Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck... we should just be thankful for being together!"

Recognize that quote?  It's from a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  I rely on Peanuts to remind me of the important things in life.  And if I crafted a hand turkey, I wouldn't have enough appendages to display all I'm thankful for.

  • Family - We've been through it all (well, almost...), and I love them.  And they still love me; that's the cool part.
  • Degree - During these few, post-grad months, I've come to appreciate my education.  I gained much more than a deeper understanding of literature.  I learned how to think, question, and change.  As one of my favorite profs says, "It's something that can never be taken from you or lost."
  • Friends - What can I say?  Mine are the best in the world, and we will change it together, because we believe it's possible.
  • Google - It's walked with me through many troubling dilemmas.  And reminded me of my humanity.  I should invest in stock; now only if I could afford it...
  • Cassidy and Finn - Two boogers of giggles.  They remind me to slow down, smile, and not be too serious.
  • Small Group - They are honest.  They give.  They listen.  They challenge.  They work.  They tell weird stories.  They believe in me.  They drink alcohol.  And they love Jesus.
  • Freedom - To be a different, better, more real person.  To change.  And to try again after making a mess of things.
  • Uganda - The individuals I met there.  The story that's unfolding.  The redemptive possibilities.  The something in my life that's bigger than me.
  • Grace - It turns my bad days good, and I'm only beginning to understand it. 
My heart is full.  What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 15, 2010

*Seeking to understand instead of being understood.  *Finding where I fit in God's story instead of writing my own.  *Seeing good in people I dislike.  *Waiting patiently.  *Not giving up on those who have given up on themselves.  *Opening to the possibility of love and being okay with not having that right now.  *Letting go of hurt and forgiving.  *Departing from expectation.  *Being content.  *Appreciating the twins and liking my job.  *Not gratifying instantly.  *Cultivating a passion for the Bible that I've never had but always wanted. *Running.  *Loving the person in front of me. *Respecting lifestyles and viewpoints I do not understand.  *Letting God out of the box I've placed him in for years.  *Moving away from cynicism toward hope.  *Being Christ instead of thinking about it.  *Caring about the person and cultivating him or her as opposed to furthering a cause.  *Abandoning my fear to follow my passion.  *Making my own Christmas presents.  *Living a restorative lifestyle.  *Believing and being faithful.  *Disliking my landlord and squirrels less.

I'm learning a lot and maybe growing up a bit.  And I'm concluding with some Mumford & Sons, which is currently on repeat:

In these bodies we will live.  In these bodies we will die.  Where you invest your love, you invest your life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Death of the Squirrels!

Okay.  I hate squirrels more than anything else in the world.  That's sort of an overstatement, and I say "sort of," because I also hate world hunger, war, and child neglect.  But my strongest aversions are for blue pens, bad coffee, parking tickets (I seem to break every rule about parking in this city), and SQUIRRELS!!!  They are NOT cute.  They are NOT cuddly.  They are NOT meant to live in my attic/crawl space/walls/apartment.

On Sunday I heard a nasty scratch-scratch and called our landlord yesterday.  After a few hours, the nasty baby beast was trapped, and the landlord walked it out of my apartment.  Eeeeewww.  This is squirrel terrorism, and no words will convey my disgust.  I Googled about squirrel problems this morning (as I do with every common problem-Google is sort of like my guru, if I had a guru...) and found this picture on another girl's blog.  I added the slash-out and verbage, but I think this is an excellent expression of my mood.

Poop on squirrels.  Thank you, Cyberspace, for allowing ranting blog posts like this one.  But at least I get to see Sufjan Stevens tonight and drink a cold brew at the Cheeky Monk.  Mmmm... that's nice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Never Too Far Away

This picture was taken near Kampala, Uganda at the Dorcas Children's Home in May of 2008.  During that month, I played soccer, sang, ate the best mangoes of my life, filled an entire journal, showered twice a week, made new friends, cooked with more vegetable oil than I consume annually in the States, and taught teens about American dating practices.  That May was one of the worst and best months of my short life.  But saying goodbye was the hardest part.  I cried the entire matatu ride to the airport; I didn't want to leave and knew I might never go back.  

It's been almost three years since that trip.  The kids are growing into young men and women; Uganda's next teachers, artists, doctors, leaders.  And after everything they've seen and experienced, they are joyful and believe they can do anything.  They form a true family with a deep love for one another, and out of that community will come incredible things.

I am blessed to be a part of this story.  And even after a few years, the kids aren't that far away.  Maybe physically, but they will always be in my heart.  The restoration here is beautiful.  If this isn't the heart of the kingdom, I'm not sure where it is.  Check out the full story here: and