through these lenses

Archive for April 2008


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I find myself in one of my favorite locations right now. It is so rare to be in one these in this hemisphere, so I’m trying to soak it all up. Ambient light shining on my fingers as I type, books galore standing upright beside me, the strong aroma of the coffee of the day lingering through the air and to my welcoming nostrils, and some of my favorite sounds dancing in my ears. This is a coffee shop and this feels like home.

This is just one of many places that feels like home though. Today, the whereabouts of the others have been stirring in my mind. There seem to be so many cozy places that warm my soul. This is good, for it makes it easy to keep out of the cold…but this new line of, “simplify,” keeps resounding in me.

I feel like this man. I’ve got these things right in front of me, but I don’t know which to choose. They all look so appealing…and they all are beneficial. It seems that He wants to help me pick out a few…OR…can I really purchase each thing?

I’m not sure what to do with this, but Father is quickening me to ask Him repeatedly. I am grateful, once again for this silence. It seems to make Him so much louder. Louder in that soft and extremely gentle kind of way. When He speaks…it’s so strong. When I abide and listen, it’s even stronger.

I will leave the city that has the coffee shops tomorrow. At least I’m simplifying in that way!

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April 27, 2008 at 8:46 pm

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tree stumps and splashes

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I’m about to head out tomorrow for a weekend with a few other workers here. I’ll be learning a lot about the media end of m-work while I visit some friends that work with the deaf in a nearby city. What a perfect combo!

Can I tell you about festivals here? Okay I will. Well, there seems to be one every month…and they don’t all necessarily make sense to me. This month there were 2. The second one is still occurring in some areas and I fully experienced this festival yesterday as I was riding the bus into town. One second I was dry and the next I was wet! Po shui jie means water splashing festival. And that’s what it’s all about….splashing people all day long. There’s a connection in there with having blessings thrown on you and it’s rather sad to me that they think this way, collecting their “blessings” from a shapely pile of gold. If they only yearned to be rained down upon by His grace.

Although I only got “splashed” once (but had all my belongings prepared for the showers), a new sprinkler was brought home to celebrate the festival. Watching the kids play in it made me wish for my old swimming pool at VRJC that I grew up enamored by. I don’t even think that place is called VRJC anymore. You probably have no clue what a VRJC is.

I went to a party here once…and joyfully laughed at this collection I found:

Remember paper mache? Oh boy…I love kindergarten for the things like this!

I’m reading a fascinating book right now about blessings and curses. Father is sprouting out some new branches for my thoughts to grow on and it’s stretching me like any good branch does. I’m also realizing that sometimes He takes cuts us down to our stump to grow us back up. Oh it can hurt. But He guards it with strong metals, so that nothing can attack HIS new and strong foundation. This is my heart’s new beautiful picture, ribboned with leaves and twigs and fragranced with freshness aplenty.

Goodnight (said) Moon(ey)!

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April 25, 2008 at 1:39 am

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It is.

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Today is 100 passed.
Today is 2 after.
Today is 4 since.

Today is freedom.

I never would have thought that this is what it looked like, but it is, and I’m grateful.

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April 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

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rugs and mugs

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There are these two tangible things here that really seem to wrap my heart up in comfort. One is this old oriental rug in front of my couch and it’s the perfect size to sprawl out on. I’ve stared at my ceiling for hours from this rug, allowing my mind to wander wherever it wants to go. The other is this little green and yellow mug that I use every single day. There are actually three identical mugs available to me, but I’ve been using and rewashing this mug alone for about a month now. In the mornings, I like to get my green mug and fill it with something wonderfully warm and then take it over to the red rug. I tell ya, this rug is particularly inviting and kindly allows me to stand, lie and sit upon it whenever I want. Red rug and green mug, thank you.

When on the red and drinking from the green, I find I’ve yet to drink a cup of coffee or tea without the last sip being considerably colder than all the other sips. I’m sure thermodynamics and Mrs. Restivo could give me a thorough explanation about why this occurs, and I think even knowing the basics of physics helps me understand it. It makes sense. I don’t want it to make sense though. I just want it to stay hot. I don’t want to lose the goodness of the drink because I wait too long or waste my time. I never want to lose the goodness of the cup of tea these past few months have given me.

Father, make it boil forever.

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April 14, 2008 at 10:00 pm

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Jalepenos and sweet toes.

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The other day I thought I smelled of Mexican food…and I got really sad when that wasn’t my clothes’ real scent. That’s really sad in itself…that I want to smell like jalepenos and greasiness. Spell check just told me that jalepenos wasn’t a real word, but the options it had to replace it were: p*nt*cost*l, dependable, and penologists. hmm.

Another other day, I decided to lose something. It was my balance and sense of awareness. I guess I just thought it needed to stay home while I went out to play. We all went into town on this day and decided to “get our hair washed.” Strangely, that’s a common thing to just go and do. You pick a salon (of the many) and spend about 2.5 hours getting “the treatment.” I love “the treatment.” They wash your hair (in a very unique way), massage your head, neck, shoulders and arms for about 30 gazillion minutes, fix your hair…and on their opening day…(like this one just happened to be celebrating, hence the 20 extra workers hanging around to help) they give their customers a “deep conditioning” gift. So…in the midst of all this awesomeness, the store is buzzing with it’s 37 workers (overpopulation must require that every store needs triple the amount of workers), and I got up from the rinsing chair. Somehow in the 6 minutes of rinsing, I forgot that I had to step up to get to the rinsing platform. Somehow, my feet also forgot to be working on the way down from said platform. Somehow, I busted in front of all the 63 workers, ensuring everyone there that I was indeed the strange pale foreigner. Mr. Hair Washer Man helped me up, helped me put my shoes back on and kept telling me he was embarrassed. HE WAS?!?!?! I laughed at myself and returned to my seat to be conditioned. Giggling through the rest of “the treatment,” I realized I was only making people stare at me more. An hour later, a full length mirror decided to hug me. My yelp and feet raising, ninja-looking skills (I was sitting, so feet had to protect since arms were being massaged) again, called attention to the white girl. Mr. Hair Washer Man wasn’t around to tell me of his embarrassment, so I went ahead and proclaimed it myself…not that anyone understood me besides Holli. Anyway…I paid my $2.11 for “the treatment” (yes, you should move here for the extremely cheap economy) and had a photo session with the 89 workers. See picture below.

Is it weird to say massage on a blog?

So after Holli and I got back from the overpopulated salon, I decided to keep my awareness locked up in my room….even after “Mr. Hair Washer Man’s” embarrassment. I spilled (spilt works too, even though spell check disagrees. I looked it up.) sugar all over the kitchen floor. After getting the top layer back into the bag (don’t want to be wasteful), I spilled it again! This time it went into my shoes, under the refrigerator and other various places that it was hard to retrieve from. Geez.

I’m going to go kill some flies and spiders now. Hopefully, I can keep my balance while doing so.

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April 12, 2008 at 1:49 am

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Wanna play?

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Remember when you were a little kid, and you had toys galore and all you wanted to do was play with your friends? Oh…and the commercials…I loved watching toy commercials when I was in elementary school. Those “big kid” toys seemed so much cooler than my “little kid toys.” Oh advertising…you undoubtedly won with your catchy phrases and vibrant colors! (sing it with me now…”Skip It, Skip It, everyone wants a Skip It!”)

I was thinking about toys the other day. Just because they were looking at me, I was looking at them, and they looked like they wanted to be thought of. These were baby toys, but they were in a house that also had non-baby-ish children around. I tried to imagine one of the older daughters playing with these toys and as I snickered through that mental picture, I realized how people’s desires naturally evolve . Toy Evolution, maybe? You don’t always want to play with the jack in the box, and some day, Guess Who tournaments at sleep-overs won’t be what you live for anymore. Eventually, you end up shuffling papers, dealing with responsibility and scheduling commitments before any thoughts of hide and seek at the park enter your mind. So, we grow up. This is normal, right?

The people here fascinate me in all kinds of ways. I just might fascinate them too though. Maybe. That’s just a thought. It really means nothing…it’s only gathered from about the 82 strange looks and laughs I get each time I go somewhere. I mean, is that really enough evidence to make it more than a thought?!? ANYWAY…When a friend wants to spend time with another friend, they might say, “Do you want to play?” Even adults would say this, so it’s not just seen as a child’s wording here. When I looked this concept in the face, it seemed to look right back and stare down my “toy evolution” thoughts. The people here, (10 points to anyone who can think of a more creative way to say that. I’m getting tired of it.) they don’t seem to grow out of that ‘play’ mentality. I realize, it could just be the way they say, “let’s hang out, fellowship, spend time together, etc.” but I can’t really ignore that there might be a deeper meaning in here that Father wanted me to dig up. Maybe they don’t see papers, schedules and responsibilities like we do.

This whole mental argument between my thoughts (and boy was it a messy one, they kicked me out of the ring…and I was the referee) just sent me down What If Lane.
What if they get it over here and we just don’t in America? What if we need that ‘play’ mentality to keep us happy and from complaining? What if all those opportunities and choices we get are just ways to stress us out even more? What if…what if we lived like we enjoyed everything we did, and were allowed to do, because that’s how we were supposed to?

I wish I could say that What If Lane curved into Understanding Road for me on this one…but it’s a straightaway, and I’m still traveling on it. I just don’t want to miss out on the good, simple and restful play dates that He wants to set up for me. Maybe I can remember that forever on my own, or maybe I need to go to Toys-R-Us soon. 🙂

Besides my thoughts constantly causing me to go down various streets, things have been really great lately. Emphasis on the really. and the great. Father’s been purifying my heart, blessing me with encouragement, and bringing more people to Him. Three of my deaf friends put on their swimsuits the other day and took the plunge. It was amazing. So is He.

Here are some recent shots from the past few weeks.

At a village school during lunch time, my camera seemed to be quite interesting to these cute new friends of mine.

This was just hilarious to me. A group of Asian tourists seems to be pretty common in America, but in ASIA?!?! They were all wearing their matching hats and their leader had THE flag. I LOVED this!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

This girl was VERY happy to see such a familiar name.

I still haven’t forgotten about the picture guessing game, so don’t even worry!

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April 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm

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