24 December 2008
Happy Holidays to the people I love most! My family and my friends!
It’s hard to believe that no matter what situations are thrown your direction, life keeps on going without even skipping a beat. It almost seems unfair.
For me, this year started out with a flight to Nigeria in January. I had a long layover in London so was able to take the underground sub into town and see a bit of England.
Let me first explain why I was on a plane to Africa in the first place…
After my two trips to Haiti, I had big dreams of starting my own orphanage there (Haiti). I had no idea where to start or even what everyday life at an orphanage was truly like. So I said to myself that before I go trying to start my own orphanage, I might just want to volunteer in one first. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, my patience with large quantities of children wears thin quicker than most. “But I’ll be all the way over in Africa, I will love those children there as if they were my own,” I thought to myself. Did you know that regardless of which continent you are on you’re still the same person? I had no idea.
Anyway, I ended up at the largest one I could find, 200 children out in a village called Xtutulu. I was under the impression it was English speaking, but most spoke broken English or Xgalla. Very hard to communicate and I’ve always been horrible at charades anyhow.
My first day in Nigeria started out with a broken tooth and a scar on my chin that will last me the rest of my life. I wont go into those details because it is all written in earlier post. It didn’t take me long though to figure out that starting an orphanage was no longer my dream in life. I ended up staying at a bible college there in Xnyigba and helping out in different areas.
My best friend Amanda eventually joined me there and we have so many great stories. I must say that those three months were some of the most difficult times in my life. But I learned so much about God, myself, and just the world in general; that any tough situation will make you a better person if you let it. I am so blessed to have experienced Nigeria as I have and I wouldn’t change one day for another.
When Amanda and I returned to the U.S. in April we took a trip to Mexico with our friend Randy. For years I had said I wanted to learn how to surf, but I never made it a priority because I just figured I would “do it later”. I came to the reality while in Africa that later might not come and that I shouldn’t always count on having a tomorrow. So off to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico we went for sun, surfing, and relaxation. I think that was probably the best week of my life!
In August I traveled with the Friend Ships crew from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California to help out with a yacht that was donated to them. We were supposed to sail the new ship that Friend Ships has in Seattle around the Panama Canal and back to the home port in Louisiana, but hurricane Ike hit before we ever made it that far and plans were altered. I did have a great couple of months in Cali working on the hull of the yacht and surfing my little heart out! Have I ever mentioned how much I love surfing?!
It’s December 14th today and I just returned from a trip to Idaho. My best friend Amanda, whom I’ve mentioned above, just got married yesterday and I was able to spend a bit of time with her and be a part of her beautiful wedding. I of course was happy to see her marry the man of her dreams, but also wish life could have stayed the same and we could have gallivanted around the world for the rest of our lives.
I’m looking forward to this upcoming year and all it will hold. If everything works out accordingly I already have plans that will last me until 2010. I’m hoping to go to this YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School in Australia this next October. It’s a five-month program and I’ll be able to surf and learn about God all at the same time. Now I can’t think of anything better in life than that! I’m super excited and am hoping to make enough money this winter/summer to have it paid for before I even go. Between working on a cruise ship (which I hope to be starting in January) and fishing in Alaska this shouldn’t be a problem.
I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas and a better year than the one before.
Love and Hugs,
(The siblings and my two nieces.)
16 December 2008
Amanda and I pre wedding. She was the most gorgeous bride EVER! They had such a beautiful white wedding, with tons of candles and lots of friends and family.
I was so happy to be there to see her marry the man of her dreams! Of course I wish we could have forever gallivanted around the world together, but all seasons in life change as time goes along.
A assured me that she wasn't going to fall off the face of the earth just because she's gotten married. So our DnA of God ministry shall continue on. Whew, that was a close one!
I thought I would add one of their engagement photos since I didn't get any good wedding ones.
11 December 2008
Before I left for Idaho my parents got me the COOLEST laptop case EVER! My mom made me my special birthday cake that I have every year and then my best friend Debi sent me a present in the mail.
I just wanted to tell you all how amazing Amanda is. She is getting married in three days, yet she set a whole day aside just for me, because it was my birthday and she was determined to make it special for me. And that she did indeed.
To start the day off, Amanda’s parents Bill and Christy came over to the house A and I are staying at and left me a gift. Then we went out to lunch at Chapalas Mexican Restaurant and had a great time. I got to sport the sombrero hat while listening to the “happy birthday” song and eating fried ice cream. :D
We went tanning; A got us a pedicure, hot tubing and so much more! Then we went out for pizza and A’s grandma made me this cake in the picture!
(Wishing for all my dreams to come true.)
I’m just amazed at the incredible people I have the pleasure of knowing!
I wanted to say thanks to everyone for the phone calls, texts, e-mails and all the facebook/myspace messages! I had close to a hundred messages! You all have no idea how much that meant to me! So thanks so very much for making my birthday so special! Love you all!
08 December 2008
A with her “Bride to be” crown, Andrea and I.
This was A’s super cool bridal shower cake that her friend Lori made. Absolutely amazing! And check out the super cool mice! I loved them!
Amanda and I laughing over the bouquet I think. I’m not sure what exactly was so funny, but I like this picture. It’s so happy. :D
So, I have to tell you how excited I was last night! We were hanging out in the hot springs, in the dark, there were tiki torches and it was snowing! Hanging out in a hot spring while it was snowing was incredible! I have pictures, just not at the moment. I'll post them later...
And I’ll have wedding photos to come… :D