Saturday, December 31, 2011

I’m a Finisher, Even if on African Time

This year is not going out with a bang nor is the New Year coming in with one. I have a few resolutions, though. The first of which is to finish last year’s read through the Bible plan. It was an inspired decision. If my friend Molly with a small bunch of small children could do it, so could I! In January of this year she posted about getting more into her Bible. The reading plan for Shirkers and Slackers sounded oddly encouraging. I was more than half way through the year before I figured out it wasn’t a read through the Bible in a year plan. But I had made some adjustments so I could get through it in a year.

Then moving back from Africa happened. Actually I managed to keep up with it until Afrizo happened. Lots of things came to a halt while I toured the US with them. I did read my Bible during those three months, but sticking to the plan proved too challenging. I’m now quite a bit behind, but since it isn’t designed to finish in a year anyway, there’s grace. I am determined!

Other resolutions: exercising more, learning to quilt, getting a job, and figuring out what to do with my life from here.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Up in the Attic

Yesterday I had a moment where I was in a state of extreme dislike of my current circumstances for one reason and one reason only. I could not put my hands on my overseas cell phone. (I had offered to loan it to a friend for a trip they were going on to England and Scotland.) I was pretty sure it was in the attic of my house. I had seen it among my things when I got back from traveling with Afrizo this fall and I don’t need it in the US so I was pretty sure I had stashed it there and not with me.

But I searched my increasingly disarrayed attic in vain. I decided it must be at home. So I went back to my small well organized room and searched every possible drawer, basket, box and bin. Nope. I dashed off to meet an acquaintance for coffee as planned, so upset with myself for not being able to find it. I fixed that I would pop back in at the attic for one last look before going over to pick up the traveling family to take them to the airport.

Eureka! I found it in a few moments. One box, unmarked and therefore earlier overlooked was where it was. I was glad to get it in time, but it wasn’t going to them charged up. Never mind. They were grateful and said they’d charge it in the airport on the way.

The experience speaks to my constant state of flux and how disdainful it is to me. I haven’t lived in my house for over 4 years. I used to have the attic so organized that I could picture the whereabouts of anything I needed. But it’s been stirred a bit recently due to a leaky roof and some items arriving there while I was away.

So today I spent about 3 hours putting it all to rights. It’s straightened, things are tucked back away and I created a little elbow room by filling a trunk or box that were emptied. I again have a picture in my mind of where items I might need are. I feel so much better now. Let’s see if that amount of organization has a lasting effect on my general state of flux.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from me...

Every year, growing up, my mom would create a piece of artwork for our family Christmas card. She inspires me even though she’s been gone for six Christmases now. This is my attempt at a rendering of an early 17th Century Ethiopian icon of Mary and Jesus. I hope that your season’s celebrations are filled with the awe of the coming of the Savior and all that he brings to the redemption and meaning of our lives.

As you know I spent the last three months on Afrizo tour. It went well and the team returned safely to Kenya. We all agreed it was a successful trip and we grew from the experience. The tour raised about $250,000 for scholarships for Daystar University. My work with Daystar US is nearly finished, though I’m still receiving support through Daystar.

During this time of transition I am now seeking God for what He has next for me. There are several possibilities before me – I could go back to school, back to a different African country, or go elsewhere in the world. Recently I enquired about joining a short term team to Ethiopia this spring. This will be a good step toward investigating something tangible. All these options sound intriguing and are of interest, but I really need to see God’s clear hand in directing me for the next step, so I would appreciate your prayers for the future.

I’m still reachable by phone at 612-462-2077 (text or voice), my email remains the same; and my snail mail goes to my house 2514 12th Ave. S., Mpls, MN 55404 even though I’m not staying there at the moment. (Let me know if you’re mailing something urgent.)

I’d love to see folks over the next few months, so please contact me so we can get together if you are in the Twin Cities.

May you see evidence of Immanuel (God with us) this season, Jan

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Driving the US

One thing I thought a lot about near the end of the trip around the US was how different Americas are depending on their region. It shows up in all different ways. And I’m sure I’m not an expert in this. I would have had to spend more concentrated energy on Specific observations if I were to make a more accurate analysis of the whole topic.

One area that leaps to mind if how people drive and car culture in general. In Minnesota we are somewhat polite – at least in certain ways. We are pretty mindful of cars merging and will slow down main highway traffic trying to let someone in. It’s not like that on the east coast or just about anywhere else. We did a concert in Pontiac, Michigan. Just the name tells you cars are important there. I think someone told us that a lot of people are car owners, like more cars per capita than other places in the US. I should check that out.

We did learn about making left turns there. Most roads of any size require you to go straight through the intersection you want to go left at and then do a U-turn so you can make a right at the intersection. Crazy, huh? It’s called a Michigan left and it’s considered safer than a normal left turn.

New Yorkers, of course are often carless. At least those in Manhattan. Most of the team stayed in the City proper and therefore with families that don’t own vehicles. I stayed in Queens with a friend I hadn’t seen in years so we had a place to part the van and trailer. Not sure what we would have done without here.

Now don’t get me going about LA. The 4 or 5 or 6 lane freeways weren’t as overwhelming as we thought they’d be, maybe because we were so used to all the freeway driving. But also because we didn’t tackle them during rush hour.

I recently watched the movie LA Story, Steve Martin visits a neighbor two doors down and has to drive there. That kind of driving culture might be true, but I can’t say I saw it firsthand. I did stay 4 streets over from where the group met and I walked it several times. I noted the only others on foot were walking their dogs.

I will think up more, but this entry got long so I’ll stop there.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Well Maybe…Not So Much

I thought I was adjusting to life back in Minnesota so well. Then it snowed! While I still think I’m not complaining too much, I was not prepared! Yesterday I finally dug out my winter coat and snow boots from the attic of my house (that I’m not living in).

Honestly though, I forgot about super dry skin that makes you cold. I forgot how serious static hair is in winter. And I really haven’t figured out shoes yet. I did put away all my open-toed shoes, but I still haven’t worked out the best options for what to wear now.

Living out of a suitcase for an extended period of time makes it easier to make do with a small variety of clothing. When I got my sweaters out of the attic I realized that I have way more sweaters than I should or anyone person should have. I think I counted 4 red ones and I hardly ever wear red! (At least one has to go.)

I still need to work on the car being ready for winter. I need to find my jumper cable kit, top up the wiper fluid and get a scraper/brush. Come to think of it – I was using an old broom for a snow brush last time I had a car in winter.

All of this winter shock makes me think that maybe deep down I am a bit Kenyan. Of course I miss my Kenyan friends. There are aspects of Kenyan culture that seem to be inside me. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the climate! National Geographic once called it “the ultimate climate in the world.” But for now I’m doing my best to adjust and enjoy.