all we did was say yes

i think many people get caught up in having to be extraordinary. having to have a lot of talent, a lot of drive, a lot of genius, a lot of vision but I don’t see much of that in our lives. certainly we are very capable and are talented, but to be the ones to move their entire lives across the world is unimaginable. never did I think this would be my future, never when asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” was my answer living in India working in an orphanage. it’s just too crazy.

but crazy we are. our time working a regular 9-5 job is almost up (although I don’t know how much retail hours are regular to begin with are). we’ll be breaking our reaming month spending time with friends in baton rouge and family in houston and then, we’re off. off to india with our lives packed away in a couple of trunks and backpacks for the next 2 years. can I just say that is very difficult to do? trying to figure out what to bring, what to leave, and what to sell is very time consuming and a headache, but we’ve just about got it all.

getting to this point has been a long journey, both separate and together. and individually our callings can look a little different but what is so cool is that together they are so similar. and we can say yes together.

alex’s journey to her calling started around 11 or 12; she denied it for a while but really wanted to be a martyr after reading a Jesus Freak book (one of those 90’s fads I never knew of until now, although I don’t know how fad it is for an 11 year old to read a book like that). God had prepared her though, He placed this calling in her to serve, to love, to go. alex’s later years in college brought her closer to kolkata when she was praying through going to nepal and working with trafficked women there, that didn’t pan out but she was open, waiting, and listening to what God had for her next and that’s when He opened a door for her to go to goa, india. she fell in love.

i was more of a late bloomer. i didn’t have much of a relationship with God until I was in college. and even then didn’t want much of it but just couldn’t leave it. He pulled me in and pulled me hard. He used a lot of friendships to show me his love and faithfulness. i was a youth intern for a local church and went on a few mission trips in america and in mexico and south africa. i knew that youth and missions was something I was called to but couldn’t see what that looked like. now i know.

so here we are, two young 20 something’s, newly married, still figuring life out, working retail, and amazed that this is what we are doing. all we did was say yes. a yes to god, to his faithfulness, to his goodness, to his grace, to his justice. and that really is all it takes. nothing special. we aren’t heroes or super Christians, just ordinary people who follow an extraordinary God who enjoys bringing in His daughters and sons into His amazing story. it can be scary and daunting at times, we are after all moving across the world, but we are covered and protected so all we can do is go in faithfulness and know that we are in His hands.

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a trip to india

i made it back alive from my first trip to india, and i’ve caught the bug. (and not just the kind that puts you on a bland diet) the bug that makes you heart yearn for more. more of the chaos, more of the smells, more of the crazy driving, more of the beautiful faces that fill the country.

when we landed in kolkata and met with our contacts, i was put in the front seat of the car. as i climbed in i heard a whisper of “we’re going to really initiate him into the city”. i braced myself for the worst. but as we drove towards our hotel, the streets were empty. a very rare occurrence. i could see the disappointment in don as he gave us a little tour as we drove on.

i was awoken by the busy streets and honking of the cars. india had finally woken herself up for me. but amid all the chaos that was going on in the streets and alleys and sidewalk shops, i felt a peace. i felt at home and knew that this was where i was supposed to be.

finally being able to meet and see all the faces and hearts of each and every one of the kids was almost too much to handle. (though i’m not sure if they fully comprehend the fact that alex and myself will be there in august for two years) the kids have the biggest smiles and hugest of hearts, you almost forget that they have such a scared past. what the home has done is just amazing. they have truly loved and cared for the orphans, the marginalized, and broken.

it was hard to leave. i was even bribed by one the boys to give him my passport and plane ticket so he could go to the states. i was tempted to take him on his offer although alex would not have been the happiest of wives with that choice.

i’m still trying to fully decompress from the whole trip and fully comprehend the chaos that i experienced. i think i was partially blinded with awe and wanderlust of what i was embarking on and how short of a time period remained before we really moved here. like really, really move across the planet to a completely new country. a new culture. and even a time travel to the past.

i’m glad i have this experience now, however short it was. i have a glimpse of what our lives will be. where we will be. all while still seeing that the God i serve here in the US is the same in India. still as big, still as loving, still as caring.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneselfunstained from the world.” – James 1:27 ESV

some of the girls wearing our bracelets. all the kids and staff were given bracelets as a reminder of an amazing community loving them and praying for them from afar

some of the girls wearing our bracelets. all the kids and staff were given bracelets as a reminder of an amazing community loving them and praying for them from afar

happy father’s day!

in honor of father’s day and the fact that i blogged about my mom for mother’s day, i give you things that i learned from my dad, Lee. (yes my parents are named Lee & DaLee). 

my daddy is awesome. so awesome that I feel like he doesn’t even need an introduction. so here’s a list of reasons that my dad is awesome. 

1. he has integrity. when i was in the third grade, my dad left his sunglasses in a coworkers car. they had a scratch on them so the guy offered to replace them. my dad told him that they were already scratched instead of letting the guy buy him a new pair. he has always taught us not only to be honest, but to be moral and ethical. and he hasn’t just taught us with his words, he’s taught us with his actions.

2. he’s taught me how to “win friends and influence people”. maybe it’s because he and DaLee made me read the book by Dale Carnegie when i was 12. but it’s probably because he taught me how to do that by watching him. he engages people, treats people with respect and dignity; no matter what the situation.

3. he taught me to never stay in a job that you didn’t enjoy. my dad has pursued so many different dreams. he’s accomplished so much in several different careers. he’s understood the importance of doing what you love, not just getting a paycheck. and that has been a great example for us. 

4. he’s taught me the importance of staying informed and knowing our country’s history. 

5. he’s taught me the importance of good grammar and spelling. He used to take a red pen to my papers (you know, the third grade kind). And while then it was damaging to my self-esteem, I was probably one of the few elementary school kids who never misused “your and you’re”. 

6. an insane memory of numbers, fast reading, love of music — these are all things i naturally came by from my daddy. i’m equally thankful for all three. 

7. he taught me about football, soccer, softball, cross country, etc. Pretty much any sport i’ve ever played, he was there to teach me how to be the best at it. Whether it was running with me in the off season, pacing by the sidelines during my soccer games, he wanted me to do my best. and instilled in me a super competitive nature. and taught me how to hold my own during football talks. calling my dad after LSU football games during my years at LSU was one of my absolute favorite traditions. 

8. he’s always loved my mom well. and put her first and us second. he’s been one of the greatest human depictions of what it means to be a husband and a dad. because of the way that i watched him live out being married to my mom and instilling a self-worth in me that was so crucial to growing up in today’s society; I didn’t settle for a man that was anything less than what my dad was to me. not many girls get to say that. 

9. this is the most important part. my dad is the most hardworking person i will ever know. he was the first college graduate in his family. he worked his own way through college. he did whatever it took to support our family. and because of how hard he worked, my siblings and i didn’t have to work as hard. he worked his way up to give us a better life. and he is still the hardest worker that i know. everything that he does he puts 150% into it. he’s dedicated and this trait has taught me so much. 

thank you daddy! i’m so proud to call you my dad. 

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thank you, CPBC!

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to Monroe, LA to visit with our dear friends, Sam & Emily! I also had the wonderful privilege of speaking at their church, College Place Baptist Church. Every year, CPBC chooses missionaries to give their Vacation Bible School offering to. They have a contest between the boys and girls to teach them about giving and make it fun. This year, we were the missionaries they chose!

I was able to speak during both services about who we were and what we would be doing in India for the next couple of years and was able to speak to all of the Sunday School classes as well. I was completely blown away by the body of Christ this weekend. As soon as church ended, people just started handing me money. It was insane. I also had bracelets with me to sell and between people buying bracelets and just handing me money, I raised over $700 in one day! And that doesn’t even include the VBS offering! I was so blessed by the hearts of the people at CPBC and by the focus on missions. It was incredible to see how giving people were and more importantly, how much they wanted to pray for us.

Not only was I completely blown away by the body of Christ, I was humbled that the Lord is using us to tell a bigger story. Us moving to India isn’t about us. It’s about what the Lord is doing in us. We’re just walking in obedience to what He has called us to. He is telling a bigger story about how He is making all things new. About how He cares about the widow and the orphan and the poor. And my favorite part is that He could accomplish all of this on His own. He doesn’t need Preston and Alex. But He is choosing to use us. It’s humbling and overwhelming and beautiful. And we are thankful to be able to continually speak of how the Lord is using HIS PEOPLE to accomplish HIS PLANS. We are learning so much about the Lord’s faithfulness and His provision. And we are thankful that 52 days away from leaving, He has given us every single reason to trust Him. He is good.

“I will sing sing sing
To my God my King
For all else fades away

And I will love love love
With this heart You’ve made
For You’ve been good always
For You’ve been good always”

– “Oh Our Lord” by All Sons and Daughters

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P.s Preston and Josh are safely back from India and Preston will be sharing some time next week about his time in Kolkata!

chicago + preston to india

Preston and I have been in Chicago since Friday for a honeymoon, anniversary, graduation getaway and it has been the perfect vacation. We stayed in a hostel in a cute, artsy area 10 minutes from downtown. We’ve done the museum thing, rode bikes around town, shopped & we even took a very long L train + bus ride to find little India. Little India was almost as magical as real India. All the shops looked like we really were in India. It was great.

We head home this evening and then Preston heads out to Kolkata early tomorrow morning with our pastor, josh. They will be meeting with our India partners and working out logistics for our move (which is 2 months tomorrow!). Please pray for their safety in traveling, that they will adjust without jet lag & that this trip will be fruitful and beneficial.

We are also still in need of $250 monthly to be fully funded. The Lord has continued to exceed our expectations with support raising and we know that he will provide this last little bit. thank you for praying with us & for supporting us.

joyfully,
alex

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fun, labyrinth style bookstore.

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pretending to be fancy on an architecture cruise

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hostel life.

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our L train stop.

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my favorite place, target!

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Preston got hit on and I’m pretty sure it was because of this awesome outfit.

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skyline picture from our bike ride

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subway picture by Preston

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just biking.

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feet above Chicago from the Sears (Willis) tower

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6am at the airport but we were so excited!

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8pm of the same day. Exhausted.

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selfie at the bean.

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another skyline picture

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we got caught in torrential downpour. Hot mess.

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little India!