I am positively giddy! I do not know if I have felt joy before today - the essence of what joy stands for and brings - but here it is and here am I! Just minutes after midnight this morning, the plans that I have prepared for years now, changed. And I could not be happier for that change. I have a fantastic (most likely to become realized) opportunity to do what God has been creating me to do: to be exactly what I am. This is the source of my joy. How amazing it is to know that I am soon living into the good works planned for me in advance to administer and serve His kingdom. There is still some process involved (mainly my acceptance and a phone interview). So, instead of going to my beloved Germany to study architecture in Berlin, there is a strong possibility of working in India for Engineering Ministries International those five months in the spring of 2008 - "designing a world of hope"! That would be amazing if I also can continue on and work in Uganda during June, like I was recently planning. But if that does not happen, okay. I can work (paid work) as a house leader for local habitat or rest (imagine that) and do another Global Village Habitat project ... or maybe any other service organization that would have me.

This joy ... I never want to forget what it feels like ... where there is just no stopping an uninhibited smile that beams from ear to ear. If this is how excited I am just thinking about being in service, just imagine how off of the walls I am going to be out in the field. (I hope that this is not deflated by the upcoming all-saint's day and holidays).


tangential mind

Once again I find myself in Austin visiting my sister. She is preaching this Sunday (on the first part of Jeremiah 29) and it is my honor to come and listen and support her. I also plan to make at least one funny face at her during the sermon ... because, well, I am the younger sister and that is what we do ... but shh, she can't be expecting it.

We are sitting on one of her two couches talking a bit of theology. In a bit, my sister is going to practice her sermon on me (to get a better feel for timing, enunciating, stressing and lingering points). The goal of this weekend is productivity. Unfortunately, this is necessary. I am really looking forward to a time where every hour does not have to be accounted for - either school, work, church, or whatever else is happening. That sounds like an amazing concept, something on the sorts of going back in time to a place before life complicates itself with agendas and meetings and deadlines - where what was on tap was eat, sleep, and play outside with the neighbor kids. I am sure that this is no longer obtainable (though I might have to wait until retirement to have unbridled and unworried play again). Just having evenings without expectations sounds wonderful. Alas, a time in the future.

I refuse to be ashamed about receiving help, for investing time in a listening ear and a kind heart that is equipped to counsel. Regularly now (since about a month after my dad's death), I have met with a Stephen Minister (a laymen counselor) who has been assigned to me. Our meeting before last consisted of a long tangential conversation following my noisy, spotty line of thought. So many questions and thoughts and conceived notions of reality vs. fantasy. Noisy.

I do not think that I am living when I am not doing - out in the big world. I live with this general dissatisfication with things. I had not known the cause until possibly now. Miracles were done and felt in Guatemala this last week. The three-doctor general medicine group saw more than 540 patients up in the mountains in remote areas where for most, seeing a doctor of any type and the concept of an alleviated physical burden is a new experience. I have not yet heard about the eye team up in the same villages or the eye surgery team. But I do know this: sight was given to the blind and people were healed! Not to lessen the power of these so many miracles, but I was not there. By no means am I saying that lives cannot be changed if I am not there (I am in fact not God, shocker, I know), but I want to be there. I think that I might need to have a new definition for who I am. If who I am is defined by missional work, what happens when that is not in my calendar for that day? Maybe the answer is to always be "in mission", always serving, helping, sharing, building, whatever ... but possibly not. Who am I should be: "I am a child of God listening and following His movements" or maybe even simply "I am redeemed, claimed, and called" - the rest is just details. Can I live into this or is it simply a nice thought?


could'a, would'a, should'a

I should have been finishing getting ready to leave the country again. I would have flown out tomorrow before the sun rose to fly to Guatemala with a group from my church for my second time. They (and no longer we) will be doing medical mission stuff in the mountains. There are two teams: roaming and home. The home group does eye surgeries and other stuff (I was in the other group last year, so I really do not know specifics here), while the roaming group does eye glass fittings (figuring out what will help the Mayan peoples see better) and general medicine. Being a non-medical, last year I was adopted into the pharmacy, which means: first, deciphering doctor's handwriting; second, filling the script; and then third, sometimes having to translate what the medicines are and how they need to be taken by whom in Spanish (and then another translator puts that into their native language). I tried to avoid this last step as much as possible because my German that I am actively learning gets mixed into my Spanish which I was learning back in high school.

Anyway, so I decided that it would not be wise for me to try and make this fit into everything else that has to happen. I already had the airline reservations and all of the details worked out before it became more clear that I should not go. I could have gone, I would have gone, but I shan't go. At least not this turn around. So please join with me in praying for the team and the Guatemalans that have an opportunity to experience God and His everyday miracles and His spectacular miracles.


frosting, icee, IV fluid, oh my

I decided to lift my head out of the sand for a moment and check in. I have just opened up a new can of my infamous pink frosting (Duncan Hines strawberries 'n cream to be precise) - my "it's going to be such a really late night that I get to see the coming of morning" comfort food product, and my new favorite addition: an icee. Now, I have not had an icee for at least a decade - that is until Chicago, when one evening I was walking around south downtown and for some reason, walked into a convenience store. And it was good. The next one that I had was a couple of weeks ago at the international film festival ... two, in fact (one before the film and one after). I guess it is pretty bad when you come to the point of having to bribe your body (and force feed it through a tube after passing out) to stay awake and functioning. Which brings me back to the beginning.

About ten days ago, my life will change. I understand the squirms that some with any English grammatical experience may have with my change in tenses, but my words are carefully chosen. That weekend, while visiting my sister in Austin for a short weekend away, we fleshed out, among other things, my future as it stood and now stands. Evaluating and giving consideration to the desired influence, gain, value, and effectiveness, I decided to change. I must say that I do not truly understand why people are so frightened of change. Change is no big deal, especially when I know where I am going next. I am fine with being called out of somewhere / something as long as there is a to somewhere. It is more stressful when God does not play by these rules of mine and does not tell me the "to" part. But really, I can trust that there will always be a "to". But this is yet another tangent.

So I still plan to study architecture in Berlin from January until May of 2008. Instead of staying another two months and working at an architecture firm in Berlin, I decided to, and am extremely excited about, applying for an internship with Engineering Ministries International in their Uganda office (or their India office). Since last year when I was introduced to this organization, I have desired to work with them full-time after I am licensed. Their main slogan is "designing a world of hope". That would be an amazing opportunity to be used in such a powerful and effective ministry. But, as a plan B, I was asked if I would consider being a house-leader for Habitat for Humanity in San Antonio. The wonderful part of this scheme is one: I enjoy doing this type of work; this is what I do in my free time; and two: I would get paid a small amount as opposed to paying (which I am becoming slightly more anxious each time I think about how I am going to come up with the money to do these plans; this is where my faith gets tested). And then graduate school comes starting next fall, and unless a miracle happens (which I will welcome), in-state tuition is looking more and more friendly. Three to four semesters of grad school (depending if the school accepts my Berlin studio as one of their four required design studios), I graduate with a Master's of Architecture, a professional degree, I sit for my nine licensing exams starting six months after graduation (you are not allowed to start sooner), become licensed, and then help/design/serve ... the rest of my life. Does this phrase disconcert anyone else? ...