Brent's Trip

I know that everyone is curious to hear some stories from Brent's trip. I asked him if he would mind invading my blog and posting some pictures/ write some comments. So many of you played a huge roll in making sure this trip was possible, and we are so thankful. One of the ladies who went on the trip is a professional photographer, so there are literally thousands of pictures, but here are a few, along with Brent's comments:

The kids were lots of fun to be with. Saturday morning we were able meet about 80 kids and we had a blast. They loved to get their picture taken...can you tell?

The last day some of us were able to meet our child we were sponsoring from Ethiopia. David, who is just to the right of me, started a child sponsorship program that is top notch, and he is really doing great work for the kingdom in his community. We really got to know David on the trip and his heart for God and the way he took care of us was amazing.

To you...this may look odd...which it is...to an Ethiopian this is normal for guys. We would see guys holding hands all the time when we drove around Addis. We couldn't help but pose for the picture...even though it felt extremely odd.

We brought 9 soccer balls to give away...this was the last little guy we gave one to.

This was the van we were in most of the trip. We rode to see different projects in Addis, and we used it to go to another city, Debrah Berhan, 4 hours way. That was a long trip in the van for my legs...and knees.

The backyard of the house we stayed. This was early morning.

This is Injera. Their traditional food. The tan looking stuff is bread that is fermented and it is rubbery...you put meat and different stuff on top of it and you rip off the bread to grab the meat and eat it. It's like the bread was a big tortilla and you put mexican food on it and you used the tortilla to grab things.

This is Teddy. He was a driver for LIA...He's 25 and still going to school.

This is where we ate every morning, noon and night...we had a cook and she was great.

DeReggie and his family...his little boy isn't in the picture he is really cute. We all thought he looked like Obama; in his features.Here is his boy.

Off the main roads the streets are like this. And the houses are mostly this.

Just buying time.
Pepsi...i had a lot of pop during the trip, all out of bottles.

One day we spent with DeReggie's ministry in the community. We helped him hand out soap and school supplies for the kids. There was a big crowd. This is Steve Young ,the Children's Pastor at Southeast that went with us.
One day we helped rebuild a house for an old man just to the left of this picture...the kids just come from everywhere to see what these white people are doing.

This was on the way back from Debrah Berhan...it was pretty country and farms...it looks flat here but looking the other way was more mountainous.

This is a church we visited. Tarp-like walls inside the tin walls that are on the outside. This church also served the community with their school they ran.

Thanks for helping me on this trip and praying for Kelsey and I during this time. It was an experience of a lifetime and it definitely puts things in perspective. It was awesome to see the heart that the people there had for their community and it has made me really evaluate my own heart for people. On the trip God kept telling our team that he wants us to love Him and our neighbors...not that I have to sell everything, or give all i have to the poor, or move overseas...just reminded us that if we are Christians then our lives should be different and our love should be loud. Loud like Mother Teresa, Loud like Martin Luther King, Loud like Jesus. It's a lifestyle that people have to notice. I guess that is one thing that stands out about the trip and about what i learned from the people there. Thanks for reading and looking at the pictures.


back in the swing of things...

I think Brent officially feels like he is back in the routine, and I feel swamped as well. Oh well...life goes one. We have had friends over the past couple of evenings, both of which Brent nor I initiated. I suppose I like it that way-- it shows me that our friends are comfortable enough to invite themselves (and others) over...and even comfortable enough to ask, "So, do I need to eat before I come or do you have food?" and "May I do my laundry while I'm there?" We'll definitely miss these people as most are leaving when the internships expire in May.

Speaking of which...Brent and I still don't know for CERTAIN what next year is going to look like for us. I suppose FEBRUARY would be a little early for US to decide all that, now wouldn't it?! I did have to turn in a survey about whether or not I wish to return next year. Yesterday at an all staff meeting at the church Brent told me that our pastor said that they all should count their blessing for currently having a job. I know this is true (especially with what my family is still going through). So last night Brent suggested that maybe it would be best to stay here one more year since I have a nice job (even if I'm not totally cracked up about teaching 8th graders for the long term), and he can probably get hired on somewhere at the church. This will give us a year to transition and not panic and uproot like we felt like we did last year. This year has been tough with all of the changes, and I don't know if I'm in for another year like that. However, I dont know if I'm in for another year this far away from so many family and friends?!

Well, those are ramblings and thoughts and cries for prayer.

The school day is getting ready to start and I feel terrible today. Head cold, sore throat traveling to my stomach. BLUGH!

I just wanted to update a little bit of what has been going on. Hope to let Brent invade the blog shortly and put up some pics from his trip and some thoughts about that.

And I'll leave you with this thought: It's almost March....?????


he's baaa-aaack.

Safe and sound. And still alseep while I'm at school.

Just wanted to update you :) More stories soon. For now...I need to make coffee and prepare myself for the onslaught of 8th graders!



IT is Tuesday. Brent will be home tomorrow.

I think...maybe, just maybe...I will make it.

More stories to come. My friends I'm staying with don't have internet at their house, so I am sorry blogging has been sparse. More next week, I promise!

Thanks for all your prayers! He's supposed to arrive at 6:30 tomorrow evening.


1 week down

A few things before Micah gets here for the weekend...

1. I got another email from Brent today. Sounds like they are doing great and really enjoying there time there. He didn't have time to write very much, but it was still SO wonderful to hear from him.

2. Locked my keys in my car yesterday, including apartment keys. Awesome. Got it all taken care of though.

3. I did a "booktalk" with my kids this past week. I wanted them to have a visual of everything they were discussing and have a way to know when they should be speaking and when not to. I remember doing something similar to this when I was in school, so I used yarn and formed a web. I thought it was going to be a headache of a day, but I sat with them in the circle and just listened. They asked questions, made insightful comments, and piggy-backed off of each other. It was beautiful, and refreshing, to watch. I even had a few students ask me the next day if we would be having a booktalk again. I was able to snap a couple pics after one block finished:

4. Gonna go make some pizza now for Micah and I. Tomato basil on her side, bacon ham on mine :)


Good news

I received confirmation from the church today that Brent and his team have arrived safely in Ethiopia. They arrived their last night late (our time) and have already done quite a bit.

I received a brief email from Brent today (YEAH!) and he said that he gets many of the same feelings and thoughts from our trip to Jamaica 2 summers ago. He said, however, that when walking the streets he feels SAFER than when we were in Jamaica. ( He may just be saying that so I don't have to worry about him!) God is faithful.

Anyway, we are supposed to get some bad storms so I want to get out of this school building and not get stuck here. I'm doing okay (by the way)...I'll keep you posted. Sorry this wasn't a more lively post.

Oh...by the way-- one of my students shared from his writer's notebook today and apparently his uncle owns all the casinos in Vegas. I thought this was very interesting. (and another girl has shared in SS that her grandpa still owns slaves...) Oh the things 8th graders will say!


and he's off...

This morning was slightly difficult. Brent was gracious enough to wake up when I did in order to visit with me an appease my worries while I was getting ready this morning. We then said goodbye and I hurried to my car with tears in my eyes. I called him twice on the way to school. Once before class started, and at lunch. Okay, so I may be slightly pathetic.

I find it completely fascinating that we did this for 4 years in college. The goodbyes. The parting. The phone. The no phone. The...distance.

Although we made it through college, and grew through that experience, it is so much different on this side of marriage. We weren't us yet. I wasn't completely dependent on him yet. The two become one in so many more ways than I could have imagined and it is difficult to part, even though I know it's only 10 days...there are many who have to go much longer. I understand, and I don't want to demean any of those who have to go through that.

He called when they landed in Detroit before he boarded the plane for Amsterdam! He won't arrive until Wednesday afternoon in Ethiopia, but I probably won't hear from him until sometime later via email.

God is faithful. I know this. I just need to learn to live this. Thanks for your prayers, for him and for me! I'm headed off to some friends now and plan on camping out there for awhile. I don't do well by myself! Micah is making a trip here this weekend and that gives me something to look forward to...

I'll keep you posted as much as I can, but I will be in the dark as well :)


early valentine's day

I have decided to take a little break from blogging this week and soak up all the time I had with Brent before he leaves for Ethiopia. He leaves tomorrow afternoon, but won't arrive there until Wednesday at 2!!! Please keep him in all your prayers as he is traveling...and for my sanity!

Friday I took the day off, as Brent didn't have to work that day either. We decided it would be our valentine's day together (fun little fact, the only valentine's day we spent together was the very first one! So this is number 5 that we'll be apart!!!) It was a wonderful day. Brent had "planned" it all out, knowing that I would not want to think about how exactly we were going to spend time together and relax.

So we slept in, which is always wonderful, and then we took our time getting ready and eating breakfast. We did have to run a few errands, which is inevitable, but Brent made it worth it as we took a detour to Starbucks (I happened to have a little left on a gift card and got my favorite...a white chocolate mocha!)! Then it was back to the apartment where I made a nice salad complete with grilled chicken and bacon and eggs and everything! It was tasty and we always enjoy spending meal time together when we aren't rushed.

Then, as promised and planned, Brent gave me a wonderful back and foot rub! After that, as is our valentine tradition, he sang me all the songs he has written me over the years. I plan on posting some of those lyrics later. This always reaches me in my deepest places and makes me feel so loved, so deeply.

After that he told me we could go to the mall to finally spend an Ann Taylor gift card I got for Christmas! He helped me pick out some wonderful and needed items (which was a gift in itself, to have him there to help me!) Then it was a quick drive through one of our favorite "restaurants," Wendy's-- and off to the movies!! What a treat! We rarely do that. We saw the WWII movie Defiance which is a true story of a group of Jews who fled to the woods to escape capture and their story of survival! Incredible.

It was a fun, relaxing, great day together. We had so many great conversations and just enjoyed each other's company. We also received a huge gift from his boss...who somehow paid the rest of the money that he needed for the trip. We were wondering exactly how all that was going to fall into place, and Neal called us Friday and let us know it was taken care of. God is faithful.

Yesterday I made a big dinner for us and we lounged again. Today has been a little bit busier as we've had to get everything together for the big departure tomorrow. Thank you all for your support and prayers in this! I will keep you updated, and you can check out their teams blog:


They will try and update it occasionally while you are there, and if I get any more information I will keep you updated! Time to go keep Brent motivated in his packing!


a super sunday

Don't have much time but I wanted to put up a couple quick pictures from our Superbowl party yesterday. We had it in our pastor's office, because he has a projector, therefore, a big screen. A pretty view of the back section of our church's campus (as the office is on the fifth floor). The circle building is where Brent works!

I think we slightly overshot the foot, but it was a good, random assortment. Crab rangoon, mini runzas, party bread, a couple desserts, some chips and dip, some apples and dip...etc! It was great. We all ate a little too much, stayed up just a little too late (11 oclock on a school night!?), and had a lot of fun (despite that Arizona, and Warner, lost).

One weird thing though...our friend Meagan's hands turned blue! We're not sure why or what or ??? But they were definitely blue all day yesterday. I don't know if you can really tell in this picture, but have any of you heard of this before?
Unfortunately/fortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, I was back to work today. And boy was it hard to get back in the swing of things- for me and the kids! A handful of my students still don't have power though.

Tonight I'm going to whip up something for supper really quickly and then settle in for a new Jon and Kate Plus 8!


beautiful, devasting landscape

This weekend Kali and Dan were able to make a VERY quick trip up to Louisville (not even 24 hours!), but it was wonderful to get to visit and fellowship with them. It has been since Thanksgiving since we last spent time together, and given that we only live 2 and half hours from each other, that's a little silly.

I was able to finally get some pictures of all of the ice: on a drive that Brent and I took at dusk, and on a walk that the four of us took yesterday (yesterday it got up to about 40 and so the ice was beginning to melt, which proved to be a little dangerous....especially for Kali and Dan's new car :( )

Here are some of the pictures that I was able to take:

For Kali and Dan's visit I made a loaf of bread...for some reason, it did not turn out quite right! No idea what went wrong!
We went to a soup and sandwich place for lunch on Saturday.

Our walk

Dan and Brent were busy looking for big icicles.

Dan was trying to help out this tree by knocking off some of the ice and snow:

Although yesterday a lot of ice melted, today I think we just may see the rest of it go. It is so nice out today that 1) Brent went out on the porch in shorts and a tshirt and got hot 2) I turned off the heat and opened the windows 3) all the ice is already gone and now the snow is beginning to melt! Crazy how big a shift in weather it has been this week!
We had some friends stay the night last night that are still without power, and they are on their way back here with some laundry to do! I better get going!