Monday, August 31, 2009

say hello, wave goodbye

I’m sitting on the floor in my empty apartment. It’s dark and the fan is blowing strong. I just finished cleaning every nook and cranny and I’m about to turn in my keys. This is just what I did when I first moved in, too. I would come and sit here on the floor in the afternoon sun with my ipod and just sit. I loved that time. I loved the afternoon golden sunlight pouring through the windows. It was mid September and the heat had left for the year leaving perfect northwest evenings for the remainder of the month. Those golden afternoons are just what sold me when I came to look at the apartment for the first time. I wanted it for that perfect hour. I wanted that heavenly lens. I often wish every hour was just as golden as that hour. I’m still hoping for it, maybe in heaven… My days are starting to appear more and more golden and maybe that is something that I have acquired through this year, a renewed perspective.

This year has been filled with joy and heartache and so much movement and work in my soul. It was a tough year to live by myself and experience this year coming home to solitude at the end of every day, but looking back on it I think that was the best way. I had many nights of “cocooning” listening to Shannon music, thinking heavy thoughts, praying big prayers, curled up in a blanket with a warm beverage in hand, and waiting for the hard part to be over.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anais Nin

It may still be tough at times and doubts and fear still nestle close, but it’s been a year and I feel renewed and restored and redeemed. And here I am, sitting in the same spot on the floor that I sat on a year ago. I’m a different person and perhaps a little more brave and I’m pretty happy about that.

I’m moving into a house with some amazing people and I couldn’t be happier to be living in community again. It makes life more interesting and fun and I can’t wait to see what this year will hold.

Monday, August 24, 2009

photos from mom's visit to pdx


my mom came to visit a couple weeks back and these are a few of the photos from our portland adventures. i just love her. she's precious and adorable but also a little spitfire. haha.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

thinkin' malawi like thoughts

I brewed a pot of coffee this morning with the intention of some quiet time to write. I spotted my old journals on the bookshelf and thought I would break them open and read into my old self, thoughts born on the other side of the world.

I quickly became absorbed into my own words deeply missing Malawi, the people and the strength of my faith during that time. I wrote constantly when I was in Malawi. I had my journal with me everywhere. I didn’t want a single experience or thought to be lost along the way. Now, I am seeing why I wrote so fervently. I was writing it for myself, for myself while I was there, the self that would read it a few months later, a couple years later, and my self now. I am encouraged in reading my thoughts and reflections from years ago with a million moments filling the space between.

Here are a few entries that touched me today.

“One little girl at the farm is sick, she would fast for days and pray to be healed. Marla told us about this girl and how she wouldn’t eat for days, and at mealtime they would look for her and find her in her room. She would be on her knees praying for God to heal her and make her well. Everyone wanted so bad just to sit her down and tell her she needs to eat, and be nourished, especially with the anti-retrovirals which need nutrients to be absorbed and effective. But they were torn at the same time, wondering who were they to think that God wouldn’t honor her fasting and her prayers for healing, to give her the nutrients her body needs. We often look for our prayers to be answered in the way we want to see them answered and here that is often the physical healing from sickness and hunger. What God did heal is this little girl’s spirit. She is so young but she has experienced a healing of her spirit far greater than any of us will ever know. She has a peace and a joy from the Lord that far surpasses anything we will ever know or will ever understand.”

“I feel so invested already and that desire to walk alongside them to watch them grow into the men and women God created them to be. That connection begins in such a short time. It’s crazy, because I imagine myself here long-term and it doesn’t sound so crazy. People are what get me. I just want to be near them for the rest of my life. I wonder about all my friends and family back home. It kills me that I have no idea how anyone is doing right now. God is constantly teaching me how to let people into my life and how to let people go, to let people go on their way…life just keeps going. I always think back on that book. The Five People You Meet in Heaven and how at the end of this guys’ life he meets five people who influenced or played a huge role in his life and he in theirs. It was just so interesting to think about the people we’ve touched or affected without even knowing it. People that have had to leave our lives for us to be the people we are today. I wouldn’t be who I am today if my dad didn’t leave when I was little. Who even knows what that would look like if he didn’t. God uses those that leave and those who stay to strengthen us and shape us for the better. He didn’t bring those situations upon us but because they happened, he uses them for good…”

“We never know who we are affecting and influencing in the moment. We are coloring the people we connect with. When the team was discouraged about being here and wondering why we were here if the Children of the Nations kids are already being well cared for now. Kara had a good point, she grew up in a family that cared greatly for her. If people looked in and saw that she had a family that loves her and therefore decided not to pour into her, she would not be the person she is today. We are who we are because of those who have spent time with us and poured into us. This is why we can’t love enough on these kids. Sure, many of the COTN kids are in homes and being cared for (because of COTN) and going to school. They are doing well because of the hundreds of people who have cared for them and taken time to love on them, to tell them bedtime stories, to play futbol with them, help them with school, tickle them, hug them. Every little act of love is part of a much grander story. We are a part of a much grander story. Sure, my heart craves the adventure of bringing food to the starving child, the saving a child from sure death, stopping the arm that abused a child, but that is exactly where these kids came from. You can see the traces of their past in the burn marks on there faces, in the scars on their bodies, in the way they avert their eyes, the way they are afraid to raise their voices. These are the kids and just because they aren’t in the thick of it right now doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the effects of their past still in this day. We should never choose not to love a child or anyone for that matter, because everyone is fighting a battle and we have the opportunity to pour into and shape the lives we interact with every day. Love wastefully.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ain't no sunshine..

seriously? wow.

if i had a washing machine of my own, you can guarantee i would run to the thing right now and try and re-create this magic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

never did i think that karaoke could bring such joy

I went out for karaoke last night and loooooved it. I am always torn about karaoke. Actually, I am never torn about it. I have always detested the whole karaoke idea-standing up in front of tons of people I don’t know and then singing while they all stare at me is not my idea of a good time. One, I hate being the center of attention. Two, I am in no way a performer. And three, (I know this is the same as number one, but this can’t be said enough) I hate being the center of attention. However, I do love to sing, for myself or with others, but never for others. So, all this to say, it is a bit strange that I had a blast at karaoke.

But I did. I loved it.

I still didn’t like being the center of attention. Though I never was THE center of attention as I only sang duets or trios or whole group songs. Me, sing a solo? pishaw.

Our group wasn’t able to reserve a private room as those booked up quick, so we had to sing in the “community room”. Fear and anxiety took over once I heard that. Yikes. Sing in front of strangers? No way, Jose. We lucked out and there were only two other women in the room singing wonderfully in Chinese and then later moved on to rap and hip hop-but man, they were quite good. Other than those two, it was just our group dominating the microphone and playlist.

Around 10pm, this sweet old man walked in with our server, and she explained to him how karaoke works in the community room. I could not hide the big grin on my face and inside I was squealing over how cute this man was. His name was Suds (best name ever, right?). He walked all the way across town to get to this karaoke spot. He was in shorts that sat high up on his rib cage. He had very little hair minus the sprouts of gray along the side of his head and a very circular and dark brown toupee that just sat atop his head, and he soon after put in his pocket.

Suds jumped right in, holding strong on the mic singing “100 years” by Five For Fighting with karyn, I believe. I was just sitting there watching him sing at the top of his lungs and with such passion.

Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming...

I just sat there in awe of this old man singing karaoke with a bunch of twenty somethings on a late Tuesday night and everyone was enjoying themselves, singing and laughing and just sharing joy. Again, I have found that music really does bring people together and I love that.

And I guess I kind of love karaoke, too.