Wednesday, June 1, 2011
1. I started internship, hope, and school
2. I have so much in my head and none of it do I want to put on the internet ( I'm choosing to share with close friendsies)
3. I've been out living life-by that I mean I have not only been busy with school and such associated things, but I have been friend hanging like no one's business and it's been GREAT! The reason I'm alive...to be in relationship with people.
So all that being said...I will post soon, or not but don't worry I'm not going anywhere for long.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
"Your mother's character is imprinted on your conscience."
So says my pastor...and I agree. I love my mom, all day everyday. I've always been a momma's girl and I love it. Here's to her special day, tho I'm not about 'special days' that much but she def gets one. sweet sweet love with no conditions kinda mom.
heart happy, full cup
Saturday, May 7, 2011
"I believe in a life of celebration-the world we wake up to everyday is filled to the brim with deep, aching love"
I have been happily off school this week...and enjoying doing absolutely nothing some days and getting so very much done the next. It's just been up to me and I love it! That being said, I'm not so much looking forward to starting back in the coming weeks but that is another post for another day. This post is about my cup being FULL!
I looked at my calendar a few weeks ago and the thought of all the things on there kinda made me sick. I do not enjoy being as busy as I have been these past few months. Some people love a budding social calendar but I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I love being with friends and doing things but I also LOVE to just relax and not have plans and just be. So that being said, I noticed that I did not have a free weekend until the middle of June. Yikes! But I have begun to have a better attitude about those things (mostly because they are super fun things in the midst of school/work/internship).... and the things I have been doing have been filling me up to the nth degree and I couldn't be more happy or appreciative for doing things that make me smile and not strictly doing school work! I use the full cup analogy for a few reasons. It is analogous to Jesus and our relationship with him and on that same note, I always have a base 'full cup' with JC and anything on top of that is just golden.
Last weekend for instance, I had an end of the school year partay with some wonderful friends who (while I have known them for less than a year) have become some of my very besties! Call it counseling school or what have you but its like a preset group of friends that you get along with everyone because you are all interested in the same stuff. Crazy! This night was followed by Saturday in which I got to hang with my step brother and his wife (who I adore!) then nighttime hanging with another great friend at her engagement party. This night was followed by the last night of my 8th graders this year in a great party...then followed by a night full of great conversation at another friends house. Are you catching my full cup drift yet here??
Insert a week of lounging, reading, working, playing, laying out....and here we are at another weekend!
Last night was another of these nights. My mom came, along with both my brothers, as well as Daryn and her mother (who none of us had ever met) and we had "family dinner" at our house. You want to know what made me happier than anything else the entire night? Daryn's mom commenting on how much the 4 of us look alike and how much I look like my mom. I was sitting next to Andrew and she was like "oh you guys look just alike" and then 10 minutes later I was sitting next to Chris and she said the exact same thing. Then we had this picture from when my mom was in her 20s and Chris is convinced that I superimposed my face on the pic because we look so much alike. Obviously that's not the case but it just seriously made me so happy to be with my very favorite people and the fact that they are family and we look alike makes it all the better!!
Happy high for sure!
I'm reading this book called "Good news about injustice" and it is written by the President and CEO of IJM. An organization obviously near and dear to my heart. I loved this quote from what I read today. "They (friends) knew that they could never understand the deepest part of me if they didn't have some understanding of the hard things I had seen." I like it for 2 reasons. 1. I feel the same way when coming back from life-changing things or even in life's ordinary things that if the people around you aren't the least bit interested in, then they probably aren't "good friends". 2. It goes to show that is the same for God. If we don't show an interest in the things that he is interested in, then we wont' ever be able to truly know him. While there is no way that I could handle or fathom all that God is, I know that he can enable me and protect me in the knowledge that he gives and I want that. I want deep, aching love, in more ways than one. I want God's love, and friends' love, and not in shallow ways. There is no point otherwise...I see it as a waste of time. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't have to be deep all the time, but the capacity for it should be there.
Here's to another night of full cup/happy high/deep, aching love sorta time!! And I would want it no other way!!
Friday, April 29, 2011
ELW and I went to lunch...and not just any lunch...the best lunch (perfect weather, food, convos). We went to highland bakery and she brought her camera and was snapping pics outside and I felt like I was having lunch with a cool photographer...ha. Then we went so she could get a tat...and in about the most roundabout way possible, it did finally happen. It was really just lovely.
So here comes 2 weeks offff...and what do I plan to do??
2. lay out
4. go to appt's
5. clean (room, bookshelf, bathroom, head, life)
6. see my friendsss
Those things sound lovely! Oh yes, I will still be working but I don't like to include that part.
I am so excited to start my break off right with not 1 but 3 great things planned for this weekend!!
1. Party with school friends tonight (think end of the year party in elementary school with the addition of adult beverages)
2. Hanging with my step brother and his wifey (adore)
3. Engagement party for Liz and John with my lovely date Keelin (girl)
4. The obvi of church on Sunday and the last outlet of the year with my 8th graders!
Bring on the fun...and to finish off this greatness, I took some pics on my walk this morning because it was beautiful outside!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So Georgia and I have decided that we like morning walks. She likes them because she is a dog, likes almost everything, and especially walks. I like them because they are a pretty easy way of waking myself up in the morning and energy giving. It's also really pretty out around 7-9am when we go. We went on an Easter morning walk at 7am and it was great! Beautiful morning and felt great outside. So all that to say I've been enjoying them tremendously and I took a pic from our walk this morning (even though it was cloudy) and I just wanted to post!
*Also, I have had this song in my head all day and its all because of ELW and her post about finals and I just listen to it over and over again...good stufff!!!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Even though they are the same day...Easter and Resurrection day mean different things to me. Easter is the bunny, eggs, and candy...while Resurrection day is just that. Jesus arose. from the tomb. Ahhh! It's just too much. No words I could say would even be enough, it's just beyond everything imaginable! I was thinking about it on my run yesterday and how I wanted to write a blog, but that I just didn't even know what to say. It's too good, too everything! So not having much to say...I will just add a few snippets of things I've read in the last few days.
*But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
*As a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him. NT Wright
*It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. Romans 14:11
"...it's not all clean and pretty and neat. It's really about drunks and liars and thieves and all of us in the same house, looking out the windows into oblivion, and the only hope we've got in the world is Jesus Christ.
Maybe you're no liar or thief or drunkard, but maybe you've got broken down places in your heart or somebody's blood on your hands, and that's exactly what Easter is about. It's about Jesus Christ who was no liar and no thief, and He got what WE deserved, so we could be free. The same power of God that brought you Easter Sunday and Resurrections can bring you out of your own specific grave, whatever grave you may be in."
Because other people have said it better than I could, and because there are really no words that are enough.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
*Let's just have a recap of what is changing in the next 5 months.
-I start seeing clients at HOPE center
-I start my internship at Wellspring
-My best friend Lindsay gets married
-My other best friend Liz gets married
-I move out of the house I've been living in the last 4 years with people I love more dearly than anyone.
-My sister has her first baby, I become an aunt <---- so EXCITED!!
-My old roomie Jeanette has her first baby.
That's a lot of stuff. All stuff that I'm looking forward to, but a lot of stuff nonetheless.
And then this...
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8
I'll take it, all day everyday. The ache can be present, but I need not worry because "this is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life."
A huge part of the ache is the desire to be somewhere else doing something (I don't even know what). BUT, I'm really glad I'm here and that I am getting to experience and be with the people that I love for these events in their lives. I would really have it no other way. I also can't even say how happy I am that I have made some kickass friends at school who are awesome and love Jesus. All this was really just a word vomit post to remind myself of the things that I'm writing. Felt good though...and here is to a great sunday. It is already proving to be for 3 reasons...1. I'm done house/dog sitting 2. I'm at san fran writing this 3. I'm heading to church
I'll leave a great song for the mood right now...well, and its just funny
Thursday, March 31, 2011
So now that it's out of the way...I can go on to why it's awesome and just the best thing ever...I'll begin with a short list of the places and people that made it so freakin great!
*Road tripping it to Nashville with the best to see said band sing said song live outside...and then road tripping it back the same night.
*Having a devastating event happen, in which the best comes over and we cry and listen to said song.
*Football season (UGA), fall, windows down, blasting song
*seeing said band on a rainy outdoor atlanta night with the best
*again seeing said band with floor seats in atlanta with the best
Are we seeing a pattern here? I think so. I mean it does have to do with the greatness of the song obviously, but it clearly has a TON to do with the people, places, and events that remind me of the song. Moving on though to the even better part...I just love when I can relate songs to Jesus...gosh, just so good!! So in the spirit of using lyrics...ill just share my fav part!
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
I think it's clear why I chose that part but just in case it's not...here is a visual representation (pic I took while in Nazareth)
Ahh, Jesus. The greatest light of the world. Who is so good, all the time, I could go on and on. We spent some time together tonight and it was wonderful. I will stop there.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
You know what else is true? I have a lot going on. That could be true just in the school sense, but it's also true in the work, friendship/social sense. I have 2 best friends getting married this summer and am a part of both weddings. I have 2 other best friends who are pregnant and due early fall. I am starting an internship that I have wanted since I started this school in May. The next month is probably going to suck and be extremely fun at the same time. I also have only thought about my India trip in small chunks that I can handle at the time being. All that being said, I'm continuing with my self care even when I don't want to because, well, it's necessary lol. But instead of a long drawn out (what I might deem boring right now) post about my feelings, I am instead going to post lots of pictures in honor of one ELW . These things make me happy, so as I sit in San Fran on a dreary day "doing school work" I will think of these things :)
*a lil shout out thank you to my dear TB for providing constant entertainment whilst I study.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
A short back story on that… Julia works for an organization in Atlanta that deals with asylum cases and this woman who is from Calcutta but living in Atlanta because she married another Indian who has a work visa here. It was a very abusive relationship and she got out but now her visa expires in April and her parents and family all live in India still but she doesn’t want to go back because of the stigma associated with getting a divorce there and she would not have many opportunities if she went back. So it all just happened to work out that Julia needed some papers from the parents but it would take too long to ship them and we just happened to be going to Calcutta (God thing) so we could meet the family and get the papers from them in person. It was supposed to be just a quick drop off but ended up being an hour and a half of meeting over coffee. At first it was just a standard talk about how we were liking India and what kinds of things we were seeing or wanted to see. The family didn’t speak great English but it worked out fine. But at one point the mother grabbed Julia’s hand and started crying and was just saying that she had no idea what the man was like and that if they had any idea how crazy he was, they never would have sent her there, and just pleading with Julia to help her only daughter. Needless to say…Julia started crying too and then so did I. It was just really apparent (in a society where that’s not necessarily the norm) how much they cared for their daughter and how much it pained them that she was so far away and they couldn’t really do anything to help her. It was just really emotional and especially coming off of an entirely emotional trip that hadn’t been given any attention by me as of yet. I will say that after that point, it was downhill on the emotions.
Moving along though. After we left there we were off to Caligat to visit Sari Bari. That is an organization that employs ex ‘line workers’ and or their children to make things out of old sari’s. It started 5 years ago with 3 women and has grown to employing over 70 people. The woman Melissa who works there has been there about a year and has a commitment of 3 years to be in Calcutta. She was amazing. I say that in general for what she is doing and what she has given up to be there. But she is amazing because we spoke for an hour and a half and it was mostly her talking. Sometimes things like that could be boring, but I was held in constant attention because she is in love with what she does. She loves the work and believes in it and speaks with a passion about it that can keep you enthralled for hours. It was so inspiring to hear someone talk like that about their work. It’s what people say all the time that they want, a job that they love to do and enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong. She told about the hard times and the struggle of being there and being away from her family all the time, but for the most part, what undescribable joy she experienced there. She said that it’s hard to talk to people at home sometimes because they don’t understand the gravity of the life that she has given up (she wasn’t sounding like “I’m so awesome for doing this”) but also the immense joy that she feels being there at the same time. It was just really great to be there and to see the women and to see the possibility of change and a flicker of light in an otherwise dark city. They have also opened up different locations in the region and even one prevention program near to try and combat the problem of trafficking in high risk areas.
We left there and went back to the office to meet up with Tricia (Vic’s wife) to go to Sonagachi to Love Calcutta arts. Biju’s wife Anna works there right now and she was going to be our tour guide. It is a very similar concept except they make different product but still out of old Sari’s. It was great to see a different place doing the same work, but also to see another side of the problem. We were lucky to be able to see the progression while we were there of what IJM does and the resulting work of other organizations from aftercare homes to the women having jobs afterwards.
After that we headed back to the office and met up with the men. They had a really great end to the training and the relationship building aspect of it was so key to the whole process. They weren’t eating dinner, and Julia and I had been invited to go over to Liz, Aimee, and Kari’s apt to hang out so we opted for that. Their cleaning woman was also making them dinner so we were going to get a home cooked meal that I was looking forward to very much. We had a truly amazing meal per usual, and then Liz made this chocolate sauce that we had on some ice cream to top it all off. We had such a great time at their place hanging out with them and just talking and getting to know each other more. I think I may have already mentioned this but I love getting to know people, and especially people who are ‘doing’ things for the kingdom. I think the coolest people I have ever met are the ones I have met abroad who are doing different kind of work but all have such a cool story of how they got there and what they want to do later. All that being said…I do love the people I know at home too ☺
We stayed there pretty late and then got a cab back to the hotel to get ready for our last day of touring. I wasn’t honestly looking forward to it very much but it ended up going really great and a nice way to end the trip.
Friday Mar 4
So Julia and I had high hopes for getting up at 530am and going to the flower market…but needless to say that didn’t happen. We had to get up at 7am anyway to go and see Khushboo before she went to school because we wouldn’t see her again. She was wonderful, and so sad to see us go, but we took lots of pics and gave lots of hugs as well. She is a precious girl that I have come to enjoy as much as I could in one week. We went to the office after that to do mastergame (essentially trivia) and devotion. Jay was doing devotion and had asked us to all say a little something about what our time had meant to us. He was speaking from Romans about Paul and the church in Rome being mutually encouraging to each other. Also, he was talking about how he was wanted to get to Spain but from all accounts we don’t think he ever made it there, but that perhaps God put Spain on his heart to make him write a letter to the Romans, which then ended up being an extremely important part of the New Testament. He made the connection that maybe some things are on our hearts, but that it’s for the purpose of getting something done in the present and not even about the actual thing. When it was my turn, I said that I had this image of India (having never been) that it was this dark and Godless place, but that being there and seeing the work IJM was doing in the city, and the flicker of light that it produced was extremely encouraging, as well as the individual people that were there and actually being the hands and feet of Jesus. I also referenced a devotion that I read the night before about a command that Jesus told Peter in John 21, to “feed my sheep”. These interns and employees are feeding the sheep in real and tangible ways and it was so great to witness that and to be able to pray with them and for them in all they are struggling with. We were told that there was going to be a mission that night to rescue a Nepali girl who was 16 and had been spotted in a brothel in Sonagachi. We got word when we touched down in Germany that the mission had been successful and they got that girl and one other and arrested 2 pimps. It’s so crazy. So after devotion and mastergame we went and packed up our stuff and headed off to explore the city. We went to the Victoria Memorial, New Market, and Hogg Market to do touristy things. It was a nice day with the guys and being able to be with them during the day since we hadn’t pretty much the whole week.
For dinner that night Vic wanted to take us out to dinner to the Hyatt for our last meal. To say that was a change of scenery is an understatement. It was beautiful, even by American standards. We had a wonderful meal and it was the 4 of us, Vic, Tricia, Biju, Anna, Catherine, Aimee, and Kari. The time spent with them was great and really nice to get to kind of decompress a little bit. Everyone but Biju, Anna, and Catherine left after dinner and we hung out in the lounge of the hotel for a few more hours because our flight from Calcutta wasn’t leaving until 230am and we didn’t want to get to the airport that early. When we did finally tell everyone goodbye and head to the airport, I was exhausted. I hate goodbyes and especially in places that I have truly come to enjoy the time and people I am spending time with. We boarded the plane and I was asleep right as we took off. I slept for a good 4 hours and it was great. The sleep schedule never really got easy there so it was just more of when I’m tired, I take a quick nap. We flew 10 hours to Germany, and then had a 3 hour layover, and then boarded for another 10 hour flight to the states. I was really tired of sitting by the end of all that.
We arrived at 4pm Saturday and Ash came and picked me up and we spent the next 4 hours talking and catching up. I’m really fortunate that I have someone who genuinely asks how it was and wants to hear the long version. We went and had dinner with my mom and brother Chris. After that I needed to pack for Colorado and I was pretty much falling asleep so it was time to finally go to bed, in my bed!
I’m looking forward to the time away from home, but still home in the US to begin to process a little and be able to be MIA from “real life”.
I don’t know that I am ready to write or process, but I’m sure it will come.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
We headed back to the office after that to meet up with Jay and James but they weren't there so we went to the hotel. We chatted with Jay about the police training some which was good to hear about. They said it went well and even though it wasn't as much instruction as it was relationship building, it was what was needed. I think that is one of the biggest things...they generally know a lot about what "should" be done but they just don't do it, so creating a stronger relationship with them and the higher ups is the key to making change happen. Anyways...they were also really impressed with James and asked him all sorts of questions like "why did 9/11 happen?", and "where is Bin Laden?" Clearly things he knows a lot about lol.
So we came back to our room after and decided to head out to dinner. We needed to go and see Kushboo again, who was very excited as usual that we were there to see her. Then we went to dinner at Banana Leaf and got the same thing that we got for lunch, except it tasted much different. Not better or worse, but just different good. It was a good thing we walked both ways because I was stuffed and needed to walk some to get not so full!!! It was quite amusing though because we were sitting in this room and we were the only white people there (shocking) and literally every person in the room was staring at us. Like obviously...it was like we were in a zoo and we were the main attraction. Moving along...we headed back to the hotel after dinner...and about a block away from the hotel this dog started following us. The dogs here are majority not domesticated and really just sleep all day, but then apparently form packs at night and get vicious. So I was like wouldn't that be great if we got attacked by a dog in India...so we stopped to see if he would continue on and he didn't, he stopped right beside us. And he was a bigger dog than most of the other ones that I think I could take in a fight. (family...these are not ga dogs, they would kill her; i know this because i saw a domesticated dog on a leash and 2 street dogs started after it and the owner was carrying a stick and turned around and went the other way). Crazy. Anyways...we thankfully did not get attacked and then referred to the dog as our security escort. No rabies for me. We are back at the hotel and tired from our walk heavy day.
Tomorrow we are going to Kalighat (another red light area) tomorrow to Sari bari, and then to Sonagachi again to go to Love Calcutta. Both of those organizations are formed for either ex 'line workers' or their children to make money a different way. The director Biju's wife, Anna works with Love Calcutta so she will be taking us there. I'm excited to go back and see them on foot. Anyways...that is all for now.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Last day with the girls at the homes, which was sad but also a really great day. We went to Liluah again first and spent the morning and early afternoon there. At first we handed out their pictures that we had cut and pasted on paper to fit the frame. They were so excited about them, and lined them up and just looked at them. I don't know that they ever have had a picture of themselves before and it was just such a small thing that could even be done for them. After that we did some more stuff with them. They split up and one group worked on making cards and one group made bracelets with beads. It was nice to get to just sit down with them and work on something together. I guess it shouldn't have been all that surprising but they were so good at both of the crafts. They were still doing them when we left...and we left all the stuff that we had taken there. They probably had enough beads and string to make jewelry for a year. From there we went straight to Mahima. We had a shorter time there because Vic called us on the way and asked if we wanted to ride down to Sonagachi with them. I definitely wanted to do that and so that meant we had to cut out time short at the other home. Once we got there we ate lunch (excellent indian again) and then made journals with the girls. It's humbling to see how much joy they get from doing something that I would find just ordinary. Such is life I suppose. We left the pictures there for the girls to put them in the frames and headed back to the office so we could meet the others.
Once we arrived back to the office we piled 9 people into an SUV (driver, James, Jay, Julia, Vic, John, Voratida, Catherine, and I) and headed on our way. I was in the very back, like in the trunk part lol. I got to talk to some of the other interns who were super nice and it's always so intriguing to me to meet other people and to hear their stories and how they got to be in Calcutta, especially from all over. I could go on about that for days though. The Sonagachi area is the red light district and is about a 500 meter stretch of road off the main road where approximately 6000-10000 sex workers are at any given time. Vic stopped the car before we turned on the street and put a camera in the headlight of the car to do some investigative work. We weren't stopping or getting out of the car or taking pictures. He showed us where 2 main Nepali brothels are and then there were girls standing outside of the other brothels as well. There looked to be some girls who were underage or borderline. There wasn't a single one smiling or looking happy to be there (for obvious reasons). When we slowed down and got to look inside of some of the alleyways, we saw a man paying a girl. It's weird because there were few differences between that street and any other in terms of people standing around and a lot of noise and loitering, yet the presence of the girls and their clothes were a big giveaway. It's also one of those things where you don't really want to think about it, but something that I made myself do...for purposes of this trip, and for my own interest. I want to remember the girls faces and not have it be something that is just abstract or a statistic. So that was pretty much it on the street and we headed back to the office.
Once there we walked back to the hotel and debriefed in our room. It was good to hear about the men's day and to tell them about our day and just share how we are feeling and what we have been experiencing. Then Julia and I went to see her friend Kushboo at her house. Julia had gotten her some presents from the states and needed to give them to her. She was beyond excited!! We went to their "other home" which was essentially a larger able to be locked room like the other one. So very crazy how people live!! She was so excited about her presents and of course her parents were there and gave us some mango soda and then some coffee. They offered chips but we turned them down because we felt bad about it. After that little adventure we came back to the hotel for the night. Since we stayed up till 2am last night we are trying to go to bed earlier tonight!!
Tomorrow the training starts and Julia and I have some things that we need to get done around town so we will be heading that up! More to come...3 more days!!!
Monday, February 28, 2011
So, one that houses 200 girls, but only about 40 of them go to the school that IJM works with. That one is called Liluah. It's hard to explain honestly and I haven't even given it a ton of thought yet to even explain. It was about an hour away from our hotel in Calcutta. It was on a 'compound' of sorts in a few different buildings. We got there and met the two teachers and then began to set up our "craft". Julia brought an entire Michael's store with her essentially. We had the girls paint and decorate frames anyway they wanted and then we took polaroid type pictures of them that tomorrow we are going to paste on paper and put in the frame. They really did a great job. I was highly impressed with their artistic skills. I don't really know what to say about the girls..they were nice. They didn't really speak english, but they loved looking at Julia and I all the time. I assume that's because they don't hardly ever see Westerners. Some of the girls were actually older women and not all the girls were even there because they hadn't shown up for school that day and there are no consequences. It was a decent home and the school part looked nice, but I just can't imagine living there and not being able to leave ever. I would feel very trapped, like in a prison. We were only allowed to take pictures of them from behind because of rules about their pictures being taken. They liked the pictures a lot though and seemed to enjoy our being there and doing something a little different. We left there a little after noon and went and got some lunch at a place on the side of the road, and it had a security guard out front which means it was definitely going to be good! We got some chicken biriyani and butter nan. Ahh...love indian food!!! It was seriously so great!!!
Then we went on to the other home Mahima. This is a home that has been open for about a year and houses 20 girls. It's a christian home and its program director used to intern for IJM (Julia and she are great friends). We were doing the same thing with them with the frames. I don't know what specific variables caused this (probably many) but the girls at this home are just happier. They smile more and seem to be with it, and they are lovingly looked after and get more counseling and are cared for much better (so it seems from an outsiders perspective) The girls wanted to hold hands and hug and they all knew conversation english and wanted to practice saying, "hello, my name is...., how are you?, i'm fine...how are you? it was really cute. There are 2 children at the home. I know one is the result of the previous 'work' the girl did and apparently from what Julia said she didn't want to have the baby but after he was born she was a 'natural mother'. Cannot imagine! One cool thing we did at both homes since we couldn't take pictures of the girls faces was Julia and I did frames where we had the girls each do a thumb print on it and we are going to take them home and put pictures from the trip in there. They thought it was funny, but we loved it. It was getting dark and we needed to head back to the city so we all piled in the car. A lot of the girls were hugging and kissing on us before we left, it was sweet.
Julia and I got back to the hotel and had a brief meeting with Jay and James about our days and swapped stories. It was cool to hear about what they are doing, and they got to to go to one of the red light district's today and saw some Nepali girls "working". Ugh...that's one of the cases IJM is currently working on because they essentially have to prove that the girls are under age and since the majority of children are born at home without birth certificates and there is no national required identification card and the parents are not here and likely can't be found, its certainly an uphill battle. After that Julia and I went to see her friend Kushboo around the corner. Oh my, her families "home" is the size of Ash's bathroom and 5 people sleep there. The mother, father, brother, brother's wife, and kushboo. She was ECSTATIC to see Julia and had presents for here which were precious. And then the mom and dad came home from their store they work at and they brought us a Sprite and some lays chips and insisted we sit down and eat and chat. They don't know much english so chatting was difficult but we got pictures with them and it was so nice, made my heart happy. After we left there, I wanted some coffee so we went to the coffee shop on the block and decided to also have some dessert since we had yet to have dinner and it was 10pm. So we both had coffee and chocolate cake with ice cream for dinner. Only fitting I think, and it was truly delicious!! When we came back to the room we had to work on the crafts for tomorrow, which included glueing their pictures to pieces of paper so they would fit in the frames. We talked a lot about the girls, living here, living in the US, things that make us mad, sad, happy. Nice chat time for sure.
I haven't had an easy time expressing how I've been feeling about this...I was telling Julia about that earlier. I feel like you have standard answers to standard questions and I have yet to come up with one for India to say when I get back to people who ask. I could spill a bunch of word vomit about the mixed feelings I have about it. It's not something that I can definitively say I hate...though there are parts that I hate about it (the corruption, the poverty, the brokenness, the evil, the smog, the smells, the traffic); It's also not something I can say I love....though there are certainly parts that I love (IJM, the children, the sweet Indians I've met, the people from all over working for this cause, the small Christian population, the hope). Those type of answers don't necessarily fit in easy answers, but that's the answer I have for right now about how I feel about India. It's constant stimulation overload!!
Ok...well that was supposed to be a short synopsis cause I don't even feel like I've written all of my feelings about all these things...another time :)
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Here are the highlights:
"The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet— that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God. It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns— “What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.” All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God. But the apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Paul focused his life on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint; that is, not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.
Ahh, to be broken bread and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus
Here's to today :)
"Ok so as I speak it is 5am your time on the 26th...and 11am here in Frankfurt...so why are we still in Germany you ask....let's take it back to a day ago...
So we arrived in Frankfurt at 7am yesterday morning. I was feeling great because I got to sleep on the plane and because I sat next to the nicest woman from Russia (totally random story of how she lives in Tennessee now)
Anyways...we were told what gate to go to and that our flight to Calcutta was at 1135am. So we go have breakfast at Mcdonalds (yes I know) and then go sit at our gate and wait...and wait...and wait. I will say that Julia got her ticket at the counter (no one said anything) and it said Calcutta when we got to the gate. Also, we saw a plane pull up around 10am and figured that it was late and that is what we were going to be going on. On top of everything else, there were a TON of Indians at the gate with us. SO...we go up to the gate around 12 when there are finally people at the counter and say is our flight about ready to board or what? I actually stayed seated while Julia did this but she said the lady looked at her like she was retarded and said that our flight left 30 min ago. Turns out it had changed gates with the only other flight to India that was going to Delhi in a few minutes (hence all the Indians at the gate). I will also note that there was no announcement made, and they informed us that even if we had checked the screen, it doesn't give gate numbers so how were we supposed to know? exactly :) So we were pretty much sol. We went to the help counter (another experience that deserves telling later) and the lady was very nice but here were our options...to fly direct to Calcutta on Monday (the next direct flight) or to fly to Delhi (or another Indian city) today and then we would have to book a ticket to Calcutta (because Lufthansa only pays for the next direct flight or the next leg of the journey) So...we had missed all the flights to India that day ( we weren't allowed to get on that Delhi flight because our bags wouldn't have time to be transferred and they can't fly without us (though that happens all the time). So we were left with staying in Frankfurt for the night (which there are other worse things that can happen by far). My flip flops in 30 degree weather was not optimal but other than that it was a-ok. We stayed at a very nice hotel last night. We went to bed at 3pm and woke up at 7am this morning. I am FRESH and ready to go. The men however, were apparently not as tired as we were and only slept around 7 hours. Amateurs I say. We had been up over 30 hours...
So we are at the airport again...with a confirmed seat to Delhi. Our flight leaves at 1235pm Frankfurt time (on Lufthansa 747-very excited...except for my middle seat) and gets in around 1am (sunday morning) in Delhi. We are flying on a shorter 2 hour flight from there to Calcutta at 635am and gets in around 9am. (it is 11 hours ahead so do the math--I've changed my phone to Germany time and my watch is on Atlanta time so its sometime on Saturday for you I think...10pm?)
So we are all safe and sound and have enjoyed our time in the airport here in Frankfurt....AND I got my passport stamped after all in Germany! I'm not easily frustrated and I really find that people's character begins to show in times of "stress/things not going right"...so you will all be happy to know that I'm with 3 other character-ful people. And really...none of this was not supposed to happen and we will get to Calcutta, even though the devil has tried to make it not so."
Day 4 on the trip:
We arrived in Delhi this morning 1am and then rested at the airport until around 630am when our flight to Calcutta was leaving. I slept for about 30 minutes in the terminal (my sleeping ability anywhere is so handy). We got into Calcutta around 830 this morning and we rode 7 deep in a 5 passenger car to the hotel. I was nauseous to say the least. The driving and roads are worse than Africa and Costa Rica. We made a plan at the hotel to meet around 1pm and venture on with our day. Julia and I talked for about an hour and then we both passed out for about 2 hours. We went and got a snack and then Vic (who works for IJM) came and picked us up and took the 4 of us back to his flat on the other side of town. We met his wife (Julia knew them already) and found out that she was preparing us a very mexican meal of tortillas, beans, salsa, rice, and cheese (I was pumped lol).
So Vic wanted to take us to a village nearby to see what a large majority of the 20 million in Calcutta live in. It was essentially a shanty town with bamboo houses. It was about a 2 mile walk from his place. I walked with him the whole way and just asked questions about IJM and how he got involved with them, as well as things about India that were interesting to me. He goes to this village about once a week to give out candy to the kids there and so they knew him and what he was coming for and all that. The kids were amazing, as they generally are. So innocent and sweet. Of course they attached onto us and just wanted to walk around and hold hands and take pictures. Ahh...it was so sweet, but it just hurt my heart. There was nothing to be done except to be there and experience it and to pray for them, so that's what I did. That's what is hardest I think, is that the city is just so broken...I can see it and feel it and its draining. It's exactly what I asked for though. It's been one day, and I've yet to wrap my head around everything that is swirling through it but that is where it's at now.
After that we went back to Vic's house and his wife had dinner almost ready (one thing that I loved was that they were like ok you can help with this or this...people that usually have you in their home are like no, I have everything under control, but I loved that they were letting us do things.) A couple from the IJM office (the husband is the director of the field office and his wife teaches bengali and also directs an organization here for former and current families of sex workers to do other work) also joined us for dinner. They had a really interesting story; he is Indian and grew up in America and she is American and grew up in India...I actually don't know how they met though.
So on the agenda for this week. Tomorrow and Tuesday we are going to 2 different aftercare homes ( I have heard that one of them is like flying Kingfisher and one of them is like flying Air India- though I have little knowledge as to the true meaning of that statement). We are doing activities with the girls and we will have a translator with us the whole time which is good. Wednesday and Thursday we are helping out with the police training that James and Vic will be heading up. Friday we have a "free" day in which we are going to ride around the red light district and to see more of the city and where these things are happening.
So that is just a recap of life so far here...I haven't really had a chance to process...that can be done on the journey back to the hotel tomorrow I suppose.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This will likely be short because there are still many things to do but....I woke up feeling great and ready (emotionally) to go. I love flying so that is also very exciting. It's been a whole 6 months since I have flown somewhere and I will spend my next 2 nights of sleep on a plane! That's not the great part, but alas...what can ya do?
So in regards to my title...I heard the Tenth Avenue North song 'by your side' the other night and knew that my next blog would be about it. I mean, the whole song is just filled with "ahh, so true" statements so I will just go ahead and put the lyrics on here:
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away
Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life
So...the song made me think of this as well..."I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10. All this talk of life does have to do with going to India. God gave me life, and a great one at that, and he also told me to GO! So who am I to not listen? I think I am ready, but in reality I don't even need to be. I just need to lean on Him because He is more sufficient than I could ever imagine. So that is kind of it. ELW...I'm taking blankie with me for times of stress, don't worry! This is going to be great...even if it's not. As my dear friend wrote to me that "you will be covered in prayer everyday", I know I need not stress. Ok, quite a busy day until I leave. Thanks for the prayers and for the constant encouragement!
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15: 5-6
Saturday, February 19, 2011
So, the intensive...well it's not the best honestly. Though, insert my heart lighting up when the video we watched at the end of the day was none other than a tour of the Holy Land. Also, insert a deep sigh! The things that we were talking about was not being adequate and the question of "How badly do we want to follow Jesus?". If I took that question back to the me that was in Israel in 2007, I would have done absolutely anything, it was a zeal and fire for the Lord that was and is unlike any I had ever experienced. Since then, the closest I have come to that feeling is Africa this past summer. I KNOW that God is everywhere, and in everything, but why don't I always feel that way? I don't know. As boring as some parts of this intensive are, I have thoroughly enjoyed my Christ focused time. I wouldn't change having to be here and do this. I know that God is using this and using me and not knowing his point yet is fine with me. From a few weeks ago, I am still able to rely on his timing and not mine. He is still providing me patience. That is all I can ask for.
A favorite of mine, Larry Crabb, was on a video and here are some little nuggets of knowledge that he had to say:
~The doubt I'm having might not be an enemy of faith, but an avenue for deepening faith
~We really think we are talking to Someone
~ I'm dry and there is supposed to be water in me, God wants to feed/fill my soul
~ We have become a community of pretenders who then are required to be distant to maintain the pretense
For better or worse I am here. And I will use my time appropriately (yes, I consider blogging appropriate) On to other things...
I had the best Thursday night this week. Ash, Chris, and I drove to Athens to have dinner with Chris and Daryn and it was just such a great time. I shall only relay 2 of the best parts of the night on this medium. 1st being that Chris (BIL) was talking about something and essentially says, "I mean we are the coolest people I know, and it's unfortunate how many uncool people there are out there." He did have some choice words that don't need to be written, but it was hilarious, and yet so true. I love that the coolest people I know, I'm related to. My siblings and I are so different and yet in some ways we are the same people in different ages and genders. It's really the coolest thing in my life (besides JC). It also extends beyond me and into my precious dog, cause she is really cool too, just sayin.
My sweet family
The 2nd thing was a conversation I was having with Chris (brother) and he was recalling a conversation with our aunt and how they were talking about me and my aunt said THE nicest thing anyone has ever said about me and it made me so humbled. So they were talking and she said that she had enjoyed getting to know me more than anyone she has ever known in her life, and that I was such a complicated person with depth. WOW! Like whole life? Me? Hmm...I don't know what to think about this. Well, I'm still thinking on it. My first thought was that's not really true and she was just trying to be nice. My second thought was that I need to not think things like the first thought and to take for what it was, a compliment. Side note: I think the huh factor of the comment is that she REALLY knows me, I know this. She knows things that the majority of people don't, things that I try to hide from others, and yet she still said it. Anyways...I used to have a really really hard time taking compliments and my mom called me out on it. She told me that no matter what I think about what was said, I need to be able to receive them from other people and to just say thank you, because if nothing else then I am grateful that someone thinks whatever they said. I digress into a tangent. That was my Thursday night, but let me get to my Thursday afternoon.
Thursday is therapy day. A day that I love, and that I look forward to. At the same time though, it is hard work and I don't always enjoy working hard (there, I said it). Sometimes I think there is no need for me to go because I'm fine and I could live in this state I am in for my entire life and be FINE. Yes, that is true. What is also true is that I don't want to be just fine. I want to be more than that. What is 'more than that', you ask? I don't know, but just go with it. So alas, I always go to therapy even when I don't necessarily want to. So I kinda went in with a few things from the previous week that I had been thinking about, and one of them being my boundaries with friends. Something that A told me was that it didn't seem to be as much about my boundaries of keeping other people in their right place, but having appropriate boundaries with my internal self. I have this urge to always tell people everything. I want to be an authentic person and sometimes that translates into letting too many people know too many things. Don't get me wrong, I think transparency is great, but I don't protect my stuff. Through the hour and 15 minutes (because we ran over per usual) we met, it also became obvious how hard I work at keeping relationships in the way that I want them, and more times than not I take on other people's unhappy feelings towards me. And if someone is the least bit unhappy with me (through no wrong doing on my part) I work at making sure it doesn't stay that way. It just so happens there was an example that day of my doing that, so it figured that it would come up. These things are not to be complaints or needing a pat on the back, but more so just observations, and the question of why? Well obviously there wasn't enough time to tackle the major why in my life, but A gave me some advice on watching myself and noticing my need to give myself and any anxiety that comes prior or post to said giving. So there! Therapy Thursday. I know that I didn't really expand on much, and that is on purpose. It's an experiment. Go with it.
Last but not least...
I am leaving in 5 days...me just writing that gave me butterflies in the tum! The good kind, the excited, nervous kind that I love. I am ready (not in the packing, done with school work sense), but in the mental, internal sense. I have been praying that God would prepare my heart and that I would be willing and able to do what I need/want to there. So there it is...I'm ready. There are parts of me that are scared (not for my safety) for what will be seen, heard, and experienced there. I think that is all I should write for now, I have more to say but this post is long enough already. Our trip is being commissioned tomorrow at Church, happy about that.
So, I'm done now.
"He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Day O' Love Uno:
So here is my thought...I am not a vday fan, never have been. Single, coupled, young, younger...just never got it. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely sentimental and full of love, and I think that is what I find least appealing about this day, the lack of sentiment. Bring it out in the mundane, not when places charge more for a set menu, chocolate, and roses. However, in my ever growing love of life I knew I would be just as loving on said love day. I preemptively struck with an early valentine of my precious ELW, as well as my first love G (going on 11 years together). HA.
Ok....moving on. Being that I am so overwhelmingly filled with love for others, as well as receiving love from others, I should be all about love day. So this year I was. I received a hand made card from my valentine, as well as just general good fellowship with my lovely school mates. Since this would be the time to do it, I can be mushy and just say that I feel as if I am just wrapped up in love. Not as in consumed by it, but as in an image of being in a cozy fleece blanket or snuggie if you will. And, the right kind of love at that. The kind that looks internally, and cares about what is really going on, and can speak the truth with love. And to go even further on that note...the whole premise of love was set in stone by none other than JC. That's what I call LOVE! Dying for someone who didn't earn it, doesn't deserve it...all in the name of LOVE! I'm not sold on a day of love, I'm sold on a life of it, and nothing less.
Ok...phew. Got that out
Here's to my life of love :)
(i stole the picture from here )
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Exhaustion means that our vital energies are completely worn out and spent. Spiritual exhaustion is never the result of sin, but of service. Whether or not you experience exhaustion will depend on where you get your supplies. Jesus said to Peter, “Feed My sheep,” but He gave him nothing with which to feed them. The process of being made broken bread and poured-out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other people’s souls until they learn to feed on God. They must drain you completely— to the very last drop. But be careful to replenish your supply, or you will quickly be utterly exhausted. Until others learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus directly, they will have to draw on His life through you. You must literally be their source of supply, until they learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be our best for His lambs and sheep, as well as for Him.
Have you delivered yourself over to exhaustion because of the way you have been serving God? If so, then renew and rekindle your desires and affections. Examine your reasons for service. Is your source based on your own understanding or is it grounded on the redemption of Jesus Christ? Continually look back to the foundation of your love and affection and remember where your Source of power lies. You have no right to complain, “O Lord, I am so exhausted.” He saved and sanctified you to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that He is your supply. “All my springs are in you” (Psalm 87:7).
So, also on this day I went for a run. I have thankfully been running more and I think it is totally helping any anxiety I might have or been having. I prayed for pretty much everyone in my life, and not just generally, but specifically to things that I knew they were going through. It made the 45 minutes I was running (up and down hills) go by so much faster. It's just amazing what being outside (I won't say in nature because I was running through a neighborhood-though it is my neighborhood) can do, and obviously the added benefit of one on one time with God. Seriously, people who don't talk to God are missing out. It doesn't have to be in a church (though it certainly can) but just taking the time to talk to the one that created you and to listen...it's priceless.
Picture from my run :)
I suppose the point of this post was to be that I was exhausted spiritually, but that is ok, and even necessary...because I know where to go to replenish my supply. There is more that I want to write about but alas, I'm spent for the day.
On a happy note: I was reunited with my sweet pup! I went and go her from my mom tonight and it was a splendid reunion to say the least!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
While to others it will not seem this way, and that is fine, I can accept it...God rocked my world yesterday. Let that set in for a second...we good? Ok moving on.
Let's rewind back to the prayer retreat when I had my awesome 2 hour quiet time with God and got some things sorted out. I pretty much was being impatient and He was like you aren't ready for what I'm doing and I am preparing your heart for what is to come. Fast forward to Monday...I didn't have to work so I stayed after school to hang out with some friends and ELW pretty much called me out and was like you seem dissatisfied. Truth. I haven't been acting like myself. Yet it was probably most disturbing because I didn't know why. Everything seemed off and I wasn't sure why. I was so dissatisfied in fact that I pretty much cried the whole way to small group. I hate that. (And no I haven't gotten over the crying thing in therapy yet. Still working on it.) I felt uneasy about the state of many things and it all really felt like a mess in my head of unhappiness. Now...I don't know that most people would even have known such things because in general I think I can hide things well. Call it a gift, or call it most peoples lack of truly taking the time to see other people. But alas...Tuesday comes. So, you will have to forgive me for being vague and ambiguous for the time being but something happened. That is all I will say for now. God showed me what he had been preparing my heart for big time. The type of reaction I expected to have was not the one I was having and that can only be because God was right and I wasn't ready until now to know. While everything I'm being prepared for hasn't been made known and that is not to say everything in my world is A-ok, but the fact is, I now know where my uneasy feelings were coming from and I have a tangible example of what God was doing in me. He is just SO good, all the time. Things just happen seemingly out of nowhere and yet you look and there are all these signs that are leading up to it and yet I am still oblivious until the time where I am being retrospective. So there it is...I am no longer dissatisfied. Not about everything, but about the most important things.
I have been reading many blogs lately and two of my very favorite ones (here and here ) have been talking a lot about relationships and the path of them and what they are made of and besides making me look at all of the people in my life and their relationship to me... it makes me think of those people and their relationships with other people as well. Just how interconnected we are and how that helps to form us as people. Just for the sake of reading awesome-ness you should check out the blogs. But more importantly, I will copy something I read the other day from the 2nd one that was just wonderful and it made me think about someone I know, and the obvious (to me) missing link in their life.
"Guess what relationship requires?
that we are willing to make ourselves vulnerable.
that we are willing to need someone else.
that we are willing to say so.
that we are willing to be hurt.
because the willingness to be vulnerable is where relationship lives.
the question is: are you willing?"
And what a question that is...are we willing? I feel like most people would say yes, but then retract when it came down to certain parts. Because the fact is that we don't want to be hurt, or admit that we need others. That doesn't come easily or naturally, and it really only works out well every time with one person (Jesus). People hurt us. Most of the time they don't intend to, but it happens. Yet as much as it sucks sometimes, I would have it no other way. I would be in a very sad place if I had no deep, meaningful, loving relationships. I'm glad that I have down times (valleys if you will) to know the good times.
On to another note of worth: I can't believe it is already the 2nd month of the year and in 22 days I will be somewhere over the Atlantic en route to India via Frankfort. I can only imagine what kind of heart preparation God is doing for that but I know it is great per usual.
I can't wait.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I'll start with the fact that I had such an incredible day. I signed up for a prayer retreat at church for this morning that started at 9am. It was one of those mornings that 8am came really early, and would have been so easy to just sleep in which is what I wanted to do. But I knew how great it would be and that I needed alone time with Jesus. And alone time is just what I got! I committed a new verse of Scripture to the brain today and have decided it is my 'life verse' for now.
"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Ephesians 4:1
That Paul knows how to write a letter, and in prison at that...good stuff! Anyways, my desire to live a 'worthy' life is what brought up the talk of being enough. I want to be enough. I want to fully meet the demands and needs expected of me (definition of enough). What I don't do well is give myself a little grace when I fall short of being enough. It's such a crazy/interesting (insert other such word) thing that I alone was enough for Jesus to die on a cross for me, yet I never have to be enough for him because he is enough for me. Getting all that? Isn't that mind-boggling? Yes, I think so too. It's something that doesn't just click in my brain, it takes some "hmm, really?" time. But then when you think it can't possibly be true, He shows up and pursues me like I've never been pursued, and loves me deeper than even my own mother can (and she loves me A LOT), never leaves, never turns away, and always shows up. It's unlike any other and is done better than anyone ( YEAH YEAH YEAH ) You're welcome ELW! So all that to really say that the prayer retreat was just that...a retreat. A wonderful silence of 2 hours in which I could have a conversation with JC and actually listen. It was like a breath of fresh air. At the end of it we took communion (awesome) and then we were asked to write now where you experience God's extravagant love. It took me a minute, but then I realized it immediately. I experience it through the people that love Him and love me deeply through Him. Who love me as well as any human can, in an unconditional, non-manipulative, non-coercive way that just says, I see you. And in my spirit of thanksgiving, I told a few of those people thanks for being those people. It was incredible to hear the women say where they experience His love and it was just a heart happy few hours. Just a really powerful way to spent a Saturday morning in the presence.
Ash and I went to lunch afterwards and chatted it up...followed by getting home and receiving in the mail my 2nd and 3rd favorite things to get in the mail. 2nd being the bright orange shutterfly box, which holds pictures, but in this case my picture book I made for our safari trip in TZ. I had already made a book of the babies, and I knew I was going to make one just of the safari, but honestly I was waiting until they gave me a free photo book. Yes, I am that cheap. It was PERFECT!! I looked through it 3 times already and I LOVE it!!! So, the 3rd thing that makes me happy is to get clothes in the mail, yet not just any clothes. I got my Ordinary Hero "change the world for one" tshirt. First of all, you can see the blog and the tshirt here. A little back story on this. I was sent a youtube video from B of a "gotcha video" of this woman in TN who was traveling to Ethiopia to bring home her adopted little girl. So obviously because I love Africa, adoption, and blogs I started following her story which led to following other blogs as well. Turns out that her sister also adopted from Ethiopia and has this organization called Ordinary Hero and also lives in TN. I saw the shirts on her blog and they were sold out for the longest time, but she emailed me last week and told me they had more and so I quickly ordered mine. So that is the 3rd thing that was so great! Phew!! Quite the eventful day for me...and I got to go to dinner with the birthday people tonight, big day that they turned 3-0!!! Crazy!! Oh yes, I also got a "new bed" today. A & C bought a bed to go in their guest room (my room) and so I have a mahogany sleigh bed now...I am officially an adult! HA! Needless to say, I am beat!
Can't wait for church in the am. :)
"Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams." Ephesians 3
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So there it was...small in nature but packs a big punch. I'll give a small side note: I love notes, and because of this I love sending them, they make me happy to receive them, but also SO very much so to give them. It doesn't have to be much, just a small thank you to the people in your life that you are thankful for. It is a rarely used thing, and I'm on a mission to make that not so. Why shouldn't we tell the people that we care about how much we care about them. It's great to show them and all but sometimes you just can't show what you can say in words! Bring forth the note of today...it was in my mailbox just waiting for me, and I knew by the size that it had to be a note but I didn't want to get my hopes up. But there it was...a note from a friend. It didn't even need to say anything, it could have been blank and I still would have loved it, but it said a lot and I appreciated it sooo much!!! I appreciate the person who sent it, her life and journey and faith, I appreciate the time she took to do it (albeit maybe 5 minutes), and the underused snail mail!! In a world where all I get is books and bills in the mail, a "note day" is worthy of note!!! So a shout out to the person who sent the note, I LOVED it!
You are the salt of the earth
SO...let's get to the absolute best part of the whole day!!!! So Emily, Bethany, and I all have both classes together today and we were going to eat lunch up in our classroom but I needed to microwave mine in the kitchen so we all trudged down into the basement (not really basement-y though-its the headquarters if you will of student life) and what do we see??? A CRAP TON OF PEOPLE! It was a PARTY!!! Oh my, there were like 50 students at least down there, and pretty much everyone that I have ever met at the school was there. Do you know what that equals? bomb.com! Not only were ALL of my school friends there, but there was free pizza and drinks for lunch. Score again. Literally I looked at Emily and was like my heart is so happy right now, like busting over sort of happy, the sort of happy that makes any stress go away and is not from any material source, but from within and of being in community and relationship with people that make me smile. It was a seriously great feeling and one that I can thank someone better for, who always shows me what's up. Just when I think that I am _____, other things come along and remind me of how fickle my emotions and I can be at times. Following said great lunch, we made our way to our next class in which we discussed family systems...gotta love endlessly talking about our family of origin! I also realized that we are having to do a genogram (sort of like a family tree with different symbols) of our entire family with 3 generations! I did a little prelim jot down of how many people that is, and I'm already above 50...SUPER! That includes aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, step siblings, ALL of them!!! Good thing I have a stepmom who loves to do family trees! So that is it...that is my day, and all of its glory! HA
So going back to the beginning...my teacher in my first class said that we are going to begin each class by praying (love it!) and this was the prayer that we read today and I thought it was really good and totally just started my day off right! Also something that we did in the class that was so hard and I would not have thought it would be was to number a paper from 1-20 and write answers to the question I am ____? Who would have thought it would be that difficult to think of 20 things about yourself? Well it was!
So that concludes the week back at school...2 whole days of fun! Let's begin the reading and studying and writing...but for now I am on a HAPPY HIGH and loving every minute!!
The prayer:: Pour into my heart the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and spiritual strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness. Grant that I might ever seek thy face with all my heart and soul and strength, until, in thy mercy, I am brought into thy holy presence.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
1. the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.
2. immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; discernment: an artist of rare perception.
In philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science, perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. The word "perception" comes from the Latin words perceptio, percipio, and means "receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses."
So this past week has been a blur of nothing and everything. I had the entire week off from school, and everyday but Friday off from work. So what did I do with my time you ask? Well I slept in everyday (though never later than 10am), I laid around, I watched tv, caught up on every blog that I like to read (heavenly), read, watched movies. All that sounds uneventful, and it was, and I LOVED every minute of it. On the other hand though, I did get a lot of things done as well. I cleaned my entire room, and bathroom spotless! I did laundry, cleaned out my closet and drawers, prepared my bookcase, bookbag, and such for school. So it was a lovely mix of productivity and nothingness. My sister and I have this saying that (we didn't make it up or anything but we like it) that only boring people get bored. I kept seeing all these people on facebook saying how stir crazy/bored they were and I just have to think that those same people just might be saying how busy and stressed they are at any given point in the next few months and was it REALLY all that bad to be forced to slow down and spend some time at home? I think not personally.
That leads me into what I have been having thoughts about this week. The idea of perception and our use/misuse of it. I thought about it in general terms first, because after sunday night into Monday, you looked outside and all you saw was white and it was beautiful. It looked like a winter wonderland...perfection! It wasn't until you went out in it and tried to walk somewhere that you realized that your perception was not accurate and the reality was that it was slippery and icy and it crunched in a weird way when you walked. In this case snow≠soft! So that is just a small example but a tangible one at that.
Another thing I was thinking about was the perceptions that people love to put out about themselves. Obviously not generally speaking, but individuals love to have people think the best of them. There is not anything inherently wrong with wanting other people to focus on the positive and by playing that up, but its when people get lost in their own perceptions of themselves. It's like you become what you are putting out about yourself. Fake it till you make it if you will. Except that I don't think that a lot of people make it. I tend to think that they get disillusioned with what they are perceiving themselves to be, and not what they actually are. Let me be honest here as well...I do it too. It would be a lie to say that I don't. I think that the possible difference is awareness and a deep seeded realization of who I am/am not, what I will/and will not ever be. I am broken, but whole, loved deeply, bought at a price, adopted, and free. I just wish everyone else knew those truths, and could rest in them. It changes everything. It would make such a difference in our perceptions of the world and our part in it. I think that is why I love counseling so much. You are able to sit and be present with another person, usually in their deepest pain (if you're any good lol). It's a powerful thing, that not too many get to experience. I'll take real talk with real people over perceptions and falsities any day!
Here's to the first week back in 5 weeks...I'm oddly happy about it. I am ready to get back to what I love, even with all it's rough parts. I'm ready to continue fulfilling my purpose and doing it with a grateful and overflowing heart.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8