Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Day number two of not feeling good. Not sure exactly what it is...and to be honest I think its a mixture of stress, emotions and all the other things going on. I'm trying not to focus on any one thing that is happening right now, but they seems to just keep creeping back into my mind. I'm in one of those positions where I really can't tell if this is Satan trying to keep us from fullfilling God's plan, if it's God steering us away from something that we "thought" was God's plan or if this is God's plan and we've just created our own forks in the road.

I'd scream but my head hurts too much.

I understand that taking things day-by-day isn't one of my fortes, but seriously how can I at this point? It's like I have to plan for the future. If I only look to tomorrow, I won't get done what needs to get done. My head is just spinning. Am I being over-dramatic? I can never tell. Chances are that I am...I just can't think right now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gushy Mush

Not feeling very good today. I don't know if it's my teeth (or lack there of) or if I'm sick or what. The last several days I have literally had to FORCE myself out of bed. Part of that is our bed is probably one of the most comfortable beds in the whole world...but another part is that I am seriously so exhausted and drained. This morning, I definitely woke up at 7:50. I have to be to work by 8:00. Man, I think I just need to like crawl into my bed, not set an alarm and put dark blankets over my windows just so I can sleep until I can't sleep anymore. It's probably partly emotional exhaustion. So much going many changes. We are definitely being challenged. There have been so many instances in the last few months where I look at Mike and think, "If I didn't have you, I wouldn't be able to do this." I know, I know, mushy gushy...but it is so true. It's so funny how when Mike and I were dating I thought about how crazy it was that I loved this kid so much. I look back on that time and think, "I love him so much more now than I did then." I just can't even begin to imagine how much I am going to love him 5 kids and 50 years later. It's amazing. I didn't think it was possible to love someone so much. Alright, enough of this Gushy Mush.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Road to the DR

I survived the knife! Well, actually, I didn't even encounter a knife. The Oral Surgeon said all he had to do was pull. I didn't even require stitches! Isn't that amazing? Basically, it went as good as it possibly could have gone. Some time you will have to ask Mike about the experience of me on pain killers! Apparently, it was quite the show!!! But would you expect anything less from me? Probably not. Anyway, Praise Jesus for His faithfulness and all of you for your prayers. It was so much better than I expected.

Things are going absolutely crazy fast right now. The long list of events on our schedule seem to be getting checked off faster than I thought. In two days, it is my last day of work! CRAZY!!! And Mike graduates on Saturday and we move a week from today! Holy cow. I can't believe it.

A huge praise is that Simba's new owners came and picked him up on Friday night. What a mix of emotions. We got a call from them saying they were coming and about 10 minutes later they showed up. It was very scattered and I was DESPERATELY trying not to cry. I failed. I held it together pretty well until they put him in the car and he was sticking his little face out of the back seat window. He licked my face as I was saying good bye and the tears exploded. I just had to walk inside cause I didn't really feel like being an emotional mess in front of them. But God gave me an awesome amount of peace the next day. I didn't feel empty or sad or like I was missing a part of me like I thought I would. Twice I went to the back room to let him out of his cage and two or three times I heard a dog bark and thought it was Simba. But overall it was really just a relief that we didn't have that responsibility among the millions of things that have been going on and will continue to go on as the week passes. I will miss him, definitely, but God provided awesome people that will spoil him rotten and give him the attention that he completely deserves.

Huge praise...we made $500.00 in the sale of our personal belongings! How incredible and what an absolute blessing. We still have about 2 garbage bags full of clothes to donate and about four boxes of "knick knacks" but all in all, we sold the things that needed to be sold. It was also a really great chance for us just to kick back and relax. We sat in our little lawn chairs, drank some soda and chatted. It was a lot of fun just to enjoy each other's company and forget about our fast-paced lives ahead, even if it was just for a few hours.

So things seem to be going quite well and in order as crazy as that order is. I'm excited to see where God will continue to open the doors on our road to the DR.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


239...What could that possibly mean? Scripture verse...nope. Time of day...nope. Score on a test...close. cholesterol score. Can you even believe it? I can't. To be honest I'm a little embarrassed, confused, taken by surprise. I'm 24. That is, like, ridiculous (in my best valley girl voice). Average is between 100-200 and I am above average. In this case, being above average is not a good thing.

One more thing added to my plate.

I oughtta get used to curve balls, huh? Here I am preparing myself to go into surgery for my wisdom teeth and then I find out that I have high cholesterol? UGH!!! Under normal circumstances, someone with high cholesterol would go to the doctor...they would monitor you, you would change your diet and increase your exericize. This isn't a normal circumstance. I'm about to the leave the country! Which means I will most likely have to be put on cholesterol meds. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? People in their 50's worry about this kind of stuff...not someone fresh out of college.

Ok, so what do I learn from this? What is God trying to bring to my attention? How can I change my lifestyle? What a rude awakening. Before the only number I cared about was 54...the number of days until we leave for the Dominican. Now the only number I can think about is 239.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I just need to breathe...

The day is drawing nearer...the dreaded surgery day. is only wisdom teeth, but it has been over 6 years since I have gone under the knife! The last time was when I had my knee put back together. Man, I seriously do my best to not think of the negatives that could come up, but when the oral surgeon said, "Now, there is a slight chance that I will hit this underlying nerve and if I bump it, bruise it or cut it, you will lose feeling in your lips, tongue, and cheeks. You may also lose your sense of taste." Well gee wizz...SUPER! And I'm thinking, "If you were a good surgeon, you wouldn't even be telling me this right now." Ok, so that's not true. He probably is a great surgeon, but I mean, that is not any news that you want to hear.

Things are getting a little hectic around here. The people still have not come up with a time that they can pick up Simba and he's just not getting the attention he needs. We have so much to do with me having surgery tomorrow, the yard sale Friday and Saturday, my last Marion Lightning game Saturday afternoon and continual packing...he really needs to get to his new home. It makes me sad, but I am getting to the point where I'm like, "Is God trying to tell me that these aren't the people to take Simba?" Ugh....I suppose I need to just be grateful that my worst problem right now is finding time to meet up with my dog's new owners. I just need to breathe...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

God Bless the People at IWU

Well, it has been a while since I have posted...sorry about that. We have had a long weekend of driving to Virginia. Our trip there was great. It was just what the doctor ordered. Rest, relaxation and Debbie's cooking! She spoiled us ridiculously with an apple pie, strawberry pie and Cheesecake brownies! Man-o-man was I stuffed all weekend.

Yesterday, Mike and I had the opportunity to make our first DR presentation to the Adult and Professional Studies departments at Indiana Wesleyan University. I was so nervous, I felt unprepared and I just wanted everything to go smoothly. I kept praying and asking God for Peace, and He gave it to me. The presentation went awesome...I felt so much more comfortable with Mike up there with me. It made me excited for other future presentations.

After our slide show, we began to sit down and Kathy (co-worker) told us we weren't allowed to sit down yet. She handed us an envelope that we later counted with almost $700.00 in it! PRAISE JESUS!!!! What a blessing. The most amazing part was Kathy had asked someone to pray over us and said if anyone wanted to come up and pray they could. So many people stood up from my department and from the department that Mike is a student worker for. It was very emotional to feel their hands on us and hear them lifting our ministry up in prayer. It was surreal and an experience that I hope I will partake in more times down the road. I definitely felt God's people surrounding us in the comfort of prayer and God smiling down kind of saying, "now that's how the church body is supposed to take care of each other." It was nothing short of awesome. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with this group of people at IWU. I would not have received the welcoming I did, anywhere else. God Bless the people at IWU.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Death Will Take My Family

Welp, today we leave for Virginia...the long haul. I'm just glad that we're leaving today so we will have two full days down there. Unfortunately, we are going to have to cart Simba down there because our plans for 'pick up' with his new owners keeps falling through. Should I take this as a sign? or just God's perfect timing? Either way, we've gotten to spend a lot more time with him. It amazes me how perspective changes when you realize someone or something you love is going to be taken away from you. Everything Simba does now is ridiculously adorable to me. He's so stinkin' cute. I think I am beginning to let go a little. I'm seeing the freedom we will have and the great home he will have in the near future. It's not far away. I'm sure I'll cry...I know I will still be sad, but God is giving me peace about this transition at least.

Apparently, I'm not so good with loss. Not that anyone really is, but I feel like I'm especially bad. Thankfully, I have not had to deal with very much loss in my life. I mean honestly, my grandparents, that's it. ( of my best friends in high school committed suicide, but that's a WHOLE 'nother story) Not that losing grandparents isn't hard, but its expected. It's the natural course of life. You just assume that when you get old, you will go at some point. I know God only gives you what you can handle, and I think that I wouldn't be able to handle losing someone that I love at this point in my life. I seriously have the utmost respect for people who lose a loved one, like their mother or spouse, and can make it through.

I mean, come on, I tried to bottle feed a sick kitten for 3 weeks and was on the borderline of depression when he died.

It always surprises me how you start out thinking you are just going to write a paragraph about going somewhere for Easter and somehow it turns into an article on death and loss. The fact of the matter is, is that for some reason death has been on my mind A LOT lately. I don't know why. Several nights last week I couldn't sleep because I woke up absolutely terrified that someone in my family had died. Then my mind would wander and I would, for some reason, think about if I lost Mike. It became so real to me in my head, I literally started crying in bed. Most of the people that I feel like I would be absolutely destroyed if they died, I know where their souls are. I know they are going to Heaven if they die. But for some reason, the sting doesn't go away. I'm not afraid of myself dying, just the people around me. I guess it's just one of my fears. Some people are afraid of heights, some people are afraid of spiders...I'm just afraid that death will take my family away from me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Updated Schedule

Nothing too deep today, just an update of events...Today I had an appointment with the Oral Surgeon. I have to get my wisdom teeth removed....SWEET!!! It couldn't have come at a more crazy, busy and hectic time. But it is all in God's hands AND his timing. So next Thursday (the 20th) I will be in surgery at 3:15 pm. I will be off a part day on Thursday and all of that Friday. Guess I will be "quietly" coaching the soccer game on Saturday. I hope I don't get all swollen and bruised. It's my last soccer game as a Marion Lightning Coach so I'm sure there will be pictures taken. Ugh! Great, just how I want everyone to remember me...a chipmunk! :) Below is the updated schedule of events in the lives of Mike and Mandi...

April 13-16: Virginia for Easter (visiting Mike's family) - DONE!!!

April 20: Mandi's surgery (3:15 pm) - DONE!!!

April 21-22: Yard sale - DONE!!!

April 26: Mandi's last day of work - DONE!!!

April 27-May 1: Mandi's family to Marion - DONE!!!

April 30: Work day/packing - DONE!!!

May 1: Moving to Louisville - DONE!!!

May 5-6: Volunteer work with G.O. at Kentucky Derby - DONE!!!

May 6-10: Virginia for church visit - DONE!!!

May 10: Back in Louisville - DONE!!!

May 12-16: In Wisconsin visiting family - DONE!!!

May 17: Speaking at Lexington Youth Group - DONE!!!

May 19-21: Church visit in Lexington - DONE!!!

May 25-28: Crystal and Bryan's Wedding; Mike in Michigan visiting a Church - DONE!!!

June 2-4: Renee and Dan's Wedding; Mike in Virginia for brother's graduation - DONE!!!


Whew! I'm exhausted just writing all that. Set your calendars. If you would like us to visit you either to give you more information on how you can support us or just to see you before we leave, please post a message and we will work a visit with you into our schedule! Hope this helps everyone. Have a good one.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Food is my "God"

Sorry...this is a long one...

I can only slightly begin to understand what half the world feels as people who are starving. A little bird spoke to me and encouraged me to fast. Ok, so it wasn't a little bird, it was my sister, Ashley. I have fasted meals before, or fasted for the wrong reasons, but since this whole adventure began I have not fasted for answers or clarification. Food has seriously been the object of my affection for as long as I can remember. For a while, it was funny. People would say I could "eat as much as the boys" or I could "pack it down with the best of them." This was fine while I was a "finely-tuned athlete"...but now that I am a cube monkey sitting in front of a computer, it has become my comfort. Some may laugh when they think of someone being obsessed with food, but realistically, it isn't a laughing matter. I can remember more times that not where I would go to food for my comfort rather than to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How completely wrong is that??? If I am sad...I eat. If I'm happy...I eat. If I'm excited...I eat. If I'm worried...I eat. If I'm upset...I eat. Now on most scales, people would probably not even consider me as someone overweight (although I am about 20 pounds more than I should be), but spiritually, food is my stronghold.

Food is where Satan has me. I turn to food to comfort me and give me the satisfaction and affirmation I need. I'm not sure where along the line I have taught myself this, but quite honestly, it has gotten out of hand. Something that has been hitting me in all areas of my life lately is a simple word that can make quite a statement...sacrifice. How often in my daily walk with God do I truly sacrifice for His purpose and ultimate glory? Not many...if any. When the idea of fasting came about I kind of chuckled a little and in an almost egotistical way eluded to the fact that I am "above" fasting. Stop. I know that sounds ridiculous but keep reading. I look back at the conversation and see Satan creeping in where I didn't see it at the time. Satan knows that eating is my comfort...and not just eating, OVER-EATING. When I have food, I am satisfied...almost complacent. Complacency is the beginning of a useless Christian life. Something I never want to become but something that I was involuntarily allowing Satan to plant a seed for. How often do we hear how God sacrificed His Son for us? So often we have heard it, that we are becoming numb to the DEEP truth behind it. It took watching one of the best movies ever for me to regrasp this concept.

I was watching "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" last night and it came to the part where Aslan was walking through the woods to meet the White Witch and her evil followers. Aslan had saved the "traitor" from death by offering his own life in the boy's place. I know the story...I know what was coming next. As Aslan began walking through the crowds of disgusting monsters and as they spit and yelled at him, I started crying. I could see Jesus there, as a lion, even better than seeing Jesus in the "Passion of the Christ." Watching these gruesome creatures bind him and shave his mane only heightened my sadness. All the while as they are bringing down this incredible creature of love and hope, you watched his eyes. He was so sad but knew that he needed to do this, even knowing his fate. Aslan is pulled onto the Stone Table for the sacrifice and he makes eye contact and I literally felt like he was looking right at me.

"I'm doing this for you...."

I seriously have never felt that intense. It wasn't about the movie, it was about realizing for the first time what Jesus REALLY did for me. In return, I wanted to do something for Him. Obviously I don't think God is calling me to sacrifice my life as His son did, but I do think that God is asking me to give up something that I have relied on, stupidly, more than I have relied on Him. For me, it's food. For someone else, its control. For someone else, its a relationship. It's different for all of us. But if we really expect to deepen our intimate relationship with Christ, we are going to have to give up a hold that we've allowed Satan to have. No longer will I let myself believe that Food is my "God."

Friday, April 07, 2006

I want to be a Dominican

Things are beginning to pick up. Life is going ridiculously fast lately. Everything is starting to set in that in 67 days we will be moving to a foreign country. Last night we were hanging out with the Puerto Rican boys on Mike's soccer team. They were talking to me in Spanish and it was amazing how much I could understand. I mean, obviously I am nowhere NEAR perfect, but I love the fact of learning another language. Language in the DR is going to be HUGE in being able to spread the word of God. It will, in a way, make me one of them. My hope at some point, is that they think of me no longer as "the missionary" but a friend. It's hard enough when you stand out completely as the minority (I think I saw 4 other white people there besides our missionaries--and they were tourists), but to not know the language completely distances me from being able to communicate what God has done for me and what He can do for them. It's like, I don't want to be a foreigner there. I want, for however long we are there, to be a "resident." I want it to be my home. I want to be a Dominican.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Mom" and "Dad"

Well...God reveals Himself again. Yesterday at 3:30 pm I got a phone call from a woman who is the mother of one of my co-workers. She called to tell me that they wanted to add Simba to their family. I've never in one moment been so mixed-emotioned. I literally was smiling and crying all at once. Smiling because God had answered one of our biggest prayers and Crying because that meant I would have to give my baby up. It felt absolutely wretched. Not to mention I felt completely awful at the fact that I was so sad given the fact that God had blessed us so greatly. Our deadline was today and he answered our prayers. So...sometime this weekend, the Archers are going to come and pick him up. I seriously hope I'm at the store or something when they do.

Last night, we stayed up a little later, kept Simba out a little longer and let him have more than one bone to chew on. There was this weird eerie cloud hovering over the night like we were preparing for him to be euthanized or something. Of course, he was cuter and more well-behaved than he has ever been in the year and a half that I've had him. I was telling him to bite me and rip up my socks so it would make the transition easier. He just kinda looked at me like, "Mom, why are you so sad?" Which unfortunately has been one of his best qualities since I've known him. No matter what, when I am sad, he always knows. He alwasy walks slowly toward me and nudges his head under my hand, kinda saying, "if you pet me, I know you'll feel better." And I always do. My only prayer now is that he will be an even better dog for them than he has been for Mike and I. I don't want him to misbehave. I don't want him to be a terror. I want him to sometime in the near future think of them as "mom" and "dad."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Just wanted to post a couple pictures of the kids from the Dominican. Aren't they beautiful? It was such an awesome experience to be working one on one with them. I'm not going to write much today (quite honestly I don't feel like anyone reads this anyway) but I'm just going to give a run down of our "projected" schedule.

April 7-8: Yard Sale (postponed to April 21,22 due to weather)

April 13-16: Virginia for Easter

April 21-23: Yard Sale

April 26: My last day at work

April 29: Mike's graduation

May 1: Move out of house, go to my family's place to visit for a few days

May 7: Church presentation visit in Virginia

May 12/13: Move to KY

June 3: Renee's Wedding

June 13: Move to the Dominican Republic

Well, there it is, our schedule. Of course it's subject to change but that is what we are anticipating doing for the next few weeks. If you happen to read this blog...could you post a comment or two? It helps to know people are actually responding.

have a good one

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Get Rid of that 5%

We got our March financial report...two new donors for one-time gifts. At first I was disappointed (I know, how selfish of me) but I look back now and that was money that we didn't have before...PRAISE JESUS!!! I've discovered the hard way, that I am naturally a negative thinker. It kills me to say it, but admitting it is the first step, right? For so much of my life I think I put on a facade about being "miss positive attitude." And even though in some things, such as sports, I do have a positive attitude, in most things my first initial reaction is almost always negative. Maybe I just wasn't mature enough to see my flaw or maybe God is just choosing to reveal this to me now, but either way it is more evident than ever.

Because of the situations that Mike and I are facing, it is forcing me to trust not only in God's power of provision but also in the fact that no matter what I want or think, God knows best. Although I want to say that I whole-heartedly believe that this is exactly where he wants us, I honestly have no idea. I mean I want this to be where I am going but you never know what God has planned. I feel like there is a continual battle inside of me everyday, that when these trivial things happen (like not having very much support yet) I wrestle with:

"Is this God telling me that this isn't where we are supposed to be?" or "Is this Satan just trying to discourage me?"

Have you ever had that battle? It's awful...I mean it truly is. When you are standing in the gap wondering if God is talking or Satan is whispering in your ear. I JUST WANT TO KNOW!!!! It's like I'm 95% trusting and 5% doubting. What will it take to get rid of that 5%???

Monday, April 03, 2006

God Never Leaves or Forsakes

Mike and I went to Wisconsin this weekend and it was just what we needed. It was carefree, relaxing and just awesome to be around family. God responded greatly to my confusion and fear about raising our funds. My parents gave us their pledge and two other people at my sister's birthday celebration said they were going to support us, they just have to send it in. I read through the post that I made on Friday and I feel totally different today than I did then. Some time yesterday, I had this breif moment of peace that passed through me. Like it was God saying, "It's going to be ok, I have it under control." And then it left. But that's all I needed. I needed that "breath" of peace. I was reading in "Barbarian" today and it made this major statement that spoke greatly to me. It said something to the effect of in the days of Elijah, God was there where the people could hear and see Him. Today, we have to learn to see the invisible and hear the undetected. Since I was little, my Mom has always said that the voice of God is not very often shouting from the mountaintops, but a still, quiet whisper in our ears. How true...

When I am confused and angry and disappointed and emotional, I wonder why I can't hear God speaking to me. I think that it may be because I just can't hear him over my own voice. We talk to Him about our problems and our needs but rarely do we just sit in silence and let Him talk to us. This may be profound, but God wants to help us. I know, crazy, isn't it? We just don't allow Him too. We are too busy hearing the sound of our own voice to step back and just let Him speak. It's amazing to me how lost I can be one day and how it all makes sense the next. It's true...God never leaves or forsakes.