Finding Joy in the Journey
Two weeks!!!

Two weeks from today the plane will have landed in Bolivia. We would have already taken a bus to the most wonderful place, The Bolivia Life Center. We will be surrounded by some of the most amazing kids who stole my heart in 2008. I simply cannot put into words the excitement I feel right now. Though I’m sure if you have seen the multiple countdowns, pictures, status updates, etc ,you might have a little idea of my excitement level!  I have been waiting four long years to go back to see this amazing boys.  I have been waiting for the chance to go back and be able to work in the surrounding villages. For years, I have hoped and prayed for the chance to work with CIN again. The verse that I have held close to my heart for years has been, Psalm 37:4, Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. God opened a door this summer when I was only peeking through the window. As part of my Graduate program an internship was required that must include working in another country/culture. I needed to be on the mission field for a month and over the summer complete 300 hours. Since starting this degree in January, I had been praying that God would open a door for me to do this internship. I have been saving my vacation time at work because I knew regardless of the internship or not I wanted to go to Bolivia.

God was working in a big way that I didn’t even see yet. When CIN approved that I could complete my internship with them, the next thing to get approved was the time off. I knew I was asking a lot. Almost five weeks off!? I had all the time to cover it but it was still a lot to ask off at one time. I knew that if God wanted me there it would happen. Mom used to say there were mile markers and that if God wanted you there he would show you the mile markers along the way. During this approval process I looked for them. I had received one when CIN said yes! When my work approved the time off I was in complete shock! This was HAPPENING! It was so surreal for the first few weeks. Planning mode had to go into full swing! There were so many things to consider and plan, funds to raise, family to tell (well mostly just Grandma!), and so much more. The funds had slow started to trickle in from the link I had posted on Facebook. A few t-shirts had sold but I still had about halfway to go to reach my goal. I struggle sometimes to send out support letters. When I post it on Facebook, it’s not really directed at anyone in particular but a support letter is sent to their house. I finally got over myself, listened to what I felt like God was telling me and wrote the letter, poured my heart into it, and sent it to a friend to proofread. That same day, I got a text from a friend asking how much I had needed for my trip. Told them I was halfway there. I only need $1000! They responded with we want to cover that for you! WHAT?! I am very rarely speechless. I just stood in my kitchen looking at my phone and just kept reading and rereading it. I couldn’t believe it. They wanted to pay for the rest of my trip? What an amazing blessing. God was providing in ways I could never imagine, mom would say this is another mile marker. I was talking to a friend yesterday and sharing with him about this trip and how God provided for it. He said, “God’s vision will come with God’s provisions.” God has continued to provide for me with the out of pocket expenses like the Visa needed for Bolivia. God continues to provide for me before I even know I need something!

These next two weeks are going to fly by and I can’t wait! I don’t know how often I will be able to send updates while I’m there but if I can, I will! Please pray that all the small details will continue to fall into place, for God to will work in the lives of the children at the BLC and the surrounding villages and also the teams that spend time at the BLC this summer.  

Thank you so much for your love and support! 

Love,

Ashlee 

There are many times that life can become overwhelming. The stress and emotions can get the better of me but recently God has been showing me that I need to see what He is doing in my life. That I need to not to let the circumstances determine my attitude. My life has been far from perfect. I have faced heartbreaking situations but God has brought me through them. I am stronger because of what I have been through. Even on my hardest day God is with me. 

There are many times that life can become overwhelming. The stress and emotions can get the better of me but recently God has been showing me that I need to see what He is doing in my life. That I need to not to let the circumstances determine my attitude. My life has been far from perfect. I have faced heartbreaking situations but God has brought me through them. I am stronger because of what I have been through. Even on my hardest day God is with me. 

I saw this photo tonight and it really describes the last few months. There was a point that things just started closing in and I had to shut everything out and just focus on work and school! I started my Master of Arts in Global Studies in January and with that came a little more stress. These past eight weeks have been extremely intense!.  I’m so thankful this subterm is over! The first sub-term but nothing compared to the second subterm! I can handle papers and reading assignments but the amount that came with the second set of classes was so much more than I could have ever expected. I don’t know if I have ever written so many papers for two classes! Even in my undergraduate classes, we didn’t have as many! I’m so thankful that all of that stress is over! I Now to focus on my internship with CIN and spending a month in Bolivia! :) 

I saw this photo tonight and it really describes the last few months. There was a point that things just started closing in and I had to shut everything out and just focus on work and school! I started my Master of Arts in Global Studies in January and with that came a little more stress. These past eight weeks have been extremely intense!.  I’m so thankful this subterm is over! The first sub-term but nothing compared to the second subterm! I can handle papers and reading assignments but the amount that came with the second set of classes was so much more than I could have ever expected. I don’t know if I have ever written so many papers for two classes! Even in my undergraduate classes, we didn’t have as many! I’m so thankful that all of that stress is over! I Now to focus on my internship with CIN and spending a month in Bolivia! :) 

Holding on to that promise.

Holding on to that promise.

The next chapter

I’ve been thinking a lot about the journey to Houston that mom and I started in 2011. I went back through and read every journal entry on moms caringbridge, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeaneenwoodruff/journal. If you never had a chance to read any, I encourage you to go back to the beginning and read a few. We did our best to write about our journey, to be able to share with those who loved and supported us. As I read through the journal, I laughed, I cried, I mourned and I missed mom and that life but through it all I was reminded what God did for us. How He used us to witness to people and how He placed people in our path to help us. There were times as I read certain entries, that I felt like I was reading about someone else. We went to MD Anderson for a second opinion and ended up living in Houston for three months. Its still hard to believe even now.  

So much happened in those 10+ months. Life was turned completely upside down for us. We got on a plane to go somewhere we had never been, somewhere we didn’t know anyone, somewhere that might as well have been a foreign country. We knew God sent us there, that He put everything in place for us to go down to the smallest details, which are all detailed in the Caringbridge. It was amazing to go back and see all that He did for us. While I might not understand why He put us on that journey, I’m so thankful that we documented it. I realized this week that I don’t talk about it as much as I should. I don’t share what He has done since I lost mom or even dad for that matter. So many people are afraid to ask how I’m doing. Something my aunt said the other day to me really hit home. I had to be tough to be able to face everything in Houston, to be the support system, to be able to survive or at least I thought I did. I struggle to let my guard down, to be vulnerable. I’ve never been good at being vulnerable, I’m good at being tough, at being strong but God has been working on me a lot this month. I’m not sure what God has planned for me in “the next chapter” but I know that Houston wasn’t the end. 

When I created this blog, I was in Houston. I was struggling being away from everyone, struggling with what we were going through, and had a hard time finding joy at times. I was at MD Anderson when I saw a card that said, Find joy in every journey. As I sat in the room with mom as she was getting chemo I started thinking, which lead me to the name, finding joy in the journey. This is not a journey I signed up for, this is not a journey I would have picked, but regardless it is a journey I am on and I will continue to find the joy. 

abigail14101:

LOVE | via Tumblr on @weheartit.com - http://whrt.it/116Ef4j

abigail14101:

LOVE | via Tumblr on @weheartit.com - http://whrt.it/116Ef4j

Thanks for the reminder Jacqui!

Thanks for the reminder Jacqui!