Tag Archives: Friends

May 26, (year confidential)

Today… on this day… during an undisclosed year… my best friend in the whole wide world was born!

She’s the first person I run to (or skype to, I should re-phrase) when I need ANYTHING: love, comfort, advise, stress release, family news, encouragement, and to just plain talk.

She’s MY MOM!

She wasn’t always my best friend, in fact, we’ve had our ups and down (enter teenage years); but when I finally grew up and realized what a jewel I had in my midst it all changed.  Now we love spending time together (when I’m home on furlough) doing mother-daughter things and also friend-friend things.

This past home visit my mom lost her mom.  Though it was extremely difficult for all of us, and I was also losing my grandma, I think the hardest part of it for me was seeing my mom lose her mom.  She is the only girl with 4 brothers, and I know she had a very close relationship with her mom, just like I have with her.  My mom and my grandma share so many amazing qualities, but most importantly they are STRONG WOMEN OF GOD and they love they families with the same love that God loves us: UNCONDITIONALLY.

One day I pray and hope that I will be a mom too, and when that day comes I want to be a mom just like mine. I want to instill in my children all the morals and values that she imparted in us.  I want to make her proud to be not only my mom, but my best friend.

I LOVE YOU MOM!!! Though I’m not there to see you blow out your (undisclosed number) of candles, you know that I’m sending you a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY hug your way….

our favorite pastime when I was a child 🙂

Christmas w/my mom and sisters

Show my mom some birthday love today….. 🙂

Fitting in

Fitting in.

Most people relate “fitting in” to the teen-age or middle-school-age years when finding your crowd can come with many challenges. Being a former middle-school teacher, I’ve seen my fare share of kids trying to change and be someone they’re not in order to fit in with a group they want to be in. Not a fun time!

Fortunately, I never really struggled with the “fitting in” issue in school (not that I didn’t have other issues) but that wasn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, I struggle with it more now, as an adult.

It’s not for a lack of friends, cuz to be honest I have some GREAT ones! It’s also not for a lack of wanting to be in a group that I’m not in either…. the truth is: many times I just have a difficult time relating to others.

Living around the world in various cultures is a tremendous calling, but it’s also changed me beyond words.  Each new place has impacted me in new ways and changed my outlook and actions toward life, as well as changing me on the inside.  I’ve taken treasures from each culture, which translates into me becoming a “melting pot” of sorts.

While all this is wonderful and great, here’s the problem… I never 100% fit in.

When I go home to The States, I find it difficult to relate to others, as the “American” in me has dwindled down to less and less over the years.  Sure, I still love my country and the Detroit Red Wings (had to get that one in, Joseph) but there’s only so far you can go with these topics.

I could give examples from each place: Brazil, Africa, Israel… but it boils down to this… I rarely feel like I really fit in anywhere, and sometimes it’s a lonely, difficult cross to bare.

Although there probably aren’t too many people here on earth who truly understand me, I KNOW there is someone up there who does! And Someday…. well, it’s one place I know I’ll fit in 🙂

Saying Goodbye gets harder every time!

Tomorrow’s the day!  I am leaving the comfort of my family and friends in the US and return to the craziness of Israel….

I’ve been on furlough for the past month: spending time with my family, visiting friends and loved ones, sharing about my work in Israel, and mourning the loss of my grandma.  From Atlanta ✈ Kalamazoo ✈ Dallas ✈ Detroit ✈ Minnesota ✈ Wisconsin Dells ✈ New York… its been a whirlwind of traveling and emotions!

Usually after an entire month of being Stateside, I’m MORE THAN READY to return, but I’m just not there yet.  Maybe its emotions of losing my grandma and having to say goodbye to my family again that’s tugging at my ❤, so I’ll have to hang on to the memories from this trip even tighter…

Here are a few from my wonderful time at home:

Caribou Coffee ❤

Star Wars Monopoly with my mom and nephew

Mom and sisters

My nephew.... the big time skiier

The earmuff brigade

Cross-country skiing with my dad

My sister and I with our grandpa

The whole family at my grandma's funeral

Thankful, Week 4: Thanksgiving

That’s right, I’m thankful for Thanksgiving!  Being an American while living in other countries and cultures can quite often lead to loosing some of your own culture and traditions and adopting others.  I’ve actually done this a lot in the various places I’ve lived, but the one thing that does not change or alter one bit is Thanksgiving!

No matter where you are in the world, or who you are with, on Thanksgiving there is probably a 99.9% chance that you are thinking/dreaming/longing for Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, Yams, and that oh-so-coveted PUMPKIN PIE!

It’s the one day of the year that all Americans come together, near and far, and celebrate our Thankfulness via a huge FEAST. Everything about Thanksgiving day makes me happy (and run to put on some sweat-pants), and if you’re like me and from Michigan, then there’s the bonus delight of watching our beloved Lions loose yet again 🙂

Ode to Thanksgiving…. the only holiday that makes me remember I am actually an American (which I tend to overlook 364 days of the year), and reminds me that I have SO MUCH in life to be truly thankful for!

NOW GO STUFF YOURSELF SILLY…. and remember not to wear jeans to the dinner table!


Being Dream-Haunted by Facebook

Let me first make a blanket statement: I really do love facebook.  I love that it is such an easy way to keep in touch with all my faraway friends.  I love how I can see friends’ pictures’ that I would never see otherwise.  I love that I am back in touch with friends I haven’t talked to in ages.  And, I love that pretty much my entire graduating class from high school is on facebook. I’m amazed when I find out where they’ve been in life or what they’ve been through.  It’s been fun catching up.

So with all this reuniting of long-lost friendships comes a crazy phenomenon that I would never have imagined: I”m being dream-haunted.

I am not kidding you when I say that for the past few weeks or so, I have had dreams every night about people from my past.  Don’t get me wrong…I adore my friends from high school, but dreaming about them every night is just a bit weird.  I feel like I’ve been thrown back into the past as if no time has elapsed at all.  Its been 17 years since I graduated high school, yet when I go into that REM stage, its like were just hanging out yesterday.

I’m sure Freud would have something to say about my crazy dreams of late, but I think its just an overload in my brain of my past colliding with my present… the person I was and the person I’ve become… the gelling together of two completely different stages of my life.


Anyone else out there being dream-haunted or am I the only one infected???

In Memory of Katherine

There are few people that become a part of your life and remain there until the end. Those special few that know each and every secret you possess….those special few that you can call on no matter what, and they will answer…those special few that love you unconditionally, regardless of what you’ve done or will do.

For me, Katherine was one of those special ones.

We met while I was living in Brazil, I cannot even remember which year, and instantaneously we became the best of friends.  We’ve been through so much together since then…boyfriend breakups, heartaches, traveling, weddings (one of them being hers), road trips, laughter, joy, and all the other things that accompanies friendships.

Every time I came home to the States on furlough, Katherine was one of the first people I would call.  Just hearing her voice on the phone and her crazy, contagious laugh would brighten my day.  She was one of the first who would always send me notes, cards, and packages in the mail. She always told me how much she loved me and was proud of me.  She encouraged me with scriptures all the time. I loved her more than words can express.

Katherine passed away from breast and bone cancer this past week, only 29 years old, and 5 months pregnant. It was a sudden and tragic situation, one that left many of us who loved her shocked.  She left behind an amazing husband and one-year old boy, both of whom she loved with all her heart!

Even though I know, without a shadow of a doubt, my dear Katherine is in heaven today, enjoying our Abba Father, thoughts of her still cause the tears to flow down my cheeks.  So, in memory of one of the best friends I have ever had the pleasure of enriching my life, here are some of those memories that I will cherish until we meet again….

The last two pictures are with her husband, Jared and little Nathan Charles Bowman.  Please keep them in your prayers, as they will miss their wife and mommy sooooo much!!!

Katherine: you were a wonderful woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, photographer… and to me, most of all you were the bestest of friends!

(One Day After) Thanksgiving Day Bliss

What began as a Freak-Out Thanksgiving, ended up a Fantastic one!  While there were a couple moments of doubt, skepticism and “There’s a bubble!” the moments of eating delicious turkey, stuffing (from scratch) mashed taters, sweet potatoes, cranberries (we actually had some, and fresh ones at that), and both pumpkin pie and apple crisp for desert erased all else.

I honestly think that getting the turkey fresh from the market is the key, cuz it was the best turkey I’ve ever had!!! (and I’m not just saying that because I cooked it).

Turns out that Becca makes the most amazing, incredible, mouth savoring Apple Crisp IN THE WORLD! We taught our friends from Finland/Holland/Israel all about Thanksgiving Day Traditions (including American Football, Chia Pets, and Aluminum Trees w/rotating light discs….don’t ask!) We played a bit of Texas Hold-Um using 10 Cent Shekels, and all in all, it was a wonderful day!  You wanted to see some pics, so here you go….

The infamous “tweezing” of the quills and feathers left on the turkey (I finally got smart and starting using my tweezer instead of killing my fingers):

Our guy Before and After:

(To see the entire Thanksgiving collection, click here)

Hope Everyone had as wonderful a day as I did!!! Now….on to Christmas/Chanukah!

A few random pics for some not-so-random friends…

My friend, Val, asked me if I have any pics with the view from my varanda.  I have two, which I took when the storm clouds were coming in for our first rain of the year a couple weeks ago. Keep in mind they’re from my phone, so not the best quality….


and here I am, happy as can be with my coffee, sent by another dear friend, Joseph, a month ago.  Even though I’m not sippin on Holiday Latte’s, I’m still enjoying a bit of Starbucks flavor….


and lastly, here is a picture from a shelf in my room, reminding me everyday about my darling African Intern, Rishelle, who bought me a Rhino Bush Baby before she left….


Lovely Lady, Lovely Blog Award

llThanks to @Holly, I have actually won an award here on my blog!  It’s exciting, yet humbling at the same time.

Here’s the great thing about this award: I can now choose 5 more lovely ladies to honor those who encourage, inspire, lift me up, and just bring happiness into my life on a day to day basis.

@Alece: Alece is a wonderful friend, who has not only helped me through a difficult time in my life, but has shared her heart to the world during her own struggles.  She is an amazing writer, and my dear African friend!

@Angie: Angie also lives on the mission field, but on the other part of the world (Bolivia).  Another fantastic writer, and such an inspiration to all women on the field.

@Bonnie: Bonnie is a new blogging friend, but one that I identify so much with.  We share the same love for movies, Star Wars, and of course… blogging!

@Chrystie: Chrystie has an incredible way with words, and her posts are always so uplifting and honest.  One day she is going to be on the Top Sellers List, thats for sure!

@Jill: Jill is one of my oldest friends, all the way back from elementary-school.  She is brand new on the blogging scene, and always has amazing projects or home ideas to glean from.

So, there you have it…. now go check out their blogs for yourselves!

(Ladies, click here to accept the award and pass it on…guidelines on Cassandra’s site.)

True Friendship

There are many faces to friendship….but to someone living outside the country, who has run out of coffee beans, and has been drinking crappy coffee for the past 3 days, THIS is the truest form:

DSCF2220Thanks, @jcdulaney!!! You have saved this girl many long, frustrating good-coffee-less days… 

Sometimes I’m left speechless….

I had no idea when I wrote the following status for fb, what was about to unfold:

Does anyone have/know of a WII system and games that can be donated 4 a new youth ministry in Israel? This would be a HUGE blessing!!!

I hadn’t gotten any replies, and I honestly just put it out there in the social media world, “just in case”.  

And then I got the email.

It was from a friend I had graduated with, and quite honestly, had not seen since graduation day back in 1993. (Yep, a looooooooooong time ago.)  He told me he didn’t have a WII to give, but he would like to start a fundraiser in order to purchase one. Not only start a fundraiser, but spread the word, buy the complete set (with as many games as possible) AND ship it to me.  

My mind was completely blown by that email!

Here was someone who I haven’t even seen or really spoken to in 15 or so years…yet he was willing to put all this time and effort into pouring out for kids he has never even seen or met.  He was willing to go the extra mile, all for a cause I believe in.  

Like I said, sometimes I’m left speechless.

Below is the link for the fundraising site to purchase a WII console and games for the youth ministry I will be soon starting with the Sudanese Refugee Children.  Please consider donating, even if its just a small amount, for this cause.  Our target goal is $500, but I am hoping to surpass even that!  And I must end by saying, “Thanks so much Chris, for showing what God’s love looks like in a tangible way.  I am truly humbled and honored to know you!”


TII #4 Missent to Thailand

Yesterday my roommate noticed an envelope in someone else’s mailbox addressed to me.  We grabbed the letter and on the front was a stamp saying, “Missent to Thailand.”  

Thailand??? Thailand??? Yeah, thats a clear mistake for Israel!!!

Then I noticed the date of the sent stamp from Winterset, IA…April 21, 2009.  2 months ago?? It took 2 months to get my birthday card from my friend K?  Are you kidding me??? It only took a couple days from the package from South Africa and this was only a card.

Thanks, K for the birthday card, and sorry its only 2 months in the making. lol


Pen Pals

Do you remember the days of Pen Pals??? 

I had a pen pall in 6th grade…actually it was my entire 6th grade class.  We were pen pals with another 6th grade classroom in Canada, and at the end of the year we went to their school for a day, and then they came to ours.  I can still remember getting mail from my pen pal, it was like the highlight of the day!!!

Well, guess what?!? I have a pen pal again!!! Yesterday, I got a package in the mail from my new friend, Kristi, who serves in South Africa.  We became friends through blogs, and she is one of those amazing people who still likes to use ‘snail mail’.  I love that about her, not too many people even send letters or cards in the mail anymore.

I have mentioned this before, when I lived in Africa, but I will say it again (and again, and again….)  There is just nothing like getting mail when you live far away from your family and friends!  It literally makes your whole day!!! Needless to say, Kristi made my day today!  Now I need to get going and send one back to her……

My online community

I’ve heard many people talk about online communities vs. real life communities vs. social networking communities etc. People blog about it, debate over it, and discuss whether your online community is as valuable as your in person community.  While it differs from person to person, let me tell you about mine:

I recently sent out an email about a personal prayer request and issue that I am facing at the moment, and I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I received from my online community (emails, fb, twitter).  I do not have a strong support group where I live (for many obvious regional reasons), so I have come to depend on my online community. While I wish that I had a stronger community where I live, I would never discount my online community as just a “social networking tool’.  They are my friends. They are my family. They are my rock.

So, if you are one of those people that think of the online communities as an artificial, surface group of people, who only communicate in a non-personal way, THINK AGAIN!  And if you are part of my online community, let me just tell you this one thing: YOU ROCK!

The company you keep

“They” say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.  I do agree with this, to an extent. I have quite a few different circle of friends, depending on where in the world they are located, but here in Israel I don’t really have a close circle of friends at all.

This happened to pop into my head the other day when I was walking down to my gym, and I ran into some ‘aquaintances’ on the way. A group of the Russian homeless guys, who frequent the soup kitchen, were just chillin on some of the benches in the shade. I stopped to say hello and had a brief limited conversation about the heat and such.

After, as I continued my way to the gym, I began thinking about our little encounter, which led me to this conclusion: The only people I really ever meet when I’m out and about are either homeless, refugees, or my landlord (who always seems to be lurking around).  Yes, its a big city, but no matter where I go, these seem to be the ones I run into…and they are the ones I actually stop and talk to.  

Though I would not really consider talking to them about the desires of my heart, I still end up spending more time talking to them than with others.  I think I’m starting to understand Matthew 9: 9-13 on more of a personal level.

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