The Jack in the Box

On February 27, 2015, I got a phone call I had managed to avoid for years!  There had been lots of other scares  with lumps, bumps, biopsies, but all of them turned out to be benign.  This time the doctor’s seemed a bit more excited and some of their wording was more cautious, and I was scared.  Trying to find a way to describe the waiting, the poem below came to mind…..

Jack in the box sitting on the table

Looking harmless but it’s not stable

Never know when it will pop out

And scare you back to dealing with doubt….

The latch is tricky – won’t always stay closed.

How to fix it – God only knows!

So on my knees I ask for grace

To keep my focus from the fearful place.

Unsolved problems – got to let it rest

And trust and hope I will be blessed

With strength to walk where I need to go

Led by the one who loves me so!

Stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer…. I had been ambushed by this new and unwelcome intruder.  Many thanks to Naomi, Gail, Lisa,  and Barbara – some of the awesome people whose names and beautiful faces I could immediately pictures as friends who have walked on this journey and years later are still here!  Also remembering Penny and Kathryn, who walked this road and are no longer here.  Grateful for Gail’s nagging to always get the mammogram, which I had been doing ever since I met her.

 

 

Where do refugees come from? (2011)

Refugees to U.S. by Country of Nationality – Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011
2011 2010 2009
Country Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total              56,384 100          73,293 100          74,602 100
Burma              16,972 30.1          16,693 22.8          18,202 24.4
Bhutan              14,999 26.6          12,363 16.9          13,452 18
Iraq                 9,388 16.7          18,016 24.6          18,838 25.3
Somalia                 3,161 5.6            4,884 6.7            4,189 5.6
Cuba                 2,920 5.2            4,818 6.6            4,800 6.4
Eritrea                 2,032 3.6            2,570 3.5            1,571 2.1
Iran                 2,032 3.6            3,543 4.8            5,381 7.2
Congo, Democratic Republic                    977 1.7            3,174 4.3            1,135 1.5
Ethiopia                    560 1                668 0.9                321 0.4
Afghanistan                    428 0.8                515 0.7                349 0.5
All other countries, including unknown                 2,915 5.2            6,049 8.3            6,364 8.5
Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (Wraps)

Report (May 2012), from Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics is linked here: Refugees and Asylees:2011.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Last night we spoke with a friend who is going into a difficult situation and asked for prayer.  He is the in-between person to help try to resolve conflict, ascertain priorities, and work for peace between conflicted factions of his people, who are trying to end the ongoing oppression of the government ruling their country.  This morning on the bus, the Scripture reading of the day was Matthew 19:26 ” Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible.”  

Last night as we spoke, he spoke of Nehemiah and how they had their weapons in one hand, and their tools in the other-building safety for their people (a wall of protection), but watching in case the enemy came, or their were divisive, devious, sneaky attacks to keep them from building peace and safety.  Well chosen Scripture, as he goes to seek peacemaking.  He is a soldier.  I have seen him pastor those around him, although he doesn’t call it that.  He’s a good listener.  

God bless you, my friend.  May God, the source of all wisdom, give the wisdom you’re asking for.

 

Sound Bite Psychology

This week, to my great surprise, I developed sympathy for the presidential candidates and the problem of having your life, your purpose, and your value reduced to a sentence or two. My value, how I view the world and my place in it, or what I am capable of contributing cannot be summed up in a sound bite. It’s frustrating and a bit infuriating when they try!

My sound bite moment came during a job interview. When I was asked why “at this age” I had taken an “entry level” position (implied: what’s wrong with you-are you stupid or crazy?), I was caught unprepared. I felt I was being reminded of “my place.” (I am not a college graduate. I am not young:) But, I love my job. I took my current job when financial reality dictated I couldn’t keep putting huge quantities of energy into my passion of being part of a team that got resources to teams serving internally displaced people in Burma who were had limited options for getting medical/dental care without their help. I am a sucker for a mission! I was blessed to find a job where I have been able to help people here in our area access dental treatment, even if they don’t the have huge quantities of money that frequently requires. I can live with that. There is still mission involved. It is still serving people. It is my compromise.

I have never fit well in the box. A test we took once at the dental office I worked at on Whidbey Island said that I was a “circle”: a person who likes to build team work, values people, nurtures other, like to get along, sees the bigger picture. My “career path” has included ample time on the “Mommy track” – a privilege I would not trade for anything. It is what was important and of eternal value. I am grateful.

Too bad job interviews don’t let you do your answers by essay instead of by interviews, judged by the sound bites. I would have had much more to say. I may not be much by the world’s standards, but I am a mother of three amazing adult children who still love me, for 34 years the wife of a kind, gentle, loving man, a child of God-saved by His grace and bought back from destruction. I am called to follow Him out of the safety of the box into the land where the wild things dwell. My life has purpose, even if the suit and tie crowd will never comprehend it. They don’t get to take away who grace has made me.

Afterflash (a poem)

No longer helpless, unloved or alone—
A woman with choices.
Redeemed to the bone.
I’ve come through the fire-
Felt the heat of the flame.
But I am God’s daughter,
Called by His holy name.

Empowered by His Spirit
By grace I can stand,
My face towards the future
Fulfilling His plan.
A channel of mercy,
A bearer of light
Redeemed by His goodness-
I will not fear the night.

The God of creation
Walks each day by my side.
I will trust in His mercy-
There is nothing to hide.
Though chaos surround me
And angry winds roar
I am safe, I am strengthened
For He is my Lord.

The Lamb is a Lion,
The servant, a King.
He is my shelter.
Of His grace I will sing.
He will lead me and guide me-
I have nothing to fear.
Jesus is victor.
He loves me…He’s here!

5/21/93

Where refugees came from? (2010 statistics)

Finally found a recent chart of where refugees resettling in the US came from last year … still looking for statistics of where they ended up by state.   The list below shows the top 10 countries the US received refugees from in 2010.

Iraq 18,016
Burma 16,693
Bhutan 12,363
Somalia 4,884
Cuba 4,818
Iran 3,543
Dem Rep Congo 3,174
Eritrea 2,570
Palestine 1,053

 For more detailed info, click here

Country of Origin

Admissions
Ceiling
Admitted
as of 9/30/10
AFRICA 15,500 13,305
EAST ASIA 18,000 17,716
EUROPE 2,500 1,526
LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN 5,500 4,982
NEAR EAST & SOUTH ASIA 38,000 35,782
UNALLOCATED RESERVE 500 0
     
   TOTAL 80,000 73,311