Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections and Evaluations

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7:59 PM


At the end of each week of lecture in our YWAM schools, we have an activity called "Reflections & Evaluations". It's a chance to look back over the past week of teaching and reflect on what the teacher spoke about and evaluate what God spoke that past week. As one staff puts it, “it's a chance to soak up all those last bits of a really good meal, so nothing is left over." It's a good idea, so we thought I'd reflect and evaluate over 2011, as it has been a life changing year.

January 2011 - March 2011: Joy- I was a world away for my Discipleship Training School [DTS] outreach to Southern Africa! We spent 8 weeks in South Africa & Botswana, and it was an amazing experience. God used to me to bring someone to salvation and to heal another! I created deep & lasting relationships with some incredible people. I was processing voice of the Lord to no longer move to Cambodia long-term, but instead pursue staff at YWAM Orlando. And I had a crush on this boy that I just couldn't get over…

Creagon - Naomi said “I had so much self hatred but I became so free!” One of my favorite parts of my job is to ask discipleship students what God has done in the past week and produce a video for those who are praying for them. Their response reminds me why I believe this generation will change the nations. (Oh... and I read a blog by a girl visiting Africa with great interest!)

March 2011: Joy- I graduated from my DTS, and went home for 2 weeks. My family went on a great vacation to New York City and we had such a blast. I also began my second training school with YWAM Orlando, called the School of Ministry Development [SOMD], which would lead to my becoming staff. And I had my first date with Creagon.

Creagon- “Mom, I've invited a girl to join us.....but we are just friends.” This is how I told my parents that Joy would be joining us for a worship concert while they were in Florida. I had no clue that the next time they met her I would be proposing!

April 2011 - May 2011: I loved loved loved my SOMD lecture phase, and really refined my vision for staff at YWAM Orlando. I grew so close to my 2 other schoolmates, and created even deeper relationships with staff at the base. And my dates with Creagon became more and more frequent, until at the May, he asked me to be his OFFICIAL girlfriend. Oh, happy day!

Creagon- When I returned to Joy from teaching in Colorado (see video) I knew that I never wanted to be apart again. Her dad just grinned at me when asked his blessing to date his 28 year old daughter.

June 2011: Joy- My SOMD prayed and we decided to postpone our Nepal outreach, as God was evidently closing the doors on this opportunity. And Creagon was in a life-threatening car accident that forever changed our relationship. I was by his side essentially 24-7. His world became my world, and it was then I saw how much I truly loved him. We left for an extended vacation at his parents place in Michigan, where rest and healing was crucial. I loved our time in Michigan, getting to know his family better and falling more in love with Creagon.

Creagon- I was in a hospital bed and I didn’t know why. The past 2 ½ hours of my memory was black. My world was spinning and I told the ER Doctor “I WANT JOY!” It took a while for him to realize that “Joy” wasn’t just an emotion but the name of the person that meant the most to me.

July 2011: Joy- He proposed. My entire world changed in a moment when the man I had fallen madly in love with asked me to be his wife. And we set our wedding date for just 4 short months away.

Creagon - She had dedicated every waking moment to my healing and recovery. This kind of love just can’t be faked. Once the concussion had passed I asked God if I could marry her and popped the question.

August 2011 - September 2011: I was back home in Tampa, with Creagon too, building the sponsorship team I needed to be back on staff at YWAM Orlando. It was a great time for my friends and family to get to know Creagon, as my future husband, and for us to share our vision and passion for ministry. And Creagon continues to heal from car accident injuries.

Creagon- My old car was a pancake and we needed a vehicle to give tours to YWAM alumni, parents and potential sponsors. God provided generously an SUV that is perfect for our needs.

October 2011: Joy- Back at YWAM Orlando, and it's so great to be back for my first quarter on staff! I'm living in the 31-foot camper that Creagon and I purchased for our first "home" and its wonderful. I'm working as school staff with the Justice DTS, focused on human trafficking prevention. Loving the students, and their passion for worship and thirst for God. This quarter was an incredibly learning experience for me. Was also planning our wedding, which at time was more stressful than enjoyable.

November 2011: Joy - But on November 26, 2011…I married him. And it was perfect.

Creagon- I remember resting my head on hers during our first dance with all our friends and family watching. I was amazed that I got to marry my best friend and we could serve God in missions together...for ever!

December 2011: Joy- We split our honeymooned in two parts and finished up two weeks of work. I write this blog from honeymoon part two in Mexico, with so much anticipation for 2012. What will my first full year of Mrs. Muldoon bring? What does God have in store for our marriage, our ministry, and our future. 2011 was full of twists and turns, so many unexpected moments. It was a GREAT year. And I have high hopes for 2012 as well.

Creagon- We celebrated Christmas a few days early with some of the Mexico’s children who needed it the most. One of my sponsors gave some extra money so we could bless each of the families with the gift they wanted most.... a chicken!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
--Joy & Creagon
http://bindingthebroken.blogspot.com
http://www.creagonsjoy.com

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

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10:08 PM

Today is Christmas Eve, and I'm sitting in a quiet condo, eating queso flavored potato chips and drinking a Mexican Coca Cola. There's no white snow on the ground, and I can't hear a single Christmas carol being played. To say that mine and Creagon's first Christmas together is a different one is merely an understatement. While this is a "normal" holiday experience for him, mine is usually quite the opposite.

My mom decorates the house right after Thanksgiving, and we have a huge tree. We have ornaments that we've been collecting since, well birth, and they all have their place. We light fires in the fireplace [while turning the AC down to 60!] and watch "White Christmas", "Elf", or "Charlie Brown's Christmas Movie". There is so much anticipation leading up to the holidays, and preparation that goes with the anticipation. From shopping to baking to decorating to wrapping, Christmas can become quite the chore. But no one minds, as we smile and hum "Jingle Bells" all the way home. Christmas Eve is usually a church service, an inspirational [seeker friendly] message on the birth of our Savior. Dinner follows at my parent's house, where all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents join to celebrate. We open gifts from the family, and count the hours to Christmas morning when "Santa" arrives. Christmas morning begins with the smell of cinnamon rolls and coffee. My sister, 10 years younger, has already been awake waiting for me to join her to open our gifts. As I got older, the process of getting "Christmas morning ready" took longer and longer. But, at last, we have our bulging stocking and piles of gifts to begin tearing into. It's the DVD I wanted, the gift cards I asked for, the lotions that I can't live without, the book I saw in the store, and the newest electronic gadget I've been dying for. It's over in an hour, and all that remains are piles of gifts and shreds of wrapping paper. We each lay out our gifts in our room, proudly displaying this year's acquisitions. But not for long, because it's off the relatives house for Christmas brunch, where grandpa makes his famous biscuits and gravy. We eat till we're stuffed [again], exchange a few final gifts, then head home to sleep off all the Christmas excitement. Christmas night brings another meal and another gathering of loved ones. As the night ends, we pop in a new DVD or a Christmas favorite, and watch as the final hours of Christmas fade away. All the while, I'm wondering how did it go by so fast?

Christmas is marketed as such a magical holiday, where dreams and wishes come true and miracles can happen! It's the season where everyone [almost] is in the giving mood, and everyone's budgets are stretched thin or overdrawn. It's the most wonderful time of the year…

But what will Christmas in Mexico be like? Different, sure, but will the magic still be here? Did I finally get my Christmas wish, to escape the materialism and consumerism of the holiday and celebrate it for what it's really about? I do not miss the materialism of the holiday, but I do miss spending it with my family back home…because to me, that's an important part of the holiday. Christmas in Mexico has been [will be] great, but I'm looking forward to seeing all the people that make the holidays feel warm and fuzzy.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is

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7:18 PM
So, home is a little cozier these days, with my husband all moved in now. It's pretty great actually. True, he came with more stuff, but everything has pretty much found a place, even some leftover wedding stuff, and our camper is feeling more and more like home. Here's a few new pictures of our latest "additions"!

IKEA does such a great job with essential items for small places! Our little kitchen nook is complete!

A bookshelf, a mail basket, hooks for keys & flashlights, and artwork displayed. What an entrance. Now only if that rug would come in that I ordered...

Our mini fridge, for the extra space & is leak-free, doubles as an end table to our couch, and shelving unit for our wooden display boxes!

Why yes, those are new throw pillows for the couch! Look so great on our black slipcover too!

Our first Christmas tree, all of 3 feet, but is all ours! And so is our new blue tooth compatible stereo system. Yay for streaming music!

Refrigerator art! Pictures from photobooths, wedding invites & cards, love notes and more adorn our cute little wood panel fridge. You'd think we were in love or something! ;)

Most recent addition...a new 32" flat screen TV! A great wedding gift from my parents that allows for all streaming of Netflix, The Daily Show, and Colbert Report to be seen on a screen almost as large as our wall.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

'Tis the Season for Sweater Festiveness

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8:27 PM
This past weekend, my YWAM Orlando family had their annual Sweater Party. This visually stimulating event is 6 years running, and is much anticipated by YWAM staff and family. Last year was my first Sweater Party experience, and I was not prepared for the amount of sweaters, gaudiness, and mustaches. But it was an amazing time. Karl & the Sweater Party Planning Committee, spend countless hours preparing the house for this event, and I'm sure the lights can be seen from miles away. We hand out awards for the best mustache, the most gaudy, the best "out of the box" costume, and the coveted best sweater. But why? Why go through all the effort, the shopping, the time and planning? Because it's our community. YWAM Orlando is like a family. And many don't get to see their family during the holidays, so our staff & students become like a family. So it's our chance to have the biggest, most wonderful, most festive Christmas celebration anyone could ask for. I mean, what's more fun than that?

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Land of Smiles

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7:34 PM
Thailand. A country known for its beautiful beaches, and exotic animals. But unfortunately, Thailand is also known for its human trafficking, sex tourism, and excessive prostitution as well. This is the country that Creagon and I lead a base-wide prayer time for this week, in which over 60 of our staff and students engaged in spiritual warfare for this country. Every week, our base has a time of worship and warfare for a specific country or people group. This quarter alone we've prayed for London, Libya, Turkey, Dominican Republic, human trafficking within in the US, India, and more. I chose to lead a week on Thailand, because I'm staffing the school that is going there on their outreach and Southeast Asia is very near and dear to my heart. All week at meal times, Creagon and I have been sharing prayer points, and spending 30 seconds or more lifting these requests to God. This morning, we spent an hour and half worshipping and warring on the behalf of the Thai people. I specifically felt that as we prayed for Thailand, we were to pray against certain strongholds that oppress the people and the country. The 6 I felt that God gave us to pray for this morning were: Buddhism, Human Trafficking, Lust, Worthlessness, Escapism, and Fear. We spent time praying that God would break down these strongholds and they would no longer have a place among the people of Thailand. Then we spent time praying blessings, Scriptures and words of life over Thailand in each of these areas. As a visual representation, I had a poster board for each stronghold. As we moved from station to station and began to pray blessings & life, we wrote those words on Post-It notes and put it over the stronghold. By the end of our prayer time, the entire poster board was covered. It was a beautiful picture of what God wants to do in Thailand.

And we also spent some time praying for the team going there in just a few short weeks. They will be ministering in the red light district and the slums of Chang Mai. Their goal will be to build relationships and share the light and freedom of Jesus. They could literally be the physical answers to the prayers we prayed today. It was a beautiful and freeing time of worship and warfare. I just love making an eternal difference in the world.

















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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sounds of the Season

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6:05 AM
As with most music, I'm pretty picky about my Christmas music. But this year I have been captivated by the Sleeping at Last Christmas Collection. It's festive, without being poppy or annoying. Even aside from this Christmas EP, Sleeping at Last is a quality band getting a lot of recognition. They have been featured in TV shows such as Gray's Anatomy, and can even be found on the latest Twilight saga soundtrack. They've come so far since I discovered them 6 years ago. I love when a quality Christian band gets recognition not for a controversy, but for making good music.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

The Art of Life

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7:53 AM
Found a new artist to obsess over. Her name is Jessica Rose and I found her on Etsy [my favorite shopping place for all things handmade]. I don't know what I love most about her stuff...the great typography/handwriting she uses, the quotes & sayings she finds, the hand drawn/watercolor feel of each piece, or her obsessive use of campers. Whatever it is, call me hooked. I love her stuff, and hope to have a few pieces in my own camper someday soon!



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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Circle of Friends

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7:06 AM

Every day it seems like someone else has posted some new photos from my wedding. And I love it! I love seeing my incredibly amazing special day through everyone else's eyes. The details that they captured, the friends they made, and the good times they had. A few photos have really stood out to me, because they capture my many circles of friends.

This is a photo of some of my oldest [not old!] and dearest friends. I've known each of them over 10 years, have stood in their weddings and held their children. We've had so many great memories, and some really bad ones too. I can call any one of these girls no matter when or for what, and they will answer. I may not see them or talk to them everyday, but our friendship runs deep. I love these girls with my whole heart.

This is a photo of my incredible church friends. My life has changed so much since attending Watermark Church almost 4 years ago, and some of these relationships are what have changed me for the better. My faith is deeper and my thirst for God is stronger than ever before. There's just something special about growing in your faith with a group of people that connects you to them.

And these are my DTS-mates. Those who trained with me in Orlando just over a year ago, during my initial school with YWAM Orlando. I lived with some, and traveled across the world with them too. Every day for 6 months, these amazing people were my nearest and dearest friends. And they were the ones who saw the beginning of my relationship with Creagon unfold. The guys that lived with him "called us" early on. And the girls that lived with me stayed up late listening to me analyze his latest comment. A DTS is a life-changing experience no matter where you do it, and forever will these friends be part of my life, either big or small.

And now that I'm married, I get a new circle of friends! Those that my husband that has built over the years. What a privilege.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wedding Day Joy!

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12:50 PM


Married. It still feels like a dream. But on Saturday, November 26, 2011, I married the love of my life. All the hours spent planning for and dreaming of this day, came true at a beach on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Surrounded by family and friends, Creagon and I exchanged vows and became husband and wife. Now the rest of our journey begins, as a family and as a married couple. A journey I couldn't be more excited about.

I didn't just marry my best friend, but I married my partner in ministry. Mine and Creagon's vision for the way we do ministry is so similar, and we complement each other well. Together we will be teaching and discipling the next generation, and sending them into the nations to be a voice for the voiceless and help for the helpless. We will inspire and lead teams focused on human trafficking prevention, both locally and internationally, and we will see God's freedom brought to the enslaved. Our marriage will be one of reliance on God's provision, His leading, and His timing. It will be the completion of what He called us to do individually. How exciting is that.

Pretty as a princess!
Prayer launches our marriage
Beautiful at beach sunsets
Classically elegant
So in love.
Perfect, down to our toes!
Photobooth fun!

Power of a praying family

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