Thursday, December 1, 2016


And this morning, the surgeon talked us through the plan for the surgery.

For the last ten plus days,  Reuben has been having on and off bronchospasms.

Even when his breathing has appeared normal, the CT scan showed the other day that he was having spasms.  The pressure in his lung has been very high.  A complication that can greatly impact not only surgery, but post-surgery.

Reuben's heart really needed to be fixed.

And probably the biggest challenge was the high pressure in his lungs.

And in part of the plan for surgery because of the high pressure, they were going to create a hole between his atriums.

And they got in... and they didn't need to.


They fixed the large hole between his ventricles.

And so, right now Reuben is deep in a medically induced lala land.
A ventilator is breathing for him and will continue to do so for the next couple of days.

Thank you to all of you who were praying and have been praying.

I think we saw God do a miracle today.

And that's pretty awesome!

I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for praying!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And TWO blog posts in ONE day.  One was a reflection on a personal level my time over the last month.  But this one.... is to officially tell you all that Reuben is slated to have surgery tomorrow  I'll send out a message once surgery is over.  Thank you for standing with this little guy.

And really that is it.  It might be an early morning.... so I'll make this officially the shortest blog post ever.  

Thank you! 

salt spice, and WATER

(the formatting on this is a bit of a mess.... it won't let me fix it..... so I'll just let it be....)  .... for now.

It adds flavor.   
And when it is missing, it is hard to not notice. 
It took nearly 3 weeks before I found the salt at the grocery store. Staying in a cardiac part of the hospital means that salt is not easily dispensed.  And when you are too wimpy for the traditional spicy meals that are offered here in India on a regular basis,                               you are given the simple tray.  The non-spicy tray.                                And last night, as I mixed in a little salt into the rice I felt a little conviction in my heart.  K, more than a little conviction.  I haven't  been so content with the food.  And I have been hearing the crescendo in my own heart of grumbling.   Grumbling.  
Yearning for more variety.  More flavor.  More something.

And yet, realizing that I am given three meals a day.   Three meals.
I found myself thinking of the Israelites wandering the desert eating the same thing every day.  

And I realized that it had only been 23 days and already I found the grumbling note.                                                                                         *                                                                                                                Argh.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I would not have been a good Israelite. 23 days?!?!!?                                                                                                                                              But, I'm thankful that God nudged my heart.  And I'm thankful that I have a choice.                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be thankful for the simple tray.  It is food.  It is nourishment.  It satisfies.  

And so, today on Day number 24, I am choosing to be thankful for the food.  
And I am thankful for the salt that I found in the supermarket.  Just so you know... in case you are EVER in India looking for salt.  It is not located in the spice section.  It was up against a wall on a shelf far away from the spices.  

But never mind where it was found... it WAS found.  

And speaking of salt.  

Salt has another effect.  It creates thirst.  

It's a complex process... but a process nonetheless that results in THIRST.  

And with that thirst comes the need to drink.  

And depending on how much salt we contain, the demands on our body. .... our body adjusts the demand for water.  

And that is exactly where I am going.  

When I first arrived into India,   I was surprised by how intense this country is.  

I'm not slamming India.  I am just saying that there is a constant hustle.  LOTS of people.  LOTS of spice.  LOTS of horns honking.  And LOTS Of language that I do not understand.  

That coupled with little sleep, a sick little guy, and a process that was taking longer than expected..... 

There were a few days were I was feeling overwhelmed.  

And a friend back in Uganda gave me the BEST analogy ever!  

Her husband cooked up a spicy meal.  A type of spice where the spice only seemed to increase as more food was consumed.  The jug on the table was refilled with water... and refilled... and refilled... and refilled... multiple times.  

Everyone needed more water to soothe the spice that clung to to their mouths.  Even if that spice was good... 

And that analogy was true for me.  

My typical time with Jesus was good.  But, I was in a land of spice... a land of different.... a land foreign to me... and with that, I NEEDED more water.  The water I was taking wasn't enough.  

I NEEDED more.                                                                                                                                                                                                And that's what I have been trying to do.  Being more intentional in drinking from the Living Water.                                                               And as I have nestled into my Jesus.  The horns have still honked (do they ever!).  The spice has still remained.  I still don't understand a bit of the language.   And the process has still been slower than I envisioned.                                                                                                                                                                                                             But God.  He has met me.                                                                                                                                                                                                           And when I have forgotten that I am thirsty..... I find myself thinking of Salt, Spices, and Water.... and the NEED to get more Water from my God.  
John 7:37

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 

And with that.... Let me grab my water.  

And later on today... I think I am going to post another BLOG..... You will see why later..... 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

God in the Details

Last night, I settled on the plastic hospital mattress and opened up my computer.
I had plans of working on my newsletter.  The one that I have managed to start and stop probably 6 times in the last 7 months.
Being in the hospital with Reuben has brought me back to my days of working night shift as a nurse in a huge hospital in Chicago.  And all the times, I made a ruckus in the night as I provided care to the patients.  When you are the caretaker to a patient (and I presume the patient), you hear EVERYTHING.  The shuffle of feet, the vital machines being whisked to and fro, the chattering amongst the nurses.... the list goes on.

And plastic mattresses.  They are brilliant for the most obvious reasons.
And yet, there is something about the way that the sheets glide over a plastic mattress.
You think you are all settled only to quickly realize that the flat sheet used as the fitted sheet is anywhere but where it should be.

But, back to what I was writing about.
Last night, despite being tired... I felt the push to write.
And so knowing that there is a deadline to the newsletter, I figured I should respond to the push and bring fingers to the keyboard.

I've never been diagnosed.... but it is probably VERY safe to say that I can have the attention span of a fly.

So, I wrote a little on my newsletter.... wrote a bit on a blog post.... and kept checking Facebook.
even chatted with a friend on Facebook.

And in between that, I fed Reuben.  Slowly, slowly the formula went down the tube that goes in his nostril and down into his stomach.  He was a little squirmy... but towards the end of the feed, he was sound asleep.

Part of the blog post I wrote about was about not so serious things.  But good things none the less.

Like ordering a pizza with basil and actually receiving a pizza with basil.  (it doesn't always happen...just saying)  

Or hanging with Reuben's older foster sister and watching her giggle as she ran around a gym built for kids.  
And ordering a FOUNTAIN coca cola from a coca cola restaurant.  
shopping with Mary.  Winter Fleece long socks....
Made us giggle.  I can't imagine it getting cold enough to warrant these....
but.... they must sell..... 

Or ordering a greek salad (with watermelon) and absolutely enjoying it... only to realize shortly thereafter.... that eating salads in India is probably NOT the best idea.  (no offense India).  

That was what I wrote about last night.  And I very much enjoyed writing about it.

But, what I didn't write about was the reality that this time in India is a patience builder.  That it's hard waiting for a surgery that is not being scheduled as quickly as we would like.  A surgery that is so needed.  A culture that is so different than what I have come to known in Uganda.  How many times do I look a man in the eyes and greet them.  And then remember.... you aren't supposed to do that here.

It's a path that is narrow with the pressure of the unknowns, worries, and concerns of the today and the tomorrows.

It is the season of walking with a friend who is foster momma to this sweet little guy.
And walking with Reuben's foster sister

The days are Full.  They are rich.  They are bonding.  And they are stretching.  They are tiring.

They are.... not a mistake to our God.  Each of these moments are known to Him.

And so God nudged me last night to bring my fingers to the keyboard.... to work on a newsletter that should have been written 7 months ago.  And while I did make a bit of progress on it, I believe that God used that time of writing to keep me awake.

Reuben's breathing was ok when I put him down to sleep following his feed.

However, as I closed my computer and settled near him on the plastic mattress, I heard the change in his breathing. The change came on quick.  And it became clear pretty quick that he needed more care.

And within a few hours, after a few visits from the on-call doctor, respiratory therapist, and the attentive care of nurses with not the desired response... I picked up Reuben wrapped a striped hospital sheet over him and together with oxygen tubing and a few nurses brought him down to the Intensive Care Unit.

As all the nurses came around the bedside, I sent out a message to my friends.  Asking them to pray.
yes, for Reuben.  But also for me.  We both needed prayer.  Different needs... but still needs none the less.

He was a trooper.  And I was relieved he was somewhere were He would receive the extra care that he needed.

And as I settled into the bed and dozed, I was thankful for my God who went before me.  And was with me.  And with Reuben.  And his momma.  And his sister.

My God who kept me awake and allowed me to see the change.  For the attentive nurse that was working last night.  She saw the concern and didn't sit on it.  Even God's choice of doctor was sweet.

Details were being taken care of.
And details continue being taken care of.

And so with a heart that embraces these journeys, but also has to navigate the emotions and hurdles that come with, I know I will sleep a bit more deeply tonight as I have been reminded of His presence in very tangible ways specifically with Reuben

We can see God in the fun things of life.... but I believe that we can also see Him just as equally in the hard.  I would be to say sometimes, we can see Him more deeply in the hard.

And I am thankful for that.

I'm thankful that He holds it all.

And with that, I say goodnight.  It's nearly 9:30 in my neck of the woods and sleep is calling my name.


Thank you.

If you feel led, can you please pray for continued strength for Reuben.
For a plan for surgery from the surgeons.  We were told this week.  We pray for surgery this week... but no matter what, that we would know His peace.  And that we would remember that God is in the details and goes before the details.

Love to you All!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Spicy Food, a little lad, and waiting for answers....

Hello from India!  I don't know what India is technically known for... but I would say hello from the land of honking horns, spicy food, and LOTS of people.  We reached here Monday morning after a long journey from Uganda.  Things went smoothly in our journey over.  There was a pause at immigration, but for how it could have been, the pause was amazing.  Reuben did well on the flight.  As the plane ascended, his oxygen levels descended a bit.  The airlines were amazing and hooked him up to oxygen without any pause and/or fear.  Shortly after we landed and gathered our luggage, we went outside and were connected with the man who would be taking us to the hospital.  And we were off.  I thought driving in Uganda was an adventure... and it is.  But if driving in Uganda is an adventure, being a passenger in a vehicle in India is an adventure in capital letters.  ADVENTURE.  Mix that with very little sleep (maybe 30 minutes in 24 hours) and you are left with two choices.  Engage in the adventure or disengage.  I weakingly chose the latter.  (or wisely) and fell asleep.   After arriving at the hospital, things started moving almost immediately.  Reuben was brought down for his first test and I went out to pick up needed supplies for our upcoming time in India.  A lady that is connected with an organization that one of our New Hope Staff is connected with met us and helped show us the ropes.  What a GIFT.  Much of this week has been waiting.  And being.  And chatting with doctors/surgeons.  And stepping into a deeper level of trust.  
Not only with Reuben.  

Though that is a significant part of it.  
Isn't he ADORIABLE?  

The tests are showing that he has pulmonary hypertension and that reality puts an added risk to him having surgery to fix his heart.  The hope is that today we will hear whether or not he will be able to have surgery or not.  It is a whole lot of waiting.  And trusting that God knows what is best for this little man.  Please pray for wisdom, for peace, and for direction.  

Just a few days after we arrived, we woke up to discover that some of our currency notes no longer carried any weight.  Like no weight.  In a country that is primarily cash driven, this has huge implications for many.  It was a surprise decision by the government that was announced the evening before. I could probably write a blog post just on that situation but let's just say money drives a lot of things.  And when the value of money is yanked... it leaves you a bit...mmmmm... unsure.  unnerved.    It is not everyday that one wakes up to most of their money having no value.

He has been taking care of us.  
The hospital has been mostly providing us all with lunch.  
The guesthouse we are staying at is allowing us to charge things to our room. 
The transport to and from the hospital is included with our room. 
And we have a few dollars worth of currency in the smaller notes.  

And so we are waiting.  
And trusting.  
That He is holding little Reuben close to His heart. 


For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."

We don't know how God will help little Reuben... but what we DO know is that He will help Him.  

Will you pray along with me for baby Reuben, for his foster momma, and for his big sister Mary?  

That no matter what today brings, that all hearts would KNOW His voice and presence?  

Saturday, November 5, 2016

About to fly....

Good Morning.  
It is quite early. 
My hair is straightened and my suitcase is NEARLY packed.  
My list of things to do includes just a few more things.  
The sun has somehow greeted the day.  
And it just over an hour, I will leave Kasana and head to Entebbe.  
And later this afternoon, we will board plane one of two that will take us to India.  
This little chap will be, God willing, having surgery this coming week.   He is 8 months old and has a serious heart condition.  An organization has sponsored him and his surgery!  
This is huge.  And it is amazing. 

My friend Kate, another staff member here at New Hope, took in Reuban earlier this year.  
I was asked by New Hope to go to be Reuban's medical advocate. 
He is a fragile, little lad with a determined spirit.  
Will you pray for little Reuban?  That he does well on the flights?  That the surgeons would have steady hands and clear minds as they work on him? 
For wisdom?  
For his foster momma and his foster sister as we all travel?

Thank you. 
Thank you so much.  My passport is down to 3 pages.  It is only about 4 years old.  
You all have been such key parts to so many of those journeys.  
Journeys here, multiple trips to Kenya, and today, a trip to India.  
Yesterday, I put up my Christmas Tree.  And I pulled out the Christmas Spruce tree scent sticks 
And so my house smells like spruce and last night the lights on the tree sparkled sweetly.  
I rest in the hope of HIM in these coming days.  
He knows what He has planned for little Reuban.  
Than you for standing with me.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

white bags, lions, and sweetness

Right now, I'm looking out a small window to my left and seeing not only the ground below me, but the massive right engine of the B787 that is taking me from Johannesburg to Nairobi.  My next stop after Nairobi will be Entebbe.  So help me if that is NOT the engine of the plane.  I'm definitely not wired to understand things in the mechanical realm, so have grace for me if the engine is really somewhere else.  Either way, I'm all buckled in and listening to the hum of the engines which is much stronger than the chatter and movement of those around me.  

No birds greeting me from a distance.  Or knocks on the wooden door of my house.  

And thankfully, on this flight... the sky is a dull blue and the warmth of the sun is palpable.  
Not like the last flight I took where the sky was lighting up with bolts of lightening extending from one side of the sky to the other.  The plane lurched and my stomach plummeted.  And I dreaded the realization that the little white bag provided in the backseat pouch of the plane might need to be utilized.  As the bolts of lightening lit the sky up and the plane swayed and jolted uncomfortably, I found my heart uneasy.  Unsure.  Nervous.  

When we finally landed, my heart exhaled.  My stomach took a bit longer.  Thankfully, the white bag and I never became friends.  At least not on that flight.  

Why am I talking about vomit bags?  That is a good question.  I have no idea. 

We shall see if the previous sentences remain or if they get deleted as I write.

Why am I mentioning planes?  Well, because planes are what brought me from Entebbe, Uganda to Cape Town, South Africa.  And smacked in between of those flights was a whole lot of sweetness.  

Earlier this year, a friend sent me information about a conference for missionary women.  I remember looking through the information and wondering if it would be possible for me to go.  It was put on by an amazing organization called THRIVE.  It's an ministry in the States that literally goes around the world setting up retreats for missionary women.  The women from the States who come, come to serve and love on those who re working overseas.  It was a double blessing.  To be poured in by women and to be able to interact with other women who understand all the joys and challenges of living on this beautifully amazing continent of Africa.  

And so I went.  And it was a time of awesomeness.  It was such a gift to be with other women.  It was such a gift to exhale.  I watched as God orchestrated some sweet interactions.  He had His own agenda for me during those days and I was thankful to be able to see Him orchestrating the details of my day.  

My heart smiles at His kindness.  After the conference, I utilized some vacation time and hopped in a car with my friend Laurie and a new friend Michelle.  We drove along the Garden Coast soaking in the beauty of the country and the ocean.  We stayed at a farm one night and rode an ostrich another day.  My friend treated me to a two night stay at a safari lodge.  What a GIFT.  There was watching the lions eat a warthog and the male lion walk along the road.  The sun peeked out over the mountains in the morning and settled slowly over the mountains in the evening.  

Today, I stopped at the grocery store at the airport.  (Brilliant!) and picked up a variety of fun foods.  Raspberries, nectarines, peaches, dried fruit, and cheddar cheese.  All high delicacies.  I'm excited to share them.  

And so, since my fingers first started tapping away on the keyboard, I've since landed into Nairobi.  the sun just went down a short while ago.  The raspberries didn't like the altitude and started bleeding through the container.  Yeah.... NOT so cool.  My journal will probably carry the scar of this adventure forever.  But it's a good scar.  Reflective of a good time. 

In a short bit, I'll hope my final plane, settle into my seat, and nearly as quickly as I will be up in the air, the plane will start coming down.  And I'll be home.  

And speaking of Home.... I need to write another blog post.  There is never a dull moment in my life. Never.  And speaking of moments.  I have yet another blog post to write.  

Hold me to it.  What I have to share is exciting.  

In the meantime, I covet your prayers.  I already jumped back into work heading from South Africa to here and in this next week is, from what I know, going to be FULL.  

I anticipate that it will be full of... 

Some drug shopping... 
meeting with the young ladies that I mentor.... 
working in the clinic... 
starting and finishing the clinic budget for 2017 (I may or may not have procrastinated on this!)
going to the Indian Embassy (please pray for favor!  and Yes, this is part of the next blog post) 
and keeping my eyes on Him in the process. 

Much love to you all!  

Friday, October 7, 2016

This is the look of a little boy who is not so sure of the world around him.  
The one thing that is FOR sure for him right now is that his momma is nearby.  
He reaches out or snuggles into her almost constantly. 
Everything else in his life is a bit unknown.  
Yesterday, he went in for surgery.  
He woke up and one of his first statements to his momma was that "they took my intestines".  
So much of what has been known to this little boy is now different. 
And if he was brutally honest, I think he would say that he's not so sure about it.  
He looks often from the corner of his eyes.  
A bit afraid. 
Not sure. 

What he doesn't know is that his life is now different.  
And that difference is a good thing.  
No more will stool leak out of an unpredictable, malfunctioning hole on his abdomen.
Starting yesterday, stool should and God-willing will follow a tunnel and exit his body just as it does for millions of people everyday.

And while that is a good thing. 
Little Ayeko isn't so sure.  
His stuffed bear thought the toilet was a great idea.  
Ayeko was much more happy sipping on juice than giving his stuffed bear too much thought.  
Especially when his bear was sitting on a toilet.  

In fact, when I snapped a family picture.  Ayeko tried to push Mr. Bear sitting on the toliet AWAY from him and his momma.  

But we celebrate what this little guy isn't so up to celebrating right now.  
We celebrate for what is to come.  
For how this little guys life will be different.  
And with that celebration, comes a sweet smile to my face.  
And I know to so many others. 

It's ok little man.  Drink your juice.  
Lean into your momma and feel the warmth and safety of her embrace.  

That's the perfect place to be.  

And on a personal note.  
Today, I'm wishing I could nestle into my family.  
To be with them all the way over that great, big ocean.  
Below is my sister's Mr. Bear.  
Patched and straggly from years of love.  
He outlived my sister. 
Today, she would have been 29.  
And today, as I helped Ayeko's bear on to the toilet, I found my own heart 
remembering my sister's bear.  
And remembering her.  

And thinking of her family.  
For her own babies who are surely missing their momma today. 
My sister who was a treasure.  
And always she will be.  
And so tonight, I'm thinking of my siblings, my sis's family, and my parents.  

And I'm leaning into my Jesus.  

It's the perfect place for my heart to be.

And OH MY WORD.  THIS is the outfit I wore (plus some stylish boots) when I met up with Sylvia last year... and she looked me up and down and "admired" my outfit.  And by admired... I mean... she got a kick out of my style.  Oh..... that memory is a gift to me tonight.  I will always love my sister. 

And I LOVE the sweet things that God has for me.... 
The gift of walking with those He puts in front of me. 

For today, it was little Ayeko.  And that kid is VERY lovable. 



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tilling the land

Tonight is the night.  
THIS very moment is the moment.  
I'm bringing my rusty fingers to the keyboard and writing.  
The normal sounds of the evening aren't around me.  Tonight, I am writing from Kampala where I am currently sitting on on an orange couch watching TLC at a guesthouse that has been like a third home to me this year. 

It's not every day that one sits on an orange couch. 
It's not every day that one gets to watch TLC.  (at least not in my neck of the woods)
And it's not every day that you get to meet up with a little one as CUTE as this one.  

Isn't he adorable?  I had barely greeted his grandpa, mom, and him before I yanked out my camera to take a picture.  I saw the warmth in his demeanor... the calmness of his heart... and I wanted that side of this little guy captured.  And so I started snapping.  

Ayeko John William.  

Tomorrow, he will take his second trip to the operating theatre at International Hospital and will God Willing, he will come out of the theatre with well working INTERNAL plumbing.  

An amazing organization Willing and Abel who have sponsored the care of this little guy.  It has been SUCH an honor to be able to walk with him and his family.  

I have a feeling that this little guys self confidence will only increase as his more timid and fearful nature will reduce.  And I can only pray and trust that as He grows older, He will know how His God took care of Him.  

I covet your prayers for this little man as He goes under the knife tomorrow morning.  
I'll keep you posted on how things go.  

Before I sign out, I wanted to share a few other bits and pieces of my life.  

Nothing super deep tonight.  Though, be default of personality, I tend to go deep.  So, Let's just say that I'll till the soil.  Does one till the soil?  Or is it a different word?  I have no idea.  

But, I know that these weeks have been FULL.  

Full of eating steamed bananas with young women as they share their hearts and ask thought provoking, deep questions.  Questions that have left me digging deeper.  Tilling Deep into the soil of my own heart.  And at times helping to hold the hoe as these young women allow their hearts to be tilled.  I've savored the times with these young ladies. Hearts that are softening towards their Jesus.  And softening towards allowing their hearts to open.... and to be known.   

Yesterday, I was eating a quick lunch in the clinic.  It was one of those days where your list of things to do is a nearly a mile long.  It was a day full of mostly kiddos coming to the clinic.  Lots of coughs and colds and upset stomaches.  Thankfully, not as much malaria.  Something seems to be making its way around.  There were lots of lungs to listen to, skin rashes to look at, and just as many opportunities to squeeze a shoulder and/or give a hug.  Just around lunch time, the barometric pressure did whatever it does just before the clouds explode.  And at just about the moment, I looked outside to see one of my friends working in her garden.  She was determined to work for a few minutes.  What caught my attention was her careful holding of the hoe and the fact that she was not wearing garden clothes.  She had come straight from the office.  Void of gum boots she was at the mercy of any little critters or slithery things that could slither or critter her way.  And so... with giggles deep within my heart, I decided to go help a sister out.  
And by help, I mean really just go and laugh together.  And then when the cloud couldn't hold the water anymore and the drops started dropping like little torpedoes..... we ran our respective ways.  Her back to her house... and me back to the clinic.  

About a month ago, one of our girls was playing soccer with the boys.  And in the process of playing soccer with the boys, she fell.  And the end result of that fall was a very significant and bad fracture of her humerus bone.  She had surgery and at her last review, there was concern about how the bones were healing.  She had very limited movement of her elbow joint.  And so, we have been spending some good amount of time together.  Exercising and stretching her arm.  One of the teachers at school is also spending good amounts of time helping with the same exercises.  

Slowly Slowly... her arm is loosening up... and her range of motion is increasing at a very encouraging pace.  Hugely Awesome.  

These days have been full of variety.  I've been continuing to declutter the clinic.... finding homes for what can be homed and unhoming things that need to be.  It feels good to see things becoming increasingly organized.  A team from the States came and did some AMAZING painting in the clinic.  It looks AMAZING.  A few of the ladies on the team were nurses and they also helped a LOT with going through things of old...and seeing what could and what couldn't be used.  

I wish I had pictures this very moment... but I don't.  ) : 

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:4

This verse was written up on the walls.  

The type of healing we experience from God is not always how we expect it and/or want it... but what is assured is that We will be healed.  I cling to that.  And have clung to that truth countless times in the last several years.  

There is so much more to say.  I am really hoping that I can bring my now, not so rusty fingers to the keyboard soon.  
I yearn to share more about what He is doing.  Exciting things coming up..... and steps walked worth  sharing.

I am thankful for you all.  And your Sweet and Amazing presence on THIS journey that He has me on.  
He is GOOD.  
He is LIFE.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Dirty cards and a bit of cleaning...

Ha.  There is nothing like opening up a blank blog page and picking up the cuppa of tea only to take a sip and realize that there is more in the cup than tea, milk, and sugar.  Yes, I just managed to take a gulp of tea and bug.  Thankfully, I realized it quickly and spit it all out.

I no longer have a cup of tea to my left... but I do have a commitment to fill this blog page.  

I wrote out a near complete blog post on Saturday night.  My fingers were cracking and I was having fun putting it together.  But, I sorta of got distracted by a late night trip to the hospital.  

And I figure that that post needs a bit tweaking before I will hit publish in the right upper corner of the screen.  

And I can't wait for the tweaking of that post to unfold.  I have left you all in the dark LONG enough.  

The last weeks have run.  I still can't wrap my brain around the fact that it is September.  September?

But alas, it is September and I feel like the rest of the year is only going to run that much faster.  

On Friday afternoon, I met up with one of the young ladies that I have the privilege of walking life with.  It was report card day and after picking up her report card, I met her down the road in Kiwoko for a quick bite to eat.  We each ate traditional Ugandan food and chatted through her grades.  It was a rather simple discussion, but the fruit of having spent time together over the last months was evident.  As I was taking my last bites of steamed bananas, we had identified a very likely reason for her low grades and had somehow agreed on a plan of going forward. Shortly thereafter, we stopped by the local police station.  We had bumped into one of the local detectives at the restaurant and he told me I needed to stop by.  The reason?  Because my driving permits and credit/debit cards that had been stolen from my house months ago.. had been found out in the bush.  While most of my cards had been replaced, I was very thankful to find that my Indiana Driver's License, while very dirty, had been among the cards found.  

And so with dirty cards....but cards nonetheless in my wallet, I dropped off the young lady and returned back to New Hope.  I was just ahead of the rain and made it home to find my friend at my house bringing my laundry off the line.  The rain was coming and my clothes and bed linens were nearly dry.    Shortly after bringing them in and sitting down in the chairs in my living room, my friend and I sat and shared.  I'm thankful for opportunities to pour into and am equally thankful for those who pour into me.  Often it happens simultaneously.  

I think there is so much I can share.  I met up with little Ayeko a few weeks back.  He had a pretty important test... the last one before his final surgery would be scheduled.  I picked him, his dad, and grandpa up early on a Monday morning.  Almost as soon as the car door was shut, his dad let me know he was sick.  And he was!  Bless His precious heart.  I was so thankful that we were able to get the important medical test finished.  As soon as he was done with that, we hopped in the car and drove to the hospital.  There, blood work confirmed what was suspected.  His body had a very high malaria count.  The doctor in Kampala wanted to admit him right then and there.  But knowing,  I needed to get back to New Hope for work the following day and also that there is a good hospital a handful of kilometers away, we had the doctor document his needs and ensured that the first dose of malaria treatment and IV antibiotics were in and then hopped back int he car for the ride out to Kiwoko.  It is absolutely amazing what ONE day of medication and a whole lot of prayer can do for a little man.  

Prayerfully, his surgery will happen in the near future.  

It's been near full force back in the clinic.  Malaria seems to be in a quiet stretch right now... AMEN to that!  We've been seeing lots of coughs, colds, and body-aches.  There have been a few near broken bones and one young girl who SERIOUSLY and quite impressively BROKE her bone.  Her teacher brought her into the clinic and I wasn't sure if I was looking at her elbow dislocated or a bone in the wrong place.  Painful.  And broken.  In the end, she needed surgery to repair the badly broken bone.  A tough cookie  I don't think I would have been that brave... or strong.  

One of the things that I have been doing over the last handful of weeks is DEEP cleaning the clinic.  There are boxes of things from years past.  Old medical books, magazines, medical supplies long past their time, and a variety of medications.  Most of the medications and supplies are too old to be used.  And it is a process to sort through the stuff.  Mixed into a lot of that stuff are treasures.  Gauze pads can be resterilized. Things with one purpose can just as easily be used in a different way.   For example, I found multiple packs of laparotomy sponges.  Yes, at one time, they were graciously donated to the clinic.  The only problem is.... laparotomy sponges are used by a surgeon to soak up blood in huge operations.  Not so practical in our clinic.  BUT.... they are EXCELLENT dusting towels.  

All this cleaning has been good.  I have enjoyed organizing and sorting through things.  
This morning in church, I found myself paralleling the cleaning of the clinic to my own life.  This season, God has been opening the door of areas of my heart that I thought had already been sorted... and in some ways,  had already been organized.  But, what I've realized is that there is still plenty of stuff that needs to be cleared out.... and while it's not exactly what I would have put on my agenda, I'm realizing that there are pockets of treasures.  I've been able to sit and pour out my heart to Jesus more so in the last month of my life than I have in a LONG time.  Maybe that is why I've been a bit quiet on this blog.  My heart and soul have been writing novels to my Jesus.  Together we have looked at the things of old... the things I sorta of thought had been discarded ages ago.... and yet am realizing that bits have remained. 

And so, I'll keep cleaning that clinic.  I'll celebrate the treasures found and keep burning the things no longer usable.  And soon enough, the clinic will be that much more organized.  There will be that much more space for other things along the way.  The cleaning takes time.  It's a bit of work.  But it is good.  The end result is good.  And even the process in between is good.  

I have several pictures to make this blog a bit more interesting...BUT the internet is acting a fool and I can't seem to get my pictures from my phone to my computer.... let alone uploaded to this blog.  My temptation would be to wait... but instead, I'm going to hit send.  

I love you all.... am so thankful for you all... and am so blessed to have you along on the journey God has me here.  It is a gift to be where He has me. And it is a gift to know you all.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Not a mistake....

I am on a mission.  
I've just written nearly a million emails...  ( :  
I'm making my list of things to do.  
I'm feeling VERY productive.  

The power has gone on and off several times.  
But as of right now, the power is on.  
The generator has since become quiet.  
I am wide awake.  Though, I best be heading to sleep sometime soon.  
I just wanted to hop on and let you all know that the 2 months time at the hospital are nearly finished.  
The 40 required days.... are now down to 2.  

I have been stretched in huge ways.  And my heart has been led.  
When the council told me that they were requiring me to complete 8 weeks in a hospital.... my heart was not so happy.  To be brutally honest, my pride took a hit.  And I just wasn't up for what I was being asked to do.  Some of it was practical.  Nursing training is so different here than there.  And I wasn't up for any more dying.  I felt like I was maxed out on it.  I  told God I couldn't do it. 

And after my heart calmed down, I heard His whisper.... His assurance that this was not a mistake.  

I let His whisper trickle VERY slowly down through my ears and into my soul.  

I am thankful for His patience.  

And I am smiling as I write.  It hasn't been all easy.  

I've held many hands.  Prayed with some.   Laughed with others.  And swallowed the lump in my throat on a good handful of others.  

Made strong connections with nurses and had to submit my ways of doing things to how things are done here.  There has been bending and there has been a few times where I have politely declined to bend.  

I've compressed the chest of a man a few years my junior and just recently compressed the chest of girl younger than my niece.  Neither survived.  

I held the hand of a man only known as unknown, unknown. I remember telling  him... God knows exactly who you are.  

God whispered to my heart that this was the way to go.  

And in His whisper, there was no guarantee that it would be easy.  

I felt maxed out on death... but I think that God knew I wasn't as maxed out as I thought I was.  

Maybe my recent journey's on the path of mourning allowed me to walk with others just beginning.  

As my time comes to an end, I can honestly say that I am thankful of the time. I know with a confidence that only comes from Him that these days were not a mistake... and honestly have been used by Him on a much larger scale.  

He is leading.  And I am following.  

And in less than 48 hours, I will wrap up my last day at the hospital and treat myself to a chocolate croissant.  

and I will Smile, not because it has all been peachy rosy dandy..... (quite the contrare)... but because I can truly say that my time wasn't a mistake.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A few toy cars, a pounding chest, and walking.

Today has been a day of writing.
And chilling.
And writing.
And washing clothes.
And writing.

I think you get the point.

I can't believe that it has been nearly a month since I brought my fingers to the keyboard and written you all.  I am 3/4 of the way complete with my required time of working in a hospital in Kampala.

These last weeks have been an adventure... to say the least.

In the privacy of my heart, I am processing.

Tomorrow, I will start working on the pediatric ward.
I'll work one week in outpatient and one week on the inpatient ward.

And then my time at the hospital will officially be over.

My main focus these past 6 plus weeks has been my time at the hospital.

But separate from my time at the hospital I've had a few other things on my agenda.

One of those things has been this little lad.

Ayeko had an appointment with his surgeon a few weeks back.
Initially, he was a bit hesitant when I saw him.
I had brought along a few toy cars and before long he was playing with them.
When it came time to see the doctor, he burst into tears.
But, even as the tears rolled down his sweet face, he offered the doctor one of his toy cars.

A peace offering of sorts.

I believe that deep down within, Ayeko knows that he is being helped.

Ayeko will have one more test in the beginning of August and then God-willing will have his final surgery.  The intestines that are hanging out on the outside of his body will be tucked back within.  And God-willing this little lad will be able to go to the toilet without any problems.  

God-willing, this little one will have surgery in August.  

Separate from my time at the hospital I did a little drug shopping.  Drug shopping here is an adventure.  It's actually pretty simple.  Usually, I hop on the back of a motorcycle and head into the heart of Kampala.  I give a list of the meds I want and a short while later I walk out with the medications that I have ordered.  On this particular day, I ordered the drugs one day and they were delivered to me the following day.... in the parking lot of a gas station.  I just happened to bump into a friend just as the drug deal was about to go down.... so she snapped a picture.   The clinic is now well supplied.  

I had a week off halfway between my 8 weeks of time at the hospital.  It was planned before I knew I had to do it.  It was God's sweet grace.  What I didn't know... He did.  That week off was a breath of fresh air and time to just be.  Time to laugh. Time to be.  Time to absorb the beauty of creation.  
 And all I got to say is God is truly an artist.
After a week off, it was back to Kampala.  My next rotation was the Emergency Department.  I witnessed a lot during those two weeks.  There were many hands to hold, people to pray over, and IV's to start. I have decided that I would rather be shot than hit with a panga (Big knife) and I've seen both the fragility of life as well as the strength of the human body.  High blood pressures and low ones... and even a few with no palpable blood pressures.  Bloody wounds and wounds that had stopped bleeding.  I found myself wondering why I had never found my way down to working in an ER before.  I have to say that there was a part of my heart that really loved working in this area.  
You have to be quick on your toes and quick on your mind.  
taken from the internet

One of the significant moments during my time in the ER was when a young woman came into the ER.  She was struggling to breathe.   Really struggling.  We talked back and forth a bit.  Though she was mainly focusing on breathing.  Her vitals told us she was struggling.  Really struggling.  And she was.  The doctor stepped out of the room to talk with someone.  I remained.  And then I saw her head turn and a glazed look come over her face.  Her breathing changed.  And I knew.  She was leaving.  She was dying.  I called her name.  Ever so slowly she turned her head.  Our eyes locked... for just a brief moment.  I told her to stay with me.  But she didn't.  Within seconds, I was pounding her chest.  A rhythmic pounding.  We all worked her.  And yet she was gone.  Here one minute.  And gone the next.  

I've pounded a chest before.  But, somehow in light of my sister's recent passing.  I found my own heart pounding in a different sort of way.  I found myself thinking of  the young man who pounded my sister's chest.  Her dear friends who were by her side.  Did they call her name?  Did she look at them?  I have no doubt they called her name.  I would be even gutsy to say they probably yelled her name.  The family of the patient was there as we pounded their loved one's chest.  They watched on.  They too, weren't expecting this outcome.  But this outcome had come and where a young woman had been alive minutes earlier, she now lay lifeless.  We gave the family the time that they needed.  And then, we prepared the body.  

I don't believe it was an accident that I was on this side of things.  In some crazy way, working on this woman, was somehow healing for my own heart.  I can't explain it but only to say that it was somehow healing.  To stand by the momma and hold her.  To look at the older brother and extend my empathy.  To ever so gently and carefully wrap the body of a woman whose life had so many more miles to walk.  And yet, the harsh reality was that.... she didn't.  

So hard.  And yet somehow special.  Is that the word to use?!?  I have no idea.  

The phrase that comes to mind is beauty from ashes.  

And so, I'll keep holding the hands of patients, calling their name, and looking em in the eye.  

And tomorrow morning, I'll don my blue scrubs, hop on the back of a motorcycle, and begin the last two weeks of my working at a hospital.  

I'll keep trusting Him.  He knows the significance of these days.  And He knows the purpose.  

And I will keep resting in that.  

And I will keep walking where He leads me.  

And leaning into Him more and more.  

He truly is LIFE and for that I am so thankful.