October 29, 2011

Our Fabulous Family

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I feel like it has been many years since my family last took a portrait together. Since that time my sister got married and had a couple of kids, I lost about 200 pounds and met the love of my life. Generally we all look a little older and may not be all the wiser, but there is life and love and laughter and for that we are all thankful. We revel in the gift of new life as experienced in Lauren and Drew.   Sidebar: Cassie and I almost did not participate due to the ban put on Kao during the photo session.


Cassie’s family (maybe she should write this) gained a new member this year and because Kate and Justin tied the knot, the family took the opportunity to take a few pictures together. Justin and Kate were beautiful that day, even though Justin did not cut off the dreads. Other members of the family shined as well, notice Tim’s head – the hair is getting a little thin.  Lastly, you may notice that there is a young gentleman who appears near Shawna in a few pictures.  His name is Pieter and their relationship might bring about our next photo opp.


As we prepare to head to Nicaragua we are grieving the loss that will occur in our familial relationships.  We have no doubt that this sense of loss will continue while we are there.  We wouldn’t want for this to be any different.  What should we expect when we have phenomenal families, people who have been willing to journey with us throughout life’s ups and downs.  It is one of the greatest gifts of this life!

We also know that we will all continue to change in beautiful and wonderful ways.  We look forward to continually “walking life with you,” albeit differently over the next three years.  Thank-you for the love and support you have provided throughout our lives and into what God has for us next.

October 27, 2011

Orientation #2

File:Mennonite Central Committee Logo.pngAs many of you know, we are in our second week of orientation. We will finish up on Friday and head back to Minnesota for a couple of days before we leave for Nicaragua. Our first week of orientation focused on both domestic and international programs. There were approximately forty staff here the first week. In the second week, we are focusing on the international programs and there are about fifteen of us.

In the past couple of days we have taken a look at the kind of work that MCC does internationally, specifically how we partner with various organizations to bring relief, development and peace in the world. MCC has seven program themes which include Education, Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods, Health, Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Recovery, Migration and Resettlement, Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice. From what we understand, our work will focus on Education, Peacebuilding and Restorative Justice.

It has been a real joy to meet with many MCC staff that we have only otherwise conversed with over the phone—thank you to all of you for your hard work in making our dream a reality! Furthermore, we have enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs that are MCC. As we conclude our time in Akron we leave more excited to start our assignment in Nicaragua.


Take some time to reflect on this quote today and see how it is true in your life:

"The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep sadness meet."                                               –Frederick Buechner

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October 24, 2011


I know that I have said it before, but we have REALLY GREAT friends.  Friends from all walks off life – childhood, high school, boarding school, college, grad school, employment, church and everything in between.

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It has always been important for me to journey with people and be in relationship with people from all walks of life.  While I am really looking forward to making wonderful friends in Nicaragua, I am grieving the loss (or the change that is inevitable) with my friends here.

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I know that my friendships can be maintained and I HOPE that they will grow, but I also acknowledge that they will alter.  Everyone has told me that “not much will change in three years” and while I hold onto that, I know some things will. 

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I have come to understand that friendships go through different seasons, but I still have difficulty accepting this.   

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Amigos out there, you know who you are.  Know that you are loved and play an important role in my life.  I look forward to seeing where God brings you, thank-you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.  I am who I am because of you!  And remember, there will be a quaint little home in Managua looking forward to a knock on the door!

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**These pictures are from the last couple of weeks.  I should have been more diligent about photographing all of our coffee dates, happy hours, walks, dinners etc., but here are a few.

October 23, 2011

Nueva York, en fotos (New York in photos)


We saw a lot, ate a lot (according to David our Nicaraguan friend) and walked a lot.  Our chaco sandled feet were worn out at the end of the day, but it was worth the sights and smells.  Above is Grand Central Station, The New York Public Library and deliciously purple flowers!


And then we saw some neat architecture, the first ever Latin Bible printed by Gutenberg and the Empire State building.


The High Line Park is a new green space in Greenwich Village, then we enjoyed a Red Velvet Cupcake which we split in three from The Magnolia Bakery and lastly China Town where we enjoyed dinner and boba tea!  Cassie is nervous about her transition to Nicaragua without boba tea, although she is bringing some bubbles along.


We checked out the Wall Street protests, ate 99 cent pizza (who can pass it up at that price?) and observed the rebuilding of the One World Trader Center.


Lastly, we hit up Central Park (Parque Central), took a picture of this gorgeous red building and finished in Times Square.

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York