I feel it necessary to mention that I just noticed that the flght from JFK to Dubai is 12 hours and 45 minutes. Yep. Read it again. Holy Smokes! Thankfully they offer gluten free meals to passengers who reserve them ahead of time, and thankfully the travel agent thought of that.
12 hours and 45 minutes. That is a LOT of time to catch up on sleep, organize the ol' inbox, and catch up with myself....and a few in flight movies too.
On the way home, we get an extra hour of traveling time! I might be so excited about it then.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and it shows no signs of stopping.
I thought my travels were to begin tomorrow, but, in typical Pam fashion, they started...yesterday.
July 29 make 5 hour trip to DC.
July 30 obtain Kenyan Visa and make 6 hour trip from DC with visa and an unwelcome migraine. How I made it home, I don't really know. What I do know is that I have an awesome Family Practice Doc who talked me through my trip home and waited for me to arrive at his office at the end of the day so he could set me up in case another one hits while I travel. This was migraine 4 in 12 days. 5th in a month. Not sure why the sudden onset. Up until then it had been 5 years....anyhow I digress...back to the journey...
July 1: Depart Raleigh
July 2: Arrive in Kenya
July 3: Depart Kenya for Tanzania
July 3-7: Visit friends in Tanzania
July 7: Depart Tanzania, return to Kenya
July 8: Depart Nairobi for trip to the bush.
July 11: Return to Nairobi.
July 12: Depart Nairobi, Kenya.
July 13: Arrive back in Raleigh.
This trip is a big deal. I am realizing how pivotal it is for our Church, and for me personally. It isn't just a physical journey but also a journey of the heart and spirit. Not sure if blogging will be possible, but I will definitely share when I am able.
I should mention the little detail that before this trip was planned, I had planned to move to a smaller, cheaper apartment. The move date is July 18. All help is appreciated. Email me to volunteer or leave a comment.
And then I should mention that my travels don't end there. Before Kenya was planned I had planned a mini vacay to visit my nephew for his first birthday (it was actually my birthday present from my brother, but who's keeping track?) So July 22-26 I will travel to FL, to visit the fam.
July will be a blur. Wonder what August has in store?
Sunday morning before we headed back to Raleigh we decided to take a short hike to see the wild ponies. While on the Appalachian trail we ran into a few people, one of which will forever be a part of my memory...she calls herself...Fancy-pants.
While we were watching the wild ponies Fancy-pants came upon us. She was carrying her pack with all of her supplies, her bedroll, clothes food etc. She was getting an early start to the day, and had completed 2 miles already.
I was amazed as I listened to her talk about her adventure. She mentioned she "only had 8 more miles to go today," that "she started a short while back in Georgia," that she enjoyed hiking this trail on her own as it gave her a lot of time to think," that she "had to take a day off from hiking to recover, but other than that she has hiked every single day since she started," that she "meets a lot of interesting people," and "that she has plans to hike the Appalachian trail up to Pennsylvania."
Georgia to Pennsylvania people.
As if that wasn't amazing enough. Miss Fancy-pants finally shared with us her age. Miss Hike-by-myself from Georgia to Pennsylvania just because it sounds fun, I can, and I will meet interesting people is...drumroll please....65 years old.
Thanks Miss Fancy-pants for giving me a good reason to work out every day even though I hate every last minute of it.
This weekend I took some time out, as mentioned in my last post I am learning that I need to take time to feed and nourish my own soul. And man did I feast this weekend.
One of the many things that refuels my soul is to be outdoors, and to be outdoors in a place where there isn't cellular reception is almost magical. After a four hour drive, setting up camp at midnight, a short nights sleep and a quick breakfast, the real fun began.
A 13-15 mile hike (there is still debate about how far it really was) through wilderness is always incredible. There is something breathtaking about being on top of the mountain and looking across valleys, something spectacular about climbing a rock and peeking over the side, and something inspiring about a small plant growing out of the side of said rock. Beauty, in the harshest conditions is something that we should always take note of.
Take all of those experiences that throw them right smack in the middle of a sea of wild rhododendrons and you will likely be made speechless. I marveled as I walked through this indescribable sea of pink flowers that often times soared above my head.
Yep. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
It was an awesome weekend. I repeatedly found myself amazed by God and many times found myself reflecting on the beauty He has placed in my life, both in harsh conditions like the plant on the rock, and in more fertile places like the valley's between the mountains. I truly am on an incredible journey in this life, one that I sometimes miss out on because I don't stop and refuel.
It was definitely a "fill me up" kind of weekend. It took some work to make it happen, but the depths to which my soul was refreshed reminded me of how necessary it is to make things like this happen. I arrived back in Cary yesterday ready to pour into others again, excited to show up to Crosspointe, and eager about what kinds of mountains I will get to climb with others this week. I really need to do this more often.
Full: containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space. Having eaten or drunk to one's limits or satisfaction.
I have been quiet, I admit it, but I have another confession:
I have been starving. I somehow got myself into this really poor rhythm of life where I was regularly pouring into others while somehow forgetting to pour into myself. It has been one full year. An awesome one, yet a cram packed full one. I have loved my experiences and have grown in ways I never thought imaginable. In April I celebrated 1 year at Crosspointe Church, in a week I will celebrate having lived at the same address for 12 months straight (A record since 2005) I have enjoyed being an aunt, and have cherished time with family. I have fallen in love with another country when I didn't think my heart would ever have room to share. Who would have known that I could fit a love for both Haiti and Africa within this soul of mine. And while we are at it, when I am in both places I continue to grow in admiration and fondness of the USA, and my heart for the poor here is fueled...
Yet I so often forget to nourish that heart. It is energized, excited, sees needs and tries to meet them, and fails to meet its own. I noticed this a few weeks ago when I sat on my bed nearly in tears because I was so tired yet couldn't fall asleep. I had been through a very difficult few weeks and for the first time ever in my life I said the words, "I just don't think I can handle another person in need, there is just too much, too much need in my world these days..."
But there isn't. There was just nothing left in me to address another crisis. And it was then that I realized that I had gotten myself into this crazy rhythm and that over the last several months I had slowly forgotten about my need to refuel and refresh. When I don't refuel and refresh my ability to think through ideas is hindered, sometimes greatly. If I can't think things through my ability to process what I have seen and heard is greatly impacted, and when I can't process...well writing just doesn't happen, let alone ministry. Yeah, I get by, but getting by is not usually my first choice for how things should be done.
Thankfully things don't have to stay this way. I have learned this lesson (and I admit will probably have to learn it again) and have started to carve out time in my weeks, months and year to pour into me, to do the things that fuel my heart, to take time out, to hear God and to just chill and relax. I did so this weekend...and as you can tell by the fact that I am actually writing...it worked wonders. After this weekend I am quite full. At one point I literally thought to myself, "I just can't take anymore, my heart is overflowing and overwhelmed with joy."