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.