Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Heather B

Heather and I met a lifetime ago when we both worked at Starbucks. To say there was an instant connection would be lying. I thought she was weird and a little 'off', but she was going to beauty school and needed models and since I love free stuff and getting my hair done I volunteered.

Over time our friendship grew until one day we discovered that the guy she was dating was also my little brother's football coach. She started forcing me to go to games with her and has been pushing me around ever since.

A few years ago, she married the football coach and I thought for sure our relationship would change as she settled into married life.

But our friendship has only grown stronger and her husband Adam is like a brother.

My parents treat her like one of the kids and my siblings adore her.

And she keeps all of us lookin' good. Or at least our hair.

I love you, Heather B. Thanks for always loving me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A World Away

I'm sitting at the San Fransisco airport waiting to catch my flight to Germany. It's odd to find myself literally in the same place I was a mere six weeks ago waiting for a flight to Spokane. It feels like a lifetime ago, but I remember feeling excited to be in the States and among the familiar, desperately struggling to stay awake and downing as much caffeine as possible.

The leaving, the goodbyes never get easier. Sometimes I feel numb in a way I hate, but my heart is learning to protect itself. Leaving my family is the worst. I miss shopping trips with my mom and watching movies on Saturday with my dad. As an older sister, I want to be a vital part of my siblings lives. That unique urge to encourage, protect, and boss around has never faded. I miss birthdays, graduations, vacations, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first drivers license, and all those minute, little details that may seem meaningless, but make all the difference in the world.

My Dad

My Mom

My brother Grant

My sister Natalie

My brother Spencer

My brother Jack [He wouldn't let me take his picture so this is the best I could do]

My brother Zach

I love that my brother Derek works with me in South Africa, but unfortunately, he's now old enough to resent me when I boss him around [doesn't keep me from trying though]. And I'm excited to spend time with my sister and her husband in Germany, but the prospect of more goodbyes loom on the horizon.

I'm mourning the loss of my family. I know God has a perfect plan for my life and He's much, much smarter than me, but I'm grieving and I think that's okay.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Knits

This year, I had lots of fun making Christmas gifts. I felt much more invested in present-opening time and had more fun watching others receive their presents than opening my own. Here are a few of my handmade knits . . .

Hat and Scarf for my Aunt Rhonda in
her favorite colors, purple and green

Blanket for my parents in
Mead High School colors

Hat and Scarf for Heather B

Hat for my little sister Natalie

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Year in Retrospect

Dear Friends and Family,

I can’t believe the year is coming to a close. As I look back over 2009, I am amazed that God can accomplish so much in such a short amount of time! Let me take you through a few of my highlights this year . . .

1) Staffed my first Discipleship Training School


2) Led a two month outreach into Uganda and Mozambique

3) My family came to visit me in South Africa!


4) My brother, Derek, stayed and is working with me in S.A.

5) Had the chance to visit beautiful Capetown

6) Started to work with ministry communications [website, blog, newsletters, etc]

I’m so grateful for the crazy ride of these past twelve months. I’ve seen God use me in ways I didn’t think were possible and though it hasn’t been easy in anyway whatsoever, I’ve seen more personal growth in my life than any other year I can remember.

I pray that this next year brings adventure and unexpected blessings for you and your families. I pray that you experience God in new ways and you see transformation in your life and the lives of the people you encounter.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brittany Deniston

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Battle for Rest

As I reflect on this past year, I've come to realize that many of my struggles come from exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed. I've found that even after a solid ten hours of sleep, I can wake up feeling more tired than before. It's easy to think of 'resting' as sleeping, watching a movie, or reading a book doing something that takes your mind off of your present circumstances. But this is not rest, this is distraction and distracting yourself doesn't help you process.

When I came home for the Holidays this year, I came with the intention to be deliberate in my rest. I wasn't going to exhaust myself trying to catch up with everyone like I did last year. Last week, I had the chance to go to a friend's cabin for a few days. I left my computer, grabbed my Bible and journal, and together with my dog headed north.

The silence was intimidating at first and I jumped every time the heater made a noise or snow fell from the pine trees outside my window. I had just started to settle in when I received a call telling me that I was missing some important details from my visa application. It sounds dramatic, but I could feel the enemy battling to steal my rest. I struggle with anxiety already, so he chose his weapon well.

I'd like to say I turned to God instantly and that I trusted Him without question, but He stayed with me through the process. The silence was healing and I came home feeling encouraged and renewed. I'll blog later about some of the things he spoke to me about.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Tree Shopping

When I was growing up, it was a big deal to go pick out a Christmas tree. The whole family would stuff into the car, bickering and arguing the whole way. It was fun! It was family.

This year, most of my siblings didn't even want to go get a tree. It ended up being just the three of us my dad, my brother Derek, and myself. We still had fun, but it wasn't quite the same.


Tree Shopping

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Food Blog

Whenever you run into Americans living overseas, the one topic that always comes up in conversation is food. Food, food, and more food. Mexican food, Italian food, American Chinese food, Mexican food, fast food, Mexican food, etc, etc, etc. Did I mention Mexican food?

So here's a sampling of some of the yummy food I've eaten since I've been home, including some of my mom's delicious home cooked meals.








Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dad Date

Some of my favorite memories as a child are the Saturdays when my Dad would take me on a 'special time'. We would wake up early, run errands, visit pawn shops, shop at yard sales, and go to breakfast or lunch somewhere special.



My Dad

It's still a tradition that whenever one of us kids comes home, we get to go on a date with Dad on a Saturday morning. I appreciate and value how he's always made time for us kids individually. I treasure that and will make sure I do the same for my own children some day.



Friday, December 11, 2009

Gathering in Texas

Last week, I traveled down to Texas for a conference. I've never traveled much in the States. Europe, Africa, some parts of Asia, but not my own home country. Just for the experience it would have been fun.




But the best part of this trip was connecting with old and new friends. I had such a good time hearing people's stories, laughing, and eating way too much Mexican food.





What an amazing Christmas present!