Sunday, August 23, 2015

7 dry nails.... and a mostly non random blog post.

And so I start my non-random Blog Post.  I am still at Starbuck's.  My drink is now just down to ice chips.  I sip on the straw in a futile attempt to get a last taste of the Mango Black Tea Lemonade I had.  Each sip proves less victory.  But just as naturally as my fingers find the keyboard, my left hand reaches for the cup.  And there I am... talking about that left hand....again.

K, back to the non-random post.  (  :

First of all, I want to say thank you to the many, many of you who stood with me in prayer.

As many of you know earlier this year, I went into see a doctor for a routine check on a deficiency that I was told I had and left that same appointment with totally unexpected news.  It was news that required answers.  Partly because it was unexpected and partly because I live far over a big ocean and down a dirt, bumpy road.   It was important to know what is really going on.  And to know how to navigate what I had been told.

And so that is how I ended up on this side of the ocean.... now.
An appointment in Minnesota at Mayo.
Yearning for answers.  Needing them.
The timing was a struggle for me.  No lie in that.
My dear friend was/is walking in the full throws of an aggressive brain tumor.
I shared about that in an earlier post.

But God.
In His Sweetness,  filled me with HIS peace.

Mayo is a fancy place.
A world in and of itself.

There, doctors were familiar with the deficiency that I had been told that I had.
I don't think they had to do a lot of google hunting behind closed doors.

And after chatting with doctors , blood work, and testing I was given a blessing to return to the work I love.  I have to send off two more samples to the lab at Mayo and then the diagnosis that I was given nearly 3 years ago should be completely eliminated from a current medical problem in my medical file.   The doctors are very confident even without this test that I do not have what I was told three years ago I had.

Thankful. Really thankful.

Thank you for standing with me on this journey.

You all are a gift.  You really, really are.

I am slated to head over the big ocean in just under two weeks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three Dry Nails...

I'm at Starbuck's as I type.
My nephew is a few feet away from me downing a chocolate croissant and a hot chocolate.  
Both are being consumed at an impressive pace, but not as quite impressive as how far along he is in the book that he checked out at the library today.  
He is an avid reader.  

I am an avid want to be reader.  
I would like to think that I read a lot... but reading to me is picking up something and reading a few pages.  I absorb that and can easily be distracted by the buzz of a text... or the call from a friend... or... well, you get the idea.  

Yesterday, I was painting my fingernails and decided that as they dried, I would make a list of the things that I needed at the store.  I had painted my right fingers last and I quickly realized that wasn't the best idea.  It could have been accomplished, but the last three fingers on my right hand would have paid the price.  And so, I picked up the pen in my left hand.... and started to write.  

And weirdly, I wrote... with my left hand.  I am not a leftie nor am I someone who has ambidexterity. It wasn't the smoothest of writing, but it wasn't terrible either.  It was legible.  And not to toot my own horn, but it was more than legible.   It looked ok.  

I was stumped.  

And so with three fingers still drying and a pen in my left hand, I did what comes naturally to me.  

I moved on to the next activity.  

I started figuring out why my left hand could write relatively without any problems.    And then, it seemed to dawn on me.  In Uganda, I drive on the other side of the road.   Initially, I had to constantly be thinking of what was going on.  Not only did I have to be aware of men on motorcycles zooming around vehicles, but I had to flip things in my brain.   What I had known for most of my adult driving days was very different to what I was experiencing with driving in Uganda.  Yes, a red light is still a signal to stop.  But instead of turning right to the nearest lane, I had to train my brain to turn right across traffic.  Turning left meant turning left to the nearest lane.  It took a while to make that switch.  

And now, (though some could easily attest to the exceptions) the switch comes mostly natural.   

Maybe that flipping around in my brain with driving has helped me start writing better with my left hand.  

I don't know.  

Not sure if it will ever be important to know.  

But my thinking made for 3 dry nails on my right hand, a list written with my left hand for shopping, and a super RANDOM blog post.  

Speaking of random, I think that I will schedule this to post in a few days.  

I am pretty sure that instead of writing random, I should be writing about not random things.  

Like good news.  Being at Mayo.  Hunger.  And a ticket to head over the BIG ocean in the beginning of September.   

Never mind scheduling this for a few days.   I"ll post this and start on a non random blog.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sandals and Avocados

This picture speaks.

I can see the reflection of miles walked.

Can almost see the weight of kilos carried.

The imprint of toes.



The whiteness of a flour sack seemingly unscathed by the elements of life near the equator where dust and rain are often intermingled.

And somehow, in the stillness of rubber sandals, I can see rest.


But maybe a different kind of rest than one that often comes to mind when the word rest is spoken.  Something deeper than sleep.  deeper than reading a book in the calm of a gentle breeze.

I think I'm referring to r.e.s.t when the winds blowing and the demands of life are pulling.
Maybe pulling more than usual.  When the pressure is high and the demands equally as high.  And yet... somehow there is r/e/s/t.  It is not something I have mastered.  If I were to adjust this picture to communicate my heart.  I would slap more dirt on those flip flops.  The white flour sack would surely have the remnants of dirt.... tracks from a hurried passing.... and quite possibly some tears.   And by tears I mean rips not drops of moisture from the eyes.... though I know those kind of tears would be there too.   Hopefully, I would leave some whiteness.... because somehow it's in the newness of that sack that I see rest..  The freshness of the green strip and the crease of a fold still clearly present.

Earlier this year, the Lord really impressed upon my heart the need for Margin.  And it was something that by HIS grace and HIS grace alone that came back with me to Uganda.  Many mornings, I would wake shortly after the chickens (k, often a lot later than the chickens) and go out for a long morning walk.  It was an opportunity to think, pray, and be.  The day was often just beginning around me (minus those chickens!)  Men were attending to the cows.  Birds were greeting the day with their twirps.  And my heart was transitioning from sleep to awakeness.  Those steps were just part of the margin in days that were full and rich.  Hard and Sweet.  Stretching and natural.  

Language seems to roll more quickly off my tongue.  Though I know my Uganda brothers and sisters would smile.  Rolling off my tongue is probably not an accurate statement.  In truth, it still crawls.  But the crawling is no longer an army crawl.  It at least comes.  And for that I am thankful.  

Time at the clinic has been rich.  My coworkers have become dear friends.  It has been so good to be back.  Listening to lungs.  Peeking into ears.  And taking care of those who come in with needs.  A few Saturdays ago, we had an ER doctor come in for a a morning.  It was such a blessing.   It was a sweet time of learning from a doctor whose been taking care of patients for years.  It was also a sweet time to learn how to suture up a laceration.  Thankfully, we didn't have to practice on a live person.  Instead, I took a blade to an avocado.  And after creating a large laceration, we slowly put it together again.  Lots of practice.  And an avocado was put back together more so than Mr. Humpty Dumpty.  

Back in the spring when I was figuring out my plans for my return trip back to the States, there was an error in the booking of my flight.  I remember noting the error and deciding to just roll with it. The Lord was leading even as He gave peace about a plane ticket and the timing of that ticket.  He led even in a simple mistake.  As most of you know, I have had the honor of journeying along Ketty and her family the last year and a half.  Ketty has become a dear friend to me.  At the end of June, Ketty's condition started to deteriorate.  We knew the cancer was back.  I've blogged a bit about it.   But not very much.  My last month at New Hope was full.  It was Hard.  It was rich.  It was a whole lot of everything.  Several times, we thought Ketty was going.  Going home to heaven.  Her body is weak.  Seizures have come and gone.  Some intense, others only seen by the flickering of her eyelids.  It has been a season of sitting.  Being.  Washing.  Repositioning.  Remembering.  Watching.  Long hours well worth it.  

I've watched as a man brought a bag of sugar to the bedside of his sick "mom".  His body is that of a man, his mind that of a young child.  And he brought what He can.  And it is a gift that will forever be impressed in my my heart.

I've watched as a community came to Ketty's house.  They sang.  They prayed.  And they encouraged a family deep in the trenches of hardness.  Hardness not without hope.  Ketty, weak by her journey clearly stated, "I know where I am going". 

Her words have become fewer.  The times of sleep far outweigh the moments of being awake.  And yet, the peace is clearly present.  That has remained.  

I was going to change my plane ticket.  
The thought of going was a bit overwhelming.  
Leaving when I wanted to be staying.  
Ketty and I had journeyed so much together.  
And as I prayed, I sensed Him telling me to go.  
And so, with HIS peace and HIS peace alone, I went to the hospital and said "see you later" to Ketty.  
She was sleepy.  Her eyelids danced a bit as her brain struggled.  
And I told Ketty.  
"I'll see you later when I return.... OR you will be in heaven dancing."   
She heard me.  She acknowledged and agreed with my words. 
And she drifted back off to a peaceful state.  

And I too, by HIS grace, remain peaceful about being her and not there.  

And so I flip off my sandals.... and take a seat on the flour bag.  

My shoes carry their own indentations.  Their own evidence of miles walked.  The shoes look different on each of us, but the rest, no matter where we have walked... where we are walking... or where we will walk... 

well that rest is available to us all.  

The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Even though I walk through eh valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence o my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Psalm 23)