Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 20

My senior steward and I fondly call working here the boat bi-polar. Within an hours time, or maybe 10 minutes, you can easily find yourself from one emotional extreme to another. This was particularly true for me the first few weeks of my contract (oh hey! Two months left as of yesterday by the by!). This is certainly the hardest job that I’ve ever had. (Right now I’m writing this rather objectively and during an ‘up & up’ portion of ‘boat bi-polar’ so don‘t worry. J ) I have in one moment been amazed to be kayaking among seastars and jellies in remote places of Alaska and another having a meltdown while cleaning a cabin, throwing pillows and heave crying saying to myself “You do not do this! You don’t lose it like this! This is not professional!” A picture which now makes me laugh out loud. I can be freaking out on a turn day* trying to soft scrub 1 of 7 heads* that are part of cabins which need to be fully turned around from guests that got off that morning for guests who are getting on at 5:00. And I can be laughing in a snorkel mask with disbelief that I get to be paid to be in Baja California. Boat bi-polar.

*turnday- the day one group of guests disembarks in the morning and a whole new boat load of guests comes on in the afternoon.

*head- bathroom

~ ~ ~

Today is my brother Samuel’s 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Sam! I love that kiddo and miss him muchly and I hope that his day, and coming year are remarkably good.

~ ~ ~

Happy Christmas week! I love Christmas and even though I’m not home (can’t think about it!) I’m excited that it’s Christmas. I love this time and I’ve been reading through advent devotions that are very good. Last night my friend and fellow steward, Edd, read with me and we also read through the prayers and such for the day in his prayer book. It was such a good thing and my heart was very glad. Tonight Jackie and I worked on harmonizing a couple of Christmas carols and we’re going to try and get the boys to sing with us for Christmas day. Thanks to the lovely Miss Leah our crew lounge is decorated with a string of Christmas lights, sprig of mistletoe and even a felt snowman “Let It Snow” sign. I don’t really see that happening though; J Here we call Pelican Poo on the rocks our “snow”. Strangely it looks just like it. We’ll have a ‘blue’ Christmas with the beautiful Baja water. Daisey and I are going to bake cookies on Christmas eve and we’ve all drawn names for exchanging gifts. Plus I have a brown paper package from home sitting in my closet.

“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

Smile. I’ve had this line from ‘The Grinch’ going round in my head.

And now I shall go and take a short late night nap before the lunar eclipse at midnight thirty. G’night.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Catalina Day Off

I woke up at 7:30 today so I could catch a zodiac for a hike and snorkeling at Santa Catalina on my first Baja day off. After gathering snorkel gear and a quick bite of chicken tortilla scrambled eggs and blueberry oat pancakes left for the island and joined a hike one of our naturalists, Sharon, was leading. Sharon speculated that the island had gotten some of the recent hurricane activity because the barrel cactus were doing beautifully and she could feel some moisture in the air. This is the only part of the world where you can find barrel cactus which are very tall and multi limbed. Which incidentally is not a term the naturalists used.

The area here is uninhabited and yet the trail we took was nearly perfect because it was an ‘arryo’, a dry river bed. Santa Catalina is the only home of the rattle-less rattlesnake. We didn’t see any of these but we did see hummingbirds, mockingbirds, ravens, woodpeckers, and even a Christmas cardinal. As for plants there were many barrel cactus as well as the aptly named Japanese lantern plant, indigo, night blooming jasmine and other things which I don’t remember the names of. Oh! We saw desert mistletoe.

If you were to walk alone here, which I can do next time, you would be able to experience a quiet unlike you can find anywhere I’ve been before. You’d have chattering birds but that’s about it.

Coming back from the hike, it is a very different thing to go from desert Wil-E Coyote/Roadrunner terrain to the lapping of waves against a beach of smooth granite rocks.

We took the zodiac from here back to the SeaBird only to board almost immediately again to go out snorkeling. And there I swallowed quite a bit of salt water, got a saline wash for my eyeballs, and saw some beautiful sea life with Daisey and Tom. I pestered a pufferfish (to no avail), surveyed a starfish (blue), hovered over some urchins (yeah, there goes the alliteration.), was enamored by the little blue neon fish, and stung by a jelly for the first time.

After lunch and a nap I could tell we must have sighted something because the boat had slowed down. Sure enough I could hear strange eerie shrill shrieking from my cabin and then Jackie’s footsteps coming down the focsle stairs to verbosely announce “Dolphins. Hundreds.” We ran upstairs and watched with the rest of the boat as these hundreds of playful water mammals jumped around in the water, sometimes following to boat, sometimes jumping full body lengths out of the air.

It was a good day off.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bonanza Beach Swim. Without the Beach.

Several of us spent the better part of yesterday horizontal as we hit some seasick creating waves. It's really the first day like that we've had for positioning and it was the last of about seven so that's good. After laying in bed pretty much all day I felt the boat finally get still around 5. I began getting up to clean one of my rooms or something productive but Ryan knocked on the cabin door as I was getting my uniform together to say that we were going swimming.

Change of plans then. :)

And so we did. A bunch of us got our swimsuits on, but a piece of carpet down on the 200 level deck and dove off into the beautiful teal blue sea under a crescent of a moon. It was scary to think that something bigger or at least fiercer than our boat could very easily be beneath or around us but it didn't stop us. The salt water felt so so good and it wasn't cold like I'd expected it to be.

~ ~
Today we're in La Paz. It is beautiful and sunshiny and we got ice cream from a shop with a polka dot painted tree. There are pelicans on the water and sometimes when friggit birds fly over, silhouetted over the desert skyline it looks like some kind of prehistoric landscape.
Thanks to Miss Jackie Daum for the picture. Left to right; Kendra (chief mate), Amelia (deckhand), Jackie (steward. Also roomie and musician.), Ryan (steward), Alexis (third mate), Edd (steward), Me, Tom (deckhand)

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Good Day

Yesterday I walked out the cabin door to see fellow crew members rushing upstairs. Dolphins. They weren't bow riding, weren't actually even very close, but I did see two or three of them and more importantly the ushering out to the deck let me see that all around us was the big beautiful blue sea, that it was calm, and that it wasn't cold out. All of these were a welcome relief after two weeks of dusty grimy shipyard.

I got to work outside nearly all day. I sanded chairs getting them ready to be varnished. It was good to work with my hands and see progress as the day went on. I got to see the daylight change. Oh and we even saw a whale spout!

At midday Ryder (one of the deckhands) stopped me from sanding to point out that in every direction you could see nothing but sea and sky. No other boats. No mountains. Nothing but blue on blue. That night as dusk fell the stars came out crystal clear in the dark night sky. Beautiful. I leaned backward off the side of the ship so that the sky became the bowl beneath me and the water a canopy above my head. There was the smallest sliver of dusk light right at the horizon to show the difference between the two.

Just for a clear picture of what is going on on the boat right now- we've finished shipyard and are positioning south to Baja California (Mexico). It is a seven day positioning trip. For such a trip we don't have any guests on board and the ship is secured. ie; drawers and cupboards are taped up, windows are bolted which means on the dining room/cabin floors we have an eternal dusk. On the last two positioning trips I was on it was extremely rocky and we are a little boat and most of us were sea sick and not a whole lot got done. This trip is calm and even the most sensitive to motion are bustling about working long hours to get ship shape for the upcoming guest trips.

We are in day ... actually I lose track of time on this boat and especially during positioning so I don't know what day we're on but we get to La Paz on December 9.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tight spaces

Sometimes decaf coffee drinkers luck out. Example- here I am at Starbucks an hour before closing and since most people like hi rev coffee (this week so do I during the day. Still only little bits.) they don't even have it brewed which means for the same price I get an americano. The same used to be true at my favourite coffeeshop in Indiana. And I have to say I am enjoying the well marketed comfort here. (For more on feelings of that nature this week read two blogs down. ;) )

Today I was down in the laz (lazarette/engine room). I worked hard and felt like I was five. It's rather tight and labryinthy down there. Unlike the bilges there is plenty of light but strangely I felt more claustrophobic in the laz than I did in the bilges. Claustrophobic is incorrect- claustro-frustrated is far more apt. But before we go into that how about a little bit of translation as to what on the boat I'm talking about anyway?

So as I have mentioned we are currently in Shipyard which means they've hauled the SeaBird out of the water and she's raised up like a car at the mechanics. Only on a much larger scale. Before this we had to take a whole bunch of stuff out of her to get her ready for her 'spa treatment' as the bar tender, Patricia, put it. So right now our boat has no water- this time I mean running water- but we do have electricity. It's like camping except you work all day instead of hike or swim, and you don't always see the sky or sun or trees. And you have steak for dinner. And we don't sleep in tents. Okay so it's not actually much like camping but sometimes we think so. Our galley is temporarily moved to a blue tarp and the crew is living at the Days Inn, which by the way I'm thoroughly enjoying.

After the boat came up from the water we dutifully went about covering EVERYTHING inside her because of the huge mess we were about to make. Out came the garbage bags, the carpet masking (oh carpet masking. I will be perfectly fine if I never see carpet masking ever again.), the blue tape, the huge sheets of heavy duty plastic until the inside of our boat looked like an energetic 8 year olds imagination playground. With hard hats. On the outside the Shipyard workers began necessary maintenance on the SeaBird. I wasn't part of this so I'm not entirely sure what it entailed but I know there were sparks, blow torches and paint.

On to the bilges. So the bilges are as far under the boat as you can get and as far as I can understand without having actually asked the water system is in it. So we climb under the crew quarter floors to get into these small dark compartments called bilges and there we chip off bad spots and rust, grind them down where necessary, clean up and then paint. I say 'we' but until today I really only did this once. People walk around in white tyvex coverall suits and look either like astronauts, scientists from E.T. or Oompa Loompahs in Willy Wonka's television room. They come out of the bilges and look like miners. Sometimes we don't recognise our own because their appearance quite changes during the day's work.

As for myself- Jackie and I have been doing a lot of odd jobs. I've done some of the Engine Room organizing for Perry - not much organizing. Mostly moving things to their new containers and relabeling. But apparently useful so that's good. We have both done a LOT of carpet masking. Some of the carpet is being redone and so carpets we had masked had to be remasked- poor Jackie got stuck with most of that which is semi-hilarious because she abhorred carpet masking from the first day and I worked with her. Jackie's nickname is 'sailor mouth' and some of the things she said while we were trying to work with this obnoxiously difficult material made me laugh out loud. (Jackie is a musician and my roommate.)

Today I got put in the Laz to work with most everyone else. Now the Laz is also under everything but it's where most of what we unloaded and what I've been organizing goes and it's where most of the mechanics and everything else of the boat are maintained. There is technically a lot more space than in the bilges and yet I felt like a five year old today because I kept nearly having temper tantrum nervous breakdowns down there. I wasn't afraid of the closeness but I was incredibly frustrated by it. Do you know that feeling when you're a little kid and you can't make something simple work- you get caught in a piece of clothing and can't get it fixed right and you become so so frustrated by it? That is how I felt. I knew it shouldn't be a big deal but I kept bumping my head and I couldn't reach places I needed to clean and my spray bottle didn't work and I bashed my thumb. It makes me laugh to think about it all now but wow I HATED the Laz. hahaha!

But when I would come up into the blue sky and sun to breathe fresh air (oh yes, we also walk around with goggles and respirators. When we aren't wearing hardhats that is. :) ) and walk a little grumpy into the dining room I was cheered by the sight of this bright red poinsettia that one of the carpeting guys bought for us. He was grateful for being part of our -really yummy and nice - Thanksgiving dinner and so brought the flower for us. It makes me so happy.

Hmmmm. As I type this a lady comes to sit near the plug because the scooter she needs to get around wants recharging. She tells me that it came with a bad battery and so it works very slowly and they've been waiting a very long time for the new battery to come. As she tells me this I think that that must be truly frustrating. She sits down next to me, her husband across from her on a laptop working on his book. Her name is Fran and we have rather a nice chat in the twenty minutes before Starbucks closes.

And now it's time for bed. Good night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

When I was a little girl my Mom used to take a brown paper bag and cut it into the shape of a featherless Turkey at Thanksgiving. Then she would cut feathers out of appropriately colored construction paper and we would write down on each feather something that we were thankful for. The turkey and the feathers all went up with scotch tape on our big glass front door. (I think one of the reasons I want to be a Mom is because ours did such a good job of making childhood fun.)

There was going to be more to this blog when I began composing it in my head during shipyard today but this seems to be all I can remember. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and sadly I won't be home. I will however be donning my hardhat, goggles, and coveralls to go work in shipyard. I've never done that on Thanksgiving before. :) We'll get off early which is good and we'll have Thanksgiving yumminess in our little makeshift galley tarp which will also be a new experience.

Holidays almost always make me excited and happy- even stupid ones. I'm not including Thanksgiving as a 'stupid one' by the way. But there are some stupid ones and I even get happy about those. It's kind of weird but I'll take it.

If I had a brown paper bag turkey with construction paper feathers how colorful and full could we make his plumage together? :) If you care to leave a note, tell what you're thankful for. Thanks for reading.
plume 1 (red)- the difficulty of choosing just one plume.
plume 2 (orange) - that spellcheck asked me to change 'yumminess' to 'chumminess'. hahaha!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Positioning, Fam Trips and Shipyard, oh my!

right then- a super quick blog after a very long day! We're in shipyard for the next two weeks in Alameda, California our 3 day positioning trip from Oregon (hurrah for some good rest, a LOT of sleep (a rocking boat, seasick tablets, eternal night from boarded windows and a formerly busy schedule can make you sleep more than you knew you were capable of. And I know I'm capable of a good deal!)games of Boggle, conversations with Jackie, Christmas lights, silly movies, milkshakes, and bowriding dolphins.)* and two - day and a half familiarization trips in San Francisco (ohmigoodness they were BUSY.)
So anyhoo, for the next couple of weeks the ship is going to be drydocked and we're going to be fixin her up and getting her in 'ship shape' as is the annual custom. I'm excited for the change of pace and type of work. AND, we get to stay in a hotel almost the whole time and I am so so happy about all these crazy little American conveniences like free wi-fi and taco bell. And my goodness it's funny what ship perspective does- Jackie and I are amazed by ALL THIS SPACE. I don't hit my head and wander around wondering if I have a concussion because of my low ceiling bunk. The ceiling looks so high and in the bathroom the shower has an actual tub and is entirely seperate from the toilet! It's crazy! I will say they don't fold their towels as nicely here as we do on the ship though. ;) Ohmigoodness this very normal size hotel room is about 4 times the size of our quarters built for three and we're delirously happy with all the space. Or maybe we're just delirous- we did work from 6:30am to 9pm.
I don't know for sure how this reads as I am tired but do know that these aren't actually complaints just funny observations. We like our little cabin ( we actually missed it when we had to move to guest cabins for positioning), like our crazy boat life, and work today was unusual prepping the ship to go drydock.

*wow. I didn't realize that whole huge runon sentence was all parenthetical. Sorry about that. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smeeks and Baby laptops

Here I am, cold and wet, in the aptly chosen 'Wet Dog Cafe' in Astoria, Oregon. We are at the end of our river season of which I have written nothing and for that I apologize. Hopefully posts will be a bit more faithful now as I am the happy new owner of a brown 'baby' laptop. Darkness and I have been calling them (we ordered the same thing at the same time and so they are not only 'baby laptops' but 'sister baby laptops, Yes, we are silly.) baby laptops and looking forward to their arrival all smeek. And so now I get to sit here with a coffee and enjoy the wifi! How fun.

A 'smeek' is what we have been calling the small weeks that the river trips have consisted of. We begin in Portland, Oregon and travel through several locks up and down the Columbia and Snake rivers. I'm never quite sure if I'm in Washington or Oregon because one is on one side of us and the other on the other. So when we're in port and I call home or somewhere and they ask where I am I stall for a moment and then say 'I'm not sure'.

I'm kind of freezing here in my jeans which has nothing to do with the temperture of this establishment and everything to do with my rain soaked jeans. And so my happy wi-fi usage will be cut short so that I don't get a terrible cold before we position down to California. Hurrah sunshine!

More soon~

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Month One

Hullo from the National Geographic Sea Bird! On Sunday I will have been working here for one month and I keep pretty crazy busy so haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and write. Internet is limited but lucky us, the week after I came on they added a perk of giving crew internet cards once a month. Sweet!

So it’s been quite a full month. There isn’t much of a transition time here, you get on board and you start your job. I am in general a steward but what the postions change weekly and there are six of them. Basically I start the work day at about 6:30 setting up for guest breakfast, serving guest breakfast, cleaning up guest breakfast, eating my breakfast, begin cleaning anywhere from 6-13 cabins. This week it’s 13. That’s the morning. Then it’s time for crew lunch, set up guest lunch, serve guest lunch, clean guest lunch- break til 5. Crew dinner @ 5, dress for dinner service, set up dining room, turn down guest rooms, serve guest dinner, clean up guest dinner, spend some crew time catching our breath and then to bed to start it all again. It is not easy, it’s often very difficult BUT I still think I have a great job.

And my goodness, the things I have seen! In fact sometime the hardest part of my job is actually doing my job. Last week I was truly grumpy while cleaning cabins and I turned the corner just in time to see humpback whales come up bubble netting. I’ve seen orca’s, seals, sea lions, otters, eagles, glaciers, jelly fish, sea stars, puffins, bears, wolves, moose. I’ve seen glaciers calving and last night I did the polar plunge in Glacier Bay. Fabulous. Cold, salty, and fabulous. I’ve been kayaking and looked down to see jellies and remembered I wasn’t in the Shenandoah anymore. I’ve met people from National Geographic and stayed up late singing old songs with them.

I’m meeting new people, becoming part of a new community. It was really good to know someone before I came- it was hard enough that way so I don’t know how I would have done without Jordan. I’m learning to talk more about my faith, about truth, about God. It isn’t easy though and there is opposition there. It’s hard to not be part of a church community right now and getting into my own schedule and order is also difficult. God is gracious and I have found a couple of Christians on board and last week I had good conversations with some of the guests actually! We had Sister Rose Marie (rosemary) on board last week and it was a joy to meet her. She prayed for me and I was grateful. I met another lady last week too who turned out to be a sister in Christ. It was a great comfort to meet her and talk with her. We didn’t even talk much and I think we both realized we had a common faith before we really talked about it. Just knowing she was here was comforting and an answer to prayer. I haven’t begun a bible study but we did start a book discussion on Blue Like Jazz.

We are heading out of Alaska this week, into Canada and back to Seattle and Portland. After positioning we’ll begin the next cruise on the Columbia river. I hope this finds the reader well. Thanks for reading! ~Faith

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Petersburg Alaska. We've been having beautiful weather! The mountains are simply incredible. They are massive and it's wonderful to see such granduer with no cars around. When I woke yesterday morning we were going past chunks of blue blue gem looking ice in the water. I saw a glacier for the first time.

my computer time is running out.

Love my job though I'm overwhelmed with information right now.I feel very blessed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today I left my one day adventure in Seattle for an early morning flight to Juneau, Alaska. I grew up hearing about Alaska because it's my Mom's dream to go. And I understand why. It is truly beautiful here and I look forward to when Mom can see it for herself! It's been a long, good, full day. Sometimes in my travels backwards weather follows me. When I visited Florida last they had the coldest day in 100 years. After not living in Harpers Ferry for five years when I return this past year we have a really cold, really long, really really snowy winter followed by the hottest WV summer I've seen in a long time. This time it worked out very nicely. Yesterday rainy Seattle was bright and sunny and actually kind of hot. And today in Alaska? Same! A bright, clear, sunny, gorgeous, day.

I got to go hiking today! My legs hurt, I'm so tired, and I'm loving this adventure so far. At the end of my hike there was a nature center and I saw a bald eagle up close. He was incredible and truly took my breath away. I'm not sure why he's in captivity but he does have one blind eye so maybe that has something to do with it. I also saw an eagle's nest through a telescope. And I ate wild blueberries.

Other people at the hotel are waiting for the computer so that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

:Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The earth is filled with His glory.:

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm in Seattle! Good grief I've wanted to see this city for a very long time and it is so cool. I'm only here for this day but I honestly didn't expect to see anything but the Lindblad office (which has a jimongous National Geographic world map on the wall and I also saw a picture of a whale) but I got to spend the afternoon walking around Pike Place Market. Ohmigoodness. Fresh flowers, fish throwing, rose jelly, European chocolate, New York pickles, RAW MILK!, so fantastic. I ate dinner near the water by the aquarium.

I've been up since 5:08 am Eastern time. Mom, Luke and Sam took me to the airport & I enjoyed the car ride over with them. I was praying I'd meet some nice strong guy at the airport because my bags are HEAVY to lug around, but alas no guy. :)

Anyhoo, I am super tired but I wanted to take a few computer minutes since I have the chance! I'm excited about this job and tomorrow I leave for Alaska! I can hardly believe it.

Oh! Oh! and I hailed a cab myself for the first time. :) It's the little things.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Today my brother Sam and I went out for milkshakes at Chik-Fil-A. He wanted to have some just us time and I'm glad for that. I got a chocolate milkshake with a little coffee in it and Sam went for peach. When we got to the drive-thru he dared me to order in an Australian accent so I did. Then we were accosted by the cow. I'm pretty sure the Chik-Fil-A cow doesn't usually come to the cars in the drive thru but sometimes things are different when the bovine is also your brother. Your other brother.

It's been good to spend time with my brothers while I've been home. They're getting so grown up. Sam doesn't look like a little kid anymore, Luke is dating someone (she's a cutie too! ;) ), and Dev is hoping/working to head to California at the end of the month. Luke, Sam and I play cards sometimes and laugh and laugh. Mostly at each other. I'm lucky enough to get to teach at a children's theatre camp with Dev this week and next. It's been a lot of fun and I've really enjoyed it. He's good with the kids and we both enjoy brushing up on our own theatre know-how.

Yup. Glad for brothers.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Hullo again!

As some of you may already know I am now back at home after MWF (a wonderful 6 weeks of hard work and good fellowship) and am in a two week countdown for my new job for which I am, let's just say, stoked! I am going to be working as a steward for Lindblad Expeditions. Though I've been telling people that I'm going to be working on a cruise ship, it isn't quite accurate so I thought I'd tell a bit about the differences.
Lindblad is partnered with National Geopgraphic and they are better described as eco-tourism than luxury cruises. LEX ships are smaller and their trips are focused on exploring the natural world. LEX ships stop several times within an excursion to explore an area through hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and such. They travel with a team of Naturalists, Historians, Geologists and Scientists who interact with guests whether through a lecture or discussion or at a meal. There are Zodiacs, kayaks and underwater cameras on board and the schedule is flexible so that if something extraordinary happens they don't have to rush off to the next destination and miss it.
What will I be doing? Working my butt off! :) Seriously though- I'll be working 12 hour days 7-10 days at a time as a Steward which is in the hospitality branch and means I'll be prepping the dining room, serving food, cleaning rooms, turning down beds, that kind of thing.
And so, in short, that is what I'm looking forward to next. It's a six month contract so I'll be gone from August to February. I will have limited computer access but will be able to receive letters (no packages though. Just flat mail.) We begin in Alaska, and I'll work for a few weeks with my AmeriCorps teammate Jordan! In the fall I believe we'll be on the Snake River in Oregon and for winter we'll go to California and Mexico.
I'm so excited for this adventure & would very much appreciate your prayers! The next two weeks I'll try to update a bit over here in blog-dom before I unplug for a while. Thanks for reading!

~Here is a video about the work that I'll be doing ~

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THIS is the day...

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It is so good to be at the Doric in Winona Lake and visiting with the girls here. Last night Joy and I stayed up late in her room just talking. We ranged from doctrine and theology to gin and tonic. A good portion of our conversation, and several of the wonderful girl conversations I've had here, had to do with what we want to do with our lives, what we struggle with, a desire for sharing life with a specific someone, not wanting to be alone, frustrations that come with all of this.

I've been thinking lately about not wanting to be alone. Yet last night after talks of guys, and marriage, and kids, and careers, my gin/tonic/cran juice was wearing off and I wasn't sleepy anymore, though it was late so Joy pulled out this children's book of kooky lullabies and sang to me.

"Go to sleep, my zoodle,
my flibbety-fitsy foo.
Go to sleep, sweet noodle.
It's time to say, "Ah-choo.

The chickens in the bathtub,
the closet full of sheep,
the sneakers in the freezer
are all drifting off to sleep..."

As Joy sang this delightful nonsense from her bed to mine I was full of the happiness of THAT moment in time, not just that minute, or this day, but this season. This 'now'. I remembered that one day we probably will be wives and mothers and life will be very different. We may keep in touch but there probably won't be across the country sleepovers, drop everything travels, the same kind of questions and possibilities for what's next. This time will be missed and so should not be missed out on the first time around.

That isn't to say that the next season won't be beautiful, because I believe it will be, in a different way. It isn't to say that this season is full of all freedom and the hoped for future all constraint and burden. Each is beautiful in it's own time (Eccl 3:11) and each has different costs, responsibilities and delights. I believe it's okay to have desires for the next season, to look forward to it and I even think that talking about and desiring those things is part of the season now. As long as the desire for what's ahead doesn't steal from what's present.

"Life is the messy bits" says Vanessa Redgrave's character in 'Letters to Juliet'

THIS is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hallelujah for the Psalms!

Thank the Lord for the Psalms! Today I started on 'The Search for Significance' workbook in my quiet times. 'The Search for Significance' is a great book that helps you identify the lies we so often believe about ourselves and learn to replace them with the truth of God's Word. It's awesome and has helped me a great deal in renewing my mind and beginning to know my worth is founded in Christ not my performance or others approval. I'm looking forward to going deeper into the teachings and this morning part of beginning the workbook was to reread the first chapter which is about honesty with ourselves and God.

The author of the book, Robert S. McGee shared how he used to get caught in the belief that as Christians we 'should exude an attitude of happiness and contentment in all things'. This meant he brushed away hurtful situations that 'didn't matter' and wasn't honest about them. Really they did matter, even if they were small. Small things left unchecked can often become big things. A friend helped him start becoming more honest with himself and God. "Realizing I was hurt because my idea was rejected has enabled me to be honest with the Lord about my feelings and begin working through them."

What I love most about this chapter though, and what I wanted to share here, was what Mr. McGee shares about the Psalms.

"...the Scriptures tell us that God does not want us to be superficial- in our relationship with Him, with others, or in our own lives. David wrote, 'Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.' Psalm 51:6
The Lord desires truth and honesty at the deepest level, and wants us to experience His love, forgiveness and power in all areas of our lives.

The Psalms give us tremendous insight about what it means to be honest with the Lord. David and other psalmists wrote and spoke honestly about the full range of their responses to situations. For example, David expressed his anger with the Lord because he felt abandoned by Him:

I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?

Ps 42:9-10

At times David was very angry with others, and expressed that anger to the Lord in terms that reveal the depth of his feelings:

Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions!
Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted
Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun.
Before your pots can feel the heat of thorns-whether they be green or dry- the wicked will be swept away.

Ps 58:6-9

David wrote of his despair about difficult situations:

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.

Ps 55:4-5

And he communicated his despair to the Lord:

Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.


Sometimes he was confused:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

Ps 13:1-2

Sometimes, David communicated his love for the Lord:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Ps 42:1-2

At times David trusted in the Lord:

The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Ps 27:1-3

At other times, he was filled with praise for God:

I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.

Ps 145:1-3

These passages demonstrate that God, who spoke of David as a man after His own heart, wants us to be open and honest with Him about all of our emotions, not just the pleasant ones.
Experiencing (God's) love does not mean that all of our thoughts, emotions, and behvaiours will be pleasant and pure. It means that we can be real, feeling pain and joy, love and anger, confidence and confusion."

So today I'm thankful for such a range of emotions, thoughts, humanness shown in the Psalms and reminding me that it is not just okay, but desirable to be honest with my heavenly Father.
I hope that this is a blessing to you as well. May your day be filled with His love and grace and may you be honest with our great God who already knows where you're at.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I got to see two dear friends this week and it was delightful. On Monday I found myself wondering at work if my friend Corey was in town after her graduation and if so how I would like to see her. That night I get home and my cell phone give that happy 'somebody loves me!' text ding. It was Corey saying she was in town until Sunday and could we get together! So we met at one of my favourite cafes in Harpers Ferry for lunch the next day. She drove an hour and a half to see me. :) We hugged tight- Corey gives wonderful hugs- and the cafe lady thought we were oh so cute because we were so glad to see each other. We talked about life and how much it had changed in just the two months since I'd last seen her. We talked about theatre, our passion for it and vision for the future. About Belhaven friends and how quickly four years have passed. It was so good.

Then yesterday another sister, Annaka, came to town. She was coming from Ohio for a wedding in Maryland and came a little further to see me and her 48th state. I lived with Annaka in Indiana last year. We also caught up and my Mom invited her to stay the night before having to head to Maryland so she met my family and stayed at the Burrow. It feels so cozy there lately and looks all rainforesty in the backyard with the summer green coming on the trees. It was good to show her my home, take her to Harpers Ferry, have a girls night where we stayed up til 1:30 catching up and reminiscing.

These women, along with so many other dear friends and family, not only remind me of beautiful memories and good, growing times, but of who I am and what I love to do. We can reminisce about the old, shake our heads at how fast time goes (my brother who is supposed to be 5 turned 15 today!) but it doesn't stop there. We can also listen to what's happened since, and encourage in what's ahead. I'm so grateful for that.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ducks and Cranes

Well. Here we are again. My paper cranes aren't moving after all. I'm back at 'what's next?' with the temptation to dive in and figure it out though I still need time to re-evaluate. I feel redundant. But that seems slightly silly because it's been a happening four months. The happening didn't go the way I'd planned, but it doesn't mean it wasn't an adventure or a learning/growing experience. It doesn't mean it wasn't a good experience either. Because it was.

But I do feel redundant. I'm back again to the same questions of 'what' & 'where'. Not to mention 'how'. Right now 'what' is a nap, 'where' is Sam's top bunk, and 'how' is getting off of this smallish update and lying down. :smile: And I suppose one moment at a time is a good way to take it. I just don't do well that way. I like many moments all lined up. But ducks don't like to stay in a row all the time. So happy napping for now. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Let me 'splain. No there is too much. Let me sum up."*

Hullo again! I haven't been here in a while and much has happened this new year. Yesterday I was in the kitchen with Mom and Luke (ummmm, not my little brother) and I said
"I really need to blog soon. I haven't updated at all on anything that's been happening."
To which my Mom replied,
"We know."
Apparently she doesn't know how to answer the question 'so what is Faith up to now?' because of it and so quite a bit of updating is in order as well as an introduction...

It seems my paper cranes and I have found our new place to land and this time it's halfway across the world. The above mentioned Luke, the one who isn't my brother but was brought to my family via other brother Devan, is a missionary to China. He teaches English to kindergarten and primary school children and began winning Devan over to the idea of doing the same. Dev brought him home for Thanksgiving where he began winning me over in more ways than one. After much prayer and seeking on both our parts we are pursuing relationship with one another and in May we are going, with paper cranes, to China.

Currently we're both in West Virginia enjoying the community here, preparing for China, learning about one another, and experiencing the whirlwind of this adventure that God has us on. Luke moved to the area from Lynchburg in February and is renting a room at a friend's house. At the time we didn't know that we were headed to China in the spring. He was willing to stay in the states for a couple of years, or longer, if I wanted/needed to pursue further training as an actress. In February we met with his boss who happened to be in the states for an holiday. He shared his vision with us and I saw that though I knew what passions God has laid on my heart I didn't have a particular "where" when it came to pursuing them. Luke did. Luke knows where his heart and ministry are and I knew I wanted to be near him as we move forward to see if God is calling us to marriage. So I chose China.

God is so good and He is faithful. As we step forward in this adventure we have already encountered so much. God has provided each of us (Devan is part of this adventure as well though he hasn't entirely determined if he's coming or not.) with jobs, and jobs that we enjoy! (The boys have a great story about that actually. Come by Jumpin Java and I'll tell you about it while I make your mocha.) We have met with challenges that are shaping, revealing, sharpening, and growing us. We continually see prayers being answered and wait in expectation for others to unfold. It is exciting and it has been a whirlwind. I laugh to think of how I always thought that being in God's timing meant a lot of waiting. Which it often does, but I never realized until now that sometimes it means things happen very quickly as well.

So as you can see there is much to cover. This is a sum-up and as we prepare for the trip I will be intentional in updating. Later this week I'll give you more of an introduction to Luke and I'll soon tell you more about what we'll be doing and such. I'll also be setting up an e-mail update for those who are specifically interested in supporting our ministry in prayer so please let me know if that's something you'd like to be a part of.

I hope that wherever you are reading this that you are having a beautiful Sunday, a beautiful week leading to Easter, a beautiful year full of His grace, mercy and love. Thank you for reading! More to come.

*Inigo Montoya ~ The Princess Bride