Archive for December, 2009

happy? new year.

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m sitting in the living room of “BarthBrook” with all the members of my Lexington family for probably the last time. Michael, Joe Joe and Sawyer are leaving New Year’s Day for France. Not to visit. To live. It’s something I knew was coming for a long time, but never let myself think about it. It was this past Sunday that I first began to deal with the loss of my dearest friends. I wrote this during church:

“I’m looking up at the front of the church and for the first time I realized my life without Michael and Joe Joe physically here is about to happen. As I listen to Joe Joe speak words of encouragement to our body, I am overwhelmed with two feelings: gratitude and sadness. What a mixture of feelings. It’s so odd, yet I do feel full. Full of memories of nights of Settlers, dinners, teasing about my OCD, teaching Sawyer to spit, women’s retreat… so many memories. Gratitude and sadness…”

It’s crazy to imagine only 5 months ago Michael and Joe Joe were just a couple I had heard hundreds of stories about. I was hoping to avoid awkward situations living together, especially considering they had spent the last two years in Tanzania, Africa. They had a 6 month old baby, and I had never been around babies. Plus, I heard he cried a lot.

But then, God did something amazing. He molded three sets of families together into a tight-knit unit. Paul and Tracy, The Harringtons, and then little ol’ me became BarthBrook. We shared food, space, tears, cars, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Joe Joe and I especially became close, and shared our past and present troubles. She became the definition of a role model in my life. I’m going to miss having her cheery, “good morning!” when I come down the stairs.

And then there’s their son. Oh, Sawyer Timothy. I went quickly from “Sawyer’s buddy” to “Aunt Ashlyn” to “Sawyer’s girlfriend.” That’s right, I’m the resident cougar. I’ve never felt for a kid quite like I feel for Sawyer. He brightens my day. I now know I want kids. I never pass up an opportunity to snag a photo of his crazy faces, feed him, hold him, play with him, or make him laugh (which isn’t hard, this kid loves life):

I don’t know how I’m going to handle them being gone, especially once I move out of the Barth’s next week, but please be in prayer for their time getting settled in their new home and starting language school, as well as those of us getting accustomed to life without them again.

Categories: Life Tags: , , ,

the greatest gift is to give?

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

My friend Shelby has the opportunity to go overseas to Asia for the next five months. It’s been an exciting ride watching her put such faith in God’s plans for her. She had to quit her job at school, forgo her last semester of school, etc. all for an unsure plan. But now it’s all coming together, and God has allowed me to have a small part in it.

Shelby called and told me of some troubles she was having fundraising for the trip, and that the trip was in jeopardy. We brainstormed some ideas, and I helped her set up an online donation system. But I decided I should help a little, especially since it was the end of the year and me being okay with money and all (which doesn’t happen often). So I sat down, and wrote a check for a number God told me. I thought it was too much, but I had a peace about it. (I am a tightwad at heart.) I wanted to surprise her, so I didn’t tell her. Over the next few days, God really amazed both of us with the money that was raised. Shelby called me on Sunday and told me how much she still needed for the minimum amount for the trip to happen. I couldn’t hold it in any longer:

That was the amount I had sent her.

So I thought I would share. It really blessed me to be a part of this story.
Shelby still needs help. Please click on the link above and pray about donating.

Categories: Ministry Tags: , , , ,