Monday, December 26, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
On the flight to Denver, I told God about all of the things I hoped for and if I only got one of them, that would be enough for me. And I meant it with my whole heart. God, being who He is, not only did everything that I hoped for, He did more. Just because He can. Just because He loves me. I so wish I could sit down with you and tell you all about it. I can't. However, there is one part I have to share. It can't be held in.
During our Covenant of Silence time on Friday night, we were to spend time asking God a few questions: What do you say about me? How do you feel towards me? By what name do you call me? This was something I had been desiring to hear so badly over the past couple of years. God has led me out of what was known and expected of me. The repercussions of that have been more blessing than I have ever hoped to know coupled with more pain than I knew was possible. This pain was tied to past areas of injury that were still healing. I needed to hear from God, especially in these areas.
Throughout our time that night, the Lord spoke very healing and sweet words over my heart. However, I couldn't hear my name. We were given a white stone to consider in reference to Revelation 2:17. ( I will also give to each of them a white stone with a new name written on it, which no one knows except the one who receives it.) I held my white stone, rubbing it with my thumb. I could feel my name right there but I had no idea what it was. I would get a word or phrase but it didn't feel like my name. Sweet but my spirit didn't respond to it. Then it came:
I knew this was it because two things happened immediately. 1. My heart leaped and a giggled slipped out of my lips. 2. I heard in the back of my head, "That's not me." Thankfully, I was able to recognize what just happened - it was the first thing my spirit responded to and it was the first thing that was attacked. I sat with it a moment asking God if He was sure. "You know me. I'm a 30 year old, single, first grade teacher that loves to sit in bookstores and drink hot tea. Wild Woman? I trust you but I don't see it." God told me He knows. He's sure. We weren't finished but He sent me to bed.
That night, this Texas girl woke up with very cold toes. I slipped on socks but was wide awake. God was ready to finish this. As I laid in my bed with just God to keep me company, this is what went down:
God: What are you struggling with?
Me: The "wild" part.
God: What does wild mean to you?
Me: Edgy. Crazy. Sporty. Extreme.
God: That's adventurous. Not wild.
Me: What does wild mean to You?
God: Look around. These mountains that take your breath away. These aspens you are falling in love with. That stream you sat by earlier. The stars that you've been waiting to sit under. All of that is wild. That is my creation. It is strong and beautiful just as I made it. It is exactly where I want it. It is under my care. In my hands, it is perfect in every way. There is nothing that can make it better aside from Me. That is what wild means. Untouched by man. You, Dana, are my Wild Woman. Made be Me - In your beauty. In your strength. In My care. You are untamed, wild beauty.
I'm thankful God is an emotional God. I'm thankful He understands the need for tears. I'm thankful He allows us to process things in bits. I'm thankful He is sweet to continually reveal the layers of what He said that night. He has shown me more of what wild means to Him.
Now my white rock sits in Cairo, Egypt. When I glance at it and see the words "Wild Woman" written on it, I smile. There is still a part of me that shakes my head at that. No one but God would call me wild. Maybe that's part of the reason He chose it. But when I sit with it, when I remember, it takes my breath away.
Monday, September 26, 2011
- It is possible to feel the need to protect someone even though you speak two completely different languages.
- It is possible to no longer be surprised by things.
- Sometimes it takes moving around the world to become more clear about what you want to do with your life.
- Sometimes moving around the world shows you that your dreams aren't limited to a place.
- You can break old habits and learn new ones.
- You can keep in touch with the dearest of friends even after you move away.
- You can learn how to use chopsticks in a country with no Chinatown.
- You can learn that uncertainty isn't as scary as you thought.
- Your normal can change but in the end, its OK.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
The nice thing about our camel guy was that they took us in the back way. We couldn't see anything for a while. In fact, it looked like we were getting further away from where the pyramids were. Then we turned the corner and there they were. The driver stopped the group, we leaned back and everyone avoided falling off. We got off and the pictures began.
There it was, the biggest of the pyramids. It was massive. We were advised not to go in as everything inside had been moved to the museum. Instead, we decided to enjoy the lack of people there.
First thing we did was climb the pyramd. We didn't get very high but still - we climbed a pyramid!
Just so you know, riding camels on sand is great. Riding camels down rock pathways is scary! They were sliding and slipping all over the place and we were a good 8 - 10 feet in the air. I was riding the lead camel and was thinking I was over-reacting to the sliding I was feeling. Then I noticed the other nine got silent as we went along. Needless to say, we were all pretty nervous. However, we made it down and saw the Sphynx. Not quite as big as I had always imaginged but there it was in all of its glory.
Me and Denise in front of the Sphynx (which I apparently think of as a girl because I keep wanting to type "her"). While we were there, several people were taking fun pictures of them "kissing" the Sphynx. All around us were children giving us advice and moving us around so we could get the perfect shot. It was a bit annoying - not only because they were in the way but also because they wanted tips for their "help". So, we got our pictures, remounted the camels, and went home. Two and a half hours of sun, sand, and wonders of the ancient world.
Cairo is a loud city. Loud. The Egyptian people don't know what a conversational voice level is. It constantly sounds like they are trying to get each others attention arcoss the room when they are three feet away. The funny thing is that most of the time, they are just talking. The cars honk all of the time. All. Of. The. Time. The thing about it is that all of the honking means something and you learn very quickly what they are "saying" to you while they honk. Egyptians like their music - especially turned up loud. I've actually had to ask taxi drivers to turn down the music. The calls to prayer sound five times a day. From speakers. All around the city. They are fading into the background but they are still there. Especailly on Fridays when they read for an hour. The streets are built up on all sides so that all of the sound travels as through a tunnel.
Cairo is a crowded city. You learn very quickly that walking on the side of the road means almost rubbing up against cars parked on the side. Taxis drive within inches of you and you just get used to it. People are everywhere - not quite like Times Square but constantly there.
Cairo suprises you every day. Some mornings you get up to go to work and find a small lake at the bottom of your road so you have to walk through sand, rocks, and piles of trash to get to the bus. Taxis will "fail", kick you out, and then speed off once you pay them. You go to the pyramids and see emaciated or rigored animals all along the way. You find yourself interacting with local people very differently than you thought you would - especially men.
And living in Cairo is so beautifully different than anywhere else. You learn the beauty of fresh produce (even if it isn't the best season quite yet). You learn to love not having a car. You learn how to quickly love and appreciate new people - some of which you may not have interacted with in your life before here. You learn that despite what you've known before, it is not only acceptable but encouraged to invite yourself to people's homes/events. You learn to crave the community of like minded people and the joy of learning from those so different from you. You learn to expect the unexpected and just go with it. Everyday you feel the pride of just doing it - jumping in with both feet. You lay down at night and think, "I can't believe I did it." And every night, "it" is something new. At the same time, you lay down every night and feel humbled. You don't know it all, you can't do it all, and you still have a lot to learn.
Monday, August 29, 2011
When we arrived in Cairo, we knew that we would be hitting the ground during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. I didn't know anything about it but that was changed quite quickly. All I knew was that it was a month of fasting. Since landing, I've learned that it is the celebration of the month is which it is believed that Mohammad first received the Quran. Each day from sun up to sun down, people fast from food, water, and work. The hours of business change and everything is closed down. Most people stay home to sleep, pray, and read the Quran. As we walked around looking for apartments, setting up life, and learning our way around, we have been hiding in corners and ducking into buildings to drink our water. Only certain places were open to eat. It is a respect issue. Then when the sun goes down and the last call to prayer of sounded, everyone breaks their fast with a meal called Iftar. The streets are EMPTY and quiet. Then once everyone eats, the city comes to life. Businesses open and people play, work, eat, worship, and go about life. It is like the season of Christmas in most Western countries. There are lights and bright lanterns everywhere. Mosques are lit up in blues, greens, and reds. At the end of Ramadan (tomorrow), the feast breaks and brings on a four day holiday called Eid. Everything will shut down and people will go on vacation.
(The mosque on my street. Excuse the spots, its the flash reflecting off of the sand in the air.)
In terms of living with surrounded by those who are Muslim, there are a few misconceptions that I've learned about. The biggest one would be the calls to prayer. I expected that five times a day, the city would stop and everyone would prayer. Wrong. The call is sounded five times a day (and yes, it is loud) but the city keeps going. Taxis keep driving. Businesses that are open keep serving customers. Realitors keep showing spaces. Life keeps going but the reminder is there.
I've also learned something interesting. On Ash Wednesday in the Catholic faith, you get ashes on your forehead. In the Islamic faith, bowing prayer is such a focus that on their foreheads are callouses that look like the ashes. But the callouses does rub off. It's almost easier to tell who is more devout than others.
During our orientation yesterday, we heard the overview of Middle Eastern history from the Middle Eastern point of view. The focus was on World War II and the current string of revolutions. Very interesting to hear the other side of the story that CNN doesn't present. I won't share much here because I don't want to start a debate but if you're interested, let me know.
There's so much more. As I shared earlier, cultural overload of learning new things. Another day I'll share what I've learned about Egypt itself. Until then, ask what you want about what I've shared. I may or may not know the answer. If I don't, I'm in a good place to find out.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Since I've become sporadic with my blogs, i decided to steal this from my friend. I thought it looked fun. Hope you will enjoy it!
1. Even though I'm no longer a vegetarian, I still feel guilty every time I eat any kind of meat.
2. I often struggle with putting my beliefs into action. My heart is in the right place but often my hands and feet don't follow. God and I are working on it in major ways.
3. I regret not sticking with anything as a child - dance classes, softball, Girl Scouts, athletics, art lessons.....
4. I am equally an introvert and extrovert. Sometimes it makes me feel like it sends mixed messages to people and they don't get to know the real me.
5. Whenever a speaker talks about how we all have spiritual children even if we don't have any children of our own, a small part of me dies.
6. I would love to get my masters but I have no idea what I want to do. Everything continues a career in education (which I don't think I want too much longer) or requires another bachelors degree first.
7. My inner thrill seeker is itching for my next adventure. I now want to climb a mountain.
8. I find ironing therapeutic. I love the rhythm of the back and forth while making things look better. it feels productive and calming.
9. As curious as I am about things long past, I am thankful that I don't know all of the answers to my questions. I think it is God's way of protecting me.
10. I've always wondered what it's like to get tackled wearing full football gear. I'll never know....