Thursday, August 29, 2013

Contentment in the tornado

con·tent·ment [kuhn-tent-muhnt]
1. the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.
2. Archaic. the act of making contentedly satisfied.

In the last few months it's felt like there has been a lot of upheaval in my life.  My integrity was questioned by a number of individuals who are close to me. It was bothersome, especially because I believe it was unfounded, and it made me feel a little like my life was getting turned upside down.  I felt as though many of the people who I thought knew me the best and had my back didn't know me at all.  That idea was dismissed by a friend I expressed it to a couple of months ago but last week when a friend from Seattle was here and we were discussing things she, without pause, stated "well they don't know you at all".  It felt good to have the affirmation from someone who has known me for almost ten years that I wasn't off base in feeling what I was feeling but it didn't make me feel any better about where I'm at and the muck I've been walking through, exhaustedly, the last few months.

When KS was here last weekend and I talked to her about what had been going on she expressed that it seems weird/brutal of God that it would be necessary to take my entire support system away if his intent was to make me move.  I agree with her sentiment.  I don't know if that's really the "why" behind the events but it does make me wonder if that's the reason for my support system in town coming apart at the seams (or moving away - eh hem AZA).      

Within, these changes and frustrations I've had to look for ways to find contentment, things that help to ease my mind and give me satisfaction.  A lot of that has come through keeping a push on DR stuff.  I've been very busy planning my next trip, which consists of a visit to my kiddos but also a week of intensive language school and water project work for Rotary.  I find great satisfaction in my Rotary work and it's been something I've pushed into at times when I've felt sad or alone for whatever reason.  I know I've been called to help down there and fulfilling that call is satisfying and energy giving.      

 I've also focused on some different people in my life.  I stepped back and asked myself who reaches out and who I share similar life with.  My involvement with those people has increased.  That's been hard at times because there are people I used to spend a lot of time with that I hardly have seen but I have spent a lot of life being a willing "fall guy" to keep peace and I can't be content in that any longer.  If I do something wrong, I always try to take the blame and responsibility for my part of the action, but I'm tired of being the only one who does so.  I guarantee you, if there is something in a relationship that goes wrong or feels off, you aren't blameless in the scenario.  If someone apologizes to you and you don't in turn find a piece of the conflict (if that's not to strong of a word) that belongs to you, look again.  I'm tired of being hurt by people who never take any part of the hurt so I'm not going to do it anymore.     

 There's no contentment in a broken heart when you aren't the only one who should be broken and it's stifled my usual great ability to forgive.     

I'm really questioning what these circumstances are supposed to mean.  I don't know why many of the people closest to me all decided to kind of take a crap on me all at once.  It could be I'm not supposed to be completely content here because God has a door he's opening elsewhere.  Or maybe he's pushing me to find a different support system for some reason.  I'm fumbling through and fixing things within myself as best I can.     

OK - on with your day.  I'm done venting.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tune Tuesday - TKO

When I was working for the firm in Mill Creek there was one partner who became a very dear friend.  One of the things I loved about our friendship was that we shared music with each other.  I was on a walk this afternoon and one of the songs from a group he introduced me to came on in the shuffle of my music and it made me think of him.

I usually don't listen to Hem until fall or winter but there was a little bit of crispness to the air today so, while I'm not really ready for it, I feel like it's ok to share the song here.  It's perfect "work away on a rainy day at my desk" music. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Skinned knees and suntan lotion

This summer has been a really wonderful one so far.  It has truly been flying by.  I can't believe it is already mid-August.  I've spent most of the summer happily with a nice tan and various bumps and bruises from various adventures including "rescuing" Moxie from the lake when she fell in off the dock.  That darn dog can't swim.

There's been multiple Mariner games, a muddy 5k, trips to the new lake house, bike rides, long walks in the sun, days at the spa, live music at the market, visits with my DR team, a golf tournament, a wedding, Froyo, out of town friend visits, trivia, Chelan twice, book club, Rotary events, wine tastings, happy hours with friends and to kick off the summer a great trip to MN which I've already shared about.

Here's a recap of my summer so far in pictures: 

Baseball with Pete!!

My buddy doesn't want me to go to work in the summer.  Let's just stay home and play all the time!

First trip up to Chelan

Moxie ruled the camp

Typical evening view of my neighborhood

Baseball with Erin!!!

Chelan trip #2: 4th of July with the Feeny girls, Mr. Foster and The Stines (etc)

Maddie came to visit twice.  It's a scary zoo at my house with her aroud.

Tessie loves it - nope.

Dirty Dash - I hurt for three days after this and the bruises from my knees down were out of control.  It was a lot of fun though!

Baseball with Molly!!!!

All Hail The King

Bike ride with Mom, Jess and Kelly

My happy dinner date

Diamond Lake
Baseball with Kirstin!!!

Keith, Kelly and I soaking up the sun at Diamond

Nice form Keith

Aubrey and Chad's wedding

Sunset stroll

I love that I can walk to coffee (or Froyo) but feel like I'm in the country

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

What happened down there!? Day 8 - it's time to go home. but first - a glimpse into my dreams

On Saturday before we went to the airport Ben decided it would be good to go to one of the MLB training camps outside of Santo Domingo and see if we could connect with Henrri who is one of the ILB boys that signed a contract to join The Orioles.  I didn't realize it until this point in time but every MLB team has a training camp in The Dominican Republic.  It is where all of the boys in the area come to train.  There are boys there from Venezuela, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, etc.  Each team has two squads and the boys work their way up hoping to eventually be sent to a minor league team in the United States.

Henrri's success is huge for ILB.  The fact that one boy from Barahona is being recognized is going to open the door for other boys there.  There are some legal issues that ILB has run into with the contract, or rather lack thereof, but we are working through them and hope in the future the boys will be more secured when the majors come calling.

I was an emotional mess the entire time I was there.  Watching Ben (one of the co-founders of ILB) glow over Henrri's success, hearing Henrri thank ILB supporters for loving him and getting him off the streets, being surrounded by so many MLB hopefuls, watching the catchers practice (my favorite), I was emotionally overwhelmed.



Tear Stained Picture

As I stood on a lookout over the fields I couldn't help but wonder if that moment was why God brought me to The DR.  Was I looking at part of my future?

I think of all of the moments in The DR this was the moment I felt a lot of fear.  I still struggle with that fear when I really think about my time down there.  I still, despite months of asking, don't know what I'm supposed to do moving forward.  I continue to do all I can to help from home but am I missing a part of the bigger call by not doing more?  What does more look like?

After seeing Henrri we went to the airport.  I separated myself from the group (after being pulled aside in security - scary) and did some walking in the airport trying to settle my heart but frankly, it hasn't settled yet.  Talk to me for ten minutes and I will mention The DR.  Get in my head for 30 seconds and it will be there.

I'm so thankful that God spoke to McCayla and nudged her into affirming my trip down there.  Without her, and her absolute support of my decision, I never would have gone.  You never know how God is going to work.  Don't be afraid to be a McCayla for someone else.

I can't help but miss the team on a regular basis.  God knew what he was doing when he threw us, as strangers, together.

He's funny that way.

Thanks for walking through this journey with me.  I have at least one more final post with some additional details about some of the people I met down there, but for the most part, the recounting of the adventure is over.

Please continue to pray for The DR and if you are interested in sponsoring a child let me know.  $32 a month isn't much.  I met some amazing kids I would love to introduce you to!

Friday, August 02, 2013

What happened down there? Days 6 and 7

We can't save the DR but we can come and love on them and pray for them.  And we can go home changed and continue to pray for them and get others to help.
Thursday was a bit of a let down after such an incredible day the day before.  The day started with practice with the boys at yet a third location.  We played catch and they ran sprint races.  Eventually the boys did some fielding work and Francis and I sat to the side and watched.  I started thinking about my life back home as I could see the return looming on the close horizon.  Francis has lived in the United States so he understood what I was talking about as I expressed my frustration about my materialistic life in the states.

My friend Francis
I started thinking about how my biggest dilemma the week before going to the DR was that my fancy car broke down.  I had the cash to pay for the repairs and I didn't break down in such a way that I was unable to get the car to the shop.  My frustration was that I took a moment to pause about this - with a full refrigerator, more clothes than I need and a nice nest egg.  I got frustrated and I vented for a long time to Francis.  He was sympathetic but also didn't let me off easily.  I appreciated that conversation immensely.

At the end of practice before we went to lunch one of the boys, Jonathan, and one of our security staff, Rambo, had a "rap off".  It was awesome.  I have no idea what they were going back and forth about but it was very clear when one or the other would land an insult the boys appreciated.  It was hilarious, and it was all a show for us.

It was Angel's (another one of our interpreters) birthday that day so we put together a little cake and learned Happy Birthday in Spanish.  It was quiet a sound.  I was reminded of "make a joyful noise unto the Lord".  Angel loved it.

That afternoon we went back to Los Robles.  That was the day we played Macklemore on the bus (dancing on the bus) and when my mitt was so lovingly broken in during our game (Glove Story).   The little girls there taught me some Spanish - they demonstrated and taught me the words for eyes, ears, mouth, nose, teeth, etc.  I love that they wanted to show me the basics and while I'm still horrid at Spanish, those are words I won't forget.

In exchange I taught the kids the running man.

The kids also became fascinated by the muscles I have in my arms.  I don't think of myself as very ripped but the little girls kept asking me to flex and when they would see my biceps they would poke at them and grin.  It was odd to me that my muscles were at all fascinating but I suppose since I am a well feed (overly so) American, the way my body is built is very different than a malnourished woman in a batey.  It broke my heart that the muscles I have were surprising to them but I am very happy to say the COTN program is helping those girls get healthy as they grow up.

This was also the first time I noticed telltale signs of undernourishment with orange hairlines and distended bellies.  I know they were there all along but I also think God really opened my eyes to them this day.  I decided I didn't want to go home.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Friday we only had the morning with the boys because we had to get back to Santo Domingo for our flight the next day.  It was with heavy hearts that we went to practice and finished building the batting cage.  The boys had to use a machete to cut off branches from the tree and we ran into a couple of snags with the poles but the cage was mostly completed before we left.  

Dionny and Dave working on the cage

Up goes the cage

Angel and Susan

All of us with the team

Andry playing 3rd base

Carlos running into 3rd.  Nice base they are playing with huh?

Before heading out of Barahona we stopped by the COTN offices and dropped off the Smilepacks our group had collected and the undies the other group collected.  It was great to see such a big pile of things to leave behind.  Thank you to all who contributed!!!

Other than some great conversation with Kyle, Ben and Joanna on the way to Santo Domingo the absolute highlight of the day was having the opportunity to tell my boys I was going to be their sponsor.  Each one of them responded in the way I would have expected given their personalities but being able to tell them that I was going to be praying for them and that I cared about them was awesome.  I wouldn't have swapped those moments for any other moment during the week.

We left Casa Bethesda with many tears and hugs goodbye and drove the approximately four hours to Santo Domingo where we did some shopping (I got cigars - rum was purchased at the airport) and got to do some sightseeing.  Santo Domingo is actually a really neat city.  I'm really excited to spend a full week there in October.  It was the first city in the Americas, where Christopher Columbus landed and the first civilization began.  We saw the first church, the first cathedral, the first road, Christopher Columbus' house (where he never lived but his son did) and some other beautiful architecture. 

Christopher Columbus
Town Hall
First Cathedral

First Cathedral

First Cathedral

Ben was tired so Willy lent a willing back

The white building across the river is the first church
Men playing Dominoes in the square

Town Hall Square

Cheers Joanna!!!
That night we had dinner at a restaurant which was delicious and we had the opportunity to dance.  Joanna and Kyle stole the show as far American dancers were concerned but I danced with Willy until I couldn't anymore because I was laughing too hard and he was frustrated with me.

We spent that night in a hotel (with Western toilets - yay for flushing toilet paper!!!).  That night Willy, Ben, Kyle, Joanna, Joel and I played cards and smoked some of our cigars and drank some of the rum purchased that day out by the pool.  It was a bittersweet evening.  While it was a lot of fun and memories were solidified the flight the next day was on my mind.

That night I slept poorly for the first time on the trip, despite the comfortable bed and consistent air conditioning.  I spent much of the night thinking about what I had experienced and wishing for my hard bed at Casa Bethesda.  I had no idea the events of the next day would be as impactful as any other.