Sunday, December 28, 2008

here we go.

In a few short hours, I'll be Uganda-bound. And sometime Mon. night, I will land and be greeted by my dear friend from college Lillian, who is from northern Uganda. The thing I get asked most frequently is about the length of my flight... about 18 hours, plus time change. But that's never too bad. You get to sleep and there are usually movies. As long as I make my connections, I'm not worried.

Please keep me (and my friends already in UG or who are preparing to leave soon) in your prayers today and the next month. Traveling is always a little scary for me, and travel within Uganda as many people can tell you is definitely lacking some of the safety we're used to in America.

My bags are super heavy for now, surely almost pushing the weight limit. Ugh. I hate that. But in reality, they only contain a few items of clothing, 2 pairs of shoes, and the rest is either for Suubi or for the kids at Amani/Walukuba/Home Again. And film! Ha. I know on the way back I will only have one bag to carry, but I do hate being "that girl" with the heavy luggage until then :)

This is the first time I'm not leaving from Ozark and the first time I dont have my parents to help me pack and see me off. It's a bit lonely. A bit scary. As is the fact that I'm flying over by myself this time. But I realize I'm a big girl now, and I can do this. Riiiiight? Errm, right.

In the meantime, check out the spots I'll be involved with:


Monday, December 22, 2008

tagged, i'm it. (you're next!)

Amy has tagged me, and since I'll admit to doing the occasional survey, I'm going to do this one too. It's not terribly related to my trip, so you can skip this entry if you like! Besides, it makes for a nice packing break.

8 TV Shows I Watch:
1. Lost - more than the show itself, I love watching it with our wonderful Thurs. night crowd!
2. The Office - Jim Halpert... adorable. And I'll watch American or BBC version (recently became addicted to both)
3. Biggest Loser - I get really excited about this one.
4. So You Think You Can Dance (AMERICAN! haha)
5. Jon & Kate Plus 8
6. House
7. America's Next Top Model (oh Nitasha, I miss our viewing nights)
8. Project Runway (this past season was hilarious. I want a Blaine as my friend)

8 Favourite Restaurants: (note there are prolly no fancy restaurants on here because I just haven't been to that many yet!)
1. Ozzie's in Jinja (Amy: I totally agree, especially about the salad dressing!... hey, does Mama Cook count?)
2. Taco Bell
3. Red Lobster
4. Jackson's in Nashville (surprise, surprise)
5. Liquid (sushi restaurant in Mobile with live Jazz trio on wed nights)
6. Fido (another local Nashville spot)
7. Mom/Dad's kitchen - It's not a technical restaurant, but hey. I love some family cookin'.
8. Logan's Roadhouse

8 Things that Happened to me Today:
1. Felt very unprepared for the 10 degree morning as I walked outside...this Alabama girl can't layer too well.
2. I got lots of hugs from patients who I wont see anymore because of my trip
3. A coworker surprised us all with pizza for lunch
4. I got lots of Christmas cards in the mail, and my fave was a pic of my stepsis and two nephews! Adorable.
5. Found out someone very dear to me is pregnant! Don't know if I'm allowed to announce it yet but I am so so so happy for her/them.
6. I am about to wrap Christmas presents and pack up for the drive to Ozark tomorrow.
7. Made a mixed cd for a friend
8. Will be chatting with a cop at 1030 regarding another cop who thought it would be cool to look me up on Facebook using personal info gathered during a roadside assist... yikes.

8 Things I Look Forward to:
1. Birth of above mentioned baby and hopefully traveling to visit in 2009!
2. My next road trip to Mobile to see friends, whenever that will be.
4. Holding Jeremiah. Holding his little hands, walking with him, and hearing that laugh again.
5. Meeting all the new babies, and reuniting with old friends, babies, and mamas.
6. Seeing my horse Honey at home this week and hopefully going riding if the weather permits.
7. Celebrating New Years and my 25th in Uganda! However that will be.
8. Paying off my school loans. Whenever that will be. :)

8 Things I Wish For:
1. To be debt free! And for my parents to be secure, retirement-wise.
2. To be able to go, at some point in my life, for a long term mission to Uganda and short/long term work in other countries, as well as to work as a PT on the Mercy Ship at some point.
3. A local stables where I can bring Honey up to live near me
4. A husband who understands, respects, and encourages the desires of my heart, especially the desire to adopt.
5. The ability to play any musical instrument well by ear or with a little practice.
6. A puppy! But only after Honey moves to Nashville.
7. A lifetime pass to fly anywhere I want for free, first class (okay maybe i've been watching too much Lost)
8. Clear skin so I dont feel like a teenager forever, ha.

Okay. I'm supposed to tag folks but no one's really reading this journal yet, so I will tag Nitasha, Katie D., and possibly Sarah K.!

ps- one week from tonight I will be landing in Entebbe. YAY!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

change of direction.

 Praying tonight that God will ease this struggle in my heart, with anxiety and replace it with gratitude. I'm starting to feel like the time I will have is really not enough; and to feel overscheduled instead of blessed and laid back, which is something that is the true spirit of Uganda that I always feel there... so for now, as much as I can... I'm throwing out the schedule. Day to day, I will let God write my plan with Amani and Suubi, and at the end, hopefully I'll make it to Kaihura for a few days. I have hopes to do a little bit of everything and see a lot of people/things this trip... but really, I'd rather have quality time, quality relationships.  I dont want to be the same uptight, anxious, worried girl that I feel like I'm becoming here. Living in fear amounts to all those things... living in confidence and peace and purpose amounts to so much more.

Alright God.
Rewrite my plans.
Show me something unexpected and unscripted.
It's up to you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Love. Love. Love.

2004 Amani
This makes me smile, so much.
2004. Move in day at Amani.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Passport. Check.

I was so proud of myself for finding my yellow fever immunization card and when i went to place it with my passport, I realized I had a bigger problem. Not there. Now, I've only moved that passport once all year, and that was to get my TN driver's license, but it's amazing the places you'll try and convince yourself you might've placed it when you're getting desperate. 

After 2 hours, a phone call to the parents to scour the hometown homesteads just in case, 4 trips out to my car in the dark to check and recheck, and one mini breakdown of tears and frantic prayer.... I finally found it. In a boutique bag, mixed in with some mail and other items I'd pulled out of a purse when cleaning it out and then shoved in a bag inside another bag and placed in a corner of my room once when I was in a hurry to clean up for company. What. On. Earth. was it doing there? I will never know.

But I am SO grateful. Crisis averted!

Passport and immunizations: check.
Malaria meds: check (pending an expiration date double check).
Tickets: check.

We're getting there, folks.

This is how lame...

I'm not really one for the Christmas spirit right now... but this morning as I was getting ready, this was my mental process:

" Need to go to Fido. Okay. What do I need to get done?
Volunteer app for LGH.
Email Debbie.
Make a list of stuff for the trip that's gotta be done.
Make lots of lists.

(then singing)
Makin' a list...

Checkin' it twice...

Gonna get beans, chapati and rice..."

I guess I'm starting to get a little bit excited. Just a little.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On Losing and Winning, sort of.

I'm sitting here watching the Biggest Loser, and trying to wind down from what's already become a very stressful week at work. It's ironic, because I skipped my own workout tonight which makes me feel lazy. Chubbier. And generally not good about myself. I'm trying to get excited about the holiday season, I really am, but for several reasons I find myself just barely hanging on in the fight against my own personal demons. 

I want to be stronger than this, but I can identify with The Biggest Loser contestants right now: they're trying to hold on with their bare feet and hands, sandwiched between plexiglass sheets above a huge pool. The timer's ticking away, and their feet are getting sweaty and slipping inch by inch gradually despite their best efforts, and one by one they have to bail out and jump in. If I can just hang on, try not to *fall* then I can jump in of my own free will. I want that freedom to just consume me.

I am reminded that I'm not just going to "be on a missions trip" to Uganda. I expect change. I hope for renewal and the ability to rejoice in my circumstance not just in Uganda but once I am back. Things at work will still be stressful, personal relationships may still be strained, but I want Uganda to slap me in the face and tell me to stop complaining because there is a bigger picture. The people of Jinja, Gulu and Kaihura that I have met are inspirational. They have experienced so much and yet do not let it weaken them; instead, they find strength in family and faith. The women I have met there have strength beyond measure. 

Strength. Strength. Strength.

Prayers this week: strength to fight my own emotions and stay focused, for Amani and Amazima to raise their needed funds for property and the upcoming years' costs, and traveling mercies for Travis, David, and Cooper (who left Sunday for Kenya, Tanz., and Ug.), as well as divine appointments to situations in which all of us Americans in Uganda can be of use.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

no news

Um, I am an idiot who got Tuesday confused with Wednesday and missed the date on which to fax my contract by to the travel agency....afldsjk;alf;djk!
Praying this goes through anyways. The agent said it should be okay and theyd call if there was a far no news, which is good news!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

she's mental.

Spent tonight tagging and bagging some items for Global Support's 2nd ave. party tomorrow night. If more people knew about this blog thus far, I'd tell you all to come...but I guess that's moot for now. Regardless, I've spent most of today and this weekend thinking about the trip. As I fell asleep last night I was beginning to dream of something relating to Africa, and still thinking about the aforementioned/blogged situation... and first thing when I woke up I ran into Melissa online.
The dear girl assured me that they'd be saving me a spot in the house come December, and she gave me a little more info as to things that are going on around town. Suubi seems to be growing exponentially... they are working with over a hundred women who are making the necklaces, and no doubt forming lasting relationships there. I believe a couple of the guys are doing weekly meals in a nearby village, and I'm hoping to find out more about that. Maybe my coworkers might be interested in sponsoring one of these meals? I wonder if I'm allowed to ask about this.
The wheels are spinning.
And at times today, I've almost felt sick with it all spinning like this. Tears came to my eyes at church today as the pastor was talking about purpose, and only mentioned the word missionary before my mind was off on its own tangent. I envisioned myself holding Jeremiah, or walking down the street on the way to the babies' home...and here it is November...and I am already feeling the pain of what it will be like to leave another place I long to call home.


Saturday, November 15, 2008


One face I look forward to seeing again, just one of so many.

If I could seek prayer from you guys about something sort of unspoken, I'd love to ask for that now. I realize as I look through a lot of my photos, that there are some memories that are going to be hard for me to deal with as I go back over this year. It pains my heart still, almost a year later, and I am a little afraid of how it will affect me once I'm there. I am just praying that the Lord will mend this wound and allow me to truly move on without all this hurt. And to truly serve with an open, unembittered heart. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

what it's about.

I've been struggling all year with things that are on levels I've never considered before. Thinking about love and relationships, my career, my relationship with God, and more specifically, my purpose regarding how I can serve God here in the states... and how the call to foreign missions is supposed to be incorporated into that.
I came very close to quitting my job before I even started, because upon returning from Uganda last summer I felt like a piece of me was literally ripped out of my chest and kept in the country...and the only way to feel complete was to seek it out again. It's a love and a confidence that fills you that is hard to explain to someone who hasn't been through something similar. Maybe this is what it will feel like one day when I fall in love with my husband; I dont know. But I decided that as hard as it was, I knew God had provided this job for me in Nashville and was calling me to grow in this profession and to be involved with people's lives in this manner as well. I must admit there are times this year that I've let my own selfish desires to be elsewhere prevent me from really allowing myself to grow in my career like I should... because I didn't (and still don't) understand how this all pans out or fits into the grand scheme.
But who says I need to know how things will end? There are a few things I'm certain of, and the rest are blanks that will be revealed to me in due time. I want to be a good PT, well-rounded, and eventually specialize in peds and hippotherapy (therapeutic riding)... but that takes time. I see myself doing that one day when I've got kids of my own. I know that travel and missions work is going to be in there, too... but is that something for me while I'm single? When I'm married? How can I branch out and explore the cultures of other countries while still being so in love with Uganda and east Africa? When do I have time for it all?

Well. That's probably more than most of you wanted to read about the goings-on in my brain. 

I count myself very blessed to be in a career where my bosses are allowing me to take a large, month-long chunk off of work, cutting into their patient-care dynamic, to go back to Uganda. And an even bigger blessing... all but one day is paid time off so I dont have to worry about rent, loan payments, car payments, or bills piling up while I am gone. Maybe it will be a while before I can move to Uganda or wherever God's calling me (Peace Corps? Other ministries?), but I hope that this "little" interlude will be a time for God to renew in me the desires for His Kingdom and view of "love" in the big picture...I pray for divine appointments with new ministries and possibly travel to a surrounding country so I can just soak more of the world and learn and learn and learn.

Is it a self-serving trip? Because I miss Africa? Maybe. Because I feel like if I dont go I'm going to drift so far away that I can't remember the point anymore? Gosh, I hope not. But I know God's doing such great things. And hopefully I can just offer myself as a servant, to get my hands dirty and hopefully make the lives easier for those I'm staying with, to offer any knowledge I can as a PT to orphanages in the area, and to spend the month in complete worship of my king.


Monday, November 10, 2008


An explanation.

Trip 1: email updates.
Trip 2: facebook group updates about our group (Erica, Rebekah, and myself)
Trip 3: getting with the times, and deciding to set up a blog specifically for those who would like to read about how my trip is going this year, friends, family, and coworkers alike. I'm in hopes that this trip will not be the only time I use this blog space... hopefully there will be more trips to follow, as the time is right and as God allows.

I'm hoping to purchase my ticket within the week, and then this will all finally feel "real" again. I don't want to be so comfortable with the trip to Uganda that I forget about the excitement, the nerves, and the extreme blessing of it all. I've been hesitant to talk to many of you about it because I was afraid that I might not be able to take the time off from work, or I might not be able to afford the trip, so I thought I should wait before letting myself jump for joy.