Saturday, January 30

where you're looking for me....

... you will not find me.

Since I got hitched I figured I should quit the narcissism and cleave to my helpmate. And I've never been happier in my life.

You can find my/our semi-less-narcissistic musings at the Newell Post

Wednesday, July 30

Friday, June 13

So many pictures... so little time!

Here are some pictures that I just have to share with you all! I have less than 5 minutes to upload them, so we'll see how this goes! These are all taken at the resort where I'm staying in Goa. Much more to come soon!

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Lonely Planet guidebooks are great. I found loads of information from their India guidebook. One very crucial piece of information that Lonely Planet failed to highlight was the monsoon season. I’m sure it was in the book somewhere, but the book also happens to be over 1,200 pages in length. In other words, I’m sitting in paradise, otherwise known as Goa, India, in my hotel room listening to the rain come out of the sky like water from a fire hose. I’m not made of sugar (entirely, that is), so I won’t melt. But, even a semi-sweet gal doesn’t like to be drenched within seconds of being outside. We walked to breakfast this morning to a restaurant on the resort property and I was absolutely soaked by the time we arrived. I’ll have to learn to operate in a soggy state for at least the next four or five days. That’s OK, because as I mentioned before, we’re in paradise!

For example, this is our room at the resort. Wowzas! We have a covered porch that overlooks the expansive pools and rainforest-like flora of the resort.

This is our super-sweet bathtub. I think. I haven’t quite figured out how to fill it up, so I’m just using it as a shower for now. Not pictured here is the rain shower shower- head fixed to the ceiling. It is very high pressure, just like the rain pouring down outside as I type.

We actually only made it to Goa yesterday. Somehow we missed our flight on our original departure date, June 10th. (If you want to know how that happened I have to tell you when I’m back in the States… ughhh….) Now that we’re finally here, Jana and I are just enjoying, well, our room and our porch. We hope to make a trip out to a local market if the rain slacks off a bit. I don’t mind walking around the resort in the rain, but I’m not too keen on walking down muddy village roads in the rain.

With our extra day in Delhi Jana was able to do some last minute shopping for jewelry supplies. We also visited the Red Fort. It was built to protect the entire city of Delhi “back in the day.” As you can see from this picture, I’m outside the walls of the fort… so; I’d say the architects didn’t imagine India would have a billion people any time in their future. Their trajectory was a bit off…

This resort has an unbelievable spa, only a few soggy minutes walk from my room. I might just have to check that out! We took a tour of the spa yesterday and I was sold! The spa also has a sauna, but I have my own personal sauna. It’s called “being outside.” I also had my own personal parasite for a few days. That has finally passed, I hope. Today I ate a muffin. That was the first thing I’ve eaten in two days. Yay for Arbonne Powepacks! Hopefully my system absorbed some of those vitamins while I was on my parasite diet.

More updates soon! Keep checking back and keep pr@y!ing!

Monday, June 9

A Day of Shopping

We started our day with breakfast at "Cafe Coffee Day." Jana's breadfast looked yummy, but my "Italian Foccocia" left much to be desired. Spicy carrots on panini bread at 8:30am isn't my idea of a good breakfast. My second shot at a breakfast item was the chocolate doughnut. It was just like Daylight Doughnuts, a sure win.

Today we met up with our friend Raji who took us to several bazaars to buy jewelry pieces. Here is Jana and Raji walking to the bazaar.

Jana spent many hours picking out just the right pieces of silver, beads, and crystals for the jewelry business.

The street bazaars were CRAZY!!! I've never been stared at more in my life! There were billions of people, all crammed into tiny alleys, with motor scooters, bikes, rickshaws, and cars, all trying to go different directions. I was almost run over about 35 times (which barely beats the amount of times I saw a man "relieving himself" on the sidewalk. eeeewwww....) If you look closely, you can see the monkey on the wire above the street. It was so Indian Jones-esque!

As we were walking I spotted a drinking station where they serve the lowest caste of people (the Dalits) water from small clay pots. After the Dalit drinks from the pot they are required to throw it on the ground so that no person might drink from the same cup as a Dalit.

This doesn't begin to show how incredibly dirty and sweaty I was after eight hours of non-stop shopping. I had a "second skin" of street scum and pure sweat!

Sunday, June 8

Mississippi Mudpie + Delhi + A Cazillion Degrees = Delicious!

Today was a beautifully humid day in Delhi. Jana and I woke up pretty early and had a chance to catch up on all that has been going on over the past year or so. We chatted while we sat in bed for close to an hour! Then, we got ready and went to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. When our waiter brought the bill he informed us that our breakfast might be free tomorrow. We were both confused and he didn’t bother to explain himself any further. Is this some new promo technique? Works for me... I’ll be there tomorrow morning! I’m quite the sucker for freebies!

After a relaxing morning we went to a fellowship gathering in central Delhi. How beautiful it is to hear Indian voices singing to the Father! The message was exactly what I needed to hear. In fact, the verses that the teacher covered in the message were just what I have been studying for the past few days, and the same verses my wonderful boyfriend Jake wrote to encourage me on my trip. We studied what it means to experience “joy” that is not transient, and studied what it means to have G’s “peace” in our heart.

Our friend Kate took us to an INCREDIBLE restaurant after the gathering. The place is called “The Big Chill.” Yes, there were movie posters all over the restaurant. And, oddly, lots of Alfred Hitchcock memorbelia as decor. I was confused about that part of the restaurant, but not at all confused about the amazing meal! Without knowing it, Jana and I ordered enough food to feed most of the restaurant... for super cheap! Then, to top it all off, they had “Mississippi Mudpie” on the dessert menu. Curiosity got the best of us, so we had to order it. It was just what my palate was craving! Just like the mudpie we have in the South! Again, it was more than we could eat, but I’ve never had a problem finishing a dessert. It’s just a sin to leave gobs of chocolate on your plate. Paula Deen would have been proud.

This afternoon (you know, when the sun’s had enough time to heat up the air and pavement to a nice and steaming cazillion degrees...) we’re planning to visit a silver jewelry dealer to barter/purchase silver for the jewelry business. I’m excited to see Jana in action! We’re also on the prowl for sandals for the both of us that we can wear to an Afgh wedding. The tackier the better, I was told. Finally! Tacky dress is culturally appropriate! My Nana always says to take off at least one accessory before you leave the house, but just the opposite is true for an Afgh wedding! Pile on the yellow gold and gaudy jewels... it’s party time!

Photos Thus Phar

So, I just realized I haven't taken many photos since I've been here. Actually, none at all! But, here are a few from my time in NYC and with Jake before I left. Also, there is a picture of me with a cup of coffee at a place called "Jake's Coffehouse." How neat.

Saturday, June 7

India smells just like I remember!

Dear Readership,

I have arrived. Literally. I'm in India! The flight was too long. I'd suggest NEVER taking a non-stop flight to Delhi. Ever. But, I'm here now. I had about a six hour layover in New Jersey, so I hopped on the train into NYC. I spent a few hours just walking around and taking in the sights, walked to Time Square, ate at an expensive deli, and headed back to the airport just in time for my international flight. It was really fun to be out an about all on my own! After about a 15 hour flight, I'm finally in Delhi, India.

It was so great to see my friend Jana at the hotel! We had a very sweet reunion. Tomorrow we are going to a fellowship gathering together. Then, we'll do some shopping for jewelry in the afternoon.

Thank you for lifting me up during my flight. All of my bags arrived in (almost) perfect condition. Nothing was taken from the bags, they were just a little shuffled around. I am doing well and not quite tired yet. I'm still on Arkansas time! I better get to bed soon, though, so I can get on Indian time. I'll upload pictures soon of my journey so far!

Wednesday, July 25

our nation's first capitol

i went to philly and this is what i saw.

(plus some other great and historical figures. more pictures soon.)

Thursday, July 12

through the lens

a picture IS worth a thousand words, which will save me a lot of time in this update. just click here to see what i've been up to lately, in photo form. or, follow the link on my sidebar to "snaps."

Friday, May 18

voy a mexico...ahorrita!

"I am going to Mexico...right this minute!"

It's the truth. I leave in T minus two hours. Yipes. This wouldn't be as big of a deal, normally, except for the following circumstances:

:: I not only had to pack a suitcase for Mexico, I had to pack ALL of my belongings.

:: While I'm gone, my current residence will be vacated.

:: My dad is moving to New Jersey while I'm 'en la playa' in southern Mexico, "building a floor," as some have said.

ps: We hope to build more than a floor...

So, here I sit, in my empty room, staring at an empty, well, everything. These are my last moments in the first house that has seemed anywhere close to "normal" for the past five crazy years. Dad moved into this house about three years ago. I "lived" here through most of college. Now, I'm an official vagabond. With all of my most important things packed into boxes, resting for time in my grandmother's garage, I'm off... Off to, somewhere. Somehow. Of course, I could go to New Jersey with Dad. He'd love that. Even though it is only a 50 min. train ride to NYC, and the foliage is great, according to him, I'm just not sure I'm a NorthEastern-er. Not yet, at least. Plus, I'm pretty sure New Jersey produces more chemicals and artifical flavorings than any other state in the Union. That's got to be good for the environment up there...

Back to Mexico. I haven't been there in over a year. I usually go every Spring Break with our church to support the local m-workers-- building stuff, teaching stuff, medicating people, etc. I'm very excited to get back down there. This time around I feel I have a bit more to offer, to the team and to the long-term workers. We hope that I'll be able to make some fruitful connections with the local artisans, the m-base, and Bajalia. Apparently the harvest is very plentiful, but the outlet is undeveloped. We can work with that!

And, as you can imagine, more pictures are soon to come. I'll be posting lots of Mexican "fotos" when I return.

This photo is from my last trip:

As the vagabond/nomad lifestyle goes, I might not have regular internet access in the coming weeks. But, hang in there. You, my faithful readership, are worth every trip to the local library and coffee shop, where I shall bum WiFi, all for the sake of the blog.


Tuesday, May 15

garage sale gems

To set the scene: it is around 6:30am, Friday morning. I'm quite literally exhausted, asleep in my car in my grandmother's driveway, where I thought I could steal a few minutes of sleep while I waited for my first customer. I had been preparing for the garage sale to end all garage sales all week. I'm on this "minimalist kick," as my Dad so lovingly has labeled my life phase. I had prepared for the entire week--sorting, sifting, pricing, trashing, and reminiscing-- through every possession I've collected over my past 23 years of life. Yeah, that's a lot of stuff, you're right. Needless to say (even though I've actually already said it...), I was exhausted. But not for long...

Around a quarter to 7am, a gut-shaking rumble comes screeching down the street. I jump straight up, jerk around in my reclined seat, to catch a hazy gaze of my first customer. The rumble was coming from the dangling exhaust pipe of a circa 1980 Thunderbird (with T-tops). And when he parked just past the mailbox, the rumble didn't stop. He left the engine running, with the stereo blasting classic rock. The music matched the outfit, and gave him perfect theme music as he slithered through all of my considerably girly home decor, picture frames, and hand-painted bedroom furniture.

As he breached from the T-bird I knew I was in for a treat. His black, leather vest (with fringe) accented his bare cheast like the ruffled skirt on a plus-size baithing suit accents a pear-shaped figure. His flowing salt-and-pepper curls tumbled down his bare shoulders, well past his elbows, with a backwards hat most likely covering a receiding hair line and/or a sprawling bald spot in the crown region. Just making an educated guess from the context clues presented to me.

He hovered around the tables for several turns, picking up mainly electronics and cords and the tools my dad donated for the sale. Obviously a smoker from his pre-teens, he saluted me with a grumbly "Good mornin' girly. How's things?" ...such a familiar salutation, from such an unfamiliar figure... I told him he was my first customer, and, though his leathered face didn't show much of any expression, I could tell he was proud. After passing around some general niceties, I learned that "Smitty" did yard work for a living, but that he could pretty much do anything, at all...ever. Anything. He'd ovbviously peaked my interest such a bold statement. I had to know more...

Smitty then proceeded to explain to me how one would go about tearing down a tree, from the top down. I also learned various other yard-related tips and tricks. When I asked him about the duct tape around his tucked-into-socks pant legs, he explained that "the seed ticks were eatin' him alive down in the holler." Again, using my keen context clues, I drew the conclusion that he was working in a nearby holler, of sorts, tearing down trees. From the top, down.

The first of his many purchase decions, as he did stop by several more times throughout the next two days, was my dad's old stereo, dad's old ostrich skin cowboy boots, an electric keyboard, and my wet suit. I would love to see all of these purchases utilized simultaneously. I'm certain that with his old/new items, Smitty will be the envy on the banks of the Elk River, his current estate.

...if a picture's worth a thousand words, then Smitty left me speechless...

Sunday, April 1

happy birthday

to me.

so the marble is really bright, alright?

Friday, March 30

"you look like a nice afghan girl,"

said the mullah of the village, at the msq dedication ceremony, where i offered a blessing for the place in the name of the Only One who can save.

yeah, that was a good day.

Wednesday, March 28


Again, allowing children to run free with one's camera can produce priceless photos.

Tuesday, March 27

"let stand for one hour to coagulate"

or one day, or six weeks, or however long...

a few things i've learned in the past few days, covering a few areas of life and spirituality and food:

:: i lack discipline
:: i'm too optimistic
:: snicker's candy bars are a whole heck-of-a-lot harder to ration over the course of a week than are clif bars
:: saying that you'll learn a language by buying the books and cd's is quite different than actually learning the language
:: hot chocolate mix (with tiny marshmallows) + instant coffee + raw sugar = "mocha"
:: i'm afraid of weapons, but i'm not sure why
:: it is possible to still feel like you have dirt on your body even after a really hot shower
:: the world and life keeps clicking along even when you go to a new place and you wish it'd just stop and wait for you to come back
:: never, ever give your underware to the cleaning lady to be washed, unless you want everyone else to see it in living room later
:: assuming honesty is a dangerous dance
:: hair dryers can catch fire, especially when they start smoking
:: it takes more effort to live in a developing country
:: somehow i miss places i've never been. or have i confused missing with longing?
:: soaking clothes in hot, soapy water works for me (see seventh bullet point...)

Monday, March 26

don't know nothing except change will come

just wanted to share these curious faces with you. not much going on today. i'm stuck inside, with patty griffin singing to me, donald miller filling my head, along with Isaiah's words, and dusty, spring air collecting outside. el blog underwent a bit of a facelift today. the new color scheme was inspired by the mountain that is perched perfectly in my window. sometimes i think it is mocking me for not being able to conquer its summit. but i've decided to use its dominating presence as an inspiration to return here and reach new heights.

i was tempted to not write about this, considering the fact that some in my readership might be on the squeemish-side, but i just have to share what was in my food today, for the second time since i've been in this lovely country. ready? fur. i've had two pieces of naan with fur baked into the crust. sometimes the only way to eat is with my eyes closed. does fur have any nutritional value, i wonder?

tonight several of my new friends and i will be eating OUT, at a lebanese restaurant. i don't think fur is part of the lebanese cuisine, if memory serves me. i'm looking forward to fur-free hummus.

and patty bellows on...

.....I don't know nothing except change will come
Year after year what we do is undone
Time keeps moving from a crawl to a run
I wonder if we're gonna ever get home

You're out there walking down a highway
And all of the signs got blown away
Sometimes you wonder if you're walking in the wrong direction

But if you break down
I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love
I'll try to remind you
And stay by you when it don't come easy..................

Friday, March 23


I found this quote from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, and I've started using it to lift up this land, amidst all the rebuilding happening here.

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

God is here, and I'm learning of the mighty remodeling He's been up to lately. I hope that soon and very soon the people will see with their eyes and recognize with their lips, this great Architect, and that He'll make His home in their hearts.

Wednesday, March 21

fruitful failure

I tried to climb a mountain today, in honor of the New Year celebration. Well, I didn't make it. I actually thought I was about to croak 1/4 of the way up, and was sure I would croak 1/2 the way up, then basic bodily functions started shutting down 3/4 of the way up. Things I should have taken into consideration before this hike: 1) I have a cold/sinus infection/lung wheeze; 2) i'm asthmatic; 3) we're about 6,000 ft higher in elevation than I'm used to, and I'm definitely not climatized. So, I didn't make it. But I'm quite happy that I whimped out just above the city, but not quite to the top. As usual, my dear, empathetic, and lagging-behind friend and I started to draw a crowd as I sucked air through a windpipe the size of a coffee stirring straw. The crowd grew and grew, and soon there were probably around 10 women and twice as many kids surrounding us. Even though I know about 10 words in Dari, I felt totally in my element, be it an element with very thin air. As my friend and I wondered how to entertain our new audience, I thought to pull out my camera. Kids love this thing. I started to take pictures, then let them run wild with my camera. Here's a taste of my out-of-breath afternoon among the mountains of Kbl, through my lens:

this is my "if-i-have-to-climb-another-inch-we'll-be-revisiting-the-taco-soup-i-just-had-for-lunch" smile

breath-taking. literally.

henna-ed fingertips are smudging my lense, but i don't really care at this point.

mountain goat girls

babies and old men put me to shame

making babies cry, one mountain village at a time

her name is Nilofar and her hair really is blonde. and she's got an eye for photography.

mountain goat family