Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

Image…There have been so many joys and trials in the time since I last blogged that I really hardly know where to start. But what I can share with much gratitude and happiness is that Dax and I have seen the favor and strength and love of our God in so many ways each and every day during this season of wedding preparations. It’s been an emotional and physically exhausting roller coaster of things to do both in Bombay and back here in Iowa but through it all, God has been on our side and fighting our battles smoothing the way  before us to open doors and open minds and hearts to help us get everything ready for this special day coming oh so soon.  Indian tailors, packing and moving for school expansion, delayed travels home, tastings, tiramisu cake, generous reception hall manager, great photographers, flexible  kind hearted individuals and above all else understanding and  unwavering support of our families who bless us daily and have made us better individuals every day and now are preparing us for life as one with a solid understanding of what family is and can be and should always be. Sunday Mum and Dad Garrett arrive with Aiyesha to IOWA!! Tash and Iain following the next weekend along with our wedding party all united by July 3 eve… can’t wait. So happy to be in Iowa. So content with the way things are in life. So very blessed beyond belief.

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p.e.r.s.o.n.a.l. d.a.y.

About two months ago a colleague of mine asked me how many personal days I had left and gasped when I told her I had yet to use one…

Life has just been too hectic this year to be gone…Any first year teachers feel me on that? Don’t get me wrong- I’ve missed for sick days- but it’s really more work to be away..Not to mention I’ll be missing for FRRO nex week too (visa renewal). But I believe the course of this year has definitely given me every reason to request to use these personal days while I can.

Dax and I have tomorrow off (quite likely his second? personal day off in his 6 years at ASB) and I can’t even fully express how much I am already appreciating that, sitting here as my eyes are drooping and my body is aching. We have been going non-stop for as long as I can remember- my awful cough the last 5 weeks has not helped the slightest. This week my new schedule of running up and down flights of stairs to 2nd,3rd,4th,and5th grade classrooms (located on 4 different floors at ASB) while carrying everything I need to teach for the day is taking a toll on my post-crazy-art-room-packing body. My back pack broke yesterday and I am getting used to moving from chair to chair as meetings arrise, classes invade spaces, and HS students chatter beside me. I am as drained as I can be.. and an extra day of rest is just what the doctor is ordering right now.

As much as I could envision myself simply sleeping the day away we do have a number of things to attend to… An appointment for fabric shopping at a linen market for the guys’ outfits with Dax’s parents, picking up beading samples from Dax’s tailor for mine to apply the same materials to my dress, ring shopping, honeymoon planning, detail arranging, and actually now a doctor’s visit will all happen throughout the course of the next 24 hours.  We’re looking forward to it!

And then.. We’ll go to sleep, and wake up to a Saturday… what a good good feeling (if I momentarily forget about the 240 personal narratives I need to write by next Friday).

Personal day… you couldn’t have come at a better time…

ps. I can hardly contain my excitement at the thought of going home to Iowa in just a few weeks!

I-O-W-A

Officially one month left of school.
Plus a few days…
Until I’m back in Iowa for the summer!
Wedding planning,
Corn-on-the-cob eating,
hamburger grilling,
chilled watermelon,
F A M I L Y time,
sunshine soaking,
clean-air breathing,
farm visits,
dandelion ring making Iowa summer…”
Here.we.come.

Can’t wait for quality time with my parents and siblings… can’t wait for Dax to be back in Iowa… Can’t wait for all the Garrett’s to visit the midwest for the first time… Can’t wait for alittle rest and relaxation with the ones I love…

One month….

Updates from the Art Room…

What a busy year it’s been in the art room. We showcased our student talent during the annual Elementary Art Exhibition two weeks ago and had great attendance and support particularly from parents and peers. The show displayed one masterpiece from every student in KG-Gr 5 at ASB (over 300 individually hung and labled pieces!) It was my first time setting up a student exhibition…aside from the routine bulletin boards and individual project displays in schools…

It was a lot of work, but so rewarding to see the students walk their parents through the display with pride and explain their artwork to their friends and siblings.   Already brainstorming plans for contiuining the exhibition in our new facility next year.

As we began taking down the artwork from the exhibition to send home with the kids, we recieved notice from the leadership team at ASB that in order to complete renovation and construction plans on our current facility, we would need to physically move out of and close 30% of our current educational space.  Which includes 50% of the ES floor- which includes the art room.  So Friday, Jayshree Deepa and I sent our classes out to their homerooms for lessons or time with their teachers, and used the day to begin the exhausting task of packing the art supplies.

  

We packed up 52 boxes…working nonstop from arrival at school until my after school screen printing kids showed up at 3.. We’ve planned ahead and set aside the supplies needed to finish the year in baskets that will be stored in classrooms for the last 5 weeks of school.  Add it to my list of “things I never imagined doing in my first year teaching” 🙂 No surprise I slept 12 hours last night…
Blessing to this frantic packing madness: we won’t have to worry about packing it all the last week of school…

More life, family, wedding updates to come with time… but a peek into work for now… no matter what comes my way though:

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through C h r i s t , who strengthens me.

 

Amen.

The Joy of Doing Nothing…but Giving Thanks

I’m finding myself in a fairly familiar, regular place this peaceful Saturday evening: in Kohinoor 553, at the Garrett’s home.  We have collectively agreed/decided/fulfilled the plan to do nothing today… a first, since Dax and I returned from Iowa in January-an honestly probably many weeks before that.

This spring has been full of so many thoughts I never thought I’d be addressing in my first year of teaching…. Thoughts on how to get the kids to remember to call me Mrs Garrett next year (not Mrs Dax or Mrs Coach as many of the younger ones guessed initially), how to legally change my name in two countries (not to mention my passport eventually), where to live as our school expands to two campuses, how to best maximize the time on spring break to source wedding fabric, where to teach-as 30% of our physical building is shutting down by May 5 and I’ll finish the year without an art room, how to grow with Dax and strengthen the relationships we have with both our families, where we’ll honeymoon, wedding planning from abroad, how to travel to the states with a wedding dress and not go too crazy on the delicious Iowa summer food so I can still fit into it, thoughts on how to cherish every moment spent relaxing together, how to find a relaxing moment to spend together…

The list could go on and on… and it does in my mind… to more personal things… more school things… my head and heart have been quite busy… But I am so thankful to say that I am content in all of this. Of course Dax is helping me through much of this… I have said many times now that certainly my time in India would not be the same without him (duh) but also, I don’t think my coping with India and learning to grow and develop here would have been the same specifically…

However he is not the only one… My parents back in Iowa have coped with my emotional roller coaster… Smiling and telling me they love me when I burst into tears on skype for simply missing them as any 24-yr old would half way around the world, keeping me up to date on extended family… Helping line up logistics for the wedding.. Making phone calls and helping get everything set up for the big day this summer….My sister dedicated her entire spring break to trying out Pinterest recipes and crafts for the ceremony and reception and she’s even writing a song. My brother has spent time talking on the phone with me.. checking in when it’s been too long.. doing that brother thing that makes me smile…

And of course…. they are not the only ones.

Back to the start of this post. Sitting and enjoying a relaxing Saturday night in the Garrett home has become tradition. Althea, Donford, and Aiyesha have been absolutely amazing through this entire season. They’ve spent long hot hours searching for fabrics, included me in special family events, literally fed and housed me a large majority of the past few months (really can’t emphasize enough the amazing cooking that comes from their kitchen and the mattress slumber parties that happen in the living room as a family).  They know what tea I like to drink and my favorite ice cream. They’ve taken care of me when I was really sick-literally layed in their house for days and they nursed me back to health.  They’ve rounded up countless emails for our invitation list, and provided most importantly a loving, supportive environment and family to be part of.  Aiyesha has been an amazing sister-in-law, proudly telling kids at school and stepping in to help with design ideas and wedding reception possibilities.  Words can’t express full the peace this family has covered me with. Because of their generous care…. I have been able to focus on the pressing needs of the day to day with considerably less stress. I spend so much time at their home now, it’s such a relief, such an escape and such a relaxing place to just be. They have opened their home and their hearts to me… in a way that moves me to awestruck gratitude.

I’ve had several conversations lately with Jayshree, the other art teacher at school. It’s been a hectic time at school too with the art exhibition getting organized, hung, and run… She is always telling me she’s so amazed by how blessed my life has been this year… One day she told me I had big luck this year: finding a great job, finding an amazing man, finding a good family… I told her it wasn’t any measure of big luck that has put me where I am today… It’s a big God who has a plan for me, loves me, and encourages me with blessings every day.

Thanks for reading through this massive post. It’s been a while since I really let it rip on writing, but this is very typical rambling/unending blog writing here… There are just some things that are too important to cut out or briefly sum up…..

As always… thankful to simply be blessed beyond belief.

Aside

Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Our church decided to celebrate by showcasing the various artistic talents within our community.  These are the paintings I made for this service along with a little written reflection on the meaning of the resurrection for me.  Christ is risen, Hallelujah!

Making this body of art brought such a joy to my life. I believe that is the message of Easter at the core: everlasting joy. Easter is a reminder of the pain (the grit-sweat-tears-blood) shed by Jesus on the cross, as well as the cleansing, pure, sweet resurrection that followed. It is the emergence of light that shines and can never be overcome by darkness. Never has there ever been a greater act of love-than self-sacrif My art generally displays a combination of colors and textures that are inspired by a feeling or particular message-often including text. My intent with these paintings is to capture the energy and passion of the spirit of this gift we’ve been given. I feel lightness and sense of hope looking at them and my prayer is that weather through the words or the combination of materials I’ve used, others would see Jesus and be reminded that on the third day, He rose again. Hallelujah! 

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We receive this encouragement from the Gospel of John 16: 20,22 as Jesus addresses and assures his disciples: “Truly I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful but your sorrow will be turned to joy…Therefore you too now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you.” …and verse 33-the message of hope for us to hold tight to and live by: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage: I have overcome the world”

 
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