Tuesday, February 22, 2011

He will carry you

So yesterday was quite possibly the scariest day of my life thus far. I drove all the way back to Fort Wayne from Kernersville, and the first two hours were amazing-sunny, warm, just beautiful weather all around.
Then I hit rain through VA, WV, and most of OH. We're talking torrential downpour material here-with windshield wipers that need replaced, my visibility was pretty bad.
I talked to Connie around 2pm, and she told me to expect some pretty bad snowy and icy conditions closer to FW, so, realizing I hadn't brought ANY winter clothing with me besides the pathetic jacket on my back, I made an emergency stop at a Wal-Mart for some gloves, a scarf, and some decent socks. The cashier thought it was pretty funny...
While on a back road in the middle of farm country Ohio, I caught up with the snow. It just kept getting worse and worse until I finally had to just roll down my window, stick my head out, and attempt to see where I was going. There was one point where I literally could not see anything but white-it was like being in a snowglobe. After a few moments of going, "Ok, I'm NOT going to die. This is NOT the end of the world. It's just snow-I can make it!" I remembered a verse Connie and I had read together about a week ago:

"And in the desert you saw how the Lord your God carried you, like one carries a child. And he has brought you safely all the way to this place." ~Deut. 1:31 NCV

I wasn't exactly in a desert desert...more of a snowy desert...but that comforted me and reminded me: God has brought me safely all the way here-why would He abandon me now?

There is no need to fear anything of this world with Him to carry us through it. He will carry you through all the ups and downs of life, both big and small-He cares about every detail of your life. He planned it all out, afterall! :) After my little adventure in the blizzard, my mix cd played one of my favorite Mark Schultz songs, "He Will Carry Me." Let the words encourage you today! :)

I call, You hear me
I've lost it all
And it's more than I can bear
I feel so empty

You're strong
I'm weary
I'm holdin' on
But I feel like givin' in
But still You're with me

And even though I'm walkin' through
The valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Whose love will comfort me
And when all hope is gone
And I've been wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will
Ever need
And He will carry me

I know I'm broken
But You alone
Can mend this heart of mine
You're always with me


And even though I feel so lonely
Like I've never been before
You never said it would be easy
But You said you'd see me through
The storm


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Miss North Carolina

I dearly love my Rahmo, one of the girls who comes to Youth Night on Wednesdays. Last night we had the girls over for Girls' Night, and we all made Valentines for each other. Rahmo was the first girl to really welcome me and make me feel at home here, and she's given me the nickname "North Carolina Lady."
Rahmo is a strong, funny, and loving girl destined for great things. I teased her while we made Valentines, "You made one for me, right Rahmo? 'Cause I made one for you! You better make me one!" She came back in classic Rahmo fashion with, "Girl, you my friend-you know I love you! You don't need one from me."
Nevertheless, she made me a Valentine and addressed it to "Miss North Carolina." I know I'm not the beauty pageant type, but that made me smile. I'm so blessed to know Rahmo!

Me and Rahmo
I think the girls enjoyed themselves-we played Wii bowling (thanks Brianne for bringing that!), ate pizza and cake (Corrie was our amazing chef), and watched "Step Up" until it was time for the girls to head home. Fun times! 

Girls' Night Gang

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Adventure

On Wednesday I had quite an adventure taking Lian to Wal-Mart for "medicine for Moy San." Lian's niece, Esther, was at the house and begged to tag along, and as I couldn't resist the cute 8 year old's pleas for an outing, she went along as well.

So we found the medicine for poor Moy San, and I'm thinking, "Awesome! That was quick!" Oh, I forgot to mention that this was an hour before Youth Night was supposed to start, and I needed to get our dinner in the oven half an hour before that!

Then Lian said, "Oh Hannah: veetemins for JoLien! You help me find?"

Then it turned into hair coloring, and getting two WIC coupons worth of food. All the while, Esther, bless her heart, keeps stopping to look at things, ignoring her Aunt's threats and commands to "follow."

I think we were both getting frustrated with her-it's only by the grace of God neither one of us lost it with her (ok, so I can only speak for myself, since I don't know Zho and consequently I don't know what Lian said to her).

I finally said something about the teenagers, and right away she was like my little puppy dog close at my heels the rest of the way, peppering me with questions like "What are teenagers? Can I see the teenagers? Are YOU a teenager? Why are they called teenagers?" I think she learned a new English word. ;) And her fascination with "teenagers" made for a focused little girl. Boo-yah!

Amazingly, we made it back with a few minutes to spare. Poor Esther didn't get her glimpse of the teenagers, but she did get a heart shaped lollipop from her Aunt Lian, and a big hug from me. :)

Esther reminded me of me, actually. I love to linger behind, and my attention gets caught by the most mundane things that end up distracting me from my original purpose in life. I often get caught up in my own plans and ideas for my life, ignoring God's gentle voice calling to me, "But Hannah, that's not what I want you to do. Remember? You agreed to follow Me, and this is My way. Leave your petty substitutes behind, and follow me on the Best Adventure for your life."

The adventure He has in store for you probably involves a lot of road blocks and mountains to climb over, a lot of pain and confusion involved. But He has promised to be right there with us, and to give us joy through the suffering, and a light heart through the pain.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bubble and Squeak!

Today I decided to be adventurous with dinner and make something completely new from one of my cookbooks. The name jumped out to me, being British (and I love British things...most of them), and Connie and I decided it sounded like a yummy thing to try. Our Cheese Bubble and Squeak turned into a hearty Mashed Potato dinner when the patties started to fall apart during frying, but they tasted amazing anyway. Made with potatoes, spinach, one egg and some cheese, followed by a secret ingredient-I want to try making them again!

This afternoon we spent a couple hours reading together from Mr. Darcy's Daughters (Austen fans-you'll love this!) at DeBrand's Chocolate cafe, while sipping our special hot chocolates. We took turns reading the chapters, and just enjoyed a relaxing afternoon together, surrounded by chocolate. :)

And the big news? There's still mountains of snow on the ground. Ok, so maybe that's not news, but it's worthy of being noted! I finally unburied my car from the Saturday snow-fall, but I managed to get a shot before:

I'm constantly amazed at all the white, wintery wonder that surrounds us, and, according to all our Northern friends, won't leave for another couple of months. Despite getting a bit frazzled when it causes trouble getting out of the driveway, I do really love the snow-it's beauty never gets old! And I agree with a new International friend who, this morning, called it "very romantic!" :)
The icycles are a source of enjoyment and worry. They are so pretty, but walking under them while everything is melting a bit in the afternoon feels very much like playing a game of dodgeball, especially after seeing a few broken icycles on the ground here and there!

The snow piles are getting pretty high!

Connie wrote a post about our adventures with the Zo church yesterday! You should go read that, and watch the cute video she posted. :) 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The dance

Written Monday, January 31st.

This morning started an on-going thought of the day for me, and it has to do with expecting the unexpected. Let me set the stage for you:
Its 8:30 in the morning, and I'm in the kitchen getting a drink of water. I finish my water, and go to the sink to wash my glass, when I unsuspectingly glance up from the water streaming down to the drain and look at the faucet.
Bad idea.
Just chillin' there-all non-chalant, wrapped in shrink wrap, and undoubtedly frozen solid-was a big fish. Staring at me.  

Now, I'm not the screaming sort (normally), so there wasn't the melodramatic meltdown of female renown when such things occur. But there was most definitely a wide-eyed, surprised expression on my face, and I admit that a very sharp gasp could be heard escaping from my mouth. Afterward, when re-telling my little "welcome back to Angaying Inn" experience to Connie (after letting her get a view of our fishy friend), I said something like, "I should totally have expected that, but yeah...did NOT expect that!"
And so the day went: the unexpected but normal interruptions that throw you off but shouldn't.

::Instead of opening the van door I set off the alarm,
:: took a wrong left when trying to get us home from the library which set us on a couple extra miles adventure through Fort Wayne,
::had the fire alarm telling us very loudly (while I was on the phone, and walking right underneath it) that it’s batteries were dying,
::and then tonight ended up helping a young girl with her math homework (my weakest subject).
And that’s just a few of the things that, today, have caused me to be reminded once again that I can’t control my life-and I’m glad of that! God is a God of surprises and spontaneity, a God of mystery and wonder. If we had control of our own lives, I’m sure it would be nice: we’d have everything as we want it, and no unplanned hurdles to jump over. But wouldn’t that be so boring? The unexpected is what makes life fun and interesting, and though sometimes you have to wonder why on earth God would allow some surprises, we can rest in knowing that He works all things for good for them who love the Lord. For Him, nothing is unexpected-it’s been perfectly planned out since the beginning of time.
It’s like the song “Through Heaven’s Eyes” from The Prince of Egypt;
No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance
You must learn to join the dance

So come on and join the dance! It’s not always easy, but it’s beautiful, full of joy, and we have a perfect Dance Teacher to show us how to handle the hard steps!