Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Consider me "Daughtry" because I am definitely over it!

I try not to use this blog as a ranting forum however it's going to be just that for the next 3 minutes. Over the last few months my life has been in a somewhat controlled (and yet sometimes uncontrolled) disarray. This is why:
1. One of my best friends decided to move to DC. YAY for her (and I say that 110% genuinely because I am so happy for her and want this for her). SAD for me. Where I go, she usually goes and vice versa. Now what? I miss her already.
2. Work has been crazy. Football is upon us which means some weekend duty (not complaining, love my job). Blitzing='s stress. AND my calling staff is about 70% brand new which means lots of learning curves and lots of hands on situations. Again, love what I do but it's been a lot of stuff at once and I hate feeling like I can't be good at anything because I'm just trying to accomplish everything.
3. Home life has been less than ideal. It's no one's fault, it is what it is.
4. Have I mentioned my BF is moving???
5. Lots of my friends are having their first child, announcing their second, or announcing their first. YIKES. I am 30 and no where near that. Am I behind? Duh. Do I need to panic? Not sure.
6. My dog has fleas and not just fleas, but ones of the Gremlin nature. THEY WONT DIE. I don't get it. He's on flea prevention meds, always has been. Yet they are on him in full force. I treated the house relentlessly. And when I bathe him in the flea bath, they multiply! Vets say it's the worst flea season they've seen. Great, no get them out of my house. Now, please.
7. People just blindside me. I never see things coming and am always bewildered by actions and words. Enough said on this one.

Okay, deep breathe. I feel a little better. But just a little.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

10 Reasons I Love Working with Cadets

10. There is never a dull moment, nor a moment of silence (blessing and a curse;)
9. I stay current on the latest lingo that the “kids are saying these days”.
8. They laugh at my jokes. Whether they think I’m funny or they think they have to laugh since I’m the boss, it makes me feel good.
7. It’s awesome to see some of them really embrace fundraising for their alma mater.
6. They let me in on their lives, stories, decisions, etc…
5. It’s awesome to watch someone grow as a leader when I promote them to Supervisor. Their passion and ownership of the Call Center is energizing.
4. I’ve learned the true power of snacks. Snacks= a cadet feels a bit more loved= they have a bit more pep in their step.
3. It’s fun to be able to let the creative juices flow when it comes to themes, incentives, scripting, etc…
2. I get to see first hand the product of The Citadel. Working with cadets allows you a chance to really believe that what we tell our donors is true; The Citadel still produces great leaders!
1. It makes me laugh at how much energy I put into contemplating some of the cadets I dated/liked in college. I now know that the majority of the time they weren’t calling, it wasn’t because they were talking to someone else, it was because they were playing video games or doing stupid college boy stuff with their roommates. Never overestimate the complexity of a male college student. Watching them when they aren’t trying to impress anyone is priceless.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nicaragua Highs

• Seeing Lindsay and Mary waving with huge smiles through the glass of the Managua airport!
• Hugging Amber, Nathan, Mary, and Lindsay after a year of not seeing their faces
• 1 hot shower!!!! Getting the widow-maker to work for the first time ever, including all of last year’s trip!
• Playing Mangoes, Bananas, and Oranges with our Nica church/clinic volunteers as an ice breaker.
• AC at the Hotel Dalinky!!!!!!! Heck yeah!
• Cokes after a long day.
• Scoring a rocking chair for daily recaps and testimonies.
• Joan’s willingness to share her bugspray.
• Laughing with new friends over many dinners
• The return of SIGNS!!!! And many other random mind games around the patio.
• Learning, but never mastering, the Nicaraguan “Dang” hand signal. (I still practice though even though I’m home;)
• Seeing a syrup bottle on the breakfast table before the food arrived. That meant pancakes or French toast versus gallo pinto (rice and beans) for breakfast!! Which in turn meant I’d go to clinic with a full tummy. WooHoo!
• Seeing every child, along with most of the adults wearing the jewelry we made them every day.
• The feeling of simply being back in Managua.
  • Mismar's smile.

Zolia Maria

As we said our goodbyes last night after the church service, my favorite 13 year old friend, Zoila Maria, came over to tell me that she wouldn’t be able to see us off tomorrow due to her school ending later than when we’d we pack up the clinic. She’d try to send her mom or grandmother with a special note for me though. How cute is that? Regardless, tonight would be our goodbye. I wasn’t ready. There was so much I wanted to say but again my words were locked up in language barriers.

We hugged as hard as we could a couple of times (side bar- why do I hug people harder here? Do I take my hugs for granted at home?). But my favorite part of our goodbye was when she and her friend, Karena, kissed my cheek and told me that they loved me very much. I told them the same. My heart falls a lot harder here, which is not necessarily a good thing.

Will this ever get easier? Goodbyes while knowing full well you will most likely never see someone again? My guess is no.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

(I’ll apologize for this in advance, but this entry will be long)…
Thursdays have been my favorite day of the week thus far on both of my trips to Nicaragua, because it means that it’s church night. And although you know it’s going to be a long day with a full clinic, rush home to eat and shower, only to rush back to the clinic/church for a few more hours, you also know that you’re going to experience something amazing. I think anytime we’re able to experience a different church, denomination, or even a different worship style as your own, you’re in for an eye opening experience. What makes it so fascinating for me while we’re here is that I know that although I can’t understand the language (most of the time), songs, etc…I do understand that the God they are worshiping in this foreign way is the same God I worship. It doesn’t matter where you live, there is only one Lord and He speaks all of our languages fluently.

I won’t overload you with details, but do want to share some of my favorite moments and learning opportunities from the service. First I’ve learned that hospitality abounds in these churches. Both years when we’ve arrived, we are escorted to our saved seats directly in front. Although we are there to serve them and their community, it is not that way during the service. I’ve also learned that something happens in my heart when I hear praise songs in another language. My mind can’t get caught up on the words, or the meaning of the song, but instead I get to sit back and really feel it. I’ve learned that standing room only, which I’ve seen in church at Christmas and Easter, is not the same in Nicaragua. Street room only is more like it. People literally stand outside of windows, doors, etc… When we stood on the stage to sing for them, I couldn’t believe that people were 4 rows deep outside of the church. In the dirt. Still singing.

And the most humbling thing I’ve learned is that church and faith are a contact sport here. It isn’t abnormal for kids to run down the aisle; however it’s not annoying there because there really aren’t church “rules”. And when they praise, they praise! I mean, dance moves and everything. How fun! And let me tell you, when they pray they really pray. The Pastor doesn’t lead the prayer and everyone listens. No, he’ll start the prayer and then the whole room is full of 75+ voices praying their prayer along with everyone else. It’s literally voices in every direction and you cannot help but feel engulfed.

And last but not least, when they ask for the church to pray over those who need prayer, that’s where the full contact part comes in. The whole church gathers around those in need and prays with everything they have. I have never heard a more powerful cry to God as I did tonight. I have no idea what the woman I was touching needed, but she was desperate. She didn’t just cry out to Him, she wailed. As I stood there, holding on to her arm, shaking and drenched in sweat and sobbing myself because I don’t think I’ve ever heard cries like that in my whole life, all I could do was pray that the Lord would lift her burden. It seemed too much for one person to bear. “Give it to us, please Lord, give some of her burden to us”, I prayed. I knew in my heart He’d be the one to lift if from her, but it still hurt to hear her cries.

As we left the church and got back on the bus completely drained, I thought to myself “this is how it should be. Leave everything you have at His feet. I want my faith to be a contact sport.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It’s amazing how awesome a small, plastic green, stretchy man can make you feel! Last year I knew it must feel cool to be awarded the nightly Gumby Award, but this year, tonight, I got to experience it for myself and I must say, it’s pretty darn cool.

Gumby belongs to Nathan, one of the host missionaries in Nicaragua, and he is awarded nightly to someone who has demonstrated flexibility, teamwork, etc…throughout the day. The coolest part is that it’s awarded peer to peer, teammate to teammate. Last year during some selfish moments I contemplated “what can I do to win Gumby? Gather people’s dinner plates? Offer my beef jerky to those who only brought granola bars and were sick of them?” But then I realized “this is dumb. I don’t want to win it because I’m trying to win it. That’s lame and besides, he’s just a little toy.”

Tonight, after testimonies, Rachel (my partner for the day in glasses) began her Gumby awarding speech and I was looked around the room to see who I thought might have been the flexible one of the day. So many people popped in my head, but as she started talking, based on her words, I slowly realized that she was talking about me. “Whoa, I’m totally getting Gumby” I thought! Rachel’s words were awesome and kind, and she thanked me for allowing her to leave me solo in glasses (remember my fear of being in glasses in the first place, yikes) so that she could go on a couple house visits to patients who weren’t well enough to attend the clinic. She also thanked me for my willingness to try new things like glasses, utilizing my Spanish, etc… I didn’t even realize anyone was watching and yet someone was. Maybe I was flexible, but it was the Lord who was working through me and nothing I did on my own. Very cool feeling.

After graciously accepting the award and giving her a hug for making me feel 110% special, I sat down and already began considering my Gumby candidate for tomorrow. I’d have 24 hours to re-award him and I had 16 amazing people to consider. The mere fact that every single person here put their life on hold, work on hold, burned a week of vacation days, left behind their kids and spouses, left behind being able to brush their teeth with tap water, and some left behind “heavy” personal things that will be awaiting them when they return, I’d have to say that EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS TRIP is flexible.

Narrow it down I will, but it’s not going to be easy. Until then Gumby is proudly sitting on the night stand next to my bed and making me smile graciously. And I secretly can't wait to take him with me to clinic tomorrow for his glasses fitting:)