Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I got a book from Granny today that I am about to start reading called, TOO BUSY NOT TO PRAY by Bill Hybels.

Interesting thought. And how can I pick up the book to read if I have not prayed that day. Good accountability too. Think about it.... too busy NOT to pray. If only I really believe and lived by that. Lord, let that statement be true of me and infiltrated into all of me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh my... I have missed a lot

There have been so many things going on the past month, it seems. I have missed many events and great things so let me try to catch you up. I think pictures are worth a thousand words (sometimes) so that is what I will use. Oh and by-the-way, I leave in 10 days for Uganda!! (hang in there with this update, it is long)

I went to Midland at the first of the year. As you may know, Midland Bible Church is my sending church for my ministry in Uganda. It was so wonderful to be back there. I was able to stay with the Barker family and with Julie Green. Although unplanned, Pastor Morris and Mama Aidah were also in Midland the same time as me, so I was able to reconnect with them at church on Sunday. It was so great to see them and Pastor preached that morning, so I felt like I was right back in Uganda. The church held a special pizza luncheon for me to share with the congregation what my year was like and what my plans are this comming year in Uganda. I won't lie... it was a little strange to have Mama and Pastor there, seeing as they are in some of my stories and photos and are much more of the experts on answering questions about LCH than I am. But they sat in the back and I think it was fun for them to listen to my perspective. At least I hope so :)

OH! I just got these this past week. This is my family!! Well at least the Darling side of the family (being my Mom's side). We have a big family get together every Christmas. And it seems that the family grows bigger every Christmas as well! It was good to catch up with everyone, seeing as I missed the '07 gathering because I was in Uganda. So, I already have these photos printed and ready to hang on my wall in Uganda! I love them.

(The whole family) (The cousins and Granny)
(Talking with Bob- basically grandpa) (The Aunts and Granny-I see my Mom in all of them!)

Me and Monica for our "individual family" shots - my sis is so pretty!

I also have been spending GREAT time with these two wonderful girls! Erin and Jac are from my team I was on at camp (the year after college) and have been dear friends since. Luckily, they go to church in Austin so I get to see them every week but sometimes they will come just to play with me (they live in New Braunfels). I think this day was after we went to lunch on my birthday... we headed to my FAVORITE place in Austin, the hike and bike trail. This day we just sat on a bench to people watch and see all the dogs. I am not a big fan of smelly wet dog and would tuck my legs up to prevent the smelly dog rub BUT jac and erin loved calling them over. I think they were secretly plotting against me.

My 26th Birthday... Jan 7

That is right. It is weird to think that I have been alive for 26 years. As the Ugandans would say, "it is not easy making 26 years." Meaning that many people don't. So, I truly bless the Lord for the life He has given me and His faithfulness He displays everyday!

This year I feel like I made up for not being in the country last year, because I actually celebrated my birthday three times!! What a lucky and loved girl I am. I really do feel blessed.

The first celebration was in Midland with some special ladies that have impacted my life there. It was at my favorite coffee shop there. We just got together, eat, told stories, and visited. It was so great to have them all together at one place and they were so sweet to make it special by decorating the table with flowers and even some seeds that I can plant in Uganda.

On my actual birthday day, I was able to spend the day with Jac and Erin and then headed out that evening with my family to my favorite restraunt, Chuys!! (mmm I am drewling just thinking about it). We also have a family tradition to have homemade ice-cream cake, which is one of the best things I have ever had.

And the third celebration was with my WONDERFUL girlfriends that I have had since middle school. They took me out for Thai food and then we went to play BINGO. Now, I have to confess that I first went for bingo on the actual day of my birthday and liked it so much that I asked Laila, Ash, and Rach to go back with me. Maybe I am a little obsessed because then a week later I also went to play with Janece on her birthday because we learned of this great deal that you get 36 games and a computer (that plays for you) for a penny on your birthday.


Since there has been absolutely beautiful weather in Texas (up to the 80s and it is winter!) I have been enjoying life outside. These are just for fun. I got a new camera for Christmas and wanted to see what it could do.



I ran in the
3M Half Marathon this past Sunday. It was my first half marathon and i really am so glad that I did it. It was a push at the end to keep my tight legs going, but I finished the 13.1 miles in 2hours 12min. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Monica dropped me off at 6:30am. Janece met me at mile 8 and was there with Erin and Jac at the finish line. I will do one again.

I am trying to say my goodbyes now and will be a guest speaker at the GICF banquet in Houston on Sat. Then I am off again. Still, I think somedays how awesome of a God I serve that He would allow me to work with these 90 special children and be a voice for His faithfulness and Hope in the time I have been back in the States. What Love He has. Jesus is my all in all!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The holiday update

It has been another busy 2 weeks. It seems like I have spells of being really busy traveling and then other times where I am such a home-body and don’t go outside the neighborhood (or the distance I can run to) for like a week. I wish it would be more consistent, but I guess that goes with the traveling. And, all January Janece (my step-mom) will be off so we can do things together. I am glad for that.

I had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. We went as a family to Temple for Christmas day to spend with Janece’s side of the family. It was a great visit and very relaxing. I was also able to attend a Christmas eve-eve service and one on Christmas eve. I really enjoyed that. Silent night by candle-light is one of my favorite Christmas memories and it was special to spend the holidays with my family this year.

The day after Christmas I had 2 great friends come to the lake-house. We had so much fun. The highlight of the time had to be the night Dad took us wade-fishing. I had never been and neither had Jac or Erin. So, it is a bit chilly and we are in the garage putting on these ridiculous waders/suspenders and geared up with our jackets, headlamps, and fishing poles. Meanwhile, Dad is dressed like and Eskimo and the sight of him and our excitement brought upon many giggles as we headed to the waterfront. It was such a weird feeling to have the water start to suction around your legs without getting wet. The first throw, Erin catches a fish. This gets Jac very competitive to also catch one. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes into our time fishing, I hear in a little whisper, “Nat, Nat. You have to come here. My pole just broke and half of it is in the water somewhere.” I responded that she couldn’t be serious and she said, “You have to get over here before Paul does. I can’t find my pole.” Well I found it and this happened 2 more times. Despite her determination in being the last remaining fisher-woman in the water, she came in without a fish. But, we still had enough from the weekend to have a delightful meal Sunday morning.

After the lake I caught a ride with these 2 to New Braunfels. These are 2 of the 4 girls I lived with while doing the discipleship program at camp, so it had been a long time since we had spend extended, continuous day together (6 total). I also was able to see some of my other dear friends in NB and just have some great fellowship and conversations. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. From rock band, to poking fun at each other, to remembering stories, to thinking of blog names for jac, to shaky face photos, to wrestling, to watching lame movies and commenting on them throughout… we laughed and laughed.

I spent New Years Eve in Austin, and went to a Mystery Dinner Theater with some lifelong friends since middle-school. I learned I am a really bad detective and don’t pick up on any clues. But it was fun to get dressed up an a new experience to bring in the new year.

Now I am currently in Midland, where my sending church is. I just got here last night and am eager to see what opportunities the Lord opens for me to share about what He has done in my life and what He is doing at LCH. I will get to be the speaker at the pizza luncheon on Sunday, so please pray that my words would boast in Him and that I would not get such a dry throat that I cannot talk (that seems to be how satan attacks me when I am speaking). Also, it is really fun that Pastor Morris and Mama Aida will be in Midland during my time here, so I will get to see them J

It wasn’t until I got to the airport yesterday to fly here to Midland that I really started to get excited about going back to Uganda. Don’t get me wrong, not that I was “not excited”. I was just enjoying my time at home. But after all my nerves were settled once getting my bags checked, passing through security, and seeing my destination on the screen at my gate, I had this great excitement and readiness to return. And appropriately so, because now the countdown is to a month until I return. I am glad to have 2 homes.