Saturday, January 29, 2011

Things I'll miss...

People often ask me what I'm going to miss about the US when I move to the Philippines. That's a tough one!

When my family first moved there in 1981, things were MUCH different. The only fast food restaurants from home were Shakey's and KFC. McDonald's opened shortly after. Now they have just about everything from TGI Fridays, Tony Roma's, Fazoli's, even Taco Bell! There are more Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Armani stores than there are in LA...practically. It's ridiculous. Walking distance from my parents' house are 5 major shopping malls. It seems like Manila has just about everything.

That being said, there are some things I'm going to miss:
In N Out
Red Robin
Target (sniff sniff)
Trader Joe's (stomach growls)
Driving with at least 10 feet from the car in front of me, doesn't happen too often in LA, but it DOES happen
finding pants/shorts that fit (Filipinas are built differently)
Liquid coffee creamer!!! :( :( :(
hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants
free tickets to Disneyland
Big Bang Theory on TV

And of course the people. I can do without the things, but the people are what will hurt. Thank God for Skype and GoogleTalk.

But keep me accountable, folks. There were things I missed dearly when I moved to the US in 2001. Things that I really appreciate about the Philippines. Ask me about what I love sometime in March after I've settled in a bit. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm no saint

I love sharing about what God has called me to do in Manila...but I never quite know how to respond when someone says, "you're so good." or "you're a saint." Honestly, I want to laugh because God knows just how far from that mark I fall...on a daily basis. I complain with the worst of them, I'm cynical, judgmental, prideful, and still very much a work in progress. Trust me folks, I'm NO saint.

I now have a small glimpse of what Paul meant when he wrote, "To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ..." (Eph 3:8). I'm sure at times people called him "good" to his face.

The challenge to a comment like this is to turn the focus from me and any goodness I have within me to the greatness of God. Truly my desire to go to the Philippines and improve the quality of life of the underserved is a response of God's incredible grace towards me. I am not good, He is. Of course I can say something like this, but the difficulty is saying it in such a way that doesn't sound preachy or sanctimonious. Any suggestions?

As I say my goodbyes at work and with friends, I'd love your prayers as I try to explain succinctly and plainly why I am going to the Philippines without sounding like a saint or a Sadducee.

26 more days!

*Clarification* added 1/24
Yes, all believers are saints in a Biblical sense. I don't mean to get into a theological issue. What I mean is, I am not a "Saint" as the world sees saints...such as Saint Mother Theresa, St Peter, St Catherine, etc... Make sense?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is it really time? turn in my two weeks notice? Wow, it feels like a speeding bullet train racing towards me. The end, that is. For so long this new journey has seemed like a goal, a vision, but so far from reality. (Sick of this theme for the blog yet?)

I was planning to turn in my two weeks notice tomorrow at the hospital where I work, but then realized that it's a holiday and even though I will be working, most of America will not, including the HR department. So that inevitable event is postponed a day.

Am I sad that this day has come? Absolutely. A big part of me is grieving. This was my very first hospital job and I absolutely love it. Every day I come home a slightly wiser and more experienced nurse, with GREAT stories! No two patients are alike and yet I can relate to *nearly* all of them on some sort of personal level. I am very confident in my skills and my responsibilities. I know what I'm doing. I've made excellent friends in my coworkers and we have great respect for one another. If I have questions, I know exactly where to go to get answers. I know my place at work...there's very little uncertainly with my job. People like me and know my quirks. In other words, I'm comfortable in the nurse I have become. I am very sad to leave that.

What faces me is a lot of uncertainty. Who am I to tell a mom how to breastfeed her child? I'm not a mom and have never done it myself? I don't know Filipino diseases very well. My medical Tagalog is shaky. I'm a young whipper-snapper to many of the folks there. There will be some very real challenges in proving myself not only to them, but also to me! It's nerve-wracking, and if I were facing this alone, I would be crazy and scared spitless. However, I cling to the promise that I'm not alone (Matt 28:20). That in my weakness, God's strength will be made perfect (2 Cor 12:9). And that when I started as a new hospital nurse 2 years ago, I was in similar circumstances, and yet look how far I've come. God is good. And through Christ alone, I can do this.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A time to pause

Even though I already posted twice this week (a record?), it's still Saturday and time for another post.

It seems like God is wanting me to pause and rest before my big move...thanks to a little pneumonia and horrid cold. Armed with antibiotics, great cough syrup, and mandatory leave from work, I'm trying to make the most of this opportunity to reflect, spend some time in solitude, sleep, and of course make a dent in my ever growing "urgent, send thanks!" list.

In some ways I feel like a 747 jet waiting on the runway for the "go" signal. I'm waiting for the 100% before I fire up the engines to take off. There's that little bit of apprehension that every pilot the plane going to make the lift-off, overcoming the gravity that pulls it down? Is everything really going to get done for me to be able to take off? I know it will, but it's still a daunting thought!

These next couple of days will pass by parents are in the US to move my Gramma to a higher level of care. (At 95, her memory and ability to care for herself is fading.) Tomorrow we will make a trip to the happiest place on earth, courtesy of some wonderful Christmas gifts. (Pray my body holds up for it!) My folks, middle brother Peter and his family, and I will traverse the magical Mouse House for some family memories. Though we're sorely going to miss my oldest brother who is out of town for training. :(

Enough rambling (blame the drugs), some prayer requests:
- that I'll get over this nasty bug and that YOU don't get it
- that my boxes that are enroute to Manila will make it back into my hands safe and sound
- for all my legal documents to be located so I can get the visa I need in the Philippines
- for a safe trip back to Manila for my parentals (they leave on Tuesday)
- and of course, for that last bit of support to come in

Thanks for reading this very rambling post!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


That's right, 94.4%! Praise the Lord with me that I'm so close!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bring it on!

It's 2011. It's also been two Saturdays with no post despite my best intentions...but between a slightly unplanned and very fast move, a nasty cold that's going around, a trip out of town, and oh yeah, CHRISTMAS, there's been no time to blog, let alone open up my laptop. (Thank goodness for a smartphone that allowed me to stay somewhat connected to my cyberfamily.)

Boxes are shipped. Stuff is stored. Body is moved temporarily to some friends' house. And a whole lot of stuff is given away or chucked. How is the WORLD did I accumulate so much stuff??

Like I said, boxes are shipped. Five boxes of an unknown weight, other than ridiculously heavy, were delivered to the Forex warehouse in Carson for FREE shipping, courtesy of Forex. Praise God! Inside these boxes were the beginnings of a house (clothes, sheets, pots/pans, dishes) and a whole bunch of donated medical equipment/supplies. What an enormous blessing!
Me with Forex owner, JP Carino --->

I am now at (drumroll, please!)

I'm almost there!!! I'm still praying for a January departure, so your added prayers are much appreciated. It's very doable, especially for the God with who all things are possible, yes?

My next newsletter is written. I'm just waiting for my December financial statement (due any day), in case that 91.27% goes up. Watch your mailboxes, virtual or otherwise, for it.

Thanks for your prayers and love. We're nearly there!