Monday, September 22, 2008

SmugMug vs. Flickr

The online photo storage debate has ensued for over a week now, and after much research, deliberation, and the discovery of a 50% off coupon, the winner is (drum roll, please)...SMUGMUG! I am just thrilled I can attend to my pathological need to organize my photos (you have no idea...) Feel free to stop over and visit our site at your leisure. Unlike many of the other sites, you don't have to register to view pictures; eventually we will have a password so that voyeurs and other strangers will have to look elsewhere, but I think this link should always work. Anyway, I must get back to work- I forgot how long it took to upload several thousand files. Good times.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prayer Cards

I have finished writing our support letters and addressing envelopes, and today I am working on completing the rest of our support packets so we can take them to the printer. This includes prayer cards, the cards that missionaries give out that people put on their fridge or in their Bible or wherever else they think they will see it often and remember to pray. Remember, in missions prayer is especially crucial, and can often mean the difference between life and death. Hopefully people will look at these often and remember to pray.

No pressure. I am simply trying to make these cards (because I am too cheap to buy them) that will be on dozens of refrigerators, and if they look horrible I'll be to blame. Okay, so I am not panicking that much yet, but I am definitely feeling the tyranny of freedom, part of Self-Determination Theory in Psychology. If you have any interest at all, I strongly recommend you click on the link and read the article, but the basic idea is that having too many choices can be as oppressive and disabling as not having enough. For example, let's say you want to buy some jam. There are literally dozens of varieties, and you must make multiple decisions- flavor, jam, jelly or preserves, seedless or seeded, what quantity, with sugar or sugarless, and so on. If there were only two kinds of jam, the decision would be much simpler.

So when it comes to prayer cards, I am trying to pick size, background color, layout, pictures, color or black-and-white, wording, font, font size, font color, etc., etc.

That's it for my ranting. Time to get back to work.

Beach Pictures

As a result of the migraine, we weren't able to do all the pictures we wanted to. We REALLY wanted to do some at the beach, so our photographer said we could do "make-up" photos later (bless you, Nikki). We decide our first anniversary would be the perfect time; unfortunately that coincided with our lake turning green. Nonetheless, we finally had them done. Here's a sampling:

People, you have no idea how cold that water is. And I didn't think to bring towels. Brilliant.

Nikki Edwards, our photographer, is my "other sister." For real. Funny, you say, that my parents named two children the same name with different spellings? Yes, I don't know what they were thinking. On the other hand, all of George Foreman's kids are named George. Therefore, relatively speaking, it's really not that freakish.

It makes sense- Nikki is the missing link (see picture with best friend Marcie). See, she looks like she and my sister are sisters

and like she's my parents' daughter. This is my parents, holding her daughter (aka "Princess").

Sometimes, people think Princess is my daughter.

So we all really must be related somehow...
Anyway, Nik: thanks a million. We love you.

The Nightmare

At our wedding last year, I got a migraine. I had taken drugs, had Uncle Rob (a chiropractor) work on me, and had prayed a lot, but it soon became clear I would have to go to the hospital.

This is me after the ceremony that was perfect for Josh and I. As soon as we completed the recessional, I said something to Josh about having felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and how perfectly it went. I said that, even if nothing else went right, it would still be an amazing day. It was, but keeping my mouth shut would have saved me a lot of pain and suffering (life lesson, kids).

During this picture, I look happy, right? What I'm thinking is something akin to "Oh, Lord, take me now."

We went to the reception. It took only 15 minutes to make it from car to front door (50 ft?) because walking made me nauseas. Talking and thinking did, too. We entered the reception accompanied by loving applause; yeah, that went over BIG inside the cranium. It's amazing what a smile can cover up.

Here, I am thinking that endorphins and serotonin may help me feel slightly better. Josh was thinking that he hadn't kissed in more than 3 years, and he had to make up for lost time.

Eventually, is was clear the headache wasn't going away. Luckily the lights were low because I had to leave, bawling, to go to the hospital. Of course, this was after arguing with my new husband that he should stay at the reception (I was very concerned about leaving our guests). I lost.

At this point, as you can imagine, I am thinking quasi-nightmare scenario: I won't get to enjoy the reception and dance I've planned for a year, I will be sick all night, I won't get to dance with my husband or do the father-daughter dance. I had been working so hard all day to just enjoy the moment, to not stress, but this was insane.

We got to the hospital, and the secretary actually asked me if it was my wedding day. No, I wear a large white ball gown with a train every day, and he wears a white tux. Now, I recognize that she was trying to be sympathetic and make small talk, but anyone who has had a migraine can tell you that was the last thing I was interested in. Just give me the drugs...

Miraculously, the drugs worked very quickly, and we were able to return to the reception. So many people were praying for us, and God definitely intervened. I thought most people would have gone home, but we still had around 300 people there. Some people said they never even missed us- a compliment for the DJ (who was incredible, and from a Christian DJ company called Beautiful Day DJs).

We cut cake, danced, laughed, and enjoyed a glorious evening until well after midnight. God is faithful.

Miscellaneous Musings

This is by far the weirdest September of my life (well, that I can remember). For the last 17 years of my life, this month has met new books, pens, and notebooks (I LOVE a fresh notebook). Since graduating I have realized that, if not for the weather, I could easily delude myself into thinking it was that carefree (superficially, at least) season until snow fell. If it weren't for sumac...and harvest...and ragweed...well, you know what I mean. I am trying to enjoy it while I can, as I'll be attending graduate school when Josh and I return to Africa, and after that I'll be chained to the school schedule of my children. Oh well, I find I enjoy structure, and when I don't have enough I feel as if I need to accomplish everything I have ever put off- always ultimately disappointing. Freedom, schmeedom ;)

On patience: I literally just said to my mother (in reference to unknown information) "Yeah, but I want it now." This does not bode well for my future, given I am moving to a region where it's not unheard of for somebody to be 3 hours late or to not return a call for weeks.

My husband works a crazy schedule- he usually works from 7am to 3:30pm, which isn't so bad until you add in the 1.5 hour commute each way (it was two hours from our former apartment). This means he typically wakes up at 5am and gets home at 5:30pm, and has to be to sleep within a few hours. Now, this is his normal schedule; when you work in the construction industry, you do the work while you've got it, and that has meant many late nights very little time to see each other (14 hr day + 3 hr commute= very little Josh & Nicky time). Now, here's the cool part- he's been working on a school, and they need to do a lot of work when class isn't in session, so he's been starting (and finishing) 3 hours early. That's right, he wakes up at 2 am, bless his heart. The kicker is that he likes it, because we are able to spend more time together (still haven't figured out how...)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Support Letters

This past week, we sent support letters to churches. This week will be a busy one, as I will be making follow up calls and trying to set up meetings with mission boards. Additionally, we will be sending out letters to individuals and families. You can see a copy of the support letters on our other website. Please pray on behalf of fulfilling God's vision.
We have still not heard back about many of the details of our trip.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Disregard Yesterday...

Well, I continued on the online photo storage search, and I am done with SmugMug after 1 day. Although I think it's probably a wonderful program, it costs money (after all, we are missionaries), while Flickr does not (and still uses the same photo book company). But now I'm all confused, because I think you may be able to use the photo book company on its own, without storing any photos . Wasn't the internet supposed to make our lives simpler?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Switching It Up

This post has little to do with missions, so for those of you with that as your primary interest, we would like to inform you that support letters have been sent out to churches (Although, if any of you know of a church that hasn't received one that would be interested, DO NOT HESITATE to email me at!) Anyway, you all can stop reading now.

As you may or may not know, I love photography. Working in a photo studio was one of my jobs in high school, and it was there I got a free education about taking, developing, and editing pictures. For several years now, I have been a member of Shutterfly, a file storage and sharing site. Although I have been somewhat pleased, lately I have found my participation in this site to be more frustrating and less gratifying then before. Instead, I am going to be doing a free trial at SmugMug, a site that at least on the surface seems to have more advantages, like:
  • the ability to caption and comment on photos
  • less expensive photo books (Important- cheaper and easier than scrapbooking with more professional results- crucial if you make a lot of albums)
  • non-members can view and order pictures
  • no ads or spam
  • if you get a certain type of account, you can upload video (this may be helpful for when we are in Africa; I'm still thinking about it
  • the ability to design each album
I am not sure of the other characteristics, but I'll keep you updated as I try it out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


This weekend, Josh and I went to Lifelight music festival in Souix Falls, SD, a free festival with Christian bands and 200,000 people. We have gone for several years, and highly recommend it to others who enjoy contemporary Christian music, everything from mxpx to Michael W. Smith. In addition to some new bands, I discovered a few new things to pass on. First is ShoutLife, a social networking website for Christians, which means it's like Facebook without inappropriate pictures and with monitored content. I am just now creating a page, so I don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge, but it looks promising. Second is a new clothing company called Castle Rock Jeans and Apparel, a company devoted to producing stylish and modest clothing (they make some really cute stuff). They were having some sort of sale, but I am not sure if it was just for Lifelight or it's online, too. While we're on this topic, a few years ago at Lifelight I found Christi's Pure Style , and recently found a website discussing the "Pure Fashion Movement." If you are interested in this topic, you should definitely check it out.

We have no more information on our trip at this time, but I thought I'd check in anyway. There is a bit of a predicament in that (ideally) we would be able to raise support quickly to get out on the field ASAP, as there is an immediate need, but we know very few details. In order to schedule meetings with churches and send out letters regarding support raising, we need to at least know how much money we need to raise, and ideally when we will leave. Therefore, the support process is essentially at a standstill until we get more information- a frustrating place to be. We would greatly appreciate prayer for this situation.