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Changing the way I think

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I am a feeler, through and through. Justin and I took the Strengths Finder test as part of our missionary orientation, and it became obvious on paper what we already knew: the analytic married the one who wears her heart on her sleeve. In 11 years of marriage, what we’ve discovered is that we have the capacity to complement each other well, but we also have the tendency to be like oil and water if we’re not careful.
So, after a tough month back in PNG after vacation, I was struck hard when I read the paraphrase of the verse above: Romans 12:2 says, “Let God transform you by changing the way you think.” But what about how I feel? Nope. The original says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your MIND.” I’m learning to own the feeler/relator that I am, but sometimes, I know that my feelings betray me. How? Feelings do not always equal truth. Just because I feel something in a moment, whether it is frustration, happiness, sadness, disappointment, or any other of a plethora of emotions, d…

Mi gat 44 Krismas

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Mi gat 44 Krismas. That’s Pigin for “I’m 44 years old.” In Papua New Guinea, years are counted in the number of Christmases you’ve seen. I like it. Christmas has always been my favorite season anyway, so why not count your years by them? 
When I was a child, many of my Christmases were marked by traditions of our family, Santa’s arrival, a few carols, a wooden manger scene, and Dad forcing us to read Luke 2 before any presents could be opened. I sort of resented it. OK, I really resented it! Sometime in my childhood I remember thinking, “do we have to bring Jesus into everything??” My sister and I learned that Mark held the shortest version of the Christmas story, so as we got older, we always requested that Dad read out of Mark so we could get to the presents already.
I’ve never put this into words, but I guess I was about 12 when I found out about Santa and, even though we continued to get great gifts, the magic started to fade. I know it sounds strange, but I used to have an idea…

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…