Sunday, June 27, 2010
God intervened. The whole mission team arrived. Suitcases arrived. Loaded down spacebags arrived. Many days later, the mission team came home. I haven't talked with anyone in detail except Cookie, but between arriving and departing, God and those missionaries worked their tails off. From my understanding, it is quite a bit to process the sight and the experience of a whole new culture. I am guessing the mission team is still pondering parts from the trip. I cannot wait to hear the stories that flow out from them.
What I do know is that the mission is not over; in some ways it has been going on since the beginning of time, and in new ways it is just getting started. The women in Rwanda loved the dresses. They were overjoyed with our response in collecting dresses, and they are making arrangements to get their business off the ground. Right now the dresses are housed in an extra room at the Anglican center in Kibungo. Mother's Union, the momma non-profit group overseeing this project, is looking for a storefront in town. They have purchased some equipment for sewing, but they need to purchase cleaning equipment. They are saving up for a large wash basin and steam press. Dry cleaning can burn or damage the delicate fabrics and beadwork on many of the dresses, so they will wash them each by hand. As this rental business gets established, it will be used to train more women for other areas within the Kibungo Diocese. A neighboring large town, Rwamagana, is where my church's sister parish is located, and women from that parish will be the next to receive training for a similar enterprise.
So, what next? Here we will continue to collect dresses - wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses. We will accept monetary donations for cleaning equipment. We would love any knowledge on other economic shipping methods. We adore prayer. If you want to talk further, please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I can either answer your questions or get you in touch with Cookie.
One last tidbit of exciting news. Author Catherine Claire Larson, As We Forgive, has written a one minute radio script about our project. It will air on The Point with Mark Earley sometime in July. I'll let you know more as I receive information.
**And, finally, as soon as I get copies of pictures, I'll post them. I know many people are excited to see where our dresses have ended up!**
Monday, June 21, 2010
This brings me to a harsh and brutal reality. Perhaps we as a family are where we are supposed to be. I enjoy my life. I enjoy my children. I enjoy my days of routine. All that is good. What I don't enjoy is the feeling of instability. It is stressful and aging. It causes me to worry. So I have prayed for that part of our lives to go away.
And it hasn't.
I have asked others to pray for us.
Still no answers.
I have forgotten to pray completely and instead gotten on the phone to complain to family and friends.
I am not a patient person that is trying desperately to practice patience. I am trying to "live in the moment." I am trying to follow my own advice and be grateful for my daily bread and not worry about tomorrow's bread. And honestly, most of the time, I'm good.
Michael said he thinks God's silence means...we are where we are supposed to be.
That was not the answer I have been praying for.
But vacation, it was wonderful. It was the first full week we've had together in over five years. So I am going grocery shopping later, and I think I might have to pick up a lottery ticket...
Dear Lord, please let the numbers on my ticket miraculously match the numbers in the newspaper. I'll let you know how it goes...
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Yet the last few years we haven't been doing many nature walks. Most trails aren't stroller friendly, and naps have been just too important. So yesterday we packed a picnic and drove to Congaree National Park. It's a swamp with a boardwalk leading out into marsh. There are trails to also follow if the ground isn't flooded, though it floods about ten times a year. It's supposed to. Those plants clean the pollutants out of the flood waters before they recede back to their home. Yesterday we went exploring, without a stroller, and walked almost four miles checking out points of interest on our handy dandy park map. It was fabulous! Every single one of us loved the whole experience, and I had an epiphany. My family is no longer in that stage. We didn't take the stroller because we don't own one anymore! We can go exploring much more often. I walked through that swamp thinking about how I should start a family friendly hiking club....how my girlfriends and I should go hiking on Saturdays....how Michael could grab a friend and go bird watching like he used to do before children. I felt renewed, and I wanted to know I could have it again. The woods embrace me in a way that lets me feel God's presence.
I still want to do all my plans, but one baby step at a time. Monday's coming. So right now, during the week, I will find His presence here, in the city, til I can get to the woods once more.
I didn't take pictures and I need some because the camera forgot to get out of the car. Darn camera!!
Anyone want to start a family hiking club?
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The song that comes on when you clicked on my blog was one that actually helped me in a mental block a few days before I gave up Simon's bag for display. It aptly fits with another piece of art I made last fall, and the song I used as inspiration was Laura Story's Grace.
Ladder of Grace
Ladder = accomplishments, the next step, progression of life and progression towards sanctification
Starting at bottom rung
1st feet = birth, physically and spiritually; boy and girl
2nd feet = early childhood; paisley and apples - growth
3rd feet = childhood and adolescence; stripes - pathways; black and white - conflict between innocence and rebellion
4th feet = providers; plaid and dress shirt - dependable provider; flowers and many patterns - busyness and nurturer
5th feet = empty nest; embroidered tapestry and deep satin purple - richness, wisdom
6th feet = death and release of spirit; Irish linen – dust; red, streaked, raw silk – Spirit
Ribbons = relationship between male and female counterparts
1st set = conception
2nd set = growth
3rd set = clear black and white ideals; hot pink for passion
4th set = provider and nurturer; gray for blurred lines
5th set = deep connection
6th set = connected by the Spirit
Cheesecloth that provides the main support for the entire piece = Grace
It runs all through our phases of spiritual and physical lives, and flows endlessly in one continual piece. The flowing cheesecloth that runs down behind the piece shows us that we are always covered in grace and the knots and silver buttons (nails) at the bottom are God’s hands to lift us up and to catch us when we fall.
**This piece was created specifically to hang during a weekend retreat on sanctification and grace. While the piece may seem a bit pieced together and busy when looking at a picture, part of the fun of working with fabric is that the viewer can walk up and touch each element. This sense of touch is lost when viewing through a photo.**