Sometimes, it's been really hard being down here and missing everyone back home.  But we are SO thankful that we live in a time where there's Facebook and Skype and blogs --- I just don't think I'm cut out for being on my own!  …So, in thinking of how we can better stay in touch, we decided to create a website.  It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (okay, actually just a TON of loud frustrated sighs), but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out!  I tried to model it after what my desk usually looks like, which is pretty chaotic on its own!  There are pics of our adventure and this beautiful island of Dominica, a page where you can learn more about where we live, and of course, our blog.  So head on over to A Purposeful Chaos and check it out, I'd love to hear what you think!
 
 
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Coloring with new friends.


There's a video that's been circling the internet that focuses on an important issue faced by many Americans today; FWP.  It was such an astute and relevant video, I even reposted it on our facebook page.  Take a minute to view the video here:
So, yes I'll admit that I got a pretty good laugh out of that, especially since many, many of my conversations with Solveig the past 7 weeks have been about needing to man up in our new lives here on Dominica.  But I've also been very impressed with how tough, brave and friendly she and Lincoln have become in such a short time.  Solveig no longer complains about the 30 minute offroad hike in the heat to the school campus but trucks along like a little trooper.  They let locals hold them on their laps every day on our transport to school in the morning, and smile and respond politely to the overt friendliness that is part of this culture.  They've tried more new foods in the last month than I can count (though that's nothing new; refusing food has never been option - we don't offend the chef in our household!).  I was worried Solveig'd be a little afraid of her new teacher, a gentle no-nonsense Dominican woman, but when I asked her what she thought she just shrugged and said "She talks Dominican.  I like it."  

I have done a lot of growing, too.  I'm getting used to Jon being absent and having to navigate this country on my own.  I'm learning to be brave and stay safe when walking by myself, I'm learning how to swim in the open ocean, I'm learning how to cook with local produce.  At least once every day I remind myself to suck it up when I have to make bread from scratch, or have to walk the long hot path to the school carrying Linc, or miss having my friends to help me decompress all this new, or any other number of things I do every day.  One of Jon's classmates saw that FWP video and reposted it with a note that it was for friends back home in America as it didn't apply to us since we were, after all, "roughing it" here in a developing nation.  And for a second I agreed with him, I mean after all I am living far out of my comfort zone every single day.

But then I saw this ad campaign from the organization Water is Life:
Recently there was a scare here that the water supply had been contaminated likely for month, and for about 36 hours there was a huge reaction from the American student population here ranging from high stress to sarcasm at the ghetto of a country we live in.  But a new friend quietly reminded some of us that while our inconvenience was temporary, the absence of safe drinking water is a permanent and life-threatening reality for a majority of people on this planet. My Grandpa dedicated his life to clean water for refugees in developing countries and some of you know he was a big influence in Jon's decision to become a doctor, so that hit close to home!

I thought I'd come *so far* but I realize that I will never really struggle the way my neighbors here struggle.  

I complain that I bought too much food at the grocery store and now I have to lug my 8 bags All. The. Way. Home., when the person in the next line can barely afford the contents of her single bag.  I complain that the transport took too long to arrive when the guy who opened the van door for me and my children can't even afford the $0.60 bus fare.  I complain that our barrel hasn't arrived yet with my 6 pairs of brand new flip-flops so I have to wear an extra pair of Jon's, when the mom I met in the park last week doesn't even have shoes.  You can take a first-world girl out of the first-world, but you can't take the first-world out of the girl.   

And I really hope that's not true. 

We knew when we got the call to move down here that God was putting us in a mission field for this time.  We've been given nothing but opportunity to share our blessings of love, resources, energy, friendship, and most of all salvation.  But I have let myself become distracted by the reality of hard work instead of viewing it as a blessing.  God is blessing us with an understanding of these people, a taste of the poverty and corruption in this country and an appreciation for those who work hard to overcome it.

God is blessing us with discomfort:
As I've been pondering these things the past couple of weeks or so, the kids and I have become involved in a ministry here for impoverished kids in Portsmouth, the city that neighbors Glanvillia.  In a country of 23% unemployment, average yearly income of $14,600, and about a third of the population below the poverty line, there are many kids in need.  We sing worship songs, play games, have a Bible lesson, craft, and provide a modest meal.  For a lot of these kids, that is the only meal they will eat that day, or sometimes even for a couple of days.  But these kids are bright, friendly, energetic little sweethearts, and I'm excited that me and my kids get to know them for the next two years.  And of course my mind is already swirling with the hundreds of ways I see that we can grow in our care and love of these sweet kiddos (stay tuned Harvest, I might be calling in some favors soon!).
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Leading a Bible lesson with the kids in Portsmouth.
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It's a process, but there's nothing that makes me more aware of my chronic FWP than to live here in a developing country.  And I know that my Jesus loves me and has put us here to learn the lessons we're learning, but that He also chose to have me grow up in America and knows I have the perspective of privilege.  Daily I want my prayer to be "Jesus break my heart for what breaks yours."  

My new life is still scary (like when the strange guy with a machete on the path watches me walk behind him for several minutes before waiting for me to catch up and starts asking me where I live, when does my husband get home, etc.), it's still hard (like when I feel about to explode without someone to talk to about things while I try keep it light with my new friends), it's still exhausting (like when I walk to and from the transport stop with Linc crying and dragging beside me the entire way with all our neighbors staring at us.  Every single day.) but it is never without purpose, and I am thankful that I have a Rescuer who will not let our time here go to waste.

 
 
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The Caribbean Sea is so different than the Pacific Ocean, the waves barely lap against the shore - more like the Columbia River!


Today marks 4 weeks we’ve been on the island.  That sounds surreal.  We still feel so very green, so naïve, so unsure as we try to navigate our new normal.  For those of you who are curious I thought I’d share with you the routine we’re falling into:

Monday-Friday we get up about 6:15 (that’s 2:15 to those of you back home … and yes I might still be a little bitter about the time change!).  Two dogs and a puppy from across the street (dogs roam all around free here) follow us every morning for about half of our 5 minute walk to the main road where we flag a “transport” (15-passenger van).  The kids & I take the transport to the Ross campus while Jon walks the shorter distance to the satellite building where 1st semester classes are held.  This was stressful for me at first because the transports are usually filled with locals on their way to work and it can be slow getting the kids and their backpacks on & off while fumbling around my bag to find the $1.50 EC taxi fare – I don’t want to be the reason anyone is late!  But the locals here are really patient and helpful with the kids.  Another walk across campus then I drop Solveig off at the Ross Prep School (of around 50 kids), and take Lincoln to the preschool/daycare adjacent to it.  Solveig’s teacher is a strong soft-spoken Dominican woman who Solveig says has both a “lady voice and a big voice.”  There are about 10 kids in her combined pre-K/kindergarten class and she loves it.  Lincoln also has three wonderful, very nurturing Dominican women for teachers, but it’s taken a while for him to admit that he has fun there.  A lot of their classmates are administrator’s and faculty’s kids, so I’ve gotten the pleasure of knowing a couple of Jon’s professors as regular people!
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The view from my morning workstation.
After I drop off the kids I grab coffee and sit out on the school’s upper deck overlooking the Caribbean Sea with a few regular students (who watch their lectures online instead of in class) and get some design work in.  One of my clients is rolling out a couple new product lines and I’m so thankful to have something structured to do --life for me is slooooooow here.  The prep school closes for the noon hour so the med students can have lunch with their kids, so Jon meets up with us and we eat together. Then the kids & I head home for their naps (and I try hard to resist taking a nap too!).  

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Solveig's favorite place to nap - I often find her like this at naptime!
After their nap it varies, if it’s not dark yet (it gets dark about 6) we’ll sometimes walk to the grocery store or the mile-and-a-half back to the school where they have kids’ activities on Wednesdays. Friday afternoons I’m going to start taking the kids with me to volunteer with an outreach that plays with, teaches and feeds local kids.  Grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning is a huge chore here, so that usually takes up most of my evenings.  Staples like fresh milk and eggs (and chocolate chips!) are hard to find, and a lot of things I used to buy I now make on my own: bread, tortillas, jam…

Jon’s afternoons usually include a cadaver lab, group study session or tutoring, and in the off hours he camps out in the library re-watching the recorded lectures from that morning and studying.  He has dinner on his own and usually takes a shuttle home between 9:30-11.  

Saturdays Jon tries to spend the morning with the kids watching movies, and leaves for school to study sometime before lunch.  Our landlord’s wife comes to clean Saturday afternoons (which I thought was going to be great but it actually just forces me to spend the whole day hurriedly cleaning in preparation for her to come later!).  The kids have swim lessons in the afternoon and we’ve been meeting Daddy for dinner on campus.  Some Saturdays Jon’s been going up to the Carib Indian Territory with some other students and working in the free clinic there.  

Sundays we’ve been going to the Ross Christian Fellowship.  We’ve been keeping Solveig & Linc with us during the music time just like back home, and then to Sunday school where all the kids are together in one big class (Lincoln LOVES getting to be in with all the big kids!).  The church is a lot like a college group so we feel a little old, but it’s important to Jon & I that we spend time with other Christians encouraging each other and everyone there is really loving.  I’m going to start playing and leading music soon, which I’m really looking forward to!

One thing that’s nice about that church is everyone knows and understands each other’s situation, exactly when you have an exam coming up, or what it’s like to study things like histology - it’s really quite unique.  And each exam day the prayer team greets students outside the test site and prays with anyone who wants to.  The speaker at church yesterday very thoughtfully pointed out how med students can so easily get self-absorbed; wrapped up into their studies, stressing about their next exam, agonizing over their schedule.  God disappears and students fall into a rhythm of relying on themselves for their success.  They forget Who They Are.  We are called to be Jesus' disciples first then everything else second, right?  And while I vehemently feel that we are to respect the opportunities God gives us with energy, effort and excellence, we can’t forget Where Those Opportunities Came From.  The opportunity that Jon has in medical school is not something he deserved or even earned.  God was very specific in the way He gave it to him and did not leave any room for us to think we did it on our own.  So now, when we are completely absorbed in med school, how can we think we can do this on our own?  This has been really sticking with Jon and I.  It’s so hard for Jon to justify time away from studying (he’s actually really grateful that we are so isolated here with zero other obligations), but taking time out for God is something he cannot ignore.  So we’ve been working on being more intentional about that because we’ve realized: the reason we’ve been feeling so much like we’re drifting in the waves is because that’s exactly what we have been doing!
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We've also been feeling bogged down with the "living in a developing country" part of being here and not appreciating the spectacularly beautiful island that is now our home.  So we've recognized that we need to be proactive about spending some time enjoying our environment, which is why last week we took a boat ride up the Indian River that runs near our neighborhood. Now we know what you all really came to this blog for: some pictures of a Caribbean paradise!  

So without further ado...

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Stopping for a drink at the "bush bar" upriver in the middle of the jungle.
Thank your prayers, notes, emails, Skype visits and checking in, it has been really comforting and encouraging.  Jon may be appreciating the isolation, but I’ve been really missing all my people who “get” me.  As we become braver and start venturing out more, we’ll be sure to share our adventures with you!
 
 
Back home, I'm used to a choice of 100 cheeses at the cheese counter, Chuck's Produce's 15 varieties of apples, and to me a store has bad selection if it only carries three kinds of pate.  So with the limited ingredients available here cooking here has been really challenging.  I can't say I have't had a dinner-time meltdown or two when yet another meal is turning out to be total crap, but I'm slowly learning how to use all these substitute and strange ingredients here in Dominica.  Check out the yummy things starting to emerge from my kitchen (and my ridiculous screw-ups) over at my new food blog.
 
 
Take a tour of our little home for the next 16-20 months!
 
 
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The clouds rolling in behind our house - it's rained about 4-5 times per each day we've been here.
Since we are here for medical school after all, I'd say our first week has been, well, very educational. 

The night we arrived we were taken straight to the school where we fought to hold off a mutiny when (after 20 hours of travel) Solveig & Lincoln were asked to sit quietly through an orientation presentation.  But then came the food, oh, the food.  We've learned since that the chinese food we had that night is just about the only take-out option available on the island and we've now eaten it many more times during our first week.  But that night it didn't matter what it was, it was our first meal in a day and a half and it was demolished in about 60 seconds.  Eventually our land-lord (very nice couple with kids our age) arrived to take us (and our endless luggage) to our house where I was pleased to see it was exactly as good as I'd hoped (it is about $500 a month cheaper than the lesser-standard homes in the area so we'd been suspicious it might be too good to be true).  So PRAISE GOD we don't need to worry anymore about housing!

The next day we decided to time our walk to the school and were very discouraged to find out it was much further (and rockier, hillier, etc.) than we expected, until a Ross administrator who recognized us from the night before pulled her car over and called out the window, "I noticed you were taking a very long walk this morning…"  Turns out we had gone waaaaay out of our way and she showed us a quicker route.  But our daily hike to the school is still considerable (not to mention somewhat dangerous walking in the shoulder of a road without a speed limit!) which I both curse and praise every morning on my way in, trying to think of all the weight I just HAVE to be losing doing this every single day!!

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Our neighbor the Rooster.
Jon has had orientation every morning this week, and the kids & I went to family orientation on Wednesday.  Our afternoons have been filled with grocery shopping, setting up cell phones, paying rent and unpacking.  Today we got to go to a class on local nutrition and learn a little bit about Dominican produce.  Tomorrow I'm excited that we get to visit the Portsmouth street market, despite the early hour (we have to get up at about 5am which is, for those of you keeping track, 1:00am PST!).  I'm really looking forward to buying some fresh produce and fresh fish to try my hand at some island cuisine!

I'm going to have to completely re-learn everything I know about cooking; fresh milk is very rarely available here, as are eggs, butter and (brace yourselves) ice cream (man, I knew I should have brought that ice cream maker!).  BUT, my Haiti mission team friends, remember that bread & nutella they served there?  Yep, they have it here too.  And there are lots of things I've never cooked with; dansheen, sour sop, papaya, custard apples (??), tamarinds...   And they call avocados pears here.  If you're curious about the exotic produce Dominica has to offer, take a look at this site, it's very interesting! 

We've also learned this week how to pre-pay for "units" of electricity at the convenience store down the street, send out our laundry (this culture generally doesn't have in-home washers & dryers or laundromats so we pay a service to pick it up & do it), and we've learned how to give directions to our house (since we literally don't have an address, our daily conversation with taxi drivers, take-out guys, laundry lady goes like this: "We're in Glanvillia.  You know the Mountain Breeze?  Yes, the bar.  Kind of by there.  Next door to Anita and Clive Rodney.  No, Clive Rodney.  Yep, the little green house."  Sometimes we don't even have to tell them that much; since there aren't many white American families here and the town is so small, I guess everyone knows who we are.

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The view off our front veranda.
Solveig says she likes Dominica a lot.  She likes all the flowers and that it's sunny and that we live right by the beach.  She loved taking off on the plane.  She says she also likes that I don't have to work anymore!  --(haha, don't know about that, Lady, feels like I'm working pretty hard right now! ;) --  She likes her room (she gets her own room now) and there's a banana tree right outside her window.

Jon officially starts school Monday, so pray for him.  It looks to be a very demanding schedule and he's definitely in the minority here (everyone he meets goes "oh, you're the guy with the wife and kids, right?" ...there's 352 in his class and only 4 guys have families).  So he's very cognizant that needing to keep a balance probably means sacrificing better grades.  We're going to try the campus church on Sunday, but so far it sounds like there aren't a lot of members who are a little older or have kids so we'll see.  We finally got our barrels today (there was a cruise ship blocking the port so they were late) so now I'll be able to get our house a lot more set up and give you a tour soon!

Thank you all for praying and building us up!

 
 
Psalm 16:1 Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.
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With all our luggage - 12 bags, 2 cat crates, 1 stroller, 4 pillows, and 4 carry-on bags!
Saturday and Sunday was probably the most intense, stressful, adrenaline-filled 24 hours of my life.  After a day of packing and cleaning with our wonderful family, we decided to head to the airport earlier than we planned to eat dinner.

But then we headed into a mix-up with the airline that started with 
"Oh no, you can't leave tonight, you're going to have to reschedule," 
and led to several Delta managers' involvement and 2 1/2 hours at the ticket counter.  Our emotions were already high as we prepared to say goodbye to our family, so being faced with this at the eleventh hour was crushing, and worse, kept us away from spending those last couple hours with our family.  Our brothers and sister took the kids to dinner while we sorted it out.  Finally after Elise's brother rushed home & back to get our second cat crate we were cleared to get as far at Puerto Rico but there was a chance me and the kids would have to stay behind in Puerto Rico overnight, sending Jon alone to Dominica (he had to  report on the island by the 30th or lose his spot in the class).

All that time at the ticket counter left us just enough time to go through security and get on our red-eye to Atlanta, so, no dinner for us.  We had kept the kids from napping so they would go right to sleep on the red-eye which… didn't happen.  I think they (and subsequently us) slept maybe 45 minutes of the whole 4 hour flight.  We were in 1st class, which we had been excited about up until now but found out that really just meant surrounded by a bunch of old grouchy wealthy people who hated us.

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On our final flight to the island. Almost there!
Then in Puerto Rico we found out Jon would not be allowed to leave the country with the issue unresolved, so we had to claim our cats out of quarantine, re-check them at the ticket counter 
(where they at first told us we couldn't leave the US -!!), 
spend precious minutes sorting that out and convincing them to take our animals and extra luggage instead of making Jon stay behind, and RUN through security to our gate.  But we all made it, thank GOD we made it!

The plane to Dominica was little and the flight was really fun with beautiful views of Caribbean islands below.  Coming up over the Dominican mountains was exciting, we flew so low I swear I could almost touch the trees and houses we were flying over.  We landed on a tiny airstrip that came out of nowhere in the middle of the jungle.  The airport was a lot like Haiti's but much smaller.  We were the last through customs, and the agents got a good laugh over how much  luggage we had - which was good because they didn't tax us anything!  Then after waiting in a van for 30 minutes we took the hour drive up to the Ross campus.

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The islands south of Puerto Rico.
We've been living the last month under a lot of stress.  It seemed like every move we made carried so much weight with it, so much depended on the accuracy of some form, or strategically allocating funds, or correctly understanding some procedure, or meeting deadlines on time.  It was on that drive that Jon and I were hit with an immense wave of relief.  Windows rolled down, we breathed deep all the wonderful smells of the island - flowers, rain forest, camp fire, beach, BBQ - and realized for the first time in a very long while, we had some

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Relaxing in our new house.
 stability.  Funny to find stability in a tiny developing country most people think is adjacent to Haiti, but it's true: we don't have to wonder where we're going to be living, if Jon would get into med school, how we're going to scrape by financially, if we were going to pull it together to make this move happen, if this is really the path God has us on.  Psalm 16:1 was in Jon's devotional this morning, and we felt like that exactly fits our lives lately.  God has been faithful, and that drive through Dominica was the first time we could relax and bask in His faithfulness.

There's so much more to tell as we're starting to get to know our new home, but we'll save that for next time!  We get our barrels Wednesday so after we unpack those we'll give you a tour of our house!  :)

Thank you for encouraging and praying for us!

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Our little house with the mountains behind.

 
 
When Jon was early to pick me up from work a couple weeks ago I was a little frustrated because I'm trying to be better about making him wait and I still had things to finish up.  But that was short-lived when he walked straight in and blurted out with a huge smile, "I got in!..."
And then it came:
"…to the January class."

Whoo boy, I did the math in my head: that gave us roughly 5 weeks to do, well, everything.  For four people.  And two cats.

Speechless. 
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Chocolate stress therapy.
Then I had the exact same thought I had 5 years ago when we found out we were pregnant with our  (always perfectly enjoyable) Solveig: 

Shoot, God's really going to make us do this!

...It's so easy to be obedient when you're not really having to do anything all that hard yet - my confidence was sometimes all smoke & mirrors.  So I guess you could say now it's our turn to walk our talk.  Ouch.

So fast forward to now, after two non-stop weeks filled with chest x-rays, trips to government offices, rabies vaccines, physical exams, meetings with bank managers & preschool teachers, phone calls to Dominica, Miami, LA, Kansas and New Jersey, Hep B shots, conversations with piano parents, and Thanksgiving somewhere in there too.

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Jon's mileage from Day 1 of Visa Paperwork Extravaganza 2012.
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Mailing off our immigration packet.
Our life feels like an endless to-do list right now but I have to admit this sudden flurry has been a little fun too: it feels good to be so incredibly productive each and every single day, even if each day I wake up a little overwhelmed.


So, here's the low-down:
We've just paid Jon's tuition deposit and sent off our huge packet of immigration paperwork for our visas (it was due today).  Solveig & Lincoln's paperwork?  6 pages.  Mine & Jon's?  3,482.  

We fly out on the red-eye out of Portland on December 29th and arrive on the Island of Dominica around 4pm on the 30th.  Then Jon has meetings on the 31st and orientation week (that includes snorkeling tours and whale watching - tough life) before classes start January 7th.

We still have to work out packing missionary barrels to send off in a couple weeks, find storage for the things we're keeping back home, find a place to live on the island, get the kittens import certificates, enroll Solveig in school, buy Jon supplies like scrubs and dry-erase markers and an opthalmosope (whatever the heck that is - I'm a business major for a reason!).  Oh, and buy mosquito nets.

How can we be so busy every day and still have so many things left to do? 

This post is making me tired, better head to bed: tomorrow is one more day toward our new adventure!

 
 
Wednesday on our way to youth group Jon got a call from Miami, FL.  Not knowing why Miami would be calling him, he sent it to voicemail only to hear the recording later from the man who interviewed him from Ross University back in April (for those following along, Ross is our first choice med school).  He said he was calling personally to tell Jon the admissions committee has asked if Jon would retake his MCAT.  We were pretty bummed; another school had said the same thing and it was basically a nice way of denying him.  But curious what kind timeframe the committee was talking about, I convinced Jon to call him back and I'm so glad I did. 

The guy from Ross explained they were in no way denying him; the committee loved his story, he was an exceptional interview, has great clinical experience and good grades, and they thought he would make a good candidate.  They just couldn't justify directly admitting him with his MCAT score.  So, they gave him a conditional acceptance for the next 6 months on the condition that he receive a higher score on his MCAT retake.  Evidently this is a pretty big exception they're making for him, and it sounds like Jon's interviewer is really championing for him. 

There are still the US post-bac programs to hear back from, but here's what we're thinking: those programs all promise acceptance to their med schools for the following year if Jon passes the program AND gets a higher score on his MCAT.  So if he has to retake his MCAT either way, we'd rather him start med school in January than take a grad program he doesn't really need and start med school 15 months from now.

So here's what that means for us:
    ~Jon would have to retake his MCAT (the last test of the year is Sept. 11).  He already feels that he's done the best he can do on his own and only wants to go through that kind of studying hell again if he's sure he can make it. 
SO:
    ~Jon would start an intensive MCAT test prep course immediately, going to three study courses a week until September
But:
    ~Jon would have taken a test prep course in the first place, but we couldn't afford it then and we can't afford it now (they're about $1,800-$4,500).
In the meantime:
    ~We need somewhere to live for the next 6 months.  We've been traipsing all around Camas & Washougal the past two days trying to find something.  Since Jon graduated in May we don't have financial aid anymore, and most of my piano lessons are ending for the summer,
So that means:
       ~One or both of us also needs paying work.

Nothing more fragile and crazy than usual, right?
 
 
Growing up, I’ve never been taught about fasting and prayer.  I knew of people who did it, but they were usually the Christians everyone whispered about being a little socially off or attention mongers.  So I kind of adopted the opinion that those who fasted were sensationalizing Christianity, like the televangelists I wince in embarrassment at. But then again, I did grow up in a church that’s great at patting itself on the back.  Honestly, most of the information I’ve read about fasting is a humungous turn-off coming from the exact religious perspectives I’m trying to separate myself from.  Ritualistic, self-glorifying, and false piety come to mind. 

But I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of discipline.  Someone described it well to me when she said, “I pray when I want to, read my Bible when I want to, and don’t deny myself anything.”  Ugh, I am so undisciplined.  For me, food is something that I value way too much.  I mean, that much is very clear in my life -all 284 pounds of it.  I have made it an idol, something that I have been in sinful bondage to.  Modern America is a land of excess, gluttony and hedonism and this self-centered attitude has made its way into my life.

All through the Bible, people fasted during times of desperation, petition, challenge and preparation.  The church of Antioch fasted when they sent Paul and Barnabas off on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3).  The spread of the gospel was considered such a monumental task that God’s help was sought with extreme measures – prayer & fasting.  Ezra and the godly remnant fasted to seek God’s direction for their journey back to the promised land: “Beside the Ahava River, I asked the people to go without eating and to pray. We humbled ourselves and asked God to bring us and our children safely to Jerusalem with all of our possessions.” (Ezra 8:21). They fasted and threw themselves under the guidance of God. “So we went without food and asked God himself to protect us, and he answered our prayers.” (Ezra 8:23).

David Platt, author of the book Radical (which ended up being a catalyst book for many in our small group at church), has a great message about fasting and he says that when we fast, we are saying that “More than my body wants food, my life needs You, my soul needs You.”  Man, how quickly do I crave food after just a few hours, not to mention a couple days. Do I hunger for Him with the same desperation that I desire food?
All this to say Jon and I have been convicted about our attitude in this time of waiting and anticipation.  We are up against a few weeks of intense decision making and utter uncertainty.  Really, we are a hot mess.  And we ask ourselves, do we actually want what God wants?  Are we willing to stand by God’s assignment to us like we say we are?  If that’s really true, then we feel we need to honor God, to petition Him, be obedient, walk our talk.  God’s saying go, be about My kingdom, serve the least, and we said okay, show us what that looks like and He’s saying no, go first.  Jon graduated from Washington State yesterday with his pre-med degree, marking the end of a season for our family.  But we have no idea what's next, I mean, we don’t even know point A to B, but just have to move forward.

In this time of self-indulgence and spiritual apathy we are trying to seek God with extraordinary means. We are coming to Him as beggars, just desperate to seek Him and know we are completely dependent on Him. There is order always underneath the chaos.  God’s never confused, He always knows what’s going to happen.