Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. - Romans 12:10-13 (NKJV)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

It's been a little crazy

Hello all!
We are alive and doing well.  This semester at Calvary Chapel Bible Institute NZ has been full on.  So many great things have happened since the last update and we hope to catch you up as briefly as we can.

Outreach Week
Andrew co-led a team to Calvary Wellington's holiday program (aka Vacation Bible School).  Great things happened as children who didn't know Christ, came closer to Him.  A family of young ladies who did not attend Calvary Wellington have started attending that church since the program.  We even saw two of the ladies at the family camp (mentioned later).  The team from CCBI had a great time sharing in this holiday program and even got to see a bit of Wellington too!

Dawn completed her Whole30 in September but didn't want to stop.  She aimed for another 30 days for a grand total of a Whole60, but the Ladies in Leadership retreat shortened it by a day and some change.  It was a challenging experience to tack on an additional 30 days, but she is glad she attempted it.  Would she do it again.... probably not.  :)

Calvary Ladies in Leadership Retreat
CCBI NZ hosted a retreat for the ladies in leadership at the Calvary Chapels across New Zealand.  It was a time to get together, to encourage, pray with, and let each other know they are not alone.  It was a profitable time as many of the ladies left encouraged to keep fighting the fight.  Please pray for those in ministry within New Zealand as it is challenging.

Andrew has been teaching through the book of Genesis this semester.  Some of his big take aways from teaching this book are:
- That God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, already had a plan for man through Jesus.  We forget that not only was God at the beginning, but so was the trinity.  God made a way through Jesus and it begins in Genesis.
- We don’t have to be perfect to be used by God.  We just need to purpose in our hearts to follow and obey Him.

Ladies Class - God's attributes
Dawn had the opportunity to team teach the ladies class and they focused on God's attributes as seen in the Psalms.  Dawn taught on God's immutability (God is unchanging) and God the Creator.  One quote that stood out was from Ravi Zacharias:
"When God is our Holy Father, sovereignty, holiness, omniscience, and immutability do not terrify us; they leave us full of awe and gratitude. Sovereignty is only tyrannical if it is unbounded by goodness; holiness is only terrifying if it is untempered by grace; omniscience is only taunting if it is unaccompanied by mercy; and immutability is only torturous if there is no guarantee of goodwill.” 
The goodwill of the Father makes His unchanging nature not overwhelmingly challenging.  He is good, He is full of grace (giving us what we don't deserve), and He is merciful!
Dawn enjoyed sharing fun and uncommon facts about some creatures and our known universe.  She shared information from Louie Giglio's video about How Great is Our God and the four stars he focused on.  If the earth were a golf ball.....  She now has a golf ball on our bookcase to remember that God is so much bigger!

Calvary Wellington Family Camp
Dawn joined a team that went down to Calvary Wellington's family camp.  It was good for her to connect with ladies she hadn't seen for two years, when Andrew taught at their family camp in 2016.  Amazing how time flies, but the heart connections are still there.  The team helped with catering the camp as well as ministering to the children that attended the family camp.  Two young ladies that were introduced to Calvary Wellington during the Holiday Program came to family camp and got a good dose of lovin'.

Speakers Week
We had the privilege of hosting the following people at our Speakers Week:
- Fernando Ortiz and his family (Colorado, USA)
- Frank and Tammy Bartsch and their nephew Sterling (Sydney, Australia)
- Charlies Mareu (Fiji)
- Brian Kelly (Calvary Auckland)
- Doug Calhoon (Shoreline Church)
It was great and full of challenging messages where God exhorted us and encouraged us.  If you would like to listen to the messages, you can find them at this link:  CCBI Speakers Week - November 2018
We are grateful for their willingness to share what the Lord has been teaching them!

Shoreline's Men's Conference
A small team of us went to the Shoreline's Men's Conference to serve.  Andrew was part of the worship team, playing bass guitar.  Dawn was serving in the kitchen with Tecla and Jordi - the dynamic duo.  The men were encouraged, exhorted to press into God, and well fed.  If you would like to view any of the teachings, you can find them on the Shoreline Church's Facebook page.

The school came together and celebrated an American holiday.  We have staff and students from other countries (Denmark, Fiji, England, Romania) and they also joined in the festivities, some celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time.  Turkey was a first for a few of them.  There is much to be thankful for and we shared the loves during this time.  A big shout out to the kitchen team, the dishes squad, and the decorations crew for making this a special celebration.  We are so thankful for you!!

What's coming up: 
CCBI NZ is moving at the end of this semester to Te Awamutu.  We as a family are moving in January and will be back on campus and in our own flat.  We are excited for the things God is doing and look forward to what He has for us.  So much is going on and God is so good to meet us where we are at.

Prayer requests:
- Both moves to go smoothly and without any glitches.
- Next semester: God would bring the students and interns He would have be here.
- New staff moving from Australia.  Pray for an easy transition and for the move to go well.  Pray they acclimate to staff life well.
- Brice, Andrew's Dad, is battling cancer again.  Pray for both of Andrew's parents as they walk this road.
- God would continue to direct us and take care of us.

Thank you for taking the time to catch up on what is going on in our world.  We appreciate you and pray that God would make His love even more real to you.

Blessings from Aotearoa!
Dawn and Andrew McBride

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Starting Our Fifth Week

Hello all!
It's hard to see that we are in the fifth week of classes.  It has been moving so fast and so much has been going on.  So much so that I thought you might want an update of what we've been up to.

Classes started during the last week of August and have been going strong ever since.  This semester I have decided to sit in on Hebrews which is taught by Mark Walsh.  Oh. My. Goodness!  I loved Hebrews before.  Now I feel like I am down the rabbit hole as there is so much goodness to chew on for a long while. 

One of the big take aways for me has been about unbelief.  It's not about a lack of knowledge or a lack of faith.  If we step back and look at the Jews that wandered in the wilderness, they had unbelief that God would provide certain things like water, food, etc.  They had just been through some crazy experiences watching God move on their behalf, and yet they lacked belief that He would take care of them after that.  We do that, don't we!?  We have seen God's past faithfulness in our lives and then, when faced with a new difficulty, we wonder will He take care of us again.

"Past times of deliverance are strong pleas for present assistance. What the Lord has done in the past, He will do again, for He never changes. He is faithful to His promises and gracious to His saints. He will not turn away from His people." Charles Spurgeon

I am challenged daily with these questions... do you trust that He will take care of your needs?  Do you trust that He will provide for you?  Going to the Word, I am reminded that He sees and He will take care of my needs.  I don't need to worry about it. 
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?                                                        Matthew 6:25-27
And we learn that "Therefore" points to what was said before it.  Looking at verse 24, it talks about serving two gods - God and riches.  Okay, Lord, I won't worry about You taking care of my needs because You value me more than the birds of the air which You also take care of.

As you can see, I am really enjoying Hebrews and what I shared is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is so much more.  I could pull out my notes and just share what I've learned with you.  Let me know if you are interested and I may do a blog entry on that class alone.

Andrew is teaching the book of Genesis this semester and seems to really be enjoying it.  I believe he wishes he had more time to teach it like he would like to, but it is taking shape as more of a survey of Genesis.  If you would like to learn more about his take aways, send him an email at and ask him.  I am sure he is more than willing to share them with you.

Every semester we have Outreach Week where we send out teams to various locations for 10 days.  This semester we have outreaches to Fiji, Lower Hutt (NZ), Camp Raglan (NZ), and Camp Kedron (Sydney, Australia).  The teams head out this Friday and we are so excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the teams and through the teams.

Andrew is co-leading the team to Lower Hutt where they will serve at Calvary Wellington's holiday program, which is like a Vacation Bible Study (VBS) in the States.  They will come alongside the program and help with dramas, activities, and engaging the youth that will come out for this program. 

It seems strange to think of a holiday program at this time of the year, but New Zealand does schooling a wee bit different than the US.  The kids will go on a two week break from October 1st through the 12th.  The location this program will be in is a lower income area and the kids seem to have less privileges.  It will be great to see the team love on this kiddos and share how Jesus loves them.

I will be staying back as the Lord has been challenging me to wait.  I was planning on going on one outreach and then my heart was touched by another outreach.  God started sending me the word "wait" over and over again and I didn't understand until it became apparent it was regarding outreach week.  Wait?  I want to go!  It's such a special time of working along side the students and interns.  You really have a special bond after such a time together. 

Awe, Lord.. are You sure You want me to wait and not go?  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Even this morning I saw that familiar word again.. Wait.  So I am staying back and taking the time to regroup, replenish, and rest.  I also plan to use that time to craft and even learn some new crafting skills.  I am sure God has a plan, so I am not making any hard and fast plans.

We have a praise report!  We have a home that God has blessed us with.  It is in Taupo, which is 35 minutes from the campus, but it is really quite a gift.  The windows bring in so much sunlight and the deck has a beautiful view.  It is a two bedroom flat that is the top floor of a house that was divided for in-laws.  We are so grateful for this place that God has provided.  I hope to share pictures soon.

  • We need to apply for our next visa which will last for five years.  It comes with a good bit of cost.  Pray for God to take care of the timing and resources needed.
  • Pray for strength and refreshment as living so far away from campus means long days. 
  • Pray for our health as semesters are demanding and we are starting a journey of a more healthy lifestyle (going to the gym and better eating habits).
We love you all and appreciate your love, encouragement, prayers, and support!  Send us a note at We'd love to hear from you.

Blessings and love,
Dawn and Andrew McBride

Saturday, August 4, 2018

What we have been up to

Hello all,
I thought it was about time to update you on what we have been up to in the past nine weeks.  We headed to the States on June 4th for an eight week furlough.  We kicked off the trip with the wedding of my sister and her groom.  It was a fabulous time in Virginia and it went by so quickly.  The wedding was beautiful and the couple were happily wedded.

We took a road trip down to Florida with my dad and stepmom where we stayed for a week and a half.  Andrew got to play golf twice with my dad, while Rhonda and I op shopped (second hand store shopped).  I found some treasures which are always nice, but I didn't really think about my luggage limit.  Oops!

We were off to Colorado for four weeks and had 44 meet ups in 27 days.  This didn't include the precious time we had at church on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.  No wonder we were dragging by the time we got to Minnesota, but it was sooooo good to see everyone.

Dawn and Callie in Estes Park
We had the opportunity to have time where were honeymooned almost nine years ago (at the time of the visit).  While is Estes Park, we spent some time with Callie, a past student and graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible Institute (where we serve in NZ).  It was really fun spending time with her and encouraging her.  Please be praying for her, if you would.  She is a wee bit homesick as she is from Arizona.

There were so many wonderful memories made in Colorado.  Lots and lots of Mexican food, a tour of Celestial Seasonings, walking in the rain on Pearl Street Mall, catch ups at Sonders Coffee and Chick-Fil-A, long drives out to Julesburg, driving with the convertible Camero with the top down on the highway, connecting with missionary friends, a hike up near Grand Lake, game night, fireworks downtown on the 4th of July, and the numerous touch points with friends and family over a meal or beverage.  Thank you for the memories, Colorado!!

A hike near Grand Lake, CO
We headed up to Minnesota ready for some rest and a slower pace.  Mom and Dad McBride were wonderful hosts and we also had a few opportunities to spend time with Jered and Jenn (Andrew's best friend from college and his lovely wife).  This is where we came face to face with the reality of luggage weight limits.  Oh how we wanted to load up and bring more back, but alas, it was not to be so.

I was pleasantly surprised to see fireflies a few nights that we were outside.  There is just something special about these insects that have intermittent glowing bums.  I tried to catch one as it flew past me, but I was not all in and the bug flew by me.  After the mosquitoes started feasting, the tranquil time had passed and we headed inside.

Playing cards is serious business!
Playing cards is favorite past time with Andrew's parents when we visit and the game can get heated with competition.  Dad McBride even pulled out his electronic shuffler.  Watch out, this was getting serious.  :0)  Laughter and snacking where the hallmarks of these evenings.  These are moments that we don't want to forget.

We headed back to New Zealand on July 30th and arrived on August 1st.  One whole day was lost in translation, but the silver lining was that it wasn't our anniversary day that was lost.  We have been married for nine years now and it has been a ride, a journey, and a blessing!  God has brought us so far in these past nine years.  I can't wait to see what He does in the next nine years and beyond.

We are now house hunting... looking for a little house to rent, as our time on campus has come to an end.  We are looking forward to walking around in our jammies (comfies) and cooking in our very own kitchen with an oven and regular sized fridge.  I know that sounds silly, but it is the little things that we miss and over time it adds up.  We have been blessed to stay on campus at the lodge for 17 months, but we are excited about this new chapter.  Would you join us in praying for the right little home to open up for us?  We are praying that God would close the doors where He doesn't want us and open the door where He does.

Our next semester starts soon!  Interns arrive on the 23rd and students on the 25th of August.  It will be another sweet time with these students as we walk with them through the learning, growing, and stretching time during the semester.

Thank you for praying for us and with us!  We appreciate your love, prayer, and support as we serve in New Zealand!

Love and hugs,
Andrew and Dawn McBride

Our prayer requests:
- To find the home God has for us
- To have a great semester with our students and interns
- To be obedient to and diligent with God
- Outreach week is coming up.  Pray for the leaders to be prepared.

A few more photos from our time in the States:
Columbine - Colorado state flower
Pizza pizza!  Anthony's Pizza downtown on the 4th of July
Enjoying the top down in the Camero.
Waiting at the airport.
Thank you again!  We love you!

"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

Friday, June 22, 2018

We're in the US!

Hello all!
It's been way too long since I have sent you an update, but wanted to share with you that we are back in the States during our winter break.  Yes, it is winter in New Zealand and we are not missing the chilly, wet winter days.  We started our furlough in Virginia as we celebrated the marriage of my sister and her new husband.  It was a crazy, beautiful, fun time and I look back on it with fond memories.  Congratulations to Jackie and Darrell!!

We then caught a ride with my dad and stepmom to Florida.  We enjoyed our time with them as the heat and humidity soared.  Fortunately, they have a lovely pool where we could cool off.  We enjoyed spending time with them and their three feline children.  They were wonderful hosts that allowed us to slow down and breathe again.  School stuff is still going on and students are applying for this semester which is so exciting.  Having the opportunity to visit family and friends has been even more exciting.

We had a wonderful time catching up with Mike and Liza Gilbert, who moved from Colorado to Florida to plant a church....  Calvary Chapel North Port.  We had a sweet time of fellowship and then Andrew and I presented at their Saturday evening service.  You can find them on Facebook at @CalvaryNorthPort to see what they are up to.  They also provide live video from their services.  We are so happy and proud of this family for taking a huge step of faith and following the call God has put on their hearts.  Since moving to Florida, their family has grown again.  We love Mike, Liza, Maranatha, Phoebe, and Zoe!

We are now in Colorado for a few weeks and would love to catch up with our friends and family here.  Send us an email at to connect with us.  There is simply no place like home... friends and family make it home!

We will be presenting at Julesburg Christian Church on Sunday, July 8th and Calvary Aurora on Wednesday, July 11th.  We look forward to sharing about what God has done in our lives these past two years.

We also look forward to enjoying some food that we simply can get over in NZ.. like - Anthony's pizza, Chick-fil-A, Tamale Kitchen, Santiagos, John Holly's to name a few.  There is really no true Mexican food in our area of New Zealand and we haven't flushed out Auckland to see if there is a great little place waiting to be discovered by us.

We will head to Minnesota on July 18th and spend time with Andrew's mom and dad.  They are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at the end of July.  We hope to have a special meal with them and Laurie, Andrew's sister.  We are also looking forward to catching up with our newlywed friends, Jared and Jen and their fur baby, Sadie.  Ms. Jen and I enjoy looking at pretty shiney things while Jared and Andrew enjoy playing expensive "quality" musical merchandise.  He he.. Andrew's words.

All around, this trip back to the States has been a blessing and refreshing.  We look forward to making new memories and hope you will be part of them too!  Hope to hear from you soon.  Lord bless you and keep you!

By the way... we have updated our prayer requests which are located on our blog (  We have some big things coming up and we would appreciate your prayers.  We love you and appreciate you!

In His love,
Dawn and Andrew McBride

Friday, April 13, 2018

Is it already April?

Hello all!
We are still alive and doing well.  It's been quite the semester, as it has been very consuming on so many levels.  I wanted to send out a quick update so that you would know that we are still alive and doing well.

This semester has been refining us as a couple and when long weekend arrived, which is over Resurrection weekend, it was a blessed time set aside for our marriage.  Friends from the church we attend in Tauranga invited us to enjoy the apartment on their property.  It was a perfect get away, a marriage retreat of sorts.  The space was peaceful and the time well enjoyed.

View outside the living room of our vacation location.
Andrew has been helping out with the Worship Fellowship night that Vickie, a fellow staffer, is managing at CCBI.  He has enjoyed sharing his knowledge of music theory, which to me is an enigma, but a wondrous joy for him.  Many of those that attend want to learn more, so it will be interesting to see if another fellowship will be set aside for more music theory.  It is a deep black hole that cannot be explained in a few short sessions.  Anyway, he has been enjoying his time with this fellowship.

Andrew teaching music theory.
I just have to say, I loved watching him worship last night as he played the bass for Koinonia.  As he worshiped, others were drawn in to worship.  Pastor Mark and Andrew were both jamming and I wished I had the guts to pull out my phone to capture it on video.  Those of you who attend Calvary Aurora may remember how Andrew unabashedly worships as he plays his bass and sings.  That is one of the many things I love about him!  He enters in and just goes for it.

I have been helping on the admin side of the school and we have been busy with getting documents ready for the local government to register the school's kitchen for food safety.  FUN!!  Ha ha.. he he!  Thank you, Tecla, for taking such amazing care of the kitchen and the team that serves in there.. whether cooking, cleaning the dishes, or setting up the dining room.  You lead that team with such strength and grace.  I know you are constantly pouring into their lives whether they recognize it or not.

Tecla, my crazy and wonderful friend in the kitchen.
Tecla, this amazing woman mentioned above, is married to Jake.. our new director.  Jake has been Mark's right hand for the past 6-7 years.. since the beginning of CCBI NZ and now is the director of the school. He is doing an amazing job learning the ropes and leading this team.  So many things have come across his desk this semester and he handles it all with God's strength and he leans on God for wisdom.  We love this family and ask that you pray for them as they continue to serve this school and their community.  They are a HUGE blessing!

Jake with his son... we love this family!
(Not pictured - their adorable and energetic daughter - Jade)
Andrew and I will be heading out to Sydney next week (early Friday morning - April 20th) to serve at Sydney Refresh.  Andrew will be joining Mark on one of the worship teams for the conference.  I am helping with the crafts for the kids ministry.  It will be a great time to come alongside the team in Sydney and love on and encourage those in attendance.  It reminds me of the Refresh conferences that Calvary Aurora has hosted.  It takes a small village to pull these events together.  A team of us from CCBI NZ will be focused on the kiddos that get to attend.  We have all kinds of fun plans in the works.  We would love your prayers as we go and serve this part of the body of Christ.  We will share an update on the flip side of outreach week and let you know how it all went.

Fun news... we will be coming to the States for a furlough in June and July.  Our first stop is in Virginia to join in the wedding festivities of my sister, Jackie, and her beau, Darrell.  From there we will head down to Florida with my dad and stepmom.  We look forward to a visit with them as well as some friends that live close to Englewood - Liza and Mike.  From there we will head to Colorado on June 19th and look forward to catching up with family and friends.  Our last stop will be Minneapolis on July 18th where we will celebrate a very special anniversary with Andrew's parents.

For those in Colorado, we look forward to catching up with you and sharing all that God is doing in our lives and learning what He is doing in yours. 

We would love to hear from you!  Drop us an email at and let us know how we can be praying for you.

For more information about our prayer requests and such, please check out the right hand column on our blog:

We love you and thank God for you!
Dawn and Andrew McBride

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dawn's reflections on January (Part 2)

Recap... Aunt Susie's funeral on the 8th.  My uncle went into ICU at the hospital on January 9th.  I get really sick on the 12th and still am really sick on the 15th.

January 15th... Freezing rain has arrived and every surface outside is like an ice rink.  I hear a strange sound while sleeping and wonder what the little man who is being babysat by his precious grandma has dropped.  Oh.. he didn't drop anything.  There is a knock at my bedroom door.

My friend comes in and gently lets me know that my rental car has been hit.  WHAT?  Are you kidding?  I get out of bed.  I look out the window and the front bumper is on the ground.  I start crying in the squeaky voice that is cold has left me.  It's a rather pathetic cry.  I am sure you wouldn't even recognize it as a cry, but I can tell you, I wanted to crawl up in a ball in the corner and just disappear.  This is too much!  I can't do this.

I calm down and watch the ice rink outside the window.  Oh... oh... NO! Another car hit my rental car.  No way!?!?!  I let the people downstairs know.  I am in shock.  What is my rental company going to do to me?  I didn't buy their collision insurance package.

Not 10 minutes later another car has been hit.  Now there are four cars sitting out front battered.  We are all in shock.  My friend's husband calls 911 to get the police out to the house.  Is this really happening?

My friend's husband is a champ, taking care of all of the details that I would have needed.  THANK YOU!!!!  I thank God for all that you did to take care of the situation.  You were awesome to watch as you loved on the people involved.

All day long I was "talking" with someone from the rental car agency checking in to see how things were going.. and if the new car had been delivered.  As nice as that is, it was getting really annoying.  The first tow truck driver messed up and didn't bring the new car when he came to pick up the damaged car. 

Hours... HOURS later the new car was brought, but in the midst of the whole tow truck drama, I had the chance to talk to one tow truck drive, Marcel, and I even was prompted to pray with this man.  God.. You love him!  Thank you for his gentle heart as he was checking in on me.  Bless him and keep him.

A divine appointment that wouldn’t have happened if the rental car didn’t get hit.  A silver thread of God with Marcel.  So many divine appointments today!  My friends meeting those that were involved in the accidents and those people being blessed with kindness and love.  They won’t forget what they experienced from my friends.. the love of God.  We just don’t know who was in need today.. and how God met those needs.  More silver threads of God for sure.
“Everybody needs compassion, love that’s never failing; let mercy fall on me,” from Mighty to Save.
January 16th... My bottom lip blows up with a row of fever blisters.  Oh this is just getting crazy!!

Still WHOLE30 strong!!  Susie.. you are worth it!

January 17th... I am talked into going to the doctor to check for influenza.  My nurse, Kim, remembers me from when I lived in Denver.  She shares her life story of the past four months.  I stare at her and groan in shock.  Her horrific experiences.. I can't even begin to imagine how she is doing in her heart.  God.. this is why I am here at the doctor's office... to connect with her!  We exchanged info so we can stay in touch after I return to NZ. 

Here is an obvious silver thread from the Lord.  He will do whatever He wants to touch people's lives.  He knew that I was okay, but He wanted Kim to know that she wasn’t alone, that He is there in the midst of her chaos.  We may not understand why things are going the way they are, but can you see the silver thread of God in it somewhere?  Can you see Him making connections with people you wouldn’t have otherwise connected with?

January 19th... Feeling better and I visit with dear friends at Calvary Aurora.  Andrew and I are blessed by this church!  Thank you for everything!!

January 20th... I start the journey back to New Zealand and I am feeling pretty good.  On my first flight the gals in my row are so worried about getting sick so I wear a mask.  The gal beside me pulls out her own mask and then the gal against the window puts on a bandanna to protect herself from germs.  It's not just about my germs, but about the germs on the plane. 

My flight from Houston is uneventful but very long... 15 hours!  I met a great flight attendant and by the end of the flight, I give him a hug.  Another potential silver thread of God. 

I finally meet Andrew at Taupo airport while wearing a mask.  It had "I love you" written over the mouth area.  It is so good to be reunited with him!

January 24th... Relapse... sickness has returned.  Bed rest here I come!  I am still not willing to bend... WHOLE30 strong!

January 30th... final day of first round of Whole30 and I am nervous and excited.  I haven't been on the scale since December 31st.  I wonder what it will look like since over half of my Whole30 was spent in bed.  Oy!!  I've been asked how I feel from doing the Whole30... I can't tell.  I've been so sick.  I will definitely do another round of Whole30 to see what it is really like.

I am nervous about what life will look like after this round.  I've been eating without any tummy aches unless there was something in the food that I didn't know was there.. and that happened a few times. 

Whole30 talks about non-scale victories (NSV).  This is where you see changes in your body after doing the program for 30 days.  They even want you to do a quick checklist before you weigh in so you can see other changes than the number on the scale.  Here are my NSVs for this round:
- No more mid-day slump
- I need less sugar or rather... I crave sugar less.
- Healthy eating habits have brought my family together... Andrew and I have fought through this and made it to the end.  Love you, babe!
- I have a flatter stomach
- My clothes fit better
- I have less painful joints
- I have fewer PMS symptoms (much to my surprise)
- I experience less back and knee pain
- I have improved circulation (my hands and feet weren't cold in Denver - until I got sick)
- Improved self-confidence (After having the month I did and remained Whole30 compliant... I have no more excuses!!)
- I have a healthier relationship with food
- I learned how to read a label even more (We have A LOT of sugar in food)
- I listen to my body
- I am no longer afraid of dietary fat (Nuts, oils, avocados)
- I no longer use food for comfort

So I got on the scale... what was I hoping for?  Did I achieve it?  I hoped for a 10 pound loss but got a 9 pound loss.  I have to remember that it was without one single workout that I had that loss.  Next time will be very very different.

Now what?  I am not interested in going back to the way I ate before.  What do I eat now?  I love the idea of going paleo... which is a little more relaxed than Whole30, but still no grains or legumes.  I am gluten and dairy free already so that is not a biggie for me.  Okay.. next journey begins.. Paleo!

January was filled with struggles, but I can clearly see the silver threads of God through each crazy experience.  I am reminded that God is a good God and I was always safe.  He used my life in ways I would have never imagined to make His presence known to others.  I am not my own and may God continue to receive the glory for everything!

I look forward to heaven and seeing what this trip was really all about.  Whose life or lives changed for the better as they chose to let God love them.  The ripple effect will be quite interesting to see.  God will use every situation in our lives to reach out to others.  God will use my brokenness to touch lives and reveal His presence.  He loves you!  He really does!
“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.”
Psalm 121:2-3
I love you and thank you for praying for me when all of this was happening.  It was hard on Andrew not being able to be there to comfort me.  Please pray that I continue to heal as my body is still fighting this nasty virus or whatever it is.  Pray that we both have the needed energy for this semester as it is going to be a good one, but very busy.

Blessings to you and yours....

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dawn's reflections on January (Part 1)

Looking back at January, it was an extraordinary month for me.  So many things happened and I am so glad the month is over.  I look forward to February being a month where my life stabilizes and to beautiful beginnings.

January 1st... within the first hour of the day starting I received a call from my mother that her sister, my 52 year old aunt, had suddenly passed away.  We were in shock!  What??  How?  When?  She wasn't sick.  What in the world!?!?!??!  We cried together and I told her I would pray about coming home.

While I was serving in Japan in 1998 my cousin passed away and I couldn't return for the funeral, a regret I have to this day.  Lord, what do You want me to do?  Go.  After talking with Andrew and my mom, a decision was made to return home to support my family through this sudden loss.

Andrew and I had to decided to embark on a Whole30 starting January 1st.  I began to question if we should continue in the light of the stress that was ahead.  Again, I took time to really consider it and pray.

Much like when I went back to college in August 2005 after my granny passed away that July, I was struggling to focus in my class.  Maybe I should drop the class and just wait until next semester.  I'm not ready.  I had a chat with the Lord and He was like, "Dawn... how would granny feel about you dropping this class?"  "She would be really upset with me, that I was allowing my grief to slow my progress towards graduation." "Okay.  Let's have a mindset shift.  What about you dedicating your class to granny?"  "Oh wow!!  That is an interesting and intriguing idea.  Let's go for it."  With a mindset shift, I completed that class with an A.

This Whole30 plan was getting the same mindset shift.  Aunt Susie, I dedicate this Whole30 to you!  I love you!  I wish you could have found the freedom from food that this plan offers.  Let's do this!!  I know it won't be easy, but I want to honor her with this.

January 3rd... I start the 25 hour journey to Denver, leaving the lodge at 8:00 AM, and Andrew drove me to Auckland airport which is a 3.5 hour drive.  Thank you, beloved husband, for being part of my journey to my family! 

I had divine appointments on my flights from Auckland and San Francisco.  I prayed with my neighbor on the SFO to Denver flight as he was a heart transplant survivor and takes meds every 12 hours to help make sure his body doesn't reject his new heart.  I was impressed with how he lives his life - a drummer for a band and he was flying home from a recording session.  I see a silver thread of God in this divine appointment.

Now that I am in Denver, let's do this!  I met with my cousins to help take care of some of the funeral plans.  We laugh, we cry, we are family!  I collect my aunt's memorabilia and photos.  There is a lot to do, but this will be a very special celebration of her life.  I am exhausted.

Working on her slide show was such a precious project as we mused over the photos and memories.  Her smile.  Her eyes.  It reminded me of her laughter.  Oh Susie, you will be so very missed!!  Thinking about what theme song for her video, I was reminded of one that I had listened to many times... I think it is the right one... See You Again performed by Carrie Underwood.

January 6th... All items are to be at the church to prepare for her service on Monday.  I ran into dear friends at the church which was such a blessing.  We upload the video and watch the whole thing to make sure it will work.  I cry.  I can't help it.  I can't believe she is gone.

January 7th... I had the joy of attending church at Calvary Aurora with my sister.  The worship is always spot on.  God spoke to my heart during one song about how He is in every moment.  He was there!!  My throat got a huge knot it.  I quietly sob.. tears rolling down my face.  Oh Father, thank You for telling me that!

January 8th... It's the day.... the day to say good-bye.. the day to remember Susie in a special way.  God, I need Your help!  Calvary Aurora did an amazing job serving my family in this special need.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ!  I shared at the funeral a bit about what God spoke to my heart.  I pray others were comforted by it too. 

We go to the Red Robin that Susie would frequent.  We remember her some more.  I was challenged by the onion rings.. but I didn't touch them.  I didn't even reach out for them.  I didn't let me eyes linger on that tower of yummyness.  Susie.. this Whole30 is for you!

WHOLE30 strong!!!

January 9th... What???!?!?!  My uncle, Susie's brother, is found unresponsive and taken to the ER.  He has carbon dioxide poisoning again.  Lord!  Why?  My uncle is in ICU.  I have to go see him.  Wait, my cousin is home alone.. her mother is not there anymore... who do I go see, Lord?  Your uncle has his beloved with him.  Your cousin is alone.  Go see her!  Yes, I will go see her... love on her.. be with her.  You are dearly loved, dear cousin!

January 10th... My social calendar just made a dramatic shift.  I cancelled my two social appointments so that I could be with my uncle in ICU.  He is sedated as he is fighting the ventilator which is breathing for him.  I love you, uncle!  Please pull through!  Please keep fighting for life.  I can't imagine my world without you!  I played Reckless Love for him to remind him that God loves him and just in case the music was too confusing I read the words of the song to him.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, relentless love of GodOh, how it pursues me, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nineI couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself awayOh, the overwhelming, never-ending, relentless love of God (words changed by me)

The nurses in the ICU were great and I had the opportunity to share with them about what Andrew and I have been up to.  Who knows the ripple effect this will have on their thoughts, ideas, and lives.  I see potential silver threads of God.

January 11th... Another visit to ICU.  He is doing better.  Come on, uncle, with God you can do this.  I love you!  XOXO

January 12th... I wake up with a strange little cough.  Hmm.. where did this come from?  I decide to do things differently and spend time with a few friends.  I have lunch with a dear friend and then run to get some immune system activator.  I can't let this cold or whatever it is get in the way of the rest of my trip.

I'm chilled so I put on my puffer jacket.  I spend my entire visit with another friend in my puffer jacket.  Hmm.. this isn't looking good.  I go to the restroom and after washing my hands my teeth start chattering and I am now shivering.  I have to go "home".  I text ahead that I am super chilled and my home-stay friends prepare for my arrival.  I get home and it's full on.  I feel terrible!

January 13th and 14th... those days are a blur.  I was sick in bed.  I think I watched cartoon movies.  Whole30 strong!  I will not let this sickness kick me off plan.

....... There is so much to share about this month.  The completion of this reflection will be posted in a few days .......