Monday, August 29, 2011

Wow. What's today??

I leave for India on Thursday. Today is Monday. Pretty much Tuesday by now. Gracious.

Prescriptions, shoes, SD card, hand sanitizer

Car, cat, craft supplies, contacts, can I get this all together in time?

Once there I'll be journaling like crazy, certainly of things to share when I return. Expect a full report, complete with pictures. Because birthday camera is traveling to the other side of the world with me. So is Jared.

India: where big things happen, and God's hand is clear.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Today is a GREAT day!

Today is........





I'm [exactly the age that I should be]!  Yay!

What, you may be thinking, does a gal like Cole do to celebrate her birthday?

Well, I like to do a little work, ya know, to prove I'm not the self-absorbed birthday-type.  Head to the office, if only for a few hours.  Maybe do a load of laundry or something, just to remind myself that life goes on, even on birthdays.  Then I'll pack a few things for India, to get excited about the fact that I'll be on a plane flying east this time next week.  I'll pack a box or 2, to get excited about the fact that exactly one week after I get back from India I'll be moving into a swanky new apartment.  I'll write a lesson or 3 to prepare for the childrens ministry while we're in India, because I've procrastinated plenty long on that--something I picked up in college.

I may even play a little ditty on my keyboard that I ordered on ebay 3 weeks ago that only just arrived today because it's been sitting in a warehouse in Fort Worth since the 13th because the sellers made a mistake and did nothing to fix it so I fixed it myself and...

...because of the delay I got a birthday present from me to me :)  What cute timing, God.  Way to humble me in my ebay frustrations!  I needed that.  God's pretty amazing, folks.  In case that was something that you were questioning.

But back to my day.  Because it's my birthday.  And God ordained it to be as such.

Then, my friends... THEN things get fun.  After all that office work, emailing, laundering, packing, boxing, writing, preparing...  I get to get all spruced up.

WHY?  WHY?  you ask.

Because sweet Jared, boyfriend to end all boyfriends, is taking me out for my birthday tonight.  Taverna in downtown Fort Worth (homeboy made reservations ALL ON HIS OWN, PEOPLE), and The Usual, one of our favorite spots.  And, folks, despite the fact that he's the kind of kid who carefully unwrapped the presents under the tree and rewrapped them once he knew what they all were, he's kept his present for me a secret.  Honestly, the fact that he's honored my ridiculous love of surprises AND SIMULTANEOUSLY let me choose the place to have dinner (a tricky combo, friends) is the sweetest gift of all.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Domestic Things

Hi friends :)

Just daydreaming about new one-bedroom house to come--list-style!  Let's get domesticated...

1.  I'll be living alone with my cat.  That does not mean I am a cat lady, understood?  And that cat's litter box will no longer be in my bedroom.  It will be in the bathroom where poo belongs.  HOORAY!!!
2.  I'm already pretty furnished!  I don't think I'll need any large furniture pieces (until Jared finally convinces me that I need a couch...  Which will be several paychecks in the future).  In the meanwhile I'll have 2 (3?) fairly comfortable chairs and floor pillows for the living room.
3.  Which means I get to spend the most time and effort on decorating with what I already have--MY FAVORITE!!  And I get to decorate an entire house, all by myself :D
4.  With Martha Stewart.  I've already browsed through a few of her articles on super cute and super inexpensive DIY projects and moving tips.
5.  This is going to be the smoothest move you've ever heard of.  I'm talking, numbered boxes with a master list of items inside said boxes.  I'm talking, gaff tape marking off where the movers shall place big furniture pieces.  I'm talking, color coded boxes by room and importance.
6.  Jared becomes afraid of me when I start talking about moving.
7.  I'm excited to cook in my new home.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the most important meal of the day--dessert.
8.  I'm excited to invite people over to my new home.  Small group gatherings (how awesome will THAT be!?)... girls nights... jam sessions... Star Wars nights with popcorn, beer, and a crew of nerdy men...
9.  I'm excited to flex my green thumb again--hopefully with more success (see: 5 pots of dirt in my house currently) since I have my own little balcony.  Herbs, blooms, and veggies, oh my!
10.  I'm delighted that I'll get to ride my bike to work!  Yoshi's gotten so little use since I graduated.  She needs a good cleaning, some air in her tires, and the weather to cool down so her pansy-of-an-owner will be willing to go for bike rides again.

While I'll be super sad to leave the sweet girls of ACES (the original 4's initials--soon to be changed to JEWS. Hehe), living alone is something that I've toyed with trying for a few years, and the time and place couldn't have been better!  I feel like a more well-rounded person for the living experiences that I've had (good and bad, and there have been plenty of both).

Brief re-cap there:
1. At home I had my own room and sink.  Everything else was shared with 1 or 3.
2. Dorm life, year 1.  Nothing was just for me.  Shared everything.  Including sanity.
3. Dorm life, year 2.  I had my own bedroom!  Shared bathroom and living space with 1.
4. Apartment, part 1.  I had my own bedroom AND bathroom, shared living and kitchen with 1 (2).
5. Apartment, part 2.  Shared bathroom, living, and kitchen with 1.  And then with Freds.  Which I didn't blog about.  Because it was gross and caused us to immediately move into...
6. Apartment, part 3.  My own bedroom, shared bathroom with 2, kitchen and living with 3.  Which is surprisingly not crowded most of the time.

So now I'm moving into Apartment, part 4.  My own everything.  Weird.  Granted, I won't be splitting rent with anyone (womp womp...) but that's ok.  I have a big girl job.  Plus, I'll be paying less in gas since I'll be BICYCLING TO WORK EVERY DAY! :D 

I'm seriously really pumped about that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

To Do

Oh heavens.  My list of things to do is going to eat me.

To do tomorrow:

-Babysit (woo!)
-Write about 25 thank you notes to preschool teachers (no woo.)
-Address those notes
-Write a script for a preschool teacher training video
-Find people to play in said video

To do within a week:

-Plan and successfully execute said training video
-Crank out 8 lesson plans for Indian kiddos
-Find oodles of people who want to be preschool teachers this fall
-Find even more people who wanna be preschool teachers this fall
-Officially slap my name on a cute 1-bedroom apartment (woo!)

To do before India:

-Round up substitute teachers out the wa-zoo for while I'm gone
-Edit training video
-Train the oodles of preschool teachers
-Make sure the oodles of preschool teachers are screened, etc
-Begin to pack to move
-Definitely pack for India

Thanks for walking me through that.

I know, I know... Keep calm and carry on.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

India Trip Part Deux Update!

Confession time.  I haven't been updating about India Trip - The Return to Hyderabad because A) I've been quite busy.  For reals.  AND B) because I'm a little conflicted about how to approach this trip when talking to people.  Let me explain.

The first part of the trip is a knock-down-drag-out MISSION trip, loving on little kids in the name of the Lord for a week while their mamas are at a Women's Conference.  It's going to be hard and absolutely amazing.  I might even see some kids I know from the villages from January!!  This plan started before I even left Hyderabad in January.  Edgar was telling us about the conference coming up in September, and he looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Some of these women aren't able to leave their children at home because of their unbelieving husbands who resent their devotion to the Lord.  So we will need people to care for the children." Boom.  I was in.  Aaaand I need funding for this part.  Only about $255 more and I'll be totally funded!  Praise the Lord!  But I have less than a month to round up those funds, so I'm excited to see how He provides just in the nick of time :) 

The second part of the trip is also God-inspired, just in a different form.  Jared and I will be traveling to Bangalore to meet and hang out with folks that he lived and worked with when he lived in India.  We will visit non-profit organizations run by Christ-centered people who are focused on meeting the needs of Indians day in and day out.  Jared will be talking with the folks he's worked with for several years about what kind of a future may be in store for him.

Jared has very deliberately (and ridiculously charmingly) invited me along for that part of the journey because we fancy each other quite a lot, so our futures may bump into each other in a more permanent fashion at some point, which means I need to know what we'd be in for!  We have no idea if, whoa, living in India is part of our future.  All I know is that we both have a heart for that country, so we're going to check it out.  And I have a new camera, so I want to take some gosh darn pictures in India.

We'll also be taking some day trips to palaces and tea plantations around the area (yes, tea plantations.  Be still, my beating heart.  Have I told you all how much I love tea?  It's a thing).  I'm excited that I'll have time to explore the beauties of India this trip!  In January we were on a tight schedule (wake up, buses, medical camp/kids camp, motel, sleep) so we didn't get to do much exploring, and now that I'm pretty much in love with and committed to India, I'm excited to get to know her :)  There will be more pictures from this 19-day adventure than I will know what to do with.  There's your warning.

So, since this is a multi-purpose trip, I'm very deliberately only raising funds for the ground costs for the week of the Conference.  I've been saving and penny-pinching as much as I can for the rest of the trip, and my parents have CRAZY generously paid for a significant chunk of the plane tickets.  I've been encouraged by my mission-minded loved ones that I do not need to deprive any called person of the opportunity to support Christian missions, so with that beautiful mindset, I extend that invitation on to you.  If you want to join me on this journey, email me at 

I am, however, asking for PRAYERS for the ENTIRE trip.  If you'd like a detailed list of things to pray for, you've come to the right blog post:

- That GOD would be glorified through the conference and children's ministry
- Travel safety
- Unity of the entire group at the conference
- Funds
- Spiritual preparedness for the team (India can be a spiritually oppressive place)
- For the Christians in India - they are persecuted, especially in the northern states, but also in the southern states (where we'll be).  Pray that their trials only strengthen their faith, and that the Christian community there will grow despite the hardships
- For Edgar and his team as they plan and execute the details of this conference
- For Jared, praise that he is faithful, and prayers for his next steps
- For Amanda, my children's ministry co-leader from Ft. Worth, that she would be strengthened and encouraged, that God would reveal what's next for her
- For Cathy, my children's ministry co-leader from Memphis, that she would be prepared and at peace, that we three work beautifully together with the kiddos

Thank you for reading, being even remotely interested, for praying, and for supporting me in this.  I'm so excited about this trip.  It means missing almost 3 weeks of work and again facing my fear of throwing up (don't drink the water, be careful of the food), but all that and so much more is worth it for the experience to come!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beautiful repost from Sally at

I love this post from I Take Joy.  I love her honesty and how crazy close to home she hits here.  I encourage you to follow her blog!  She's a lovely lady.

"   And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.  For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
Luke 9:23-25

My birthday was truly a blessing this year. So many years in August my children are on trips with friends or relatives or camps or anywhere but home. Since I am so connected at the hip and heart to my children, I sometimes get sad when we are away from each other on birthdays since they are such a big deal and such a time of blessing in our home.

This year, however, my cup was filled to the brim with such wonderful well-wishers (thank you very much!) and moments of reflection on my life and just how much the Lord has blessed me in my journey with Him.

Before I went to bed, I opened my little devotional to read one last verse to end my day in worship of Him. I have this commitment to think of my birthday as a marking of what I have lived and what I will commit to live for Him in the next year. My heart was soft and I told Him I wanted to hear His voice, His will, to please Him in every way. Then I read:

“Take up your cross and follow me,”
These words and the following seemed to burn into my heart.

I am somewhat of a Pollyanna at heart and love for everyone to be happy and all people living in harmony with each other. However, God has not allowed that to be my story. I have many conflicts that it seems will never resolve, challenges, issues, stresses that come from being in a fallen world. Most I will never write about or speak of because I so believe in loyalty and discretion when it comes to people in my personal life.

Many of these anguishing difficulties,  I have had to bear for years in waiting for God’s answer to my prayers.

But this moment , in the darkness of  night, with only Him and me talking, I realized that these “crosses to bear” are just what my heavenly Father wants me to take up to bear. My cross of the pain of my heart is just the place that He wants me to trust, to worship, to accept the limitations, as a part of the story of my life that can glorify Him if I am willing to bear it joyfully right where I am.

If I carry these, bear them up, accept them, I will be pleasing in my heart to my only Love–accepting His will for me with grace and resolve to live there. “Not my will, but yours be done.” Total submission to what is.

My Christian life cannot be, “I am yours, but I know you will let me whine and complain about this particular issue or person because it is hard for me.” Yet, a new realization came across me that evening that these crosses are what He wants me to pick up and carry–they are a part of my purpose in this world–that somehow when I carry them as a gift, as His will, I can better reflect His glory, His supernatural peace, His love and His grace to sustain me.

So, what cross is He asking you to bear by faith, and as a point of worship to Him? Is it a child? A difficult marriage? Irrational or angry or passive family members? An illness? A death? A disappointment? It is only as we pick up our crosses and carry them to the place of dying to ourselves and living for Him, in every circumstance, that we will live in freedom, grace, love and worship.

What cross will you carry, for His glory, today?

I am committing to accept my cross, to take the load with a grateful heart, that He who sees me each day and has goodwill towards me, knows that this cross, my cross is just what I need to suit my soul and heart for His kingdom.   "

Friday, August 5, 2011


Baggy is in my spot on the bed.

It's midnight.

I'm really quite tired.

Got freaked out while dog-sitting tonight--thought someone was trying to break into the house.  Not my house.  Dog-sitting house.  Sweet sweet Jared came to my rescue.

It appeared to be nothing--though if it was, the person was scared off by the dog barking furiously at him.  Good girl...

I have about 40 notes to handwrite in the next 2 days.  Hm.

I also have about 40 volunteers to find to be preschool Sunday School teachers.

Do you know how very much I do not enjoy soft selling service for Jesus to people that I don't know?  Everything about my personality is against it.

I'd much rather sit at my desk and make a chart.  Or go around to all the classrooms to make sure there are enough pink crayons.  Or handwrite 40 thank you cards.

I have a swanky new camera :)  I'm so excited about it.  Now I'm having to invent situations where it's ok to take everybody's picture.  Who wants to invite me to a party!?

I think I'll go to sleep now.  Tis time.  Love you :)

(India in 27 days!!!)