Nicaragua 2007 :: Part I

Recently, I've been spending some time reflecting on some mission trips I've taken in the last 5-6 years.  Since these were very impactful points in my life and something I think about often, I thought I'd share some things from my trip in a little mini series.

In 2007, I was just finishing up high school and was given the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with the Northminster youth group I was involved with.  I had never been out of the country or on any type of mission trip before so this was an entirely new experience for me.

visiting schools:
Immediately after arriving, we went straight to one of the schools that my church had connections with. All of the students were so happy to see us and performed some dances for us wearing traditional Nicaraguan garb.  We got a tour of the school and really got an idea of where these students spent their days.
Another day, we went and visited one of the schools of a missionary there.  We got to tour the school and then spend some time playing on the playground with some of the students.  I learned how to double dutch that day.  I didn't speak and Spanish, but I still managed to play and laugh with the kids.  Smiles and laughter transcends all languages.

touristy stuff:
We got to do some touristy stuff.  One of the first days there, we went to a couple church services and then to a market near Lake Managua.  We had lunch at a restaurant and then spent some time walking around the market looking at the little shops.  I got a little pot with turtles carved on it.  I was also able to spend some time people watching and enjoy the beauty of the lake.  Later in the trip, we were also able to visit a volcano (pictured left) and some kind of coffee factory where we learned about their bagging process.  We also went to a tourist market where they had a lot of tshirts, flags, local artistry, etc. that you could purchase.  Throughout the trip, we drove around the city a lot and learned some history of Nicaragua from Bill, our host.

missionary testimonies:
We spent a couple evenings listening to testimonies from a couple different missionaries.  One in particular stuck out to me.  The man was telling us how he felt he was being called to become a missionary in Nicaragua.  The missionary said he would go to Nicaragua as long as God wanted should the money come in to provide for him and his family.  At the point he shared this story, he had been a missionary in Nicaragua for years.  This showed me that if it was the right place for you to be, God would provide and it would work out (granted you still need to put in some work to raise money).  This lesson has translated into a lot of different places in my life and helped me mentally with fundraising for my other mission trip.


Give Thanks

I touched on the subject a little in my most recent (Nov) life update and 2013 Goals, but I have been spending a lot of time lately counting my blessings and thanking God.

I have been blessed with great family, friends, health, and opportunity (schooling, jobs, etc), but I often forget to thank God for it all.

"What if you woke up with 
only the things you thanked God for 

This quote really hit me one day... If this were true, I wouldn't have been waking up with a whole lot because I often forget to thank God for all of the things I'm grateful for (even the struggles see Romans 5:3-5).

I tried doing a gratitude journal where I wrote a line or two every day of things I was thankful for.  Unfortunately, I'm not very good at being consistent with remembering to add to it, so it evolved to writing a thank you note to God every couple days to completely forgetting about the journal.

Instead of the journal, I've really made a point to thank God in the moment.  Whenever a really happy/content moment happens or the thought "I love _____" comes to mind, I thank Him (i.e. My puppy is being super sweet... Thank you God for placing this dog in my life at this time.  Thank you for all of her sweet moments, etc.)

I'm still trying to come up with some way to record this or to remind myself to be thankful at all times, but that will develop with time.

24th Birthday

the only pic I have of all three of us : ]
I know I'm a little late on this, but a lot has come up since.  better late than never : ]

In January, I celebrated my 24th birthday... My birthday itself was really a day of disaster (sickness, work move, lack of sleep, etc), but it ended in a great dinner with my family, Ben, and Margaret... and lots of good presents.

Over the weekend, my whole family got together to celebrate my birthday, along with my cousin and aunt's birthdays.
I'm looking forward to so much in my 24th year.  Ben and I will be welcoming our baby girl into the world in May, we will be officially adding my sister's fiance to our family in September, and there are lots of positive changes and movement happening at work in the next 6 months.  These are just the big life events and changes that I know about so far.


Woodgrain Inspiration

I have always had this love for patterns in nature (see Honecomb inspiration).  My senior year of art, my theme was patterns in nature.  Looking back, I feel like I just skimmed the surface and it is something that I want to look more into and have that translate into some home decor and art.

After a little research, I learned this is called faux bois (french for false wood).  Faux bois is the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media.

Here are a couple home decor pieces:
Pinned Image
Woodgrain quilting
mld104736 0509 drawers fish l 12 Woodgrain Projects   DIY Faux Bois
Martha Stewart Faux-Bois Dresser
Woodgrain wallpaper by Brett Design
Velvet Burnout
And some handmade products:
faux bois vases cg
DIY Faux Bois vase by Centsational Girl
Red Woodgrain Heart Card - Paper Cut Valentine
Woodgrain paper cut Valentine by AshleyPahl on Etsy
Pinned Image
Woodgrain Hoop by Megan Van Sipe @ Lilac Saloon
What do you think?  Have you ever heard of faux bois before?

Sidenote: My computer is so close to being fixed so I will finally be able to get some more pictures up of projects and some other stuff instead of just inspiration pieces.  I can't wait!  There is something about using your own computer that feels so comfortable and I miss it.
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