Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reverse Culture Shock

We have been back in America for a week and it is so funny how as much as I have travelled and transitioned from culture to culture over the years, I am still surprised when I experience culture shock. As much as I missed the "American" way while living in South Africa, I realize that I had adapted to the South African way more than I realized.

While doing laundry, I find myself asking, "Why is the (tumble) dryer SO big??"

While planning meals, I find myself confounded on what I used to make here, which spices I need, and how to budget in dollars.

While interacting with people, the realization that for me and Arno, being from two different cultures, means one of us is ALWAYS different and doesn't "quite" blend in. Now Arno is wearing that hat....

....and more things that are still revealing themselves to me.

Reverse culture shock is so very strange. How can you forget the culture that you grew up in --well, sort of grew up in -- the culture of my family, at the very least, the culture that I lived in for 10 years before moving away?

It is quite the phenomenon that as hard as it is to adjust, once you do, you are different, changed -- for LIFE!!

So again the transitions come.....

Have you experienced culture shock travelling overseas or even coming back home? What are some things that you have done to help yourself adjust?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Chapter Ends...

Since I last posted, we packed up our belongings in our beautiful house to prepare it to be an investment property, we travelled to gorgeous Cape Town (more on that in another post) with Arno’s parents, and we re-packed for the 3rd time in the last 10 days.

And now…...

Today is the day that we leave on a jet plane, not knowing when exactly that we will be back again.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how life is a bittersweet symphony, and it is true. I feel that keenly today.

My Facebook wall is filled with mixed messages…

“I don’t want you to pack” and “I miss you already”
“I can’t wait to hug your neck” and “I am counting down the days.”

And so the pages turn….

But love....love carries on. It is not quantifiable; it cannot be measured by the color of your skin, the place you are born the language you speak, or the way you style your hair.

While America is the country of my passport , my accent, & my immediate heritage, Haiti is the country of my birth & my original “people” and South Africa is the country of my husband, my adult maturing, & some of my BIG TIME grace learning. So no matter what country I find myself in, there are people that I will miss and others that I will hug and have coffee with (figuratively since I don’t actually drink coffee). :) :)

So here’s the thing: When you truly love people, saying goodbye is NEVER easy.

And while tomorrow, I will hug my sister for the first time in 9 months (and I can’t wait), there are “sisters” (and brothers) here whose embraces I may not feel for just as long or longer and my heart truly feels that sorrow.

I will miss biltong and pepperdews and fresh avocado MOST of the year
I will miss no humidity basically year round.
I will miss the diversity of cultures and languages all in one place.
I will miss living in our God-given house.

But mostly I will miss the faces…..
…the faces of the children greeting me on Sunday mornings

…the faces of my disciples walking through the door of our house on Monday nights

…the faces of my leaders challenging me in the Word and laughing at LIFE

…the faces of “my boys” as I walked into the office every day, into the sanctuary they called the Wisdom Academy

...the faces of friends JUST happy to see MY face

...the faces of diversity & culture, of laughter & sorrow, of joys & fears….

So today, I say, “Goodbye, Rainbow Nation!”

But just for now…..

I will see you again soon!

You can count on that!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Season of Transitioning

Transitions ARE NOT fun!

While change is challenging and exciting all at the same time, transitioning from one step to the next is hard -- REAL HARD!

Our women's pastor at ORU, Brenda Coomer, used to say, "The enemy (Satan) attacks in times of transition." I have found this to be very true in every changing season of my life. The distractions & temptations & attacks & insecurities & fears seems to RISE to an all-time high during this time.

And I know the answer to surviving & thriving during this time.

Connecting to my Father.

And yet staying close to His heartbeat and following closely in His footsteps seems EVEN harder in these times. When I seem to need Him the most, I run the farthest away in a flurry of planning, activity, and trying to figure things out!!

Am I alone in this? Do you struggle with this to?

Why do we run away from the VERY ONE who can bring clarity and peace and joy in the ups and downs of our mixed up lives?

My Arno is really such a great role model to me in this season in how he has made seeking the Lord's face his TOP priority. I am thankful to the Lord for gracing me with such a generous man who teaches me by example.

And I am thankful for such a patient heavenly DAD who uses not only my husband but also blogs from faces I have never met, beautiful changes in nature, words of encouragement from those I love, moments of conflict in this season as well as my never-ending analytical brain to help me to grow and grow and grow.

One thing is for sure -- at least in transitions, you cannot become stagnant. And since stagnancy brings death.....I am going to thrive and live in this season by His precious grace.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Farewell to the Faces of South Africa

During this week, while we are packing up to leave South Africa, I would like to share a few "faces" of this beautiful country that have graced my life in special ways over the past 3 years and make this Rainbow Nation SUCH a unique place to live....


Baby Ethan & his new friend :)

Uncle Jakes & Auntie Gloria

....and my favorite of the week for Sweet Shot Tuesday and Communal Global where I am linking up to both for the first time this week. These two faces are coming with me on the next step of the journey....it's nice to take a few familiar things with you...:)

My Bokkie and my baby girl, Patches

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, September 6, 2010

Multitude Monday - #35-42

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

~35. Change - although I hate change, I am thankful because it causes me to cling to the Father more

~36. Ability to be able to GIVE because of the change

~37. Learning to lay down the idols in my life

~38. Freshly cut flowers gracing my home

~39. Change in weather -- loving the smell of spring in South Africa

~40. The smell of freshly varnished wood (reminding me of my childhood)

~41. Receiving and giving love even in "good-byes"

~42. People who touch our lives -- for seasons, for reasons, or for a lifetime

I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So every Monday, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world.

holy experience

These Things are IDOLS????

As I have mentionned before in previous posts and for those who know me personally will know well, I am a person who likes to mark acheivements in tangible ways -- 1st place in the race, the winner of a friendly board game, love & adoration from someone whose life that you touched or impacted,

Do know what I am talking about? Are you like this too??

My loving Father has been steadily hammering in this point into my consciousness recently:

Why are you finding your identity in your successes, accomplishments, goals, acheivements??

Why do you NEED to feel "important" by having something to show up to the world as proof of your value?

I read a post by Ann Voskamp recently that named what this thought process really is -- IDOL WORSHIP. If what I have to present to the world, to the Father is of more value than my connection TO the Father Himself, then that ONE thing(s)becomes my idol.

OUCH! Really?? In wanting to please Him, I become an idol worshippper!! That hurts! But yet, it is still so true....

I have been getting "back into" Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest again over the last month. His words are straight-forward, hard-to-swallow (at times), and direct to the heart, past all the "stuff" that we hold up to make ourselves feel holy and good. I wanted to share today's devotional with you because it encouraged and challenged me....

The Far-Reaching Rivers of Life
He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water —John 7:38

A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, “rivers of living water” will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow— “This is the work of God, that you believe. . .” ( John 6:29 ). God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.

A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while it is blocked, yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, only later to emerge again even broader and greater than ever. Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ— not emotion nor experience— nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

Think of the healing and far-reaching rivers developing and nourishing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up wonderful truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is another indication of the wider power of the river that He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has developed and nourished in you mighty, rushing rivers of blessing for others.

Father, help me to keep my focus on the Source, not on the influence, achievements, or successes in my life, but truly on YOU alone. I cannot change this without Your help. Where I am so weak, may Your strength be revealed.

"We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love." (2 Corinthians 6:6)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Posts That Warm My Heart

Sharing with you some posts from my fellow bloggers out there who have touched, encouraged or made me smile this week as well as a couple of my own posts that are my favs of the week.


This week I shared on how saying goodbye is bittersweet and how blessed I am to be celebrating 5 years of marriage with my sweetheart.


I discovered Gypsy Mama this week. I connected with her story so amazingly as someone who married someone from another culture and living in 3 different countries/cultures. Her writing style will appeal to you even if her story isn't the same as yours.

Holley at Heart to Heart with Holley encourages my heart in my own journey as she has also struggled through the process of becoming a biological mommy. (She and I also have the same wedding anniversary! Cool!)

Gitzen Girl's story has challenged and inspired me as she is dealing with a chronic illness much worse than what I have experienced. It has changed her whole life, yet she walks in faith and in beauty in her walk with the Father.


Ray at Student of Jesus shares with us the lost art of front porch sitting. It is more than you think. Check it out!

I found an old post from Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience in my wandering this week that challenged my current relationship with my Father in prayer.

Glenn Packiam, a fellow ORU alum, shares about something that the Father has been consistently reminding me of this year: HIS LOVE.


Adding Zest to Your Nest shares some random fun for you to add to your marriage to spice things up. :)

Metropolitan Mama talks about sharing the beloved Anne of Green Gables with her oldest daughter....(I just LOVE ANNE -- really!!).
Are you a night owl or an early bird? Check out Jennifer's post at Conversion Diary to see the pros, the cons, and the "somewhere in betweenies."

The WOW Factor

Tim & Steph along with their two little girls have decided to sell almost all of their possessions and travel in an RV and GIVE EVERY DAY. You SO have to check this out...it challenges and amazes me!

I hope that you are having an amazing weekend and that one (or more) of the above posts will warm your heart as they have mine!

Linking up today with:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Check out her posts and browse through the other bloggers who linked up for the party for this weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Celebrating 5 Years of A DREAM COME TRUE

Almost 11 years ago during my senior year in college after going through a crushing heartbreak, I went on Fall Break with one of my besties to her home in beautiful, peaceful Maine. This break was SO orchestrated by the Father and He ministered to my soft heart and began restoring the pieces that had been rejected and broken.

One day during one of His heart procedures, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to make "a list" of the qualities that I wanted in a husband. I had always avoided making this list because I did not want to put God in a box or make Him my Santa Claus where I submitted my wish lists. However, given the place of brokenness in which I found my myself, I knew that I had to listen to my Father's leading.

So I began to write and this is the list that made its way into my "Dream Journal":

1) He must love God with His entire being, His whole heart, His whole soul, & His whole mind.

2) He must desire God's will above all else, being willing to do anything & everything
that God would ask him to do at a moment's notice.

3) He must place God first, family (me&kids) second, and ministry third.

4) He must be passionate about the things of God, even if his personality is laidback and quieter.

5) He must have a heart for the world -- the nations, the people, & the desire to reach them.
6) He must be a man of strong character and convictions.

7) He must be a man of his word.

8) He must be hard-working but have a good balance in time spent with family
(at least be willing to work at it).

9) "Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as true strength."
-- I would like for him to fit this quote.

10) He must pursue me and state his intentions in the proper time.

11) He must be a man that I am proud of, that I respect, that I trust, & that I can lean on.

12) He must be someone that my parents approve of, feel good about, like for me,
and love (or learn to love quickly & effortlessly).

13) He must have strong convictions of how close physically we are before marriage,
treating me as the bride of Christ & daughter of God (& Tom Brumbley :) )

14) He must want children & be good with them to some extent,
really respecting & championing my desire for and love of children.

15) He must be someone that I am physically, emotionally, intellectually,
& spiritually and the feelings must be mutual!

16) He must challenge me spiritually & intellectually & I want to do the same for him
(even if he is smarter & deeper spiritually than I am).

17) He must be kind to people, especially the unlovable.

18) He must be the kind of man that all who know him would genuinely & sincerely speak well of him.

19) He must be well respected and trusted.

20) He must love and know God's Word.

21) He must love me as his #1 and only sweetheart from the beginning and for the rest of our lives.

~~We must be a team~~
~~We must laugh together -- A LOT!~~
~~We must be best friends~~

When I wrote this list, I was 21. 6 years later, after measuring every guy who caught my interest by this list & thinking that he was NEVER going to come, God sent him from the opposite hemisphere from my own, fitting every single criteria on this list.

Today, I am celebrating 5 years with this amazing man! I am so thankful that God searched the world to put us together! I cannot imagine my life being as exciting an adventure and as fulfulling of a ride without you & me on this journey together.

I love you, Bokkie!!
(see meaning below)

September 3, 2005

September 3, 2010

("BOKKIE: One of South Africa's nicest words, this is a term of endearment which can be applied to either sex. In literal translation it means "little buck" or "little deer", and its English equivalent is "sweetheart." When a couple walks down the road hand-in-hand, somebody may remark that they are 'bokkies.' ")

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Bittersweet Symphony

"Cause it's a bittersweet symphony this life...." The Verve

Being a missionary kid, change & transition came with the territory. From the day I was born in L'hopital Canape Verde(The Green Couch Hospital) in Haiti, there were people who loved me in another culture & place who actually shared genes with me whom I wouldn't meet for 3 more months.

And so it began.

I would forever live away from someone that I loved.

As a little girl, I hated this. I would walk through the airport on our way to board a plane back to our little tropcial island, holding my grandmothers's hand and say, "I don't want to go, Granny."

My heart would ache with every goodbye and rejoice in every hello. I learned quickly that when you are loved and love people around the world, one person's sadness at seeing you leave is another person's joy in holding you close.

And since I was born into this, you would think that I would be used to it by now.

I'm NOT!

And now it is that time again, time to move forward, time to make changes, time to say MORE goodbyes.

We are leaving South Africa.

In 3 weeks time, we will be packing up our things and flying back to Salisbury, MD, to pursue the next season of our lives.

What is that you would like to know? So would we.....HA!

We have been feeling the urging of the Holy Spirit for the past couple of months that our season here was over, but it was just so hard to get to that final decision.

But decide we have...after MUCH, MUCH prayer and trepidation.....

In 1999 our pastor at Oral Roberts University once told us that sometimes the Holy Spirit leads you as much from a lack of peace as a peace in situations. That is where we are now -- knowing it is TIME to go, but not QUITE knowing what is next.

So since we don't want to just jump into the next thing JUST to do "something," and we truly want to hear from God, we will be going back to Maryland and maybe to Haiti for a little while to hear clearly the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We realize that to many this will be a surprise and/or a shock. We realize that some may not understand or agree. We realize that some will be happy and some will be sad. And we realize that many of you will hold us up to our BIG DAD -- we hope that will be all of you....

Thus the strains of the bittersweet symphony sound again...

Will you consider joining with us in prayer ESPECIALLY during this transitional season that we will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that we will ONLY do the Father's will, and that we will do the purpose for which we were created in the way HE has planned?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sharing a Moment

Yolanda & Richard, a couple who are our friends as well as associate pastors at 3C Ministries, share a FUNNY moment at our staff fun day on Monday

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