Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hello, world! I have PMS!

Honestly, I'm not sure why it's considered inappropriate for a woman to admit to people that her temporary insanity is largely due to hormones. This weeklong distortion and amplification of emotions is a fact of life, and the sooner a woman (and the world around her) learns to live with it, the better.

As a Christian, I'm learning that God allows women to go through PMS to learn how to manage their emotions. Not every emotion that comes along is wrong to feel (i.e., anger). It's what you do with it that matters. For me, I know that for about a week or so, I'm going to be more irritable, arrogant, anxious, and overall unstable than usual. It's a time when God seems to be farther away, so I need to be aware that it's probably because of the hormonal fog in my brain. I'm going to have a bigger appetite (so fried chicken or a burger will probably be OK), and yes, chocolate becomes a drug that mysteriously helps me feel better! I'll feel more fatigued and just overall bla, so I shouldn't necessarily feel guilty about feeling tired or sluggish. If anything around me seems more annoying than usual, it's probably the hormones. And since my judgment is clouded, I try not to make any major decisions during PMS! The night before it ends, I'm probably going to have a mini-meltdown, cry a lot, and reevaluate my life.

Of course, if I mess up -- act like a total witch around everybody or make really stupid decisions or pig out unnecessarily -- I'll need to be responsible for my actions. (If I offend anyone, I'll need to apologize... and people will need to call me on that. :">) But it's good to be aware that this mini-war will rage inside me temporarily, and everything will be OK in the end.

I think I'm so into mastering emotional awareness because in recent years, keeping my emotions in check has been a MAJOR challenge that I've had to learn (and am still learning). In the past, I've taken out my crap on people and allowed my brain to fry in the heat of some uncontrolled emotions (i.e., anger, rage, anxiety, jealousy, you name it!). I, uh, learned a lot in my visit to a psychiatric hospital and follow-up therapy several years ago. :"> The antidepressant they put me on was SO nice because it numbed me back to normalcy. After I tapered off the drug, I started feeling my emotions WAAAY strongly! (I wasn't just happy, I was REALLY HAPPY!!! I wasn't just scared, I was REALLY SCARED!!!) Learning how to control them without medicine has been an adventure (understatement!) and a rewarding journey.

Now, I can even recognize emotional PMS changes in other women, and being sensitive to that is helpful in getting along with them. (Of course, anytime a woman fails to control her temper doesn't automatically mean that she's got PMS. :">)

One of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond is the one where Ray tries to get Debra to see how crappily she treats him when she has PMS. He says, "This isn't Debra! This is the woman who shows up once a month to rip into me like a monkey on a cupcake!"

Mmm... cupcake. Yes, world, as I write this, I do have PMS. If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go raid my kitchen for some chocolate. :o)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Transforming Lives

One of the coolest things about coming back to work at The Nightshelter after four years is seeing what God has done in people's lives in that time.

I've already mentioned Bryan, one of the guys currently working at the Shelter that was a resident when I first came over 4 years ago. He used to smoke (cigarettes and cannibas) multiple times a day. He went to church, but didn't do much beyond that. He had been homeless since he was 15 (I knew him at 19), so inevitably dropped out of school. In these four years he has matured tremendously. He's become a man of God and it's amazing to see him working with the guys. Even walking around town, he knows most every street guy and they all seem to respect him. He boldly speaks the truth of God's Word into their lives. Just the other night a guy agreed with another resident that he was ugly. Bryan quickly said (even though he was starting his 3rd waking night shift and very tired), "But what about when it says in the Bible that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? How can you call yourself ugly when you're God's creation?" I was blown away that he thought to say that!

Another guy who I've seen around church but haven't been able to speak to is Marty. He arrived at the Nightshelter with a friend of his from Ireland. Marty had stayed at the Shelter a couple years before and when he and his friend decided to leave Ireland they made their way to Bedford and the Shelter. When I knew him, he couldn't bring himself to come to church. He would set out to church every Sunday morning, but was never able to actually walk through the front door. Eventually he did, and shortly after that his friend died of an overdose. Rather than turning from God out of pain he was able to turn to God with his pain. And after some healing he even met and married a lovely girl, whose name escapes me at the moment. Now, he's one of the volunteers who helps set up before and after services, so is always one of the first to arrive and last to leave.

This evening I talked to another guy named Dave. In the time I was on Project he lived in both the Shelter and Barton House (the transitional house for the homeless King's Arms runs). I saw him at church tonight, somewhere I never would have seen him four years ago since he was quite bitter towards God. He now has his own flat and just recently celebrated the first sober birthday he's had in 15 years!

Seeing these guys all these years later gives me a renewed hope for the guys I'm serving now. It IS possible for lives to be transformed, and I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take part in that transformation!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I must've missed the memo...

that it was Show up at the Shelter Drunk Day!

We had 3 guys come up that were highly intoxicated. Two were allowed in and sent to their bed. The third couldn't even stand up straight and wasn't allowed inside. I think he had been barred, anyway, and must've forgotten when he decided to come try for a bed. I ended up calling the police because he wasn't leaving and we didn't want the neighbors complaining. Then one of the guys who was sent to his bed up and left and his girlfriend ran out after him. Once they leave after coming into the shelter for the night they're given 1/2 a warning (after 2 warnings you're barred) and they're not allowed back in until the next night. I feel bad for the girl who ran after her boyfriend because she left so impulsively she didn't even grab a coat, and she was wearing a short skirt and t-shirt! I hope she manages to stay warm tonight...

After the first crazy hour, things calmed down. I went out back to talk to B, the second guy that got sent to bed, when he was allowed out for a cigarette. He was very upset with my fellow staff members, so I chatted with him a bit and got him to calm down a little. It was sad talking to him. He had just found his parent' gravesites and had been spending a lot of time up there. They died when he was 15 (he's now in his 50's), and after they died he basically had to raise himself. He got quite emotional about it all. He also told me about his kids, who are around my age, that he hasn't seen in ages since he's allowed alcohol to consume his life. He truly is a broken man and he needs a revelation from God. He relies soley on his support worker, who happens to be my friend Justyna. It's hard for her because he's basically placed all his hopes in her -- that's she'll reunite him with his children, that she'll find him an appropriate place to live, that she'll always go to doc appointments with him, etc. Let's pray that B will have a revelation that GOD is what he needs and the only One who can sort him out.

I want to share more, but it's nearly 1 a.m. and I should be off to bed. Ciao!

I'm cold

And it's only September. It's gonna be a long winter.

I slept nearly 10 hours last night. Maybe a bit more. Don't know if it was exhaustion or delayed jet lag. I did a sleep over @ the Nightshelter on Tues night and I didn't sleep at all. I didn't go up until 1 because I was talking to Bryan, one of the staff members who was actually a resident when I was working there 4 years ago (at which time he was 19 and had already been homeless for 4 years). We had a lot to catch up on! Then as soon as I laid my head upon the pillow, ready for sweet dreams, I heard the water boiler. And what sounded like running water as if someone was showering. Oi! That lasted long enough to wake me up. So I slept on and off, fully aware of having to keep an ear out for the emergency phone and not wanting to oversleep since I had to go down at 8:30. Therefore, I was wide awake at 6.

After a quick washing up of breakfast dishes and kicking the guys out at 9, I had to rush into town to the offices because we had a training entitled "The Art of Defusing." Conflict, that is. It lasted all freakin' day. But it was helpful. A lot of the core elements are exactly the same as the ones you learn as a teacher. Only these guys aren't little ones. And they're usually drunk or on drugs when they're involved with conflict. Other than that, just the same.

I had a nice evening off. Jez made us Shepherd's pie and then rushed off to a Healing Prayer team meeting. Justyna told me I should go to have a look at the eligible guys, but I thought better of it. Lol! We ended up hanging out at home, drinking coffee and tea out in the garden...in the freezing cold. We didn't stay out there too long.

I still can't get over how quiet the shelter is these days. The guys are all chill. Well, there was one incident on gate Tues night. We refused to let someone in because he was drunk and had just punched another resident when they were down the street. He came back and was banging on the door, but he left before we thought it necessary to call the police. I was back in the kitchen serving up dinner, so I missed most of the action.

The residents are still very happy to get to know me. They're very kind and ask me questions about myself. In fact, I think they were trying to be matchmakers between me and another staff member, but I don't think that will happen. He's a great guy and all, just well into his 40's! But they mean well. It's just a sign that they want to take care of me, in a weird way.

Ok, I'm off until next time!

New pet peeves

As I get older, I learn how important it is for me to know myself. :) Especially when getting along with other people and drawing healthy boundaries, it's important to know which buttons shouldn't be pressed, right? During one stage of my life, I unearthed a whole batch of pet peeves (dated 8/22/06, which you're welcome to read on this blog that I share here with Debbie). Now some new ones have surfaced.

1. Terms of address. In Texas, it's common to refer to a stranger as "Sir" or Ma'am," traditionally out of respect for elders, but really I think it's more out just of respect for other people, especially strangers. I normally call cashiers at the grocery store "Sir" or "Ma'am," even though they're about half my age. (Shucks, even my own mother sometimes calls me "Ma'am.") On the other side of the coin, if you've barely met me, PLEASE DON'T CALL ME "SWEETIE!!" Just because I probably look younger than you, and you haven't figured out how to pronounce my name yet, that does NOT give you the right to call me a term of endearment! (One man who was handing out bulletins at church even called me "Darlin'" once. AAAGH!!!) "Ma'am" or "Miss" would do just fine. Besides -- how do you know how sweet I am or ain't until you get to know me? :">

2. Marital status discrimination. Yes, according to one discrimination training I attended at a previous job, this one does exist! No wonder it felt wrong for older people at another job to give me crappy hours just because I was young and didn't have a family to hurry home to. (Mainly it bothers me outside the workplace, though.) Can you please not take me for granted just because I haven't found Mr. Right yet? My time is just as important as anyone else's; I'm just not responsible for managing it with a husband and family yet.

3. Not replying to my emails/messages. If you email or write me, and I reply back, I've done my part in the communication, right? And I understand that life gets busy. A friend of mine and I email back and forth, literally about every 3 or 4 months, but it's consistent; we've faithfully kept in touch since college. But if I send you an email or phone message, and then I wait a few months for you to reply, and then I run into you and you're like, "Hey! I haven't heard from you in a while!" and this is the trend in our friendship, I'll probably be like, "Uh, the ball's in your court, babe." I mean, how hard is it to hit the Reply button, type something briefly, and hit Send? Just sayin'. :)

4. Maturity: listening skills. Part of growing up means learning that life doesn't revolve around you. (Or that it shouldn't, anyway.) So, when you're carrying on a conversation with someone, it's important to listen, i.e., mentally compute and store, what they say. Remember it for later. Match it with one of your experiences. When I am sharing a dream or my heart with you, can you please at least make some kind of effort to remember it? Or at least part of it? I spilled my guts to people years ago about crushes I've had or dreams I've pursued, and months or years later, I'll have to repeat the whole thing. I know you've probably slept since then, and I've done the same thing, but after a while, it gets old. In a lighter example, one friend of mine keeps asking me where I work, and I've told her half a dozen times. And usually when I answer, I catch myself sighing frustratedly and making myself not explode. AAAGH!!!

5. Maturity: opinion vs. fact. This is America, where you're free to enjoy a variety of almost everything. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone is going to have the same taste. For example, if I listen to someone tell me how much they love New Kids on the Block, and if I politely hold my tongue because I think NKOTB is one of the most pointless bands of all time, and I have awkward childhood memories of not liking the same music that every other kid in America did back then, can you please not make gagging noises when I tell you how much I love The Carpenters or ABBA? They're an acquired taste, really (yes, like bacon mints...long story). But just because you think one band or form of entertainment is the greatest in the whole world, doesn't mean it is. It just is to YOU. And I can respect that. :) Thank you for the music.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remembering His Promise

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion --
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
insead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of the spirit of despair.
They will be called OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of His splendour.

~ISAIAH 61:1-3

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So far, so good

Day 1 went well. I refamiliarized myself with the shelter and met a couple of the new staff members who were in. The guys were very accepting as well (thanks for praying!). Most all of them had heard of a new American starting named Debbie who'd be living with Justyna & Jez. A couple even knew my age. Justyna was telling me that she had talked to some on Friday and they were asking about me saying, "There's a new girl starting, yeah? Her name's Debbie. She'll be living with you. She starts work Monday..." She was surprised they knew so much, esp since at the time I didn't know when I'd be starting!

I really didn't get to talk to many of them. Only in passing. I spent a lot of time talking to one guy, I'll call Vic. He's from Nigeria. And he basically started preaching to me -- way to turn the tables! It was good, though! He was saying as Christians Christ's resurrection is at the core of our being, and we have to have faith that He is able to resurrect that which we thought was lost (for example, that He'll provide in our need, that He'll heal our sickness, etc) He also told me how he didn't know why he's ended up where he is, poor and homeless. He's educated and just made some poor decisions and trusted the wrong people. And he said he knew he was there for a reason. Probably so he'd remember the poor, because back in his country he would just pass them by and not give them a second thought. Or he'd have negative thoughts towards them, thinking it was their own fault they were in such a place. I was blown away! And if I were in the same position, I don't think I'd be asking God what lessons He had for me to learn. I might be a bit too bitter or angry for that!

Please pray for Vic - that he finds a job and is able to afford his own place. And that the applications he's submitted for housing will yield something. Oh, and to show you his intelligence, the man studied bio-chemistry, for crying out loud!

I'm working tonight and am on sleepover. That means I'll sleep upstairs in the staff room so I'm around in case something happens and the night staff needs backup. Let's pray it's a peaceful evening like last night. And I have an early shift in the morning, but I'll be going to the offices for a training with most of the KAP staff. So I'll get to meet more of them.

Ok, I'm off to finish getting ready and to pack my bag for tonight. Ciao!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gotta Make It Quick

It's 1 a.m., I'm freezing, & I drank a bit too much water earlier, so this will be quick.

I'm adjusting to England so far. Has it hit me I'm here? I guess. On the day I left I told my friend Elaine I felt disconnected. So I suppose I'm a bit more connected, so to speak.

I enjoyed church at King's Arms tonight. It's nice to be there again and I felt at home. I start working at the Nightshelter tomorrow evening. Please pray it all goes well and that I adjust and the guys adjust to having me there.

I've managed to avoid most political talk while I've been here. Only two convos, both very short. My political views are definitely the minority here in Europe, even within the church, so I just pray I'm not forced into any heated debates. That will more than likely take place at the Shelter if anywhere. The guys aren't quite as gracious as the Christians I meet/know.

I've tried calling home a couple of times, but Mom & Dad never answer the phone. So for their sakes, I'll say I'm fine and adjusting well. So Mom knows, I bought some vitamins my very first day and have been faithfully taking them -- a multivitamin, co Q-10, cod liver oil, and vitamin c. I'm taking them as much for my health as for the sake of my nails, which have grown quite brittle and easily split/chipped. Very sad. I keep them cut short, hoping that will help.

I had fun in Cambridge with Bekki & Debs. I can't post any pics because Jez & Justyna don't have wireless, so I can't use my computer. Perhaps I'll upload pics to their computer.

I spent the weekend hanging out with Justyna. We did some shopping in town yesterday. I'm trying to be frugal, so I spent very little -- I bought a £2.25 coin purse and £3 slippers. It sounds cheap, but it's over $10! I've nearly spent all the cash I bought with me since I had to purchase some necessities as well as grocery shop. But I'm good to go.

Justyna's promised to set me up with babysitting jobs, since she's forcing me to go to a New Kid's on the Block concert with her in January. I've promised to go as long as I can earn the money. She's rather motivated since she purchased the ticket already and has to wait for me to pay her back. Ha!

And it's my goal to learn how to drive a standard transmition while I'm here. I'm legal to drive since I have a U.S. driver's license. Jez said he'll teach me. I have a bit of experience, and I'm thankful that even though I'll be sitting on the right side of the car, the pedals are still in the same order. So I shouldn't get too confused. Hopefully.

Like I said, I start work tomorrow. I'm working late shifts (2:30-10:30) Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, and an early Wed (during which I'll be in a "conflict resolution" training). I have the weekend off, don't know about Monday, and start nights (10:30 pm - 9 am) next Tuesday. I'm not too concerned about nights. My body is used to being forced to stay awake at all hours. But let's see how I'm doing after two days in a row of it . . .

Ok, off to bed. I hope to wake up in time to go for a walk and then finish organizing my room before work. I'm having to be creative with that last one.

Let me know how you people are doing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Quick Update

since it's already midnight here and I need to get to sleep.   Below is most of the email I sent out once I arrived.  I only omitted my contact info.  If you're interested in either receiving my email updates and/or want my contact info and you're not on my list, leave me a message.  

It's been a great day so far, catching up with Debs and meeting Elly.  Tomorrow Debs will take me to Cambridge to meet Bekki and after spending the afternoon there we'll finally head over to Bedford.  It still hasn't hit me I'm here.  But that could be because I'm sleep deprived.  Ok, off to bed!  


Hi all, just wanted to update you and let you know I arrived safe and sound.  The flight was very nice.  There was no one in the seat next to me so I got to stretch out a bit.  However, I only dozed for an hour and a half.  No real sleep.


When I arrived at the border check, I had to wait for about 25 minutes for the nice agent to check my documents.  He had to following up with the visa application I submitted three months ago, even though that particular visa was denied, and he also called King's Arms to make sure I really am working for them.  Despite the long wait and uncertainty, I felt rather peaceful about it . . . the first 5 minutes or so.  But I knew God wouldn't bring me this far just to shut the door.  And since he called King's Arms, they knew what was going on and promptly started praying.  The agent was really nice and actually stamped my passport with a 6 month visa stamp instead of the normal tourist stamp, since I would actually be doing voluntary work.  And it was an answer to prayer because he didn't even ask to see my return flight info, which I had misplaced along the way!

Many of you have asked about my contact information, either to send donations or to send care packages/letters.  My mom is handling my finances while I'm away, so you can contact her if you'd like to make financial contributions . . . 

. . . 

I don't start work until Monday, so I have plenty of time to settle in and adjust to the new time zone (we're 6 hours ahead of U.S. central time).  

Thanks again for your prayers and support, and I hope to hear from you!






Sunday, September 14, 2008

We are blessed

Our lights went out Friday night around 11.  We were blessed they lasted that long.

All night long we heard the wind banging against the windows and the rain pelting the house.  The wind was blowing so hard we feared the windows might give way.  A fear fed by the fact that rain water started seeping in through the front-facing windows.  We were blessed that our windows held.

My uncle brought over a little battery operated t.v., and throughout the hours without electricity we would switch it on and soak up the images of the world outside our house, as devastating as most of them were.  Today, we were blessed to be some of the fortunate few that are able to watch the newscasts, both positive and negative.

As dawn broke and the sky began to lighten, we could actually see the wind and rain pounding our house.  We were blessed that we only had to endure a few short hours of seeing the onslaught.

When the rain let up, we stepped outside to quickly survey the damage.  We were blessed that only parts of the fence went down and nothing slammed into our house.

Halfway through Saturday, I don't know when exactly because we were all passed out, miserable from the heat, our electricity came back.  We were blessed, considering that as of Sunday evening there are still over 2.5 million people without power.

We have electricity, water & gas in our home, as well as plenty of drinking water, food and emergency supplies.  I was able to take a shower this morning.  What a blessing!

Ike wrecked havoc on my city, and I'm saddened by the images flooding the television and internet.  On Wednesday I'm supposed to board a plane and fly far, far away from my home.  I'm gutted to be leaving when my city is in such devastation.  I'd much rather stay behind and help my friends and family recover.  But I know they, and Houston, are in good hands.  And I pray many more blessings will be showered upon them in the coming days, weeks, and years.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The good thing about Ike


A beautiful sunset.

Some Pre-Ike Footage

It's nothing spectacular; just wanted to give ya a glimpse of what things are like down here...


video


video
It's looking quite ominous outside.  The sunny skies have been chased away by the outer bands of Ike.  It hasn't started raining yet, but the wind is picking up a bit more.  It's still not anywhere near where it's going to be, though.

I literally just heard the weather man say that there are four factors in storm surge:  storm size, storm speed, storm fetch, and storm angle -- and we have ALL FOUR at the worst case.  Great.

There are areas near the coast that have already started to flood and not one drop of rain has fallen.  How crazy is that?!

Anywho, we're still gonna stay put and see what happens.  My grandma is here now.  She and my uncle boarded up her house and packed up much of her stuff.  She brought some yummy food, so we're having a bit of a hurricane party!

But keep us in your prayers.  Now they're projecting 10-15" of rain.  *sigh*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One more week, people

In exactly one week I will be heading out the door and making my way to Bush Intercontinental Airport so I can board a flight headed for London.

YIKES!!!!

And while I'm making the final plans and preparations for my departure, I'm watching Ike churning in the Gulf and they're saying he may cause major damage here, ruining plans for my going away party.

*sigh*

So here are some major things you can pray about:

1.  NO HURRICANE!  I would HATE to not have a final opportunity to say goodbye to my friends and family.  That would majorly suck!  Also, if a hurricane does happen to come this way, that we would have wisdom as to what to do (leave, stay, board up, ride it out, etc).

2.  I would use my remaining time here wisely -- that I would finish up everything NOW and not wait 'til LATER, so I can enjoy my final days/hours and not have to spend them running around going crazy!

3.  Peace of mind -- for getting everything finalized, for leaving my home and family and friends, for trusting God to provide all that I need.


Ok folks, with that said, I'm off to pack my big suitcase and figure out how those vacuum-sealed garment bags work.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Farewell, you served me well

Remember when I mentioned ordering a new charger for my computer?  Well, it finally arrived a few days ago and I was giddy as a schoolgirl as I went to plug it in.  My eyes lit up along with the little green light that indicated power was surging into my computer.  Strange that it's green and not the usual orange indicating the battery is charging, I thought.  Oh well.  

I gently opened the top and waited for the screen to magically light, trying to recall what I had been doing when the computer suddenly lost all power and went into sleep mode.  I broadly smiled as all the desktop icons appeared and I checked the upper-right-hand corner to see what the battery icon had to say for itself . . . What the HECK?!  I've never seen the battery icon with an X in it.  What does that mean . . . 

Well folks, it means that my battery is dead.  

*sigh*

Thankfully I can still use my computer without a living and actively charging battery.  I've been testing it out this week, to see how hindering it is to not have a battery.  'Cause after all, it's a luxury, not a necessity.  I can't say that I'm completely content, but right now $120 on a new computer battery isn't in the budget.  Why couldn't this happen while I was working and earning a nice, plump teacher salary, I don't know.  God's funny like that...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'm shattered!

That's British for exhausted.  I need to start integrating the lingo again so I don't experience too much culture shock come September 18.

Crap.  That date's coming fast.

I had a garage sale today to help raise money for my trip.  ((Is it considered a "trip" when you'll be gone for 6 months or possibly a year?))  I had wonderful people donate some items (like Brandi and Dani -- THANK YOU!!!) and my friend Carla came over with her three kids to help me organize and price.  They were life savers!  Yet as hard as we all worked, my mom and I were still up pretty much all night finishing up.  It was a mess this morning, attempting to set up while people kept trying to sort through boxes that needed to be unpacked.  We were able to drive the earliest birds away (the 5:30-6:00 ones), but by 6:30 there was no holding the masses back.  The two microwaves and 1/3 of the furniture we set out was gone before 7:30!

My parents and grandma were HUGE blessings.  Definitely couldn't have done it all without them!  My grandma's nature is to serve; if she's not able to help you by doing something, then she doesn't feel the love flowing.  So I put her to work sewing up seams that needed stitching, reattaching heads to stuffed animals, and cleaning small appliances to make them presentable to sale.  One of the fancy dresses she mended I decided to keep after all.  Ya never know when you need a dressy dress!

It was a good experience over all.  A bit overwhelming at first and I pretty much agreed to whatever deals people wanted to cut.  But after an hour or so I got my bearings and was able to negotiate more.  And then I decided I really didn't want to have too much stuff left over and was more concerned with getting rid of things.  My parents donated an extra china cabinet and a damaged entertainment center and I was happy that they were both bought and taken off our hands!  Well, the entertainment center is still in the driveway and I really hope the lady who already paid for it comes back for it . . . and that someone who didn't pay for it doesn't take it . . .  We tried to move it back into the garage or at least into the backyard, but it was IMPOSSIBLE.  I don't want to be the one to move it again!

Overall, we made enough to pay for most of my plane ticket!  Or to live comfortably over there for almost 2 months; uncomfortably for 3 months.  And I've been blessed to have people donate money without me having to ask for anything.  It's encouraging to know that God really is providing as I step out in faith!  

The driving force behind me having a garage sale to begin with came from Luke 18, when Jesus tells the rich ruler that in order to inherit eternal life he must sell everything he owns and give to the poor.  It seriously came to mind every single day until I finally sucked it up and did it.  And because I felt God leading me to do it, there was such an abundance of grace to get me through the past few days.  Granted, it's a daily battle not to let my fears get the best of me, but I'm learning how to trust Him more and more each day.
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