Tag Archives: Reflections

Who am I?

At any given day I am many different things to many different people. The role we play in life is consistently changing, and finding a balance isn’t always the easiest task to achieve.

Sometimes I struggle with the question of “Who am I?” because the truth is, it’s not always a simple black and white issue.

I can wake up in the morning feeling moody and crabby, and the next morning feeling full of hope and joyous… but that’s not Who I Am… that’s How I Feel.

Take away all the mood swings, all the good and bad days, put me in Africa, South America, or the Middle East, and the core of me should still remain the same.

So Who am I???  Take a look:

Ur turn… Who are you???

(I made this fun word puzzle at Wordle. Check it out and if you make your own I’d love to see it!)


Silence is Golden

I haven’t been blogging much lately.  I haven’t had much to say.  There’s been a lot on my mind, but it needed to stay there.

This month my blogging has pretty much reflected my life.  I’ve spent a lot of time alone, which in the past would have killed me.  Now I’m beginning to enjoy it, understand it,  even crave it.  Seasons come and go in life, and I like to call this one ‘Silence is Golden‘.

I’m about to embark in a whole new direction, which in and of itself is scary and exciting… but unknown.  I have no idea where it will take me or how it will end, but either way I’m ready to dive in.

I look back and thank God for this time of Silence in my life.  Though it has been painful at times, it’s also shown me SO much of what I’ve needed to see and experience.   It’s prepared me for the upcoming days, when I fear there won’t be much Silence at all. It has given me a glimpse into who I am and who I’ve become.

Thanks for sticking with me, even when my posts have been few and sporadic. We all need moments in life to sit back, listen, reflect, and be Silent.

For me, Silence TRULY is Golden.


Reflections at 34…

Last year I was enjoying a fine-dining dinner of KFC, thanks to the generosity of Thrive Africa staff in South Africa. The year before that…in the bush of Botswana (sadly, no KFC or anything else remotely close).  

Another year, another birthday, another country.  

This year I am 34!  

I tend to look at birthdays in a negative light, don’t ask me why.  I guess its the getting older part that doesn’t suit me too well, and unfortunately I have this ‘glass half empty’ attitude when it comes to this day.  I think things like…

‘No husband, no kids, no house with the picket fence, no dog….’ etc.

I do it every year, and every year I end up a tinge bit disappointed.  But this year I am vowing to look at it from the ‘glass half full’ attitude (or at least I’m going to attempt to).  Instead of thinking of the things I don’t YET have, I am going to make a list of the things I have been incredibly blessed to experience throughout my 34 years on this earth.  I’m turning over a new birthday leaf.

As we say in Hebrew…. la chaim! (to life!)


What would yours be?

A friend asked me recently, “If you could only read one book of the Bible for the rest of your life, which would you choose.”    For me it would be Psalm(s). This has always been my favorite book and source of strength during many difficult times.

What would yours be (and why)?


Make your dash count

My Aunt sent me this video via email in memory of my cousin, Matt.  He was only a couple months older than I am, but is now in heaven.  He passed away unexpectedly when I was in Africa, so I was not able to attend the funeral; but I have thought about him often since that day.  This video really is beautiful and the message is so true. Please take a minute to watch through it…you will be glad you did. 


Dining with friends

Last night I was invited to my friend, Jackie’s house, for a get together dinner with her team who recently went to Botswana.  The cherry on top was that another friend, who was a missionary at LBOM too, was also coming. Their family actually now lives close to where my parents live, so we were able to carpool up to Grand Rapids.

I was able to see her 3 kids again and spend time talking about our stint in Bots.  I also got to see pics and videos of the team’s trip there.  It was such a lovely night…not to mention the awesome food Jackie made!

On the ride home, Patricia and I talked about our time in Africa and what we missed (and didn’t miss).  It was really nice to be able to share with someone who truly “understands” and who shared some of the same experiences I had.  It was so wonderful to hear how she was doing and see the kids getting soooo much bigger! Thanks, Jackie…for bringing us together again!!!


Missing them

For some reason my kids from Brazil have been on my mind as of late.  I absolutely loved them to death and I miss them so much.  I think about them and wonder how they are doing, while at the same time trying not to face the fact that they are so much older and bigger now.  I know we can’t live in the past, but I sometimes wish time wouldn’t fly by so fast.


In 10 Years I’ll be…..

My senior year in high school we did the typical surveys of like, “Most Athletic” or Best Smile” etc.  We also filled out questionaires answering various fill in the blanks and one of them was, “In 10 years I’ll be….” When we graduated they gave us all a packet with the category winners and what everyone answered for the short essays.  

I bring this up because last night I was back in my high school hometown and ran into some old friends.  I was actually in town to see my amazing friend, Michelle, perform in Sweeny Todd at the community theatre. (She was AWESOME by the way!)  She could have easily chosen a career in music or theatre, but instead after college got married and has 2 incredible children.  This got me thinking last night about how different her life would have been had she persued career over family, which led me back to my high school questionaire.

Its so funny how we have noooo idea what life is really about at that age, and even trying to predict where we’ll be in 10 years is a bit silly (even though if I remember correctly Michelle did say she would be married with a family and living in Marysville, go figure).  So, what did I say?  

I said in 10 years I’d be living in Arizona doing something in politics.  Back in the day I wanted to be in congress and since I knew I was going to ASU, I assumed I would be living in Arizona.  Here I am now, far from living in Arizona and being in American politics.  Life is full of twists and turns, but thank God I am living by His plan and not mine.


Heads or tails

One comment I hear a lot is, “You are so lucky to be able to travel.”  While that is absolutely true…I am very fortunate to go where I go…I hope people comprehend that I’m not traveling all over the world on holiday.  I sometimes think my life is misunderstood, and what is seen is the “travel” side of it. (I’m sure many of you missionaries can relate.)

I have traveled to many places, but mostly being places where I have lived.  Living in another country is NOT the same as traveling there on a short term basis.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not complaining about it, but its not all fun and daisy’s either.

There are many trade-offs to traveling and living in a foreign country.  Yes, I get to experience all the highs, but lets face it…there are lows too.  I hardly ever get to see my family and friends back in the states, and I am constantly loosing friends wherever I am (who mostly come and go as I do). Adapting to a new culture and a completely different way of living, as well as not knowing the language isn’t the easiest thing to do, not to mention the heartache of seeing the suffering throughout our world, first-hand.  This is the choice I make, after all; and I’m happy to make it.

All this to say, Yes…I am extremely fortunate and grateful to be able to travel and the experience of it all.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But as we all know, there are two sides to every coin.


2 Days and Counting

I leave for Israel in two days!!!!!  I have so many mixed emotions right now…excited yet nervous…anxious but a little overwhelmed.  As I prepare to leave, I think back to where I’ve been and all the memories of Brazil and Africa.  The good, the bad, and the ugly: all have shaped me into the person I am right now and where I’ll be in the future.  I feel like I’m at a major turning point in my life, which brings back all the emotions all over again.

To add to the pot, last night we had Rick Renner as a guest speaker at our church, and his message was great.  I felt like so much of what he said was applicable with what I’m facing now.  I took home lots of good nuggets from his message, but what inspired me the most was his personal story.  Rick and his family have been serving in Russia for over 15 years!  He started with nothing but faith and baby steps, and now he has one of the biggest ministries covering all of Russia.

As for me, I am also ready to begin taking these small steps in order to fulfill God’s plan for my life. Thats what this vision trip is all about…stepping out of the boat and putting words into action.  I will try to post when I can while I’m there (I’m sure I’ll have millions of things to say), so until we meet again…..

Shalom!


Top 10 Memories of Africa

I am already being asked by many what my favorite or most memorable Africa experience has been.  As I sit and reflect back, its difficult to just pick one or two. There are so many wonderful, incredible things that happened, so I decided to pick my top 10.  I have blogged about some of them, but feel free to go back and enjoy the memories with me again.  Here goes… Letterman style:

10. My trip to Cape Town:  Mountains, Ocean, Beaches, Penguins…awesome!

9. Grocery shopping with Rishelle for Teen Mania.  500 loaves of bread, kg’s and kg’s of rice, mealie-pap,  and lots and lots of shopping carts.  We had some great laughs. 

8. Safari’s: elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras…I never get tired of seeing these amazing creatures.

7. Easter Conference in Namibia: traveling with youth on a mission trip…you’re only asking for awesome memories there.

6. The houseworkers asking for Bible’s: I will never forget the look on their faces and the bond we experienced that day.

5. Hungry, Hungry Hippos:  If you don’t remember the story, click here.  Personally, I will NEVER forget it!

4. My time at the Refugee Camp in Dukwe:  It was my first experience at a Refugee camp, and one that changed my heart for refugees.  

3. The summer of breakdowns:  From the outreach trucks to R2, there wasn’t a moment that someone wasn’t on the side of a road out in the bush; while sleeping there in the middle of the migration pattern with Teen Mania kids had to top it off…. which leads me to #2

2. Rat in the gastank:  This has to be one of the all time great stories of breakdowns.

1. Samaritan’s Purse Day:  An image that will stay with me forever.  Seeing thousands of kids opening up their shoeboxes filled with small tokens and the smiles on their faces.  Priceless!  


33

33 years ago today I came into this world not knowing much of how it all worked. 33 years later, I can say that I still don’t have much of a clue!  When I was younger I thought that being in your 30’s was sooooo old. But here’s the thing: now the 30’s seem young.  There are days when I still feel like I’m that 16 year old girl in high school (which Thank God…I’m not!)  But in all seriousness, it is extremely wierd to me that I am 33.  I said it when I turned 30 and had my early mid-life meltdown, and now I’m saying it again at 33….SURREAL!  

Mom and Dad:  Its been a long 33 years for you, putting up with me….but don’t worry, I’m like good wine… only getting better with age! hehehehe (thought you would love that analogy) Thanks for loving me for the past 33 years, even those moments when I didn’t deserve it!  

 

     


My daily dilemma

Ironically, today my devotional was called Overcoming Lonliness. Though it said many things, this one in particular, caught my attention:

Probably most of us at one time or another know the painful pangs of loneliness. We were created for relationships and without sufficient love and human companionship we “limp along in the shadows of life” starving for human love, warmth and connection.

I just happened to read in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” So, putting the two together brings me to my situation. I do NOT want to as it was said, “limp along in the shadows of life”…what a miserable state to be in. I also do not want a sick heart…which comes from many things, but one being hope deferred. As you know the JOY of being single (capital letters for the sarcastic emphasis), here we have a bit of a dilemma. Not wanting to limp along, but also not wanting a sick heart….so I ask myself: which is the lesser of the two?

Putting my hope in finding that human companship in order to find the love, warmth, and connection that we are created for; while at the same time knowing that if this hope is deferred it could lead to a sick heart. Or giving up hope that you will find that in order to salvage your heart; while experiencing the lack of love and companionship. I have experienced both, and I am honestly torn at which is worse.

Sure, in a perfect world you hope for it and when it comes you end up with neither a sick heart or the pangs of lonliness…but as we all know it is not a perfect world. So I have but one option….

leave it all up to God. After all…I just seem to make a mess out of things anyways and then I am right back where I started from.


When it rains, it pours!

It has been raining here a bit each day for about 3 weeks straight now…after all it is rainy season. There is flooding all around us: Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe: and last night I thought Botswana might be added to that list. We were at church when it began. Thursday nights are our small group night and we are starting back on our Experiencing God study. As a leader, I have to arrive 30 minutes early to go over the nights lesson. Just about 5 minutes after I arrived the rain came. This wasn’t just a regular rainstorm….it was a downpour! The wind came and blew the rain all around; even inside the middle of the tent we were getting wet. Because our church is a huge tent, each time it rains is a potential for disaster… and last night was no exception. The tent started blowing up and out. The pegs came out of the ground (and we are talking sturdy, heavy pegs). The entire back of the tent behind the stage came down and a part of it ripped into a huge whole. It was not getting any better, and we feared that it would come down any minute. By the grace of God, it miraculously stayed up…and with little damage. We ended up spending most of the time putting the side that fell back up recooperating from the “alsmost disaster”.

After service Michael followed me home to make sure I didn’t get stuck in the mud or flooding that always occurs out by where I live. Thank goodness he did. The gates would not open because of the storm, and we had to manually push them open (which I could have never done by myself). I almost ran over a python (which I didn’t actually see, but Michael told me after). And of course…the electricity was off and on all night long.

As I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep a thought came over me…”when it rains it pours.” Here, usually we don’t have drizzle days like back home where it casually rains off and on all day. Here, if it rains its a huge storm…thunder, lightning, the whole works. And it occured to me that it doesn’t just rains…it pours! It seems to be the same with me. When God rains down on my life, he pours down. Whether it be grace, mercy, love, etc. it seems to come in torrential downpours. It might be just me, or how I perceive it…but whether it be the physical weather or God it my life…the truth is this: “When it rains, it pours!”


2008

Happy New Year! It is wierd to think that 2007 is already over and I have to start writing ’08 on my dates now. Every year I go through the same sentiments…where did the year go? I have never been one who is big on New Years Resolutions, but there are definately things that I would like to accomplish this upcoming year. I have been told that 2008 represents “new beginnings”, so I want to put that into action in my life.

The new year is also a time of reflection on the past year and how far I’ve come. I celebrated the night in downtown Cape Town, where it was full of excitement and action. It was almost “New Yorkish”, and I was taken back in memories to a couple of years ago when I spent the night in Times Square. There were millions of people, a street parade, dancing, vendors selling everything possible, carnival rides, and the vibe of the new year. We walked around and just soaked it all in (until I could not walk anymore with my new boots on). We met people from all over the world…England, Israel, Africa, Australia, USA….I just love that! It was then that I was in awe of all the wonderful things in my life, and all the places I have been to spend New Years….Michigan, New York, Arizona, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town….just to name a few. I am really so blessed!

So as this new year begins I want to take a moment and just say, “wow! God really is good!” He has brought me out of many storms in my life and into the most amazing bessings!

Happy 2008!!!!


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