Friday, February 05, 2010

a few of my favorite things...

~receiving answers to prayers the same day

~seeing freedom happen for a dear friend after walking with her through hell for three years

~beth's heart for the women in Sona...gacchi.

~Kyle's tender heart, humility and quiet strength

~Anna Snader's Art

~clean hair

~dancing alone when my heart is sad

~being able to cry, being able to hold back my tears when strength is needed.


~chances to make wrongs right

~self revelations that make me better and less of a jerk

~my neices...Emma, Grace and Addison

~The Freeset Signature T-shirt (

~seeing people blossom like flowers

~being forgiven

~my hot water kettle

~coffee, dark and bold


~matching Sari Blankets

~being a walking Sari Bari advertisement

~incense from that place in nepal that Chris showed me


~cooking fresh food, how couscous and thyme makes everything seem a little better.


~letting my imagination run wild!

My garden

If I describe my community to you, I will describe a garden wild, treacherous and beautiful. My community if full of life but in it you will also find that there are seasons, times to plant and times to reap, times die. Because of the loneliness, because of the struggles, I have been examining what is it that makes my life here in Kolkata sustainable and what I have determined is the very thing I felt so deeply when I first returned to Kolkata more than four years ago, that I was called to be in the garden, to create a garden in Kolkata. Over the years I have considered the garden to the place of rest, restoration, where God created for our renewal and refreshment, I created it in my home, and on some days I may tell you it’s in my heart as well.

As I reflect on community, I mean many things when I say it. My community is made up of many people and places but mostly, it is the women of Sona.....gacchi and Kali....ghat, the women at Sari Bari, who remain at the center. These women are the garden that I have longed to find, longed to create for myself but could not have in my wildest dreams fathomed this garden. God has created this garden for me, for the women, for our North American and Indian partners. The women themselves are most beautiful flowers that you will find in the garden. I have found that these women are my garden, in all its stages of growth, the place where I can be sure to find rest, be sure to find beauty, be sure to find welcome and restoration. They are the place where Jesus dwells, where inspiration comes, where things die to be reborn. North Americans will come and go, I myself may go one day, but they are constant, and have the master hand of the master gardener at work in their lives. I want Sunday through Saturday to be at their beckon call, to call them my friends and sisters, as I so often do. I want my Sunday afternoons to celebrate in their homes over rice and prayer and fart jokes. And I want others to join us, to celebrate life with us, to make this their home.

Today was time spent in that treasured garden. Celebrating a special day, a celebration of six months of hard work for 15 women who are now working full time at sari bari after their season of training. grace is poured out all over us and we feel its refreshment in the presence of these beautiful women, wild gorgeous flowers, who made it through, still daily fighting battles for their freedom and a new life for themselves and their families. It was a simple meal and some encouraging words from upendra, a few photo ops for our wall of beauty (this is like our selection of family photos that we put up on the walls of the sari bari unit), and a few simple gifts to mark the occasion. Looking around the room, i saw hope and beauty. I also felt the pain for the tragedy of the few who did not choose to remain with us but went back into the trade. Also encouraging to look around the room and see our new trainees and the hope and expectation for when this day will come for them. In the middle of Sona....gacchi, overlooking the lanes where darkness has made its home, we had a few moments in the garden together, the space God created for us, to be whole and refreshed, intimate with the one who made us, even if just for a few hours.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One liners for this week and last...

The amount of stories i have stored up for all the blogs I never wrote is ridiculous! So today, I am going to tell you today's highlights...

There is Minu ma reminding me today again that when i go to America I better bring back a brother in law...she means a husband as i am her sister.

Our sweet Nazir, the master taylor, open heartedly and open mindedly, asking what responsibilities God has given us because he wants to live them out.

And the business student who interviewed me and asked great questions with sincerity and intergrity.

Watching a bengali film in with my new tutor in an attempt to practice my listening and thereby improve my speaking so i speak like a bengali...the problem with this film is that the sound quality made it impossible in parts for me to understand either way.

On monday, we celebrated the 2 and 3 year anniversaries of many of our ladies at Sari Bari! Love it!

last weeks stories include...

One of our ladies volunteering to go help our staff in thailand start a business like sari bari so other women can have freedom.

Lunch on sunday with one of ladies and her sweet.

I got to name a little girl...i named her Mukta which means pearl in bengali...this was accompanied by the obligation to eat 8 bengali sweets and lots of rice!