little feet

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six little feet, thirty little toes.

my night was spent pretending to be a horse, and making sure dinner was eaten and teeth were brushed.

we ate strawberries for dessert, put together a Hello Kitty puzzle, and watched The Little Mermaid.

i read a million books, tucked them into bed, and then was reminded that i forgot to fill up their water cups.

i was told that the littlest one would scream when i put him down, but i sang him a few of my favorite hymns, and stroked his hair, and all was well.

“it is well, it is well with my soul.”

i put him in his crib, and his little hand reached out & grabbed my pinky. my heart turned into mush.

i don’t know if they’ve ever heard about Jesus, so why not now?

i always forget that this is my mission field, even more so than Peru will be in only six days.

i have a habit of complaining about babysitting jobs; it’s not what i want to do forever. it’s not easy putting other people’s children to bed, and telling them to stop standing on chairs, and to be kind to their siblings.

one day i hope to have my own littles to put to bed. i dream about them sometimes, and as much as i say i don’t want children, my heart is excited to one day be a momma to a little Phoebe, and a little Judah, and maybe a little Graham.

but for now, i’ve been given this opportunity to sing other babies to sleep with songs about Jesus, and show them love by giving them strawberries.

and i am grateful that i am the one to do so.

The Bethadilly Challenge: February 22 – 28

And just like that, another month is over!

February 22: street {I have to be honest, this isn’t a picture of my street. it’s a picture of my sidewalk, but my street was filled with slushy snow, so you can’t really blame me for sort of cheating. these prompts are all subjective, right?}

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February 23: soft {Milo is the softest cat I know}


February 24: early {it’s never too early to have Nutella}

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February 25: top {the top of one of my owl decorations}

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February 26: a selfie {I’ve realized that taking selfies is hard, and I much prefer taking pictures of random objects and other people. but here are a few pictures of me with a lot of hair in my face}

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February 27: a dreaded task {I finally completed the dreaded task of planning lessons for my last week of student teaching @ Renaissance Academy. so I treated myself to a cup of tea, and a Girl Scout Cookie}

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February 28: paper {beautiful paper for beautiful thank you notes to beautiful people that supported us for our upcoming trip to Peru}

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don’t leave the bridge

Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.” {Nayyirah Waheed}

I’ve lived this truth, and looking back, sometimes it’s still not easy to think about.

It’s not easy being the one that hurt another person – to cut ties with someone you cared about so deeply without any closure.

The boy that wooed me with a song, and in the end, made me cry every time I listened to “In My Arms” and “Married Life.”

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I had left my bridge. What if I had settled, and said, “it’s okay. My love for you is greater than my deepest desires. Greater than my purpose.” That would have been sacrificial, right?

But you see, it’s not.

Sometimes it’s important to fight for your destiny. And sometimes that means saying goodbye.

Sometimes that means starting over from scratch, and discovering what it’s like to be alone again.

Within that loneliness you discover strength, and a determination you really didn’t know you had.

A determination that pushes through even though every fiber of your being wants to take back those words that said “I don’t think we’re going in the same direction, and I think we need to break up.” The words that insinuated that when I said “I love you,” I didn’t really mean it. I immediately wanted to say, “Take me back. I’ll leave my bridge for you. I’ll wait forever.”

But self denial is not always love.

However, I discovered that within this new found loneliness, you often stumble upon someone that is ready and willing to meet you right where you are.

Someone who silently stays by your side as your separate journeys somehow collide.

And that is the beauty of staying on the bridge.

Student Teaching Reflections; part I

I didn’t really know what to expect when I registered for student teaching.

I didn’t expect a student to ask me if I was pregnant because I’m married. I wasn’t prepared for this poop sculpture, or the amount of drama that fourth grade girls are able to cause. I wasn’t prepared for how many of these students have iPhone 6’s, or the fact that they all know how to group text, when I just learned how a few months ago.

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I hoped that I would enjoy it, and prayed that the students would take it easy on me. During my field experience, I fumbled through a lesson on something obviously important, and afterwards heard a student say, with more attitude than a fourth grader should ever have, “why is she so nervous?”

That’s right, kid. I’m nervous. This is my future, and if I don’t like teaching at the end of this whole experience, an ungodly amount of dollars will have been put to waste. If you don’t pass my Exit Slip with flying colors, that’s a direct reflection on me, even though you didn’t pay a sliver of attention to my lesson, and decided that you would try and see if I’d notice you eating a whole pack of gum while staring directly into my eyes.

But you know what? So far, I’ve loved it.

I’ve loved it even though most days are a power struggle between me & my math class.

One time, a student decided it would be a good idea to draw on his test instead of take it, and when I asked him to start working, he punched his desk, and accused me of picking on him because he’s black. When I told him to put his name on his test, he showed me this:

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Just for clarification, his name is not “BraH.”

During that same test, a student decided that she didn’t want to take it because she’s “not going to be a math teacher, so she doesn’t need to know this stuff.” And she then proceeded to stare at the wall even though I told her that I believed in her, and that I didn’t want her to get a zero. She got upset when I took her test away…at the end of class….after everyone else had left.

I’ve realized that sometimes the negative forces of home are just too strong for a student teacher to break through in only a few short months. And to be honest, that’s the most discouraging part of this whole thing.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t afford to stop trying.

I think about my educational heroes: Mrs. Crow, my mom, Professor Aspito, and Dr. Modica.

I wonder if they felt like this when they were beginners: some days you feel like you should be handed your teacher certification on a silver platter, and other days you feel like you’re drowning.

There is obviously so much I need to learn, and the process isn’t easy. Wait. I only have 2 more months of this, and then I’m expected to teach on my own, without supervision?! Will I even be ready?! Do I have to grade more papers? Why are there always so many papers to grade? Is it time for bed yet? No? Oh…

If I have to say “I’ll wait,” one. more. time…

But then I think about how wonderful these women are, and the impact they have had on my life, and I’m sure, the lives of countless others.

The good days somehow have outweighed the bad.

I have been able to transform my ELA class into a group of inspirational poets.

I’ve formed relationships with students that give me random words of encouragement almost every day.

Most of all, I still look forward to going back to school – even after the most glorious snow days.

I’m not sure what I’ll find at my next placement. I don’t know if I’ll have the same support that I’ve been given from my current cooperating teacher, or if I’ll enjoy teaching the same 13 students for seven hours, rather than 60 different students throughout the course of one day (I teach three different groups for ELA, Math, and Science).

But I’m ready and willing to face whatever comes next.

(and I’m also obviously counting down the days until graduation. 70 DAYS.)

The Bethadilly Challenge: February 15 – 21

February 15: macro {I don’t have a macro lens, but here is a close up of my pencil cup & a little yellow boat that one of Caleb’s students made him}

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February 16: makes me happy {yesterday I got a card from my friend Allison & it made me so happy}

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February 17: dessert {left over valentine’s day candy}

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February 18: hidden {an owl hidden away between books & old records}

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February 19: one {one little pine cone that we found on a hike when Caleb & I were dating. I love little things like these to remember those times}

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February 20: modern {sometimes pictures like this happen when you’re playing around in manual mode, and then you actually like it}

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February 21: what I’m reading {my life has been so busy lately – between student teaching & planning/leading a missions trip, I have had zero time to read for pleasure like I used to. I used to read a book a week, but now those days are gone. here are a few of my favorite books that I could read over & over again: Night, Pride & Prejudice, The BFG, The Magician’s Nephewand The Last Battle.}

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Just another testimony

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.

God is faithful.

If you know anything about clearances, they are a pain in the butt. Because I’m an education major, I have to renew my clearances every year, and they cost a lot of money, and take a really long time to get in.

My beautiful friend Valerie is on the Peru team. She adds so much to our group – not only does she speak Spanish fluently, but her spirit is so gentle. Rays of grace and love beam off of her like the sun. If you met her in person, you would understand.

So how do you think I felt when she told me that she hadn’t received her clearances, and hadn’t been able to get through to the office? I panicked. And then I said, “Lord, this can’t happen. You want her on our trip.” And that was that.

Recently, Pennsylvania decided that instead of only accepting Child Abuse Clearance forms through the mail, they would also provide the public with the option of submitting applications online. Instead of the normal 6 – 8 weeks, it should only take 2-3 weeks to get your clearance forms approved.

But guess what?

We don’t have 2 – 3 weeks.

We leave on March 6th. Only 17 days away.

Tonight at our team meeting, I sat next to Valerie, and we filled out a completely new clearance application. She paid another $10, and as she clicked the “submit” button, I told her I would call the office tomorrow and see if they would push her application through.

Then I refreshed the page, and right there in front of us it said: Your application has been processed and can now be viewed. 

That’s right, folks. She has all her clearances in. The only thing left is for her to secure her travel visa.

This was such a minute detail in the grand scheme of Peru plans. Yet God knew, and He still knows. He knows what we need, when we need it. He knew that she needed that clearance, and even though I feel like I have to remind Him sometimes, He knows that we’re set to leave in 17 days. He knows we still have $2,000 left to raise, and He knows that all our funds need to be in by February 20th. That’s Friday, if you were wondering. 

I love when Paul writes, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 4:19}

This same God who took care of our clearance forms can take care of your mortgage. He can take care of your bills. He can provide people to support you in your ministry. He can provide the healing you’ve been praying for, the strength you need to get out of bed each morning, and the salvation for your wayward child.

He is able and He is faithful.

And the most beautiful part of it all? He won’t fail you. He never has, and He won’t start now.

Grateful Heart Monday: family & photo recovery software

Today I’m grateful for family & photo recovery software.

On Friday, Caleb’s two brothers, Jared & Levi, came to visit from Florida. This whole weekend has been so intensely cold, but because Saturday was scheduled to be the warmest day, we decided to go snow tubing in the Poconos.

What should have been a 2 hour drive at most, became a 3 hour drive because of snow & slow drivers. Thankfully we made it in one piece, and wasted no time buying our admission tickets & sliding down the huge snowy hill.

We had such an awesome time tubing at Camelback Mountain Resort. Even though it was a little on the pricier side ($30/person), it was worth it – especially because the weather really was perfect. At one point, the snow had stopped falling, and we were practically the only people sliding down the hill.

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As soon as we got home, I wanted to edit all the pictures I took and watch the video I shot while we tubed down the hill. Unfortunately, after a computer freak out, everything was deleted off my SD card. I was so sad – I was the only one that took pictures, and while we had a few other videos, I wanted something to remember such a great day.

That’s when I discovered photo recovery software. After finding programs that only offered free-trials, I finally found one that let me search my card and preview & download the pictures that had been found.

Some of the pictures I took were damaged, and the video was unresponsive, but eight pictures is better than none.

What are you grateful for today?

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The Bethadilly Challenge: February 8 – 14

So far, this week was the most challenging week for me. Once a month I house sit / babysit for a single mother while she is on-call at one of our local hospitals. The job is easy, and the pay is excellent, but I hate leaving Caleb and sleeping alone in a house that is still strange to me even after almost a year. Not to mention, waking up at 5:30 a.m. is not my forte.

I’ve struggled with the prompts. And I’ve lost out on a lot of natural, beautiful light. Even so, here are my pictures. They’re not the best, but I’m determined to stick this challenge out until the very end.

February 8: chaos {from the start of this day I was feeling run down. maybe I’m coming down with a cold? who knows. either way, I came home from church, avoided chaos at all costs, and took a much needed nap. this is also an iPhone photo, in case you were wondering}

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February 9: writing {I love going back & reading what I’ve written in past journal entries. in September, God placed a promise of provision on my heart – specifically for our loans. on Sunday we received $500 which was exactly what we needed to become fully funded for our upcoming missions trip. if God can provide for a small missions trip, He can most definitely do the same for our loans}

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February 10: curly {twine in color and black & white}

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February 11: pattern

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February 12: my view today {I came home from a long day of student teaching & a disappointing interview to find my hard working husband cooking dinner. I had to hide behind the wall because he doesn’t like getting his picture taken…nonetheless, I’m grateful for him & all he does}

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February 13: love {we had a Valentine’s Celebration & my students gave me treats & a heart shaped doughnut. I love that I get to do this all the time}

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February 14: valentine {Caleb is the best Valentine, but because he doesn’t like getting his picture taken, here is a picture of Milo}

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The Bethadilly Challenge: February 1 – 7

I cannot believe a week of February pictures is finished! I am so excited to continue to share my Bethadilly photo challenge pictures, and to document my journey of learning how to use my DSLR. If you’re looking for a photo challenge (even just for this month), I would encourage you to try Beth’s prompts. I am inspired daily & am somehow still motivated to continue with the challenge. 🙂

February 1: on my table {our side table holds our map coasters & one of our many flea market lanterns. I also included my owl dish because owls are my favorite}

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February 2: comfy {couch + blanket + book. also, Milo is able to get comfortable in literally every spot in our apartment – including my small bedside table}

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February 3: starts with P {our kitchen wall is decorated with old crates. this Pepsi crate is one of my favorites}

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February 4: pink {my favorite pink scarf}

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February 5: old school {our record player. if you’re curious, we were listening to Jim Croce}

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February 6: walk {it has been SO cold lately, and I didn’t feel like walking around, but I was able to get these few shots in}

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February 7: accessory {before we knew each other, Caleb bought this bracelet in Kenya with the intent of giving it to his future wife. every time I wear it, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have received this gift. this is also my favorite picture I’ve taken all week}

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We’re really going to Peru!

Today is the day we’ve been anxiously awaiting for months!


This week, our team finally raised enough funds to purchase six plane tickets to Lima, Peru, and tonight we bought them! 

As the leader of this team, I’ve gone through a myriad of emotions; frustration as we changed missionaries multiple times & plans didn’t seem to come together, anxiety as I realized the huge feat of leading and planning a trip while also Student Teaching, and fear as I continued to look at our financial situation, and that big, fat, zero just stared back at me.

Then there was the feeling of excitement and admiration as our team bonded during missions bootcamp, and realized that we all hate team building activities. I feel like we finally became a unified group of friends, rather than six people that kind of liked one another.

Cue the F-R-I-E-N-D-S theme song:

However, nothing can compare to the feeling I had last night when I was able to tell everyone, WE CAN BUY OUR TICKETS!!!!!” 

$4,000 later, we have the biggest part of our trip settled. However, we are still in great need of prayers, and the remaining $4500 in funds to do everything we have planned.

We will arrive in Peru on March 6th, and will spend 1 1/2 days in Lima, where we will meet Bill Shrader & his family, and have our trip orientation.

That Sunday, we plan to fly to Iquitos, and minister in 2 different churches. On Monday we start our VBS program (we are having the VBS program in 2 different schools – 2 days in each school), as well as a bathroom remodeling project, and will return to the States on March 15th.

As you continue to pray for our upcoming trip, rejoice with us as we have already seen the Lord work in such amazing ways! Pray that our team continues to bond, that we will become fluent in Spanish really quickly 😉 , and for protection & health before and during the trip. Overall, pray that we will be a blessing to the Shraders and to everyone we meet in Iquitos.

If you gain anything from this little post, be encouraged that the Lord sees your need, and will meet you right where you are. We are so blessed to be loved by such a wonderful God.

p.s. If you are interested in partnering with us financially, please let me know! You can give online here: