well since you've last heard from me... all the current workers have returned to the bible school from vacation, we have started back classes and bible studies and all our normal semester activities, 17(ish) HUF students have moved in with us (my brother included), we have totally revamped/cleaned/remodeled the bible school, debbie and david have ordered a new washer/dryer and fridge for the bible school, ryan and i have selected and paid for our own apartment to be closer to the church and university (we move in feb. 1), we have planned a ton of outreach activities for our students/people we know/meet, we have done a lot of planning for our outreach ministry here in florence, we have raked leaves, picked up a dump truck load of old tile and bricks, and trimmed 3 giant palm trees (that involved david on scaffolding with and ax and ermenita being stabbed in the leg with a falling dead palm spine and requiring a trip to the hospital, a tetanus shot and a few stitches).
however, this week i have unfortunately done almost nothing because i've been vomiting for 2 days and trying to recover so i can go back to normal next week. (before all you women freak out and say, "you idiot, you're pregnant", i can confirm that i am not; it's probably just a virus).
so, besides eating crackers and jello (of which my husband has become the most accomplished of makers, seriously, i would put him in a jello-making competition if that existed) i have been doing a lot of thinking about the things i love and that make me happy and i just feel like sharing.
1. i have been thinking about this guy:
i have been thinking about how lucky i am to have this man who not only puts up with my quirks and annoyances, but honestly says that he loves those things about me. how he woke up to a puking wife on his 26th birthday and instead of having a "woe is me" outburst, refused to leave the house and not only made jello, washed sheets, hunted sprite, cleaned bathrooms, stayed up until 3am washing/folding clothes, and answered my every beckon call, but also made me think i was crazy every time i started to have a pity party and apologize for ruining his birthday. how he loves me, takes care of me, complements (not compliments) me in the right things, is similar to me in the right things, makes me feel so comfortable, how he leads me spiritually, how he looks at me everyday like it was the first week we were dating, how he always says "if you love it, i love it", how he always puts me first, how money is just another thing to him (if we have it, great; if we don't, great), how smart and capable he is (but always patiently listens to my 2 cents, even if they don't matter)...ok, mushy enough? sorry, but this virus has given me some clarity of thought that i have to spit out before i forget.
2. how special my parents, brother, and grandparents are to me. there isn't a day that goes by that i don't see their faces in my head and thank God. they have made me who i am (i'm really just little pieces of them all assembled) and i long one day to live close to them again if that is God's will for our lives. i feel myself light up and calm down when i'm in their presence. luke 14:26 makes me sad, but matthew 19:29 gives me comfort. i never feel more comfortable and unconditionally accepted and loved than when i am with these people.
3. i've been thinking about this fren (the best):
she is probably the most humble, honest, selfless, patient, loving, listening, true good true friend the world will ever know. she makes me feel so comfortable, "at home" if you will tolerate my cheesiness. i miss her everyday and feel reenergized every time i get to talk to her on gchat. of course we catch each other up on our daily lives, but we get to the good stuff and talk like we were laying on the couch or sitting in her backyard together. we talk like it's a beautiful fall saturday, our husbands are out playing golf, and we have nothing to do but talk and talk. i can just see us together as old women and it makes me so happy. i want to live near her forever and i hope that is in our future (especially considering that we want to open a store together), but for now i don't know the plans so i just thank God for putting her in my life and keeping her in it even though we are so far away from each other.
4. ironically (since my top 3 things i think about are people), i've realized that it really is just about loving God first and then loving other people. that's not just my revelation, it's what the whole bible is about, that's who jesus was, a people-lover. at first this sounds easy, "of course i love my husband, my family, and my best friend", but no, it's not that easy. think of the person you most dislike in this world (there's always someone)...ok, loving others means that you care about that person's spirit and their happiness and their taken-care-of ness. it's hard and gross and it's easy to just ignore it, but that's IT, that's what it's all about. not to mention loving those people who we walk past everyday, sit next to on the bus, wait behind to get coffee, who interrupt our day with their bad attitudes, long lines, bad driving, stinky armpits, standing in the middle of the sidewalk...you see how it gets complicated
5. i want to have faith like the centurion
6. i don't like romantic comedies (except sleepless in seattle)
7. you really can kill someone with kindness, but it is extremely hard and i'm not yet strong enough to do it
8. i love good music, it makes me feel things, takes me away, makes me emotional in a really good way
9. i love creating things, created things, and people who create things (this includes food). i would love to own a store one day where i was able to sell created things (this doesn't include food) that make other people happy
10. i'm a nurse. why? something motivated me to push through all the hard work and sacrifice of nursing school, but what? i did it for 2 years in a hospital and i wasn't happy or fulfilled. i love taking care of kids, but i guess i'm still thinking on this one, because i'm trying to think of a capacity that i can be a nurse someday and enjoy it
i love them and i would totally love to live in a building that looked like this. in the city of paris, i was more intrigued with the plants on the front of this building than the eiffel tower. i know i'm weird. i don't know if it's the plants themselves or what they mean to me, see here, but i am mesmerized with all things plant.
12. what a blessing each day is. there really is something new everyday and if you stop and think about what IT is, and thank God for that, you will begin to draw comfort and meaning out of day to day monotony.
13. "we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." mother teresa said that, but it helps remind me that what i am doing is just planting a seed, if God isn't sending the water and the sunshine then nothing will come of it
i will stop here because 13 is my lucky number and so i don't bore you completely to death. but one last thing because it's about this blog itself. when we came here and i started this blog, i felt obligated to the people who are financially supporting us to kind of use the blog as a newsletter...a way to be held accountable...to get approval for what we are doing with other people's money. i felt like it had to be perfect or nothing at all and then i realized how stupid and selfish that is. people wouldn't be helping us unless they trust us to do the right thing here or better yet trust God to work through our clumsy efforts. and as debbie so wisely and frequently reminds me, "God will do good in spite of us". isn't that the truth! so, what i'm getting at is that this blog is going to loosen up a little bit, i'm going to stop trying to make a weekly newsletter to check off and instead focus on the little wonderful details that make life here and everywhere...wonderful.