anybody see a pattern here?

so, yeah, i'm slacking on the blogging. too much to do, to little time. most of my online life is now revolving around school, which is annoying and rewarding all at once. but hopefully, i will post some pics from this weekend that i'm enjoying in arlington, tx, with my india family. so brief but so fun to get to hang out again. i love that we can meet up and though it's been 9 months since i've seen most of them, it's like we can pick up where we left off. i need friends like that. i think we all do, really.

so, 9 months. that's a whole other topic. i like the idea of it, though, and i like the idea that maybe, symbolically, something new could be birthed any day now...maybe that's being cheesy, but who knows what the next weeks will hold. right now though, it's time for bed. pics soon!

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!

(in no particular order...)

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.


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!


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.

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
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!
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:

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

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... :)