Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kindness of a Stranger

Tonight there is so much I feel blessed by- merely by being back from my trip, which was fantastic by the way:) I feel blessed to have running water, electricity and AC again... But I'll talk about all of that later.

Today I had to do laundry... Didn't want to but HAD to due to the amount of dirt my clothes collected while away. I kept forgetting about it and did t make my dryer slot so put it In a bad dryer and was quite frustrated with myself. I proceeded to then forget about it again and watched a movie with my kiddos. However, what I found when I got back was awesome and TOTALLY my blessing of the day... Perfectly folded laundry waiting for me!!! I was all worried because I just got a new bunk mate and I knew folding wouldn't happen tonight if she was sleeping. After a trip, who doesn't want to sleep? So I lay here with a smile on my heart for the kindness of an anonymous person who may know me well or could be a stranger to me. Either way they did this amazing act of kindness without knowing whose clothes they were and blessed my socks off right when I needed an awesome blessing:) if you are reading this, awesome person, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

More to come soon about my trip!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Days 42 and 43: Opportunity

Sorry about not updating last night, but I was wiped out and was in bed by 8:30 and passed out asleep by 10:) But this is what I wanted to write anyway, so it works perfectly.

Last night as I headed back to my room to crash, I was thinking about all of the incredible opportunities I've been given here. Sure, things haven't gone the way I had hoped they would- especially on the job front, but hey- I'm currently a teacher and an engineering administrative assistant(whatt?) that's pretty cool.

Okay- quick story before I go on... you know you live on a ship when you're teaching a class and suddenly the air cuts off and you say, 'QUICK... SAVE EVERYTHING!!'.. because 75% of the time, that air cutting off means we're about to have a power outage:) Haha... Just happened so I had to mention it:)

Anyway, last night I went down to the ward to visit a patient friend who had surgery yesterday. She wasn't awake, but it was nice to just sit with her cousin and watch ward life for a bit. I got to joke around with some of the awesome nurses, then I ended up coloring a scene from Finding Nemo with a sweet patients whose jaw has been stuck shut for a very long time- he's about 10 years old, but looks like a 6 year old(according to his wristband). We had a blast. Every time he picked a new color, he cleared it by me... it was red most of the time. So, I decided to start handing him other colors to mix it up a little bit- he's quite the drawer. I came back up happy that I stayed, instead of left the moment I saw my friend sleeping. I walked back to my room and I realized, at home I'd NEVER be able to just go on a ward, ask the nurses what a patient has, see their pre-op pictures and see them through the whole recovery time, unless they were my family members and even then they wouldn't tell me everything. Here, I can ask a nurse and she lets me know what's going on and sometimes they even explain what they're doing as they do it. It's such a privileged to be allowed into the wards and to hang out with my patient friends.

Then, I started thinking about this coming weekend. I've been given the opportunity to spend a few nights over at the orphanage that has captured my heart so quickly. Now, I've had to prepare myself for it to be different than my mind likes to think, as I have a friend living there who has told me some of the daily ins and outs. But, I'm really thankful for the opportunity to experience it all myself and to be with my kids a little extra. I took tomorrow off and I'll go out there with the team of Mercy Shippers that goes out on Thursday mornings, Friday is a ship holiday so I'll be there all day Friday, and Saturday, the team that I usually come with will be coming and will take me back with them. I've been resting extra this week because my body knows it may be in for a rude awakening this weekend:) I haven't woken up to a baby crying for yeeeears.I'm really excited to spend my time there and with my friend, Hannah, who is from Canada. She's been there since January and will leave next month. It'll be a blast:)

When would you get these opportunities at home? Never. So, I'm soaking them up while I have them:)
Me and my little man Moise a few weeks ago.

Monday, March 25, 2013

41: Breezy Monday

Today was a breeze- only taught 3 classes as opposed to 4, which gave me more time to work on other things and focus on things that are important to focus on right now.

If you guys could be praying for my sweet friend Mariatu, I'd appreciate it. She goes in for surgery again tomorrow- her 4th if I'm counting correctly. Pray for her body to be healed and pray she would gain weight and Hyatt her body would no longer reject food being pumped into her system.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

40: Choir

Today was a movie day. Got up early, opened the Cafe, then the oh so lovely headache I've been at war with decided to strike agAin with a vengeance. Instead of fighting it, I decided to rest it off... With some ibuprofen in the mix:) So I layed in bed watching movies I wanted to see a long time ago but never did.

I started with Avatar, which was simply STUNNING... I mean WOW... Why did I put that one off for so long???? 1/2 way through before it got too intense I took a break for a nap. I slept for About an hour, then resumed... Man... AWESOME!!! Then I realize I had time to watch 1/2 of another before dinner, so I watched Seven Pounds.

When I started it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into... what a concept for a movie. I mean terribly morbid but also breathtaking. During this time of the year I couldn't help but think how great this man's sacrifice was, but how much greater that makes my Lords sacrifice... He saved the whole world for our sins, yet somehow so many cant see it and live life blind to the life he has for them... A much fuller one... Stunning actors and cinematography. Truly hoping nobody got any bright ideas from the film though... If you haven't seen it, bring tissues but its stunning in a whole different way from Avatar.

1/2 way through my 2nd feature film, I went up to the Palm Sunday service which was quite beautiful. There was a song called 'mosaic grace' sung ant it got me right where I'm at right now... Wonderful!! Thanks Patricia and band!!! Afterwards was choir practice.

A maybe little known fact, or maybe some of you knew this, but anyway the fact is that I've been singing in a choir almost all of my life. Since I was old enough, I was in it with a few years gap here and there. Tonight I had my first choir practice In over 2 years. It was a BLAST and brought such JOY to my spirit. Mind you it was a bit more casual than I'm used to but truly water to the soul. So excited to perform with them on Sunday!!! This is going to be my best AFM Easter yet!!! I feel it!!! Praise God and HOSANNA ON THE HIGHEST!!!! Happy Palm Sunday!

For those wondering, today IS day 40, but have no fear, despite the fact the wool was pulled over my eyes in thinking I was going to do lent for only 40 days, it turns out its actually 47... ;) I'm up for it... Oh boy am I tempted but hey, that's what it's all about, leaning into God despite our temptations. To those with your families for Easter and during Holy Week, enjoy them;) be enjoying my sweet ship family for my 3rd and final Easter on board... For now At least:)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

39: The Ward

I truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to visit our patients on the ward. My friend and I have gotten close to a woman who has what is called a Noma... It's an infection that eats away at your face. My sweet friend had no nose but they are building her one with time. I feel blessed to know this amazingly strong woman and share this journey with her. It hasn't been easy for her, as she's had lots of stomach issues, so please keep her in your prayers. It's jus amazing to me being on the ward-seeing friends of mine in their work environment thriving, holding sweet little ones, but Also getting to know longer term patients And having the honor of being a part of their lives... Amazing and blessed!!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

38: Movie Night

Friday evenings have quickly become my favorite nights of the week. Today I had to cancel plans due to a terrible headache, which of course felt better after the people had left ... So I didn't have anything planned. Then I ran into my favorite 10 year old who was feeling lonely, so we had tea which turned into dinner which turned into Ice Age 4 with her family.... Pretty fantastic is what it was and I keep finding myself feeling EXTRA blessed on Friday nights... This one was certainly no exception and it was a great way to kick off this weekend!!!! Ps it's a very cute and FUNNY movie... Check it out!!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

37: The Hair

Yesterday, I realized something. I was tired of my hair and wanted it off... NOW!!! I had an appointment scheduled for April 10 th but with a piping hot cabin and a 3 day trip with no AC coming... I need all the help I can get!! Here's a look into my journey I took today with two of my ship nieces... We had a lot of fun... If you can't tell from the pics:) My blessing of the day is having a rock star hairdresser for free!!! Thanks Jillian!!!!!

36: Sleep

I failed a bit yesterday... I was so tired by the time I got to my room, it totally slipped my mind to make a blog post...until this morning...:)

So... let's see.. my blessing yesterday....

I have to say, I'm feeling reeeealllllly blessed to be back on track with sleep. Something suddenly clicked, and I'm back to enjoying sleep!! YAHOO!:) It really makes me happy! I still have weird dreams, but I'm able to sleep almost a solid night without waking up at all, which is huge- last week I was waking up 3-4 times a night! It's really nice:) I also feel blessed to have found some time to relax in my days!!! I use each free moment to rest and build up more energy for the day- so either by taking a nap or playing a game on my itouch for a few minutes, or reading, it re-charges and gets me ready for the rest of the day. I love it:)

So... that's the blessing for yesterday- stay tuned to see what today brings:)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

35: Maria Manna

Tonight we had Maria Manna as a guest jazz/ gospel singer and it was certainly a great way to spend the night. There's nothing more refreshing than a night of jazz after a long day!!! Certainly my blessing of the day!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

34: The Phone

Today I feel really blessed to have access to a phone that allows me to connect with people in the US... Did a phone interview tonight Nd it made me realize how much I appreciate the ability to do that!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

33: Living on a Hospital Ship

Tonight I entered dinner thinking it was a normal night and I I we what layed ahead, but the truth is you never know... Loong story short my friends had guests on board but one o the hosts had an allergic reaction so I went with his wife to drop our friends back an hour away at the orphanage and it was dark and a little unnerving but hey- God is good. He had everyone right where they needed to be when they needed to be there And though we got detoured on our way home I Truly feel The Lord went Ahead of us and cleared the roads and brought us back quickly and safely. Crazy evening, but thanks Jesus for having my friend where he needed to be for his allergic reaction and thanks for looking over us all tonight And using me in a cool way I don't get used as much... The comforting friend:)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

32: Rest

After a restless night's sleep, I was blessed to find energy this morning to go to the orphanage and be with my kids who change so much each week, then I was granted rest. Not the kind that comes through sleep but rest in my mind and soul... After getting back from the orphanage my friends invited me to swim with them, we read,we had dinner and then watched Anne of Green Gables disc 1... This truly blessed me as it was my little 8 year old friend's first time watching( didn't make it through the whole thing tho...) and this was something I used to watch a lot as a little girl with my sisters. The memories with this movie are sweet ones of family and friends over the years who I've gotten to share the movies with on the ship 2 times and at home so many times growing up.... Awesome to make new memories that will really stick with me for years to come:)

Friday, March 15, 2013

30: Unknowns

Tonight I go to sleep on the brink of potential catastrophe... I mean... Okay SUPER dramatic .. But I mean there's. lot of unknowns for me right now in a lot of areas of my life.
In some ways I feel like a mess and in other ways I feel great and I'm finally to the point where I realized.. No matter what God is always there and in it if I rely on him. So with that I go to bed humming 'I will praise him in this storm' and a prett picture

31: Health!!!

Today was a day where I honestly wanted nothing more than to be in bed with a book all day... Alas... It's Friday not a holiday. I was quite grumpy until this evening when I got to 'shake my body for Jesus' in Zumba and went to the ward. During that time I realized my blessing... A body that can do crazy exercises and that is growing muscles and is super resilient... I'm not laying in a hospital bed at the moment and I have to say however fleeting health can be, I feel BLESSED to have an awesome body that I can use to its full potential. I need to remember that on my next day I don't want out of bed...:)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Sometimes at the end of the day all you want to do is watch a nice movie.... So that's what I did tonight... Watched Sarah plain and tall and remembered watching it as a little girl.. Sweet memories and a nice evening

28: Dockside Open House

Tonight, the hospital opened a side they haven't before... The dockside tents. This includes our admissions department, screening department, and outpatients department. It was a breath of fresh air to me since I've never been down there and it was truly great to see where some of my friends work. Here are some photos.

Monday, March 11, 2013

27: Zumba lady

Yesterday I worked the cafe and up popped a familiar face from Togo... Her name is Mimi and I call her my Zumba lady. The moment I saw her, I jumped up and down with excitement. She told me her luggage was lost but she was still more than willing to lead as many classes as we could take. She will be doing one a day for 5 days. I have to say she's a huge blessing. Prolly will go to 3 of the 5 classes as she whoops your tail but its so fun!!!! Guess what I need to sign up for when I get home if I can...:)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 26: Friends and Birthdays:)

There's no way to capture the blessing my birthday was. No. Way.

I'm in a tough season in my life- well this one is especially tough, but I think God equipped me through that day with the strength and a reminder of the love all around me to get me through. Praise God for his blessings and all he's done for me!! 24 was a very tough year, and I imagine 25 won't be much easier, but it's full of possibilities, and I'm so excited to see what God's got in store.Our God is a healer, and I think that's a lot of what I'll be seeing this year- hoping to come into year 26 as a much more whole person:)
Which is a real cookie and which is my AWESOME NEW COOKIE CHANGE PURSE?!

We celebrated our tails off yesterday. We went to see my kiddos, after I made myself birthday cake tea and ate a muffin for the first time in 20 days... I'll admit, while sugar can be a good thing- I think I'm still paying off the sugar... I've felt car-sick all day and I think it might be the overload of sugar:) I was cautious, but did have quite a lot:) I adored my time with my babies, and got to meet the newest addition- Elisa... I want to know her story- she's 2 months old and so beautiful. Her parents clearly cared for her, as she has her ears pierced(twice!!) and she was healthy(both signs of care here), so I wonder what happened. Sure to break my heart once again. Praying these precious ones bind together as family as they grow. Got time with all my 'favorites'(I know we're not supposed to play favorites, but it happens naturally), and just soaked in the glory of the place I was in. During the story time, I was able to watch the kids' faces(normally I'm sitting with them, but this time I was looking at them) and I saw such beauty before me- it was also a delight seeing my dear friends in their nitsch. Amazing time of seeing God's love in the face of children and my friends.

We got back and I was like 'hm... I didn't pack lunch.' Soon after,  I got a call saying there's an avocado if I want one(I'd been saying I wanted one), and I ran into a friend who had cheese and ham crepes baked with some mango for me... PERFECTION. I sat up by the TVs and 2 of my little friends came up with a scheme(one 12 and one 9) to watch some TV for a while, then go up to the pool for an hour, then come down with just enough time to shower and get ready for the festivities. We had a blast- lots of laughter and I hadn't gotten much time with my two precious blondies lately, so it was perfect:)

I got ready for dinner-unsure of what was going to happen. What did happen, I was surprised by and really just had to let go of:) I had told a friend I hate planning birthday parties, so she said last week she was going to plan something awesome for both of us(her birthday is 2 days ahead of mine), and so I said 'cool'. Told her the ESSENTIAL people, but she had invited more people, which was much to my delight as we gathered together:) My youngest friend on the ship- Hailey- now 7 months today- woot woot- was there and we had a ton of fun together last night.

Knowing me, you know I like to plan things, and this was a bit of chaos, so it was hard for me to sit back and take a deep breath and let my friends plan it out.... people asked me things and I was like 'I have no idea... honestly... I didn't even know you were coming!' haha:) We wound up going to this awesome Vietnamese place, which I'd requested(we needed to get directions, but found them... long story short... we got there 1/2 hour before it opened.) I have to say, it was quite funny... the family who owns the place pulled up in their car, their youngest ran out with one of the moms to get the stoves ready as the dad parked the car... it's always reassuring though when eating Vietnamese to see Vietnamese making it:) Hehe. Sorry... I know.. but ... it's true.

Dinner was great... delicious food, I got to have coke... African Coke no less, which FARRRR exceeds the American stuff... I'll never go back to it...and good friends and it was great- I even got a snuggle with my 7 month old 'niece' Hailey- we're all family here;) :) OH... I almost forgot to mention- I ate frog legs for the first time!!!!!!!!!! Crazy!! My amazing 8 year old buddy ordered them for herself and offered me one... surprisingly good.... I wasn't in my right mind apparently, but I'm glad I did it;)
Seems about right...;)

We got back and played our version of spoons, which involved people becoming Rats and if you look at them or say their name you get a letter in 'rat'... definitely a spin I'd never played, but it turned into one EPIC battle between my dear friend and her husband:) We had cake, popcorn, tea, mango guacamole, enjoyed eachother. Can't say I ate much because 1)I ate more at that restaurant that I normally eat in a day and 2) with kids around... nothing really stays....... there was an 8 year old., 9 year old, 10 year old, and 12 year old... good luck keeping any food anywhere, not to mention about 7 other adults..:)

Then we did presents... really... I'm in love with African jewelry, but only certain kinds,but my friends have it DOWN:) One was made by my friend and it includes a bead her daughter made out of melted down glass at the Cedi bead factory in Ghana. Amazingly sweet tokens to remember these friends by when I go home, as well as some great cards and yummy smelling body wash!!:) Thankful they remembered I'm leaving soon and can't acquire new things that are bulky:)

One of the gifts- the one I saved for last, was from one of my families... as I opened the gift bag, I found a box... they know I like to actually unwrap things... a lot:) At Christmas, they gave me an awesome gift of a necklace and a little purse in a after dinner mint box and when I opened it was like 'OH GREAT.. THANKS FOR CHOCOLATE' but said... 'um... open it...' So I already knew the box would probably be a fluke... and it was a preparation H box.... I DIED laughing, but 1/2 the room... well 3/4 of the room had no idea what it was...  I did though and just lost it- it was so funny... I'm 1/4 century now... I might need it..;) Nah- but it was filled with the most beautiful earrings and a necklace made by an incredible crew member!!:) Then my friends had to educate the room on what it's used for....well... generally;) They said to look it up later if they didn't know, just not on Google images;) Hahahaha. I loved this... especially as my friends who are 17 years older than me were calling me old;)

For those in the 'know' the nun-school thing ended up not being a huge deal... at the party the kids brought it up and rubbed it in and one of my best friends brought a movie about Mother Theresa(totally forgetting her girls had this pact to put me in a nunnery if I was 25 and still single).....but... it was cute and left it at that:) Thankful they dropped it... I AM thankful to be single at the moment though... I can't imagine being married right now with all of the growing I'm doing..;)

When it came time for a movie- I knew just the movie to pick..... A Little Princess. I love that story, and I was missing my Daddy... and for some reason that movie makes me think of him.... some of the people groaned, but I said 'LOOK, it's my birthday.... suck it up...' and they loved it. Right before we started, I realized something....I hadn't had CHOCOLATE that day...I looked at my friends and said 'I NEED DARK CHOCOLATE.. NOW.... BEFORE MIDNIGHT!!!':) My faithful dark chocolate-holic friend who I gave my chocolate to for Lent gave me some of my chocolate back, which I was amazed she sacrificed;)

The night ended with some tears, as I missed home and was scared of some of the changes to come in the near future, but I felt very loved and humbled by the day my friends had so sweetly put together for me. THANKS GUYS- I need to always remember how God has blessed me.... with FRIENDS... incredible people and just the right mix of what I need for exactly this time in life