Happy Anniversary, friends

It’s hard to believe that one year ago I was standing on Ethiopian soil. Well, technically, at this time I would have been in the airport and drinking the last good macchiato I’ve had since then, waiting for my flight to the US. But for the sake of this post I was still there.

The memories of that day are still clear as I watched B and her now-husband pledge their love and life together. To describe an Ethiopian-American wedding to you is difficult as I just want to sit and remember, not use words to describe the day – the expectation and moment as F made his way into the house to recover his bride (and all us bridesmaids blocking the way per tradition); the looks as we drove around the round-a-bout in our wedding cars, honking the horns on the way to church; the joy of seeing our landlady and daughter along with our masseuse included and helping us walk through the cultural traditions of the day…

What most people know about the last day is that B got married and I functioned in four languages that day. Hmmm, come to think of it, I wonder if I spoke Romanian with Dani and Johnny as that would add a fifth!

But in reality, they don’t know the bitter-sweetness of that day as I treasured each moment with my friends, new and old, from around the world as many made their way to celebrate B’s wedding. Weddings are happy times, filled with the anticipation of the future and love and joy…but each moment had a little tear drop dripping from it as I realized these were also last times for me.

Sometimes you don’t realize how dear a friend is until you are forced to leave them. These are the times when I’m grateful for technology and What’s App giving me the ability to regularly communicate and share in life with B & F. Their story of perseverance, patience, grace, and love would inspire anyone as they look past differences and find commonality in Christ, their Rock and Foundation.

B and L weddingSo, to you two dear friends – May your day be blessed as you celebrate a year together and so many more to come. You are loved and missed!

 

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When God says “Stay.”

Two and a half years ago, before I left for Africa, I felt in my spirit that this day would come. And, it has. God’s saying “Lisa, stay.” As in, stay in the USA; stop traveling and relearn life in the USA; learn what it means to have roots; serve Him here.

The hard part about staying? Expressing to my ministry partners why my staying and serving from the USA is just as important as those who are going overseas. In an organization whose majority are linguists and technical workers, finding someone who enjoys administration and is gifted in it sometimes seems the rarity.

But by serving in administration, I can let someone else stay in their role they are gifted in. I’m able to take some of the burden off our already maxed out missionaries and use the gifts God has given me. Sure, I could do administration in a foreign country, but that’s not what God’s showing me. Plus, with my added back problems, I need access to chiropractors and to lessen my travel.

So I’ve found a way to have a global impact, learn a new role (I love a new challenge in something I haven’t fully learned), and have my adventure – by moving to Texas and serving as assistant to SIL’s Associate Executive Director. While I’m sure about working with our “VP”, I’m still wondering about the Texas part sometimes. This Floridian has a lot to learn about how to integrate into Texas culture. Good thing I like Dr Pepper and bar-b-que!

I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to build a financial partnership team so I can be at the budget Wycliffe sets for me for living in the US. I’m not sure how God is going to make ends meet, but I know He is faithful and has always provided.

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Impatience = Chifles!

I bought plantains to make a Pinterest recipe, but they’re green which means waiting until they ripen. I’m not always patient, especially when I know I can make a yummy treat from green plantains. 

Having lived in the Peruvian jungle which has a plenitude of banana varieties, this is something I miss in the U.S.  Thanks to Cuban heritage, fried sweet plantains are pretty easy to find. But fried green plantain chips, aka “chifles”? Nope. 

So here’s how you can make chifles, which are awesome because I don’t like potato chips. I’m also trying to do Whole30 and I think these fit in for snacks. 

First, peel your plantains. This might be the more difficult part as it takes a knife to cut the skin and slowly work it off with your hands. Once they’re peeled, slice them as evenly as possible. This will make it better for even frying. 

 
In a large pan heat your oil for frying. I used grape seed oil at medium heat. Place the pieces in a single layer as this makes for even frying. Try not to let them stick together because, well, it makes more for eating!
 
Let them fry for a couple minutes and then flip them. They usually don’t want to flip and its sometimes difficult to differentiate which have been flipped or not, but you notice subtle differences. The idea is to fry them evenly but they’ll cook different depending on thickness. 

   
Fry them another couple minutes until they start turning a very light golden brown. I used my metal spatula to tap the centers of the thick ones to see if they felt hard and done. Don’t fry past this point as they’ll turn darker once out of the oil. Too dark makes them taste burnt. 

 
Place them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil and cool off. See, they look darker. 

  
I tossed them with a little salt to make the flavor pop. All these yummy chips from just three plantains. Enjoy! 

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It only took one year and nine months

January 2014 – I decided to undertake a challenge I’ve done many a time, but pursue it in a different manner – read through the Bible in one year using a chronological method.

Growing up with an emphasis on Scripture, I’ve read and memorized Scripture a multitude of times. It’s in my head – though paraphrased by me – whenever I need it. It’s the foundation to my faith, which is why I chose to work with a mission organization whose emphasis is on translating Scripture. How does one come to know Christ without being able to read His letter to us? It’s the starting point to giving people an option to step into the world known as the Christian Faith.

Honestly, as I write (and many times before), I wish I had some how documented how many times I’ve read through the Bible.

Sometimes I’ve felt guilty that I didn’t stick with it and complete the plan in one year; that I didn’t read every day and would take days (weeks!) off. One would think with how rough the last year has been I would have been in the Word more often than I have been.

Well, I truly believe that we have season and sometimes the tools we pull out aren’t the ones we use regularly, but the ones we need most. For me, I could read but it just went in one ear and out the other. So I did a lot of light devotionals, prayer, and listened to music instead.

But, TODAY WAS THE DAY! On the last day, of the ninth month, of the year of our Lord 2015, I read the book of Revelation and completed a one-turned-into-almost-two year reading plan.

So for those of you who struggle with regularity in reading, in following plans, etc…don’t worry. God knows you and He’s given you a toolbox full of spiritual disciplines to help you through each season. (Read this book if you want to learn more about that theory – Christianity for the rest of us who don’t like rules and regulations.)

For those who want to know what I use to help me stick to a plan, check out www.YouVersion.com. Awesome app!

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At the end of the tunnel

Next month my sabbatical ends and I start the process of finding my next assignment. Well, to be honest, I’ve already started the ball rolling so it’s just “officially” that it happens.

This time of complete rest has been excellent and what I needed to process through the various unexpected and stressful transitions, some of the things I dealt with while living in Africa, and also trying to heal from the car accident. Still working on that last one but the others have reach peace and conclusion.

I think I’m especially excited as it means not having every day be the same, productivity, and….well….let’s be honest, not living at home with parents who have been empty nesters for four plus years now. Don’t get me wrong! I love my parents and am so amazingly grateful to have a safe place to transition through, but I’m ready for life to start again and not have to remind my dad to “take it to another room”….or get called Ziva (the dog’s name) for the umpteenth million time.

The only concern I have is the back issues I’m still having and how that will turn out. And having to find a place to live – how does one do that in the US? Oh, and speaking only one language and trying to keep it to American English (sorry for all the extra ‘u’s lately!).

So, here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel and life having balance again! Perhaps I’ll start blogging a little more now and be more communicative. 🙂

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What I’ve learned from going blue

And I mean literally blue! I’ve been blue for about a month now and in this season of rest, processing what’s going on in my life, and healing, it’s been quite insightful.

Blue highlights!

Blue highlights!

I had my aunt trim my hair up some more from my drastic cut and told her to have fun and choose between blue or purple highlights to put in my hair. It was one of those moments that I didn’t really care, wanted to do something fun, and recognized that hair (and color) is temporary. Long term reactions were not in my thoughts.

Since then, it has been eye-opening to me to hear other people’s reactions and process my own when I go into my different social groups.

  • Because I am in full-time ministry, I often feel an obligation to live within certain “unspoken” rules that I feel others might put on me, when, in reality, I’m the one putting them on myself. As long as I am honoring God in what I do and say, I don’t need to worry about other’s reactions. I am not responsible for their own journey if they should choose to judge me. I am responsible for my own life. (And the people I thought would have a reaction either haven’t noticed, ignored it, or liked it!)
  • It’s taught me about my own judgmental attitude. There is no way for me to know if the reason someone’s hair is dyed, or they’re dressed a certain way or,….whatever…is the result of a promise to someone, their own culture, or their own rebellious streak. It’s not my place to judge, but to love the person even if I don’t agree with their choices.
  • It’s a great conversation starter! Both the color and the cut have received lots of compliments from complete strangers and from friends.
  • There are a lot of people who wish they had the boldness to chop their hair off or dye it a different color but are too scared to do so. It’s taught me about what is temporary and what is permanent in this life.
  • A whole lot of people like the blue – from the guy behind the Chipotle counter randomly telling me “it works for you” to the salespeople telling me they like it.
  • It brings a smile to my face and happy to my heart, and right now smiles tend to be rare and being happy is often brought down by my daily struggles with pain.

Those are just some small thoughts as I don’t really quite know how to concisely express how it’s one piece of the puzzle in learning to love and take care of myself. I’ve always given of myself when it comes to other’s needs (my counselor reminds me that I need to add a “too” in that sentence) and I don’t think much of my own needs. As I’m learning to heal emotionally and mentally from the challenges of serving, I’m also learning how I should healthily serve in the future so that I don’t end up in burnout again.

So, yes, it’s taught me to be a little selfish and a little radical; but in a good and much-needed way. It’s been amazing in helping me pull out lies I believe as well as to teach me to take care of myself so that I can effectively (and healthily) serve others.

….and remember, it’s just temporary. 🙂

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So, this happened….

What does one do when she’s lived in Africa and can’t donate blood? Or when her hair weighs probably half a pound when wet? Oh, and it’s summer and she has neck pain?

Donate it!

My nieces wheren’t happy with the idea, although they were the ones who inspired me.

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The full length, before picture

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I warned her she’d need a chainsaw to cut through it

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Bobbed after 10 inches cut

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Oh my goodness!

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Easily 1+ inches of thickness

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Finished and styled!

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