Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the strength of my heart

"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works."
Psalm 73:25-28

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The tragedies of transfers

In the process of looking into grad school I have been looking at my old transcripts. I just got my UNC unofficial transcript faxed to me this morning. At UNC I was an English major with a History minor. I graduated from UCD with a major in English. During the transfer to UCD all of my credit hours made it safely, however, not all of my UNC classes had complements at UCD, so I lost my History minor in the process. I have a distinct memory of finishing my History minor, but it has been 5 years since I was at UNC, so I was curious if I really had finished my minor or if I have been fooling myself, so I looked back at the requirements for a UNC minor in History:

"Minor Requirements: History - 18 Credits. Note(s): A minimum of 9 semester hours with HIST prefixes must be taken at the 200 level or higher. History minors must obtain a grade of "C" or better in all history courses taken at UNC. It is recommended that at least one course should be drawn from the fields of Latin American, African or Asian history."

While at UNC I took 21 History Credits (7 classes). Fifteen Credits were at or above the 200 level, I received a C or better in every class, and I took 2 African courses. So I have an unofficial History minor...not that it changes anything :o)

(Something else I noticed on this transcript: my best semester at UNC was my last one because I knew I was leaving!
- I got all A's, which was a first for me in college)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One small step for man... giant leap for Carey-kind: This morning I was 4 minutes early to work.

I was early despite the fact it snowed last night. Monday afternoon, after arriving at work 30 minutes late again and kicking myself for it, I finally decided it was time to retire my 8.5 year old alarm clock (the one I purchased my first semester in college, the one I am so good at ignoring), and replace it with something a little more versatile. My new alarm clock (pictured) has a volume control and an AM/FM radio and a snooze that you can make longer or shorter (all of these features, so common to so many are BRAND NEW to's been 8.5 years since I bought an alarm clock). So I did something I never thought I would ever want to do: I set my alarm to radio. The talking that is on the station I chose (for an entire hour - I thought people listened to music in the mornings too!!), is so annoying that I become quite alert, and once alert I immediately begin thinking about my day and realize why I set my alarm to the annoying talking: I want to get to work on time, yes even more than I want to stay warm and snuggly.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I started this blog long after I returned from Nigeria in March of last year. I feel a need to say something about my trip, though I know I speak of it often. This is quite long.

More and more over the past week or two I have been reminded of my experience and what it meant to me. Having a memory that seems to fade all too quickly, I fear losing the memory of the sights, smells, textures, emotional exhaustion, joy, wonder, and peace that bombarded me in Jos.

I can still see it all so clearly, feel it all as well, picturing myself walking across the tiled floor of the common room at our hostel and feeling the coolness under my feet, feeling my skirt against my legs, smelling the wonderful food cooking in the kitchen and hearing the laughter of the cooks as they worked so diligently. Sitting with Steph and talking about the trip, our experiences, home; hanging out with the girls as they created birthday signs for Mike. Sitting on the swing, watching the girls and Zac jump on the trampoline, doing back flips, talking about what they enjoyed about the trip and how it was to come to an end all too soon.

Walking through the Bush village with Steph after our climb, surrounded by children, hearing no English, meeting all the elders of the village. Seeing the flies swarm around the sugarcane, wondering how long we'd actually been gone. The look on Samson's face when he "found" us - the look on Jane's face when we got back to the vans. The numbing cold of the night as we slept in tents. The darkness that surrounded and engulfed us as we slept far from any man-made light. The laughter in our tent, the rooster that crowed all too often and all too soon for my liking. Walking out into the trees as dawn began to creep over the horizon, covered in the same haze that covered everything constantly.

Maneuvering through the narrow passages of Blind Town, taking countless pictures and letting the kids see themselves on the screen. Standing by, waiting for our group to move on, smelling a pot of rice, hearing the movement of the livestock behind me and the laughter of the children beyond where I could see. Watching people crawl along the dirt caked corridors, dreading the thought of what it must look like during the rainy season.

First driving from the airport at Abuja to Jos, seeing Africa - this small corner of it - for the first time. The sights, the smells, the constant haze. The van rides were fun for me - a chance to see more of the country as well as time spent with our team.

Worshiping with Nigerian brothers and sisters. Hearing their rich, strong voices fill the church. Listening to the boys at Transition House sing - praises to our God, songs I knew well and songs they themselves had written. Standing in a long, narrow building, it felt much like an oven, clapping to the music that rose from the mouths of Jos prison inmates - 30 minutes without a pause. Standing, my team behind me, and giving my testimony to these men, someone translating it into Hausa at my side. The peace I felt was God-given and strong.

There are so many other memories: VBS, the hospital, EMS, beef jerky and Goldfish, Purel, Malaria meds, 2 litre water bottles, Bill Cosby, Internet cafes, shopping for fabric and jewelry, sitting in the hallway journaling while Steph slept, the Irish missionaries visiting, meals, meetings, speed scrabble, listening to Zac play his guitar, watching Ice Age 2, the ants in the carpet, the mosquitoes everywhere, Deet, the massive amounts of people, the smell of burning trash, a picnic on the rocks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bridge that miraculously holds the weight of a fully loaded bus, a ceiling fan that reached velocities that matched a gale force wind, dancing, laughing, singing, eating, walking, praying, learning.

I learned a lot on the trip and afterwards - if you're interested, I'll share it with you. The Lord is tremendously faithful and good beyond description.

It sounds hokey, but true for me, when I say, Africa gets in your blood.