when i fly

20120306-225638.jpg When I fly...

I touch the outside of the plane as I board.

I choose an aisle seat.

As soon as I sit down, I put my seat back just a tiny bit -- not enough to be caught, but enough that I feel convinced I've scored myself some extra room.

I keep my seatbelt as loose as possible.

I adjust the air-blower-thing to high, and angle it right at me.

I wear a sweater or zip-up for when the air-blower-thing inevitably makes me cold.

I always bring something to read and rarely ever read it.

I text my friend right before I have to shut my phone off. It's tradition. Last text before takeoff, first text after landing.

I turn my phone on as we're landing, so it is fully powered up by the time we're on the ground. (I know, I know... So I won't also tell you that I've been known to occasionally turn it on mid-flight...)

I drink ginger ale.

I never eat the peanuts. And I always wonder why they still give those things out, especially with so many people allergic...

I become completely anti-social. I'll smile and say hello, but that's where I'd prefer our interaction end. Sorry, neighbor.

Armrest down. Always down.

I try to avoid going to the bathroom on the plane, but if I do... I cover my ears when I flush. That sucker is loud! Heh. "Sucker".

I try to force myself to sleep if there's turbulence.

I am that girl whose head drops when she falls asleep, jarring myself back awake just enough to reposition and do it all over again.

I thank the flight crew on my way out.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm drawing a blank.

How about you? What do you do when you fly?

cliff notes

Cliff notes of my week: I spent time in DC with my sweet friend Tracee. The morning after I arrived, I ended up in a pediatric (don't ask) dentist's office on an emergency visit . What I thought was possibly a filling that fell out was actually half my tooth. Yikes.

We ate at one of my favorite restaurants from back home in South Africa---in downtown DC. (Holla if you've ever eaten at Nando's on either side of the ocean!) I was disappointed they didn't have Castle Lager, but the peri-peri chicken made my nose run and my heart happy.

I volunteered at Catalyst One Day in Baltimore, and got to sit in on pretty much the entire event. God's good like that. (I love me some leadership development!)

I wasn't sure what to expect from my Meet Me at Starbucks shout-out, and was blown away that 17 people showed up. It was interesting to see corners of my world collide as ministry supporters, old friends, and bloggers intersected in one spot.

Meet Me at Starbucks collage

It felt a little blind-date-esque to finally meet Tonggu Momma, The Gypsy Mama, Stranger, and my lurking "I'll never comment" reader from Oklahoma. (Hi Karen!)

I didn't realize the implications when I announced on twitter and Facebook that "my 'blind date' at Starbucks was so great!" One friend told me with a raised eyebrow that he wanted to hear my crazy blind date story.  Another called his wife to see if she knew anything about this date I went on. Oops.

At the last minute, I booked a ticket to Detroit. Since I arrived two nights ago, I've shot a promo video, met with some pastors, spent time with a friend who works at Thrive, and hung out with my Yeller. Good times in Michigan. I'm ready to get home to the HTL though.

What are some cliff notes from your week?

i packed hope

I don't remember much of what I was thinking the day I arrived in Africa. I was only 19. But I do recall feeling tired and skudgey from my way-too-long flight. I'd crammed everything I thought I'd need into two suitcases---I hoped I hadn't forgotten anything crucial. I was surprised and disappointed to see who was there to meet my flight. The drive to my new home seemed long, and yet passed all too quickly.

I was nervous. Excited. Scared. Happy. Overwhelmed. All mixed into one.

But mostly I was hopeful. I felt confident I was where God wanted me to be, and I hoped He would somehow use me to make a big difference. I had no clue what that would look like. I didn't even know what I wanted to do; I was just there to serve.

And while I know God was clearly calling me to Africa, I'd be lying if I said it was solely my faith in Him that got me there. I think it was a cocktail of faith, naivety, passion, and foolishness that landed me in Africa that day. And I'm absolutely okay with that.

If I'd known how my life would unfold, would I have still boarded that flight? If I'd known all the trials and heartaches I'd face, would I have still followed in faith? If I'd known how many times I'd have to say goodbye to people I love... if I had any clue how the AIDS pandemic would touch my own life... if I foresaw the droughts, fires, and tight finances... if I really knew how big the responsibility and weight would end up being... would I still have been obedient to His call to "Go"?

I'd like to think I would have. But I honestly don't know. My passion and faith may have easily gotten swallowed up by fear and doubt.

Some times more than others, I am grateful He only gives me enough light for the next step.