Friday, December 31, 2010

year in review

What a year it has been! I could write a novel (well maybe a novelette) on all of the wonderful things the Lord has written on my heart and how He has changed me and grown me in so many ways. I am so grateful to be where I am right now, and I cannot wait to see what 2011 holds. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise the Lord that He is faithful even when we are not and that He sees all things and yet still chooses to love us. What more can we ask for out of life when we know that we have the joy and assurance of salvation in our sweet Savior? There is nothing greater.

Here's a little look back at what 2010 looked like for me:

Went on spring break with these lovelies.

Finished student teaching.
Celebrated the end of our college education with the lovely ladies of Cluster F.

Had my first ESOL class and loved every minute.
Walked through the Arch for the first time on graduation day!

Watched my little sister graduate.
Spent a few days in the mountains of TN for CAMP 2010.
Watched this beautiful one marry her love.

Went cruisin' to the Bahamas with these crazies.

Watched this beautiful girl get married to the love of her life.
Went to Sanford, FL for NTM training and met these amazing missionaries.

Spent a day with these beautiful ladies in Stone Mountain.

Said goodbye to these sisters of my heart.
Moved to Mexico.
Fell in love with these crazies.
Made new friends.
Resolved to live in the mountains.
Began to find my place in Chihuahua.
Resolved to adopt.
Made more new friends.
Reunited with family.

If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.
-Luke 11:36

Thursday, December 23, 2010

celebrate me home

So things have been a little crazy since I returned home via American Airlines on Saturday afternoon from Chihuahua. My time has been consumed by my friends, family, sleep, and shopping. And it has been good. I have endured a little culture shock and have noticed some new things about myself, one being that my eyes go immediately to the Spanish on signs in the airport, and another being that I feel weird being able to eavesdrop and understand everything people around me are saying. My ears are piqued for Spanish, and my heart skips a beat when I hear someone speaking in the language with which I have been surrounded for these past four months. 

I'm sitting here on my bed with It's A Wonderful Life on in the background just thinking about how much things have changed since I last saw this movie. I watch it every Christmas all by my lonesome because no one else in my family can appreciate this classic display of cinematic genius. 

A little bit ago I read a quote that has stuck with me. I cannot remember where it came from; I think it was in Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, but I am not sure. Anyways, it went something like this: "There's nothing like returning to a familiar place to find that things have stayed the same, yet you yourself have changed." And I have found that to be true. East Cobb is pretty much the same. A few new stores here and there and some changes made to our house, but things at home have kept on going. People have kept on working. And yet I have changed so much in these past four months. The Lord has taught me so many valuable lessons about Himself, myself, and our relationship with one another. And I honestly wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my life and I love my God. And I am truly grateful for the life that I am privileged to lead. 

Merry Christmas. May your time with your family and friends be blessed, and may you immerse yourself in the love of the One who came to live and die for you 2,000 years ago. 

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this. 
-Isaiah 9:6-7

Thursday, December 16, 2010


After several fundraisers, pleas, brainstorming sessions, and lots of prayer, WE DID IT! Our little class of 10 fourth and fifth grade students raised $250.63 to send to Samaritan's Purse to build a school. I could not be more ecstatic to share our grand total with the kids tomorrow. Plus I get to watch one of my colleagues get pied with a pie in the face, because he won the friendly competition we had going between the two of us. :) Praise God from whom all blessings flow! My heart is so full right now; words cannot express how proud I am of my kids and how grateful I am to everyone who believed in the cause and wanted to be a part of something bigger. 

Here's the verse I kept reminding the kids of when we talked about what this project meant for all of us:

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 
- 1 Timothy 4:12

My cup runneth over.

count your blessings

Today at lunch, the student council put on a little Christmas talent show for us, and because it went a little long, the kids missed their normal recess time. After a little bit of begging, I took the kids outside for about 10 minutes, and instead of standing at the door, I played with them. The girls and I had a blast swing set. I have always loved to swing; it makes me feel carefree, young, and light. We swung and had competitions as to who could go the highest. Sometimes I forget I'm an "adult," and I think that's a good thing.

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings
-Bing Crosby

Sunday, December 12, 2010

be my everything

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:3
The Beth Moore study that I have been doing this semester is sadly coming to a close, but the Lord has done so much in my heart through it that I will carry with me forever. A few weeks ago, in the DVD session, Beth referenced Zephaniah 3:17, in which the Word states, 

The LORD your God is with you,
   the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
   but will rejoice over you with singing.

She went on to say that the image and thought of our omnipotent God singing over us is powerful. How wonderful to think of our Lord singing over us when we feel like we've failed Him once again? What a beautiful thought to cherish; He's singing over us with every baby step we take towards Him. And every praise that we offer up to Him just adds to the chorus. I cannot get over how beautiful that is. Music is such a blessing to me in so many ways, and to know that it is something that is important to the heart of our Father just blesses me all the more.

Revelation Song
Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King!
Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!

Friday, December 10, 2010

let us not forget

The Lord brought this wonderful hymn to mind as I prayed that I would not forget to remember His goodness and the beauty of His Son wrapped in flesh that would bear my punishment. I long to hold this story in my heart at all times.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth.
"Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth."

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past.
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore.
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain.
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see.
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
Love paid the ransom for me. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I still got it

So this morning, I was kind of in a funky mood as I got up and was getting ready for school. And then on my two minute journey to Binimea, I encountered a man pushing a cart who was a little rough around the edges. He asked Adonde vas? (Where are you going?) To which I replied, A la escuela. (To school.) He said, En ingles? (In English?) And I said, Si. (Yes.) To which he said, Tu telefono? (Your number?) To which I replied, No, gracias (No, thank you.) and kept walking.

Fast forward to morning meeting in class, and we are talking about how to set up our bake sale later that day. I suggested bringing my laptop with Christmas music, and they all went crazy and said, "Yeah then we can dance!" One student said, "We can have a jar for propinas!" (tips) And yet another girl said, "Yeah Miss Miller, people will pay money to see you dance!"

So according to a man missing a few teeth who wants my number and a few ten to eleven year old kids, I still got it. I just thought I would let you know.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

making progress

Here's a little update on our Samaritan's Purse fundraiser. The kids have really taken off with their creativity and are thinking of new ways to raise money and get the word out to the rest of the students at school. Last Friday, we gave manicures to many eager girls, and we ran out of time and had to reschedule some girls for this week! My girls were so excited to pamper their friends.

Tomorrow we will have a bake sale, and then on Friday we will serve hot soup and nachos for lunch. At Binimea, we don't have a hot lunch program (we're too small), so when there is hot lunch, people get pretty excited and are willing to pay. Next week, we will have hot cocoa on Monday, and then on Friday, I or another high school teacher will get a pie in the face. This part of the fundraiser has a bit of competition to it; whoever reaches $50 first wins. And you do not want to be the winner, because you will be eating whipped cream. So begins our challenge to be a part of building a school for some children who really need a place to learn, rest in the Savior's love, and grow in knowledge and wisdom. 

Pray that we will reach our goal and that people will want to be a part of our efforts to bring glory to the Father. It is, after all, all about Him.

Friday, December 3, 2010

He's singing over me

For the Lord your God is living among you.
      He is a mighty savior.
   He will take delight in you with gladness.
      With his love, he will calm all your fears.
      He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Porque el Señor tu Dios está en medio de ti
      como guerrero victorioso.
   Se deleitará en ti con gozo,
      te renovará con su amor,
   se alegrará por ti con cantos.

-Zephaniah/Sofonías 3:17

Thursday, December 2, 2010

where did November go?

So I realized that I gave y'all a "sneak peek" of my mountain weekend, and then I never followed up and told you what we did! I am so sorry I left you hanging; I know you have all been waiting with baited breath. Anyways...I will try not to write a lot and bore you, but I have so much to tell you all!

Tanya invited me to visit her friend Abraham, who is a pastor in the Sierra of a Tarahumara (native Mexican Indian) church. Basically the weekend was amazing. Our adventure began early Saturday morning, and we made our way to the mountains. The drive was incredible, and the further away we ventured from Chihuahua, the more lavish and grand was the scenery before us. Once we arrived to Guachochi, our time consisted of unpacking, cooking, eating, and then visiting with members from Abraham's church. The home which we visited was teeny tiny, and the family had no gas or electricity, but rather a wood-burning stove for heat and two small candles for light. I was completely humbled to be welcomed into their lives, if only for a short time. And I confess I mentally reevaluated my "needs" and "wants." There are plenty of things I think I "need" that I really just want. The time of singing, prayer, and fellowship with these believers was so sweet. They offered us their best; they were cooking dinner, which consisted of meat and potatoes, and they allowed us to eat first.  At one point, I counted how many people were in the small kitchen/den area, and there were twenty-two of us crammed into a very small space. But the funny thing is that it didn't feel tight. It felt just right. And get this: once we walked out of their home, it had gotten dark, and this suburban girl saw the biggest host of stars in the sky to date. It was honestly great is our God?

On Sunday, we took a little mini-hike to an amazingly beautiful viewpoint of a canyon. It was incredible. I honestly have no words that will do it justice. Once again, we had such a sweet time there talking about the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord and admiring His beautiful creation. Once we made it back down, we went to church and were able to see some of the people with whom we had visited the night before. It was wonderful to see all of them again and also to hear about what the Lord is doing in their lives. After cooking and eating again, we took a little walk and then came back to have dinner with the most darling family. After they left, the rest of the night was full of laughter (and on my part, snorting) and games, sweet fellowship, and silliness. 

On Monday, we had the day off from school and work because of a Mexican holiday, so we decided to go where the wind carried us as we took our time heading back to Chihuahua. These activities included taking the long way home through a touristy mountain town named Creel, renting a boat on a lake, and eating deliciously wonderful Mennonite pizza in Cuauhtémoc, a town about an hour or so from home sweet Chihuahua. Honestly, I cannot say I've had such a wonderfully restoring and refreshing weekend in quite some time. The weekend was such a blessing in so many ways. I am so grateful to Tanya for allowing me to be a part of her circle of wonderful friends and get to know her as not only my roommate but my dear friend and sister in Christ. I would not have gone on this trip if the Lord had not brought us together. Praise Him for knowing exactly what we need and giving to us out of His great abundance exactly when we need it. 

Chillin'. On a lake. In a boat. Doesn't get much better.


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