the tick tock of the clock is significantly louder this week.
28 December 2011
the tick tock of the clock is significantly louder this week.
11 November 2011
- the question of how do we know what we know? reason? testimony? faith?
- the question of how to translate the knowledge of high and low context cultures into a genuinely changed day to day experience of life in a high context culture as a low context person?!?!
- trying to imagine the immense responsibility and love that parents with chronically ill children live in every single day...blows my categories for/experience of such things wide open...
- and what about parents of chronically well children?!?! raising. a. human. being. - or more than one. it really is a miracle that any of us survive childhood...
- what is the best way for a person to manage money across oceans?
- can a reasonable human being in their right mind actually purchase a ONE WAY plane ticket to east africa that has in huge capital letters at the bottom NONREFUNDABLE - knowing that that return ticket won't be purchased for another five years trusting that what awaits them is nothing more than best for them in that time?! this is craziness people. and at the same time, TOTALLY the most sane thing in the world. but sometimes not exactly at the same time...
- what is a single woman to do with the Song of Solomon? just askin'. read it. it's totally the makings of a movie without ratings. let alone respond with a 2 page paper including the assessment of what this part of scripture means for my head/heart/and hands?!?! you've gotta be kidding me. but no. totally not kidding. it's definitely an important question. just not sure at all how to answer it.
- the job crisis. I am asking friends and family to give me money that I might go work in another country when a lot of those friends are struggling to make money in their own country, feed their own families...seems preposterous at times.
- what do we do as a country to provide well for each other...really...what does that look like? then how are we to think about how we might be involved as a country in the lives of our fellow citizens of the world?!
- what about the people in this little place in NY that have increased rates of cancer in their area because local industrial plants avoid the regulators who come to assess among other things their environmental output performance and dump tons of crap into the air...and how many other parts of the world in which this is the case they just have no idea yet...who advocates for them?
- I love and believe in a Person I cannot see.........whaaaat?!
- how to answer the mom who insists that there must be a way to prevent the illness that repetitively affects her son...I'm a nurse and I'm not so sure she's right...I'm not sure there is always a preventative option, or a solution for that matter...but needless to say, she didn't really like that answer.
12 October 2011
"And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?" And Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws." Moses’ father-in-law said to him, "What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace."
So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country."
Exodus 18:12-27It's like it just appeared out of no where...In 32 years as a Christian/in the church I don't think I'd ever read this chapter, or heard it or any kind of teaching about it. In one sense, I am not surprised. We don't take very kindly to Jethro's advice in the church...why is that? We could use a little more "and they will bear the burden with you" in our lives...a few more Jethro's-observant enough to take notice and strong/compassionate enough to do something about it...talk about leadership...
07 October 2011
- a international population with a european feel
- coffee shops really are on every corner independently retail is the name of the entrepreneurial game - from coffee shops to grocery stores and restaurants - few chains.
- most peculiar traffic signals and patterns (flashing arrows?! everywhere. pedestrians?! everywhere. stop lights with only stop signs on the cross streets?! everywhere. The MOST sensitive and reactive crosswalk buttons EVER. Press the button, count to 5 and the light changes. no joke. makes for pedestrian heaven and drivers'...well....challenge...)
- everyone is outside with or without kids no matter the weather - sunshine or drizzle.(many more men out with their kids than in the US)
- logs that look like chopped off telephone poles in neatly arranged rows on the beaches....peculiar if you ask me...awful clean cut and organized for driftwood...the Canadian version of the beach towel? no idea...
- very stingy with their parking...sheesh...maybe another one of those methods to encourage pedestrianism? if so the method is very effective.
- stately forests in Stanley Park
- calm cool deserted sands at Jericho Beach
- stunning mountain and water views
- a drive along the stunning Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Squamish
- Poutine - the heavy but tasty British Columbian traditional fare (fries with gravy and cheese) with their own delightful Pumpkineater Imperial brew at Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish
- conversations with old friends over steaming hot chai to warm the soul
- a return to the metric system...dividing the cost of gas sold in liters and Canadian dollars into gallons and American dollars...kph to mph to avoid becoming acquainted with the Canadian law enforcement system...
- automated shampoo and body wash dispensers in the shower?!?! clearly I'm not the seasoned traveler everyone says I am...somehow I was a bit uncomfortable with technology moving into the solace of the shower...
- pastors with chunky silver chains reading the text for their sermon from their smartphone...another first for sure, but the hip pastor preached a refreshingly honest and poignant sermon pointing out that so often we are afraid to believe - believe that God is who He says he is. Amen cool brother.
- last but not least: Sarah and Harald of course - Sarah the compassionate, practical, creative, baker and cook, nurse and church staff person, Harald the smiling German architect outdoorsman and "thinker" (as his friends dubbed him)...a fabulous couple with wonderful families who know how to throw a fabulous party! BEST WEDDING FOOD EVER!
25 September 2011
14 September 2011
02 September 2011
- how am I to reconcile the following two paraphrased points from the Convocation address given this morning from the story of Mary and Martha?
- Mary was recognized for doing the most important thing by being off her feet and sitting at the feet of Jesus, while Martha was on her feet busy serving.
- As Presbyterians we so often pride ourselves in what we consider to be a "deep" faith, when in reality our faith is only deep when it so penetrates our being that it can only escape through our hands and feet.
- the most appropriate latin medical term ever: acne vulgaris - seen on my billing sheet as I left the dermatologist's office the other day. At 32 I think I have earned the right, after 20 years of treatments of all shapes and sizes, to deem acne to be vulgar indeed. When will the tyranny be over, FOR THE LOVE OF IT!?!?! (ok, just so you know, I am completely aware that this is totally the rant of a young American single woman who in all reality needs to be on her knees in gratitude for the health she has been given - but it's still annoying. and ugly. and vulgar.) (PS - wikipedia tells me that vulgaris only means "common" in Latin which takes every ounce of satisfaction out of the diagnosis) (PPS - is it sacrilegious to speak of "deep faith" and acne vulgaris in the same blog post?)
- overused seminary word of the day: ministry - what does it even mean anyways...aren't our whole lives supposed to be "ministries" of sorts?
- the philosophy of knowing...truth...how do we decide what is true? Was Descartes really the hero we make him out to be in the field of science? These are things a mind like mine has no business trying to tackle but it seems important, like the kind of important that shapes people and thoughts and work and words. There are several people - scattered all over the US and the world - who I wish I could be sitting with over a glass of something fun talking about these things...the closest of which is my papa, but he's on vacation - so it will have to wait. Until then, more reading.
- how is it that a few hundred American Presbyterian theology students and faculty (garbed in their academic regalia of wide sleeved gowns and floppy hats) belting out "Praise to the Lord the Almighty" with beginning of the semester fervor while accompanied by the organ with hymnals in hand:
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before Him
Let the 'amen' sound from His people again
Gladly for aye we adore Him
a couple dozen Ugandans (garbed either in clothes that the Goodwill was giving away or bright beautiful batik wax prints) belting out "Okwesigwa Kwaawe" a cappella from memory with clapping and drums and dancing in a mud walled church as they sweat and sway:
Okwesigwa kwaawe, ai yesu, bukya bukya kulohokoona eki ndukwetaagaomukono gwaawe, taata, gukakimpaBOTH feel like heaven is just a step away?!?!?...it's gonna be some kinda place, heaven is.Bring it on!
14 August 2011
30 July 2011
13 July 2011
08 July 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen…..
In a matter of hours, The Republic of South Sudan will become the 196th nation in the world, and the 55th country in Africa. In a matter of hours, July 9th will dawn and South Sudan will celebrate it’s Independence Day, just 5 days after we celebrated the anniversary of our own country’s Independence Day here in the US.
How in the world do you start a new country?!?! This is my question. Luckily this is not my job and there are people who think about these things for a living J And, luckily these folks share their thoughts in layman’s terms in publicly accessible forums like the internet!
Karen Masso recently posted the following link to the website of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS). Here, if you have questions like I do, you’ll find all kind of information, including a helpful summary of what comes next – “What’s next for the new country.”
Here’s a few tidbits from that document:
· Background: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) brought an end to 21 years of civil war in Sudan and decades of struggle between the northern and southern parts of the country – this Agreement established the opportunity for a Referendum (January 2011) giving the South the chance to vote whether to remain part of Sudan or secede and become their own country. The vote was deemed open and fair and was overwhelmingly in favor of secession – 98.83%.
· His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit will be sworn in as president of the new Republic of South Sudan. (That’s him in the cowboy hat – evidently the hat is his trademark). He has been First Vice President of Sudan since Aug. 2005.
· The flag of the new Republic will be the flag which has represented the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (which during the war fought against northern Sudan for the South)
· The new currency – South Sudan Pound – will be put into circulation in coming months.
· South Sudan is not starting from scratch. For the past six years, the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has enjoyed considerable autonomy, with an elected Assembly, Government and a functioning judicial system.
· South Sudan is comprised of 10 States, each with their own Governor.
· The official language of South Sudan will change from English AND Arabic, to only English.
· Southern Sudanese Assembly members currently in the Government of National Unity in Khartoum will leave their posts and join the South Sudan Legislative Assembly in Juba.
· The Government is committed to the concept of soft borders with the North, allowing freedom of movement for pastoralists and traders who regularly traverse the North-South boundaries.
· Some critical issues in the CPA remain unresolved such as the final status of Abyei, arrangements for the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the demarcation of the North/South Border. These issues are still subject to negotiation, with the support of international mediators such as the African Union High Implementation Panel.
Teammates have said today feels like Christmas Eve in South Sudan, celebratory festivities in preparation, and excitement is in the air!
Please join us in praying for South Sudan! Praying for joyous and peaceful celebrations tomorrow, for peaceful and just finalization of border issues still in negotiations, and for this process to lead to the flourishing of the people of South Sudan.
03 July 2011
01 July 2011
21 June 2011
17 April 2011
11 March 2011
20 February 2011
It’s Sunday. I’ve had a bug the last few days that have had me down for the count, missing work, missing gourmet dinner parties planned for weeks, and this morning missing worship. The sunshine is pouring into the front windows of the sunroom in my “new” apt. and I just made myself a cup of tea. Not just any kind of tea, this is Turkish Apple tea. This is my first use of my “souvenir” purchase while in Istanbul what is now 9 months ago. It’s reddish color (and in theory it’s taste, but to be honest my nose is too stuffy to actually taste it L) reminds me of the city and reminds me of the laughs and cultural observations and sightings of gorgeous tile on almost every corner and evenings on rooftop terraces that I shared with dear friends while I was there, along with the embarrassing appearance of my freakishly strong tendency towards insecurity that reared it’s ugly head while traveling with said friends.
It’s these memories, memories of watching small starving children re-learn to walk, memories of working side by side friends/fellow nurses who taught me soooo much, memories of worshipping with brothers and sisters in a language I knew very little of, memories of relaxing candle lit dinners after really long really hard days and retiring to the “more comfortable seating” afterwards to chat, memories of dinner around the table with my family chatting and laughing about everything under the sun, memories of hot summer evenings sitting with binoculars at the Muny trying to see as much of the Grease production on the stage as we could hear through the speakers amplified up through the hundreds of rows of spectators…these memories that while you’re in them you don’t want them to end, but they do.
This last week a Seminary staff person spoke about loss, about change, in these terms…in terms of the momentary and eternal schemes of things. The tears came a tumblin’ down. In the moment, we don’t want these glimpses of heaven to end, but because this world is finite, they must. But what we (or I guess I should speak for myself) or I don’t think about is the eternal scheme of things. These moments we never want to end but do, these friendships we never want to end but are taken away, these situations we never want to change but do, they are only a foretaste, but not the goal. My tendency is to make these moments my idol, to long for them and others like them, to say “one day, eternity will be like this!” What I learned this week is that these moments PALE in comparison to what we were made for. Yes, they are FOR SURE a taste, but we were made for and will one day experience MUCH MORE! In fact, eternity will be far better than this!
One day there will be relationships that will never be severed, there will be community that will never be lost, there will be feasts that will never end, there will be life without death, there will be experiences of the wild/wonderful world God has made with people we love and who love us that are not tainted with insecurity, not tainted with sin against one another or in the world around us…God gives us glimpses of what that might look like but even the best glimpses POINT US to something bigger and better, to our Father and to His kingdom which is coming!
When I think about leaving again in a year…leaving people I have only grown to love more in my time here in the US again, in the likely eventual deterioration of relationships from so much change and distance...the tears come a tumblin’ down. When I think about committing to live my life this way, one of constant change and loss, I wonder “what the h*&# am I thinking?!?!” I’m still not sure of the answer to that question, but it helps to know that these gifts are not the goal, but point to the life we were made for, the home, the stability, the relationships with Father and Brother and others we were made for which are to come.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake To guide the future, as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, And all is darkened in the vale of tears, Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart, Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears. Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on When we shall be forever with the Lord. When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
27 January 2011
- back in America : after my last post and the delight I had in interacting with "the little dude" at the hospital, and the freedom I found in being able to communicate with such ease, 2 shifts later I was brought back to the reality that kids have parents..."Are you f*&%'n serious? That f*&%'n nurse better get in here right f*&%'n now with that f*&%'n medicine!!!!"...this mom's daughter had woken up with a fever at midnight and somehow it was my responsibility to have predicted that would happen and that I should have been standing just outside their door at all times as to provide the most speedy care possible to them, since they are, of course, my only patient...the flip side of the coin that includes delight in children is the reality of the not so delightful existence of their parents. And then there's this picture of a couple American cultural expectations that this statement personifies...the expectation that all discomfort can/should be prevented/solved and the expectation that one not need wait for anything. Both are fascinating, and exemplified in my life most likely everyday, but when I'm faced with them in other people, they are horrifying.
- back out of hibernation: a few weeks ago it was 11 degrees in St. Louis...eleven! Painfully cold. When looking back to this time last year, I realized that Bundibugyo this time of year, in dry season, is easily 100 degrees hotter than that...one hundred! No wonder I'm such a wuss! But this week, there have been days with sunshine, days when I've brought out my sunglasses, and days over 30 degrees...balmy I tell you! There's nothing that says this will last, but I'm enjoying it.
- back to school: I'm sitting outside the room that just held the first class of my grad school career...crazy. It's been a long time since I was last a student. I don't even really remember how it all works, especially since technology has changed so much. I bought notebooks this week...as in paper, written on with pen...almost everybody else in the class had their laptops out...I thought that might be the case, but I think my brain needs pen/paper to be engaged...we'll see how this goes.