sara ashly

One of my best friends in the world, Sara, moved to Chicago a couple weeks ago. First I had intended on doing a birthday post for her (June 26th), but I was in NY and didn't get to a computer, then I was going to do a post dedicated to her when she left, but time slipped away from me.

So, this is sort of a belated birthday/I'm going to miss you/I miss you like crazy post for my dear friend.

Some things I love about Sara:
- Her love & passion for Jesus Christ & the advancement of His Gospel
- Her devotion to her husband, Dave
- Her love for teenagers & desire to see them love the Lord
- Her heart for Africa & compassion for orphans
- Her absolute selflessness
- Her sense of humor
- Her creative genius (seriously - this girl is ridiculously talented)
- Her loyalty to her friends & family
- Her amazing memory
- Her thoughtfulness
- Her bluntness & honesty
- Her fearlessness
- Her leadership
- Her generosity
- Her love for all things mini
- Her mini bladder
- How laid back she is
- That she also loves Dwight
- Her annoyed voice
- Her ability to talk to anyone
- The way she evaluates everything
- Her enchiladas & chocolate cake w/ raspberries
- That she's such a tomboy
- That she always uses a straw

And the list could go on & on & on!

Even if you don't know Sara - pray for her job search in Chicago. And if you live in the Chicago area and know of a job opening for someone who is a hard worker & super creative - hire her!
Sar Bear - love & miss you.

ethiopia video

Here's a video that our trip leader, Mark, took of Pastor Teshale explaining one of the church plants.

Some of my faithful readers (hi, Mom & Dad!) have asked about our time in Kenya - tales will be coming. In addition to trying to make our new house livable, I'm back at school now... so things are a little crazy. In the meantime, here is a link to my Kenya pictures.

Oh, and a picture of Zooey, expressing her opinion of the new house: "What is going on?!" This same look happens every time I ask her, "Do you like your new house?"


oh, piracy...

Currently stealing WiFi connection from one of our neighbors (thanks!), so this will be short & sweet:

We are moved into our house & spending our first night tonight!



Found my diary from 4th grade while packing today. I can't pick up a childhood diary without reading part of it. This results in a lot of cringing and laughter, specifically after entries such as February 9, 1995:

"[friend] told me that [boy] wanted me to be his Valentine. Ukk! I'm going to say no and just say I want to be friends. Besides if I EVER go out with a boy, I would never kiss him! GROSS!"

Funny how I forgot that sentiment a mere 4* years later...

*Whoops! Dad, I meant to say 12 years later!


recently i'm... (8)

Excited About: getting all the painting done & getting carpet so we can move into our house.

Not Looking Forward To: packing.

Procrastinating: packing.

Thinking: Doug & I have way too much crap. Where did all of this come from?

Reading: James. No books right now. I have a bunch of good recommendations, so I'm pumped to register at the Canton Library and get some good books!

Cooking: Okay, seriously - until last night I don't think I cooked for real (excluding burgers & dogs on the grill) since Africa. Last night I experimented and made Teriyaki Chicken & Noodles. It was great! Whipped up a teriyaki sauce using soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, a little hot sauce, sugar - marinated the chicken in that for about 1/2 hour and used it to baste while grilling... and then cooked some Ramen noodles, tossed them in the marinade & voila!

Watching: Last night Doug & I rented I Love You, Man from the Redbox at Kroger. I have no real opinion about that movie. I just felt like eh after it was over & thought it was too long.

Listening To: My painting music has been primarily Kanye, Weezer and Keith Urban.

Missing: The Fountain of Life Boys

Laughing At: the auto-tune renditions created by schmoyoho on Youtube.

Wishing: That summer was 3 weeks longer. I mean, I absolutely love fall... but where has this break gone?!

Found: while rummaging through a bunch of stuff... sweet bliss.


guess who's a teenager??


Happy birthday to the best cowgirl around!
I love you, sweet Jayne!


quick update

There's been a lot happening lately, so here's a quick post to get my blog back up to speed!

The day after I got back from Africa, Doug & I closed on our house.

That same day, Robert stayed overnight with us on his way home from North Dakota!!

Since then, I've been at the house almost every day - cleaning, priming, painting... here's a sneak preview. This is our bathroom, formerly super glossy LIME GREEN. You can see a little of it at the top.

My dear friend Sara moved to Chicago this past weekend. Thankfully, she'll be back to Michigan a few more times before September. Here's a pic of us from Africa.

Doug & I went to WNY this past weekend for Alan & Guin's wedding, which was lovely & so much fun! Beautiful flowers (as always, Katie!) - love the crab apples! Also, really cute favors - barn & apple cookie cutters.

We got to see Victoria, Jeremy & baby Colden...
"I want some a' that!"

And it was the first time, I'm pretty sure, since Katie's wedding that the four cousins/friends were together! Hannah, Katie, Victoria & I - we did a little photo shoot of our own, but unfortunately I don't have any of those pics on my camera...

I also took some pseudo-senior-pics for Emily over the weekend.

Now I'm back to spending my days painting & beginning the move. Our lease is through the end of August, so we still have a little time...

hakuna matata

After Ethiopia, we flew to Kenya and went on a 2-day safari. It was unbelievable. We saw every single animal we wanted to see. Most importantly, I saw the sight I've been wanting to see ever since I watched Dumbo: a baby elephant holding its mom's tail with its trunk.
What's "not realistic" now, haters?

Anyway - everything about the safari was breathtaking. The scenery is beautiful, the sunset and sunrise were amazing, and like I said - we saw literally every animal we wanted to see. Tons of giraffes (+baby giraffes!), 3 lionesses, 3 male lions, a rhino (+baby rhino!), a cheetah, millions of wildebeest(s?)(+ baby wildys), crocs, hippos, various birds, various gazelle-type things, tons of zebras (+baby zebras!) - it was like The Lion King, but real life.

If you're planning on doing an African safari, go to the Mpata Safari Club and have Shadrach take you out. He will also love you if you sing "Hakuna Matata".

For all the safari pics, you can hopefully click here.



Well, the traveling part of our trip was not the smoothest this time around... one of our team members accidentally brought an invalid passport with her maiden name (not me, surprisingly!), so she couldn't leave the airport in Addis Ababa until her valid passport was overnighted there. Another team member stayed with her while the rest of us headed to Woliso. About 20km from the town (I'm terrible with distance, but it wasn't too far), we hit a traffic jam. It was a result of 2 semis tipping over, which had happened at 9:30 that morning... I think we got there at 3pm?
We ended up walking past and getting a ride from the church elders on the other side.
Upon arriving in Woliso, we went straight to the church, where we were greeted by a ton of kids who had been waiting for us to do a VBS.
We sang some songs with them and did a Bible skit, and the following morning, we did a full VBS with them. I taught English - we learned the English words for the parts of the body, and reviewed by singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" and "The Hokey Pokey".
We got a tour of the children's home, which is not finished, but getting much closer.
We visited the HIV community again. They've decided not to do a chicken farm, and have instead chosen to raise some oxen to sell during the Ethiopian new year festivities, which occur in October. It was so cool to see these women again!
On Sunday, Dave preached at the church in Woliso.
Four people came to Christ.
Pastor Teshale took us to visit some more church plants.
I think there are 11 now?
Dave & Sara got to meet a Compassion child that they will be sponsoring!
We also did home visits to women with HIV. We met one woman who has HIV and TB, and her daughter (in 8th grade) is taking care of her for the time she has left. These home visits and the home-based care in Nairobi always leave my head and heart aching. We tell these women that God is constant and will comfort them, but we can't make their situations any better. Suffering never gets easier to understand. I know that there is hope in Christ, but it is so hard to see and believe at times...
Our time in Ethiopia went by really quickly. I love the Kale Heywet church and respect Pastor Teshale's leadership immensely. They are really living out the Gospel and being the church as it was intended. Keep them in your prayers!
To view all my pictures from Ethiopia, you can click here... I think that should work...


Benedict & Chris

Rachel... I'm so glad that you came and I liked every minute that we spent... I think that you are a blessing and gift from the Father... May God's blessings flow over your life. I'm proud that you and Douglas are my friends and you will always be. Love, Benedict.



Wycliffe, Dan, Paul.

Dear Doug, Hey friend, how are you at home? I hope you are well and fine. Your wife has really been a blessing to me this tour. The main attitude of this letter is that I hope you will come next year. Please don't leave Rachel alone, let her accompany you. I love you. Paul



Hi Doug! I am writing to tell you that I was very happy when you came last year even though you did not come this year I was happy playing with Rachel. I hope next time you will come both of you...