Wednesday, March 28, 2018

the higher the hair the closer to God?

So I threw the party of the season.  The party of the century.  The party of a lifetime this last weekend for my friend, Loyce, as she has  never known her birthday nor given it a thought about celebrating it.  Y'all, I asked about that, too.  I asked if I was disrupting the entire Ugandan cultural system by sending a full on birthday party complete with cute kids in a birthday parade.  The answer was no.  Apparently I did not rock their world in a negative way, but I think I definitely rocked it in a cake and balloons are crazy fun sort of way. 

It's party time!!!!  (this is a really fun link to the video that you may or may not be able to see, darn it all.  It links to the Facebook video of the birthday parade but not sure if I'm technologically savvy enough to actually make it work. But go ahead and imagine some cute African kids singing happy birthday, and carrying a giant cake down a red dirt road  while carrying balloons and dressed in their Sunday best.  I felt you smile all the way from here just thinking about it!)

Here's what I've learned about my Ugandan friends.  They are poor.  Not the kind of poor that I like to tell people that I am because I married a fireman.  When really I know I am one of the richest people in means and in spirit that walks this land, telling everyone that marrying a fireman limits my upward mobility is only sort of stretch of the American imagination, but really I just find it fun to say.  So there.  It's a fire wife joke.  Maybe you have to be one to get it.  

But anyway, my Ugandan friends are the kind of poor that if they have  the choice between putting food on the table and making or buying a birthday cake, food on the table wins, hands down every time.  If they have a choice between food on the table and school tuition and exorbitant fees and costs of uniforms that are required to attend - again, food on the table wins.  And y'all, really?  They just don't often have the choice.  So we have an entire population of people who can't read, write, or even spell their names.  Most don't celebrate birthdays because they just don't know when they were born.  They may know how old their kids are because they started counting at that time, but they may not know how old they are themselves.  

I happen to know when we think Loyce's birthday is because I had  my friend research it and found a list of birthdates in Loyce's family Bible.  It's still sort of a guess, though, because her mom lists her as born on March 23, 2005 and her sister born just 7 days earlier that same year.  Now THAT's either a totally different kind of twin we have there, or someone's confused.  And Lord bless the woman in labor for 7 days, right?  

And I love that Loyce and I almost share a birthday, and I told her a while back to expect great things coming her way.  In fact I told her that we would party together and make birthday ripples across the world with our celebrations.  I'm not at all sure that I made any of my own, but y'all, my girl sure did.

And a giant thanks to my friend, Vornita, who traveled the literal road less traveled on the back of a motorcycle with a cake in her lap to make it all happen.  If you ever had a question or doubt that women are changing this world, let me answer it for you right now.  Yes sir and yes ma'am.  Women are working together and joining forces and talents and planning all sorts of amazing-ness - then just hitting the big GO button and watching things happen.  Then of course we clean up the house and do some dishes and laundry, try to sleep a little, dream of what greatness can be accomplished the next day, and thank God for his generous dose of grace, mercy and she-muscles to carry onward and upward.  

I'm hoping that Loyce sees big things, fun things, and bright things beyond what she knew existed before.  I know I'm seeing all these things through my friendship with her. 

Now then.  For my own birthday we dropped Kid 1 off in College Station for a weekend to be a prospective Aggie, and then went on to Fredericksburg, Texas with the other kiddos and proceeded to enjoy some time off from work, school, baseball concessions and all the other things making us weary these days.  And my plan was to climb Enchanted Rock, my third climb, mostly for the experience, but probably just as much for the whole proof that I'm no less awesome than the day before my birthday.  I got to the top in 21 minutes, with one breather break because I thought I felt some panic coming my way and I totally have to get my act together before I lose it in that situation.  Panic alone is bad.  Panic on a mountain is a beast I don't want to ever face down.  But I was fine, and the view from the top of the rock, if you've never been before, is worth every panting step of the climb.  

And the time sitting up there, looking out at so much of God's beautiful creation is time well spent.  I find it a good reminder that I'm up close and personal to God all the time  - but just the like rule all Texas girls live and breathe by - the higher the hair, the closer to God - so goes that whole mountain top experience.  

It's also so much an eraser for everything else that's on my mind.  Looking down and seeing how small ALL the things are from up there has to be a good comparison to what God wants us to see each and every day.  That due date?  Not so big in God's eyes.  That prior commitment?  Not so grand in the big picture.  And that worry?  Y'all with a God's eye view from above, he's gotta see how it all works out.  

So I like to get up there and spend a while in prayer and ponderment.  Spell check just told me that's not a word, but life tells me that it is.  Ponderment of all the things that seem so crazy important, when nothing compares to the work that we are doing to invest in the ultimate outcome.  I've felt such a pull on my heart of late - the pull of doing more, but not of the mo' busy kind like my million trips to the TJ Maxx for cute workout outfits and summer dresses.  But of the worldly kind.  Of the Loyce kind.  Of the homeless student in DISD kind.  Of the spending time sitting around with Kid 2 catching up on This Is Us - quality time, where he talks and I am all ears.  

I've prayed for quite some time now for what's next.  Not sure I completely know yet, but I think I'm starting to better unravel the code.  I think selfishness is one of the biggest and darkest blinders we can wear, and y'all - my selfishness never seems to go out of style.  I can wear it with makeup or without.  I can wear it with heels or boots, pants, dresses, and 100% without limit.  I can even wear it proudly on my sleeve and call it success.  But can I just as easily wear a badge of courage that says I will stand up and serve the less fortunate?  Can I talk freely with others about the latest idea I have about starting a library in a small Ugandan village because reading has always been a huge part of my life?  Can I find my courage and commitment to ask for help and volunteers and donations to make some real things come from my ideas?  

I hope so.  

And today I am following up with you on some greatness that you already helped with.  And I am asking you to walk with me on an new journey.  That post I shared with you that published on The Dallas Moms Blog - the one asking you to show up for the good of the approximately 3,500 homeless students in  Dallas ISD?  Well -  trust that my readers showed up and showed off in the most spectacular of ways.  There are STILL boxes of Amazon deliveries being delivered from the shopping list I provided for the high school homeless drop in center, and that post has been shared on Facebook over 2000 times.  2000 times times how ever many friends you have equals a whole lot of WOW, y'all.  Just wow.  I have been in touch with the manager of homeless student services in Dallas ISD and plan to do a follow up to grow our efforts even larger.  

And now let me put this one out there.  My mind is skipping around with ideas on how to help a certain little village in Uganda.  Why this one?  Because I happen to have a friend there who is nothing short of amazing -  plus a little girl that I think the world of.  And the fact that there is so much need is blinding me to thoughts other than what I can do to help.  

My friend Vornita has opened a charter school in Bulonde Village, about 20 miles outside of Kampala.  She currently has 76 students enrolled, some have had their tuition paid by an American sponsor, most have not.  And stop whatever you're imagining right now about private schools..... when you think of a private school in Uganda, don't even start to compare it to the states.  Uganda has no public school system in place so any and every school must be started on its own.  There are regulations, but simply no funds to support them.  And these kids and their families have next to nothing.  There are three school terms per year, and for less than the cost of a family dinner at Chili's you can send a child to school for a term.  Yes, that's a big request for some kids you may never know or even see in person.  But you know who does?  God does.  And he has giant plans for each of them, starting first with learning to read so they can break the cycle of poverty.  

Questions?  More details?  You know where to find me.  I hope you will.  

Y'all, thanks for reading.  Thank you for everything.  For stopping by, for contacting me when you haven't heard from me in a while.  

One year older, another year wiser, right?  Mmmmm...   We'll see about that.    

post script...  Did you miss a post?  Did you know that sometimes I don't share them on Facebook and you can only see them by following me by email or Bloglovin?  Here's one you might have missed and I'm super sad about that.  

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