melting snow and homework

Sometimes I think we need a perspective shift,
at least I know I do.

I read something this morning about being thankful.
Many times it is easier to complain than to be thankful.
It is so easy to overlook all the things we have to be thankful for in our lives.
In fact, one of my thoughts was, what do I have to be thankful for.
Then immediately I realized that was ridiculous and made a list.

My list is random, but it definitely changed my outlook on the day.
Here is part of mine:
- a place to live
- running water
- blankets to stay warm
- melting snow from the blast of winter Monday night

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the snow is trying to hold on – but the sun will win out:)

 

 - US passport
- food to eat
- great Skype convo last night
- borrowed dress for an upcoming wedding
- customs agent in Uganda was finally found for shipping the books
- getting a part-time job to pay my bills

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some of my homework for my job training

 

 - ability to walk
- my grandma visiting
- people willing to help me pursue what I think God is calling me to do

 

What do you have to be thankful for today?

 

much love!

singing on a plane

Video

I happen to like flying.
The whole experience, from people watching at the airports to flying itself – starting in one location and landing somewhere different.

But for some people, flying is not enjoyable.
Security lines in airports, the cramped quarters of planes, crying babies and many other things can make travel by air not so great.

But can you imagine being on a flight with the cast of a Broadway musical?
What if they started singing?

 

I wouldn’t mind if this ever happened while I am flying somewhere:)

much love!

kleenexes and confetti

Our hearts are a complicated organ.
We can be filled with so many mixed and contrasting emotions, at the same time.

Today, I am excited to see a few friends (more like one of my second families:) that has been a part of my life for over ten years.
This fills me with so much joy.

But at the same time, my heart is hurting today.
It is hurting as I miss my people in Uganda.

Maybe it was getting an email yesterday reminding me how, I “always have a home in Uganda!!!”
Or maybe it was the two minute phone call the other morning, all in Luganda, with one of my friends from the church in Mukono.
Or maybe it was my dream last night, where I saw all of the kids from my house.

Whatever it was, today I miss Uganda.

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Ronnie proudly displaying the cars he made from juice containers

 

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my little Lytone – isn’t she precious?!

 

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I can hear Lydia’s laughter as I type this and post our picture!

 

Our hearts are full of emotions.
Sometimes it’s messy and it doesn’t always make sense.
Today just happens to be one of those days that doesn’t necessarily make sense.

 

much love!

3.11

Three years ago today, I was siting in the boys’ bedroom in Mukono, Uganda, as we prepared for that night’s church service.
As I was sitting there, I didn’t know one and a half years later that that house would be my home.
And I also didn’t know, as we were hearing about the earthquake in Japan, that six months later, I would be there.

March 11, 2011.
That date may not be significant to many of you.
At that time, I knew what had happened in Japan was bad; I didn’t realize on how large of a scale.

And these are 6 to nine months later

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debris pile in Rikuzentaka

 

DSC02538street in Kessenuma

 

DSC02548what used to be houses and businesses in Kessenuma

 

Those pictures, don’t do justice to the magnitude of what happened in so many places and effected countless people.

Here are a few recent pictures taken by a friend less than two months ago

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trucks removing some of the debris

 

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some people think everything is back to normal in Japan now – it’s not!

 
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cleaned up area of Onagawa – some want this building as a monument

 

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there are temporary stores popping up in different places

 

This morning I watched this video, if you want to take the time to watch it (4 mins:), I think you should.
The city in Japan, Rikuzentaka, was one of the places I would visit when I was there.
It gives you a glimpes at how one town in CA was impacted by March 11, 2011 two years later and how that connected them with Japan.

 

Recovering Hope from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

 

much love!

sometimes i hear voices

Sometimes, life doesn’t look the way we think it should.
Right now, my life doesn’t look at all like I thought it would.
Not like I thought it would after graduating from University.
Not like I thought it would one year ago, when living in Uganda.
Not like I thought it would one month ago, shortly after getting back to MI from Uganda.

Most days I am ok.
But then creeps in the voice of society.
The voice that questions what I am doing with my life and where my future is going.
The voice that says I’m not ok the way I am.

at legoland
in front of the lego wall at Downtown Disney

 

Last week, I was in California and attended a couple of different conferences.
During the conferences I had a number of people tell me it’s ok to be in a transitional period of life right now.  That there are many people who aren’t sure of what they are doing.
While that is reassuring and comforting, I don’t want to stay in that place.
I want to move to a place where I am going after something, putting my passion and talent behind something.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what that looks like yet.
I have some thoughts and ideas, but the pieces don’t fit together; not yet, at least.
God will put these pieces together; I trust He will.

at Hermosa Beach
on the Hermosa Beach pier with Lauren

 

Your love and support of me, who I am and all that I have done really mean a lot to me.
There is a library and classrooms in Uganda that are still in the process of being built.  That could not have been done without God and without the continued support from all of you!

 

much love!

so much cement

Oh I know, it has been quite a while since I have given an update on the progress of the Hallelujah Project [the library / classroom building].
My lack of words is not due to lack of work; so much has happened since I left the beautiful country of Uganda at the end of December.

About two weeks ago, the ceiling of the ground floor was completed.  It has been a long and hard process, with many set-backs along the way.
But to receive the email saying that it was complete brought such joy to my heart!

Do you remember this?
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digging 6 feet deep trenches for the foundation, before the ground-floor slab could even be poured!

 

And now, this?!
8. Watering exercise in progress.
one of the women, with her son and a few other boys, pouring water (to set the cement) on the recently finished ceiling of the ground floor!

 

Throughout the process of building this structure; from the foundation to the floor, to the walls, to the new ceiling over 650 bags of cement have been used.  Plus, it’s not over!
Windows and doors are being made, to then be put into place; the walls will be plastered and the floors will be finished.

And, in the future, when enough funds have been raised, another floor will be constructed for additional classrooms.

4. Just some of the used Cement papers during the slabing exercise.
used bags of cement

 

The last time I wrote, I mentioned that things with the books were basically in a holding pattern because of various reason.  Well, that is not the case anymore.  PTL!
Final details are still being worked out, but through a really great connection, much progress has been made in getting shipment details ironed-out.

Thank you for your continual love and support of the the Hallelujah Project.  All of this would not be possible without you!

 

much love!

then the hat dropped

I’m not a crier.
You can ask any of my room-mates from university.  One of them would be crying about something, I would feel the same emotion, just without tears.
I am so much so not a crier, that one of my team-mates on the WorldRace dubbed my theme song, “Heartless.”
Apparently not crying during the 11 months of the race is not normal.

But if I’m not a crier, why do I find tears welling up in my eyes so often recently?
I didn’t think it would be easy to leave Uganda.
I guess I just didn’t think it would be this hard.

Not only is the weather a shock to my system,
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and -9 is not even the coldest it has been here:)

 

But I feel like every aspect of my life has been changed and effected by this transition
food
people
daily routines
spoken language
music
topics of conversation
lack of dancing here

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a little over a month ago I was eating fresh corn on the cob and mangos from right outside | now I am wearing hats and making snow ice-cream

 

Not that all of these changes are bad, but more-so overwhelming.
Really, that’s the way I feel much of the time, overwhelmed.
But I can’t stay in that place.

 

Do I miss my family and friends in Mukono?
You bet.
Do I have weird cravings for Ugandan food that cannot be met by anything American?
Definitely.

But I think all of that is normal.
At least it is becoming my normal.
(Along with having tears in my eyes when I look at pictures or have random memories from Uganda:)
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like this one of Saufa who would come in the office every day to hang out and get a high-five

 

As I miss my African life, I need to continue processing all that God has taken me through.
I may not know what lies ahead in my journey, but that is okay.
I can’t worry about it.

 

much love!