wow, my blog is looking pretty sad these days! the formatting seems to be all messed up and no new posts in months and months...sad sad sad!

well, i can't promise that i'm totally turning over a new leaf today, but, in honor of the fact that today, february 1, 2008, marks SIX MONTHS since i arrived back in the US, i am posting an update.

i haven't blogged in so long that i'm not exactly sure just where to begin...i'm kind of debating about how to do this, but i think i will go back to one of my favorite ways to do big updates...TOP TEN!

so, the TOP TEN THINGS/EVENTS/WHATEVER SINCE I'VE BEEN BACK IN THE US
(in no particular order...)




10. FAMILY
well, this one should be fairly obvious i guess. it was so amazing to see my family again after 2 years. so much had changed, and yet so much is still the same. i lived at home with my mom and dad and younger brother for the first 5 months i was home, which was actually pretty good overall. i don't know. it's weird--i doesn't seem possible now that we really went two years without seeing each other, but when i do get frustrated with something family related, i remember that and feel really thankful for the blessing that they've been to me, esp these past few months. by the way, the pic above is of my brother miles (pre-haircut!), my niece lily, my sister andrea and me, right after i got home.

9. WEDDINGS!



edwin and amy's wedding in CA (i was the maid of honor, and also the tallest bridesmaid! haha)



danny and alisha's wedding in north georgia(i think i won for tallest bridesmaid here too, and you can kinda tell that my dress is a little to short...)



sarah and aaron's wedding in lafayette

this fall, 4 of my closest girl friends got married. sarah and aaron, just 2 weeks after i got back. alisha and danny in september (and i was a bridesmaid). and then brian and karen and amy and edwin, back to back in december, on opposite ends of the US (alabama and CA!). it's been wild, running around to all these weddings, but also so much fun to see God's hand at work, knitting together the lives of some of my dearest friends. the pic below is from brian and karen's wedding, and ties into the next item up...





south asia reunion at debriefing!

8. REUNIONS!

it's been hard to leave india behind, but i've really been blessed this fall with lots of little reunions with friends from my life overseas. i got to see a bunch of people at danny and alisha's wedding and debriefing in sept, then again at brian and karen's wedding in dec, and randomly in other places along the way as well. it never ceases to blow my mind how great God is at knitting our lives together and letting our paths continue to cross in the most suprising ways.



7. TRAVELING!
in addition to the 30+ hours it took me to get from india back to lafayette, i've also gotten to travel quite a lot around the US since i got back. i went to the beach in MS with my family the day after i returned home, then up to north LA to visit the Williams, Natchez to visit my best friend Amy. in sept, i went to GA and VA and AL for weddings and debriefing, then to New Orleans for seminary stuff and a conference in Oct and Nov. and then it really got crazy. in December, i went all over the place for the last 2 weddings and also got to spend some time with my aunt and uncle and cousins in CA. in less than two weeks, i was in Baton Rouge, Auburn, AL, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, La Jolla and Oceanside, CA...whew!





6. FBC Lafayette
www.lifeatfirst.org
i grew up at First Baptist, and have been a member her pretty much my whole life, but it's really just been in these last few months that i feel like God has grown these deep love in my heart for His church--not just here at FBC, but He's used this church to bless me and get me excited about the potential that the Body of Christ has to make an impact. it's truly been awesome, and it flows over into several other of the top 10 here.




5. New Job!
i just started working at my church, FBC Lafayette, as the Student Ministry Associate. i know that sounds real fancy, but it basically means that i'm working with the youth minister. i'm building relationships with students and also going to be in charge of the new student cafe when the new building opens in a few months. i never imagined i'd be working with youth, but i have to admit that i'm having fun so far. this is a pic of some of the youth playing games at a youth fun day we had on martin luther king day.





4. New Apartment!
yes, this ghetto looking little white building is where my new apartment is! after 5 months of living with my parents, i moved into this new place when i started my new job. it's tiny, but it's perfect and it's literally right next to the church (as you can see in the second picture.) i feel really blessed and i've had a lot of fun living there the past few weeks. the first week i was there, i literally had friends over every night! it was wild, but such a blessing! i dont' have a lot of good pics from inside yet because i'm still decorating, but i'll work on putting those up soon. the pics below are from everyone hanging out the first few nights at my place.





3. Seminary!
www.nobts.edu
i just started classes this semester at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and i'm really excited! right now i'm taking an online class on the history of Christianity and then i'll probably take a couple week long workshops this spring. i'm not sure what all God has in store for me with this next step, but i know that it's what i'm supposed to be doing next.



2. Culture Shock!
or maybe, lack thereof. well, that's not entirely true. it has been quite an adjustment being back here, though not in all the ways i'd imagined. the first few days i was home, i kept thinking i was going crazy because it seemed like all the light switches were upside down or something. fortunately, i got over that fairly quickly! i guess the hardest thing has been that every so often i just realize that i used to live in india. that i lived there for 2 years. two years. it doesn't seem real, and it scares me to think about how quickly i'm forgetting things that used to mean everything to me. it's weird, and i imagine there is definitely going to be more culture shock to come in the weeks ahead. the good thing is that i have made some indian friends here, so i have at least some folks who kind of sort of understand me :) the pic above is my friend rohan helping me make chai, which is funny if you know how much i dislike the stuff!




1. last but not least...the GAP

what is the GAP? technically, it's the Graduates and Professionals young adults sunday school class at our church. but what it's been for me is one of the biggest blessings of my life. when i first got back, there wasn't much going on at church for our age group, but God has started moving and brought together this incredible group over the past 6 months. some are old friends, many are new, but all of us are seeking after Him and long for community and friendship and well, fun. it's been so awesome to see God at work in our lives, both individually and as a group, and i'm so excited about what He has in store for us as we continue to seek His face.









there are also more pics at our myspace page: www.myspace.com/thegapatfbc

well, i think that's about it, or at least, that's all i can think of...until next time!!!

3 shout outs!:

E-Rob said...

WOW what a great blog! I love all the pics that explain everything. That picture of your on the beachside in CA is awesome! I can't believe all the traveling you've done. When I picture living in America, I feel like I'll never travel, but maybe that's not true. :)

SouthAsiaRocks said...

wow! what a post! Lots of weddings! Looks like you're having fun!! Yea! for NOBTS! Thanks for posting something :) Cool apartment too :) Awesome! You ROCK!

Emily said...

Hey Mandi! I loved reading your update! Your Gap group, apartment, etc... looks awesome. Are you gonna make it to Julie's wedding? I miss you a ton but it was great "reconnecting" through your blog...not that same as a real conversation though so we should have one soon!