Dec 23, 2009

all promises find their Yes in Him

What if...is a dangerous place to be. We look at a situation and wonder "what if..."

Example: What if...I go skiing and get a concussion and die.

That is a rather extreme example. I may have thought this at one point in my life. Or several points. BUT the point is that what if keeps us from life. What if keeps us from experiencing things that may scare us or make us angry or break our hearts or enrich our lives.

What if I made a mistake? What if I left Kansas City in May? What if I stayed in Kansas City in May? What if I embarrass myself? What if I run out of money? What if I never go back to Haiti? What if I get stuck living the American Dream and am too scared or comfortable to get out?

In the last few weeks I have gotten in the habit of shutting myself up if I catch myself asking "what if?" Because I don't want to miss out on life.

The God who made the world
and everything in it,
being Lord of Heaven and Earth,
does not live in temples made by man,
nor is He served by human hands,
as though He needed anything,
since He himself gives to mankind
life and breath and everything.
And He made from one man every nation of mankind
to live on all the face of the earth,
having determined allotted periods
and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
that they should seek God,
in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him
and find Him.
Yet He is actually not far from each one of us,
for "In him we live and move and have our being."
(Acts 17:24-28)

I'm not sure I know how that passage technically makes me stop asking what ifs, but it seems to point out that I have no control over my life. We get life and breath and movement and the ability to think and connect and love and hurt and empathize and yell and scream and laugh from Him. So listen to the directions, follow the lead set in front of you, and go live.

I am pretty sure this is what life could feel like if I stopped asking what if.

Dec 20, 2009

A Better Story (Part 2)

Update: I went for another run today. I still walked a lot. Tomorrow I walk, solely walk. It makes running easier.

So yesterday after I chose to walk instead of run, Sara Groves instead of Glee, pray instead of complain, these words were rather pressing:

we come with beautiful secrets
we come with purposes written on our hearts
we come to every new morning,
with possibilities only we can hold

i want to add to the beauty,
to tell a better story

it comes in small inspirations
it brings redemption to life and work
it comes in loving community
it comes in helping a soul find its worth

redemption comes in strange places,
small spaces
calling out the best of who we are

and this is grace: an invitation to be beautiful

And as I listened to this and reflected on winter and the cold air and the barren trees - I felt the hope that creation carries in beauty and burning lungs. Then I was taken to a very different place, a very different home than this one.

Twins, abandoned, malnourished, dehydrated, sick.

Those same twins, a few months later. Happy, healthy, loved.

THAT is a better story. The small acts that brought these two children into the arms of people who could mobilize to help them, the formula bought by village people to feed these two, the doctor who could care for them, the arms that were there to hold and feed and cuddle and console.

From barren to growing - a reminder of faithfulness and the impending kingdom of God, that we are left to carry on. That, as in Acts, we are here to point people to a better story, to add to the beauty, to carry the light, redemption and grace.

But now dear friends, my heart is heavy for a new one. Another one to add to the list of the countless names and faces I have shown you in the past few months.

Matthew. Age 7 months. Sick and starved, left on a dirty, cement floor alone.

He's been taken in! He has new arms to love him and feed him and cuddle him, just like the twins above. He has a new family of nearly 60 brothers and sisters to grow up alongside. It's a long, hard, uphill road ahead of this little guy. But seeing Hannah and Jeremiah's faces now proves that all is not lost.

And for each of these stories I have countless others. The Lord is continually prodding me, whispering something that my heart begins to stir with, but I don't know what it is. But I do know that when I think about my life, no matter what I do, I want to be adding to the beauty, pointing out the redemption in this very broken world. And whether that is with restaveks or rape victims or special needs children, I hope that I won't be too afraid to pull myself out of comfort and complacency.

Maybe that's one thing running will teach me.

Dec 19, 2009

A Better Story (Part 1)

I love being home. After a semester of gritting my teeth and whining and complaining about being away from where I wanted to be, it is a relief to be here. To wake up early and drink coffee with my dad. To look out my front door and be greeted by a snow-covered mountain view. To have family movie night with Mom, Dad, Grandma, and BFF. Home is happy.

Yesterday morning my dad and I took our dogs for a walk at at Fox Run. We met lots of other people and dogs, and I got my first puppy time of the season. When we got back in the car, I looked over at the mountains and thought "It's amazing how much this place feels like home, even though I never have lived here." Because Colorado, as a place, is much more of home than Kansas City. Don't get me wrong, I love Kansas City. But I find much more rest and joy in just being in Colorado...even if it is the opposite side of the state.

I've started to read Acts again, and for some reason unknown to me, I love the book. I suppose what I have learned in the last few days is that it is a book that resonates with the world I see right now. Jesus, having just left his disciples, has left them with quite the task in front. And as they receive the Holy Spirit and encounter the idolatry of the time, they begin to fight back against the hopelessness of the world. They bring the news of Hope, though it is a news that is fought against. It is a news that leaves people stoned and running for their lives.

It is a news that seems to tell people "You don't have life figured out, and you're killing yourself trying to find value and worth and meaning and life in temporal, slight, and meaningless things, in idols."

Sounds a little bit like the world today.

So after I read some more of Acts, about Judas's bowels splitting open, I pulled my butt off the couch. I changed my clothes and grabbed my iPod and forced myself out the door. It's running time.

I got across Vickers and realized that it was going to be a difficult jaunt. I love Colorado, the blue sky, the...thin air? I managed to run for a bit, then got angry.

I hate running, I thought to myself.
This sucks.
I can't even breathe a full breath in, my lungs hurt, and I'll never get in shape at this rate.

As I rounded a corner, I was smacked with a perfect view of Pikes Peak on a clear, sunny, chilly morning, dusted with snow. I stopped running, and just looked for a moment, before I decided that I would much rather walk. I switched my playlist from Glee singles and pop hits that kick my butt into gear to Sara Groves.

So then I thought about how the cold air hurt my lungs, a slight burn that exercise and altitude combined creates. And as much as I dislike the sensation, I realized that it's a reminder of hope. How? In a world that is seemingly dead, barren, and frozen, cold air wakes us up. It opens our eyes and moves our muscles and reminds us that there is something there. That life is behind us and before us and among us. That the dry bones will be renewed, that the desert will bloom again, that injustice will be righted, and that hope is here.

At least, that's the way I felt it today.

This semi-revelation continued throughout my morning walk, and I'm eager to formulate the thoughts. To be continued...

Dec 16, 2009

just do it

As every break begins, I wonder to myself "How am I going to come back different?"

Because if we aren't changing, if we aren't growing, if we aren't refining, then what the heck are we doing?

Farewell Kansas City - see you in 5 weeks!

Dec 10, 2009

Bye, Bye, By(e) (The Book)

Two years and four months ago I walked from campus down to the Liberty Square.

My destination: By The Book
My objective: to get a job
My result: VICTORY!

And this morning, I sit in the front window of By The Book, looking out on the same exact Square. It's been a good two and a half years. And we have seen a lot change within these walls in that time.

Tonight at 6 PM, we close By The Book for the last time.

I tell people that working at By The Book is like working in the middle of a hybrid episode of Cheers, Gilmore Girls, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

And despite my complaints of some of the regulars (like the time the guy blew on my neck?!) and the automatic espresso machine, each time I walk through the old wooden door and under the ridiculous maroon awning, it's a little bit like going home.

I've been a part of the transition from bookstore to cafe to hosting live music. I've got Saturday mornings down. I know how long to heat the extra hot strata and which mug to use for the triple shot latte that goes alongside. I know who wants the same drink each time they come in. I know when to reach for the cranberry nut muffin and when it goes in the sack or on the plate.

These people, triple shot mocha whipped cream no lid, "big" vanilla latte EXTRA vanilla, peanut butter mocha man, sugar free caramel skim milk latte in a mug, "baby" americano with two shots and a lot of room, these people were By The Book's people. And we, the employees, were their people too.

It is a sad day in Liberty, Missouri. This is a significant part of my life. Thanks for the memories, By The Book. It's like the passing of an old friend. I'll miss you.

Dec 8, 2009

7 Things

I have a list of things compiling in my head of what to do over Christmas break. It is, after all, my final break of school. Ever. Well, maybe not ever, but since I don't intend on returning to school anytime soon, it is ever.

1) Watch Away We Go. Any movie with Alexi Murdoch behind the music I am destined to love.

2) Bake cookies. I love baking cookies. I will have lots of time to perfect some delicious recipes. Any ideas? I have to try to make these too. Delicious!

3) Find some puppies and play with them. I would like to repeat this event several times.

4) Start learning how to sew. Because if I am ever going to make my own dresses, I need to start learning.

5) Read some books. Currently on my list:
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma
I just looked through every book on my shelf for some more inspiration. Clearly, I need some more suggestions.

6) Go on a walk every day. Why? Because I love walking, and I hate running. That's why.

7) Explore. I don't know much about Colorado Springs or Denver or anywhere on the Front Range. I plan on lots of solo exploration, and some not so solo exploration.

Tomorrow's the big day people. After tomorrow, at approximately 12:20 PM, I will be free falling into freedom.

Dec 7, 2009

Sticking it to "The Man"

Courtesy of a Southwest runway delay and a very entertaining stewardess:

Three men are walking in the desert and bump into a genie's lamp.
The genie pops out and asks the first man what his wish is.

"I want to be the strongest man in the world."
"Are you sure about that?" asks the genie.
"Yes!" the man replied, and POOF, his wish was granted.

The genie asks the second man what his wish is.
"I want to be the richest man in the world."
"Are you sure about that?" asks the genie.
"Yes!" the man replied, and POOF, his wish was granted.

The genie asks the third man what his wish is.
"I want to be the smartest man in the world."
"Are you sure about that?" asks the genie.
"Yes!" the man replied, and POOF, he turned into a woman.

Yeah, you are welcome!

Today I went to the store, intending to buy a few things. You know, apples and yogurt, the necessities to carry me through the next week. As I walked past the cosmetics area, I noticed that over the aisles were signs that said "Beauty". Each sign had some sort of eyeliner or lip gloss. They were on all white backgrounds, with bright gold eyeshadow powder and red lip stain.

Internally something revolted. That isn't what beauty is. And I am tired of the lies, of the misleading representation of beauty. Because when I think of beauty, I want to think first of these things:

Dearest Loveli, the most tempered, measured, independent girl.

Paula, with the eyes and smile that will steal your heart the instant you meet her.

The sunrise of all sunrises

The official joker & laugh machine of the Parsons family.

We live in a polluted and perverted society. I don't really think we'll ever change that as we'd like. I don't think our self-deprecation or judgmental attitudes will ever fully go away. But I think we all long for true, deep beauty. The kind of beauty that comes from a newborn baby or an unobstructed view of creation or in watching someone utilize his or her giftedness. Beauty comes in PB&J smeared faces and sweaty Haitian children in polyester dresses. Beauty comes in encouraging other people, in serving other people, and in dying to self.

Because, just like Psalms says, those who look to Him are radiant.

So...take that, Target cosmetics department. I boycott your products and advertising today. Figure out how to bottle some liquid joy from Paula, and maybe I'll reconsider our relationship.

Dec 6, 2009

Half Full? Half Empty? Half Over? Half Started?

The year of 2009 held a lot. When I reflect upon the year of 2009, I can truly say it was the most radical, unexpected, life-altering year of my life.

Today is St. Nicholas Day, when my family used to open stockings. Now that we are scattered to the four corners, we don't get to do that together. But I always love this day. It is also, ahem, my half birthday. Which is no big deal, but I was thinking that meant I am 21 1/2 today. Was it really 6 months ago? So much has happened since then.

This was 6 months ago today...

Each time I look at this picture, I am reminded of how the Lord orders our steps. How I was blessed to meet such friends as Diana and Mal. How Volcy and Sadrac and Wicky give of themselves each and every day, giving to each other and to their neighbors and to strange white girls who show up and don't know anything. They took me in, called me "Ti Fi" (little girl), and became my surrogate big brothers.

2009 is swiftly coming to a close. 2010, the year of all years, is around the corner. It will (hopefully) be a year of graduation, a year of endings and beginnings, and the year of kicking cancer's ass. Because that's what the road ahead is. So here we go.

Yet before those days come, we plod along in the sometimes dreary, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, sometimes long days and steps.

Thankfully, I have a toffee nut cookie to keep me company in this moment.

Dec 5, 2009

a swell season

When I got off the plane tonight, I wanted to ask the pilot to turn right around and take me back. I'd hitchhike back if I needed to.

I felt a little sad walking through the airport. Then I was greeted by these faces:


And now as I sit in the quiet of my house, reflecting on the sweetness of my last week, I am reminded that the beauty is surrounding me, that the people of my life are beautiful and precious, and I can rest in the ways they point me towards something greater than myself.

Dec 3, 2009

Thanks and Hope

At the moment I am sitting in Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, next to my precious mother who is recovering from her second surgery this month. Her surgery went better than we could have expected. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to each and every person who prayed and wrote and called and encouraged yesterday - it has been quite the journey the last few weeks. Please know the Parsons family is so grateful for our community, for the kingdom of God that is so evident in our lives.

God is about healing and restoration. My dad reminded me of this yesterday. We live in a world where sin and brokenness have polluted the beauty and goodness that God intended. We live in a world where cancer eats away at healthy tissues and babies are lost and children are left alone, fending for themselves on the streets.

I have confronted those things in the last 6 months. I have kicked and screamed against God, asking Him why and where He is. I have questioned whether He is here, whether He cares.

He patiently waited for me to take a deep breath, and He let me know He is here. He is working. That I have hope in things outside of this world. That poverty never goes away, and cancer will destroy, and we will never be able to save anyone ultimately. That sin is real. That we must repent from our own - and then DO something about it.

"Be an agent of mercy" He says.

For the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
waiting for our blessed hope,
the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us
to redeem us from all lawlessness
and to purify for himself a people for his own possession
who are zealous for good works.
(Titus 2:11-14)

And I am continually reminded that we wait with great hope and anticipation for the Kingdom of God to fully appear, that our Rock of Ages has satisfied justice and written His mercy on our hearts and hands, so we stand in faith, our hope secure in the love and grace of our Father.

And until the Kingdom has arrived in all glory and fullness, the extension of love and support, the selfless giving, the persistence in trying, and the dying to self is the building up of the Kingdom now, the Kingdom here that is shining through the dark clouds overhead.

Soon we will hear from pathology and know more about the potential chemotherapy and radiation. Here is our road now, to continue on with faith, walk with grace our feet and faith our eyes.

(Many thanks to Redeemer Fellowship, Sandra McCracken, Jena Lee,
Sara Groves, and Caedmon's Call for the beautiful words.)

Nov 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and beyond

Thank you Rosie for this wonderful gift - better believe it will be one repeat most of the next month!

Nov 22, 2009

Random

That last post was a fail. Because - WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?

I really wanted everyone to see metallic furry Uggs.

Oh there you go.

Tonight I cleaned my room. I mean, cleaned it a lot. I listened to some Glee favorites. People, I have the "Glee Goosebumps". They are just SO good...the singers, that is. The plot leaves something to be desired, especially when Finn sings to Quinn about having his baby. I have never cringed so much. I wish I could link the video, but I can't.

So - when I finished cleaning my room, I looked to my spare change jar. I love to collect spare change, because then when the jar full you have $40 to your name. However, tonight I found very little spare change on my floor/pockets as I cleaned. I really must be poorer than I thought.

Sundays are the only day of the week I don't look forward to the next stage of my life. I will miss Redeemer so much.

Rock of Ages, when in want or rest
My desperate need for such a Savior I confess.
Pull these idols out from my heart's embrace,
Rock of Ages I need your grace.

Rock of Ages, my great hope secure,
Your promise holds just like an anchor to my soul.
Bind your children with cords of love and grace,
Rock of Ages, we give you praise.

Nov 21, 2009

Holiday Cheer?

In spirit of the coming holiday season, I was struck with some blogging thoughts.

If you are carrying a designer handbag, purse, or wallet, I am probably judging you. What is the advantage of carrying a Coach bag over one from T.J. Maxx? What is the purpose of spending exorbitant amounts of money on something to carry gum, some money, a phone, tampons, receipts, gum wrappers, and your $15 lip gloss? LAME.

PEOPLE - THIS IS $400!

14255_svwt_a0.jpg

And what about these???


I think these are the ugliest things I have seen. METALLIC, fur trimmed Uggs. You too can sport these for $225.

gold-classic-tall-ugg.jpg


I could go on about designer jeans and $38 headbands. But I will stop.


So until Christmas has past I hope to avoid the mall. Today I set my sights on the homemade presents I am planning - here's hoping I learn to be creative and crafty quickly!


Nov 18, 2009

When life takes a turn

Sometimes life takes a turn. Relationships begin, relationships end, your dream unravels, you find a "calling", your mom gets diagnosed with cancer.

And in those moments, you deny, you sit numbly, you cry, you get angry, your errands take you to the grocery store far away because you just can't go into the normal store. You keep yourself busy with the mundane, you don't tell people. You fold the clothes and go for walks and take 10 hours to write 2 and 1/2 pages.

You receive countless e-mails and phone calls. You get text messages and notes and gifts of sour candy and food and even plane tickets. People lend listening ears and hurting hearts and open arms.

Today I had two professors rearrange schedules and plans - all to allow me the opportunity to go home for the coming surgery. It is the second to last week of classes, and I will miss four of the five days. My presentations and tests are moved and flexible.

"You need to be there" they both told me.

Today I had someone ignore whatever plans were made for that week, and I have a ride back to Colorado. I will get to be at the hospital. I will get to annoy the nurses telling them how to do their jobs. I will get to be there.

Let me tell you something about the kingdom of God. I have seen it this week. I have seen the kingdom of God rally around the hurting members of my family. I have seen encouragement and heard their prayers. I have sat in my car and walked down the street and laid in my bed and been reduced to tears by the sheer volume of love. My heart is heavy and hurting, how I wish to be sitting next to my dear, sweet mom on the couch. But in all ways I see the kingdom envelope the hurt and offer comfort.

Thank you friends. Thank you on behalf of the entire family. We are loved, and you bless us each day.

Nov 13, 2009

a kind of grace

I think when you begin 4 separate blogs, and then delete each of them in turn, you shouldn't blog. Perhaps you just aren't ready with words to say.

I'm waiting for clarity to come, though for now the numbness will have to suffice.

Nov 9, 2009

If, If, If

I get frustrated when I catch myself speaking in "if only"...

If only I could move to Colorado.

If only I could make it through Community.

If only I could make it through spring semester.

If only I could get a graduate nurse job in the ER.

If only I could run every day.

If only I had the money.

If only I pass my boards.

If only I was smarter.

If only I was more dedicated.

If only, if only, if only.

Can you say insecurity??? I mean, people, it is getting absurd. And I think I am beginning to waste my life away. I am returning to that circus monkey mentality that Donald Miller talks about - and it is so unsatisfying.

"So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him." (2 Corinthians 5:9)

If only I could please him, then I may finally get it.

Nov 6, 2009

such great heights

You show that you are a letter from Christ delivered to us,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ our God.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us,
but our sufficiency is from God,
who has made us competent
to be ministers of a new covenant,
not of the letter but of the Spirit.
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Since we have such a hope,
we are very bold...
when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.

And we all,
with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
(2 Corinthians 3:3-6; 12-18)

Words to mull over, to saturate your mind.

Oct 30, 2009

Books, Beauty, Beast, and Babbling

Yesterday I was asked if I would ever be interested in owning a Kindle. You have to admit, it's attractive. I am an avid book buyer/reader/hoarder. I bought countless amounts of books when By The Book began to liquidate the bookstore, and I have yet to read any of them. It just isn't the right time yet. I think it will be the right time someday, you just have to wait for it. If I tried to read Everything is Illuminated when I was in fact in a Walden mood, it just wouldn't work.

When I go on trips, I am terrified I will read all my books before the trip ends. So I always bring more books than I could possibly read. I pack two in my suitcase. I carry three on my person.

5 books in a 4 day weekend? It never happens.

1 book in a 4 day weekend? It never happens.

Reading 0 books in a 4 day weekend? Happens often.

So - a Kindle makes sense for me right? It enables my problem. It allows me to carry hundreds of books in one sleek, fashionable piece of technology.

There's just one problem.

I love books too much.

The stories, yes. Without them, I would have never known about Middle Earth or Hogwarts or Mercy and Sharing. I wouldn't know about the hospital in Srebrenica during the war, or what really happens with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, or that child soldier rehabilitation really is possible. I wouldn't have become passionate about certain things without stories.

And on top of that, I love books. Libraries make me introspective. Books hold so much information, and they are beautiful. The smell of old books is incredible. The pages of new books make me excited - I get to be the first person to read the story here.

I am pretty sure that if someone ever wants me to fall in love with them, they need to watch Beauty and the Beast.

Oct 26, 2009

the wrecking ball

The last few days have been painful. The ache is tangible for somewhere other than here, but there is a new pain to be added to the mix.

It's the pain of learning you are wrong. I am weak. I am a sinner. I am messy.

But above all that I am prideful. That makes seeing weakness, sin, and mess very difficult to acknowledge.

I am in love with the people of Haiti. I miss the people of Haiti. I learned and grew and lived simply and joyfully. It is hard to come here, but I was reminded tonight that here is not my home. There is not my home either.

My home is with the Lord. I serve a Lord who loves me despite the fact that I look judgmentally on life, hiding behind my self-righteousness. I do desire to follow Him, and I am failing at it. But, as I am reminded every week at Redeemer, it has nothing to do with what I have done. I have nothing to merit my name. I have only Christ, and He has redeemed my soul from death.

The way he loves these precious ones, in the midst of the suffering without consistent meals or shelter from the rains...
The way he looks upon each child in Haiti, in every nation, how he knows every detail of their existence...
The way my parents' love for me and my siblings mirrors His love, but is only a slight reflection of the overwhelming love of Christ...
His love is stronger, bigger, immeasurable, immovable. stubborn. And that gives me hope because even though I can be stubborn and unmoved in my pride, His love wins. Every time.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Lord, may your power rest upon me in the coming days.

Oct 25, 2009

hold your mistake up

Today I wrote a lot of negative blogs. I started three of them in fact. I talked candidly about the messiness of my heart with some dear friends in my life this afternoon. My heart aches for the place where I felt lived among joy and freedom and openly broken people.

I miss cuddling with these girls every week. I have never felt so loved.

I miss everything about this girl. Thank goodness for skype and January 5th!

And yet, when the pain and the ache is so tangible, I am so blessed and reminded of the Lord's faithfulness and sovereignty when I am with these girls.
And most of all I get to celebrate time with my family, perhaps the greatest reminder of the fact that I am dearly loved by an unfathomable Lord.

without thy sweet mercy, i could not live here
sin would reduce me to utter despair
but through thy free goodness my spirit revives
and he that first made me still keeps me alive.

thy mercy is more than a match for my heart
which wonders to feel its own hardness depart.
dissolved by thy goodness, i fall to the ground
and weep for the praise of the mercy i've found.

Oct 24, 2009

Counting down.

There are some things that I really, really, really don't like. I am angry at the moment, so I want to say hate, but I won't. I will not let my emotions rule me, darn it!

Mostly it centers around one thing: America.

No, the western world.

I don't like it when people demand things rather than ask for them.

When people are inconsiderate of each other.

When 14 year olds talk about me to my face.

When people spend more money on worthless crap, on getting whatever is bigger and better at the moment.

When college life means so much that I don't want it to mean. I don't belong here. I can't belong here. All I want to do is leave, get out and leave it behind. I don't think I would give it a second thought if I didn't find the diploma something I sort of needed for the next step in my life.

I feel a lot better now - and I realize most of this has nothing to do with the western world, but something much deeper.

I miss the nights sitting at the Cistern and watching the lights of Port-au-Prince across the water.

I miss Jean Marc playing guitar in Diana's apartment.

I miss learning Creole in the pharmacy, giving people medicine.

I miss walking through villages and meeting new faces every time.

I miss walking through villages and seeing the same faces.

I miss the rain and thunder and lightening.

And walks with Diana.

And playing ball with Trigger.

And the Hope House kids.

And my four-wheeler that never stayed turned on but had to be popped into first while holding down the gas.

And tonight, I miss the rest. The ability to draw away, to be alone, to recharge, to sleep long and hard, and to wake up without any fear of missing an ounce of life, because the sun is just beginning to peak over the mountain behind the house. And where a new day starts with the same cup of coffee.

...even if it does use powdered creamer.

Oct 23, 2009

New Directions

I have transplanted over. Why you may ask? Simple...I made up my blog name years ago - and I got sick of it. It was too hard to direct people to, too complicated to explain. So...I changed it. New Directions!

Anyone get the Glee reference?

Speaking of Glee, I love it. It is so silly, so dramatic and traumatic, so musically addictive. I mean, Don't Stop Believing has never sounded so good. Or made me such a runner! Seriously, it will make you a runner. So inspirational.

I would like to start a glee club at Jewell. Better yet, I would like to be in some adult glee club after college. Yeah! Better start looking.

I have so much I want to blog about: fall leaves, running, Colorado, freedom, some other things. But I am working right now and probably shouldn't. Coming soon, however, you shall find these thoughts of mine spilt onto the pages of the internet for all to read.

Only 6.5 weeks. YES.

Oct 15, 2009

October 15, 2009

If I say birth, it probably conjures up some disturbing, painful, smelly, or unpleasant memories/images. You may think of the video they show in Sex Ed. You may think of the idea that it feels like pooping out a basketball. Apparently, that is somewhat close to how it feels. Or you may have some other things come to mind. I'll leave those to you.

Today I went to my last day of clinical in OB or labor & delivery or however you choose to call it. I have had a great 5 weeks on the floor. I put in catheters! I held lots of babies! I made beds and answered call lights and refilled water jugs and started showers and learned a lot about breast feeding. I would trade all of that for today.

I went into the room on the floor and met the couple at 6:00 this morning. The doctor came in and broke her water, and she was dilated to 4 cm. It's that point in labor where you transition into active labor - everything is getting started, and people get excited. The mom was happy and calm. She sat up, laid on her side, laughed at jokes.

2 hours go by. We came into to "check her", meaning see if she had dilated. Her epidural had kicked in, and she couldn't feel anything. You know what that means people...I GET TO CHECK HER. I felt a 6 cm cervix. 2 hours later, 2 centimeters. Good progress.

Take a break...watch a C-Section on a different couple. The doctor talked me through the process after they got the baby out. I was struck by the unfair advantage the dad has over the mom. I mean, she does the work over the 9 months. Sure, he puts up with mood swings and cravings, but she gets the back pain and swollen ankles and diet restrictions. Anything she does or does not do potentially hurts the baby. Then she gets strapped onto a table and gets the baby cut out of her, laying there while they stitch her up while the dad gets to take pictures and make sure the baby is alright. He stands by, proud, while doctors and nurses control bleeding and stitch up a uterus, then the abdominal muscles, then the fat layer, then the skin. I leave as the mom finally gets to hold her baby - close to 30 minutes following delivery. SHE HAS TO WAIT 30 MINUTES BEFORE SHE GETS TO HOLD HER BABY. Needless to say, I left slightly in a huff. Though the procedure was fascinating to watch.

Return to my couple's room. 2 hours later...and she's dilated to 6 cm still. No change. So we started her on pitocin, against her initial wishes, though she decides she is alright with starting pitocin, as long as it doesn't hurt the baby. The entire day the mom asks whether what her decision is affects the baby. The couple are so invested in this little life they have yet to see. What a beautiful thought.

Move along. Dilated to 8 cm. Eat lunch. Dilated to 9 cm. I check on her 30 minutes later to find her no longer calm, no longer cheerful, but in tears. She is frustrated. She is unhappy. She is in pain. And she is so ready to have this baby.

9.5 cm.

An hour later...10 CENTIMETERS.

And then the work really begins. Take apart the bed, pull up the stirrups, and push. Teach how to push. Deep breath in, push it out. Soothe, correct, encourage, repeat. I stood uncomfortably at the foot of the bed, holding one of her feet, pushing my weight against hers as she pushed.

The cheer is gone, the pain is worse. Next comes anger and frustration. Some common phrases I heard:
"I can't do this."
"It's too hard."
"Can't you just pull it out?"
"Give me a C-Section!"
"Give me a stronger epidural?"
"I'm too tired."
"Please don't make me do this anymore."

Scan to the dad's face. It's white. He's trying to be encouraging. He tries to comfort her, and she pushes him away. She tells him they are never having another baby. Then she refuses to push.

Meanwhile, her temperature is rising, and so is the baby's heart rate. There is meconium (baby's stool in the amniotic fluid in utero) in the fluid, meaning the baby could have breathed it in. That means potential problems. The nurse gets a little more antsy, insisting the baby has to come now, so it was time to stop saying she couldn't and tell herself she could and would.

Somehow my hand was grabbed. Somehow my head ended up by the mom's. And somehow I found myself looking her in the eye and telling her to push. I had no idea what I was saying most of the time, I was just telling her she could do it. And I believed she could. I had watched her come this far. I knew she could make it the rest of the way. Plus, I could see the top of the baby's head.

And on it went for about another 30 minutes. Until finally, the head was out, out popped one shoulder, then another. Then the rest of the body was out, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

But then something wasn't right. The doctor cut the cord, not the dad. The 2 NICU nurses took the baby and started working. I started to watch until the mom started to panic.

"Why isn't she crying? What's wrong?"

The nurse begins to try to calm her, and the mom begins to cry. The dad starts to cry. And then, believe it or not, I start to cry. Because I am hearing nothing from the baby. And I am hearing one of the nurses say "The baby isn't responding." Too quietly for the parents to hear, but I hear it.

So the mom is asking me what is wrong, and I have no idea. And I am looking around the room and praying my hardest that baby girl survives. Because throughout the day I have begun to love her and to love her parents. And after all this work, after the fight of the last 9 months, they deserve to have their baby alive. And they deserve to have a healthy baby.

And then, at minute 2:38, the gasp happens. And she cries.

And then we all cry.

And mom is pleasant again. She thanks me again and again for holding her hand and for coaching her through it. And I just tell her how grateful I am for the day with their family. I take their family picture, then I say my goodbyes. It's 15 minutes past my time to leave. But I am stopped by the mom...

"But you have to get your picture with her!"

Meaning the baby. So I scooped up all 8 lbs, 14 ounces of cuddly goodness and smiled.

I walked out of the room, a little stunned, rather joyful, and mostly emotional.

I think I found something that could keep me in hospitals a little longer than anticipated.

Oct 14, 2009

Ramble, grumble, and anticipate

I am sitting at my dining room table. My foot is shaking nervously. I am antsy. I change my position frequently. I look around the room, switching songs 30 seconds in, trying to distract myself from the present dilemma.

Then I decide to look at Craigslist. I am finding the perfect apartments. I am finding the perfect puppies. The weather will hold for a few more weeks. My heart is ready today. It is time, says the biological clock - not in the sense of...you know, biology. More the internal rhythm has settled here for too long. I like Kansas City. I would come back and live in Kansas City. But now - now it is time for things to change.

Kansas City has been good to be for the last 6+ years. I can't believe it's been this long. I think the day I leave here will be a sad day. But my gut tells me that something waits outside the realm of the city lights. Something's out there - and I think I have touched on it before, it's just figuring out where it is.

Friday marks 25% completion of this final year. Go back to getting off the plane at MCI, mourning the return from Haiti, but shrieking and hugging my mom so tightly in the airport. Then go forward to this point. So much has happened in those short 7 weeks. And so much more will happen in the following 7 weeks.

I don't want to figure out my life. I don't want to make a new plan. I don't want to have a place lined up. I just want to be able to live life with my family. It is the most recent development in my mind. I miss them so tangibly. I am antsy with the idea that the day after tomorrow I will be driving up to my parent's house, spending the weekend with dear friends in a new town. Exploring the possibilities with some guidance from a seasoned veteran of Colorado Springs.

I'll breathe in some cleaner air and pray again for patience and direction and peace in my place. What a shame it would be to waste the remaining 75% to only find I have nothing figured out, and I am actually scared out of my mind.

That's the key. I am scared. I am lost. And I am ready.

Oct 12, 2009

designed

"The spaces left undefined by technology and the fields where industry has yet to obscure - that is where God has the room to speak and heal..."








since we are surrounded

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!...
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord...
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
(Psalm 34:4-14)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight,
and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus,
the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

When you have friends in your life that point you to the Lord, whose lives reflect so tangibly the Love, the Joy, the Peace, and the Unconditional, then you begin to see it. And you begin to believe it. And it is only a first taste.

The Lord has been infinitely good to me. I have seen and experienced Him more closely this weekend than in a good long while. And I am beginning to comprehend, on a slight scale, that I am an undeserving sinner that warrants nothing, and I am receiving instead the fullness of Christ. Only because He loves me that much.

And if that's the truth, what freedom comes alongside.

Oct 2, 2009

there has to be some life lesson here

I think I may have been hit by a bus. I feel completely unable to function.

Side note: I am in a random coffee shop, watching this guy try and instruct his companion on wrist braces. He doesn't look old enough to have the appropriate knowledge on the subject. I am pretty sure he is only doing it so he has an excuse to hold her hand. It is extra funny since the other guy who is there looks like a third wheel. Poor dude.

I forgot my headphones. Darn it. Forget about focusing.

Oh wait, I think the third wheel and the girl are actually dating. AWKWARD.

Back to my point, getting hit by a bus. My eyes don't stay open. My contacts aren't in their case long enough overnight to get properly cleaned, so my contacts have fingerprints on them. They stick to my eyes. I can't see, and I can't keep my eyes open. I mean, the past two days have been worth it. I got to sing a lot of harmonies and be friends with people...and I got to see a baby be born.

It wasn't the first birth I have seen, but it was the first birth that I went from admission to delivery. It. Was. Incredible.

First of all, if you are a lady and plan on having a baby, you can do it. With or without an epidural (preferably without), your body is capable of doing it.

Second of all, never tell yourself you can't do it. Labor takes a lot longer.

Third of all, meeting baby in the end of the pain is, from what I saw, totally worth it. And you will weep. Unless you have no soul or a very small capacity for being moved by beauty.

I really won't judge you if you don't cry when you see birth. Though, I will be very tempted to do so.

Tonight I am going to childbirth class for couples expecting multiples. What? I am really excited and also very skeptical because I can't stay awake. Thus I am in said random coffee shop with their bottomless cup of coffee. Get ready colon, cleansing's coming.

I did just write that. I have no tact at this point.

FREEBALL FRIDAY everyone. Love your life.

Sep 27, 2009

'til the soles of your feet turn black

Dear Patty Griffin,

Thank you for 1000 Kisses. My life wouldn't be the same without it to motivate me throughout the days.

I first thought "Rain" was the best.
Then I heard "Long Way Home".
Then I heard "Chief".
Then I heard "Making Pies".
Then I heard "Nobody's Crying".

Oh, and I can't forget Living with Ghosts and Children Running Through. And the other albums I haven't listened to yet.

You are a musical genius. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sarah

P.S. Anyone who reads this needs to go buy the album now. Kthxbai.

Sep 21, 2009

Things I know

If you don't deal with problems in your heart, they fester. They may not show on the outside. You may not recognize them. But they present in your life. And the longer they fester, the harder they are to treat. But I don't think we are supposed to equate recovery in our hearts to treatment. It is all too scientific and medical. It's just the way my mind works, so bear with me.

I didn't realize that the things I saw this summer were going to leave me torn apart. I am doubting good, doubting God in some senses. But mostly, I am grieving. Yet most of what I grieve over cannot be written here. Some things are meant to be given to the world; some are meant to shared with those who need to hear them. Much of what was seen and felt and heard and experienced is left to be continually lifted up - because this is too much of a burden for a mere human.

I have this ever-present need to get away. I think that time in creation is healing. So I drove to Colorado and felt a little reprieve. Yet the need is still there; there is still healing left for me. And I can hope in that.

And I can hope in a God who has not forsaken me, nor the world, despite what things may appear on the surface.

Expose the doubt and dark in your heart, and there is peace to be found to fill the places that are left.

Hope is there.

Sep 20, 2009

how could you be so heartless?

". . . for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1

"And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh." Jude 1

Sep 14, 2009

Miss Independent

A lot of times we get ourselves into the pattern of believing things that don't quite exist. The aspects of fairy tales and stories hold something that resonate deep within us: that romantic encounter we search for, the adventure that leaves us on top of a mountain having conquered the world, the thrill of surviving a danger, having pressed the boundary to see how far we can go.

Ok, those things do exist. But not in the way we expect.

I could say a lot about how the world's idea of romance taints relationships, but I don't want to right now.

I want to talk about adventure.

I have some really neat friends. They do really cool things, like go to Amsterdam to study and explore the things she is passionate about; I have a friend who is living life in Port Townsend, living on her own and making a life for herself. I have friends who have gone to the most incredible of places - and I associate it with adventure.

Adventure resonates with me. I think of the freedom it instills. It liberates. In essence it releases the ties that bind and allows us to experience things as they are.

I moved to Washington by myself. I made friends. I figured out my new life and went tubing and played frisbee and learned how to be really bad at things and make it laughable. I was so happy in my adventure I never wanted to leave. I left, the adventure ended, and normal life restarted in Liberty.

Then I decided to REALLY challenge myself, and I went to Haiti. By myself. Twice. It has a nice ring to it. It impresses people. For some time I have relished the responses from people. I mean, isn't it cool how independent and adventurous I am?

I hate that I just wrote that for the world to read. Yet that is who I am. That is what I thought.

Tonight I realized that I have seen independence as a sign of strength. I have that sort of "I don't need a man by my side. I don't need anybody or anything. I can take care of myself." mentality.

Do you know why I loved Washington?
Molly, KaraLynn, Rebecca, Tyler, John, Kylan, Erik, Faye, Heather, Grandma, Jake & Michelle - on and on.

Do you know why I loved Haiti?
Diana, Mallory, Britt, and every person I met there.

The second time I went to Haiti I decided to climb the "mountain" behind the mission. We walked a short distance, and I regretted my decision. It was awful. It was so hard. And I made myself go to the top in order to prove I was strong, to stand at the top and see the view, and to feel alive.

It failed. It failed because I was so lonely. The view was breathtaking, and I was simply too empty to appreciate it.

I have had a lot of realizations this week. This last week has held more surprise, more stomach flips, more confused heads, more tired eyes. And I continue to see that I close myself off very easily. It was a process started approximately 1 year ago, and I haven't felt the need to throw this train in reverse.

So what does that have to do with adventure? I have fallen into the trap of seeking that Into the Wild type feeling - stripping down to the root of it all. And in the process I have isolated myself. I am trying to learn when to let people in again.

I haven't given up yet.

Sep 13, 2009

I will run, I will run

Something about this day has made me miss it. It could have been talking with one of my roommates about it; it may have been studying in the library, wondering what the point was; or it may have just been this search to figure out what matters, what is supposed to be at the heart of what I do in my life.

In Haiti there appears to be a trend. Some people say it is easy to lose hope in the midst of the need and struggle of life. As you grow up it seems that people seem to lose faith in good, feeling angry, upset at the injustice of the world. And then it turns into a quiet acceptance, a near resign to how life has become.

But for a few years at the beginning of life, there is a spark in an eye. There is spunk. There is spirit. There is laughter and energy and an endless amount of love. The kids there simply live: they are unencumbered.

I could be having the loneliest day. I could be upset with the group at the time, frustrated with how they disrespected me, annoyed by their lack of understanding, or just plain ready to be alone. But all it took was the first sighting of Benji or Sophie or Esther or Wendolyn or Lovelin - it all went out the window.

Because I believe we are drawn to the things that point to Truth. The Truth the kids lived out every day was joy and humility. They had nothing to their names and laughed in the face of it. And if it only lasted for a few days longer, before the brokenness of the world tried to beat it out of them, they lived and knew joy. And through them I knew joy. They pointed me to something greater than myself - they pointed me to what really matters.

Sep 11, 2009

Weekend Plans

The search for significance is on.


Sep 9, 2009

5 Minute Blog

Last weekend I drove to Colorado. I think the total trip was 58 hours - 19 of which I was driving. I think it was the best thing I have done in a long time.

Coming out of Haiti the second time was relieving. It is hard for me to admit that. I think I expected myself to love it completely. I think I lost sight of truth. I had this totally off perception that I needed to come home without doubt about the direction my life is headed.

I am doubting.

Not doubting in the sense of turning away completely, but doubting as to what God has for me. I thought it was Africa, then I thought Haiti, and now I think the whole prospect of a life plan is too much for anyone. I don't think we are supposed to follow a life plan because it boxes in what God is doing.

So for now, I live in Kansas City. I might see a baby delivered tomorrow. Someday I may go onto more school. It won't be next year. I may move away from Kansas City, and I may not. I will go when I know I should. I will stay when I know I am supposed to.

And for now, I have a lot of wonderful friends to live life with. I have a group of 7th and 8th graders I can invest in. And I serve a God who is asking for me to relax.

I am a serious person. I never really thought I was until a lot of people have pointed that out to me. In a lot of ways, it is good. In some ways, it isn't.

Out the window with plans beyond the place I am now.

I feel better today.

Sep 4, 2009

See ya, Be ya, CHRISTMAS

It's a nephew reference. Don't worry about it.

I am announcing an internet hiatus. E-mail me if you need me. I don't know when I will be back to mass communication.

Or you could always call. I'll probably screen your call, but I promise to do my best to call back.

That sounds harsh. I will most likely be so desperate for outside contact that I'll be dying to answer you.

See you on the other side.

Sep 1, 2009

Dreamster McDreamy

From a very young age I have been plagued with some unproductive tendencies. I mean, we all are, right? I think one of my primary ones is that I dream future plans often...and they are rather unreasonable. For example:

My first dream was to be a dolphin trainer. I would live on a farm in a red brick farm house with my family. I would have two kids: Luke and Mindy. Everyone would be amazed at how well I trained dolphins, and the dolphins would be my best friends.

Shortly after that dream came about I realized I hate swimming and knew nothing about living on farms. So that dream died.

I was convinced when they began casting Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone that I was the PERFECT Hermione. I only had to get to England for the audition, practice my NEARLY PERFECT accent, and crimp my hair.

Too bad it isn't close to perfect and Emma Watson came along.

In more recent years I have considered medical school, counseling, child soldier rehabilitation, army nursing (what the?), and starting my own orphanage. And today I became convinced I need to be a midwife.

The scary thing is that I have less than a year until my life has no plans. I need to make a decision. I have no idea what dreams are legitimate and what dreams are unreasonable. I have no idea where dating someone fits in, what happens if I want to have a family, what signing myself up to run an orphanage does to the rest of my life.

Isn't it a little sad that I haven't really had any indication from God, that I push Him aside in just feeling what seems exciting and right at the time.

What in the world is He leading me to do?

BUT IF IT IS TO BE A MIDWIFE, the following cities have good programs:
+ Seattle
+ Denver
+ Kansas City

WIN.

Aug 26, 2009

Ayiti:sugar and salt

If I ever lived in Haiti, I would take up an offering to buy sports bras. Lots of them. I'm sorry I am writing about bras, even right away, but people, this has to be said.

You sweat a lot in Haiti. It's hot. Every day. And after about two weeks, hot is hot, you stop being bothered, you can sleep through the night no problem with a baby fan, and you stop noticing the sweat.

That is, until your sports bra starts to smell.

I can only wear one for two days here. And that is even stretching it. Only one day if I go for a long walk. The smell is indescribable, uncontainable....awestruck, we fall to our knees as...

That was probably sacrilegious.

Last week one of favorite ladies here asked me for one of my sports bras. I couldn't give it to her because I needed them so badly.

Moving on...

I have watched the sunrise the last two mornings. They are so beautiful here.

Cockroaches don't bother me nearly as much as they used to.

Never put channel locks on the two posts of the battery inverter. If you absolutely have to do that, use rubber handles.

Oil based paint comes off with bug spray.

Making bracelets with 60+ children does not work in Source Matelas.

I have a son...he asked if I would be his mother...I said yes?

I have a goddaughter...she asked if I would be her godmother...I said yes! Pretty sure I signed up to pay for her wedding.

Miss Anita told me today that she would miss me...then she ended by saying "In Haiti you have sugar and you have salt. You have to have both." Today is a day like that.

Diana could very well be a perfect person, without flaw, second only to the Trinity...because she sends me reminders like this when my heart breaks on a day like today.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
As the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what i desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of the briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.

Aug 20, 2009

Ayiti:leave it up to you

Our newest team has been more difficult than others. I can't seem to break the shell, they don't seem to listen to what I ask, and the result seems to be chaos.

I am reminded of this: "set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

I didn't do that very well today.

A failure's what I'd be without your grace...
The God of a million second chances,
Because chances are that I'll return and take the wheel
A million times or more.

Thank the Lord tomorrow is another day.

Aug 19, 2009

Ayiti:my greeting this morning

"Bonjou - koman ou ye?"
"OH Sarah. Bonjou. Mwen byen...
I see you lost weight. That's good."
"Ah. Well, I don't know really...but I guess so?"
"Yes, I know you don't want to be fat."

In other news:
GIAWIM left this morning. I rather enjoyed their company. Now a new group comes this afternoon from Texas. They will be my last group before I leave. Surreal.

Yesterday I went to the beach. The Brazilian UN were there in full force. HILARIOUS.

And now I write papers for school. All three are due when I arrive back in one week. Yikes.

Also, I was told last night that I can rap. WIN.

Aug 17, 2009

Ayiti:something there

The last few days have been interesting. Lots of rain, tropical storms, talk of hurricanes. I hadn't seen another white person in a few days until today, which I sort of loved a lot. I got off the mission for a while. I ate tamrin ice cream. Who KNEW it would be so gosh darn good???

I haven't been setting aside time to read my Bible very much at all this entire month. Let me tell you, I can tell. My heart is a minor wreck, and I know why.

But as steady as the lights across the water, as strong as the wind and lightening and thunder and rain and floods, as constant as the need in Haiti...so is He.

in my hopeless case, you keep saying the same things
is it on my face? it isn't sinking in.
like a homeless man, tapping on the car window,
i feel so disconnected. but so in need to hear this...
do you still see something there?

Aug 15, 2009

Ayiti:all too common conversations

Me: "Bonjou!"

Him: "Bonjou. . . what is your name?"

Me: "Sarah - what is your's?"

Him: "[Fill-in-the-blank]. You are very intelligent."

Me: "Oh. Uh, thank you."

Him: "Will you help me learn english?"

Me: "Sure...[teaching commences for 2 minutes]"

Him: "Yes...very intelligent. I want to go to the States for university - will you sponsor me?"

Me: "I have no money to sponsor you for college, I'm sorry."

Him: "Do you believe in Jesus?"

Me: "Yes I do. Do you?"

Him: "Yes! [Pause] I love you."

Me: "What?"

Him: "You love Jesus, you are very intelligent, I love you."

Me: "Uhhh. Well, we are brothers and sisters in Christ! [Desperate attempt to steer the conversation away from where it is headed]"

Him: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

Me: [said in defeat] ". . . No . . ."

Him: "I want to be in a relationship with you. You love Jesus, you don't have a boyfriend. Will you marry me?"

Aug 13, 2009

Ayiti:I am trying not to leave my apartment to avoid work

If you have never been to Haiti, here's what you are missing out on:

1) Fruit Champagne. Seriously people, it is addicting and delicious.

2) Fried Plantains. You may have had them elsewhere, but they are best at Gwo Papa Poul.

3) There are a lot of others, I just don't want to write about them right now.

But pretty much, I think I would be happy with a diet of Fruit Champagne and fried plantains.

I would also be diabetic and fat.

OH. I drive a 4-wheeler now, and I think it is my preferred mode of transportation from now on. I want to move to Haiti so I can have a good excuse to drive one.

I have decided that the weirdest things about weddings is seeing the guy with a ring on his hand. I mean, the girl has had one on for weeks/months, but when the guy gets his ring, you say "Wow, he's married."

I still can't believe Mission of Hope put a 21 year old girl in charge of part of their mission. What an absurd life I lead.

Aug 10, 2009

Ayiti:He woke me up again

Several thoughts run through my head on a night like tonight...

Most prominently - the first week here was an adjustment. I think it was mostly due to the work, the steep learning curve, and, let's face it, the demand of the groups who were present. But THIS WEEK...it's been immeasurably better. I have figured out, mostly, what I am supposed to be doing here. I am more confident each day. I can once again say I love to be here. It took some time, but after I realized how little time I have left here today I started to worry. It's going to be just as hard to leave here as it was last time.

Today I went to a homeless dwelling to drop off some medicine for some of the people who live there. I was asked by a man to come see his daughter, as she was very sick. I responded "Oh no, I'm not a doctor." My friend who accompanied me said something to the effect of "You have to do it."

For the first time in a long time, I found a reason to continue in nursing school. I am meeting the girl at the clinic tomorrow - I hope she comes.

God reminded me of Romans 12 tonight while the groups were worshipping after dinner. I am in some desperate need of renewing of my mind.

I still love doing the dishes, even if it's 25 dinner plates after enchiladas and salad.

OH. And...I finally learned how to drive the ATV I was given use of while I was here.

I have been praying for confidence, and it comes, slowly but surely. Just in time for me to leave.

Aug 6, 2009

Ayiti:strength in your tears

Well it finally hit. The tears. The tears of frustration and anger and sadness and brokenness and selfishness. The meal last night had a miscommunication, and the tears broke forth. In the safety of my own apartment, of course. But I have to tell you...today I feel better. Blame it on the beach day that allowed me several uninterrupted hours alone with only Trigger to keep me company.

People have begun to ask me "Sarah, what good did we do today other than hold some kids?"

"Ummm" is the thought in my head. My answer "That's the good we did today." In addition to painting the school where 1300 students attend - now they have bright blue benches to sit on rather than worn rusty benches! Well, they are still a little rusty, but quite brilliant in color!

And I am starting to think it's something more than what we look at it to be. I have held some precious little ones in my arms in the last six days. Kids who live here, kids who live there. Kids whose names I never knew, kids whose names I will never forget. Each one with a look in their eye that drew me to them. Each with five little fingers that reached for mine, then proceeded to twist those weird "Blan" fingers together.

I find myself constantly doubting myself here, doubting the good we do, doubting the work accomplished, and holding back from giving more because I feel worn-down. Today I read this...

Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share the your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter -
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and He will say:
Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
- Isaiah 58:6-12

I have a lot to learn and practice. We all do. And while learning and asking the Lord for direction, I have these precious ones to help me along the way.
Me with (L-R) Loudiana, Loudmina, and Clara (Hope House girls)

Unknown new baby - I believe his name is Alix (Good Samaritan)

Lovelin (Tytoo Gardens)

Paula (Good Samaritan)