Mission Update

I realized this morning that all of the posts I have written recently are about me. Hopefully that hasn’t come across as totally self-centered, but I thought I’d change it up today and give you a little update of how things are going with the mission at Texas State.

Small Groups

We’ve started small groups and they are going strong so far. The Lord has blessed us with a great vision for unifying the groups this year. We are really focusing on the question: “Who is Jesus to you?” The leaders are facilitating discussions about faith and Christ by using the Starting Point or Follow videos from Andy Stanley. I’ve been following along and watching the videos for the Follow Series and have found them very convicting for myself so I am excited to see how they continue to impact students. I’ll write another post specifically about this material (and share some of the ways it has been challenging me). Please pray for the small groups here as students explore the way they know and follow Jesus.

Formation Program

For those students who have committed their lives to Christ, we run a program we call the Formation Program. This program is a way to continue to help students grow in what it means to be a mature Christian. This semester we are doing a course called Christian Personal Relationships. So far, we’ve heard talks on prayer, relationships in our modern world,  and using our speech to build relationships. This week we’ll hear a talk on conflict resolution and asking for forgiveness. These talks are paired with small groups so that students have time to talk about what they are hearing. My small group had a great conversation about how speech can upbuild or tear down a community and each of them set a goal for a way they want to improve in the way they speak.

I lead a small group of junior and senior women. It is such an honor to be a part of their lives and to hear how the Lord is working in their lives and hearts. Leading formation small groups has been a blessing over the past couple years (even before I became a missionary) because I find it so beautiful to get to know the awesome women the Lord has placed in my life through these groups. This year is no exception. I can’t wait to continue walking with them throughout this year and see the way the Lord leads them this year.

Women’s Events

A key part of building a Christian community is offering dedicated time to build sisterhood and brother hood. A cornerstone of SPO’s programming is men’s and women’s nights. We have had some awesome women’s nights this year and it has been awesome to see the sisterhood growing among women who didn’t know each other only two months ago. We had a small group kick-off that featured a series of goofy Minute To Win It style games, which was definitely a hit! Two weeks ago we hosted a fall party that featured decorating mason jars and making trail mix.

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p.s. These pictures are from last year because I don’t have many from this year yet!

 

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Out and About

Ben and I have been exploring! And not just driving around aimlessly, but we have been on a quest. For this last week, we have been participating in the Hill Country Yarn Crawl.

For those of you who have never heard of a yarn crawl, I will give you a brief explanation of what it is. There were 19 yarn shops in central Texas that were part of the crawl and the goal was to visit all 19 shops in 10 days. I had a passport that I got stamped at each shop we visited and I put my name in a prize drawing each time. Also, each shop had a featured knitting pattern that they gave out and the yarn to knit that pattern was on sale.

I had heard about the crawl at the knitting class I was taking at a shop near Sam Marcos. The shop has been preparing for this week for a long time and so I heard quite a bit about it in the weeks before the crawl. I wasn’t planning on doing it because I thought it was a little crazy to drive around to 19 shops in such a short period of time. But, at the last minute I decided to buy a passport and see if I could go to a few.

When I came home from knitting class with a passport, I wasn’t sure what Ben would think of me setting out to visit as many yarn stores as possible in the next week. I’ll admit, you have to be a little crazy to try this. But, he was willing to come with me and explore Texas while we visited a few yarn shops. Ultimately, we decided we would try to go to as many as we could with the goal of seeing parts of Texas that we wouldn’t normally visit. The crawl turned out to be a great way to explore and we found several places we definitely want to go back to.

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This is a map of all the shops. Each color represents a different day of driving. We visited 14 of 19 shops and the ones we didn’t get to are marked in light grey.

I’ll spare you the play by play of all the shops we went to, but here are the highlights:

Independence Farmstead Fiber Mill

This was definitely my favorite stop of the yarn crawl. We got to tour a family-owned mill that makes yarn out of mostly-Texas-origin wool. The mill is run by the woman who gave the tour and we learned a ton about how yarn is made. She is passionate about local wool and was fascinating to listen to.

Finished yarn spun at the mill. (This is not my photo. I was so intrigued by the tour that I forgot to take photos. This is from the fiber mill's Facebook page.)

Finished yarn spun at the mill. (This is not my photo. I was so intrigued by the tour that I forgot to take photos. This is from the fiber mill’s Facebook page.)

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Wool ready to be carded before it is spun. (This photo is also from the fiber mill’s Facebook page.)

Hill Country Weavers

This was a very cool yarn shop in South Austin. They had a huge selection of yarns and patterns. They also had a trunk show of one of my favorite pattern designers. I found a sweater that I really want to knit. We’ll see if I get to it with all the other things I want to knit!

Rohan Meadery

The Rohan Meadery was a very special place to visit. It was so peaceful and calm to be out of San Marcos and be on a quiet farm. They make their own mead (honey wine), wine, and cider. They were the sponsor of the yarn crawl, so they were offering tastings in special wine crawl glasses to all those participating in the crawl. Ben and I are looking forward to taking some friends back there to have a peaceful and relaxing afternoon.

Round Top

We drove by this fun area of Texas and can’t wait to go back and check it out more. There were a ton of antique shops and flea markets that just kept going and going as we drove. This is definitely a place we’re heading back to.

Gauge

This yarn shop also had a trunk show that exhibited some beautiful sweaters from Quince and Co. After visiting, I had another thing to add to my knitting list!

Lucky Ewe

This is my “Local Yarn Shop.” It was fun to stop by during the crawl to see how things were going at the shop. They said it’d been a very busy week! I bought some sock yarn to make Ben a pair of socks to thank him for accompanying me for most of the crawl.

Yarnivore

This yarn shop was in San Antonio and was one of the best places we visited. I really wish it was a little bit closer to San Marcos. We were browsing the spinning wheels they had (I’m thinking about learning to spin) and one of the ladies there started telling us all about the wheels. Pretty soon, her husband was helping me spin yarn on a drop spindle and they were helping me try spinning on the wheels. It was so fun to hear the passion and excitement they both have about spinning and it made me even more excited to get my own equipment and try it. I’ll definitely be headed back whenever I’m in the area!

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    We planned to take pictures at each shop, but only remembered to at the first stop. This is a mural outside Hill Country Weavers in Austin.

October Goals

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Several other blogs that I have read lately have shared their monthly goals, both professionally and personally. To give you all a glimpse into what I’m trying to do on a daily basis, I’m going to do the same. Also, focusing on just a few goals will help me narrow down what I am working at this month. I just got married and moved across the country, so some days I feel like I am trying to do everything–from meal planning to event planning–better all at once. That’s hard! So, for October, this is what I want to focus on:

Professional Goals

Read The Joy of The Gospel by Pope Francis: Each of the missionaries on my team are reading at least one professional development book this semester. I have a couple on my list, so I want to finish one of them in October. Pope Francis’ book is up first!

Plan a manageable amount of things to do each day: I often plan WAY too many tasks for each day and then I end up moving many of them to the next day. I am trying to use my planner to only plan what I can actually complete in a day so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed at the end of each day.

Intentionally invest in relationships with students: Since I’ve been here I’ve been mainly focused on the administrative tasks and helping plan events and small groups. Those are important things, but I haven’t had (or made) much time for getting to know students. Building relationships with students is my favorite part of this job, so I can’t wait to make time for it.

Write 2 blog posts per week: I want to blog more regularly so I’m setting a goal of 2 times per week. One post will be regular length and the other will be really short, but I’m hoping you’ll get to hear from me a little more!

Personal Goals

Finish knitting Christmas stockings for Ben and I: Last month I took a class on knitting Christmas stockings at a local knitting class to meet new people. This month it’s my goal to finish the stockings and make name tags for them so that we’re ready for Christmas.

Figure out a routine for meal planning and grocery shopping: We need a plan so that we aren’t left hungry and frustrated at 5:30 pm when we get home and the chicken breasts are still in the freezer. This week I did meal prep on Sunday and planned 3 meals that will be made in the crockpot. It was magical to come home to chicken parmesan cooked and ready and it took us a record 18 minutes to heat spaghetti squash, boil green beans, set the table, and sit down to dinner. This is the first weeknight since we’ve been here that we were eating before 6pm. Now I have to figure out how to keep up the routine of planning and prepping ahead.

Start writing wedding thank you cards: This is something that I have been telling myself I can do after we get settled in Texas because it was too overwhelming to do with the move. Now we’re settled enough to start this project. It’ll take a while to write them all because I love writing notes and have a habit of writing a lot, but my goal for October is just to get them started.

Get a Texas drivers license with my new name on it: The state of Texas gives you 90 days to get a new license once you move here, so it’s about time to get started with the process. Plus, I just got my debit card with my new name on it, so my I.D. should probably match my bank cards.

So, that’s what I’m going to be up to for October. What are your goals?