Thursday, September 23, 2010

Family Photo 2010 Preview.

I have a feeling these will not make it on the Christmas card.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Beach and More.

Have you ever walked into your room after being gone all day and inwardly screamed...

Only to realize that {sadly...oh-so-sadly,} you were the one that vandalized your room and threw clothes on every available inch of everywhere?
Me niether. Psh.
~~~~ On another note, my handy blog has just notified me that over 1,000 people have viewed my blog in the past few weeks... And about 3 of them have left comments. I love people, especially those who show their faces on my blog. Please be a man {or lady} and comment once in a while. I promise not to bite you or stalk you. Unless you have a really cool blog-then I might stalk you.
My Family spent the last few days at the beach and it was GLORIOUS! It was like the summer's last hoorah. {Except--it's still 90 degrees here which is pretty lame. It might be just me, but I feel like the first day of fall ought to include a breeze or two. My only consolation is the fact that all of my classrooms are kept at thirty-two degrees below zero. You could simultaneously house penguins and hang meat in them.} These past few days were so much fun and such a blessing! I just love my family.
It was Solomon's first time seeing the ocean and he LOVED it.
This kid's curly hair collects seashells for him.
No fish were caught- but they caught 6 crabs!
And I will leave you a video to explain these great pictures. {There was grass growing on top of this sand which was quite deceiving. Turns out- it was really sand under there.}

Today I am thankful for the African man who works at Walmart late at night.

He sings African songs at the top of his lungs while he stacks things on shelves. It makes Walmart feel more like a lovely village home and less like the shady place that it really is.
I wonder what his story is, and why he loves to sing, and what the words mean that he sings so joyfully. I wonder if he grew up in a village, singing songs while gardening; the same way that I have seen so many Ugandan children do.
I want to be like him and sing about even the mundane, monotonous things. In doing so, those things will no longer be mundane and monotonous ...
and they might even suddenly turn into an African dance party.
I hope he never stops singing his songs.
{I also hope they move him to the day shift and give him a microphone.}
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless
and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day
of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Philippians 2:14-16

Baby Ninjas are my Favorite...

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Monday, September 13, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new.

My whole life I've hated crying. Probably because I had an older brother that I had to seem cool to all the time, and crying isn't something you do when trying to appear cool. Every kid knows that. Hello.
Crying is something vulnerable people do. Something that the not-tough people of this world do. You know...the wimps.
Up until a few years ago, I was able to control tears and somehow swallow them back into my eyeballs. {Or pretend I had allergies, or even pretend like I was just missing our old dog. Because it's alright to cry about a dog. Just not anything else.}
Something has changed in my heart though. You see, Jesus came in with a giant wrecking ball, knocking over my tower of pride that I have been building since the day i was born. He has laid me low and built me back up, starting from the very foundation. He has rescued me from myself and has gloriously ruined "my" life. He has shown me who I was, and who He is. And the best part, who I am now IN Him.
Ezekiel 36:26 says this: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Isn't that marvelous? He makes us all the way new. He doesn't just give face-lifts and nose jobs. He gives heart transplants.
Jesus has taken my dry bones and breathed life into them. He has taken away my old, rock-hard heart and replaced it with one that can feel compassion. He has raised this life of mine up from the dead. He has shown me things about how to love and how to live. He is still showing me things, and will always be showing me things because I will never completely get it in this lifetime.
One of the best side effects of this heart transplant that I have undergone is... this new heart has made me a crying fool.
I have grown to love crying. I love it because it is so contrary to how I was before Jesus saved me. It is so uncomfortable and so ugly and so not cool that I love crying. I love basking in my vulnerability and wimpiness. I love basking in the invulnerability and strength of Christ. I love crying without fear of the thoughts of brothers, or friends, or random neighbors. { Let's just set this straight now as well...I am not one of those cute cryers. I'm the kind of cryer that people are like "Wow Ellie. You've been crying. When did you become Asian? Do you even have eyes?" }
I cry when I see sweet mothers with their babies. I cry when I see babies with no mothers. I cry over hearing stories of God moving in foreign lands and in my own backyard. I cry over my family picture. I cry over my siblings lost families. I cry over those who have believed and been saved by Jesus. I cry over those who have not yet believed. I cry over who Jesus is and how great He is. I cry when I think about all that He has done for me. Ellie = a crying fool.
This new heart of mine is something to rejoice over. Each day, it breaks a little more for that which breaks God's heart. And each day, it beats a little more for the things that God's heart beats for. I had nothing to do with obtaining this heart. It's only because of grace that I have been made new. {Lord knows, grace is all that could have done it. } And the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of God's tremendous glory and grace.
Cool and composed and dignified have kost their pedestal in my life. If those things don't allow for tears, then good-bye dignity. I don't even know if we ever really were friends anyway. Good-bye cool. You're definition is always changing and you're too difficult to keep up with. Good-bye composed. {composed? heh?}
The Lord is such an amazing redeemer. If you have not allowed Him to come in and take over your heart and life, do it now. There is so much grace, and freedom, and'll be a crying fool too.
"I'm Mary Magdalene and tonight is a bottle of perfume There's not enough dignity to hold me now When I know You're going to meet me here There's not enough gravity To keep me away from You
Cause I'm breaking down I don't even care if there's anyone else around Cause I'm breaking down I always fall to pieces whenever You're around"
( )

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

{Cinturon Verde}

Today, I became a green belt. You see, Jesus is cool and works out weird details for me all the time and I SO do not deserve it.
My family had planned our beach vacation for last weekend but a hurricane named Earl came along and kinda wiped out our plans.
Josiah turns 6 YEARS OLD (!!) on Friday which is kind of why we're going to the beach... but we were supposed to go last week... because this Friday I was supposed to test for this lovely green belt. And If I didn't test this month, I wouldn't be able to test in December.... and then I'd be behind when I leave for Tennessee in January... and then when I come home, I won't be as close to getting my black belt. You see the problems? Yea.
But...GUESS WHAT?! Master Jamie is the sweetest person in the whole world. I went to pre-testing tonight (a practice test on everything you're supposed to know to promote...they tell you if you are ready to move up or not and give you pointers etc. No new belts or cool things.) thinking that I would just get ready for testing in October and still be a green belt when I leave for TN. Master Jamie then informs me that I can do a private testing with the Masters when I get home from the beach. SUPER exciting! (yet, slightly terrifying.)
However, it didn't come to that. Three hours of pre-testing later, I go to see if I passed. She asks me to recite some Bible verses and then.....she hands me my green belt.
Master Jamie, if you even know I have a blog and if you are reading this, I am extremely grateful.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bradley and Kirk

Bradley Bass and Kirk Chambers are two of the most precious people I have ever met.

They seriously love Jesus and have such splendid hearts to serve Him.

We traveled to Uganda together this summer and became fast friends. Kirk, Bradley, My brother Jonathan, and I instantly got along so well together that we decided we must become friends forever. A few glimpses into our friendship: Bradley and I found showers in every bizarre airport in every country we traveled in,

We shared a twin bed (in the not-so-bat-infested room under one mosquito net) to try and hide from the shrieking, pooping, bats from hell... ( Luckily, the bat ordeal was only two nights of our trip and the hilariousness outweighed the emotional scarring. :)
(This is Jonathan and Kirk's mosquito net over their bed...please observe the large quantity of bat poo. "dive bombing bats"...needless to say, when bats are excreting waste upon your mosquito net, or even just flying around your bed and squeezing in through the windows, you tend to bond emotionally, spiritually, etc.)
Bradley and I swapped Jesus stories on the bus and in our rooms every night. We all hung out together at cool places like the Nile River and London, England...
We went with Jonathan up in the sky when he was preparing to fling his body into the Nile...Kirk documented it. Bradley and I watched.
Laughed for probably 300 hours straight about different things... "Missionary Bus Ride" is the name of this cool band...
...such as these two crazies who chopped up trees to make room for the new village church with these...(Jonathan holds a machete, Kirk holds a slashahhhh. or a slasher, but nobody calls them that.)
Braved a bug storm in a zoo, arm in arm...
distributed mosquito nets... and Brad and I, of course, squeeled over cute brown babies together.
These things make for a pretty fun friendship.
Kirk and Bradley have had a long, tough, journey together... but their story is beautiful.
...and today, THEY GOT ENGAGED!!!
I am so excited to see where God will take them and how He is going to use them. They are such a sweet blessing and I am so thankful that they are my friends. This Bridesmaid is super excited!
Love you Bradley and Kirk!

Apple Farms are The Best.