Friday, October 20, 2017

Silver Linings & How to Find Them



Lately I've been homesick for my family and friends and Texas... And Oklahoma, I guess. And Missouri and Mississippi and Washington, while we're on the subject.

But for real. I miss my people and places and making memories with my people in the places we love. I miss laughing at inside jokes and praying together. I miss the convenience of driving myself to the grocery store. I miss my pianos. My dog. Sibling sleepovers. Nice shower heads and fluffy bath towels and the comfort of not having to spray vinegar around my bed every night before I go to sleep to ward off bugs (like bedbugs) (and spiders). I miss having a kitchen that smells like cinnamon and tacos and generally just all sorts of things that smell better than dead rodent. I miss ice water. I miss being in similar time zones with my friends and being able to text them throughout the day.

Silver linings, silver linings.

I have a lot to miss. Wow, am I blessed to have so much to miss!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Holiday Happenings

This past week and a half has been really special for me, so I wanted to share some pictures and show a little of what I was able to see and do!

Even though I love teaching, and my students are really truly my favorite part of this whole experience, after four long, hot weeks in a row of school (almost 250 4th graders), I was more than happy for a rest.

We had to go up to Taipei for a business trip October 2-3, so Kristina and I went up a day early. We got to attend a real-life English church service! I missed those! Then we went for lunch and an English Bible study. Afterwards we walked around and just kind of went sightseeing, had dinner with the Chens, and hiked Elephant Mountain.




Monday, September 25, 2017

A Mile in Their Shoes



Do you remember being nine years old? Ten? 

I do. I thought I was pretty cool. I never spent a night away from family (if not home, grandparents or uncles and aunts) until I was 16 years old. I went to my friend Kate's birthday/slumber party, but I was sick and ended up going to sleep before everyone else, anyways. It was two more years before I spent a single night away from family again. But enough about me. 

At nine or ten years old, were you very brave? Adventurous? Could you have handled traveling to a strange school with strange teachers and staying there for a week, well? 

Maybe I was a cool 4th grader.... but I really don't think I could have done it. Nothing familiar? Nothing comfortable? No family? Foods I might not like? Why? 

But these kids I teach every week here in Taiwan. They're brave. They load up on a bus and travel hours to get here to the Character and English Institute, a place they've never been to and possibly know nothing about. Their school teacher accompanies them on the trip, but after a brief orientation Monday morning, their teachers are gone before lunch. 

65 kids from 7 different schools. 65 kids with 65 names to memorize. 65 kids with short attention spans to keep held rapturously during 12, 40-minute English classes every week. (Okay, okay, 'rapturously' is a strong word. It's more like a very concerted effort to be interesting enough so they don't all declare strike and walk out on us out of boredom.) 

Yes, it's a big job. Not easy. 

Kristina and I get up every morning and work all day, if not teaching, working on creating more teaching materials in hopes of providing better and better English classes. 

But lately God has been reminding me: walk a mile in their shoes, Kimberly. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

"How's It Going?"



For as much as I see God, and for as much as I know He's growing me, I've been struggling to write it out. Like, at all. Little journaling, little blogging, little social media-ing. It's not coming easily. 
I love my family and friends. Y'all text, email, message, leave videos and voice mails. You're so sweet and I love, love, love to hear from you. But when you ask me how I'm doing or how it's going or how I'm adjusting... I don't always know how to respond. 

I'm good. In all honesty, I'm great. I have everything I need. I see God working all around me every day. I'm healthy. I'm safe. I feel super blessed to have a teammate who is nearly fluent in Chinese and is willing, not only to teach me Chinese, but also to translate for me any time I need her. (That's awesome.) I get to turn on the A/C at night, which helps me sleep through the heat and humidity. I have electricity 24 hours a day. I have fast wifi. 

I'm great! It's easy here. There's not much culture shock. So blessed. 

But how am I doing? How is everything going? Do you really want to know?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Branching Out // Part 2

My last post was short and sweet between classes, but there's more yet to say, I suppose.

The reasons 'Branching Out' felt and continues to feel like a good chapter title for this season go so much deeper than being in a new location (please see my last post for reference).

Please let me be as clear as possible: I do not wish for and am not working towards an independent life.

I don't want to be strong and solo. Can I? Am I capable? Could I figure it out and survive the foreign public transportation alone? Probably. But I don't want to.

Maybe that's the beauty of a godly woman: she's strong, but she packages it in a feminine and humble attitude. I don't know about y'all, but that's what I want.

Branching out. 

Because I don't have to leave the nest. I don't have to flit thousands of miles away and plant a whole new tree. I love my tree. I wouldn't be me without my tree. I just grow the tree a little farther. As I stretch (trust me, there's a lot of stretching going on), so does my tree.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Branching Out

Friday night, after our time where a few team members shared their testimonies, we played a game where we drew a piece of paper that already had a question printed on it. One question was "what would the current chapter of your life be titled?" and he said it couldn't be called "Taiwan". Haha.

So I came up with "Branching Out". Kind of drew it up out of thin air, but it made more and more sense the longer I thought about it. 

Branching out of my comfort zone and my controllable bubble—meaning I have more or less relinquished control of almost every aspect of my life. It's kinda uncomfortable. 

Branching out of my language and time zones. I can work on improving my Chinese, but I can't work on living 13 hours ahead of my family and friends. 

Branching out and living in a team setting rather than a family setting. 

Branching out of a simple Oklahoma prairie lifestyle.




I've been in Taipei for four days, and it's been good, but tomorrow I head south to my school in Chiayi. 

Prayers appreciated! Leave a note! 



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Take a Step, God is There



What to write on, what to write on...

It's been so long since I've written and there is a lot to say, but probably not enough words in the English language to explain it all sufficiently.

Praise the Lord in even this, though, because we all learn our own lessons and are left speechless! All that God's taught me, He can teach you, too, and it'll be better than anything I could leave here for you to skim through on your lunch break.

One thing in particular my soul has been dwelling on often lately, is the thought of doing.

We're weird humans. We don't want to leave our comfort zones, try new things, get out of the bubble of the life we've dreamed up for ourselves. We're always saying we—and I quote—"need a sign or word from God on this", but we're all the while holding the Bible in our hands, on our pew in church. Oh, you know, the pew our family has been sitting in since the days of Jefferson.

Don't get me wrong, now: anything God has ever done, He can still do.

He can part the Red Sea, he can give Abraham and Sarah an heir. He can speak. The difference is, everything He wants or needs to say to us is in the Book. High five, literacy!

We have the sign and word from God in our hands, plus a couple extra copies back home.

When a door is open before us, even though it's scary, hard, and altogether the opposite of what we planned, maybe the only thing we should be comparing it to is the Bible. (As opposed to: our plans or dreams, others' thoughts of us, society's norm, etc.)

Does this align with God's plan or will for His children?

Is it obedient?

Is it good work for men, or great work for the Kingdom?

Pray.

And do the thing. If this aligns with everything you can find in Scripture, you've prayed and have peace, your Spiritual authorities have prayed and have peace (parents, in my case), take the step.

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