Tuesday, 15 April 2014

My crazies.


Today I taught our phase 2 clients about the "BUDD concept" of recovery..."building up to drink or drug". Part of this concept explains that we must have at least one person in our lives whom we trust emphatically, someone who we know will never come at us out of spite or jealousy or ill will. This person is then given permission to warn us when we are "BUDD-Ing", aka heading toward a relapse. 
BUDD has symptoms that must be present over the course of weeks, as we believe relapse is not an event but a process. We want our clients to understand that they cannot stand still and expect to remain clean and sober. Any rest they take must be IN CHRIST, who is the source of life and growth. Christ enables us to humbly hear when we are behaving in dangerous ways we can't recognize on our own. Oh, how humility truly is the key to so many of life's lessons! And yet so painful at times.

All of this teaching left me grateful. You see, the majority of our clients do not have many options of trustworthy people, let alone even one.  My mind drifted back to the various dramas of just this morning: watching mother and son, both seemingly schizophrenic, come in to explain to us the confusion and chaos in their minds resulting from mental illness and drug addiction, or the young man who couldn't accept he had told us a lie and instead faked a total mental breakdown and convulsion.  It's been one of those days! And yet, in the midst of such a chaotic day, I could find thankfulness oozing out of my being for the people I love and trust in my life.  I am so blessed to not have to think to hard for an example of a friend I can rely on to warn me when they see me in personal danger.
I heard a guy once say "true friend when tell you when you are full of crap".  That's what this BUDD idea is all about.  So anti the "independent self" idea valued in the world. The BUDD concept teaches interdependence. 

I'm thankful for the blessed life God has given me. The older I get, the more grateful I become.

Monday, 07 April 2014

Table tennis!

Someone gave us a mini-table-tennis game set the other day as a belated wedding gift. What an awesome gift this is for us! We converted our stove and kitchen counter top into the tennis court. Simon beat everyone, but we had fun nonetheless.

These guys are like two peas in a pod. Makes my heart smile big time!

Wednesday, 07 April 2010

oops! that last post was supposed to include my new blog address. somehow that didn't happen.

so, here it is:

see you!

Monday, 29 March 2010

it's a new day.

Monday, 09 November 2009

colorado connections.

so i've been in colorado just short of one week now. i've met so many new, fun people and i've been able to reconnect with some old friends. and it just makes me think about how great it is when you can see someone again, after such a long period of time, and still remember why you were friends. i think it's a miracle when two people can reconnect in a new time and place, and maybe even environment, and still find things to enjoy in one another.

i'm glad that i am comfortable reconnecting. i am glad i'm not too shy or nervous to do that. cause i know how much it makes my heart happy to see an old friend again.

just another thing in my life these days reminding me to not give up in life. we are here, connected to one another, for a reason. and although i'm in a very tired, weary place in my life, i have found such refreshment and joy in these colorado connections. thank you, god and pamela, for bringing me out here!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


i've said this before.
and i will most likely say it again, cause my follow-through isn't the greatest


i officially quit this non-blogging season of my life. boo on you satan for stealing my joy and making me a thoughtless, wordless, emotional alien. i hate you and want to smear smelly stuff all over your face.

so. i need a camera cause pictures tell stories. until then, my words will have to suffice.

i used to have alot of blog followers. now i think i have one. a shout out to stacie--love ya girl.
maybe in time, people will come back. shoeless joe jackson did. and lots of other dead baseball players, cause you know what they say: "If you build, he will come." lets hope "he", in this scenario, actually means "they". otherwise, i'd only have 2 readers. and that's just really depressing.

yay for a new day!

Monday, 19 October 2009

quotes from an old daily planner:

"the man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life" -muhammad ali

"failure is an event, never a person." -william brown

"be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment." -iara gassen

"keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs." -h. stein

"fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence." -will henry

"there is more than one way to look at a problem, and they may all be right." -norman schwarzkopf

"i am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. excellence, i can reach for; perfection is God's business." -michael j fox

"never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people." -barbara bush

"it's not enough we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required." -sir winston churchill

"we must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." -martin luther king, jr

"new years day is every man's birthday." -charles lamb

"it is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." -jk rowling

Friday, 04 September 2009

anger is scary.

the story i am about to tell happened last week, but it has stuck in my mind. i thought about blogging about it many times, but it just didn't happen.
last week i took lucy to a park on main road in salt river. there were 3 other people there lounging around, so i just sat under the shade of a tree (one of those tied to the ground with ropes...so the cape town wind doesn't scoop it up and drop it in new zealand). lucy ran around, pooped, tried to escape through a small hole in the fence, annoyed the people lying in the grass...her usual routine. as i sat there, i decided to turn my back to main road in order to get my mind off of the busyness of the world around me and just try to relax for a moment.
bad idea!!! moments after i turned around, i hear a huge CRASHBAMBOOMTHUDSMASH sound...for those of you who don't know that word, it's the forensic term for "traffic accident". now, i LOVE excitement. and once i turned around and saw that no one was injured, i was kicking myself for missing out on the event. but no worries, the drama only unfolded after the crash. and this is where my mind has been stuck.

so, best i can tell, what happened was that a golden arrow bus (a huge public transportation bus that runs through the city--for those not in SA) smashed into the back of a taxi (like a mini-van, again for those of you not in SA). remnants of the taxi window lay on the ground. people were pouring out of the taxi, and the two girls who sat in the back screamed and held each other tightly in fear.
and this taxi driver was MAD. he came flying out of the taxi, screaming, shoving his way through the already forming crowd, trying to get to the front of the bus...which had kept moving forward after knocking the taxi and was pulled over on the side of the road a few feet in front of the taxi.

this man was soo angry. i have never seen someone so mad. his skin is brown but his face was flaming pink through his natural skin color. his fists were clenched. he could not stop swearing and screaming at this bus driver, who had nervously descended from the bus and was now backed up against the side of the bus in fear. he was frantically dialing numbers on his phone but having no luck reaching anyone. meanwhile this taxi dude is just letting loose on this guy. he couldnt calm down. not lying, for 20 minutes it didn't stop. i sat there getting more and more upset by the whole thing. it was disturbing.
just when it all quieted a bit, some random dude shows up on the scene...i don't know if he was in the bus or taxi, or if he just decided to get involved. but he starts swearing and screaming at the bus driver, which only gets the taxi dude worked up again. next thing i know i hear the smashing of a glass bottle against the pavement and the two angry dudes are now chasing the bus driver down main road in 5:00 traffic, thrusting the pointed glass bottle at him like a knife. the poor guy literally ran through the cars trying to get away from the two madmen.

only after that did the police show up (at least 30 minutes later...and they are like a 5 minute walk down the street). the bus driver is gone. the crazy glass bottle man is gone. the taxi and bus riders are gone. all that is left is an empty bus, a smashed up taxi, and a still-raving taxi driver who hadn't eaten all day i'm assuming (he is muslim and ramadan had started the day before). his anger at the situation made total sense...i mean, this taxi is his livelihood. he spends all day driving people up and down the city as his way of supporting himself and/or his family. having a smashed up taxi is going to put him out of work for a while, until he can afford to get the window fixed, cause it's highly unlikely "insurance" will pay for it.

BUT, the way he allowed his anger to take control scared me. far too many times in my life, i can look back and see how powerfully anger has controlled my behavior, and how it didn't feel like a decision at the time...it felt like i HAD to be angry...that anger was the only option at that moment. and that it wasn't even anger...it was justified emotion that i was now forced to operate out of. whoa, you might be saying. that is hectic ashley. didn't you learn better? well, maybe i did and i have forgotten. but this blog is not meant to be about my faults, or this man's faults, or the faults of anyone who looses it when they are mad.
what i am saying is that anger is destructive. devastating. wild and carnal. it makes animals out of men. it's scary. and responsible for so much damage in this world.

this image has served as a strong visual for me when i start to feel any little drop of anger rise up. cause i don't want to act like that man did. i don't want to feel what i saw him feeling. i don't want to cause fear in anyone like he did to that bus driver. i don't want anyone else's bits of anger to rage up at the moment they see mine...i just don't want it.

so, anger is scary. that's all i'm saying.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

the purple telescope.

Lately I have been unintentionally reading and coming across a number of books, articles, conversations, and moments of realization about mankind’s innate selfishness. Within all of us, from animals to humans, is an engrained, self-preservation response. In animals it is carnal, bloody, and raw. In humans the response is a bit more subtle. It comes out in those of us who are heartbroken, wounded, angry, abused, wronged. It often shows itself interpersonally…working its way into conversations and interactions with others. On the job, at home, with our friends and family: we spend a lot of our energy protecting ourselves, defending our motives and actions, rationalizing our wrongs, even putting the blame on someone besides ourselves. We are not hateful people, but some of us have more discipline over these responses than others. Yet all of us, at some time or another, react rather than respond.

Over the past few years I limped through a very vivid and painful season with this self-preservative theme. Life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right? Well, for me lately, I have taken those lemons and squeezed them onto cuts, scrapes, nails bitten too close to the skin, any open wound I discover. I am not a hateful person, but my instinct for survival has dominated this awkward and dark season of my life. In return, I have turned my own focus inwards, like a scientist reversing his telescope or his binoculars or his microscope away from his subject and onto himself. I have often seemed to step out of the loving, tender, joyful person who, on most days, I know myself to be. I stood at a distance looking through the telescope at the cancers within me, causing me to loose control of myself and eating away at my desire to look outward rather than inward.

Over this past weekend, Penny and I were cleaning out the trunk of my car (where half of her belongings have sat for almost nine months). We found all sorts of girly treasures: fun hair clips, stickers, love notes, and beads. Another thing we found was rolled up sheet of the material that table confetti is made of…you know those little ducks and birthday cakes and bells people toss on their party tables to add a little color and fun to their decorations. So, we found this and Penny gave it to me to use as a decoration at my upcoming birthday party. I tucked it into an open compartment of my car so I wouldn’t forget to use it.

This morning Ryan and I were riding to Cape Town together, and we started playing with the purple roll of fun. Since it is taped together on the outside of the roll, you can push the tightly rolled inside part out and it becomes a pointed, funnel-shaped thing--something you can push in and out like a toy sword. We went back and forth making props out of it: a light saber, a sword, a dunce hat, and eventually a telescope. I pushed out the center and held it up to my eye saying, “there’s the milky way!!” Ryan responded, “Well, it must be like a trillion miles away cause you have the telescope turned wrong.” I was holding it the wrong way, with the large part to my eye and the small part pointed to the sky. I tried again, only to do the same thing over ( for some reason this self-preservative season has been coupled with a very unfortunate season of forgetting things almost moments after I am told them☹ ).

We laughed and I tried a third time, this time getting it right! Soon after that, we laid the toy down and talked about something else (something more mature I am sure). But the last part of the game stayed in my mind. Three times I tried to make a telescope, and twice I instinctually looked inward. I stepped out of myself and stood on the outside looking in, as opposed to the other way around. It struck me that this mistake represents the season I am experiencing: attempting to be fun and light again, but still fighting through that innate, selfish behavior. It was only the third time, after being told twice of my mistake, did I get it right and actually look out to the world around me, magnifying it rather than minimizing it.
I don’t know about you, if you feel this or have ever felt it before. It just reminds me of my need to be very, very intentional about where i choose to set my focus in life, as well as a constant awareness of how my instincts keep me locked into behaviors I’d much prefer to break free from. Perhaps most of all, a willingness to lay down my own pride when I make this instinctive response and realize how it might affect others. As long as I keep my telescope pointed inward, I loose sight of the needs and opportunities that are around me. I continue to step out of myself in order to see, leaving it to operate out of it’s animal-like behavior--untamed by the sense, reason, and self-control that being a human offers me. And sadly, I miss the chance to care for others, be tender and gentle, be the person I want to be in this world.
I suppose I still spend time floating with the planets and galaxies in a world where I have no control. It is only when I turn the telescope around that I get the chance to put my feet to the ground and walk in the direction of love and compassion—the very things I have known myself to possess.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

heartline series.

here to learn more about this 6-week initiative to promote acts of kindness in south africa.

Random acts of kindness

Get to know one neighbour you don’t
Give a food parcel to a Homeless Talk seller
If it’s raining, share your umbrella with someone
Carry shopping parcels for an older person to their car
Double your tip for the petrol attendant
Clear your cupboards and give old clothes to a charity or needy person
Write a thank you letter to your parents, grandparents or children>
Give a special gift to a special person even if it is not a special occasion
Give unused books to someone who needs them>
Give food parcels to orphan-households
Cook a meal for a neighbour
Keep soup packets and oranges in your car to give to beggars
Clean up the area outside your neighbour’s house
Volunteer to read to children at the local hospital
When you’re in need, allow others to help you
Visit an elderly person and offer to do a chore for them
Play ball with a child
Pay someone’s taxi fare
Offer to wash someone’s car
Thank people with a smile and wave who let you into traffic
Make a list with your neighbours of everyone’s email/cell numbers
Set up window boxes at work and plant herbs, flowers & vegetables
Take a plate of home-cooked food to your local police station
Buy a car guard a take-away meal
Invite a foreign family to your home for a meal
Smile at everyone you meet today
Offer to look after the child of a single parent for a day
Ask a homeless person their name
Offer to cut your neighbour’s grass/clean their pool
Speak to one person standing in a queue with you
Make contact with friends you have not spoken to for some time
Offer to make coffee/tea for people at work
Leave a note of encouragement on the desk of someone you work with
Buy someone milk and bread
Let someone take your parking space

hi everyone...

long story behind this email, but if you have read my past newsletters then you know the story of penny. she was removed from capricorn 2 years ago. since then she's gone through hell and back, and been tossed around from foster home to foster home.
this past sunday it was announced that she is now being sent to an orphanage unless someone decides to take her. there are a few families offering to adopt her but are still praying through that decision. she's really scared and not sure what to make of all this rejection, when all she longs for is a family to love her. but she's got her walls up so she needs intense prayer.

ryan and i have decided to be the stand-in placement for her until the social worker finds someone to adopt her. please pray for this and for us to have wisdom to support her, speak love and hope over her, and bring her to a place of hope again.

thanks, we love you!

Monday, 16 February 2009

are dogs racist? is that the question?

In the "Racist Dawg" episode of "King of the Hill," Hank Hill's dog senses Hank's resentment of having to turn over repairs in his home to a professional, voiced by Bernie Mac, and the dog's hostile reaction is mistaken for racism.

*On an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Larry David and his wife, who are white, purchased a dog. All seemed well until their friend Wanda Sykes came over for a visit. Upon seeing her, the dog went insane, barking wildly at Sykes and trying to bite her. Sykes, who is African American, said the dog is racist and leaves.

These snip-its from the funny world of TV come across as comedy. But for some, this idea is no joke. Type "racist dogs" into Google and what pops up is a whole world of chat rooms arguing about the question: Can dogs be racist?

My interest in racist dogs began yesterday. I was at the craft market in Hout Bay (a bit southish of cape town). Best i could tell, all the buyers were white, while almost all the sellers were not. I was lazily staring at a glass case of silver jewlery (wondering what this had to do with a local craft market...) when a group of 4 small xhosa boys walked past. They had asked me for spare change a moment earlier, but were standing outside the invisible territory line of the market. As they dared to come past it, a rather large white south african shouted to them "WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" while throwing his arms around like a monkey caught in a tornado.
The boys carried on, and moments later a really ugly dog hooked to a leash held by another white south african man stared FREAKING out when the boys walked by. I mean he was literally tearing the leash off. The owner eventually grabbed the dog by the neck and held it between his legs (the man's) while it writhed around in a strangely provoked bought of fury. I wondered, what did that man do to his dog to make it so mad? So I decided to ask ryan. Here is our conversation:

A: What the freak is wrong with that dog?
R: He's barking at those boys. (while pointing to the group of 4 boys)
A: Are you serious?
R: Yeah. It's very common for white south africans to train their dogs to bark at black people, especially those who grew up during apartheid.
A: No...Are you serious? What the #*ll?
R: Yeah it's true.

It was so casual, and yet it made absolute sense (not the racist dog part, the apartheid part). This is not to come across as reverse racism, this is the truth of things. "The truth is still to be challenged by all who seek justice" (Vusi Mahlasela, South African singer). This phenomen dates back to the time when South Africa was known for it's extremely segregated society and it's domination by really mean white people from everywhere but Africa. Anyone who wasn't white, especially black South Africans, was a threat. The white community thrived on fear (which usually starts when people believe lies--that was part of something i read this morning) of the other races around them. So they set up every possible structure to protect themselves. Walls around their houses, with shard of glass or barbed wire secured to the top of the walls. Areas far away where the "blacks" could live without being a threat to their protected life (while at the same time paying these people to clean their houses, tend to their gardens, take care of their children). Legislation that kept them in power, but also showed the depth of their greed, fear, and perhaps, insanity.
And another way of guarding themselves was by training their dogs to bark at black people. There were/are dog schools that specialize in this. Although that is claimed to be in the past, the racist language dribbles out of some people still because they honestly don't see it as racist. it's what they have always been told.

Our car ride home was spent talking about this further. At that time i said I was going to blog about this.

But before i could blog, today happened. And today just totally confirmed the truth of what I said above. I wish it hadn't but it did.
So I took lucy to the new Living Way campus to play because she has lots of friends there. When i came back from work to fetch her, i couldn't believe what i heard. A young man, who happens to be black, asked if he could walk Lucy for a while. Everyone said sure, so off they went on a pleasant little stroll. Not out to harm anyone. Just doing what people and dogs do. When out of nowhere this older white lady appeared and began saying to the man "Where did you get this dog? Your people cannot afford dogs like this? Where are you going with her? How much can i buy her for, because i know you are going to go sell her? Who did you steal this dog from?"

I'm not exaggerating one iota.

So, the young man in all fairness gets quite pissed at the lady and quips back a few one-liners. They end up getting in a really bad arguement, all because this lady's racists mindset still exists, and she still feels it's her right to vocalize it (when she is a stone's throw from one of the largest black townships in the southern peninsula--meaning technically she was in his neck of the woods more than her own).

This mean hateful lady then decides to call the TEARS animal rescue service down the road.
They in turn call the freakin' police, who have WAY better things to be doing with their time i might add. Everyone descends onto the scene wearing their authority on their chest, attacking my friend. TEARS said "this dog is neglected. it hasn't eaten in a long time. it is sick and bony." The police questioned the guy all over again, this time whipping out their badges, gun holsters, and blue flashing lights for effect.

Eventually they let my friend and Lucy go. I keep trying to put myself in his shoes. How would i respond? He has let it go, let it roll off his back. Neither he and i, though both ashamed of this behavior, are at all surpised. And that is so sad to me. On so many levels. That a man cannot take a dog for a walk. That a lady can degrade a man for absoultely NO GOOD REASON rather than respect him. That a group in authority can use fear to get their way. That a man walks away feeling defeated, on a personal and a societal level. All he wanted to do was take Lucy for a walk.

I'm trying real hard not to .judge and hate these people who feel like an enemy . Cause i am sure, in my own way, i offend people and God all the time. There is no special preferences for sin. It's all one in the same. But surely God's heart is hurting, and his vengeance is growing. I wait for the day when he wipes all the tears away (including the one who rescues animals and calls them malnourished!) and restores his dignity to those he has created in his image. and reprimands us all for trying to steal or tarnish that in one another

Friday, 13 February 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

our purpose comes with laser beams attached.

i love exploring. i really do.
sometimes, my love of exploring collided with my love of books. used bookstores where you find a treasure from time to time(i once found a really old copy of 'the prophet' by khalil gibran in a dumpy bookstore in hermanus. another time i found the new english version of the bible--my favorite--with the apocrypha in a thrift store in franklin). cheap book sales at exclusive books. yard sales where people sometimes throw away gems of reading material.
so i confess that there is this secret room i have access to that has piles of books, the content of which changes from time to time. most are dusty christian love novels, not my cup of tea by the way. there are sometimes cool children's books. but the other day i scored, well...in my opinion it was like making a 57 yard field goal (my friend kevin did that in high school).

line by line it shows the greek writing and the literal translation into english. it's really fun'
so i borrowed it, with permission of the cleaning lady :)

i started at page 1 = matthew chapter 1. the genealogy of jesus, lots of names, etc. then the story of mary and joseph, etc. stuff we have read to us since we are like negative years old. but these familiar verses, through the magic of the interlinear bible (i don't mean harry potter, just like magic in the sense of like peter pan and mary poppins stuff, and on a larger scale, GOD--ta da!!!!)
so i'm gonna tell you what it made me think (you can read the text yourself if you want. i know for me, i often skip over bible verses people put in emails and on blogs and stuff.)
matthew 1:18-25.
it speaks about joseph and his journey to understand his plight with a pregnant fiance. maybe he had dreams of the "firsts" they would share together as a married couple: honeymoon night, first house together, the birth of their first child, etc. suddenly his dreams, his pride and dignity are threatened. his first instinct is to "secretely put her away" (v.19). then god intercedes on behalf of his child joseph's pain just in time to save his divine plan.
god explained the greatness of his plan and joseph's integral role in it. the first thing god does is meet joseph at his fear : that she is not a virgin. the holy spirit clears that up, which opens joseph's mind to the beauty and amazingness of the task god has given to him and the woman he loves.
and in all god's tender mercy, he gives joseph the task of naming the baby. he now has a very specific place that includes him in the intimate wonder of the birth process. "and he took to him his wife...and he called (the baby) jesus" (v.24/25).

and then there was mary...
a young girl given an enormous task. to bear the child of god. confused by the miracle of immaculate conception in her virgin body. scared by the presence of the angel of god. we are not told anything hinting that mary got regular confirmations throughout her pregnancy. the order was given, mary accepted, (at one point jesus leaps in her womb for joy), and 9 months later her baby arrived.
it is still hard to believe mary didn't have moments, perhaps days upon days of doubt. we don't know that god continually sent signs and affirmations (something i ask for all the time). it was the greatest walk of faith and mary was faithful at the end of it all.

what are the things in my life that i want to hear more about from god? do i believe in the security of blind faith? am i that patient before the lord? i mean, pregnancy is a long road. just the other day, my friend jennifer who is due anyday now, told me "this pregnancy has felt like an eternity". the daily grind of maintaining the duties of life while experiencing the incredible changes in your body and mind as you adapt to this baby growing in your belly. the pains, the exhaustion, the waiting. and then there is the anxiety and anticipation that builds up as the due date draws closer.
and as for joseph...the humility he learned in such a short amount of time. the preparations he tended to, the care he gave to mary. possibly lingering resentments, self-pity, anger. the ridicule and slander from the society around him.

MY POINT IS---it is mary's son (v.25) but joseph's role to name (v. 25). each had a purpose, by god's grace. although they didn't share the sex which creates a baby, god gave them each a role that would bring them together the moment jesus showed his face. two pillars of blind faith joining in parenthood in a shed with farm animals. suddenly celebrities, no humbled by a new truth = that god believed in them and he kept his promises!

this makes me think of high school. how every other person was like "what's the point of life? why am i here?" very common questions for teenagers. and as they search for purpose in cliques, in sports, in academics, in rebellious behavior, in planning for their future, they each will reach the point when those things will not answer their questions of purpose.
but how incredibly great of god to say "hey, here is what i am doing. and here is your part in it. you were made for this moment." when god's acceptance of you and proclaiming of your uniqueness enter's your body, it's like laser beams shoot out of your eyes (not like alien stuff, i mean like twinkling eyes), a smile stretches ear to ear, and your chest expands as you take in the answers your soul has been looking for.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

the rosary of my life.

i have always been a words girl. i enjoy visual ideas but the written and spoken word has always hit my heart the fastest...kinda like when a heroin user decides to inject the poppy-powder-poison into their veins so it hits their blood stream immediately, rather than being a bit patient and just smoking it--sorry i'm a drug counselor. it was the most immediate comparison i could think of!) but, it seems i think more in images than i ever have before. cyclical images visit my mind often these days.

the first cyclical image i had was based on the following experience : i rode on a ferris wheel a few weeks back, and i walked away not with the view FROM the ferris wheel, but the view captured in my mind when i turned around to see it as we walked away. a circle of lights, poles, faces moving slowly around...all played against the shade cast by table mountain at sundown.

the next image was a rosary. my best friend in high school was catholic, kind-of. her mom was deeply spiritual and gave me my own rosary, tibetan wooden beads strung on a earthy-colored string, red i think. this past monday, listening to my African Worldviews lecturer talk about his days as a catholic boy in kwazulu-natal triggered my memory. i started drifting into thoughts of how i used those prayer beads to discipline myself in prayer when i first became a fan of my friend, jesus.

as i sit back and reflect on my life from time to time, i seem to neglect the HUGENESS of this reality = i still keep in touch with nearly every friend i had in myanmar. that was six long years ago that i lived in yangon. that i hung out with buddhist monks. really tall fitness trainers (a weird site in asia, home of the not-so-tall people). impoverished young men asking me to help them get to america every other second, always fueled by their desire to be a trained pastor (based on that old wives tale which has apparently spanned the globe about how you have to go to seminary to be a teacher of the gospel. i always wonder what school jesus graduated from).
now that i am on a time zone that is somewhat similar to my asian friends, i get more chance to keep up with them day to day. some of them have joined gmail chat. others are on facebook. technology has made so much possible.
my friend R said recently in an email "the development of a country is based on the attitude of its people. The attitude of the people is trained under their education and history. the background of education and history is religion." he is a former burmese monk now talking about jesus in churches in indiana.
email has revolutinized religion. daily i chat with my monks about jesus, amongst talk of fleeing myanmar, girls,how fat they think i am now, and when am i gonna have a baby. i just got off a chat with a young pastor who is dating a girl for the first time. he just started his own church in myanmar. i got to encourage him for a moment. my old friend, the tall trainer, he used to have very intersting conversations with me about moses, which made me a bit nervous and also a bit amused. just the other day we chatted about what the past 6 years have done to his buddhist faith.

basically i'm trying to say that everything god gives us has a cycle. we never say goodbye for ever. we have to let go most of the time, b/c god gives us things for seasons. as i write this i'm thinking of heaven and how our whole LIFE isn't about hanging on to anything or anyone. nothing is permanent, and that is true even though we may hate to apply it to the good things in our life.
but wow....3 years ago to the T, i sat in mourning because i knew my clinging to my plan to go to asia, was just that...my plan. it had once been god's...it started with god when i moved there the first time. but i keep clinging. god was asking me to let go now, and i wouldn't. so, three years ago i moved rather unwillingly to south africa and my life has changed forever b/c of that choice. and for a long time i have really struggled silently about how painful it was to let go of asia, and all those friends.

but everything has a cycle. and these relationships are like my own ferris wheel or rosary. they are my moments and my memories strung together on a sandy string. but the knot is not tied. there are still beads to be added.

**i know this post is all over the place, i have to get back into the habit of thinking in a way that makes sense on a blog, much less to my husband :)

i am returning.

hello loyal readers who are very disappointed in my extended silence. but fear not!!! i am now giving you entrance back into my crazy life that seems to have become incresingly boring since the commencement of this b.l.o.g.

despite that fact, i am making 2009 the year of firsts, the year of being true to myself and what i think, and the year of blogging! so, keep posted. and also know that my husband has a slew of blogs for you to visit.