Monthly Archives: November 2012

Giving Thanks: I should do this more than once a year.

In lieu of Thanksgiving, I figured this was an opportune time to share and reflect on some of the many things from the past year that I am thankful for. I also want to note that I do not intend to only give thanks in seasons when it feels ‘appropriate’ to do so. There are reasons to be thankful every day.

Looking back on the last year of support-raising and training: I am thankful for…

–          A short conversation with Derek that turned into a life-changing decision.

–          Incredible support from my friends, family, and church community from day one.

–       The opportunity to begin again as a student of photography, videography, grant         writing, language learning, cross-cultural studies, support-raising, relationship-building, public speaking, development work, event hosting, East African history, social media, and communications.

–          As often as I dreaded them, the many times over the last year that I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone.

–          The opportunity to train in the field with four inspiring individuals (Derek Sciba- World Concern, Eugene Cho- One Day’s Wages, Jonathan Young- ONE, Jenny Simmons– musician and World Concern).

The Kenya Crew

Jenny and I roadside in South Sudan. No, that is not a spray tan- this pictures is post a 13+ hour bumpy ride over red dirt roads. 6 push-starts and 1 traffic ticket later, we made it!

–          The chance to travel cross-country to meet with familiar and not-so-familiar faces.

–          Coffee. I am thankful for you.

–          The opportunity to live in Seattle for 6 years. I no longer consider myself a 100% California girl…

–          Despite my lack of a consistent income- a consistent roof over my head and food in my belly.

–          My dear Seattle friends who put up with me through the beautiful, and not-so-beautiful, moments. You know who you are.

–          Despite my lack of sleep- overall health. This is something to be truly thankful for.

–          The amazing staff at World Concern. I cannot stress enough how amazing they are. Wait, amazing isn’t even enough. I am so blessed to be included in this community!

–          Church families! (Quest and FMCSB)

–          Listening ears when I needed them most.

–          Words of wisdom when I needed them most.

–          Hugs when I needed them most.

–          Laughter when I needed it most.

–          Music. ‘Nuff said.

–          Friends who feed me.

–          The opportunity and freedom to express my thoughts, feelings, and opinions in public places (exhibit A).

–          Legs that can run, snowboard, hike, do yoga, bike, and swim.

–          Living in environments that allow me to do all of the activities described above.

–          Everyone who has gone out of their way to support me.

–          My MTI family.

–          A patient, gracious, merciful, timely, forgiving, persistent, good, and sovereign God.

–          Access to an unending amount of information. Thank you, Google.

–          New friends.

–          Time to rest in this beaut of a town. (Hello, Santa Barbara).

–          The freedom to vote.

–          Humbling moments (let’s be honest, these took me awhile to be thankful for.).

–          EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS BLOG. This is something I am VERY thankful for.

…and, I promise, these are just the highlights.

What can I say but, God is good.

Even in the midst of difficulty, there is always reason to give thanks.

Anticipating many thankful moments to come.

Surreality, Goodbyes are Exhausting, and Praise God for Cruise Control

First off, let me begin by apologizing for my extended absence from the blogging world. One could say the last month has been on the wild side: living in a basement, organizing a benefit concert, packing up all that I own, saying goodbye to so many people/things that I love, and driving 16 hours straight. That’s pretty wild, right?

I write to you now from my old bedroom in my loving parent’s abode in the infamously beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. Yes, it is November 5th and yes, it is 85 degrees. I may have just been reading at the beach. I’m still in shock that I lived here for 18 years of my life. I’m also in shock that this is not summer vacation. Though I don’t want to complain about being in such a gorgeous town, I do feel like true fall was snatched away from me. I suppose this will be a good transition into living the next few years without American seasons.

To play catch-up on the month of October, these three themes come to mind: Surreality, Goodbyes are Exhausting, and Praise God for Cruise Control.

Surreality

I am living back at home, in the bedroom I slept in for 15 years of my life. I am attending my home church. I see my parents and brother every day. I see sun every day. I am not going back to Seattle. I do not know the next time I will be returning to the Northwest. I cannot just drive to Greenlake, Chocolati, the Crumpet Shop, Quest Church, World Concern Headquarters, Goodwill on 65th, Whit & Brooke’s house, Discovery Park, Beacon Hill, Thai Toms, and the many other places I love so dearly. I no longer live in the community and city that I have made my own for the last six years. I am one step closer to moving to Africa. I am one step closer to beginning working in the field, telling the incredible stories of those that World Concern serves. I am one step closer to better being able to relate to this quote that I love so dearly: “I became a journalist because I was, and still am, madly curious about everything and can’t get enough of finding out what makes people tick,” Lucy Mathen, BBC’s first female journalist. I am one step closer to building relationships with the World Concern Africa staff, the beneficiaries, and an entirely new city (and, for that matter, continent). I am one step closer to being continually humbled by the poverty, projects, and people with whom I’ll be working. I consider these facts to be reality, yet equally so surreal. Thus, I am in a state of surreality (one might argue this isn’t the proper use of the word, but I find it to fit perfectly) – one that includes excitement, anticipation, and the hourly need for God’s strength and grace.

Goodbyes are Exhausting…

…But God is so good. Let’s be honest, I was dreading goodbyes. How do you express how much you love/appreciate/are blessed by someone in a fleeting moment of tears, hugs, and fumbling words?! Yet, as always, God proved me wrong. During my last couple of weeks in Seattle, I was blessed with beautiful goodbyes. In fact, even before I began saying them, I was blessed by all those who assisted with making the Jenny Simmons benefit concert a success! It was an incredible night of music, community, and sharing- and I woke up the next morning feeling like I had just won the colleague-lotto! I cannot believe how lucky I am to work with, and be supported by, such an outstanding group of individuals at World Concern. Special shout outs to: Jenny Simmons, Derek Sciba, Jonathan Young, Joe Lee, Rose Johnson, Martha and Austin Snowbarger, and Kristin Hingtgen! Along with my colleagues, God has granted me an amazing Seattle family. But goodbyes are exhausting because they are meaningful, right? I can only see this as a positive- that I have had the opportunity to build meaningful community and relationships over the last 6 years- only loving and being loved so deeply can lead to such painful goodbyes. I hope and pray that these relationships will only grow and flourish while I am away.

Jonathan and Gaetana of We Are Arrows

My first stand-up comedy gig. Derek was there to support. In other words, my public speaking is slowly progressing- baby steps to leaps and bounds!

Some of my photos on display.

Even under the weather this woman is amazing. Jenny Simmons, y’all.

Praise God for Cruise Control

I will be wearing this on my next lengthy road trip.

After completing a 16 hour straight solo road trip from Portland to Santa Barbara (left at 5am, got home at 9:30pm), I would gladly sport an ‘I <3 Cruise Control’ bumper sticker. Maybe even tattoo….too far?…

If there were a hidden camera on my rear-view mirror, you would witness this array of emotions/activities:

–       Feeling alert and listening to a ‘wake me up’ mix at 5am

–       Solo dance parties to try to stay awake as the alertness slowly faded

–       Numerous phone conversations

–       Numerous conversations with myself

–       Numerous conversations with unknowing nearby drivers

–       Numerous conversations with goats, cows, mountains, and God

–       Me practicing my Swahili

–       Tears of joy

–       Tears of pain

–       Laughing out loud at the fact I was talking to myself and animals

–       Listening to multiple episodes of This American Life

–       Rapping to songs that no one should be allowed to know the lyrics to

–       Rolling the windows down and screaming at the top of my lungs

–       Stopping to take photos of epic fall trees, mountains, lakes, and dust storms

–       Random snack breaks

–       And the list goes on…

 

Let’s just say I’m fairly decent at entertaining myself- which will hopefully prove to be beneficial during my first few months in Africa.

So here I am in Santa Barbara, the beautiful town I get to reclaim as my home for the next couple of months. My visa paperwork has been submitted and I am waiting for word from the Kenyan embassy in order to move on with plans to move (please pray that this process goes smoothly and swiftly). In the meantime, I will be using this time to finish with my support raising and preparation for the field.

Three things I leave you with:

  1. Would you please consider becoming a monthly partner? Thanks to you, I have raised all of my one time fees! I only need $600/month in order to leave. This means that if only 14 people donate $50 per month, the goal will be reached! It would be an honor to work with you to tell the stories of those being served by World Concern and generate greater awareness about the work that is yet to be done. If you are interested, please check out this link. If you are interested in hearing more about what I will be doing, please feel free to send me a personal message or check out my about link!
  2. Would you please pray that my visa is processed smoothly and quickly? My paperwork was submitted over a month ago and I have yet to hear back from the Kenyan embassy.
  3. Would you please send me your favorite solo road tripping memories and plant a candid camera in the car of the next person you know hitting the road alone?

Cheers to No-Shave-November and the many adventures this next chapter holds! Thanks for coming along for the ride.