Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What we're reading | Kisses from Katie

This book made me cry. Sob, actually. Literally tears streaming down my face as Rene looked over at me across his schoolwork on the table with a sympathetic, questioning smile.

This book brought many of those moments to our home and local coffee shops in the two days it took me to read it. It also made me want to move to Uganda. Or Romania. Anywhere I can take care of babies and adopt twenty-some children and just love them and hold them and teach them about Jesus.

Because really, this is not a book about Katie Davis. It's not really about Uganda or her amazing story or her fourteen (yes, 14!) adopted daughters. This is a book about Jesus.

Katie, her ministry, her Ugandan family, her stories... they are all woven together and thoroughly drenched through with the rich, beautiful, incredible story of God's love and purpose for us. It's a genuine example of what walking with Jesus and loving others looks like.

Now, I realize that not many of us can quit our lives and move to a third world country. But we can all love people. We can exemplify the heart of Jesus to those around us. We can meet their needs. We can show mercy and pursue justice. Wherever you are. Right now.

That is what this book is about and what it will encourage you to do.

I would highly recommend reading it.

You can find more of Katie's writing on her blog and learn more about what she does in Uganda through Amazima Ministries.



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keep an Open Heart

If we just miss the place we once called home, we will never build one here.

If we only wish for dear, old friends, we will never make new ones.

If we spend all our time searching for the familiar, nothing will ever become familiar.

These are a few things we have learned by leaving everything we know and love. I believe the concepts are finally sinking in. It makes sense. But it is not easy. When you fill your life to the brim with love and beauty and warmth and comfort, it is not easy to start over. It's only natural to miss that place and those people. We begin to believe that all we have is the missing. We fill our hearts with it. And we close ourselves off to anything new because we are afraid and we know that the new will not feel like the old familiar fit.

And that is how we keep ourselves from being happy and from doing good. With closed hearts.

I've heard a lot of people express the importance of keeping an open mind. But I don't think that's nearly as important as keeping an open heart. It is not my mind that allows me to be moved by compassion, to be understanding, to love others. It is my heart.

Today as I walked home through the city, after breakfast with dear new friends who will become old familiar ones, I realized my heart was opening up a little more to this new life. I didn't see it happening and its sort of scary. An open heart is a risky thing to carry with you. But it is so, so worth it.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why we're here.

In the now almost-seven months we've been here, in the eight months we've had this blog, we've never really shared about what brought us out here. About why we're here.

Yes, Rene got a job. And though those are harder to come by these days, a job in and of itself wouldn't have lured us away from all we've ever known and all those we love. It's much more than that. It had to be.

See, we really didn't want to move across the country. Not at first. But God made it pretty clear that He was the one lining things up. We didn't do a thing. Just obeyed. So here we are.

And this video does an amazing job of showing what we are so privileged to be a part of. Take a look...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy six months!

Jess and I have now lived in PA for 6 months. I let out a deep sigh as I typed that last sentence up.
Half a year in a different world. Half a year away from friends and family. Half a year away from the life I once knew and found oh so comfortable and familiar. To be honest, a big part of me still misses my old life; I don't really know why. I just do.

But believe me when I say that these last six months have been blessed. Here are some things to show you what has happened in the last six months.

We found a place to live (and made it our home).

We adopted Atticus (our wonderful bundle of joy, who's not so much a kitten any more).

We became official Pennsylvanians (& have drivers licenses to prove it!)

We got renters insurance (which was on the "do to" list for a while).

We learned to cook (me more than Jess, and I'm still significantly improving).

We became better friends with each other.

We met people who we think we'll be best friends with (both Jess and I).

We planted our first garden (we'll see what happens).

We learned to endure the weather changing (believe it or not, seasons are difficult to get use to).

We learned to appreciate different types of people (diversity is huge out here, just not in a racial way).

We learned who the Amish are.

We learned who the Mennonite are.

We learned who the Brethren are.

We've met generational locals (people who have lived here for 4+ generations).

We've met people who are just as new (and just as foreign) as us.

We discovered Tomato Pie Café, Chestnut Hill Café, Splits & Giggles, On Orange, and Central Market.

We've learned some of the local lingo. For example...

Shore = Beach

Tunes = Songs

Putzin Around = Messing Around

Out'n the lights = Turn off the lights

We've seen endless forests, electrical storms, thunder storms, snow, leaves changing color, hills, and big rivers.

Jess and I have learned to be the "new people". And I believe that's an incredibly great lesson to learn. Now I know how a new person feels (and how to love them) when they get immersed into a new location (and new culture).

We both have changed; in some cases changed a lot. But they're good changes. Hopefully we'll be able to share more of them here as time goes on.