Monday, September 26, 2011


It has been difficult for me to come back to my blog since my last post. So odd to be grieving someone I've never met. What do I say?  But I wanted to let you know that Sara died peacefully Saturday, with her mother and brother with her. Hers was a life well lived to the very end.

Here is the link, once again, to my favorite post. Gitz: Really?

Really, she was Him, to me. Really.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gitz: Saying Goodbye

Back in April I was a stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I wrote about it here.  In that post, I mentioned a blogger that I read frequently--you'll find her mentioned in my blog list-- Gitz. She is one of several Christian and chronic illness bloggers that I have been especially uplifted by over the past few years.

A few friends commented on how much they liked her blog and that post specifically. Her writing is beautiful, her godly attitude beyond inspiring. I sometimes read her posts in the morning and then sit for a while, challenged and a bit undone.

Her name is Sara--she has ankylosing spondylitis. And her complications from that disease have been severe.  So many times she has made me grateful when I felt bitter, made me think when I didn't want to. She never candy-coated her pain but it never got in the way of her joy. Though my illness is nothing compared to hers, she became a kind of model to me of what to do WHEN YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN AND SICK. How to be honest. How to have dignity. How to care for others and not be self- involved. How to be more like Jesus. Lofty goals--things to try for that I am still learning.

And Sara is going home. A friend is updating her blog now, while hospice cares for her. She placed this quote from Sara on her blog earlier:

 "... I have lived in this condo since I was 29 years old. I haven't left it, ventured out, even open a window in years. It's where I am, where I will always be, and yet when someone says the word 'home' I don't think here.

I don't think anywhere, really. I think who.

Because my home rests in the hearts of people...
My home is not here. It's not in a country or state or town or walls. It's in the hearts of the people I love.

And their home is in mine."
Homeward Bound

If you want to be grateful for what you have today, be uplifted, feel closer to God--if you're not afraid to shed a few tears--spend some time on Sara's blog. She is going home. She is not afraid. She chose joy all along the way, no matter what, and helped so many others learn to do the same.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. Thank you for the joy, Sara.

For another beautiful tribute to Sara at another of my favorite blogs, see Pensieve: Choosing Joy, Dying Well and Crying with Hope.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

China, at last!

At last I'll post about my gypsy child's departure for her semester abroad! For the past two weeks she has been happily exploring Beijing with 19 other college students and the family that has gone along with them as guides and guardians.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, she packed and repacked. And packed and repacked! She doesn't eat gluten or dairy, so--she and I did quite a bit of research before she left. She took packets of tuna, protein powder, and lots of snack bars!

We even shipped some ahead for later in the trip. She also has Triumph Gluten-Free Dining Cards in Mandarin Chinese to show waiters and cooks at restaurants to explain what she needs when she orders, and she says those have worked some of the time.  According to our research, China is one of the hardest places to travel gf. One of the blogs we read was called China-gluten-free-hell.  But, supposedly with planning it can be done. I am hoping that is true. After China, she'll move on to Japan, where eating should get a bit easier. Then in Australia and New Zealand it should be a breeze!

Saying goodbye was harder than I'd thought it would be. And I think that back-pack is bigger than she is!
  It was hard to let her go, that far for that long. (She'll be gone until December.) But it would have been harder not to. She has always been my gypsy girl, and she has dreamed of this most of her life. Her group is doing mission work along the way and their communications are limited, but when I hear from her after one of those days, her words are full of joy and delight, and I know that she is doing what she loves-- traveling and serving and learning. She loves people and other cultures and Asia, especially.

The group at a school for the blind in Beijing. These students are musicians and played for our students, and the musicians in our group played for them.  Their teacher is known as the Mother Theresa of Beijing.
And now this to her if she gets to read this: Godspeed my darling girl! I'll resist the urge to wax in any way poetic. Have fun. Seize the day. I love you.

(And I'm just a teeny bit jealous--I'll meet you in New Zealand? I know you want me too!)


Other posts in this series: My Traveler. . .An Update   More from Travelin' Girl! Japan   The End of My Girl's Trip! New Zealand and Australia