Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let the Christmas shopping begin!

Last night, Jayne invited me to go on our first Christmas shopping adventure of the year - to fill two shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child. We made quite a pair - she is a world-traveller who knows cultures and climates from all over, and I am a box stuffing veteran who knows the packaging dos and don'ts; she is practical and thoughtful, and I am sentimental. My biggest concern was: Would a little boy prefer squishy fish toys or jelly lizard toys? Her biggest concern was: Which will my girl need more - a towel or a blanket? After three hours of comparing, analyzing, and deciding, we managed to get a great pile of loot home and strewn out all over the table.

Now to make it fit... hmmm... Well, the blankets did not fit. Actually, they could fit, but it would have been the only thing that fit. And neither of us felt really good about just saying, "Merry Christmas, have a blanket, and never you mind about all the other cool stuff that wouldn't fit." So we decided to give the blankets to the families at my house, who bundle up in their winter coats if I put the thermostat on 72F.

Jayne's most frustrating aspect of this shopping trip was that she didn't know what country her package was going to, so she couldn't make the perfect decision about anything - gloves or sandals? or rain coat? I tried to explain that the good people at Samaritan's Purse do go through the boxes and sort them out to their proper destinations - in other words, they would not send scarf-and-hat boxes to Ecuador. Still, this not-knowing was a damper on our experience. Imagine our excitement when we learned that we could print out barcodes to tape on our boxes so we can keep track of where our boxes go! So we did that, and now anxiously await the delivery date.

So I say our first Christmas shopping trip was a true success! It was tons of fun and put me in a spirit of giving. My church at home is really big into OCC, and it was exciting to continue to be involved even while I'm here in Fort Wayne. Thanks to OCC for all they do!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I've Seen Worse

In the midst of searching the floorboards and the niches of my wheelchair this morning for a small but vital piece of metal, the immortal words of Miracle Max came to me and made an otherwise-humorless situation bearable: "I've seen worse." It's true, the situation could be - and has been - a lot worse. My chair could have been turned off when the power switch broke off, leaving me with no power... or a fuse could have blown out... or my chair could have stopped on the sidewalk in some random new place when I was alone... or my finger could have broken off, for that matter. Yes, I have seen worse... oh, the stories I could tell! But I'll just focus on the latest story...

I've thought it over and over, and really the situation was so impressive that I don't think I could do it again as perfectly if I really tried. Elsa and I were just sitting at the breakfast table, when we heard a beeping sound from the kitchen, which I thought was the smoke alarm finally admitting it can't take the Burmese cooking anymore. So I decided to just swing around and peek in the kitchen to make sure nothing was on fire... little did I know, the kitchen door was opened out toward me, so when I swung around to look, my control box caught the edge of the door. The door did not like that rude action very much, and decided to teach me a lesson - to look before I turn - by snapping off my power on/off switch in one clean "POP." I think the door decided then to eat my power switch out of spite, because a long and thorough search did not yield any bit of the switch anywhere on the premesis.

I called the wheelchair repair people, but since Medicaid takes a few weeks to transfer from state-to-state (and I just started the process this week), repairs won't be covered. Talked to my dad and he gave me some good ideas, so soon I will be heading to the auto-parts store to see if they can help me. I've been wondering two things today: 1) How many missionaries have to deal with wheelchair repairs on the field? Sure, it doesn't rank up there with snake bite or food poisoning or malaria or guerilla warfare, but still... and 2) Why didn't I look before I turned? That seems like such a basic, elementary common-sense thing... especially for someone who's been driving for 20 years. It seems to be my downfall a lot, though. Many door ways and people's shins give testimony to this, and for that I am sorry.

By the way, the kitchen is still in tact, so I guess there was no fire. I just now thought of that... four hours later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Family Time

It's a beautiful fall day - windy and full of colorful leaves outside, and I'm inside, in my sweater and house slippers, having a cup of tea with a friend. So life is better today, and since I'm done feeling sorry for myself, I wanted to share some sweet pictures with you from my weekend with my mom...

Mom just couldn't wait to hold baby Deborah, who is now six months old.
Don't you just love the bows on her shoes?!

Thang Ngaih asked us to take a family photo for them.
I was so impressed that the kids looked at the camera!

I realized that I'm usually the one taking pictures,
so I didn't have any of me with the family.
So while the kids were still attentive, and the parents were still smiling,
Mom got a picture of me with my Angaying Inn family.

And since we were on a role with the family pictures,
Hau Lun offered to take one of mom and I...
Actually, Thang Ngaih offered and told him to do it. :)

 I took Mom down to Jefferson Pointe Saturday night for some window shopping and dinner. Sunday we went to church together and afterward we went grocery shopping and came home and made caramel apples and hot chocolate. Monday I took her to Turnstone, the gym and pool I go to, and then we went to Panara for our old traditional bagel-and-Bible time. Then we took a nap and then helped kids with their homework. It was a simple weekend, quiet and relaxing and full of stories and reading outloud to each other. It was wonderful! Thanks, mom, for coming so far just to be with me! I love you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A morning full of greys and grace

It's 8:45AM and the sun is delayed in rising-and-shining because of persistent grey clouds. The beautiful colors of the leaves outside my window seem dull and grey too, as the wind picks them off the trees one by one and spins them into a pile on the driveway. Raking is a counter-productive sport here. As the wind plays in the leaves it also swings the back screen door open and shut, tricking me into thinking for a moment that I have a surprise guest who just wanted to pop in for a cup of tea. I love those kinds of guests, but they aren't here today. The women woke up about a half hour ago and came downstairs and promptly started the two rice cookers... kind of with the ritual-ness of how Americans make coffee. And so the day begins.

Mom had to leave early this morning. She came up on Saturday to stay for a few days, and we had a really nice time together. I really felt like I needed some time with her, and it was good to have it. But now I feel lonely and homesick, and the world just seems so grey. Starting to count the days til I'm home for Thanksgiving, and wondering why I ever thought I could be so adventurous and brave as to live ten hours away from home and how I'm going to be able to do this for another eight months. I love what I'm doing here, and I love these people, I just wish the world wasn't quite so big and spread out.

I'm praying for grace this morning. I'm praying for God to help me sing his praises, to fill me with his joy and delight, to give me strength and courage to live out his purpose for me today. I have to pray for these things, because I know I'm not strong enough to conjure them up myself, but He is. I am so thankful that I have Jesus to walk through this day with me, and that he is my hope.