sunken treasure

every year, somewhere near the new year, our neighbors have us over for dinner. they did it the year we moved in (2 years ago), then again last year, and again tonight. it's quite an experience. there are always six of us. matt and i, who are around 30. john and linda, the hosts, who have been retired for 5 years. i'm guessing they are around 65 to 68. and then there's smokey and dotty. they live 2 houses down, in the BIG house, and are in their 80's (i think). the first year we were invited over, we were touched that they would include us. however, we had no idea what to expect! what do we have in common with a bunch of old people? but it was a great night. as was dinner last year. as was dinner tonight.

i mean...the food is amazing. linda is a great host. there's cheese, crackers and wine in the sitting room. dinner consists of no less than five dishes, and more wine. there's dessert and coffee. and to top it all off, plates of christmas cookies, chocolates, and other evil sweet yummy things. everything is served on fine, antique china. she goes all out for us! (and it was only a tuesday night)

the highlight, however, is talking with smokey and dotty. never in my life have i met such interesting people! smokey was a professional diver and videographer. he has worked independently and for national geographic. why he is in lancaster is beyond me! he was one of the first to film the titanic for the first time, has dived with jacques cousteau, and has retrieved sunken treasure! how cool of a life is that!!!

tonight was no disappointment. there was a story of dotty getting drunk on bermudan rum, the real stuff, that was retrieved from a sunken ship. there were tales of filming wild elk over a period of seven years (not as exciting, in my opinion). and there was the "we got lost in the everglades" story. they were hiking, followed the blue flags (which were actually for a trail race the next day) and got lost deep in the woods. they had to be rescued by a search and rescue team--both from the woods before they got eaten by wild panthers and alligators, and from the nest of fire ants that dotty stepped onto. quite a story.

we've started to look forward to this dinner. the first year we were a little skeptical. but the lives of our elders can hold so much! 

now i have to go watch pirates of the caribbean. i have a hankering for rum and gold and adventure:)


you say you want a resolution, well you know, we all want to change (our world)

i've never been one for resolutions. never, in my entire life, have i met somebody who has made a resolution and kept it. changed something or done something because its january 1 and "nows as good a time as any!"
no, to change something you have to really want it. deep deep down inside. otherwise, you will fail. it's inevitable.
there is change in my future.
of course there is, you say. change is all around us.
i know. but i can feel it. i swear i can smell it.

this past year has been a selfish one for me. i did a lot. accomplished a lot. but it was all about me. i went to haiti. i graduated college. i spent 2 weeks in south africa. i ran my first half marathon. granted, the trips to haiti and africa weren't necessarily about me, but they still kind of were. it was a highlight for me. like the grinch (he happened to steal christmas, but then so kindly return it), who only heard "noise, noise, noise, noise" i only hear "i, i, i, i!"

in 2011, i want/need to change this. i want the year to be about others, not me. it's gonna be hard people!!
i mean, think about it. how much of your life revolves around you? everything's about you--face it!

case in point. i found a job today that i would LOVE. it would utilize both my gifts and desires, and that degree i just got. however, it's for a non-profit. that = not a lot of moolah. probably little to no benefits. neither of those things fit into my life at this moment. we are downsizing our lives, a lot, in an effort for matt to be able to quit his job and work from home. it's give and take, which is something we as Americans don't know a whole lot about. there are things i want, really want, that i can't have until he is happy and stable in his work.

so this year, for me, will be about preparation, support, and working my butt off. although, i'm not gonna lie, if i could lose a few pounds in the process i'd be kinda happy. (don't tell anyone--sounds kind of resolution-y) :)


wishful thinking

my heart is heavy
i can't think straight
my brain actually hurts
right behind my eyes that are trying to do the work of my whole head.

my heart is aching
i can't help but to wonder
why the lives of dear loved ones
are turned upside down and inside out and shattered like glass for no good reason

inside i am weeping
for lost innocence of one who should still be innocent
for lost control of one who should be in control
for lost ambition of one so young, so young
for lost direction of one life, held dear to many but the self

what is one to do?
cupcakes will not make this better
cookies will not bring smiles
pot roast will not stir the soul
tea parties will not warm the heart

*praying today, hard, for friends*


take a deep, clean breath

honesty...i've been looking for you. hiding around tall tree trunks, whipping around bushes. where have you been?
goodness....have you left? where in the world are you? all i see is evil, and selfishness, and black
honor...do you even exist anymore? is there valor in this world yet?

there is....fresh air has entered my lungs, revived my spirit, and allowed me to believe in humanity, once again


unexpected rawness

i have certain blogs that i follow. some of them, i follow religiously. they feed me, they entertain me, they shock me. whatever their purpose, these musings speak to me.

today i'm in happy land:) it's my "observed" anniversary, as i didn't get to see matt at all yesterday--the real day. we're getting dressed up, going out, being together. i feel like a little kid on christmas eve!

so it's morning, and i'm sipping my first cup of hot coffee, and i'm catching up on these blogs. some are about cooking, some baking, some family. but one, i always love. and today, she wrote the unexpected rawness that we try not to acknowledge. it's beautiful, and made me tear up because it is so completely true!

please, go to her site, right now. read her post today. let the emotions and the scratchy red raw take over. comment here! i'd love to see if it spoke to anyone else, or if it was just meant for me today:)


four years

four years ago, this morning, i was sipping a mimosa
poured by my sister
curls falling down my back

four years ago, this afternoon, i was waiting in the choir room
all dolled up
sipping tomato soup in my white wedding dress

four years ago, this evening, i was standing before loved ones
pronouncing my love for this man
this gentle man who took me by his side

four years ago, tonight, i was dancing with my husband
dancing with my pop pop
dancing with my daddy

four years ago, today, i embarked on a new life
filled with love, joy, silliness
pain, hurt, and tears
a life together
separate no more.

happy anniversary matt!

this is one of my favorite wedding photos...him looking at me as i VERY nervously walked down the aisle. my dad couldn't even give me the whole "you don't have to do this" speech because i almost cried! i was just so nervous to proclaim my love in front of 104 people. but that smile says it all:)

because i know you are all sick to death of wedding photos...a final favorite!


life lessons from exercise tv

yeah, you read the name of this post right:)

i'm spending the day with my mom. we were sitting on her balcony, drinking steaming hot coffee, looking out over the peaceful valley of color bursts and falling leaves. we were talking of healing, and exercising. me, being the promoter that i can be, mentioned that she NEEDS to try zumba. it's fun, you laugh your butt off, and you feel ridiculous. plus, it's an amazing workout. so we went right to the tv to see if was on demand.

we didn't find zumba (although there are striptease classes???). however, there was something called cardioke. i don't know if any of you have done it or not. but, needless to say, we were intrigued and turned it on.

my mom stood there. i was snuggled up on the couch with her dog. neither of us moved. we did watch the entire thing though. don't you judge! i was all dressed to go shopping:):):) haha

point of the story being....after some crazing dancing/attempting to sing to the pussycat dolls and the black eyed peas, they did the cool down. the wife of billy blanks, jr wrote an inspirational song and sang it while everyone did cool down moves. it's called "you are enough" and i'm sad to say, as i watched (yes watched) the entire workout, i ended with tears in my eyes. because it doesn't matter what our lives are like in this current state. we are enough, and we are exactly where we need to be.

well, i'm exhausted after that tough workout! i'm gonna take a nap, and sneak a piece of my dad's chocolate cake with peanut butter icing:)


reality check

Today i was feeling pretty bad about myself. it was just one of those mornings, you know? like i've failed at life.  i haven't, and i know that. but i can't help how i feel. insecurity can creep up like a lion stalking it's prey, and attack when you least expect it.

I gave myself a good scolding, however. i know that my life is great. i can count my blessings, i can find the little things in life that are good. i just decided to NOT go that route this morning.

The day did get better. it ended on a relaxed and happy note, and i was able to head to bed at 10, and i had yummy chinese for dinner, and all felt right with the world. but instead of heading to bed, i decided to read proverbs 31. i thought, whats a little uplifting girl talk from God going to hurt! and i read it really quickly, and just as i was about to shut my bible and head upstairs, my eyes fell on the previous page.

"Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches--
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God."
Proverbs 30:7-9

Give me neither poverty nor riches. i've been feeling poor,  in spirit. i haven't been trusting. yet, i don't want riches either, so that i can rely on myself and not need Him. 

I guess there is absolutely nothing wrong with an uneventful life:) i know that i am special, and i am loved, and that there is a plan for me. i know that i am living some chapter of that plan right now, and i am going to dwell in the contentment of that.


link to a great post

in the midst of a weekend, week, even month of struggling with my purpose....

i stumbled upon this blog post.

it gave me peace.

it should get me through the week.

so that i can relax at the end; be nourished, and fed, and healed.

God bless Brother Lawrence. I have a new hero!


this thing called life

i've decided to take a new approach to living. you see, i'm the kind of person who needs goals to accomplish. only then am i productive, and busy, and happy in general. not that i'm necessarily "type A".....i'm only psychotic with myself. i don't care what other people do. most of the time:)

2010 was huge for me. i got two unusual stamps on my passport (haiti, south africa). i lived near the poorest of the poor, and learned how blessed i am, and learned how incredibly selfish i am. i graduated college, finally! i ran (sucessfully) a half-marathon, even though i don't consider myself i runner whatsoever. although maybe now i am:)

but now i feel a little let down. there are no more things for me to do or accomplish. there is no moving up in my career, and i am mostly happy where i am vocationally. the only thing that would make me happier would be cooking instead of doing surgery all day. but basically, i have no more big goals! it's the first time in my life that i've been in the particular spot. maybe it's because i'm (nearly) getting close to 30, and i'm finally good with who i am and where i am in life.

so back to the new approach. i'm going to create little goals to work on continuously. to better myself and improve my outlook on life. to make me a better wife, friend, sister, and daughter.


1. cook, at least once a week, something delicious, and healthy, and new
2. spend more time eating with friends and family
3. visit my parents, sister, nephews, and grandmother more regularly
4. write every day
5. learn to make a pumpkin roll
6. learn to make beef bourguignon, julia child style
7. instead of trying to make new friends, improve and deepen the relationships i have now. become more open and transparent. let down the walls
8. keep running! sign up for another race in the spring
9. do something nice for somebody every day
10. actually open my bible and read it. get a study bible. learn the greek and hebrew translations, and learn things for myself instead of relying on what i read in books or what pastors say
11. get a tatoo...something meaningful. something "me"
12. give control of my deepest longings to God; stop stressing out about them
13. date night. out. at least once a month
14. watch less tv...read more
15. spend time outside every day that is sunshiney!
16. live with purpose. instead of worrying that i don't know what my purpose is, treat every action like it is my purpose.
17. be optimistic
18. read a nonfiction book every month. yes it will be hard. you can perservere! learn something:)
19. be the person who drops everything for a friend
20. don't be jealous of others; be thankful for my blessings and my life


a gift, two ways

this weekend was a dear friends' birthday. i love birthdays, so whether or not she was excited, i was excited for her! i love any reason to celebrate, whether it be a hurdle avoided (or dealt with), a surprise, or something that one cannot control (like a birthday). there are many people who despise, dread, and hide from their birthdays; not me! i'm not gonna lie...i love cake, and presents, and one day of attention. therefore, i think everyone else deserves that joy of a simple celebration!

life got in the way a little bit, this weekend. i had call. a lot of call. didn't work too much, but still....the dread of it hung over me like a black storm cloud. i had responsibilities. grocery shopping, cleaning (that didn't really get done until after everything this weekend...i'm the queen of procrastination!), my niece's birthday party, shopping for my niece's birthday party, going on an impromptu, VERY much needed date with my husband, did i mention i was on call?,  working (because i was on call), and then finally the birthday was almost over. i found what i thought was the perfect gift, and resisted the temptation to make cupcakes because she wanted meat, and made pepperoni and cheese bread instead, and THEN got called in. the birthday, for me, was ruined.

by the time i got home from work, i was tired, and really just didn't want to go anywhere. it was pretty late (the yankees game had just started), and it was dark, and i was tired, and i was hungry, and my house still smelled like pepperoni pizza. somehow, matt didn't eat it before i got home. i would have killed him:)

but, in honor of birthdays everywhere, and the opportunity to make someone smile, i bundled up my gifts and drove. and it turns out, it made her day. and we got to hang out with luci. and watch the yankees with crazy people. and LAUGH, so much. so much my sides still hurt a little today.

so here's to giving a gift, and trying to make someone smile, and getting blessed so much more in return. here's to friendship, and here's to luci's messy box, and finally to meat bread.


rainy day bliss

i've decided that my favorite movies are independent movies. they are quality, lacking in drama and special effects, meaning that there is an actual story to them. you just can't find that anymore in mainstream movies.  here is a list of my favorites:

3. once
9. juno

check them out if you haven't; they are incredible.


a state of education

our life group tends to have mostly naked conversations. recently, they've centered on government, diet, education, politics, family, and a new way of living. it has been mentioned, more than just once, of starting our own "tribe" because america is headed down the drain with not a lot of hope in sight.

as i was perusing the NY Times this morning, drinking my first, then second, cup of joe (with dark chocolate creme creamer....yum!), i came across a certain article about education in south africa. their state of education is pathetic, and matriculation scores (kind of like our SATs) have declined EVERY YEAR of the past 6 years. children just aren't being educated well, and the teachers don't seem to care very much.

sound familiar?

i've long said that i would home school my kids. our education system in interested in only one thing: test scores. education centers around it, and thanks to our good old government, who of course knows what is best, schools are being stripped of much needed funding if their scores aren't high enough. that means that inner city schools, who already struggle with needs of their own, are being forced to standardize, and even close programs!

this new, practically underground program in SA is having amazing success. the kids are doing amazingly well, even though it takes super long days to do it. can you imagine an american kid staying until 5:15 to do science and math, and 8 to study for tests? IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. 

if i ever get to live in my own tribe, i'm adopting this educational system. like a community home schooling. any takers?


guest blogging

today i was offered the opportunity to guest blog at a friend's blog. please visit to read how i am processing the trip to africa! and thank you bekah for giving me the opportunity to utilize my creativity:)

p.s.- pumpkin cheesecake is awesome.


snippets and free-streaming thoughts: an ode to matt (mostly)

REASONS TO BE THANKFUL FOR MY HUSBAND (i promise i won't be mushy)

1. he is supporting me as I'm losing my mind in an attempt to run a half marathon. i've mentioned before: i am not a runner. at all. not once has he made fun of me. if you know matt, he drips with sarcasm at almost all times of the day, but he hasn't made fun of this one time. he cooks for me when i have to run at night. that is possibly the single best thing about this experience. i came home one night, and he had taken some napa cabbage and green cabbage and turned it into something wonderful. props to lancaster farm fresh  for our awesome and different vegetable shares, and to Emeril for his BAM! seasoning! yum! i would have never eaten napa cabbage on purpose, and now it is one of my favorite vegetables:)
chop 1/2 head napa and 1/2 head green cabbage; set aside
saute garlic and onion in EVOO
add 2 cups chicken stock, maybe a little white wine
reduce by half
add cabbages, S&P, and BAM!
braise until tender

2. while i was in africa, i was invited (sort of) by bekah to go to a blogging conference for women in hershey. i was interested immediately. who doesn't want to spend three days with great women who love to write, drink coffee, and eat dessert? i haven't written seriously since my "english major" days at college, but i miss it tremendously. i made decisions in my life since then that weren't healthy, and one of the consequences was that i lost my creativity. but it wasn't lost, it was just locked away where it couldn't get hurt like the rest of me did. when i went to haiti, i started this blog. through it, pieces of my former self started to shine through. i feel like a part of myself is FINALLY returning. point being: i got home and decided that i wanted to go. however, it's expensive. and we did just get back from africa. i signed up for a ridiculous amount of call over the next several weeks to pay for it. i decided that if i got called in this past weekend, i'd take it as a sign and today i'd sign up. i didn't get called in. :( matt gave me a confused look and asked why i'd leave something that could impact my future to fate or destiny. he didn't understand, and encouraged me to go anyway. so last night, while watching the sad, sad giants-colts game, i signed up! SO EXCITED!!!!

3. ok, this has nothing to do with matt. it's just something that is on my mind right now. it's 10:45am on monday, and all of my windows are wide open because it's still chilly outside. my pumpkin and mums candle is lit, and the house is quiet (except for aniu, who is barking incessantly at the UPS man who decided to park in front of our house, HER house). i'm on my second cup of coffee with dark chocolate cream creamer, and there is a feeling of peace in the air. 


The Legend of the Great Toenail

A few months ago, I decided to attempt to run a half-marathon. It was a moment of insanity; some crazy impulse to do something great.  As I get closer to race day, I’m realizing that 13.1 miles is WAAAAAAAY too long to walk, skip, hop, or jump on one leg, much less try to run! It isn’t exactly fun for me, but I’m learning a lot about myself.

Last Sunday, my sister-in-law and I ran/jogged/walked 8 miles. Around mile 4, my feet started to hurt. A lot. I could feel blisters forming on my toes, and my heart sank as I realized that I had to run/jog/walk 4 more miles! *sigh*

When I got home, I noticed that my great right toe hurt worst of all. Monday I decided to wash off my toenail polish and face what was underneath: a creeping blackish blueish nastiness. My worst fear was realized. My toenail is going to fall off.


As I walked back from getting my hair cut today, I couldn’t stop staring at the ugly toenail that invaded my flip-flops. All because I wanted to do something good for myself. Now I’m left with a dead toenail and constant throbbing in my shoes every time I run. And for what?!?!

My journey to SA was kind of like this race. I never exactly wanted to go to Africa. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to go. All of the time leading up to the actual trip excited me, terrified me, and prepared me.

I traveled to Africa very American. My heart desired to help others. God has definitely been preparing me for something great. But my mind wasn’t there yet. There was so much that I wanted to do. For myself. I realized that I am a very selfish person. Every decision I make is for the good of myself or my family. Then I experienced Africa.

A bruise started spreading across my American ego. It slowly crept along the edges while I was in Africa, but since I’ve been home it has begun to invade my center. My selfish lust is starting to peel off, little by little. Like my toenail. It is going to take a long time to fall off. In fact, it may never totally fall off. But the process has begun, and there is nothing that I can do to stop it. However, underneath lies something fresh. Something new and uncharted and great. I wish that I could just bypass the bruise and jump to the “new me.” Start a new chapter of my life.

But I can’t just yet. So I run on….


the resurrection plant and me.

we did a bit of smuggling in SA. nothing major (well, not in MY mind anyway!). we brought back some giraffe biltong so that our friends and family could say they tasted this adorable creature. it's gross, by the way. lol!

we also smuggled back a plant, which i'm assuming could get us (meaning me) in some pretty big trouble. it was just a small piece of a plant, but it's the most amazing thing ever. it's called a resurrection plant. it was just a piece of dried up, brown, shriveled nothing. when we got home, we put it in a cup of water by the window. this is what it looked like:

this is what it looked like 2 hours later!:

it's amazing what a little love and attention can do. this plant did so much from so little. went from being dead to alive again. like lazarus. like jesus.

we've had an interesting week back. the day after we got home, we opened up our home to a family friend. he's going through some tough stuff, and he needed a place to stay. inside, he's dying. there's not alot there. but with God's grace, he can live again, can get through this rough, dry season of his life and flourish. hopefully we can be the sun and water, so that God can help him grow.

my two weeks in africa was my sun and water. i was feeling a little lost before i went. like i was starting to shrivel up inside. fear of the future was starting wear me down. ahhh...such an american mentality. where will my life be in 5 years? i should be wondering, what am i doing with my time RIGHT NOW?

now i feel like i'm regrowing. resurrecting in a sense. i still have no idea what i'll be doing even 6 months from now. that's ok though, because i have an idea of how i want my time to be spent NOW. i'm meant to be loving and nourishing someone else for the time being, and there is nothing else i want to do. God is in control of what that leads to, and i have to make a conscientious decision every day to be ok with that, and to trust Him.


this is your life, is it who you want to be?

today is my second full day back from africa. yesterday was rough. jet lag is killer. today will be better i think. matt and i both woke up at 5am on the dot. so right now i'm sitting on the couch, drinking the best coffee i've had in two weeks, and processing. i have to go back to work today. something about that gets under my skin a little.

we live in such a rat race. we work for ourselves. last week, i worked harder than i ever have. i helped mix an insane amount of cement, by hand, in an old bathtub, with a huge hole in the bottom. we made a basketball court/hopscotch/four square court. all 12 of us worked together, each bringing our specific gifts and abilities. we finished it, by hand, and it looks amazing. i STILL have bruises on my thighs from digging up the sod. they aren't even fading yet:)

the work was hard, the days were long, the food was simple. but we did it, and it wasn't for us or about us. maybe that's the nature of a trip like that. a week of two of self sacrifice, and then you go back to your life hoping that something will change, knowing it won't. the thought of coming back and working to make money to pay for everything i have makes me a little nauseous. we even cut back on a lot. this summer, we cancelled our cable, got ride of texting, and are in the process of experimenting going down to one car. because we have more than we need. more than enough.

we spent 2 weeks living with people who had just enough, some days not even that. they were full of more joy than nearly anyone i know here in the states. they are grateful and thankful for what they have, and in that would still sacrifice whatever they have to help their neighbor.

our friend bekah lives on that farm in SA. she gets paid so little, only $250 a month, and lives frugally off of that. still, she ends up giving money to her friends on the farm when they have no food, or need medical expenses paid. she sacrifices the little that she currently has to help everyone else out. such an unamerican thing to do. now i wonder, what am i supposed to do?

Our new friends: Zulu, Rumbi, and baby Marvin

Francis and his son Matthew
Publish Post


at the end of the day, everything works out

i didn't have much internet access in SA. if i did, it was only a few minutes here or there to check my email.  never enough time to blog. therefore, i'll try to commit to writing a little everyday about the trip as i process it.

the sunsets in africa are spectacular, amazing, beautiful. lekker. there isn't a sunset in the world that even remotely compares. every night, while we ate dinner in the restaurant (which was out in the open), we experienced this beauty. it was relaxing, refreshing. after a long, hard day of manual labor, the sunsets revived us for the evening meetings we held for the black workers on the farm. the excellent south african food helped, of course. (sidenote: i know you want to know! we tried warthog, kudu, giraffe, and guinea fowl. loved warthog and guinea fowl, kudu is ok, giraffe is pretty gross)

every morning, we were picked up in a game viewer and taken to the bottom of the mountain to work. every morning but one, we were greeted by the giraffes. God blessed us, because many people stay on the farm for several weeks and never see one of these beautiful creatures. one morning, they were blocking the road and we had to stop and wait on them. another morning, we woke up to four of them right outside of our rooms on the top of the mountain! it's impossible to wake up in a bad mood, even with the lack of good coffee:) they are the most graceful animals, and hands down my favorite animal i saw the entire trip.

the highlight of the trip were the kids. they were just incredible. the farm has a school on it for the children of the black workers, as well as for the children of the couple who runs the farm. there are seven kids right now, all boys, from 2 years to 6 years. at 6 they leave the farm and go to school in town, or back to zimbabwe for school (most of the black workers are from zim). in particular, these two captured my heart. if it was even remotely ethical, i would have packed them in my suitcase and brought them home! on the right is deserve, who is trying pop rocks for the first time with matt. he's only 2, and has such a charismatic personality! on the right is matthew, whom we sponsored for the trip. each person on the team took one of the kids and brought presents, clothes, and shoes for them. matthew is also two, and became matt's favorite kid in the world. he's just like us...quiet, shy, and has the cutest little boy giggle ever. they loved to be loved on, snuggled, kissed, tickled, played with... even people who don't particularly care much for kids (like matt) fell in love with them. matthew and deserve are cousins and live in the same house (called a lapa). we delivered some things to their parents, and as we were leaving the compound, the two of them shouted "ha-le-lu-jia!" over and over and over again to us:) it was precious:) i miss them already!

Our team, plus  5 of the boys:) minus les


another day, another adventure

so i haven't blogged in  a long time. like, all summer. i wasn't sure where to go with the blog, to be perfectly honest. i've always been a writer, but more for myself or for a class of some sort. i wanted everyone to stay updated while i was in haiti, and a great friend suggested that i start this, so there i was. it went pretty well, but when i was home i wasn't sure what to do with it. so i stopped!

this summer, for anyone who wants to know, was a big summer for me. i'm terrible at finishing things that i've started (a genetic trait i'm told!), but this summer i've done or am currently working on three very big, HUGE, life-changing activities and milestones in my life.

first i went to haiti, which you all know. it was last minute and spontaneous; wonderful and terrifying. perhaps because it was such a last minute opportunity, i didn't have the chance to be nervous. i processed everything a little while after the trip, and to some extent still am. one thing i do know: God has given me a compassionate heart for the poor. i knew it before, but i felt it there.

THEN, on july 27, i GRADUATED!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! 10 years is way too long for anyone to get a bachelor's degree, but i did it and i finished it and i graduated magna cum-laude, which is the second highest:) why it took so long is a very long story, and i won't go into it, but know that it was a HUGE accomplishment!!!

third: i'm training for a half marathon. on october 3, 2010, my sister--in-law ashley and i will be running/jogging/surviving 13.1 miles along the atlantic ocean in ocean city, nj. why you ask? my only answer to you is i have absolutely no idea, but i must be at least a little crazy. until a few weeks ago, three miles was the longest i've ever run (run/walk really). this past sunday: 8! more than halfway there! i do have to take a little time off for accomplishment #4......

TOMORROW I LEAVE FOR SOUTH AFRICA!! twice out of the country this year, twice for things that aren't quite "vacation". they are very different experiences, however. i'm spending 11 days in mokopane, SA (in the northern province) ministering to kiddos and adults who work on a farm/game reserve. there are 11 of us going, most of whom go to the same little home church and know each other probably a little too well:) it's going to be great! we will get to sightsee a little, go to kruger national park on a safari, hike a little in beautiful places, play with adorable little african boys, teach to the adults, and do lots of good old labor during the day. of course, this is a mission trip, so all of that could change in an instant! but we're open to anything.

the best part is: my husband is coming! my sister is coming! my good friend is coming! we'll be working and serving together, experiencing it all together. that's probably the biggest, most refreshing blessing of all. i pray that i learn a lot on this trip, and that God uses it to prepare me for what's next. after all...4 big things in one year can only lead to two things. an unbearably boring 2011, or one filled with so much excitement it's unfathomable!

i'll try to blog while i'm there....i hear internet is sketchy!  see you in 2 weeks!


home sweet home!

so after another long day of traveling, i finally got home last night around 8. we rode the storm the whole way home from philly! i have never been so happy to see my husband, eat yummy healthy food, and take a LONG HOT shower! i think i lasted until 9:30 before i passed out. after a great night's sleep, i'm starting to process things a bit and going through my pictures (which are on facebook), and hopefully by tonight or tomorrow i'll be able to really talk to people about the trip. one thing i do know....we live in a very wealthy country, and we should all feel blessed to have been born here. i'm thankful today for hot water, a sewage system, and paved roads! and i'd like to go on record to say that i have the best husband in the world, who fully supported me on my trip and cleaned the entire house before i came home! i'm very blessed!


the beginning of the end!

today was our last day in the hospital, and let me tell you...it was FRUSTRATING! i'm actually glad to be coming home! the politics are unreal. there are zero supplies in the OR and the "supply" room is such a mess that i almost had a panic attack going in. there are at least five femur fractures in the ER and clinic, yet there is no way to fix them because they don't have plates or the capability to do a rodding, and all of their external fixator stuff is being used. (sorry for the OR talk for those of you who have no idea what i'm talking about!). we got to the hospital early this morning because wednesday is an ortho day, only to find out that now wednesday is a urology day. this meant nothing for us to do, yet there were tons and tons or ortho patients! so we did an ortho clinic, similar to office hours in the States with the surgeon, and i just got to sit around until 1 in the afternoon. we ended up doing 3 little surgeries in the afternoon, and being back by 4. we were curious, so we found the "depot" where all of the supplies are kept that were donated from the world. there was tons of stuff there, but still not what is needed. the organization is unreal, its so bad, and the government keeps it that way so that they have the power. craziness! but i got to come back to some great conversations with new friends, yummy rice and beans, and a shower.
TOMORROW IS THE BEACH! YAHOO! i wasn't even gonna go, but they kinda strongly encourage it to decompress, and now we really want to go! kinda of a midstep to normalcy! then we leave at 4am friday morning, and i get to snuggle with my dog (and matt) friday night! YAY!
what a crazy experience!


can i get a hal-le-lu-ja!

so day three of this adventure. sunday is a rest day here. well, in haiti, but here to. breakfast is late (8am! and eggs, no porridge!) and the day is lazy, filled with sleep, conversation, sleep, walks, sleep, and the pool. dinner is early (4:30, spaghetti! no haitian food!) and then it's time for chuch. church was interesting, and quite an experience. first of all, its outside under an open pavilion. the worship was incredible. the local community comes, so the first part of worship is in english and stuff i knew, and THEN the haitian guy grabs the mike. first of all, the haitians are dressed to the nines. i'm talking long sleeved shirts and ties, and dresses and heels. he starts singing and talking (VERY loudly, really more like shouting) and sings what really felt like one long song. people are dancing, jumping around, and really getting into it. the rest of the service was skits, dance, songs, like a big youth group convention. then the sermon. everything was translated in creole.so yeah, very interesting. like i told matt, a southern baptist church on steriods!
today we spent part of the day in the clinic getting a little girl with a broken back to take to the hospital for xrays. then i sat with a girl from the camp who most likely has malaria, and is just super sick. we did a few surgeries and made rounds with the haitian orthopedic doc at the hospital, and them came back to camp around 7 tonight. it didn't seem like a lot of work today, but i'm exhausted. i finally got some sun today. 100 degrees everyday, and i'm not getting anything! stupid sunscreen:)
a bunch of people at the camp have been pretty sick with some stomach thing. no one knows where its coming from, but more people get sick everyday. pray i don't get it! i've been using antibacterial stuff like crazy!
new food today: goat. yum!
off to the clinic tomorrow to help see patients...only one surgery to do then i need to keep busy. i'm excited to get a chance to play with the kids!
so i'm going to bed now...plus my enter key keeps sticking and it's getting rather annoying! haha
good night all!


fire and ice

worst moment in my life: 2am, saturday night. woken up by drums and screaming. apparently, voodoo ceremony with infant sacrifice.

one of best moments of my life: 7 hours later, YWAM meeting. worship service with about 30 people singing "open the eyes of my heart" in 4 or 5 different languages, simultaneously


crazy overwhelminglyness

so it's slow, but i am able to sporatically use the internet. it's my second day here yesterday was quite possibly one of the most exhausting day of my life! by the time we got to the base, after not getting picked up at the airport, after hearing nothing but haitian creole, after seeing trash and sewage on the worst kept streets in the world, after seeing people washing clothes in bowls on the side of the road, i had nothing. i couldn't pay attention during the mini orientation, and i felt delirious. it was probably hilarious, watching me attempt to hang a mosquito net in my bunk in a sleepy haze! i did wake with most of it around me...hahaha

haiti is one of the most beautiful places! huge mountains, surrounded by piercing blue ocean. beautiful, kind, smiley people. ADORABLE kids and babies. we went to an orphange yesterday, in between picking people up at the airport (3 teams flew in yesterday), and it was the most heartbreaking, wonderful place ever. there are so many people here, and they are so poor, but they're also so loving and sweet. i just love them. plus, the food is AWESOME...

today we went to st. nicholas hospital and did 5 surgeries. all days or weeks old traumas, and it was culture shock. when we got there, a lady had just come in with a ruptured placenta, and the dead baby was laying on a stand, outside the operating room, unattended, uncovered except for a small blue OR towel. it looked like it was sweetly sleeping. that was my introduction to a haitian hospital. it was quite traumatizing actually. thinking about it makes me want to cry! there were flies on my table, it was about 90 degrees, and i had a random bunch of rusty instruments. the girls opened nothing sterilely, and there were hardly any drapes. however, the 2 surgeons were super nice, and all in all i had a great day. the ER had a huge influx of traumas as we were leaving, so we'll be busy again on monday.

it's hard to process anything here, but the business slows down at night as everyone lays in bed, listening to their iPods or reading. except for the voodoo services. except for the rooster (UGH!). except for the dogs.

welcome to haiti!


the only first there will ever be

a friend recently suggested that i start a blog. i've never even thought of starting a blog, which is pure craziness since i'm a writer at heart and love to type out my thoughts. so here's to a great first (hopefully), and to sticking with something (maybe), and to communicating with the unknown (probably).

on tuesday, i was given the opportunity to go to haiti. for some background, let me explain how my heart has been occupied lately. i lament, on a near daily basis, begging God to give me some opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. i work in healthcare, but it isn't as fulfilling as i thought it might be. my dream job would be to work for some great humanitarian organization, saving people all over the world. like i said, "dream" job! ANYWAY, i stumbled upon this opportunity to do a medical mission trip with one of the surgeons i work with. did i mention that i leave on friday?? yeah, i only have a week and a half to get all of the good stuff done, like packing, and shots, and get a ticket, and.............

so all day tuesday i was deliriously giddy. it's what i've been praying for, right? THEN...i walked to class on tuesday night and it hit me. i am going to a third-world, disaster and disease ridden country in less than two weeks! it's not even enough time to mentally prepare myself. i really psyched myself out. then i remembered. i've been begging God for this. He finally gave it to me.

AND i'm going to south africa on another mission trip in August!

here's to embracing the unknown!