Diapers and… stuff.

Remember that one time we were going to write each other at least once a month… HA! Here we are over a year and a half from our last blog post. Well, today that all changes. Today, I feel like blogging. Maybe it is that my nails are longer than usual and for some reason typing feels more fun with long nails, maybe it is due to the fact that Areli-girl slept 8 hours the past two nights, maybe it is because I just watched Shia Labeouf telling me to make my dreams come true. Whatever the reason, here I am… and there you are… somewhere in cyber-space reading my virtual letter.

Currently, Seattle is playing frisbee with daddy and friends, Areli is taking her afternoon nap, and mommy is sitting indian-style on the couch surrounded by baby books and toys with an unused diaper cushioning my thigh. But let’s be real, even if the diaper were dirty it would probably still be allowed to touch my leg if it meant that I didn’t have to move.

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Random picture… because all good blog posts have them.

Change is on my mind. The kind of change that Obama promised. The kind of change my Plexus and Crossfit Facebook friends go ga-ga over. The kind of change that can get me out of this two-day dirty nightgown. Today, and I’m sure everyone in the world has experienced this at some point, the Regina inside of me is buying books and taking a jog and washing her hair… while the external Regina still hasn’t brushed her teeth today. *gasp* I really have absolutely zero revelation about the state that I’m in. I only know that I want to be moving and I’m sitting still. And maybe tomorrow I’ll be content with wearing greasy spaghetti fingerprints on my pjs for 48 hours, but today I want to be… different. Today, I am motivated. That’s all.

I’m gonna go buy a book on Kindle that I’ll probably never finish. Peace out, ladies. I wish you were all here to laugh at me with me.

All my heart,

Reg

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Emotions

Well my friends, tomorrow marks a full week of being back in the states. It’s such a weird feeling, and unfortunately I’m still having a little trouble adjusting. Or maybe a lot of trouble. I don’t know, I definitely feel like I’m all over the place. I’m so thrilled to be back and to see everyone, but I’m devastated at not knowing when I will see my family in Mozambique again. I didn’t think it was possible to feel those two different extremes at the same time. Then again, nothing is impossible with God. And praise him for that. It’s also been killing me to not be in Conway this week for Regina, and I feel like I have just failed as a friend. I need to organize my thoughts here. There are so many things I want to say, and part of me just wants to spill it all to you guys when I see you Saturday. But I think it’s good to write about it. It’s making me face it all.

About a week before I left Mozambique, I went through so many different stages of emotions. Denial and unbelief that I was actually leaving, confusion about wanting to stay longer, sadness about leaving everyone, fear of what would happen to my family in Mozambique once I left (and if they would remember me), and finally acceptance. Acceptance of leaving, of God’s plan for me, and of his perfect timing. And that is the place where I felt his peace. That is when I knew I could leave, and that he would take care of me. I knew that everything was going to be okay.

I’m ashamed to say that since I’ve been back, that hasn’t stayed the same. I have felt myself slipping into anxiety, trying to avoid Wal-Mart, feeling awkward and uncomfortable around people because they are all white and they all speak English, missing my bicycle instead of enjoying my car, and hating the question I so often get from people, “How was Africa?”

I find myself missing things in Mozambique that I came to see as comforts.  Spending Saturdays in the zone at Sonia’s house, having talks with Inoque as he drove me home after cell group every week, singing on stage in Portuguese with Dercio and Imerica, hearing the peace school kids call out my name repeatedly, cruising through the town of Quelimane on the motor bike with Raven, baking cakes with Esther, holding Danny during Sunday lunches, joking with Gocas and Rui, dancing with Belhu and Mefina, and feeling Pastor’s love as he hugged me goodbye. What’s funny is a lot of these things I used to see as challenges, and now I’m missing them. Weird right? God is so cool.

I feel like I’m in a weird phase to where I’m just visiting people in America, but I’m going to go back to Mozambique soon. The truth is, I don’t know what the future holds. And I have to accept that. As my mind has started spinning about all the things I need to do, like find a place to live, inform my supporters about the end of my trip, figure out what I’m going to do with my life, God has been reminding me of a lesson he continued to teach me the whole time I was in Mozambique.

My life is SO good. And my God is so beautiful. The places he allows me to go, the people he allows me to meet and have relationships with, the experiences I have, the lessons I learn, the struggles, the hardships, the laughter, it’s all so wonderful! And it’s so much better than I would have ever dreamed or imagined on my own. I have nothing to not be thankful for. Even all the bad stuff, I don’t even see it as bad anymore. God knows what he’s doing, and this journey he’s taking me on, this adventure he’s allowing me to have with him, it’s better than any movie or any song. Our God does not compare to anything. I’m sad about leaving Africa, and I miss it so much but God has remained faithful to his promises. He is with us always, even to the end of the age. He goes before me, and alongside me. He went with me to Africa and he has come back with me to America. I can go anywhere in this world and he promises to stay with me. How incredibly comforting. He is the reason I love Africa so much because he is my everything, he is all I have.

 

I love you ladies so much. I’m so thankful that God has allowed me to share life with you. You guys light up my life and make it so much better. Seriously. I can’t wait to see you all so soon!

 

Jamie

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The worship and sound team on our last Sunday. An incredible group of people.

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Imerica came to the airport to see me off. It was difficult telling this girl bye.

 

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Inoque and Mefina and their sweet baby whom has yet to be named. Beautiful people, beautiful family.

Changes

Well, I can’t sleep. I’m so excited about the possibility of getting to see Ang tomorrow and so worried about whether or not that will happen. Also, I haven’t really been sleeping well lately. The other day I made Aaron stay up late to help me rake the yard… which was quite the chore. We have five trees in the front yard alone. It was awful. We didn’t even touch the back yard, and I still ended up with two bright red blisters on the inside of each of my thumbs. All that to say, sleep wasn’t an option tonight so I decided to make the best use of my time and finally blog. Woohoo! (Sorry it’s taken me so long.)

 

Ladies, Seattle is almost half a year old, we’ve already had our first ice storm, and Christmas is this month! That’s right, it’s DECEMBER, baby! You know what that means… figuring out how to eat everything in sight and still lose weight, managing how to buy/make 123456789 gifts that people will actually like, and wondering why Christmas songs have lines like “Let’s give thanks to the Lord above because Santa Claus is coming tonight.” Sadly, that is an honest glimpse into what my mind looks like some days.

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My last Dgroup ever. So blessed to have been able to walk beside so many wonderful girls.

In other news, or maybe in not-so-other news, lately I’ve felt a million miles from where I am, stretched in every direction. It is strange to have turned a page in our lives that campus ministry isn’t scribbled across, but I feel ready. Man, I’m itching to be overseas, chompin’ at the bit, but we are walking into unchartered territory… at least to us. Aaron and I are officially full time support raising for our life in foreign missions, and it is definitely new! A pastor friend told us we were “cute” because we obviously didn’t have all the answers and to use that to our advantage. I told him we wouldn’t know how to not use it, advantage or not… we have no IDEA what we are doing! hahaha For real, things feel so different sometimes. It’s easy to feel unstable, and no matter what happens (good, bad, or inbetween) at the end of each day I find myself asking God the same question: Am I your favorite? Then, asking Him if that’s an okay thing to ask, if it’s an okay thing to want. Because if I’m His favorite then no one else can be… at least that’s how I see it. Really, that’s how I want it. I want to be His only favorite. That when He looks at the whole world He only sees me, zooms in on me, smiles at the thought of me. Ha! It’s awful. I don’t know why I feel that way so I just keep asking Him over and over if that’s the way it is… or if I’m just a face in the crowd of so many people that God loves just as much as He loves me.

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We tried to recreate our light photo shoot from last Christmas. So much can happen in a year. A baby changes everything. 🙂

So, the other day I heard a song. It’s called “A Baby Changes Everything.” The truth is that when it first came on I had no idea it was about Jesus. I was listening to a secular station that plays Christmas music, so I just assumed it was a weird, sappy country song. It completely caught me off guard. It made me realize what God did for us by coming to the world the way that He did. Our savior was a baby. He spent nine(ish) months in the womb. He went through all the trauma and gross-ness of childbirth. He was a sticky mess when He first came into the world. He was fragile. He was cold. He cried… probably a lot.  He needed a mommy to take care of him. That same mommy watched him die. Goodness. I’m crying again. This means so much more now that I have baby boy, but it means most that Jesus did that for me. For us. For humanity. How wonderful. I don’t need to be God’s favorite. I need Him to be my favorite. Nothing else matters. Nothing. Merry Christmas, Jesus. Happy Birthday. I don’t care if it’s cliche. I’m just  so, so glad you were born.

Love and miss you all,

Reg

P.S- Here are the lyrics to the song, but look it up and listen to it if you have the time. xoxoxoxox

 

A Baby Changes Everything

Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what’s to come
A baby changes everything

Not a ring
On her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything 

The man she loves she’s never touched
How will she Keep his trust
A baby changes everything 

And she cries, oh she cries

She has to leave, go far away
Heaven knows she can’t stay
A baby changes everything

She can feel it’s coming soon
There’s no place, there’s no room
A baby changes everything

And she cries and she cries O she cries

Shepherds all… gather ’round
Up above… a star shines down…

Choir of Angels say
Glory to the newborn king
A baby changes everything 
Everything, everything, every day
Hallelujah 

My whole life is turned around
I was lost but now I’m found
A baby changes everything 

Weeping and Dancing!

Hey! First of all, let me just say how much I love you ladies and miss our random dates of laughter and craziness! Life is really just this weird thing that I don’t understand most days. But the beauty of it all is that I don’t have to. I get to just love God and walk beside Him! If I sound super holy right now it might just be because I had a one on one with Carp a bit ago (just kidding)! I am holy (or learning to be) because He is holy!

I’m already trying to over think about what would be “most beneficial” to write in this blog but I’m just gonna forget that and go! So, I have really been struggling with stability in my walk with God. Really! I seriously had a breakdown the other day because I didn’t know if I loved God. Let me tell you, that will really knock you off your feet! It was a necessary hit. I was so inward focused that I stopped seeing God. I couldn’t remember who He was and what He had done. I had become the focus of my own ministry. Super stupid and lame if you ask me. And then He awoke my spirit to His presence and love. It only took about three days at a retreat and a really weepy time in staff meeting but He is faithful! I saw how God was moving in the lives of so many girls, including my own. He was making my heart ache for those that were at a distance and He was making my feet shake a little something for those who were celebrating new life! Also, Regina is the most beautiful dancer when she worships God! She plowed through the crowd toward the front during worship to jump before her King and it made me soul smile.  I struggle at times to have that honest worship where I totally don’t care what people think but hey I’m a work in progress (Praise the Lord)! Image

I’m being reminded continually how God wants us to always be walking with Him, talking with Him, smiling with Him and so much more. It’s about being near. Simple and complicated all at the same time. Glorious and frightening. Painful and perfect. Beautiful. I really don’t get God all the time but I think I am seeing Him more around me and beginning to get reconnected to a poetic side that has been a little under the weather! Another praise right there!

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Oh yeah…and I turned 24. It was an awesome birthday of just being with the people I loved and truly if you, Jamie, had been there it would have been all the more sweeter! 24 isn’t that exciting but I like that it is an even number so there is that. Some days I feel old when there are so many youngins around me…especially if there is a cute guy and then all of a sudden I’m like, “ugh…why are you 5 freakin years younger than me!”  Yep, I just said that and went there. I was only there with a day pass so no worries moving on! I really do miss having more time with all of you and frankly my emotions are a mess sometimes because of it. But it is GOOD!  I can’t imagine life right now being any different. God is just changing us and moving in us. He is good at that!

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Continue praying for me and some serious stability. Also, my dgroup girls and the girls to be added to His kingdom! So many sweet friends to be brought into this crazy family! I might share some more stories soon but for now I suppose that is all! I love you sweet ladies! Kiss kiss on the forehead!

Oh, how these sails keep me adrift!

Hello my darling sisters! 

Yes, I know you have all been waiting on me for quite some time. Please forgive me for my tardiness. I am sorry to keep you waiting. Life has been such a whirlwind, and I am just now finding my feet! 

As you know, the internship with Chi Alpha is in full swing. It’s been a crazy two weeks filled with tears, chafing, laughter, beauty, and Jesus teaching me more about myself than I would truly like to know. I have been blessed to make it home each day. Though I find myself worn out in every way, I also yearn to be on campus with the lovely ladies God is using to teach me so much. These girls are a few with whom I am finding such joy in loving. They are so funny, and truly light up my life. Please be praying for my relationships with them. God is moving, and I want to move when He does, go where He goes. 

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Wynter, Suki, Caroline, and me at Petit Jean!

In other news, I am constantly reevaluating how I view most aspects on life, especially time. God continues to teach me sacrifice, and how I really really really am selfish and like to hide myself away in order to “rest.” Though, the awesome part is, rest is found in delighting in the life, the calling, the work the Lord has given me. It is such a strange thing, and I absolutely love it. We have been working pretty hard. (Close to 70/80 hour weeks) It has been insanity. I feel stretched like a balloon when I am anxious and looking to myself…but when I trust Jesus and follow him, I feel like I am just coasting in His arms, sailing with a beautiful wind. 🙂 

 

So much has happened since we have last all been together. It is hard to put it in words. Seattle was born!!!!! (WHAT WHAT!?), I had a birthday, work started…life happens fast! I sometimes forget to hold on & enjoy the little things. I want to be better about celebrating moments, loving all of you, holding you close, and reminding you that I am so blessed to be yours. I love you all so much. It brings me to tears knowing that we aren’t together. Even with 3 of us here, its hard to make the time. I’m sorry I haven’t made it such a priority. I want to love you all better. 

 

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Holding little Sea for the first time!

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Here we are for my birthday! We had such a good time at Russo’s. We really missed you, James & Reg! I know you were there in spirit! 🙂

I love you all, my sisterhood of traveling pants…er, blog. I bought some new British Tea, and you know what that means….Let’s have tea time. James, you too! Maybe a skype one could be in order? 

Please continue to pray for Daniel and I as we adventure through this life. Learning to do ministry and be married can sometimes be hard. Please pray that we would encourage each other and live selflessly. This past month has been such a time of redemption, and God’s grace over our lives & marriage. Praise God! We are doing well! Happy as clams, and I am so in love with that man, I could marry him. 🙂 

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Me & my boo thang.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. My dearest friends, I love you. 

Much Love and kisses,

Katherine 

Update from Africa

Hello my beautiful friends!! I guess it’s time to update you guys on what God has been doing in Africa since I have been here. I don’t even know where to begin and I can’t believe it has already almost been a month since I have been here! Time is going so fast, and I’m having to hold on tight to make sure I don’t miss anything. The team left last Wednesday and honestly, it’s been hard not having them here. I struggle with finding purpose these days and I feel like I have way more free time than I should. We finally had our orientation meeting with Annmarie yesterday to talk about what our schedules will look like while we are here. That was helpful, but we still haven’t officially started our duties yet. I’m just trying to be patient and make the most of the spare time I have right now, because I know that soon enough I will be very busy.

Patience. I would say that is definitely something God is stretching me in. Life here is so different than in America. People are more laid back, when you say you are going to have a meeting at nine it may not happen until ten, and when they say they will find you an apartment next week, it will probably end up being in a month. They don’t live by schedules and ticking clocks here. It is something I really have to learn to adjust to, and to trust that they are taking care of everything. My patience was also tested with the team a lot. It was challenging and frustrating at times, but in all it was so incredibly good. We had a lot of first timers, so there were complaints about the food, complaints about lack of sleep, and sometimes just attitude and sarcasm problems. I learned so much about being a leader in the week and a half the team was there. God showed me how to love them through correction, how to have compassion and put myself in a place of having never been on project before, and more than anything to continue to express the heart behind everything we were doing and to continue to cast vision to them daily. It really is true that without vision, God’s people will perish. In allowing God to lead through me, I got to become so close to a group of people that I probably never would have gotten to know otherwise. They loved on me in return, they made me laugh so much, they encouraged me in their testimonies, and they challenged me in my walk with God. I was also challenged in having to co-lead with Raven and Evan. I was really humbled and I had to recognize that not everyone is going to lead the same way as me, and they shouldn’t. We are different, and God made us that way for a reason.  We each have something to contribute, and that’s a beautiful thing. The three of us had to die to ourselves a lot, and come to the compromise of doing what we felt was best for the team, not just what we wanted to do. This was very challenging, but so good and necessary for me to learn. It definitely opened my eyes to understanding more of how working in ministry with other people looks like. It’s not always easy, but when you learn to come together and just put God’s will first, it is so good.

We also had a team of very hard workers. Our work consisted of picking rice at the school, mudding a hut, helping build a hut, and for one day Inoque had us clearing a road at gorgoni using plows and rakes. That day was exhausting. Through it all though, the team had a good attitude and they really did work their hardest. It was an awesome experience to put ourselves in the shoes of people who live here. They pick rice to have food, and they have to build and mud their own houses, using branches and other things they get from the earth. I think it was a good experience for all of us to have our perspectives changed, and to really understand how some people here live. It definitely rocked my world a little bit, and I am being reminded daily how truly blessed I have been growing up, and I never really realized it until I came to Africa and saw how people on the other side of the world have to live. However, I find myself feeling inferior in my spiritual walk to the people who live here. They have such a desire and excitement and hunger for God, and it shows in how they worship, in how they talk, and in how they live. In all honesty, I feel as if they are better off than me. They recognize that God is the only one who can sustain them, and they don’t try to store up earthly treasures. Maybe they don’t have the means to store up these earthly treasures and so they have to turn to and depend on God wholly, but I find myself feeling jealous of them. It’s kinda silly I know, but it’s like they have the gospel figured out. They don’t cling to earthly things, they cling to God. Now some of them may not have the choice to cling to earthly things, so they have no choice but to cling to God. However, I want to be able to cling to God always, even when I do have the choice to cling to earthly things.

Dependance. I am learning that I have to depend on God, or I’m not going to make it these eight months. In places where I would expect my family or you guys to comfort me, I have to allow God to comfort me. I can’t be dependent on people here to comfort me, because I will just be disappointed and my high expectations will be shattered (it’s already happened with raven and we had to have a nice heart to heart about it haha.) I was made aware today of just how vulnerable I’m feeling. Everything is different here. The culture, the people, the language, and how things are done. I can communicate with about a handful of people who speak English, and everywhere I go I get stared at, or I get overcharged because I’m American. I am definitely feeling out of place, and it makes me miss you guys and everyone back home so much. However, I am being forced to depend on God and I am glad for that, because I want to learn what it means to truly, with everything I have, depend on God and make Him my everything.

I guess that is all for now! I have gotten a schedule and will start to settle into a routine soon, so I will tell you more about what I’m actually doing in my next post! I miss you guys every day. I can’t wait to hear how ya’ll are doing! Love you my sisters. Continue to pray that I will live life here courageously, and not in fear. Mwah!

 

Jamie

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I thought you might like to see these kiddos Reg. They are so old now! They definitely miss you, and so do I.

 

[Down and Up]date

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Heather, James, Kat, and Me

It has been two weeks since James left for Africa. We shipped her away with a few tears, lots of laughs (as always), and hugs that will hold us over for quite some time. I miss that girl, and I’m slightly jealous of the amazing time that she is having! This preggo lady is a little stir crazy and craving an adventure. (I’m so ready to hear stories, James!)

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This is a more normal picture of us.

So, for me lately, life has been kinda cray-cray. We are currently juggling being on staff full-time this summer, teaching a new class at the prison once a week on top of our Tuesday night small groups there, raising support for upcoming travels, trying to get really involved in our new church, and prepping for our baby boy. Whew! The good news is that being on summer staff means one-on-ones by the pool, I love getting to see the guys at Tucker more often, God has really been providing for us in every area of our lives, we love NLR First and their heart for missions, and the doctor told us just this morning that Seattle is perfectly healthy and right on track. (She also said that he was only in the 34th percentile for his weight class, so hopefully no ripping for this girl!)

In other news, I have a story to tell you guys… and it all started with a rubber ducky.

A few months ago, Aaron and I were on a long car ride with his brother and we were playing the Thing Game. Ya know, you pick a person, place, or thing and then the other players ask yes or no questions to guess the thing you have in your head. Well, my thing was a rubber ducky. Sometime toward the middle of the asking and answering, Nick asked me if my thing was something I would want. I thought about it and decided “Yeah, I guess so. I mean… I don’t need one, but it would be nice to have one.”

A few days later, Aaron and I were at my parent’s house and my mom gave me this tiny, yellow ducky with the word “BLESSED” across the front of its little, rubber body. My mind suddenly went back to the game we’d played and how strange it was that she was giving me a bath toy. I kind of laughed to myself, but didn’t think anymore of it.

Not too long after that, I was thanking God for blessing my little family with the missions house. My prayer went something like this “God, thank you so much for this awesome gift, but I don’t understand the way that you work sometimes. Aaron and I never asked for a house… we never even considered living in one while we were in the States… and definitely not one this nice… and definitely not for free! We were happy with our small apartment, and we didn’t need anything more. I mean this house is amazing, but we didn’t need it. Why did you give it to us?” And in that moment God said “Remember the rubber ducky.”

The Elephant Table

The Elephant Table

A little while later, I was decorating Seattle’s nursery and thinking out loud when Aaron came in from mowing the yard. I said “I really wish I had a piece of glass that I could put on top of that elephant. It would make a perfect nightstand.” He asked me what I’d said then turned around and walked out of the room. A few minutes later he came in holding the perfect sized piece of glass for the elephant table of my dreams. He’d seen it as he was mowing the yard and wondered what it was doing there… now he knew! And in that moment God said “Remember the rubber ducky.”

Man, that rubber ducky has been wrecking my life. There are so many things that God has given to me that I didn’t even know that I wanted… or maybe I thought they’d be nice to have but I definitely didn’t need them. For instance, Aaron… rubber ducky. Y’all all know how I felt about relationships and marriage. I didn’t need anyone else. I was i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t (yep, to the tune of that stupid song.) But God gave me Aaron… and he is the most amazing man. Seattle… rubber ducky. I didn’t want to have kids for at least five years, and less than a year into marriage God asks me to stop trying to control things. Now, I can’t imagine my life without this little squirmer. I don’t even want to try… and I never knew he would be the greatest gift, the person I could love more than anyone outside my husband (and he isn’t even outside of my body yet!)

Man, guys… I’ve just been seeing that I’ve been blessed so blindly… just completely side-swiped by our Father who loves me even when I’m such a wretch–and I’ve been such a wretch lately. I’m not sleeping much lately, and this is common among the impregnated, but when I don’t sleep at night I cry. I just cry. Part of this I can chalk up to my hormones going crazy, but the other part is really dark. I’ve been so sad for such a long time and really wallowing in it. I haven’t let Aaron console me and I haven’t told you guys and the worst part is that I’ve been blaming God. I’ve been so consumed with missing Ang and with worrying about her and James not being here when Seattle comes that I’ve completely missed out on so many amazing things that God is doing in my life right now. God is so, so good… and I’m so glad that He is the greatest common denominator between us.

I hope you guys are doing well and I can’t wait to hear from all of you!

All my heart,

Reg