Monday, March 31, 2008

Who would have thought....

Often referred to as:
junk mail
forwards
guilt-inducing
annoying
inbox crowding
cheesy

you know, those emails that so and so says you should forward to let people you know that they are loved, appreciated, valued, important...

Grandma calls them "jokes" and thinks they are "cute."

Perspective. Changes everything. Now I am not ready to have my inbox filled with forwards, but at the same time, I now know a new way that Grandma feels loved, by these emails I almost always delete without reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Grandma's Computer

I have spent more than two hours updating grandma's PC. We are not finished yet, we have just scratched the surface.

The PC is frustrating me and as my brother called in the middle I told him that grandma needs a mac, a machine smart enough to do what needs to be done on its own. Unless of course the PC world is going to start up a free (cause lets face it, what senior citizen has loads of cash to burn) service where they stop by regularly and check up on her system. They should run the updates for her, they should update her Norton Software (which honestly has even given me a headache) and make sure her email functions properly, cause sadly, all of her grandchildren have given up the practice of writing handwritten notes, and instead insist that grandma get email.

I think I am going to start writing grandma handwritten notes. I think I also better get back to updating her computer.

Did I mention my grandma is the coolest? Cause really she is, she tries so hard to keep up with her kids and grandkids, that she is willing to put up with the headaches caused by our technology.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nourishment...

3 nights. 3 days. Rest. It was good.

I read. I slept. I watched a few movies, and thought through some questions that had been running around in my brain. It was good to wake up on my own this morning and feel rested. There is something nourishing about rest.

I also got some news today from my favorite Family Practice Doctor. She rocks.

To make a long story short, and not too difficult to stomach, my stomach just hasn't been right. What started last April, seemed to end last August. But, it started again when I landed here in December.

I have kept it quiet, but basically my stomach just isn't happy. I talked to my favorite Family Doctor about it (she really is awesome) and she recommended some tests. Since I was traveling so much I put off the tests because it required to be in Indy long enough to actually do the tests. I completed them this week, which may be more information than you really wanted to know, but I submitted my samples on Monday. Got the phone call today. There isn't an Annie. There isn't a parasite. There just seems to be one unhappy gut. And a referral to a GI doctor. I hope to leave Indy in about 2 weeks. Maybe I will have to get a different referral.

So I am going back to the gluten free diet. Because in all of my testing and experimenting, that is the only thing that seems to work. At least it is easier to be gluten free in the USA than it is in Tanzania.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Retreating

It's a few weeks late, but today I am going on that gift of a retreat that I was supposed to take a few weeks ago.

I am looking forward to hiking, reading, journaling, and resting. Seeking answers and developing a plan for a rhythm in my life after transitioning to the next landing point.

I'll be back Friday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Last trip.

I am sitting in the Colorado Springs Airport looking out at a beautiful snow capped Pikes Peak, waiting to board flights 28 and 29 back to Indianapolis. And it is with a great sigh of relief that I realize I don't have any other flights booked in my near future. I have reached the end of the road...kind of. There will be a road trip in April, but I would take a road trip over a flight any day.

The Real World

Its been an awesome week. For the last five days we have been surrounded by people like us...

People who have a heart for the world.
People who have lived around the world for various reasons and now see it quite differently.
Some of us have been hurt in those places.
Some of us have felt betrayed.
Some of us have questioned God.
All of us are feeling quite alone as we re-enter the United States, because no matter how hard we try, it is so incredibly hard to describe how our lives have been changed in our journeys to the extent that the listener could fully understand.

This week, we were understood. This week we wept, we laughed, we poked a little fun, we shared our frustrations and our anger, and our hurt, and our feeling like we were pushed to the limit in so many ways. This week, we were in a place where it was safe to be unsure of who we were and just soak in the wisdom of the MTI staff who have been there and done that.

It has been an awesome week. We have learned its OK to feel like strangers here, we have learned how God meets us where we are, and we have learned that we are in fact normal although we feel so incredibly abnormal.

Today though, we leave this comfortable bubble of being back in the real world. Pray for all of us, and be patient for us, as we are all in transition, and transition is such a weary place.

Free Will

A few times in the last week the question has been asked..."how can God let (insert horrific scene) happen?"

My response has typically been the usual response, "well God allows us all free will, therefore although God doesn't want bad things to happen, he allows us and others to make choices that result in bad things happening." All in all a very "church-based" answer, and well, doesn't really make it any better does it. I have always felt like I was brushing a person off giving them that answer, and maybe, because when we are asking that question, there isn't really an answer that will satisfy the grief that is stirred up in our hearts that prompts asking the question.

And then I went for a walk. And pondered free will. And came to the conclusion that free will must be a farce, because really, no matter what our actions, it affects someone. We all live together on this planet, and therefore, when I make a choice it will most likely have some effect on you, although you may never know it, or it may affect your kids, or your friends, or your home.

A few examples:
1. Choosing to live at the fullest extent of my income the rest of my life. This affects any children I may have in the future (no college savings for them, and they would probably have to take care of me when I am old, and what happens if I lose my job??) and it can effect the 3rd world. If I am willing to say live at 80% of my budget and say give 10% away and save 10% I can have some positive impact on the world.

2. Choosing to live angry over choosing forgiveness. Not only does it cause my life to be icky, it causes all of those around me to be in an icky place, and well, most likely many of them would seek a different friend, but you get my point, my attitude and outlook on life affects those around me.

3. In choosing to ignore what is going on in the world, I may be making my life easier by be clueless, but I am not making anyone's life easier by taking action, even a simple action of prayer.

4. Further examples can include recycling, choosing organic, being vegetarian, littering in the park, being a supportive friend, watching someone's kids, speeding, being an aggressive driver...there are countless choices we make in our day, and well I think you are getting the point by now.

I am still thinking through this, and I don't bring this up to cause worry or stress, because believe me I like living in a world without worry, but at the same time I do bring it up because as I read McLaren's book I am reminded that even though I am just one person, I live in a community and what I choose to do or not do, whether I choose to act or not act, how I live my life affects the lives around me.

I have the free will to choose how I want to live my life. I want to have a positive affect.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Everything Must Change

I started a new book today, and it is challenging how I view Christianity and its place in the world we live in. A few of my favorite thoughts so far:

"Did God only care about our souls going to heaven after we died? Were our hungry bellies unimportant to God? Was God unconcerned about our crying sons and frightened daughters, our mother hiding under our beds, our father crouching by windows, unable to sleep because of gunfire? Or did God send Jesus to teach us how to avoid genocide by learning how to love each other, how to overcome tribalism and poverty by following his path, how to deal with injustice and corruption, how to make a better life here on earth--here in East Africa?"

"I see it. Today for the first time, I see what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God. I see that it's about changing this world, not just escaping it and retreating into our churches. If Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is true, then everything must change. Everything must change."

Both of these quotes were statements made by East Africans who had decided there must be another way, another way to see Jesus than just as a Savior. They had come to the conclusion that Jesus is more than just a salvation ticket, but a way of life, a way that could end the corruption in their world and the killing and murdering and intimidation that is often a part of their own daily lives. It seems we could learn a lot from them.

Stuff White People Like

A friend of mine sent me to this blog a few weeks ago (thanks ang) and as a person re-entering the USA I find it hysterical! I suggest you check it out.

Stuff White People Like

Another question

I think in the shower. And this morning as I was thinking through the question I posted last night, another one came to mind.

Where are we in these situations?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tough Questions.

I don't quite know how to function in the USA. My heart, my world view, my belief systems have all been affected by what I have seen, smelled, touched. Part of me hesitates to be real, because the typical response with the questions I am asking would be of concern, and as I share my heart with you, and the questions I am asking, let me reassure you that my faith is stronger than it ever has been, even as I ask questions...

The biggest question is where is God...
in the life of the three year old playing in the dirt and poop mixture of the slums.
in the woman dying of AIDS when she should be living life to the fullest.
in the man beating his wife because she didn't have dinner on the table.
in my confusion of how to live in America.
in my processing of my car accident and the weeks following.
in the sorrow of missing people in Tanzania.
in the constant transition over the last few years.
in the life of a man who wants to get off of the streets but just can't seem to cross that hurdle.
in the kids high on glue.
in the mom begging for money to feed her children.
in the war torn countries of this world.

Stress

Today we talked about stress. We took the Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment scale and shared how life's changes had affected us, and how things that used to be so insignificant seems so very significant, and how our perspectives have changed. It was interesting to note that things we put on our "daily life stressor" list would fall on the "occasional, or uncontrolable stressor" list if we lived in the USA.

A few examples:
1. Power outages in East Africa are normal. You expect them to happen, often daily, but it is still stressful. In America when the power goes out people lose it.
2. Gathering of food for a meal. In East Africa you might spend half the day getting your groceries, visiting the market, bargaining, going to the butcher, etc...here you just go to Walmart.

The Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Scale we took today was modified. Instead of checking off the stressors for the last two years, we were instructed to check off the ones we experienced in the last 12 months...and if they happened more than once, multiply the value by the number of times it occured over the last 12 months.

I scored 959. We were told the average missionary scores between 800 and 1000. Glad to hear I am normal.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Creativity.

I sat in a circle today with a group of people and freely wept. I wept as I shared my stories and wept as I listened to theirs and I came to the conclusion that the enemy is creative.

I don't think I have ever spoken so boldly on spiritual warfare before, but I do believe what the bible stays about the weapons of our warfare not being carnal....it hints that there is more out there than the physical realm we are so ready to embrace. It stands to reason to me that as we are out sharing the hope of Salvation with people who don't know Christ, that the enemy who wants them to be trapped in their lostness, or overpowered by the lies He speaks to them would do whatever he can think of to stop us from sharing. That is by far one of the longest and most confusing run-on sentences I have ever written in my life. But I digress.

Today, I listened. And I heard so many stories of so many ways peoples' lives were challenged, their hearts were broken, everyone has faced some hardship (many people more than one) on the mission field, which I know to be true for just about every missionary I know. And really, there were some threads, team difficulties, sickness etc., but there were some very creative things too.

It has me thinking. And realizing that as the weapons aren't carnal, I really need to be doing a better job praying, getting other people to pray and also do a better job of walking along side people working in ministry. They need an army to stand up to the lies, the schemes, and the tricks that are placed before them.

Not without delay...

But we have arrived. And I cannot tell you how good it is to be here. I felt liked crying as I walked in the door, knowing that everyone here has been through similar life transitions that I have been through and that I was in a safe place and well...that this week is all about beginning to process what has needed to be processed for so long. It is SO good to be here.

hmmm....

Just checked the flight status for our flight this morning. It looks like this:I then checked the weather in Colorado Springs. This is the view:
I believe in a God who knows where I need to be when. I also believe in a God who can move mountains and make ways. I am hoping He has plans to make a way for Nancy and I to arrive in Colorado Springs this morning and that my next post will be from MTI.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cancelled.

Yep folks. I am spending the night at the not so quality Quality Inn in Dallas. And by saying not so quality I will add that I have stayed in nicer places in Tanzania! Always an adventure.

Be praying, as myself and another not so fortunate traveler who happens to be heading to MTI as well for the week of debriefing, were not able to fly into Colorado Springs today because of weather. Pray that the weather is better when we take off at 7AM tomorrow morning. We hopefully won't miss out on too much of the debriefing, as we land in the Springs around 8am...if all goes according to plan!

26 and 27

Today I board flights 26 and 27. Bound for Colorado with my ultimate destination being at MTI in Palmer Lake. This has very little to do with the million dollar question post, but in a way will be instrumental in my living and working there.

Honestly, the thought of boarding a plane this morning is nauseating. I have had enough, but I am very excited about the week. I spent 5 weeks at Mission Training International before heading to Tanzania and I think it was the best preparation or training I attending before leaving the country. There wasn't a week that went by when I was in Tanzania where I didn't reflect on something I learned at MTI in those 5 weeks.

Which is why I am so excited to be a participant in the DAR program for the next 5 days. I figure if they can do such an awesome job preparing me for Tanzania, they must do an awesome job assisting me in the great transition back to the USA.

I return via flights 28 and 29 on Friday. And I am thrilled to say that flight 30 has not yet been booked and may not be necessary!!!

Again. Pray. It is sure to be an awesome week, challenging but awesome.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Million Dollar Question...

Has been answered.

And I am stoked. Do people still say that word? I am thrilled about where I am heading to next and about the opportunities placed before me. And yet again I am awed by a God who before I can start making a plan already has a plan in place, and I am amazed by His ability to knock my socks off and wow me.

I know, I know, I shouldn't be "awed, amazed, or shocked" because He is after all God and has proven Himself to be faithful over and over and over again in my life, but I am a slow learner.

Again, I am excited. Thanks for praying, I am not sure if where I am going is public news yet, but you will be sure that more will come. In the meantime, rejoice with me and a few other people who do know the answer to the million dollar question!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unexpected Blessings


I received an unexpected blessing in the mail yesterday. I always liked getting mail, handwritten notes, cards, anything addressed to me personally is awesome...but a book! Yikes!

Some of my favorites...

Words read this week:

"A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as our holy way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life." Henri Nouwen

"As a community of faith we remind one another constantly that we form a fellowship of the weak, transparent to him who speaks to us in the lonely places of our existence and says: Do not be afraid, you are accepted." Henri Nouwen

"Those who really can receive bread from a stranger and smile in gratitude, can feed many without even realizing it. Those who can sit in silence with their fellow man, not knowing what to say, but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief, and to let a sigh of distress arise straigth from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken." Again...Henri Nouwen

"The mother of expectation in patience." Henri Nouwen (I told you it was a really good book!)

"when we cease interfering in the world we are acknowledging that it is God's world." Moishe Konigsberg taken from Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner

"Lord send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the tie that binds me t your service and to your heart." David Livingstone

"Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible." Marcus Aurelius

"But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day of Rest #2

Day 2 started out just like day 1. This tea is good. Will be on the permanent grocery list.


Then some more of this :


Which led to more of this:

And yes this too:


And then I opened this. Which rocked my world and prompted me to make a few phone calls so I could say, "wow" out loud a few times, and then I emailed a few friends too. It stopped me in my tracks. I might read it again tomorrow.


I put off reading this, because it kept me up too late last night, but did read a few chapters until mom called and invited me to lunch.


And man was lunch good! I recommend the Thai Curry bowl. It's sensational. I convinced mom to stop at Half Price Books on the way home to see if the book I read this morning was on the shelf. It wasn't. Bummer. On the way home we talked about why I take these days of rest or of nothing. I wish she could somehow take them too.

Then home and I opened this, but after a few pages, realized I was a bit tired of reading. I set it aside for tomorrow.


So I watched some of this. Which I must say is a little addicting. I now hope to be caught up on season 3 before the end of season 4, which might be impossible, but we shall see. Don't worry, I have my limits on how many episodes can be watched in a day.

All in all an awesome day. It amazes me how much life is different when I take a day out for myself, and I am reminded how important it is for me in my future to set aside the list of tasks that "Must get done." If I was better at taking a day a week, I probably wouldn't need to take multiple days like I did this week.

And while I am at it. You might have noticed I didn't put the picture of the running shoes up today, but that is because the running shoes are in the same place they were yesterday afternoon. I failed to get that done today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I should work on one rhythm at a time....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day of Rest...in pictures

It started with a new tea flavor, that apparently came out in the last two years while I was in Tanzania, and can I say it is GOOOOOD! Smells like blueberry muffins. I am hooked.


Then I started the plan of curling up with a book and a blanket and started with this one by Thelma Hall:

Which led to some much needed journaling. A little fact about me is that I try to be a journal-er, however the blog has often replaced my time of putting pen to paper, but not today, and the blog can't ever take the place of my love of pretty bound books with nothing yet written in them...

And then more reading. What an awesome thing it is to be reminded of why I live by C.J. Mahaney:
And continued reading Mudhouse sabbath. I actually started this one while on my flight to North Carolina this past weekend, and I am hooked. Finding a chapter a day is enough to keep me thinking of how I prioritize my life.

And of course, a sabbath wouldn't be complete without some of the Word. 1 John 4:7-11 was where I hung out today. It challenged me to love others more like God does instead of how I think they might want to be loved.
Which led to more of this:


And the sun was out, and I got ambitious and decided to go for that fateful run I have been putting off. My first run in two years. I knew it would be a challenge, but the burning in my throat and lungs came way sooner than I thought it should have. It felt good but terrible at the same time. I then read Jonathan Bow's blog about rhythm and was encouraged. I just need to get back in the rhythm of running. Today was a good start.


My plans for tonight are to start this book, recommended by Adrianne, with a warning that I won't be able to put it down. It might be a late night, but that's ok, because tomorrow is Day of Rest #2. It doesn't really matter what time it starts!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clarification...

My previous blog post caused some confusion.

The two new views...the Statue of Liberty, I had never seen it before today, and although today I just saw it from the air, as my flight landed it was pretty cool to see. Today was my first time ever to be in NY, although I never left the airport. I might like to go back one day, even though my first experience was a little rough.

The second new view was the cancelled flight. It is often many of our worst fears, walking up to the display and seeing "delayed" or "cancelled." on the screen...and today I saw those words boldly written in red and yes I cried.

I cried because I was exhausted, and because the lady at the counter was quite rude, and because I was exhausted, and because this afternoon I was to go to a cabin all by myself and get away from it all. I was going to sleep, read, journal, pray, and really just try to put my mind around the fact that 8 weeks ago I thought I would still be in Africa at this time and now, now I am here, and wow that is a big leap for the brain and even bigger for the heart. Having gone non-stop since I landed has prevented me from processing it all, and it is catching up with me. I was thrilled and holding on until today to get away.

But I didn't get to get away. I did manage to get to Indianapolis, and am over the fact that this week I won't be retreating in a cabin, but I've realized that just because I don't have a cabin in the woods doesn't mean I can't still retreat, so I have big plans for tomorrow and the next day. They involve books, journals, fires in the fireplace, tea and pajamas. I will of course let you know how it goes!

New Views

I saw two new views today. One brought tears to my eyes.






















I think the plans for my week just drastically changed...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Going going going...

I was much better at blogging when I lived in Tanzania. Partly I think that is due to the fact that there were so many exciting things to write about on a daily basis. Add to that the fact that at night I didn't have TV and was home almost every night from dinner on and you get a blogger with loads of time to share her thoughts with the world...

And I find that I am not only lacking the time to put my thoughts on this blog, but I am also lacking the words. I am lacking the energy and I am lacking ability.

Saturday I boarded flights 22 and 23 and headed down to North Carolina for an amazing weekend. It has been awesome to sit down with the leaders of Crosspointe Church and dream with them, and also just to laugh and enjoy who God is and what He is doing at Crosspointe Church. To say it has been fun and exciting is an understatement.

Tomorrow I will board planes 24 an 25 and head back to Indianapolis, will there will be a short blogging break as I enter into rest! No joke. I am in awe of what lies before me the next few days. I land in Indy at 1:15 and after a quick re-pack and grocery trip a friend of mine is going to drop me off at a ranch where this couple has built a retreat center purely for the sake of those in ministry getting rest. So from Tuesday afternoon until Friday afternoon/evening I will be at a cabin, stranded (with the owners nearby of course). No tv. No internet. Nobody asking about ministry. No need to "tell the stories." No one asking me "what's next?" No one. In fact if I want to, I can become a hermit and not come out of the cabin the entire three days...or I can take advantage of the lake, the acres of land for walking, the horses etc....all this of course will depend on just how much snow is on the ground. I am of course tempted to only pack pajamas...you all know how I feel about pajamas. And yes I have a bag of books and journals too.

So as I break, do this for me: pray for me. Yes 3 days of silence is wonderful, but I also know that 3 days of silence means that for those 3 days the noise that has distracted me from the emotions of returning to the USA and as well as the noise the has kept me from recognizing the grief in my heart after leaving this place I have loved will no longer will be there. Pray as I start to peel away the layers, and start the mental and emotional adjustment process.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Over and over

This is funny. Really Funny. I can't stop laughing it is so funny.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I am not a plane evangelist.

I have friends of mine who take every opportunity possible to share the Gospel with someone. They often talk about conversations they had with people on planes, and how awesome it was.

I am not one of these people. I treasure my flights like one would treasure the day where no one was in the office but you... I plug in the headphones...and get to work... because lets face it, I don't have an office, and lately the only time I can block out the world and get organized and respond to people is when I am on a plane.

For example...the bottom left hand corner of my inbox looked like this when I got on the plane:And when I heard the flight attendant interrupt to say we were making our final approach:


And, on top of that, I got my financial report done, which of course is a good thing as I am due to be reimbursed for some plane tickets and travel expenses.

Today was a productive day in the office. And I did take a tea break and talk to the little old lady sitting next me, so I wasn't in complete isolation.

Inappropriate...but oh so funny!


Part of me resists posting this for so many reasons, partly for fear of being judged, but I just can't help it, I cracked up (however not in the ways implied by this picture.) I couldn't hide this away and not share it with you.

UP UP and AWAY!

Moving on into the twenties today as I board flights 20 and 21 since December. It is sad to leave the friends here in Oregon, but I must admit, I am looking forward to landing in Indy late tonight.

Thanks Oregon for a great time! Will post some pictures of our crazy adventures later in the week!

Monday, March 03, 2008

lying

I am in a local coffee shop in Newberg, it is apparently a favorite of the George Fox students, because it is packed...but that isn't the point of this post.

I try not to eavesdrop. Really I do. But the girl was at the table next to me and I couldn't help but overhear her.

The girls were talking about an appointment they had coming up, that they didn't want to go to.

The out comes the cell phone.

And the conversation:

"Hi (person who shall remain nameless), I am really sorry, but my class is going over and I just won't be able to make it. "

When did they start holding 2 student classes in the coffee shop?

What would the church look like...?

I have been pondering an idea for several months, and shared it with the guys in NC and well, I just can't seem to get the idea, or the question really, out of my mind.



What if, what if, we took the "I" out of church and made it less about "me" and more about "we?"



What if instead of approaching church for what I want to get out of it, I approached it with an attitude of what I could give to it?



What if instead of hoping they would help me walk my personal walk with Jesus we journeyed together, in community, together, in unity, removing the "me" focus and made it about "we?"



hmmm. I think I would like that. Cause really, the Gospel isn't about me. Its about Jesus, loving everyone, and I get to receive that love, but I wasn't given that love just for me to feel warm and fuzzy...I want to live in a world of "we."



We go.

We live.

We journey.

We share.

We rejoice.

We hurt.

We love.

We forgive.

We trust.

We push.

We commit.

We learn.

We cry.

We laugh.

We explore.

We....do it all...together...not in some weird cult like group, but in an amazing group of people living life together and letting the world join in. The whole world, not just my world.



We.

Let the river flow..

So tonight was my last "speaking" event at Newberg Christian Church. It was to coincide with the end of their Faith Promise Rally and also with the Joani Tabor concert they were having.

So after the first song David gets up and announces the pledge amount for the year that was calculated so far...an awesome amount...and then the video starts...and then I start...

CRYING!

Yep. Like always, it snuck up on me. I am watching this video, that I have seen before and listening to the words and seeing the familiar faces and background and I just can't keep it in. I cried. And cried. And then the DVD finishes and David turns around and motions its my turn...(in his defense he didn't know I was crying, I cry quietly.) So I stand up, and well, any words I had prepared are pointless and I really can't even mutter a word, I just stood there, wiped the tears and looked into the crowd and well...continued crying. Thankfully people picked up on the fact that I wasn't going to be able to talk anytime soon and we just transitioned into prayer, which was great, cause I needed it...and I continued to cry, and a sweet lady handed me a packet of tissues...and I continued to cry.

And prayer time ends. And I kept crying. Tears kept flowing and the nose that was so congested last week started running and kept running and I found myself in the back sitting with Linda Tompkins listening to the concert...and yep you guessed it...kept crying.

She lovingly asked if I needed to talk, and talk I could not do, so she lovingly sat there and let me cry. I found myself grateful for the mom-like person next to me, and the dark room, and the music, and the family of friends around me, who were of course concerned, but really didn't know what to do with this crazy missionary girl who is usually upbeat and just can't seem to stop crying. But they knew. My heart was breaking.

Moments like this haven't happened too often since I returned home, but then again there hasn't been time for them. There hasn't been much of a moment for me to dwell on the last two months let alone the last two years, and I have to say, 2 weeks just wasn't enough time to say goodbye to Tanzania.

So afterwards I processed over a grilled cheese sandwich with David and his wife Julie. Cautiously I was asked if I was ok, and if I needed anything and how I was doing...

And this is what I can say about the tears that flowed tonight...

I just had the most amazing 2 years of my life. Watching that video reminded me of so many people I love and so many people who have loved me and we lived life together, we journeyed together and it was so hard but it was so amazing and man, part of me would like to be there right now even though I know God wants me here, just for the mere fact that I know how to live life there, and well I still haven't figured out how to live life here yet.

Watching that video sparked in me reminders of how great God is and my heart wept tonight. Yes there were tears of grief from the pain over the last couple of years, but there were tears of abundant joy as well because it is truly awesome to think back and reflect on all that God has done. There were tears of excitement because I know God is not done working there, and there were tears of sadness because I know I won't play the role I had been playing.

There were tears. Many of them. Although I will say I didn't really like the timing of them, I know they were good, and that God used them well, and used the people surrounding me well too. I also know there will be more...I just don't know when.