Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Getting Ready for Nicole's Big Day

Nicole's wedding was on Friday, February 17. I don't know what in the world I was thinking...or maybe I'm just such a responsible human being that I didn't want to take so many days off of school...but I arrived in Twin Falls on Wednesday. In the days leading up to my trip, I was feeling sooo bummed that I'd be getting so few days with my sister and our friends!!!!

On our drive from Boise to Twin Falls, I started getting the chills, hot flashes, cold flashes...I felt so nauseous and disgusting...I thought, "NO WAY. I'm going to walk down the aisle in my sister's wedding with a full-blown case of the flu!" I felt awful! After we arrived at Nicole's house and had our happy reunion, my mom made me an immune-boosting powder drink. Cherie and Stephanie filled me up with activated charcoal...I took some ibuprofen...then off we all went to the church to work! There was a lot to be done.

I didn't take any pictures this first day....it is kind of a blur...I think we made pom poms and then came home? Cherie, you can get on here and correct any of my mistakes :D
My brain was a little foggy. Anyways - we were so happy to be all together! Something I loved about Nicole's wedding and her choice of attendants was that we are all so close and absolutely have the best time together. We already knew each other, already had a tight bond so working together was pure FUN! I love all of these girls so much!

Stephanie MADE Nicole's wedding cake! She is a total PRO! She does incredible work! 
She made me laugh so hard - after a day of cooking 3 layers of what was supposed to be a 4-layer cake, she told me, "This just became a THREE layer cake. My feet are killing me!" I said, "Oh my word, what will Nicole say?" Steph says, "Oh, she won't even notice." 
Which was soooo true. Nicole's mind was definitely on other things! 
The cake turned out beautiful, so tall, and there was plenty for everyone! I didn't taste it on account of not being able to hardly eat because of my sore throat and nausea, but several people told me that it was delicious.

Cherie, professional wedding planner in the making. This girl knowwwws what she's doing. 
I feel like between Cherie and I, we are able to corner Nicole into making needed decisions, or we just made them ourselves. LOL!

We were playing wedding songs to get in the mood of romance which inspired beautiful dance moves...

...but every time the girls got me laughing too hard I'd start gagging, causing them to start screaming and running away. (I never lost anything, but was mainly just being dramatic.)

Setting up the backdrop...

...taking Nicole's beautiful hand-made paper flowers over to the church...
(I don't want to show too much until the actual ceremony pictures. Then you'll get to see the final product! But just know that Nicole is extremely creative and crafty and did a ton of hard work to make her wedding prettyyyy!)

First American meal in Twin - Chick-Fil-A :)

Nicole tasting her wedding cake - YUM.
We'd planned to throw Nicole a surprise bridal shower so that night Andrew helped sneak Cherie, Steph and me away to Nicole's house to set everything up. Nicole came out of the church right as we were pulling out of the parking lot and she looked so confused to see us all driving off. I was squealing, "Keep driving, DON'T LOOK AT HER!!!!" She immediately called me and sounded a little ticked. I explained that I just wasn't feeling too great and had to go home - which was totally the truth and she knew it.

Nicole arrived about half an hour later and was so surprised and happy!

Dorisa and I brought a few gifts but 99% of all these are from Cherie and Steph. They reeeeally made Nicole feel so special!

The bushed bridesmaids - Cherie, me, Steph, and Dorisa
The next morning, Andrew arrived at the church bright and early to make us all breakfast. 
As long as we had food, our morale stayed high and we felt inspired to work!

This was the day of the reception. The last day we had to get everything done! We ended up renting a lift to hang decorations in the gym. Thankfully, Andrew knew how to drive this machine.

Between Andrew and I, we got the all of the papel picado hung. He was going up in the lift, tying them to the lights and tacking them to the walls. I was making sure to hand them to him facing the right direction and in the correct order of colors. 

The direction they hung was important because the papel picado was custom made here in Puebla to where every third paper said...
So special!
This makes my palms sweaty. Ha! I do not like heights.

Andrew went to pick John up from work after getting  all the papel picado hung. Dad then took over the lift and started hanging the pom poms.

Dad was very proud of himself for being able to touch the ceiling!

Cherie was in charge of making all the table runners, which turned out to be pretty time-consuming. 
Cherie is the gal you want working behind the scenes at your wedding!!!

At one point, Steph and I went out into the lobby of the gym to cut out some last minute paper flowers. Steph grabbed a bowl of grapes to snack on and when we sat down, the game "Chubby Bunny" was brought up. This is a contest to see who can stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth and still manage to say the words "chubby bunny". The idea occurred to us to try this game with grapes. 

Stephanie started stuffing her mouth full...but we were so wound up that we forgot to even count how many she fit in. Of course we then got to laughing....crying...screaming....

Soon, one of these huge green grapes rolled down Stephanie's throat - whole - causing her to start gagging and blowing grapes into a nearby trash can. She then went running into the ladies restroom where things suddenly went silent except for the sound of my own wheezing laughter. After about a minute it occurred to me that she might be in the bathroom choking to death and I was about to have to pull out my Heimlich moves! 
She ended up being fine, but her throat reportedly did stretch to double its normal size, allowing her the ability to practice "eating for two".

This all was on Wednesday and Thursday morning. Thursday evening was the rehearsal, which I will cover in the next part! This is the part where we all start getting emotional....yay! Who doesn't love a good cry?! ( ;D )


Friday, February 10, 2017

Visiting Ailyn

Ailyn's piano was acting up the other day so she asked me to come to her house to look at it. It ended up being a simple fix and it was good to go. 
Ailyn is such a cute kid with a really neat personality. I really enjoy teaching her. I'd never been to her house before because she told me the road was bad. I'd always drop her off at the bottom of the hill. This time we were walking though so she gave me a tour of her neighborhood. She lives at the very top of a steep hill.

I was wearing some flimsy velvet flats when really what I needed were some hiking boots! Ailyn practically skipped up the hill and I very cautiously and anxiously followed behind. I was huffing and puffing when we got to the top - ha!
The picture doesn't show the steepness very well but I could just imagine myself losing my footing and sliding down this dusty road.

The view was worth the climb though! You can see the entire city from her house.

I told her to smile for the camera so she struck this proud pose.
For those that don't remember - Ailyn is the little curly headed girl that started coming to church about 3 years ago when we started our current Sunday school program. She's been faithful ever since and her mom and sisters even started about a year ago. Her and her mom got the Holy Ghost some months back. Ailyn also invited another family to church about a year ago and they've become more and more faithful over the past few months. I actually blogged about their baptisms! I am praying that Ailyn gets more and more involved in church, one day can use her piano talents for God, and when the storms of life come, that she stays faithful as ever!

This is my last post for the next week or so. Nicole is getting married a week from today!! I leave on Tuesday to be with her and won't be back until next weekend. Wedding posts coming soon!!! Aaaaagg! I just can't believe it.

I hope to see some of you there!

Until then.......


Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Kids in Town

I've never shown you guys our little wood stove! We got one in my parent's house years ago, but at the beginning of last year we got this one installed in the school. A man in Bro. Bullock's church in Texas found it for us. This stove is our little pet! On these cold winter mornings, it is so nice to have.

During reading time, some of us will sit around the fire with blanket...it is so cozy!

Valentin and Austin are usually the ones to start the fire started early in the morning so when I get to school, they've taken care of the chill in the classroom.

Beau also looooved the fire....

He'd get so cozy, we could torture him however we liked.

I'm sad, sad, sad to say that Beau died in December. Our little snuggle bug! He quit eating, quit drinking, got super skinny, couldn't walk...it was the saddest thing. The vet said he thinks he had kidney failure. 
Four days after he died, my parent's house was broken into. I guess news traveled fast. Immediately my parents got two German shepherds... A puppy and her mama. They are really cute. I'm a little annoyed at the thought of them though after seeing these pictures of Beau. I was coming into school the other day with a cup of piping hot tea and the dogs jumped up and spilled it all over me. Those little brats...Beau would've never done that! 
Olive and her mom Dixie
Olive is in love with Austin. She adores him. 

When she was a sleepy puppy she'd snooze at Austin's feet during school. 
She's now graduated into her awkward teen years though and is demonstrating a streak of rebellion. She's done a few really bad things in school lately so she's currently suspended.

Dixie in the dog house and Olive on the table. This was taken when she was younger....before my mom put pots of flowers on this table........Aaaaand......it just occurred to me the reason why Olive might've dragged all of the plants off onto the ground last week! She probably thinks this is her spot - ha!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Xalapa, Veracruz

Remember my post back in May of last year about Soledad form Xalapa, Veracruz?
Soledad is the lady in the middle. Her mom, the lady on the right, sadly, has since passed away.
I have an update on all that!

Back around June of 2016 we started going to Xalapa every week to have services. It has been a really wonderful experience. Our church has really gotten involved and there is always a group from Puebla ready to go to help out and create an atmosphere of prayer and worship where the Holy Ghost can move! It is a sacrifice!! We leave in the morning and at times do not get back until very late at night. Valentin told me the other day, "You know, one day someone told us about Truth! It's now up to us to pass it along." I am thankful for that attitude among our people.

Our pastor is out of town right now due to the obligatory renewing of papers and Nicole's upcoming wedding. In his absence, I took a group up a couple Saturdays ago for the service, but this past one, I was unable to go. I was so very encouraged when Valentin informed me that even though I couldn't make it, there was another family in the church that has a car and wanted to take a group. I said something like - wow! Yeah! Go for it! Sara ended up taking my little piano and played for the service! Just typing that makes me get teary - I am so so so HAPPY to see some people take the initiative and also that my little piano student is using her talents for the Lord! This is HUGE for me! Valentin taught - that's a burden off my dad's shoulders. Sara took a burden off me of doing the music. And the church marched right on!

Here are some random pictures from the past months of going to Xalapa...

We started out in Soledad's house. We would all sit around on her couches and have service. Very often we would have the sweetest moves of God, with barely ten people there. We'd have better services in Soledad's living room than at our home church on Sundays. The amount of people and the room you're in makes no difference. It all depends on the hunger in the hearts of the people.

Usually my dad teaches, but Mario and Abner have gone a few times and taught. Valentin is always there and also has given some of the lessons.

The entrance to Soledad's house

A few months back, Soledad had surgery on her knee. She was bedridden for over a month so services were done around her bed.

Xalapa is a little warmer than Puebla and...unfortunately...it's kind of humid! 
However, everything is beautiful and green...looking out from Soledad's mom's backyard is like looking over a jungle!

Back in September, Soledad testified in service that the Lord had spoken to her and told her to open up one of her rental houses for us to have service in. The tenant's lease was up in October and we moved in that very month.
The painted white part is the "house" (more like a room) that we are now having services in.
Back through that doorway is a bathroom and "kitchen"...meaning there's a hookup for a stove and such. It's just an empty cement room at this point though.
The inside
We bring over all the chairs from Soledad's house, but if more people come than we have available chairs...we just sit on the floor.

Pray for Soledad!!! She is having such a hard time walking, but has such a desire to get out and witness! Her bad knees are really holding her back. 
About Soledad - while we go to Xalapa every week, she continues to come to church in Puebla faithfully every Sunday. That's a 3-hour commute each way! She is one dedicated lady. We love her to pieces!

This is what a typical service in Xalapa looks like...

A couple months ago these two girls (sisters) walked in right at altar call. They were given a flier a couple hours before when we'd gone out witnessing. They both reeeally started praying and we had an AMAZING move of God. We found out after talking to them afterwards that they know something of Pentecost, but said it is hard to find a church that preaches "sound doctrine" and holiness. Just so happens that they are Soledad's neighbors that live just down the street! We are excited for the future of these two girls.

I'm bummed that it's taken me so long to tell you all about this new venture and the good things God has been doing in Xalapa, Veracruz. So many good things have been happening, so many victorious services have been had. But as time passes, I forget about each little thing. That's just a bummer! I will try to update again soon. In the meantime, please keep this new work in your prayers! We want to see GREAT THINGS happen in the future!


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