posted on: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

last week i forced myself to stay in bed until 9am. vacay + rest is beautiful. 
but it really makes waking up at 430 impossible. 
and yet, it's 10:11 on a tuesday and i'm not sleeping? 
since our mode of transportation ended the week before eid we've started carpooling.
we leave at 5:30. 
i am so sleepy every minute of every day of this week.
but despite it, every morning i get this new strength when i see my littles. 
when i arrived after their arabic class today they greeted me with hugs and laughter.
i get to love on these kids. 
even if that means half my class loses recess. 
spare the discipline punish thy self. or something like that. 
everyday we talk about being world changers. how learning is in every part of being.
it is so fun pouring courage into them. 
it is also really exhausting. :)
tonight we had a b i b l e study with some teachers from our school. 
it's encouraging to be surrounded by like-hearted people. 
we talked about loving our neighbors. loving all peoples. 
and in order for me to do that fully, i must sleep.
goodnight.
-j

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posted on: Saturday, October 4, 2014

yesterday marked four years of dating. this next month will mark two years of marriage. while we did talk of marriage on our first official date, three years after being best friends, i couldn't have told you, even imagined, that we'd be spending our days in the ME. but here we are, and i am so happy.

living overseas is a wild and calm lifestyle. this article sums it up pretty well.

we have been in the ME for 49 solid days. we have been working for 7 weeks, teaching for 4. this week many muslims will be celebrating eid which means a week off from work for us! yippeee! we also got our first paycheck which makes life a little easier. we are still waiting on residency and bank accounts and then we will get to buy a car. until then we have our taxi man and friends who help a ton. we have friends with 3 littles who takes us along to the sultan center. j takes the boys up stairs to grab a latte (and chocolate"crappacinos") and i explore with the little lady and reward her with a treat while their mom or dad loads up. saturdays (once or twice a month) also mean mani/pedis (for half the price). while j may have joined in the states on occasion, he can't do that here...unless he goes to a male only saloon. no thanks. hah

community is everything here. it is a part of the culture, one part that i really really love. sometimes life in the states feels so rushed. even though we still have (very) full-time jobs here there is so much space to know and be known by others. tonight we have a family night at cheesecake factory off gulf road (aka on the water). i mean... you know, we have it really tough.

it does get hard knowing loved ones are so far away. whatsapp and the internet do help, but i know when june rolls around i'm going to melt in the hugs and company of family+friends.
there are a ton of things i miss about the states, target...trader joes... i'll give you a full list eventually, but i am learning to love and appreciate my life here. we are one tree away from a fully decorated little home. we will share our little house with you soon. we are in to the swing of things as teachers. we love our community and the way they live out their lives fully and sure. we love the stories that come weekly of lives encountering truth and healing and love. this is the good life, i'm sure of it.

ps. we're going to egypt over christmas break. i mean, thanks Lord.

find ways

posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014



a month back i took a 2 day trip to bahrain where i had the chance to explore the grand masque. it was a chilling experience. hijab+abaya. our tour guide was loving and gentle. i think there needs be space to love and honor those who you disagree with. i mean how could we share life otherwise?





video




encounter others with love
extend grace a little further
find ways to love those we don't understand
spend a day in their shoes (...or clothes;)) 

posted on: Tuesday, September 16, 2014


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it's 9:34, one hour and 1 minute passed my new bed time. yikes. 
we don't really try to go to bed by 830, it just happens. 
for me, being a teacher is fun + exhausting + beautiful
i have 19 little habibis. (and they don't mind me calling them so)
tuesday is hump day here. praise Him. so, two more days until the sweet weekend. 
life lately has looked like a lot of planning and adjusting to our new school and schedules. 
poor j has junior high boys. two of his classes of seventh graders are definitely giving him a run for his money. they give everyone a good workout haha. 
my littles are a lot more pleasant. i laugh ALL DAY with these kids. it's amazing how natural it feels to be doing this. 
monday nights i meet with the women of our little community. we pray. and dine. and laugh. it's nice. 
it's been incredibly easy adjusting to our new community, both work (which include our floor mates) and the ones i'm sure we will be lifers/family here. 
 we hang with friends here and there throughout the week
OR watch netflix, netflix, netflix, dinner, sleep. :) shhhh.
friday nights we meet with our new familia and sing and hear and eat. it's so good. 

and if i weren't so tired, i'd write more. 
it may be a while until i am no longer this tired :)
thanks for your grace and love and support
we are doing really well
-j

far more precious

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7



and trusting grace when we don't

posted on: Saturday, September 6, 2014


today marks three weeks of living in the ME. i have ached for home this week. and felt at home all at once. 
it’s a strange thing being so far and yet still connected.
since we knew we were moving back in february we had a chance to know, at least via world wide web,  who we’d be building community with. i’d see this faces on screen and get excited to know them. and now we’re here. sharing life. worshiping. dreaming. it’s fun.

I tend to have these moments where I don’t feel like I fit. I’m not very good at trying to fake it either. sometimes I grow bitter when I feel like I’m different. sometimes I just walk away. sometimes that is good, sometimes it is not.
it is good to be true to myself. but it is necessary to give people a chance. and then maybe a few more.
i have been really intentional about seeing others. i think God is softening my heart. i think you see a lot more when you open your eyes. and it's so easy, so human, to look the other way. 
grant me the grace to see them. 


there is a lot of turn over at our school. i mean we're definitely not in kansas, but come on people. a lot of the second years (because teachers often only stay for their two year contract) have been quick to inform us newbies of all the schools problems. the negativity is hard for me. 
thankfully, i think we've been given a grace to handle it. and the fun thing is we've helped convince our floor friends (5 other newbies) to stay positive. and to honor those over us. it's a good start. 


this week I went to bahrain. x-rays. blood test. I should have my residency within the next month.
traveling to bahrain was exciting. relaxing and exhausting all at once. it was strange to be in another country on my own. I went with four other teachers but they all were grown ups haha. I missed my husband. I missed my family. I wanted to hold my nephew and kiss him all over. I really really wanted a huckleberry donut and iced latte. 
I felt overwhelmed with the load and the pressure to get it right. to be a light on my campus. to stay positive. to benefit others.

there are these lies that i’ve been giving into-that I’m not good enough to do this. that I’m not worthy of love. that I can’t offer enough to the kids I will be teaching. and so on and so on.

there’s this song by steffany g. on her “the undoing” album (this version is just sweeter) these lines grab my heart:
just when my hallelujah was tired,you gave me a new song

you remind me. of things forgotten; fear was no match for Your love.

over and over again these last few weeks i have felt God lift my fears from me. 
it just takes trusting in His love. 
and i know it will happen again and again. because i'm human. because fear creeps in. 
but His love washes over until fear is gone. 


last night we had church with our new community. it was what i expected. and then it was more. these hearts that i feel like i've known for long and just met lifted prayers for us. and they affirmed the desires that we have. to be present. to take it all on one day at a time. to shine by being ourselves. that He holds the wisdom we need. that we get to spread love. 

we had open house this last week. we met our kids and their parents. we have profession development tomorrow and monday marks our first day of school. it is a big week for us. i'm sure fear and doubt and negativity will all try and maybe momentarily succeed to creep in. 
but we hold in our hearts and minds the truth of where victory lay.
we're on this adventure of winning.
just by trusting Him. 
just by being. 
by honoring every soul we encounter. 
by loving them to their skull. 
and trusting grace when we don't.


for right now

posted on: Saturday, August 30, 2014



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we have been living life for two full weeks in kuwait.
 and truth is i am tired. 
but we love our school. 
we love our community. 
and we are doing really well. 
God is faithful and gracious. 
we are grateful for right now.
hugs & love to our friends and familia. 
i promise to update you all very soon.