2.23.2016

Ten Years ago Vs. Now


A couple of weeks ago Rachel posted a Ten Years ago vs. Today post and it was just so much fun to read! It got my brain thinking about my own life so today I am borrowing Rachel's idea and sharing my own list. 

Ten Years Ago Vs. Now

Food

Ten years ago I could not handle spicy food in any way shape or form! Then I moved to Korea where spice was everywhere and in everything and I was hooked. 

Today I love to add spice to almost every meal. My favorite food used to only be mashed potatoes and fried chicken, and now I've added Indian, Thai and Vietnamese food to my list of favorites. 


Marriage

Ten years ago there was no way that I was ever ever ever going to marry someone from the Christian school that I attended. 

Today I'm married to Dave who attended that Christian school with me. ha! To top it off we didn't like each other when we attended school either. I was a prude girl who followed the rules and Dave was the jokester who loved to pull pranks on people. I love how God works things out and changes our hearts and I'm beyond thankful for Dave and the marriage we have. 


Asia

Ten years ago I never thought highly of Asia. All those pictures of crowded streets and weird markets? No thanks! 

Today Asia holds a huge part of my heart. Sure the crowded streets and weird markets are still crowded and weird but that is something that makes Asia so unique. I also love the people of Asia a whole heart-full. 


Living 

Ten years ago the thought of living in one place and betting settled was no where on my radar. I also never wanted to live in Wichita long term. 

Today the idea of living in Wichita and putting some roots down here sounds so so good to me. I'm really looking forward to life here. 



Reading

Ten years ago reading was a pain for me and I never read unless I had to for school. 

Today I really enjoy reading. My favorite books to read are missionary biographies and historical fiction. I'm currently reading a series about WWII called The Zion Covenant Series (book 5) and they are such an eye opening set of books. 


Ministry

Ten years ago the desire of my heart was to serve and help people no matter where I was. I also had a big heart for missions.

Today I'm happy to say that heart's desire is the same. I hope that here in Wichita God can use us to lead others to salvation and to make a difference for His Kingdom. I still love missions and am planning on encouraging and supporting missionaries. There is something powerful in being a support for those on the field. 


Health & Fitness

Ten years ago I didn't know much about eating healthy or taking care of my body and being tan was a high priority for me. I also thought running was the most awful idea ever and working out consistently was a major drudge. 

Today I know a lot more about eating healthy. I try not to go overboard with being healthy but I do feel well when I eat right. I've also learned to enjoy running and have ran 1 full marathon and 7 half marathons. I don't mind laying out in the sun every now and then but after living in Asia I've learned to be more content with the skin God gave me. In Asia they bleach their skin to become white and in America we fry our skin to become brown. Terrible, if you ask me. 


On-Line Friendships

Ten years ago I would have thought it was absolute craziness to meet someone on-line and then become their friend in real life.

Today, through blogging, I've met some wonderful women and I have gotten to meet some in person. It's been a huge blessing of friendship and I'm so grateful for it. 



How about you? What is something about you ten years ago that is different from today? 

2.17.2016

A Peek into Burmese History + My Myanmar Hero



Today I want to share a brief overview of Myanmar's political history and I wanted to share about one amazing lady that is still there today. I have actually wanted to share this for a really loooong time but because of how corrupt the government is in Myanmar I didn't dare blog or peep a word about anything while I was there. 

Myanmar has many varying tribes. It's kind of fun because each person you meet is from a different tribe and they can usually tell what tribe someone is from by the pattern of clothing they wear. That's not historical but who doesn't love a little fashion? 

Over the centuries the tribes were ruled by kings and sometimes one tribe would rule over the others. In 1824 Britain entered Myanmar and slowly over the years they took over the entire country. They ruled there from 1824 until 1948 when Myanmar gained their independence from Britain. Under the British occupation Burma was the second wealthiest country in SE Asia, they were at one point the world's largest exporter of rice, produced a lot of teak wood and the majority of people were literate. It's shocking to hear how thriving they were considering where they are today, I'll share more about that further down. 

The man who unified all the tribes and fought for Burma's complete independence was a man named General Aung San Bogyoke. Just think of him as the George Washington of Burma. He loved his country and was very pro-democracy. On July 19, 1947, while Bogyoke was in a meeting, he and six others were assassinated. The men who assassinated him took over the country and their dictator regime is still in power today. 

Under their rule they did (and still do) horrific things to the people of Burma. They imprisoned many, forced children and others to work and they basically robbed the country. They went from being the second wealthiest to being the third poorest in SE Asia. I think the saddest part is that they have oppressed the wonderful people of Burma for so many years. 

General Bogyoke had a daughter named Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu moved to England and got married but she returned to her country in 1988 to help her sick mother. What she didn't realize was how much turmoil her country was in and how many people were being murdered. Being the daughter of general Bogyoke she was asked to stay and be a political voice for the people of Burma. She was brave and chose to do that and spoke boldly against what the government was (and is) doing to the people. 

The country united instantly under her. The way she rallied the people of her country together was amazing! It didn't take long for the government to notice her either and she was placed under house arrest. The government told her she could go free if she would go back to Britain but she knew they would never let her back in so she decided to stay. She actually won the general elections one year but because the government had her under house arrest she couldn't do much.

The dictator government normally just kills people off but they couldn't do that to her because while she was under house arrest her husband, who was in Britain, spoke out on her behalf and nominated her for a Nobel Peace Prize and she won! The world's eyes were on her and if they killed her then people would start wondering what else was going on behind the closed doors of Burma.

During her time under house arrest she would go up to her big gates, get on a ladder and make speeches. Her house and gates are super famous and her house was walking distance from where we lived! The original gates have been replaced but it was a lot of fun to walk to her house and see where all this took place.


This past year the country had elections for The Presidency and Aung San Suu Kyi and her party (The National League for Democracy) won big time. There are certain laws in place that don't allow her to be the president but her party is gaining a lot more power and will hopefully be able to help make changes over time.

I think the people of Myanmar are resilient because they are so oppressed yet they are still filled with kindness and keep trying to do what they can to live and love. Those men that killed the general still have a lot of power today and still do a lot of terrible things to the people there. There is a reason why foreigners can't visit a lot of the places there and I'm sure it has to do with how the government is hurting their own people. Even this past year the students peacefully protested that they wanted to choose what career they wanted instead of being told what they would be and many of them got arrested and thrown into prison. I imagine many of them are still in prison today.

The freedom I have in America is one of the huge things I learned to appreciate in Burma. The freedom to speak and share my beliefs and opinions, freedom to work where I want, freedom of enterprise, the freedom to vote. Myanmar had elections this past November and this was the first time most of them ever got to vote. Ninety percent of people came out to vote! That is huge!!!!!

This is kind of random but if you were wondering why the country is often called Burma and Myanmar you can thank the government for that. Overnight they changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar. The world refused to acknowledge the change so many countries call it Burma but they call themselves Myanmar. Many of the cities got a different name as well. AND if that isn't crazy enough from one day to the next they went from driving on the left side of the road to the right side but the steering wheels are still on the right side. It's just nuts!

If you want to learn more about Aung San Suu Kyi there is a really great movie about her called The Lady, and oddly enough this movie is illegal in Myanmar. It is a really really good movie! It starts with the assassination of her father and goes to her uniting the country of today.

And here is Suu's picture. I think she is beautiful for so many reasons!


I'm curious: has anyone heard about Aung San Suu Kyi before? What about politics in Myanmar/Burma? What do you appreciate the most about your freedom? 

2.12.2016

Elephants!!!



I love love love love loooooooooove elephants! I told Dave I'm adding 'own pet elephant' to my bucket list - he was not amused. ha ha! 

My love for elephants started way back when I was a kid. For some reason I had a stuffed elephant collection which I loved! One time my brother broke my favorite stuffed elephant and I cried like the world stopped revolving. I also threw a fit once because my parents wouldn't buy me a pet elephant and lo and behold, they had already purchased it as a Christmas gift for me. They should have given me a darn good spanking and returned it after the fit I threw but I guess they were being merciful. 

I've always loved elephants and I knew that elephants were all throughout Myanmar and Thailand. I was so excited that we would get to see a bunch during our time in SE Asia.  

First off, when I see an elephant my heart starts racing and I jump up and down, squeal loudly and clap my hands (I'm not exaggerating either). I whip out my camera to take a million pictures and pretty much every. picture. is. blurry! I'm so excited I can't even take a picture. I really need my own elephant you guys! Then I'd be still because it would always be around. 

Okay, so now I need to tell you about some elephant encounters we have had in Asia. First off, I rode an elephant a couple of months after arriving and that was a lot of fun. Dave had already ridden an elephant before so he offered to take pictures. 

I think the best elephant experience I had was at the zoo in Myanmar. Now the zoo in Myanmar is the most 'interactive' zoo I've ever been to and that is because safety comes last there. You can literally put your hand in with the tigers, feed the elephants and hold hands with the monkeys. Even the cobras aren't behind glass but don't worry, I didn't put my hand near their area.

This past August when Becky and Byron came to visit us we took them to the zoo. We were at the elephant area and I had purchased baskets upon baskets of sugar cane to feed the sweet elephants. As you can tell from the pictures below the elephants were glad I came. I purchase a ridiculous amount of sugar cane!


Can you see the little piece of sugar cane?


A few minutes after we fed them sugar cane I looked over and the zookeeper had opened the pin and out came the elephants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I told my family bye bye and I took off to walk with those elephants because you know, safety last! and elephants! How could I say no?! I tried to take a picture and here is what came out:


ba ha aha ha! It was pretty much a picture fail but I don't care because me and the elephants got to walk. 

I did take a few pictures after that but none of them are great. Thankfully my family got a few pictures for me.

In Thailand we went to Safari World and I told Dave and Becky I wanted to see the elephant show and that if they asked for a volunteer I was going. 

Well they called for volunteers and BOOM my hand was in the air before they could finish asking and off I went to interact with the elephants. NOW I got down there and they laid me on the floor and then the panic set in because here came a big elephant right behind me. I'm not gonna lie, I love elephants but one wrong step and I'd be crushed. Anyways, the elephant massaged my butt! It was super embarrassing. Each time the elephant would pat my rear a loud speaker would go off "DOOOOIINININING!" and there were hundreds of people watching. THEN, the elephant started to walk over me. It stepped right over me and not on me, thank goodness! I don't think I'd volunteer for that again but it was fun to do once in my life.


Now, last elephant story ... in Myanmar we were at the monkey village and YAY MORE ELEPHANTS were there! We I again, purchased a bunch of sugar cane to feed them! Dave took the camera from me because well, see the above photo of the zoo. He told me to stand still by the elephant so he could actually get a picture. Apparently, I have trouble even standing still if an elephant is around. Here is the first picture. I'm squinting but that's okay because look how happy that elephant is!!!! 


Then Pam and the kids came over and Dave was super super insistent that we stay still. Well, I had a basket of sugar cane in my hand and that elephant must have heard Dave and knew it was his prime time to steal the whole basket. So while were really still and being photographed, that smart elephant snuck his trunk around and took the whole entire basket!!! While he was stealing all the food we were trying so hard to be still but then we just busted out laughing! Here is the outcome of that picture, it is one of my favorites from our time in Asia.


Initially I was scared that the elephant would try to swallow the basket and die but elephants are smart you guys and he just took all the sugar cane. Even the elephant looks like he is smiling in this picture. It's one of my favorite pictures ever!

All in all I just really really love elephants and I'm not kidding when I say I want to own one. Maybe there will be elephants in heaven ... that don't poop ;).

***I know people are very sensitive about elephants and there are many heated discussions on whether they should be a tourist attraction or free roaming. I just want to clarify that my blog isn't the place to have a heated discussion about this. =) If you do have a question about this I'm very happy to share my opinion, to listen to yours and to talk with you over e-mail but I won't argue or be mean about it and I hope you'll treat me the same.***

Do you love elephants? 
Have you gotten to interact with elephants before? If so, please do share!!!!

2.03.2016

Currently | February


Each month Jenna and Anne do a currently link up and I love reading everyone's posts. I haven't been able to join in like I want in the past but today I am because I'm back in the land of internet and I have the time! Wahoo! 

SENDING

I am working on sending thank you cards to people that we met along the trip. I know you can send an e-mail but there is just something special about hand written cards.  

I'm also working on getting birthday presents in order. In February and March there are four birthdays so I'm working on all of that. It takes my brother 3-4 weeks to get a package on the boat so I need to send his asap. 

EATING

A lot of good American food! It's so nice to eat food that won't make me sick. What have I been eating the most of? That would be green chiles from New Mexico! Seriously! It is so good. I ate a ton of while I was there and then I bought more to take home and we've been eating that. We have also been eating a lot of soup and tonight I plan on making blueberry lemon rolls. Yummo! 

I've also been eating things off the floor. ha! Let me explain. A while back I stopped at Panera for a quick bagel and soup and after toasting my bagel I dropped it on the floor. I stood there and thought "Hey, that is still probably cleaner than most of the food I ate in Burma so I bet I can still eat that." I then picked it up and ate it. I didn't get sick either so I guess I have Burma to thank for that one. That is just an example of what living in a 3rd world will do to your perspective. 

DREAMING

I'm dreaming of finding a home to live in! Yes, Dave will get a job before we get housing but I have been looking on-line a lot and researching things about homes. I'm really excited to settle in some where and be still for a while. 

I'm also really looking forward to spending time not only with family and friends but doing a few different ministries here in town. Dave and I are brainstorming and praying about possibly getting involved with international students. There are a few kids we would like to mentor and I'm thinking about and praying about doing photo sessions for the new born babies of the group home I used to work at. Of course, that is all pending that we live in Wichita. If we don't then God will open ministry doors for us wherever He leads us. 

SMELLING

The farm! 

Dave and I are farm sitting so we are smelling hay, alfalfa, pigs, horses, cow chips and more. 


HEARTING

The She Reads Truth devotional about Hymns. It is a short 5 day plan but The Bible and the devotional is something God is using to speak right to my heart. I'm so thankful for it. 

Also, I'm hearting this cute ring I got in Santa Fe, NM from the nicest lady named Laura. She makes all her own jewelry and was also a Christian. It was fun to visit with her and to help her small business. 


What you been up to currently? 
What have you been hearting? 

2.02.2016

Vancouver, Canada



Canada!

Dave and I in all of our travels had never been to Canada so we added it to our itinerary for this trip. It's only about 1 1/2 hours from where my brother lived so we drove up there. We had initially planned to go to Vancouver, Victoria and possibly Whistler. We ended up only going to Vancouver because to get to Victoria we had to take a ferry and that was $100 one way! Also, in Vancouver someone tried to break into our car (more on that down below) so we nixed Whistler off the list too.

To begin with you have to go through customs which was relatively easy. I've gone through a lot of customs before and the lady that questioned us asked SO MANY QUESTIONS! I started getting nervous and then she started asking more questions. She even asked us when we handled a gun last and blah blah blah. I honestly thought she was a bit rude but she eventually let us through.

We got in late afternoon and we first went to Stanley Park. Stanley Park is like Central Park in NYC but bigger and better. I say better because in Central Park we saw rats which really tainted my view of Central Park.

The Park has a sea wall that you can ride bikes around, walking and jogging trails, light houses, benches, city views and probably more that I don't even know about.





After the park we headed down to Gastown. It is famous for it's cute shops, interior design stores and restaurant and bars. It also has one of the world's only steam ran clocks which is the most photographed spot in that area.


The next day we planned on going to two parks: Lynn Park and Capilano Suspension Bridge. Capilano is the most famous and you do have to pay and entrance fee but Lynn Park is free. We headed out early and went to Lynn park first and then arrived at Capilano a little before they opened. 

Lynn park also has a suspension bridge along with some easy hiking trails. We arrived early and there was hardly any one there. I love the snowy trees and I also loved the mossy green in the trails where it hadn't snowed. So pretty! 


Capilano is famous for it's suspension bridge, a cliff walk and a tree top walk. Each part of the park was pretty awesome. Also, we purchased our tickets through Expedia and they were a few dollars cheaper on there. 

We arrived when it first opened and people initially flocked right to the huge suspension bridge, which is the most famous spot. We looked over and saw that no one was on the cliff walk so we went there first and pretty much had it to ourselves. 


To get to the tree top walk you have to go over the suspension bridge. I loved it but if you are afraid of heights I don't think this is the spot for you. =)

The tree top walk is basically Swiss Family Robinson of the north and it is so so much fun!!! 


Do you see Dave? =)


After walking around that park for a good long while we headed to downtown Vancouver to do the lookout. It's like The Space Needle of Vancouver and you all know I love love lookouts and towers!

We arrived right before the sunset and then stayed until it was almost dark. That way we could see the city at day and night. Again, these tickets were cheaper through Expedia.  


We loved the lookout and after we went to the parking garage where had parked our car so it would be safe and just like that someone shattered our front passenger window. It is never a good feeling to see that. 

                                                    

I've read other travel blogs where something gets stolen from them and they say they will never visit that place again. I always thought that was a bit extreme but now that it happened to me I totally get it! I still would recommend Vancouver but I'd say be super super careful. As for Dave and I, we probably won't go there again on our own. It just put a huge damper on our trip. Also, I had to sit in the back seat and guide Dave letting him know if he could change lanes because he couldn't see out the window. Customs was pretty interesting too with him in the front and then I roll my window down in the back. ha!   

It cost over $230+ to get that window fixed and that is without tinting it. I am really thankful though because the guy who fixed our window said that the tinting actually kept the window intact where they couldn't break through. We had our camping stuff in the back so I'm thankful God watched out for us and didn't allow them to steal. 

The next morning Dave and I went to a lighthouse and to a lookout point. Both were really pretty and were free!

After that we drove back to Washington so we could get our window repaired. 


I'm glad we went to Canada! It was interesting and I never knew how different of a country it would feel like but it definitely is a whole different country.  I hope to go to Prince Edward Island one of these days with all the girls in my family so that should be fun if it happens. 

Have you been to Canada? If so where did you go and what did you do? 
Is Canada on your list of travels?

2.01.2016

Coffee Date



Hi, everyone! 

Life has been full lately and I feel like a lot has happened. I'm never really sure how catch everyone up but I'll give it a go. 

Dave and I are officially back in Wichita. Although we don't have jobs or an official home of our own to live in it is nice to be back in our home town. 

We did a lot of traveling in the US. We made it all the from Canada down to San Diego, over to Albuquerque and then back to Kansas. It was a lot of driving but I'm thankful for safety along the way. 

We got to see a lot of things on our trip from beaches to the world's largest tree to elk and seals and more. It was really really neat. We also got to see some of our favorite people! Christmas was spent with family and then we were able to spend a few extra days in Whidbey Island where my brother and family live. I got to get in a lot of cuddling time with my two month old neice and that was so precious. 

A lot of people have asked us "What was your favorite place?" And to that I would say Rialto beach and seeing the world's largest trees. Both were amazing in their own way and I'll have to write a post for both of those places.  

The most "I'll never forget moment" was when we booked a stay at a hostel that turned out to be a hippies home where he threw in a few bunk beds and called it a hostel. His book shelf contained a Bible, CS Lewis books, ADD books, and how to grow marijuana and so much more weirdness. SO SO SO weird you guys. 

I got to meet my great Aunt on this trip. My grandma passed away when I was around 8 years old and seeing her sister was in a way reconnecting me to my grandma. It was just a really special time and I'm so thankful God allowed that to happen. 

We spent a day and a half with my brother in San Diego before he deployed. We had a lot of fun. We got to watch him fly out and I cheered really loud and cried all at the same time. He'll be gone for 7 months so say a prayer for him and his family if you think about it. 

We got to see my Dad's pastor and his wife in Albuquerque. They are pretty much our adopted grandparents. It was a blessing to spend time with them and to see them still actively pursuing a relationship with Christ and serving Him. 

Dave and I also got to spend a lot of time together. Sometimes we are together so much that it is easy to take that for granted. Someone last week, who has lost their spouse, reminded me that the greatest blessing of traveling is that we actually have each other to travel with. I'm glad we were able to see so many things together. Dave planned about 90% of this trip and he is really good at planning road trips. He'd plan the locations and things to do there and I'd figure out lodging and restaurants.

Our car was eventful this trip and not in a good way. The car died twice and had to be jumped and finally we got a new battery. It doesn't sound like a big deal but when you are on the road and your car won't start it's a big deal! 

We got back home last Monday night. Now, Dave is job hunting and has put his application in at a ER here in town. We are praying about that and hope to hear something soon. I've been looking at housing but we aren't going to do anything until a job is secured. 

In the mean time we are farm sitting! Random, right? When I lived in Korea I met a lady who, get this..... is from Kansas! We had never met before and she and her family were only 30 minutes away from where I live. They are out of town so we are watching their sheep, horses, cow, chickens, pigs, rabbits, cats and dogs. It's really peaceful out here and we are thankful for the quiet time. 

So I guess we can wrap it by saying that we are in transition still. It's honestly my least favorite place to be but it is where we are. Some days are easy and some are hard. I know God has a perfect plan and even if life is in 'transitional' right now I can still lean into Him. 


I hope you all are doing well! I'd love to hear how you are lately. Tomorrow I have a post about our time in Canada - what we loved and what we didn't (like our car window being smashed in....) =)
TEMPLATE BY PRETTYWILDTHINGS