Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: April 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Home!

I just wanted to let everyone know I'm home safe and sound! All the flights were on time and went quite smoothly. My friend Katrina and I got to stay together until we parted in Detroit, she to go to Toronto and me to fly to Seattle then Portland. Traveling with her made it a lot of fun. I even got my luggage!

The editorial board got all the work done we needed to and then some. After we were finished last night several of us hung out in Rachel and I's room having an impromptu dance party and looking through the photos we took while there. I will write more about the trip later but need to get ready for tap dancing class at the moment. If you could pray for Harriet, Emma, and John to get home safely, I would really appreciate it. They all had to fly to other continents and go through customs. Even when John gets back to Kenya, it will take him another three days to drive home to the desert. So if you could pray for my friends, I would appreciate it. Thank you so much!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Quaker Youth Book Project Meeting In Progress

My purple coat has been showing up on random editorial board members running through the rain. Okay, it has just been Rachel and Katrina but I still find it greatly amusing and am glad I can give something to them in this small way. It has been raining as hard here these last two days as it does in Oregon. But here, however, it just seems prettier, cozier. This may perhaps be because this is a beautiful place and we have been inside most of the time working together. This morning Rachel started a fire in the fire place so we have been talking and writing with the rain pattering outside the open windows and the fire crackling inside. It's a warm rain, the air is what we have been calling "thick" and I like the warmer weather. This afternoon, two of the staff from the center we're staying at brought us cookies and water. We thanked them profously and dove in. The macadamian nut and white chocolate (which was still warm and melty) were our favorites.

The first night we were here together, Katrina was helping me bring my bags up to our rooms when we found Harriet sitting in the road writing in a small notebook so we sat down beside her soon joined by Rachel. So there we are, chatting away in the dark in the middle of the road, getting to know each other as people and not just through our posted bios. We admitted to each other that our bios were a little intimidating as everyone on the board is very talented and accomplished in their own right. Now we know each other as friends and understand in a depper way that we are unified in our diversity. We hail from around the planet and have had to work at using words we all have the same meaning for, but that has only enriched our writing and time together. We have told stories about our lives and practices in the countries in which we live. Last night we went bowling, the first time for John/Lomuria, our Friend from Kenya. Wouldn't you know, he was quite good! For our second game we were in unity to use the bumpers on the lanes. I wish I could tell you my score improved a great deal.
Yesterday we spent crafting a submissions guideline and coming up with questions we want to ask. I'll be posting those later. The ten of us, the editorial board and our project coordinator Angelina, get along VERY well. Angelina teased us that we like each other too much because our times together are filled with laughter as well as discussion. We like how Rachel says "Pank Lemonade", how John wears so many layers because he is from the Kenyan desert, that Wess takes his life in his hands riding his bike around LA, and we tell Harriet, "Your England is awesome!"

These last several days, I have gained a different view of Quakerism. Before, I have mostly known Quakers from the Northwest, but now I can call Friends friends from around the world, literally around the world. I have also gotten many, many Quakers from the East coast and they have a different flavour of Quakerism than in the west. It's been nice to get a more balanced view and to see things about Quakerism I have not been intimate with before because of the type of Quakers I'm usually around. For example, did you know Quakers are touchy-feely? I didn't but do now.

Many of these new friends I met through Quakers United in Publishing, a group dedicated to the written word which I am now seriously considering becoming a member of. I am greatly amused at God's skill to bring me into contact with the people I have needed to meet and get to know. One night at dinner I sat at an empty spot which happened to be next to the editor or staff member of Quaker Life and across from a British woman who offered her help if we needed type setting help for the Quaker Youth Book Project or my own books. I remembered as I fell asleep later that night that I have been praying fom a graphic artist who knew Adobe In Design. Thank you God!

The things that are different here:
-Rabbits. Whereas in the Northwest, we have wild cats running around our neighborhoods, they have rabbits. Wild rabbits run hither and yon.
-The color green. The leaves are a neon green, I've never seen that before.
-There are hardly any evergreens, most of the trees are deciduous.
-The food. They use more spices and beans. I like it very much and I even tried a new vegetable that looked very odd and as if it could be very hot but it tasted good.
-The accent. I admit, I have only heard the "south accent" here and there from the natives. I have heard more of the Bolivian, African, and British accents.
-The Buildings. Both in houses and community buildings, the architecture is different both in age and style.

I am going to go relax for a while before dinner. I will write some deeper, more reflective paragraphs later including posting pictures when I get home, but right now, I would rather live my time here instead of writing about it. I will leave you with this thought we have been discussing: Younger Friends are the Friends of today AND tomorrow.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hello Friends!

I am writing you from Haw River State Park just north of Greensboro, North Carolina. I decided to put the day and a half of traveling behind me for now and to just enjoy my time here with these wonderful people! (Though add to the previous story one more canceled flight which actually made the trip better). With a long enough stop in Washington DC to buy a magnet and get my picture taken with a stand up of Obama, I arrived safely (with my luggage!!!) in a small airport.

I was picked up by a nice man from Quakers United in Publishing who took me to Guilford College where everyone else was waiting for a presentation on archiving past publications. Honestly, only some of it was interesting to me. But I got to meet Angelina and some of the others from the editorial board. I have heard several times, “You’re the one who was stuck in Chicago! We are so glad to have you here.” Guilford is beautiful, I love all the old buildings and the grounds are gorgeous. I got a tour of New Garden Friends Meeting House, over 250 people on First Day! We also got to walk around their large graveyard and it was as pretty as anything else. The tour was really nice. The woman said they have picnics and play frisbee on the graveyard I lawn. I really liked the idea of life in the graveyard. Very fitting.

I have A LOT more to tell you all but a man wants to speak with me before I go meet with the others from the editorial board so I have to go. There is a computer here, right now I am using fellow blogger's, Robin M's, computer but will use the main one later. I will tell you all of the incredible experiences I'm having then. For now, take you "y'all" (apparently, I'm the one with the accent here) and I'll talk to you soon! Greetings to Freedom Friends Church from everyone here!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

You're Where?

My parents would have a hissy fit if they knew what I did last night. I will thoroughly enjoy telling them later! I am able to write you because I am stuck in Chicago and staying at someone's house I have never met before. I was talking with my step-mom on the phone right before boarding the plane in Portland and she said, "Don't talk to strangers." I am sure getting in a car with a stranger and staying at their house would be included in that.

The flight to Chicago went without a hitch. I had nice seat mates and I looked out the window, read a book on the Rwandan Holocaust (here's to light reading), and drew a picture of the airplane wing and clouds. When I arrived in Chicago, I saw a toilet with a automatic toilet seat cover. It was definitely one of those, "I haven't seen that before!" moments.

When I found my gate, they told us after a while it would be delayed, then delayed some, and some more, and then it was those worlds no traveler ever wants to hear- CANCELED! I went to the desk and got in line and thanks to another traveler, called the number for United. They booked me on flights from Chicago to Cleveland to Washington DC to Greensboro. I was concerned but happy to get something decent. So many flights were canceled last night due to the thunder and lightening storm around the airport. I will tell you, you can only imagine the scene. It's NEVER one I want to repeat. After several back and forth phone calls with Greensboro, they said they would try to find me someone to stay with for the night. I couldn't leave the secured area to do what else I needed to do until that happened. Finally, a woman called to tell me she would be picking me up. I got an overnight kit from bagage claim, waited an hour to print up the new boarding passes and waited outside. Ann had been roaming the airport for an hour waiting for me, what a sweetheart! Knowing what I was wearing, she and her daughter picked me up - my "knight in shining armor" rescuing me from a night spent in the airport. She is the clerk at the Evanston Quaker meeting here in Chicago and VERY kind. She even took me on a tour of Chicago as I have never been here before. I saw all kinds of things, buildings with the history behind them, one of the Great Lakes, the Magnificent Mile and I got history as we went. I will try and write more about it later.

They took me home and I tried to sleep but didn't do very well at it. My body was full of stress. Then I got a phone call telling me one of my flights was canceled. "I can't believe this!" went through my mind. I called the number and they rebooked for two flights getting in at the same time. THANK YOU GOD! Though stressful, he has been with me every step of the way, and though I was screaming and crying inside, gave me the mind to know what I needed to do. I am very grateful for that. And I am VERY grateful for my new friends the Millers who say I am very welcome here. I love the Quaker world!

So I will conclude until I can write later, hopefully NOT from the windy city. And thanks to Tricia and Jeff for talking to me while I was at the airport and here is to you Peggy for talking with me last night as I drove through your hometown. It was nice to hear friendly voices on such a night. Please pray I and my baggage make it to Greensboro this afternoon. And that God would envelope me in unspeakable peace.

Well, it's nearly six here and her son is here as well with his girlfriend and I am going to join them for breakfast. Thank you God for giving me such a blessing in such a time. I still trust you! (Just don't cancel any more flights!)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane!!!

In early March I received an e-mail with such contents as made me drool all over my laptop. It was quite embarrassing. But at the moment I did not care for my focus was entirely fixated on this incredible opportunity the e-mail link described. As soon as I knew what it was, I wanted to be a part of it- A LOT. It was everything I could want rolled up into one perfect project – the Quaker Youth Book Project. It’s a book filled with non-fiction, poetry, art, and photography written and produced by young adult Quakers, ages 15-30 and the organization, Quakers United in Publishing, was conducting an international search for the editorial board also made up of young adults who would be putting this book together. They wanted people experienced and/or a calling in writing, publishing, art, youth and young adults, and ecumenicalism- many of my favorite things. I requested letters of recommendation from two trusted mentors, wrote a long cover letter answering the application’s list of questions, and e-mailed it off to the project coordinator with everything I could cross, crossed. And much prayer.

The next week an e-mail came into my inbox saying, “I’m pleased to be able to tell you that QUIP has accepted your application to the Quaker Youth Book Project.” I squealed, I jumped up and down, and I made phone calls to the people who “knew you were going to get it.” The next day, the projector coordinator, Angelina, booked my flight to North Carolina for our first meeting along with the flights for the eight other board members. There are nine of us in all from countries including Kenya, Bolivia, Great Britain, Canada, and several from the United States. I am looking forward to meeting them all.

These last few weeks I have been so EXCITED for this trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. I haven’t been further east in the U.S. than Colorado so this is a pretty big deal for me. Not only do I get to meet new people I am sure I will love, but I get to travel to a new place as well. I will be arriving there tomorrow night, on Friday. Saturday we will be with the people of Quakers United in Publishing (how cool is that to meet them!) at their business meeting, then a tour of Guilford College where we’ll have dinner, and then we as a board will speak on a panel before heading back to the state park where we’ll be staying. On Sunday and Monday we’re meeting to discuss all aspects of the book with an evening out on the town on Sunday. Tuesday I fly home in time for tap dancing class. (Anyone want to buy a ticket to our recital?)

All I have left to do tonight is pack and update a webpage or two. I promised Peggy I would blog while there if I could. We shall see. If I get time with someone’s laptop, I will. If not, I will certainly do so when I get home. WITH PICTURES!!! I know I have many people’s good wishes going along with me and I can sense their pride under those airplane’s wings. I cannot tell you in simple words how much this means to me. At dinner with my dad tonight, he gave me a care package of snacks my step-mom put together for my trip. I love parents. Thank you Dad and Mom! And thank you Peggy, and Stacey, and the folks at Freedom Friends Church among many others too many to name for believing in me and being just about as happy as I am that I get to do this. Your joy is making all the difference in the world.

The other night I had a dream of being in that airplane taking off from the tarmac and it felt very much but a little different like a time almost seven years ago when God asked, “Do you trust me?” and I said “yes” and at that very moment, the plane started barreling down the runway and taking off, taking me half-way around the world to an experience I will never forget, one that was both pain and joy filled yet I think, incredibly transforming. I feel like God and I have another of those markers before us, another turn in the road that is going to bring things to a place very different than what they were before. In the dream I felt God with me not asking if I trust Him/Her, because I do, but there will me, enjoying the journey, excited, my sole traveling companion going to a place I’ve never been, to where I do not know anybody, and with the challenge of getting myself there on my own. I think some journeys you just have to take alone and trust that God goes with you. I know He/She does. I am excited to see how this will change my life because I am quite certain that it will in ways I can only now imagine. I am looking forward to sharing it with you in my next post. If you want to pray for something, please pray my bags go with me and do not get lost. I would really appreciate that. Thank you again everyone for believing in me, your love and support is giving my heart the wings I have needed. Ta ta for now!

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's Doing What?

I hope you are all enjoying your spring weather wherever you may be in the northern hemisphere. Say hello to it for me. It's snowing here even as I write. I am sure the tulips and cherry blossoms are enjoying the snow and hail even if they are as surprised as we are to have snow and hail in late April. The confused and flabbergasted looks on everyone's faces are actually quite entertaining. We are sure God is laughing. As for me, I am giving him a day planner for Christmas next year as I am sure he has not checked his calendar in a while. I believe I even heard him giggling as I took pictures of the cherry blossoms on the capital lawn the other week and got caught in a heavy hail storm. This is the latest it has ever snowed here on the valley floor in recorded history by a long shot. Does he know it's April? I don't think so. We say in Oregon, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. I am not kidding. This spring I think proves that. But what a nice thing for the flowers, they get to be enjoyed after winter twice this year! That seventy/eighty degree weather in North Carolina sounds quite appealing right now. (I am headed there next weekend.) Bu not until I enjoy the snow some more first!

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