Tuesday, March 18, 2008


WOW WOW WOW. If I could only find words for the last 48 hours! I was supposed to be working last Sunday night (my 24th birthday), but an extra nurse was scheduled that night so I got it off. My pal Emma was home from Omaha for spring break and I could not wait to see her. Two months is TOO LONG!!! We quickly made plans along with Rachel and Sarah E. to go out on the town. How much free stuff could we get out of Fargo in one evening? That was the question. We met up at Mexican Village to start things off and I couldn't have been more excited... or so I thought. Em gave me one of her ALWAYS perfect gifts. This year it was a mini Ireland flag (for our St. Patty's day celebration the next day), a hilarious hat (also for our celebration the next day), a beautiful book of portraits from around the world, and a bottle of wine from Stellenbosch, South Africa! As soon as I finished opening Em said, "Ok, I can't take it anymore. I have something to tell you!" I screamed... yes, screamed. Everyone stopped and stared as we hugged. MARRIED?!?!? YAAAAAAAY!!! It was a completely unexpected proposal for her, so naturally it was a complete surprise (but a fantastic one) for me!! Emma has been my friend basically since birth. She is not the "settle down" type, but Jay has captured her heart completely and it's amazing to see her wanting to be with him more than anything else. I was overcome with the beauty of it! Being a girly girl I always get excited about engagements. But this one... well, nothing else compares. A man for my girl! THE man for my girl. It seems as though everyone gets married, but an incredibly blessed few marry the one who truly draws the very best out of them. Em does that for Jay, and Jay does that for Em! There couldn't have been a better birthday surprise. We enjoyed precious hours of delighting in the greatness of God together.

The rest of our evening consisted of free meals, drinks, desserts, and even a birthday song from the guy in the Taco Johns drive-through. We laughed harder than should be allowed. When the clock struck midnight and as a result my ID no longer did any good, we headed home. Four hours later Em and I finally drifted off to sleep. I woke up the next morning feeling blissfully happy. It actually felt strange! For months I have been in an awful funk... having good times but still waking up feeling... sad. Lacking joy and needing to actively ask God to help me choose it every day, regardless of feeling. I used to wake up smiling and have the keenest awareness that God was right there with me. I felt that yesterday again and it hasn't gone away. Thank you Jesus! Something has happened in my heart. I once again have the urge to dance around my apartment and run around outside looking for prospects of spring flowers. It may seem silly, but it's huge.

Yesterday consisted of wedding dress shopping (August wedding!) for Em and a final dress fitting for Rachel (April 19th)! The lady at David's Bridal kept saying "Congratulations" to both of them... to which I would pipe in "thank you":). Yes, I am the best friend of the brideS (plural). Last night we dressed up in green and brought Jay and Cassie with us to wave our Irish flags and find some green beer. We were successful! Fargo knows how to celebrate St. Patrick's day. No pinches for us! Rachel opted to stay home and show her holiday spirit by painting her living room... what else... GREEN:)!!

Today was filled with sunshine, a gorgeous run (my knee is a million times better!), and dinner out with my family and, of course, Emma and Jay. Birthday cake at my apartment rounded things out, not to mention gifts... FOUR books!!! They know me too well.

One more exciting thing to mention... my beautiful and ridiculously fun friend Megan is coming to visit next weekend. We met in South Africa last February, had a chance to be roommates for a month in May-June, and have loved being able to talk on the phone ever since her return from Zambia a couple of weeks ago. Meggy's, I CAN'T WAIT to see you:).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Teeth (Part 1)

Yesterday I could be found at the dentist for what was a long overdue cleaning and exam. It wasn't that I haven't thought about going earlier, it's just that after getting home I had to wait until I had insurance, then had to find a dentist, then wait for an appointment. Even though it had been nearly two years since I had been seen, there was not a nervous thought in my mind. I fully expected the visit to go just as every visit to the dentist has gone. I sit in the chair, everyone tells me what beautiful teeth I have, and I smile and say, "why thank you!" As the hygienist was doing her horrid business of scraping my teeth with that awful pick, she commented that there was very little plaque built up considering how long it had been between cleanings. Fantastic. Then the dentist came in and I waited for the good news. I was shocked to instead hear the words, "you have cavities." Groan. I couldn't believe it! But wait, because it gets worse. She proceeded to tell me that my mouth was full of tiny cavities between my teeth. Not one or two... or even five or ten! No, I have a grand total of thirteen cavities. A full baker's dozen!! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but quickly headed towards the latter when I thought of how much this was going to cost. Fortunately, insurance will cover half but it's still quite the ouch. The well-meaning hygienist reassured me that they do, in fact, offer a payment plan. Oh terrific, that's just what I need... a monthly payment on my teeth.

All day I have been analyzing this news and trying to pinpoint the culprit. Granted, I don't floss very often, but I never have flossed and never had trouble!! Sarah flosses religiously and is always telling me I really should too. I smugly reply that it isn't necessary. Oops. It looks like Sarah was right again! Phooey. Note to self... must start flossing. Could my beloved toothpaste have anything to do with it? I love Crest Cinnamon Rush SO much that I brought enough tubes with me overseas to last the entire year. I have been brushing with it for about 2 ½ years total... it could be a coincidence. But soon the bearer of bad news was prescribing even more bad news... prescription fluoride toothpaste. Gross! Giving up my toothpaste makes me sad, but I'm determined to do whatever it takes to never get a cavity again. How hard can it be to floss once a day? And if no more soda means healthier teeth, then dang-it I'll quit drinking soda. I guess all of us non-flossing soda drinkers just need to "stick to our guns"... or, stick to our GUMS!! Just a little dental humor there for you.

Anyway, I'm grossed out. This situation might call for the writing of a bluesy country song. I could call it "Go Away Tooth Decay", or something nifty like that. Anyone have ideas for a tune? Thirteen cavities. Good grief.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

For Love of Mozy...

I was down at the farm this past weekend, and while scanning some of my sister's more recent pictures stumbled across her Africa pictures. They were fantastic! It was awesome to be able to go through them and feel each moment again. Feel Mozy... feel home. If you want to see them, click on the "My Snappies" link at left.

Sarah came over for dinner tonight. I sent her a text message to tell her the food was ready and she laughed at me, saying it was just like when we were in Mozambique. When I didn't know what to do, I would cook something. When she didn't know what to do she would clean something:). Quite the pair!!! I treasure our times together immensely and am beyond thankful that we live in the same city and can see each other often. We are both itching to visit Mozambique and are planning a trip in November or early December. Please pray that it happens! I get choked up just thinking about how good it would be.

Two of Sarah's friends are currently in South Africa, going through the same Footprints program that we went through. The two nurses will go on to Mozambique after their training. They will live in our house, and drive our car. How exciting!!! Please be praying for these girls as well. God is sending them to a very precious place and people.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Horror of horrors, I injured my left knee. Online research has brought me to the conclusion that it is either Ileotibial band syndrome, or Patellofemoral pain syndrome. I'm tending to lean towards the latter (often referred to as "runners knee") and it's not great news. I'm finding that it is quite common among distance runners, and as the name implies, it hurts like heck! At this point I am wishing I could go back in time to Tuesday afternoon when I made the genius decision to try to just run through the small amount of discomfort I was feeling from the day before. Five miles later my leg just wouldn't allow me to take another step and I had to pathetically limp home. So now I am actively "RICE-ing", a useful acronym which stands for rest, ice, compression, elevate.

With only 10 weeks until the Fargo marathon, I'm trying to remain calm. It's funny how this running thing has become such a regular and beloved part of my life. But I am not too worried (there are still 10 weeks after all!) and the extra time off the road and on the couch has afforded very sweet times with the Lord. The next few months of my life are still quite a mystery, so although I would love to know what God is up to, it's comforting to just rest in Him and be happy in the thought that I just want to be... where He is. I need to be reminded often that more of my effort needs to be spent on who I am BECOMING than what I am DOING. This is difficult for me. But I am looking forward to more time with the knee up, iced and compressed to think on and pray for these things. I was further challenged just now by this quote:

"The art of praying, as we grow, is really the art of learning to waste time gracefully—to be simply the clay in the hands of the potter. This may sound easy—too easy to be true—but it is really the most difficult thing we ever learn to do.... This is the real reason why so few of us ever come, in this life, to the full experience of God’s love for us."
- Thomas H. Green
When the Well Runs Dry

As I sit in my favorite, slightly eccentric coffee shop downtown I suddenly feel delight at being alive. Cold outside or not I pulled out my favorite red and white polka-dot dress to wear today just because it is cheerful. Jack Johnson's "Better Together" is playing in the background and makes me laugh as I think of all the times my best pal, Emma, and I have sang it to each other... snapping our fingers as we did so. Ah, the little things:).

Sunday, March 02, 2008


In the western world we live by our watch. It orders us around and determines when we are under stress and when we can relax for a moment. But precious time demands too much of us to let those moments come very often. This consumption with time naturally results in a dramatic loss of love and relationship. All too often we don't even see needs around us in our hurry to get wherever it is we need to go next. If I'm meeting with a friend for coffee, I have ONE hour. No more. I have been noticing and shuddering at my slavery to the clock lately, and was prodded again when I spent time this afternoon in Henri Nouwen's "Compassion" (one of my favorite books). Nouwen talks about patience being the discipline of compassion. He discusses impatience as being an obsession for us to get out of the current moment and on to the next. I can relate, especially when it hits 5am after a long night of work, or I'm stuck in traffic, or in the middle of a dry sermon. God has placed me in that situation for a purpose. Why? I want to find out, and start celebrating and watching for Him instead of walking in impatience.

"But when patience prevents us from running from the painful moment in the false hope of finding our treasure elsewhere, we can slowly begin to see that the fullness of time is already here and that salvation is already taking place. Then, too, we can discover that in and through Christ all human events can become divine events in which we discover the compassionate presence of God." (pg. 98)

Nouwen also calls us to remember the moments either alone or with loved ones when time seemed to stand still. When it just didn't matter. When everything in the world seemed right because we realized that God is above time and place. I can remember a small handful of these moments very clearly. One was in Mozambique when I was out watching the sun come up (a fairly regular occurrence) and listening to the voices of birds on a beautiful, deserted path. I am quite sure it was the happiest moment of my life. Despite turmoil on every side, I felt peace and everything seemed right in the world. I want to experience more of those moments, and know that I need to be willing to give up my obsession with scheduling and embrace God's perfect timing. I want Him to show me things that I would miss otherwise, and to spend more time loving others.

As much as we hate to admit it or pray for it, God demands patience of us. Little by little we must learn that patience is not a form of discipline to be abhorred, but a beautiful attribute of God that He wants to develop in us, for His glory.