Monday, January 28, 2013

Some Kind of Love

What kind of love can fill up the ocean
Won’t let you drown when you’re diving in
What kind of love takes a heart that’s frozen
And makes it heal, makes it beat again

Still it’s hard to lay these burdens down
And believe it’s gonna all work out
But somehow

Some kind of love, some kind of love
It just keeps on coming back
Who knew there was some kind of love
I want a love like that
I want a love like that

What kind of love goes into the darkness
And pulls you back when you’re on the edge
What kind of love finds you when you’re hopeless
And gives you another second chance

I was thinking I was too far gone
Wondering how I’d keep holding on
Hold on

Finds me on my knees when I can hardly breathe
When I got nothing left, You reached me
When I’m thinking that I’m too far gone

What kind of love can fill up the ocean
Won’t let you drown when you’re diving in...

I posted today on my Facebook a modified quote from this Phil Stacey song that says "So it's time to lay your burdens down...and believe it's gonna all work out...". That song sang to my heart this morning, and I had to write myself a little reminder. In the past few days, I've encountered so many, many people who are in this stage of waiting in their lives. Waiting for news on a new job, waiting for a new baby to make their appearance, waiting for a new house to be built, waiting to marry their sweetheart, waiting for medical test results, waiting to finish school, waiting for God's timing...His perfect resolutions. Just waiting. And waiting, and waiting, and waiting. We aren't good at waiting...myself in particular. We want what we want, when we want it, and we want it now! How often does that mentality totally hinder us from really reveling in God's perfect timing?

I find myself frequently thinking "Well if it doesn't happen now, then it might as well not happen at all...", or "I just can't handle this waiting anymore...will it ever end?", or "Is this just how it's gonna be? Me always waiting and life passing me by while I wait and wait and wait?". This thought process is such a downward spiral. And a certain somebody (who generally prefers lakes of fire to green pastures and still waters...if you catch my drift...) REALLY enjoys helping us throw this pity party for ourselves. All the while God is saying "Ignore the man behind the curtain...I'm right here! I'm right in front of you! He's only got smoke in mirrors...I've got eternity figured out! And guess what? Your story fits into My Plan PERFECTLY. So eyes front, my child. I've overcome the world...your story is already written and lemme tell's a REALLY good one!".

But isn't the waiting painful sometimes??? If you're waiting on that feel like everything is hanging in the balance while you await an answer. If you're waiting for that sweet baby to feel like you can't possibly be more ready to NOT be pregnant anymore and the anticipation of meeting your new little one is killing you! If you're waiting to get're wondering why you decided to do this whole white wedding thing after's so stressful! If you're waiting for medical must be feeling so anxious to know a yes or a no. If you're waiting to finish school...I KNOW it feels like you're going 90 to nothin' toward MORE school and little to no end in sight. If you're waiting for perfect timing and perfect feel like your patience is waning. Like one more day of getting a "wait" from God is literally going to put you under. It's stifling sometimes...isn't it??

Take heart my friends! For Your Journey Is Unfolding Just As It Should! Might sound crazy. Might sound impossible. Might sound unfathomable. But your book is written...your story is already decided. Let it unfold in HIS timing. Let Him have it...let Him handle it! And be prepared to be breathtakingly amazed as His plan for you is revealed piece by piece!

I hope you know that when I write posts like this, they are as much for me as they are for you. Sometimes we all need that reminder (myself included) that God has a plan. No matter how much we worry and meddle and whine, He's still got a plan. And no matter how much you complain about the journey...guess what?? He's STILL gonna do it the way He intended to all along...whining or not. So relax, take His hand, take a breather, and just know...It's Gonna All Work Out!

Dive In...He Won't Let You Drown!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Busier Than a One-Legged Woman in a Butt-Kickin' Contest!

Sheesh y'all!  I am busy. busy, busy here on the beautiful island of Dominica.  It has been FABULOUS to have such a fabulous community of spouses and students here, but dang!  I've been run ragged in the past few days and it's only Wednesday!  So I'll try to catch you up on a few of the goings-on this week:

Jonathan had his first "mini" (which, for those of you who are new readers...that's what they call exams here in med school).  Having come out of MERP, it was a little weird to be taking a test so early.  In Freeport, Jonathan had quizzes every week and tests only every 4 weeks.  So this test felt a bit like just a run of the mill quiz.  All his fellow MERPers felt the same way, but there was definitely some tension in the air among everyone.  I mean this is all official and what not now!  So he studied his little tail off last weekend and came out of the test feeling REALLY good.  I mean smiling and relaxed and everything!  He doesn't find out his grade for a few more days, but I'm confident he did REALLY well.  Jonathan is like a "test grade barometer".  I can usually tell how he did on a test by his body language alone.  After his test was over, we just had a nice relaxing day.  We walked up The Hill (i.e.-Banana Trail) to De Champs which is a bar/restaurant that is quite popular among the students.  It has SPECTACULAR views!  We hung out for a bit and then headed back down the hill to meet Michelle and Matt for dinner.  I'll post some pictures soon from our little trek (they're on Jonathan's phone).  Just beautiful though...and we saw a pirate ship!

The RSO (that's Ross Spouses Organization) took a trip to Roseau.  Roseau is the capitol city here in Dominica, and it has some retail and grocery stores that have things you can't find here.  The prices there are a little cheaper than here, but it's usually not worth it to go just for the prices.  It's about a 45-60 minute drive up there, so the cab fare is pricey.  The RSO takes a free trip for paid members though, so woohoo!  I went and stocked up on paper towels, white vinegar, baking items I can't find in Portsmouth, and a few other things.  It was a lot of fun, though it was crazy hectic being driven from store to store.  With 8 people in the little van plus all their bulk items, the car was a bit like Mary Poppins purse when we got back to Portsmouth.  Our driver, Bruno, was such a trooper and helped me and Michelle drag all our stuff up to the 3rd floor of Comfort Zone.  Most Dominicans are SO nice...quite a nice change of pace from the Bahamas!  So yesterday (after being gone from 7:40-2:40) I did some organizing of my schtuff, cooked Jonathan a homemade pizza, and watched Silver Linings Playbook (since our internet was out).  Pretty good movie!  All in all, it was quite a productive but tiring day!

Wednesday (Today):
Since the internet was down for the better part of the evening last night, I had some serious catching up to do for ADKOF (for those of you who are new readers, that stands for A Different Kind of Flair...that's our handmade jewelry small business...).  So as soon as Jonathan left for class, I hit the computer.  Whew!  I spent about 3 hours getting caught up on emails and texts and orders and site maintenance, and then I had to get changed to go to a job interview.  My neighbor here at Comfort Zone is opening up a restaurant called Pellegrino's right across the street from campus.  It's going to be kind of like a gastropub and he wants it to look and feel like "home" (i.e.-a place you might find in the states...or Canada which is where he's from...).  He asked me to come by and chat with him about a job opportunity, so I headed down there this afternoon.  First, the restaurant is beautiful inside!  I really love it!  I think it's going to be REALLY popular with the students.  He's opening up sometime next week and I am officially hired!  We are doing a test run of the menu this week and I'm getting some tutorials on how to run the coffee/capuchino/espresso machine (fun!).  We're also going to try out my pizza dough recipe in the giant industrial mixer there at the restaurant to see if it cooperates.  That's exciting for me...I might have a recipe on a restaurant menu!  There's lots of work to be done, but I feel like managing 230 middle school band kids kind of gives me a leg up on multitasking, so I'm feeling up to the challenge.  If you're a student or a spouse, stay tuned!  I'll let you know when the official grand opening is going to happen.  Then come by and enjoy an awesome atmosphere, good food, good drinks, and good service!

So there ya have week so far!  It's been a little crazy, but I like this change of pace which is MUCH more engaging than my pace in Freeport.  That was a much needed "slow down" time for me, but I'm definitely grateful for the opportunity to be more involved on this island.  I feel like it will help with the "island resentment" which is inevitable in a situation like this.  So far, though, I'm still in love with this little island.  And I'll say it again...come and visit and you will not be disappointed...I promise!

On a slightly different note, I cut into the custard apple I bought at the market on Saturday.  Here is that story in pictures:

So I cut it open and I see basically exactly what I'm expecting to see.  White flesh that is the consistency of custard.  It smells sweetish, but I was expecting to see bigger seeds...

So I scoop out a bite.  Again...looks and feels like I'm expecting it to.  I have envisioned this greek yogurt consistency with a kind of pineapple-y flavor.  Sounds delicious right??  

 Take a big's the reaction:

Tastes a bit like a chewed up piece of juicy fruit with a slight aftertaste of rotten plants.  I have absolutely no idea why in the world anyone eats one of these and thinks it tastes good.  I mean seriously...

I think I'll stick to more familiar fruits from now on...I prefer the taste of FRUIT over the taste of used gum...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thar She Blows!

I've been bad about writing this week!  I'm so sorry.  Other things have been competing for my attention and have won out this week.  I've had a fairly productive week this week with the small set back of some issues back in the states.  Long story short, we've got a few matters that have been literally 2 years in the making that are FINALLY being resolved in the next 10 days.  Thank the LORD for this because they have all been major stressors for us and it's almost over!  Moral of that story: Stay on top of banks, university financial aide people, and loan officers!  If we hadn't just happened to look more closely at our accounts, we wouldn't have seen nearly $10,000 NOT accounted for.  They're sneaky y'all, and they'll swindle you out of your money if you're not careful!

In other news, Jonathan and I, the Grays, and the Wellses went whale watching last Saturday.  It was very cool!  There are mostly sperm whales out here, but there are seasons where a breed of orcas come down, and even humpback whales and pilot whales have been know to stop in!  We only saw sperm whales this time, but they were very cool.  I've been whale watching up in New England before (when I was a kid) and we saw humpback whales there.  Those actually jump out of the water and whatnot, so I was kind of disappointed that the sperm whales were so much less active.  Essentially they float on top of the water and blow air out their blow hole and then do this lazy dive like 3,000 feet into the ocean.  Here are some pictures:

Ready to see some whales!

Leaving the dock, this was our view.  Gorgeous right?  If it's possible, this island is even more beautiful from far away than it is up close!

We headed out about 3 miles and then they put a microphone in the water to see if they could hear the whales clicking.  We stopped twice with no luck.  On the third try when the microphone went in, it sounded like someone was stepping all over bubble wrap!  The little guide guy said it sounded like there were probably 10-12 whales in one general area according to what they heard!  So we picked up the pace and headed toward the sounds...

And then WAY off in the distance we see a little spray like this.  And the captain gets REALLY excited and starts yelling "There she blows!" and we buzz right on over to get a closer look.  You can see from the picture the unique little blowhole that sperm whales have.  It's not in the top of their head, it's on the left side of their head.  I'm not really sure why that is, but it's a fun fact nonetheless...

This guy was a baby.  His mama was much bigger than him, but he was still pretty cool.  He didn't do any "deep dives" for us (those are the ones where you can actually see the tail come up).  Instead he did several shallow dives where he would disappear into the ocean, and then he would randomly pop up 50 yards away.  The captain said, "You know they know we're watching them.  They know we're here."  Which I thought was really cool...I kind of felt like this little baby whale was playing hide-and-go-seek...

And here's mama.  She was REALLY big.  And from far away she just looked like a big tire floating in the ocean (hopefully nobody ever says that about me...).  But upon closer inspection you could see practically her whole body.  She had that ribbed skin on her body like sperm whales do, and her dorsal fin was rounded.  Apparently they get that way after mating season.  She just floated around and sprayed several times and then...

The captain starts screaming "She's going down, she's going down!  Tail comin' up, tail comin' up!"  She sort of raised her head and then mostly disappeared into the ocean.  And then her back rounded and her tail came up out of the ocean!  Cool right?!  I have to confess, though, that this picture is actually Michelle's picture.  I was all ready to get a video for you guys.  And I actually did!  Except that the actual whale wasn't in the frame...I got too excited I guess! :(  At any rate, this is exactly what we saw and it was awesome.  After her tail disappeared she left what they call a "footprint" which is a patch of ocean that is still as glass right where she dove.  Apparently they stay down there for a few hours at a time, so there was no telling how many whales were hanging out right below our boat that we never saw!

Coming back into port, it was just as beautiful as going out!

And then I just had to share this picture I took later that night of a typical Dominican sunset from my back porch.  So beautiful I tell ya!  Most nights I start hearing people outside saying "Wow!  Look at that sunset!" and that's my cue to head to my back porch and watch the show!  It's strange sometimes for me to think about the fact that when the sun is going down here, several of you there in the states are just getting off work!  

So that was our weekend last weekend.  The girls and I (Ashley, Michelle, and Whitney) are headed to the Portsmouth market tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM and then we're gonna head to a morning yoga session.  I have SO loved yoga here and I'm trying to hit every beginner class that I can.  It's free for students and spouses, and the instructor is fantastic!  I keep telling myself that maybe next semester I'll brave the intermediate class.  I mean, I've survived (mostly) the P90X yoga on several occasions.  Surely the intermediate class can't be any harder than that right?  The difference is that I'm not in my living room with nobody but me to hear my whining and complaining or to see my body shaking while trying to do yoga belly stuff.  Ha!  So that is all for now.  And I'll leave you with yet another Dominican wonder from my FRONT porch.  Enjoy!

It's a double!  Maybe at some point in these 16 months I'll see the rare but possible triple Dominica rainbow!  Here's hopin'!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dominica...the 8th Wonder of the World!

So this post will be mostly pictures.  Last Saturday we went on a little mini island tour.  We hit 3 hot spots here in Dominica and all 3 of them were amazing!  So without further ado...some of the spectacular beauty that is Dominica!

 These are all from the Emerald Pool.  They call it that because the fresh water pours into a pool where the rocks are a dark greenish color.  So the pool looks Emerald...seriously!  It's about a 7 minute hike in and when you approach the clearing, it is just breathtaking.  You can swim in the pool too (we didn't do that this time, but I will the next time we go!)

These are the Sorensens (new first semesters that we met here!).  That's Whitney and her hubby Tom (he's the student) and their little boy Camden (such a sweetie!). They're from Utah/Nevada...BYU grads...

Oh the faces...though I appreciate the iPhone 5 and its feature which lets me take decent selfies.  Otherwise you guys would probably get a bunch of pictures of of just nostrils or just scalps...

Looks like a screen saver doesn't it?!  Oh it's just gorgeous...  Here...lemme show you a quick little video clip so you can get the full effect...

Ok, next is the Screw Spa.  It's a natural sulphur spring (they're everywhere here in's a volcanic island!).  Not sure why they call it the Screw Spa and I'm not sure I want to know! There are several different pools here.  Some are cooler and some are piping hot.  Jonathan and I didn't get all the way in (if you know me you know I don't get in water I can't see the bottom of), but most of the rest of our group did.  The water looks dirty, but it's not.  The sulphur makes it that color.  Lot's of people ask if it smells bad.  Honestly, when you're there, no.  Not at all.  But driving into the area there was a faint smell of egg salad...

That's the view outside the spas... a screen saver huh?


Because if you drop your sangwich in the sulphur spa, you're not getting it back.  I'm sure the reason they put this sign up is to cut down on the egg salad smell from so many people bringing their lunch to the spas and dropping it in as an offering to the toot god...  (that's probably only funny to me...)

And lastly...the Trafalgar Falls.  This used to be a triple water fall, but after a hurricane came through not too long ago, the third falls (it was a hot water falls) got cut off and/or redirected.  It's still spectacular though!  There is about a 15 minute hike in to see the falls from where we are taking pictures here, but we're told you can hike to the top and swim in the pools.  That's on our Dominica bucket list for sure!

Us at the falls...a good selfie of the two of us, but you can't really see the falls.  Use your imaginations people...

There's sulphur here too...that's what's making those rocks look orangey...

The jungle...looks like ferngully right??

Conrad the Terrible.  Exercising his super power of flying through the air with the greatest of ease...and a slammin' cape...

And there she is.  Oh so gorgeous...

This is the second one...

Jonathan getting a little drink...

Heehee...I like this one...

And here's another quick video so you can really see what these beauties look like.  It's a little hard to take a picture with both falls in the frame...

So there you have it.  There are many, MANY more sights to see here.  We will try to hit all of them in our 16 months here.  It will be hard to top these three, but we are told that the Boiling Lake is spectacular too.  We're also looking forward to some snorkeling and whale watching this weekend!  Woohoo!  I'm sure there will be some awesome pictures from that...

A Different Kind of Flair