Wednesday Funnies

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX8nswnUKU&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

You will NOT REGRET watching this video. Seriously, it'll make your day.

My favorite line?
"I'm her mom" "No she's not!"

Question of the day: How do you feel about the Olympics? I will go on record as HATING THEM. I know this makes me unAmerican or something but I'm just not a fan. Do you watch the Olympics? What's your favorite sport? Do you judge me for hating the Olympics?

Have a great day!
Christina

i'm sick and so is my mac

So, everyone who doesn't use a mac will enjoy a romp in my confession:
my macbook is sick.

(laugh if you want, I can't hear you anyway)

Right now, my macbook is propped open at about a 35 degree angle, with the bottom on my belly, while I recline with my elbows sticking out like a chicken and my hands on the keys. I'm sorry if you can't picture me. Basically, it's awkward and not functional, which is why I have been doing very little blogging lately. At work I had to lay my head sideways on my desk to read my emails on friday... so you can imagine this weekend has been a little less electronic.

Which, as it turns out, hasn't been so bad because I'm as sick if not sicker than my computer. I have a funny throat, nose, ear, tummy, fever, body ache kind of thing going on.

But, these two things I just became more thankful for:
1) the international cleaning standards of franchise fast food restaurant bathrooms
2) pharmacies in third world countries where the little lady behind the counter will diagnose your symptoms and give you some helpful drugs.

are these things good in all cases and causes? no. but today, I was thankful.

Well, I'm thinking about getting a desktop monitor that I can connect to my laptop at least at work. So, I'm not sure how communicative I will be this week.

sometimes walks are sacred


Today didn't go as I had planned.

When I did venture out, the air was warm on my face and the 30-minute walk to El Centro was therapeutic. Saturdays usually are filled with this or that and always Manos, the feeding center (a ministry set up on the outskirts of the city where many people were pushed after Hurricane Mitch). After I reached El Centro, discouragement was a phone call saying the feeding center was canceled because of a training for the center's teachers. I determined to finish my book (see below) and walk.

I know, I could afford to aim higher. But, today (and probably often) I think walks are sacred. Sometimes the brain energy it takes to process things falls into rhythm with my steps... left, right, left (step over large square hole in pavement), right, stutter around an oddly placed electric pole, left, right, left, nod and greet the mother/daughter walking towards me, right, left. Yes, I think walking is a sacred thing. Covering physical step after physical step and watching yourself make progress - setting off in a direction and arriving at a destination. I think the movement makes ideas rise to the surface and find clarity. The prayers I pray in these sacred walks don't sound like prayers at all. They sound much more like a conversation.

I got back to my house and accomplished some cleaning, mending (well, preparation for), reading, listening to music, and I am not really sure what else. You know, I think this feeling might come from my mother, but there is something ridiculously difficult about seeing an empty Saturday. I am here, shouldn't my Saturdays be full of ministry somewhere... or at least be full of something? I'm finding the answer is no.

here are a few things I'll recommend from today (when I wasn't walking)...
I am pages from finishing Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner and, well, the journey is one I will probably take again. I like thinking my roots travel far deeper than I have thought to dig. I like the challenge in the idea of liturgy and seasons and meaning hidden inside and between traditions and rituals. I read this book in four different places today and enjoyed it in each scene.

I just saw Meet the Browns (Tyler Perry movie). I watched it by myself, but that didn't stop me from chuckling and getting a little weepy. Good stuff.

Maximizing your Mornings (secretlifeofkat) So, this is my new take on mornings... I happened upon the secret life of Kat's blog awhile back and so recently stumbled upon her fabulous FREE ebook to help moms start their mornings off right. No, I don't have children, but I do need to go to boot camp for my morning routine and I think this might be the way to do it. Then, maybe when I DO have kids, I'll know how to handle myself.

My ears are having a play date with Jillian Edwards and, well, can you picture the best times spent in the backyard, the sandbox, the treehouse? Combine those times with a few road trips where your hands hang out the window to make wind rollercoasters.... that's the best explanation I've got.

Every day since I have returned from the States, I have taken a very serious and precious bite out of the raspberry truffle chocolate bar my sister gave me for Christmas. This amazing chocolate is from Vermont and I am dangerously close to writing a little note to appreciate their excellence!

speaking gibberish

Today: beautiful. I will update with pictures soon. Words won't do.

Tonight: I discovered when I can't sort through all the random tasks my mind is asking me to do, I begin speaking a form of gibberish my own mind doesn't even understand. Somehow, I ended up out buying supplies tonight for crafts and celebrations for the kids at the orphanage this weekend. When a friend called me to return several missed calls, I am sure she hung up saying, "That girl needs to chill - she's not making ANY sense."

She wouldn't be lying. I wasn't. I just kept talking and skipping subjects and blurting out how I felt about this or that. But I knew even as I was saying it that it could not make any sense. I apologized because I couldn't remember where I left off or what ground needed to be re-covered.

Whew.

Well, some things on the list just won't get done. And other things - the most important (people) - will take priority and in the end I hope I will be singing (as I so loudly and obnoxiously was in my car):

Recibe TODA la gloria
Recibe toda la honra
precioso Hijo de Dios

I could sing this line forever and feel it every time.

Night, folks.

Favorite Spots in the Sea

Asking a person who loves books about their favorites is like asking a sailor about their favorite part of the sea. A friend asked me yesterday what my favorite books are, and as much as I love books, I hate that question! So I've been thinking about that question for the last day or so. I don't know about favorites, but books that have, literally, changed my life are:

The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn (Made me graduate college early!)

Stop dating the Church, Josh Harris (Helped me fall in love with God's bride, the church.)

A Woman after God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George (showed me what it's like to be a truly Godly Woman- def. not there yet :) )

Wild at Heart, Eldridge (I know it's weird, but it helped me understand my guy friends/ brothers/ etc. a whole lot better! :) )

Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning (Made me realize it's OK to be a mess, if I do it for the Lord)

For the Love of God, DA Carson (The only "devotional" that I ever could really get into. This is hard-core stuff for Christian growth. Awesome.)

The book of Romans, God (spent 6 months studying it, verse by verse, in preparation for a summer mission trip. Life-changing.)

What the Bible says about Healthy Living, Rex Russell
(Started me on all-natural cooking and eating, 7 months ago!)

Check them out!

More Hugs to Honduras!

From Meagan and Myla in Western MI:
CARE BEAR (turtle).. happy belated birthday from meg and myla! myla is a little bit like her mommy in that she likes to be fashionably late (well.. 4 days overdue and she still didn't want to come out..).. so it is only natural that we are late to wish you a HAPPY 24th.. but we LOVE auntie caroline SO much! Myla can't wait to meet you. she loves her little turtle with your voice message in it and will definitely know you when she meets you in person because of it :) she also wants to teach you a little bit about fashion.. specifically high heels. she may be a shorty like us so she already has heels. i told her about you not brining any heels to honduras with you and how i was trying to convince you that you should have at least ONE pair. maybe you have shopped by now though and gotten some. :) although they probably won't do you much good when you are doing crazy things like getting lost in the mountains. here is a pic of my in her "Heeliarious" high heels for babies. altough.. (yawn) she doesn't seems too interested in them. maybe she is more like you than her mama :) just thought you would get a laugh out of this.. a friend ordered them online after seeing them on the Today show and deciding that they were ridiculous but funny. Anyways.. sending love from our little west michigan corner of the world. we miss you around here and can't wait to spend time at Christmas! lots of LOVE!!!

Meg and Myla xoxoxoxox

Jacqui from Columbus, OH:
So forgive me...I'm a day behind...but not because I wasn't thinking of you yesterday. Amazing how whole days completely slip away from you!
I hope you had a fantastic birthday. And I remember you painting a "It's Your Special Day" plate for my bachelorette party. So if you don't have a special plate, you should get a paper plate and a marker and make yourself one. And remember, every day should be celebrated! And I know you do that so well.
Love Jacqui from Ohio!

Buenos Dias!

Hello, hello!

I have very little time, but I wanted to say that I have arrived in Honduras! God is so amazing in how He works everything out - even the little details.

I feel so very blessed to be here and be a part of the ministry of Pinares. Please check out the webpage - I have updated an August edition of the newsletter and added pictures to Picasa. As always, there will be more to come.

Mucho amor!

Wednesdays are for REJOICING

Put yourself behind a camera, filming a close shot of a lone figure. With face raw and eyes inclined, the figure firmly stationed on an obscure precipice, looks to be the center of the shot. The expression; exhilarating, the mood; thrilling.

The blushed colors of exertion are bright in contrast to the understated tones of nature. Then, the camera pans out and the lone figure appears smaller and smaller until finally you hardly notice a break in the rocky formation.

With these two lenses I take in my new station: Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I will actually quite literally find myself on a mountain, about 5 miles above the city. But I suppose I need to speak in less specific terms.

In "Don't Waste Your Life," John Piper writes about the differences between a telescope and a microscope, in terms of magnification. In a 1997 lecture at the Passion conference (which was ironically in Austin), Piper again cites the illustration to describe how we must magnify God. He says,

"This conference exists to light a fire in your bones and ignite a fire in your minds and in your hearts to get you ready to meet King Jesus, so that you can continue throughout all eternity doing what he created you to do, namely, to marvel at him and magnify him."

...to marvel and magnify him. Even as I write this I can feel its challenge to the Spirit inside me. Oh, that I would get up and follow like a curious child into this marvelous light!

Piper describes magnifying with a microscope, where you see something very tiny made much larger through a lense. To do this to God, Piper says, is blaspheme. To think that God is so small that we have the capacity to make Him bigger is horribly self-absorbed and (sadly) our natural tendency. But, to magnify with a telescope is to see something that is great, immense, even beyond grasp and stand amazed. Because, though we see the stars as pinpoints, we know that they are part of something gloriously enormous.

So, as I think about the first excitement of the Lord's leading I see the temptation to think singularly - to dwell in a world Caroline-centered. But, by God's grace the camera pans out! The scene changes and I dissolve into the landscape. The mountain is no longer my backdrop, but I its humble visitor.

I am deep in the midst of sharing the news, writing letters, making phone calls, thinking about what I am choosing and what I am leaving behind. Oh, that I would misplace my microscope and in its place see the universe in light of the Masterful work of the Living God.

I think, maybe for a moment, today I saw this sight. And that's why Wednesdays are for REJOICING!

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God's name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Lord, You are.

Lord, I will.

Where I've been for the past weeks...

I just realized how absent it might seem I've been. Mostly due to busyness, I suppose.

But, some exciting things have happened, including my family visiting last weekend! After a most crazy and stressful week, my family road-tripped to the city for a short weekend. We navigated public transit, went to an eclectic (and colorful) place for breakfast, ate Chicago style pizza, and did just the right amount of walking to enjoy the city.

We even spent some time in my apartment just enjoying company - exchanging pictures and watching the Music Man in slide show form (that man seriously needs to think about buying a video camera!)

I'm not sure, but I think mom got enough standard "pretend like this is natural" shots on her camera, so I'm anxious to see those. My brothers - I'm not sure, but I don't think I could be family with boys that are much cooler. Will and I stayed up late talking on Friday and I can NOT wait for him to come back through town with his two friends and Christina in tow this Tuesday!

James... I guess that thing called growing up (he's already accomplished it in the vertical sense) is happening to him... I'm waiting to see when he realizes it's not just a phase. :)

My parents are great - they brought some true, Iowa love to my streets. To all of you nay-sayers of city-friendliness: I get it from my parents!! It was truly lovely!

All that said... I have to return to what was stressing me out the week prior. At one point I called my grandparents in exasperation. Seasoned with (now veteran) understanding that God would provide and perseverance would produce beautiful blessings, I told them about my impossible task and project.

Only because I thought it so dear that my grandpa remembered this will I share the story:
"I remember seeing a little girl with two five-gallon buckets, near full, hobbling along. I looked down at her and said, 'Don't you think you should try taking one at a time?' She looked back up at me and said, 'Well, then I wouldn't get any stronger, would I?'"

Yep, that was stubborn little me. I'm sure my unruly blonde hair and petite frame betrayed my confidence, but I'm sure in my mind I was completely serious. Now, I'm convinced all that determination only produced back problems... but my grandparents' encouragement was sweet honey to days of seemingly vain toil.

UNTIL... on Tuesday I received an email from my boss while I was in Virginia. Her boss had just finished the presentation (that I'd been working on) to rave reviews! It did, indeed, turn out to be beautifully blessed and I am so thankful.

I must get back to my work or I'll be backed up when I arrive tomorrow!!

Humble juice and Pears

Well, just when I think I get the hang of it - just when I start to know which sport, team, and hoop I'm aiming for - and just when I figure out how to lob the ball over the defenders twice my size... that's when that little, forgotten thing called humility reminds me that I've forgotten my sneakers.

Dramatics aside, I took a hit today. The funny thing about humility is that its best embraced. I could deny or defend, but I'll always end up at the same place.

In the Old Testament study last night, we were taking apart the Mosaic covenant. One of the things the leader said was, "Now, on what basis did God have to ask the people to obey and come into this agreement?" His point was (and Exodus shows) that God repeatedly reminds them of His delivering them from Egypt. He miraculously saved them from their hardened oppressors. My BS leader did say that God could demand this agreement solely on the basis of Who He is. I stopped there and marveled.

Even as early as Exodus, we see what Jesus' character revealed on earth: humility. God was under no obligation to explain His sovereign plan. Yet, He humbled Himself to make an agreement - a covenant, which is something that humans understand and far below what God is capable of doing. He saw fit to include man in this redemptive narrative, even to help them understand it. This amazes me.

It seems like we always put our Triune God in a dichotomy, but Scripture refuses this simple categorization. The same Jesus we see, humbled and suffering for us, was ever present when God made covenants through Abraham and Moses. In Philippians, Paul writes that Jesus, being in very nature God... was the very nature of a servant.

Because God (Jesus) could never cease being God, we can see that being a humble servant is a very essential part of His nature. Wow.

My being humbled, then (however uncomfortable), is always a window to see a bit more of God's character. Even knowing that, I've got to have something to wash it down. So, I am thankful for my CEO who decided that we always need to have fresh fruit in the office. Right now I have two pears sitting on my desk, waiting to ripen for a wonderfully fresh reminder that good things grow, produce, and are delicious.

two wonderful days

I really shouldn't limit wonderful days to two, but space and time can only contain so many thoughts.

Yesterday was amazing. The day was pretty normal as far as days go, except that I decided to do without coffee - don't ask me why. My sister was like, "Of all days to give up your caffeine routine you chose your birthday?" I don't really know why, I just went for the tea bag instead of the coffee pot when I got to work and I never switched over. Needless to say, my energy level was quite a bit lower than normal:) ... But I accomplished a lot at work and had a chance to get to know another intern (who took me out to LUNCH at a great Thai place!)

As I was waiting for the bus, I fleshed out an analogy I'd been thinking on for awhile about our lives and how we plan. I've had the darndest time figuring out how to plan around public transportation. The thing is: I'm going to get there, wherever it is. I leave at the same time every morning and I go to the Red Line el(subway). It usually comes at the same time, but I never know. Then I rendezvous to the Blue Line, where I may have to wait 5 or 15 minutes, then I finally get to the transit center where I hope to catch the 7:40 bus. Even if I don't make all my connections (like the day we had to evacuate the el and take shuttles because a car had landed on the tracks) I still get there. Is it just me or is that divinely applicable?

I have always liked to know... micromanaging seems like the best way to make sure I get things done and the way they should be. But, I canNOT control the public transportation system - I'm merely one person in its wider maze. I can plan to catch the 3:47 bus, but leave at 4:15. My plans don't carry any weight... and I've come to see the beauty in that. It's not about me, it's not up to me, and it doesn't depend on me. Isn't this like my life?

(on to more blessed stories)
I met one of my bus friends both in the morning and afternoon and he was so kind and genuine. He sang me the "shorty it's your birthday song," which brought a smile. He also said something that will stick for a long time. It was after I had told him what book I was reading (Desiring God by John Piper) and where I went to church that he said, "Well, I knew you had faith the first time I saw you. Riding the bus... you just get observant about people and you got this thing about you." Wow. Glory to God for His light - He is recognized by His creation!

I also was delightfully surprised by a couple of friends who left gifts on my bed before they left for the weekend. People are so thoughtful and it makes life beautiful!

So... then I met my friends Jenna and Lis at Jenna's apartment downtown. How beautiful and blessed I am to know these girls. I seriously can not explain God's power in bringing us together and allowing us to be so close in such a short time. We made fajitas (which turned out amazing, I might add) and had the most memorable celebration! We had a chance to bond and share about our lives, struggles, and dreams. They both have such special gifts... they are people the Lord will use! I could go on and on about them, but I have to hurry or I'll lose steam!

Okay, so then today I got to spend with a family from my hometown. It felt so great to be around people who know me and my roots!! This refreshing day came just at the right time - I had so much fun talking, laughing, and fellowshipping. We did a lot of things I still hadn't done since I came - Navy Pier, Sears Tower, Hershey's store, lunch at Buca di Beppo's, pictures at the bean. We sure walked a lot, but any of my friends would tell you that's how I like it! :)

I'm reading in Acts right now for college group about the first church and I am feeling the blessed community even now. Breaking bread, sharing, and living with grateful hearts was huge today - I had to much to give praise for! It was so neat to talk to each of them and hear/give updates. People are beautiful! I hate to think that I'm using that word too often, but God's beauty is evident in His children!
The long story (short version) is: we started at 10 and went til 7. We really saw Chicago and I was blessed til my calves ached and toes hurt and I loved every single moment.

one last thing I have to add: I felt love from home like a giant wave!! On Thursday I got packages from my parents and grandparents - so happy! And my mom somehow found exactly the right hostess outfit - cute, funky, and classy all rolled into one! But - no there was more - a FOOT MASSAGER! I know - I'm about to go hook it up right now! And my grandparents are just as thoughtful - sugar free candies (my favorite - in moderation... that's a whole other story!), wonderful coffee drink mixes, and some super khakis. I feel so blessed! Along with calls from loved ones, I don't know how my days could have been sweeter.

getting ahead of myself

Okay, I know I will have to go back and re-tell, but I can't pass this story up. After a long day walking the Windy City with the Groves family (more later), I switched out my black flats for tennies and headed for some laptop/chai time.

In our wanderings today, I explained my perspective on homeless people, which is: I stop when I know I can really invest by asking "What is it that you really need right now?" and then I try to ignore what is convenient for me and focus on what is most beneficial for them. It's funny how God calls us to act so quickly. On my way here, I came upon a homeless man and immediately felt the Lord saying: Child, I want to see your words and faith in action: feed Me. I asked him what he needed and he "just wanted something to eat, ma'am." He didn't seem picky, so I looked around for the closest fast food joint when I spotted another man who asked me directions to Johnny Rockets.

I pointed North and then said I was just about to go there myself. So, I found out this second man's name was Andre and he was in town from the Bay area for a grant-writing conference. The more we talked the more we had in common - we shared a passion for coming alongside the 'least of these.' I was so full of joy to have met him! He works mainly with people coming out of the prison system and trying to reacclimate into society. He finally came around and said he was a pastor at a church out there - 80% of his congregation are from the prison system. WOW. what a bold, hard road! We waited for our food and kept sharing the heart the Lord has given us to serve the downtrodden... how encouraging that he would be in town, at that intersection, at that time when I met the other man. Who can say the Lord is not sovereign?

We walked back and I was so full. I gave the food to the other man - double cheeseburger and warm applie pie. I guessed that would be something different and filling - something my brother James would order. Andre and I talked about how church is the time to be renewed to go back out and live during the week. YES... I resonated! I see myself returning to the Spring only to have it overflow the whole week. I felt overflowing today! How blessed we are. I will pray for Andre and his church - Born Again Christian Church (I believe).

humiliation: lessons learned

Well, for starters let’s just say that this happened to be the theme of my Thursday. Not in a ‘clear the area here comes a breakdown’ kind of way, but more in a ‘I’m new here and still don’t know very much about work, city, and cigars’ kind of way.

Details aren’t important, but I just learned about the refining process of having many eyes and perspectives examine one’s work before it gets to the place its going.

For the enjoyment of whoever reads this, I will expand on my experience with cigars:).

So it’s only my second night on my own as hostess. I’m starting to feel more comfortable in the powerful pilot seat at Sullivan’s, where my strong influence spans about 10 feet on all sides. I love chatting with customers and playing the part of the refined, well-to-do. It’s really kind of like make-believe when I was a kid. I put on dress-up clothes, polish my manners, stand up straight, and flash a most genuine smile.

Well, last night I was on the closing shift, so my co-pilot left me flying solo at about 8:30. No problem, I’m a clever girl, right? Well, it just so happens that my little station became the social hub (mostly due to the fact that I hold the keys to the cigar cabinet) and all of a sudden many different people were making many different demands.

Cool and collected, I did my best, which I thought turned out pretty well – smoothing over awkward situations that revealed my ignorance by joking or humoring our guests. This worked – until I found out from the girls upstairs that I had sold cigars to some gentlemen who also asked me to cut them… and I cut the wrong end. Yes, that’s right. There are two ends to a cigar, and it’s pretty obvious which end one would smoke out of, but apparently with my focus on smoothing-over my lack of cigarspeak, I completely cut off the wrong end. So, when they went to smoke they were dreadfully confused.
The funny part was that within minutes everyone in the restaurant knew. I am not really one to hide my blunders, so I would start to share and then they’d say, “Oh, you’re the one?”

Hmm. Oh well, I’m back at it again tonight, but hopefully I will get off early. I have a much delayed date with my Bible, Acts, journal, and that beautiful thing called slumber.

Can this be my life?

Okay, so the past few days have been interesting, to be sure. It’s not that I’ve lost my faith in people, but you can be sure that my welcoming Chicago smile is accompanied by a wary eye. I have to preface this by saying I have never felt unsafe or in danger here – Chicago is a great, safe city. But there are things about cities that are just quite a bit different than the wide open spaces of my childhood.

One of my biggest passions (and don’t be confused – it does get me into trouble sometimes, but it is not a major downfall) is people. I love people – their stories, history, and dreams. I like to come alongside a person and understand how they would feel loved, whether that’s remembering a name or making a point to cross paths routinely. It’s not a big surprise that people like to be appreciated, recognized, and valued. I love to see the light in their eyes when they are.

Well, this passion has brought me into some unique encounters… I just wish they were with women and not older men. When I say older I mean the magazine man at the end of the street who is probably 75… and the man I met under an awning in the rain who was probably in his late sixties. He was a nice sort – business man who was living large on Lakeshore Drive.
I am always very upfront with who (and whose) I am. This guy was a native Chicagoan, so we chatted about the city and I talked about how grateful I was that I had found a faith community. It’s absurd to me that these gentlemen wouldn’t pick up these OBVIOUS clues I lay down. But, Lakeshore man was asking for my number and a pizza/beer get together by the end of 3 minute conversation. WHAT? I just don’t get it. I mean he was nice, but without exchanging numbers I told him we’re sure to run into each other, being from the same neighborhood. The funny thing is – for all of you who say “Of course they talk to you – you’re a sweet, Midwestern blonde with a happy face on!” Well, to you I say that on this particular meeting I was wearing a blue poncho that covered every bit except my face, with my backpack protruding like a hunchback behind me.

I love a delightful conversation… I truly do. I would rather eat soap than pass up someone who wants to tell me about their life. It’s one of those thing that give me energy – after listening and making connections, I feel like my day has purpose. The next time I see George, Chris, or the nameless Italian lady on the bus on the way to work we’ll smile. We recognize each other and I’m instantly encouraged in those little connections. I’ve said this before about Poland, but I sincerely am starting to see Christ’s creative work in the lives of these strangers. In church this past Sunday I learned about the long conversation that the Lord has with His creation. I have no idea what the Lord is doing, how He is pulling or prodding, and how He may be softening a heart. Yet, regardless of where they are, God calls me to the same service: love. Conversation is a way to show and spread love, because people understand the interest and investment it is to let a stranger in.

Now, the slightly scary addition to this story is what happened this morning. I was getting on the subway a little later than usual, because I was going to a program trip instead of work. Everything was normal going through the turnstile and down the stairs. I scanned the crowd gathered to wait for trains and scoped out a spot and waited only a few moments for the train. As I stepped on, I felt pressure behind me (not uncommon when crowding on to the el), but I thought I felt someone inside my purse. I turned around just in time to see the edge of my wallet going under this large man’s coat. Ah! I can’t tell you what went through my mind but all that came out was, “Uh, excuse me?” in a really weak whisper. I’m not even sure that he heard me, but just as the subway doors were about to close, he gave it back. Yeah! First of all, with all my faith in people, I never expected this movie-scene to play out on this Monday morning. Second, I was so disoriented that my reaction wasn’t in the slightest how one would act when your identity is about to be stolen. Third, he gave it back. This is the part that is so confusing to me… he could have easily left and I would’ve done nothing more than stand stunned as the subway pulled away from my little life in the white wallet.

God had already softened that man’s heart before he even took my wallet. That’s the only thing I can figure – God had control over the situation and his unlikely response. Well, I have to process a lot more from everything I'm learning about the Old Testament, relationships, and life. I'll have to pick up on that later.

last pics for awhile

Some pics from lovely chicago times

Sorry they are so small - they upload a zillion times faster this way.

working at the opportunity intern desk

yep... this is where it all happens. Okay, so the intern desk isn't the hub of action around the office, but it's where I get things done. You can be sure there is always a piece of fruit and a cup o' joe to decorate the desk, but other than that it's pretty sparse. I think I'm afraid if I get too comfortable I'll be very disoriented when I realize that it's not really "my" desk, but actually the "intern" desk and it'll see many more faces. Oh well, I love what I do.

pictures of my dear, dear friend Ania.

Here are just a few of the images that remind me of a friendship that struck so deep and true in such a very short time. I miss her tremendously and wish that it wasn't so hard to communicate across languages and things like oceans.



As you can see, we bonded... God's love is so strong that it can break anything we know - He can transcend what I accept as real and bless beyond imagination.
The rings are especially important, because Ania gave me this ring and bought one for herself to match. The instructions were to never take it off and it has been such a joy to look down and remember her sweet, smiling face! She is in my prayers and always in my heart... her dreams are higher than the sky and being with her made me want to soar.