Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ditz and Pics

So, I wanted to share a few pictures from our trip and also to tell you about my recent embarrassing moment on our flight home. As I mentioned in the last blog, I got a cold and although it had greatly improved, it caused me excruciating pain during the decent of our first two flights. (For those of you who have ever been on a plane with a sinus infection - you will understand - you literally feel as though your ear drum may bust). So, before our final flight I decided to take some benedryl to try and help my situation. I have had a long relationship with Benadryl. I have seasonal allergies and typically Benadryl is the only thing that will knock them although it usually knocks me out in the process either into sleep or stupor.

Well, yesterday was a stupor moment...after waiting in the DFW for about an hour I finally heard the call for our flight. I got up and hurried into line - I was just really ready to get home. I thought it was strange that Josh didn't follow me, but I just assumed that he would follow soon. When I handed my ticket to the lady and she tried to scan it, it made a loud beeping noise. She tried it again with the same result and then took a look at my ticket. It was then, with the crowd growing behind me that she said, "Oh sweetie, this is the wrong plane. Your flight is across the way." I quickly turned to see several things: 1. Josh looking at me with a confused look on his face. 2. People whispering about the ditzy blonde who tried to go to Kansas. 3. A bit of blur because at that moment I realized just how badly Benadryl goes with international travel...

Thankfully, I made it home - my cold is getting better - and I slept well last night...just a good reminder to stay away from the drugs if at all possible when you are sleep deprived and traveling for hours at a time.

Now, I wanted to share a few pics from our trip...

Oh, the things I LOVE about Europe!

1. The food...seriously, I ate pasteries, genuine Belgian waffles, lots of bread, and tea!

2. Dinner with special friends. Europeans know how to stop, sit, and enjoy a good meal. Josh and I always come home from Europe with the desire to try to start really enjoying our meals and making the most of them.

3. Prague. It is just a beautiful city, and this year we got to see it in the rain!

4. Special Friends.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sniffles and Bagpipes

So, I'm actually sitting right now in the home of a precious South African couple in Leuven Belgium listening to bagpipes...how many cultures is that in one environment? It's really quite fun and a bit amusing! We have had just an amazing time in Europe - stopping in 5 cities in 10 days and meeting some of the most warm, charming, and loving people imaginable. I honestly don't know where to start because I believe that our trip has been rich simply because of those we've met along the way. We have laughed, shared tears with a few, and had deep conversations about everything from politics to recycling to what faith really looks like. I just want to say that what Prepare International is doing over here is AMAZING! They are genuinely building leaders - not interested just in church planting and schools, but in building people and the people here know that the Boyds and Browns can be trusted. Trust is something that is not given very freely here in Europe...I know this from first hand as it has taken Josh & I five years to build trust in Czech Republic and we are now in that process here in Belgium. Many of the people still look at us skeptically - wondering if we are all words - if we will disappoint like so many other American Christians in the past who waltzed into their lives with Big promises but little delivery. I hope that we stay committed - it is our plan - these people are precious and most definitely worth the time that it takes for them to begin to open up about the pain they have faced in the name of the church...okay, so I'm rambling here...I think it's the bagpipes (yes, they are still playing although there was a picalo (sp?) interlude).

Josh and I fly home tomorrow...if you read this, say a little prayer for me because I have a bit of a nasty cold and don't want the flight to make it worse. Plus, as soon as we return home we have to start running at full speed (corndog stand, zoe retreat, MTS started, etc...)

So bye for now! I'm going to blow my nose and listen to...oh - it's violins and an oboe now!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Redefining Ministry

So, Josh and I are having a fabulous time in Europe. We taught in Belgium last weekend on "Reality in the Life of the Ministry" and had plenty of good conversation with our Belgium friends. We then traveled to Prague where we took some time to just enjoy my favorite city in the world...seriously, it is GORGEOUS! Just sitting outside and looking at the amazing architecture while drinking a cup of coffee and having a deep conversation with my husband - it's a perfect moment. We also got to have dinner with Tomas and Miriam, and what a joy to see them doing so well.

It was as we were talking with them that I realized just how much God had used their time in Lubbock to redefine portions of their life. They have a different perspective and we had a few moments to talk about how God had used our trip across the US to show us different aspects of Him.

We are now in HK and just having a fun time with Lukas, Dita, and Sean. Can I just say how fun it is to have international friends? I feel like after 6 years we genuinely connect heart to heart with Lukas and Dita, and we've had some really important conversations with Sean. In fact, we just finished one of those intense, life-decisions type of conversations with Sean and I'm struck that this is ministry.

I mentioned in a recent blog and sermon that God has been redefining ministry for me. He did it in India when instead of feeling successful preaching I realized that He was much more in the time of laughter and dancing with the girls. Likewise, I'm feeling that way on this trip. Although I feel that we did a "good job" of teaching in the Belgium school and I'm about to preach tonight here in HK...perhaps the whole reason we are here - the most important reasons we are here are not to speak to masses of people but to have heart-to-heart chats with new friends and old friends like Sean.

You know, this redefinition takes pressure off in some ways - I'm not successful based on how well I do, but I'm successful when I simply obey and jump on the opportunities that God presents...So, just thinking and enjoying this trip!

By the way, can I just say how stinking proud of Sean I am! He has grown so much in the last 5 years that Josh and I have known him and today he is passionately in love with Jesus, willing to say yes regardless of the sacrifice, and stepping into leadership positions that would have scared him to death a year or two ago. Another reminder that perhaps we've done more good and true ministry just pouring our lives into young people - whether that be through sermons, coffee times, or prayer...

At the beginning of the year the Lord told me that it would be a year of redefinitions...It's not always easy but it brings us closer to the heart of God...

Well, I'm off to go share at Element Church's (www.element.cx) gathering and tomorrow we fly to Brussels. We do another PI school this upcoming weekend, and are excited to see how else God redefines our perception of ministry...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blessings in disguise

So, you know those times when God surprises you with blessings in unexpected ways? That is how I feel now. Leaving for Belgium was crazy. I had just stepped out of the shower qt 8:20 a, when my travel agent called and asked if we were on the plane...an indication that so,ething was wrong. I said no, our flight leaves at 10:50...he said, didnt you get the new itinerary? Your flight leaves at 9:05....Can you say panick????

We actually tried our best to make it. We threw the remainder of our stuff in suitcases and rushed to the airport...We got there at 8:50 and Im literally standing with wet hair, no make-up with a horrible look in front of the attendant....when he says sorry you cant make it. Not the best way for me to start a "ministry" trip. Thankfully, they were able to get us on other flights and we made...

As I sat in the airport trying to calm down, the Lord used that opportunity to fix my focus and set me straight. I had been running at a crazy pace getting ready for this trip without really taking the ti,e to prepare ,y heart, so it ended up being an amazing blessing because for the next three flights I prayed, read, and got more and more excited for this trip.

And since we arrived yesterday we have been met with divine appointments and wonderful conversations. Basically, I actually feel like Im walking out my favorite quote "Wherever you are BE all there" So, just wanted to thank God for the unexpected blessing of a messed up flight.

Well, Im off to eat a true Begium meal: mussels, french fries, & mayonaise....

Till next time, check out these letters on this keyboard...ùéèàçµ

Friday, September 12, 2008

In Belgium

So, I meant to write before we took off, but we were running around crazy trying to get ready...

Anyways, we are in Belgium! If you think of us please pray...we are teaching at a PI school this weekend and then heading on to Czech Republic to see our fabulous friends! I will do my best to send updates...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ava!

So, Ava turns 2 today! If you haven't gotten to meet Ava then you are missing out! She is literally a ball of sunshine wrapped up in a tiny frame! She is almost always the center of attention and relishes every moment of it. She is sweet and kind, and she love her uncle Josh. We feel blessed to have her in our lives!

Leslie and Alan had a birthday party on Saturday and it was so much fun! I wanted to share some pictures from the festivities. So, Happy Birthday Ava! Can't wait to see who you grow up to be - I have a feeling that it will be someone very special who remains at the center of attention!
Ava (with the help of Leslie) blows out her special candle.
She LOVES cupcakes!

More eating, friends: Annie & Jonah, & Ava raised her hand when I asked her, "who's having a party today?" She said "me!"

A Back Yardigan's Pinata - so fun!

Ava played really hard and had to take a break during the Pinata

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amazing Women

So, have you ever had a week where you felt like there was a reoccurring theme? Looking back over my past week it feels like issues surrounding women have popped up continually. It started off probably because I was preaching for the first time on a Sunday morning at our church, and although I was excited and had dreamed about the opportunity since a little girl...I also was preparing myself for an onslaught of confrontations about women in ministry. (This was the first time a woman had preached at our church on a Sunday morning).

Everywhere I turned the week before I felt like I was reading articles or blogs about this very issue. In seminary I studied it constantly - exegeted every scripture I could find, read articles for both sides, etc...and I can honestly say that today I am completely at peace and belief that a woman can minister to both men and women. But on Saturday night as I lay in bed I asked God, "Am I totally wrong? I don't feel like I should keep my mouth shut just because of my gender, but I also want to be in your will." It was in the quiet of the night that He reminded me of something I had read by Margaret Feinberg in Organic God. She recalled a story of a man questioning her right to preach, and instead of arguing or getting ready for the debate, she simply answered. "I have the right because I'm God's daughter." That resonates in my heart so much, and I just decided that would be enough for the next day.

Anyways, it went pretty well. Thank you to everyone who prayed and encouraged me!

Moving on to my week of women...
Of course there was the whole unveiling of Sarah Palin for VP. I'm not completely sure what I think about her, but she is a charismatic speaker and I feel for her - her family in the spotlight, etc. I want to like her, but I'm cautious to say 100% she is fabulous! I definitely love that she is a strong woman and I now genuinely see this as a historic election because it will be a first whoever wins...

Wednesday, our team gave a report from our Thai/India trip and it reminded me just how much I loved traveling with those ladies...In all honesty, I went in concerned that we had too many "strong" women, but I can't think of a single personality conflict amongst our team! They were amazing, and I realized that secure women have this ability to step up when needed but also step back in humility and grace when needed. We are quite amazing that way :)

And yesterday, I wrapped up my week with a fun night out with some ladies. We went to the First Friday Art Trail, and I was really surprised! Lubbock has art! I was honestly shocked at how much fun it was AND how many Lubbock people were out attending - it felt like I was living in a city with culture (now, I love Lubbock, but this has always been a complaint for Josh and I - not much to do except go eat or go to the movies)...Anyways, it was just a fun night with good conversation. The ladies that I went with are a group that I've become friends with over the last couple of years and they are all at least 15 years older than me. I love spending time with them because they have a lot of wisdom and yet they are brutally honest when we get together...basically I walk away from spending time with these women learning something about life or myself and I feel richer for it. Last night, I walked away realizing that I am surrounded by incredible females...

This week alone...here is what I've learned from just a few of my special friends:
Ava - Enjoy the spotlight!
Andrea - True strength is shown when we stop and ask someone to pray.
Leslie - Every girl needs to vent...but then go eat an apple fritter and smile!
April - Sometimes you just have to laugh at frustrating situations.
Terri - Don't say never because God loves to stretch us.
Liz - Embrace new seasons of life.
My Mom - Take the time to do things your soul loves.
Mema - What and who you listen to is important.
Hannah - Work hard, but take a few minutes to laugh every day.
Anna-Maria - Step into unknown worlds in order to reach the world.

I could go on, but I'm hungry! So, thank you to my amazing female friends...you inspire me to be a better woman and most definitely - after spending time with you- I'm proud to be a woman!
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