London-Continental Divide Colorado-Grand Teton National Park-Quaker Ridge Camp-Summiting my 18th 14er and hiking to crystal clear alpine lakes with FRIENDS along the WAY! Summer break has been good to me!
It was REALLY difficult to leave my stateside home this summer. More difficult than last year. Staying longer had it's perks, but that also meant leaving was much more emotional. Colorado will always be home to me know matter where I go. There's something special about going home to a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin. Where I am around people who have seen me grow over the years and they see the change in me that happens when one lives overseas, I feel a sense of belonging and love. Some even share in the understanding of living such a complicated, confusing life and encourage me to keep it up when the going gets rough. I am thankful to all of you that pray for me, care for me and spur me on. I value it all so much. I often feel I lack courage and bravery to continue this journey. Sometimes the sacrifices seem too great, when really, some days it might not be enough. My plan was 2 years and here I am, starting another year more!
This year is fresh, new, different than last year and even the year before. The naive excitement that I felt two years ago after moving to this "exotic" country has worn off, but there is still a joy that comes from becoming more familiar with this place I call 'home'. I know more Thai, taught around 70 amazing students, I'm also more aware of the realities of living in a foreign culture and language and have felt the difficulties and frustrations all the same. Almost stepping on a large, dead lizard does that too you. Having all the clothes I washed Saturday morning and then hung out to dry, only to be rained on, leaves you with your hands open...saying "I can't do this without you, Lord".
SO my plan for this year...
Living in day-to-day surrender. Recognizing that I don't have it all together, that I don't know what this year will bring (really, who does?) and living this year with my palms up and open to whatever comes my way. Trusting God's sovereignty for the day-to-day, however long I will be here...another year or when is it time for the next step and what that might be.
What can I loosen my grip on to live more freely for Christ?
You can do this with me too. Palms up?
Most Recent Update:
Since returning to Thailand, I've been settling in. It's been 2 1/2 weeks since I've been back and in some ways it seems a lot longer. I've been busy readjusting to life here. Eating rice and chicken, taking advantage of all the fruit, enjoying the humidity of monsoon season and most of all spending hours at school orienting myself with our new place, unpacking, moving furniture to where it needs to be and meeting new staff.
I've gone to the botanical gardens once, been rained on a few times already and have encountered plenty of 'wildlife' each and every day.
My classroom is now complete and the first weeks plans are made. Yesterday we had an open house. Many of the students that I have this year, I had two years ago, which is exciting. It was really encouraging to see so many of them again and admire how much they've grown up. I'm looking forward to diving into more challenging curriculum with them and guiding them through this time of life, both academically and socially. Looking forward to a good year!
1. A refreshing summer at home in Colorado with family, friends, and time and space enjoyed in immense "take your breath away" beauty.
2. Thankful for opportunities to see many of my supporters. Those I didn't get to see I have you at the top of my list for next summer!
3. I have enough support for another year to serve at GIS where I am called to be for this time! Thank you, isn't enough!!!
4. So far, so good with my living situation. My living quarters are apart from the main house which creates like a "mini-apartment" for me. It's good to have a space of "my own".
1. School starts TOMORROW! Students come to our new temporary campus location and walk through my 6th grade door! Pray as we begin a new year in a new setting and for my other teammate (Mrs. New...seriously) and I as we teach this group of (mostly) female pre-teens.
2. A Thai friend going through a really difficult time...getting a divorce, lost her car, has no money and sons that don't appreciate her and a family that judges her beliefs. She is the only believer in her family. She feels so alone. Pray strength for her and that she would cling to her faith even when it is tested.
3. Continued direction with involvement this year. I need grace with Thai language as I learn to read and write, assisting with technology in primary and seeking service opportunities with Diakonia.
Please let me know if there is anything I can pray for you!