Well it's been a little over a week since I have been home. It is a great feeling but also very different. I love being with my family, seeing my friends, and having some alone/relaxing time. I still have one paper to finish that I have been procrastinating on but until then I am home free. It has been interesting trying to adjust back to being home and in the states. I remember getting off the plane and being shocked that people looked like me and I was not being stared at!! One of the things that is the weirdest to adjust to is the prices here. I just can't get out of my mind that many people in Central America live on a dollar a day and when I buy one $20 dollar shirt that is about their monthly wage.
While I'm home I am going to help with Christmas shopping and errands, probably read a lot of books and catch up with friends. This weekend I am heading up to Butler and I am so excited to see everyone there!
Being abroad was definitely an adventure and I learned so much, a lot of it I am still trying to process. I learned a lot about myself and how I handle situations that push me out of my comfort zone. I grew in a lot of areas and I'm really excited to see how that will change my life from now on. From the summer at Kanakuk to being abroad for a semester it is really awesome to see all of the growth and changes in my life. But I'm not ready to stop here. God has so much in store for me and I am eager to see what he has planned for my future.
I want to say a final thanks for everyone who followed my blog and prayed and encouraged me along the way. It really meant a lot.
Now onto the next chapter in my life.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yesterday was the best day and a great final hurrah to being abroad in Mexico. Four of my friends went with me to get tickets for the Harry Potter movie. The newest movie premiers tonight in the U.S. and England but in Mexico it premiered YESTERDAY!! So we went to get tickets and found out that all were sold out except for the spanish dubbed version. We thought we would get those tickets and see if they would let us into the english theatre. We spent the 6 hours before the movie at a very Americanized mall (love it!!). I got to eat McDonalds, play with a golden retriever puppy at a pet store, have a Starbucks drink, play with the ipad, and just enjoy the day. It was just what I needed! Then before the movie started we headed over and got in line. We were SO lucky that they let us go into the english theatre because we were "gringos" or white people. The movie was great and I got to see it a day early!!
Today we have a migration panel and then tomorrow is our last day of class YAHOO!!! Sunday we fly out around 3 and get home at 11. I'm so excited I can't even stand it! Thanks for following me in all my travels and praying for me along the way. I love you all!
See you soon,
Monday, November 15, 2010
Leslie Ludy is quickly becoming one of my favorite women to hear speak. I have written about her before but she is the author of many books including Authentic Beauty, which I read on this trip. She has a website called setapartgirl.com that I would highly encourage every young woman to go to. She has an amazing ministry dedicated to young women and also one with her husband focusing on training the next generation to be set apart Christians. Her message is Biblical, bold, and extremely convicting.
Today I listened to one of her talks on set apart femininity. She made so many strong points that took me aback and really made me rethink my relationship with the Lord. One of the ones that stuck out was when she made the statement that many Christians today feel like they aren’t close to God and wonder why. She explained that God says seek Him with our whole heart and we will find Him. The key words there are whole heart. Most of us have so many distractions in our lives and idols that we cling to. Because of this many Christians are not allowing God to have their entire heart and really take control of their lives. I prayerfully spent some time trying to dig up those areas of my life that I am holding back and keep from Gods hands. Leslie also challenged listeners to ask themselves these questions:
1. Where do I spend the best hours of my day?
2. Where do I turn for rest/enjoyment/pleasure?
3. Are there things in my life besides Jesus that I can’t give up?
I really want to work on giving God the best hours of my day. Not just my morning hours, but all of the best hours. To do this I am going to have to remove some of the distractions like facebook, favorite TV shows, and even listening to music. But to truly put Jesus first in my life it requires giving him the best hours.
There was so much wisdom and encouragement in Leslie’s talk today. I just wanted to share a little bit about what’s going on in my head and heart.
When I wake up tomorrow there will be 5 days left! We are staying in Mexico City tonight and heading back to Cuernavaca tomorrow. Today we toured a basilica, ancient ruin site, had lunch at a nice restaurant, went up in a tower to get a wide view of Mexico City and had Pizza Hut for dinner. All in all it was a pretty good day.
Can’t wait to be back in the States!
See you soon,
Saturday, November 13, 2010
My amazing friends. I am so blessed to have great friends in my life who encourage me in my walk with the Lord. You guys know who you are and I really appreciate your presence in my life! God has allowed me to make so many new friends this year and many that I know will last a lifetime. Being abroad has showed me who my true friends are and given me a deeper appreciation for them.
My family. No explanation here. They are amazing and I wouldn't be who I am today without my parents especially.
My life. This may seem broad but I love my life. Yes I go through ups and downs like anyone but I have been so blessed to experience so many things in my life. Being able to travel has opened my eyes to the world. I go to a great college, have a wonderful home, friends and family who love me and so much more. God has met all of my needs and exceeded them by far!
My Savior. Jesus, the King of my life who gave His life for us because He loves us THAT much and wants to spend eternity with us. I will be thankful for the gift of salvation every day of my life.
8 days and counting!! Home is soooo close!
See you soon :) Shelby
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I can hardly contain my excitement!
We haven't really been doing much in the past few days. The class is pretty low key. We are studying different "spaces" and ideas such as utopia and dystopia. Saturday we have a free day and then Sunday we head into Mexico City for 3 days. We will be attending the Ballet Folklorio on Sunday night which should be fun! When we return there will only be four days left!!! My main goal right now is just to try and focus and get this class over with. Home is so close I can almost see it :) I can't wait for yummy American food, flat roads, hunting season, thanksgiving, the Christmas holiday, and so much more.
See you soon!! :)
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Waiting for the Lord applies to so many different aspects in life no matter how old or young you are. There are many things that I am waiting for from Him right now. I'm currently waiting to go home and waiting to see how He is going to use these two final weeks in my life before everything changes again and I transition back into U.S. life. I'm waiting to see what the next step of faith is that He wants me to take. I'm waiting to be back at Butler to move back into DG and experience the joys and trials that await me there. I'm waiting to meet my future husband which is one of the most difficult waiting periods right now. I'm waiting to see what His plans are for me in 2011. There is never a time when we aren't waiting for something.
A song by John Waller addresses this issue perfectly. He sings:
I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait
Waiting is not easy but it is also not an excuse to be lazy or stop seeking God's face. I have been learning that periods of waiting can be some of the most exciting. If i look past the hard parts, the impatience, the anxieties, and the unknown that waiting can bring there is so much joy. I have so much ahead of me in my life. God can use me in so many different ways right now, and I am not tied down to anyone who will keep me from going there. I am going to appreciate and thrive in this time of singleness where it is just me and Jesus. I am going to use my gifts and time to honor and glorify Him and not myself. I am so excited to see where God is going to lead me next as I start another chapter in my life. I have experienced so much growth in these past few months and I am going to take that back and do something with what I have learned. I will be running the race....even while I wait.
Love always, Shelby
Friday, November 5, 2010
"...Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us." Hebrews 12:1
Sprint towards the finish line, I want to finish strong! This is the mentality that I am trying to have in these last few weeks. 17 days. It seems like it should fly but the days are going by so slow. The morale is really low around here right now. Tomorrow we have final presentations combined with a final paper and we will be done with our current class. The hard part is I have to ramp up yet again to start our last class on Latin American cities. It's a struggle to find the motivation when my mind is on the finish line. I'm trying to remember that a lot can happen in 17 days. I don't want to miss something that God is trying to show me or teach me because I am too consumed with the future. Please just pray that I can appreciate each day and find the joy that every day brings. I want to be a positive light to my peers amongst the negativity.
Love always, Shelby
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Last night we went out in Cuernavaca to experience the Day of the Dead. It was not as creepy as I expected. The main point of the day (the holiday actually lasts for 3 days) is to celebrate the lives of the dead. There are altars set up for loved ones who have passed away and people can visit them and offer candles, and then you receive some kind of drink or food in return. Most people weren't dressed up but there is a slight influence from Halloween during day of the dead. Some kids dress up in devil or skeleton costumes and walk around with pumpkins asking for money instead of candy. I could write much more but I have a lot of homework to do so the pictures will have to speak for themselves. Here is a glimpse of last night.
Love always, Shelby
Monday, November 1, 2010
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
I read this psalm recently and it really hit me hard. There is so much wisdom in this passage and clear direction of how we are to live. I really love reading Psalms because it is so applicable today but was written so long ago. David writes that to dwell in the Lord’s sanctuary and to live in true company with him we must be blameless and do what is righteous. These verses yet again emphasize the importance of words. This overall theme of watching what I say is something God has really been teaching me lately. I’ve learned that a significant part of being blameless comes from being truthful, holding your tongue in frustration, and as it says keeping your oath even when it hurts. One of the things that separates Christians from the world is how we speak. When we encourage others, refrain from slander, gossip and bad language, keep our word and are truthful it really sets us apart. But I fear that being careless with our words is something that so many of us fall into. I especially think for girls, slander and gossip is one that many of us struggle with. It frustrates me that I so easily give in to the temptation of talking about others in a gossipy way. I really think this is one of Satan’s best ways for breaking down friendships and creating tension and anger amongst friends. This is something that I truly want to fight against.
Love always, Shelby