Saturday, December 3, 2011


God brings people in and out of our life.  There are few people who we will share our entire life with - mostly these people are family.  or a few select group of friends.  But then, there are so many people who are only in our lives for seasons.  Long seasons.  And they make footprints that run so deep, years later their memory brings us to tears and pulls at our hearts.  They are no less important.  And just because the season is over - we still may have a connection with them.  Facebook.  Maybe a Christmas card.  But there time of being ever present in our life has passed.  Sometimes those are the people that pushed us the most.

I've been blessed throughout my life with women who loved me, mentored me, invested in my life and molded me into the person I am.  A few I had from eight to eighteen.  I had a few join that group from twelve to eighteen.  But then I went to college and my world changed.  Fewer during those years.  But so thankful for that person.  And thankful for flights to Phoenix for a fresh perspective and a few simple truths that sustain me for months.

Now I'm married and in this whole new world with new people.  I hope these people will last through several seasons.  But God moves us.  And the people don't always come with.  But they're still here.  And the footprints are still made on our lives.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November's Thankful

I love reading everyone's daily facebook updates on what they're thankful for - its such a great way to remind us of all our blessings, especially going into the Christmas season.  I've thought for a few days about joining in, but I just know that I'd forget days eventually.  So, my solution is, I'm going to list 30 days of Thankful here on my blog - all at once.  Maybe that means I'm cheating, but I'm still Thankful!

November 1 - Thankful for all the love we received from family and friends in Virginia.  Its so hard to leave them all!
November 2 - Thankful for a church that preaches the truth and strives to make a difference.
November 3 - Thankful for my loving husband who cleaned the house the other day without even being asked!
November 4 - Thankful for such encouraging coworkers.
November 5 - Thankful for God's answering of prayers, and the way He speaks to us!
November 6 - Thankful for all those facebook friends who pray for us at the drop of a hat when we need it.
November 7 - Thankful for our amazing small group.
November 8 - Thankful for each and every one of our supporters who has been so faithful in coming alongside our ministry.
November 9 - Thankful for the outpouring of prayers and support we've received from coworkers today.
November 10 - Thankful for a home that I love.  Even though a house is such a dream and desire of ours, we love what we've been provided.
November 11 - Thankful for mentors who willingly invest in my life.
November 12 - Thankful for friends scattered across the globe and the amazing ministries they're a part of!  Their stories of the Lost coming to Christ are an inspiration.
November 13 - Thankful for talented friends and their beautiful artwork!
November 14 - Thankful for our space heater and warm blankets.
November 15 - Thankful for a husband who looks forward to my birthday as much as I do.
November 16 - Thankful for a husband who enjoys cooking for me!
November 17 - Thankful for the opportunity we have to visit friends and family.
November 18 - Thankful for the next two months of being at home, without traveling and being apart from one another.
November 19 - Thankful for an awesome marriage conference with Dr. Gary Chapman.
November 20 - Thankful for lunch with friends.
November 21 - Thankful for God's provision of days, times, and seasons of rest in my life.
November 22 - Thankful for the trials of 2010 & 2011, for the ways in which the Lord draws us closer to Him.
November 23 - Thankful for email, Facebook, Skype and Vonage which allow us to keep in touch with friends living far away and overseas.
November 24 - Thankful for God's provision of everything we need and so much of what we want.
November 25 - Thankful for four day weekends to relax and enjoy family.
November 26 - Thankful for grocery stores, sales, and a stocked pantry and freezer.
November 27 - Thankful for the availability of everything I need (food and gadgets) to make a full on Thanksgiving dinner without too much hassle.
November 28 - Thankful for new found motivation!
November 29 - Thankful for new opportunities.
November 30 - Thankful for May 22, 2012.  The day when the newest edition to the Baldwin family is scheduled to arrive!

*We're still not facebook official - so send me a message instead of posting on my wall, please.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Funny Story

Ok - since I haven't posted any funny stories in Way too long, I thought I'd share this.

I totally locked my husband out of the house last night.  Not on purpose either.  No marital discord to be found here.  And then?  I went to sleep.  Yep.

See, Josh goes on a walk every night.  And lately, I'm too lazy to stay up past 10 pm.  He took his keys, because its just not smart for me to go to sleep in an unlocked house all by myself.  But...even though he had his keys, our door has thing little thing.  I don't know what it is but it flips over the door so even if someone had a key they couldn't open the door if this thing is closed.  Truth be told, I never thought it would really work if someone tried to open the door from the outside.  Apparently, it does.

So, last night, if you drove by our house, you would have seen Josh standing on the doorstep, pounding on the door, for about 45 minutes.  I was asleep!  And, of course, my phone was dead after the weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Job Posting...End to an Era

We're posting my job in October.

Weird feeling.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What He's Been Teaching

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that this past year has been the hardest of our lives.  Between support raising, infertility, and the many other demands and expectations of our time and energy, its been an uphill battle every day.  I sat in church a few weeks ago, and realized what exactly it was the God has been trying to teach me this year.

To pray.  To pray about everything and give it to Him.  To pray as an act of worship, to pray intentionally, expecting results.  To pray constantly.  To take up prayer as my work where I am.

Can I just say that this lesson has been amazing.  Though I still worry sometimes, I find my inner voice reminding me to stop and pray.  Its a constant choice - to truly truly trust the Lord and believe my prayers will be answered.  To be real with the Lord, praying from the heart, and not use the words that I think I'm supposed to. Sometimes its crying out to God with my pain, my disappointment, my worry and my doubt.  Sometimes its pleading with Him.  Its praying from the heart, not from the head.

Its a decision.  Being in a constant state of prayer.  One I'm learning to make.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Somedays, I'm just done.  I'm done with the endless tasks and emails and the 'work' never ending.  I crave a 9-5 job for my husband, and a working at home life for me.

But - we were called to ministry. I was called to ministry.  And this means more than 9-5. This means eternal consequences for the work we do.  Ministry never ends.  Worship never ends.

So, when I say, "I'm done" give me thirty minutes.  Or a day.  Or a massage.  Or a perfect Chai Latte from Starbucks.  I'll be back when I've gotten a 'perspective check' from my Lord.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh My Information

Last week, team Italy iv (that is - us and our teammates) attended at workshop here in Kansas City.  It was Sharpening Your Internpersonal Skills presented by International Training Partners.  This workshop was designed for missionaries, to develop and strengthen (sharper) one's ability to work/communicate/and communicate on a deeper level with individuals around them.  At least that's my take on it.

Anyway, to sound a bit less like a textbook, it was great.  Well, great in a completely exhausting, information overload, pressing, stretching sort of way.  It was a lot.  That coupled with being surround by people, some who I knew, some I'd barely met.  And not sleeping well.  And having two doctor appointments during the workshop 45 minutes away, and not feeling good for about 36 hours - it was great.  We also spent some time talking about margin and managing stress.  Ahem.  Missionaries - stress?  Raising support - stress?  Say it isn't so.  Yeah about that.

I'm not sure what all I learned.  Except that I interupt people A LOT.  (That was one thing we talked about.)  It was a lot lot lot of information.  I'm processing.  After rediscovering my brain after that wonderful amazing fall is coming three day weekend.  Maybe I'll write more about this training later.  We'll see.

Oh!!  Another thing - pray for us this weekend.  Friday and Saturday we're having a garage sale, all proceeds going to our ministry in Italy.  So pray for good weather and lots of customers!

And you can also pray for our upcoming doctor's appointments next week.  We'd appreciate that too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


A year from now we'll be in Italy.  Well, actually a year from today we might possibly be in Germany for All Europe Conference.  Or maybe on vacation since absolutely nothing is open in August in Italy (so I hear).  Anyway, the point is, I won't be in the States.

This will be a year of lots of family trips.  I find that we're craving time with family more than ever before.  Being intentionally about dropping by for Sunday afternoons on the porch with Linda & Tim.  Taking the time to travel to Wisconsin even though its inconvenient and often expensive.  Committing to see ALL the family at Christmastime - Missouri, Wisconsin, and Virginia.  Investing the legwork and $$ to plan some 'last hoorah' family vacations (that ones slated for February - we'd love to see you, please come).

Hopefully we'll get tons of family time in this year.  It will take sacrifices (like unpaid time off from work, cash, and LONG car trips).  But it will be so worth it.  There will come a day, very soon, that we won't have that opportunity.  So, for now, to all of our families, we love you.  We miss you.  We're really excited to see you.  And we agree that it stinks a bit that we'll be separated for so long.  BUT.  You're always welcome to crash our flat and get a (cheaper) European vacation.

Come visit.

(Oh - and that goes for all everybody.  Family.  Friends.  Feel free to do a bit of house crashing.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Infertility Etiquette

I read this article today and thought it was so important, so I thought I'd share.  Infertility is something that is still taboo to talk about it.  Mostly because the majority of Americans are uneducated about the facts.  For decades its been a private struggle that women/families have had to bear alone.  But as Christians we were created for fellowship and community.  Infertility should be no different.

Borrowed from here.

The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

9 Things Not to Say, Plus 1

10.  Don't Tell Them to Relax
9.  Don't Minimize the Problem
8.  Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
7.  Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
6.  Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
5.  Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
4.  Don't Gossip About Their Infertility
3.  Don't Push Adoption
2.  Let Them Know You Care
1.  Remember Them on Mother's Day

Believe it or not, all of these things have been said to me (except number one, which would have been a good thing.)  If you don't know what you say, this is a time when saying nothing is better.  Because, the well-intentioned remarks of friends end up hurting more deeply than you can expect.

And another thing, from my personal experience:
The reason you remember that friend of a friend who tried to conceive for ten years and it finally happened and now they're happy?  The reason you remember it is because it happened once.  Think about how many women tried for ten years and it never happened?  Why don't you remember that story?  Well probably because that woman couldn't share her story for fear you'd tell her to relax.  

We're out here.  No one talks about it.  

I have a few friends who are absolutely amazing.  They ask how our infertility is going (which I love).  And, they probably don't know what to say.  Yet they have the best possible response.  "I love you.  I'm praying for you.  And I hope you get pregnant."

Friday, August 19, 2011

What if your blessings come through raindrops?

I love this song.  It makes me smile.  Though I'm not really at a place where I can be thankful for the raindrops, I know that someday I'll get there.

Eight years ago, my father died without knowing Christ.  Even at that time, though it was painful, I knew that God would use that experience in my life.  He used that event to call me to the lost and teach me the urgency of sharing the Gospel.

Right now, I don't appreciate our struggle to start a family.  Its the most painful thing I've ever experienced.  But someday, I will see its value.  Someday this experience will enable me to minister to others.  Maybe there is someone in Italy, right now, who is where I am.  Maybe I'll meet her in a year and my story will help her see God's love.

Without the valleys there'd be no mountaintops.  Without the rain, we wouldn't know the warmth of the sun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Through the Trials

The Lord promises to bring us through the trials...not out of them.  How many times have I prayed to be delivered out of a trial.  

Pray for us.  We're in the midst of several trials right now.  The hardest things we've ever done.  On any given day we can't decide which is harder.  We're 18 months in, and there's no end in sight.  My prayers have more often been to be delivered from these trials.  

This morning I woke up, and it was the first time I thought about giving up.  I'm thankful for a husband who can be strong when I am not.  

Pray for us.  For our hearts.  Strength.  Encouragement.  Arms wrapped around us.

Because its really, really hard.

The best thing about the valley, or the only good thing, is that you know somewhere, someday, there's a mountaintop.  


Why oh why is it always, always freezing in Starbucks!  Its freezing.  If I didn't need power I'd move to the patio.  Oh, that, and having to pack up all my stuff.  And I have a lot of stuff here.  My purse, two drinks, laptop, pile of folders, open notebook, stack of papers, 4 highlighter, two pens, two sharpies, my iPod touch (calculator, needed), phone, and power cord.  Its like my own little desk taking up 1/3 of this 8 person table.  (I'm at the Plaza Starbucks in case anyone wondered.)  There isn't enough room for 'my desk' outside

But its freezing!  And, I have a hot drink.  Its not even touching how cold it is in here.  There are people with shorts on outside, perfectly comfortable.  I'm wearing jeans and just put on my sweater because its so cold.

Oh - and the same women has come in here three times since I've been in here - with a double stroller.  A nanny is my guess.  But seriously, she's getting pretty good at manuvering that huge thing around in here.

I'm seriously shivering and have goose bumps.  And I have to pee.  But than I'd have to pack up all this crap I'm surrounded by.

When's my lunch break?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Some Days

Some days are easier than others.  Some days I want to get rid of all my stuff an move into a hotel room until we leave.  Other days I want to stay right where I am in my comfortable, homey home; keeping all my things until we buy our plane tickets.

Some days are easier than others.

The thought of Skype is all I need to be okay with leaving my friends and family - some days.  Other days I tear up just thinking of saying goodbyes.

Today was one of those not so great days.  Satan whispers doubts in my ear.  The emotions of it all catches up with me.  I miss the landscape of Wisconsin and the beauty of Wisconsin winters.  I want to keep my oh-so-comfy couch until we buy our tickets.  I doubt want to sell my stuff at a garage sale.  Except maybe all those mountains of clothes that don't fit.

Today was one of the hard days.

I wonder why even just one area of our life can't be easy.  Or normal.  Or comfortable.  Or not so stretching.  But that's not the life Jesus called us to.  (And I'm not just talking about missionaries.)  He called us to the uncomfortable.  He called us to live counter culturally.  He called us to take up our cross.

The hard days are the days that glorify God and He shines through us.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The First Goodbye

Our life will be full of goodbyes.  But today was the first.  Saying goodbye to dear friends, some of our closest friends.  They're leaving for Mexico next month, and we won't see them between now and then.

I wasn't really prepared for this goodbye.  Its the first of many.

They'll be in Mexico for at least five years.  Next year we move to Italy for our five years.  So six years from now I might see them.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Can you say scatterbrained?

Well I think we can say its official - I'm on my way to losing my mind.

I lost a file today.  Or, I should say, that I lost it two weeks ago and remembered I needed it today.  When The Boss asked for it.  Today.  As he went for coffee.  I proceeded to look for it in all the rational logical places.  Of course, it wasn't there.  So I took the next obvious step - freaked out to Linda about where on earth it went.  She helped me look, while suggesting I label my files.  (I DO label my files, but it doesn't help if I don't put them away :) ).  Then Linda and I decided that it was all because someone made me clean off my desk two weeks ago and That's why I can't find anything.

But she found it - on top of my cabinet.  Which in my defense isn't visible from my chair and BARELY visible if I'm standing up.  So, it wasn't lost in the first place.  But the search was quite entertaining.  Especially when Jon walked up behind me and stood their patiently, very quiet, until I turned around and about jumped out of my skin.  I may have screamed.  Can't quite remember that one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Project 52

Check out the new "My Project 52" page.  We'll see how this goes!


I'm not quite sure when I got so busy.  (Well, honestly, it was June.  When Josh finished his Masters and life was supposed to slow down.  Right.)

I'm convinced the next time I'll have a free evening is the day we step off the plane in Italy.  Except that I'm pretty sure we have dinner plans with Troy and Penny Taylor that night.

Support Raising definitely makes us busy!  That and the whole 'I'm moving to another country' thing definitely does not help!  Dinner appointments, errands, meetings, team meetings, full time job, family, marriage, ministry, fellowship, and relationships.  Not one of these things would I trade (well - that full time job maybe) as we make our way to the field.  Still, I remember all those sermons on Rest and eliminating the Business from our lives.  Apparently I stink at that.

To all of those who have waited patiently as I was late for appointments, etc, I apologize.  And I have been late - a lot.

Are you ever late?  Tired of being so busy?  Me too!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Seriously, my brain might explode.  And I'm one of the three people who were in the meeting that understood what all those investment bankers were talking about.  I know what a mutual fund is.  I actually picked the funds to invest in (without closing my eyes and pointing).  But I'm still spending my afternoon looking over forms and trying to decide if we even can make it work to save 5-15% of our income for retirement.  Roth?  403b?  Which to contribute to, and who comes first?

Apparently this is what I do on a Saturday when my husband is 1000 miles away.

I need more diet coke.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Day Another Dollar

C.O.P. is here again.  That's Avant's Candidate Orientation Program for all those not fluent in 'Avant speak.'  What is this?  Our two week boot camp for all those hoping to serve as full time missionaries with Avant.  My department coordinates and puts on this event twice a year, in January and July.  This is my 5th round of COP and I'm pretty sure I've got it down by now.

I ended Day 1 with some of Al's cooking. (Serious, I gained ten pounds when I attended COP as a hopeful missionary.)  Then, I'll headed home to collapse in a food coma on the couch.  A 30 minutes power nap followed.  So maybe that's why I was up til 1 a.m.?

But, since I didn't complete mess anything up, or hand out outdated schedules, and everyone made it to their interviews, I'm considering the day a success.

How's Day 2 going?  I need caffeine.

A thought from today.

I heard some of the following quotes concerning Short Cycle Church Planting today.  Food for thought.

"True, 150% community, living itself out in a cross cultural setting:  Short Cycle Church Planting

"None of us have ever been a part of a team to the extent of a SCCP team."

Challenging, humbling, the hardest work we've ever done.  It will not always be fun.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ministry Blog

God has really been working behind the scenes throughout our deputation, but in June we got to see some of His results.

Want some details on our ministry?  Check out our ministry blog to see an update on this whole missionary thing.

My Base

Having a home base is a wonderful feeling.  When you can retreat to the people who know you and love you best.  You can rest in the comfort and safety of home.  You won't be rejected here.  Well, more often than not, I think this Home Base is made up of people. What if your people are scattered to the winds?

We visited our base this weekend.  Some of our dearest friends, who we met during college and now live in Phoenix.  It was a feeling that can't really be explained by words.  I could vent my problems, and be understood.  Each one of us was lonely in our new cities.  Struggling to make friends as we're surrounded by opposite thinking.  Not fitting in.  Lonely in a crowded room.  Climbing uphill and wondering why on earth God brought us to this point.  

There were no blank stares in Phoenix.  They get what I'm talking about.  They are right there with me, feeling the same things.  In our heartache we were bonded once again.  No amount of distance, whether today or a year from now, will keep us from returning to our Base.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It Will Happen

Someone said to today, "It will happen" with such complete belief.  I struggle with worry.  And desire for control.  But, it will happen.  We'll get to Italy.  Our supporters hearts are still being molded.  God knows.  And we'll get to Italy.  Why?  Because He promised us.

Side note on that, when God speaks to your heart:  listen, act, now.  Because God's been prompting me for months to do this one thing.  But (surprise) I was worried.  I did it.  And following God's leading always leaves me with a peaceful heart.

It will happen.  For us.  For you (Lowes, Waltons, Taylors, Italy 4).  It will happen.

the papasan chair

Josh sold my double papasan chair this weekend.  I say he sold it, even though I told him to list it on craigslist, because I seem to have a strange attachment to that chair.

The lady sat in it, to gauge its comfort level, and I was silently hoping she wouldn't like it.

I actually cried after we loaded it into their van and watched the couple go on their way.  
Weird, I know.  Its not even like I used it much.  But I'm strangely attached to that chair.
We're one step closer.  Thanks Steph.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


As I look into my future, knowing the transient nature of it, I struggle with several things.  Materialism.  Relationships.  Discontent.  Anxiety.

Today its about relationships though.  I know I'm moving.  Sometimes that fact pushes me to build my relationships here as much as I can.  Invest in them.  Nurture them.  So that I have those memories when I'm waist deep in culture stress.  And so that maybe I don't have to start from scratch when I return.  There are other times, though, when its incredibly hard to build those relationships.

I love those relationships with people who 'just get me.'  Those special people are few and far between.  The other day Josh and I had cokes with two people who we just connect with.  They 'get' us, and while its so good to see them, its hard to say goodbye.

Not all relationships are like that.  They can't be.  But what I love about it is the 'realness.'  The purity of conversation.  I don't have to edit myself.  I don't have to not talk about something because of the advice or criticism someone will offer.  Or the silence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Faith & Trust

I'm thankful.  I'm thankful that people see Josh and I as missionaries and this 'step of faith' we're taking, as they so often refer to it.  Hopefully, our lives can be testimonies to the people around of of God's grace and provision.    But the whole 'deciding to be a missionary, move to the other side of the world, sell all our stuff' - that was an easy decision.  It was never a question.  We've know for years this was our path.

The harder part is continuing to trust that he led us to the right field.  We followed in faith, but what if we made a mistake.  Trusting that he will bring in our funds.  Every.Single.Day.  Some days I don't worry at all.  Some days I'm so frustrated and stressed that I make myself sick.

Challenging people is so hard.  And I currently stink at it.  People tell us they admire our faith.  How do I challenge them to grow theirs by giving back to God what is already His in the first place; trusting that He'll provide for their needs, just as He provides for ours.

How do you balance your desires with God's will?  He knows the desires of our hearts, but when is it time to let go of an idea?  When do you pray with all your heart for things to happen?  Do you question?  Do you challenge yourself?  Do you quit your job hoping and praying that this results in urgency from partners?

I've asked all those questions of myself in the past 24 hours.  My life (and little ol' brain) is swirling with questions these days.  Questions that I don't have answers to.  Some that I don't want answers to.  A few that I'm afraid to ask because I'm just not strong enough yet.  Oh - and another - when / how do you just start believing its going to happen?

All that verbal (written?) vomit being said, we're building our prayer team this month.  Or, I guess, I am.  I've sort of taken on this task as Josh works on setting up appointments for the rest of the summer.  Though we may talk of financial support more, prayer support is even more vital.  We've been convicted recently of our lack of effort in building our prayer team.

So, this is me, now.  I'm seeking prayer warriors.  People who will commit to spending some serious time praying for us.  On your knees, in your closet, driving to work.  Because this whole trusting thing, its hard.

(In case you're trying to read between the lines [I hate it when bloggers write in abstract verses the facts] somewhere in there are thoughts on infertility and timing and all that jazz.  But I guess that's abstract too.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Everything Must Go

As we prepare to move overseas, we will be getting rid of our material possessions.  The first step in this processed happened 30 minutes ago.  We sold our dining table and chairs.  (We've used them a total of two times since our move in November, 3 times since we got married two years ago.)

Our Italy Jar has begun.

I cannot even explain how real that moment made our journey.  Its really happening.

I often say to visitors, everything you see if for sale.  And I mean it.  Of course, we aren't selling everything today, or in the coming weeks, that would be silly since we have a ways to go, 12 months!, before our move.  But, if you made me a good offer on my couch, I just might take you up on it.

Everything Must Go.  (Eventually.)

PS - one piece is already spoken for.  Just in case you're in love with my coffee table, you could get dibs on it now.

Here we go.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Apartment Hunting

No - I'm not moving again.  At least not furniture.  Translation - I won't be asking for moving help.  :)

But I am spending a healthy amount of time apartment hunting via the world wide web.  I have found a dozen apartments that are affordable and have decent space.  Too bad they're all miles from any possible target areas.  They might as well be at the airport.

It sure is fun though.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Our team was here this weekend.  (My previous post was supposed to be posted Saturday.  Apparently I got distracted, surprise surprise.)

Note to self - this would be better if I had pictures.  :(

For our weekend together there really wasn't an agenda.  It was simply a time to learn more about one another (you know - before we moved across an ocean together).  We went to a Royals game, ice cream, church, a very American Italian festival, the Plaza, and some other random events.  We shared a lot of meals and basked in air conditioning - trying to absorb what life will be like without central air.

Many hours were spent envisioning the life we'll have at this time next year.  I'm pretty sure there were several times when everyone in the room was on some sort of ipad/iphone/ipod or macbook.  (Apparently we are a team of Apple lovers.)  The Italian version of Reece & Nichols, google maps streetview, and Ikea's Italian websites were our favorites.

Do they have driers?  Answer - no.  What about dishwashers?  Answer - yes, and comparably priced to the US.  What's the exchange rate?  Answer - bad.  Do three bedroom flats exist?  Sure - as long as you don't want a dining room.  How much do airlines charge for excess baggage?  Answer - you don't want to know.

At any rate is was a great weekend of connecting and bonding, which will be good for culture stress - at least we'll 'like' these people we're fighting with :).  Josh and I have come away rejuvenated and excited about serving in Italy.  We remember why we're doing this. Our boldness and been encouraged and increased and I believe, with all myself, that a year from now, I'll be writing to your from thousands of miles away.  (Unless of course you're reading in Spain, then I'll be right next door!)

The Team is Here

Our team is all coming to Kansas City this weekend.  Food, fun, fellowship...this is how we roll.

We will have a lot of 'fun' this weekend, but it will really be more than that.  Learning about each other, how we interact, each others strengths and weaknesses.  Though three days doesn't seem like a lot, its what we've got to work with being that we're spread across the country.

In August we're scheduled for an Interpersonal Communication training course.  Team Training - two weeks of indepth, intensive training on short cycle church planting - is set for next March.  This is all the time we'll have together before we hop on planes and cross the atlantic.  We're supposed to leave a year from now.  (Don't freak out, don't freak out.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tornado Warning

We had a little hall party today while the tornado sirens were going off.  I'm a little paranoid after everything that happened in Joplin earlier this week.  But than I got to thinking.

I would be just find if a tornado hit our apartment - provided we weren't there, but hunkered down on Avant's first floor.  We have renters insurance and it would save me the trouble of selling everything.  I'll take that check please, Travelers.  I would cry tremendously over my scrapbooks though, so perhaps I'll grab them whenever there's severe whether.  And my blue blanket.  But that's it.  Seriously.

Being Weird

We're weird, in a lot of different ways actually.  Sometimes weird is completely awesome and I'm totally ok with it.  Take being debt free for example.  We recently are, and its weird, especially for people our age.  But I LOVE it.  The Hubs and I worked so hard to get here, to be debt free, and we wouldn't change it for the world.

But the bigger weird, we're missionaries.  Moving overseas a year from now.  That's really weird.  The kind of weird that is meant with blank stares, slight head nods, and a quick change of conversation.  People who are in our life stage, who we otherwise have a lot in common with (just married, entering the career world, starting families, establishing new lives in new communities) can't identify with us.  There are times when the nods and blank faces just roll off my shoulders.  But there are times when it drives me just crazy.

I long for people who 'get' where I'm at and the challenges that come with being a missionary.  Raising support - asking your friends you give up their hard earned money to reach the lost somewhere they've only thought of as a tourist destination. Selling everything I own - detaching from material possessions while still maintaining 'home'.  Some of my friends are super crafty and always doing fun DIY projects for our homes.  I think - 'what's the point?'  Nothing I have now will be here in 11 months.

Saying good bye to my Hubs for what will likely be a month long support raising trip the end of July.

I'm happy to be weird and I would be miserable doing anything else.  But still.  Its hard to not have the house, the stability, the idea of raising my kids w/ my friends kids.  The thought of saying goodbye.

So far away.  And yet so close.

Pray for us as we prepare to get even weirder, with Josh raising support full time.  Pray for our support to come in.  For opportunities to share our vision to come out of the wood work.  For our dreams to come to fruition.  Italy here we come.

Monday, May 23, 2011

He's Done!

A main component of our lives for the past year has been Josh's masters work.  Our entire marriage he's been taking classes, even through the summers.  But, last Sunday, Josh submitted his final project for his final course!  He didn't quite know what to do with himself, having been in college for seven years, bachelors and masters.  We haven't really celebrated yet, last week was a bit crazy at work.  But, I'll have to plan something, if he ever decides what he wants to do

As for my perspective, I reclaim all Sunday afternoons!  No more being banished to our bedroom so Josh can work in silence at the dining room table.  Or being left at home with laundry and netflix while he works from his office.  (I don't mind the netflix, just the housework.)

His degree is a Master of Arts in Church Planting and Evangelism.  Quite applicable to the full time church planting we're embarking on 12 months from now.

YAY for the hubby being done with school!!!!!!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Halfway There....

I started this blog about a year ago.  It started as, and I hope it will continue to be, my story towards full time overseas missions.  I knew it'd be a journey, that could would use the months as preparation for my time overseas.  When I started writing I had 24 months until our target date.  Now I have 12.5.  That seems incredible.

I started this blog because I wanted to document all the things that took me from who I was then, to the person who would step foot overseas as a missionary.

But in the past 12 months I've left out a very big piece of that story.  Lately I've been thinking about it, and about the fact that I haven't been writing.  God uses everything.  Every trial we face here prepares us for future ministry.  Every struggle we have at home is magnified 100x on the field.  My story, what I've shared on this blog, isn't complete.

I struggled with infertility for 15 months.  I may have mentioned it briefly every now and then.  Or talked about it in vague terms at other times.  (I am sorry for the emails I didn't return.  Sometimes I just didn't know what to say.  And I'm SO thankful for all the supportive emails that I received, especially from people who didn't know what was going on, but were praying anyways.)

We're moving to Rome next year.  I want this to be the whole story of how God gets me there.  So, I'm going to start writing again.  And I sometimes I'll write about the things God is teaching me through infertility and any progress he blesses us with.  (If you're uncomfortable reading about that, I won't be writing about it all the time.)

I've missed this.  I've missed you.  And cute comments that make me laugh.  T-minus 56 weeks.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Virginia In My Mind

Dakota, Josie, Jodie, Max, Ella:  
All the little people that get cuter every time I see them.  
(Carson and Spencer were MIA.  Sad day.)

We just got back from yet another trip to Virginia.  It was such a good trip, our busiest yet I think, evidenced by the fact that we were exhausted before the drive home.  (Sometimes trips to Virginia are very vacation-like, if in fact you were fundraising on vacation.)  Previous trips have included much more sleep and down time. 

As far as support raising goes, we had one individual meeting and a new supporter!  We met with a small group and shared our ministry.  And we visited several other supporters.  We were also able to meet up with teammate Emily in Harrisonburg, which was so fun!  We visited her church, spoke with her pastor briefly, and got to meet her sweet parents (for amazing ginger snap cookies!).  Next time we'll have to stay longer; this trip our schedules were jam packed.  Plus we ate at Five Guys, which was quite possibly amazing.  I had a double cheeseburger (I order a double without realizing it) and fries - and ate it ALL.

And now on to the cuteness.  We played countless games with Dakota who is quite possibly the most beautiful child on earth.  Josh is now a master at Polly Pockets.  She also taught me how to properly 'throw the stick so it makes noise.'  I'm not very good.  We spent the VCU v. Butler game trying to decide who was cuter:  Jodie or Josie.  In sweet, 15 month old voice, Jodie said "Thank You" to Josh for an apple straw and I think his heart may have melted right there.  On another night I spent the better part of an evening watching Max slide into the kitchen saying "Hello" louder and louder to demand attention.  That's when I melted.  If he was my kid he'd get whatever he wanted.  Ella was entertaining simply by stealing chips all night - no matter where we hid them.  That is, after she put stickers on the TV and apparently used lipstick on the couch. 

I'm a little jealous that I don't know when my next trip to Virginia will be.  I'll take a one way flight to D.C.  Because that's where Spencer and Carson are. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

In 20 years, I want to have friends I've been friends with for 20 years.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Two Hours Time

Its unnerving how much can happen in 30 minutes to wreak havoc on one's day.  Today is a day like that.  And there's still hours to come!

Morning = Great!  Out of the house, nothing urgent at work, easy, calm, nice day.
Lunch = Double Great!  Business meeting that involved great food, an update on life, and a little homework for next time.
Afternoon = Crummy.  Between two phone calls I've had a guilt trip, excuses, and am left feeling voiceless. 

We all have days like this and they are just a part of life.  Dealing with things we didn't ask for, dealing with people who are just as human as me.  (And boy, am I human.)  I do find it very difficult to differentiate things and put situations into boxes.  I can separate work from life, but anything that is life related, I think of pretty holistically.  And I appreciate that about myself.  The thing that I find crummy though, is when life happens at work.  Ugh.  It just crimps my plans!  And my days.  So now, my life is all in the way of work, and I'm sitting here all huffy and puffy.

I have to say though, I did go play with Jon's new ipod in an attempt to distract myself.  It didn't work.  Maybe I'll just have to go buy one.  :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My 'Happy'

Several weeks ago my prayer was simply, I need some happy.  I didn't really care in what form that it came in, in what area of our life.  Whether it be support raising, starting a family, work, ministry, I just needed something to happen that was good, exciting, and didn't end in tragic disappointment.  (add dramatic flair)

Well, we got our happy.  Three weeks ago we received an offer on some of our real estate.  We closed Friday.  This was something we'd been praying over and waiting on for 18 months!  This was an aspect of our lives that we were completely trusting God with - because we needed it to sell, both financially, mentally, and emotionally, in order to move overseas as missionaries.  We were confident that God knew this, and was taking care of it as His pace.  With everything else going on in our lives, it was easy to trust God with this - at least most of the time.  :)  But He came through!  It is such a relief to have this burden off our shoulders.  We're now completely debt free (well - I still have to write one last check, but whatever)!  The stress and responsibility of owning investment property is gone and we can relax a bit.  It was a weight, a nagging that was ever present in the back of our minds.  Today, its replaced my freedom!

God really showed up with this.  We felt his hand through the whole process, and worried very little throughout the process.  Despite the fact that the past three weeks have been incredibly trying in other areas of our life (more details coming), the sale of the property was the happy we needed.  I'm so thankful for it, because the provision it symbolized gave me strength through everything else. 

If I could have had my choice of 'happy' I probably would have chosen differently.  But all this has worked out so perfectly that I'm so content to wait on God's timing for things, his plans for the timeline of events in my life.  Because I know He's orchestrated it perfectly.  Whatever plans I might have may be better/easier/more exciting in the moment, but His plan will always win the oscar. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Month Gone By

Its hard to believe that I haven't posted in five weeks.  Mostly because it feels like its been even longer than that.  Nothing to overly exciting has happened, except for the past few days.  But this wasn't the real reason I wasn't writing.  (If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, than you know I can write a post about the most random things.)  The stuff I wanted to talk about, I couldn't talk about, for the longest time.  Writing about all the thoughts in my head was hard, made them real, and was more vulnerable than I was willing to be over the world wide web.  The only thing I wanted to write about, I couldn't.  So, no writing.

But, I'm back!  I've had the most amazing week, though dealing with some very hard things, it was still amazing.  God's hand was so evident, and His provision so perfect that we couldn't help but be in awe.  A few weeks ago my prayer was simply:  I need some 'happy'.  Something good, encouraging to happen.  And it did!  In other areas the hits kept coming, and though if I could have chosen my 'happy' I would have picked differently.  Yet God's ways are so much greater than ours.  And His plan so perfect!  I am beyond excited to see how He chooses to answer our prayers.  What great things does He have in store??

In the next few days I hope to fill in the gaps from the past month, from IF, to work and ministry changes, to huge answers to prayer, and the path we're on in complete trust in Him.  He has wrapped his arms around us, specifically me, and held me when I cried.  This is all part of the story, tiny steps to Rome, that I want to share.  Its a great story, I can't wait for the ending.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Lunch Break

Remember six months ago when I told you they were adding on to our office building?  Well - they still aren't done.  Nearly, oh so close, but still working on finishing touches.  One of those being the electrical apparently.

The fire alarm randomly goes off.  And its not the run of the mill fire alarm from elementary school that we're all used to.  Oh no.  This one sounds like either 1) a demon or 2) a really, really bad video game.

This happened today during lunch.  We all just sat there (yes - we all eat together in the break room).  The thing screeched for five minutes before any of us considered the fact that maybe there was actually a fire.  There wasn't - but we wouldn't have known until we saw flames.  (If you're thinking the smoke would give us a clue, it wouldn't.  We'd ignore that two because its not uncommon for both - the constructions guys to burn something that creates smoke or just smoke their cigs in the building.)

Even after five minutes, we were still trying to pretend that the alarm wasn't going off.  And just being cynical about the whole thing.  It wasn't the noise got progressively louder that our interest was peaked.  And I promise it was getting louder, and louder and louder, it wasn't just my imagination.  Still, we didn't move.  Eventually Randy got fed up and went to turn it off or flip a switch or whatever you have to do to make the noise stop.

At least the fire department didn't show up this time.  But that would have been entertaining - again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone. - Hudson Taylor

Monday, February 7, 2011


The Lord's timing really is perfect.  Something that we've learned the past six months.  He's brought people into our lives that have steered us in directions we never would have considered.  He's brought us new supporters that we never would have thought of at a time when trust in Him was the only thing we had.  Though right now we're in a season of waiting, waiting to go to the field, waiting for support to come in, waiting to start a family, waiting to know the answers to our questions...  we know that His timing is perfect. 

I often think that I'm not a patient person.  I'm not.  But I am confident that God knows the perfect timing.  I just wish He'd clue me in.  I know that if we're meant to start a family, we will, when we're supposed to.  I know that we're meant to go to Italy, and I am fully confident we will step off the plane on the exact day we're supposed to.

There are a lot of ifs in our life right now.  But the one thing I am completely confident in - thirteen months ago He called us to Italy.

We've hit a few bumps along the way.  There are hills, mountains, and pot holes between here and Italy.  We're on our way.  This is your invitation to join the journey.


Josh and I could really use your prayers this week.  If you're reading this you probably know why.  :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quiet on the Home Front

I've been hiding out a bit this week.  Mostly because I'm exhausted.  I just finished up my two busiest weeks of the year at work, and I completed crashed.  On top of that, a new medication I've been taking is leaving me devoid of energy.  Anything I actually accomplished in the past two weeks was purely a result of adrenaline.  And now, I have no adrenaline.  I am completely content to come home from work and lay on the couch.  A lot.  I know that's super lazy, and honestly I haven't been a total vegetable (I'm still cooking).  I also managed to completely finish our 2010 finances this week.  But I just haven't had the energy to leave the house. 

I've been living vicariously through the handful of of people I know who moved to Europe this month:  seeing their pictures and hearing their stories of language barriers and early culture shock.  It's quite motivating.  Interesting.  Inspiring. 

I've been thinking of starting a separate blog, focusing on my view of our ministry.  But I go back and forth as to whether or not to do that.  Anyway...

I pretty much just wanted to let my friends know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth, I'm not curled up in the fetal position somewhere, but I'm just tired.  :)  In a good, resting, relaxing sort of way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Did you know?

A friend of mine was denied housing in Italy because he was an evangelical Christian.  True story.  Not something you'd typically expect from Italians. 

Cold to the true Gospel.  Rejecting of any sort of relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is modern day Italy.  They don't need our charity, they don't need our education, food, etc.  But they do need the Gospel.  It will take intentionality.  It will take work.  It will take sacrifice and prayer.  It will be hard. 

But we're going.  And we want you to go with us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I have a friend who chooses a word for the year, sort of as a New Year's Resolution of sorts.  Then throughout the year that word is your motivation, your drive, your inspiration for change in all areas of your life.  Word like "Driven" and "Believe" seem so inspiring to me.  Yet I can't seem to come up with a word for me.  (I'm really not one for resolutions.) 

Until now.  (Who didn't see that coming?)  My word is Today.  With where I find myself in life right now, a constant struggle for me is living where I am, in the present.  By nature I'm a planner, a list maker, a preparer.  I'm preparing for the futures I hope I get to live in one day.  I'm preparing for situations that are unknown.  I'm preparing to leave the life I know for Italy to tell people about Jesus.  Future, future, future.  By the way, I find it incredibly difficult to 'not know' things.  Like - how much our income will be in July.  Or where we'll live in a year.  Things like that - I don't like not knowing.  Well, I pretty much like knowing everything, so I very much dislike any sort of unknown.  Smile.

My goal for 2011 is just to live for today, as much as I can while still working towards our goal of ministering in Italy.  To a certain extent I have to focus on Italy to raise support for our ministry and share our story with our future partners.  But, as much as I can, I want to live for now and take advantage of the days we have here with our friends and family.  Today is important.  Today is all that we have.  (Except that there are people dying everyday...but that's not the point of this.)  That's my goal - living today. 

My stumbling block is that I have to incorporate getting to Italy into my today, without focusing only on Italy.  I have to incorporate preparing for the future into my today, without living in the future.  Who knows - it may never come.

Thankful for today.  Focusing on today.  Remembering everyday, that today is the day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mental Health Day

I think I need a mental health day.  Between the pressure of preparing for Avant's Candidate Orientation Program and the fertility regimen, my body / brain is going crazy.  (So yesterday's rather depressing post...I'm blaming on the hormones/drugs injected into my body.  I wonder how much I can get away with blaming on the drugs?)

I just have to say I have the most amazing patient husband.  He really has been through the wringer lately.  Dealing with Crazy Meghan has not been fun.  In my defense, I've not been overly depressed, its more crankiness.  Though that may be worse.  In any case, Josh deserves a reward. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Tomorrow is a big day.  The Madrid team is deploying.  Brea and Hannah are deploying.

 Nikki's packing process...

Brea's luggage...

Cram your life into a handful of suitcases?   How does your entire life fit into ... four suitcases.  Oi vey.


Last night I had an intense conversation with a close friend.  Some of it was good intense, some of it, tense intense.  I'm not sure if it was our conversation, my exhaustion, my emotions, or simply being at the end of my rope...but so many emotions flooded to the surface.  I responded to an email from a dear friend whom I haven't talked to in way too long...which resulted in even more emotions.  I sent a few deserpate messages off to people I miss.  And then I cried. 

The result of last night is me on the verge of tears whenever I start to actually think about something.  Not because of bad stuff, or at least all bad stuff, but more because of the sheer volume of thoughts and emotions and processes going through my head.  And to be honest, some really hard stuff.  I might burst.  If you ask me how I'm doing, be prepared.  I may just decide to tell you, which would quickly lead to me in a pile of tears and incoherent words. 

I feel as if we had a very blessed holiday season.  I was able to smile about situations and really realize how blessed we are.  I got some shine back.  I was starting to climb out of the valley.  When someone asked how I was doing, I was good.  And that was an honest answer.  I'm still good.  But its as if last night I was forced to face all the things I'm struggling with.  Those nasty little voices in my head have been getting louder the past few months; my answer was to pretend they were there.  Last night I stopped pretending.  Largely because I was too tired to push the thoughts to the back of my mind.  So they were just there - staring me in the face. 

I feel numb.  I feel raw.  If in fact it is possible to have both those feelings at once. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So Much.

The past month has felt like a lifetime.  Well, maybe not quite, but almost.  So much has happened.  So many things are happening.

A couple left our Italy team.  We haven't seen our small group in a month.  COP starts tomorrow.  Christmas with Josh's family.  A super relaxing New Year's break, just us.  The elephant in the room everyone is afraid to talk about is sucking the life out of me.  Ugh...I need some momentum for life again.  I need some motivation and some exciting things to happen.

I'm trying to live in the now.  But how do I live in the now and get my butt prepared to be a missionary at the same time.

Edit:  And now I'm crying.  Well that was a successful blog post.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I'm hungry.  Which is weird.  Because I have an huge event next week.  And, if you know me, you know that normally when I get stressed before an event, I lose my appetite.

8:30:  I had eggs and cheese for breakfast - yay protein.  Had half a dozen chocolate nuggets.  Was super hungry by 11:30.  (That protein normally lasts me until 12:30.)
Noon:  Went to Olive Garden for a friend's birthday:  two bowls of salad, five bread sticks, and my entire entree of lasagna.  Hungry by 4:30.  Super hungry now at 5:16, after eating two bite sized pieces of chocolate.
(I just have to say - that lunch is incredibly not normal for me.  Both health wise and size wise.)
6p.m.:  big dinner.  Portion sizes out of control.  Chicken, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread.  I ate all my food.  Which never happens.  (Josh was a little sad.)
11:30: I'm so hungry I'm considering making pancakes.  But I'm already in bed and this is ridiculous.  Seriously.  I wonder if I can even fall asleep this hungry? 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A good kind of jealous...

I know so many people moving overseas in the next week.  Two beautiful girls moving to Verona, Italy, and a dozen or so people to Valladolid & Madrid, Spain.  Someday, this will be us!  18 months to our target date.  So exciting.  But oh so very thankful for the time we have here:  to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits for all that we'll encounter as missionaries.  Very, very excited for all my friends!  I plan on posting pictures of their piles of luggage:  some taking five suitcases for a family of three, some singles taking four suitcases per person, some families taking 20 tubs ...wondering where I will fall in the midst of that.  (And wondering how I'll fight with airlines over baggage fees.)  I predict that Josh will get one suitcase and I'll get...several.