Viva Las Vega$!

3 Nights

1191 Miles

9(ish) Hours of sleep

8 New friends

7 Sugar Free Red Bulls

5 Restaurants

3 Ke$ha bracelets

2 Movies at ‘Johnson Cinemas’

2 Home cooked Thai breakfasts

1 Sequin mini skirt

Lots and lots of laughs and dancing

 

I had SUCH a fun weekend in Las Vegas! I’ve only ever gone for work before (Trade Shows. Read: exhausting, stressful, catty), so I never really liked it there… this weekend changed everything!

Dana and I were supposed to go out to visit Dad, but she got sick. I figured I took time out of my schedule to go so I’d go anyway and have a relaxing weekend with Dad and Pat. When I got there I found out Billy was there with a bunch of friends! I was beyond excited! Billy is one of my all time favorite humans.

So I got the best of both worlds! I got to sit around with Dad and watch movies during the day, and got to dance with Billy (and his awesometown friends) all night!!

And now… I am exhausted!

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The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

The Wounded Healer. I like that. I identify with that.

In our last Bible study book, The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith, in the chapter called ‘God Transforms’ the author shared a story about vulnerability:

Wanting to communicate the paradox of how we minister to others through our brokenness, he took a cardboard box and asked his students to “beat it up”. They punctured holes in the box, kicked it around and tore pieces off of it. Then he placed the box on the table in front of them all. Underneath the box was a light. He dimmed the house lights, and then turned on the light inside of the box. He didn’t need to say any more. They all understood. The light of Jesus shines clearly through our broken places.

The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith (page 163)

That passage illustration resonates with me. Most of the time I feel like I am walking through life with a broken leg and a bleeding heart- but, as Gayle Jonas told me, there is a purpose to the pain.

So I picked up The Wounded Healer. I love Nouwen and the title seems appropriate…

The Wounded Healer is broken up into four sections: Ministry in a Dislocated World, Ministry for a Rootless Generation, Ministry to a Hopeless Man and Ministry by a Lonely Minister. I was very tempted to jump straight to the last chapter- and I am really glad I didn’t. Each chapter got progressively better, and they built on each other (as one would expect).

Nouwen talks about the condition of modern man- how he is different than previous generations and how to minister to him effectively. He talks about the hopless man- the man who has no reason to live but does not want to die (I met many people in that predicament in Haiti), and he talks about the lonely minister (whom I can identify with more than is comfortable).

It’s a short and relatively simple book, but it’s profound. The way he simply walks the reader from point to point reminds me a but of CS Lewis’ apologetics, but it’s not nearly so dense.

What I’ve learned is that suffering is part of the human condition. There is no escaping it, but when we embrace our pain- when we look at it and see it as part of what makes us who we are and what makes us available to others and open to God it can be a beautiful thing. Or as Nouwen put it, “… the wound, which causes us to suffer now, will be revealed to us later as the place where God intimated His new creation.” (Conclusion, page 96)

When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope. … A Christian community is therefore a healing community not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision.

The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen (Page 93-34)

(Side note: I find it really difficult to express myself lately- I can’t quite get the words out right. I suppose this means I am not writing enough? I feel like my brain is dying. Sorry.)

“Blessed are those who mourn.”

Do you ever feel like there is a hole in your heart? And you work so hard to fill it, to seal it off, to heal it. Quiet time, Bible study, friendship, work, hikes, camping, prayer, reading, creativity, coffee… all these things are life giving. Filling. They help, the heal, they close the gap… but then if you turn the wrong way, take a misstep, get too tired, it all spills back out again and you’re left with a gaping, bloody hole in your chest.

And here is the thing about that; the thing about a bleeding heart: “Jesus wept.” “Blessed are those who mourn.” So, it’s not bad. It’s not wrong. … but where is the line between, say, PTSD and godliness?

In this world we see a doctor, get pills and fix our chemical imbalances. (Unless we’re uninsured. In which case, we wait for health care reform.) But what about prayer? What about behavioral changes? I’m all for Western medicine… but I also believe wholeheartedly in the power of a healing and loving God. And I don’t believe our highest calling in life is to be happy. So where does that leave us? Are these things just situational?

We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. I love Him, so this will work out ok. I don’t doubt that at all. And I don’t have any sort of health care (thank you, Peet’s Coffee- they dropped me for going to Haiti). This leads me to think that since I can’t see a doctor that I must have to deal with it on a spiritual level. Thing is, though, that I keep feeling like I need help. I am not strong enough, wise enough, or healthy enough to get through this by myself. So who do I count on? And if I do have some kind of post traumatic stress (let’s be real, Haiti was nothing if not traumatic)… well… does God fix that, too?

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:3-4

Junior High Winter Camp

I have this awesome friend named Jay. Jay is a youth pastor- not just any youth pastor, but a junior high youth pastor. It goes without saying that Jay is a special kind of guy.

When I was in high school I had the best youth pastor of all time (there are a number of people who will back me up on this), Pastor Mike. He loved us. He helped me and some of my closest friends become who we are today. He taught us about the most important parts of my life, and he was integral in building the foundation of my faith. God used Pastor Mike in mighty ways during his days as a youth pastor, and he was (and is) dearly loved. He has since moved away, but is still spoken of often and fondly. (This isn’t supposed to be sounding like a eulogy.)

Jay reminds me of Mike.

I joined Junior High staff because Jay really, really loves those kids. And that’s why I volunteered to spend the weekend in the mountains with 174 screaming tweens.

I was pretty nervous about staffing winter camp. I don’t have a ton of experience with kids and, though I really like them, they can be exhausting. Well, as it turns out they are very exhausting… but awesome!

I had such a fun time at camp this weekend. I staffed a cabin with a high schooler (whom I adore) and we had mostly girls from our life group. They were fun and cooperative and engaging. Sitting with them during chapel times was the best part- seeing them worship God with abandon and listen attentivly to the speaking was really encouraging. It gave me hope for this world.

We sang, jumped, swam, danced, ran around in the rain, slid in the mud, screamed, played mafia…and I am pooped!

Oh and, in case you were wondering (I know you weren’t), at about 47 kids thought they were super clever, “Hey, you look like Pink!!” Sigh.

Haiti Benefit Concert

We would like to thank you for your generous donation of to J/P HRO, Haitian Relief Organization, on January 22, 2011.  We appreciate your confidence in us and your generosity. Your donations allow us to keep doing out work on the ground in Haiti changing lives.

The situation in Haiti is constantly changing and being a newer and smaller organization has allowed us to be agile and change to accommodate the needs of their population. What does not change is our commitment to the work. As you may know, our primary work resides within the boundaries of the Pétionville refugee camp, where we oversee the shelter, provisions, medical care and security for over 50,000 displaced Haitians while working to return them, safely, to their neighborhoods. In addition, we are helping to provide tents, water filters and filtration systems and medical supplies to additional populations throughout Haiti.

The team at J/P HRO is made up of a large rotation of volunteers, a small staff, and an ever-increasing number of Haitian nationals. It is important to us that your donation provides the Haitian people with the most sustainable benefits possible, and with that in mind, we hope to also provide them with jobs and training throughout the relief and recovery effort.

Your support, along with the support of thousands of others, will enable us to continue to deliver immediate results to the people of Haiti. Daily, we see the positive impact from your donations on the lives of the Haitians displaced by the quake. You have our personal pledge and commitment to continue our work for the long-term benefit of Haiti. To learn more about how your donations are used on the ground, click here.

On behalf of the people of Haiti and everyone at J/P HRO, thank you again.

Director of Development
J/P HRO

Coffee: Caffé Vita Seattle

I am coming to terms with the fact that I may not blog all of the shops I went to on my Northwestern tour… I should have kept up with it while I was there. Oh well. Hindsight.

Ok, now for the shop at hand: Caffé Vita. For several hours, this was my favorite shop in Seattle. The barista was friendly, but not over the top. The shop was cool- well decorated and comfortable, but not too much. (I think we have a Goldilocks thing happening here…)

But the espresso. Oh, the espresso. It. was. good.

I didn’t get a photo, but they use naked portafilters– my favorite. The espresso was smooth and rich but packed a punch. In my notes I wrote, “perfect latte” so, well, that sums it up. Go there. It’s in Fremont.