Thursday, December 27, 2007

whole life

so i am back in crazy k-town. the a cacophony of horns wake me up in the morning. I squeeze myself into the metro to get to my favorite place in the world and get the beautiful priveledge of walking with the women of SB in their lives of freedom. I get to see the kingdom coming everyday. there is fullness in my life because of my communities prayers and hopes and dreams.

after my time of rest, i have been pondering what it means to have full life. i certainly have a life that is full. but sometimes, it is so full of work and things i feel i have to do that i lose the joy. i want it all. the treasure of freedom for the women and the satisfaction of work, the peace of rest and the joy of play. i want to create something new everyday....spend myself fully and not battle burnout.

i am a woman who wants to make things happen and when they do not or there is disappointment i take it hard. i realized that i need to be in place where i can relax and just "be" in the all the situations i find myself. i can not control and fix myself or fix everyone around me. i am terribly hard on myself most of the time...so this needs to be my year of grace. the year i learn to live in grace, walk in grace and be graceful. like i said before i need to let the savior save and everyone around me instead striving so hard to create a perfect situation that my never exist. because i see the kingdom coming inspite of me, inspite of all the failures, all the hardness of real relationship, all the trials of living in another a culture. the kingdom comes in spite of me...thank sweet jesus for that.

i am wishing for newness for my heart this year. a fresh fullness that comes from being one who is saved and knowing that is enough.

i also want to lose 35 pounds this year...35 because i am turning 35 and it seems like a good time to try for it. so i am filling my plate with fruit and vegtables and holding off on the all the lovely goodies i got for christmas. but still enjoying little treasures like chocolate with my coffee this morning. but of course even in this i hope to walk in grace.

so a toast to new life, a whole life, and walking in grace.

cheers!

Monday, December 17, 2007

wondering

i am wondering how the world can contain so much beauty and so much pain. i am conflicted by the amazing 24 hours i had on the high mountains overlooking the himalayas and the desperation of being sick again with giardia and the bus ride back to kathmandu...see povertys cost to humanity. empty blank eyes asking me for help...begging but not looking. words swirling around the bus like development and underdevelopment, economics and the floating dollar, the gold standard and poverty causes. everyone wants someone to be responsible but no one wants responsiblity...this includes me right now. i wanted to escape in pokara...pretend that only me and God existed for a few days. but escape was not possible...God can not be seperated from the need in the world. he does not take a timeout from the suffering...but i desperately wanted not to be offered maryjane, or massages by teenage boys or hear the sneering calls of the beggars looking to corner a rich westerner. i am weary of the talk, of the hurt and of myself. i had the mountain top for 24 amazing hours in a five days period...only sunrises and sunsets on the himalayas, sunshine and stunning silence, brillant stars and clean air. but it only exists as a apart of the rest of the days full of restlessness, wondering, doubt, fear, striving, difficult prayer and pain. i want to seperate and isolate but that does not seem to be the call. i know this...i think i am just tired. a suffering world with a good God is a hard place to live. mother teresa prayed with her windows open to the streets of kolkata...i am praying for the grace to do the same.

i am thankful to be amoung the sweet ktm community and be embraced by their hugs and kisses and taco dinners! i am thankful to see a week of love changing the lives of little children and thankful for another day to try and meet the emmanuel who is with us in it all.

Friday, December 14, 2007

walking

i woke up not feeling so good yesterday...nepal food seems to do this to me! so i held off on hiking the mountain which i think was a good thing. later in the afternoon i went for a 2.5 hour walk and now i am seriously paining in my knees and hip flexors...so sad. there is always something to be said for slow. and slow is what i am supposed to be doing...slow and silent. yesterday was restless...thus the very long walk.

i am headed up to stay at sarangkot for my remaining two days...i can get a room for 10 bucks a day instead of the 5 i am paying now and the view is suposed to be spectacular. i am a little weary of the touristy thing here in pokara....not enough nature and to many people for me!

has anyone ever seen the cross between a turkey and a duck? well i have here in pokara--the body of a duck and the ugly face of a turkey with the gobbling noise and the bobbing head. so weird...seen it twice but both times without my camera...you will just have to imagine it!!

so maybe no internet up on the mountain...we will see i guess. more when i get back to KTM.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

breathing

i am soaking up the beauty in touristy pokara. i have not been here for more than 5 years and it is really touristy now. but i can see the lake and the annapurnas from my windows and i walked alot today absording the sun and sky and mountain ranges. i am going to hike to sarangkot tomorrow...three hour hike. my knees have been much better so i am hoping they stay that way. right now i am sore in a normal way from all the walking.

I am doing an advent based retreat at D-baynes suggestion. and loving the sweet simplicity of welcoming the savior. because that is really what i have been needing to do..welcome my savior and let myself be saved. today i reflected on joseph and how overwhelmed he must have felt, seemingly the father of a an illegitmate child, caring for his family with inadequate resources, fathering at least on earth the son of God. I found myself in a very real way identifying with joseph...the overwhelmed, overresponsible part but then seeing in a real way, that joseph must have been okay because i a very real way he had to depend on the Father and let him in to be his savior even as he welcomed the savior into the world. these are incomplete thoughts...any. thanks to all you who are praying...

off to find more beauty and breath in the heart of the savior.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Nepal

christmas programs, overdone and well done, root canals that aren't that bad, burritos with the works, bundled in heavy blankets fighting the cold, bacon and black coffee, seeing old friends, watching hope spring in little lives..oh such a nice couple of days i have had.

I am in nepal now. I got here saturday and have been enjoying life with the community here. so great to see guatum and rekha and see how much their lives have changed and the hope that continues to spring from what God is going in their lives and the lives around them.

i have needed a break and i am hoping this time of rest will help me refocus and get back on my feet on an emotional and spiritual level. i can feel myself just starting to let down. I leave for pokara tomorrow for a 5 days personal retreat...all alone with the silence, my bible and hopefully some long walks in nature. i am leaving early than expected because my root canal--yes they have a good dentist in nepal will require three visits. i had my first visit and it went really well and i have my next one on tuesday so i planned the retreat part in between. When i get back i will have more time with the nepal staff before heading back to kolkata on the 23rd.

i am little afraid of being alone for 5 days but if i could discern something that might be good but hard for me this would be what i need right now. i am taking some yarn,my crochet hook and a bible and will wait to see what god says in the waiting silence. my hopes are up...

i am off to exlpore thamel today... revist old memories and drink some coffee.

Monday, December 03, 2007

can you read my blogger?

we can not get blogger for some reason. i can post...at least i think i can...as you can see if you are reading this now. so weird. i am wondering if it is blocked in India for some reason. who knows?

so i am happily finishing off my first good day in awhile. we had 4 new ladies start training at Sari Bari today and maybe a few more starting on Wednesday. it was good a day...so beautiful to see more women coming into freedom. nice to have a very full house at SB. beautiful to see SB ladies bringing other ladies into freedom. i love being apart of kolkata's freedom story. i just love it!

i am a little homesick...being sick for awhile always seems to do that! and so does darn cute pictures of my neice addy! wow what a cutie..she makes amazing faces as seen below! Grace makes some pretty good ones too!!






Well thats all for now. thankful for my life with the SB ladies and thankful to have family all over the world, including the super cool beth and kristin, when i am homesick!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

oh my aching bones...

today i made my first venture out of the house for the first time in 5 days to go and meet Kim at the airport. My fevers have slowed and i am really feeling the joint pain. pretty sure today i over did it by going out but that will not prevent me from going to Sari Bari at least half day tomorrow even if i am justing sitting with the ladies talking!! this fever is so weird, makes you feel a little crazy because you do something easy that you are used to doing like walking up the stairs and then your knees hurt for the rest of the day or you spend to much time trying to catch up on the computer and your wrists hurt.

for all my hardwork of going to pick up our christmas presents from kim at the airport i got lots of hugs and TLC from the visiting Sari Bari three who are at our house on tuesdays. They make me feel loved and they were also a great mom replacement on a sick day. being sick has had some benefits...i have had lots of time to think and i have thought up a couple of really cool ideas for sari bari--can't wait to get back to work and make some samples...but for the cc people reading, i am still going to be taking it slow this week at least!

Monday, November 26, 2007

sad to be sick

Well, i am sick with what appears to Chikungunya fever, that means fevers, flu like symptoms, nausea, and achy, sometimes painful joints. All three of us have it...kristin is on her way to recovery but beth and i are still battling the fevers. The doctor told beth that it might take 2 or 3 months to recover (thats best case) from the joint pain. so i think i need some fish oil pills...heard those where good for the joints. sadly, this means beth and i need to give up our half marathon in january and i might need to give up my break in the nepal which was going to include a trek. sad! i have been logging the hours watching all available TV on video and speed reading a 1000 page book--200 pages left and i started on saturday.

i want to be patient but i also want to go to work. I am not sure if God is saying rest or if something else is at work. glad to have an amazing bengali staff to pick up the slack. i am thankful for that and thanksgiving leftovers because i have been surving on mashed potatoes for three days (which i love).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

where are you?

Yes, i know i have not been around much later. I have found myself with much and little to say as we have been working our little behinds off to get Sari Blankets to the states and the UK.

I have a million thoughts and reflections on the beauty of teamwork and community as we came together to make the impossible happen. The joy of being crowded in our small little (sari) Bari patching and photographing the handwork of freedom for the the women. The joy of handing off the work of many months to be sent and shared with the world for a tangible affirmation of new life as people purchase blankets for their friends and family for christmas.

all this work for christmas orders has me thinking about christmas before thanksgiving. thinking about what a gift we have in jesus as our God who saves, our emmanuel..God with us.

I am listening to Mindy Smith's Christmas album feeling more sentimental by the moment and looking forward to watching White Christmas tomorrow (because yes i am downloading it on my itunes!). The thought of my neice singing "snow, snow, snow" is making me cry and long for my other home in the embrace of my family. But I think i am okay with that longing because almost everyday it is filled with the faces and arms of my other family...the ladies of sari bari, who are my tangible hope!

thankful to be in the arms of jesus because he saves, thankful for aunt mary and her passion for all things sari bari and for being my cheerleader, thankful for skype through which i can talk with everyone i love in america, thankful for ghetto dancing madness at christian events in india, thankful for more freedom and more hope for my beautiful friends at sari bari, thankful to celebrate thanksgiving in india with lots of things to be grateful for, thankful for praying before bed with kristin and beth, thankful to be downloading White Christmas, and i am thankful to be who i am, where i am...at least i am trying.



Monday, November 05, 2007

Sweet Community





These are few shots of our time with Silas, our Regional Coordinator, who came down from nepal to last week to encourage our community and help work through some good stuff. Needless to say, i was encouraged! We celebrate communion together and life together! More soon....

Friday, October 19, 2007

does any one think grays anatomy might be cheap therapy?



the street before it got really crowed!!

really cute neighbor kids!

more cute neighbor kids...

so i just spent the last half hour crying(maybe weeping is better)through grays anatomy...have you seen the one in season three that makes you weep? you must know what i am talking about if you have seen it. i think crying is so healing. i wish a few tears could come without watching grays. i spent the last two days in luxury...someone nicely anonymously sponsored a a couple days at a sweet hotel for me. i spent have this time trying to achieve the emotional breakthrough that one episode of grays can do...this is superficial i know. glad to cry though... glad to remember those i love in all this drama that i feel is my life here sometimes.

i spent the last couple of hours before grays people watching downstairs. seeing all the beautiful people of india out and about on the street in front of my building celebrating their puja. they are so beautiful. my neighbors are so beautiful...kind and generous with their time and their tea. shared ice cream and conversation can make the world a better place i am pretty sure.

thankful for tears and books that rip my face off. thankful for cheese and wine and being at home. thankful for jesus in the midst of hard times. thankful for treadmills and running even when i do not want to...thankful to see maya tomorrow. thankful for tears and hope in suffering. amen!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Confessions from the last two days alone in Kolkata

...it took me two days to do the dishes from our Saturday night visitors, yes i did them this morning!

...i read the whole section on suffering from Henri Nouwens "Here and Now"

...i have spent way too much time on the internet doing nothing. yes the gap has cute stuff but i can not wear it in india so why do i bother looking?

...i had our neighbor from downstairs come up for tea and movie today but mostly we just talked about life...it was nice!

...i went to the broadway hotel to hang out with George and his english friends and i had so much fun darn it!

...i barely left the house today, only to buy milk for tea and a bengali news paper for studying. the guy i bought the paper from somehow knew i lost my passport and asked me if i got a new one--how do people find these things out?

...i got my new indian visa, handwritten, i am not sure they will let me back in the country if i ever leave. i had to tell the guy that the correct word was "transferred" not "transpried" for what they were doing with my visa.

...i did my laundry but not very well. sometimes hand washing a two loads is just too much!

...i watched some grays anatomy.

...i had an amazing meal with one our friends from the gach. she was so sweet and generous and made me think that i will never be alone here...she told me i could come over any time day or night while beth and kristin are gone. she does not understand how i could possible want to be alone. i felt loved.

...i am currently being bombarded with loud non sensical music from the loud speakers outside my window...these sounds will last till 2 or 3 am and will go on for the next week at least. yes, puja season is here and bad loud speaker music is the anthem of the rest of my week.

...got an email from kristin and everyone is happy and learning good things in nepal. this makes me happy.

...oh, and i gave myself a pedicure-minus nail polish removal (no remover), i just had to paint over the old stuff but my feet are really clean. And i gave myself a facial...i did two masks...maybe this was too much but my skin needs help!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A question of support...

Hey blog friends...just wanted to let you know that i posted my november prayer letter on the WMF website if you want to check it out.

Also I feel like I need to let my blogging friends know that I looking for some more great people to join my support team. i am really struggling with financial support. Usually, there is just enough to meet the needs of my salary and health care but for some reason i am in the hole right now (about -$700) and need some help. I have reviewed my yearly expenses and if I could raise an additional $200 a month that should cover all my support needs...that would just be 20 more people at $10 a month. If you are interested in supporting me you can do so by going to the this link on the WMF website (all the info you need to give on one handy page). Find the easiest way for you to give, indicate the gift is for my support account and then be sure of my thanks!!

I know that alot of you who read my blog do not get my prayer letters so i thought this might be a good way to let you know my needs. Thanks for taking the time to consider these things...

your thoughts, love, comments and prayers are always appreciated!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jeremiah 17


i reached for deep water
but i can no longer try
trying has bent me over
wasted my limbs and pulled at my roots
i yearn i reach i strain
and i am still dry
still parched and battered by the wind
frail and longing for the deep
the river flows near
i wait for refreshment
i wait
i wait
i reach for deep water
but i can no longer try
trying has bent me over

for the deep water
i thirst
let my roots soak in what my limbs can not reach
thirsty i wait by the river
i must wait
so i wait because i can no longer try

Thursday, October 11, 2007

doesnt everybody want to be loved

i am headed to the gach to be with girls i love...i do love them. i have good friend here and really all over the world who i love alot. i love the ladies at sari bari to the moon and back. i live with two women i love and respect alot. i love upendra and his quirky little ways and how much he loves his wife and how much his son loves to be around him. i love gita and her hard coreness for coming to work sick...even when i tell her not too. i even love kolkata and the people in it on my good days and that is what keeps me here on the bad ones...

i personally want to be loved for who i am...i want to be willing to be who i am and have that not be such a scary prospect for myself. I wish i did not care what other people think...i am trying and right at the moment learning that sometimes even when you make a good decision people still might not like it and treat you bad. i think i mostly feel sad because i want to the best for everyone and i want everyone to be happy and feel respected and cared for... i have to learn to feel confident in these strange gifts god has given me, like telling the truth, and foresight and thinking through every last little detail...however they sometimes make me feel lonely and i wish i could live in my INFP world all the time and did not have to be a "D". so basically when i feel this way i just remember who i love and who does love me and try not to worry about the rest. this is hard...but i am learning.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Good end to a hard day

okay, i am done changing my blog...you know is like a quarterly cycle for me. there is not much in my life i can change on a regular basis so the blog must change. i used to change my hair color every 6 months but i do not have the money or energy for that...the gray hair is winning and i think the blog is a safer place for change in the end.

i have sad news...i lost my passport. this is humiliating all by itself. in fact my feelings of humility kept me patience and very contrite at all the government offices i had to go too last thursday to get my passport replaced. sadly, today i learned that not only is my passport lost but there is no way in God's green earth that i will be able to make to our regional staff retreat...there are absolutely no tickets...not even first class until october 29th. i am sad. so this means at least three more weeks in kolkata and about 10 days on my own--trying to figure out something to do with myself since sari bari will be closed and everyone, and i do mean everyone will be gone in nepal or england or australia.

i know there must be a silver lining somewhere in this...i think i better do a what i am thankful for list to help me remember the good things...

i love sari bari, i love the ladies at sari bari, i love cold diet pepsi, i love the chili beth made for dinner tonight that tasted like home, i love taking pictures, i love skype and facebook and blogs in general, i love people who get excited about God heart for transformation, i love the rain that cools down kolkata, i love that someday soon i will get to go to nepal and have a personal retreat, i love that all things work out in the end (somehow), i love that being thankful is a good end to a hard day.

Pics from around Kolkata

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kristins "Beautiful" Birthday

 

 

 

 
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Flowers for Hope




So we did the flower thing again on friday night and it was amazing and beautiful and profound. I was totally unprepared....coming off a week of sickness and struggle for the goodness and hope that began as soon i handed the first girl a flower. Their faces lighted up...hands reached out...it was so good to encourage and be apart of their smiles for just one moment. we specifially went into one brothel where my good friend J lives...i have been visiting her every week for the last year or so. she lives in room with 9 other young girls. they never leave but new ones always come...for some reason i have favor with their owner and he does not mind our visits...it was really beautiful to go up in our sari's and give them flowers...they were so suprised and happy. J just kept saying this is good, this is so good. so we gave beautiful flowers (surjo muky--the "face of the sun flower") to beautiful girls....so many young, struggling, hard pressed girls who we hope got a glimpse of their loveliness and their value on friday night...it was a good night.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sari Bari Site Launch

well my friends, after much work and drama, blood, sweat (alot of sweat on my end as i watched in progress in the kolkata humidity), and tears...the sari bari website launched today! In six months you should be able to purchase your very own sari bari product online! You can still purchase now you just need to contact melinda (her info is on the sari bari blog!

www.saribari.com

Monday, October 01, 2007

quote of the day

If there is an upside to freefalling, it is the chance you give your friends to catch you. (grays anatomy, season 2)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This broken space is mine

if i sleep, i dream
broken by bathroom breaks
and heavy weighted thoughts
stumbling to rest
in my crowded thoughts
like a pack rat...
only i do not wear my clutter on the outside
only inside it is hard to find space
for peace
searching for king and kingdom
in the dirty walkways
lingering beside the gardens for their comfort
finding little but dusty leaves
wondering at a deeply rooted life, so dry it feels so much
like kindling
a burst of flame might destroy
this tender balance of extremes
compelled like the cyclonic rain outside my window
out of control
but ending is ensured by natures cycles
uninterrupted peace, quiet tickle my dreams
my sleep, deadness if only for a few hours
relief from this heaviness
on my knees, like a tree bent in half by the weight from not being pruned back
this broken space is mine

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

rainy beach trips are the best!

so we went to digha for a break (sat-mon)...digha is a beach town on the bay of bengal. On the precise day and hour of long awaited time of rest in the sun we found ourselves in the middle of a cyclone ( a tropical depression which creates heavy rains, crazy wind and thunderstorms). I have never walked in wind so hard that you think it might knock you over until this weekend, nor have i have been whipped in the face by rain pellets so that it really hurt ( it really really hurt.) everytime we went out we found ourselves soaked to bone wet...but...yes the but is there...we did have good rest. i was desperate to leave the city...even willing to endure a 5.5 hours bus ride to get away from it. so we got there and slept the rainy afternoon away...it was amazing. we had 2 days of rainy wet rest which included some good times with jesus in the quiet and fun times of stupid TV. we came back to ktown while the storm was still raging...and got off the bus in the middle of a huge storm....we drenched ourselves in the torrential rain and made our way safely to the metro only to find when we got off in sovabazar...that we would have to walk home though calf deep water (not so bad really, i walked through worse) while it was still downpouring. fun huh? we topped off our break with a few episodes from the OFFICE season 2. i think a good time was had by all...the rain only made for a better story!

i have alot of serious junk going on in my brain right now...to much to spell out in a blog a least today. all i can say is that i am wishing for home, longing for peace and waiting for jesus in the midst of it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

what's on my mind

so i have been sick for the last two weeks...loathing my sore throat and crammed sinus cavities, dragging myself forward when i know for sure i should be stopping, resting, being. the urgent is killing the important in my life right now. i want to rest, to just BE but it eluding me. little boys need walks to freedom and i need the hugs on the way home. ladies need second chances and by some strange chance i get to decide and i hate breaking their hearts because it breaks my own so terribly. i want everyone to have everything...i want everyone to be happy and healthy and whole. this i realize is not all for me to do or fix or make better...that's why i believe in God, right. God is not my cop out, however, being the inadequate human being that i am i choose the urgent over the important and some days really i have a hard time deciding which is which...wish someone could tell me whether my rest and healthy body was more important than the safety of two little boys but i choose the little boys this week. i have time to get better next week ( and they will be off to boarding school and hopefully a new life).

so i walked "a" and "b", the sons of our friend "P" in the gach to Freeset everyday this week to spend time at their freeset daycare....they needed a safe place for this week and freeset made space for them. i loved going to pick them up and then waking them up and watching them wash their faces and i loved holding their little hands, i loved giving them the breakfast of their choice, loved buying them ice cream on the way home. but i loved most, walking home last night holding "A" in my arms singing "ja ghari jesu ache kato annondo" (the house with jesus has so much joy!) and "Ajke re din, jesus shristi koreche" (this the day)with this little five year old down the lanes of the red light district...it felt so right to proclaim the goodness of God in those lanes holding a little boy who life God seems to be providing for in amazing ways. it was "a" who started it...he started singing what he has learned that day and so we sang together all the way home.

this was a good reminder for me of why i am here...on saturday i was not so sure that i wanted to be here anymore. being sick always makes for more drama but i was so weary of the problems, so weary of myself and my own personal drama that i thought maybe quitting would be a good option. it of course is not, and while i am still struggling and mostly exhausted after two weeks of insane hours while being sick, i am at a place of peace and hope again thanks to my urgent and definitely important little dates with a five and a six year boy.

hopefully, rest will find me tomorrow and i will journey may way into deep thought about these crazily unprocessed weeks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the splendid and magnificent

these are things that i have loved in the last couple of days...

...6 grown middle aged men walking to the river in their towels to take a bath in the river.

...singing "how great is our God" this morning as a prayer, a testimony in the face of great darkness. A prayer lifted high for the ladies at sari bari, the ones who stayed and the ones who have gone. for the girls in the gach...j, t, m, c and s who do not have freedom yet.

...salsa dancing lessons from our friend jesse and then actually salsa dancing at a local hotel for free!

...seeing the angst with which our team, 21,22,23 years old searchs for the truth of life and God. And ever so thankful to beyond that angst and into the beauty and comfort of knowing who i am and who God is, a least for today!

...visiting the sari bari ladies who recently left and seeing a glimmer of hope that wrongs might be able to right again.

...learning to play the guitar...really play!

...singing loud and not caring what anyone thinks.

...running at 6am and making it 3 miles with not too much trouble.

...having a staff meeting on the roof of the lindsay hotel...calcutta is beautiful at night.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

back to life

life is flowing again in my heart, mind, spirit...super thankful to feel back to being me with a little help from quiet rest, my mom and reunions with friends. had a great day in the gach yesterday spending time with some the women i love. some parts are so hard...so broken to watch friend in j's room line up flip on a bright light waiting to be chosen or hoping not to be chosen as the case maybe and then just come back and flop on the bed next to us and continue our conversations. the signs of the hard life of the gach was very real yesterday with the sounds of a girl crying after being beaten by her customer and the comments, resignation of the ladies I was sitting with as they heard it with me. i felt their resignation, the sense that these tears are apart of the life we or really they lead in this place. tears and pain are things you live with and accept...they happen. i want more, so much more that those tears, that pain, the resignation for these women. i want life and hope and joy mingled with the pain...that is real, that is whole life. i want whole life for myself and i want it for them.

i want it for the sweet little lady we found on the street yesterday. she apparently works cleaning the area but as soon as she got sick she was put out on the street. super discouraging but it was hopefully to see a little TLC in the form of some medicine, a sheet, some water and later some food made a difference.

well, i am off to sari bari for the day...another day in the arms of love, being loved and loving some of my favorite people in the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jesus saves....

i was reading Fredrick Buechner this morning for my own private church service since i skipped the regular one today and i kind of got my face ripped off...so i wanted to share an excerpt:

....and he see's written out in large clumsy letters as they were falling apart or melting, the message "jesus saves"---just that. JESUS SAVES---with all the other signs going on with whatever they are saying too. And if that man is like most people i know, including myself much of the time and many ways he will wince at the message; that is really a very strange and interesting thing, both the message and the wincing.

God only knows what kind of person must have crawled up there with his bucket and brush to slap the words on: a man or woman, young or old, drunk or sober, by daylight or by dark. And God only knows what reason he may have had for doing it, just that way, just there. But in our strange times, amoung people more or less like us, the effect at least of the words is clear enough: Jesus Saves. The effect more or less is that we wince. One way or another, i believe we wince because we are embarrassed, and embarrassed for all kinds of reasons.

Embarrassed because the words remind us of old-time religion and the sawdust trail and pulpit pounding, corn belt parsons, evangelism in the sense of emotionalism and fundamentalism. we wince because there is something in the name of jesus that embarasses us when it stands naked and alone like that, just "jesus" with no title to soften the blow. it seems that the words "christ saves" would not bother us half so much because they have a kind of objective, theological ring to them, whereas "Jesus saves" seems cringingly painfully personal--somebody name jesus, of all names, saving somebody named whatever your name happens to be. it is something very personal written up in a place that is very public, like the names of lovers carved into the back of a park bench or an outhouse wall...

and maybe, at a deeper level still, "jesus saves" is embarrassing because if you can hear it through all your wincing, if any partat all of what it is trying to mean gets through, what it says to everbody who passes by, and most importantly and unforgivably what it says to you, is that you need to be saved. Rich man, poor man; young man, old man; religious, unreligous--the word is in its way an offense to all of them, all of us, because what it says in effect to all of us is, " you have no peace inside your skin. you are not happy, not whole." That is an unpardonable thing to say to a man whether it is true or false, but especially if it is true,because there he is, trying so hard to be happy, all of us are, to find some kind of inner peace and all in all maybe not making too bad a job of it considering the odds, so that what could be worse psychologically, humanly, that to say to him what amounts to "you will never make it. you have not and will not, a least without help?

and what could be more presumptuous, more absurd, more pathetic, than for some poor fool with a cut rate brush and a bucket of white paint to claim that the one to give that help is Jesus?...because of course, Behind the poor fool with his bucket there always stands of course the Prince of Fools himself, blessed be he, in his own way more presumptuous, more absurd and pathetic than anyone has managed to be since.

Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Fredrick Buechner


i was talking to my mom before i read this and she gave me some good insight on how to answer the question of my anger and why i am angry. She said you need to ask yourself what it is that you are demanding and will discover why it is you are angry...this is good stuff. Almost immediately, i said i am demanding perfection of myself and everyone around me and it is making me miserable and probably everyone else too. so i feel like a failure which makes me angry and i feel terribly disappointed to sometimes the point of devastation when i hurt someone or when someone i trust hurts me. i am that person in need of saving...i mean i know this...but i am trying so hard, striving to make a good life one that honors and cares for others and but i just need that kick in my ass, that reminder that jesus saves sarah, that i will fail every time with out Him. I am not stuart smalley, i will never be good enough, smart enough and liked enough...and somehow i think i can be okay with that when i rest in Jesus arms, the arms that save me. i am offended and affronted that i can not do it on my own, i want to make myself good enough, kind enough, gentle and generous enough...but the fact is that i will never be enough and that i will never too much for Jesus to handle.

so i am feeling a bit right today, basically because i am broken and empty, that crakced jar of clay that reminds me that none of this is about me but about Him and what a relief that is...

Friday, August 17, 2007

one good this is...

i started taking guitar lesson yesterday at the Calcutta School of Music. my fingers are now raw after trying to practice today. yesterday, i as a little irritated because i just wanted to learn cords to play worship music for the ladies at SB but i became really pleasantly surprised that he is really going to teach me to play the guitar...all the cool stuff and i will understand what i am doing while playing. kind of cool...my teacher is a bit eccentric but really, really nice. i think this is going be fun! and oh yes, this costs me 12 bucks a month for one lesson every week. i think i might really be able to play decently after a couple of months...lets hope so.

much needed processing

so yes, i have been mysteriously absent. i have been unable to will myself to write a real blog...i have been settling for false intimacy on face book, which is fun but no processing happens.

so i am basically in a processing black hole...not much going in and not much going out. feel like i could probably almost always say the wrong thing ( thankfully this has only happened a few times in the last week) to the wrong person and wonder just a bit what i am doing back here.

i can not say i am discouraged nessasarily, just not right fully. my hope meter is seriously low and self love is in the pits of the mirey depths. i feel like i pull myself out for a few moments everday but there is always an opposing moment when i wonder i will ever recover from this stupid culture shock, jet lag, being a human being thing.

so i think i just need to verbally expel some drama from the last week...feel free to stop here if you want. it might be more than you want to know

i arrived just over a week ago on a strike day...no taxis or autos so i had to lug my bags onto a bus--not so bad really. i did not mind the adventure because it was keeping me awake. and my cell phone was dead after a month in the states and i arrive at new market hoping to plug in at a local coffee shop but nope they do not have that convient thingy that lets you recharge for free. i went to new market because there was no direct way home...and i needed help with my bags to catch the next bus to our house...anyway could not get ahold of kristin or beth so upendra came and we brought my stuff to sari bari.

sari bari was good...actually each time i have been in the last week it has been a shining light in my day. and basically, with how hard things have been with sari bari and the loss of some of our ladies while i was gone this is amazing in itself. i think my hope is not any less for the sari bari ladies...because i believe in them and for them...maybe i am struggling to hope for myself. anyway sari bari is going though some yucky stuff but the staff are being amazing and the ladies who are working still are beautiful and growing and the light of my time back so far...

mmmm....got to have coffee with my friend charlotte...i love charlotte. she is a good friend and it is okay to be serious and normal with her. i do not have to be over excited or funny or passively accepting to be appreciated. i feel like i can just me...serious, direct, thoughtful, not so perfect or kind all the time, but mostly nice, deep sarah. it is good to feel known by her.

i think i am angry about something but i can not really say what for sure...maybe all this drama i feel in my heart is just culture shock and i just need to give it a week. i am tired of myself basically and want some change but i am not sure what that change is supposed to be....i am battling in prayer, longing for jesus but running away at the same time, struggling to have self control, but wanting to have it, wanting to be kind and generous and servanty but feeling selfish and kind of numb. i guess i am not this raw on my blog usually but i needed to start somewhere. maybe you are thinking...your private journal might have been good...

so anyway, say a prayer for me and my little sob story of the day. i am sure i will get over it. i hope verbal expulsion has helped. i know there are more stories but i am not interested reliving them right now.

on a happy note..we are backing in the running swing of things and getting ready to start training for our marathon.

can i recommend "a thousand splendid suns"...amazing book. read it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

family pics

 

 

 

 
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please pray

so i just want to ask for a little prayer for our friends in india. kristin is there on her own with the bengali staff and some tough stuff is happening. i really do not want to get into specifics except to say they really need our prayers. there is always some power struggles at SB and one of those played out yesterday and had some sad results. this is a battle for the women's freedom, their minds , their hearts and their future. hold them close today!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Me and Justin in Sweet Seattle



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sweet seattle

My time with friend and family has been amazing. and i am loving seattle.

the weater is amazing, clear, cool and sunny! actually i have been cold since i got here in the 70 degree weather...but it was more than perfect yesterday. justin and i did a "day in seattle" and if there was something to do we did it. we went to pike place market and enjoyed lunch with a view of the bay and then tried to go the seattle museum of art but sadly they were closed...so then we walked to the space needle and spent 15.00 bucks for a half hour of viewing pleasure of the entire city including a great view of mt. ranier (only visible in it 14000 foot glory about 80 days a year). then we headed back down to to the market and explored and enjoyed a coffee from the very first starbucks (is that cheesy that i wanted to visit...my brother would not let me ask where it was because he thought we might be too touristy) and there is like a thousand starbucks in a 12 block area downtown. but we found it. and then we headed for a mariners game...it was a beautiful night and a game against the angels...the mariners won. it was a sweet seattle day.

my neices are amazing and today we are headed for the zoo in tacoma provided everyone is happy and not grumpy...the moods of a 3 year old and 7 week old are so changing all the time

Thursday, July 19, 2007

i am loving the nebraska life

not much time...first time i have been on the computer in a week. such a beautiful rest! loving the staff retreat and looking forward to time with friends and family soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

finally made it

so my travels were not so smooth. i got to delhi and my flight was delayed for 30 hours--yes my friends 30 hours!! i very much wanted to cry. they said we will put you up in five star hotel and i was like okay well is there anything else you can do and they said no. five star hotel is a nice idea but going home was a much better idea so when i was almost out the door i turned around and went back to the counter and said can you please put me on another airline and amazingly they did it! so i lost a whole day with my parents and arrived at 1130pm last night (14.5 hours late)--i was supposed to arrive at 9am yesterday morning. but if i had waited for my flight i would not have gotten here till a couple of hours ago. thankful that i got what i got! i least had 24 hours to regroup before heading to the retreat! so i am off tomorrow at 530 am to the airport for 10 days in nebraksa city! who hooo!

Monday, July 09, 2007

sad goodbyes on a good day

today was beautiful in so many ways...the sun was shining. i had sweet conversation with the ladies, got a ton done. even my failed attempt to pay the electric bill was nice...a nice walk, relaxing in its own way ( will try again tomorrow at the right time--apparent mostly everthing thing is open at 8am but the one place in needed).

our friend "a" is now out of the hospital and hopefully on her way to a good recovery. she needs to take care of herself..hard to tell someone this who is still in training and has dork of a husband. anyway, say a prayer for her!

it was a sad goodbye at sari bari. some of the ladies started crying. so heart wrenching...i think they think that i might not come back or something...though so far i come back every time. about 7 of them stood at the gate waving good bye. i have mental picture to take with me...though there is not a chance that i will forget them in the month that i am gone. they are going to have a fun outing next week on monday...it is a holiday and there is a mela (a fair) and so sari bari will close early and they will all go together for some tasty eats and silly rides and games...wishing i could with them.

i usually have a rough time the last couple weeks before leaving calcutta...the culture tends to get on my nerves but this time has been different...more like always. though i have smacked the hands of three seperate men and scolded them in the last three days...i still feel like i am in the culture and loving the reasons i am here...already looking forward to returning though i am certainly relishing the upcoming times with friends and family.

so tomorrow is it...i leave for the states. i will spend my last morning in the gach with a few friends i have not had a chance to see because things have been so busy. everything is packed...two full bags of sari bari products and one little bag just for me ( my carry on)!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

SARI BARI PARTY IN ALTADENA

Hey there my blog stalking friends....if you are in the Los Angeles Area I will be having a little Sari Bari Party at my Aunt Mary's house. I am only in LA for a couple days so it will also be a good chance to see you! Also means you can buy a beautiful one of a kind Sari Bari Blanket and help woman on her road to freedom from the trade.

So if you are interested, here are the details:
(you have to email me for the address and phone number)

Date: July 25, 2007 (Wed.)
Time: 7:00 p.m.
lite refreshments
AND
a story of how Sari Bari was born !

looking forward

so things here are good. the sun is shining for the first time in 5 days and my laundry may actually dry before i depart of the states on tuesday. whoo hoo. I had a brain departure moment on friday when i actually could not articulate anything i wanted needed to say...i think i am just really tired and pushing myself to tuesday when i leave for the states for a month. however, yesterday i had an amazingly relaxed day and i packed and watched, without a trace (thanks bethie) on loan, and hung with meg and annie (visiting from omaha) and we watched amelie.

i got on the scale this week and i have lost 10 pounds about or 8 kgs. not sure how i did it. i was trying really hard this last couple months and nothing was happening. i kind of stopped...i think the last couple weeks i have stopped thinking about food much at all. maybe God heard my prayers for a thinner body :). anyway, happy to be little lighter. hopefully, i will not gain all back on chips and salsa and meat in the states.

i am sad to leave the sari bari ladies...esp.with the last week and half being so busy. i have spent all my time trying to get things done (many of which will still not be done when i leave) and have not had my usual sweet times of just sitting and talking, hearing their stories while they sew. i hope that is what my day tomorrow with be like...i have finished all the essentials and what is not getting done can wait till i get back.


so looking forward to being with my family. brats and corn on the cob and green salad is the first meal on the menu when i get home. yummmmmmmmmmy. , looking forward to hugging and kissing all my fleshy friends in omaha and talking on the phone while only being a state away instead of a world away. looking forward to long talk with my mom, my dad, my brother and sister, looking forward to at least one political discussion with my brother in law, looking forward to moments with daphne, adriana, steph, cami and faye. looking forward to new running shoes for the upcoming bombay marathon in january. and truly i am sure i will be looking forward to coming back into the sweaty damp arms of calcutta once my trip is all over...but more on that when the time comes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

stop global warming...stop this insane rain

yeah so now we are on day number 3 of heavy rain. yes it is monsoon here but this is not normal. having been through 5 of these rainy seasons...i have never seen park street knee deep, and see the water stay for more than a few hours but the city is just water logged! i am blaming it on global warming....things are getting worse not better. in ten years kolkata could be underwater when the ice caps finish melting as well as all of bangladesh. something to think about while driving an suv or taking an international flight (yep thats me).

not sure the first batch of sari bari purses are gonna make it. we are having sewing machine trouble and are in a time crunch. we see...also because the fabric we are having trouble not tearing the outside layer of the sari's. a bit frustrated by this to say the least...

on the bright side, i had a very happy 4th of july with my british and few american friends. we had garlic chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, fruit salad and ice cream for dessert. yummy and fun!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

oh the yucky streets the rain brought

wow--yesterday was crazy! the rain was really, really bad. everywhere i went i had to wade through water, by our house, park street--the whole street about a mile long to the hospital--was knee deep, by freeset too i had to wade. it was super gross...dead rats, dead crows, nasty dead bugs plus who knows was else. i had to heat up water and take a hot shower last night to scrub all that yucky stuff off my legs. i actually can not complain because so many of our friends had this nastiness in their houses because the water got so high. it rained really hard again last night, i hope there i not a repeat today.

Monday, July 02, 2007

oh the rain

its raining...the hard and long rain that floods the streets here. i have already had 3 calls this morning about houses being flooded with dirty water in kalighat and not being able to leave home because of the streets. i am delaying my trip to pay the electric bill, wading through knee deep water to pay a bill does not sound appealing. i am going to wait to brave it until i have too.

our friend and sari bari lady, A (choto), is in the hospital. I had to take her last week on thursday after making an emergency trip to the village because she had not been at work for a week and her sister gave us news that she was dying. this turned out to be a bit of an exaggeration...she was not dying but very sick! also not one was looking after her so she was not eating...her husband is an alcholic and abusive... so with the help of one of the other ladies i got her to the hospital and she is there now getting tested for everything imaginable. she is a bit lonely and sad right so pray for her. they only allow visitors 2 hours a day. i am heading there this morning to spend some time with her and hopefully be an encouragement. i will brave the flooded streets for her but not for the electric bill!

payday is kinda rough sometimes. i think the ladies stress about money comes out in crappy attitudes. yesterday was a really hard day. i get blamed alot for their hard circumstances...i am hoping this is because we all have a tendancy to take out our anger on those closest to us. at the end of the day things worked out though...i received some unprompted apologies. pray for our sari bari ladies...they are getting a huge raise this month that we hope will help out...not only be a fair wage but a kingdom wage...a wage that can bring them out of poverty.

i am getting excited about my trip to the states. the WMF staff retreat will be sweet reunion with so many friends...i told myself i would not buy any gifts but i am having a hard time when i see something nice for someone i love saying no. also so excited to see and meet my new neice and play hungry hippos with grace and hug and love on my brother and sister. one more week and a day i will be in the arms of my mom and dad at the airport!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

catalyst, english george and other oddities

So i have read to pretty darn good books in the last week and they are like a confirmation or maybe inspiration to my heart. The first is The Starfish and the Spider: the power of leaderless organization and the second is the seven day weekend. They are profoundly helping my define my vision for sari bari....i mean last week before kristin and beth left i had a little vision casting moment and i continue to be exicited about all the possiblities of doing business different, for the kingdom, for the women. i think what i want to be and maybe what i might be is the catalyst, that little spark that gets things started but once the reaction is started something bigger and even more amazing happens. i can see how adapting an even more into a cheerleader, encourager, developer will open so many doors for the ladies in the future..we are talking hundreds of women here who could have freedom. i really need to dedicate a whole blog to this topic but i am tired so maybe tomorrow...inspired but tired.

english george is here. making my life amazing to say the least. he has been here one day and he did the dishes 3 times and swept the kitchen floor. he says i am not allowed to do the dishes while he is here. we made dinner together tonight....yummy dahl and roti with mistis for desert. it is so nice to have a friend around...especially a guy friend who is a posh brit who makes me laugh but who i have no interest in romantically. he is quite refreshing and engaging...with kristin and beth already in the states it makes for a little less lonely and alot more fun.

i am hosting a 4th of july party on wednesday. this is strange if you know me...i will not elaborate except to say that i am ironically celebrating the day with a bunch brits and one other american.

i am finally meeting with the freeset folks to discuss shipping so this might be the last time i have to lug home 100 pounds of sari bari stuff which will include about 25 bags. the first batch. pretty much guessing that they will go super fast...have not posted pictures on the SB blog...so you will just have to wait and see them when they arrive in july via my personal slave labor of dragging 50 blankets plus the bags from kolkata to dehli to chicago to fort wayne to omaha to lax...

i am in good mood...feel rested after the weekend even though i still worked. had two Sari bari ladies over on sat to help with the tags. this has actually been a funny process because they can not read the tags so we have been having a problem with things being the right direction. i love the sari bari ladies...they are an amazing gift in my life and i really do not go a day that i do not marvel at them and how far they have come...life being made new. mine through theirs, theirs through mine, ours through jesus.

i will write a full on blog on sarah the catalyst soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June Kolkata Field Prayer Requests

Sari Bari

1. We are still having problems with our landlord at Sari Bari. He told us before that we had to leave but has now asked for a higher rent. Please pray for discernment and favor. We want to do want his best for the ladies and the business.

2. Please pray for the two of the women at Sari Bari who we have just given some leadership too. They have been with us for over a year now and have asked them to help out with teaching sewing and other duties. Please pray for their development and a willingness to learn and serve.

3. We are also taking on three new women this month. Please pray for them as they make this decision to make steps toward freedom from the trade. Pray they would be welcomed at Sari Bari with open arms.

4. We are also in need of a good used sari source. Please pray that we would find a cost effective and consistent source of used saris.

5. Please pray for unity in all of Sari Bari’s partnership with other organizations. Please pray for humility and wisdom for all of us.

6. Continue to pray for the women of Sari Bari. The new trainees only have two months left. This past month was the first month they worked full-time and were paid by the piece. Please pray that the trainees would continue to persevere and move forward. Please pray for unity among the new trainees and the original three ladies.

7. Please pray for two women specifically. The first, C, is a new trainee who has decided to leave Sari Bari due to time constraints. Please pray that she would come back. Also pray for B who has been having major family and money issues. Pray healing over her and her families’ brokeness.

Brothel Ministry

1. Please to continue to pray for N. She has made steps to leave the trade despite her mother’s disapproval. She has been working full-time at our friend’s business for the past week. She has a long and amazing road ahead of her so please hold her close.

2. Please continue to pray for P and her family. This month we will find out whether or not the kids get accepted to boarding school. We are also exploring options for P and her daughter G to get the best treatment for HIV. Pray for open doors. Pray for P. She is so lost and hurt. Pray that she would have freedom.

3. Please lift up the ladies of our sub-unit of Sari Bari located near Sonagachi. Pray for transformation of their hearts and minds. Pray for a leader to emerge from among them.

4. Please pray for our good friend C, R, and S. Recently C was able to come see our friend’s business and be interview. She wants to work there but many factors including her mother R are stopping her. Please Pray for their freedom

5. We have recently been looking at renting a building across the street from the Gatch. Our vision is to open a half-way home as well as Sari Bari in the Gatch. We are in the beginning stages so pray for discernment and favor.

Staff

1. Please pray that God would raise up more Bengali staff workers. We feel like in order to move forward in our ministry we must first be able to hire more workers. Pray that God would bring Christian men and women to come along side the people of the red-light areas.

2. The servant team leaves the middle of this month. Please pray that God’s grace would abound as they make the transition back to the states. Pray that God would bring together all that they have seen and experienced while being here in India.

3. Continue to pray for our amazing Indian staff: Kiran, Upendra and Gita. Pray that God would continue to grow in them servant leadership skills and intimacy with Him.

Sari Bari has tags

Sari Bari now has cloth tags. If you want to see the tags click here!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

homesick but still happy

Just got the "community" issue of the cry and was crying by page six. i am thankful to be apart of such an amazing community...both in kolkata with all the north americans and bengalis, who women who prositute and are prostituted and our beautifully free friends at sari bari and Freeset; as well as, a community of the friends around the world that complete the whole of WMF.

i am coming off a rough, refining but really good week. a week that has reminded my exactly how hard community can be....how hard walking with women who are deeply wounded can be...i am hyper aware of my own brokeness and fraility (this could be hormonal or just the way it is after a week like this). I am also aware of how long a road it is that i am walking.

i had my first real bought of homesickness in a long time on monday. enough to leave me weeping and tender in prayer with the women at Sari Bari. these women are my beautiful, broken, sometimes a pain in my patooty family and i love them and i am thankful that they let me cry it out and explain later. i had this awful longing to be with my own family, to see my parents and talk and talk and talk and meet me neice and hold my sisters hand and babysit my neice, to go out with my brother and be embaced in a hug as only he can give one. i was counting the cost...the cost of being here. the costs are big...but i really do not think about it much most of the time. i do not think to hard because i know i am in the perfect place right at this moment doing what i was made to do...but i still think about it. my sister had a baby this week and i am 10,000 miles away. i live in a place where there is not much male companionship to speak of and the men i do encounter try to take a piece of me rather than share my friendship. so i counted the cost, cried, wept, smiled in my tears and thanked God for my families both blood and chosen. i have only lost my life to gain it really...i know this to be the truth.

i had a big fight with one of the ladies at SB who seems to have a major problem taking personal responsiblity for her actions. it seems logical to me to ask that she see the past and change things for the future. but i am and was gravely mistaken. you can not enter into a reasonable conversation with someone who can not be reasonable. i learned alot in this conflict...alot about grace. alot about myself and how my hyper or false responsibility can be disempowering to others. i had to apologize to all the ladies for losing my temper and battle self loathing for the rest of the day but i think good things are coming. not the least of which is better boundaries.

we had an amazing gift of day on saturday as our team hosted a day out for the ladies at sari bari. we went bowling and did the bumper cars. it is always beautiful to see their joy and wonder at something new. they loved it and we loved it with them.

i love my newest neice addy. i love kristin and beth for letting me verbally process all my drama. i love that i learning to have kingdom boundaries..learning to say no and yes and you decide. i love skype because i do not feel so far away when i get to talk to someone. i love that moonsoon started and it cooler albeit more humid but bearable because of the wind. i love cold drinks and a new issue of the cry. i love playing the guitar after 2 years and remembering G C D and a lame attempt at lord i lift you name on high. i love that we are going to darjeeling on friday for 3 days for a break and are going to dig deep into each others hearts and love each other better on the other side.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two neices and one beautiful sister

Well i am now the aunt of a second niece...addison patrice 8lb7oz 19.5 inches. I love being an aunt! i love that my sister is a mom! i so happy and so sad at the same time. sad because i wish i did not have to wait 2 months to meet this little wonder! anyone notice how stunned gracies looks...oh the glories and horrors of being the big sister!! i am sure she will be an amazing one like her aunt sarah!!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

natural ac

oh the wind...the beautiful wind!! it has been wicked hot all week long. 5 days of no rain. today was 102 with ridiculous humidity and tomorrow and the rest of the week will be 104 with obscene humidity. i am not complaining. just stating how it is... we have a decent may this year...rain every 2 or 3 days so right now things are getting a bit painful. thankfully tonight we had this amazing wind blow in, probably at least 30 miles an hour at some points...the rain has not shown up yet but i am still hoping! the wind cooled things down enough to where i might actually sleep tonight after a couple of nights of not so much sleep happening.

everyone is gone off to bangalore and south india for the week so me and kristin are holding down the fort here for the next week. that means so long days but i am exited for our bengali staff to see WMF in the south india and get a little perspective on what others are doing in india. plus for upendra and gita this was their first time on the plane!!

just watched 300 for the 2nd time. not sure extactly why i like that movie so much except i think that i reminds of what is like to be here a bit...a small band of people committed to the end fighting a seemingly impossible cause. i hate the violence but i love the heart!!

here's hoping for some rain tonight to keep it cool enough to sleep well!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Bright Field by RS Thomas

I have seen the sun break through to a illuminate a small field for a while, and gone on my way and forgotten it. But that was the pearl of great price, the field that had the treasure in it. I realize now that i must give all i have to possess it, life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is eternity that awaits you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

number 299

this is my299th post...mmmm....so much said and still more to say. but mainly all i want to say is that life is good. that conflict can be good when it sharpens, humbles and draws you closer to that other person and God.

going a personal retreat/ vision brainstorming thing for 2 days this week. i feel really free right now...weird cuz i usually feel all this pressure to take care of everything...maybe God is helping me out that false responsiblity jacket i wear most of the time.

i just want say i love talking on the phone with dear friends, i love surprising genorosity, i love that "rich christians in an age of hunger" can still rip peoples faces off, i love that upendra and gita are healthy again and that gita gave me this enormous hug without words today, i love that my parents are following their dreams and that maybe their dreams might have them living in a trailer park, i love kristin's passion and beth's heart of justice, i love staying up way to late but enjoying the time to myself, i love being in kolkata, i love that now both my brother and my sister are living in seattle...i love that maybe when i am 37 i might run an ultamarathon, i love that i think i could do it (anyone want run with me??) i love that all things old can be made new, i love that people love the dream we have for sari bari. yes, that my friends is alot of love!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blah

just had a conflict over something that could be stupid or everything that is truth. i am trying not to be hurt or angry...i am trying to learn how to have the right boundaries about the right things but i must say i am struggling. i am not happy to always be saying sorry...i am a jerk. i am not happy about being blamed...and to top it off i am probably the worst because i blame myself. i am not happy about being an adult right at this moment. i want everything to be easy...i want to be an easy person to live with, not the chaotic, extreme drama that is me. i am no picnic but darn it i wish i were...i wish i was one of the girls that you use descriptors like gentle and sweet with...instead i have descriptors like extreme and timely. so blah!!

blah and yuck! all this just when i am trying to get back on my feet on many levels... just saying earlier i feel like i am being refined, well i guess thats true. just not the path i would choose to get there. i do hate conflict...sometimes i wish i could stop myself from speaking. so blah, blah, blah.

i think i am up for a long night of no sleep and a day of waiting for resolution. maybe God could make me a different person in the meantime. so now i am waiting, hoping god will kick my little booty into shape and convict my crappy little heart if and as much as needed between now and whenever.

Friday, May 11, 2007

my favorite things

so yesterday was my birthday and the theme was "favorite things". kristin and beth thought of the theme and started off my birthday weekend with the song from the sound of music...

so i thought i would share a few of my favorite things from this weekend...

talking with my dad and mom on skype on my birthday while i am in india and they are in seattle and fort wayne respectively. technology is beautiful thing

sweet encouraging cards, my space comments and emails from amy, aunt mary, julie, brent, faye, david, silas and denise.

beautiful gifts of my favorite things: a pink scarf, a gold nose ring with danglys, doritos all the way from america, new flip flops, a target gift card, candles and a bottle of wine, sparkly jewelry from the sari bari ladies (how spoiled am i!!)

being able to pull off a gold nose ring with danglys, i feel kinda exotic.

being loved really well by kristin and beth. i felt known and celebrated.

steak sandwich and french fries in a freezingly air conditioned hotel

being able have so many people share in my life and have the opportunity to share in theirs...esp. have to say that celebrating with the saribari ladies might be my favorite new birthday tradition...if two years and running can be a tradition.

i love that my dad still thinks i am a princes and sent me a blinking tiara and a beautiful candle holder. I love that we both choose beauty over logic!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

loving the goodness

I love the unexpected goodness that happens here sometimes. the only thing i have hope for is the ladies transformation and strangely i am always overwhelmed and surprised when i actually get to see the fruits of hope. the hope that we share for the ladies and the hope that is growing in their hearts for themselves. We had a celebration yesterday at sari bari for Gita who did the public declaration thing with water (yes i am being cryptic). she shared with the ladies what she did and why and the process of being transformed...(gita's big day pic with us and the team on the left) it was mesmerizing but even more powerful was the spontaneous testimony from one of the other ladies about how much she has been transformed and renewed. she said how she never before was able to choose her own path, she always was on a bad path full of suffering but she said now that she is on a good path and she can see how God has been with her an answering her prayers. everyone started weeping, a few women in particular really were moved by her word and what they have seen. one of the ladies, maybe our toughest, could not even speak because of tears. it was really beautiful to have a chance to again remind them that they are beautiful and beloved. and that there can be new life that springs from the darkest most of awful places. i got choked up several time as i tried to translate and then when i was encouraging everyone at the end...i was overwhelmed by the goodness of God and his presence in this very dark place. and then to top it off one of ladies who had TB (see previous blog post)came back from one of many, many doctor visits and said that they could no longer find any evidence of TB...her treatment has not even been started. All the tests said she had it. I wrote about this lady earlier and how she was so afraid of the hospital and how we all gather around her and prayed. I can not doubt that God healed her and that it was revealed at the perfect time when we were all already blown away by Gods goodness...

its kinda crazy but in the last year I feel like i have seen many, many people rescued and healed because of the prayers of so many. to name a few: paki returned safely after being trafficked, my dad being healed of a heart problem, beth being healed of a thyroid thing and now "A" being healed of TB. Some of you might be thinking this is crazy talk but i might after all i have seen in kolkata be crazy enough to believe that God is so much bigger than we think he is...every woman who come out the sex trade is a miracle. how can i help myself from believing them...they are the very thing i long for...the radical redemption, tranformation and healing of God's beloved. we have to believe in the impossible, we have to dream for things we will never see, we have to proclaim the good of God in suffering. otherwise, no one else will have the courage believe it for themselves...and we are seeing the evidence hope. and so we continue to hope for "P" and her daughter "g"...we hope for their healing from HIV, we hope for their freedom from the trade and we believe that God will hear our cries on their behalf and answer.

i heard a speaker recently speaking to young people and he made a grave mistake...he told them what they might not become, how God may or may not use them for great things. I was shaking in my seat...if we tell people that they can not change the world then they might not, if we do not tell and show people how to have hope for themselves, then yes they fail. but if we tell then that God might use them greatly and to dream for things they will never see...wow, the world might be a different place.

loving the goodness, believing for things i will never see, and promising to never stop proclaiming the HOPE that i have in Jesus for the world...because the dreams that God has given are coming true...so now i guess I have to dream bigger and get discouraged when do not see the goodness as i did yesterday.

so i am gonna off my pedestal now...

yeah!! its raining



Tuesday, May 01, 2007

running

this morning i went for a run...dodging people and rickshaws in the bazaar. always looking down, fearing for my ankles and the potholes that seek to wreck them. still looking down, avoiding the stares we make it to the river, crossing the train tracks onto one of relatively quiet places in the city...people taking their baths on the other side of the muddy, garbage littered banks. my nostrils are filled with the smell of shit, occasional wafts of fresh air pentrate my lungs a moment at time puntuated with early morning urines wafting scent. i run on, pressing foward, not alone but feeling isolated by my bodies aches and my mind whelmed by sights you can only see at 6am in kolkata. running foward toward todays goal, finishing. only to keep running and remember to eat better the night before the next one. always lingering the desire for water and to stop sweating. dripping, soggily, pressing forward back across the train tracks still not halfway through it. men yelling, half hearted attempts to run with us...but they never keep going. they run past us for a minute until we slow but steady continue the dogged paces of todays trek...i see the half way point relieved, wondering if my back will hold out, will hold me up until the end. a will of steel, that's what i creating a today...the ability to do anything, mocked and taunted, and still finish and be proud that i did it. i am still looking down, only smiling at women and children sitting on the ground, knowing they think i am crazy women do not run here and certainly not chubby ones...so many still sleeping through the chaos adding to the labrinyth of the sidewalks...not only potholes but people. almost finished, only water and stopping keep me going and that thing i know deeply. that thing i know from all my failures, slow and steady wins the race, i am not alone, and i could never do it alone and mostly its in my mind. deeply satisified with finishing and still knowing i could have gone harder...we'll see what happens on thursday.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sad News from Ktown

Just wanted give ya a quick update on the things going on here. It has been a rough couple of weeks here in kolkata, one of our friends passed away after falling down the stairs and then consequently being neglected and left to die on the street until kristin and gita found her and took her to a mother teresa home where she passed away a few days later. Last week while we were trying to get a couple kids registered for school (it’s a real bad sitch) we took em to the doctor for routine tests and decided to go ahead and do them on the boys two year old sister because she is always sick. We received news that our two year old little friend is HIV Positive but her brothers are okay. Consequently, kristin (who has really born the weight of these hard things...going to the hospital etc) took the little girl and her mom for additional testing and they both tested HIV positive. It is especially discouraging because this woman has been tested every month by the sex workers union and they never gave her the correct results. I have to say bill and melinda gates foundation are going to get a big fat letter from me about this one since they gave them a million dollars a couple of years ago to this organization to prevent aids and this woman has obviously been HIV positive for 2 years and they have been hiding the results, we assume to keep their numbers down. We are looking at all the options for this family and how best to serve them. So we and most certainly they need your prayers…we are hopeful that the father will also get tested so the family can get free treatment from a pretty good governement prevention program. And that our friend “priya” will work for freeset or for us at sari bari. If she works at freeset they have a preschool where the little girl can stay while she works.

So as if this might not be enough for our community to handle, today the landlord told us that we have to move out in four months from our place in sari bari. Basically, it comes down to his fear of being found out as helping women from the trade. He as tried to impose almost impossible standards for quiet and calls everytime someone makes a peep. Anyway, I am hoping that this is God closing one door to open another one. We could really use a building all to ourselves…because it seems as much space as we can create that many women we can give jobs. We are full in kalighat right now with 11 and could easily double by the end of the year if we had the space. So maybe this is God opening the door for more women. Right now it just feels like one more thing on our plate. Anyway, this landlord was also promising to help us register legally, now that is also in question…so frustrating because we really need to make the business legit so we can move forward. Ultimately, having a building is important because women are now depending on us for their livlihood and this is not a responsibility that we are bearing lightly.

So all this heaviness but there is still a lot hope in K-town. Not like the old days of defeat and sadness because we know that in the end all things bring hope and hope will not disappoint us and now we groan in these tents we call bodies but ultimately freedom will happen…freedom is happening. We can have hope here on earth and hope of something more later. New life will spring from that which has been desolated.

Please just keep us in your prayers. Pray for “priya” and her family. Pray that her little sons would get into school, her husband would release her to leave the trade and her daughter would be radically and profoundly healed. Pray for a new place for sari bari

Thanks for walking with us as we stumble down this road of exodus.