Brisk me away

Sunday, January 27, 2013

wise words

i came across this CS Lewis quote a few weeks ago and have not been able to stop thinking about it. 

"love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.  if you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  but in that casket-- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change.  it will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  the alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation."

  relationships are messy.  we are sinners and left to our own devices, we will hurt those we love.  however, the joy of doing life together and the benefit reaped from this far outweighs the hurt we may experience along the way.  may i "most gladly spend and be spent for your souls..."(2 cor 12:15a)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

final thoughts (for now) on ethiopia.

so i've been home for a little over 2 weeks.  i am still trying to process all that i saw and learned there.  hands down this trip was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.  i have looked at my pictures no less than 50 times and prayed countless prayers for the staff and kiddos at onesimus.  my heart was moved and perspective on this "easy" life i live was given.  since i have been home, i have constantly been asking myself (and the Lord), "so what now?" it is impossible to go on a trip like this and not have it stir some kind of emotion while there, but now that i am home, what do i do with all that i saw and experienced?  what changes do i make in my daily life to show that i love Jesus with my whole being?  how can i be the hands and feet of Jesus without traveling half way around the world to hand out antibiotics and rub ointment on infected little cheeks and foreheads?  am i willing to love the least of these in a tangible way here in NWA?  what does this look like everyday?  what can i give up in my everyday life in order to give to others who have less?  all of these questions have been floating around my head since i've been home and honestly i don't have clear answers for any of it yet. 
here is what i do know.  i want this life that i am living to be about something more than me.  i want others to know that i love Jesus with all of my heart and i want to live so they can see it everyday.  at the end of my days, i want to know that this life i have lived impacted others for the Gospel and made a difference.  my tendency is to self-focus and i do not have this all figured out.  i am not good at these things, but i want to be better.  prior to the trip, i prayed constantly that the Lord would not let me leave Ethiopia unchanged.  now i am constantly praying that this stirring in my heart for those who have nothing will not go away and that i will be driven to do something about it. 
micah 6:8 has been on my mind a lot lately.  "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." 

ethiopia post 2--the pics

get ready for picture overload. i tried to narrow it down to just a few.  i really loved everything about this trip and could sit and look at these pictures daily.  as i said in a previous post, our team went to ethiopia through the james initiative, which is a local organization seeking to raise awareness and support orphan care.  they partner with an ethiopian organization called onesimus which is kind of like a christian boys and girls club for street children.  this ministry amazes me.  not only do they provide a safe place for these kids to come and be loved on by people who love Jesus, but they also reach the community around them in several ways.  the social workers at onesimus make home visits to see the parents (for the kids that have them) and provide support to them.  they have 3 halfway homes where some of the street children live.  they also sponsor a number of children to go to school because all education requires a fee to attend there.  the staff and volunteers at onesimus are some of the Godliest people i have met, pouring out daily on these kiddos that would probably otherwise not receive love in a tangible way.  they sacrifice their time and their personal living situations so that they can be a part of this organization.  they spend and are spent each day loving on these kids, but you would never know it the way they come each day with a smile on their face and a joyful spirit.  they are the hands and feet of Jesus.  i cannot praise this organization enough for the work they are doing and the way they are doing it.  i loved working alongside them for a week and hope that one day i will get to do it again. 

the joy of these kiddos was CONTAGIOUS.  please let me be joyful no matter my circumstances just as these kids are
these ladies are the BEST.  i loved working alongside them for the week.  sidenote: i was more nervous to travel half way around the world with people i barely knew than i was about any other part of this trip.  thank you God for these new found friendships!   

so much beauty in this picture. 
lots and lots of fingernails were painted after the girls saw the doctor...even some of the boys wanted their nails painted!  at first we said no, but how could we even resist the sweet smiles and "please?" they would give.  we drew the line at giving them pink polish though haha
dr. daniel on the far left and nurses getamesay and tigust on either side of me.  what a privelege to serve alongside others in my profession half way around the world

"chew this up and take a drink"  (insert ridiculous motions that i acted out to every child because i don't speak amharic. half of the fun of working in the pharmacy was laughing with the kids at how i tried to communicate with them.  charades has never been a game i'm good at)

one of my favorite pics of the week.  this sweet boy did this through our van window as we were loaded up to leave the church at Korah.  melt my heart.  the feelings were mutual.

as soon as we arrived at the church at Korah on sunday the kiddos latched onto us.  korah is a community located near the local dump.  the people who live here are very poor.  this sweet thing was my buddy for the better part of the morning.  i was in love with the full heads of curly hair on these little girls.  so precious.

ethiopians eat meals slowly and end with coffee.  so much is centered around relationships.  i loved this.  i wish our culture allowed for more sitting with others and less go go go.  also i will never complain about the opportunity to drink really great coffee after every meal.  :) did you know that coffee originated in ethiopia?  when in ethiopia, do as the ethiopians do right?  so i drank LOTs of coffee.  all things to all people right?  haha
i think i left my heart in this city.  praying that i get to return one day.

ethiopia part 1...because all of my thoughts cannot be contained in 1 post...

well i have been home from ethiopia for 2 weeks now so i think its time to do a trip update.  i have put this off a little because i feel like i lack the words to put together a post that coveys my feelings about the trip.  the short of it is that it was such a good trip.  for 3 of our days there we helped them put on a clinic for the street kids they reach.  we saw roughly 140 kiddos each day.  this was nuts!  by the 3rd day though we were like a well oiled machine, moving the kiddos through the stations fast!  the doctor who worked with us is an ethiopian who's specialty is in public health.  part of his job through the hospital he is employed by is to work clinics like the one we put on.  it was fascinating to talk with him and learn about healthcare in ethiopia.  here are some of the things i learned. 

-there are approximately 38,000 people to 1 doctor in addis ababa
-for preventative treatment, nurses make home visits.  2 nurses are responsible for making visits to approximately 5000 homes.  they are also responsible for the follow up from these visits.
-nurses working in the hospitals make approximately $125 per month.
-the infant mortality rate in addis (which is one of the most civilized areas of ethiopia) is 700 babies for every 100,000 born
-the top killers among children in addis are tuberculosis, complications from HIV and nutritional deficits

some of the main problems among the kiddos we saw were intestinal parasites, fungal skin infections, and infection related to rotten teeth.  all of these problems are related to unsanitary living conditions and nutritional deficits.  it was so sad to me to see this, knowing that the fix we gave them would most likely be short term only since we weren't fixing the source of the problem.  this was really hard. these kiddos have never known what its like to go to the doctor when they are sick let alone go for well child check-ups.  the luxury of being able to afford to go to the doctor when i am sick is something that i know i take for granted.  throughout the week we passed out lots and lots of vitamins and worm medicine.  going into the trip, we didn't take many supplies with us, with the intention of buying what we would need from local pharmacies.  i loved that we did this.  it allowed us to pour into the local economy and bless some of the local business owners.  we made fast friends with the pharmacist across the street from onesimus and made several visits to her throughout the week as we ran out of supplies.  it was so fun to see her beaming as we walked through the door!  business was booming for her that week!  i also really liked that we did it this way because it ensured that we were using supplies that could actually be available to them later on since we know they carry them locally. 

i am really thankful to have had the opportunity to use the skills i learned in school to help others where medical care isn't readily available.  i can't tell  you how fulfilling it was passing out vitamins, rubbing ointment on sweet little faces and giving drinks of water to these kiddos.  if ever you get the opportunity to go on a trip like this, GO.  it changes your outlook on life and shifts your perspective. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

ethiopia or bust

haha not a very fitting title for this post but i couldn't resist!  i am really excited to tell y'all that i am going on a medical mission trip to ethiopia in october!  i am pumped.  i have wanted to go on a medical trip ever since i graduated from nursing school.  in haiti last year, it broke my heart to see kiddos there with long standing medical issues that have a really simple fix here in the states.  i feel blessed to have earned an education that allows me to help others everyday.  i know that education is a privilege that not everyone can receive.  i am challenged by the parable of talents in matthew 25.  because i have been entrusted with much, i feel that it is my responsibility to use this knowledge to help others who could not otherwise help themselves.

i am going with a group from northwest arkansas and we will be partnering with the James Initiative.  The James Initiative is an organization started by a few Christians here who felt compelled to care for the orphans of the world as we're commanded in James 1:27.  i believe in the work this organization is doing for several reasons.  here in the states they work to inform people of the realities of the orphan population and their need for care. they do this by mobilizing groups to go and supporting adoption.  in ethiopia they are doing much of the same thing.  equipping and encouraging Believers there in the local Church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these kiddos.  i love the way the James Initiative is coming alongside the ethiopians to allow them to show their community that it is the local Churches job to reach their community.  it would be easy for americans to step in, take over and provide.  however, this creates a need for dependency.  so instead, they are coming alongside and teaching them how to run effective outreach ministry so that the local church can essentially be the hero.  this allows the lost there to know that the local Church cares about meeting tangible needs along with the spiritual ones.  i think this is a beautiful partnership.  for more information you can go to

while my group is there, we will be working with local doctors and nurses to help run a clinic for the orphans the james initiative is reaching.  one day this clinic will hopefully be able to provide ongoing check ups and medical care to these kids.  i am beside myself that i get to be a part of this!

more to come as the trip gets closer!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

some thoughts on babies

i am 3 weeks into my new job and loving it.  starting over is humbling and refreshing all at the same time.  it's definitely weird to be the new girl.  i have to ask for help no less than 50 times every day.  i can no longer anticipate what the doctor will order for a particular problem, because well i don't know much about babies just yet.  asking where something is kept in the nursery and being told "over there" has quickly become one of my least favorite things to hear because i haven't learned where "over there" is in most cases.  thankfully, my co-workers are helpful and willing to teach.  honestly, the change of pace and environment has been a breath of fresh air.  there is something so sweet about new life coming into the world.  i love getting to be a part of the special time in families lives of welcoming a new baby.  i like to learn and am learning new things each day i am at work.  This has been exciting and fun. 

now i have always been that girl that really just loves babies.  i will oooh and ahhh over any that cross my path.  i've loved holding and rocking them since i was barely big enough to not be held and rocked myself.  let me just say though that there are a few basic things that i never fully got until the past few weeks.  i'm sure many of you mommas out there already know all this, but to this single girl, some of it has been almost mind blowing. 

1.  never under estimate the power of a good swaddle.  baby's love it.  like they will stop crying almost immediately (most of the time) if you wrap them up real tight.  i feel like i can accomplish big things now with just this tiny piece of knowledge. 
2.  breastfeeding is not something moms and babies just naturally know how to do.  i won't elaborate on this too much because frankly i'm not sure most of my bloggy audience wants that kind of information.  let me just say though that i have never in my life considered how important the latch, suck and flanged lips could be.  who knew??! 

3.  babies are resilient.  when holding a baby the phrases "use two hands" "careful" and "be gentle" always came to mind.  while these are important, the ways that we wrap, tuck, poke, prod and lift babies in the nursery is a pretty good reminder that God created them with little bodies that are ready to be handled by the outside world when they are born.      
4.  when you take a diaper off to change it, that will inevitably be the time the baby decides to go again.  i am happy to learn though that i have cat-like reflexes i never even knew about in these instances. 

there is still so much that i don't know and i have lots to learn in the coming weeks.  overall, i think this job change has been a really good thing for me.  i hoped and prayed this would be the case before i started.  i am thankful now to be able to say that it was a good decision.

until next time, buh-bye. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

she loves Jesus

the other night a friend and i were texting back and forth.  she was describing a person who i had never met, but will soon work with.  her description about this girl ended with, "she loves Jesus a lot."  in the moment i thought, this girl sounds great, i should be her friend.  but later as i kept thinking about it, i wondered, would people say this of me?  would my friends, family, co-workers and church family describe me to others as someone who really loves Jesus?  sadly, i know from my actions that i am not always worthy of this description.  i am thankful for the grace that He continually shows to a sinner like me who messes up everyday. 
i really do want to be so intentional with my actions though, that people know i love Jesus.  i don't want to do the right thing because i think it is what's expected of me or i'm afraid of who will see me doing the wrong thing.  i want to do what is right because i love the Lord and desire to obediently follow His commands.  i want to love God with my life.  To live in such a way that what i do in my daily life at home, work and church can bring glory to Him.  what a noble compliment for someone to say, "she loves Jesus a lot." 
i pray that i will live in such a way that people could say the same of me.