Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sweet Sister Friends




I got a short and very sweet e-mail from an old friend today.  I had been thinking lately how crazy and busy everyone's life seems to be at this stage.  Aging parents, and busy career lives, growing teenagers with lives and schedules, and just the general worry of trying to keep everything going.  There have been too many days lately where I haven't been able to connect on a real deep level with those I hold dearest.  I miss the days of being home full time with pre-schoolers and having time for long chats beside the swing sets with girl friends.  So was thinking of the amazing women in my life and ones who I am so blessed to call friends.

This is re-post from an old one, girlfriends - you totally rock!
One of the problems is that some of them are too far away for my liking!!

So I think of the gifts of each one. The things they have taught me. How different we all are and yet so much the same. The ways that we change because of who we've known, and how they have touched our hearts. For those I have known for longer, I am amazed at the different paths and experiences that have changed who we are and where we have gone with our lives. The way God has directed each step...

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My friend said to me that I am one she wants to know when we are old ladies. That is a great compliment, and so I send her funny old lady cards. She has the gift of inclusion! Everyone is her friend and she knows how to introduce everyone to her BEST friend. I have never met anyone with as much joy and enthusiasm, the ability to entertain a crowd, but draw in just one person into a deep conversation, that is a gift!

She is warm-hearted, consistent and even-keeled, even tempered - even with flaming red hair, always reliable and always caring. Athletic and beautiful, faithful in prayer and never ending in speaking clearly of God's promises and blessing, when they haven't always felt like they have been hers. She has a man just like mine and we understand that part of each other. She is like a sister to me.

She teaches me about being real and true to yourself at whatever the cost. To always say what matters and always ask the tough and deeper questions; to not be content with the same.  She's not afraid to stir the pot and make a difference.  She is about knowing Jesus even when it's hard or doesn't make sense. She is confident and assertive, and easy to talk to. She is creative and feminine and beautiful. We can always pick up right where we left off without a missing a beat, and she is ALWAYS up for a travel adventure!

And another one... my friend can do anything she sets her mind to. She is creative and full of love. She is confident in who she is and always fun to be with. She is a wonderful mother of 5 and the most faithful friend. She never complains, and always looks to the bright side. She can organize better than even I can. With every word that is spoken she has a whisper of encouragement to add. Every occasion is reason to celebrate and there are many. Her hands are skilled and her mind is sharp, but not after 9 pm. Her life is a gift to be shared with many; thankful I am one of them !!

She is a true gift. She who is soft spoken and adored by any who meet her, even though she thinks she is easily forgotten. Who could forget such a warm and loving person? Always a listening ear, a wise word, and strong cup of coffee. I see inside her quiet inner world and noisy outer world full of boys to a place of contentment in her soul. That spontaneous, wild adventurous side lurking beneath the phlegmatic is such a delightful contrast.

She stands full of grace and beauty. A quiet soul waiting to be discovered. She sees the world through a different lens. There are people that you wonder how they think, and where they possess such ideas and creativity. And thank God He made them, to show the world another kind of beauty and a reality apart from the everyday normal. She never says no to anyone she cares about and I wish she were my auntie.

Cook for a crowd of 100 - no problem, organize a list of 100 things - easy,  crack a sarcastic joke to make teenage boys howl - she's got it.  I love this one!  She is full of heart and helping others, staying focused and being a Mom to many.  She is a true gift and knows what her gifts are, treats her guys like kings and teaches them to be independent and fold their own laundry.  She has a true and sincere heart for serving and has her priorities right, and puts her actions ahead of her words...AND is the most fun in a small package!

So joyful to walk down life's road with you!

My heart is full.....


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yellow Fever and other details...

I am so glad I won't be contracting yellow fever and typhoid, but man I can hardly lift my arms today from the immunizations!   I got a bit of sympathy today from my students.  It will be all about details the next couples weeks, til I go.  Anyone who has a BP cuff of any kind they want to lend me would be great!  Also we are taking donations of small toys, school supplies, travel size toiletries, toothbrushes, or reading glasses if anyone feels like helping fill up my suitcase.

The team lead Dr. has been e-mailing me all kinds of information, so I'm getting super excited.  We will be doing a lot of general surgical cases, and also a lot of gyne stuff.  There are 3 general surgeons and 3 OB GYNs going, and a few medical students and 4 RNs and 4 LPNs.

So for you who like details, this is copied from my booklet:
The town we are going to... is one of the poorest counties in Bolivia. It has 25,000 people spread in the main town and other districts. The main activity is agriculture; they grow oranges, rice and cocoa. The land is mainly own by a few families and the rest of the people work for them. The county is also rich in sand and clay for the construction.

In this town (which we aren't supposed to mention on social media), there is one GP Physician per every 3,200 inhabitants. 3 Dentists for the whole population and 2 OB-GYN doctors attends all the calls of the county. There is also a General Surgeon and one Pediatrician. Ongoing prevention programs are not available and the number of preventable deceases is considerably growing. There is 1 Radiologist working half time. The MMI teams have been providing an answer to the backlog of surgical cases, and supplying the need for Dental services, Optometry and healthcare in general.

On this project and by the request of the Municipal Department of Health, we’ll continue to meet the needs for primary care in the surrounding communities, where the physicians get only once every month or less for some communities. Proving medicine to the patient is another way to assure the completion of the prescribed treatment and one of the strength of the project. The surgical component of the project will provide the patients with an opportunity to have access to a surgery in their own community and only contribute with $50.00 to $60.00 instead of $400.00 or more depending on the case; which makes the service impossible to buy for most of the people in the area.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Finally!!! Bolivia Here I Come!

After lots of thinking and praying and internet searching for different organizations, and a real desire to go serve somewhere in a 3rd world country, I signed up to go on medical trip.  A lot of it had to do with timing, since I have a nice 3 week window in April.  So I applied at the beginning of February, kind of late on my part, and have been waiting.... and waiting....  With not much info. from them yet, and a few e-mails back and forth, and so-and-so is out of town and then the next so-and-so important person was out of town, and now finally today I got my package!  Yay!  I was getting kind of anxious as it in in 1 month!!  In my mind I had given them a deadline of Friday- tomorrow- to get back to me or my organized self was going to deem them incompetent and disorganized and could I trust that someone would pick me up from the airport?  Isn't it always amazing how we have to trust to the last minute.

Bolivia

So I am SUPER excited!!  I haven't really said much to many people, because I wasn't sure it was going to all come together.  I don't yet know exactly what I'm going to be doing, but nursey stuff.  We are going to be just NW of Santa Cruz on the map, elevation of 350m.

So I have appointments lined up for immunizations and booking flights tomorrow!  Hoping to maybe stop over in Dallas (Randi?)  because it looks like a lot of the flights route through there.

I will keep you posted!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Things I love .... everyday


Sometimes on a dreary, fogged in winter day, it's harder to enjoy the moments, so a list of things that I love and make me happy always helps:

I love my husband. I love my children. I love waking up to a sunshiny morning and am missing some of those these days. I love the feel of dirt in my hands. I love gardening without gloves and barefoot. I love the color of the sky after it rains. I love hearing the sounds of ocean waves lapping against the shore. I love anything in bloom. I love the first peeking out plants in the springtime. I love to know that someone cares enough to remember my birthday. I love hugs, especially from little arms that can barely reach all the way around. I love hot chocolate after a walk in the snow. I love feeling the wind on my face and in my hair. I love standing on top of something big and seeing a view, especially mountains. I love a long afternoon coffee date with a friend and no place to be after.  I love laughing out loud with old friends that know you deep.  I love feeling that still small voice whisper something to me when I need it.  I love green, especially when it belongs to something growing. I love paint color chips. I love cello. I love gable windows on big old farmhouses. I love dark wood and smooth surfaces. I like textures and feeling the edge of things. I love Jesus. I love peace and quiet. I love a walk along a wooded path. I love to know that I am loved. I love a project: starting a new project and finishing one. I love the steady sound of a well oiled sewing machine. I love navy blue. I love strawberries, and sometimes dipped in chocolate. I love bright blue eyes. I love planning things. I love thinking of all the things I want to do and places I want to visit even if I never get there. I love the mystery of an inquisitive look. I love crunchy fall leaves. I love sweet peas. I love being free, being with people, and being alone. I love the accomplishment of hard work finished. I love people's hands, young chubby ones, and old ones with a life of memories to tell. I love chocolate.  I love summer BBQs with lots of interesting salads that I didn't make. I love photographs. I love rows of tulips. I love laying in a hammock looking up at a thousand stars in the dark night sky. I love staying up late knowing I can sleep in the next day. I love cute little bare bums. I love looking after people. I love hearing people's stories.  I love a new day with nothing written on it yet.

What about you?  Where is your love found today?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Christmas Schenanigans

It always seems to take some time before I sit down and look at photos that I took and sit on the camera for awhile.  We had some good fun over the Christmas break:
These 2 decided to do some baking together :)

Jacob attempting to dress himself for the Christmas formal

Warren preaching it for the care group boys, the only 10 minutes they all sat in one place all night!

Skating with Gramma

Cam and Tracy lovin' fondue!

I don't know how this happened, but they all wanted to cuddle Ditto??



Erin knit Cam a winter beard

New headboard I made for Erin's bed

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Qur'an

I don't know about you, but some of the stuff going in the world is downright scary and also absolutely heartbreaking.  The latest being another attack in Nigeria by the Boko Haram.  They just seem to be evil to the core, no regard for human life, power hungry men doing everything out of selfish ambition and under the guise of religion.

It breaks my heart to think about the daughters who were taken, and who knows what done to.  I can't imagine that being my own girl!  The families and mothers... utterly helpless. And the boys who are turned into hatred and gunfire, with only fear and power to drive them the deeper they get and the longer they are forced to stay.

I read the most interesting book  by  Dr. Nabeel Qureshi over Christmas, and it really opened my mind to the upbringing and mindset of the average Muslim. I been circling around listening to some youTube video lectures he's given and gotten a little caught up in it. He talks in depth about being raised in Islam, the difference between being Western born compared to Eastern born (as his parents were), and the clash of culture that creates.  The guy is super brilliant, has a BsC, an MD and a few other Masters degrees in apolgetics and religion.  Towards the end of the book when he was really investigating why he was an Ahmadi Muslim, a peace keeping and seeking one, and what the religion really was about, since he says most Muslims don't really read and study on their own, because of the high respect and trust in their leaders (imaam) to do that for them, he starting finding so many references to the forced violence and call for Muslims to jihad.  He says the majority of Muslims are peaceful, do not think their religion condones this and do not seek to kill those who don't follow Allah.  But once he started really studying the life of Muhammed and the Quran, he began seeing how that wasn't true and in the end decides that he couldn't continue to follow this path or faith, giving up his family in the process.  The historical evidence for the accuracy of their Scriptures just didn't exist either.

Anyways... this is starting to sound like a book report, but I was so fascinated by the history within the context of recent world events. Being on this continent, we are pretty removed from that, but it is starting to infiltrate the West, especially Europe and there are increasing conversations about sharia law which could be a disaster to our political system, let alone the status and treatment of women!

I have no idea how to respond, or even do anything in our own small lives and our own daily influences.  I feel like I can just weep with the mothers who have lost their children, the horror that those who have survived have seen and with continue to see in their mind's eye forever.  And I am so thankful for people who are brave and work in these places, who fight for truth and freedom.  And pray that Good will continue to battle Evil and know it will win in the end.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Had a Grandmother

I was reading some old posts and this is one of my favorites, from 2008:
"Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.
The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.
History merely repeats itself. It has been done before.
Nothing under the sun is truly new.
We don't remember what happened in the past, and in future generations,
no none will remember what we are doing now."
Ecclesiastes 1:4, 5, 9, 11
I had a Grandmother that I met once. She lived a far way off in another country and only came to see me once when I was just a wee girl. I remember she brought me a brown jewelry box with yellow flowers on it. When you opened the bottom drawer it would play a song, "Love Story". That became Oma's song because it's the only thing I remember about her, that and the grey dress and pink cardigan that she's wearing in a photo my family has of her tucked away in a ragged edged book somewhere. I can't remember if she gave me the little dolly that lay in the top drawer, or if I put it there sometime later. It was Raggedy Ann and you know how memories have a funny way of not always staying in the right places or certain details aren't always there, but some are there really strongly, like the lighting in the hospital room when my Dad died or the jump for joy feeling I had the morning I woke up and realized I was getting married, or the smell of my babies' head when they just had a bath.

I heard a speaker recently talk about memories and how when they are remembered, they are re-stored and sometimes the memory changes by the simple act of remembering it, thinking it over and re-storing it in some other part of your brain (also why reviewing while studying makes you remember it in different ways). I suppose this would mean that memories I haven't thought of in a long time are more intact and more perfect than ones that I mull over time and again. Maybe that's why old people have such vivid memories of older days, their minds become more lucid and they go back to days gone by that they haven't thought of in a really long time.

My Oma died when I was 3. My Dad was probably really sad, but I never asked him. I think she was a really good Mama to him, even though during WWII she had to split up her kids to live with some relatives so that they would have enough food to eat. I think my Dad got to stay with her because he was born in 1940 in Europe and was just a baby. I think it would be really hard as a Mama to have to send your children away to be cared for by someone else, but you'd tell yourself everyday that is was better that they were safe and fed. I wonder how she felt? Did she lie awake at night scared and worried for them, praying that God would look after them and bring them enough to eat for tomorrow? My freezer is really full and I don't have to worry about that. Or did she worry that the Germans wouldn't invade and she wouldn't see someone she loved again, how could she not? Did her heart ache at the thought of missing their bedtime cuddles and their daily thoughts? I'd like to ask her. I wonder if she thought about what color to paint the living room. It probably didn't matter, but I still think she loved pretty things- like flowers in her window boxes and that jewelry box. She must have known that her youngest granddaughter would like something like that and keep her earrings in it even when she 37.

Was she a hearty laughing type of Grandma that hugged everyone into her ample bosom? Or a quiet, gentle spirit that just filled a room with peace and homemade cookies, like Kevin's Grandma who I got to know better than my own. What did she dream of when she was a little girl? Did she want to be a Mama to 5 children? Did she fall madly in love with her man? I like to imagine she did because he was a wonderful man. Were her questions about God the same as mine? Is He proud of me? Am I doing everything He wants for me? How can He listen to everyone at the same time? How many recipes did she have in her cupboard? And what did she cook for a meal on a special day one she knew her husband loved? I think she probably could teach me a thing or 2, or 20 about knitting and embroidery. In my mind she even knew a lot about ships because she would sit and listen to her husband at night in front of the fire tell of all the pieces they put together on the latest ship at the docks.

But how can it be that I know so little about her when she is only one generation away? Will my granddaughter know so little about me? I don't even know if she had a middle name. This is a woman who shaped my life in more ways than I'll probably know, who read stories to my father on her lap at night, taught Him about God and how to be a good, strong and courageous man. Who fed his little belly and probably cried the day he left the country for a life of his own at the age of 16. That man who gave me life and showed me love, patience, character and courage in the face of adversity. She faced some adversities I'll never know about. She had love and disappointment, hope and friendships; she made plans and worked with her hands, planted gardens and loved her children, and yet the details of it I can't ever know. Maybe she wrote some things down in some sort of flowing handwriting that I'll never recognize on the outside of an envelope. The thoughts and dreams of women can't have changed that much over 2 generations: to be productive, creative, loving, full of family and friends and love, making a difference to someone's life, being capable and fulfilled, wanting to know what you were made for, giving your heart to others. One day we'll sit and have tea, I think maybe English Breakfast, or I'll introduce her to a lovely chai blend that she never knew existed. We'll sit in a garden with lots of vines that grow up over our heads beside a little cottage by the sea. I'll thank her for her legacy of faith and love, even though the activities of her every day will never be known to me.

"For everything there is a season, a time for everything under heaven."