why peace corps (instead of something else)

I got my staging information in an email this week – I leave for Peace Corps stuff a month from today. What. The. Heck. This can’t be real… can it?

A question I’ve heard from a variety of people has been “Why the Peace Corps? And as a Christian, why that instead of missions?” So I wanted to write a post explaining why for those that are curious and to also put to words things that have been jumbling around in my head like miscellaneous loose change for months now.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Date A Boy Who Travels

I stumbled across this blog and this girl is hilarious. I then found this post and realized she’s also a genius.

I don’t often sit in the single-ness of my life right now because, let’s face it, nothing is changing. And honestly, it hasn’t really mattered much amidst sparkling and besotted proposals or lacey-train draped festivities with awesome DJ’s blasting “Call Me Maybe” or “Thrift Shop.” But when I read this post, I’ll admit something: I wouldn’t mind marrying a boy like that someday.

Enjoy 🙂

A Travel Blog

Since I solemnly declared yesterday, Lena Day, as the result of an overwhelming week, I urged each of you do some something that you love! I found myself in a Starbucks, inspired and whipped out this little ditty. You may have read, “You Should Date An Illiterate Girl” by Charles Warnke or the response “Date A Girl Who Reads” by Rosemarie Urquico, so I thought I’d bring you something same, same but different. Enjoy!

Date A Boy Who Travels

Date a boy who travels. Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the words, “vacation”, “all-inclusive” or “resort”. Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.

You might find him in an airport or at a book store browsing the travel guides – although he “only…

View original post 1,415 more words

“have you ever thought of doing the peace corps?”

NAMIBIA

NAMIBIA (Photo credit: Rui Ornelas)

How, you may ask, do you tell someone that you’re moving to Africa for the Peace Corps?

Well, let me tell you – there’s no nonchalant way to do it. Whether it’s your family, your coworkers or even your eye doctor, there’s no casual way to slip it in. So sometimes you just have to come right out and say it, no matter the anticipated reactions.

One of the best conversations I’ve had thus far was with one of my coworkers. We have an open floor plan, so we have desks in little pods but no cubicles (praise Jesus), and my teammate is looking up something on his computer in a brief moment while we’re both not answering phones, and goes, “Hey, Ali, have you ever thought of doing the Peace Corps?” Now, I haven’t told pretty much anyone at work because I’m seasonal anyway and I know I’ll just be done at the end of my contract this summer and then jet off to Namibia, so this question was out of the blue. I kind of thought he was kidding, but this seemed like a simple enough opening to share my news, so I answered: “Yeah, actually, I leave in July for the Peace Corps.” Silence. I was still working on some customer’s account on my computer, so I tore my eyes away and looked at him to see him staring at me. Unblinking. Eyebrows furrowed. He was so confused. After a long, uncomfortable pause, he just goes, “Wait, really?” And then I told him more details and it turned into a jolly little sharefest, but that conversation literally captures the majority of conversations I’ve had when I’ve told people I might be going or now that I am. Because moving to Namibia isn’t a normal thing. And taking a moment to realize that I’m serious causes awkward conversations because moving across the world isn’t typical. It’s not an everyday sort of occurrence.

Continue reading

saying no and nablablabla

A week ago, I received an invitation from the Peace Corps to teach English in Namibia.

Say whaaaaa?

The first sentence of this post are possibly some of the last words I ever anticipated writing. Back when I started applying in February in the midst of a lot of refinement, I did it on a whim thinking it was an exercise in trusting God more. And then I kept making it through to the next stage, and the next stage. Yes, the possibility tended to hover in the back of my mind, but I never actually expected to get to this point… So now I have to decide to go or to stay: yes or no. Two simple, single syllables that change the trajectory of my life. Not a big deal or anything. Continue reading

a seven hundred dollar lie

Liar liar, pants on fire!

True story: I lie. Like way more often than I’m willing to admit or even realize. And while normally my lies are pretty minor and along the lines of “no, that didn’t hurt my feelings at all” or “I really like water chestnuts,” last week I told a lie of a different kind. It was a lie with consequences, and not just hurting someone’s feelings temporarily.

This week, I told a lie that cost a stranger approximately $763.00. Granted, I made an honest mistake originally but instead of taking the time to actually fix it, I told a fat, pricey lie to save face. Continue reading

the process of un-mullet-ing

It’s true – I had a mullet. By choice.

photo cred: Brittany Zeinstra

It looks a bit more like a hipster mullet than anything else in this photo, but it was as mullet as mullet is going to get on my head. And it went from hipster, 80’s-esque mullet to pixie cut, and then perpetual growing out mullet until now, over a year later, my hair has yet to reach my shoulders again.

The process of my un-mullet-ing is legen….wait for it…. DARY! It’s a story of humility, one of courage, and of figuring out what makes me, well, me.

Let’s start with why the heck I cut my hair into a mullet. I worked for this high school ministry my first year out of college, and our big winter retreat theme was “Mullets, Mohawks, and Mustaches.” Aka EPIC. Check out our promo video (awesome, if I do say so myself). Well, I had a conversation with some adorable sixteen year old ladies that were complaining about the theme being too masculine and kind of sexist. I flatly denied any such thing and to my horror, the words “I’m cutting my hair into a mullet” escaped my lips. Wide-eyed, in absolute horror, wishing I could stuff those fatal 7 words back into my mouth, those precious girls started laughing. And so just a few short months later, I did it. I went over to my friend’s house and asked her to give me a mullet. When she was finished  and swept up the loose  strands of my dignity off her floor, as I pulled on my coat she softly said, “Hey, Ali… can you not tell people I cut your hair? I’d really appreciate it.” Continue reading

the ultimate question

We start asking it almost as soon as we can speak, as teeny, under two-feet tall mini people, just starting to be curious about how the world works. We ask it as elementary school students, attempting to endear ourselves to our teachers while being bratty and consumed with tetherball during recess. We ask it as angsty teens, confused college students, adults with responsibilities and as older adults who have announced retirement and finally waylaid some of that responsibility.

It’s the ultimate question: “Why?”

In the aftermath of the most intense roller-coaster of a week, that is what my heart is stuttering out. “Why? Why? Why?”

Not just why this, but why now, why them, why that way?

This week has been full of some diverse news – I bought a car on Monday, got a job on Wednesday, and on Friday my friend’s mom died in Denver and 27 people in Conneticut were murdered. What?! How does that happen? How can such highs coexist with such lows?

But as the pieces fall, the tears leak, the excitement builds, and rollercoasting emotions feel like they might tear me in two, my heart keeps on stuttering out, “Why? Why? Why?”

And the answer I keep coming back to are the promises of Scripture. Hosea 6:1-3 says

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”

No matter the season, no matter the circumstance, I am learning that the only answer to my “Why?” is not palatable. It isn’t easy. I don’t like it. But the only answer is that we turn back to Him. That we press on to know Him and remember that He is coming.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 things i wish i had known about job searching

The title of this post is mostly self-explanatory, but here’s the gist in a longer version. I am 23 years old, a part-time employee at a local coffee shop, living back at my parent’s house(s), and with a lot of free time on my hands. So, when you get only have a little 4 hour shift that ends before 10 am and the rest of the whole day looms in front of you, calendar empty, what do you do? Well, personally I’ve found that I’m either going to fill it by watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix or trying to go for a run or rearranging my room (yet again), and spending hour upon hour searching the internet for some company somewhere that might hire me. Or staring at a cover letter and resume that I have tweaked so many times I’ve got the versions saved as resume_1.doc through resume_28.doc in my “job search” file on my computer. I have my personal business card ordered (though I still am not sure exactly why I need one when I don’t have a big kid job) and have spent an embarrassing amount of time making sure my Linkedin.com profile is 100% complete. (You can check it out at www.linkedin.com/in/aemason, I’m pretty proud of it).

Steve Jobs

This whole thing feels like a rabbit trail. And with inspirational quotes on “calling” blowing up sites like Pinterest like a hailstorm, it makes me want to tear my hair out. Our world now equates who we are with what we do. It used to be the other way around, but now we crave jobs that are exciting and developing and sound cool to people – we want work places that encourage “Bring Your Dog To Work Day” everyday and who go on company-sponsored mountain biking adventures during lunchtime (Remember I live in Boulder, CO, so that really is a normal thing around here) and send you on all-expenses paid work trips overseas every other week. The difference between a “job” and a “career” can’t just be passion or what you want to do. And the only jobs out there worth doing can’t just be ones that we love. Calling everything else settling isn’t realistic. Because not all jobs are supposed to be like that, and that has to be okay. Yes, we can yearn for those jobs, but sometimes a job needs to just be a job and our passion, our love, our excitement, is what we do when we come home after work – to a family, to volunteer somewhere, the mountains we play in on the weekends, something, anything. Continue reading

happy december!

Happy December!! The holiday season is upon us!

Boulder star

Boulder star

And while this includes festively dressed carolers walking down Pearl Street, beautiful Christmas lights around town, the Nutcracker ballet, fresh baked Christmas cookies and piney wreaths, and the Boulder star on Flagstaff being lit for the world to see, it also brings stress.

I see it written on the foreheads of people I interact with – creases of worry and panic hewn into their faces while shoulders hang heavily burdened with the desire for generosity. You can even hear it in their voices – clipped tones of impatient and frantic to-do lists or deep croaks from do-gooders sipping on peppermint mochas that barely coat their sore and winter-scarred throats.

You see it in stores like Target – red shirted and khaki wearing employees exhausted to the bone wear false smiles of cheer and customer service, stocking endless boxes of holiday lights and rearranging holiday wrapping paper displays, driven by the elusive promise of meeting fourth quarter sales goals. You hear it over mall stereos, the repeating and overly familiar refrains of the seasons being retold by various artists with unusual time signatures and in different keys as those listening begin to think, Are there really that many ways to sing “Jingle Bells?” 

Welcome to the holidays… I guess.

Don’t get me wrong – I love this season. I love winter wonderlands (c’mon snow!) and tinseled pine trees and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ and James Bond marathons on USA and Hanukkah candles and ‘8 Crazy Nights’ and family and togetherness and really, really great food. Continue reading