May 252010

I’m planning to visit Sister in Rwanda soon. So I’ve been spending lots of time trying to convince Craig that it’ll be a perfectly safe trip, mostly by making up stories and statistics that I’ve “read recently.” This is how I prepare most of my opening arguments. When I wanted to get pregnant with Amma, I told Craig that I “read recently” that couples with three children are statistically likely to become filthy rich and also make out ridiculously often. Welcome, Amma!

So I was Skyping with Sister the other day and she mentioned that she was exhausted because she’d spent the whole day interviewing potential guards for her new Rwandan home.

At dinner that night I said to Craig, “Honey, strangest thing. I just read that Rwanda was recently listed on Forbes’ Safest Places for Women to Visit Alone In The Whole Wide World list! Isn’t that great news?” Then I told him about how tired Sister was from all the guard hiring.

Craig ignored the exciting fake Forbes news and said, “Hon, If Rwanda is so safe, why does Sister need to hire a guard?”


I ran upstairs after dinner, Skyped Sister back and said, HEY! If Rwanda is so safe why do you need to hire a guard, anyway??

Sister said, “Well, there’s really no violent crime here, but there is theft, so every compound has a guard on the premises so the house never appears vacant. But it’s mostly for show. The guards don’t even have arms.”


Now over the past few months I have learned that there is a lot about Africa that I just don’t understand. And I have finally accepted the fact that just because something doesn’t make sense to me, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. And so I keep my mouth shut a lot. But I draw the line at armless guards.

“SISTER, WHAT THE HELL? WHAT is your lovely guard going to do if someone DOES try to break in? Bite him? Kick him? Give him a really dirty look? Why don’t you just guard yourself, Sister? At least you have ARMS!!”

Sister was very quiet for a moment.

Then she said slowly. “Um. I meant guns, Sister. The guards do have actual arms, they just don’t carry guns.”

My turn to be a little quiet.

Oh, I said. Ohhhh. Right. I thought maybe it was some sort of “armless affirmative action” program. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, Sister. I mean, if that were the case, I would totally support that program.

I know you would, G, said Sister. I know you would.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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May 232010

Thank you for giving us the time we needed to find our storyline again and pick it up where we left off.

During the excitement of telling our story and getting the response we did from you, we somehow forgot everything we had just learned. That doing hard things, things of consequence, is never done on our terms and schedule.

Instead we set off to make getting involved easy, to make it just one-click to making a difference. We wanted to make sure that you got to see the results quickly, received your tax deduction, weren’t offended by the core mission of the orphanage, weren’t distrustful of those collecting money, while at the same time helping GSF in a way that was actually helpful. We were exhausted before we even got started.

Because helping in a way that is actually helpful is often hard, uncomfortable, illogical, and never quick.

Please forgive us for getting caught up in the excitement and not thinking it through, for underestimating the effort and for forgetting that making hard things easy is a stinkin full time job, and we both have full time jobs and some kids that need us to cross the “T”s and dot the “I”s to get them home.

So we need to step out of the orchestration business and ask you to use the processes already put in place by

Email us ([email protected]) to get our address if you have materials already collected and we’ll get it there. Thanks for those that have already done so.

We want to thank all of you for your understanding and grace as we’ve sorted this out behind the scenes. It has been an extremely hard and humbling decision to make but one we feel good about. If you’ll still have us, we’d love to introduce you to our kids when the time is right.

-Mike and Megan


Monkees, G here.

So. To be clear, there will be no official partnership between Momastery and GSF, but you are welcome to donate individually and send what you’ve already collected to M &M. And Mike and Megan, we will still have you, absolutely. Everything you wrote was true. We love you two. You’re right, this is hard stuff.

Monkees- I have spent much of the past month trying to prepare this service project for you. I have cried, lost sleep and prayed exasperated prayers. I have run into wall after wall, and like Ms. Pac Man, I’ve turned around and chomped full bore in a different direction. I’ve flailed about. That’s what I do, I flail about. I stress, I worry, I panic. Even though I encourage you all not to. Because I believe in service, and I believe in you. Because I cherish your enthusiasm and courage and generosity and confidence in me. Because I really, really don’t want to let any of my dancing partners down. And mostly because I always forget that I am Not In Charge.

I always expect that when I jump up and say HERE I AM, God will respond: Oh YAY! There you are! How wonderful of you! You look so CUTE! Come right on in and help!”

But He doesn’t. Ever. Instead He says in a million different ways: “Are you sure? Are you really sure?”

Ask anyone who’s tried to start a non-profit. Or tried to adopt. Or tried to teach. Or answered the call to serve others in any capacity. Ask Mary, who must’ve been thinking…A DONKEY, REALLY? NO ROOM AT THE INN? Are you KIDDING ME? I don’t know why it’s so hard to do what He asks us to do, it just is.

It seems especially hard when you’re trying to work with children. I think maybe He loves those little ones so much that He doesn’t let anyone near them until He’s positive that her heart is in the right place. Until she’s ready. Until she’s been tested. And I think He might be telling me that my heart has some more preparing to do.

Don’t get me wrong, Monkees. I’m not giving up. Quite the contrary. I am mind-numbingly stubborn. But this journey requires some serious humility. And it appears that right now I’ve got a hell of a lot more learning than teaching to do. I have been schooled this past few weeks. And I’ve got a hunch I’ve only just begun my education. I’m like in service preschool. I keep thinking of U2’s line….If you wanna kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel…..

The good news is, I know a few things I didn’t know a month ago.

I know that my heart is in Rwanda, with my Sister. Rwanda is where my service project is. That’s where my partner is. I’m not taking another step unless it leads there. So that’s good information.

But this time around I’m taking a much different approach.

I’m going to take my own advice and step back, slow down, and focus up. I’m going to stop worrying and planning. God willing, I am going to visit Rwanda, squeeze my Sister, and meet her new friends. I am going to slowly learn from Sister, who is there now and is a willing partner. And I am going to make you no promises and offer no time-line. I am going to be patient and listen for God and try to elongate my five minute Western attention span. I am going to relax and keep my heart open and get on with life and love the ones in front of me and see what happens.

And I am going to encourage you to do the same. If your heart is on fire to do some good, then do it. Find it. No need to wait for me. There are Calcuttas and Ugandas and Rwandas all around us. God has a place for each of us. Ask Him to clear a path for you and then follow the bread crumbs.

And if your heart is telling you to wait on Sister and Rwanda and me, well I think that’s wonderful too. I am confident that when the time is right, He’ll gather the people He wants working with us. Whether it’s a hundred Monkees or five, the right people will show up. When it’s Time. And When it’s Time, nothing will be done publicly.

And here’s what I really want to do now.

I just want to keep telling you my little stories. I want to keep introducing you to each other, making you laugh and sharing my thoughts about hope and love and faith and big old human hearts. Also, if it’s okay, I’d like to keep writing about my zits and bangs because they’re on my mind a lot, too. And they’ve gotten much, much worse. Just terrible.

I have so much news for you. Not big world changing news, just little family news. I’d like to get back to that for awhile. That’s about all I can do, that’s what I love to do.

I hope that works for you.



P.S. This is Monday’s post, it’s just up early. Catcha back here on Tuesday. With some funnies.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

May 202010

The Art of Disappearing

This one goes out to all the Monkees who are have mastered the Here I Am and are working on the Be Still.

And for the record, I have many friends who throw lovely parties and make delicious meatballs. Not at all greasy.

The Art of Disappearing

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Congratulations to Cindy and Garima, who won the charms from Friday’s give-away. Please send me your addresses, ladies.

The third meeting of the HCBC book club will be held tomorrow…we’ll be discussing The Help. Consider these questions…who were your favorite characters and why? With which character do you identify most closely? If you could sum up the message you took away from the book in one or two sentences, what would they be?

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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