Thursday, February 28, 2013

thankful thursday

today I'm thankful for...

... truth encounters.

... God speaks. He does. Whether you believe it or not.

... my amazing small group. they are seriously the most incredibly awesome people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  and we're all going to be together (no one leaving!) for at least another year! that's a super long time in ship-life....

... a job that I love working for people I highly respect, who respect me in return, want the best for me, encourage me, empower me to stretch myself and offer grace when needed.

... nap time chats with Dianna.

... my incredible roommates Laura and Michelle.  the peace that fills our cabin. the blessed conversations, tears, rest, laughter, truth encounters, prayers, joy, and shoulder massages that happen there.

... crew clinic and pharmacy.  in and out quickly.  the doctors that are trying to figure out why i have another ear infection... thankful for those doctors and lab techs and pharmacists that all work together to help me get better

... being able to bless others in very different ways.

... "I have no insecurity,because I see myself the way God sees me"... (audacious faith confession, Sun Stands Still by steven furtick)

... sauteed zucchini and parmesan cheese for dinner.

... my suki might be coming here!!!!!!!!!


... ships babies. how we get any work done around here is beyond me....

... toblerone. and Michelle for stopping by my office with some.  yummy.

... letters from my mom, every week. bless her.

... Chris Tomlin's new CD, Burning Lights... it's brilliant, y'all. seriously. and i listen to it at least twice a day, if not more.... especially Sovereign and Whom shall I fear (God of Angel Armies)

... Stefan calling me at work just to check in on how I'm doing, and to tell me not to be stressed.



















... the beautiful kiddos I got to love on last weekend.

... that I have no reason to ever be stressed, it's under control.

... dark chocolate covered pretzels from trader joes. 

... Hannah, for sending me dark chocolate covered pretzels from trader joes, among other things.

... all the encouraging words and love from friends and family about the 60 minutes piece, blog posts, my work here, etc. 

... luden's cough drops. because who doesn't love candy disguised as medicine?

... that I get to be here, doing this crazy thing, that I love it, that I have supporters who believe in me, that I have donors that give selflessly, that Mercy Ships exists, that i get to see lives changed and be a part of that every single day.  it's beyond words, really.

k






Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Because I look good in scrubs.

Today I got to spend most of my day in the Operating Room (otherwise known as the Operating Theatre here on the ship)... and it was awesome.

I got to see a surgery in Sierra Leone but this was much cooler for many reasons. In Sierra Leone I didn't know anyone, wasn't sure what I could/couldn't do, didn't want to be a bother or in the way, and didn't want to ask any questions (be a pest). This time, however, was totally different. I am friends with many of the OR nurses and physicians, felt considerably more comfortable there, asked tons of questions, and got to see some awesome stuff!  

My first patient today was a kid who had half a nose from a birth defect - Dr. Gary is just incredible, they all are, but to see him making this kid a nose that looked incredible and will literally change the course of his future. He will now be able to go to school, work, have a family.... have a life.  One more life changed.  Oh, what I get to be a part of!!!

My second patient was a big one - a huge mandibular tumor.  I'll spare you the details, but it was incredible, very bloody, and did not make me queasy in the least. Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone to med school... but then again, I wouldn't be here and it wouldn't impress me so much!  (I do know I am right where I am supposed to be :))  Especially since I get to be a part of something like this every so often! 

It was just so cool to be able to see the work that happens every day two decks down from my little office.  And I've also decided scrubs should be standard uniform all the time. SO. Comfortable. And who doesn't look good in scrubs?


Krissy

P.S. Thanks for all the feedback on my last post. I love it when the words just sort of... come... without much thought or work. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Love speaks.

I felt drawn there, as if an invisible force was pulling me up, beckoning me to the open expanse of deck 8 and out of the confines of fire walls and marine grade glass and the ever present chaos of life on a ship. So I went… and I wrote.

~~~
I find a free lounge chair and settle in. The brilliantly painted sky is fading away as other crew begin to finish up their sunset conversations and trickle back into the belly of the ship, where the activity of a Friday night was just beginning to ramp up.  I settle more deeply into my chair.
I look up into the dusky blue sky and watch as hundreds of bats fly diagonally across my plane of vision, seemingly out into the open ocean.  Where are they going, I wonder? There must be a smorgasbord of mosquitos or other night insects around the islands that dot the coast of Guinea. 

As the first star bravely begins to twinkle in the fading light, my mind begins to wander.
~~~

You are not rubbish. Dr. Gary’s words echo throughout my consciousness.  No one on earth is rubbish.  Not if you have a gruesome tumor. Not if you have been leaking urine for twenty years. Not if you have lost every child you have conceived. Not if you are not married. Not even if you believe with all of your being that you are.  You are not rubbish. The still small voice in my heart said, “It’s not just for them. It’s for you too. Krissy, you are not rubbish.”

~~~
I gaze out across the water and watch a tugboat churn slowly by, and think again of how strange my life seems.  At any given moment throughout my day if I look out one window I see giant cargo ships seemingly sigh in relief as they make their way to their berth from ports across the globe after days alone in the open ocean. I see rickety little wooden and rusty metal fishing boats that seem to defy the laws of physics to remain afloat.  If I turn around and look out the other side, I see patients who may have travelled hundreds of miles through dirt and sweat and hunger simply because we offer hope to their desperate situation.  I see our littlest orthopedic patients giggling and laughing while doing their rehab exercises with our awesome therapists.  I see our dental team pull up and unload after a full day of pulling rotten tooth after rotten tooth out in the field clinic.  And as I think about what I see every day, I am overcome with gratefulness that I can see... Because so many of our patients can’t.
~~~

I breathe deeply the warm, salty air.  I listen to the hum of the air vents near me, the footsteps fading away of crew members walking down the stairs, whisps of quiet conversations, detached words flying on the breeze of the evening. The sky is now a deep black and the stars twinkle brightly.  Another tugboat churns by, ready to guide in the next tanker. I feel the barely distinguishable sway of the ship in it’s wake, and gratitude overwhelms me. I love this place. I love that I get to call this my home. I love that I have found my species. I look up and see the bright stars of Orion’s belt and think about how small the world really is.   

~~~

I think about my un-resolutions. I’ve never really written them down like that before, or even really thought about them before, so it’s interesting to come back to them on occasion.  I think I need to make some changes…

Number one was to pursue excellence instead of perfection… yes, I still want to do this… however, the last few weeks have caused me to re-define the meaning of excellence.  If excellence really is just another word for perfection, then it’s hopeless.  Sometimes, somedays, excellence is accomplishing great things.  But other days, excellence is just managing to be nice to most everyone, or at least not to mess anything up too much that can’t be fixed.  And as a dear friend reminded me a few mornings ago, even if my day is less than excellent, it doesn’t make me less than excellent. 
As I think on my other un-resolutions, the other one that needs altering is the second one – to be a better friend.  I think about yesterday, when I did something relatively simple for someone else because I had the time and she didn’t, and how much of a blessing that was for her.  To me, it was nothing. To her, it was a huge big deal.  This has happened several times recently and I’m realizing, with God’s help, that I already am a good friend, I don’t need to try so hard.  There doesn’t need to be a huge sacrifice involved, or life-altering work being done. Me, just being me, and loving my friends to the best of my abilities, is blessing enough. 
~~~

The air is cooling and I zip up my sweatshirt, realizing I’m now alone on the deck.  Yes, Minnesota family, it’s probably still around eighty degrees and I’m shivering.  I think about my family and friends shoveling driveways full of snow and wondering if their cars will start, and I am so grateful I call this place so close to the equator my home. Peace.  Rest. Joy. Contentment.  I am home.  I know who I am and I am enough. I know why I am here and who I am serving. God is so close to me in this moment I can almost hear his heart beating with my own. No more words are needed.  Love speaks in a language all His own.

A Long Journey to Healing

What could possibly compel a poor woman in West Africa to travel over 1000 kilometers – a journey that would take six months and exhaust all of her resources and ingenuity – to get to a hospital ship? The answer is stark in its simplicity – the journey was born out of a desperate, fragile hope that she could find healing and restoration.

Binta lives in southeast Guinea. Six months ago, a man in her village told her about news he had heard on the radio – a hospital ship was coming to the nation’s capital, Conakry. “The ship has doctors that can help you,” the man said.

Binta is in her late thirties and has suffered from vesicovaginal fistula (VVF), a devastating childbirth injury, since she was a teenager. During several days of prolonged, obstructed labor, Binta’s baby was stillborn during a traumatizing delivery. The injury to her birth canal made Binta incontinent; she has been continuously leaking urine for years. Her condition made her an outcast within her own remote village. But now there was news that she could be “fixed” . . . and she dared to hope.

With the little money she had, Binta set out on her journey – a trip that was filled with new experiences.
She traveled from her village in the dense rainforest region to the city of Senko. Once there, she used what little money she had to pay for transportation to the next city – Beyla. It was her first time to ever ride in a car.

From Beyla to Nzerekore to Macenta to Gueckedou to Kissidougou to Conakry – a blur of new sights and sounds. She stopped when she had to, staying in one city for up to two months where she worked doing laundry to save enough money for the next leg of her journey. She paid people with cars or motorbikes to give her a lift. Binta traveled more than 661 miles (1063 km) in 6 months to seek help from Mercy Ships.

Finally, she arrived on the dock – with no money and only the clothes on her back. “It was something inside of me that told me, ‘Do it!’” Binta said. The Africa Mercy is the first ship she has ever seen.

Last week, Mercy Ships volunteer surgeon Dr. Steve Arrowsmith repaired Binta’s fistula. Today she is dry. She no longer leaks urine; she no longer smells. And now, Binta longs to return home to her sister’s children, triplets, whom she has cared for since her sister passed away in 2011. Because there are no phones there, Binta hasn’t spoken with her family since she left. Fortunately, she will get home to them soon – a much simpler journey this time, with assistance from Mercy Ships.

And Binta will leave Mercy Ships with a dry skirt, a full heart and a new life. Her courage has been rewarded, her hope has been reborn, and her life has been restored!

Mercy Ships surgeon Dr. Steve Arrowsmith meets with Binta before her surgery.





Written by Catherine Clarke Murphy
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photographs by Deb Bell and Michelle Murrey

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Photos (Flogging the baby...)

Proudly still 'flogging this baby'.... :)

Here are some photos that were put up on 60 Minutes Facebook wall, taken in Togo.  We also got another post from them with the link to Don Stephens (founder) speaking about faith and Mercy Ships... We are not here to promote religion. We're here because we follow Jesus. Jesus healed the sick and brought sight to the blind... and so do we!  It's incredible.  Watch that segment here: http://cbsn.ws/XMRTlY.


A closer shot of people waiting for a dental screening provided by Mercy Ships.

A woman holds her baby, who will soon undergo life-saving surgery.

Dr. Gary Parker and Dr. Bill Reus in the OR on the Africa Mercy. (CBS actually misidentified them in the photo on Facebook)

Mothers sit with their infants at Mercy Ships’ HOPE Center in Togo. Here, the babies are in a special feeding program to get them to a healthy weight so they can undergo surgery to repair cleft palates.

Hundreds of patients line up for Mercy Ships’ dental screening, starting at 5 a.m.

The photos in this album were taken by 60 Minutes associate producer Rachael Kun Morehouse in Togo, West Africa. Watch Scott Pelley’s “Africa Mercy” report from the 02.17.13 broadcast of 60 Minutes here: http://cbsn.ws/15snAs3

At the intersection of compassion and courage...(I love that!)  Krissy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flog this baby....

That sounds like an incredibly inappropriate blog post title - but it comes from a direct quote from the ever lovely Susan (featured on the 60 minutes piece) that went like this:

Dear Facebook friends,

You may be asking yourselves at this point--when are these people going to stop with the non-stop barrage of 60 Minutes posts and comments?

And to that I say--Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fasten your seat belts and adjust your mirrors, 'cause we're gonna flog this baby for all its worth.

Amen and amen!  :)
I just saw it last night, along with a couple hundred other Crew in the big meeting room here on the ship. It was exciting!  We had heard so much about it and we were all so excited to actually see it. 
It was funny – especially the line from Don Stephens that went something like, “we run a very different business model.  Our people are required to pay for the privilege of serving with us!” – got a chuckle out of the whole crowd.  (And it’s entirely true, so if you’d like to help me pay for the privilege of serving here, please click on the link to the right). I also loved the things that Ali said she misses - "Strawberries, fresh milk, and my family, not necessarily in that order."  True, that one.
It was emotional – I got a lot of feedback from friends and family that had cried during the segment, but even for those of us here in the middle of the action, it was so wonderfully done and reflects our hearts that we couldn’t help but get choked up.
Most of all – it was TRUE.  They just so beautifully put to words the things that I feel – The healing begins with a touch, with looking in their eyes, and recognizing there is a person under there, and that person matters.  We all want to be here. We all pay to be here. And we all follow the calling that is our own.  As a dear friend said on her blog, it’s amazing that MILLIONS of people got to hear they are not rubbish – that no one on earth is rubbish. 
There was one thing that wasn’t true - one of the first lines Scott Pelley said which was “the predominantly American crew”. That’s not actually true.  We have crew members from 34 different countries here this week.  The largest percentage of those crew members is American, but it isn’t a majority. 
So, not only was the 60 minutes piece amazing, but we also got short segments on the CBS Evening News on Monday night!  This is even bigger than we thought it would be.  Mercy Ships has logged hundreds of application downloads.  Several crew members and former crew members have been contacted by news organizations.
AND, 60 minutes cover photo on Facebook –  


It’s really amazing that I get to be a part of this. I’m so honored to be one of the many who serve and love the people here. Thank you for your support and encouragement on this adventure!
If you haven't seen it yet, please do - here is the link
At the intersection of compassion and courage… Krissy

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chaos = Normal

Good Morning, lovely bloggy friends.

I've come to realize this morning that I think I just need to accept that chaos is my new normal.  And somehow in that chaos I need to make time to write. Because words are powerful and need to be shared, even if they are rambling, sort-of-not-really well thought out or gramatically correct words.  I love sharing them and I need to do it more often. 




60 Minutes was a huge success! I haven't actually seen it yet, but with the feedback I'm seeing on Facebook and the massive response that broke Mercyships.org (for just a little bit) leads me to believe it was a good piece.  I really appreciate the fact that now many of you have a better idea of why I say this is the most amazing place in the WORLD.  If you haven't seen it, you can watch it here: www.cbsnews.com and there are some 'overtime' segments there, too - interviewing the Parker family who has raised their children entirely on the ship, along with other stories.  Please, check it out! If you were so inspired you want to join us over here on this floating hospital, email me.  We've got positions available all over - medical, administrative, technical, etc.  Come join me....



I took this picture of the sunset on Kassa Island last weekend - a weekend I still must write about.  It'll come, eventually.  For now, this picture will have to do.  It was on my NEWSLETTER which got sent last weekend - if you want to receive it, click on the link to the right! 

A few more words for you today - this quote really struck a chord in me, and so I think it's worth sharing;

"As a woman living in the 21st century I will live as though I have a thousand daughters, even though I have none, because every girl is my daughter and when she sees me, or engages with me, she's looking to me for how to live. So I will live, I will smile, I will laugh, I will speak, and I will pray as though their hearts and souls depend on it." Emily Wierenga 

Oh, that it might be true!  Yes, my heart sings.  K

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A tribute.

Today is my Grandfather's funeral.

He passed away peacefully on Sunday and I got the email from my dad when I returned from my adventurous weekend away. (to be written about later...) 

I knew when I moved to Africa the first time in 2009, and then chose to again in 2012, that I would lose loved ones and would not be able to be there for them.  It does not make loss any easier, and my heart wishes to be there with my family this weekend.  However, I'm chosing to dwell on my favorite memories of Grandpa. 

We didn't see him very often growing up, they lived several states away and would come to visit once a year. When I was very young I was so shy I would hide in my room when they came. (Some of you are saying "krissy?? shy???? Yes! It's true!) It would take a couple of hours for me to come out of hiding and greet my grandparents.  Then all was well.

I remember most how much he loved my Grandmother (who passed away while I was in Benin). He would always call her 'Tiger', and would say things like, "I tell every man I meet to marry a nurse cause that's the only way to know you are getting a real class act". (Thanks to my cousin for reminding me of that one!)

I made a special trip to visit him when I was in Minnesota last year - and I knew it was likely the last time I would see him.  Even then, when I paused to look at a family photo about fifty years ago, he told me what an incredible woman my Grandmother was. I'm glad they're together again.

Much love to my family today - I'm with you in spirit.  Krissy

Donald Leighton Close — Rochester 

 
 
Donald Leighton Close, 92, passed away peacefully Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at Season's Hospice in Rochester, after living with prostate cancer for several years.
He was born June 9, 1920, in Byron, to Edwin and Patrina Close. He graduated from Byron High School in 1938. He was employed in the whole sale food business, until enlisting in the Armed Forces in 1942. He served in the Army combat engineers on the Aleutian Islands, and was discharged in 1945.
 
Don married Eileen Leuhrs on April 27, 1947.  He operated heavy transportation and construction equipment in Rochester before becoming a carpenter. He later formed his own construction company developing Forest Hills, the Forest Hills Water Company, and later joining the Cascade Corporation development (Elton Hills, Crescent Park). In 1971, he terminated the business and entered employment with the Olmsted County Code Enforcement Division, from which he retired in 1980. He and Eileen moved to Rogers, Ark., where they built a home on Beaver Lake. They thoroughly enjoyed their 25 years in Arkansas, before returning to Rochester in 2005, when Eileen's health began to deteriorate, taking up residency at Shorewood Senior Campus.
 
Some of Don's fondest memories were of the many lengthy trips he and Eileen spent traveling by boat along the Mississippi River. Upon their return to Minnesota, Don continued to spend time on the river, enjoying boating and fishing out of the Wabasha Marina.
A Celebration of Don's Life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Byron United Methodist Church, 507 First Ave. N.W. in Byron, with Pastor Sharon Nelson officiating. A luncheon will follow the service. Burial will be at a later date in the Byron Cemetery.
 
In lieu of flowers, Don would have wished you to make a contribution to the Salvation Army.

(http://m.postbulletin.com/obituaries/donald-leighton-close-rochester/article_0a0da743-c6ed-5569-aeae-5f7c94d9d194.html?mode=image#.UR6PZOCvhsE.facebook)


Friday, February 15, 2013

60 minutes...

Good Morning.

Yes, it's been awhile since I've updated. And I don't really have time this morning - but I promise - this weekend, this is what my to-do list looks like:

1. Blog
2. Newsletter (if you want to receive it, make sure to opt-in in the right column on this blog...)
3. Taxes (which is not to say I'm doing my taxes. I'm organizing my tax mess and sending it all to my accountant. Thank God for accountants.)

BUT, I wanted to get this out - WATCH 60 MINUTES ON SUNDAY!  They came to the Africa Mercy last spring and filmed hundreds of hours with us, and we've been waiting since then to find out when it will be aired. We haven't seen it, no one has, but we are expecting a positive overview of the mission and work we do here.  Please watch, spread the news and let me know what you think! (We won't be able to see it here for another couple of weeks....)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shorts

I listen to a podcast occasionally called Radiolab, and they do "shorts" which are just short episodes. Not like shorts you wear.

So today when we were bunkering (Taking on fuel) there was a brief time where the ship was significantly listing (tilting).  Nick says "should have had a v8".  Still laughing about that one.

So this afternoon I got to watch a friend sew up a patien'ts face.  Oh, so amazing.

And one more:  Thanks Mom!

 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Quirks of Ship Life: Fire Teams

As we teach in New Crew Orientation, safety is every crew member's responsibility.  One of the ways the crew does this is participating in fire teams.  Every other Thursday we have fire drills where our teams get to spring into action!  To be on a fire team you have to have had Basic Safety Training, which I completed at the IOC in training last fall. 
 
 
Medical staff can't be on a fire team, they have to be ready to help evacuate the hospital if needed. Teachers, school staff, and primary caregivers also can't be on fire teams, as they must potentially be caring for and evacuating students/children if necessary.
 
If you've been following my blog since training, you might remember I wasn't super keen on the fire training.  I mean, I completed it, and I did it reasonably well, but I don't really like fire. I don't even really like candles. So I had no interest, whatsoever, in being on a fire team.  However, just before Christmas, with the mass exodus of holdiay travelers, the Safety Officer came to me and said he really needed me to be on a fire team; they were literally out of able bodied, trained, non-medical, non-school crew members. Okay, I said, but only because you actually really need me! There are three fire teams each consisting of six to ten or so members.
 
So, for the last month and a half or so, I've been BA control, Fire Team 1.  (BA means Breathing Apparatus, not Badass, unfortunately.  wink.) Basically what this means in a drill (or emergency) is that when the first alarm goes off I need to leave whatever I am doing and RUN to Fire Locker #1 (I failed my first fire drill because I didn't get there fast enough!)
 
 
Once I am there, my job is to take the muster (aka roll call) of our fire team, call it in to muster control, check oxygen levels and pressure in all the tanks, and monitor the oxygen levels according to the amount of time the crew has been on oxygen.  I also help the team with equipment as needed.  It's pretty simple, I don't actually have to fight the fire... Like I mentioned earlier, the first fire drill did not go well, but since then it's been alright.
 
However, part of the reason I wanted to get this post written today was I think that now the holiday travelers have all returned I will be taken off the fire team. Which I really want, actually.  I mean, I like that I've been trained and can help out in that way, but reality is, I'm not super comfortable with it all, and I often feel like I just get in the way.  Also of note, I'm the ONLY female in all the fire teams... which honestly can be pretty intimidating.  I'm really good in crisis situations, I think my skills can be better used elsewhere, where I can feel like I'm doing something useful and not just in the way.  So we'll see what happens!
 
Krissy
 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thankful

Today I'm thankful for...

...a crew clinic where I can be in and out within minutes, for free, and get antibiotics right across the hallway.

...friends that linger over coffee.

...the Texas container arrived!  I didn't have any personal packages on it, but it had Dr. Pepper and Kleenex, both of which have been absent on the ship as of late... which is especially unfortunate as I've been fighting a very snotty cold.

...chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. And the lovely friend who made it and invited me over :)

..."Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" ~Dr. Seuss

...the ship parked (docked? berthed?) next to us is called Top Wing.  I said it reminded me of Top Gun; Dianna said it reminded her of a chinese restaurant. hahahaha. 


...this 'anonymous' lovely gift on Friday, after I had a not-so-great Thursday. How can it be a bad day with a gift like this and friends like that??  Yes, that's Cherry Coke.  Love.
 
..."May God continue to blow our minds with the more than we can ask or imagine..." a prayer blessing from a friend, based on Ephesians 3:20
 
... got my toenails painted a brilliant bright orange.
 
...waffle fridays
 
... got to see a living, breathing, walking miracle on Monday. Aboubacar has been a patient with us for many months, and came perilously close to losing him several times.  He was discharged this week.  Incredible.
 
...that on Friday I set my alarm incorrectly and actually overslept and ended up about twenty minutes late for work... that's the first time it's ever happened, I'm usually at least fifteen minutes early to work.  But anyway, instead of people being angry, everyone I told said things like "wow, you must really have needed sleep! Good for you!". 
 
...chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese.


 
 
...Golden Grahams at the supermarket I went to yesterday.  Approximately $5 for this box.  Totally worth it.
 
...coffee.  Strong and dark (theraputic and necessary to sustain life) or light and fluffy (flavored, milky, and recreational).
 
...my French language abilities and that I get to use that to bless others.
 
...finding out that the Congo has really nice, clean, safe beaches.  Oh, I look forward to that!
 
...getting my summer time off approved and actually looking at tickets! USA, here I come!  And, it looks like it will also include an overnight in Amsterdam on the way out and an overnight in Madrid on the way back. Cheers for adventures!!
 
...space, peace, quiet.
 
...the way clean laundry smells.
 
...a sunday that includes a run, leisurely breakfast, coffee date, lunch date, laundry time, sun time, pizza for dinner, evening worship service.... do we live in HEAVEN?  As a friend said earlier this week, "it's pretty close, I reckon."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mediocrity

It's been a tough week. 

There, I said it.  Sorry if that crashes any illusions you might have about my life here.  It's funny, actually, the number of people who are shocked by how difficult it can be to live and work on the Africa Mercy.  Some crew members come into this thinking that it'll just be this picture perfect community who all loves God and gives selflessly to each other every minute of every day.  Reality is, it is a wonderful community, but we're all human.  And humans are messy. 

I'll spare the details, they don't really matter anyway.  But I will talk about what it is causing me to ponder... Remember my Un-Resolutions?  (read it if you haven't...) My first was to pursue excellence over perfection.  Which I still wholeheartedly agree with.  I think it's a good thing and a calling on our lives to pursue excellence.  However, what I'm wondering this week, is this:  When is it okay to just be mediocre? 

I get so frustrated with myself when I have an 'off' day at work.  Or I can't seem to 'right' a relationship that is struggling.  Or old bad habits and behaviors I thought I had completely left behind suddenly become tempting again.  I know this is the human condition, I'm not alone in these things.  But I think what this week helped me to see was sometimes it's okay to be mediocre... if it's all I have to give that day.  I can't make a habit of it, if it was more than a day or two there must be something bigger going on that needs to be addressed.  But, sometimes, it's okay that a 'good' day isn't full of production, maybe it's just a good day because I managed to be nice to most everyone and kept the flaming emails at bay. 

I am also realizing how easily I offer grace to other people, but that I have a terrible time offering it to myself.  In fact, I would say to anyone on my team, anyone I work with, anyone at all for that matter, that it's totally okay to have an off day.  But it's totally unacceptable for ME to be mediocre.  Well, my friends, and myself, that's a load.  Of shingles. (one friend is laughing at that right now... the rest of you are wondering what the heck that means.... too bad.)

So there you have it.  The "why has her blog been silent for four days?" answer. I'm feeling much better, by the way, like I have excellence to offer again, and mediocrity isn't becoming a habit.  I have incredible friends who shine light into my dark days and I'm so grateful for them. 

Oh, and in other news, I've got another ear infection. Yes, I have the ears of a toddler.  However, since my move into my 3-berth (giant) cabin, I don't have to sleep in earplugs every night, which might help! We'll see... 




Much love to all my friends and family across the globe! Krissy