For three weeks, I was at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Oregon. If you would like to know more about who they are and what their purpose is, check out crystalpeaksyouthranch.org, find them on Facebook, or look for Hope Rising by Kim Meeder at the library or bookstore. Anyway, these three weeks were absolutely fabulous. I hiked a lot of trails, scooped a lot of poop, ate a lot of smores, formed a lot of priceless friendships, took in a lot of mountain views, met a lot of horses, and had a lot of encouraging conversations. I am so glad I made Oregon one of the first stops on my adventure this year.
From Oregon, I drove to Arizona. That is where I am right now. I am living in the middle of nowhere at a place called Naomi House. Please look them up at thenaomihouse.org. Naomi House provides a safe and loving home for Native American children. It is ministry run on compassion and the Holy Spirit, and I am beyond excited to be here. I am planning to stay here until early December, at which point I will come home to Missouri. At Naomi House, I am "the helper." Most of my time is spent babysitting and simply spending time with the kids. If you would like a more detailed description of Noami House and how I am spending my days here, feel free to contact me. I would love to talk about it.
I will admit the desert terrain and the high elevation of Arizona are not my favorite. Also it's mid-October and still eighty degrees outside every day - I guess Fall is not a thing here? My cell phone provider is not a thing here either, so service is sketchy at best, and we don't really have wifi.
Even with all these things I could complain about, I think I could stay here forever. I love the staff, and I love the kids. My mom asked on my third day here if I was growing attached to any of the kids. I think it's more like I took a bath in superglue and then gave them all a hug.
My time here is short, but I am determined to make the most of it. This means wiping snotty noses and playing "just one more" game of Jelly. This means being flexible and willing. This means watching the same Leap Frog movie 9,264 times. Making the most of the time means getting up early to spend time in prayer and waiting half an hour for a snapchat to load. It means nap time and diapers and patience and swingsets and smiles and wagon rides and not being offended when an 8-year-old tells me I should wear my hat forever and never take it off because I look much better with it on. Making the most of the time means loving like Jesus loves.
It also means investing in some containers, soil, and plants. If you're interested in donating to the "give Arizona some color and life, for goodness' sake" fund, hit me up.