Saturday, April 5, 2014

Well Fed

I know some people wondered, and even I wondered at times, what will I eat in South Africa? It's not the most pressing question... except from my mom, simply because of my dietary restrictions. Restrictions, used loosely, because I eat practically everything except meat.

No worries ma, Jozi feeds me well. In fact, there's every kind of food here and every kind of people and it turns out I'm in one big melting pot of culture and it's delicious.

The food is fantastic. I'm still trying to understand the currency here and everything looks super expensive since the dollar is 10 to 1 in Rands. So something says 10R and really it's only $1. Also, the food is packaged differently in the grocery store, which makes me go, "oh culture shock," but that's silly because it's just different packaging, not a different food. Also, guess what Americans?! Things are entirely backwards here. The healthy stuff is cheap and the junk food is expensive. This works out in my favor. Eating out though, does not.

I just thought you should all know. I'm gonna make it after all.

Last pic, updated 04/06/14... I can't stop eating.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Time to Learn, A Time to Love

From my last day of work to my first day of training… it’s been a humbling journey of gratefulness and love.  Leaving my job of almost seven years, a good boss, great friends and so many memories was already hard enough. I cried one (maybe four or more) of those days, because if not leaving all those really great things, aforementioned, I’d also be leaving one of my favorite people in corporate America… my big sister.

The Father encouraged me through several of my co-workers and one particularly who sent out an email that said:

Many years ago, one of the most promising students to graduate from Wheaton College was asked why he would be so foolish to give up a surely successful career in the USA to do mission work in South America.

Jim Elliott’s timeless words in response:

‘He is no fool who risks what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose.’

Go with God Heather!”

Some pretty great co-workers, whom I'll miss dearly.

After that I had two weeks to pack and get a lot of logistical things in order. I spent two of those weeks enjoying family and friends. Not exactly on the to-do list but much more preferred.  People or packing? You decide. Needless to say I spent one day freaking out packing my life away in boxes and bags almost, but not quite, reprimanding myself about poor time management. Thankfully some good friends (more like angels) came together and helped me with life and packing and I felt good and right on January 20th when I took off to Virginia.

I’ve now been at training a little over two weeks and while there’s much to do and plenty to learn, I’ve been resting easy on the Father’s peace and His comforting Word. There’s so much going on in my heart and a lot of it I've not yet processed.

All those other things (the logistics) I’m concerned about just seem to pale in comparison to this relationship I’m growing in with JC. After all, He’s brought me here and He’ll see me through on His time.

On a side note, this Texas gal hit the hills of snow, sledding and sliding… It’s cold but I’m loving it.

Sidewalk mural of the 50 states and of course... TEJAS pro vida.

A little "I'M SO EXCITED (AND I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT)" selfie.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Just Finish

People told me all my life, "it's not how you start it's how you finish." Weeeellll, this statement means everything and nothing when you sign up to run twenty-six point freakin' two miles.

We, my team and I, trained five months. Five long months of early Saturday, sometimes Sunday, mornings, blisters on the feet, chafing in places we didn't know could chafe,  chased by dogs, chased by shady humans, injury, upset, black toenails, good run, bad run, more injury and everything in between. Our social life existed only inside of running. My running schedule determined my eating schedule and so on.

Stretched emotionally, physically and mentally, we sometimes considered "opting out." Out of crazy, out of pain, out of training, out of somewhere we'd been too long... we didn't know, we just wanted out.

We never did that though. Instead we encouraged one another and cheered one another on. "We can do this. We can!"We held each other accountable.

I had my days. Days of blissful optimism, pressing through the days of pessimism and always settling for somewhere in between. Humor and humility kept us feeling light, swift and full of hope right through the finish line. The more we laughed, the further we could go. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. 13.1 miles you're half crazy, 26.2 you're just crazy and I'd venture to say towards the end we'd all gone mad.

Race day couldn't come soon enough. The finish line couldn't come soon enough.

My bible study teacher prayed the week before, "Lord, carry them over the finish line," and divinely, He did. One by one, we crossed the line and received the medal that said nothing about training, nothing about injury, nothing about the battles we'd overcome to finish the war... but our minds, bodies and souls said it all. We finished. I finished.

Now, I've skipped the part everyone wants to hear about. The part where 26.2 miles of road were touched by my feet in one day, within a few hours. I'm going to be honest, that time wasn't glamorous for me. And much of my story took a few turns from no good, to worse, to just terrible. In my head I remembered, "it's not how you start, it's how you finish..." but that's not how my run looked.

I wish I could say I sprinted through the end or that I ran the whole way. I wish I could say, "it's not how I started, it's how I finished..." but I can't. I just finished and sometimes that's life: a long run of ups and downs, good and bad and just finishing. So, I'm here to tell you, contrary to popular belief, its not how you start or how you finish... it's that you never give up.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

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