Tuesday, July 31, 2007

car for sale

okay, i really need to sell my car by august 7. a 2001 vw cabrio convertible glx: air conditioning, leather, dual front air bags, front side air bags, alloy wheels, cruise control, ABS (4-wheel), power steering, AM/FM stereo, cassette, multi compact disc, power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel.

very well cared for. mostly highway miles (102k miles... she's got another 100k in her i'm sure). silver with black top and black interior.
you know i love my car. in fact, part of me doesn't want to sell it. but why let it sit there for 2 years while i'm in africa? this car needs a loving owner. the kbb value is $7,800. help me out? spread the word!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

why the bubble is not so bad... after thoughts of mti

i want to post a pic of my "missionary camp" buddies, but this is all i've got for now. felt like the blog needed some color.

one thing i've learned in my training this summer is that the best lessons are often not those found in the curriculum, so it's good to have a ready mind and open heart. here are some snippets of self discovery...

1. i struggle with prejudice. not racially or culturally speaking, but within the context of the Church. you would think that having grown up in 5 different denominations, i'd have a pretty open mind... but it turns out i tend to pigeon hole peeps pretty quickly. drat.

2. i'm a proud person. i think i'm pretty darn smart, and i think i'm pretty darn nice. the worst part is, i think this sets me apart and i often think i know better than you. sorry about that.

3. i read the "great books" (classics, for the non-johnnies out there) more diligently and with more fervor than i do the Bible. this is ironic since the Bible is a great book (johnnie curriculum) and it's unfortunate considering my career. it also means that many of my opinions are not my own or at least not properly thought through... which is exactly that which i look down on in others, being the proud intellectual that i am. thankfully, this can be remedied.

4. the bubble isn't so bad. it's no place to live, with people you share so much in common with, but it's a good place to visit to gain perspective. not to mention, there's actually quite a bit of diversity in said bubble.

i guess it could sound like i drank the kool-aid, or that i went out to colorado and picked up that whole guilt/shame bit... but no... knowing this stuff is actually pretty freeing. i mean, as you become more self aware, you're bound to find both good and bad. right?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

bleh.... and yeah!

bleh news first...
i had to say goodbye to a lot of very special people in lex the past couple days. most notably, my little brother pierce.
yeah news next...
i got my pathology report yesterday, and all is well. thanks for your prayers and support on that one!
i'm back in b'more for the first time in a month, so i'm going to go catch up. less than 2 weeks to go!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

(lack of) news flash

i called to get the biopsy results today... they said to call back next week.

i'm leaving "missionary camp" tomorrow, so i'm going to go hang out with my friends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

oh susanne-uh

tonight is susanne's going away party, and i can't be there...

not only is susanne a loyal blog reader and concerned commenter, she is also metro's best employee, one of baltimore's most selfless teachers, my favorite story teller, the most accomplished brownie baker (and goat cheese fryer), a very level headed adviser, a genuine rebel rouser (in a good way), and my very dear friend. the susanne/anna/laurel/lauren foursome is dissolving geographically as all of us bid baltimore farewell. while i have a lot of one-on-one relationships with girlfriends that mean the world to me, this is the first time i've had a truly tight knit group of girls i could count on for anything. all it takes is one "s.o.s." text message to bring the 4 of us together... or one that says "wine" or "food" or "v.s. semi-annual sale" the list goes on. it's like "sex in the city" with a very different cast of characters.

have fun tonight, susanne. i love you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

3 weeks from today

(actually, 3 weeks from NOW) i'll be on a plane to benin, west africa.

Monday, July 16, 2007

rocky mountain high

camp friends are the best

ah, camp. people look at me weird when i break out into the weenie man song, but kim know's what's up. kim and i worked at camp mystic together when i was in college. though we've probably only hung out a total of 2 months in our entire lives, we've been friends ever since. she was crazy enough to ask me to sing in her wedding nearly 3 years ago (i thought she was kidding till i saw my name listed as "ceremony soloist" on her wedding website!) and she and scott together were crazy enough to pick me up from colorado springs, drive back to boulder (where they live) friday night, drive 7.5 hours to durango saturday and back again sunday just so i could see my brother. granted, we got to see a lot of pretty country in between and they had wanted to drive to durango at some point anyway, but still... pretty darn gracious friends considering how rarely we get to see each other!! kim and scott are pictured in front of colorado dunes. i'm still not sure how all that sand got there.

farwell little bro

so stephen is working in durango for the summer and won't return to virginia until after i've left for benin... meaning, this was goodbye. he's living in a camper outside my uncle gerry's house. it's pretty sweet. you'd be surprised how nice a camper is on the inside. plus free meals from gerry and his wife vickie... yum... biscuits and gravy for breakfast. kim, scott, stephen and i went to pagosa springs sunday to hike around for a bit. stephen reminded me we had stayed there as little kids with my parents and grandparents before pierce was born (i think). we played in the paddle boats on the lake there. ah, memories. anyway, all this rambling is to say that my brother and i are really close and i'm going to miss him a lot. i love you stephen.

a few more pictures in my album.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

bang bang, you're dead

today's missionary training included a hostage-taking simulation. first we were hiding out, then we were caught, then we had to choose which 3 hostages could be let go, then we were told they couldn't go and that we had to choose 2 people to be executed. i volunteered because i don't have a family back home to worry about... no one depending on me. the guys said they didn't feel comfortable with a girl getting shot. so i stayed put while tony and nick were taken. we heard two shots fired. our captors came back and demanded two more hostages to be executed. gabe and i both got up to go. i had to push people out of the way. it was all a blur. i laid on the ground... two more shots fired. the simulation ended.
the strange thing is, i was really at peace about being killed. i mean, i knew i wouldn't really be shot, so that's part of it, but i felt that it was better for me to be shot than anyone else in the group. and as i waited on the ground for the shots to be fired, i thought of everyone i'd be leaving behind... my friends and family... and i really trusted that they knew my love for them and hoped they'd be confident of the peace i felt when killed.
what an odd thing to think about.
in other not-simulated news, that biopsy i got a while back (i posted about getting stitches) yielded "suspicious" results. i have to have another biopsy tomorrow to see what's up. my boss won't let me leave until all is resolved, so please pray for a speedy and favorable report! gracias.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

rockstar's birthday

former baltimoron mollie, aka rockstar (and other nicknames i won't publish here), whisked me away to denver last weekend. the timing was perfect, as she celebrated her birthday friday. we had dinner with her newly married friends anna and michael friday night, who taught me the glories of whatever that super popular guitar video game is. awesome. i'm a skeptic no more.

saturday we were supposed to hike just a short "2 miles" up to bear lake near mt. evans. now, having been in colorado for only a week, i was a little concerned about adjusting to the altitude... but i figured i could handle an easy 2 miles in and 2 miles out. after hiking for an hour, however, i began to question the distance in earnest. i didn't ask for clarification, i just kept my slow pace and kept drinking water. turns out we were actually hiking about 5 miles in. ooooh. right. here's the thing, though: if i had known the total distance would exceed 9 miles, i would have stayed home to read and write thank you notes. if i had known an hour into the hike that we were only half way to our destination, i might have turned around. lesson being, sometimes not knowing is a good thing. in this case, it kept me from underestimating myself. i wonder how many other times we could say that about life? my guess is, plenty. maybe that's part of why God doesn't give us the whole picture at once, as frustrating as that can be at times.

i also met a bunch of mollie's "scum" friends... peeps she's met through her church in denver, which is actually called "scum of the earth church." the name comes from 1 corinthians 4:11-13. they take small groups to a whole new level, with names like "army of dorkness" (that's the comic book club) and "we're bad a everything" (full of people trying to get better at things). you can see pics of mollie's friends (including her ex if you look closely at captions) in my summer album.

Monday, July 09, 2007

initial thoughts

so i'm at "missionary camp" outside colorado springs for 3 weeks. i know some of you think, 'colorado springs... christian mecca! i love focus on the family!' and others of you think, 'ew. gross!' needless to say, as much as colorado is like home to me (after coming here with my mom's family every summer for years and years), i'm definitely out of my comfort zone. to an extent, that's the point. i'm here to learn about how to "deal" in other cultures. how to be uncomfortable and be me and be healthy. how to communicate and how to constructively face conflict. well, being with 39 other adults and their 20+ kids is definitely not the culture i'm akin to.
i know some of what i say here could bite me in the butt later (like, if my friends here read my blog one day), but i'm going to be honest about my first impressions anyway. bare with me.

first, let me say, this training is VERY good. i'm glad i'm here.
now let me say, i am a fish out of water! everyone here went to Bible college. almost everyone. why? they've known they were called to missions since they were in the womb. well, almost. now i'm sure there are some really great things about Bible colleges. i'm sure i'd learn a lot if i attended one. i know my friends here have cultivated skills that will aid them in the field and i'll wish i had that training too. BUT... how in the world can you go out into the world and know the world and meet the world and love the world if you've studied in a bubble? we talk a lot about building relationships here, and i'm glad we all agree it's important, but i have to wonder... how are you going to build relationships when you can't find other christians in the field to be your friends? when you have to branch out? and isn't that the point??
granted, i'm over generalizing a bit to demonstrate a point. but it is a concern i have. and it does make me exceedingly grateful for my community back home, made up of all kinds of people.
and i welcome your feedback (especially from my friends here, if you ever read this) since confrontation is an opportunity for expression and growth :)
pictured are the tracks i cross over to get to the santa fe trail, in my backyard. it's great to walk out the door and be able to hike every day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

jesus saves

jenny, carolyn, katie, michelle, me, lorraine, diane, laura and amy all met for dinner on the roof deck of carolyn's house a week ago. we were wrapping up discussions on our book, "revelations of a single woman: loving the life i didn't expect." ironically, no one actually finished the book except for jesse (not pictured), who is married. it's a great book, i just lost momentum. still, i'd recommend it to a friend.

anyway, more importantly, i love these girls. together with christina, anne marie, anna, christy, and others not present last week, we've really developed a group of young women who can speak openly with one another about life and faith. i wonder what that will look like when i leave (on august 7, yes, i fly out on my birthday). will i find an authentic community in cotonou? i'm not even sure what this group back home will look like 2 months from now. already, anna and christy have moved to other countries. soon i'll do the same, along with carolyn and anne marie.
things change even when you stay put.

Monday, July 02, 2007

some pics and stuff

in response to susanne's "attacking missionary" comment(s)...
indeed i did wrestle with her at metro. and won, i think.
chris drove all the way up from richmond to say goodbye (and take my vacuum). i like the full beard a lot. he just returned from the sudan... you should see his pictures.
all the hamilton cousins (minus my brothers) got together in san antonio this weekend for cousin catherine's wedding. here are erin, bev, emily, lily, mere, cat, jamie, me and blake.
and here's the beautiful bride, but you should go to her photographer's blog to really see just how beautiful she is. wow. artful stuff.