Sunday, July 11, 2010

Last Flight Out

I am packed and ready to go. It’s Friday, July 9, Aussie time. I am to leave Sydney at 9:20pm. Nat just arrived from camp, Antonia was hanging about and Karen was ready to take me to the airport. We decide to leave at 6:45pm in order to arrive at the airport at 7:15pm. We finish eating at 6:45pm, and although we leave 15 minutes later than intended, I don’t feel pressured because I know I have everything in order. We put the bags in the car, and I begin to gather my belongings (laptop, purse, sweater). Karen sounds off, “Do you have your passport?” I reply, “Yes,” knowing that it is inside my purse. She continues, “And your ticket?” “Oh, no! I forgot to print it! Won’t take but a minute.” So I dash to the computer to print off the ticket. As I’m doing so, I am attempting to finish off a kebab from dinner (which happened to be Antonia’s--she didn’t want to finish it) while holding all my belongings. I finally print off the ticket and we’re out the door.
The ride to the airport was pleasant. Nat told me a bit about the camp she attended, Antonia told funny stories from “when she was young”. Karen chimed in every now and then, and the four of us laughed together. It was to be the last time we’d be in the same car for a quite a while.
We arrive at the airport and I see a long queue next to desk F, the desk where I am to check in. I line up and wait, Nat and Antonia by my side (Karen had left to park the car). We’re standing there talking, and Nat says, “Are you sure this is our line?” So I ask the gentleman in front of me if he’s on his way to Hawaii. He confirms, but says, “The flight’s been cancelled.” I immediately think he’s playing a joke on me, but he’s serious as death. An assistant comes up to me and begins to explain that flights will be deferred to Dubai for the next day. I ask her, “Is this the flight to Hawaii?” and show her my printed confirmation ticket. She nods and confirms that I am, in fact, in the correct line. I feel my heart drop to my stomach. What shall I do? No point in complaining, the situation is out of my hands. So I decide we should call Karen and let her know the flight’s been cancelled. At that moment, I realize... where’s my purse?
I immediately think, “It must have been left in the car”, and ask a gentleman for some change to call Karen from a pay-phone (my cell phone “just so happened” to have gone ka-putt that Monday). As we’re calling her, Natalie yells, “There she is!” We rush to her and explain the situation. First thing’s first--I need my passport, which is in my purse! She rushes to check the car, while the girls and I wait in line once more. I begin to read the paper that had been handed to me and begin to get a sense that something isn’t right. The flight they have listed is not my flight! I approach an attendant and show her my documents and she says, “No, this is a flight to Melbourne. You’re in the wrong line.”
I hop back to the girls, now joined by Karen. Karen states that the purse is not in the car. My purse, with my passport, ID and money, is 25 minutes away in Artarmon.
We call Tim and Fliss, who are on their way to the airport to see me off. Tim states that he’s already at the airport, that we should find someone to pick up the purse from Artarmon. Phones are ringing, questions are flying. Finally, Bronwyn, Karen’s sister, confirms that she can pick up my bag and bring it. The confusion of this particular time is too complex and daunting to explain, but it must be known that Tim and Fliss once again blew my mind away with their selflessness.
I approach the counter and ask Those In Charge if I have any hope. I’m told that it will be fine. I begin to relax. I decide to weigh my bags to make sure they are the correct weight. I end up having to shift stuff around. After what appears to be forever, Bronwyn and Mr. Murphy (the father) pull up with my purse and jacket. I rush to the car, grab my belongings and dash, all the while crying out, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
As I get to the counter, a blonde lady begins to ask Those In Charge if I’ll still be allowed on. It seems everyone’s been checked in, and now they’re admitting those on stand-by. What is the verdict?! Yes. Let her on. As the blonde lady is rushing to enter all my information, I ask, “Where should I go? Do I have time? Will I make it?” She looks at me seriously and says, “You are at gate 51. Run!”
I am darting left and right, weaving between small children and bewildered Asians. As I cross behind the security wall, I hear the voices of my Aussie family calling out, “Bye, Jo! Bye!” I half-yell, half-pant a strangled “Goodbye!” as I continue on my course. When I reach security, a man greets me with a nonchalant grin. As he’s checking my passport, I tell him that the lady at the front told me to hurry. He states, “Chill, you’re making me nervous. Just give me your thing”. “What thing?” “The thing.” “I don’t know what ‘thing’ means.” When he’s done verifying my information, he hands me my ticket and passport. I stand there, waiting for instructions. He ignores me and is about to help the next customer. I ask, “Where do I go from here?” He looks at me as if we’ve never met before and waves his hand ambiguously behind him. “That way”. I think to myself, “Oh, Australia...”
I run, run, run, thank God for the flattened escalator-walkways (I used to wonder...who could ever be in that much of a hurry?) and curse my poor eyesight, which is making it difficult to read the signs until they are just a few feet ahead of me. Lo and behold, there is gate 51!! And there is a long, beautiful queue of people who have yet to board. I’m not late!
My legs ache, I am sweaty, and I feel nauseated from the run, but I MADE IT! As I hand in my ticket and passport, I see the same blonde lady who checked me in. She smiles and congratulates me, “Good on ya! Ya made it!” I smile a big “thank you” and head down to the plane. As I walk, I begin to laugh inwardly. This is my life! The flight crew greets me and I am told I am in seat 11G. I make my way down the isle and see that my seat is right behind the club seats, with plenty of leg room, a huge screen right in front of me, and plenty of leg room. Did I mention plenty of leg room for my 9hr flight?
As I sit down, my inward giggles turn into audible laughter. I can’t help it! I’m so happy! A lady across the isle glances at the strange, smelly Dominican with fuzzy hair laughing to herself, and it makes me laugh harder. I begin to thank God for sparing me the trouble of missing the flight. For keeping me safe through the year. For the hearts of those who give and give and give without complaint. For allowing me to live with the wonderful family that will always be a part of my heart. For the friends I’ve made and for the life I have. For everything.
As I settle down, two lovely sisters, Carmen and Lisa, sit next to me. We begin to talk and I share my crazy story. We laugh. I then remember that in my rush, I failed to take air-sickness medicine. Carmen just-so-happens to have some. The plane begins to gain speed, and we soar off the ground. I look out the window, and it hits me.... it’s been a year. I am on a plane home. I made it. God brought me thus far. I have a family on the ground who sacrificed so much to make sure I made it safe, and a new family awaiting my return.
The emotion of this and the knowledge and experience of grace manifests itself in tears. The twinkling lights of the city below me begin to blur, and I feel a lump in my throat.
“Josmery, here’s a candy to help keep your ears from popping,” Lisa says. I smile.
What a year.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


When I was born, there you were. I clung so tight, I didn't know what else to do.

When I could talk, there you were. I babbled on and on, but you drank in every word.

When I began to walk, I had two left feet. I dawdled and ran too fast and fell many times. You were always there to guide me.

When I began to read, my imagination exploded. I interrupted your day with a hundred crazy ideas, but you never made me feel stupid. You listened intently and encouraged me to dream.

When I had that assignment in class, I freaked out. I had to dress up as BENJAMIN FRANKLIN! I had no clue what to do. But you were there, and you gave me your silk shirt and helped me look the part. I got an A.

When I fell in love with music, I sang so many wrong notes. I cracked, I squealed, and I thought I was so good. You told me I had the most beautiful voice in the world.

When I felt like an outsider at school, I would cry. I hated everyone. I hated you for letting me be me and not like everyone else. You took the blows and said nothing, silently loving.

When I thought I had found what I wanted, I was lying to myself. I lied to you, to friends. I made so many mistakes. You gave me the space I needed without leaving me completely, no matter how hard it was for you to see me suffer.

When I graduated and went to college, I chose to study music. You supported me without question and never asked me what everyone else does... "how will you make a living?"

When I gave my heart to Christ, I finally saw reality for the first time. You were awed by the change in my life, and you too gave glory to God.

When I fell in love, my focus shifted. I no longer called you first about everything, no longer told you my deepest secrets. You smiled through tear-blurred eyes and prayed for us.


I'm still clinging to you. I love you.
I love telling you stories. I love you.
I will walk in your steps. I love you.
I still dream because of you. I love you.
I have an education because of you. (I'm ready to be done with school!!!) I love you.
You are still "the wind beneath my wings"... I love you.
I've learned to bridle my tongue, that words are diamonds. I love you.
I'm still growing and learning, thanks to you. I love you.
I will always remember your voice singing me to sleep. I love you.
I know Christ, in part, because of your faithfulness. I love you.
I am so proud to have you give me away next year (God willing!!). I love you.

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Twist

For some time now, I have been focusing on what I do not have.

I am not home, with all the friends and loved ones I hold dear.
I am not with my fiance, and because of that I do not have the joy of feeling his touch or looking into his eyes or laughing with him.
I do not have hugs from him.
I do not have the ability to enjoy my mom's new house, nor to help her keep her new little garden.
I  can't spend time with my sister and encourage her.
I am not home.

For this slight and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Paul is talking about the physical suffering and persecution they endured for Christ's sake, especially death. Yet, suffering is not only physical, but emotional as well. I know that being here in Australia is and has shaped my character tremendously. It teaches me to rely on God alone. And it helps me to appreciate blessings in disguise.

I have lived in two lovely homes and become a small part of two amazing families.
I have the privilege of using Skype and Gmail to communicate with my beloved in a way that is far more satisfying than scripted letters alone. I am learning to speak a new love language outside of physical touch.
I get to hug my new friends and "family"!
I have the honor to help out around the house and enjoy another's blessing of a beautiful home, garden and so much more.
I  have experienced being a "big sister" and have fallen in love with two beautiful, smiling gifts from God.
I am in Australia!

...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I hope in God's promises, because God is the only thing that is sure. I am fickle, and this life is so short. I am here to be made more like Christ.  

None of this really matters, in the end. My reputation, my "achievements", my engagement to Brian. It is all vanity, if the goal is not God's glory.

He must increase, and I must decrease.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Expectations and Canvas

Everyone has expectations. I believe they are wonderful to have, for they keep us all "in line" with ourselves. They're the unseen code. Most of our adult behavior is defined by what we learn as youngsters, by what is expected of us. I still hear my mother's voice echoing in my ear every time I walk into my room and see that I haven't kept it tidy... "Clean your room, Josmery." Especially true in this area is when I first wake up and actually get out of bed. "Make your bed before you do anything else, and you won't have to worry about it later."

Some things take years to stick. :)

But what about when your desires begin to change? What about fulfilling the duties you once completely believed in but, with time, have come to see they in themselves are no longer what you truly desire?

I want to paint the canvas. I used to think the best way I could paint was by using this one set of brushes, yet I have grown to see that a completely different Brush makes far better strokes. It is THE brush. It was made for painting. It is the paint.

Some people expect me to continue with the first set of brushes.

I know what I want.

I have heard it said, "It doesn't matter what brush you use, as long as you paint. So continue with the first set."

I want to ask, "Then what is the issue with me using the best Brush? Please try it. You will see the difference."

But some people cannot see the colors.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I don't know how to say this,
Don't know if you'd believe.
But somewhere 'neath this carcass I still desire to see
You. came and went like breezes, empty,
Where no caress was felt.
And now you're back into my life, the one that nearly fell
Apart. from all the lies you've told,
And all the rancid acts,
Apart from all of "could have beens", I know this is a fact
Of life. there is no limit
For He has conquered death.
It is His love that I can give, because in me's His breath.

Of what use is it to focus on what I do not have? On what wrong has been done? Can I alter anything but my own actions? Can I take a magical eraser and make it all go away? No.

Ask yourself: would you choose to have the hope of joy, or not know what joy is at all?

Me? I choose to hope.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Update #Whatever

*voice of Shirley Temple*  Oh, my goodness, oh, my goodness!!

Life has taken too many shots of caffeine and I can't seem to catch up!

Yet, I have had such fantastically wonderful experiences of late, that I kind of don't want to! I just returned from camping with the Becketts at the Wombian Caves. It was sooo fun! I did real exercise for four days straight! I know, I know... amazing. Mind you, there are many funny stories to be told with said trip, but you'll just have to wait until I see you in person.

I finally finished choosing my rep. for this semester (something I should have done 1 mo. ago), and I have to say, I think it's pretty good! I look forward to seeing what my teacher says about my choices. I'm so glad to have had Ms. Greschner for 4 years, with a wicked knowledge of repertoire and literature to help choose it!

A lot is going well, really well. But my heart longs to go home. I'm counting the days! Let's face it. I was at a different point in my life two years ago, when I first applied for this scholarship. Now, I want to settle down and cuddle with Brian for the rest of my life.

Sigh... it's just one of those nights where I really miss him. It's been one of those nights for a looong time...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Needed Reminders from Romans 12

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse them.

Live in harmony with one another.

Never be wise in your own sight.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.