Even to the End


I am standing outside my house in the shade, blessing the Father that the air is finally cool on a small breeze. My roommates come in from the market and another comes from inside the house to join me. My neighbor comes over with her grandson and we stand around and talk. I understand her. She understands me. We talk about the weather, how her grandson hasn’t been sleeping. We complain how hot it is together. We talk about the future.

Then friends come and stop by, choosing to take time out of their day to come to my house and wish me well. We exchange small gifts. I take pictures and give hugs, because goodbyes are worth the hugs and physical contact, especially since everyone is healthy. I’m leaving tomorrow, and there is joy to be shared and grief to feel.


Was it only a week ago that I found out that May 11th wouldn’t be the day that schools opened at last? Was it only a week ago that I admitted to being disappointed, sad even? How quickly and exponentially that sadness has turned. Preschools are continuing to be closed, and it may be closed indefinitely until September. Our team is changing in rapid fire motion. There’s finances to discuss, restructuring schedules, managing and prioritizing activities, trying to find what’s next. Closing the school wouldn’t have been enough to leave because there is so much to be done! But the Spirit was moving.


A global pandemic might not be enough to make me leave, after all, the cases here are vastly lower than that of the USA’s. It’s statistically safer, warmer, more open than the states. But there was a flight out of the country. The first international flight in a month, and the last one for an indefinite period of time…What do you do? If there’s uncertainty on either side, where do you turn? Do you go and return and face the uncertainty of the world with your family? Armed with truth and guided each day by His spirit, seeking His will for your future two months early? Or do you stay and keep going, trudging through the uncertainty with your teammates? Armed with the truth and guided each day by His spirit, seeking His will for two more months in the same place?


I asked for a new vision, a new path, a new way. I asked for a new idea, new heart, fresh mind. But what I felt instead was…closure. I had accomplished what I said that I would. I had finished what I had set out to do. There wasn’t anything on my heart to continue. I was happy with what I had done. It wasn’t perfect, far from it, but it felt like it was time, and last week, a day after that blog post, I began making preparations to leave.

And what a week it has been. I have been humbled by my leadership’s generosity and kindness, encouraged by friends and family from afar, loved and cared for by my friends and students here, and somehow, against all odds, was able to see the people I needed to see. (pictured below are only some of the goodbyes)





I even got a tire changed! Because when you get a flat tire the first week you’re in South East Asia the odds are you’ll get one your last week too.


But standing in the front of my house, speaking with my neighbor, was maybe the culminating moment of all my time. In some ways it was all I wanted. To have a relationship with my neighbors outside of just working. To be able to speak and understand. To love without expectation. To lay the foundation and seeds for future work.

I have lived in South East Asia. Made a home here. And now, in a strange turn of events, it’s time to return to start over and serve somewhere else. I have been reminiscing about my two years here, remembering all the fun, exciting, difficult, hot, exhausting, challenging, exhilarating, uncertain days I’ve had. I am so blessed by what was done in and through me.

My Mountain. 

I think that in times of grief and change and joy it’s helpful to use art to fully express your emotions. Often music resonates with me because it’s the words my soul wants to say- but I didn’t know how to piece it together. The song that I keep coming back to is “Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me” by CityAlight. I’ll write two stanzas that seem to encapsulate what I’m feeling in this time of transition.

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne
To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

Just one, but not alone. Light, yet present darkness.

Finished, but not yet done. Secure, whatever comes.

A Daughter Among Sons.



When the days are all the same

How do you write a blog post and an update, when so much of your life still feels the same? — A lot of people right now probably.

May 11. We’re opening the school on May 11th. This has been our mantra for two weeks now. The end is in sight, the time is coming when the monotony will be over, and we’ll be back to doing life. Normalcy is coming.


And not that the days have been bad. We took food to our neighbors, who then returned food to us, and we kept exchanging food for about a week after Easter. We brought them a present for the New Year. They sent us bamboo soup with rice. We haven’t exchanged food as much, but their smile when they see us looks more real because now- they know us. I hope we can continue that relationship when school’s back in session. School opens May 11th.


I’ve worked out more in the past month and a half than I have in a long time, so that’s definitely not a waste. Have you tried to get 10,000 steps without leaving your house or your driveway? It’s monotonous at best, but if you’ve got a good audiobook I highly recommend it. I’ll have to walk more and stand more when I teach, tucking my phone into my skirt to I can count my steps. But to be honest I probably won’t, so I’ll keep walking until May 11th.

We get out maybe once a day. Our neighbor/teammate comes too!

There have been days where I don’t do much of anything for sure. I’ve been reading, watching TV, calling friends at almost any hour of the day. It’s strange to still have days where I feel so tired, but I guess walking around your carport the equivalent of a few miles will do that to you. Or maybe that’s what the quarantine does to you. Or sometimes you just need a Saturday, even though it’s only Tuesday. Stay in your room for a day, it’ll be over soon…right?


We post videos on facebook three times a week in an effort to continue the children’s education and stay connected. It’s been fun to see how many views we can get. It’s been sad to feel the time slipping away. I sing and dance, I teach and play, even if it’s only me that’s doing it. I look at the comments. I can’t wait to see them on May 11th.

Hello Students! How are you today?

I’m interviewing with schools in the USA, meaning that all my interviews are happening in the middle of the night. Have you ever interviewed for a job at midnight? It’s a wild ride, and it’s exciting to see what may happen next. Quarantine makes it really convenient for me because no one has even asked if I could come in for an interview. Everything’s online! They’re surprised when I tell them what time it is, but I’m grateful for the interview anyway! It will be harder to interview when schools start back on May 11th. I won’t get to sleep in!

This picture was taken at 12:20am.

Watching TV. Making bread. Reading the Word. Working out. Sleeping in. Loving neighbors. Being with just my Quaranteam. So glad to have my team.


Two more weeks. One more week. May 11th.

And then the text comes.

Almost too predictably, though I had tucked those doubts away. Schools will not open on May 11th. Maybe the next week. Or the next. But not on May 11th.

It’s okay to be sad, and I am. I know that many of you have faced the same hopes and doubts and disappointments. I started this blog post in the hope that I would be sharing good news and more pictures of life beginning to go back to normal, but like most of the world, we’ll just keep doing what we were doing. We’re safe. Still healthy. Still at home.

One day soon, we’ll have more than window views.




And also with you…

It has been officially one week of “Social distant Quarantine” here in SEA, and what a week it has been.

for the virus, not the dust.

We closed the school as the city suggested on Wednesday March 18. I taught on Tuesday that 17th to my students at the preschool and to my college students. This feels like forever ago.


Precautionary measure were taken for a dear friend of mine who had to move quite suddenly, and I offered to puppy-sit for her. How funny life turns!

It’s a good thing you’re cute!

3/4 roommates moved back home to be with their families as we wait out the virus and collected their things. Quarantine means that there’s not a whole lot of coming and going like before.

Pull out the music! 

Emails read. News delivered. Videos. Borders closing. And for an entire week it felt like we were the only ones in the city doing and acting like there was a crisis. That is until two cases were confirmed in the capital and now my friends are starting to pay attention.

It’s not difficult to explain what’s happening because my feelings and my experiences seem to be pretty universal. There’s a lot of people tossing around the word “indefinitely” and I think it might be the scariest word in the English language right now.

Grateful for a chance to get the family together.

What to remember: I am safe and healthy and currently self-quarantining as best as I can. Shopping only once a week for food (longer if we can make it I guess), wearing masks, washing hands, taking showers, staying 6 feet apart…you know…the works.

The puppy is cute and cuddly and has given me an excuse to go outside, but thankfully a friend volunteered to watch her for a week to give me a bit of break (those 5:30am wake up calls though…whew!)

Make sure you’ve got a schedule! Make something beautiful! 

When I imagine America, and try to process with my friends and family our experiences, and likewise try to encourage them, I imagine hands outstretched across the sea, pointed in my direction, willing that the Father will be with me. Thinking of me. And I’m immensely blessed. I hear your heart. They are the words that extend beyond the walls that we must wait behind, words that travel across cities and nations and oceans. They are echoed and repeated mostly by the Catholics many years ago, and the most beautiful thing to me, is that it’s not just one blessing but two, as we reach for one another.

“May the Lord be with you.”

“And also with you.”



Pink House, Who dis?

I am happy to announce that I (as well as my four roommates) now live in the girliest house in all of South East Asia. I’m talking hot pink paint on the outside, purple curtains, and Asian TV. I’m talking cozy sitting room. I’m talking friends over all the time. And it. is. the. BEST.

Is it magenta? Is it purple? Is it hot pink? Who cares! It’s the best!
Eating some noodles and celebrating the move!

But moving adds stress, and stress got the better of us for about a month. We passed around a cold, the fever, and some other fun stomach issues that don’t need too much detail. Not coronavirus (though believe me, we’ve been lifting that up and watching it closely) but your sister over here got a weird eye infection that left her looking like a more attractive Quasimodo. (Which is…I mean…the DREAM…I guess?)

This mask is to protect other people form my germs, but oddly enough it does not protect Disney copyright.

2020 so far has really been an exciting time for me and my friends. We’ve been going on lots of walks together, talking to the Father and being intentional about our time with our friends and with the people we daily see.


We’ve transitioned new teammates and my english class is working on a musical for graduation in May and I am blown away daily by their growth in their English skills.


My evening english class is small BUT MIGHTY and I love giving them hard things to learn (like tenses- YIKES) and also I like telling them phrases that an American might say. (So far they add up to: “Be Careful”, “I know how you feel”, and “I have a food baby.” So…the essentials.)


It’s a good life. But if you’re looking me up you’ll have to come down to a different house. Oddly enough, I don’t think you’ll miss it.

My house, not my cows.





2020 – A Blessing

An Irish Blessing:


May the road rise to meet you,


May the wind be always at your back,


May the sun shine warm upon your face,


May the rains fall soft upon your fields,


And until we meet again,


Until we meet again,


May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


For whatever road you may find,


Or whatever road finds you


May God hold you in the palm of His hand.



-Happy New Year From South East Asia!




There is something about the holiday season that I adore. It must be that the weather finally falls to the low 60s at night (low 90s during the day), and your air-con starts to feel chilly at night.


Or maybe it’s the songs that I’ve started hearing at the preschool, the Christmas carols that blast all day for the students to learn their dance at the end of December.


The holiday season promises some must needed days off where I’ll do some traveling and go to countries and places I’ve never been with friends new and old.

Waiting for the bull fights. 
Happy New Year! (I don’t know if they’re really late or early…) 


Hand dyeing silk. 

The holidays also mean that the wedding season is upon us, and I can start wearing all my old outfits again, and even get a few new ones for upcoming events! That means matching shirt and skirt friends! I said ‘no’ to the collar, but said ‘yes’ to buttons all the way up the back! Is my new outfit “custom made” you ask? WHY, YES! Was it still too small at first? That question hurts my feelings…..and also, yes.

The only students that actually understand everything I’m talking about.
What can I say? I love me a selfie! 
My beautiful roommate getting married!
Counting the dowry!
Arriving at the church! She walked from her house so an umbrella is a necessity.

I bought Christmas cookies to decorate for a party, found old decorations stored away in drawers, and bought new tinsel to throw around our living room. My friends are the ones with the eye for decoration though, so I let them do the “heavy lifting.”

Who needs a ladder when you have friends? 
I tried to teach my friends how to make origami stars.


In fact, everything about this holiday season is beginning to look like…Christmas. Familiar and fun and exciting. I drove around the city running errands on my motorbike, asking if a movie was coming out in English. Getting passport photos made. Picking up my order of cookies. I wasn’t anxious. I didn’t have a stomachache. I looked around at shops as I drove, searching for the right places to stop, and I was going the speed limit, rather than ridiculously slow. I bought soup on my way home, and talked with my roommate’s friends that had come by the house for lunch. They took pictures with me because they wanted to- if for no other reason than because I’m a white foreigner. And it felt normal to smile and throw up my peace sign.

If these stories sound a little familiar, good. It feels familiar to me too. I like that I can look back and say “last year at Christmas…” or “this time last year we…”. It’s a good marker of where I’ve been.

These kids know how to get a front row seat at a wedding.

I recognize these places, these things, these feelings.



And yet, every so often, there’s still one person that seems unrecognizable…






October Fruit

I have a deep appreciation for a countdown. I can remember counting down the days until a birthday party, counting down the days until school play auditions, counting down the days until Friday! My dad would gently (and very often) give me the same advice, when I would once again begin telling him about my excitement about the forthcoming activities. “Don’t wish your life away.” He told me it so often when I was younger that I find myself repeating the same advice over and over in my head (in fact I’ve probably mentioned this phrase before on the blog. Go figure.).

I’m teaching the more advanced English class now! Upgrade!

But there’s something so wonderful about the future that I find myself dreaming about the next steps, and how sweet it will be. I counted down the months until college. I counted down the days till I moved to Memphis. I counted down the hours until I jumped on a plane to go to South East Asia. It stands to reason then (embarrassingly), that I’m once again counting down, this time counting down till I take the leap to rejoin my family at home in America. I was never ungrateful for the time I had in the present (well…okay sometimes ungrateful) but I fought the fight to live in the present moment, to not take those sweet daily moments for granted.

IMG_8493 2
Said goodbye to our sweet friends. See you later! 
Happy teacher day to me and all the teachers out there!

For those of you who share similar struggles (or have ever had similar thoughts of “greener grass” at some point or other) you know the truth. It’s a battle, not to “wish your life away”. There are so many problems with living in the future, not the least of which is a discontented heart. It also can be unloving to the people you’re sharing your present with, after all, talking and thinking about the future reflects a heart that’s uncaring and unthinking about the people you’re with right now– and that’s not the person I want to be at all! So in order to compromise a mind that’s geared for the countdown, but seeking to make every moment count for the Glory of the Father, I’ll combine the countdown with a challenge (of sorts). Every month I’ll focus on a fruit of the spirit. We’ll start with Self-Control and work backwards, a reflection on walking in the spirit.

Pumpkin Spice Latte’s are NOT a fruit of the spirit, but they sure do a lot of good for my spirit nonetheless. Thankful for the treat (even if I did have to drive 6 hours total to get it!) 

But as far as plans and ways to accomplish this – I was reminded by a good friend that this pursuit shouldn’t be done in an effort to earn the Father’s love or gain further acceptance. I am already loved just as much now as the Father ever has loved me and ever will (YES!). So there aren’t really any plans, just a hope and a trust that as I read and pr. and think about the fruits that the spirit brings about in our lives, He will accomplish His work and will grow me this year.

Old concrete bridge got swept away so we’ve got this metal bamboo one. It’s decidedly prettier and WAY SCARIER to walk on. 

The Word talks about looking back on what the Father has done, and it also speaks to looking forward to the future in hope! Let’s do both faithfully this month, together!



525,600 Minutes (feel free to sing along)


525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?


In new friends, in vocab, in students, in communication?


In hair length, in miles, in laughter, or rice?



In 525,600 minutes? How do you measure a year in the life?


How about love? How about looooooooooooooooove? Measure in love.


In phrases she learned?

Thankfully I can say “Durian is disgusting and smells terrible” in two languages now! 

Or the time the sky cried?

“Cried” rhymes with “Tried” but what I meant was “Rained” (#poetry)

In that time she returned?


Or the meals that she tried?


525,600 minutes
525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

We have now officially ended our monthly tally of my first year in South East Asia. I will no longer count up the months when I tell people how long I’ve been here, I’ll just tell them 1 year until it’s acceptable to round up to 2. Everyone agrees that when a baby hits 12 months it’s really time to let go of the “monthly check-in” thing (and you’re probably too busy to keep track anyway).


And so the tally becomes a countdown, and I’m so grateful for the time that I had and the time I have left.

If there has been any good that I have done, any contribution to put forward, I can honestly say that the Father is the one who gave it. To Him be the glory and the honor forever and ever. Soli Deo Gloria.

And now please enjoy a slideshow of all my month pictures from this year, where my spelling mistakes are both hilarious and painfully obvious! Cheers to another year together!

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The Way Back

First: Here are the highlights of the past month (and lowlights…)

Highlight 1: I have been here 11 months! I am now entering familiar territory, and will soon have experienced what it’s like to live an entire year here. Cheers to the next year and to doing the same things over again (and to finding even more new things to do)


Highlight 2: Celebrating our South East Asian countries! We celebrated all ten of the SEA countries by dressing up in costume, cooking food (the teachers cooked…no one wants me to cook asian food in an asian country, let’s be real), and we had kids and parents at the school to help celebrate. I proudly represented Thailand! It was a really fun day!



Highlight 3: Visiting home. I had a chance to go home to America for two weeks to celebrate my brother getting married. I dressed my nieces up, helped my Mom and Dad plan the rehearsal dinner, and enjoyed all the sweet things that America can offer. (I ❤ PSL)




Lowlight 4: The flood. I don’t watch the news or check the weather while I’m over here. If it’s raining I wear a rain jacket. If it’s sunny I bring a rain jacket with me because you never know when it’s going to rain. So when it started raining…and raining…and raining some more, I was surprised, maybe a little alarmed, but I hadn’t heard to feel any different. Until it didn’t stop raining…for four days.


And when I say raining, I’m not talking about mist and sprinkles, I mean it poured for days and days and days. So much so that there were rumors of dams breaking, rivers overflowing, and many many houses being completely flooded to the roofs.


The water has just now begun to recede, and cleanup has begun. There are still streets where they have to use boats to get from house to house, and many villages still unlivable with their people displaced. It’s a lowlight-but an important one. It marks a big historical moment for our city, and one that will have consequences in the year to come for sure.


To Not Forget: A Haiku
remember yourself
not alone, somehow just one
daughter among sons.