Monday, March 16, 2009

Back there

After being subtly called out about my lack of blog updates, I felt inspired to write, or maybe just guilty for my own hypocritical teasing of my sister's idle blog. :) I've got a lot of thoughts tonight so we'll just see where we go.

It seems like being back from Africa has been one big crazy adjustment, and honestly, I don't feel like I've slowed down until just recently. When I got home to the States, I went through the whirlwind transition of visiting family and friends, getting a job, getting my first apartment, and moving to my new life in a city I'd never been to before. Then it was onto the first days of new teacher orientation, then the first days actually being a teacher, and somewhere in there I learned something about being a basketball coach. Now, here I sit, 10 months after returning from Africa, after living as a resident of Arkansas for almost as long, with almost a year of teaching and my first basketball season under my belt. Where in the world has time gone?

It's hard to believe, and sometimes I question if all of this is real. I just mean that so much of this first year of teaching/coaching has felt like a blur as I've struggled to keep my head above water. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely love my job and I never dread going to work, which I think is a huge blessing. But transitioning from the slow pace of Africa to the insanely busy pace of first year teacher and basketball coach maybe wasn't the smoothest or smartest thing I've ever done.

These past few weeks have been better though. My season is over, and I'm so enjoying getting home at 4 instead of 6 or later. Spring break starts Friday and I can't wait to hit up NYC with some friends. The weather is getting warmer and more spring-like and basically it's my favorite time of the year.

This evening I was enjoying the weather, sitting outside on a friend's deck catching up on my latest Beth Moore study ('s a good one so far, but of course, do we expect anything less from Beth? :) For a brief moment, I almost felt like I was back in Africa. The air was warm, Beth was in front of me, and I was donning the black Adidas capris that so frequently comprised my outfit in Uganda. That daydream ended as the rush hour traffic zipped down the road at a speed much too fast to be a beat-up Ugandan vehicle, but for a moment I was back there. The smells of burning trash, cow manure, and body odor came rushing back to me, and I was home. It's amazing how quickly, even if only within my mind, I'm back where my Spirit feels most alive. Back in the place where I was most changed.

But tonight I realized, I've got to stop living there. I'm here...and I need to live here. I don't really think I've been stuck in the past, but I think I've been looking for ways to make this home like that one. I've been yearning to hear God simply and easily as I did on my balcony in Mbarara, instead of searching for Him through the mess and noise that this American life can bring. I've got to take the moments to be quiet in a world where noise is a constant companion. God is in this place as much as He was there, but it seems so much easier, at least for me to fall into this trap of letting the busyness crowd Him out. That's my heart tonight. I am so thankful for the stillness of this afternoon and I want to seek that out more than anything. Because it's there that I meet Him and I am changed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

....a tad earlier than usual. Let me first say that I absolutely love it! But I tend to be fairly strict on when the celebration can begin....always the day after Thanksgiving and never a day before. I've even been strict this year although I'm looking forward to Christmas more than ever before. I really missed spending last Christmas with my family. I missed shopping in the malls with carols playing in all the stores. But I still believe that we shouldn't start celebrating this holiday until Thanksgiving is finished. I LOVE Christmas music, but only once Thanksgiving is over. I hate it when Wal-mart puts up the big trees and all the stores start playing music as soon as Halloween is over. Christmas is a great thing, but let's not beat it into the ground right? All of those things were true in my life until this year. But right now, I must confess that my cute little apartment is all ready for Christmas, the Christmas tree lights are plugged in, I'm listening to Christmas music while typing this, and last time I checked my calendar, Thanksgiving is still 2 weeks away. Why the sudden change of heart you might ask....

Laura, Picker, and the girls came through town yesterday afternoon and stayed until this afternoon. I'm not exactly how the conversation started, but somehow it was decided that I needed to find a Christmas tree and that they should help me decorate. I'd like to say that I stuck to my core beliefs and fought long and hard that it is too early, but as Picker says, I'm an easy flip. Can you blame me when Kennedy was putting ornaments on the tree saying, "Wow! I've never done this before Betsy. I'm helping you decorate your Christmas tree!" all excitedly. Yeah, you'd be an easy flip too. I realized that if I really waited until after Thanksgiving to decorate, I'd only have a couple of weeks to enjoy it before going home, and in those couple of weeks, I have my first three basketball games on top of the usual busyness of life as a first year teacher and coach. Plus, it was WAY more fun decorating with my family than by myself and that's what the holidays are all about anyways. I'm so thankful that Laura was blessed with an interior decorating sense that seemed to skip over me. She was also so sweet and bought me some of these super cute decorations while we were at Hobby Lobby. Here I was thinking she was filling up the cart for their house, but it was all for my apartment. I am truly blessed with the family that God has given me, and it was great to enjoy them today and get into the spirit of Christmas together. Here's the finished product of my tree and mantle, and yes, my awesome fireplace is being used. I love Christmas!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He is Able

I've been gone from Uganda for four months today, but it's so cool how I continue to learn from my time there and the relationships I made. Today I got an email from my friend Alex, and God really spoke through him to me. Alex has been lacking school fees since we left, and he's emailed me several times and asked me to pray for him to get the money to go to school. He emailed today ecstatic because he got the money and he's back in school. He went on and on about how excited he was, but it was one sentence that got me the most. This is what he said.

"Get to know that God is able, Betsy"

I really needed to hear that today. I feel like there have been several times in my life where I've successfully taken God out of the box that I tend to keep him in, and I've been wowed at the things He has done. But all too often I keep Him in the box, and I don't truly trust that He is able. The words of my friend were a great reminder that I daily need to be "getting to know God." And the more I get to know Him, the more I'll know that he IS able. I need to be daily reminding myself to trust in His power and not my own. I'm so thankful that God continues to work through the wonderful people He's put in my life to teach this stubborn girl a thing or do.

In other news, everything is going really well. I absolutely love my job, and my students are great. Teaching is hard and definitely a challenge, but so worth it. I work with wonderful people, and I just feel extremely blessed to be where I am at. I feel like I learn so much everyday. In fact, yesterday I learned after witnessing my first fight break out a few feet in front of me, that as it turns out, I am a freezer in those types of situations. I always wondered how I'd handle that, and yesterday I found that I stood with my feet frozen to the group while the male teachers came running down the hall to my rescue. Thankfully, I was standing next to a fellow freezer of a teacher so I didn't feel too bad about it. Regardless of the occassional fight, I have absolutely fallen in love with 8th grade, and I can't believe I never considered this age before. My students crack me up, and I could go on and on about the funny things they say. It's a blast. I've also been blessed to be helping out with the youth group at church. We're having a lock-in next Friday, and let's just say I'm doubting my chaperoning abilities considering I usually start yawning around 8:00, and they're expecting me to stay up all night. yeah....right.... All in all, life is good, and I'm blessed. God is able, and He continues to show me that daily, and for that I'm thankful.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ten Things Tuesday: Thursday edition

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

So my sister started doing this and I've been wanting to do it for awhile, but I just kept forgetting. But after she so subtly/not so subtly at all, reminded/asked me when I was going to do it, I decided it was time to take time to be thankful...even if it is a few days late. I really do love this idea, and I have a feeling, it's going to be hard to list just 10 things.

1. I'm thankful for a weekend to relax before school officially starts on Monday.
2. I'm thankful that there's a gym where I can workout in my apartment complex that is less than a 30 second walk away.
3. I'm thankful for the eliptical machine that takes it easy on those of us with bum knees.
4. I'm thankful for Grace Harbor, my wonderful new church home.
5. I'm thankful that I'm in America where my friends and family are only a phone call away.
6. I'm thankful for phone conversations where I laugh so hard, I go into silent mode and the person on the other end wonders if they lost me.
7. I'm thankful to work in such a great school with great people.
8. I'm thankful for my wonderful new friend that I'm convinced God sent to Kirksey to work across the hall from me.
9. I'm thankful that I got to meet some of my students tonight....and on that note, I'm thankful that I remembered during introductions to those students that my name is no longer Betsy, but now Ms. Glover.
10. I'm thankful that I'm a's a blast!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Follow Me

Some people might think I'm crazy to love living by myself and having so much alone time , but so far, life in the new place has been great. I've always been one that loves alone time, but I feel like it is so much more of a necessity for me these days as I continue to process my time in Uganda and the things that God is still teaching me from it. One of the blessings of a little more down time than usual is time to read. I love to read, but a lot of times, I don't have the down time to do it. This week I've been reading a book and as's got me thinking. Surprise, surprise.

This book put a new spin on a verse, which I love, that I'm sure most of us have read many times. I feel like it's such a trap for the Bible to become stale when we've read the same stories so many times. But I'm reminded again that God's word is alive and active, shaping me and changing me in different ways all the time. The verse is found in three out of the four gospels, and it's Jesus' simple invitation to the first disciples to "Come, follow me." So often the emphasis of that verse is put on the action of following, and rightly so. The focus is on being like Christ and following Him wherever He might lead (even to Uganda...Trust me this verse was special to me during that time period, but for a different reason.) It's about giving up control and living our faith without fear, or even if we're fearful, going regardless and trusting that because Jesus is leading, we'll be ok.

If we're going to go and follow Jesus somewhere, then doesn't that imply that we're also leaving something behind? I have to confess that I've never really thought about that, but the idea of following someone invariably means that we're leaving another place, or maybe another way of life. That's what I've been thinking about since reading this last night....following Jesus always means leaving something behind, whether it's a physical place, a lifestyle, or simply a comfortable place we've always know.

I wonder how often I miss out on things that God is willing to show me because I'm too slow to leave something behind. Maybe I'm too attached to something and not as attached to Him as I need to be. Maybe God is just calling us all to leave something behind and truly follow after Him for the first time in our life. Maybe it's a job that we're stuck in and feel like we can't get out. Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's an attitude. Maybe it's an acceptance of a mediocre life instead of the abundant life that God has promised. Maybe it's the need to control, rather than trust. Maybe it's a way of life that's comfortable, although not what it should be. I don't know what it is for you, but I can think of several things that it is for me. My prayer as I start my new life in this new place is that the fear of leaving the ordinary and the comfortable behind doesn't keep from following Jesus to new blessings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Home again, Home again

Well, I apologize for the long hiatus from blogging, but these past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I've now been home for over 3 weeks and it has been wonderful! I have to confess that I miss the slow pace of Uganda already because I feel like I haven't stopped going since I got home. I was only home for a little over a week before leaving on a two week trip to see friends and family that I've missed so much in the past year. It's been great to enjoy the comforts of home as well as the company of so many people. I've especially enjoyed time with my precious nieces and nephew. I think that when I look at Sidney and KJ it hits me the most just how long I was gone and how much I missed out on. I'm so thankful to be back and able to spend time with them now.

I've also been incredibly blessed with a great job for this next year. It's a really long story that has God's fingerprints all over (it would take way too long to type, but I'd love to tell you about how God's been working if you're interested). God has led me to move to Rogers, AR where I'll be an 8th grade history teacher and head girls' basketball coach. I could not be more excited about this opportunity, and I feel like it's the perfect first job for me. I'm especially excited to get back into basketball and this time on the other side of it. It has all happened pretty quickly, and I'll be moving down in 3 weeks to start working basketball camps and having workouts with my team. God continues to bless and provide for me, and I've already found a great apartment that I'm excited about moving into. One of the main things I have been praying for in this whole process was to feel just as led and called to the next phase of life as I did to Uganda. God has wowed me during the past few months and reminded me once again to never box him in, and I know He is calling me to Rogers. I'm not sure why, but I'm excited to see it unfold and learn what He's waiting to teach me next.

I wanted to thank you all one more time for being such huge supporters and prayer warriors for me this past year. Now that I'm back in the States and looking back on my time in Uganda, I'm continually amazed at the many ways God used your prayers to bless my year. I could never thank you enough. It has meant so much to know that you've kept up with my blog and the journey that I've been on, and it's been great to be able to share life with so many of you face to face now that I'm back. Although I'm no longer in Uganda, I continue to learn and be changed daily by the people I met, the experiences I had, and the life that I lived there. Now it's on to the next big adventure that God has put in front of me...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just Go

I knew that God had brought me to the right place when I found out that all (well...most) of the members of the team here also consider "Dumb and Dumber" to be their favorite movie. I love that movie, and I love that for our last time together with the team on this upcoming Saturday, we will be watching that movie together one more time. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Lloyd is dropping Mary off at the airport and as she starts to say something, he pushes his finger to her lips and all dramatically says, "Just go." It cracks me up, but more seriously, it is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately as I am approaching an exciting, yet uncertain transition in my future. Just a year ago, I was facing the uncertainty of journeying to a place I'd never been before to live with people I'd never met. Now I'm facing the uncertainty of journeying back to a place I call home to be with those that know me the best and love me anyways.

It's not that I'm unsure about America, but it's more that I'm unsure about myself in America again. I've changed in a lot of ways this year, and I feel funny confessing this, but in some ways I feel like I've forgotten how it works to live in America. Here's a few examples. I've gotten so used to using cash everywhere here, that I've totally forgotten how credit cards work. Today I was trying to confirm online that I could pay with a credit card for the hotel in London. Duh Betsy. The other day in school I was reading a book to the little girls, and I pronounced the word "mosquito" the way that Ugandans pronounce it, which is incidentally quite different then I've pronounced it for the first 22 years of my life. D-rae is planning a trip to Searcy for when she gets back and she was accidentally planning each day of traveling so that she would arrive at her destination before dark, without realizing that it's actually ok to be on the roads in America after the sun goes down. These are just a few funny examples, but it really is overwhelming at times to think about living the American life that I've always known after experiencing a year of so many differences here in Uganda.

In addition to the unknowns about reentering life in America, there are still so many unknowns about my future. Where will I live? What will my job be? Will I have a job? In the midst of all of these transitions, I've been trying to live a lot less by doubts and a lot more by faith. But I am still so weak and so faithless despite the great faithfulness of my Father. Today I got a good wake-up call through Psalm 106. This whole chapter kind of recaps the Israelites in the wilderness and their constant rollercoaster of faith: believing in God and then doubting him...worshiping Him and then turning around and worshiping a golden calf. Their faith was constantly changing, just like mine. God used verse 24 to speak to me today.

The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn't believe his promise to care for them.

I wonder how often I do that in my life. How often do I hang back and miss out on the "pleasant land" because I'm too busy listening to my doubts instead of trusting His promises? Why do I so often linger and question where God is taking me instead of just going on the belief that He goes with me? Right now at this time in my life, I don't want to be like the Israelites. I don't want to miss out on the blessing of the Promised Land because my faith is too weak. Instead as I journey back home and continue this journey of life, I want the belief that God will be there to care for me to be more than enough. And it should. He has never given me any reason to doubt, but has only given me hundreds of reasons to believe. He will care for me, and that's all the assurance I need in this time of uncertainty.

So maybe I'll make some funny mistakes when I get back to America. I'll probably try to warm up leftovers in the oven while forgetting that a microwave is actually quicker. Drinking out of a faucet might freak me out for awhile, and being out after dark will probably make me feel a little rebellious. But I'm just going to go. I'm going to go and trust that God will be with me in the hard times of adjustment just as much as He'll be with me in the joyous reunions with family and friends. Speaking of reunions, how about 19 days?!?!?!