41 days and counting...

In 41 days I will have packed all my stuff here in Arizona, somehow loaded into all into my car (i was not that good at tetris ever), driven back cross country to Nashville, stopping along the way to visit friends and family, deposited my stuff back into storage, repacked everything i need for africa, hopefully sold my car, rented a car, drove back to SC, rested, said a lot of goodbyes, and left the country.....did i mention that's the short version? My to-do list multiplies while i'm not looking at it and I feel as though nothing on it is ever removed! Note: if anyone feels a spirit of volunteerism right now and would just love to be a magical fairy and make all my things disappear off the list while i'm sleeping....i would LOVE you!

So, how am I handling this? hmmm......well, i'm freaking out a little honestly...which is making me pretty unproductive. Yes, I know i've been working on this for two years, and am probably way beyond prepared.....i just keep thinking of tons of things i should do (most which aren't necessary, i'm sure). And if I wasn't stuck out here in the desert (literally) with a few supportive, encouraging friends....I'm pretty sure NONE of this would be getting done right now!

Since i've been making lots of lists lately, here's another one: Things I know I'm going to miss while I'm not in the states (in no particular order):
  • good music (let's clarify: new, good music and artists....wrlt online is going to be my new best friend)

  • sushi....someone needs to figure out how to ship that in a care package....

  • coffee (yes, i know there is coffee in africa....but i like a barista, who knows what i want without me asking for it, to make it for me all while smiling and nice soothing music is being played in the background)

  • yoga (my stress level is down about 10 notches from my tri-weekly dosages...perhaps i should find some toddler yoga videos and instate it as weekly exercise for my tots in the babyhouse-it would at least be entertaining)

  • getting in touch with anyone whenever I want.....oh yeah, i haven't had this happen....ever, so it's prob. not as big of a deal, but i will miss long uninterrupted phone conversations with all my friends (get skype and we will be at least closer to eliminating this one)

  • understanding what people are saying when words come out of their mouth i'm hoping that my two week crash course language study i'm planning on taking when i get there will help a little....but you try working and being around toddlers who speak broken language anyway combined with baby babble in a foreign language you don't even understand to begin with and try to communicate.....yes, now you see.....let's pray for instantaneous adoption of the portuguese language or at least of toddler portuguese :)

  • (of course) all my friends and family!!! that's a given though.....and all the birthdays, special events, and weddings I won't be there for. lots of ehugs and video messages coming your way! I'm incredibly thankful for my amazing friends I have been blessed with and for the technology that will allow me some form of sanity.

  • warm sunshine in a park with a good book, music and a blanket on GRASS however, i'm already going through withdrawals, cause i don't know a good place here either and it's the desert as well, so grass is hard to come by anyway....at least most of the year will be insanely warm sunshiney weather and downtime will be mandatory.

  • driving yes, i will be going green and not having a car, or a license, and i don't know how to drive stick shift anyway...so i'm not even going to bother learning how to drive on the left side of the road filled with potholes and crazy other drivers without a real traffic organizational system, and handcarts, and pedestrians darting out in front of you. there will be a lot of begging for rides and carpooling which will be new for me since i tend to always be the driver. relinquishing control=good.

On a more serious note: I'm trying to just encourage myself and reaffirm that this is where I am supposed to be and He has every detail already worked out....I am just attempting to carry them out as He lays them before me.

2 Timothy 1:6-14 (the message translation)

"And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed - keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible....We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus....But I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground - the One I've trusted in can take care of what he's trusted me to do right to the end. So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It's as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us."

A quote to challenge:

"To love anyone is to hope in him always. From the moment at which we begin to judge anyone, to limit our confidence in him, from the moment at which we identify [pigeonhole] him, and so reduce him to that, we cease to love him, and he ceases to be able to become better. We must dare to love in a world that does not know how to love." -French Priest (quoted by Madeleine L'Engle in Walking on Water)

Hosanna (lyrics by Hillsong)

"I see a generation/rising up to take their place/with selfless faith/with selfless faith

I see a near revival/stirring as we pray and seek/we're on our knees/we're on our knees

Hosanna, Hosanna/Hosanna in the highest/Hosanna, Hosanna/Hosanna in the highest

Heal my heart and make it clean/open up my eyes/to the things unseen/show me how to love/like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours/everything I am/for your kingdom's cause/as I walk from earth into eternity

Hosanna, Hosanna/Hosanna in the highest/hosanna, Hosanna/Hosanna in the highest!"