Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do I miss Africa?

Someone asked me today if I missed Africa.

I miss the kids, for sure.

I miss my simple home and simple pleasures. Life in the "civilized world" can be overwhelming, especially around Christmas. While doing laundry this morning, I was listening to a discussion on Christian radio. They were talking about getting rid of clutter. "What do you do with all those gifts?" They talked about buying storage containers, or giving gifts of outings with loved ones. No-one really thought kids would be excited about going out with someone. "They want those toys, even though it just ends up in a corner..." I was saddened by the shallowness of the discussion.

I miss the people.

But right now, I am thankful to be in Iowa. Overwhelmed by the excess of this culture, but very, very thankful to be home in Iowa for a while.

I arrived in Iowa last night. It's cold here, colder than I'm used to nowadays... This afternoon, I heard a gentle tapping against my bedroom windows, only to discover tiny icicles falling from the sky. It was sleeting, and I was thankful not to be driving in this weather. The sleet and rain is supposed to turn to snow tonight, and we're supposed to wake up to some snow on the ground in the morning.

The past two weeks, while on vacation, I experienced the most wonderful weather. Even high in the mountains, it was warm enough to take off my jacket! I met wonderful people, reconnected with dear friends, took many pictures, rarely touched a computer. I had good meals, some rest, and plenty of time to get away from everything that keeps my mind occupied.

Tomorrow, I shall once again work at cleaning out my work e-mails. And then I can start meeting with supporters and friends here in Iowa. Someone graciously offered me the use of a vehicle while I'm in Iowa. I do not yet know details, but am thankful that I'd be mobile. Won't be driving in really bad weather... I'd take driving in the mud over driving on icy roads any day!

For now, I'm off to bed. It's been a long day of doing laundry and moving things about the house. Danette's floors were redone while we were gone, so the furniture had to be moved back and other rooms had to be cleared for the next phase of the flooring.

I'm tired, but I'm thankful for a warm house, for warm clothes, for variety, for good food and wonderful friends.

I need to go and sleep. Everyone else in this house is asleep: Danette, Ellie (her dog) as well as Isaac and Gracie (the kittens). It's time for me to go crawl into my comfy bed.

See you in Dreamland?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

simple blessing

i like dark chocolate
i like kit kats
tonight, on a long, cold walk, i found a dark chocolate kit kat
and hot chocolate so thick you knew you were drinking chocolate

i rode on a water bus
the cold wind on my face

i so know God loves me
he shows me in the simple things

Friday, November 17, 2006

Simple thoughts

Have walked more in the past few days than I've walked in months.

God is teaching me more about who I am than I care to know right now.

I am jetlagged. Tired. Stripped of myself. Yet strangely excited about what is ahead.

God keeps telling me "Less of you. More of me. Hang in there. It's going to be a tough ride, but a good end. Let go..."

Letting go is hard, especially when you are as stubborn as I am.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Things I've had to get used to again this week (good, bad and indifferent)

  • Driving on the right side of the road
  • Toilet seat covers at public rest rooms
  • Turning on a tap and getting hot water, just like that :)
  • Being able to choose from a great variety of places to eat
  • Looking like the people around me
  • Having many friends around
  • Having no cell phone!
  • Lots of really big cars around (I keep thinking, wow, how would those cars handle in Kenya!)
  • Great roads!
  • Variety (Thai food, Chinese food, fast food, lots of food!)
  • Self-service gas stations
  • Cheap gas (seriously! In Kenya, gas is almost $5/gallon)
  • Seeing (and smelling) the ocean
  • Being in small cars (as opposed to my Land Rover)
  • Hearing mostly English around me
  • Hearing traffic at night

At Don and Amy's

Yesterday, soon after the talk at APU, Danette and I hit the road and headed to the San Diego area, to a little town called Del Mar. It was good to be at the ocean! We were both wiped, so dinner in nearby La Jolla was good, but we weren't quite as full of energy as would've been optimal for a fabulous evening. I was awake enough, however, to appreciate the fact that La Jolla is a cute town, and to know that I'd never be able to live someplace like that.

This morning, we went for a long walk on the beach. There were many people out there despite the fact that it was soon after 6 a.m., lots of surfers, cyclists, walkers and runners. We didn't have our tennis shoes on, so we were the strollers. No fast-paced walking for us today! We simply enjoyed the beach and catching up...

We explored more of the area after breakfast, and then hit to road inland to come and see Don and Amy Rogers, ELI's founders/US Directors. It's funny to see Amy in pants, since I've only known her in Kenya, where we where skirts all the time. In fact, I hardly recognized her yesterday when she walked into the auditorium before The Talk.

It's surreal to be in Don and Amy's home. Good, of course. Just surreal. Just as surreal as seeing other people whom I've only known in Kenya, like interns and teams.

Other highlights from this week in LA:
  • Connecting with a group of friends at a dinner at the Clark household on Tuesday (I used to live with the Clark family while at APU)
  • Relaxing in between running around and getting things ready for Friday's talk
  • Being on a panel on campus on Thursday evening after the showing of Amandla! on campus. The other person on the panel was Sherry Simpson Dean, executive producer of the movie. What an incredible honor to connect with her.
  • Talking with individuals after the talk on Friday and praying with them regarding next steps in responding to God's call.