...and I run out of words for this blog. This has been the case in recent weeks, as I keep thinking "I need to update the blog! I have so much to share!" and then as soon as I log onto the site, my mind goes blank. Then I got an idea from a blog I read occasionally (Domestic Serenity) for a format that I can use to beat the blanks! So here we go!
In my life this week: We had a really busy week of dinners with friends and supporters and potential supporters. This slew of events happened to coincide with Wesley teething, but he was a trooper and an angel. He dealt with the late nights really well.
In our work/ministry: A Lahash team just took off for two weeks in Uganda to have a camp with the kids at Amazing Grace Children's Home, and my other two co-workers who are not on that trip are traveling with family, so I'm manning (woman-ing?) the Lahash house on my own for a few days this week. Although it's quiet and lonely without Katie, Dan and Casey, I get a lot done when I'm not being distracted by all the silliness and collective brainstorming. Since I work alone from home so much when I'm in Africa, it's nice to have co-workers, but on days like today, when I just need to bang out a number of things on my to-do list, it's good not to have distractions (aside from the standard distractions that happen in the mind of a perpetual multi-tasker.) Fred has been working on a concept note for continuing the palliative care program in Shirati, a program he really cares about. We've also been doing the difficult, but important work of raising support to enable us to continuing doing the work and ministry that we enjoy and are passionate about. It's rewarding to meet up with so many people who care about us and are interested in our work, but I really struggle to bring the "Ask" to a friendly dinner meeting. I need to get better at giving people the opportunity to partner with us financially. (GIVE to the Otienos --Lahash Staff, Leisha (Adams) Otieno)
I'm being inspired by: A ministry called She's My Sister which trains pastors and lay leaders in sub-saharan Africa to provide Scripture-based lay counseling to traumatized and/or grieving people. The opportunity to work with She's My Sister has been building for some time as Fred was trained to train others to do the counseling work, then we got a chance to meet with the American leadership for the program when we first came to the States two months ago. Since that time I've been talking with many people about the exciting opportunity we have to be involved with starting this ministry in Tanzania, on the side of the other work we're doing. The initial meeting we had in Washington, DC was so encouraging and inspiring, and in many ways I see God using this ministry to open new chapters in my personal story.
I've been thinking: A year ago I blogged about thinking about Christmas and missing all the trappings of an American Christmas, but struggling at the same time to cling to the "reason for the season" as they say. Now that I get to experience an American Christmas, I am torn between my idealistic self (Advent Conspiracy, Jesus-only celebration) and the undeniable urge to go get Wesley's picture taken on Santa Claus' lap. I've actually found that in a disturbing number of areas the ideals I held as a slightly-self-righteous, slightly-superior single person have been sagging under a new found...pragmatism, shall we call it? Now that I have a husband and a child, I feel the appeal of a large, suburban, impeccably decorated home or a Pinterest-worthy Christmas tree with loads of presents underneath. I find myself snatching the cheap Johnson's baby shampoo off the shelf while trying to stifle the voice in the back of my mind that says "didn't I read something about a terrible chemical in this stuff and how I should make my own baby shampoo?" Ditto that message regarding baby food, formula, fast food, children's clothes and toys, etc. Yet, despite that echo and despite access to so many resources to actually make all my own everything, I would rather watch The Voice than learn to knit socks for my family. Sorry, idealistic 20-something Leisha, it turns out we get baby food in plastic containers at Walmart now, even though we feel terrible about it.
Things I'm working on: I'm figuring out Christmas presents for husband, son, parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece. Also, I'm apparently working on storing up fat for another two years of African hibernation. (Gained 12 pounds in two months and counting!)
I'm reading: Very atypically for me, I'm about one chapter into four different books. I never, ever read like this, but for some reason my attention span has gone the way of my waistline. So, the books I'm reading are: Respectfully Yours by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs (a study on respecting my husband), Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot, and After the Funeral by Agatha Christie. I'll give you one guess as to which book will be finished by the next time I make this list. (Hint: it's the only work of fiction on that list.)
I'm grateful for: I'm actually enjoying the cool, grey days of an Oregon autumn. I do miss the sun, and I'm sure I'll be really happy to go back to warmer weather, but it's probably upward of 100°F in Shirati these days, so I don't mind the excuse to wear coats and fleece. I realize most of you probably aren't quite busting out your mittens yet, but if your typical "cold day" were about 70°F, you'd be wearing wool coats, too.