Dear Grandad…

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Dear Grandad,

I was thinking about you today. I’m twice as old now as I was when you died, and I still miss you just as much as I did then.

I remember my dad’s birthday one year; you and I went shopping for a birthday present for him. You suggested getting a steering wheel cover, and we bought it and gave it to him. I cried so much when my dad said it wasn’t something he would use – not because I was upset that he wouldn’t use it though. I was crying because I didn’t want you to have your feelings hurt, since it was your idea. I’m sorry I never had the courage to tell you that while you were still here, because I knew you felt so bad for me because I was crying. It still makes me cry today. I never wanted to disappoint you.

I have so many good memories of times we spent together; going to feed geese at the park; garage sales; eating a bag of skittles in your truck after going to an auction; the orange tic-tacs you always had around; watching you do crossword puzzles; and you reading me children’s books and Bible stories. I remember the time you put a couple of packing peanuts in a jar of water and making them disappear. It wasn’t until years later that I finally figured out how you did that trick. I only remember one time when you got frustrated with me, and you didn’t even yell or get upset. I wish I could be more like you.

I know you and Grandmom never approved of tattoos, but my fascination with them makes me hope that you’d be ok with mine. As someone once said, “Scars remind us where we have been, but not who we are” (J. Diaz). I know you were ashamed of yours because they reminded you of your former life, but I always think of you when I see them because your story gives me hope for my own mistakes and for those of others.

You were and are my hero in so many ways. At your memorial service we sang “Victory in Jesus,” which is still my favorite hymn because it was one of your favorites. I think of you when I see or wear plaid flannel shirts, when I drive your old pick-up truck, when I do crossword puzzles (which I got my love of from you), when I eat orange tic-tacs, when I make stew in a crock-pot (although it’s never as good as yours was), and when I smell sawdust (cause it reminds me of your work shed by the old house). I did my EMT clinical at the hospital you stayed at in North Kansas City, wishing that I could walk into a room and see you one more time. I wish I had gotten the chance to know you better, to hear your stories, learn about your life experiences and spend more time with you. I wish I could give you one more hug, tell you one more time how much I love you and miss you.

Thanks for always loving me and everyone in our family. I hope if you saw me today, you’d still be proud of me.

Love your granddaughter,
Rebecca Anne

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Mission to Manila!

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Hello friends! It’s been way too long. [if you’re just here for the Mission to Manila support letter, scroll down to the bottom of this post otherwise read on]

A quick update on the wonderful life of Ladybug….

I’m currently working full-time seasonally at YMCA Camp Lakewood as the Outdoor Education Assistant Program Director. What does that mean? I get to work in an office now [making schedules, learning about budgets, contacting group leaders, etc.], as well as hang out and teach kids about science, nature, and building great teams.                    11800128_1136471086368305_6344313716493508657_n               DSCN9849
This is my third year at camp, and I’m still having a blast and learning lots along the way. My plan is to stay here at least another year or so, but we’ll see what happens.

This coming January I will be heading to Manila, Philippines for about a month to volunteer with a missions organization. I’m planning on booking my flights in the next week or two!

You can read my support letter in the link below. I always appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

Manila Support letter

Thanks and message me if you have questions! ^_^

Human Trafficking Still Exists

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There are 27 million slaves in our world today. 27,000,000.

That shocked me when I heard about it at a Passion conference in 2012.

The End It movement works through Awareness, Prevention, Rescue and Restoration.
Check out their website at enditmovement.com and join my team to fight against the injustice of human trafficking by donating  here >> https://secure.enditmovement.com/team/Yogurt17

A mish-mash of thoughts

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[Sorry in advance for the random/un-connected-ness of this post. There were a lot of thoughts that I had a hard time stringing together…and this is the outcome of it.]

Joy. Sadness. Grief. Hope. Courage. Fear. Love. Anticipation. Contentment.
My thoughts and emotions bounce all over the place sometimes. At any given moment it could be anything from memories to contemplations, life at the present to the future, hopes, goals and dreams for tomorrow as well as the failings of yesterday.
There are days (like today) when I wish I had a way of letting people see inside of me, a way of showing my heart/thoughts in a way that would help people understand me more. If I were gifted with words, I would write a poem or song expressing my heart to the world. If I were more musically inclined, I would play an arrangement that let you hear the plenitude of my emotions.

I often find myself wishing that I had someone who really understood me, who knew as much about myself as I do. I wish for someone who not only complements me, but completes me. Someone who will spend time with me and be my emotional support. Someone who loves me even when I make bad decisions. Someone who thinks I’m beautiful and lovely even when I look awful and have a bad attitude.

Then I realize that I do have that Someone. [I know this would seem like a ‘duh!‘ realization, but I need it.]
He created me. He knows every little thing about me. He is my rock and my refuge, the One I (should be the first to) run to when life gets tough. He loves me enough that He died for me. And He holds my heart. (Psalm 139)

I wish I could say I never take my relationship with God for granted. It sure would save a lot of these ‘duh!‘ moments. But then there would be less room for improvement. I am thankful that God graciously gives chances for a new start every time I slip up.

Reading this post might drive you crazy because it’s not written terribly well (although I did warn you at the beginning), but maybe(?) it’ll give you a brief glance into me. And even if that’s not the case, ah well. I love Jesus!

There I was, Here I am

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If you asked me when I was in high school (or any time up to about a year ago) whether or not I liked outdoorsy things like hiking and camping and nature, my answer would have been along the lines of, “Yes, I love nature as long as it doesn’t invade my comfort zone.” That basically meant that as long as it didn’t involve bugs, getting dirty, sleeping on the ground, not having access to toilets and running water, or not having hot showers that I was alright with it. I refused to go camping or spend unnecessary time outdoors when there were swarms of mosquitoes or when the chance of getting ticks was likely.

Then there was that one time in the summer of 2012.

My family was spending the weekend at Prairie Bible Institute (where I went to school 2012-13) during the summer for their class reunion. The teens all stayed in tents (outside) while the adults stayed in the dorms (inside). Well, me being the person I was, chose to stay the weekend inside in my own room.

On that Friday, all the teens went on a float trip down the river. It was supposed to be an approximately 2-3 hour trip and then we would head back up to the school campus. Long story short, due to unforeseen circumstances, this group of about 40 kids (and leaders, of course) was out on the river (on inner tubes and a couple of rafts) for 9+ hours — with NO food, no clean water, no cell phones, no shoes, no dry clothes, no fire starting supplies, no shelter, or anything. There were plenty of mosquitoes however.

We were eventually rescued and had the best chili dinner I can ever remember. And I did end up going back to study there and having an incredible year (if you’ve read any of my other posts, then you’d know this already).

Why do I tell you this story? Because this past fall (to the present) I have been working in – get this – Outdoor Education. And what is one of the programs I get to teach? Survival Hike (a.k.a. how to be prepared to survive in case the unexpected happens). Do I now enjoy being outside all the time, hiking in the woods, building tons of fires and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes? Absolutely! Well, maybe not that last one. But it sure does make me appreciate when they’re not around.

The point of this isn’t to showcase how much I now enjoy ‘getting my hands dirty’ (although I really do) or how excited I am about going backpacking this spring, but rather to point out a greater reality – that God can use even the most trivial of things to mold us and change our perspectives, to open our eyes to the things unseen. He can use all of our experiences (pleasant or not) to prepare us for the future and to help us out once we get there. God can use the most earth-shattering events as well as the things we wouldn’t think twice about in our lives to teach us and reveal Himself to us. Maybe there are things in your life that you’ve done or been through (a class, a float trip, a heartbreak or loss, a break-dancing tournament) and now you’re thinking that it might have been a waste of time or energy because it’s not currently making a difference in your life. Take heart, my friend.

Because there I was that summer, SO miserable that we got stuck out on that river, and here I am today teaching kids the importance of survival skills and being prepared; using the example of how unprepared we were on that trip for the unexpected to happen. There I was taking (what I thought were the most random and possibly even unpractical) classes at the community college, like Arabic and geology, and here I am using them today – not just in my job, also in finding little things that I have in common with people that I meet in everyday life. There I was, wondering why I had to see my grandfather suffer in the hospital from cancer? What good could possibly come out of that when it hurt so much? And here I am, realizing how easily I can relate with people who are, have or had family in the hospital with cancer, because I know what it’s like.

So live life, and soak up as much as you can. You never know when your extensive knowledge of Furbies will come in handy.

2013 in a (slightly larger than normal) Nutshell

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Last year went by in a blur of laughter with friends and family, new experiences, and doing things that I didn’t think I would have done. With only a mere three blog posts in 2013, I may have a bit of catching up to do this year. But we’ll just start with a brief rundown of 2013:

The year started as I ventured back North to Alberta to finish a year of Biblical studies at Prairie Bible Institute. That entire year was better than I could have ever hoped it would be – I formed new friendships with some of the most encouraging and incredible people I have ever met, became part of the sweetest church family, got to show off my embarrassing lack of ice skating skills, had many much needed heart-to heart convos, and learned a lot about myself and forgiveness.

In the summer I came back to the States with the full intentions of getting a job and saving up to move right back to Alberta so I could be closer to my friends there.

I soon found out, however, that when I try to plan out my own way, God often comes along with His plan for me.

I spent the whole summer volunteering in different venues, including doing office work for a retired missionary couple from my church, spending a couple weeks as a sub for the CEF summer coordinator, and interning/teaching at FBC Raytown for their camp/VBS program.

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Although it wasn’t what I planned, it was a really great summer and I wouldn’t trade it for what (I thought) I wanted instead. Rather, I was able to spend time with my family (esp. my dad, who I hadn’t seen in almost a year), see one of my close friends get married, and reconnect with friends in the States. And I was able to learn from and spend valuable time with Mrs. Drown who, with her husband, had a been a missionary in Ecuador.

Since the fall I have been living 90 miles south of St. Louis at a YMCA camp in Outdoor Education. I basically spend my days working with groups (mostly kids) teaching educational programs including (but definitely not limited to): archery, geocaching, survival hikes, water ecology, team-building, Underground Railroad, orienteering, high adventure courses, ziplines, and nature center (snakes, rabbits, turtles, etc.). This job has been really fun and not only have I learned a lot, I’ve been pushed out of my own comfort zone in new ways, like leading campfire and having to address large groups of people really loudly. If you know me well, you know that I’m not typically like that, so it’s been cool to see what a difference it makes even in boosting my own confidence level.

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Looking back at the year that was, I am thankful for who God is and the ways in which He has worked – for laughter, for restored relationships and new ones, for being our reason to hope and forgive (Jesus Christ) and for loving us!
As for what 2014 holds, stay tuned….

Soli Deo gloria!

The Road Not Taken (R. Frost)

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Love this poem by Robert Frost….

The Road Not Taken

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost