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the plant with many names

This is a sleepy plant from Honduras. I was on my way to breakfast one morning at the missions home when I saw some of our Tidwell team members (and now new friends) playing with something in the grass. As I got closer I was able to see and ask questions about what happens when you touch these plants. Before learning what they are called, at first it reminded me of a Venus flytrap. But the sleepy plant is not carnivorous. If you touch it, the leaves close shut and re-open a few minutes later. The first shot is of one with its leaves open and the second shot is one with closed leaves. Come to find this plant goes by many names such as shame plant, sensitive plant, action plant, touch-me-not, and humble plant. The scientific name is Mimosa pudica. Now that just makes me think of champagne and orange juice, but that’s just me. Apparently pudica means “shy, bashful, or shrinking.” That makes me think of shrinking violet. You know what? People talk about spirit animals. The sleepy plant is my spirit plant. I am shy, an introvert, a homebody, and a sleepy plant.

P.S. – I love that the mission trip was not just about providing medical care to Hondurans, but a science lesson as well. You never know what you’ll learn when you go somewhere new and explore. Reading about places is one thing, but getting out there and experiencing with your five senses is a whole other thing. It’s like the Hermiones vs. the Harrys and Rons.

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Honduras

For a moment I thought I was looking out at the streets of China again. Motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic. Store after restaurant, one jammed right next to each other like a sandwich. Then I saw the Spanish words and was immediately reminded that I am in Honduras. The Hearts for Honduras Tidwell team was on the bus en route to Ignite Missions and all my eyes wanted to do was shut. I was functioning on two hours of sleep and trying to erase the memory of me not being able to carry 41-44 lbs. of checked luggage with my carry-on that morning (note to self: do more weight training) and I don’t think I truly woke up that first day. But I did not mind. We were picking up one of our translators (in my head they are called interpreters, but that’s not important) and about to prep for our trips into the mountain villages of Tatumbla. Our team captain wanted everyone who had gone before to help get all the toys, school supplies, crochet hats, and medical equipment organized. As for me, since it was my very first time, she asked me to mostly watch.

It was late June and had been raining every day for five weeks. According to one of our translators it’s the rainy season in Honduras right now, all the way through August. As soon as she told me that, I thought of monsoon season in India, but I knew this was not quite as intense as that. At least the week we were there it was not like that and we were even blessed with some sunshine for a couple of hours here and there. I helped count crochet hats the first night and then every afternoon the rest of the week I floated around from school supplies to medical equipment and anywhere else I was asked to help. Each morning breakfast at the mission house was around 6:30 or 7:00 depending how far away we were going to the village we were serving. We were a makeshift dental, vision, and medical clinic with a makeshift pharmacy and pastoral and children’s ministry.

Additionally, we had a water filter ministry that brought buckets and other parts of a water filter system to the Honduran homes in the villages and showed them how to put the parts together to be able to have filtered water in their homes. At the same time, these water filter men would try to share the gospel to these families if they were open to listen. It breaks my heart that there are people in places like these mountain villages in Honduras that don’t even have clean water to drink. That causes a lot of the health issues they face and so does having to wash all their clothes by hand using a washboard. (You don’t want to arm wrestle with any of these women.)

When asked, I answered our team captain to put me wherever they need me so she thought it was best if I started out in the pharmacy. The first day and the last day were the most challenging and the biggest villages with the most patients. We filled prescriptions for 197 Hondurans on day one and 200 on day four. Day four we had so many patients we had to cut it off at 200 and turn some away. I was mostly in the pharmacy, but I did get to serve in triage for a little bit as well, writing down blood pressure measurements. By the end of the week we had 72 professions of faith. Numbers are great, but I don’t think it’s about the numbers. It’s about the Hondurans who aren’t supposed to come inside the pharmacy but do anyway just to give us a hug and tell us, “thank you.” It’s about the 70-80ish years old women hugging dolls so tightly and close to their hearts because they had never been given a doll before in their lives. It’s about the man who had never gotten a pair of glasses before and as soon as he was able to get his first pair he ran up to the nearest tree and took a leaf so he could finally see the veins on that leaf. It’s about coming from different states in America (MO, AL, MS, TN) with different backgrounds and stories of how we came to Christ to all serving together, united by the same purpose and desire to glorify God.

Going on a mission trip was not something I actively planned. I had heard of them before, even talked to some who had gone before, but still I was on the fence. Deep down I knew I was just afraid and letting fear run my life. But then my church, Connection Point Church, went through a revival with Life Action Ministries and I’d been studying the Word with Girl Defined, learning all about how to be a girl defined by God and what I can do now in my season of singleness to serve Him. I went to a Missions Fair at CPC back in April and this year finally said “yes” to God and the rest is history. I made some new friends and learning about each of their stories made me realize we are all broken brothers and sisters in Christ going through a lot back home, but we’ve set that all aside for one week to come together and serve. Your problems don’t go away just because you’re in a different country. You carry your hurt with you, but you get to see just how small your problems are compared to what the Hondurans face each day. And they are content with the little they have because they don’t know any different.

Despite all the craziness in this country right now, clean water we take for granted in the States is one of the many things that makes me appreciate the States a whole lot more than I did before. You don’t need to travel overseas to do missionary work. This is the time to open your eyes and see where you can fill a need around you. This is the time to stop letting fear run your life and just go for it. This is the time to step out of the boat and say “yes” to God.

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Amanda Bynes used to have her own sketch comedy show where she would do funny sketches that oftentimes involved disgusting, unheard of habits/things, like selling a foot fungus chowder. This is not the same thing, but I’d like to put face picking as one of those habits she would have liked to feature on her show. Who knows? Maybe she already did an episode on that, but I’ve never seen every episode, only a few clips here and there on YouTube. Face picking makes me think of “The Amanda Show.” Secret single behavior is another category for face picking. That’s from Carrie Bradshaw. Well, at least the concept of SSB is. I’ve never picked her brain on what she thinks of face picking or anything…

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Hello, my name is HSP.

How do you explain to someone about being an HSP? I suspect I have always been an HSP, but I never knew it was called Highly Sensitive Person until recently. While no one has said to my face they are annoyed with some of my quirks, I feel like I have confirmed it when I hear someone hiss as a reaction to one of my reactions. It makes me withdraw back into my shell when that happens because immediately I know they don’t get it. Yes, all I did was drop a pencil to the floor, but because I was concentrating on my homework and didn’t expect that to happen, I startled myself and went “ahhh!” when the pencil fell. Yes, all you did was walk by me with your dog and all your dog did was bark at me, but the sound of your dog barking at me startled me and caused my body to jump as a reflex. I can’t help it when my body reacts reflexively, even if to you, your dog is not that scary. Yes, all you did was come up from behind me while I’m working in my cube to talk to me, but it’s going to make me go “ahhh!” I am easily startled, especially when concentrating hard on something and I have reflex reactions that seem exaggerated to some, but is the real me. I cannot help it. It’s not something I can change about myself. I am an HSP.

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What do they call you?

Curtis Sittenfeld is the first one to teach me about guys calling each other by their last names instead of their firsts. It seemed an especially popular thing to do among the jocks. I know I’ve seen it in some other YAs where it’s not between jocks, but just between buddies, sometimes between guy friends and girl friends. But lately I’m getting re-introduced to this concept by Sarah Dessen. Except in this case, she is talking about a girl who sometimes likes to be called by her first name and sometimes likes to be called by her last, depending on who she’s hanging out with. It makes me wonder how people decide that. I can’t really do that with my name. Hear ye! Hear ye! And my first name is already complicated. It’s Yu. But it’s also YuMin. Hey you! Yeah, this doesn’t quite work with my name. Is it a popularity thing? Is it a familiarity thing? Is it a friend thing? If anything it kind of excludes people who don’t know you when you only allow people who know you to call you something other than your first name. But it does bring people you are already close to even closer.  

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Take five

Five minutes is a lot of dancing time. Five minutes is a lot of talking time for someone to do an oral presentation for school when that someone is afraid of public speaking. Five minutes is a long time when you need to clock out of work soon, but you can’t really start something new because it’s not enough time to complete it before you go. Five minutes is a longish song. Five minutes seems like an eternity in the waiting room at the hospital. Five minutes can be at least one touchdown in football. Five minutes is plenty of time to change the outcome of a sports game. But every time it’s five minutes to midnight, I think of Boys Like Girls.  

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“You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay): Escaping The Toxic Culture Of Self-Love” by Allie Beth Stuckey

The title gets to you doesn’t it? I first found out about this book from the ladies at Girl Defined. Allie Beth Stuckey hooked me from the first sentence when she brought up Britney Spears and then later on, the Backstreet Boys. Seriously, we could have been besties back then. But my heart breaks for the beginning of her journey into discovering His Truth. I’m glad she did eventually figure out how toxic self-love can be. She unpacks five myths that many people believe about themselves: you are enough, you determine your truth, you’re perfect the way you are, you’re entitled to your dreams, and you can’t love others until you love yourself.

These myths are like wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing. They seem harmless until you go down that road and learn the hard way they are harmful. She speaks to you like a sister in Christ who is trying to tell you something with love. She gets vulnerable and shares her experiences with an eating disorder that happened after going through a bad breakup. It was so damaging, she almost lost her life in the process. At the same time, almost losing her life helped her find it. Ultimately when you believe you are enough, you begin to worship the god of self and that leads to a path away from honoring God due to how demanding the self is.

In a culture where everything is about me me me, it is easy not to check with Scripture if what you believe lines up. Before you know it you’re living a world of your own truth and cancel culture, etc. Stuckey emphasizes we cannot look towards society’s truth, but the Word of God. Additionally, we cannot define ourselves by anything except for who He says we are. We may dream big and think we will only be happy if we achieve a certain dream, but that will not bring satisfaction. The goal isn’t about our happiness. We can glorify Him no matter what role we have. And if we wait until we feel we have fully loved ourselves to start loving others, we will miss out on many chances to love and serve others.

You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay): Escaping The Toxic Culture of Self-Love really got me reflecting on the extent I have let the culture of self-love influence my decisions. I am looking at life differently and realizing there may be certain dreams I have to let go of and prioritize different aspects of my life that I was not as familiar with before. Life is an adventure best lived with God.

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raw parte dos

If you haven’t figured out from my last post, I was packing for a mission trip. (Or I should say a final check of packing.) I just got back from Honduras yesterday (or technically early this morning). There is so much I am still processing in my brain. I was about to say I felt really tired, but when I really reflect on it, I wasn’t really tired when I just got home. I wasn’t able to go to sleep right away so I was up later than I had wanted and feel tired today. I still have some unpacking to do, but it’s all right. I slept well every night of the trip except for the last two. Those last two nights I felt anxious knowing that I’d be leaving behind a new life-changing experience and new friends. I’m glad I found a way to stay connected to some and I hope to be back again at some point, hopefully the very next year.

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raw

Check this. Check that. Check. Check. Check. I’m amazed I’m not as annoyed with the checking process, but it could be because it helps someone else who has been before many times made the checklist as a guide. Man, I am sleepy. Luckily I started on this checklist a few weeks ago. There’s always a part of me that’s not sure I remembered everything on the checklist, but there’s also another part of me that wants to let go and know it’ll be fine. This is me trying not to let fear run my life. In the back of my head I’m thinking it’s because of that one person who messed things up for everybody and now everyone has to go through this checklist. But then I try to pull back and think of my purpose for going through this checklist in the first place and remind myself a checklist is only a small hoop I need to jump through to be part of a team that will make a difference in someone else’s lives, possibly for the rest of their lives. I think of Who is sending us and I try not to think of the million naps I feel like taking. We’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this together, as a team. As long as we take our thoughts off of ourselves and onto Him, we’re going to be just fine.

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untexted

The sound of the tri-tone goes off and your heart races for a beat, wondering who it is that just texted you. Who is more important than what. That tri-tone is audio evidence that someone thought of you. Someone cares. But it could also be fear that has taken over on that someone’s end and they don’t want to face you in person to have a difficult conversation. The tri-tone becomes an alert to look forward to or an alert to dread. Which it is only you know based on what is going on in your life. But what happens if the tri-tone doesn’t go off for a while? What if you sent something offensive or difficult to discuss via text and don’t hear back right away or at all? Or maybe you haven’t been social for a while and your phone is left unlively, untexted as of late. What happens then? Your heart may not race, but your brain becomes overactive with the whys. Silence in person means you can see someone’s immediate reaction and try to figure out on your own what they were thinking. Maybe ask a follow up question right then and there before you part ways. Silence on your phone means facing the unknown. You’ll need an emotions baby-sitter to make sure your imagination doesn’t run unreasonably wild and cause you to have a myriad of unwanted emotions. How do you deal? Do you try to meet up in person? Do you just leave it alone and let time do its thing? It’s hard to pick what is best, but if you are indecisive, you pick time by default.