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everything "traditional."

Tsagaan Sar Eve.

What is that you may ask. I don't really have a good answer.

Tsagaan means white and sar means moon. So, put it together and you get white moon. This is a Mongolian "traditional" holiday of the Lunar New Year. There are two main holidays in Mongolia. One of them is Tsagaan Sar and the other is Naadam Festival. Naadam is in the summer and is an lyompic style celebration of Mongolia's free country status. There are three main sports: archery, horse racing and wrestling.

My observations about Tsagaan Sar are that it is a lot like Christmas in the United States, because:
1. They clean their houses, top to bottom.
2. They buy presents for everyone in their family.
3. They cook everything under the sun.
4. Everyone in their family comes over to visit them and they go visit everyone in their family. I think they must apparate from one place to the next. I don't know how they do it.
5. They eat for 4 days straight.

So, for the next few days we will be visiting most of the Mongolians that we know. We're going to eat a myriad of salads...fruit, potato, pasta, egg, vegetable-ish. We're going to sniff snuff. We're going to pretend to enjoy drinking fermented horse milk. We're going to eat so many byy3 (mysterious meat filled dumplings) we might explode. And...we're going to eat boiled sheep back bone.

Don't you want to come join?

As nervous as I sound, I am actually pretty excited about what this "traditional" holiday will entail. (I say traditional in " "s because Mongolians sure love to tell you when something is traditional or national) I am excited to get to go to some gers and to experience something that is not uniquely Mongolian but will be full of Mongolian flair.

I'll be sure to have a full report on everything that happened, don't you worry.

Until then...caihan shenlerei (that's my monglish (Mongolian-English) version of Happy New Year...or something along those lines!


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October 26, 2011.

That is the day I last wrote a blog. That's not the day when my life changed but it is a day that I can recognize as one of the last ones when I knew who I was and what my purpose was.

I'm not generally a quitter. Sure, sometimes I quit on books or I quit on small projects but in life, nope. I  try hard at most things, usually right until the end. I won't say that quitting is not a thought that meanders through my being when something gets tough but I have come to learn that when I stick things out I come out having learned a thing or two.

But I did quit. I quit a big commitment. I said I would live in Washington, DC and I would do my best.

I tried. I also had my very first panic attack, too.

It was too much. I couldn't think or breathe. I couldn't cope with the devastation I felt for leaving Mongolia early that March morning. I couldn't cope with no one understanding what Mongolia had meant to me and how it had changed me right down to my bo…

The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence
knowing that you are
the very emptiness of God.

I come before you
holding the water jar of my life.

Your eyes meet mine
and I know what I'd rather not know.

I came to be filled
but I am already full.

I am too full
This is my sickness

I am full of things
that crowd out
your healing presence.

A holy knowing steals inside my heart
and I see a painful truth.

I don't need more
I need less
I am too full.

I am full of things that block out
your golden grace.

I am smothered by gods of my own creation
I am lost in the forest of my false self
I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes
full of fear, resentments, control
full of self-pity, and arrogance.

Slowly this terrible truth
pierces my heart
I am so full there is no room for you.

Contemplatively, and with compassion
you ask me to reach into my water jar.

One by one, Jesus, you enable me
to lift out the things
that are a hindrance to my wholeness.

I take each one to my heart and