Saturday, December 27, 2008


MVI_8573, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

NOT staged! by me, anyway...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Back in the US of A

Even though it took some getting used to, not understanding what people say is something I have enjoyed overseas. The other day I rode a train and was a little petulant because I could understand the whiny conversation of my nearby seatmates.

It's probably part of reentry shock.

But in other news, I'm back to the states until I leave again (no, I don't know when that will be...) and am looking forward to getting back in face contact with some amazing people.

I'll be in west Kentucky for the next few days, but then back in Michigan!

Maybe the next post will be a story...

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I just ran around the midieval walls of Carcassonne in stealth mode tonight, traipsing the very paths Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was filmed.

All this after consuming a dozen eggs amongst 3 people, riding 2 subways, 5 trains, waking at 6:45 to a delicious 'yesterday omellette' and missing a train...

Let's just say I have enjoyed the day but am glad not every day is like this!

I'll be home for Christmas.

Love you family!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


It's cold in Casablanca...

But I suppose it's colder in Michigan, so okay... I'm alright with 50s F here.


I can hardly believe I've left Tanzania. That hot country wanted to hold on to me. I'm glad not to be melting away in my sleep anymore, but sad to be away from those kind people. 

In 1 day, I went from ocean to ocean, seeing Zanzibar to seeing the Atlantic! Whew. What a ride. And  my goodness. THE FOOD on Qatar was amazing. Not to mention the juice. Apple and Orange...oh how I love thee. 

The juice was cold, almost better than the sugar cane juice and pineapple-mango-tamarind in Zanzibar. Would you believe it, be found a hole-in-the-wall place in Stonetown selling this juice for 200 shillings? That's about 20 cents USD a glass, my friends. And so fresh...Ahhh.

Goodbye, land of eternal summer...Hello to the north!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost Turkey-Time!

This will be my second Thanksgiving spent out of the United States...

I'm not sad about it, but this does have me thinking about what next year(s) may look like. Time for family, right? Right. And I just keep getting a older each year. Funny thing, that.

I do love all this traveling, and sharing the experience with new and old friends. Particularly camp friends. But I wonder. Will this be the trend as those years continue? Will there be a person who's going to join with me in these adventures, maybe a home for children?

And when I return, it's not looking like it will be to the same community, but to a new one. Starting all over, building a home and family with the people nearby...

Whew. Talk about personal. It's getting sticky in here. But that just might be this Dar Es Salaam heat.

Comments, questions, concerns? Send me an email, friends!

Until next time.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

for mom

Before Election Results...

(I wrote this blog entry....)

Whew. What an awesome ride. It’s amazing to be here in this beautiful mountain region of Tanzania. The days often get warmer than I would prefer, since I was spoilt by a couple summers on the northern tip of Lake Huron, but that’s the price you pay for mango/pineapple season, I suppose. And it’s well worth it when there is water to spare for a little bucket shower in the heat of the day or before climbing into a warm bed at night.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase of unemployment here, although it does nag at me a bit that I have zero income while traipsing about Africa and Europe. It’s been almost 3 weeks now that I’ve been here, and I have a bit of a routine. If Amber doesn’t wake me up at 6 to go see the sunrise or meet the bus driver’s cow, I sleep in until about 9 and putter around until it’s time for chai with the teachers. Maybe I’ll have some coffee and read, or write. Or perhaps tackle Swahili.

Oh Kiswahili. It’s a fairly straightforward language, often combining tense and subject (and probably anything else you need in the sentence, it seems) to the verb, but it’s slow going for me to memorize the different parts. I did manage to greet an entire wedding audience in Swahili, English, and the local language, but that’s about as far as my competency goes J I just hope people don’t answer me and ask a question with words I don’t know!

Got off track from the routine there – you’re just going to have to stay in suspense, because I’m not going back to it! Instead, we’re going to the weekend…

I climbed a couple hours to a mountain’s crater lake the other day with Amber, and we unsuccessfully tried to capture an image of the monkeys who eluded us in the trees while not falling down the trail. If I can get the camera to work, the picture with this post will be of that hike. How are things in the rest of the world? I hear there’s some sort of presidential election going on soon in America. 95% of Tanzanians are hoping you vote for Obama. Just sayin’.


Saturday, October 25, 2008


Some things I've noticed:
-I love kangas
-Swahili sounds similar in a lot of ways to Chinese (dad is baba in both!)
-It's usually better to walk on the side of the road in the 'foot-traffic' area rather than the middle, because in the dry season at least, you won't kick up mushroom clouds of dust with each step
-Although I thought I would miss Mango season, I'm catching the start of it! And pineapples, avocados, teensy bananas...
-I'm not a natural when it comes to clumping rice with sauce. Sauceless, I'm alright, but sauce really throws me.
-I'm so glad Africans here drink milk!
-The chai here is uber-sweet and very tasty to my palate, but so hot that my tongue rebels and most teachers have finished their full cups before I'm halfway. I usually end up gulping that last bit, when the temperature has finally reached a level that I normally would begin drinking it.
-Tanzanian mamas and babis (mothers/grandmothers) are awesome.
-There are tons of types of bananas...
-crusty boogers. yech.
-electricity is here one minute, gone the next. such is life :)
-British Airways and Kenya Airways serve amazing food! For dinner on BA, I was asked 'red or white wine?' which has never happened to me on an american airline. Sure, they serve wines and such, but it was interesting to me that it's just assumed you'll have wine with your dinner.
-Even out here, 2 1/2 hours bus from the nearest city, Mbeya, it seems like everyone follows American news. I've been asked by many about my thoughts on Obama and McCain.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pole pole ndiyo mwendo

slowly, slowly is the method.

That's how I got here... after a long night in Nairobi's fine 4am air conditioned airport (really, 4-5am was the air condition time..) and many modes of transportation, my more than able guide got me to her home in Tanzania's mountains!

It's good to be here and studying a new language.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

no pictures

because I look like a melting mess. The heat coupled with emotional woes and technology breakdowns...

the night in the nairobi airport sans the checked bag would have been fine. Or making it not onto the 8am but the 8:30 am flight to tanzania.

but really, leaving my bag in London after saying they'd have it in nairobi? I could have made the flight last night if not for that blasted bag.

So yeah. I'm still in nairobi. But checked in for a flight to tanzania. Oh yeah. Had to buy that ticket.

This is Africa.

As it gets worse progressively, my hopes for reunion in Tanzania rise.

I might just melt into a slobbering mess.

egads. I hate these stupid emotions...sleeping a few hours out of the past 30 I know is in part to blame.

So yeah. There's an update for you all, my dear friends who I miss and wish that one of you were here with me.

Misery loves company...and even though I've run into dozens of people extremely aggitated at flight situations, I'm still jealous of those that have been able to face it all with a friend at their elbow.

That's not a good enough reason to get married, is it? Because if it is, sign me up!


Sunday, October 05, 2008


Today, in 1956, my grandfather was staying at the Conrad Hilton in Chicago so that he could accept an award for having built 100 homes.

Meanwhile, his wife was in labor a trainride away in Mishawaka, Indiana, giving birth to their 3rd child, a son.

They named him...


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

International Travel, Straight Ahead!

Now that I've been able to do some real-life shopping (internet shopping from Cedarville is much better...less distracting from the privacy of your own pc) in the big city of South Bend, got some pre-travel travel out of the way, and almost have the kinks of getting ready taken care of, it really feels like I'll be in Tanzania next weekend. Less than 2 weeks. 9 days (if no delays from London...)

If you can really feel like you're actually going to be in a place, a city, a continent, you've never been before...

I wonder how it will feel to transfer from connectedness online to my many friends (gotta love the facebook phenomenon) into one-person connectedness in the flesh...and this in a culture whose language I do not speak, customs I do not know, and land I have not seen before. Poor Amber! I'll be overwhelming her with my news from the states, my fast English-speaking, and my own overwhelmedness by it all. I do hope that our excitement in seeing one another after 27 months' absence tempers the storms.

Yeah, I know, you may say, "Sarah, how can someone be overwhelmed by you? You're such a calming person..." to which I can only raise my shoulders and smirk. You got me there. And I guess Amber will be the better judge in all this.

So, you may wonder about some of the specifics...well without going into much detail for those of you stalkers out there, I'll be at site with Amber in southwest Africa for about 4 weeks, then traveling a bit with Katherine (we've heard of one another and talked via email but not met...) including Zanzibar for a couple weeks; then we'll fly to Morocco for Thanksgiving with some friends that I don't know yet...after that the details get sketchy for me, but tentatively we'll visit a friend or two of mine from Cedar as we go through Spain and France, as well as a monastery; finishing up the trip with some time in Luxembourg with a friend of Amber's. Who knows, we might hit up my sister city Wiesloch while we're at it...or maybe just Heidelberg?

Let the jealousy continue...I'll put up pictures for you when I can :)

I leave you with a pre-travel travel pic - at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where Erica and I saw Hazel Dickens tell some stories with spunk :)
Kennedy Center

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post 101!

And an homage to Jim Henson... I found out this week that Fraggle Rock was actually a microcosm to mimic people and interactions between different people and groups of people! Jim had some big thoughts about the world. I'm so glad to have watched Sesame Street, the Muppets, and Fraggle Rock as a kid...

Friday, September 19, 2008


That's what I'm doing now that I'm unemployed. Ramblin' along. Glad not to be in Greenland (get it? Greenland! Yes. A little too much Princess Bride has influenced my life)

Let me tell ya though, it's great to be able to travel and visit some friends again. Yes, I did have to travel hours to get here; and will be going many more hours in 3 weeks (THREE WEEKS, PEOPLE!) to visit dear Amber..

But some dreams are being fulfilled. Seeing places and people I've longed to see. Usually we want to do things that we don't have the time for. Or at least this is my perception...we don't percieve that we have the time. And now, at present, I have the time. I don't have much money with which to do it (thank you non-profit world that met my financial needs adequately- not to diss that in any way shape or form because of money) but as they say, Carpe Diem, my friends.

Not to say that working and waiting for things is bad :)

At present, now is simply the time.

Hope you're enjoying it too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In Memory

This is a little of what's going on in my life lately - one of our new staff at UW-Whitewater just died after being hit by a car a couple weeks ago. Mike sure could make people laugh and smile. I was only able to have a few meals with him over the past couple summers when he was here at Cedar, but I know there will be a lot of people at his memorial service, and wanting to be there, that have been touched by his love.

See the following links for more details...

Mike's Progress

UW-Whitewater's Royal Purple


Friday, September 05, 2008


Mary, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

The sky was just perfect on this day. And I love this image. Something about the way Mary stands in front of the clouds, not even aware of how ... beautiful a shot she's making!

Thanks Mary :)

--your old roommate


Just now, as I was updating my blog list, it occurred to me that there are three Lauras in three very different countries! Laura in Niger, Laura in China, and Laura in Indonesia! I met Niger Laura at an intervarsity training event (I think?) and we applied to the peace corps months apart from one another, I spent an amazing crazy summer in China with China Laura, and I spent a summer at Cedar Campus with Indonesia Laura! How cool is that?

It's very interesting to me how we surround ourselves with similar people. And the more you go down one path, the more people you see are right beside you in the same grooves. They've been some of the same places, have similar dreams, and encourage you along the way with stories of how their journey has been crazy too.

I love the way community brings that out of people.

edit: Make that four Lauras. Laura in Costa Rica, who I worked with one summer at Pleasant Vineyard, and see occasionally up here in the UP! And here I thought the name Sarah was common. Laura takes the cake right now :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'd like a star

Yesterday I was on the line with customer service for an hour. Tonight is going to exceed that, although I was told yesterday that the problem would be dealt with. The problem? A little flight cancellation with a small airline in Tanzania, that's what. Last week(?) I received an email that my flight had been cancelled. Wrote Expedia to see what had happened, and they wrote me a nice wordy email that said "you need to call us in order to resolve this matter". Apparently my flight is still happening, but my place on it has been taken away?

I'm wondering if it's because my country of origin is the USA. Or perhaps because I'm merely a rich foreigner, maybe I won't notice? Maybe they want to upgrade me to a more direct flight?

In truth, though, it's probably because there was a 'glitch in the system' as we like to say nowadays. Oh how familiar I am with glitches in the system! Currently I haven't returned a book to interlibrary loan that is severely overdue (while I am capable of this, it has indeed been returned!) and I can't tell you how many times I've had to get off CampBrain so that another glitch in that system could be fixed.

One thing I am glad for - even though it's been annoying and I'm currently going on 55 minutes with a few different Expedia personnel, they do seem to have learned the kindness skill. Thanking me for waiting, thanking me for my patience, apologizing for the wait...

Too bad they don't give gold stars when you're 24.


Sunday, August 24, 2008


Glass, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.


Wrapping Up!

Oh my. This year's Olympics are an odd combination for me. Watching some events and stories from China, most of them glorious tales of an emerging China, juxtaposed against a backdrop of having left that culture behind and with the addition of Cedar's summer (and my time there) drawing to an end.

Tonight several international and american crew will be watching the closing ceremony together. I wonder if any of them will feel as I do, that this will last as a sign of the end of an age. The end of summer 2008. A few last sails, some special meals, some movies on the big screen, a last ride to the dunes, popping in to the library for internet access, marvelling at the clouds rushing by in the changing season, and counting the days before we get to go back.

Looks like I'll be here 3 more weeks. Wrapping up program, making notes for next year, dreaming big while on the tails of summer, and in slight disbelief that the summer has truly come and gone.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I need to use more content words...the main words in my blog here are fillers! I have always had this problem - saying what I was saying with more words than necessary, and not always using words that counted. Or perhaps the words here are so varied there isn't much repetition?


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deeply. Excitedly. Smiling!

If you know, then you's because in less than 2 months I'm leaving for 2 months for foreign lands!

There are so many questions in my mind about that time.
Will it be an amazing vacation?
Will I find out some really super-important things about the world, God, and myself?
Will it merely (and a good merely, mind you) be a good time of kicking back and playing around with a dear friend?

One thing's for sure. Change is inevitable. And so I know at the least that will happen. Somehow.

But how do I prepare myself for that? Do I just do what I've been, and take it as it comes to me? Should I be reading up more, studying the language more, (yeah, with all the freetime I have here at the end of summer camping season. Pshaw.) networking with people to see who I should seek out?

I'm of a mind that what happens will happen and I'm just going to roll with the punches, enjoy the ride, not expect big things but be open to them (like meeting kindred spirits, possible future job leads, and witnessing breathtaking vistas).

The main thing I have been doing is looking at the working world out there. I'd love to work overseas, to live overseas, to take in those different worlds. But there's a big part of me that sees that as selfishness, and that it's jumping ahead of where I am. Rather than doing that, I'm at a point where I'll be needing a break. Those of you in camping world or who have worked in ministry know exactly what I mean! We don't have seminars and books on burnout at Christian, camping, and the nonprofit world for nothing. Stupid Americans.

I've been reading the series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and I hear mother Africa calling me to herself. To love her people, to lie on the land, to see the lives...

She calls.

Anyone out there think I should do different things in preparation?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Summer's end is upon us. August is here. That last month of summer.

And here in the UP, that means Lake Huron might hit 70 in the bay one of these days!

Somehow my feet are cleaner than they were yesterday. Apparently in order to prevent fungus, one must keep their feet clean and dry. That seems difficult.

I haven't anything more that should be said just now, except yes, I would love to try twitter, once I get more regular internet access in higher doses. It doesn't look like that will happen until 2009, however.

I think that's called biding time.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I just typed "mackinac fairy costs" thinking 'fairy' looked a little odd, but oddly right.


Monday, July 21, 2008


Sometimes I feel like I'm in a different country up here. For a month or so this summer, I did a pretty good job keeping up on the news, getting BBC daily updates, and in general hearing what's going on in the states too.

But as of late, I have missed most of the news about fires in California (all the poor rich people whose well-insuranced homes are in firepaths...), flooding in the Ohio/Mississippi watershed of Southern Illinois and beyond, and apparently now it's hurricane season?


Up here in camp-land, we're gearing up for the busiest time activity-wise. Since it's Pastors Seminar this week, that means they leave Friday morning and we have the place to ourselves for a delightful night! We'll be having out annual international dinner (there are 22 AMAZING recipes planned) and after that the Chatterbox (featuring our local international talent- in our very own Lundgren Hall!)

Chatterbox - Rec style

And that also means we have only 3 more weeks of all-out summer programming. Then the last Chapter Focus Week, a weeks' relative quiet, then Empty Nesters Camp!

Sometime after that is my own departure from this place. That's very weird. The past year and a half, it's gotten comfortable seeing people come and go. And soon I'll be the one going. Nice to have this shift in thought. This has definitely played a good role in my over-the-slumpness of the past few days.

How to make it time that will last, leave the effect it should, and yet still remain in the moment?

Thoughts for the days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hey you.


It's been a good week. Seeing cousins, aunts, an uncle, and a couple dear friends.

Then it's gone so soon.


Has me thinking of those people that live for the weekend. And how I don't exactly want to go back to work after this 'weekend' either.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

To the land of the Trolls and beyond

I am looking forward to a little break from camp-land this week. What a great thing, that I can reasonably leave it (camp, which as many of you know encompasses your entire life if you're there in the summer working..) behind for a week to visit family etc. and have little to no qualms about 'missing' something. I love this part of working in community. When someone isn't there, others pick up for them.

Just read a neat little article from this gal on what the point is of work in Christian-land...not to be glad for the numbers of people, but for the people themselves. Away from that impersonal statistic and back to the idea of relationships. I hate that about Christian organizations, and the way they feel they need numbers to get more numbers...they miss the point and I should feel sad for them instead of getting mad. I suppose. How's that for a paragraph.

Here's to visiting the hot land down under the bridge...Port Huron, Tennessee, and southern Michigan family reunion, here I come!

I'm really hoping to be able to put up more pictures soon. From 4th of July, sailing, and swimming in 47 degree Lake Huron!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Living a bit too fast

I haven't had time to get out my camera lately.

Most of the time, I can't even remember where I put it.

So much of the experience can't be caught on a screen, that I don't feel too badly about missing those snapshots. Just take the still frames in my mind and enjoy the moment while it's there...

Ah, finally the weather is summer up here! Mid-upper 70s is plenty high for me. And the Smells! There's something tantalizing about the smell of a breeze coming in the window that's come from the lake then through trees and fresh-cut grass.

Funny short story- On Tuesday I rode the 9 miles or so to the dunes down the road, having left at 10 am without sunscreen. Did I have even an inkling of the damage the beautiful warm sun could do in the hours I lay with my book reading on the beach!? Of course not. The last hour I sat with my very burnt arm in my shirt while I held the book for the last 50 pages in the other hand and turned pages. That's pretty much the way it was, because although I tried to sit in the shade, the air was still too cool for my crisp arms. On the ride home at 4:30, where was the sun? Shining on none other than the crispier arm, of course :) A nice couple in the roadside park gave me some sunscreen to help a little, then when I returned I raided my absent roommate's medicine drawer for her Aloe.
The arms are still a little burnt, after many liberal applications of lotion, but I do have some nice unburnt lines on the wrists where hair-ties live. Not that I need them anymore, with the new 'do!

Happy Thursday, all (-;

Monday, June 09, 2008


It was an incredible sunset tonight. The water was like wavy glass, the air smelled like buds bursting into flowers, and the temperature was just right for walking barefoot in the sand.

Been a long day, but a good one. I just got back to camp from a little stint in the hometown, and getting my act back together with an assistant to boot has been in interesting transition. Gwen held the reins a bit while I was gone last week (and reorganized the desk! Something I hadn't done since I started...) and we're beginning to get past the orientating stage...

Getting really jazzed about the summer to come - there are some pretty wickedly awesome crew, staff, and interns here, hungry to grow, eager to serve, and of course psyched with the in-your-face community of amazing people. And I get to be on the end of encouraging growth! Oh wow. It pretty much rocks my socks, that part of the deal does. Don't know why, but I still get surprised when God answers prayers for blessing and growth and people...He always comes through in sweet ways. Letting me hit my feet on lots of bumps, but leading beside the quiet waters too.

Read any good books lately? I just started an interesting one: UnChristian probably has some interesting reviews as well on the amazon page too.

So seriously - any good books lately?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reading problem strikes again

All these books came the same day- and i have only 2 weeks left with them!

Vagabonding : an uncommon guide to the art of long-term world travel / Rolf Potts.
DUE 06-11-08 RENEWEDNow due 06-29-08 Renewed 1 time
Women travel : a Real guide special / edited by Miranda Davies and Natania Jansz with Alisa Joyce an
DUE 06-21-08
910.4 Wom
The Rough guide to Spain / Simon Baskett et al.
DUE 06-21-08
914.604 Ro
The namesake / Jhumpa Lahiri
DUE 06-21-08
Good news about injustice : a witness of courage in a hurting world / Gary A. Haugen.
DUE 06-21-08
BR115.J8 H388 1999
Express Yourself! the essential guide to international understanding / Michael Powell.
DUE 06-21-08
395.09 P885
Shantaram / Gregory David Roberts.
DUE 06-24-08
Fic Roberts 0

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Before the fog

Before the fog, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

Life can be rough at camp in the sauna...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Downside, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

Love this.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Edit from the last post. Apparently it was only 50 when I wrote that.

I did take a kayak out, and paddled straight into the wind as it continued to pick up...and I turned around when I realized my paddling no longer was pushing me further in. I just floated right on back, putting the paddle in the water only to right the kayak so I wouldn't tip in a wave.

What a week. We had 450 souls fed each day. It was nuts. This coming week, we're having about 80. Oh glorious 80! It'll be like Pleasant Vineyard days, when you just about knew everybody's name by the end of the week.

Speaking of endings- it's like another chapter is closing and I see before me blank pages. The InterVarsity staff that I have come to know and play with (and even dye my hair red with) said their farewells, having put in their 3 weeks of obligatory Cedar Campus time for the summer.

I am indeed being sucked in...

Thanks, friends, for sticking around and valuing me!

And congratulations to those two PVM couples marrying this week and next (or is it last week and this?)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Glorious Day!

Here in the upper peninsula of Michigan today, the sun is shining, there are a few white puffy clouds, the wind blows (great sailing weather), and the temperature is a balmy 70 degrees...

The buds are starting to burst into leaves - it's spring!

And we're in the middle of our 4th chapter focus week - it's summer!

I just can't seem to smell that fresh air I'm going out in a kayak soon.. adios :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I just found out that this game group friends of mine are joining on facebook is also that one and only 'game without a name'...

This dear game, which I first played in summer 2003 is now known as Positron Omega.

I'll need some educating as to why this particular name was picked.

I've taught it to many people, the most recent being to some of last summer's crew.

At first, I was indignant. But this has me wondering, why? It's not like it was my game. There are memories associated with it, endearing it to me, but still it is the same game. A new generation plays it now, though, I suppose. The former years are gone, and it's not a bad thing that the name has changed. I'm feeling that passage of time, and like a crochety old grandmother, I don't want it to change.

I'm just telling myself that what's important is that people are playing it. And I do still know some of them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Accepting the Challenge

I'm going to go carry-on for two months' travel.

Think I can do it?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Doing it

I'm going to Africa!

Simply increible. :)

Beginning with a flight to Dar Es Salaam October 9th, it's going to be an extended journey with about a month in Tanzania and then Thanksgiving in Morocco; ending up with visit to a number of friends in western Europe. (Although this has been in the works for months, I can still hardly believe it's really happening)

Initial Fears - That I'll be one of those ignorant and abrasive tourists, harming more than helping; becoming homesick with all that traveling; or that I won't integrate this experience with my future and those in it.

Initial Hopes - Not so much to 'find myself' but to discover more clearly what I should be doing in the near and distant future; making contacts and friends toward that end; being a breath of fresh air and a blessing to those I encounter in this endeavor!

Today - I'm considering a call to Turkey and glad for hugs; searching for volunteer opportunities and thinking about going to nursing school..

Monday, May 05, 2008


I had thought that I began a post already, but can't seem to find it. So in shorter version than my dream-post, I welcome you to consider with me the passage of time.. :)

Tonight I spoke for a few minutes to about 200 of our guests, encouraging them to consider the dirty work of Cedar Campus Crew this summer for themselves, putting themselves in a place to help prepare this place for others to come away. I began sharing with my own experience as a student who thought sure it would be nice, but was improbable for me. Look where thinking gets me: in charge of that very program!

Last night, my friend Lisa and I took the front, leading (I hope) the 30 gathered there into deeper worship through music. I didn't even realize it at the time, but it's a moment that will never happen again; and special in that the first time I came to this place, she was with me.

A few girls and I also got together and prayed spontaneously together that night as well, and what began as a plea for God to heal in a couple specific areas became a heartfelt desire, together, for his leadership in our paths of life. It is SO good to be in this place, serving where there opportunities clearly stare you in the face. For so many students in these Chapter Focus Weeks, the time is huge and extends far beyond the one week spent here resting and seeking and wrestling. What a privilege, responsibility, and honor to be a part of it!

And in the middle of all this, last week marked 2 years since my main man was taken from me. It wasn't as hard as the year before. And I am beginning to learn to shift the focus from dad's leadership to a higher leadership.

Later, gator.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

what's important

whats important, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.


He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

So that's what's been on my mind lately, getting ready for the summer season of camping. Remembering what's behind, striving for what's ahead, yeah, that's great. But doing the important things as well, and holding fast to truth, goodness, justice, mercy, and all that with humility.

Whew! A tall order! But exciting too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Interesting book I came across in my daily Powell's e-review (in these comments, a brief breakdown of chapters), one of the chapters talks about how the person who cares the least in a relationship wields the power. Never quite thought of it this way before, but when I think of my friends and family, and the different levels of connection we have to each other, I do notice it's true! The ones I wish I were closer to, well, they have the power to make it happen. Try all I might, I can't get them to spend more time with me or share more of their lives with me if they don't do it.

Conversly, there are some I think of that the people involved would like to be closer to me, and it's I who sets the boundary levels.

So today I've spent some time wrapping my mind around that simply obvious statement.. and I guess I'm glad to have it spelled out for me.

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Joys of Unplugging

Well, this summer at Cedar we're encouraging even further unplugging from technology, and worked out the details just this week. I think it's interesting that I also came across this article on unplugging today.

Since I was just nominated for community services by the Peace Corps this week, I've been surfing for more information in that area as well as other programs and organizations committed to service. There is so much out there, it has me a little sidetracked from my 'homework' of looking into costs and details for traveling to and around Tanzania, Morocco, Spain, and France!

Happy April, everyone. I hope you're enjoying the rain which brings green back to us! As for me, I'm still seeing snow and might just drive home through a blizzard tonight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Midwest travels

It's been a big weekend for my main man Gilbert and me. We've zipped from Cedar Campus to Mount Pleasant to Chicago to Pleasant Vineyard to Cincinnati to Sturgis and back home to Cedar once more. Not counting all the times I had to turn around to find the exit or an alternate route, we added about 2,000 miles in 5 days to Gil's odometer.

Whose is that?

He ate that road up, giving me as much as 37 mpg! I guess prayer works :)

And as for me, I gained some amazing conversations and memories out of the deal. I had the chance to reconnect up close and personally with a whopping 13 friends! They've known me in various stages of life, from all my life, high school, college, and camp to camp. Lisa, Liz, Susan, Meredith, Ya Li, Gao, Dong, Rob, Lance, Bob, Kathy, Maribeth, Kat, my grandparents, and my mother got the most time.. but there were a bunch more I was able to sit and chat with.. It's really interesting for me to see how they view me and how they see me taking them in, and to hear how life has been since the times we lived alongside each other. They definitely were conversations worth driving for, each of them. And the hugs!

It was crazy, fitting it all into 5 days.

I also had the chance to interview with the peace corps while in Chicago, eat authentic home-cooked Chinese dinner, walk and talk camp and life with Rob while walking the watery grounds at PVM, attend Chinese church for a Good Friday service with great music, gab with awesome people at Applebees, bowl and haul a player piano with Eric and Lance, and spend lots of time thinking as Gilbert took me from place to place. Sometimes I wish I didn't think so much.

Work today was difficult, sitting to the task once more of getting ready for the summer camp season, knowing that I am so far from those friends who have known me for so long. I realized last week that it's been 5 years since I first started working in the camping world. Remembering that little girl puts a smile on my face. She would have totally done what I just did this weekend, too, trying to squeeze in as much face-time as possible with pals. I'm glad I haven't changed that much!

She would have been less tired and sore at the end of it, though.


At least I know I can still do it! It's not forever, I think, that I will be able to just pick up and go like that. So here I treasure it.

Zai Jian!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


These images are amazing.

I am shocked and awed. The artistry in the colors, the depth of the feeling conveyed in them!

That person is in the right business. And I'm glad it's online so that I can see away up here in northern michigan.. images from Indonesia.

Maybe someday I'll make it down that way (-;

Saturday, March 15, 2008


skibench, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

I went here awhile back.

It's nice.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I like to think my husband will play this song for me someday... Boys, this is one way to make a girl swoon... And don't think I'm joking. I just watched John Denver sing this on PBS - a man who's been dead 10 years now. And it still worked :) So if you happen to have a halfway decent voice, it'll work! The ability to accompany yourself on guitar helps ;-)

This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
It showed me how to laugh and how to cry
It introduced me to some friends of mine
And brightened up some days
It helped me make it through some lonely nights
Oh, what a friend to have on a cold and lonely night

This old guitar gave me my lovely lady
It opened up her eyes and ears to me
It brought us close together
I guess it broke her heart
It opened up the space for us to be
What a lovely place and a lovely space to be

This old guitar gave me my life my living
All the things you know I love to do
To serenade the stars that shine
From a sunny mountainside
Most of all to sing my songs for you
I love to sing my songs for you
Yes, I do, you know
I love to sing my songs for you

Words and music by John Denver

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sorry no picture..

but usually night-saunas aren't camera-worthy for my particular canon. Maybe that will change this week when the new one arrives!

Anyway, the news: the northern lights were out in two wide bands tonight! I walked out to the hole in the ice, and while waiting couldn't get enough of the view. Amazing.

Been noticing lately that there is so much beauty around, and most of the time, we miss it. As I was filling my humidifier with water tonight, it was hard not to notice how beautiful the bubbles made by the faucet were. Once I noticed, anyway. Once you notice, it's hard not to. I like that.

Goodnight all - and happy springing forward to yas.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Song on the brain speaking to the heart..

My roommate has this great mix of songs we jam to in the bathroom sometimes :) and that's how I heard this song, whose lyrics make me wistful:

ELI - Things I Prayed For

Things I prayed for when I was young
That my father would love me like his only son
That my mother would be patient with me
And my sister would not leave
And if my grandpa could see me beyond his grave
That he'd think his little man was so great
That my hair would not stick up in weird places
And I'd be someone someday

Years go by so easily that sometimes I forget
Years go by and make me see that there's no time for my regret
No time for my regret

Things I prayed for in my teens
That God would forgive all my evil deeds
That my father and my sister would come home
And mom could meet our needs
And if my grandpa could see me beyond his grave
That he'd say a prayer for his family's sake
That my hair would stick up in weird places
And I'd be someone someday

Years go by so easily that sometimes I forget
Years go by and make me see that there's no time for my regret
No time for my regret

Things I pray for now in my twenties
That God would still love me
That my dad would like his new family
That I could hug my sister, that my mom could rest
That my wife would still melt every time we kissed
And if my grandpa has seen me beyond his grave
How cold and silent he has remained
That my hair would not fall out in weird places
And I'd be someone someday

Years go by so easily that sometimes I forget
Years go by and make me see that there's no time for my regret
No time for my regret
These are the things I prayed for
That I'd be someone someday

I think it would be neat to see Eli come back to this song in 20 years and say what he'd pray for in his 30s and 40s too. I hope I remember there's no time for regret..and that I'd be someone someday. What will this path lead us to? In talking to the older staff here at camp, over and over again I hear that nobody ever thought they would be here in this place, with this family, with this everything. So does that mean it won't be me in 20 years? Because I could see that happening..

Whew. Got out of that one! Still no answer as to where it will lead, but where it won't lead..


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dreaming of China

Dreaming of China, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

I'm dreaming of dusty roads and watermelons tonight..

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fam

Seems like people keep dying.

This week in particular a handful that I knew. First, a great-aunt. And then last night, a great-uncle (unrelated to each other).

I start healing from one, then it happens all over again, and at moments, it's worse than before, when I thought I was in the absolute depths of despair. What I've learned for sure so far is that the highs go a whole heck of a lot higher than I've ever experienced, and the lows go even lower that I've known. If there's one thing I love and hate about growing up, it's that one.

Today's been a good day, though, all in all. I work with great people, who do good things for each other and especially for our guests. It doesn't hurt that it's beautiful here. :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A list.

Things I want to remember:
-looking out on the frozen bay - all times of the day
-walking and sliding across the bay to work and home again
-ice skating over black ice and sliding on my knees like the kids for the fun of it (and later regretting it - a little - because of the painful bruises)
-talking in front of the woodstove with one of those rare kindred spirits
-remembering yet again that tv will suck your brains out
-sitting in a windowseat while reading a good book
-wakening to the sunrise and seeing fog as the bay freezes
-my coworkers
-cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing any time I feel like it
-Canasta buddies!
-Cribbage buddies!
-eating venison killed by friends..
-seeing baby bobcats
-waiting for deer to cross the mile-long driveway every morning to work, and trying to get my camera out, capturing the babies and their mamas on screen
-Libraries with records of my ancestors
-live music by accomplished musicians who love what they do and play for free
-driving across the mackinac bridge over frozen ice
-white chocolate
-squeals of delight as I'm chased around my desk by little visitors
-sleeping peacefully

Alright- enough for now. See yous later.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

As I Type..

I can hear the Boogie Woogie in the background, just like gramma used to play for me. There's a woman here at the Traverse Area District Library who is playing her heart out on the floor below me.

A few pieces before that, she played Clair de Lune, another favorite of mine. I had to go stand closer and close my eyes, picturing the thoughts that music floats into my mind. I saw a boat gliding through the water of a big lake, sailing into the sunset. Not the end, but a beginning. So much promise.

That said, I am thoroughly enjoying my mini-vacation at Shanty Creek Resorts. I've been in the condo a total of about 10 minutes so far, as I've spent the weekend with friends Alex and DiAnn. Now it's just DiAnn and me here at the library, as Alex had to fly back to California about an hour ago.

Tonight I'm going to a SuperBowl party with DiAnn and her husband Matt, playing games and eating tacos as her dad watches the big game.

As I look out the window, I can see a man ice fishing on the lake, and a couple snowshoing along the shore. What a beautiful place.

Do I really want to say goodbye to all this? I suppose that's what vacations are supposed to be; oases in the midst of our chaotic lives, eh? A vacation is like a good friend. And even better with a few good friends, like Kat!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Please read - copied from my friend Lance..

The time to act is now - help save lives in China with 10 of your dollars - it could help so many children..

All you need is a facebook account and to check out the group Love Without Boundaries. They are based in Loudi of Hunan Province, China, where Lance taught last year. They do amazing things. Please click the above and read from Lance what he has to say and suggest.

Tuesday, January 29 before 12pm EST.

Book plug

I'm reading How to Learn Anything Quickly and let me tell ya, it's very informative. Combining what we know already a bit about - right and left- brainedness, the four major learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic), and what that means for whomever has those combinations that come of these pairings. It's already helping me see why it is that I don't get things sometimes - why it's difficult for me to remember things. Apparently I'm a tactile right-brainer, which means for me as a person that I'm prone to be very sensitive and think globally - I read people's body language and feelings more quickly than what they're actually saying...and on and on it goes, with precise and mostly to-the-point descriptions.

My secondary learning style is visual - I guess that's part of why I like to read so much! And just now it clicked - maybe this is why I would rather write someone an email than talk to them on the phone if I couldn't see them to talk.

So that's what's going on in this world today - that and saying goodbye to the first group of His House students on their winter retreat. After cleaning up shop this afternoon, a bunch of us went ice skating out to the shoals - it was amazing to look down through the 6-inch clear ice and see giant boulders not even 6 feet away beneath my hockey-skates! And wouldn't you know, the battery in my camera died without me getting any shots of it, today or yesterday either. It's about time to retire mr. A520, I'm thinking. Too bad. He served me well. And I don't want to hunt for another again.. Oh well. It could be worse.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Simply.. Amazing

The temperature has been incredibly cold lately, sufficiently so that the bay has frozen over enough now to walk from one side of camp to the other - or ski, or snowshoe, as you will. Tonight, I think it will be snowshoe-ing.

Can't put that full moon to waste when it's blazing in the night sky, can we?

And for the last several hours, I have been educating myself by reading a book about the peace corps in front of a cheery fire in the owl's nest.

I can hardly believe this is my life right now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I wonder

why I like so many things...

would it have been easier going if I just knew I always wanted to be an astronaut?

it's so consuming to figure out.

and that's not even the most important thing in life..

but my narcissistic self would like to remind me that it is..

of course it's not. I like to hang on to ecclesiastes...

"1:24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind...5: 18 Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."

It speaks pleasantly to me when I'm bitter, and tempers me down when I tend to go sky-high with crazy schemes.

And throughout all these thoughts, the snow silently blankets this home, snuggling in to bring to this northern land snowmobilers and winter recreation-seekers. That's the reality of where I am right now. And it's getting far too late for me to be writing in my drugged (they're legal, for the cold I find also silently blanketing my throat) state.


Saturday, January 12, 2008


Somebody's excited about applying for the Peace Corps.

But I'm not going to name any names.

Friday, January 04, 2008

My New Year

The eve of this new year, I almost forgot 2007 was leaving. Hah!

In spite of that, it was still one of the best. Farouk played 'Silent Night' on the saw, Robinson discovered the Americans knew his song from China (the song was to the english eye 'If you're happy and you know it'), Nathan burst the pin(y)ata, I had jiaozi (the real dumplings, from scratch in Chinese hands that have been in the US for only a few months), wonderful jiaozi, took pictures like a tourist, and even cried a bit because my new friends were about to leave me..

I still forget to write '08 on official documents. At least I know a lot of people do this :-)