Thailand-bound

Before I litter this blog with tons of pictures from Asia, let me explain a little bit…

I don’t have any classes this semester because of my OTA application being due in March. Because of how flexible my work schedule is…er…babysitting schedule…I figured now was the best time to try to travel before the whirlwind of (hopefully) full-time school/full-time job/babies occurs.

My friend Constance used to live in Phayao, Thailand for 2 years. Her work schedule is also quite flexible, and a lot of which she can do remotely-SO, with the help of buddy passes from my dad, we are leaving for Bangkok tomorrow morning! We’ll hopefully spend some time there (depending on the political craziness happening) and then go to Chiang Mai for the rest of the trip.

I am many many things, including excited, scared, in shock, and overwhelmed with my mile-long to do list.

Mostly, I’m just so grateful that I get this opportunity. It is no small miracle for me to be able to experience another culture for a couple weeks on a whim. I am not ignorant of the fact that this is CRAZY awesome and I am so undeserving.

I’ll update upon arrival, and surely post photos from this adventure. Can’t wait to share this all with you!!

Say a prayer for our safety in Bangkok with all of the protests going on. See ya’ll on the other side-

Caroline

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Traumatized.

Here’s a little anecdote to give you a pre-weekend chuckle.

I took my good friend Leena out to dinner last night. Leena had a baby 2 months ago, and hasn’t seen a whole lot of the outside world since, as many new moms don’t. I thought it would be fun to take her on a girly date, so we went to this adorable little french/american restaurant close to my neighborhood.

We sipped pinot noir until we got our dinner. She had ordered a steak, I ordered chicken, and when the food showed up I dropped my knife while unrolling the silverware from my cloth napkin.

Let me set the stage a big: Small, quiet restaurant with about 10 tables total. Stained concrete floors. LOUD clang when I dropped my heavy knife onto the floor.

When I scrambled to pick it up off the ground before it would be considered socially unacceptable to use the floor-knife to cut my dinner (I am disgusting) I felt 2 of the legs of my chair slide.

In one split second, I somehow went from sneakily leaning over to quickly pluck my knife off the floor to LAYING ON THE FLOOR OF THE RESTAURANT WITH MY CHAIR ON TOP OF ME. I am literally laughing out loud as I write this thinking back on how epic of a fall I had. I just pray someone secretly got it on tape for Youtube viewers’ enjoyment. The restaurant was completely silent, and every. single. eye. was fixed on the pathetic girl writhing around on the ground of a perfectly decent and respectable cafe. Mortifying.

So, to make matters worse (or better? Haven’t decided) random restaurant guy across the room decided to pipe in during the awkward silence and yell “Someone get this girl another drink!!”

No one laughed. Asshole.

So, in case on this Friday you find yourself feeling like the butt of someone’s joke, just remember the girl who **soberly** plummeted out of her chair last night. And feel a little bit better.

Happy Weekend, folks.

Veggin’ Out With MLF

One of the things I have come to love most about Austin is the abundance of passionate people. Passionate about coffee, food, graffiti, running, naked bike rides…You name it, there is someone preachin’ it here.

Vox Veniae, our church community, happens to be incredibly passionate about being a source of hope and a helpful presence in the often-hurting East Austin neighborhoods. Our church deeply loves the broken, and invites all to come share in the fellowship Christ offers. I absolutely love being a part of something so non-exclusive. It is truly beautiful.

A big part of how Vox shows love to the east Austin community is by partnering with existing organizations already impacting the lives of residents there. One such non-profit is called Mobile Loaves and Fishes, and it is seriously unbelievably cool. The way they roll up their sleeves and completely dive into the confusing and very messy issue of chronic homelessness humbles and challenges me. They empower impoverished men and women in Austin through urban gardening, planned communities, and various work opportunities. They deeply know and love Austin’s homeless. To be known…What a powerful thing to offer your fellow man. It is a huge honor for our community to get to come alongside them and witness lives being changed daily by the seeds they plant (literally and figuratively of course).

Right before Christmas, my small group met up at Space12 (our church building) to wash vegetables with Steven Hebberd (Vox member and MLF employee) and some of his co-gardeners from the organization. It was a blast to get to goof off around the table and gawk at the vast array of produce plucked from the MLF gardens earlier that day. Our creepy stares at the vegetables may have terrified Steven, because our group was quickly re-directed to egg-washing duties. Simple Enough. “We’ll knock this out in no time and then resume our vegetable ogling.”

We then watched as hundreds and hundreds of recently hatched chicken eggs were placed before us. Yep. It took us awhile. But it was something we could all do together as a team, which was perfect for a midweek group in the infant stages like ours is. Team building, man. I loved every minute of it.

So this is a call to all midweek groups, friend groups, loners, parents, grandparents and anyone in Austin who doesn’t mind a little chicken poop-SCHEDULE A WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR WASHING VEGGIES (and eggs) FOR MLF. You will bless their organization, and get to be a part of something huge God is doing in our amazing city.

Thanks so much Steven!!!

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Christmas

I cannot even begin to describe the feelings of sheer bliss and contentment that I felt this Christmas.

I won’t ramble on about all of the details, because no words can really do justice to how special these memories will be for me. But I’ll just give a brief overview for the sake of maintaining somewhat of a timeline on this bloggy thingy.

Josh and I spent a week in the mountains together (which included Christmas) in a little cabin with no heat, no internet, no cable, and TONS of snow. Just us. Oh, and Henry, but he only came because we are too cheap to pay someone to watch him. Story of our lives.

We were locked away from any and all hints of civilization, and it was priceless. The hikes, the books, the snowball fights, the fires…All of it was perfect. I’m so grateful to be married to an adventurer, a lover of long road trips. and someone willing to put up with my freakish giddy squeals of excitement (Gonna blame the altitude…) for an entire week. I am so so so so glad we spent Christmas surrounded by blankets and firewood instead of endless piles of presents. My heart just couldn’t take it all this year.

Speaking of presents, I am reading a book that is kind of ruining me in the best ways ever. If you are a believer, I highly recommend picking up the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker. It is about simplicity and generosity and how completely wrong the church has gotten everything in these areas. I love it and hate it for how convicted I am…But no turning back now. It is awesome. Read it-it’ll be the best few hours you could spend so far in 2014.

So, I’m going to go have my entire world wrecked some more, and I will report back after all my stuff has been given away. But then I won’t have a computer, so I guess maybe there’s a chance I won’t be back. Or I’ll go to the library to blog. If I can make it there without a car. Either way, happy new year and stuff!

Caroline

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