Unfinished Stories December 8, 2017
Was Admon’s Hope Story Coming to a Tragic End? December 1, 2017
Creativity – I’ve Missed It September 29, 2017
This summer was not as we planned
Peter’s heart-breaking anxiety over his injections
Lucy coming down with strep, pneumonia and walking pneumonia at the same time
Me processing my unexpected, physically challenging yet amazing trip to Africa
My own creativity was drowned out…
without my noticing
I am reading Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall
Great title…don’t you think?
The idea behind the title caught my eye and heart
Being present in the moment is tough
The urgency can crowd it out
My to do list can be louder than the call to be
present, quiet, rest, and create
I have ideas in my head about all of these topics
First of all, Peter’s anxiety is gone
He is rocking his shots
He is back to his funny, goofy, active self
Lucy is healthy
She is free to take on the world in her 9-year-old fashion
I am working on being present
One day I’ll share about my 8 minutes of pure quiet
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Pure quiet with God rocks
In this book, Alexandra writes the following:
“We were made to create! It is in us, so when we don’t
allow that part of us to flourish, we wither.”
This hit my heart…deep within my heart
My creative self has been withering in my pursuit of goals, deadlines,
smooth mornings before school, being present with my family, etc.
All of these are very important and very good…but…
when we the last time I was creative for creativity’s sake?
Like writing these words right now?
How about you?
Peter often gets carried away with his 3-D origami
Lucy is often found with pen and paper in hand
ready to draw or create a story
How did I not see that my creative outlets were clogged?
When was the last time I made time to write?
Writing is one of my favorite gifts from God and yet
it’s been ages since I have carved out time to write
I did not enter into these moments on our back deck today
with a goal for this “blog”
Hmmm…if I think about it, what would be the goal?
It’s not to impress
It’s not to convict
Now that I think about it, I’d like to let my creative juices flow,
share my heart and encourage your own creativity
What inspires you?
What gifts have you been given in the realm of creativity?
May we all simply enjoy our creative gifts
May we all try not to evaluate our creativity
May we all not expect to live up to a certain standard
We don’t have to be a famous author, painter, inventor or singer to create
May we just set some time aside to
let our creativity flow
We were created in the image of the ultimate Creator
We were made to create
As I sit in my backyard next to Tim,
with Peter, Lucy and friends playing wiffle ball,
I think of the women we serve through Hope for Our Sisters
Their sheer joy at creating bags, hats, etc.
This organic growth is such a gift for our sisters
However, it is now requiring planning, structure and organization
May our efforts to support this new program not drown out
the real beauty behind it
The sheer creativity
The discovery of potential
The joy of learning what can be accomplished
Have you set time aside to discover your potential?
Have you set time aside to be creative?
In this book the author challenges herself to write for fun (she’s an author)
and to do something creative each day
I have not read the full chapter yet
The idea of daily creativity actually seems too big at this moment
but I want to try it
I’ll give it my best shot
I am sure I will find fun and simple ways to
tap into my creativity
I will do this because I believe those I love, serve, and enjoy will benefit
I also know and believe that I will benefit
Maybe I will benefit most of all
We were made to create
How will you create today?
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian
On The Outside Looking In May 28, 2017
When I turned 11 I found myself on the outside looking in.
I grew up in warm Southern California as the youngest of three.
I would describe it as an idyllic childhood…
Riding bikes with my brothers, lots of friends on our street and at school,
good grades, fun times of soccer and softball, and a loving family.
I also had a strong sense of who I was.
I felt anything was possible.
I felt I could conquer the world.
Then we moved…
My life was rocked to my core.
I no longer belonged.
I forgot who I was.
Moving to Texas at 11 is still one of the most impactful and difficult experiences in my life.
Not only did I move to a new town in a new state, but
I moved into a new and totally different culture.
I felt as if I had moved to a new country.
I did not have the right clothes.
My accent (or lack thereof) was wrong.
I even had different slang.
No matter what I did or how I tried to connect, I was constantly reminded that I was
An outsider looking in.
Once we entered Texas, I had lost my sense of who I was.
I did not feel valued but lost.
I felt as if I was stranded on an island, in the middle of an ocean.
Over time I found my way “in” through new friends
Who accepted me for who I was.
I made friends just being “me”.
I learned that I could overcome and rise above obstacles by being myself…
The one God created me to be.
As a child, I always cheered and spoke out for the underdog.
Now, I had become the underdog.
I had a new appreciation of the value of community and
This increased my life-long compassion for
Those on the outside,
Those considered less than,
Those considered not important or of value.
I should not have been surprised that the issue of fistula would resonate with me,
Even though at the time I felt it hit me out of the blue.
As I first read about fistula, the focus of Hope for Our Sisters,
I was not only struck by the injustice of the situation but
And lack of community
Suffered by these sisters of ours.
At Hope for Our Sisters we extend our reach beyond fistula surgery and prevention
By directly investing in each woman.
Just like you and me, each one of our sisters has value.
Each one of our sisters has a story to tell.
Each one of our sisters has a contribution to make.
Each one of our sisters has the right to rejoin their communities.
Each one of our sisters has the potential to change the world.
(NOTE: A session with the organization Resonate helped me tap into this story behind my passion for HFOS. I fully believe God broke my heart for this issue but I also believe He used this very difficult experience of mine to help fistula resonate with my heart.)
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian
Motherhood is Eternal, as is Hope May 10, 2017
Stepping Up Courageously…Pursuing Hope December 1, 2016
I am Edalina. I am a wife. I am a mom. I have dreams, hopes, strength and potential. Tragically, I leaked urine all the time. Fistula tried to destroy my dreams, my hopes, my strength and my potential. Fistula almost succeeded.
I want healthy children. I want to contribute to my community with my husband. I want to make sure my daughters don’t suffer like me. Hearing about a visit with women from America and nurses from a local hospital brought me out of hiding. With ten courageous sisters I put aside my fear of further isolation and shame. I came to the local clinic. I stood strong. I said, “Here I am, I am worth your time”.
At this meeting, I discovered the name for my suffering…fistula. I discovered healing and help were available. I never knew anyone could help.
I never knew anyone wanted to help. I never knew anyone cared.
At the end of the meeting, we were advised to see the local doctor. Hope filled my heart. I was closer to healing, to a life worth living, the life I wanted! At the clinic I saw our American sisters and local nurses. They smiled, held our hands, and loved us. In them I saw hope in who I could be, who I was meant to be.
My flight to the main hospital was hope-filled and fearful. I came with my sisters who suffered just like me. People, those who believed I was worth it, YOU, funded my surgery. YOU saw my strength. YOU saw my potential.
After surgery I was told, “You are DRY!” DRY? Me? After three years of leaking on myself day after day, minute after minute. Three years of soaking my only clothes. Three years of isolation. Three years of despair. DRY!
I have hopes, dreams, strength and potential. Now that I am DRY I get to discover all that I am…all that I can be.
My sisters, our daughters, our mothers, also have dreams, hopes, strength and potential. They live for the day to hear, “You are DRY!” They pray for the day fistula no longer exists. Can YOU see their strength and potential? I can!
© 2016 by Brooke F Sulahian
Standing with Our Sisters…Unleashing Strength and Potential November 27, 2016
I crouched in my hospital gown, leaning on the woman holding my IV tube while another woman in front of me held a cup beneath my legs. And I realized something profound: I was not ashamed.
I had every reason to be ashamed. I was mostly naked, bleeding, and shaking on very weak legs. All the parts of my body that made me female were sore; I was sweaty and un-showered after over 15 hours of labor. And yet, in that moment, I was not ashamed.
The reason is simple: I was surrounded by women. I’d never before felt so fully woman as I did in those moments after giving birth, because fellow women – sisters – rushed to my side and cared for me in my weakness, my exhaustion, and my pain. They cleaned me, comforted me, and ushered me into the beautiful sisterhood of women – a sisterhood I had always been a part of, but never fully understood. These women made me feel powerful, strong, and capable – even though I couldn’t use the bathroom on my own. And I knew they wouldn’t leave my side.
By this point I had been a Partner in Hope with HFOS for over a year, but it wasn’t until this moment that I realized how powerful this opportunity was. No, I couldn’t physically help clean a sister, or wrap my arms around her and tell her she was strong. But from across the ocean, my monthly donations enable other sisters to be there for each other. These sisters serve not only to clean, support, and encourage each other, though – they help unleash the undeniable strength and potential of every woman.
In all of us there is a fighter. A warrior. Sometimes that warrior comes out when we need to fight for ourselves, stand up to adversity, or take charge. And sometimes it comes out when one of our sisters is weak. We stand by each other. We bend so that a sister can lean on our back. We clean up the mess and tell her it’s ok to ask for help – that someday, she’ll be helping another sister who needs her.
Our sisters in Nepal, Angola, and the Congo were created with the same undeniable strength and potential that I was, that my mother was, that my daughter was, that the nurses in my delivery room were. And while in this moment of time they are relying on sisters like us, they should not be ashamed. They should feel proud and powerful to be women. They should feel beautiful and strong. They should know that at any time, any woman in the world could be in need of a sister. And with fistulas healed and dignity restored, they’ll go out and be that sister to lean on.
Written by Dianna Sawyer, Hope for Our Sisters Partner in Hope.
© 2016 by Dianna Sawyer
To learn more about fistula and how to unleash our sisters’ strength and potential, visit our website: hopeforoursisters.org.