Monday, November 19, 2012

A String of Thanks

An email from a friend this morning reminded me that true thankfulness will cause us to stop looking at our own miseries and turn our eyes to the grace we have been given.

Thus, my 2012 thankful list (in no particular order):

I'm thankful for being an American citizen, particularly in the month of November. We have a cultural reason to stop once a year and really think through what we're thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family. Family is usually at the top of most thankful lists, which does not necessarily make it unique. But my family is. My parents are the most generous and thoughtful people I know, and I'm thankful that they take the time to invest in others (particularly, their grand/daughters)!

I'm thankful for electricity. Yet another modern amenity that we tend to take for granted. While living without it on a regular basis (life in PC Africa) simplifies life, having a fan and source to charge my computer by is a true blessing in PC Jamaica.

I'm thankful for relationships. Before you jump to conclusions, I mean that I'm thankful for friendships. Life has been rather transitional since leaving high school, and I have met incredible people along the way. Though I cannot keep strong ties with every last person, I'm thankful for the opportunity to call many of you "friend."

I'm thankful for hope. As a Christian, my hope is sure. My hope is finished. Because of this hope, my circumstances--the ones I cannot control, the ones that I cannot explain, the ones I cannot fix--are bearable. There is more to life than circumstances.

Finally, I'm thankful for health. I'm thankful to be alive, in a functioning body made to heal itself in an incredible way.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, GIVE THANKS in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. "  - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello, world. Please excuse the prolonged absence. 

I've been busy. (Yes, it's possible sometimes.)

Busy making history.
I was the first female to win a race on the first BMX race track
in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Busy watching sea turtle releases on St. Mary's north coast.

Busy learning about raising bees with site mate.

Busy helping with a Marlin Tournament in St. Mary.
And gawking at the winning marlin for the day at 340 pounds.

Busy hiking the tallest mountain in the Caribbean,
Blue Mountain Peak.

 As you can see, it was the coldest I've ever been in Jamaica.
Refreshing, really.

 We woke up at 2:00 in the morning, hoping to catch the sunrise from the top.
While the sun beat us, it was still a spectacular view, and worth waking early.

 At the top?
A giant jungle-gym, which provided for an even better view.

 And I've been busy recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

My current (electricity) was out for over a week.
A handful of volunteers within miles of me are still without.
Contrary to popular belief, it's not like camping.
Because when you camp, you camp near a usable water source.
And you take vacation from work.

Words cannot describe and pictures do not do justice to explain the experience.
This is the flooded field across the highway from me, as it was happening.

 St. Mary (me), Portland, and St. Thomas suffered the most damage.
While a handful of families in my community lost all they had,
we were more fortunate than our surrounding communities.

 Despite the challenges (and mine are relatively few compared to volunteers around me),
I am thankful for this experience.
I have a much better understanding and new compassion
for the development challenges this nation and it's people face.