Monday, December 21, 2015
Some things need to be a big deal: births, weddings, graduations, promotions, funerals. And some things don't: like 95% of what is posted on Facebook.
For me: it's a big deal how awesome, amazing and supportive all my friends, family and co-workers have been as I take off for a year! I can't believe how blessed I am by having you all in my life!
For example, one friend helped me rent my house out, another gave me a place to stay the few months before I leave (free of charge). My mom took one of my dogs, my sister the other. My other sister took all of my house plants and a friend is taking care of my car. Friends and family helped me move out of my house and into storage. People from church came and took away all my give aways. My bro-in-law took on the job of being the property manager of my house while I'm gone. Co-workers collected a sizable donation to the mission where I'll be working, gave me a monetary gift, and a beautiful cake (pictured above). My bosses at this point have offered me a job when I return and kept me on the books per diem. I've been treated out to breakfast, lunch or dinner almost every day this month, seeing people "for the last time" this year. I'm overwhelmed! And very grateful!!
God is so good! He has brought so many beautiful, wonderful people into my life. Who would have thought when we moved to Connecticut (almost twenty years ago now!) that this would be home? After living in five other states...how glad I am that I settled here! And how glad I am to have a home to come back to. This coming year is going to fly by... I know we'll all change while I'm away but I also know that these God-given friendships will be here when I return.
Thank you everyone for the support and love! One more week before I leave for Mexico and then...Guatemala!
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
So little time to do it...Christmas is a crazy time of the year without moving to Guatemala!
Oh well, one day at a time. And so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who want to support me in this endeavor! Christmas parties, breakfast/lunch/dinner get-togethers, doctor's appointments, shopping, packing, and of course traveling (doesn't everyone plan a trip to Mexico for a small vacation right before taking off for a year without an income?).
I'm a bit crazy.
Okay, maybe not just a bit...thought I'd get started with actual packing today. Instead I picked up my Typhoid vaccine, met friends for Mass and lunch and then stopped by the salon and got a haircut before returning home to watch part of White Christmas with the kids. Now I'm blogging. I'm sure everything will fall together. And if that happens the night before I fly out...so be it.
Ran my last race this past weekend with my bff and BIL...our last race until I return! It was a fairly flat half marathon with lots of water stops, warm weather and a slow pace (yah, my slowest half EVER...sorry about that bff...) but we ran it! And it was fun! Afterwards was the Christmas Tea we've had every year since I was in high school...another great time! And then Mass. And a chance to rest, and think, and breathe.
I have a feeling that after this mad rush to get EVERYTHING in order, celebrated, done, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...I'm going to arrive in Guatemala and be quite underwhelmed by what I'm required to do. And at this exact moment: that sounds pretty good to me. :o)
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
So in an effort to save money this year and prepare for a year without income...I booked a trip to five european countries to see their Christmas Markets the month before I leave for Guatemala...wisely? No...but oh so beautiful!! This was a once in a lifetime trip and definitely worth every penny (gracias, groupon, for making it possible and affordable)!
Prague, Czech Republic
I have no excuse...but this was one of the most beautiful trips I have taken. The architecture, the history, the beauty of these cities...I feel as if I've only just begun to taste them and POOF my trip has ended. Already I have a list of places to return to...yes, I believe, once again, I am in love. Why am I so blessed?? (Don't answer that, please...)
The days are winding down! Only a few more weeks before I go to, ahem, Mexico, before moving to Guatemala...AACKK!! and YAYAYAY! Ayayaya...here we go!!
“Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Ruth 1:16
Monday, November 23, 2015
Received my third summons in five years today. One of the perks of the job? Being called into court isn't my favorite part...more like sacrifice methinks. Oh well, glad I'm not being sued! Though that is always a possibility...the thought makes me smile...I guess my response would be: let's see, I resigned from my job, took a position where I make fifty dollars a month, and my only income pays my debt (mortgage)...I don't think it is worth it. But whatever makes you happy. :o)
And now to be a little more serious...SO SAD for Paris and all those suffering at the hands of IS. I wish I had something savvy and wise to say. Honestly, I don't have much to say...except God wins, in the end. Waiting and trusting....for someday to come.
I spent the past weekend in my old hometown...where I grew up almost twenty years ago. It was a reunion trip, brought on by my Godmother's invitation last Christmas. I had a lovely time reminiscing, re-visiting and remembering wonderful experiences from my childhood with those I knew and continue to love. God is a such a God of surprises....he has fingerprinted my life with his goodness. I hope I can remember this when the splinters come!
I HAVE SO LITTLE TIME before I leave for Guatemala!!! And between Thanksgiving and Christmas and a trip to Europe and then Mexico...well actually I have NO TIME. Ayayay! One foot in front of the other...
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
In preparation for Guatemala I have been given a laundry list of things to do by the mission group. Some things, like health insurance and vaccination updates, were a given. One thing I didn't expect was this Intercultural Effectiveness Scale report.
When I first logged into the required module, I felt like I was in college again: just trying to get through all the required coursework with enough understanding to get a passing grade. Half way through the program (it took several hours to complete) I realized I was getting a lot more from the presentation than I thought I would. It also helped me to know what the organization's expectations are for me.
Not to go into too much detail, but they highlighted the importance of approaching this mission as a partnership and not a charity. Too many people go into a poorer environment with the idea that they have the answer and can fix everything, everything being what they perceive as the problem. The module makes it clear that while we may have things to offer, this is only helpful if it meets the needs within the culture. Without an understanding of those we are going to serve, we can't best know their needs or help them in a way that is effective and long-lasting. On the flip side, these same people we serve also give to us. It's a mutual sharing.
After the module I figured I had taken from the program what I needed and was done. A week later a test was emailed to me and I spent another half hour or so filling out questions that felt more like a psychology professor's thesis research project than anything else. I rushed through it, reading the questions but not wanting to spend much time or energy on it. Within a day, results were emailed to me and I glanced through a 24 page packet with a lot of verbiage and not much meaning. Putting it aside, I didn't look at it again until last night when I listened in on a group discussion with other missionaries also scheduled to start in January.
Surprisingly, I scored high in all areas: those related to my ability to continuously learn about myself and others; those related to my ability to roll with the punches, accept change and overcome hardship...I even scored high in "Global Mindset" meaning I am open and interested in how others live in their cultures.
The only area I scored low in (and I mean pretty low: 2/6) was Relationship Interest. This area is tied into not only seeking but also maintaining friendships. It focuses on learning a new language in order to connect with new cultures.
Honestly, at first I was surprised because I am excited to make new friends and I have lots of friends (praise God!)...but I think my low score comes more from my lacsidaisical attitude toward maintaining friendships and also my very real fear that I won't be able to speak Spanish.
The report told me my tendencies typically are:
1. To spend time learning about other countries.
2. To develop relationships out of necessity beyond those offered by chance, and to maintain a core set of close friends.
3. To often think about going to places outside their own country.
Instead, someone who has a high relationship interest's goal should be:
1. To want to travel and meet local people when in foreign places.
2. To make an effort to learn a foreign language.
3. To be influenced by people more than things.
Guess I'll have to work on the shyness factor this year. And the whole fear of rejection thing that goes hand in hand with that. I know these are overcome-able and that I have overcome them on occasion in the past. Just the beginning of some self-growth I guess. Not that this trip is in anyway meant for that purpose but I doubt God would allow me such an amazing life-experience without a little bit, right? Only two months left to go!
Friday, November 6, 2015
Yes I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet...but I just finished making a bunch of Christmas presents and I So WANT TO TALK ABOUT THEM!!! But this isn't a private blog any more...and heaven forbid one person read this and find out what I'm making for them so BLAH I won't say a word. But let it be known: I am VERY excited about these unsayable things!!
Survived three night shifts, in a row, twelve hour night shifts...the kind that last twelve hours but feel like thirty. And I'm signed up up for three more next week. I have no idea how regular people do this on a regular basis!
I have my plane ticket for Guatemala. And today I registered for a Spanish language school near the mission site. I'm going to attend a week of classes before starting a two week orientation. Exciting, but what the heck?! I don't speak Spanish!
Fell hiking and then fell again running this past week. Bruises everywhere.
There are falling leaves are everywhere! And they are slippery.
Last week I when I was in Mondadnock everything was brown and burnt looking...like all the leaves were dead but just hadn't fallen off the trees yet. Today as I was driving I noticed how bare the trees by the highway looked...once again: winter is upon us. Seasons fly by, especially as I age. I wonder what season of life I'm in right now? If this is summer...I kinda don't want it to end...but I also know that fall is beautiful and so is winter...albeit painful and cold...but really the snow is lovely (trying to convince myself).
Feeling awkward. Seriously kinda hoping no one really reads this. Until I get to Guatemala...of course...okay. Coming off zombie nigh shift brain. Maybe my next blog will be a bit more connected and sensible. Or funny? Funny would be good.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
WOW! This has never happened! Going public...hope this isn't a really bad idea! Welcome anyone who finds their way here from Facebook and might actually KNOW me! Going to try to keep this blog running while I'm in Guatemala...God Willing and I have something to actually say! It was much easier when this was an anonymous blog and I have to admit I'm WICKED NERVOUS to lose my privacy...but I want to share this coming year and so I think it's time to MAKE THIS PUBLIC.
Please pray for me as I prepare for these 12 months of service! I'm scared and excited and freaking out and happy and hopeful and blessed. God is so good...all the time!
And I will pray for you.
Ronan entered the world today. It was a great day to be born! Basically because waiting any more would have been extremely difficult to endure seeing as my sister went into labor almost 24 hours prior.
He is so perfect and beautiful and a baby. And perfect. And beautiful. And did I mention a baby? Soft, new, precious...
On the flip side close friends of ours lost a baby...not in a typical way...but real and devastating just the same. They had been chosen as the adoptive parents of a little girl and at the last moment (literally, mom gave birth that night) the birth mom called and reneged on the entire agreement. A sad but beautiful explanation is here. As my friend says so wisely, "The Lord hath giveth and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
My goddaughter is standing beside me looking at this screen, holding her sippy cup and smiling. God is so good to me.
The birth was LONG...my sister went in yesterday morning at seven am and Ronan didn't make an appearance until 11:15 this morning! Who knew the ninth child would make such a prolonged entrance? Whoever said they come faster with each pregnancy did NOT know my sister.
I'm already in love with this little guy. And I'm remembering the birth of the first, the second, the third...something from each one's entrance into the world. It's amazing how special the birth of a child is...and so much more when he or she is wanted. A co-worker made a joke about my sister having so many she should give this one away. But you can't do that. Not with kids. Maybe with puppies...but as my sister said, she'd never have worked this hard to have a puppy.
Loving life. Loving God. :o)
Thursday, October 22, 2015
I ran my second marathon this past weekend! In Acadia National Park....so amazingly beautiful!! And I was blessed to be with friends and have time before and after the race to just enjoy life. Nothing good in life is really free. Friends, family, love...all the really good stuff...comes with investment...of self, time, even money sometimes.
I'm saddened by my lack of ability to learn Spanish...it just doesn't seem like enough! My biggest hurdle so I will have to trust most fervently that God will get me through this!
Friends are adopting a new baby this coming month! It's so exciting...we have a fund raising party coming up. Spoke with a friend today about how maturity is such a blessing. As a teenager I saw myself living the rest of my life one, perfect way. My life has turned out nothing like I supposed! And yet God is so good to me and fills my life with joy. He knows what He is about.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Or however you spell it...:o) Joy of living...that's what I'm experiencing right now! I came home from Yosemite and the next morning ran 20 miles. Then worked night shift. Then worked again day shift and then I was off to cheer my sister on for her VERY FIRST MARATHON. I woke up and arrived before sunrise. Together we waited near the start line for her race to begin. Then I climbed on my bike and headed over to mile 8 where I waited for her to come around the bend. After collecting a group of people around me, some who came over just to see my signs ("I've heard so many people commenting about these signs, I had to come over to see what they say.") eventually my super amazing little sister came into sight!
Quickly my signs flipped over and the funny sayings turned into cheers for this gal as she came down the street. After she passed I headed back to my car and drove home, quick to shower and head into work for 11. She finished with flying colors as a close friend of hers met her at the finish line. I'm SO PROUD of my baby sister!!! Running 26.2 miles is nothing to write off! It's a pretty amazing accomplishment! And ugh I'm supposed to run my marathon next weekend. Hehe. Yikes!
Researched my European Christmas Markets trip today while patients trickled in. I'm not sure why but for whatever reason I am going to Austria, Germany, Prague and Budapest the week after Thanksgiving. God knows exactly why. I'm in the dark....
And that brings me to the title of my post. Not sure how you spell it, but the JOY OF LIVING is a constant right now! I love the color of the trees, the feeling of running, meeting and caring for patients, playing and laughing with my nieces and nephews and even studying Spanish. I'm not sure if this is the result of doing God's Will or just a byplay of the excitement I have about this coming year but I love how every moment brings beauty and at this exact moment (yes, run-on sentence) I am appreciative and aware. God is good. All the time!!
Thursday, October 8, 2015
So I oscillate from AACKKKK I'm going to Guatemala to YAYAYAYAY I'm going to Guatemala! So far yay seems to be winning but every once in a while ack wins. Just back from Yosemite where I HIKED TO THE TOP OF HALF DOME (DING DING DING!!!!) and then Napa where I rode in a hot air balloon. Because my life isn't awesome enough...God just keeps dropping more and more into my lap! It's okay. I know the suffering is coming. It's been here before. :o)
I started cultural sensitivity training yesterday. I also ran twenty miles. Marathon in, ummm, let's see...TEN DAYS! I learned a lot from the modules (signed up by the mission group) and also the packet. I also realized how much I need to focus on learning SPANISH. Honestly the inability to speak the language well is my biggest fear. That and my need to PRAY more. Time to get back to basics.
The trip was beautiful. Had an amazing time with a good friend, my aunt and another friend that I see on rare occasions but we have been BFFs since we were five. God is good!
I got the low-down on making this blog official. I can include pictures of the kids but not names. I can talk about the mission but not in a negative light (duh!). And I can continue to blog my experiences while in Guatemala. Not ready to send this out to my friends and family but I will...soon...promise. Guess I'll even put my picture in the profile spot. Maybe. :o)
Monday, September 21, 2015
I kinda feel like I'm on a slow moving boat right now, taking in the scenery along the way. Picture a Mark Twain on the Mississippi river kinda moving... Slow but peaceful. However, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be making a drastic 180 in a very short period of time...
Because it's official! I'm heading to Guatemala for 2016! I'm so excited and happy! I accepted on Friday. I love how everything is really falling into place. God is so good.
Heading to California on Saturday. My year of not traveling is kinda non-existent but trusting God to make ends meet... And so grateful for all these opportunities! On to Yosemite and Napa!
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
So my computer appears to still be fighting a virus...but at least I can open a webpage without spawning some crazy monster site! Argh...hope this isn't destroying the world in some way...I am so not computer savvy.
Anyways...update! I rented my house...Divine Providence really. I listed with the military and heard absolutely NOTHING for several months. Then I went on the market with MLS and a real estate agent and presto: Navy Family that qualifies for the RPP program I was trying to utilize in the first place! God is good. And also works in mysterious, round-about ways. But it's Him...so all good!
I have no idea where I'll be next year. Mission group I applied to was supposed to tell me last week but they haven't officially placed me anywhere so I might NOT be going to Honduras or wherever. I am one hundred percent certain that God has me placed somewhere so as of this exact moment...not worried. God has a plan. If He wants to clue me in or not...I'm good with it!
Spent the afternoon at the beach with my sister and Godson... Scorcher of a day! Then came home to trim my pup's hair and inadvertently trimmed his scalp. With a gaping hole in his head I drove over to my friend, who happens to be a vet, and she trimmed and glued him back together. SO RELIEVED. Because seriously, WHO DOES THAT? Puts a hole in their dog's head?? Me, apparently! And here is proof, once again, that God can work miracles: because He's sending me somewhere next year to work for Him! But hopefully not with scissors.
Monday, August 31, 2015
And sooooo.....I'm back! After I don't know how many weeks of no laptop secondary to a virus and no time to try to figure out how to remove it! I'm not even sure if I have removed it...oh dear...any way...going to update very soon about all the beautiful things God has done these past few weeks! Promise!
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Just finished a beautiful week with some pretty awesome friends visiting from out of state. I took them EVERYWHERE I could think of that was beautiful or fun or holy. My first real stay-cation! They left yesterday just in time for my sister to bring her two little ones and spend the night in my guest room. I was exhausted and by nine we were all hitting the hay.
As I lay in bed I heard my sister start her shower and then two crying little girls lifted their voices in a collective wail. I headed upstairs to find them feeling forgotten and abandoned. While their mom washed I told them stories about her, their aunts and their grandparents. I loved the rapt attention they gave me as I told them how their mommy was a great gymnast, their auntie rode horses while another auntie was a soccer star. I told them how fast their uncle was when he ran and how grandma and grandpa loved to go sailing.
Where does the time go?? It seems like yesterday they were all doing those things...not adults with separate lives and jobs!
Feeling a stronger and stronger impulse to sell my house...if it's possible...but I love it here. I don't know what to do. Trusting God. My girlfriends that just visited are so good at trusting God! I guess God brought them just at the right time to inspire me to not give up or maybe to let go because the anxiety of this mission is starting to get to me! I have to turn in my resignation at work at the end of this month if I plan to leave! And I do!
My last patient of the night crumped right before I was checking out to head home. I had the advanced directives (DNR) talk with the family. Hate that. And cancer. Always hate cancer.
Marathon training is weak right now! I only ran twice in the past 6 days! Heading out to run 8 tomorrow. Gotta buckle down: 26.2 miles is no joke!
Closing with mention of a class I randomly signed up for (thank you dear friend who invited me...you must know by now I have trouble saying no to anything remotely interesting!) on Dante's Paradise. I haven't read it and now I am. It's complex...to say the least. Hope I'm not too stupid...would love to get something from this! Just reading the canto is lifting my spirit...but not sure I'm really understanding anything!! :o)
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
My cousin is texting me...she's been texting all day...baby coming! It's so weird to be a woman who has never been pregnant receiving texts from someone who is; and then giving advice to her...God is funny in that he has given me medical knowledge about experiential things I have no experiential knowledge about!
My boss erupted and blew up at me today. It was strange. All my co-workers thought it strange. I almost cried.
My best friend's dad was found dead this morning in his bed. She's beside herself. Killed a rosebush to show God how angry she was. Not the best way to deal with it...but an honest way. She wanted to kill something He created to show how angry she was that He allowed something He created to die. Honest and maybe a good way in the sense that it shows she really does believe in Him.
A coworker I diagnosed with cancer 5 weeks ago passed away this week. Saw her obit in our work newsletter. Hurts.
Just worked 5 days in a row to cover a co-worker. Stressed. But good.
I told my boss to fire me. I need Honduras. I need to reorient to God. I need to prioritize and find peace. Did I mention I had my interview? With the mission I hope to join. Waiting to find out who wants me in August. And if I can rent to the Navy. I'm broke. But God has a plan. Trusting...
I know the gay marriage thing is a big deal in the media and blogs right now. But honestly, I don't care. In the sense that I can't touch or affect that. What is right is right. What's wrong is wrong. God is Lord. His Will be done.
Monday, June 22, 2015
After running two races with the word “hill” in them several years ago, I made the wise decision to never run another race with the word “hill.” Unfortunately this past week I participated in a triathlon without the word “hill” and found that every street we biked or road was either steeply upwards or downwards with changing elevations that rivaled the Appalachian Trail (maybe a slight exaggeration). Couple that with POURING DOWN RAIN and well...it was not my favorite race ever. But did we finish it? YES! Did we start it? YES! Did we whine and cry our entire way through it? YES!
Rummage sale began this week! FINALLY got rid of the roll top desk and record console in my living room. They've been waiting for new homes for eons now (okay maybe one month). I started with book organizing (that's my job) and already we have more books than space for. But I love coming together with fellow parishioners and working together to ready this white elephant sale.
I had my interview with the mission I hope to join next year! Went well...I'll know in August if and where they want me. God's Will.
I'm about to begin a stretch of working: seven of eight days. Just need to get through it. I will survive. Do I hear a song coming on?
My old dog is getting so so old. He sleeps all day and all night and then betweens. He has trouble walking. Sigh...why does time pass so quickly?
Going to a baseball game this Thursday at Fenway. Should be fun! I think. Well, I hope.
Father told me today that the desire to go on this mission is a divine inspiration. He told me even if it doesn't work out that I still get the credit for wanting to go. I told him that was good, but I'd miss out on all the fun of it. He just laughed. But I was serious. God's Will but I hope this works out!
PS Yes, that's Fatima...15 years or so ago. God is good! All the time.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Definitely on a first name basis with the Taj Mahal now….after visiting her in 120 degree heat in the middle of June. Bee-yoo-ti-full!! And so romantic: for being a Mausoleum. I’m pretty sure that we would never see anyone get away with building a wonder of the world to house their dead spouse today.
I love the story: The Rajah lost his beautiful wife that he loved with all his heart. She was his third wife and bore him 14 children in the space of 17 years. Before she died she asked two things of him: to never marry again and to devote himself to their children. He not only honored her requests but he also constructed the Taj Mahal. It took 22,000 laborers and 20 years to complete this marble palace inlaid with precious stones. Donations came in from all over the kingdom and once completed the Rajah came to visit his wife’s tomb weekly. During this time the third oldest son (of the six children who survived childhood) came to power by killing off his siblings and imprisoning his father. He locked his father in a room overlooking the Taj Mahal. Here the poor man sat looking at the mausoleum of his wife for the last 8 years of his life…until he could see no more…and there he died, seeing a reflection of the Taj, as the story goes, in the center of a precious stone. Then he was buried beside her.
Not looking for the exotic but taking the adventure as each one presents itself. Got my selfie. Blessed. :o)
Friday, May 22, 2015
"Only need the light when it's burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow."
Thinking about the day I sat in a Spanish airport: recognizing that I loved a man that I would probably never see again. How quickly life passes. There was a short story I read once. I forget the author. It was about a man who was given a golden ball with a string. Whenever he would pull the string, life would pass by. He was careful and at first he only pulled the string when something bad happened, like when he had measles. Eventually he was pulling it all the time: while he waited for something, when his child was sick, when his parents died, when he was bored, when his job was on the rocks, while he waited for a promotion, when his wife died and eventually when he was close to death. As he lay on his deathbed he looked back and realized...he had missed almost all of his life. He had no memories. In skipping the suffering he had never lived.
I feel like my life is flying by at the speed of light. My birthday is around the corner. I'm not really old but at the same time: I am. Living in the moment is beautiful. At the same time, life is lived so quickly! I'm off to India in a week. I leave the day after I turn 35. Is it scary or wrong to not have any clue where or what God wants of me beyond this next adventure? I'm not sure. But trusting....and grateful to live and experience all the things God has given me.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Talking about guns and shooting is sort of hush-hush in my part of the world...and not because the people in my life don't own, shoot or carry pistol permits...it just isn't something you tend to bring up in casual conversation. It's kinda like not talking about how much money you make or how much your house cost or your actual weight.
So instead, I decided to throw it out there on the world wide web that I had THE BEST time this past weekend on Ladies Gun Day at a local shooting range! From shooting a shotgun at skeet to black powder civil war rifles; crossbows and compound bows to high-powered military grade rifles; revolvers to semi-automatic pistols...I think I shot more guns in one day than I ever will, definitely more than if you tally the last 30+ years of my life and possibly if you add everything else from this day forward. :o)
And I had SO MUCH FUN! I was with 50 other ladies, talking and laughing as we hit target after target, smiling in delight that I was actually shooting with some sort of accuracy! It was so exciting to see metal turkeys, pigs and pins fall over...to see clay pigeons break up in the air, and pull up a target and see a hole in the middle.
At one station I was consistently hitting the bottom left of the target, even though I was sighting the bulls eye. The instructor asked me to aim for the top right and I landed right in the middle. After I was done he took the gun, shot it himself, and then put the gun away. Aiming dead center wasn't helpful at all with a sight that was off-target.
Ding ding ding! Life-in-perspective moment...praying for God's sight as I focus on going on a year of mission. That is one target I hope to hit...if God wills!