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a world of strangers


I'm craving a life I'm not currently called to live.

Each night I climb in a car to go home with any number of complete strangers. We are introduced, but conveniently enough because of the children, 'Auntie' and 'Uncle' are the names they usually go by (which saves the embarrassment I have had in the past by calling tonight's host by the name of last night's host). It's a life full of strangers, every minute characterized by a very obnoxious, talkative worm that seems to live in my head - always saying things like "Why does it matter, when tomorrow you'll be gone?" There's a new kind of wall being built up around my heart - for better or for worse - because when I become "friends" with people I meet - in a matter of days or even hours, they go back to their normal life and I climb on a bus - and we'll probably never see or hear from each other again until we are together in Glory. Perhaps even, I think we've gotten along really well and as I'm contemplating giving my email address to them to keep in touch - they casually wave goodbye and once again I am a passing phase. It's not easy (being green - especially now, and yes, I use plastic water bottles, but thirty people on one bus - how many emissions are we saving the planet by carpooling across North America?) Anyway, it's not easy living this life. Almost every night a new house, a new family, a new set of names, a new bed, a new bathroom, and a new set of stairs.

Stairs. How bizarre that I notice the stairs. I'm one of those people that counts steps. Does that make me OCD? Perhaps. At home there are thirteen steps, a set of eight, a landing, then five more. And as I walked up the stairs at my host family today, arriving after a lovely day off - I carried my bag up to my room for three nights - and I didn't count eight and five. And as I counted I thought to myself, "This is something I always did at home. Got home from work, brought my bag up to my room, counted the stairs on my way, then went down to sit with my family." People I knew. People that when I sat around the table with, I could call by name. "Hey Miss, can you hand me the chicken?" instead of my now formal and impersonal "Excuse me Uncle, would you mind passing me the chicken?" My cordialness leaks a sense of oddity as my bag sits on a stranger's bed that's wearing sheets and a duvet cover littered in large, brightly covered flowers. I miss my solid colored walls and my snow white comforter at home - the lack of patterns and visual business that cloud my head and eyes with rainbow vomit. Who thought floral print was a good idea?

I think about all this today, because I had an absolutely lovely day off with very wonderful people I know from home. Though it's been a long time since I've seen them, it was a breath of fresh air and a taste of home. I climbed into the car with them this morning and immediately felt as though I'd stepped back into my other "life" - driving through the streets of "Canandaigua" with two friends that I have looked up to greatly for as long as I can remember. It was familiar.

"Familiar" I've come to learn is a very powerful, very important word. And how nice that it's so close to "Family" - Familiar. Family is familiar. The twenty-nine other people I live with and the bus we all live on right now is the only close "familiar" that I have - and they have become to me a very special family. Here. But every now and again I wish that when I got "home" at night I'd count the same eight and five and sit down with people I've known for more than nine months. Living through each day knowing exactly where I was and where I was going to rest my head that night. Someplace familiar.

And yet each night as I lay my head down in whichever house I happen to be in, I know that God has called me here for such a time as this. Though sometimes I think I'd give just about anything to go home to the familiar, I'm not willing to give up this family. I, along with eight others, are interim parents for these beautiful children and each day is an opportunity to teach and train them in the way they should go. The craving I have for a life of non-nomadic "normalcy" is significantly dwarfed by the craving I have to be with these people, these children: this family.

And so I pray, "Right now, Lord, here I am, for such a time as this."

Michael W. Smith!


Last night the choir got to sing with Michael W. Smith! They did fantastic a fantastic job, and we all had so much fun!

this always makes me smile.


My favorite part is Stella at the end... seeing what she would look like if she was large. This may be her only time to see that. Ever. And she's hilarious.


Today I watched a large portion of the movie "Julie and Julia" and though I'm still deciding if I actually like it enough to want to finish it, I'm feeling inspired to write on my blog. Cliche? Yeah, totally. My ways are changing. oi.

It's almost as though I've just finished watching "You've Got Mail" and the sound of Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan's voices slowly speaking as their fingers click through the words are luring me into typing away as though a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils really is that inviting.

Alas, here I am with what I feel is nothing too significant to write about. I cut my lip on a gum wrapper about an hour ago, and I believe that to be a sign of pure talent. I changed the layout of my blog (isn't it pretty?). And I spent almost the entire morning sitting on a couch in a church lobby frittering away my time in the best possible manner, as can only be done on a day off such as this.

The iron is sitting next to me with the sewing kit, two costumes, and a ripped pair of trousers -all begging for my attention. And I think, and think. Technically I suppose I don't know what I'm doing. I hear the church receptionist mumbling away words that surely mean something to those close enough to hear the consonants. The children are downstairs in school, and in an hour I'll have rehearsal with them. I love rehearsal.

There is a certain joy that comes in teaching. Especially when you teach things you love. Lately my main goal in rehearsals is to teach the children to love music. I've been playing songs for them - last time the variety went from Josh Groban singing Ave Maria to the Super Mario Brother's theme song. Training their ears to hear the perfect fifths and the majors and minors and the sevenths and the rhythms - the beauty of the invisible that captivates so many and pulls us into this world of perfect amazement. Like following the wind - you can't see it and you don't know where it's going but the breeze is lovely and carries with it this romance, giving you goosebumps and that breath of fresh air your lungs crave. Music.

Now I should watch August Rush.

I want them to love what they do. Every time they step onto the platform I want them to sing their hearts out - singing the same songs they've sung for a solid year with joy and adoration to the God that created the mystery of music and the beauty that is found therein. Love. Joy. Fascination. Amazement. I want them to have it - for music, and for God. I want them to love what they do.

So... now that I've written something and my inspiration is dwindling... there you have it. A point.

I want our children to love what they do.