Wednesday, July 29, 2009

let's go already

tomorrow is D-day... as in departure day. this will be my 3rd trip to zambia and i can honestly say that anticipation is killing me. i detest the last couple days before a big trip with all the packing and last minute shopping runs and then the goodbye's. it's just so draining. but i know it will all be worth it when i see the faces of my dear friends. sure i might be bleary-eyed from 48 hours of travel but that won't concern me then.

oh zambia, how you've captured my heart in such a special way.

it's hard to describe the feeling of going back this time. after living there for 3 months last fall i was able to develop such deep bonds with the people. when i went in 2007 i only stayed for 2 weeks and it wasn't hard to leave. i'm not one to usually bond with people that quickly. during my 3 months last year the bonds were really formed and i came to depend on those relationships. they became my brothers and sisters and some of my dearest friends. when i left in november i didn't know how i was going to manage without them and it has been hard. it's like there's this piece of me missing and this other side of my life that no matter how much i try to share with people here, i just can't. i feel in a way that by going back to zambia i'm going to be able to re-claim that part of me that's been a little lost.

of course i'll find it only to probably lose it again when i leave after a month. let's not talk about that just yet.

i should really finish packing. ugh.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

to have a friend you must be a friend

do you ever have those moments where there are a million things you want to blog about and you don't know which topic to choose? yeah, i'm totally having one of those moments. decisions, decisions, decisions!

ok, ok i'll choose.

so the last few weeks i've really been dwelling on the concept of friendship. something i certainly tend to take for granted at times. i think reality has just really hit me regarding some relationships that i thought were closer than they probably were. let me explain why. ever heard of the 5 love languages? it's this theory that there are 5 main ways we give and receive love: physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service and words of affirmation... something along those lines. so basically every person is kind of wired to give and receive love the majority of the time through 1 way. yes, we can (and should) all learn to be more balanced in this but the reality is that many of us aren't. as a result of these "love languages" we can actually harm and hinder our relationships with others.

let me explain.

i'm going to use my relationship with my bff as an example (hope you don't mind lyr). lyryn's main love language is quality time. in order for her to feel loved by those closest to her she needs to spend time with them, even if that means sitting together watching tv or catching the latest chick flick. so as her best friend the most loving thing for me to do is to show her i love her by spending time with her. is that what i do? certainly not often enough. why? one of the main ways i show love is by giving gifts, whether that's picking out a trendy necklace on one of my around-the-world adventures or buying a cute outfit for her adorable little boy. so if i continue to show lyryn love only through the mode in which i'm most comfortable, without regard for the way she most receives it, is that really loving? sure my intentions are good, but they're mainly selfish because it makes me feel good to give love in the way i'm most comfortable. heavy, huh?

granted we all need to learn how to give and receive love in various ways but part of learning to love others is learning how to show them. i have by no means figured this all out and i am definitely still in the learning process. it's just something that i have really been thinking about lately. i mainly receive love through gifts and acts of service. while quality time is great, it's not a necessity for me in a relationship. sounds silly doesn't it? it feels kind of silly writing it. how can you even have a relationship without quality time? i'm not saying i don't need it at all, just maybe not as much as others. a big part of that could be that i've been single for the last 26 years so i've learned to be independent. unfortunately the lack of a need for quality time has certainly hurt relationships over the years. i'm really starting to see that now.

it's hard when you realize that you aren't as close to people as you think you are. i take full responsibility for many of these failed relationships. i recognize that i fall short on initiating time together with these people and it hurts. i've done a lot of self-examination and i realize that my views on friendship are really different than the average person. i don't have time on this post to go into it all. i'm still trying to figure it out myself. God is slowly revealing things to me and i'm working through it and what it means from here on out.

to those relationships that i've hurt or let fall to the wayside, i'm sorry.

so in an attempt to love my bff more i'm driving to baltimore tomorrow to spend time with her while she's on a business trip. it was going to be a surprise but she figured it out thanks to my oh-so-obvious mom. haha. it's ok though. the main point is to show her that i love her and value our relationship. ultimately that should be our goal with the people that we love, right?

Friday, July 17, 2009

we could all use more SNO days

a couple months ago my lovely siblings and i hopped a train to philly to eat some yummy food and catch a matt wertz concert. we had a fabulous time hanging out, laughing, taking pictures and making fond memories with one another. mom and dad graciously watched the kiddos for us and it was so fun to just kick back and relax. while we were eating dinner at a cute outdoor table in philly we all decided that this must be a reoccuring event.

after a string of emails this week we decided that we needed another SNO (that's code for Sibling Night Out). unfortunately little wit wasn't there cause he's visiting friends in boston so the rest of us hit the town in good 'ole west chester. we unanimously decided to eat at Kooma where you can get the most incredible sushi. seriously, the food was amazing. the atmosphere is a little loud, but if you can move past that it's really enjoyable.

after stuffing ourselves full of raw fish we decided to top it off with ice cream from wc scoop. we scoured the freezer looking for our perfect flavor and found a table in the back. i had just found phase 10 dice at a store earlier that day and tucked it in my purse for such an occassion. so we ate our ice cream and played phase 10 dice (which is so much faster and easier than regular phase 10. it's great for travel!) we literally laughed the whole time and booed at kate who shamefully beat us all.

i think it was a night we all needed after a stressful couple weeks. we did miss wit (especially me being the 5th wheel with those married folk)... haha. i feel super blessed having some awesome siblings. it's like we were made for each other or something. ;)

and i must say i have an awesome brother & sister-in-love. they blend so well into our family it's hard to remember what we were like without them. plus they make my brother and sister EXTREMELY happy which couldn't make me happier so it all works out.

by the end of the night we all decided that we could all definitely use more SNO days.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

dear kylie joy joy

it's hard to believe that 1 year ago today i was racing to paoli hospital with my bff behind the wheel to meet you little one. i remember exactly where we were on the 30 bypass when i got the text message from your daddy that you had arrived. boy, were we excited to meet you! lyryn was particularly anxious to get her camera on your beautiful face and we are all so grateful that she did. i'll never forget how beautiful your momma looked that night. she was literally glowing and didn't look like she'd just delivered you. she was so calm and peaceful which is probably why you came out that way, too.

unfortunately only 6 weeks after you were born i left the country for 3 months. while i was in zambia your mommy would call me and tell me all the latest things you were doing. she always remarked about what a good baby you were and how much you were growing. the day i came home from africa i literally couldn't wait to see you. i came with aunt katie to visit you that same day (after not sleeping for over 24 hours). thankfully your mom was ready with camera in hand to document the special moment.

the last 7 months or so have passed in a blur as i've watched you learn to grab things, babble in your adorable little baby voice and crawl at lightening speed when something catches your eye. it's been a joy to watch you change every week as you discover new things that you can do. it's obvious you adore your big sissy and i know you 2 will grow to be best friends just like me and aunt katie. it's hard to explain a sisterbond to people who've never experienced it and i'm glad i won't have to with you. you'll just know. :)

kylie joy, you truly have brought so much joy into my life. every time i see you i'm greeted with the biggest smile and you have no idea how much my heart leaps every time. you are so full of love and i pray that always stays with you. i know God has wonderful plans for you little one. i feel honored to be your aunt and to get to watch you grow up.

so happy 1st birthday ky-ky. i love you sooooooooooo much!!!!


Monday, July 13, 2009

not me monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

  • it hasn't been 6 weeks since i posted a 'not me monday' post. i wasn't really consistent at first and then completely fall off the bandwagon. no way. my life is way too organized for that.
  • i didn't throw a white blanket in the washing machine with my dark brown sheets and assume everything was going to be ok. i didn't then have to get scolded by my mother when she discovered my now pink blanket and have to listen to her instruct me on the proper ways to do laundry. i didn't roll my eyes the entire time and give her some bs excuse for my incompetence. not me!
  • i most definitely did not have a complete lack of focus at work this past week and feel like i accomplished nothing. i am much better at managing my time than that.
  • i did not shed buckets of tears this entire week, mostly in part to my raging pms. i did not then have legitimate reasons to cry all weekend as well. my life and the lives of my friends and family are way too perfect to give me any reason to do that much weeping.
  • i did not allow the enemy to lie to me on sunday morning and tell me that i was alone. i didn't let myself feel rejected and ostercized and then allow it to affect the rest of my day. nope, not me!
  • i didn't get a little embarressed when my niece kyra grabbed fake flowers out of the vase at our table in chik-fil-a today, thinking it was a duster, and proceeded to "clean" the floor and walls of the restaurant. i didn't get frustrated when she ignored my attempts to get her to stop. i didn't act like nothing happened when her mom returned from the bathroom. kesh will not find this out when she reads my blog. i am way to chill for that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

confessions of a sinner

i've been meaning to post about this for a couple days but couldn't find the time to actually sit down and write it. part of that is probably because writing it makes it more real and fessing up to it (especially on the internet) means i can't hide behind a facade of perfection. who really wants to wear that heavy mask all day anyway, right? my arms have certainly grown weary of trying to hold it up so this is my attempt to put it down.

it's funny how surprised i get sometimes when i'm able to relate to authors in the bible. i shouldn't be surprised though; after all, they were all humans like me with failures and shortcomings. i think growing up in a christian environment you find yourself putting those people on a pedestal without even realizing it. the more you read the scriptures though the more you discover how much they wrestled and struggled with their own weaknesses and you realize they're no different than you are.

look at king david. God called him "a man after my own heart" and yet he was a liar, an adulturer, a murderer... the list goes on. what was it that made God say that? i think it was david's recognition of his own depravity and his ultimate need and desire for God. he KNEW he failed over and over and yet each time found himself falling at God's feet. read pslam 51. he lays it all out there- a cry of repentance that goes deep. as i read that i feel my own heart bursting out in the same manner, "have mercy on me o God..."

all that to say that i have failed this week in so many ways. i've allowed myself to turn to other sources for comfort, fulfilment and happiness and yet i still feel so empty. why, oh why do i continue to act as if i can do things on my own? why am i trying to be so independent? what am i trying to prove? i've lost my focus this week and it's trickled down to every area of my life. i can feel this cloud around me threatening to swallow me up. the pressure is building and i find myself sucumbing to it.

as i read the words of paul in romans 7, i wonder how it is that he's read my mind? how can his sentiments echo mine so closely?

"I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?*

why am i so drawn to the things that keep me from separated from the person i need the most? this flesh vs. spirit battle is exhausting and yet it's one i know i'm going to fight for the rest of my life. and so even though i still don't fully understand it and even though it will take multiple times to sink in i'll press on. i refuse to stay on this sinking ship and i might get tired of trying to keep my head above water but i'll remember how paul wraps up that set of verses:

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.*

*Romans 7:14-25 (The Message)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

crossing the pond

well my trip to england was amazing. first time there and i hope it won't be my last. honestly, i could live there. you get the whole other culture experience but everyone speaks english... sort of. haha.

seriously though, it is an incredibly beautiful country and we got to see so much of it thanks to my amazing friend jenny. we road-tripped all over and toured big country houses, made new friends at barbecues, saw all the sights of london and so much more. my dad was gracious enough to let me take his canon rebel so i was the designated photographer which i enjoyed greatly! here are some of my favorite shots from the trip: