Tuesday, December 21, 2010

plastic drawers

I am blessed. That is the bottom line. I have been given more than I could ever deserve. I have more than enough.

That being said, I struggle daily to live in the world around me.

I just moved into a new apartment. And, as you do, I went to buy odds and ends to get settled into my new home. I didn't need a lot. (I try to be a minimalist.) There were a lot of things that my roommate and I decided that we didn't really need, or at least didn't need right now. But, there was one thing that we both wanted...

Plastic drawers. We each wanted a set of plastic drawers to put in our bathrooms, which have ZERO storage. We just wanted a place to put extra rolls of toilet paper. A place to put our toothpaste. A place to put other bathroom products.

Yet, as we examined our plastic storage choices in order to buy the smallest and cheapest option that would meet our needs, we felt frivolous.
As we held our plastic drawers on our tuk tuk ride home, we asked ourselves when plastic drawers became frivolous. When did they go from the "cheap" option, the choice of college students, to a purchase that requires fighting a guilty feeling? When did buying some plastic tubs become a purchase that requires saving up? When did I it become difficult to know that I live in a country where most people don't have enough "extra" stuff to fill three plastic drawers in their bathroom? When did I realize how blessed I really am? And, why did it take so long to realize?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

winds of change

I do not claim to be a lover of change, but I'm not a hater either. I do not usually welcome change with open arms, but I don't hide in the corner hoping that change won't be able to find me. If that were the case, I would likely be hiding in a cave right now. Why? The winds of change are upon us. So much is happening right now. I have already had to say good-bye to a great friend/roommate as she finished her time here. I was sad to see her leave, but I am excited for where God is going to take her in the future. And, I know it wasn't a forever good-bye, but it was definitely an indefinite "until next time." Another great friend is preparing to leave in just a few days. I can hardly imagine Cambodia without her in it. We have traveled together. We have eaten together. We have played games and watched movies together. We have vented to each other. We have shared our deep love of Mexican food. And, again, I know this isn't a forever good-bye, but it is a good-bye to this season of life for both of us.
Relationships are a funny thing here. People regularly come and go, sometimes for a short time and sometimes for a long time. And, relationships develop at a faster pace here because of necessity. We need each other, and we realize that we need each other even if it is only for a short season. I believe that I am more thankful for my relationships with people now than I ever have been because I realize how precious people are and how much I value them. I am thankful for my time with people whether it is 2 days, 2 weeks, or 2 years.
And, then, there are people who are riding these winds of change with me. I am moving to a new home in just a few days with my super wonderful roommate. I am looking forward to many things in my new home, not the least of which is a real bed. I really hate the process of moving. I hate packing and moving boxes and unpacking. But, I love being settled and feeling at home. I am excited to buy an oven and bake pies and casseroles and cookies with my roommate. I am excited to experiment with new recipes and have dinner parties. I am excited to have movie nights in a place where we have a TV on which to watch a movie and furniture on which to sit.
Sometimes change is really good. And, sometimes change helps us to move forward after we say good-bye to people and things we love. But, it is always good to find comfort in knowing that God remains steadfast. He never changes.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8

Friday, December 3, 2010


We pray for children
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.
And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead in,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an x-rated world.
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.
We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.
And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must,
for those we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance,
for those we smother...
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

~ Ina J. Hughs