so, i made it home...
i imagine you figured that out by now, since it's been over 3 months.
so much, SO much, has happened, and so little as well.
i'm still living with the fam. still looking for a job. going to lots of weddings, but not married yet. working on starting seminary in the spring. in some ways it seems like not much is going on, and i usually don't have a real solid answer for "what do you do everyday?"
but in other ways, amazing things are happening. culture shock hasn't been horrible, but i do feel like my heart and spiritual eyes have just been totally shocked open to God and His amazingness in ways i hadn't imagined before. i'm loving seeking Him and seeking to help others, well, seek Him. following His lead. seeing my short comings, and not totally freaking out about them. having real conversations about hard things with people i love dearly. delighting in the depth and simplicity of community. strategizing passionately and obsessively. reading good books. not blogging or catching up on email. dreaming about what big things God could possibly have in store for me and the friends He's been bringing into my life. thinking about looking for a job, but wrestling with my fears about the big "WHAT'S NEXT?" learning to be an american girl in america again. missing india.
missing india...and learning to live with that...sort of. it just doesn't go away.
ah, i have so much more to say but it's quite late and i actually do have something to do in the morning. but maybe this will be a start to more frequent blogging, or maybe i'll be back in about 3 months...
i'm not going to wrestle with pictures here, but to see some more of what i've been up to, for all of you that are desperately curious, you can check out the myspace for our young adults group at church (this is where my heart is, at least a big part of it, right now).
i'll end with a song that's been playing in my mind and heart and computer nonstop lately:

Praise and Adore (some live without it) by Wavorly

What I have to say is obvious
A knowledge free, for all of us are
Your Word leaves us with no excuse
The paths we choose make us who we are
There’s a breeze blowing through here tonight

So I praise and adore You
Lay it all down before You
In every way You’re beautiful
From my heart
I praise and adore
You made the world beautiful
I cannot stand and deny
You created life
And some live without it

Wake up morning sunrise in my eyes
At night the moon lights all the sky
(Still some say You didn’t do a thing)
The sound of hope that’s in the air
In everything, it’s everywhere
(Reveals a truth that’s worth remembering)
There’s a breeze blowing through here tonight

It’s true, it’s all You

And every breath I take
There’s no way
Accident created this place

Well, it’s hard to believe, but the time has finally come for me to say goodbye to India. it seems so unreal to think that two years have already passed by, but at the same time, it seems like so much has happened since I left home that it’s been far more than just 2 years!

These past few weeks have been really good, though hard, saying lots of goodbyes and trying to finish up things with work here and close out our house. It’s been hectic and crazy at times, but also incredibly amazing to see how God has been at work and given many opportunities to share with and encourage others, even in our final days here.

12 hours from now, I’ll be in the car with my roommates Preeti and Sophy, going to Mumbai. They’ll fly back to Delhi in the evening, and I will be flying out of Mumbai airport at about midnight tomorrow night (technically early morning Aug 1st). I’ll arrive in Lafayette that same afternoon (about 24 hours after I depart from Mumbai), and spend a little time with family before going out of town for a few days. I will be back in Lafayette by Monday, August 6th, and I’d love to meet up with any of you that are in town and available! If you want to meet up, you can email me at Right now, my plan is to stay in Lafayette for the time being and spend some time with family while I seek what God has in store for me next.

Well, see you on the flip side!

chillin with friends in thailand

goofing off with some of our friends at our apartment. we've been saying a lot of goodbyes these past 2 weeks...

goodbye party at our house

girls pic at coffee jar on Alisha's last night in town

one of the many birthdays we've celebrated in the past week. beware, if i come to your birthday part in the states, something like this could happen!!!

according to the little counter on my blog, i have less than 4 days left...i'm not sure if that means in india or until i arrive in america--either way, it's not much time.

i'm sitting on one of my big black trunks, in my near empty room, listening to john mayer, and realizing i really don't feel like i have words to describe this experience--saying goodbye, transition, two years, who i am, who i was, etc--i feel dazed by it all, and yet, somehow, also incredibly alert and focused, working hard to get stuff done, to finish details of moving and leaving and all that.

if you know me well, you'd be amazed by how smooth the packing and all is going. i'm pretty much done, except for stuff i still need. our house is fairly messy, but not out of control. somehow, this is turning out to be one of the smoothest moves i've made so far, which is saying a lot.

but i think that, while this transition has been pretty smooth so far, there is a very surface level aspect to that. it's like i'm fine now, but i can sense this heart break on the horizon, and i'm not sure how on earth to deal with it, so i'm packing and sorting and cleaning and doing things that normally i'm terrible at. i'm trying to prepare my heart, and asking God to guide me forward, but i don't look forward to the day when the reality of the end of the past two years of my life sinks in...i mean, i'm excited beyond words about seeing my family and friends. it's been almost exactly 2 years since i saw them, and i can't wait for all the hugs and laughs and stories to come. but the friends i've made here, well, they've become family too, and i'm not sure how it's going to be to say goodbye.

but even in that, i still find hope. there have been so many bad days and heartaches and frustrations in these past two years, but God has never failed to teach me through them as i've clung to Him more and more with every step. so, even though i don't know what's in store in the next few months, i have a lot of hope for good things. i mean, i survived india--nothing seems impossible right now!

there's a song i wrote back in november when my friend shannon was leaving, and it's been in my mind and heart a lot lately, so i'll share it and mabye it'll give you an idea of where my heart is now.

Reflections on the Journey, or, Joy in the Journey
(17 November 2006)

It took more than just a step of faith
To follow You to such a strange place
But now the strange has become home

A home like none I have ever known
With friends who became my family
It turned out not so different from what I left behind

But now it’s time for me to carry on
A new chapter has begun
It’s time to say goodbye to this part of my journey

And I’m torn, because I long to see what You have in store
But this broken land my heart will not release
So I’ll step out in faith like I did when I followed You here
Because this strange place has made a home in me

There is joy in the journey
Though it breaks our hearts to take some steps
In faith we find
You’ve been leading us all along

There is joy in the journey
For when we follow You
We find out who
We really are…

I’ve learned it takes more than a step of faith
To follow You to each new strange place
But somehow You make the strange become home

So I’ll rejoice in what the daybreak brings
As You teach me new songs to sing
Of Your grace, through the joy and the pain

And through the sweetest of joys and the hardest of blows
My heart can rest where Your Spirit goes
Because I know You’ll always be walking with me

They say time heals all wounds
But I pray that it leaves
A broken piece in me
To remember each place,
And who I became
Every step of this journey…

There is joy in the journey
Though it breaks our hearts to take some steps
In faith we find
You’ve been leading us all along

There is joy in the journey
For when we follow You
We find out who
We really are
When we follow You
We find out who
We really are…

my family here, goofy as ever, and amazing beyond words...

well, once again, i'm slacking on the blogging, but i think this should make up for it, and hopefully give you an idea about all that we've been up to lately!


it's that time of year! the monsoons have officially begun and the weather is getting wet and cool. feels great when you're sitting inside like i am right now...

...but it's not quite as fun when you're out and about!

as you can see, my friend Merrilea and i had to get creative with me trying to hold the umbrella over us as she drove the motorbike! gotta love monsoons!


before i dive into all the pics from our summer volunteers, here are a couple of the fun things we've done in between all the madness:

we didn't actually see Ninja Turtles, but a big group of us went to see spiderman 3 and then had a lot of fun goofing off with the Ninja Turtle stuff at McDonalds.

i really love the folks who have become my "family" here, and i especially love it when we can all get together and just have fun. right before the volunteers arrived, we had a night of games and singing and just enjoying being together. it was awesome.

we also took some time out to go bowling with Ally and Alisa, which was great, even thought the lanes were kind of messed up and the pins kept falling over on their own!

the ride home after bowling was quite an adventure--this is the first time i've ridden with 5 adults in a rickshaw! (imagine 5 people in the back of a closed in golf cart!)

Ally was brave and managed to squeeze into the little shelf area in the back!

these two pics...well, what can i say...we're pretty goofy at times!

right before our teams arrived, a couple who's working with students up north, Brian and Leslie, came down to visit us and see some of the stuff we're doing here. it was a blast, and as you can see, they're pretty fun people! this is brian posing next to one of those really goofy little cars.

this is a hillarious pic of Leslie and Joy, one of our volunteers, riding on a camel.

like last summer, we had 2 short term (2 week) teams come in may and june, and it was quite an adventure. the students did an amazing job and even though there were plenty of glitches and surpises along the way, everybody had a lot of fun.

this is a pic of the team from Georgia during orientation at our house. there were 8 people total on this team, and 1 of the guys, josh, also came last year.

after a long day of orientation, we all headed down to the Coffee Jar for a snack and coffee break!

one of the big things the GA team helped with was the Open Forum Discussion we hosted at a hotel here. the topic was relationships and we had a panel that answered questions and interacted with the audience. the evening was really fun and we met a lot of new people.

this is Rini, a student here, talking to some friends after the forum.

Kevin, Ajay, Ahbishek, and Stoffer enjoying snacks after the forum.

while the team was here, we also went to our friend Ruth's house for her parent's 25th aniversary party. it was quite a big event and a very fun evening.

at the end of their time here, the GA team hosted a party for all the new friends they'd made. we had snacks, played games, shared stories, and enjoyed watching the team (esp Matt and Marty here) put on some goofy skits.

after the GA team left, i headed to Delhi to meet 2 of our 6 week summer volunteers. i got to see a lot of friends while i was there, including my friend carolyn! she came from louisiana spend the summer in north india, and it was great to get to see her.

our 6 week summer volunteers have been amazing! this is josh and laura who came from mississippi.

this is a shot of josh from mississippi, along with our other 2 6 week vols, josh and richard. they both were on the Georgia team and stayed on after the team left. this pic is from when we went out to eat for a team meeting and talked them into singing at open mic night at the restaurant. their rendition of "my girl" was hilarious!

around the time i got back from Delhi, our second team arrived from Birmingham AL. there were 12 of them in all, and 2 returned from last year, so it was great to see some old friends.

we did orientation for the AL team on the 4th of June, and that afternoon after they left, we had an unwelcome guest appear at our house--a mouse! i called joel and kenneth to come and rescue us--here you can see them trying to find him by lifting up the washing machine!

that night, after the mouse episode, my roommates and some other friends suprised me at midnight with cake for my birthday! this is a pic of me and nafisa, our friend's daughter. even though it was really late, she was very excited about wishing me happy birthday!

here's my AMAZING carrot cake, made by Lisa, our friend who owns the Coffee JAr with her husband Cini and does all the baking

as is the tradition here, my roommates cut me a piece of cake and then smeared it all over my face!

i tried to fight back, but there were too many of them!

here i am, covered in cake, and it sure was good!!!

as you can see, i finally managed to get Preeti with some of the icing!

here's a pic of all of us girls after all the cake smearing, etc.

the next day, i had a big birthday party in the basement of coffee jar. here's a shot of laura and preeti getting ready for the party by putting up pics that my mom sent of me growing up. embarrasing but fun!

everybody had a lot of fun playing games and just hanging out.

Nassem from Iran and Maggie from the AL team

Rini, Fatemah, baby Sophy and Alisa

my 2nd birthday cake--chocolate chip!!!

me blowing out the candles

as soon as the cake was cut, Deepali moved in to attack me with a piece!

but i made sure and got her with some icing too!

i wanted to do something special for all my friends to show them how much i appreciated them, so i made a cd for everyone who came to the party. one of the songs on it was written by josh, so i got him to play it at the party.

an Iranian tradition is to take pics with the people who give you presents as you open their gifts. this is me with Kenneth, Sahil, Ruth, Kevin and Ahbishek--they gave me a cool french press because they know how much i love coffee!

me and Nassem

not long after my birthday, i had LASIK surgery so now i am glasses free! my vision isn't perfect yet, but my eyes are adjusting and i can see much better than before, which is amazing.

about a week later, our friend Lindsey from Delhi came down. she works with the student volunteers who spend the summer in different parts of south asia. this is a goofy pic of her, but the reason i took it is because the guy on the right in the back has the most crazy hair style!

near the end of their time here, the AL team also hosted a party for all their friends. this is some of the guys goofing off: Ahbishek, Kevin, Pete, Tim, Richard, Josh and Trey

Kenneth, Maggie, Kristina, Laura, Nassem, Rini, Mahanaz, Preeti

Lindsey, Candace, Janell, Kellie, Preeti

Josh, me, Nassem, Brian, Kristina, Mahanaz, Maggie

everybody getting ready to watch the skits

last year, the AL team did some hilarious skits, so everyone had high expectations for this year. as you can see from this picture, they did not let us down!

at the end we all took a group pic

well, if you made it this far, you now have a taste of what's been going on here these past few months! the teams are gone, but our summer long volunteers, josh, josh, richard and laura, will be here until the middle of july. it's sure to be a busy few weeks, especially since alisha and i are heading to thailand wednesday night for a conference, so it may be a while before i blog again... :)