Monday, February 25, 2013

running a marathon

ok... false advertising because I did not, in fact, run a marathon BUT now what I have your attention, let me tell you about the marathon that has been life lately :)

most people (ok, maybe just me) when they hear the word "marathon" they hear "hard, painful, rough" at the same time. but when i say that life has been like running a marathon, i mean that there is a lot of big things in a short amount of time. all of these things are so fun, but i also really enjoy the slow, refueling times in life as well!

those of you following my instagram will know that one of my sweet heart friends got married this past Saturday!!! Shana looked absolutely stunning... I loved what her sweet husband said at their rehersal dinner "Shana, your appearance is stunning & your inner beauty is matchless." It is so true. Shana is the sweetest, most loving person I know. Her heart for others has challenged me so much, and I learn a lot when spending time with her. She truly radiates Christ to everyone around her, and I am so blessed to call her sister & friend.

i have been reading one thousand gifts by ann vaskamp lately, and one of the lines last night made me stop, "I hunger for filling in a world that is starved." I had to think about this & I realized how true of a statement that is. the world tries to tell us that it is full of life & fun, and that if we would only dive in we would find happiness. but in reality, the world is completely empty, lacking. there is nothing in this world that can satisfy us in & of themselves. i often find myself believing this lie that if only i had ____ (fill in the blank), i would be happy. what is cool is seeing that God promises us abundant life in Him. only He can make us whole & give us the full life that we are searching for. He doesn't promise us a healthy, wealthy, & prosperous life, but one that is full of love & hope, one in which we are never alone, one that He carries us & holds us through the hard times, one that we will grow to be more like Him in. sorry for the book... my thoughts can ramble :) 

in 3 (count 'em) weeks, I will be taking 18 students to Dallas for a spring break mission trip. the week after that i move into a house with roommates (three fist pumps here)! the week after that i run (for real this time) a half marathon with my sweet friend Jessi (thanks for being the best running partner ever). and a month after that one of my other sweet heart friends is getting hitched!!! it's a fun marathon, but i will definitely need to be intentional about refueling along the way!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

change is good


it's been happening all around me lately. sometimes i love it, actually mostly it's been great change! but then there are those other times...

let me catch you up. christmas was awesome time with the fam! loved getting to hang in texas for a little over a full week *insert laughter & good times here. it even SNOWED in lucas, tx giving us a lovely white blanket for Christmas day! a lot happened Christmas day, the brohan went to Cali (where it's always beautiful weather) to meet Tiff's older brothers, my sisters & i had an epic nerts game, my sweet heart friend got engaged!!!, & the rents decided to have a bourne movie marathon. all-in-all, it was a solid Christmas. not gonna lie though, it was hard returning to arkansas after quality time with the fam & sweet friends. BUT God has been teaching me that He is faithful, even when i have no clue. how did He teach me these things? well, let me tell ya... He provided a sweet friend/accountability/running partner who had been missing the same things, a house in the absolute perfect location AND with roommates who i'm pumped to get to know better, a community group that is quickly becoming friends, and sweet new friendships popping up everywhere. what can i say? God is good.

here are a few pics from the past few months... i MUST get better about a) taking pictures & b) updating this thing...
the beautiful lucas, tx
mac fam tradition. Christmas Eve Target shopping day.
sweet heart friend, Julie, & her fiance Chris engaged in November
heart friend, Shana, & her fiance Jamie engaged Christmas day!
(some of my) 7th grade crazies @ chill-out this past weekend
*insert JB dancing skills here

Sunday, December 9, 2012

thankfulness [lately]

this is my familias... circa fall 2010. so a few of us have changed a little since then :) lately i have been so incredibly thankful for these 5 people. they are absolutely beautiful inside and out. they all love Jesus which i realize doesn't happen too often in most families. the remind me to be thankful for game nights playing nerts until all hours of the morning, for beautiful haitian children that light up your world, & for time well spent together over coffee & gran's rusks. they remind me to not take myself to seriously, to laugh often, to love others well, & to make the most of every moment. they remind me that God is good, that He is in control, & that He loves me unconditionally... even when i don't deserve it in the least.

my parents are such a sweet picture of what a God-centered marriage looks like. they love the Lord & love each other so well. it has been a BLESSING to watch them fall more in love with God and each other as each year passes
my "little" brother, andrew, has turned out to be an incredible man of God. he has such a big heart for other people. so thankful for the man he is becoming... which is so wierd (but awesome at the same time) to see him grow up!

elaine is beautiful inside and out. she has a heart (and head) of gold :) i cannot even believe she is almost done with high school!!! her love for other people is absolutely contagious.

chrissy (aka my little twin) is growing into a beautiful little lady who loves Jesus and wants to be close to Him. she is beautifully strong. i love seeing her little personality continue to develop and grow! who knew that when i prayed & begged God for a little sister after andrew that He would give me TWO?!

in conclusion, i am blessed beyond belief with my family. this week i am reminded just how thankful i am for them and how often i forget to thank the Lord for His beautiful blessing. the end.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

haiti through a camera

day one: travel

getting from the airport to the bus was crazy. the picture on the left shows the amount of people around there... but then we tried to get out of the parking lot. lets just say, i would never want to drive in haiti... ever. the picture on the right is of the "tap tap" trucks that were everywhere... they are the haitian taxis/buses depending on how many people you see riding in hanging off of these things.

this is mission of hope and many beautiful breath-taking views around it. mission of hope is located right outside of a village called titanyen. on their campus is a school, church, orphanage, places for teams to stay, a clinic, haiti one distribution center, and 3 cords. BUT this is just some of what they are involved with in haiti... they partner with villages/churches/people all around them in order to accomplish their mission: to bring life transformation to every child, woman, and man in haiti.
day 2: simonette

in my first haiti post i mentioned the story of the little boy in green with no pants... one word: precious. these people are just stunning. the joy they have in playing little sally walker, their sweet voices singing "papa abraham", and their sweet laughter that filled the air that afternoon.
day 3: leveque



ugh so many pictures and so many stories... leveque is a beautiful village in which mission of hope is building 500 homes (200 left... insert amazement here). they are for the families of leveque who are living in tents/temporary housing. we played soccer, got our hairs did, met buckwheat from the little rascals (see 8th picture), watched little boys ride donkeys like pros, played with pant-less kiddos, and even met this little 5-month bundle of joy, Ruth. special story about Ruth: when my brother and his girlfriend, Tiffany, interned this summer with mission of hope, Tiff built a relationship with Ruth's mom. When Ruth was born in June, her mom asked Tiff to name her new little girl. Ruth (pronounced "Root" in haiit), is now 5 months old, healthy, beautiful, and growing.

day 4: church & hanging with the mission of hope orphans
unfortunately the ONLY picture i have from Sunday is this sweet little bunch from one of my little sisters, Elaine. that morning we sang worship with brothers and sisters in haitian creole. they sang some of my all time fav worship songs, so it was an unreal experience to sing in english alongside creole. that afternoon we made bracelets, tissue paper flowers, clothes pin dolls, played basketball, soccer, & got to know some of the beautiful mission of hope orphans. the little one above is Pierre... see the first haiti post for his story :)

day 5: 3 cords & beach

all trips that come to mission of hope are taken to the beach on the last day/afternoon of the trip. their reasoning behind this is to see the beauty of haiti and not just the craziness. it is the most beautiful place i have ever been to. the pictures that we brought back don't even add up to the beauty in the pictures in my head...

pictures while driving around

these are just some of the moments that i tried to capture as we drove. i am still processing everything i saw, the people i met, and what the Lord is teaching me in all of this. the one thing i keep coming back to is that God is sovereign and He is present. i've learned that God doesn't do things the way i think He should... and if He did the world would be one messed up place :) He loves these people. He died for them. He has a plan for them. He is with them. i can only do a little to help these people for a short time, but He can completely transform their lives. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

lessons learned

my family and I just got back from the beautiful Haiti. we partnered with mission of hope just outside titanyen, haiti. my whole family had been here before and fallen in love with these people. I finally got to see the people and place that stole and family's hearts. it is absolutely amazing. the people, the colors, the textures... there is no way I can relay in words all of what went on in my heart this week BUT I am going to try. unfortunately (or I guess fortunately for y'all) I can't fit this all in one post. so I will try to get all the words and photos into 2 for this week :) this first post is all about lessons learned along the way of this Haitian journey and in the second post I will do my best to recount all that we got to do and see in Haiti....

let's do this

lesson 1: always always ALWAYS remember to pack your passport when going on any trip out of the country.  so I had to learn this lesson the hard-ish way (could have been worse, but def not ideal). after work last wednesday night, I left bentonville, ar for dallas, tx. we were to meet at the dfw airport at 5:45 am the next morning. the plan was to get home around 9:30pm wednesday, shower, finalize what I had packed and get some sleep before leaving for the airport. about an hour and a half from home my dad called and asked if I had my passport. it then dawned on me... SURE NOT! so turned around to bville and was able to make it back just in time to meet the team at the airport thursday morning.... yes it took me 14.5 hours to drive from bentonville to dallas... #fail

lesson 2: little boys with no pants, big crocodile tears, and smiles as big as texas not only steal my heart but also teach me so much about the way God loves us. the very first afternoon spent in Haiti we went to Simonette, a sweet town full of beautiful people. we played with some of the village children in a local school. this little boy got kicked in the face when he ran under the monday bars to retrieve the football. he immediately cried, got so angry, and began smacking the kid that accidently hit him. I grabbed him up and held him. he quickly melted into my arms and cried hard. after wiping his tears, we joined the rest of the group laughing and dancing while singing "papa abraham". this just reminded me of all the times I get hurt when I make stupid decisions against what God's will is for me. I get so mad and start hitting and lashing out, but the Lord grabs me, holds me, and doesn't let me go until I melt into His embrace and He wipes my tears away. this sweet little boy (who never would tell me his name) taught me a lesson that grabs my sole each time I think of him.

lesson 3: I can't fix everything. while actually admitting this goes against everything in me, this little girl with big brown eyes, a sweet embrace, and joy for life reinforced this lesson for me. this little sweet heart from Leveque had sores/scabs all over her little arms and legs. while we were all sitting and listening to the story, she was getting irritated and frustrated with the bugs crawling in her sores. watching this little girl try to get the bugs out completely broke my heart. she was so precious and I couldn't stand watching her be in pain and uncomfortable. everything in me wanted to take her home, give her a bath, feed her some good food, and shower her with love. BUT I couldn't. I had to just hug her neck and tell her that Jesus loves her. it was right then that the Lord just whispered that He also loved this little one and that He wanted her to know His love as well. He reminded me that He loves her more than I do. That He would take care of this little one just like He has taken care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields. I looked around and saw all the little children around me... and I realized I cannot fix every little thing that these children need, but I do know the One who can.

lesson 4: never, I mean NEVER sing "Jesus loves me" to this little joy unless you are prepared to bawl your eyes out in happiness. this is Pierre. this little bundle of pure joy has cerebral palsy. you can't tell from these pictures, but his little eyes have a hard time focusing. the other thing you can't tell from these pictures is his mind is so sharp. Pierre lives in the mission of hope orphanage for now, at least until the family who is adopting him gets the ok from the government. Pierre is so smart. he knows the words to the song "Jesus loves me", and when you sing it to him, he sings with you. no one warned me of this. no one said, wait... he will pull at your heart strings and make you bawl out of sheer joy. are we kidding? oh my word... this little one laughs and sings and smiles with everything he has. sweet, sweet little Pierre is such an amazing reminder of having joy in any and every circumstance. ugh amazing...

lesson 5: don't lose a farkle game when playing with watermark peeps. this is just one of the many priceless moments that happened on the watermark family haiti trip because of farkles. the airport christmas carolers, the enthusiastic close-talker, the lone little sally walker, eating off of other people's plates... and oh so many others. one of my many favorite things of being around watermark :) leave your fears of making a fool of yourself behind!

stay tuned for more haiti happenings and pictures later this week :) happy thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

one week people

1. in exactly ONE WEEK I'll be on a plane headed for Haiti with my familias! It's crazy how time flies. I feel like it was just yesterday that we decided to go on this trip and now it's HERE!! so much to do between now and then and time is obviously limited... so ready to be on that plane :)

2. there is a new person in my family's life brought to us through my brother. her name is tiffany, and she is so fun sassy great! she came to visit andrew this past weekend in arkansas. we went thrifting, had stare-downs with art, explored crystal bridges, and stuffed our faces at chili's... overall I'd say it was a pretty successful weekend. excited to get to know her heart better :)

3. I've been planning our new spring break Dallas trip for SB'13. budgeting, check. vans, check. lodging, check. parent meeting, almost check. sign ups, not check. you never know how much planning goes into a trip until you actually plan it. (insert craziness overload here)
4. this is one of my favorite times of the year. the holiday season is just so FULL. the colors, the slight chill, the occasional snow fall, the chai teas... ah it makes my heart so happy. even the trees yell out their love for this season!

5. have i mentioned that in 7 DAYS I will be on my way to haiti for the best trip ever?! (heart be still)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

craziness lately

there are so so many things in the past week that can only add up to one word: craziness. I love love LOVE when weeks are like this though because they are full. last weekend my 7th grade cell group had our first (of many to come) sleepover! *sidenote #1: why in the world are they called SLEEPovers when everyone knows NO ONE (especially 7th graders hyped up on sugar) SLEEPS??

Anyways.... we conquered the corn maze, demolished some chick-fil-a nuggets, roasted s'mores, practiced our craftiness, and even squeezed in some aaaaw's during pride & prejudice.

Sunday, my little brother came over for lunch and some quality time. always a highlight of the week! unfortunately, this little cough sickness came over me and knocked me out for a couple days after that. There are always little blessings in disguise though. It was a blessing that I was able to get rest (and by rest I mean I slept all but 3 hours on Monday... what?!). It was a blessing that in those three hours that I was awake I had time/energy to do one thing... read. I had started a great book called girl soldier  the week before, but got to finish it Monday. It's about the LRA's child soldiers in Uganda. The beautiful story of a little girl, exposed to terror, forced to do unthinkable things, how the Lord rescued her, and her beautiful, God-given hope now. Reminds me to be thankful for ALL of the blessings I have and to be a voice for the voiceless.
Are you ready for this??? 2 WEEKS until Haiti!!!! to say I'm excited would be an understatement... I'm so PUMPED! 1. I get to serve with my family in such a different, cool way, 2. I get to see the place the rest of my family has fallen in love with, and 3. to squeeze some little necks and tell them that Jesus loves them!
*sidenote #2: I am convicted all too often even in my own writing of this that I don't have to wait until Haiti to love other people. I can do that right where I am, in Bentonville, AR! In fact, that's what the Lord has called me to! I should be this completely excited everyday that I get to tell people about God's greatness, His sweet mercy, and His crazy LOVE for them! hello, ally, WAKE UP!!!