l'église

9.26.2010

Today I had the privilege of attending church for the first time since we arrived in Africa. It was a Free Methodist Church, but the service was non-denominational. I didn't know what to expect, considering that I knew we would probably be the only muzungus present. (Muzungu is the local term for white person or foreigner. You can't walk down the street without hearing muzungu from children and adults alike. It's not meant in a derogatory way- it's just part of the culture here.)

I have to say that we were welcomed to the church with open arms. We didn't feel out of place or uncomfortable at all. The service was done in French and then translated in English and there was a mixture of French and English hymns. The choir was amazing. They sang a traditional African hymn in either Swahili or Kirundi and it was beautiful. I couldn't understand a word of it, but the rhythm, along with the obvious faith of the choir members, was incredibly moving.

 I spent much of the time watching others in the congregation. Sometimes I get frustrated here when I think about all of the wonderful things we have back in the United States. I think about how nice it will be to back in the real world. It's also times like these that I think about the people here who will never see anything else. I often wonder what keeps them going- what things they look forward to. After the service today, I think I have a good idea. The people here have such a strong faith in God and find tremendous joy in their worship.

 Despite the fact that this is one of the poorest countries in the world, and many of them have lost countless loved ones to war, genocide, or illness, there was a true joy and reverance in the room that I haven't seen anywhere else. It didn't matter what kind of building they were worshipping in, what anyone was wearing, or whether or not they had the latest technology: they were thrilled to be there. It was incredibly inspiring and moved me to continue to seek a stronger faith AND to be thankful for everything in my life.

It's Fate

9.25.2010

I can't tell you how much we've missed the pitter patter of little feet. Furry feet, that is. That's where Fate comes into the picture.
No, we didn't find a replacement for Oscar and Grace (that's impossible!) but we are lucky enough to be dog sitting for the next two weeks.

In case you can't tell, Fate is a big, lovable teddy bear.
She eats attention up and I'm more than happy to give it to her (just don't tell the babies- you know how jealous they get!)
Besides taking care of this little cuddlemuffin, we've been pretty busy with work and school. Jesse has an inspection coming up so they've been busy preparing for that. I'm still learning all the ins and out of my new job and surpisingly- I'm really loving it! The language barrier can be an issue at times (I need to keep studying my French) but even that can be fun. We always look forward to the weekend, of course, because we head to our favorite spot: The Beach! Jesse has really improved his kiteboarding skills so I'll have to update with more pictures soon.
I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the wonderful weekend.

The Blessing Box

9.21.2010

                                

I didn't do The Blessing Box last week, and I am feeling incredibly blessed this week so I definitely need to take part. If you're interested in joining in or reading other blessings, visit Natalie at Extraordinary Love.

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive family. Even though we are thousands of miles away, I know that they are there for us no matter what. I miss them all so much and I can't wait to see them.

I am blessed that God has been working miracles in our life. Not only has He answered my prayers, but He has let me know that he is listening and present in my life. He is SO GOOD!

I am blessed to be part of such a fun and supportive community. Yes- we all work together, socialize together, and live near each other- but we are also friends. It's nice to know that I have so many people here I can turn to for anything. The only down side is that is so hard to see people leave.

Like I said earlier, this week I am just feeling incredibly blessed and thankful for everything in my life. I hope everyone else is having a week full of blessings as well.

Weekend Recap

9.19.2010

Every Sunday, I look back and wonder where the weekend went. It seems like they go by way too fast. This weekend was no exception. On Saturday, we had a farewell party for one of our Marines who will be moving on soon. Like most other embassy parties, it was not short on festivities. We started the day with a friendly little game of whiffle ball. I have to admit- it was my first time playing whiffle ball. I'm not the most coordinated when it comes to sports, but thankfully I played okay. When whiffle ball was done, everyone took a ride down the slip-n-slide to cool off. Everyone except me, of course. Remember my earlier comment about lack of coordination? Well I've tried the slip-n-slide before, and it did not end well for me!




After cooling down, a few people took a turn on the zipline that's installed at the house where the party was held. I didn't do it this time, though I have done it before. It's fun, but definitely scary. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that. But- I did get some pictures of the awesome rubber tree and bamboo in the yard. Have you ever seen a tree like this? I love it!



After ziplining, we played football and volleyball until it was too dark to see. We have a pretty good group of athletes (excluding me) so the games get pretty intense. You know how competitive Marines are. Although I'm not the greatest, I love both volleyball and football. No tackling, of course!
Here we are during halftime (hence the grungy look!)
We ended the night with a bonfire, Jesse's homemade barbecue, and good friends. Although it went by fast, it was a great weekend!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

9.15.2010


Yay for another wonderful Wednesday! I thought it'd be fun to join in on What I'm Loving Wednesday again this week. If you want to join in, or read other lists, be sure and visit

I'm loving that we got a care package from Jesse's mom today. It was full of pure deliciousness: Doritos, wasabi peas, cookies, and lots of other junk food. That, along with the huge box of tortilla chips my Mom sent a few weeks ago, should keep us fueled up for awhile. This may not seem that great, but trust me- for us it's like hitting the jackpot, baby! Thanks y'all!

I'm loving this book by Karen Kingsbury. I read the first one in the series last week and just started this one a few days ago. My Granny told me about how much she loves these books and my friend Jessica (thanks Jess!) left some for me when she went back to the States. For some reason I am just getting around to reading them. They are SO good!

                              
I'm loving that I have very little work to do for my class this week. It's nice to have a little break! I'm trying not to get too spoiled though. I'm taking a statistics class starting in October and I'm pretty nervous. I made it all the way through undergrad and graduate school without statistics- I really don't need it now! Math is not my strong suit- can you tell? Any math tutors out there?

I'm loving that Glee Season 1 Volume 2 FINALLY came out yesterday. I had that thing preordered on Amazon for what feels like for-ev-uh!  Unfortunately, we don't have cable here so we have made a weekly girls night of watching the first season of Glee. So, while all of you will be watching Season 2 next week, we'll be celebrating gleefully when we get the second part of Season 1!
I'm loving  this dress from The Limited.  Wouldn't it be perfect for a vow renewal or beach wedding?  I need want it!
Romantic Wedding Gown

Please share! What are you loving this week?




Top Two Tuesday- Accomplishments

9.14.2010

I thought it would be fun to join in this linky hosted by The Undomestic Momma.

This week's Top 2 is 2 things you want to accomplish before the end of the year.
I guess I could refer to my 101 in 1001 list because it has tons (101, to be exact) of goals that I want to accomplish. (Though, if you look at my 101 blog you would think I haven't accomplished ANYTHING. I'll update it soon, I promise!) Anyway- I guess my list might be redundant, but here goes:

One: Get back into a regular exercise routine
I used be a regular exerciser, but I've fallen off the bandwagon. I have been working out sporadically, but nothing like I need to. The thing is, I love how it makes me feel and I know how good it is for me, so I don't know why I have been so lazy lately. I know that once I get back into the habit it will become just that- a habit. I've been doing Couch to 5K on the treadmill, but I'm BORED to death. I'm tired of running on the treadmill and there aren't really many places that I can run outside without being stared at and called "Mzungu". So- I definitely need to change things up a bit. I can't quit Couch to 5K because it's on my 101 list but I can ADD some other stuff in. Looks like I need to get out some of my workout DVDs! I just got this one from Netflix. I'll let you know how it is....

                               

Two: Build a stronger relationship with God
This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I have also been reading several blogs that focus on living life as a Christian. Of course, I have always believed in God and I have always prayed...But I haven't really lived my life for Him, or even gone to church regularly. My goal is to work on this in a few different ways. First, I'm going to continue my daily Bible reading so that I can complete my goal of reading The Bible in one year and learn more about His word. Second, I plan on attending a church here with some of the other embassy employees. Although the services are in French, they do offer headsets with English translations. I know it will be hard to get used to, but it will be worth it. I also found an awesome idea for a prayer journal at this blog: Love from Texas. She has a focus for prayer for each day of the week, as well as an acronym, ACTS, for guiding her prayer. I love this idea and I'm going to try to put this into action this week. I really have a long way to go on this one, but it is something I can strive for before this year is over.


Do you have anything you really want to accomplish before the end of 2010?

My New Obsession

It's official. I'm OBSESSED! You may be wondering what I'm referring to. No, it's not Edward or Jacob, a new pair of shoes, or jewelry. It's not even Glee (though Glee is definitely obsession worthy!) I'm actually a bit embarrased to admit it, but I'm obsessed with a new "hobby." You see, ever since I started my blog I have looked at other blogs with envy because they were all customized and cute. If you have been to my blog more than once you may have noticed that the look has changed too many several times. I tried tons of premade layouts but I never could find something that was, well, me. That has all changed- thanks to my aforementioned obsession.

Meet my new love:
 Digital Scrapbook Artist.
It's a Digital Scrapbooking Program and it is ahh-mazing! I mentioned in my 101 list that I wanted to get Photoshop because I really wanted to learn how to do digital scrapbooking. This was for two reasons. One- I wanted to redesign my blog and make everything customized to the way I like it. Second- I used to love scrapbooking, but I quit because it's such a pain to drag out all the stuff everytime you want to use it. I'm also a picture freak and I wanted a cute way to display all of our photos. I came across this program while looking at Photoshop and I am SO glad I did. It's so easy to use and I LOVE the way everything turns out.

So far I've been able to make some changes to my blog (it's still a work in progress and probably always will be) and I've tried making a few sample pages.


I know that the fact that I love this program so much and that I am writing about it here proves that I am getting older and dorkier by the day, but I scrappily accept my dorkiness. I can't wait to make pages for all of our adventures here!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

9.08.2010

I decided to join in on this blog hop hosted by This Kind of Love. Isn't the picture awesome?

I'm loving that some of my friends are starting their own blogs! It's such a fun way to keep up with each other and share the little things in life. Check out my friend Mandy's blog here to read all about her adorable little boy Jackson and their new baby on the way.

I'm loving my new blog layout. I've been slowly learning how to tweak HTML code so that I can make it more personalized. I still have a lot to learn and my blog still has a long way to go, but I'm really loving learning how to do it all.

I'm loving that we are going to get another day off this week. The end of Ramadan is a national holiday here which means only 2 workdays this week! Woohoo! :)

I'm loving these watches. The crisp white band is perfect for the summer weather we have year-round here.

Fossil Stella

 Fossil Stella Mini-Glitz
I've had my eye on them for the last few months but can't decide between the two sizes. Should I go for the big and chunky one or the one that is more like traditional ladies' watches?  Thoughts?


 I'm loving Mint.com. Have you heard of it?   I saw it a few years ago but forgot all about it until I came across it on another site. Basically, it's a free (and totally secure) site that keeps track of all of your financial accounts. It allows you to set budgets, view transactions, monitor investments, and set savings goals. If you are anything like me (ahem, a total nerd) and love budgeting, you should definitely check it out.

Now that you know what I'm loving....I want to hear what you're loving. Do tell!

The Blessing Box- Life is Good

9.07.2010

                             


Blessing One:
I am so thankful for the long Labor Day weekend. It's a local holiday today so we were lucky enough to get a four day weekend. It was so nice to have time to relax and enjoy the weekend. I honestly didn't get much done around the house but I did get to spend time doing stuff that I enjoy: reading, working on my blog, and sleeping! :)

Blessing Two:
I'm thankful for all of our military members who are overseas protecting us right now. We have several friends and family members who are spending time away from their families to ensure that we are safe. It's a huge sacrifice and I pray for their speedy and safe return home.

Blessing Three:


I'm thankful to be married to my best friend. We have so much fun together and I'm truly blessed to get to go through life with him by my side. Throughout our years together we've learned that marriage is hard work, but that it's also completely worth it. I can't imagine my life without him and I pray we will have as many happy years together as our grandparents did. (We love you Granny and Grandad, Grandmother and Grandad, and Nan and Papa!)

Do you have any blessings that you are especially thankful for this week?

A Perfect Get-Away

9.06.2010

Have you ever had one of those weekends where everything just felt perfect? Of all the weekends we've had here, I'd have to say this one came the closest to perfection.
We had planned on spending the long weekend just relaxing at home, but a friend talked us into heading to a beach resort about an hour away. I am SO thankful that we went because it was absolutely amazing!

When we arrived we couldn't wait to check out our rooms.  They definitely did not disappoint!
The cool thing about this place is that everything is handmade, from the furniture to the thatched roofs.
We all joked that this is the fanciest bathroom we've seen in Africa.
The view from our room was beautiful. I probably took at least 50 pictures from the balcony, but I won't bore you with all of them. :)
After checking everything out, we headed down to the beach to get the fun started. We spent the day lounging in the sand, playing volleyball, swimming, and eating lots of delicious food.
I'd have to say it's impossible to be unhappy when this is what you are surrounded by. It's also pretty easy to forget that you are in the middle of Africa...
Just when we thought the day couldn't get any better:
Dinner!
On the beach!!
Next to a bonfire!!!
 

If this isn't the good life, I don't know what is. Seriously though, it was just what we needed to feel refreshed and ready for a new week.
Anyone up for a visit?

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