two things I wrote today:

Do you guys know the song "Give us clean hands" by Charlie Hall? I love singing this song, in devo groups or even by myself. Anyway, I meant to do this... wow, I can almost literally say "years ago." But yeah, I finally got around to writing my Spanish translation for it and thought I'd share it. It's strange, but worshiping in Spanish seems just as right and natural to me now as worshiping in English. I guess that's what happens when you spend so much time relating to God in a foreign language, it becomes like home. It's been great talking with Felicia about her time in Honduras and my time in Mexico. We miss it so much, but we're so happy to be here now too. God is good. Anyway, here's the song:

Nos arrodillamos -
Espíritu, humíllanos.

No echamos, Dios, ni un ojo
a la maldad en el mundo.

Danos manos limpias.
Danos almas puras.
No nos dejes alabar a un ídolo.

Que seamos, Dios, una generación
que busca tu rostro, O Dios de Jacob.

The other thing I wrote today was a brownbag for the AIMers in Lubbock. If you don't remember or know what that means, just ask. :) Here it is:

Hey everyone, it's Brettin. How are you doing? Already got a couple of trips in, started your new area churches, getting ready to go to Ruidoso... not to mention all the classtime you've had. I'm so proud of you guys, seriously, I know how hard it can be to have no free time and so much pressure, but I hope you're really enjoying it too, because it's fantastic, really.

Well, I'm here in Grass Valley California, and I'm doing well. I've had some really homesick moments (funny how much my concept of home has grown and changed throughout and beyond AIM...) but God is so good and so faithful through it all. I'm still job searching, but I've got most everything else done on my checklist, including passing the smog check on my car, thank you God! Funny thing about living here is it seems that all the native Californians are so sympathetic to and simultaneously astounded by my being from Oklahoma. "Wow! Oh, you're really going to love it here!" they say. And while I agree, I kind of want to say, well, it's not like Oklahoma is some kind of wasteland, haha. Also, everyone asks, "Why don't you have an accent?" They find it incredible that I can talk like they do! :) Anyway, it's been really fun to start getting involved with the church here and reconnect with my friends, including some of my former AIM classmates. (P.S. we miss all you '07ers out there assisting!)

Ok, so I did have something serious I wanted to talk about. I know you guys are only just getting to know each other, but I remember that by now there were already some hurt feelings, some misunderstandings, and some people that just didn't like each other. You guys will talk a lot about conflict resolution during team dynamics in the far-distant future, but I just wanted to encourage you from the beginning, please, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (That's from Romans 12, but the whole chapter is so life-changing.) One way I've learned recently to live this verse is to apologize first. If you feel like there have been wrongs done between you and someone else, whether that's a classmate, assistant, Kris, or even your parents back home, please don't wait to apologize. Don't justify your delay on the fact that they haven't apologized first. And if you can't think of what you've done to hurt the other person, spend some time praying about it. 9 times out of 10 when there's a relationship problem, both people contributed to it. I've written several letters in the past few months doing just that, apologizing for specific things that I've done wrong to the other. And you know what? It's always scary at first, but it feels a million times better once it's done. And usually the other person ends up apologizing in return for whatever it was that I was tempted to either pretend to ignore or point out and confront them about. Let's all work on letting love be our first response. But even if it's been awhile, it's never too late to love someone truly.

Shout outs:
Erin Joy - I heard a rumor that you may be out here someday far, far away after AIM. That would be fantastic! Eli speaks highly of you, and I hope to get to know you more someday soon.
Angel - Dios está a tu lado siempre, nunca lo olvides. Eres genial, ya sabes, jaja. Sigue adelante, pero ya estoy muy orgullosa de ti.
All Denver City AIMers - I just teared up the other night remembering and missing that place. Love it. I know you will.
Jennie - I miss you every day. I was just recounting preschool stories to Felicia... I miss that a little too, I guess, haha. TQMM
Barb - did you guys ever send out a list of all the AIMers and assistants? That helps me remember who to shout out to. Thank you for everything!
I love you everyone!!


Don't cry for me!

Hey, thanks for all the response to my last blog, some by comment and others even on the phone. I really am doing well! Here's a bit of an update:

I'm still on a job-search rampage. I haven't heard back yet from either of the two that I originally applied to, but I've been finding some interesting things on craigslist and the newspaper classifieds, so we'll see! Ideally I would love to do something involving Spanish - I got kind of spoiled with that with my jobs in Tulsa. But really, I'm up for pretty much anything.

Living with the Yoder girls has been wonderful. They're so down-to-earth, a refreshing combination of fun and calm. It's also been great having so much random company with Tyler, Leland, Chelsea, Jonathan, and others popping in and out. The neighbor kids are cute too. I didn't mention before, but our house is surrounded by trees, so it's really beautiful, but it's also within walking distance of downtown Grass Valley, a nice place to wander where you can find cool coffee shops, restaurants, the movie theater, and best of all, the library! :)

I've also gotten to spend a lot of time with the Hoopers. In case you don't know, Eli Hooper is the preacher at the church of Christ on Whiting Street, and we've been friends for several years now. His wife, Kelcey, is really great too and I'm just now getting to know her more. She's my good friend Kim Rush's sister, so that's a cool connection already. Their oldest daughter Kira is 13, and I can tell we're going to be good friends. Today we hung out downtown Nevada City (just a couple of miles away) and later played basketball at the church building. Anyway, they're a family with a lot going on, but I think they may become my home-away-from-home. I'm very excited to learn from them and serve with them whenever possible.

And last but certainly not least, Tyler discovered karaoke night at the National Inn downtown Nevada City, where we are usually by far the youngest souls around. So far I've sung "Just a Girl" by No Doubt and "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. :) We also did a duet with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," only to discover that I didn't know the verses so well after all... haha! Too much fun.

Thank you for reading and caring. But please, no worrying! ;) I love you, everyone.


"Are you homesick?"

I'm going to transcript what I wrote in my journal Sunday evening with some minor edits:

I'm at Sunday evening service, but I started crying during the singing and craving the blue sky and my journal. So many things, let's see if I can write them all.

The main feeling I have right now is a deep homesickness. But not even primarily for Tulsa. It's more of an AIM-sickness, or maybe not... I miss Denver City area church. I miss my AIM class. I miss Mexico. I miss Lubbock-now. I miss the Rush family, too much. And I miss Toby, and Chutney, and Jennie, and Miguel, and everyone.

Another thing I'm experiencing is a kind of identity shock. I almost have to remind myself, I'm not an AIMer anymore. People aren't just going to invite me to their homes just because. I'm balancing real life with missional living, or something, I mean I'm not a "missionary" but I still want to live missionally and that is confusing. I'm a single girl, alone, no team, no coordinator, no family [here], no significant other. I have friends and I have a church and I have roommates. That's all. And it's good, and it's enough, but that's all, and it's less than I'm used to.

I'm already overwhelmed with the idea of creating new best friends and new mentor-relationships. I mean, how many am I already keeping up with, and which ones will fall by the wayside?

And so all of these things and more are happening inside, and I'm trying so hard to keep it together. I think if I had my car I'd have just left already, but as it is there's all these new people and I don't want them to think strange things about me. And at the same time, I'm like, well, I'm at the church for crying out loud, if this place isn't safe to be real, what is? I don't want to appear unstable, yet I don't want to fake happiness. It's rough.

But then just now Carol came out, I mean, I don't even know her and she gave me a hug and asked if I was homesick. :) Then Kelcey came out right after service was over and we got to talk a bit. It'll be OK, no, more than OK. It'll be good. It is good. Just doesn't mean that it will be easy.

I love you God. Thank you for providing for me. Help me to grow and to not be afraid, to not hate myself like I can sometimes. Thank you for loving me more than I even love myself, so much more than I love you, and I'm sorry for that, God. I do love you - increase my love, God. Blessed be your name.


Turning the page

Hello from Grass Valley, California!

This blog was formerly known as Adventures in Mexico, and I regret never having much closure with that, but decided to go ahead and keep the old entries here in case you're interested. I moved back to Tulsa last November and since then ran through countless options and opportunities of "what's next" until at last, I landed here in California, the place I really wanted to be all along.

Even though I graduated AIM several months ago now, I feel like this is my real transition, a real new chapter for my life. I set out here on my own, and while I have lots of great friends here to receive me, in a lot of ways I feel like Abraham, called by God to be a stranger in a foreign land and wait on him to see what's next. I have several ideas of what I'd like to do while I'm here, but for the moment, I'm just waiting on God to guide and provide.

I'm living with two wonderful sisters, Jo and Felicia Yoder. I'm working on getting settled and putting everything in its right place, inside and out. I've applied to work a couple of different places and will continue to seek out the "right" job. I'm going to be a member of the Grass Valley Church of Christ, and Lord-willing, be a mentor for the West Coast Missions program coming soon. This is what I know. The rest I'll discover in the days, weeks, months, maybe even years to come.

Thank you for caring enough to keep up with me. I'll try to be consistent. I love you, everyone!