Thanksgiving, in pictures.

30 November 2013

A British Pilgrim.  Well done.

D ward staff, patients, and caregivers all had fun as pilgrims and Indians :)

This work of art was put up in the Café... love this community!!

Not a great pic but SO reminds me of the turkey coloring contests we participated in back home as kids! Love it.

"dinner with the fam" included about thirty American friends in a beautifully decorated meeting room.  The candles are battery powered, fyi, no open flames allowed on the ship (except usually the advent wreath!)
We don't get holidays off so it was just another day for us, but I love how this community all came together to celebrate, even the non-Americans.  And the turkey served in the Dining room that evening was the best I've ever had, I think. Seriously, well done Galley staff!

Welcome to the Christmas season!  Much love - Krissy


24 November 2013

Random snapshots off my iphone for your Sunday....

So there's this wall that a few weeks ago had a bunch of paper put up on it like a tetris game.  It was for someone's birthday and they were mostly blank... over the last several weeks, someone put out a marker and people have been writing things in the various boxes - several different languages, some inspiring, some silly, but it's just a beautiful work of art that I am very glad the officers haven't removed and I get to walk by on a regular basis..

I share my office with several other hospital peeps and we all feel each others stress as well as each others joys.  Ryan, an amazing IS guy, happened to be in the office in a particularly stressful moment... later he came back with a pile of chocolate to bring us some joy - and it did! this is my friend Esther, very excited about the Dutch chocolate he brought :) 

I was following this truck (riding, not driving) - those trees are HUGE... anyway, there's the rainforest for you, getting cut down... and shipped to usually either France or China. 

Oh my word, the cuteness of my niece, just love those cheeks!! Just had to share. :) (I've found a couple other crewmates who love showing off their nieces and nephews so I don't feel bad showing off mine!)

In a frustrating moment on Friday I stopped what I was doing and put Christmas light stickers on my computer. Thanks Karin for sending them - it brought some joy back!

In other news, next week is another big one for me - Basic Surgical Skills course sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, and I'm feeling the pressure that it has to go well.  I'm sure it will, it's just kind of a big deal.  I've spent the last two weeks finalizing details (when I wasn't sick in the hospital) - not the least of which was sourcing the animal parts that the participants will practice their basic surgical skills on!  Never a dull moment - and the randomness!!  Example -  when our eye surgeon asked me on Friday if I could get him some pigs eyeballs for a trainee to practice on and I could say, as a matter of fact, I'm headed to a butcher on Monday!  Love it.

A la prochaine - Krissy

Not just a cookie...

23 November 2013

This week I received a package on the container from my awesome sister - and in it were boxes of GOLD, at least, for any American who has lived overseas for a long time.  Girl Scout cookies. Never mind they were several years old and sort of melted... they were heavenly.  And the most fun thing ever??  Passing them out to friends.  :)
It was hilarious, though, because when Americans saw the box, for the most part, they freaked out (with joy and excitement).  Non-Americans were confused as to why the Americans were freaking out about a silly little cookie.  I had to explain, many, many times, that this was not just a COOKIE, but for an American, this is a CULTURAL EXPERIENCE.   It was so, so, so much fun.  Take a look at some of the reactions...

 When it came out that one of the Dutch crewmembers licked his cookie and then threw it away, the reactions were just as priceless, like this one from KJ...  appalling that someone could disregard such an incredibly joy-filled cultural love like a Girl Scout Cookie.

So anyway, thanks Karin for sharing the joy with the deprived in Africa.  Once it got out on Facebook that I had these, some of the other reactions were "just seeing the box made me start to salivate" and "JEALOUS"....  I'm thinking some girl scouts could do well to take orders from the Africa Mercy and stick 'em on a container? Just a thought... :)

Peace, love, and joy-filled, not-just-a-cookie-but-a-cultural-experience moments for your Saturday! Krissy


16 November 2013

So many things to be thankful for!

...the surprise and joy on people's faces when they found the café open this morning! I love blessing people. :)

... garlic bread for dinner. No vampires tonight. :)

... that the Seahawks are doing well.  Fair weather fan?? why yes, yes I am. 

... when I see difficult things being handled with grace and beauty

...Cinnamon dolce flavor in my espresso.

... The most random thing ever to be left on my door - two small bananas, which remind me of Benin, one with my name on it.  So random. So thankful for whoever thought of me when they found those two small bananas. :)

... that I am chosen, it just looks different than I think I want it to sometimes.

... sun time on deck 8

..."let the ruins come to life, in the beauty of Your name" ~Hillsong United

... sweet reminders from friends that I am loved.

...This magnet. Because it's just SO random.

... silly snapchats from suki

... My roommate Laura. She's so amazing I need to write a whole post about her awesomeness.  So I'll just leave it at that for now. But she's pretty amazing and I'm so very thankful for her.

... coffee.

... a wonderful surprise

... that I don't have to go away to feel rested and refreshed.

... that I can go away and feel rested and refreshed.

... This 'indulgent trail mix' is straight up candy - re-named so you think it's healthier than it really is.  Totally delish. 

... beaches.

... a 'deck 7, in 5 minutes?' kind of friend

... that my tears are treasured

... Wednesday night ladies, conversing in depth about things that matter.

... sweet friends checking on me when I was sick.

... Notes from crewmembers on Nick's door (HR Manager) that say why they love their jobs. 

... clean laundry.

... "life begins outside your comfort zone." YT

... playing ultimate Frisbee every Friday.  oh, the joy, the sweat, the dirt. heaven.

... running in from the gate with the bsf

... this beauty from Michelle - heaven in boxed form, y'all. straight up heaven.

... surprise package from family.

... that we can connect to iTunes again and I can update my podcasts.

... soy milk is back in the dining room!!

... Teaching Mighty how to play Ultimate Frisbee.

... the green purse I bought in Spain.

... the awesome doctors and nurses who put up with my pathetic stubbornness with grace and patience.

...“And if anyone tells you to tone it down – they can take it up with Him.” ~Holley Gerth

... The sun sparkling on the water.

... This community.  This calling.  May I never take it for granted and always be grateful for the abundant blessings on me and my life.


15 November 2013

World English Dictionary:
Admission (ədˈmɪʃən) –n
1.       Permission to enter or the right, authority, etc., to enter
2.       The price charged for entrance
3.       Acceptance for a position, office, etc.
4.       A confession, as of a crime, mistake, etc.
5.       An acknowledgment of the truth or validity of something

If you know me at all you know I love words, and this is one that’s been rolling around in my brain over the last few days. Why? 
Crew Admission Record
One of those bad boys has my name on it.  *at least I think that’s what the sheet says on the top, I wasn’t coherent enough at the time to think to snap a photo*
(in case you are wondering what on earth I am talking about – simple English – I was admitted to the Africa Mercy Hospital as a patient this week. Nothing terribly serious, just needed IV fluids and meds) 
I think it’s an interesting use of the word admission.  I mean, I suppose the first definition above is what it’s actually referring to – by having my name on that sheet I have the right to enter the hospital, although as a member of the hospital management team I already have the right to enter.  To clarify I guess I would say that sheet allows me to lay down on a hospital bed and receive treatment.  Thankfully there is no price charged for entrance…  But then the next three definitions I feel are applicable too –  
Acceptance, confession, acknowledgment of truth – yes.  This is what actually happened this week.  It may seem silly or insignificant to some of you but the acknowledgement that I am sick, fallible, worn out, need help, and need to rest is not an easy one for me to offer.  
I have a superstar immune system (no joke).  The last time I was sick was with malaria at Easter which doesn’t really count as it’s not a communicable disease… the last cold I had was in January, I think, because I went and ordered a whole bunch of Dayquil/Nyquil, Kleenex with lotion, etc., that I have never had to use.
The truth is, I’ve been working really, really hard.  The awesome thing is I love my job and I’m super passionate about what I’m doing… the problem is, I love my job and I’m super passionate about what I’m doing.  That’s the tricky thing…. How much of my life (or yours) have I longed for a job that I love, that I’m passionate about, that I would do regardless of whether or not I got paid… then I found it, and it’s not quite as sunshine-and-roses as you might think.   Because when your job is embedded in your passions, your identity and boundaries become fuzzy.  Because what I do is not just about me – the well-being of others is attached to this mission as well. Sarah Cunningham summarizes this so well in her book
No wonder you do it for reasons beyond a paycheck! You do it because God has stirred a conviction inside you, put you on a path.  What you are doing supports God’s purposes in this world. Your work helps people experience the fullest life possible, and even more so, has eternal weight. Holy cow!  How could you not want to sideline everything else, to pour out everything you are, to devote every waking minute and second to that sort of significance, right?  And herein lies the problem.
                Your faith gets mixed up in your work.
                Your identity gets mixed up in your work.
                Your worth gets mixed up in your work.
And that seems fine on the days where things are going well.  Bliss! Bliss! Hardworking, passionate bliss!  But please hear me on this: Sometimes the more you love what you do, the more important you think it is, the easier it is for you to unknowingly wander into unhealthiness.
I am SO blessed and honored and grateful that I get to do what I love and am passionate for every single day.  However… Sarah continues…
… After enough days pile up, our bodies start to feel the strain of those long hours and heavy concentration.  We wake up tired, our families and friends feel a little bit neglected, some household chores get skipped…. Yet we keep going. Until we are so weary we don’t really want to do it any longer. We begin to wander if it’s worth it. We fear our pace is destructive and we can’t keep going. …We killed it in the beginning. We told ourselves this was a temporary “extra-busy” stretch. 
She goes on to describe how we’ve got everything flying along at a hundred miles an hour, but the responsibilities don’t lessen, they increase… we can’t stop because then things won’t get done, people won’t get served… we believe in sacrificing for what we believe in… but we can’t stop because we will let other people down, because our faith is mixed up in it.

Somewhere along the way, we stopped being a world changer and became a martyr.

I don’t think I’ve gone that far, but honestly, I know I’ve said some of these things.  That this is just a busy season, that we’re just in start-up mode and it will get easier, that it’s only a little while that I’ll have to work every weekend and most week nights just to keep up.  It’s so tricky because I really do love what I am doing and don’t mind working crazy hours – because what I do matters! 
But ultimately, why I’m fixating on the word admission and why I ended up spending the last three days in bed is a wake-up call.  If I don’t pull back, find more balance, allow myself to rest and switch off, the next time the fall will be much more extreme.  This time it was just a couple days in bed, for which I am grateful.  The last thing I want to do is to come screaming up to the end of the field service and hate my job, this organization, my devotion, etc. 
So, I admit, confess, and acknowledge that I need help, I need to rest, and I will continue to do the best job that I can do within healthy boundaries of time and energy.  I’m so grateful for the nurses and doctors who have cared for me while I’ve been sick; I’m a stubborn, pathetic mess of a sick person and really what I need is a dose of humility – I hate asking for help but ultimately that is what community is for… so thank you, AFM ship friends and family, for your help, grace, and encouragement.

Reverse this crazy idea you have in your head that if you run yourself dry, you have given the most.  You will give the world the most if you’ll still be alive and healthy enough to serve tomorrow. You are more good to the world well.
(Quotes from Sarah Cunningham's book in italics - more info here)


10 November 2013

Dear friend,

I saw it today, when I was talking to someone else… the shadow of sadness that briefly clouded your features, dimming the usual sparkle in your eyes.  I saw it later when you focused on your computer, your book, your nails, on cleaning and organizing and functional things instead of engaging in the conversation and the laughter and the life going on around you.   I saw what you were feeling.

I know that feeling, my friend.  That restlessness, that longing that you can’t quite define the object of…. The feeling like something is missing...  The desperation you feel when you can’t find a familiar face in the crowd and the fear that sends you down into hiding instead of out into the community.   That gray formless void that engulfs your spirit when you see photos of the fun weekends that everyone else seems to have and the tears that fall as you wonder what’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have any friends?

You just want to be in.  In the group that seems to have all the fun. In on the jokes, the shared experiences, the Facebook photos, the joy.

You want to be known.

We feel the most safe when we feel known. It’s why we search for familiar faces in the dining room or wait for someone to sit with at community gatherings.

And guess what? You are known.  Deeply, truly, purely, genuinely known, to the center of your being.

And now I know what you’re thinking – yes, I know God knows me.  But really… I need some people, too.  I just want to be chosen.

You are. 

You have been chosen. You have been invited.  You were selected before the world began… to be the one to break down barriers, to speak life and truth over the hundreds of others around you feeling exactly the same things.  You’ve been invited to respond out of love and not out of fear to the promptings and whispers of talk to her or trust this one or invite that one to eat with you. You are not invisible; rather, you are a critical, vital piece of this puzzle and your friendship is desperately needed.  People really do love to be around you.  So go, deepen a friendship or start a new one, trust His call on your life and trust that you are enough.

You are.



03 November 2013

It’s already November and I’m not quite sure how that happened; some days I wonder if I was put in a time warp where a minute is actually a second… Life is good. I’m surrounded by some of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, and I’m so honored I get to be a part of this amazing place.  I’m grateful for this family around me who encourage me to ask as well as to search for the answer to the tough questions.  It’s a safe place to expand the boundaries of my faith and trust and to heal after the painful refining process.

My work has been blessed this week – next week is our first ever Medical Leadership conference and I absolutely believe the material we are teaching to the local directors and senior medical leadership can really make a huge impact here. This week the final details fell into place in such an easy, beautiful way – several conversations where I was having to ask for something and fully expected to receive a ‘no’ actually ended with a ‘of course, no problem’ and a huge smile. 

There is so much joy and I pray every day that I might have the eyes to see and experience even more as I go throughout my day.  Ultimate Frisbee, running with Erin, coffee, the cup game, children in costumes, a walk with Kat, cherry coke and chocolate, my small group ladies, running with Dianna, beach time, pizza with Stella, Emma sitting in my lap, sleeping in, talking to my mom, deck 7 with the bsf, the creativity that comes out in me in writing a speech, photos of my sister’s baby, making coffee drinks for people, awesome roommates, a washer that’s free exactly when I need it, tea with friends… The list continues and I’m so grateful.

I’m a little sad, at the same time.  My heart has learned to adapt in this place filled with transient adventurers and restless world changers and daily airport runs, and the goodbyes usually aren’t as devastating as they were in the beginning.  The earth really is small and when people leave I either know in my heart I will see them again, or I know that I won’t, and am okay with either one.   When I say goodbye, I’m simply closing out that chapter of my life that contained them in it, and when God is writing the story, you never know what adventures or characters you’ll find on the next page.  But recently there have been a couple of unexpected departures that my heart just doesn’t know what to do with.  I didn’t have time to close out that season, that chapter in my life that they are a part of, and I am not quite sure if or when they’ll wander back through.  I’ve found myself left behind with an ache I'm not used to living with.

This is a place of hope and healing… it’s our tagline, at the bottom of our stationery and the top of our webpage.  What we do for our patients is incredible – we get to give them a new smile or gait or view of the world around them and I love that.  But hope and healing isn’t just for the patients – it’s for this incredible mess of a community that is brought together from 40 different nations for one purpose- to love.  It's for me, too.  This is life, to the full – the joy, the blessings, the grief, the hope.
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