Monday, May 7, 2012

a new space

I know.  It's been over a year.  Shame.  Nursing school came to an end last week, thanks be to God.  Oh, and I got married in March.  I'm sure I could have made more time to have blogged during this process, but I just couldn't find the necessity in publishing stories of catheters, IVs, etc.  However, my husband, Andrew, and I are living in a groovy 1954 Airstream and are about to depart for an extended honeymoon to Nepal.  Back to see the kids and mountains.  However, since I am no longer Rebecca McNeil Smith and since I have a very clever, well-written husband, we have decided to make a space for our shared interests...the first being traveling!  Please start following for new adventures.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

some sunshine

The week following Holy Week has been one filled with tornado sirens making us uneasy here in Memphis, while actual twisters are waltzing their way all over the country. Folks say that water will rise 11 feet over the flood line by the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers which may make Harbor Town a pile of mush--all just a year behind the actuality in Nashville. Oh and then there was Chernobyl's 25th anniversary just 2 days ago which reminds me of radiation gone wrong in Japan. Goodness, it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by devastation and potential devastation...and so it is that I read this prayer this morning:

"Lord, we pray we never find ourselves without hope, without a glimpse of the empty tomb each time we happen upon a cross. Help us begin our daily journey expecting both crosses and empty tombs and rejoicing when we encounter either because we know you are with us."

So since I've been absent since...December...I give you some of those empty tombs throughout the past six months:

birthday slumber party with Kristen and some of our favorite neighbors...
the first of many snow days...
and then spring and green things started to grow...
and the ladies kept on producing...
oh...and this handsome man (with that handsome airstream)
is moving to Memphis in just a few weeks!! woot!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

journey of the magi

(This poem still enchants me...especially now. 
Thank you, T.S., for encouraging my imagination)

by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

elizabeth cate

My niece was born this morning at 3:45am. I suggested the name Luna considering that it was a full moon and all, but they didn't exactly go for that. Pretty sure that's what I'm calling her...She's perfect and looks a lot like Levi did when he was born (minus the red hair). I was able to be in the delivery room while my superstar sister gave birth drug-free, and as lil Luna (see, it's starting already) began crowning, we immediately knew that she was continuing the strong feminine black headedness of our family. My dearest pals Catherine and Pete are giving birth any day now (I really wanted their little girl to get here today as well...two Lunas...let's just make it as confusing as possible...but it looks like she's holding off for the moment) so these days are filled with nursing school, walks in autumn woods, and babies!! It's been my most chaotic, joyful fall in a very long time. Praise God for life....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a triple divide

Triple Divide Peak, located in Glacier National Park, has the unique distinction of being an apex for three oceans. Here, the Hudson Bay Divide and Continental Divide collide designating its peak as the source for three of North America's great rivers: the Mississippi, Columbia and Saskatchewan Rivers. Precipitation that falls northeast of the mountain follows a network of veined rivers (including Sask) to the Arctic Ocean in the Hudson Bay. Rain falling west of the Continental Divide makes its way to the Pacific via the Columbia, and that running to the south takes a long journey from the Missouri River to the Mississippi to the ultimate destination of the Atlantic in the Gulf of Mexico.

I have yet to climb this mountain or even walk through the pass (though many of my friends have conquered such a feat), but its story has always fascinated me and made me that much more fond of the mountains nestled in Glacier. Perhaps it's because I recognize a similar story within myself. At this point in my life, I am aware of three great locations that have garnered great affection in my heart for somewhat completely different reasons. When emotions or ideas or desires enter my heart, it's most likely that they travel to three different destinations: Nepal, Tennessee or Glacier. Just as the three destinations of Triple Divide's precipitation vary in climate, location, and culture, so the greatest recipients of my affection seem to differ far more than they relate.

Whether it is the children at Harka in Bharatpur, Nepal, the trails and mountains in Glacier, or the communities resting in the urban cultures of Memphis and Nashville, my heart is equally committed to these destinations for the means in which they quench my spirit. I am thankful for the myriad of ways my story has been shaped and impassioned by each one.

My July writings were entirely consumed by the children at Harka, the photos following are testimony to Glacier and the Canadian Rockies where I spent the first three weeks in August with my folks, and presently I am in Memphis...once again. It is here that I will, by God's grace, become a nurse. (I don't exactly know how often I'll be able to write considering that I am already overwhelmed and just started University of Memphis' nursing program last week.)

And so it is that I have been so sweetly reminded of my three great loves and the ways in which my heart yearns for each.

Morraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta

Canadian Pacific Railway in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

View of Lake O'Hara from the Alpine Circuit, Yoho

What a camera can do while balancing on loose rock

It takes ten years for this flower to blossom and another 100 years to grow the size of a dinner plate. Watch where you hike, indeed.

Still Lake O'Hara

Dr. Seuss characters

On the shore of Athabasca River in Jasper National Park

Lake Peyto, Banff

View of Grinnell Glacier from part of Mt. Gould

The glacier up close...


Down from Ptarmigan Tunnel

The greatest place in the States: Polebridge, Montana

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"when i get older"

My sweetest friend, Bintu, introduced me to K'naan, a Somali/Canadian hiphop artist, just weeks before my trip to Nepal. I immediately fell in love with his music and carried that love to the kids at Harka. His song, "Wavin' Flag" was the theme for the World Cup and just happened to be the kids' favorite as well. Below are two pieces of proof to their dedication to this song...they definitely knew the chorus by day three. Hilarious.

Friday, July 30, 2010

in memoriam

My grandmother, Jane Weaver Nall, passed away two days ago. It is with a great hope that I believe she is at rest and has seen the promised land.

(a short reflection):

Childhood slumber parties with Nannie and Dappie were always filled with certain expectations. King's Corner would be played, Lawrence Welk would be watched, ice cream would be offered so that Nannie would feel that much more justified in satisfying her sweettooth, and Nannie's warm bed and presence would comfort me to sleep through the night.

It wouldn't be until the following morning, however, that my child-like anticipation would be fulfilled: toast with butter and jelly, eggs, cereal, fruit, orange juice, milk, and water. Perhaps it was because Pop Tarts were my usual morning staple or maybe it was that three glasses to drink from felt satisfyingly indulgent--either way, breakfasts with my grandmother will always be a treasure of my memory.

I am thankful that she slapped too much butter on bread and that she scrambled eggs to perfection. I'm thankful that she taught us Southern hospitality as if she had lived in the South her whole life. I'm thankful that she wrote letters by hand until she could no longer. I'm thankful that my grandmother's memory covered a century. I'm thankful for her loyalty and discipline. I'm thankful that her eyes were open to the light and life of Christ, and that such grace has permeated through her veins and into the hearts of her family.