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Friday, January 24, 2014

time







"When God created time, He made enough of it." 

I read that quote months ago on Hannah Nicole's blog. (I think she said found it on the back of her tea bag). The quote has been stuck in my head ever since. God gave us time, and He gave us enough. In fact, the time that we might think is ours, is actually His.

I'm having a hard time figuring out a lot of things right now, but one of the biggest ones is time. What do I do with the time I've been given?

So far, my days have looked like this: get up at 5:15 when my alarm goes off, make tea and read Bible, check computer stuff, and get ready for the day. Then (after Heidi, Petra and Henry are whisked off to school) I rush out the door and go to three health science classes at vocational school. After that, most days I head to work at Harvest Cafe. Then I go home, maybe try to squeeze in a run, rush through some more school, try to hang out with my fam, and then by that time I'm ready to hit the hay. And then I start the next day all over again.

It's not that what I feel like I'm doing is bad. I feel like these health science classes are beneficial and I really, really like working at a coffee shop.

There's just some days that I'd like to read novels all day, drink tea, write books, and take pictures. And spend way more time with my family than I have been.

It's a big change, too. In Chad, all I did was watch the MK kids for team meetings on Tuesdays, go to the hills on Saturdays, and have house church on Sundays. It was all pretty low-key. I left the neighborhood less than three times a week. Now I leave the house at least twice a day.

It probably doesn't seem like much to most Americans. But our society is obsessed with controlling time and being busy. It makes me sick sometimes.  Most of us don't have time to sit and chat with a friend and whenever someone asks how we're doing, we say, "Good, but busy." Being busy has become a good thing, something to be proud of.

Maybe if we're busy doing the right things, it's good. But is there something better? In the midst of your daily busyness, in the rush of the day, try to stop. Take a deep breath and just slow down. Spend a minute in thankfulness and gratitude. Make time to actually have a conversation with someone about themselves. Learn more about people -- because in the end, I believe you shouldn't care about how busy you are. You should care about other people and their interests, their dreams and their hopes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

snow bliss

Yesterday we woke up to blinding white snow covering the world around us. It was beautiful. It still is, even though a bit of the snow has started to turn slushy. And you know what the best part of yesterday was? No school!

In the past few months my family has switched from being totally home schooled to "kinda" home schooled. Yes, this happened while I was overseas in Chad. Heidi, Petra, and Henry go to elementary school now and I go half days at a vocational school. So when we woke up (two hours late) and found that school was out for the day, we all got excited. (Heidi cried at first because she wanted to go to school, but Petra and I cheered her up). 

We rushed through our breakfast and chores. Samuel went out into the garage to drag in all the winter clothes and we bundled up tight. Then we stepped outside into the biting cold. In their delight, I don't think my brothers and sisters even noticed the cold. 

Here's a short film I made yesterday while they were playing.



Snow Bliss from Kendra Lynne on Vimeo.

Sometimes I wish I could just be a little kid again, playing in the snow. I've been wishing that a lot lately. I'm having a hard time figuring out how busy I should be, or if busy is good if I'm doing the right things. But somewhere, in the midst of busyness, I need to learn to be like a kid. I need to learn to be flexible, to laugh and to enjoy surprises like snow. So many people can't enjoy things, because they're so wrapped up in rushing to the next thing they think they will enjoy.

See if you can find something small today to get excited about, to be thankful for, and just enjoy.











Monday, January 13, 2014

trials


James chapter one verse two states, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds," There's more to this verse, but verse two is what I was focusing on today.

Who on earth is filled with joy when they go through trials? Well apparently, Christians are supposed to.

Most of the world runs as far as they can from any sign of pain, of hurt, of hardship. No one really wants to go through heartache and grief. So why is James saying we should "count it all joy" when we encounter all kinds of trials?

Let me list the good things about trials. Trials mold and perfect our character. When we stand strong, asking for God's help, our attitude will glorify God. When we go through trials, we have a chance to show other non-believers that God gives us joy, even in times of darkness. We have a chance to encourage other believers. But most of all, we have nowhere safe to run to, except Jesus. When we run to Jesus, we grow closer to Him, we learn more about Him, and we love Him more.

Yes, hard times stink, especially for our flesh. But when we ask God for joy, He'll give it to us. He might not give us complete relief from the pain -- maybe He'll give us strength to go through it. And isn't that far more worth it?


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

one month


It's been one whole month since I arrived at the airport from Chad. I don't think I'll ever forget that day. On the short one hour flight to Louisville I had a flood of mixed emotions. I was exhausted, thrilled, anxious, and not to mention, really hungry. I wasn't sure what exactly I was doing, because the entire time I had my thoughts on my family. I had an eight hour layover in D.C. and I had to pay extra for my luggage. The bag I lugged around was killing my arm.

But when I saw my family it was all so, so worth it. I can't describe that moment very well, other than it was probably the happiest moment of my life and I was balling my eyes out. And I don't cry that much.

This past month at home has flown by. I've spent my time visiting friends and telling them about Chad. I've spent my time hanging out with my fam. I've done some fun stuff that normal teens do (I haven't really felt like one for a long time), like go shopping and ice skating. I am really blessed and so thankful. God didn't have to give me all these blessings, He didn't have to die for me, He didn't have to live inside of me. But He did die for me and He does give me countless things I don't deserve. Our God is so good.










Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in review















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This year was a big year for me. A big, big year. Here is 2013 summed up from my point of view.

In January I was just getting over a time where I really doubted God and who He was. It was extremely hard. I guess I can't say it's the hardest I'll ever experience, but emotionally it was the hardest thing I've ever went through so far.

 February 4th I turned sixteen and got my driver's permit. It wasn't long after that when our friends the Brotens asked if I wanted to go with them to Africa. You all probably know the rest of the story, but anyway, I decided to go. I started saving money and babysitting like crazy. I went to Tennessee on a trip with my family and grandparents.

It was in March that the busyness just got busier. You know what the bad thing is? I can't remember what was keeping me busy. 

April was the month where I finally got to meet my friend (or should I say sister?), Hannah. We played some really good April Fool's pranks and took way too many pictures. We got to pray together in the mornings and stay up late at night giggling. I ran the mini and told myself that I wouldn't run it again unless I was training with someone. And unless I was training with someone who I really, really liked.

I knew that at the end of May I was going to be leaving my home and heading to Chad for six months. It scared me. But it made me excited, too. During the whole month of May so many people were supporting me. I had never felt so blessed.

I arrived in the capital of Chad June 1st. We stayed at a mission compound for that month. Life there was easier in the sense that we still had running water and electricity. I was encouraged by the missionaries there and I got to meet many neat people. Yet that was probably the month that I missed my family and friends the most. I didn't feel like I was doing anything productive.

I guess God was just preparing me for what was going to happen in July. We moved out to another town on a bus. The ride took 13 hours and during the 1st hour two year old Hadassah Broten had already wet her pants in the seat next me. It was a long ride. But the lady next to me did get to listen to Bridgit Mendler which was probably the first for a Chadian. We didn't know what house we were going to stay at. We stayed at one for a few days and then moved to a more permanent house (meaning 6-7 months). The house had no running water and the electricity was scarce. We had no furniture for the first few weeks. It was hard. Really hard. But for some reason it was probably one of the best weeks of my life. I got to visit the small orphanage.

August was the month that I realized how much I had to work on in my life to be who I was supposed to be. God taught me more about being thankful. We got into more of a routine. I got to climb mountains outside of the town and ride camels.

I got sick more in September. That was hard. I missed my family most when I was sick and had nothing to do. I washed a lot of dishes and got some treasured packages. The electricity stopped coming and we relied on solar panels.

In October I decided to do a photo a day challenge. It was good for me. I grew closer to the people in my community.

I knew November was going to be my last month in Chad. I couldn't believe my time was coming to an end. It was bittersweet. I started to say goodbyes and allow myself to prepare to go back. The Brotens started preparing to move to their more permanent home. And my computer broke.

December 7th I arrived in the airport in Kentucky. It all felt surreal. Things have been busy since I've gotten back, but it is so good to be home. Parts of me miss Chad but I have a feeling I'll be back there someday. The people around me have been so generous and I can't tell you how good it is too have your parents know what being overseas is like. I feel loved.

That was longer than expected. But 2013 was a good year. A hard one, but a good one. I'm excited to see what God will teach me in 2014.