Saturday, December 31, 2011

reflecting on hopes

This time last year, I listed the following as hopes for 2011 in a blog post:

> Live in a different country
> Complete my Master's Degree coursework

> Move back to Texas
> Find a job for the hubbs and me
> Continue to seek God's will for each of these steps

3.5 out of 5 isn't bad! And Southern Arkansas is pretty close to Texas :)

We had an incredibly exciting and emotionally challenging 2011, and 2012 will not be boring, by any means! In 2012 we will say hello to:

>The hubbs' first Senior Pastor position!
>Our first house to call our own
>Living closer to family than we have over the past 9 years!
>Our third year of marriage
>A new and exciting place for me to serve in a new community (we'll see what God has in store for a job for me!)

As far as goals for the year...I think I am going to take it easy. Let's see what happens when we sit back and watch God at work :)

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Friday, December 30, 2011

embracing home

as of January 2nd, the hubbs and I will call Arkansas our home...and I am embracing our new home through crochet...
I made these Razorback hats for Christmas for the hubbs and my nephews...they were a hit!
Little JJ loooooooves his hat...mainly because he loves all hats...and he thinks it's a cow... can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the girl...
but there is always room for a little Arkansas :)

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

P.S. If you are interested in a Razorback me...they start at $30 each

Monday, December 12, 2011

I celebrate the day...

The beauty of the Christmas story gets me every time...the way God used the nobodies, in the not so special places, to bring salvation through His Son born of an ordinary young's so awe inspiring that I can spend hours just wondering what each of the key players were thinking, feeling and worrying about...

A Christmas song by Relient K (shout out to all my Choctaw Naz peeps :)) called I Celebrate the Day, is the perfect soundtrack for all of my Christmas story day dreaming. 

What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, December 8, 2011

decorating for the holidays

We are sooooo looking forward to spending next Christmas in Arkansas...and decorating our home! It has been hard to not have a home to decorate this year...but don't worry...I've kept in the Christmas spirit by decorating my Pineterest!

What is your favorite Christmas decoration, and what is its significance?

Mine would be my nativity.  One of my favorite traditions growing up was hiding the baby Jesus of our family's ceramic nativity set and hunting for him (like the Wise Men, of course), and then getting to hide him when I found him. He would always mysteriously reappear in the manger on Christmas morning...gotta love when parents make things magical :)

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

music to get merry to

One of my coworkers at Azizi Life told me that my love for Christmas music is a sickness...well, maybe it is...but at least this sickness puts me in a joyful, loving and reflective mood :) 

Here are a few albums that I am "rocking around the Christmas tree" to these days (or maybe around the banana tree, since I am in Rwanda at the moment):
 Christmas just isn't Christmas in the King household without Amy Grant...and I uphold this tradition in the Newlin Wed household...
I can listen to Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas" and be transported to the car of my youth, sitting next to my sister with this CD (or cassette tape) blaring while our family travels down East Texas roads to celebrate Christmas with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and my awesome cousins.
I have enjoyed this FREE Christmas Collection from Sleeping at Last for two years here to download 9 free songs that will lull you into the holiday spirit.
Tunes from Lady Antebellum's 2010 Christmas album drove me to class during grad school at Eastern University last year...maybe it was better because my drive actually included snow...but these 6 tracks are worth every penny

Dave Barnes' smooth voice and guitar make for the perfect Christmas date music...just in case you wanted to know...
and "Family Tree" will give you the needed soundtrack to cry over the fact that you are not with your family for Christmas (I won't be needing it this year :))...Click here to get it for $5 on Amazon

What music makes up your Christmas soundtrack? Any recommendations?

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Now I will attempt to resist deleting all of my Eastern files form my computer until Dec. 17th (graduation)
Thanks to all who have offered me continual encouragement and prayers during the last 15 months (especially the hubbs)...I couldn't have done it without you all!

And a special shout out to my cohort peeps who are still working on finishing everything're almost there!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rwanda's Christmas carol

If there was one Christmas carol made for would be this one:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
{Psalm 19:1-6}

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion 
which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Psalm 125:1

Sometimes I just don't worry about things like other people might...sometimes I freak out about things that no one else ever would. But I strive to be a person who trusts in the Lord with unshakable faith. I have found that the more risks I take for the sake of Christ's call on my life, the more easily trust comes. This probably has more to do with His provision than my practice, but it is welcomed nonetheless.

I pray that in our next transition, I still find the opportunities to take risks that will bring me closer to the heart of my Savior...and closer to being like an unmovable mountain.

Much love,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

eat some turkey for me...

and watch some football for the hubbs!
We will be celebrating tomorrow with some American students in Kigali...two turkeys and some pre-recorded football...can't beat that...or can...with family...

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

love language

so it came off of an American Eagle Christmas advertisement...but I don't think anything has ever described one of my love languages in such a concise way...
Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Friday, November 18, 2011

happy birthday, hubbs!

I still have moments where it dawns on me that I am married to Jon Newlin...and I still wonder how exactly God worked that one out...and I am amazed and thankful everyday for His working in our lives.

God is good and so is my husband.

Happy birthday, hubbs! I can't wait to see all that your 27th year will bring for us!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

don't keep your love

Lately, I have been seeing the beauty of being generous with kind words.

You know when you are are on Facebook and you look over and see that it's someone's birthday? And you think to yourself, "Well, I haven't talked to them in I really want to come out of no where with a 'Happy Birthday!'"'s someone that you don't know very well but admire?

I have challenged myself to not let anything (feelings of awkwardness, mainly) stop me from sending some words of love and admiration the way of those who come to mind or pop up in that column on Facebook. 
A few kind words can go a long way. Almost every person that I have been intentional with has commented on how much they appreciated my words, and all of them have responded positively. 

Are you up for the challenge? When ever you feel that little nudge that says you should send someone a note, an email or a Facebook message...are you up to following through? Or how about whenever it is someone's birthday, instead of just writing "Happy Birthday!", you include a little message of encouragement or a comment letting them know what you appreciate about them?

Being generious with kind words does the soul good.

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the cutest little owl in the world

It is my pleasure to introduce to you 
{Kate Anna} 
the cutest little owl in the world!
Oh my goodenss, these jeans are TO DIE FOR!
She is adorably modeling my "Owl Always Love You" set for baby...which I made this summer and sent on it's way to be waiting for Kate's arrival. Sadly, it got lost in the mail for, like, 2 months...but the universe knew that this little set was perfect for Miss Kate, so there was no stopping it!

{if you are interested in ordering one, send me an email or leave a comment! I'll be back in the States mid December. Check out my crochet page for more deets and styles!}

Ryan + Lizz: I am so happy that I got to contribute to Kate's wardrobe and that I know her super awesome parents. Wish that our worlds were closer together...nonetheless, we have Facebook!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Friday, November 11, 2011


I have been overly excited about this much so that I saved my Lovely Visitors count to post...

I think say "lovely" hit 11,111 about three weeks ago...

Happy 11-11-11!!!!!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, November 10, 2011

do the dew

Dear Uncle Stan:

When I was in Uganda, I had many drinks to choose from...but chose the sacred juice of the your honor...feel special.

Also, I had to go all the way to Uganda to get mustard.

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Monday, November 7, 2011

the time for Christmas music is here!

I look forward to listening to Christmas music, starting October 31st, all year long. In fact, sometimes when my iTunes is on shuffle and a Christmas song comes on, and it is July...I usually let it play through :)
Since being in Rwanda, I have enjoyed daily devotions and hymnal singing with my Azizi Life co-workers. And can I just say that it has taken a lot of effort on my part to not request any Christmas carols?...I have to hold out until December. This does not, however, keep me from looking up Christmas songs and trying to sing them to myself in Ikunyarwanda. I thought I would share one with you...

Away in a Manger

Mw ivuka ryawe, Yesu, bakuryamishije
Mu kiraro kigawa, mu muvure w'inka.
Wasasiwe, Mukiza, ahadakwiriye.
Nubg' ur' Uwaturemye, ni ko wagiriwe!

Nimuze yemwe bana, tumuhimbarize
Ko yaryaminishijw' atya, mu muvure w'inka.
Dushim' Umwami Yesu, tumukundir' ibyo,
Ko yabay' umukene kubg' abanyabyaha.

Umfashe, Mwami Yesu, kuguhora hafi,
Ngo ngukunde, tuban' iminsi yanjye yose,
Kandi n'abandi bana, na b' ubiyereke,
Bagukunde, dushiman' urukundo rwawe.

And half of the letters don't make the sound that you think they would. 

So, here's to Christmas music and the season of love + community that it celebrates!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Friday, November 4, 2011

I left my rock in the USA

Yes, I miss my family, friends and food...but I also miss my engagement ring...every single day...
I look every down most days and think about how wonderful of a job the hubbs did...almost 3 years ago, now.

Much love to the hubbs,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the older women

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, hard working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 
{Titus 2:3-5

I am thankful everyday for the godly, older women that have been in my life. When I was having quiet time this morning, this verse brought my mother and grandmothers to mind. I feel that these women have embodied  Titus 2:3-5...they have provided for the other young women of my family and me examples of how to be a loving wife...self-controlled, pure, hard working...and yes, submissive to their husbands...not that they really have to be all that much...because my father and grandfathers take care of their wives like they are a precious treasure.

I am thankful that I have had so many wonderful examples of loving marriages in my life. It really helps a newlywed out!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

happy November!

November is a wonderful month, I think. Although we should take time to be thankful everyday of our lives, November is a month where it is hard to forget to take the time to do just that.

Right now I am working on a cultural impact paper for my Master's program...which basically involves my interviewing an entire Azizi Life artisan group, their neighbors and local leaders. I'm almost done with the first phase with the help of Jeannine, Sheila and Venantie (my Rwandan co-workers). It's been a joy to work with them so closely on this project and for us all to find out new, exciting information together.

When I think about the work I am doing with Azizi Life, sometimes it can be easy to feel useless and ineffective...I selling handicrafts really going to change the world? But after interviewing the women of Abarikumwe Cyeza, I am inclined to think that selling handicrafts is just what the world may need...
When asked if she feels that her craft has made her a valuable member of her community, 25 year old Rose Mary said, "My relationships with my family, friends and neighbors were good there was no problem, but after having this craft as my main income source my relationship with them has grown or improved more, I can resolve some problems for them, I can contribute in their growth and development."

You see, when someone buys a product from Azizi Life, they are providing opportunity for an entire Rwandan community...who knew that job creation, personal growth and development, financial stability and money lending could all be woven together in a pair of earrings?

It absolutely amazes me.

So while we are thinking about all the things to be thankful for this month...might you consider giving someone a reason to be thankful for you?

Christmas shopping is in full swing (and I must admit that I am sad that I am missing the hustle and bustle of it all)...why not purchase some of your gifts from Azizi Life and share the story of hope and opportunity for the women of Rwanda with your loved ones?

And better still, why not host a bazaar or a catalog show with your friends or church family to give others the opportunity to participate in the good work Azizi Life is doing?

And even better still, why not add the Azizi Life artisans and artisan groups to your prayers. Just as we all have experienced, conflicts can arise at any moment when we are working with others...if you can pray that God would protect the hearts of our artisans from the Evil One that is sure to attack such obviously blessed work...that would be amazing.

Be assured that I am thankful for you, as a lovely friend. Your reading and staying caught up with my blog(s) means more than you will ever know!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

P.S. Again, you don't want to miss our Nile Rafting Adventure...check it out here!

Monday, October 31, 2011

how to not die while white water rafting on The Nile

Tune in tomorrow to The Newlin Weds for a recap of the hubbs + my white water rafting adventure, on which we went along with some of my Eastern + Azizi Life will be epic...and very don't want to miss it!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the best day

They say there are two important days in a your life: 
the day you were born, 
and the day you find out why...

{Carl Townsend}

Monday, October 24, 2011

best friends

I have the best friends. Not only have we had a steady stream of packages waiting for us at the post office...they are filled with proof that my friends know me oh so well!
My friend, Tiffany, sent me some Dr. Pepper jelly beans and lip gloss...knowing that I am suffering from Dr. Pepper withdraws...and she even included a kitty cat card :) And I didn't even know it was coming.

Thanks, have always been such a thoughtful and loving friend! See you in a couple of months!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Friday, October 21, 2011

monkey + gummy

If you read The Newlin know that I have a thing for gummy bears... does monkey bear.

Who is monkey bear, you ask? Read here.

Also...monkey bear would like to see Lovely Followers be at 40 by the end of the day...and who are we to disappoint monkey bear?

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Thursday, October 20, 2011

batik: igice cya kane*

Step 4: {Boiling the wax off of our fabric}

Miss Step 3? Click here!

April was not with us...and, sadly, I didn't get to finish my fabric on my own...but is the last part of the batik process, nevertheless...
 Francois pours boiling water into a bucket with our fabric...
 We made sure the fabric was fully saturated and then moved it immediately over to cold water...
which, with a little help,...
made the wax come off of the fabric.
 Rinse and repeat.
 Then hang to dry!
 Or not dry...due to rain storms...
Here is April's wonderful tree and vine design...or octopus design...:)
Once dried, Christi ironed her fabric (removing any extra wax and making it nice and crisp)
And viola! Beautiful, personalized batik!

There really is one more step...the one where we take our fabric to a seamstress to get it made into something...but you will just have to wait a little longer for that...I am thinking a table cloth and dress out of mine...awesome, I know.

Although our fabrics are awesome, I think we would all say that the best part of the batik process was spending so much time together. I am very grateful for Christi + April...and the fact that I have some pretty awesome girlfriends while I am in Rwanda. Thanks knew what I needed even before I did :)

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

*Batik: Part 4

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

batik part tres

Step 3. {Dyeing Our Fabric}

(miss Step 2? click here!)

 Francois adding the perfect amount of red, yellow and blue powder to create the perfect shade of "burnt orange" for yours truly.
 Representing Eastern in my hot rubber gloves.
April representing Aussieland in hers :)
 Working the dye into my cloth...and it's weird...but the color always began as purple...
 April's fabric will be green...I promise
Christie will actually have purple no surprise there :)
 My finished product wet and crumpled in a tub...waiting to be hung to dry
Christi posing next to her pride and joy...can you see the detail this lady achieved...she is going to let me have a little bit to accent my burnt orange :)

Now that we've got our fabric's time to remove the wax to reveal white designs...check back for Step 4!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

batik part deux

Step 2. {Wax Stamping}

Next (and a week later), we stamped our design on our fabric with hot, hot wax.
Watch your feet, Christi!
Christi starts with her border design
April stamps out her trees (or upside down octopi...I kid, I kid)
 Waxed and ready for her vine detail
I started stamping my design closer together...
 and then changed it up for the second half of the cloth (not pictured here)

Stay tuned for Step 3...dyeing our fabric!

Much love,
Emily Elizabeth