Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brothers don't shake hands, brothers hug!

Four weeks ago at this time I was in Miami awaiting a flight to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. I was boarding a plane with a group of friends not really sure what I was about to get myself into. Having been on several international missions trips I have learned that no matter how much research I do, I'm never fully prepared. I was going as ready as I could be without having ever been to Haiti.

I blogged about what I could each day, but there is still so much that's not been told. There are memories that are seared into my heart. There are moments that I will cherish dearly. I've been back three weeks and I'm still not sure if I can ever go back to the way I was before. I'm really don't even know how to do life "normally" anymore. I think about leaving every day. Haiti, Uganda, Argentina, Paraguay...it doesn't even matter where. I could just go.

I've written this next paragraph and then deleted it three times. Maybe that's a sign that it's better left unsaid for now. So, I'll move on.

I've always tried to be an open book (ironic after the paragraph above?). And I don't do surface well...not with anyone, but especially not with friends. In fact, yesterday after being introduced to a newer friend of mine's former roommate I asked her for her life story. In the middle of Franklin Mercantile while listening to my friend Garrett Miller play live with Lexi Adams in the background I just started with the deep questions. I'm not trying to pry...I'm curious. I love people and want to hear their story. Everyone has something to offer. This person happens to be a gem and I'm super grateful to hear her story...it was a beautiful display of God's redemption!

The past year has been an incredible journey....some of the greatest moments in my life and some of the most heart wrenching moments of my life. In the process of this journey I have learned a lot about friendship, what I think it is and what many others think it is. I definitely realized that not everyone sees it as I do...not saying I'm right or know how to be an amazing friend...just saying that we all see it differently. We all place a different value on certain relationships.

I've seen the spectrum of friendship over the past year. I'm thankful that I have though...even when it was the opposite of healthy...because it has really helped me to know the type of friend I want to be. It also makes me appreciate the healthy friendships in my life.

So in honor of Friends Day...which in Argentina is celebrated on the 19th of July and elsewhere in South America on July 30th...I say thank you to all of my friends. I honor each of you for who you are in my life. Thank you for supporting me and loving me regardless of agreeing with me at times. Thank you for just being there when I needed it. Thank you for stopping what you're doing to listen. Thank you for being you. Thank you for protecting my heart. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for holding me accountable. Thank you for laughing with and at me. Thank you for never giving up. Thanks for doing life with me. Thank you for loving me well. I'm sorry for not telling you I love you enough...sometimes there's not enough words to express it.

I also take a moment to remember those friends that have gone before me. I miss you and have not forgotten. I still feel loved by you. Thanks for teaching me what it looks like to be a friend. 

 xoxo.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gold Star

So...who out there participated in the Book It! program in school (for those who answered out loud or raised your hand you know I can't hear or see you right?)? I didn't realize that the program is still around! Wow! Yeah, I wasn't the best at reading when I was eligible for the program either....even with the prized Pizza Hut voucher (we didn't even have a Pizza Hut in the small town I grew up in but there was one next to the Sizzler's that we frequented on Sundays that was half way between the 30 miles that separated home and church). It's not that I don't enjoy reading and learning from what I read....it's that I'm trying to overcome the issue of feeling the need to multi-task at all times. I'm working on it...I promise. Some books make it really hard to keep me intrigued and others make it hard to put the book down. 

I just finished reading a book. Wait, it gets better. I finished it in less than a week. And, yes, it had more than 10 pages in it...240+ actually and no it did not have pictures in it. I hear the gasps right now. It's true. It happened. Mark this down as an achievement...and feel free to reward me with gifts for my good behavior. I purchased the book because 1.) I recently became acquainted with the author (this is not name dropping, but when he makes it big, and he will, then it's totally going to be a reminder to you I knew him when) and 2.) I was curious.

The book is called The Polar Bear and is written by Will Montgomery.  

Reason one for purchasing the book is self-explanatory, right? Good. Moving along. Reason two...curiosity. Why so curious? His description of the book for starters. 

     "Look, I'm not going to waste my time and yours (more importantly) writing a 
     summary of a book that you probably won't read anyway. I could fill up this space with
     attention-grabbing catchphrases and Christian cliches, but the entire point of this book 
     is the opposite of that. So if that's what you're looking for, then keep looking. But if 
     you're searching for a book that makes you laugh, makes you think, makes you angry, 
     and makes you re-examine your walk with Christ, then plunk down the money already 
     and let's get it started. 'The Polar Bear' awaits and I promise you won't regret it."

Yep. You know you want to read it now too, don't you? And seriously...it's called The Polar Bear, but is not a fiction book...so...yeah, it piques ones interest (well, it did mine at least). 

Thankfully (and probably obvious by now) it was one of those books that was hard to put down...BUT...after each chapter I felt the need to put it down on purpose. Why, you ask? Well, first thanks for asking. Let me tell you why. Each chapter is brimming with perspective on a specific topic like Culture, Speech, Truth, Sin, Prayer to name a few. I'm not going to delve into any of the topics. I'll let you read it for yourself (because you all are so impressed that I read it in 5 days I know that it's causing you to purchase it now), but I will encourage you to take your time really mulling over each chapter. They are the very core values in which we make every decision based on and should be processed with diligence and with an open heart and mind. I'm not saying you will agree with it all, but it does offer a perspective that makes you think.

The style of writing also makes it a super easy read. And by easy, I don't mean that the content is lacking depth or weight in any way, shape or form. What I do mean is that rather than it feeling as if it's a dissertation that proves research matter-of-factly (yep, that's most definitely a real word...I'm not an author...so I looked it up to make sure...ha!), instead it reads as a heart that has searched for answers sharing with you it's findings in what feels like a dialogue. It's like a conversation with a good friend. If you're at all skeptical take some time to read through the author's blog on his website...www.WriterWill.com. If not, buy the book, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy. After you read the book, I'd love to hear your opinion (and since only 3 people read this blog...I might even offer to discuss it over some Starbucks or Maté...sorry, Ruth, you'll have to come here for that). 

Now would probably be the appropriate time to ask for your book recommendations, but who am I kidding. I've got a stack I haven't started yet. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.