Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving Forward

It's been a journey. I'm not sure exactly where it began, and I'm not sure precisely where it will end, but I've changed chapters. I can't post truly current events on this "jess in kenya!" blog, because well, Jess isn't in Kenya. But I still have stories. Plenty of stories. If you still like hearing stories - bedtime stories, happy stories, funny stories, sad stories - maybe you'll find some here. Your responses and comments and simple act of keeping up with my stories makes me feel worthwhile and special. Thank you for your personal, diligent, and above-and-beyond support. You are missionaries. Brighten the corner where you are.

May God
bless you
keep you
shine upon you
be gracious to you
smile upon you
and give you

(Stotz Up! blog)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I miss Kenya every day. Some days, I miss it more. Like now. This week. This month. As I finish my second day of school, my students are tucked in their beds, sleeping in preparation for their third day. I won't be there. And to understate it, that's a real bummer. But when I miss Maxwell the most, I sit back with a bagel and strawberry cream cheese and smile at the dinner in the cafe I had with a good friend I hadn't seen for 16 months. And I think: I've missed things everywhere. I really hope - and faith is the substance of things hoped for - that Heaven is a sort of Pangaea for cultures and people and foods. I can hang out with Kemmy and Stacia and Kyle and Josh at the same time. They'll meet one another. We can share chapati and mashed potatoes and, well, something even better than Taco Bell (who can believe it?!?). And it will be very, very good.

Heaven is a wonderful place.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Re-Entry

Signs flash the familiar names of familiar places... Bridgman... John Beers... Warren Dunes...
My anxiety mounts. I'm nervous. I'm strapped into the ride, and can't extricate myself from its hurtle toward Berrien Springs, MI. The vehicle seems to be accelerating, faster and faster and faster; warp speed. My breathing grows shallower and more rapid. I feel hot and cold all at once. No escape. No turning back. I want to reach out and push on the dash with all my might, willing the car to a halt. Leaning back in my seat doesn't push it farther away. Collision: inevitable.

I'm nervous. I'm anxious. I'm scared.

If I were a jug of emotions, my eyeballs would be floating in fear.

When the space shuttle comes plummeting back to Earth, are the astronauts excited about home, or anxious, fearful about the 3000ºF re-entry into the atmosphere? Maybe it's a little more enticing to remain in space, floating, with no particular goal or particular place. No gravity to hold them down, no weather to dampen their days.
No trees. No summer breezes. No winter gales. No sunrises, sunsets, daytime or nighttime.

I'm scared. I'm scared that my re-entry into the AUtmosphere will result in crash-and-burn. Or crash. Or burn. Tragedy. Disaster. Unknown. Unexpected. But I'm more scared of life in limbo.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Squeeze Play

Bob Barker.

One of the simplest, no glitz, no glam, down-to-earth names you might ever encounter, and one that readily brings vivid visions of prizes and bidding and dollar amounts and games.
One of those games is simply known as "Squeeze Play". A glittering, enticing prize was given a showy advertisement by the personless voice of Rod Roddy and voiceless person of one of Barker's Beauties, then given a price with one too many digits. The contestant's job was to choose which number didn't belong, pluck it out, and allow the remaining digits to squeeze together to make the final price. Once that number was pulled out, there was no time to put it back; the beginning and ending numbers began to move toward each other with a whirring, wrenching, clicking impetus, threatening to crush anything placed in between. If the contestant's price matched the manufacturer's suggested retail price, they walked home (or drove home) with their prize. If not, do-doot-do-do, wahhhhhh; it was game over.