Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The 12 Days of Summer

(or so it seems!)

Just made a "last minute" decision to take some time off from work. My boss tells me that dryday.com is not forecasting much better weather than this for the summer so I figure I best take time while the taking is good. He approved. So I'm taking Wed-Fri which means as of now, I am on "vacation!"

It began stopping by the Wine Outlet - I won a glass for answering trivia. I figured since Nick just broke one of my older ones, I best go get it's replacement. The chica didn't know how to redeem my winning as she was new so I left, but not empty handed. I picked up a summery bottle of white wine to enjoy over the next couple of days on our wonderful deck. Which leads me to wonder, is the deck the best place to spend my Days 3-7 of Summer? Certainly not.

I rang my girly Melissa A - I can always cound on her when I need someone to relax on the sand with. We're hitting the beach tomorrow, bright and early! *Cue Flo Rida.* So now, as I enjoy my first glass of...whatever it was I bought...I look forward to enjoying the sun like the good ol' days. But really, that would mean heading to camp to enjoy the sun on the lake (Ambejejus) back home. Should I beg Nick to take time off??!!

It's super quiet here in the woods. Laura is working at a summer camp until Sunday and Nick is helping at the farm every sunny day. I have been buried in a book every evening - Christy. Skip the following if you have no interest... But if you enjoy the description, which I am sure very few will, I suggest you pick it up. Written in the 60's, it may be hard to find. I enjoy that it's written by a daughter from the P.O.V. of her mother who actually experienced what's described in the book. And the romance resulted in her birth...how cool!

"Christy" is the story of 19 year old Christy Huddleston who is in search for something to fill her soul and give her a purpose in life. So volunteering to teach in a mission school, Christy journeys to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, more specifically the area of Cutter Gap. Along with her, the other missions workers are a Quaker woman whom Christy looks up to Miss Alice Henderson, the handsome and charming Reverend David Grantland, and the reverends spinster and dour sister, Ida Grantland. As she begins to get used to living in the primitive surroundings, her heart reaches out the highlanders, especially to the children. Another person Christy begins to bond with is Doctor Neil MacNeil who has a strong desire to help his people. And as Christy struggles through hardships and heartache, joy and victories, she learns to have faith that God will take care of each and every one of them through good times and bad times.
"Christy" was written by Catherine Marshall in 1967. The book is under the category of 'fiction', but in actuality Catherine Marshall had written the story based on her mother, Christy's, life. An extremely uplifting and spiritually filling book, "Christy" is sure to please both young adults and adults.

The characters in the story are what really draw you into the book, making it a turn pager not in the sense that it's suspenseful, but in that you just want to read more and more about the characters. Christy Huddleston has all of the qualities of a young woman, intelligent, charming, yet a bit innocent. She also has a very curious mind and is always pondering about life and God's mysterious ways. Miss Alice Henderson is so well described you can just picture in your mind her 'queenly stature and beautiful poise'. I would sorely have liked to meet her in real life and discuss God with her as she has such a close relationship with Him.

Then there's the two men in Christy's life, the reverend and the doctor, both possessing unique attraction and strength. Reverend David Grantland is everything a girl dreams of, young, handsome, and incredibly romantic. But at the same time Christy finds he doesn't seem to have such a good relationship with God. Whenever Christy tries to ask him deep questions, his answers are vague, unfulfilling, and he also tries to avoid any discussions. Then of course we have Doctor Neil MacNeil, a man of science and not one of God. Though a highlander himself, since he had graduated from a prestigious college he is incredibly smart and sharp. His quick wit, quiet and calm ways, and cool attitude draws Christy towards him. But at the same time she can find him annoying and feels uncomfortable with him. Who is she in love with? I can't tell you the answer though I can assure you that Christy DOES find the love of her life, a man who loves her so very much.

Catherine Marshall puts into her story many instances where Christy questions God's mysterious ways, for example where is God when a close friend dies? How can God's mercy be taught to the people of Cutter Gap who are very poor and whose lives are very hard? Catherine Marshall writes so vividly and so well that you begin yourself to ask questions and as you read find the answers. Also, the end was SOOOOO well-done! I must admit that whenever I read the last two pages, I do get a bit misty eyed and I feel so uplifted! It's not the romance (though it does include romance) but it's the eloquence of this person's (I'm not telling who!) prayer to God. Whenever I finish reading the book, I always think, "that's how much faith I want to have in God!"

*Sigh* I'm about halfway through it now. Looking forward to finishing it this week. If anyone has any other reading suggestions, let me know!

So, Nick and I are in a "crossroads" with work, or at least the consideration of our future. He's got some things in the works. I continue to develop my skills and look forward to some new experiences whenever they happen to come along. Lots of change at work.

And life? We're moved in - Standish = wonderful. Out in the woods! Finally have DSL. No T.V. (well, converter box.) Power has gone out about 5 times in 2 months. Looking forward to following Dave & Emily in their blog on the Appalacian Trail. We're meeting up in August to hike with them. Family reunion.

My trip to Boston for Laura's birthday is high on my list of things I am anticipating! Her 21st birthday is Thursday (for which she desires strawberry milk,) a surprise from me for her Friday in Portland, Boston for the SOX vs. Yankees on Saturday and church on Sunday in Mass., party on Sunday with the Foleys... Woo hoo!

Second on the list is a camping trip with Nick and Dudley to Branbury State Park in Vermont. It's an hour south of Burlington *dolphin squeal!!* Other than hiking to Falls of Lana and other sites, we'll spend second our anniversary in Burlington at Vermont Brew Pub (dogs allowed) and Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory! Perfect! We are gone for almost a week!

These things I look forward to, along with God's mercy, get me though the weeks...waking up at 4:30, work, home, eat, bed...repeat. On top of that, Nick is working 2 jobs and contemplating a third! I'm picking up photography here and there which I LOVE. I heard someone talking on the Early Show, discussing women working a second job that they love. Well, I'm headed in that direction. The best part is that in many cases, it becomes their full time work. So, if anyone needs any photography, CALL ME! You can jump start my journey to that goal. We are diligently paying off our loans. Car is paid in April, moving on to some other bills... hoping to get to the point where my hobby can supplement our income just fine.

And so, Dudley barks at Baxter and I must stop it before I throw this very keyboard at them. Thanks for reading my venting, as boring as it may be, and as small an insight into our mundane lives... we are happy! All is good. *zaps Dudley with the E-collar* and *sip of wine* we are enjoying *zap* life.

Xo - Alana

Thursday, March 26, 2009

hace calor

Another amazing day today! We trekked out to a village called Guitarra. It was very remote but somewhat modern. (Most kids had shoes and very few looked hungry.) We set up quickly and the crowd was ready. We were pleased to see a few hundred already lined up for us.

The sun was intense today. Tom took over my table as John and Jeff needed help with crowd control. It was wonderful to spend the day in the sun but my feet paid the price...sunburn. I'm covered in hear rash too but Bryan checked it out and said it would go away. We saw about 600 today! I saw a few emotional cases. Bryan had me witness some private treatments. One vaccine (on a lady's bum!) and another in a little girl's armpit. Both were for cysts of sorts. Not pretty. I made friends with Captain, a teeny dog who couldn't have weighed more than 2lbs. He was flea-ridden and had mange but was so hard to resist. I'll have photos later!

Danielle and I braved the rough trip home riding in the back ofthe medical truck. I had already lost a battle with some metal on the truck (big bruise) but was up for a fight with the generator we were riding with. We had a great perspective of the beautiful scenery. Rolling hills, lush green, corn, cows and crazy drivers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

finding our gifts

Today was quite an adventure. We began our day at about 5:30. Laura and I hopped in the showers at the same same time and battled the hot/cold/freezing/scorching water temperament. Breakfast was great - beans, eggs and fresh fruit.

We packed up all of the medicine we had counted into the bus and 4x4 truck. I rode shotgun in the truck with Jeff, Nick, Theresa and Danielle. We chased the bus for an hour to a village of about 600 Mayans. Setup was a bit slow but we got things rolling and eventually saw about 400 people. They were quite healthy overall only needing vitamins, skincare and some general medicine. The day was hot and humid! John and Jeff did a great job organizing the hundreds into two lines for us. Each of us gravitated toward a station that either fit or challenged us. I worked on vitamins as did Peg. Kristin and Theresa did a wonderful job giving worm medicine. Danielle, Nick, Tom, Ryan, Patrick and Matt, Laura, Amy and Russel combined efforts to provide pharmacy items and skin treatments. No lice cases today...Theresa is on duty if that comes up. =)

Not a lot of introspective things to say today! I am tired, dirty and full of food. (Fried chicken, cabbage, mayo and salsa on flour tortillas today!) Tomorrow, we're off to another village near the first. Not sure what to expect. Sure to be adding more as I process all I have done and seen!

Monday, March 23, 2009

exploration: of the world, mind and spirit

I've arrived. Departed from a comfortable yet constricting home, inward hope skewed by outward negativity and a lukewarm lifestyle, I have begun a new journey of days filled with exciting twists and turns and uncharted territory. The hope within me is matched by a display of enthusiasm and radiant joy. The pot of lukewarm water is now boiling over - fueled by a growing flame, I have allowed a suppressed supply of Holy oxygen into my life.

I am eager to share every moment of the past few days but am so exhausted by this refining process that I have little energy left to do so. At minimum, I hope to outline my encounters so that I might elaborate later. I don't want to lose any memories or transformations to the impending return to "paradise," as I have heard our country and lifestyle called.

For now, as it is 1AM back home and only 6.6hrs from a busy day ahead, I'll be brief. Our day yesterday was a blur, travelling from Portland, Maine to Atlanta, Georgia, on to San Pedro Sula Honduras and finally Guatemala. My team of 15 arrived safely in perfect time for a second dinner. (We had fried chicken waiting for us in our bus at the airport!) Crashing early, we barely observed the beauty around us before staring at the back of our eyelids.

Today, we organized 600+ doses of a variety of medicines. Our preparation for the first village, on Tuesday, took us until early afternoon as we were interrupted by trauma in the ER. A motorcycle accident and a woman dying of asthma. We finished up and rode in the back of the emergency truck to a Jurassic Park set...a river and jungle canyon. Paddling up by dugout canoe and floating down lazily, we were wonderfully refreshed. Next, a dip in a sulfur-scented hot pool was in order. Water pounded our backs as it fell from the ledge. Amazingly hot, the volcanic spring water was a real treat.

As we finished up our swim, our host Bryan asked if my best gal Danielle would like to be baptised. Nick and I helped as Bryan dipped her under the warm water, bringing her back up, washed clean of all sin. Nick and Bryan also dunked me as I publicly proclaimed my salvation. What a wonderful day for us all.

I am so blessed to be here. A tearful evening of testimony and reflection...

more to come.