ship life

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Moving Home: Using a Capsule Wardrobe to Simplify

Last week was the first week of the “Moving Home” series because I’m hitting the road and heading back to the U.S. after 3 years on board a hospital ship. I’m sharing all the things I’m learning and doing in the midst of this transition. Keep an eye on my Facebook page where I’m consistently sharing related articles and resources on all things moving home. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter for insiders by clicking HERE. Check out the...

My Plan After Mercy Ships? Swim Upstream

Airport life these days The man at the front of the queue went up to the airport desk clerk pointing and looking toward the end of the counter. He was describing someone –a woman, red hijab, with black polka dots. Just as the clerk hopped down to look for her, she came running around the corner with two massive suitcases on wheels. At first I thought it was the man’s wife and he had lost her, but as she rejoined her pile...

Inspiration at work on the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships

Inspiration at Work in the Africa Mercy Community

working with real people Some people are never happy. They are always looking for the next “big thing”. The next job or house will make them feel like they’ve made it. Or they’re constantly hiding. They are always trying to cover up their mistakes, defend their actions and poor decisions even when they know where the fault lies. Some people are so insecure that they can’t bear to own it because it would leave them too exposed. We all know...

Marriage is not for the faint of heart; Provocative Joy; lessons learned; mercy ships

5 Reasons Why Marriage Is Not For the Faint of Heart

What is the appeal to sitting in front of all your coworkers and answering pop-quiz questions about your spouse? I had to explain that one to Ruben in order to get him to agree to this Not-So-Newlywed Game. However, when I spell it out, it sounds pretty sadistic actually! As I looked through the crowd at other couples that had wisely not signed up for this Not-So-Newlywed Game, I felt like they were safer facing me than I was facing...

The Collision Between a Cruise Ship & a Battleship

Every other Tuesday we have a massive, bright white ship pull up alongside us. This is the day you don’t want to go to the market. You don’t want to take public transport. You don’t want to be mistaken for a passenger on that ship. The Costa neoRomantica is here. They dock next to us bright and early. Passengers pile out and walk toward rows of buses waiting to take them somewhere exciting. They’ve just come from another port in...

Making hard decisions feels like jumping off a cliff; it goes against all self-preservation instincts.

Making Hard Decisions: Diary of Miss Independent

I’ve had two or three seasons I can identify as my lowest points ever. It always revolves around making hard decisions. One of those seasons was in the midst of doing amazing volunteer work for Mercy Ships. The problem? Ruben and I did not agree about our future with Mercy Ships and the time to decide had arrived. The time would come when we’d leave our floating, beach-front, multi-purpose home. The question was whether we’d return or not. Christmas 2014 was...

How to Survive a depressing Christmas; Provocativejoy.com; life overseas; depression

5 Ways To Survive a Depressing Christmas

There is something special about the Christmas season, even prior to Christmas Day. There is anticipation and excitement. There can also be a building feeling of dread. As Christmas traditions trigger memories of years past, it gets increasingly difficult when you know something is missing, like your family, or the ones you really want to be with, but can’t. The anticipation, magic and wonder of the Advent season is precisely why this time has the potential to be depressing. It...

Spare Time

At some point in the past month I had this very ambitious idea to try to organize all the things I wanted to pray for. I hear so often about how instrumental this spiritual discipline is, how it changes the way we look at everything around us, including our deepest concerns. I would sit to pray and feel overwhelmed with all these thoughts and situations. How do you prioritize what to pray for, as if anything can be pushed to...

8 Days of Ocean

It has been hard to keep current. Internet is so slow. Sometimes it’s impossible to access Facebook, Gmail, really anything besides my Mercy Ships email. So my thoughts have been piling up inside. Luckily, I think 3/4 of the ship is sleeping right now, so the world wide web isn’t as clogged up as it can get. September 13 was the day we were supposed to pull away from the dock in Las Palmas. Ruben and I had already been...

Plans Change. God’s Call Remains

It’s all so ironic. “Irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” And it’s definitely amusing. Ruben felt the nudge, or maybe a push, last summer to do something more significant with his life. He knew God was asking for more of his life, and he thought Mercy Ships was the avenue through which he could do that. I was ecstatic. I’ve known for a...