person means everything else is already redeemed too.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

things i've learned this week

  • if he wants more of that he'll be coming back.
  • don't go into marriage with debt. you can wait. it's not all about sex.
  • god really does say yes to things but the yes may not mean right now yes. just wait.
  • grace gifts (spiritual gifts) are not the same things as talents. everyone has spiritual gifts, not everyone has the same talents or amount of talents. but still grace is the same. and we all get it. perfectly equal amounts of it. 
  • on your wedding day you can do what you want. you can invite who you want, you can do what you want. if it's not fun you are doing something wrong. 
  • somehow for some reason i am good at honesty. i don't know if everyone else just isn't good at it or i have too much of it but that's what people keep telling me i'm good at and they are grateful for. 
  • living life with a calm heart is not easy.
  • being single means you can get a call at 3pm on a friday afternoon at work and drive your favorite high school girls to windy gap and hang out there because chances are you weren't obligated to anything or anyone else.
  • the wrath for my sin was already satisfied. i am no longer being punished for things i do. 
  • i can do ministry. i can do ministry well. i am encouraging, honest, confide-worthy, trustworthy. my life as means of ministry works. 
  • if life isn't an adventure you probably are doing it wrong. 
  • i can run 9 miles without stopping. 
  • it's easy to spread yourself thin.
  • people that have held my heart in the past probably still want to hold my heart now if i let them.
  • i still know all the words to mambo no.5

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

i haven't blogged in a long time because life got busy after the new year. and then for a while i didn't think i had anything to blog about. then life got busy again. now life isn't busy and i am almost too scared to blog because my heart is pretty crappy lately. i'm grateful for that. grateful for things being pointed out to me and acknowledging stuff in my own life that i want to be weeded out. i almost just typed that i want to weed out. then i remembered i have not much say in that process and the lord will do what he wants with me when he wants to. but i'm praying that the weed of selfishness gets out real quick. because it becomes a vine and messes up my heart and love flow.

live life with a calm heart.

that phrase is written everywhere in my life lately and it's a pretty hard goal to achieve. rarely do i live with a calm heart. it's usually frantic, worried, stressed, frustrated, upset, sad, or annoyed. probably a myriad of other emotions or conditions as well. none of those being calm. i'm calm when things go my own way. back to expectations and how i have them and how they plague my life. luckily for me everyone else around me is learning about the war in life we all have against expectations so we have grown accostumed to talking about them and calling them out and shedding light on the reasons behind hurt feelings, being let down, missed connections and more. a symptom of expectaitons though, or a fruit of them is selfishness. maybe they are one in the same, i'm not sure. but as i've been trying to live life with a calm heart and i realize how infrequent my heart is calm i realize how selfish i am. yesterday i was pouting and literally laid on my bed and said I am being very selfish right now. no one was in the room but if they had been they would of certainly agreed with me. so, today i decided to not be selfish and to pray a lot more than i have in a long time and to fight really hard to live with a calm heart. and it worked. things that i normally would get upset about i took a breath and didn't. i didn't try to control situations, i didn't get mad at things that didn't need to be mad at or about, i didn't huff and puff, i wasn't worried because i had things to do, i just let life happen. i got frustrated really really bad at 4:55 before i left work trying to put rosie in her cage which she hates and fights and instead of scruffing her and shoving her in the cage i held her and tried to calm her down and told her i loved her and that she had to go to bed and it would be okay. she still resisted so instead of being mad then i found teresa and we got her in real easy. normally though i would of flipped out and probably hit rosie and called her bad names until she went in her cage.

a lot of my heart revelations and changes have come from the book the hiding place by corrie ten boom i read this month for my book report. it's like the anne frank diary but better. is that bad to say? it's so good and really has changed my life. here's some of my book report i wrote

            My favorite quote in the whole book is when Betsie and Corrie are talking and Betsie tells Corrie she has to give thanks for the fleas in their room and Corrie says that is ridiculous and Betsie says “Give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t just say in pleasant circumstance. Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.” Corrie still says she thinks Betsie is wrong but gosh, it is so true.  If I could have the faith to think of all things were good gifts from the Lord. I think this is most important to me because I don’t always do it. Sometimes I can acknowledge the bad things as good but most of the time I can’t. I don’t even know how to go about doing this. How do I thank the Lord for barking gods that poop on me or stubbing my toes or having my face be infected for the third time this month? Do I have to always see things in terms of the opposite like because I’ve been sick so much I’ve gotten to rest more than I normally would or because I stubbed my toe I got to practice the art of not saying cuss words and getting to sit down for a few minutes because I’m in pain. Like, how do I make my thanksgiving genuine? Have more faith that he really does have good things for me and not plans to harm me I guess

I learned a lot about people in this book. About humanity and about what people are capable of and what the Lord is capable of through people. Even the quote from Corrie that says “How rich is anyone who can simply see human faces!” What joy in a simple thing as seeing someone else. I don’t have to live in a prison or concentration camp to take joy in this gift. If I were able to thank God in all circumstances I could come home from work and be overwhelmingly grateful for this house I live in instead of holding past grudges or being tired and not taking delight in you all. (not that everyday coming home is a drag-mostly I am excited to come home but my heart could be in a better place sometimes in this house). At one point in the book Corrie acknowledged her own selfishness. She says “how easy it is to give it [selfishness] other names.” “Oh, this was the great poly of Satan in that kingdom of his; to display such blatant evil that one could almost believe one’s own secret sins didn’t matter.” Today I read  Galatians 6:1-5 and this verse stuck out to me -- 4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (msg version) I think Corrie is a good example of this verse- she focused on the work she had been given and sunk herself into it. I want to be more like that. I want to be less selfish and call out my selfishness for what it is. Corrie came to the realization she couldn’t do any of this on her own, she couldn’t not be selfish on her own she couldn’t help these people on her own it had to be from the Lord. It all goes back to having faith. If I don’t have faith I lean on myself and there is a lot of nasty junk in me that comes out – greed, selfishness, bitter roots that form. If I trust the Lord the good rich fruit will come out.

this was long. it was good for me to write, maybe good for you to read. 

if i'm being selfish--tell me. call me out in a gentle and loving way (galatians 6:1 will tell you how) and let a sister know.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

it's almost midnight on a weekday and i'm still up. i don't have to work tomorrow and this in itself is a miracle. i am usually the first to go to bed and tonight i am the last. up in flames by coldplay is playing and it's so good and quiet and calm. i am grateful for this.

grateful for friends and family that pursue me through hard times. that acknowledge the need to fight for truth and community and honesty. they are worth fighting for.

Why would I ever want to write a book? Who would ever want to read a book I wrote? the market right now is definitely oversaturated with chr...