Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Serendipitous

What a stupendous morning. Call me romantic but it was one of those days where you notice that you breathe and are filled with Joy. The sky is brilliant and everything is possible. Trouble does not fade away--but it is laughable. The importance of living surpasses all petty problems. You glory in Creation and just the crazy beauty of life.

These days make me feel invincible and not exactly human. It is when these rushes of life come over me that I do incredibly silly things that seem absolutely sound and sensible in the moment.

It was in such a moment that I stood out in the yard a while back and was griped with the assurity that I was fully capable of doing a front flip in the air and coming back down on my feet.

A rather awkward explanation soon followed as to why I could hardly walk and was coated with dewy grass clippings.

It is this feeling that makes one far too confident - and all day you drop and spill things, yet, everything is still beautiful.

Rejoice and revel in God's glorious creation! For He is the greatest of all Artists and deserves Praise.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



My darling little sister is 4 years old today.

I can't believe it.

Yesterday she began crying because I wouldn't be at home to celebrate it with her. Not for any selfish reason she just felt terrible that I had to work all day. I remember crying on this very day 4 years ago when she was born. ::laughs:: I was such a little twerp back then. It wasn't any gentle cry either...::sigh::...I was an absolute emotional wreck and I sobbed and physically shook for hours. Why? because my mom was in labor with her for days in the middle of a state-wide ice storm. I had been up for nearly two days when she did arrive and the shock of wonder at being able to see her come into the world was just a little too much on me.

I love you Talitha. Quit growing up so fast!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tolle Lege




Take and read. Okay, so Saint Augustine wasn't talking about picking up a novel with those words but rather the greatest history book of all time. But The Picture of Dorian Gray is a wonderful book for Christians to read. It shows the utter depravity of man. The book is so anti-God that I was continually laughing with sheer incredibility. It is such a hopeless book but throughout I was sure Dorian was going to change: unfortunately he did...he grew worse. It is also a reflection of Oscar Wilde's own life. Such a tragedy.




Just finished this lovely novel today. Am I missing a few marbles? I'm feeling convinced. It's an amazing health book though, loaned by a friend. Am I about to go hopelessly health loopy? I'm afraid you're going to think so. But it's not a crazy health book. It's wonderfully logical and makes so much sense. The Author, Natasha Cambell-McBride, is a very reasonable writer. And with what I've already tried to cure my health problems...I feel I'm headed in the right direction.



A comedy.
I have not read a lot of Shakespeare but the more I do the more I appreciate him. I use to refuse to read him. Yes, call me a snob. It doesn't take much to be one. But I knew someone who was obsessive about him years ago and had the wrong mental picture of what his writing was really like. I laughed through this whole book.



My sister, Havilah, discovered this book first. I'm not yet finished with it. But everyone should read it. I love it. He talks about birth order and why you are the way you are. He's not a stickler and understands there are variables. Whether you are a first born, middle child, or baby...you'll tend to do certain things but parents, beliefs, and the way you're raised can make some definite changes. Plus, Dr. Leman is a Christian and an awesome, creative, and fun writer.
I think it's a great way to begin understanding other people, your parents, friends, children... etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

These chilly cloudy days are perfect for that chair and cup of cocoa. And there are so many delicious book out there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Decidedly Dithering

Whether it's my age, hair colour, or just fate I know not. I just know that my life is so full of awkward moments that I only get over the last one by having another.

I would be the girl walking blissfully out of a campus door, just as a troop of students walk by, not see the steps descending to the sidewalk, and nearly scrape my face off from the jarring descent.

I would be the employee who is just trying to fill the ice bin when the bucket flies from her hands clattering and rolling and nearly trips her boss as he comes around the corner.

I would be the waitress who is gracefully balancing empty beer bottles on a tray when they all suddenly decide to jump over. Beer is sprayed all over her uniform and while she flushes 7 shades of color, eight elderly couples look disapprovingly over their forks and only receive a penitent sickly smile in return.

I would be the blonde that locked herself out of her car in the drizzling rain and had to be rescued by a compassionate policeman.

I would be the smartaleck telling the cooks what to do while I'm pouring soup. When the soup decides to pour everywhere but in its pan but rather all over the floor and me. The cook happened to think my tragedy was so funny he volunteered to clean the floor and helped wipe everything up while I swallowed the unshed tears of humiliation and laughed at myself too.

And yes, I'm the ditz, who is always in a hurry and as I whip out my pen to take an order has my pen fly up at customers. In consternation I dive for it surrounded by humored smiles.

And oddly enough, most of these things seem to happen when I'm not in a hurry.

Heu! Vita. I understand thee not.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Defending the South

Having a spat with my uncle, who is a staunch defender of Abraham Lincoln and the North. He sent me the Gettysburg film recently as a gift...this is my reply:

Two years ago I began reading many books on The War Between the States. I didn’t just stick to books sympathizing with the South, but I’m afraid the biographies on Southern generals were far more stirring for the most part, although I have always liked Joshua Chamberlain.

I would recommend that you read J. Stevens Wilkins history on this war. Wilkins is a historical genius and has compiled many events which are so often over-looked since the winners write the history books.

In one of his lectures Wilkins points out,

“It has become a common practice for historians to refer to The War Between the States (“The Civil War”) as an “irrepressible conflict.” In reality, the war was not inevitable or “irrepressible” at all. The war was inevitable only to the radical humanists who saw that the only way to bring about the revolution they desired was to destroy the Calvinistic and Biblical foundations which opposed these “reforms.” This meant the destruction of the South. The theology coupled with the political power of the region were THE most formidable roadblocks to the humanistic/rationalistic revolution. The “new order” could never come until the South lost its position and influence. An issue was needed which was big enough to start a war - - that issue turned out to be slavery.”

I agree with Wilkins completely in this: slavery was not the true cause of the war. It was merely an excuse.

Now I am not a fan of slavery and where and how it is happening around the world today is awful and grotesque. And actually, many Southerners were anti-slavery. Of the 130 anti-slavery groups over two-thirds were in the South.

You have my deepest sympathy for being a relative to Abraham Lincoln. But you are not responsible for what your relations have done.

Abraham Lincoln, may he rest in peace, was not the chivalrous president so many historians make him out to be.

He himself stated,

“There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people, to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races…Make them [Negroes] politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this…I will say then that I am not, nor even have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

I was shocked when I leaned that Abraham Lincoln spoke those words.

Furthermore, in the 1930’s many former slaves were interviewed and many of them had had Christian employers whom they loved and did not want to be separated from. Many, not all, had better lives than free European peasants.

Plus, the North paid black soldiers les than white soldiers of equal rank whereas the South paid them equally.

I do not think war was the only answer to end slavery. But war was the only answer to the North keeping its economic and political interests.

On the issue of racism I find the ones who squeal the loudest about it, are often the people who themselves struggle with the equality of all men. Racism is a problem in our country. And not only against black people but anyone who is different than what we consider “normal.” The media has a lovely ability of being able to bring up the issue on a daily basis so that we continue to think about it in the world’s way, rather than remembering that we are all equally created in Gods image.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I raise my eyebrow at date of my last post.

Much like I raised my brow at the last date in my journal earlier. And as generally happens when I don't keep up with my written life in that long, I begin by trying to write it all and end by shooting bird shot. Only hitting a zillion topics by chance and not delving in at all.

It has been a poignant month. I would say bittersweet but that term seems overused.

Granma passed away on the 17th. But her leaving brought almost the whole family together. Excluding one brother, my sister from Scotland and little nephew made it, and my sister from Texas and then my brother and his wife from California. Along with countless aunts and uncles and extended family.

I even made it to the emergency room the night before the funeral. My charming brother and his wife and two of my sisters and of course my parents joined in my excursion. I don't think I've ever been in so much pain in my entire life and my sense of humor was out. I sure hope God granted extra mercy to the people that dealt with me that night because I'm afraid I didn't. My pain was all due to a cyst..

And so, I am thinking that perhaps God is teaching me to Cherish Life.

I love life. I remember when I was 2 and 3 racing around the house breathing, "faster, faster, faster than a butterfly, faster than a motorcycle." For me, life has always meant movement. This method of life has cost me many mishaps and hard knocks. And a tendency to not always think things through.

I'm not declaring myself an invalid. I am far from that. But I have been restricted in the last year and more intensely in the last month of being quite as free and careless as I once was.

Funny how God seems to be forcing me to give up my independent spirit that so many times has refused help even when I needed it. I'm sure it is only the independence that kept me from depending on Him.

And so, now that I have time to sit I realize just how much I cherish life. My granma was 90 years old when she died. 90! That seems so far away. And yet, she often said how quickly time slipped away. And how many of us live to 90?

And it also reminds me to cherish new life. The fact that over 3700 lives are suffocated every day in America alone is sobering.

I have survived Roe V. Wade.

I have been given a fighting chance.

Life is a gift and once taken away it is never returns.

Guard this gift. But use it or it becomes useless.

Cherish Life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks to the recommendation I have come across this passage:

"All experiences of suffering in the path of Christian obedience, whether from persecution of sickness or accident, have this in common: They all threaten our faith in the goodness of God and tempt us to leave the path of obedience. Therefore, every triumph of faith and all perseverance in obedience are testimonies to the goodness of God and the preciousness of Christ--whether the enemy is sickness, Satan, sin, or sabotage.

Therefore, all suffering, of every kind, that we endure in the path of our Christian calling is a suffering "with Christ" and "for Christ." With Him in the sense that the suffering comes to us as we are walking with Him by faith and in the sense that it is endured in the strength He supplies through His sympathizing high-priestly ministry (Hebrews 4:15). For Him in the sense that the suffering tests and proves our allegiance to His goodness and power and in the sense that it reveals His worth as an all-sufficient compensation and prize."

Desiring God - John Piper

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A glorious day.

The weather has that beginning chill of Fall and yet the sun still shined and the breeze still blew in a delicious fashion.

This morning my two youngest brothers were confirmed by Bp. Sutton.






This afternoon we went for a family drive. To the little town of Hankinson to get ice-cream. I had curly fries. A scrumptious substitute.

There was this old lady sitting at the picnic table crowing with laughter over Esther's antics and chatter.

Daddy wanted to drive through the Sand Hills just a few miles from there and so we headed out....we were in the fifteen passenger van of course..and dad turned off onto a road. In moments the lovely road turned into a frightening death trail. The trail was very sandy and we nearly got stuck a few times. Trees crowded on every side and gully's and gulches made us lurch from side to side. All the lovely ice-cream cones were quickly turning into shakes and everyone was laughing, screaming, and directing dad how to drive.

The trees parted and we found ourselves in the middle of a pasture. The road drizzled to a nothingness in the midst of a group of cows.

So back again we went. Up and down and finally out again.

and on to the park and a discussion about Chuggles. A most interesting topic.

I love Fall.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It truly is so much easier to say than to do.

How many times have I begged God to prepare me for whatever purpose He desires me for?

Many.

And now, perhaps I am waking up to the realization that perhaps I have been whining and rejecting His preparation.

We say, whatever it takes, Lord.

Little realizing just what this may include.

And so, up until this very evening I have rejected and scorned being sick. I have been so frustrated by it. Every time I think it's gone away I either come down with something else or the same symptoms return.

Since last winter, I have been plagued by some sickness or another. Then, being sick from Brazil morphed into being sick with allergies, followed by a sty, a cold, and now a flu. Including my eczema breaking out from eating one dairy product.

It is so hard not to ask, "why me??"

It is so easy when not feeling well and being extraordinarily tired to be out of temper, to complain, to not trust God for His healing and strength.

How crushing it is to realize how many times I turn down the opportunity to glorify God. To accept this cheerfully, with the knowledge that, He will never leave me nor forsake me. We are to praise God in sickness and in health. Not just when we see He has fulfilled our wishes.

Perhaps it humors God too, when he sees just how often he has to employ means to humble us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Esther (6): "...and I like pigs, I love pigs, 'cause they're so cute and fat and they're pink!"

Mom: "we ate pig last night for dinner."

Talitha (3) following dad downstairs: "...and mom said we ate pig for dinner last night but we didn't!"




(picture courtesy of Havilah)

Monday, August 31, 2009

I couldn't upload two into one posts so here the the continuation

video

Traditional Apurina March into Church

The Apurina men prepare for church outside and then come marching and singing praise to God.

I'm so happy this video uploaded. It was truly amazing to be so separated by language and yet be able to glorify the same God in oneness. Their language is beautiful.

video

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do Not Rush. Trust. And Keep a Quiet Heart.

I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work--one's work for God--consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day--the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.

Annie Keary, 1825-1879

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Lord,

please help Lydia.

^that's how my three year old sister began the prayer before dinner.

Just a little disconcerting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Startled.

Pretty much daily I'm reminded of The Sibling Fact of Life.

You know...whether older or younger, siblings make you realize a lot about yourself. They are usually the first ones to discover if you take teasing well, what frustrates you, what you have patience with or who, especially whom you do not. And siblings are supposed to be good for us. And I believe they usually are. Sometimes, we'd like to think they only bring out the worst in us but really they are just bringing out us...sibling or no we all make decisions on how we will respond.

It dawned on me this week just how much I influence my siblings. It's positively frightening. It just might make me turn into a Paranoid Recluse one of these days. I guess I forgot how much I looked up to my older siblings while growing up. In lots of ways I wanted to be just like them.

I started waitressing for the first time this past week. Not a day later did I see my four little sisters in aprons. They're always dressing up in outfits so at first I didn't think twice about. The next thing I know I am being asked subtle questions like, "Lydia, if you ever had a restaurant, what would you call it?"

...so it finally dawned on me what they were up to...


Tonight I got back from work and took out my violin for the first time in ages. Moments later, Talitha toddled in and began heaving the little guitar from the corner. Esther began to beg, "can I please try your violin???"

I don't want to think about all the other things they see me do!

::EDIT::

Is it too hard to read my posts on the new background? Does the type need to be changed?

If you find it irritating, please let me know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slideshow on Youtube

Oh yes. Finally. Pictures are on hand.

Hope you enjoy.



Day 19 Friday, July 31st.

I hate goodbye's. So many abrupt, cold, flurried moments in airports - then quick hugs and brief words lest their flight should leave without them.

Our plane left Manaus an hour and a half or more after schedule from bad weather in Atlanta. It was a long flight that took the whole night. Some people were able to sleep, for myself, I tried and utterly failed. When they served breakfast I told the girl to put cream in the coffee, figuring it would taste bad. It wasn't until I'd drank 3/4ths of it and began to feel funny that I remembered I wasn't suppose to drink dairy. Egh.

When we first boarded I began talking to the lady across the isle from me - She's a U.S. citizen now but a Brazilian native. I was so absorbed chatting to her I didn't really pay attention to what was going on around me. One of the flight attendants came up tot me abruptly and demanded, "did you hear what was just said?"

"No."

"Well," she huffed, "those were flight instructions that you didn't listen to. That, "she pointed her finger down me, "was disobedient. That was a test, and you, you failed that at test." She turned and went back to her seat while I sat momentarily dumbfounded. I was on the verge of laughter. Everyone in our group turned to see what was going on and my Brazilian friend raised her brow and remarked, "that was rude and uncalled for."

It was only the instructions they give before every flight that I'm sure hundreds of passengers every day do their best to drown out. I call it Benton Luck.

Because of the flight delay, Grant and I missed our connection flights while Laurie had to run through customs and luggage . We weren't even able to say goodbye to her.

The rest of us merged to our terminal where we found out they switched all of our gate numbers. The Focklers and Cama left next to Denver. I'm going to miss all of them. Even I suppose Jared and Daniel with their constant jeering and teasing.

Grant and I headed back together on the tram where we parted. I went to my new gate which was switched twice more before I boarded.

I hadn't slept in over 30 hours and instantly took a 40 minute nap. I imagine lack of sleep is the cause of this headache.

It is good to be in the U.S. again. I'm looking forward to stepping off the plane, sleeping in a bed (what a novel idea), and calling my family.

God has been so good to us this entire trip. Some things are still all muggled up in my brain but my hope is to never forget Judy's words to us before departing. That I will always be open to the will of God. To serve Him at a moments notice and that I may never forget to live my life living Christ for we do not know when he will return.

May I always pray and search for the will of God in my life.
Day 17 Wednesday, July 29

It feels like we've been in Manaus a long time. Another sticky day. Judy took us to a park/science place. We all liked it better than the zoo. It was full of tree's and trails till you forgot you were in the middle of an enormous city.

There were otters and monkeys, turtles, alligators, and bee's, but we didn't see them. We bought a huge bag of ice and when we came back to the house we made the best orange julius' in the world. It was so good to have some cold!

I'm glad there are several guys with us...especially when we go out. Not hard to imagine something pretty horrible happening.


Day 18 Thursday, July 30th

Our last day has been slow but relaxing. Last night we all just sat around talking - some great and interesting conversation. We packed up all our stuff and cleaned up Judy's house. I think Judy really appreciated just having us around - it's not often she has visits from fellow Americans. I really hope I will be able to come back here some day.

For dinner, we all walked several blocks to a little restaurant that had delicious meat on sticks - an authentic little joint. We walked back to the house and had devotions for a bit, found out that our flight had been delayed over an hour. Judy came with us to the airport and we said our sad farewells. And now we're just waiting - waiting for our plane - waiting for the 7 hour flight - the layover in Atlanta and our final destinations.
Day 15 Monday, July 27

Today we all got ready and walked to the bus stop. The buses or for that matter, all traffic here is insane. Grant and I were sitting in the back of the bus and it was like being on a roller coaster. Up and down, round and round we went coming to sudden screeching halts and then revving off again.

Suddenly, we came to a another screeching halt but this time we didn't rev off...everyone but our group stepped down. Laurie turned around and said, "buses are on strike."

I thought she was joking. Judy was arguing away in Portuguese with the driver. Several of our fellow passengers were trying to explain to Grant through the window. Finally it dawned on me that this was for real. We all stumbled off.

The streets were full of pedestrians. Hundreds and hundreds of people on their way to work, school, touring, were suddenly all in the same dilemma. Bus after bus was stopped till the streets were lined with them. We all walked the rest of the way to the opera house.

The Manaus Opera House is very beautiful. It has wood from all over the world in it. After that we walked down to the street vendors, trying not to be squashed by all the traffic, and down to the market. It was interesting and fun. We spent nearly the whole day there. Tonight we've played games and Pastor Eric, Gene Babylon, and Alan Graham packed their stuff and are waiting to leave to the airport.

I know this is crazy but I'm so tired by 8:00 now I can hardly stay awake. This jungle life is growing on me. Earlier when I was down in the market buying some postcards this Brazilian lady came up behind me speaking softly, laid her head on my shoulder closing her eyes and then kissed it. I stood absolutely frozen. Not understanding was saying and feeling absolutely awkward. Alan Graham was standing a few feet away and just watched the whole thing with wide eyes. I looked at him, swallowed and quickly paid for my postcards. Yes, I'm discovering that Brazilians are a little strange at times.

Day 16 Tuesday, July 28

I guess the story of the little bug above [imagine one, please] needs to be told since Jannie and Mr Fockler suggested putting it in here.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the living room with everyone and I'd just finished eating a handful of granola - while I was talking I realized I still had a piece in my had so I popped it in my mouth. I bit it with my front teeth absently and to my surprise it was juicy and shelly. I feverishly began spitting and gagging while everyone looked on in wonderment. Jannie, sitting next to me looked down at my hand and said, "it's a bug!" Everyone began roaring with laughter. I was still busy making horrible expressions from the horrendous taste of bug guts and legs. I jumped up to wash my mouth out and called back in defense , "I thought it was granola!" this only made them laugh harder.

I remain the end to every bug joke they can think of.

I had headaches today and felt sluggish (or maybe buggish) and my stomach still isn't right. A lot of it may be from my allergies to cats, dogs etc they have both in the house. We went to the zoo today. A nice small zoo with all sorts of cats (jungle), alligators, fun exotic birds, and *shiver* snakes. I'm so thankful we didn't see snakes while out in the jungle...although I'm sure they were around.

I'm so sad we had to leave the village. I wish we could have stayed longer. Parting from them broke my heart and I'm afraid it made me cry. Even if I never come back (although I truly hope I do) I will never forget them.

The guys spent part of the day mending doors on the Judy's and Cathy's house. It made them very happy.

Ever since I got back from the jungle and have been in communication with my family I've really been missing them. I'm so thankful for email. I'm afraid we might be running poor Judy to a tizzy with all the running about she does for us - she's amazing.

I'm missing the guys that left last night. Mr Babylon had an awesome sense of dry humor. I loved it. The atmosphere has definitely changed since they left.
Day 13 Saturday, July 25th

Yesterday was the first day I haven't written in here. When I last wrote it was about 10:00 at night and after a bit I fell asleep, exhausted. At 12:30 I woke up feeling really nauseated and sick - it hurt to move. I stumbled down to the little house out back, I remember I tripped on a tree root and fell on my elbows, I was scared to be out there alone.
When I came back in I drank a bunch of water - which didn't taste very good and I had a strange notion that it was that water that made me sick. I crawled into my hammock holding my stomach. I thought I might throw up but I haven't done that in years. A few minutes later I began to have horrific cramps up in my diaphragm that contorted my whole body. I've never experience anything like it. My head felt hot and my body cold. The cramps continued, attacking every few minutes - I think I groaned the whole night. At about 1:30 I woke up Came (my room mate) and told her I was sick. She said I needed to wake up Laurie, the doctor.

I did and told her my symptoms. In the end I was awake the entire night from - only God got me through for I've felt more gruesome. Cama was very good and sweet to me the entire time...especially when I so rudely woke the poor thing up.

In the morning I still felt pretty awful and even more so because I could hardly stand up long enough to say goodbye. I hope the Apurina understood. Leaving was hard. I boarded the boat with Mr Babylon earlier than everyone else and Maria kept trying to help and bring me medicine. She was jabbering on and on in Portuguese of which I only understood that her medicine would cure me. I kept saying "no entiendo" and shaking my head because I wasn't sure what exactly her medcine contained so she'd run down and grab a different bottle. She did that about 4 times before she finally realized I wasn't going to take it until Judy translated for me.

Laurie gave me some drugs and as soon as the cramps stopped a bit later I slept. I was out cold for about 15 hours. Apparently, my face swelled up and I looked absolutely awful. At 4:30 this morning we stopped at Beruri for a couple of hours - we were halfway. Everyone went and explored the town...I didn't even think about it.

Today I have felt better but definitely not recovered. I developed an earache on my right side and have been nauseated all day. I have mostly dozed and had strange dreams. Dreams about the boat sinking, of airplane rides, being back home, and of being pursued by scary people and nobody being able to hear me call out.

We are suppose to arrive in Manaus at about 8:00 - I can't wait to get off this boat - I think half my nausea is from the rocking and swaying hammock.

Day 14 Sunday, July 26

We are all safely at Judy's house. Last night while we were still on the boat I had finally pulled myself together and was feeling relatively better, I made my way down to the lower level to say hi to Maria, Orlando, their son Francisco, and Maxxi. They were all so happy I was feeling better that they gave me enormous hugs and Orlando kissed me on my cheek as if I were his daughter. They were so sweet and so worried about me. I didn't realize how bad I must have looked until I began to feel better and everyone told me. All I know is that I felt ghastly. So I sat in the itty bitty cabin while Orlando drove and next to Maxi int he stern swinging my legs over the boat while we came into the bay. It was a beautiful evening full of stars and breeze and it felt so good to be alive. Funny how much more you appreciate life once you've been sick.

Then we had another jam-packed bus ride back to Judy's house. They ordered pizza and we all waited out turn for Internet. This morning we all got up early and then waited until it was time to leave to church. I rode int he back baggage compartment of Judy's car...it was a jarring ride on Brazilians wonderful roads. Really it was kindof fun getting bounced around.

At church they gave us earphones and a girl translated for us into English but she missed a lot so it was rather disconnected. Afterward we went to the mall and ate - it was good. I was with five other people from our group eating in a restaurant and at the end of the meal the lights went out - it made me laugh. Because everyone around me was speaking Portuguese, looking-serious, and trying to eat in the dark. Alas, no one else thought it was funny and I laughed alone. Grant thinks Laurie's medicine's are messing with me.

We've spent the latter afternoon and evening sleeping,resting, talking, and reading. Most of the Fockler's have colds.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 10 Wednesday July 22nd

We finished the church today! Everyone is very relieved and happy to be done with such hot and tiring work. We spent part of the day cleaning up and washing the floor of all the cement gunk.

Late this morning we went down to the boys swimming area and watched them drag up six wild boars they had just killed. Everyone will eat well tonight. Afterward I was sitting with several of the Indians on a bench and Aiampa came up to me with a pen and paper and began asking how to say and spell in English. The sound of our words makes them laugh so hard.

Now they all request pictures - even the older people. Since they are so serious we tell them to make funny faces. They are so happy about the church. Judy says they really like it.

The Brazilians that are here are a little scary. They don't look trustable. Several of them look like agents of some kind...like the bad guys from thrillers. I think it's mostly their sunglasses because I can never tell exactly where they are looking.

Tomorrow is an official play day.


Day 11 Thursday, July 23rd

Truly the best day yet. Today we did everything I've been dying to do. This morning Aiampa took Cama and I out in a canoe and we went up the flooded river amongst tree's and branches for quite some time. We had machete's with us and Cama and I tried to look for snakes but we didn't see anything. Which is almost scarier. Aiampa had brought us to her field, which doesn't look like our fields at all! They are full of burned trees and scrubs where they have cleared it and all over are pineapples, bananas, sugar cane, and the mansa stuff that is like a potato. Sugar cane is good. You hack off the skin with a machete and then chew the liquid out of the stringish white stuff and spit it out.

I went down with Johanna and Etiana to a house at the end of the village this afternoon and watched an old woman weave a basket. They look like so much work. Coming back from watching the basket weaving then Brazilian woman were cooking and called us over and with gestures and signals asked me to braid their hair like they'd seen me braid the little Indian girls hair yesterday. I agreed, feeling a little awkward with all of them crowding around and a little like they were demanding that I do it. As if I didn't have a choice. But they were very pleased with the result. After that Aiampa wanted to learn more English and had me write down the English while she wrote in Apurina next to it.

Right after lunch Mongwa came to take us on another canoe trip to see if we could find any more animals. We did see some monkeys and heard an alligator slap his tale. Mongwa took us through the jungle, which is a little less wild then I expected, and showed us where they cut their Wood for boards.

It was awesome canoeing through that - rather epic.

We didn't get back until about 3:00 and the swim we took after all the sweaty stuff felt incredible.

Played Frisbee with the little boys for a while before we had a church service. It was a dedication and communion service. It was so beautiful - not only in their new church building, but in their faces and singing and words of thanksgiving. It was very dark when we got out of church and the lit the bonfire. It was a big hot fire and everyone crowded around with short sticks and turned faces from the intense heat and roasted marshmellows.

Laughter rang across the village. Boar meat roasted. Grant had brought some glow sticks and we threw them whizzing back and forth. They couldn't believe how they glowed. Everyone posed for pictures. The Brazilians who were visiting mostly just watched but I probably had to pose for 30 pictures. They don't often seen blond hair and blue eyes (and all of us girls had one degree of it or another) and it fascinates them. The Brazilian guys can get rather annoying.

At one point, we all formed two lines - one of boys and men and one of woman and children. The lines faced each other. The men sang a chant and would step, step, half step, stop while the woman backed up simultaneously. The men held palm leaves in their left hand while their right was on the next guys left shoulder. Back and forth we went laughing and turning in big circles until everyone was tired.

It was an evening never to be forgotten. It reminded me so much of the kind of feast C.S. Lewis would describe in a Narnia book.

For a while we sang...miserably since we couldn't think of a song we all knew.

We "partied all night" for a Indian...which was until 9:30 pm...I have to admit I was utterly exhausted by then too.

The Apurina boys are so sweet and give us wooden rings they carve out of nuts and aren't happy until you try them on to be sure they fit.

Everything is packed up and ready to go. Tomorrow we leave early.
Day 8 Monday, July 20th

We got a lot done today on the church - a hot and tiring time though. The indians are working on the roof while we work below. They are amazingly skilled with wood work. Their beams are long and straight and everything is notched perfectly. All they use is a chainsaw and machete most of the time.

The children are very friendly now and adorable. I don't want to think about leaving them. After work Jannie, Andrea, Cama, and I went down for a swim. Several of the little indian girls were already there so I started to growl and chase them. They loved it and in the end they wouldn't let any of us get out but physically dragged us back in. During the middle of that an indian woman signaled me over and gave me a basket she had weaved. She is so absolutely adorable...I wish I could have expressed my gratitude better.

Day 9 Tuesday July 21st

I don't know how I'm going to leave this place -- especially the children. Every time they see us they run up and embrace and hang on us. If we walk out of the house several will run up and body slam from every direction. The love to mimic what we say in English. To one of them I said, "are you my girl?" she laughed and grabbed my hand, "my girl!" she chirped back.

I braided their hair today...they look so hot with it down all the time. They loved it. They also love posing for pictures but look very solemn in them.

Right now the men are finishing the roof, the church is nearly done. We don't have quite enough brick and mortar but we're doing the best we can.

An old woman from the village came up to to the house today and gave us all Apurina names. Mine is, Ko Pakiaro.

The team is now talking about leaving on Friday instead of Sunday - all of us girls want to stay until Sunday but there are several people were are sick and we need to get back to the city.

We've had a lot of paca and bean jokes because we've eaten them so much. I don't mind it though.

Another boat came today with Brazilians they are having some kind of meeting with the indians.

Last night I went to bed early not feeling well. I woke up about an hour later. Judy and Laurie were talking in the kitchen with an Apurina family. I went to sit and listen. The man asked me my name and then said he was going to name his next child after me. I love the way they pronounce my name, "Leedia". Some of them even shorten it to "Lyd" which I often go by at home.

It took a long time to fall asleep after that but when I did it felt wonderful. The first night I haven't awakened every half hour.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 6 Saturday, July 18th

Another long day but the church is coming along. We got a lot done today. After work we ate dinner and then went swimming. It felt so good. Although you start sweating again almost immediately. I felt loads better today though. We ate paca for lunch and it makes your stomach go on a roller coaster for a while - I never thought I'd eat a rodent.

Last night I could hardly move I was in so much pain. And then our hammock nets are very stuffy. They were playing loud loud music down at the boat - which they have started up again just now, and a generator was running on the other side of the village - a lot of noise for a long time made it really hard to sleep.

All the guys pour buckets of sweat - it's horrific.

Day 7 Sunday, July 19th

It has been a wonderful day. Still not sleeping extremely well in this heat and humidity. I woke up every half hour and got up about 5:30. The dogs growled all night at each other right under the house. Late last night Cama & I went down to the boat where the music was and watched and played dominoes, they are crazy fast at it.

This morning we went to church at about 8:00. Usually it's at 7:00 but they changed it because everyone was tired from working. It started by all the men gathering in a circle some way away holding palm leaves. They came singing and marching into church. Down the isle and around the pulpit. The women and children sit on one side and the men on the other. Judy didn't want it that way but they knew it was done like that in other parts of Brazil. We sang (or tried to pronounce their lengthy words), said the Lord's Prayer and different men read the bible and spoke while Judy translated. Her ability for switching between languages is incredible. I was very impressed with their understanding of the bible. They are so sincere.

After Church I played Frisbee for a long time and got drenched in sweat. The Fockler's brought some balloons so they filled them with water and we threw them around until they broke - they loved it.

Then Cama and I went visiting. Some of the Indians were more friendly than others but they were all hospitable.

Cosma (the chiefs wife), gave me some rings. They make them out of nuts, she's very sweet.

Then I went down and had a swim with Judy and Laurie. We swam out to a cold spot in the water, held on to a tree and talked for a good hour - it was wonderful.

I cleaned myself up and wandered down to the boat thinking everyone else might be there. They weren't but I stayed down there for an hour or so because they wanted me to teach them English by pointing to different fruits and vegetables on a grocery ad. They had a really hard time saying "er" and 'r' in our words and we all laughed till we almost cried.

I came back and played Frisbee and got all gross again...it's useless getting clean.

We had church again at 5:00 and we didn't get out until it was dark. They don't have a set time that it lasts - just when anyone who has wanted to talk has finished.

Jannie, Jared, Daniel, Andrea, and I played dominoes with them in the schoolhouse since they have a generator and light out there. Daniel drew pictures on the chalk board of animals and stuff and made them say the Apurina for it. It was very humorous.

Brazil

Day 4 Thursday, July 16th

I finally slept well last night. The sunrise was gorgeous. For breakfast we had coffee, granola, banana's (their banana's are amazing), and some potato stuff. I'm not sure what they call them. Marie boiled them with the skins on which are brown and I just ate them plain like that. They are bright purple on the inside.

We had bible study just a bit ago. We are studying the gospel of Mark. We're taking it slow--which is good.

Judy encourages us not to get so bogged down by the newness of this country nor our responsibilities as to forget to spend time with God and in prayer. Right now that is not hard. I am surrounded by His glorious creation. It is peaceful on the river here and there aren't many distractions - you almost have to think of distractions on this boat. I have a little feeling the village won't be quite like this.

We should be arriving in the village soon. I think everyone is ready to get off the boat and start doing something.

Several people aren't feeling very well - our digestive systems have been thrown out of whack.

Now there are not so many houses along the river, they are quite rare in fact. We still see dolphins, lots of butterfly's, and a few monkeys but not much. We are all waiting to see the crocodiles and Judy says if we go out at night in the village with a flashlight we will.


Day 5 Friday, July 17

Ah, it is 7:30 pm. I didn't realize when I promised myself I'd journal every day it'd be this hard. I'm so tired I could cry.

It took a lot longer to get here than they thought it would. We couldn't see our way onto the Monkey River last night so we stopped about 20 minutes away. I was trying to talk to Maxi and turning on and off the searchlight for him. He was trying to make some sort of deal with me and wanted to shake hands on it. I didn't have any idea what he was trying to say so I wouldn't and he laughed and slapped me on the shoulder.

Cama says he was probably asking to marry me and Jannie that he wanted to feed me to the fish. Today though, has been interesting. We arrived in the village and almost immediately began working on the church. It was blisteringly hot until about noon when it began to rain - a gift from heaven in more ways than one. We all stood out getting drenched. We sweat continuously.

The people are shy but nice. The language barrier is very difficult but funny as times too. I know a little Spanish which is close to Portuguese but the Apurina language is very different. Mr Fockler brought Frisbees and they are loving the game. They played with them for hours. The concrete and bricks can be difficult to work with. It is hard to wear gloves so our hands are raw from the rough cement rubbing.

I worked with Pastor Eric mostly today. It was interesting talking with him. After work we all went swimming in the river. It felt amazing. Today for lunch we had paca - which is a large rodent. It tasted rather like pork. A couple of people were grossed out at the thought. Although Alan isn't feeling good anyway so I don't blame him for not trying it.

Too tired to write any more.

Brazil - day 3, I must have had way too much time to write!

Day 3 Wednesday, July 15

I think I'm still in shock that I'm actually in Brazil. I find it increasingly incredible when I pause and realize that without knowing the language I can tell Marie, the cook, how good her food is, how we can argue about washing the dishes. how the driver can tell how tired he is and that he has a headache....

Judy King is amazing. I have already begun to respect her so much - sometimes though she starts chattering away looking at me for comfort and I find myself staring back in kindof a daze and realize afterwards everything she said was in Portuguese and I didn't understand one word for a good reason. She's lived here 35 years. She has such a big heart even though she's tough on the outside. Yesterday morning she suddenly grabbed me and gave me an enormous hug and sighing said, "I'm so glad you guys are here."

I couldn't fall asleep in my hammock last night so I tired the deck - it wasn't too much better. I woke up every hour and realized I had rolled to the railing. I finally just got up at 5:45 and took a shower - I can honestly say, a shower has never felt better. Not that it was much of one. It's right in the bathroom which is about 2' x 3'.

It was pitch black by 7:00 last night. Judy taught Jannie and I how to play Brazilian dominoes. She's hilarious about it.
We won't arrive in the village until 7:00 tomorrow night but everyone is enjoying this boat ride so it's alright. 40 minutes ago we left the halfway point. We had a prayer and bible time this morning and Judy explained how things will happen in the village. Now everyone is just relaxing i.e. talking, journaling, watching dolphins and a couple of the guys are fishing.
Jared Fockler reminds me a lot of my brother Josiah. If his little sister Andrea is not the end of his every joke than I am. He some how thinks I ought to listen to him. Andrea and I take the teasing in completely different directions though. She just sits there and takes it and I retaliate and tease in return. I somehow feel like Jared and Daniel act like I'm a sister - so I've decided to treat them like brothers. Last night Jared's hammock broke part way when he laid in it. Everyone on our end of the boat laughed until we ached.


Later:

It's evening now, the sunset disappears. I just came up from a feast of watermelon and mansa. The mansa is like a potato and after a couple of bites I felt stuffed. Then we pulled up to a small town - or maybe it was a village, I didn't catch a name. We were right alongside a river boat which was full of the most adorable children. We tried exchanging names but mostly we just grinned at one another. It was becoming increasingly humid - about six of us lounged in the prow while Maxi, the driver talked to us. We had no idea what he was saying but that didn't bother him in the least. He kept telling us stories and laughing which made us laugh and then he'd laugh harder. Jared was trying to fish and figure out what would be good bait. Jannie has a wort on her finger and Maxi started talking about it to her. She thought he was telling her how to get rid of it. And I guess he was because when we asked Judy to translate for us he said she should cut it off and use it for fish bait. He thought this joke was hilarious. I'll never forget these days. Not in my wildest fancies have I ever thought I'd be happily laughing on the Amazon a Brazilian and five other people circumstance has thrown together.

I can't fall asleep so I'm going to write some more. We had beans again and mansa for dinner and coffee. Their coffee is so sweet! They boil it with cane sugar. It's thick too - like a syrup. You can't drink a lot at a time.

It was dark and they were using the searchlight so I went to the prow to see if I could spot some crocodiles. The driver, Maxi, started talking to me. I had to ask Judy what the word for crocodile was. So I asked him if we'd see any, he nodded vigorously and pointed to the water but I didn't see anything for the hour I was up there. He kept asking me questions - if any of the other people were my siblings, if Jared and Jannie were 'espousa', if I was married etc. For the most part though I had to helplessly put my hands in the air, then he'd put his hand on my shoulder, shake his head, and laugh. I had to laugh as well.

Brazil Day 1 and 2

While I was in Brazil I kept a journal nearly everyday to keep track of some of the things we did.

Day 1 Monday, July 13th 2009

We are currently en route to Manuas - we are missing one lady from Texas whose flight was late. [actually we found out when we landed she made it on our flight].
We've been flying from Atlanta for several hours now. The entire flight will be 6 or 7 hours. Just filling out forms, watching movies, eating, and talking.
Nothing too exciting has happened, everything is going smoothly. I can't wait to arrive in Manaus. We're on a fairly small aircraft that is about 2/3's full, so we have a little room. I'm still working on remembering every one's name and hoping to catch some sleep.

Day 2 Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

It's ten o'clock in the morning and we're on the boat. But I'm skipping about 12 hours. Our plane landed just before midnight and it took a long time to get out of the airport because of customs. Judy King met us there. We gathered our tremendous amount of luggage and rode the bus to Judy's house. There we met Cathie - she and Judy work together. She's from Scotland and has an incredible accent. I love it.
It is very hot and sticky here. So humid. We all made our way to our bedrooms - we were in pairs. I got the yellow room with Laurie. Nearly all of us slept in hammocks. There are hooks in the walls in all the rooms. It was about 2 a.m. by the time we got to bed and pretty soon I feel fast asleep - but most everyone else couldn't sleep because of the heat.
I woke in some confusion to banging pots and pans and so comfortable in my hammock I didn't want to get up. But it was after 6:00 and I had too. We had a great breakfast of hard boiled eggs, coffee, bread, and peanut butter. Everyone is in fairly good spirits although some people are overwhelmed with the heat.
Just after 8:00 our bus arrived and we loaded it to the gill. I sat in the back with 150 eggs on my lap. Water jugs and packs filled the isles. Alan Graham was holding a whole slew of bananas still on their branch. Jarad's wife, Jannie, had a pot of beans on her lap, etc. It was about 45 minutes down to the docks. Traffic is crazy in Manaus. Small, narrow streets. Motorcycle's squeezing in and out, curvy, bumpy roads and sharp unexpected turns.
The boat is quite lovely- we've been going about an hour. It has two open levels with benches on the upper portion along the sides. Tonight our hammocks will get attached to the ceiling.
All one can see is green vegetation and odd little houses hither and thither. So far, a dolphin has been spotted and that's it. The river is very high--recordly high, so Judy doubts we'll see much wildlife.

Later:

It's 4:30 now we're still chugging along. Lunch was delicious. We had white rice with chicken in a broth, beans and some grainy stuff that is a staple here. It's called fadenia. It doesn't smell so good, rather like chicken feed. But mixed in with the beans and rice it was very good.

Here's a list of our group before I forget.

#1 - Trip leader: Joe Fockler
#2 - Daniel Fockler (24)
#3 - Jared Fockler (22)
#4- Jannie Fockler, Jared's wife. (24)
#5 - Andrea Fockler (17)
#6 - Gene Babylon (67)
#7 - Alan Graham (50)
#8 - Pastor Eric Jorgensen
#9 - Grant Vitek (17)
#10 - Cama Voyack (24)
#11 - Laurie Aten, our physican
#12 - Me (19)
#13 - Judy King, Host.

This river trip is so cool. People live along the entire thing. I guess I thought people would only live on it by the main cities - not so.
Another thing that is a surprise is how wide the Amazon River is all along! Huge.

Imagine.

When I was a child, perhaps beginning at the age of 5, I had an unbearable fear of a yellow ducky coming through my window. This fear sent me whimpering to my parents with pleas of not having to go to bed just yet. I had nightmares about that yellow ducky which frightened me half to death.

I have no idea what instigated the ducky, all I know is that few years later I had in inescapable fear of a man coming through my bedroom window. I could picture him so vividly before going to sleep that my visions would morph into dreams until sometimes I really thought he'd really come and gone in the night.

Now, I have no such dreams. I have insomnia.

I can't decide which is worse.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Faith

If we wish to be rational, not now and then, but constantly, we must pray for the gift of Faith, for the power to go on believing not in the teeth of reason but in the teeth of lust and terror and jealousy and boredom and indifference that which reason, authority, or experience, or all three, have once delivered to us for truth.

Jack Lewis



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Och. How difficult gratefulness can be. I woke up to this fact today. I wasn't purposely being ungrateful but I suddenly realized how much I take for granted all the time. How often I forget to be thankful. I know the phrase can be nostalgic but, "enjoying the moment" is something I often completely forget to do.

And, isn't it ironic, that when you start truly recognizing your blessings and showing your gratefulness, how much smaller and less petty your problems become?

Not too many good things happen when we concentrate too much on ourselves.

I am reading a book on ministering cross-culturally right now. Oddly enough the title is "Ministering Cross-Culturally" by Sherwood Lingenfelter. I'm freaking out about what a North-American I am. Not that that is all bad but I could certainly use some moderation. It's a small book but I think so far a useful one. If applied, I think it could solve more problems than going to other countries and trying to reach out to people. I think it could help a lot of relationship problems by aiding to understand differences.

The weather has been stifling of late. 90's and shooting humidity content which is gagging in the greenhouse since the temp is often over 100. It has rained nearly every day and lots of huge thunderstorms have gone through along with several tornado warnings. They are pretty amazing to watch.

I have resolutioned never to cipher chemicals again. They taste far too gross. Not to mention the stupidity and dangers it involves.

I also am curious how most people handle impressions of people. See, for the most part, I am very positive about peoples differences and I always think the best of them...the only downside to this is that it leads to a lot of shocking facts that can be quite depressing. I guess, especially with my co-workers, as I learn more and more about them (nearly all of them non-Christians) I am often tempted to think, "I wish I didn't know that" or "I know a little too much about this person." These are probably selfish thoughts...but it seems far worse to think bad of people and then have that improved by them not being "quite as bad as you originally thought". Perhaps more what is overwhelming is the lack of any moral reasoning in today's culture. It's so strange when people have absolutely no standard....or only one they make up themselves which often isn't very logical.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I feel like a could write about a million different things right now.

I've had this running argument with a lady at work about Abortion so I've been mulling over that for awhile. I was thinking how much it is treated like slavery was a hundred fifty/ two hundred years ago. What William Wilberforce fought through. Christians and pagans alike thought of and treated slaves horribly. They were inhumane. In hindsight we are disgusted by what they did. But once again, the blood of the innocent, flows....instigated by Christians and pagans alike.

We cannot drop this issue. We must never give in. And we need to take Wilberforce's approach: inch by inch. He knew he would never get the laws passed by stating what he wanted to do in bold letters. It took his entire life. Defeat after defeat. But slowly he slid more and more laws through. He argued and argued and never, ever, ever gave in. His devotion and steadfastness will bring tears to your eyes.

Never forget that: Abortion is murder.


Also, I just finished this incredible book by Steve Saint called, "The Great Omission". He is the son of Nate Saint; a martyr in the Ecuadorian jungles. Steve was baptized by two of the men who speared his father. If you want to read about grace....I have a story for you.

Steve's whole book though is centered on what the Great Commission really entails. Every Christian ought to read it...so simple and eye-opening. Steve grew up with the Waodani tribe who killed his father and eventually became a missionary there as well. At one point he brought two of the tribesman to America with him and I had to laugh and cry at Mincaye's (one of the tribesman) impression of America:

  • Foreigners are always in a big hurry but spend most of their time sitting down.
  • Some strangers are very friendly, like the ones that "gave" us food, but most of the foreigners seem very angry. They won't talk to anyone for very long.
  • Foreigners don't like to talk to each other much. Lots of times they drive away from everyone and then talk to them on little things they wear on their belts.
  • In airports, when they can't get away from each other, they all sit close but look away from each other and talk into those same little things on their belts.
Growing up in ones cultural certainly makes one blind to the everyday. Read the list above again...and it might begin to dawn on you just how silly our cultural is. We can hardly function if we lose electricity for even a day. Even if you're not addicted to the internet you rely on it for nearly everything: your freezer, running water, the coffee pot, heat, air-conditioning...the list goes on and on. Of course, you'll only notice it when you have a power outage for a couple of hours.

*sigh* this book totally inspired me though.


Other news:

--I've officially lost my camera USB cord. I could kick myself. How do you lose a USB cord? I've looked everywhere I can think of.

--I discovered I'm dairy intolerant. In certain ways it's been easy switching my eating habits and I feel a zillion times better. But it can still be awful tempting to eat things I shouldn't...I was stupid enough yesterday to eat ice-cream for the first time in weeks and I don't think I will be tempted ever again (or at least for a really long time). I never used to get that sick over it but maybe since I've been off of dairy and suddenly going back on my body threw an absolute fit.

--Pumped for going camping this weekend a couple of hours away.

--Work continues to have seemingly overwhelming disasters. Some of which are just because I work there. Other days I'm just the "handyman" that has to fix all the darn breakdowns. Most of the time I don't mind that...I could spend hours fiddling around but other times it's absolutely infuriating because so many of them are caused by pure carelessness. And nothing is more angering than when "grown ups" just don't care how they treat other peoples property...if they ruin literally hundreds of dollars worth of machinery.

If I ever find my USB cord I will give a few pictures as some rather funny things have happened.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dangers of surfing the web.

Ship graveyard. This would be so cool to visit.

Squirtgun umbrella...might as well make that rain water useful.






Walk like a china-doll...porcelain dress.



I need a tie now!




An Abi bookshelf. :D






Oh...this does explain a few things.



So there really is a seperation of church and state.



Monday, May 25, 2009

What would I be without these hilarious humbling moments?

At the greenhouse it is great fun to scare co-workers. Heck. It's great fun to scare anyone. And it's relatively easy to do at the greenhouse since you deal with a lot of absorbed workers.



I was pretty hyper the other day at work (a rather common occurance, but it keeps me motivated) and I had run up to the front where the break-room and retail store are to grab my mp3 player. There's a half-wall with cupboards that divides the break room from the store half and I heard someone in there.



Out of impulse I decided it would be a great idea to scare someone...so I crouched down behind the wall ready to jump and freak them out. I peeked around the wall and to my horror I saw that it was Nick...a brand new guy who was taking over management for the weekend....I froze in horror with no time to change my position.



I stood up just as he came by...he skidded off to the side and shouted, "What are you trying to do!?

I was utterly embarrassed caught red-handed as I was...I mean...there is really no excuse for being crouched down on the floor.

"I'm sorry! I thought you were one of the girls." I yelled, laughing so hard at my predicament I had to brace myself on the table.

Wanted to sink right through that floor. Grr..

I think I stick to scaring those I can see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Era of Tolerance, Age of Weakness

I like my title.

I know...that was just a really conceited thing to say...but honestly it states very well what I was thinking about today. And if you live on planet earth you probably know what I'm talking about...Yes, the world we live in today.

Tolerance is everyone's motto. And it seems like a good one...for when it is applied...the world should be a peaceful place. It doesn't mean you have to agree but everyone needs to accept everybody elses differences. We need to see each other as unique and creative. Even if such 'uniqueness' and 'creativity' is brazen sin.

I am trying to be careful how I say this but as a Christian I cannot accept this secular viewpoint comfortably. Am I really saying that Christians should be intolerant? Yes. Absolutely yes.

I don't believe I ought to accept gay peoples beliefs nor will I tolerate them being shoved in my face (as someone recently tried to do). Depending on the situation, I don't think it is necessary to walk up to every gay person and declare that I don't agree or accept their actions but if they attempt to shove them on me...I'll let them know I won't tolerate that.

What we need to be careful of as Christians is remember that these people are also made in the image of God. Christ, the Great Physician, came for the sick--not the well.

Being tolerable to everything leaves one wide open for a few too many disasters. And when we aren't we are immediately jumped upon.

As a Christian, I don't believe it's possible to be accepting in this way. If we are then we must deny Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Yes, Christianity is not accepting of gays, or Buddhism, or Muslims....this does not mean we cannot treat them with Christian charity but I think we do need to define the line.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The forces of evil have come.

I am crushed. But not broken.

It is almost disappointing… only being bruised. It means one has to go on.

It means you have to keep fighting.

The desire to run, to hide, overwhelms.

The want to strike back, tempts.

I want to hold it all in.

I want to let it all out.

I want you to know I care. I really am concerned.

Don’t play these games of hide and seek.

Chumming up one day and brushing off the next.

Only tell me how I have offended and I will mend my ways.

I value your friendship, your laughter, and our endless chatter.

Where are the jovial days of yesterday?

This ignorance is not bliss. Only tell me…

Tell me what is wrong.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sad day

This blog just might fall apart. I came back to work yesterday and discovered the saddest fact: Chuck quit. And now...I don't know if I'll have any more stories about work.

Ken has replaced him. He's actually quite scary looking...the furthest looking from a 'Ken' you can get. A big barrelly man whose only form of communication so far is Grunt. A language which I don't find very informative.

The greenhouse has been absolutely crazy lately because they've been shipping so many loads every day. Keeping up with watering, cleaning, and picking is enough to make someone lose their mind. The miscommunication that goes on there doesn't help much.

Here's an example of our sophisticated conversations.

Me: What do you want me to load on this cart?

Crystal: Moonlight Strawberry, Moonlight Raspberry, Blues, Calypso, and let me see...and some tango too.

Me: Moonlight?? I don't even know what that is.

Crystal: They're up front and some are over here.

Me: Alright so we need Moonlight Cherry, Moonlight strawberry..

Crystal: No, no, no...moonlight strawberry and moonlight raspberry and blues and calypso

Me: Wait! I can't remember all of those...I'll just do the moonlight cherry and raspberry.

Crystal: It's strawberry and raspberry.

Me: Right.

::Lydia goes off and returns 5 minutes later::

Me: Crystal...those aren't moonlight raspberry down there...it's American Raspberry. Do you want American or moonlight? or is there even moonlight raspberry.

Crystal: I don't know...that just what Lynelle said.

::She goes marching off to Lynelle and I follow::

Crystal: Lynelle, does the list say Moonlight or American for the raspberry?

Lynelle *scowl*: Moonlight.

Me: Well there are no moonlight strawbery...err..I mean there are no moonlight raspberry. Only moonlight strawberry and cherry but there is American raspberry.

Lynelle: Are you sure you looked?

Me: Yes.

:: all three march off to Juan...me following and moaning about the tragedies of this job::

Crystal: Juan, do we want moonlight raspberry or american raspberry? We can only find moonlight strawberry and cherry and american raspberry and we don't know which we should load.

Juan: There's no moonlight strawberry?

::everyone starts explaining at the same time::

Juan *highly stressed looked*: I don't know! Load what you want. No don't! Just don't load anything american....

....and thus life goes on....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Soren James.



Mommy and Baby.



He's so cute!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Work Thoughts

So...working at a greenhouse provides a lot of hours for pure thinking. Which can be good or bad.

But I was just thinking about how much I can struggle every day as a Christian. How I, and every Christian for that matter, is exactly like ancient Israel.

You know how while reading the old testament you want to take the Israelites and shake them up sometimes. I mean really, God leads them out of Egypt with one miracle after another and they praise and thank Him, forget Him, complain, worship other gods, God says, "that's enough" and they after chastising them they come back humbled, beaten, and once again praise God.

Life is good again.

So they go back to their wicked ways. Talk about some hard headed, stupid people!

Now go write down a summary of your walk with God in the last year and compare notes with the Israelites...you almost can't tell which is which, can you?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Aunthood here I come.

Oh yes. My dear sister Rachel gave birth this morning to Soren James.

I shall see the little blighter in 1 week.

Pictures shall follow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yesterday was officially my worst day at work than ever before.

I lied in my last post. Accidentally. I was not getting better from that sickness I came down with...but I did think I was that night.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like a train wreck. Halfway through the morning I was loading a tall metal cart with potted plants and moving them to another area.

It was in a tunnel section where nobody else was around and as I pulled the cart in I realized I had it facing the wrong way and needed to turn it around. Now, in this tunnel, there is only a cement path down the center and either side is dirt..so as I turned the cart it caught on the dirt.

My brain was not fully functioning and I remember standing next too it and calming realizing that, "the cart is about to tip" as it fell it somehow threw me on the ground and a second later I sat with a pinched finger and my foot trapped under this heavy cart with hundreds of plants in every direction.

They flew! Pots, Plants, Dirt.

I wanted to cry. Instead I picked myself up, heaved the cart off my foot, and began cleaning that horrendous mess up.

I knew I would need to tell one of my bosses...and I was trying to think how to evade that awkward convo.

When I was about halfway through Juan walked in, stopped dead in his tracks and let out a long long groan.

I began apologizing pathetically and he said, "it's okay, just clean it up."

Then I thought he was heartless for some reason (I didn't feel good, alright.) and I had to replant half of them...

The whole deal took almost 2 hours to clean up!

By the time I finished it was noon and I decided it was high time I went home for the day.

On arriving home I found out that Jay Holston, the deacon in our church had had a massive heart attack that morning and had passed away! It is still so shocking and it made me realize how trivial my problems for the day had been. That they are not the end of the world.


I stole an amazing quote from the sermon tonight at church: "God wants us to do--not just to think and feel--but to do."

A Christian's death is so bittersweet. How much we miss them. And yet, we know they are in a better place..Rejoicing.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I arrived to work today at 7:59...I hate pulling it that close.

Walking into the greenhouse I caught up to my boss, Juan. "How are, you?" he asked.

"Tolerable," I scowled. I'm usually quite cheerful in the morning and ready to go but today I woke up with a tennis ball in my throat and all achy. I hate being sick. I hate how it slows you down.

"What are we doing today?" I asked.

"Planting," Juan replied.

"What a novel idea," I said dryly. Juan didn't understand what I meant by that since he only came to the U.S. about 15 years ago and doesn't understand what a lot of phrases mean.

"What?" he asked.

And I was stupid enough to repeat it. Not feeling good usually makes any sarcasm that comes to mind twice as bitter.

At 9:00 Chuck came into work. That man is going to drive me insane. He came in doing his whole celeb wave again. He's a huge guy and he walks down the aisle partly crouched over with ludicrous look on his face waving in slow motion and yelling hi to everyone. I think he might have been attention-deprived as a child.

On Friday he was across the greenhouse from me and talking to another worker there. And out of no where he began yelping and leaping in the air...

He also has a fascination of charging at people with carts at full speed.

I was in no mood to talk to anyone until about noon when my throat began to loosen up a little. My head hurt today too...I have a huge egg on the top of it and it hurts to brush my hair. So I decided to give that up for awhile.

I remembered earlier what that was from finally. But you might not believe me. The other day we were all in my mom's room and after a while I told everyone it was time to go out.

Talitha, whose three, dove back in and hid under my mom's bed. So I went after here and the little Snippet got to the other side and escaped before I was halfway under. On coming up I forgot I had a head and smashed it into the metal bar full force.

I have regained almost all my old happy self as of now...shesh I hate being sick.

And I hate it when people complain about being sick.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This past week I received confirmation about being accepted on a missions trip to Brazil for three weeks in July.

I am the happy owner of a ticket.

I was the last person able to get in on this trip. Originally I was going to go to Nigeria but they cancelled the trip because it was too dangerous.

I am excited. And yet, nervous too. I'm flying from Atlanta to Manaus, Brazil. We'll be there for a few days and then float down the Amazon river for 2 days...then canoe for an hour to a village. The church there needs to be re-built and that is our main project.

Geez though, I have a lot to prepare for...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It is fitting that a good post should follow a bad.

Today I was really able to witness how doing the right thing isn't always the easiest...but how much more it pays off and how much better it makes you feel.

I complained in the last post about the manager at work that was talking terribly. The more I thought about it last night the more miserable it made me that I had to go back to work today and deal with it again.

After telling my parents about it they suggested talking to him about it.

I got to work a few minutes early. But nobody else was there and everything was still locked up. All my co-workers arrived and finally quarter after eight, Steve, the manager, came...he didn't know none of us had keys. Before he'd even gotten the door unlocked he said d*** it and another crude word. The realization that I had to say something was beginning to sink in.

I started cleaning up the mess I had made yesterday and he came over to talk to me about something, I forget what. I was dreading having to bring it up...my poor heart was palpitating. I let him finish and then I charged right in, "Steve, we're going to get something straight between you and I."

I doubt I'll ever see his face fall like it did again. And his arrogance changed into scared unsureness. He said dumbly after me, "we're going to get something straight between you and I?"

"Yes," I said, "Yesterday, the way you talked was awful and it really upset me. I didn't hear you say one sentence in which you did not take God's name in vain, or use some crude language. You can either change how you talk, or I'm going to leave. It was completely uncalled for and if you don't want to stop then I'm out of here."

He just stood there nodding the whole time not quite knowing what to do. Then he pulled himself together and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was offensive to you. It won't happen again."

I thanked him...and continued picking up the mess I'd made. A minute later he came back up to me and said, "but to be fair, you do want to be fair about this right?"

I nodded.

"Well, to be fair, you have to admit it is quite harsh of you to say, I mean it was an exaggeration to say that I talked that bad. I noticed yesterday that the way I talked bothered you and so I stopped."

I was flabbergasted. "I'm sorry Steve, but I was around you from morning until night and your language didn't change all day. What's your definition of bad language? Maybe yours is different then mine."

Then he told me to leave my mess alone and that he'd take care of it and that I was to go plant the begonia's. I knew he wasn't happy with me...

So I went and planted the begonia's all day and didn't hear him say one bad word. It was so refreshing.

He was fine to talk to after that when I had to. I didn't have a problem doing it. But he sure did act different towards me compared with yesterday. If he had any questions, which he didn't have a problem asking me yesterday, he went directly to Lanelle. Also, all yesterday he praised how I worked to no-end (which got really annoying) and today he didn't say one word...even when he walked by at the end of the day and was pleased with how much was accomplished he wouldn't say so.

Not that I cared...I was just so happy and relieved!

Honestly, I think he talks bad so much that he didn't realize how often he did it. I didn't feel triumphant over him for crushing his pride...I felt triumphant that I'd done the right thing.