Really?

Dear Women of the World,

If your culture embraces “curves” in women as beautiful, that’s great.  However, if you run into an old friend (who is American), please do not tell her “You’re fat!  You’ve gained weight!”  Even if you then proceed to tell her that she looks wonderful and that she needed to gain weight, she will not receive it well.  American culture, whether good or bad, does not generally view weight gain as a good thing.  If you say such things as these, your friend will probably be very upset and not want to show her face in public for a while.

Sincerely,

A “fat” American

One Month

In one month at approximately 1 pm, I will meet my group from Summit to board a plane to Washington, D.C., from D.C. to Johannesburg, and from there to Malawi.  Craziness!  There is still much to do, including getting my typhoid vaccine (today), packing, compiling the rest of the donations to take with me, and paying for the trip.  I’ve already received donations of about 6 dozen toothbrushes, over 400 sample size toothpastes, bouncy balls, baby clothes, and athletic shoes—my donation suitcase is already full and I am so thankful!  I’m still hoping that my employer will be able to give some donations of medical supplies (i.e. dressing change supplies) and that we will be able to obtain some anti-seizure medications.

In the last few team meetings we have talked a lot more about what we will be doing in Malawi.  When we arrive there, we will spend a day or two meeting families in villages and getting to know them.  After that, we will travel to Lake Malawi with the “special needs” children and their family/caregiver and take them to camp.  We will go on safari as well as a hike, play games, play in the water, and just have an all around good time.  Our team is broken up into three sub groups, a support team (medical people and counselors), a program team (in charge of the program itself), and a buddy team.  I am on the support team with a physician and another nurse in addition to several other professionals as well as a family who has a son with cerebral palsy.  We will be leading discussions with the kids’ caregivers to help them understand why their child has a disability and how to cope physically and emotionally.  The three of us that are medical will also be there to address any medical needs that arise as best we can.

I’m getting excited, but it still feels very surreal.  I have been able to meet more of my team members and get to know them better, but I still wish that Andrew were able to go with me.  I’m anxious about flying over the ocean, too; I don’t know why because I actually really like to fly—it’s just the prospect of being over open water, I guess.  All in all, though, I am getting excited; I just can’t believe I leave in one month!!

It’s the little things

Sometimes grace is your husband making your breakfast in bed after working a long stretch of days.

Sometimes grace is 4 Rivers BBQ.

Sometimes grace is a two-year-old’s birthday party.

Sometimes grace is best seen in small things.

I Choose

Today I choose to not dwell on the thing I cannot change.

Today I choose to change what I can.

Today I choose to focus on the positive.

Today I choose to be thankful.

Today I choose to rest in the knowledge that God is bigger than this, and that nothing takes Him by surprise.

Today I choose faith.

Tomorrow.  Well, tomorrow I’ll have to choose again.

And one leads to another…

I just decided that I’m {mostly} okay with being immunized against typhoid as long as I can get the oral vaccine.  Although there are several things that still make me nervous about it, namely “Long-term studies in animals with Vivotif have not been performed to evaluate carcinogenic potential, mutagenic potential or impairment of fertility.”

When I read that quote I immediately thought that there was no way that I would allow this to be put in my body, but then I read the ingredient list.  All in all it looked pretty benign until I read that it has magnesium stearate in it.  Now, never having heard of this particular compound, I looked it up.  What I read definitely did not make me feel good, there are lots of articles that say that it’s really not good for you, yet is found in many food supplements sold in today’s market.  Sure enough, I grabbed my “organic” multivitamins and guess what was on the label.  Magnesium stearate.

*Shrug of shoulders*

I figure that I will finish this bottle of vitamins and then throw it out, but as long as I’m currently putting it in my body… what’s one more pill (even if it does have an inactivated typhoid strain)?

I love Jane Eyre!

When I first received Jane Eyre as a Christmas gift last year, I was not very excited.  For one, Andrew told me that he read the book in high school and didn’t like it; in addition, it looked about as thick as my Bible and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read so long a book.

My opinion of the book turned out to be very different than that of my husband’s.  What a wonderful story!  I was on the edge of my seat at several points and deeply engrossed in the storyline throughout.  I was amazed at the contrast between Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, written by Charlotte and Emily Bronte, respectively.  The two were sisters and their writing is as different as night from day!  I couldn’t stand Wuthering Heights; I found the characters selfish and one-dimensional, but Jane Eyre was the total opposite.  Jane, the heroine, is a selfless, bright, intelligent, and compassionate person who completely captivated my interest.  The book also talks a great deal about many Christian values that I found thought-provoking.

I would recommend this book to almost anyone.  Although Bronte writes in a very different style than Jane Austen, I think Austen fans will enjoy this book since it revolves around many of the same themes that she writes about.

I read the book in its entirety, long as it is, in about a week.  I honestly had a difficult time putting it down, and was sad when it ended.  I know that this is a book that I will enjoy time and again in spite of its length.  If you’ve never read it before, or even if you did as a student, I would recommend picking up a copy sometime, it’s well worth the time.

Attention, All Super Couponers!!

Dear Super Couponers,

I need your help! Children of the Nations (COTN) has asked our Malawi team if we would bring some donations with us when we go.  COTN is the organization that we are partnering with while in Malawi to give special needs children and their families the week of their lives.

My dental hygienist has been able to procure a bunch of toothbrushes and toothpaste for the trip—but COTN is also requesting a few more things

  • Education smile packs (can be found on their website)
  • Feminine pads
  • HP Deskjet D2300 printer (and ink)
  • Hygiene smile packs (also on the COTN website)
  • Ink cartriges for HP photosmart 8150
  • 150 pairs of children’s flip flops
  • 50 pairs of oven gloves
  • 50 new white pillows
  • 50 rain coats
  • 3 rolls of Saran wrap
  • 3 rolls of aluminum foil
  • 50 solar scientific calculators
  • 50 white and 50 various colors sets of twin sheets
  • 200 pairs of casual shoes
  • 200 pairs of athletic shoes
  • Soap
  • Socks
  • 15 staplers
  • Underwear for children and teens
  • Sunglasses for albino children
  • Sunscreen for albino children
  • Crutches
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
If you can help with any of these items by using your super couponing skills, please let me know.  I’m pretty sure that any donations are tax-deductible, but I will double check to make sure.
Thanks for reading!!
Erin