Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Filled with joy

There were two very exciting surprises waiting for me once I left home today. One, it was snowing. This may not be exciting to some, but I live in an area that rarely [read: never] sees any snow. And granted, it was just falling, not sticking, but it was exciting all the same. There are 18 foot windows in the lobby where I work and everyone was coming out to look at the snow fall. It's one of the few things that can universally put wonder into the eyes of hardened, overworked adults and that is a beautiful thing to see.

The second thing was an email in my inbox from my friend Callie. Yes, the same friend I wrote about two weeks ago who had been in the terrible car accident. She was released from the hospital last night and is at home. She has a long road of therapy and rehabilitation ahead, but is doing so much better than anyone could have imagined two weeks ago. Please continue to join me in praying for her continued recovery.

"When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter,and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad."
-Psalm 126: 1-3

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tag, I'm It

A while back my friend tagged me in a "write random things about yourself" blog and so, as I find little else to do between entirely random phone calls and questions today, here are 10 random things about me that probably do not know. (Beware: they are trully the first 10 things that popped into my head.)
1) I think that I would be a good spy. I'm small, young, and innocent looking. No one would ever suspect me. (Plus, I have always wanted to escape out of the top of an elevator.)

2) I'm OCD about trash. I cannot eat something and leave the wrapper laying beside me until I get up for another reason. I must immediately throw it away or its all that I can think of. (Monica, anyone?)

3) If I ever have a light-blub in my hand, all I am thinking about is how I want to smash it on a counter.

4) My first post-college job was as a loan processor. A bit of me died inside that year.

5) Celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure. Gasp!

6) When my brother (who is now 20) was born, I wanted him to be a girl so bad so that we could name him Anna Carrie.

7) I had perfect attendence in middle school (6th-8th grade). There were 8 of us in my school that did the same. A man found out about this and gave us all a new $100 bill.

8) I attribute the above perfect attendence to the fact that I had scarlet fever in first grade. I have rarely been sick since.

9)My husband and I met at a wedding. I didn't give him a second thought at the time because I thought he was way too old for me. We are, in fact, the same age.

10) My mom has always called me the princess and the pea because I am also OCD about sleeping. It has to be dark, quiet, and I must be comfortable. Anything, however small, can keep me up for hours. I've often taken the batteries out of clocks that tick at other people's houses. (Wow, TMI Kelli.) Not to worry, I always replace them and set the time right in the morning.

So, I warned you, it's a random, random list. I'm not going to tag anyone, but I will challenge you to write a list on your blog and post a link in the comments section.

The cat's out of the bag

In January I wrote a post that sort of alluded to my question-mark-of-a-furture, but I am now at liberty to shed more light on the issue. Don't get too excited, it's not a big secret, I just did not want to blog about anything that people I work with do not know. So, here goes.

Last week I resigned my job because we are moving to Quantico, VA in April. As most of you know, Brian is a Marine and this will begin military life for us. He has to go through six months of training in Quantico, followed by two more months of school in Rhode Island. After this, if everything goes as planned, we will have a permanent duty station (which I hope involves the Pacific Ocean) by the beginning of 2009. Which also means that we get to move THREE times this year. And not from apartment to house to another apartment like in college. What I'm talking about is three moves that involve at least three different states. In one year. With two cats and a bird.

People ask me all of the time if I am excited about this. My standard line is, "I might as well be." In truth, I am excited, but I am also scared to death. For all intents and purposes, the city that I now live in is the only place I've ever lived. It's where my family lives, where I got married, everything. So leaving is more difficult than going, if you know what I mean. It's not the new that scares me, it's leaving the old, not knowing what the future holds.

All over it seems like I am being told to have courage, though. My friend Annie's blog, the book that I'm now reading, and lots of other things keep encouraging me to take heart. I am often reminded of a song that I'm sure I've quoted somewhere on this blog before. My favorite part goes, "And you know the plans that you have for me. And you can't plan the end and not plan the means..." (Love some old school Caedmon's Call.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Please pray for Callie

My friend Callie was in a horrible car accident last night and is in ICU at a hospital in Atlanta. She has a broken hip and blood around her brain. The next two days are a crucial time for her. Please pray for Callie, she is a sweet person and a good friend. Callie and I got to know each other through the youth group that Brian and I worked with last year at our church. She's currently in 10th grade and just got her driver's license last month. She babysits my little brother and sister and is the most amazing baker that I know. Her chewy bars will be famous one day.

So, again, I beg that you pray for her for healing. Pray that the Lord would also comfort her family during this time.

"Dear Refuge of my weary soul, on Thee when sorrows rise,
On Thee when waves of trouble roll, my fainting hope relies,
To Thee I tell each rising grief, for Thou Alone canst heal,
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief for every pain I feel..."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Confessions of the selfish

Today, like yesterday, there is nothing going on here except for "escalator maintenance." That means that two guys are in little hatches at the top and bottom of the escalator directly across the lobby from my desk banging away on things. The amusing part of the situation is that they occasionally yell at one another. I don't think that they're friends outside of work. Judging by the events of the last couple of days, they're not really even friends at work. But, oh well.

In other news, I feel like I should come clean with you guys. I was in a terrible mood yesterday when I got off work because I was just brooding. Do you ever do that? Find yourself in the stinky pot and just sit there, marinating in your troubles? Well, if you don't, take it from me, it's terrible, but it's like quicksand because you cannot get out easily once trapped. Most of the time this happens in my mind and I let every little event pile up on top of the last until I feel that I am quite possibly the most horribly dejected human being that has ever borne the misfortune of walking this earth. Vague enough for you? Yesterday my nocuous mulling was the result of jealousy. I sometimes nauseate myself with this. Without going into details, I was feeling insanely overrun by several people in my life who really could have no idea what they were doing to me. What's worse is that I'm sure they in no way were trying to do anything to me whatsoever. So I brooded and I was short with Brian when he came home from work, knowing all the time that the longer I held it in, the more it was going to stink when it came out.

I surprised myself, though, and decided to tell Brian every stupid thing that I was upset over, instead of taking anything out on him. (None of the ill will was bent on him, I might mention.) The thing I was so worried about was that he would look down on me for having such childish jealousy, but he did not. He affirmed me and spoke truth to me and although I am not cured, I felt a million times better after just admitting how I felt. The more I live, the more I believe that honesty is always the best policy, period. And I'm so glad that I have already been made right with God through the work of Christ, because I can't do it on my own.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

With so much deception, it's hard not to wander away

Sometime in 2003 (I don't remember the month), I read an article in National Geographic Magazine that literally changed my life. It was about 21st Century Slaves. Yes, slaves. Like the kind that you thought were done with after the Civil War, when in all actuality, there are more people in the world today who live in slavery or slavery-like conditions than in the 1700 and 1800s. Astounded? That's okay, I certainly was the first time I heard this. But maybe astounded is not so much the word as dumbfounded or indignant. How on earth can we think that we live in any kind of modern world or society when PEOPLE are still bought and sold like pencils, cars, or any other inanimate commodity? And why was I 21 years old the first time I heard about it? Why are we not fighting wars to erradicate slavery? Why is it not the top news story everyday everywhere in the world?

I couldn't get this reality out of my head, so when I went to grad school in 2005, I decided to dedicate what I could of my studies to this subject. For those who may not know, I got my master's degree in Public Health. Instead of a writing a thesis to culminate my degree, I did a semester long internship at a domestic violence shelter and a rape crisis center in northeast Georgia. I also wrote a capstone paper about the myriad of health effects on victims of sex trafficking. This is because most of the modern day slaves are women and children who are trafficked and held for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In layman's terms this equals forced prostitution. Long story short, these people are most of the time destitute, they are tricked into moving to a different country for work, and then forced into sexual exploitation and held against their wills. Often they are broken and brainwashed so that they are bitter and untrusting of those who want to help. Even if released from this hellish "profession," they are scorned by their family and friends because of what they haved been forced to do and left with serious health conditions that inhibit their ability to carry daily living, much less their ability to work.

It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem and paralyzed by hopelessness. But we are not left without hope. There are many organizations that work with these victims, such as Free the Slaves, and International Justice Mission. My personal goal is to raise as much awareness as possible about this issue and try to educate people because knowledge is half the battle. Go to the websites above and learn more, or ask me because there is still a lot I haven't written here because of space.

"He has shown you, O man, 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." -Micah 6:8