World Apart…but Always in my Heart

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Wow – I haven’t written since June 2nd! I am really falling down on the job. Things have been kind of hectic lately, but that is for another post. I’ve got something more important for today’s post. In just two days, really…less than 48 hours, one of my very best friends is moving around the world. Like – literally, around the world. She is going to spend 14 hours on a plane. 14. Hours. And that isn’t counting the first flight that is just a couple hours. She is moving to Madagascar. What do you know about Madagascar, besides what you’ve seen in the movie Madagascar? I’ve been learning a lot about Madagascar recently because 3 people that I care for deeply are going to be living there.

Want to learn about Madagascar? Well, this isn’t the site for that. But you can go here: & learn some stuff. The main things I know about Madagascar are 1) it’s the only place that lemurs live (besides the zoo) & apparently they do not dance in the trees to “I Like to Move It”. So disappointing. 2) some of my best friends are about to be there.

Steve, Nickolee & Ryleigh are going to Madagascar to be missionaries. You guys – that is amazing. Because let me be the first to tell you that just witnessing to people here at home causes me to have to step outside my comfort zone, but they are giving up family, friends, the comforts of the United States & the luxuries that it has to offer to go to a country where before they can even begin to witness to people, they have to learn the language. They have to learn how to talk to them, not just in their language but in a way that these people will learn about our Savior & come to accept him as their Savior as well. They have to learn a new language, new customs, a totally new way of life before they can even step outside their comfort zone. All I have to do is open my mouth to tell the good news. I don’t even have to learn a new language.

They are going to mission to the Mahafaly people. Nickolee has told me so much about these people – people that she doesn’t even know yet but she & her husband Steve have a heart for these people & for bringing them the good news of salvation. Again – you can go here: & learn just a little bit. I mean, it’s really just a little bit because Wikipedia doesn’t know very much. I know that these people have little contact with the world outside of Madagascar & the name of their people literally translates to “those who make taboos”…so there are going to obstacles to overcome. But with God, all things are possible. Steve & Nickolee will be living in Tulear – again, go here: & learn just a very little bit. Hey guys – did you know that Air Madagascar operates flights to Tulear? I did not. You’ll have to check that our for me & tell me if the planes look safe. 🙂 If so, maybe I’ll come visit.
I have known Nickolee since we were…oh, two…three? She was one of the first friends that I made when my family moved from California to Mississippi & started going to Midway Baptist Church. We were in the same Sunday School classes & everything. I have pictures of us in our cool acid washed jeans with 80’s perms at each other’s 4th & 5th birthdays. It’s good stuff, trust me. You’ll have to trust me because I don’t have those pictures in digital form. That’s life. You know what? In those pictures, the kid that is sitting right beside me while I open my presents & cut my cake – it’s Nickolee. My family moved our membership to First Baptist Collinsville when I was about 6 & I didn’t have a lot of interaction with Nickolee for a good long time. Then high school started & somewhere along in the 9th grade, we discovered one another again. We also discovered that we were two of the very few kids that weren’t concerned with drinking, smoking, partying & otherwise doing things that would dimisnish the memories of our high school years. Being labeled as the goody-goodys will make you bond pretty fast. But there was so much more to it than that & I know there is no way I would have made it through the 4 crazy years of high school without her. She wouldn’t have made it without me either. And I don’t say that being self-adsorbed, I say that because she has told me that on more than one occasion. Her friendship was a gift from God.
Once we graduated, we grew apart again because we were both in college at different places. It was okay though – God brought new people into my life & hers while we weren’t as close. Around the time she got engaged, we connected again & we’ve been going full steam ahead ever since. I’ve seen her get married to a great guy who loves the Lord with the same passion that Nickolee does & also has a heart for missions. I’ve cried with her on the phone when she called to tell me she was going to have a baby – I placed my bets on it being a boy – obviously, I was wrong. Ryleigh is the cutest & sweetest baby girl & I love the time I’ve been able to spend with her. Nickolee & Steve are such great parents to their daughter & I know she is going to have an amazing life with these two leading the way. I mean – she gets to play with lemurs like most kids play with dogs.* I’m jealous already.

Steve, Nickolee & Ryleigh are in the process of saying their good-byes to the family & friends they love here in the States in preparation for leaving on Friday. They’ll be flying to Johannesburg before going on to Madagascar. I’d ask you (the five of you who read my blog, ha-ha) to please keep them in your prayers, daily. Before they even get to Madagascar they have to make a 14 hour flight with a 6 month old. That would be trying enough for some people. Pray that the Lord would watch over them, keep them in the palm of his hand & provide protection, strength, peace, etc… Pray for easy transitions. Pray for new friends. Pray that they fall in love with the food. Pray that Nickolee is excellent at milking cows & sewing clothes from scratch – because yeah, she has to do all that too. Most importantly – just PRAY for them. If you read this blog, tell your friends to pray for them. And if you’d like to keep up with them, then just go right here: and you can learn all about who they are, what they are about & what they need prayer for specifically.

These are 3 awesome people who are very close to my heart. I’ve loved Nickolee since we were small & now I love all 3 of the Roberts. Keep this wonderful family in your prayers as they head out on a journey of a lifetime to make a difference in the hearts of the Mahafaly people so that they may come to know Jesus Christ. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you know Jesus as your Lord & Savior & everyone deserves the right to know. Steve & Nickolee are the people who feel called to give of themselves to do just that. And I think that always merits a little extra whispered prayer, don’t you?

Love you guys! You’re in my prayers daily & even though we are about to be a world apart, you guys are in my heart every day. 🙂

*Steve tells me that lemurs are supposedly really fierce & that he can’t send me one in the mail & Ryleigh can’t be bringing them home as pets. I don’t know if I believe that. I think he wants the lemurs all to himself. We’ll see. I may have to pay a visit to Madagascar to discover how fierce they are for myself….

Graceful is Not my Middle Name

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This is just a short random little post. I had a laughable evening Tuesday night & thought I’d share. If you live in Collinsville, Martin, that area of the country/neck of the woods then you know that around 7ish the power went out. Well…I hate having no power for the obvious reasons but I discovered on Tuesday night that I need lights. Badly. Because without them, I’m a hazard to myself.

I was just minding my own business, all curled up in my chair, intently focused on an episode of “The Vampire Diaries” & everything just cut off. Well nertz! I was pretty into what I was watching but I figured it would just flicker & pop back on. It did not do that. It stayed off. So I meandered up the stairs to get the two whole candles we have left in the house because everything else is either A) already in Virginia or B) trapped in a box. I read for a little bit & then it started to get dim – I realized that two candles just weren’t going to cut it & I went for the big guns. The oil lanterns!

This was a real deal oil lantern – not a dorky knockoff with a fake wick like the ones on the left. I would have been much safer with the ones on the left. I had these delusions of reading a book curled up by the lantern, much like the pioneers of old. Let me assure you – had I been a pioneer, they would have booted me from the settlement because I cannot handle lighting an oil lantern without causing a disaster. I’m just that talented folks.

I sat that lantern on the desk & popped off the little glass globe. I turned the wick up, but not too high & lit the lantern. Ah! Fire. Soft, glowing light. I turned the wick down a bit & carefully settled the glass globe back on the top of the lantern – making sure it was secured in all 4 prong holder thingys. I picked it up & made my way across the living room to settle my lantern on the table & myself in the chair. I was so crafty & smooth – I lit this lantern & now I’m gonna sit & read in the chair. Go me! Ha ha! I amuse myself sometimes.

As I lean forward to deposit the lantern on the table, the fire alarm starts shrieking. In a state of total shock at this sudden loud noise in the growing dark of the room, I jerk upward with the oil lantern still in my hands. The glass globe on the top wobbles & then….in what was both slow motion & fast forward all at the same time, falls into the floor with a crash. It shattered into a million pieces, of course. And then – pop! The power cuts back on.

Thank heavens the power cut back on when it did, because obviously I am not capable of handling things in the dark. I set off alarms, I shatter glass…it is a miracle I didn’t completely drop the lantern. And could you just imagine that? Oil & glass everywhere, possibly flames… I mean, it would have been the kind of fail that ranks at the top of the epic scale. I got the glass all cleaned up & the candles squared away, climbed back into the middle of the chair & turned my show back on. I figured at that point, I should just stay put. It seemed the safest option. Because my middle name isn’t grace for a reason. 🙂

Times…They Are A Changin….

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“The future is scary but you can’t run back to the past because it’s familiar. It’s tempting, but its a mistake.” -Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother

So, I just quoted a fictional character in my blog. He’s a smart fictional character though. The quote is from season finale of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted is contemplating how it would be so much easier to just fall back into a relationship with a girl that is so wrong for him. His reasoning? That it is familiar. He already knows so much about this girl & it would just be too hard to keep searching when he could easily go back to Zoey & just make it work. But he realizes (with the help of some friends, of course) that it would be a mistake.

The events of the past couple weeks have had me thinking about how much my life has changed in that past year. Where was I on June 1, 2010? Have things gotten better? Am I a different person? I know things have changed – the only constant thing in life is change.

June 1, 2010 – Career –
On June 1, 2010 I was a freshly minted graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. I was certain that I could easily enjoy one last summer before having to really be a “grown-up” & then with the greatest of ease, I’d just find an excellent job. Talk about delusions of granduer. I got to have my one last summer…and fall…and most of winter. I figured out pretty quickly that having a college degree didn’t seem to matter too much. No one was hiring anyone. Anywhere. At all. It didn’t matter how I fancied up my resume or how many places I sent it to. It just wasn’t happening. But on June 1, 2010 I wasn’t concerned. I just wrongly assumed that I would have a fun summer & then get a job. Life is funny like that – you can plan all you want & it doesn’t mean a thing.

June 1, 2011 – Career –
I’m happily a member of the work force & I have been since January. I’ve been at my job for 4 months now & I really enjoy it. I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of most everything, even if I’m not quite sure I’ve got the hang of dealing with all the different personalities in the office. The job I have isn’t in my field. It certainly has nothing to do with Anthropology or Forensic Science – although a man in the office calls me “forensic scientist” instead of by my name & is always telling me that I should be out catching bad guys & nailing them to the wall. I’m thankful for my job – there are still people all around me that can’t find a job. I wouldn’t have even guessed or imagined this is what I would have been doing a year ago. And yet, here I am.

June 1. 2010 – Love –

Well – I was single in June of last year. I had high hopes for finding the right person at some point but things just didn’t look too promising. I think this is probably the area that tests me the most. I’m not overtly obvious about it, but I’m kind of a hopeless romantic. I have big dreams for love, a marriage & a family – in that order. I tell myself every December 31st that maybe this will be the year. And then I wait. And in June of last year, I was doing just that. Waiting. In case you were wondering – waiting really stinks. My Mom would probably crack up at this – I always spout off the line “patience is a virtue” & she just rolls her eyes at me. Well, like the line from The Mummy – “Patience is a virtue” – Well it’s a virtue I don’t have right now”. *sigh*

June 1, 2011 – Love –
Guess what? I’m still waiting. And it hasn’t gotten any easier. There are reminders of my very single status every day & I won’t pretend that at times it doesn’t get to me. I’m tearing up a little bit writing this. I know without a doubt that if I didn’t have family & friends that pray for me daily, this issue – which may seem so small to some – could become far more overblown & upsetting than it is. Thankfully I do have those people in my life that remind me that all in time. I had a conversation on Sunday night with two wonderful ladies – one that I have known for quite a while now & one that I see having the potential to become a wonderful friend. They encouraged me, even if they weren’t aware of it. Good things come to those who wait, right? Well – I feel like I’ve been waiting forever, so I’m pretty sure my Prince Charming is going to be amazing.

June 1, 2010 – Life –
This time last year I was living with my parents, looking for a job & feeling somewhat aimless. I didn’t have a job yet, but I wasn’t too concerned with that. My parents had talked about moving & to be honest I hoped deep down that we would just leave. I was ready to get some distance from the place I’ve spent most of my life. I wanted a change of pace, a change of scenery…some kind of dramatic change. What is it that people are always saying? Be careful what you wish for? Right.

June 1, 2011 – Life –
I feel like the life I’ve been leading for 26 years is about to have a major shake-up. Remember how I said you can plan things & it doesn’t matter? Life doesn’t cater to your plans – that isn’t how things work. My parents are moving. I’m not. I’m going to get a dramatic change – for the first time in 26 years, my immediate family will be spread across three time zones. My parents will be in Virginia, I’ll be in Mississippi & Lindsey will be in Colorado. My parents are going to be 800 miles in one direction & my little sister will be 999 miles in the other direction. Also – out of the three states – Mississippi just does not sound like any fun. And yet – here I shall stay. Why? Well, I’m a firm believer that when the Lord tells you to stay put, you stay put. I’ve learned from experience that deciding to forge your own path & do your own thing doesn’t really work out so well.

I’m trying to find a place to live & trying even harder to learn how to hang on to my money because I’m about to have to make a go at this on my own. I realize that people who are far younger than me have already accomplished this task – good for them. I wanted a change of scenery – I’m going to get one. I’ll be looking off of a front porch (hopefully I’ll have a front porch) that belongs to me. I’ll be on my own. And I’ve also discovered that while there are still some places (& faces) that I would have no problem putting behind me, there are some places (& faces) that will probably become far more important to me as I step out on this new path.

Well – there you have it. How my life has changed (or hasn’t) in the past year. I think there are times when I feel a certain sort pf panic set in when I think about what my life will be like in a few months. I want to turn around & run back to the comfort of the past. But, as I’m reminded by Ted, (that lovely fictional character) that would be a mistake. You’ve got to keep moving forward in life. So, onward to new adventures I go. I feel like so much is different & yet so many things are the same. Then again, isn’t that how it goes? The only thing that stays the same is that things are always changing.