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Reflections of a new missionary v 2.0

We’ve been in Papua New Guinea now for three months. ¼ of a year. Until last weekend, I don’t think I realized the depth of my woundedness in the transition. Justin has been sick once, then last weekend, it was my turn. There’s something about being sick that literally and figuratively knocks you off your feet. I felt horrible and, on top of that, I was just plan mad. My homesickness reached a new level and my body was betraying me. It was a rough combination. I went from feeling like I might be getting better for an hour or two, and then falling back on my face anytime I tried to do anything but rest. I didn’t get anything marked off my weekend ‘to do’ list and all I managed was sleep.
My outsides began to mirror my insides. I was grumpy with my family (though I’ve gotten good at putting on the missionary happy face around my peers) and I just wanted to stay crawled up in my hole, angry about everything…wondering if we made the right decision, this place, my job, and the fact that …

Reflections of a new missionary

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47 days ago, my feet hit a soil I never imagined in my wildest dreams they would. For one thing, a few years ago, I had never heard of this country (or if I had, it was in with the rest of forgotten geography files in my aging mind). As we descended into Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, I felt sick. If it had been nausea from the plane it would have been easy to treat, but this was the feeling of being out of control of my future and a complete loss of everything I knew as “normal.” What was worse? I had chosen it. This wasn’t something that just ‘happened’ to me, but it was preceded by months of planning, fundraising to get here, and the liquidation of over 80% of my family’s worldly possessions.
A few years ago, Justin and I both read “Radical” by David Platt. I have to say that this book set the stage for many discussions and ideas we had in our marriage of what we might do with our lives. Then, in a random string of events, we ended up traveling overseas to adopt o…

One week to go (the unedited version)

I need to get this down on 'virtual' paper, so sorry if this doesn't sound like what a missionary should sound like. Today, this stinks. Today, I don't want to go. I wish God would use some other IT professional in Papua New Guinea and not my husband. I'm wondering all the things...like, are we ruining our child's life? What if this is all a huge mistake? Why would I voluntarily fly across the Pacific Ocean again? I hate flying over water. HATE IT. My job is not going to be that important. {everyone reading this is now thinking, "oh, what you're doing is important to God" and that frustrates me even more.}

We're tired. Tired of the grueling fundraising schedule we've been on over the past few months, traveling, speaking at churches, not being able to worship in our home church. We are living in a tiny apartment and sometimes, it feels like the walls are closing in.

I'm concerned for our safety, I'm not at all thrilled to go to a co…

The Hardest Thing

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"We can do hard things." At my adoptive mom's retreat in February, I registered for a breakout session with this title. Not sure what drew me to it, but I went. A lady with a complicated adoption story talked about her struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, and how that all came to a head during her two adoptions. The most captivating thing I heard her say during that 45 minute session was this, "I learned to do hard things by doing the next right thing." The next right thing. There's so much stirring in me right now, so if this sounds like a long run-on sentence, well, it probably is and you should probably read a different blog if you want great grammar and coherent thought.

This season in our family is the hardest thing we've ever done, at least up until now. There are those watershed moments in your life...you know what I'm talking about. The ones that define you, make you who you are. When my sister Amber died in 1999, that was a defining moment…

Aunt Yaya

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. As a kid growing up in the rolling hills of southeast Tennessee, Christmas was filled with family, good food, caroling, and lots of presents. We were spoiled. On one side of the family, there were only two grandchildren: me and my sister. Every year on Christmas Eve, the tradition was to go to my mom's parent's house "in town." We were showered with gifts, an amazing spread of goodies, and I couldn't get enough of the multicolored lights on the tree, reflecting off the blue crushed velvet couches in my Nanny's formal living room. She always made me my very own sweet potato casserole in a corningware dish that was loaded with extra marshmallows. If we didn't get the presents we asked for at their house, we knew we still had two more chances since gifts would be opened the next morning at home and the next night at the other grandparents.'

On the other side of the family, there were seven grandchildren…

Bella Notte

This is a fun parenting stage. Well, not always, but for the most part, this kid is keeping us laughing, her imagination is running wild, and she is starting to ask really poignant questions. I wanted to be sure to record one of the sweetest memories we've made so far.

I had purchased a new dress to wear to a wedding. I don't buy dresses hardly at all (just for weddings and funerals) and so I tried it on to to show Justin. I came strolling out in the dress and the shoes, hoping, as most wives do, for a positive reaction from my hubby. Amber Joy was in the hallway outside our bedroom and saw me coming. She immediately knew this outfit was out of the ordinary for me and said, "stop mom!" She then proceeded to "announce" my arrival into the living room to Justin, who was sitting on the couch watching TV. She said, "presenting, princess mommy!" Then she fell to one knee with both arms pointing my direction. I chuckled, wondering where she had learned …

The gift of touch

Many of you know that when Amber Joy was born, she was very early...well, God wasn't surprised, but according to the 40 week gestational calendar, she was 14 weeks early. When a baby is that premature, and there is a decent NICU, the baby will spend the next several weeks in an incubator. They will receive as little stimulation as possible, and when their senses are stimulated, it will be for short, controlled time periods, typically with only one sense "awakened" at a time. For example, it is routine in a NICU for parents to be told only to touch, but not to sing or talk to the baby simultaneously. Or, if they want to make eye contact, not to touch. These babies are so tiny and their brains are still developing, that it is believed that over-stimulation can lead to heart rhythm changes, blood pressure increase, overall fussiness, and even hiccups.

We don't know, but we assume that after she was born, she entered the NICU and these protocols were put into place. She …