Thursday, December 8, 2011

I love the idea of Playing for Change.

I just discovered the second Playing for Change cd.

My night is now booked....youtube videos, laughs, tears, jealousy, joy, dancing, jingle pants, more dancing, more dancing, and more dancing.

=)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent week 2 (by Mark)

Isaiah 9:6-7

"The Prince of Paradox"

In our writing unit about Figurative Language, I teach my 7th graders about paradox - "a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true." When I explain this concept, some of my favorite teachings of Jesus always seem to come to mind: "The last will be first, and the first last" (Matt 15:16). "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt 16:25). Yet, this sort of contradictory language is not merely included in the teaching of Jesus; one could say that everything about him and his entire life is paradoxical.

Jesus Christ certainly descended from many royal ancestors. The Hebrew Patriarchs Abraham and Jacob as well as King David all find themselves in the genealologies of Matthew and Luke. Historically, the primary santuary color during Advent has been purple, selected to remind us of the royalty of our King. However, the kingship of Jesus was and still is radically different than any traditional definition of royalty. In the days of the nation of Israel, kings were the commanders of armies, the leaders of men, and honored for their strength and power. As time progressed, after multiple bouts of oppression and captivity, the Jews of Jesus' day and age were yearning for a king like this. Yet, in their frustrated cries for one who would lead the overthow of Roman rule, they had forgotten what the prophet Isaiah has said about the Messiah. He was one who would be despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He would not conquer oppression by force, but he himself would bear our griefs, carry our sorrows, and be wounded for our transgressions. Our Prince of Peace would bring peace and healing through his own chastisement and stripes. (Isaiah 53:3-5)

During Advent, we look back and remember our Prince - a Prince not born in a lavish palace, but in a dirty manger. These humble beginnings set the course of a life of paradox. He simultaneously amazed and confused those he came in contact with, culminating with his entry to the royal city of Jerusalem on a lowly donkey followed his criminal trial and execution. Yet, it was these radical ideas and this unconventional life that changed the course of history forever and introduced the most beautifully paradoxical and revolutionary set of ideals that the world has ever known. Leo Tolstoy states that the message and person of Christ "changed and reversed everything" and "gave another, new direction to all human feelings." The image of the Christ child in the manger may be a familiar one, but we should never forget its revolutionary implications. And, we should never forget that Christ's unconventional life is the ultimate example of how we should seek to live. May we live lives of purposeful paradox in reverant obedience to our meek and mild Prince of Peace. For, "the greatest among you shall be your servant...whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt 23:11-12)

Give me the lowest place: not that I dare
Ask for that lowest place, but Thou hast died
That I might live and share
Thy glory by Thy side.

Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a poem

...that Mark wrote and included in the advent book. =)



O night which teemed with heaven's hymns
That spoke of prophecies fulfilled-
A newfound song was ushered in
Of peace on earth and of goodwill.

For years the earth had ached and yearned,
Awaiting God to speak and send
An answer to our prayers and turn
Our eyes and anxious cries to him.

So on that silent, holy night,
The world, unknowing, did receive
That promised source of true delight
That simply asks us to believe.

Unlike the keeper of the inn,
May we make room for Mary's son.
He knocks and longs to dwell within
Our hearts and make them with his, one.

O Christ, who in the manger lay,
We humbly make a lone request:
Be born within our hearts today
And to our weary souls bring rest.

Advent Sunday #1

So... a little late, but Mark made up an Advent devotional guide for our church, and I'm super proud of him and it, and wanted to share. =)

Week 1 - "God has Spoken, Not Through Words"

Scripture: John 1/1

What a blessing it is that we worship a God who communicates and desires connection with us. There are so many ways in which God chooses to reveal himself. We clearly see him revealed through the beauty of his creation. We are extradordinarily blessed to have the Bible, God's inspired written word that communicates so much of his heart and desires for us. Yet, in some ways, the revelation of God in his Word is still incomplete. The Old Testament speaks of the coming Christ often, and the Messiah was the center of the worship, rituals, and celebrations of the Israelites. Ultimately, the person of Jesus Christ - his teachings, life, death, and resurrection - is the fullest and most complete revelation of the heart of God that has been made known to us. He is literally God's Word living in the flesh of a man.

No matter how familiar we are with the Christmas Story, the arrival of the divine Christ to our mortal world is still an undeniably complex idea. Scholars have debated and have been divided throughout the centuries, attempting to explain this idea of God's Word becoming flesh - a being who was "fully God and fully man." In reponse to this unique and powerful distinction, the historical celebration of Christmas has always had two parts: the Nativity and the Epiphany. The Nativity, a celebration and feast that has occured for centuries within the church, ephasizes the human nature of Christ. This is why the Nativity is most associated with the infant Jesus in the lowly manger. The Epiphany, another Christmastime traditional celebration, usually occurs after December 25th. Historically, this feast day emphasizes the divine nature of Christ, typically involving elements such as the Magi from the East bringing gifts to the newborn King of Heaven.

Advent is a beautiful time of year - the annual rememberance of the marvelous and mysterious union of mortal and divine, of God and man. It is an incredbile thing to know that God, the Almighty Creator of the universe, cares so much for his creation that he "made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Phil 2:7) And, how amazing it is that Christ - the one that displays the fullness of the heart of God - desires a vibrant and engaging relationship with us here on earth. As we begin our journey through this mysterious and joyful season of Advent, let this knowledge of God's desire for communication and connection be our foundation. Despite all of our familiarity and all the distractions that accompany Christmastime, may we never cease to be utterly humbled by these truths and Christ's desire to know us deeply.

What ideas that accompany Christmas have become familiar or stagnant to you over the years? How should this idea of God's son coming to earth continually change and shape you? How will you battle complacency and familiarity amid the distractions of Christmas this year?


See the eternal Son of God
A mortal Son of man;
Dwelling in an earthly clod,
Whom heaven cannot contain!
Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
See the Lord of earth and skies;
Humbled to the dust he is,
And in a manger lies.
- Charles Wesley

Sunday, November 27, 2011

dream

Last night I dreamt in Harry Potter..wizards, Ron, Harry, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named..the whole shebang.

I like to compare this to dreaming in another language...it means your finally getting it, your immersed, connected.

Yep-that's me. Connected, immersed, addicted.

That's all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

thankful...day...?

Today I am thankful for

1. morning runs with my mama.
2. three cups of coffee in the morning. =)
3. the memory power of my fingers as I struggle through an old Disney piano book.
4. my daddy singing on Sunday.
5. being in pajamas at noon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today I am thankful that I am packing my bags to leave to California for a week! HOOOORAAYYYY family, ocean, trivia night, warm(er) weather, the best thanksgiving food in the world, etc, everything.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

thankful~day 17

Today I am thankful that my car started...

...........since it didn't yesterday.

But, really, truly, soo thankful it is working today. And hopeful it will continue to semi-run at least through the cold part of this year.

(also thankful for brussel sprouts and parsnips...have I ever tasted you before?)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful-Day 16

Thankful for last minute prayer meetings.
For devoted followers, hearts knitted to yours, voices pleading for your healing power and encompassing peace.
Thankful for faithful husbands that guard, protect, and love their wifes dearly.
Thankful to be apart of such gatherings, to know men like the one mentioned above....thankful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

thankful~14

Today I am thankful for the Hunger Games trailer.


and dinner with Uncle Jeff.

and a husband who shares my heart, but not my emotionalism (that a word?)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Middle School Lock-In

All the funnest music you could ever imagine.
150+ kids.
Lots of animated movies.
Nachos, Pizza, Red Vines, Caramel Apples, Caramel Popcorn and... 25 two liters of soda.
Just Dance, Just Dance, Just Dance
Drama....tears....running....drama....tears...
some problems sharing
popcorn....EVERYWHERE!
PDA and PDA bans
Flash Mob
crushes formed, numbers exchanged

....a good reason to sleep until 12:30 this afternoon. ....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thankful- Day 11

Today I am thankful that my husband gets to work as a teacher.

He is 1) a really dedicated and awesome teacher and
2) absolutely loves it, and it is so awesome to find oneself in a career you adore.
3) being Mrs. Coop/Mama Coop is fun. =) I like visiting my babes in his work place.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful~ Day 10

Today I am thankful that I had a three day break from my students. It's nice to re-organize everything in the classroom and closet, to re-focus a bit.

Thankful for this break, and hoping it makes me a more cheerful teacher come Monday am.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I've already posted a "thankful" thought today...but let me add

CHRISTMAS music. basking in it lately.

Specifically Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God. Check out the album, and specifically the track that holds the albums name...beautiful.

I grew up in a very musical family. My dad has been a music guy/ (official title nowadays "Creative Arts Pastor) his whole life. My mom is a phenomenal pianist (and singer!). She taught us all three to play...and everyone in my family plays at least 2 instruments. When I was little my sis and dad and I travelled around to different churches and sang songs. It's a vague memory...but a cherished one. At times the one song I remember pop in my head... "I love puppy dogs and kitty cats and cows that go moo..." My parents have even written a children's play entitled "Indiana James and the Lost Crusade". Don't worry-smash hit. =)

Being that my roots are so dang musical...I usually can hold my own in a music type of conversation. But then there's Mark....and I sure can NOT hold my own with him. But I soooo love it, love his heart and ear for music. He understands the conceptual aspects of all music he listens to. Dang, impressive!

In Peterson's album, Mark pointed out to me a melody added to one song to foreshadow another. Something I would never hear by myself.

Mark has recently started listening to a band called Thrice that had a concept album similar to Jon Foreman's Winter, Summer, Fall, Spring, the four cd's are Water, Earth, Air, Fire. All the songs on their respective albums sound like the element. Really neat...don't necessarily love it all, but cool idea. The last song in each album is a sonnet in iambic pentameter (impressive), with the last two lines ending as a couplet. All the couplet's in the four different cd's have the same melody.

Of course, I didn't figure annnnyyy of that out on my own. But Mark did. And ya, he's kind of a nerd, but I certainly appreciate the music so much more when I realize how much work went into making it.

Andddd all that to say....thankful for my Mark's amazing love for music and literature, and that he passes on that knowledge to me. =)
I'm all nostalgic today.

I don't know if it's because of the music I'm listening too, the slow change in weather towards winter, the fast approaching holidays...

Maybe it's that Mark's stepmom passed away last week.
Maybe it's that the time is growing nearer, impending big change is looming around the corner of our life.

New beginnings, good endings. Growth, change, responsibility, frustration, love, dear ones, worries, excitement, boredom, restlessness, mediocrity, pressure, delight, intimacy, expectation, desire.

I don't know...all here. Right below the surface.

And I don't know what to do with it all. Where to funnel all this feeling.

Change. Chane looming, change now. Change as we figure out how to love each other the best. How to invest in what seems like the 10 communities were apart of. How to be true, good friends to those we truly love. How to hold close our families that live so far away and so far apart from each other.

How to's and questions and change and desire and growth and responsibility and so much passion I don't know what to do with it all so I scream out the songs in my car, and I run as hard as I can at the gym, and I devour the literature I'm reading and I look for more....more ways/opportunities to express.

And I don't know what all that means. But-blah-there it is.

With longing, passion, questions, and an unquenchable desire for... more

Thankful-Day 9

Today I am thankful for me time.

For 2 hour work-outs, jamming to Taylor Swift songs (thanks babe for downloading my jams for me), heck...time to put lotion on. It's the little things... =)

Monday, November 7, 2011

thankful-7

Today I am thankful for loooong talks with old friends. Can't wait 'til the next one!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Father of the Bride...I and II

Last month Mark and I watched Father of the Bride. I cried from the first second of that movie to the last. Seriously. What is it about that tune? About Steve Martin? About his crazy passion, and tender fatherly love?

Soooo my dad. Just adore it...turns me into mush.

And now I am watching Father of the Bride II. And again...the little tune...the tears...the "hi daddys" and the tears...

Classic. Love.

Thankful

Today I am thankful for

1. choirs
2. music
3. my multi-generational church
4. I can text Nick Elder when I think I've left my curling iron on and he'll run downstairs and unplug it. that is ridiculous.
5. for games like King's Cup
6. for extra babysitting money.
7. for airplanes that allow us to be near our family however quickly we need to be.
8. I can read music, and clap out a rhythm to any combination of notes.
9. CHRISSSTTTMASSSS is in the air. (at least my air)
10. for a home to come back to, whenever we want, in HOPE Community Church. Now that's something to hang your hat on.
11. idioms. =)

Friday, November 4, 2011


I guess I'm looking forward to HIS Kingdom coming. Looking forward to all people being equal, being treated equal, and living equally.

I am thankful that the way it is , is not the way HE intended it to be.
I am thankful that there are some people who fight for the Kingdom to come.
I am hopeful that I do now, and will always, fight for the Kingdom come. In big and small ways.

Day 4

I am thankful that I work at a school that introduces me to people of all nations.

I have recently met my first friend from Liberia. And just today, my first friends from Mongolia. Awesome stuff.


Love it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3

I was planning to share this phenomenal thought I had earlier today...but really don't have the time. Lot going on, lot to do, don't have the patience.

Instead I'll share that I'm thankful for two healthy parents that have and continue to bless me immensely. I am so happy that-even from afar-we do life together. Can't wait for my kids to know these two people.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

blizzard

Today I am thankful for snow days. Not mine...my husbands. He was supposed to leave today for a middle school camping trip and not return until Friday.

Really glad that was cancelled. Really glad my super hard-working husband has this day off to rest, recuperate, plan, grade, etc. I can't believe how much work he constantly has on his plate. He never complains. He's my hero. Love him.


(what I'm NOT thankful for....DPS being the ONLY school district to not have a snow day. dumb.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Month of Thanksgiving

Purposeful, written out, proclamations of thanks. for a month. yes please.

Today I feel thankful...for mercies that are new everyday. for second chances, do-overs.

I'm thankful that I'm not a mother yet ( let me confess a secret, most days I am very much wishing that I WAS a mother right now.) But today, on the bus, one of my students grabbed my side ponytail and clung to it and pulled with all of his might, (because he was having a hard day, and I unfortunately had to sit with him). And instead of using it as an opportunity for a lesson, or a connecting moment, or any such thing...I turned to him and in my sternest voice said "DO NOT TOUCH ME". Poor guy. Oh, I know these things will happen-in my classroom as well as my home-but I want to be such an intentional parent...Anywho, thankful I have time to grow up a little more. =)

I'm thankful for my blue Karen shirt...with it's perfect, intricate details, and flying string everywhich way. Everytime I wear it it brings a smile to my face. =)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

october

I have been vacationing from the blogging world for the last few weeks, and it sure is good to be back. I miss reading all of ya'lls thoughts and adventures. I miss finding myself and the joy of remembering as I attempt to capture my own thoughts and adventures. =)

I knew that the month of October was going to be crazy and busy, but boy howdy has it been!

At the beginning of the month we celebrated our 2 year anniversary at a fun-filled "Harvestival" with some friends of ours, and later, an intimate and romantical evening listening to the soulful stylings of our favorite band, "Over the Rhine". OTR live is seriously a holy experience. Somehow, I always find God, the music always touches my heart, my soul, and I'm moved to silent tears. Give a listen to "Undamned" if you haven't lately...such a well written sentiment.



The week following our anniversary, I faced quite the dilemma. At a banquet supporting Restoration Outreach Programs, one of the organizations our church partners with, I heard about a conference entitled "Multi-Ethnic Colorado". I looked it up, I read over the keynote speaker biographies, looked up all the seminars that were offered...decided that I really must attend. Unfortunately, the conference was 1. during my Friday work hours, and, 2. lasted late into Friday evening, during which I was supposed to be attending and chaperoning a middle school 80's themed dance.

I decided to go. =)

Perhaps later I will blog about the conference experience-both good and not so good, challenging and affirming. (and yes, "I can have it all"-I rushed to that middle school dance, changed outfits while in the car, danced one dance with my awesome hubby who helped make the whole night happen, and rushed back to the conference, literally running in while sliding off my leg warmers and pullimg my hair down from a fantastic side ponytail, just in time for the former prime minister of Ethiopia to share his testimony. Liz Lemon's got nothing on me. =) )



Later, Mark's step dad visited Denver and we had a really great time talking, catching up, laughing, walking in the rain, etc. Always good to see Jeff!

Last weekend, we spent three awesome days visiting our friends in Delta. I am ready to move there. =) Let me clarify...nothing about Delta is particularly great-it's a beautiful little town in fall, but as Mark said, we'd sure have a hard time finding friends who were similar to us. And....ya, he's probably right about that. Is it unfair to say it was a hick town? Cause....it was a hick town. But I could live there, and love it, and learn my friends in ways I've only dreamt of. Perhaps one day.

Last night Mark and I attended his school's Harvet Festival. He was Ponyboy Curtis, and I was Cherry Valance. If you haven't read THe Outsiders then shame on you. =)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Maung Way says the darndest things...=)

Last week we talked on the phone.

"Your picture lives in my computer" he said.

Today he and Mark spoke on the phone-about the trip we are planning to take out there in a few weeks.

"Can we sleeping at your hosue?" Mark said. (we know he knows the word sleeping. the word sleep...not sure.)

"Hotels no good. No like hotels. You live with me", Maung Way said.


He makes my heart happy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

magic dress

There's this dress I have....a cute summer dress.
There's really nothing fancy about it-a sleeveless cream-colored dress with flowers on it..

Except. EXCEPT that....it's magical.

Once upon a time I was dating a boy-a boy perfect for me (SPOILER ALERT:I eventually married him). And then I broke up with him. But then...maybe a week or one day later, I realized I had made the BIGGEST mistake of my life. So I started to scheme ways to "bump" into him...give us a chance to rekindle our love.

So...I put on my dress (at this point I was not aware of its magical-ness), curled my hair up all pretts...and planted myself daintily in front of La Plata to "do homework" (right at the time my lost love may or may not have had class).

And....sure enough, he had to walk right by me. And even though we hadn't spoken since the break up, he stopped (cause he's polite) and we made small talk. And then. oh THEN, the magic began to happen...he told me I looked pretty.

"you look pretty", he said.

And hope, what wondrous HOPE. My heart swelled (three sizes at least, the Grinch got nothing on me!) I am positive that as soon as he turned the corner I gathered my "homework" and ran to my apartment. The roomies had to know I still had a chance.

This dress..well, I can't be positive, but I'm pretty sure it's what sparked the "campaign" idea.

(And, I'll have all of you know, my dress is still magical, to this day. When I wear that dress, people hold elevators for me, open doors, smile, say hello. All is right in the world when I am in that dress. I use it's powers wisely and only break it out a few times a year....can't let the magic wear out of that baby!)
sometimes theresa scratches the coat closet next to the front door.

stands and paws it for minutes at a time. Obviously, he wants it to be opened.


My debate is whether I have been right when I suggest he has a "thing" about closed doors( also windows)-must meow at and paw all of them, or if he is simply confused by the closet and front doors proximity and just desperately needs to go outside....

The latter explanation wouldn't explain his behavior with the bathroom, or Elder bedroom door.

His meow sounds just like a certain student of mine's whine.

walk it out

It began with a walk. Well, weekly one's really. Dark, gritty, busy, talkative, interruptive walks, often saddening and hilarious.

And once we started dating we kept it up. To that little park-Addenbrook (right ccu'ers). Long talks, hand holding, lots of tears, lots of laugh, escapes from chaplain kids and nosey roommates. Eventually we photographed our engagement pictures there.

That first year of marriage it was the walks that kept me sane. An escape, a time to reconnect, re-center ourselves in a busy life. Loved our silent "blizzard " walks, not even our feet crunching in the soft thick snow.

It's something I've missed this last year. We just haven't taken walks much. We did last night...well a walk/run. And it was nice, Belleview Park is nice. Kissing under the stars is nice.

Marriage advice-take walks together. =)

colfax

I got to know my husband walking Colfax street. Yes, it's true.

I guess it all started before then, the semester before (my first at CCU). I transferred in mid-year. I had one friend already attending CCU, and I guess we hung out...I really don't remember. She was doing her thing, I was trying to figure out my thing (whilst working full time and being a full time student. I think my thing was energy drinks, coffee, and diet coke and barely making it to anything I needed to be at).

The other half of "my thing" was figuring myself out. I fell in with a crowd of people that weren't the most positive influence, and by the end of my first semester I was disgusted with who I was.

I left that year hoping for and pursuing change. I asked myself what kind of person I wanted to be. And then I asked myself "how do I become the person I want to be?".

I spent a lot of time reading-the bible (the whole thing that summer!), and other books. And that was helpful-purified my heart and mind. But I also, more, or at least as importantly, realized that a person becomes who they hang out with (what your parents say is true!), and I needed to surround myself with people that had the qualities I desired to possess.

That's where Mark came in. Really and truly.
With the start of the year my mission began.
By chance,I was blessed with a fantastic group of roommates.
I also began my internship in the missions department of CCU, and there encountered an incredible woman/co-intern/ccu student named Lauren. Her heart was (and still is!)a heart of gold. Oh, I learned so much from her.

Beyond those people, as I surveyed the student body, the only other person that came to mind, that possessed unquestionable character, was Mark.

I watched him. I noticed his ways... I got involved in the things he was involved in. I re-learned joy, loving the unloveable, the power of a smile, to bask in the simple things, innocence.

Those things were so important for me-so life-giving and life changing. And then I re-learned some other things too...how funny I could be, how interesting some people may think I am, how other people can share my heart for the poorest of the poor, how a gentle man can command my attention, and so much more...

And, boy howdy, it was those second things I learned that really did me in. I was smitten.

I loved getting to know Mark. I started volunteering with a homeless ministry called Fatboys on Thursday nights (not JUST because of Mark), and although there were multiple "routes", I eventually ended up working the one Mark led-Colfax to Day Labor. So ya....that's where I got to know him...walking down Colfax on Thursday evenings. I loved it. (and, side note, I love that we started our "friend" relationship serving alongside each other. Ministry with Mark is my absolute favorite thing to do with him.)

Spoon

This Sunday I will be celebrating my two year wedding anniversary with my beloved Mark.

Wow-2 years! In so many ways time has flown by, I can't believe it's been two years since we read our vows together, danced it up to Over the Rhine, shared that first married garlic kiss,(since my dad and I's infamous Jai Ho performance), just...since.

In other ways I can't believe it's just been two years. I don't remember doing life without a husband. I don't remember how I planned dinner, planned my weekend, planned my life....it's as if he was always apart of my life, my thoughts, my decision making.

I like that.

In honor of my swoos, my babe, my husband, spoon, shwees....WHATEVER you wanna call him (and no, none of those names are for you, except maybe spoon...if you were there way back when that was used) I am going to be writing some posts about him. us. our beginning, our now, our whatever.

Enjoy. (and congratulate us!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A wise friend just told me

"Too many options are better then no options".


And that is true, boy how I know that's true (cus I've sure been in the "no options" camp quite a lot the last few years)...


but....

I'm a worrier. And I like to have a plan. And I was really fine with just the one option....

Praying. Trusting. Leaning.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ridiculous!

Today a new student joined the 3 year old class.

Only thing is...he'd been coming to school since the start-about a month ago now.

Where oh where had that sweet three year old been all this time?


.....in a first grade classroom.


Absolute madness.

Between he and I....

Sooo on Monday we went to the clinic to get a few immunizations, and oh boy, my husband...we are quite the pair, he and I. He was wearing a long sleeve button up shirt, and asked the nurse if he needed to take it off to get his shots. The nurse said, "no, you don't HAVE to take it off" -meaning, the other option was he could roll his sleeves up. Mark replies "cool-then I'll just have the shots through my shirt then". I died. Could not contain my laughter for the next 5 minutes. I love that man of mine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

jealous

Hey friends! Check this out!

The Story

A few months ago I went to a "Digital Storytelling Workshop". Here is the result-can't wait to get to do this again!

House Sitting-House Spying

Mark's uncle lives in the Denver area, and we have been house sitting for him for the last 3ish weeks. (He's been getting MARRIED in Mazatlan and honeymooning... everywhere-congrats Joe & Claudia!).

THe neighborhood he lives in is in the thick of Suburbia, and there are a few houses being built down the street from him.

Over one weekend we spent there, we went on a walk to pick up the mail. During our walk, we passed one of the houses under construction. This brought on a flood of childhood memories...

We moved to Mustang, Oklahoma when I was in the 1st grade. After living in a rent house (in which my sole memory involves my beloved Lassie Dog, a heat vent, an ugly burn on my stuffed animal, and a fear of house fires) we bought property in a developing neighborhood and built a house. Half of our neighborhood was older houses, but the other half, the street we lived on, were houses under construction. Ohhh we kids and our neighbors-Kim and Erica-had a HAYDAY! We would leave out our backyard (our backyard backed up to a barbed wire fence and cow pasture)and wreak havoc on the construction crews.
Because of the cow pasture, most of our neighbors didn't build fences in the back of their yards, just the sides. We could enter/exit anyones yard by slipping through the barbed wire. We were suprisingly skilled at moving in and out and through that fence at top speeds.
Our favorite past time that first year, was to play in the houses as they were being built. We started out cautiously-we played in the houses the crews weren't working on that particular day-dolls, games, hide and seek, house, whatever.

But that soon got boring.

So somehow, the game changed that we would play in the houses WHILE the construction crews were working on them. We would sneak through the barbed wire, enter the house through a door/window, and then quietly tiptoe through the house-giggling at our sneakiness, spying on the workers. I have a vivid memory of
playing in a room,
hearing someone coming,
hiding in a closet (one with the sliding doors),
and a construction man opening the doors and finding me.

So what did I do?

Ran to the window and jumped out of it. =)

We got yelled at everytime, but it was addicting-hiding from our unknowing seekers.

Best year ever. (maybe tied with the one that Dominique Moceanu had that AWESOME floor routine during the olympics...that inspired daily olympic practice on the beam (a long wooden board used to distinguish the flower bed from the rest of the yard), a floor routine practiced on the trampoline, and lots of ponytails and instrumental music.

my girls

"Do you know what my favorite song is?"

ME: "Soe Paw, of course I know what your favorite song is." Dear girl, I know ALL your favorites. (Justin Biebs Eenie Meenie)

"Whoa! Look at that city!!!"


ME:"Oh Girls, that's not a city, that's a hospital."

"Is that where they hurt kids?"

ME:"Hurt kids? No...that's where kids who are already hurt or sick go, so they can feel better."


"I wish you were my mom".


ME: "I love you all so much, and you have the BEST mom that loves you the most."



"Justin Bieber died"

ME: "hmmmm, interesting. I'm not sure he did."

"Can we go to the puddles after ChuckECheese?"

ME: Nooo...remember how you get cold in the puddles (a creek at a park by our house) when it's really warm outside, well today it's cold and rainy, so I don't think you'd like the puddles."

"I want to work a store"

"I want to be a doctor...because I wanna help everybody...to not be died".

ME: quiet smile. =)

Gosh, they've grown up. I'll never forget their first day here. I was waiting in their apartment for my friends to bring them home from the airport. They stepped through the door and stood to the left of it, right against the wall. It seemed they were too overwhelmed to come in even a foot more. They carried two bags with them-all they had from their whole life. And the girls....haha, their hair cut so short I was convinced the paperwork was incorrect, and they were in fact boys. (I actually wondered their gender for multiple months, honest truth.)
There were sooo many car rides of ABSOLUTE silence.So much silence in general... Soe Paw didn't smile in my presence for 2 and a half years.

Wow how they've changed. They want to tell me everything, and they do. I love the way their minds work, love watching them try to piece together this world, American culture. I have an honored role in their lifes. It is I, not Mom or Dad, that can answer their questions about life here. Sometimes I worry, fret about the inability for their parents to fulfill typical parental roles in their new lifes here. But in the meantime, I do what I can.

My girls. Soe Paw and YeYe Nwet. Their cousins La Ku Paw, Eh Law, Eh Ler Soe, Eh Ler Say. The Boys. Saw A K, Eh Ta Ba, Eh Nar Do, Eh Dor Htoo, Eh Ka Tha.

So blessed to know these people.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roomies/Friends/Family

It all began a number of years ago. We both worked at SB, and one particularly slow night a conversation about Hoods was initiated by the one, and the other....had to engage.

And then shortly after, there was a realization that a certain STEPHEN KING had become something of a mystical creature, a god almost, in some circles. To us, added competition.

After these two occurrences we decided we really must hang out outside of Starbucks, must try and get to know each other a little better.

And...well. Her dad was a pastor, like mine. And, wasn't your mom a piano teacher like mine had been? And we'd both moved during our teen years. And we'd both had some hard times, and some dumb "boyfriends", and had needed a little extra help sometimes.

And we were both Global Studies majors, and both so passionate about some things we just might explode sometimes. And she'd broken up with a boy, and then dated him again in the hopes of marrying him (and that was my curent campaign).

And so...well, that was that. Friends, instantly.

And after the campaign was won, 2009 the Year of Marriage, was initiated.
And then there were the plans for the SWITCHEROO.
And then we got married a few weeks apart. We became neighbors. We each bought our first "babies". We threw Christmas parties, fought squirrels, walked through blizzards to get to Snooze....we did it all.

And then we joked...what if we moved in together?
And then we did do that....for 15 months now.
And now there are plans for 2014?5? year of babes!

AND....all that to say. I love my friend Beth! (and her husband Nick!). And I love coming home to people, eating dinner with friends, having traditions and jokes, games and words, conversations and laughs about all that we share in life right now.

And when the time comes that this part of our life is over...I will be truly sad not to live with our best friends. (even though sometimes sharing is hard).

And when the times comes...whether it's next year or 4 years or 20 years from now, that Mark and I are looking for an apartment here in the states...I know I will wish we could all be neighbors (and maybe even roommates) once more.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

and hey, just so you know, despite it all, I was made for such things as these.

my pulse quickens, my heart swells-I LOVE these kids, and loving them is my calling...for this year, and maybe longer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

discipline

My junior year at CCU I was obsessed with the image of myself carrying the yoke of christ.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”NLT



28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Love these verses....loved them that junior year cause I was very weary and worn out...and I look back on these words now as I consider what Christ meant by "taking his yoke".

Discipline...I desire the discipline of his yoke upon me. Not moving unless he moves me. Plodding on (in a good way, not in the connotation of this word way), tirelessly moving forward in my journey with/towards Christ-in my journey bringing His Kingdom here. How I desire my master's yoke to be binding me to his every move.

So, his yoke I will pursue. And my first step will be rediscovering what it means to be disciplined. And not just in spiritual things-but in all ways-disciplined.

So, I am setting small goals for myself. Easy ones-that are easily accomplished. So that I may FEEL accomplished, feel good about myself, feel successful, and then move forward and create a bigger goal.

And I am excited.
feel so connected to burmese people....

want to love them, join their fight, spread their struggles.

i picture a different future for myself than I once did. and sometimes that is weird, and frustrating, and scary to me. but other times it is so right, and moving, and IT.

and i don't know what that means.


but i like it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

becoming a storyteller...



"stories move in circles. they don't move in straight lines. so it helps if you listen in circles. there are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home. and part of the finding is getting lost. and when you're lost, you start to look around and listen."

"Story is learning, celebrating, healing, and remembering. Each part of the life process necessitates it.

...it enriches the individual, emotional and cultural development, and perhaps ultimately, the more mysterious development of the soul".


(the importantance of answering a question with a story...as a parent, to teach my kids deeper levels of thinking, reflection, etc.)


(what are the key details that will help the audience appreciate the moment of change)

Super, super excited about this storytelling workshop. Loved the prep reading-totally resonated. Can't wait to see how this unfolds in my future...

G is for Green Grass

...which we don't have, cause we decided to turn the sprinklers off about...a month ago, because we're cheap. =)


But what we do have is weeds. Forests of weeds that grow in our back (and now, front) yard-thick and tall and stubborn and strong.

So...I decided to mow on Monday. Mark and I try and switch off with the Elders, but they usually end up mowing more because....Mark and I hate it so much and will let the yard turn into a jungle before we do anything about it. Since that is not at all fair...Monday I decided to give it a go.

(i am still sore today, and unable to raise my arms above my head...)

Turns out, in case anyone was wondering, that I am still unable to turn a lawn mower on by myself. Yep...my little arms are just too short and too weak to pull that string (which somehow got ripped in two, so mark tied it back together...who are we-ghetto). Nick had to come turn it on for me. And everytime it died (and believe you me, it died a number of times) I would attempt a time or 10...then sulk back to the house and ask Nick to turn it on for me. Lovely.

Also realized that I am not able to push the lawn mower by arm power alone. I let the handlebar lean against my torso so that my body is what's really pushing it.

That's so pathetic I thought everyone should know.

I told Mark that and he said "you do know it's a self-propelled mower, right".

It is, and always should be-a mans job to mow the lawn. Period.

Beet Sliders and Kohlrabi Fries

On Monday evening Mark and I decided to try a recipe he discovered on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Holy Cow-amazing!

We've been getting a number of beets through our vegetable share, and weren't really sure what to do with them. (actually, not sure if I've ever tasted a beet...how do people normally eat them?).

Anywho, long story short, we made them into little beet burgers. And if I had been blindfolded...I would not have known I wasn't eating beef. Sooo freaking amazing (and sooo much healthier-win win!).

We also had the great idea to make some more Kale chips and turn our Kohlrabi into french fries.

Totally yummy meal. And definitely evened out the cherry cricket meal we'd had a few nights ago calories wise....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Services

There's this thing with me and health and beauty services... it is a struggle...always always a struggle. It seems that no matter what I am getting done, I am confused about how to act. The time in-between the services offered has wiped my mind totally blank about the normal procedures-the basic protocals.

Example #1: Some time ago (a long time ago...around senior year), my mother got a new hair stylist that she absolutely adored. After hearing her rave and rave about this hairstylist, I scheduled a cut. I arrived and said my typical line "I don't care what you do..just blonder and cut, but not too short". As she took me to the sink to wash my hair, I got perplexed. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was nervous, maybe I had washed my hair in the sink one too many times, but I did it-I went into the chair on my stomach, slouched my neck and head into the sink. There was a moment of silence and then dear, sweet Shauna said "no, you sit in the chair". Even though I was mortified, I could not wipe the smile off of my face.

Example # 2: From the very get go the optometrist and I struggled. That fateful day in 5th grade when I entered his office and he asked me to read the letters I turned a full circle-completely unable to see even a poster. Over the years I began to dread those eye doctor visits-always a failure, it felt, never could read those damn letters. And don't even get me STARTED on the eye puffer (mr. pufferkins)...not a time has passed when I haven't nearly fallen out of my seat and moved my arms towards my head to protect myself. Both the doctor and I laugh every. single. time. One especially trying visit left me all worked up...I was asked to read the letters and the first was an "O"...which I called zero. Oh, I threw myself for a loop. I said, "oops, not a zero, I'll start over". And then again, "zero".
The next letter happened to be a "Z" which I called a seven. I read "zero, seven". Then I got very worked up. "no, no", I said. I knew I was wrong...but there was no turning back. Numbers instead of letters, numbers instead of letters all the day long. Finally, my kind optometrist decided I should take a break-calm myself down.

Example #3: Around 4 months ago I went to get my oil changed. I don't recall it being an unusually early Saturday morning, but I must have been out. of. it. They asked me to pull in..one of those deals where you gotta get both tires on a metal rack thing...I started in, the man pointed to the left. I proceed to turn my wheel, hand over hand over hand, all the way to the left. I pull forward a little more. The man points to the right. I turn my wheel all the way to the right-as far as it can go. This happens, back and forth, at least 3 times. He was so annoyed. I didn't get what I had done until a month later... HILARIOUS. (today I got my oil changed, and with the last experience fresh in my mind-parked it perfectly and quickly).

Example #4: Last week Mark and I went to get out annual check-ups. Confusing for sure-I hadn't been to the doctor in years! When given a robe and toold to change out of my clothes I was immediately alarmed. Which way did the opening in the robe go? I had no idea...I tried it on front ways, I tried it on back ways. Both felt wrong....so I text my dad. The opening goes in the back, turns out.

Example #5: I have always thought of myself as someone who has a high pain tolerance. Mostly, that idea has been in my head because of all the compliments I have gotten while at the dentist/orthodontist. I'm not even kidding-I have the biggest head about how brave I am, how much pain I can handle...I have even bragged (on more than one occassion) about my pain tolerance and blah blah blah. Well...come to find out, it's all been a hoax. I have now realized (after a horrific display at the dentist last week), that the reason the dentist says things like "you're so brave" and "you're one tough little girl" is because I am so pathetically hurting they feel like they need to encourage me. Seriously. Multiple times at the dentist office last week, multiple people patted my shoulder, gave me hugs, told me I was "brave", even gave me a BLANKY to snuggle under when I got cold.

I now fear childbearing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Farm Shares

Well, we've signed up. To take part in the Grant Family Farm Share, that is. Along with some friends from church, we have purchased one vegetable "couple" share and one "single" fruit share. Our first pick up will be this Tuesday...the first of a 22 weeks gig.

To be included in our vegetable share this week:
Kohlrabi, green onions, romaine, carrots, kale, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, cylindra beet, English Peas, summer squash

what even IS kohlrabi??? I don't know but I am excited to find out. What an awesome way to incorporate new greens/veggies in our diet while also supporting local/organic farming!

Fruit share: 3 pounds of pitted cherries, 4 pounds of rhubarb. I guess I'll...make a pie, or 3?

Excited for this new food adventure! Thank you Holdiers for clueing us in!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Embarrassed

A few months ago-quite a few months ago- I got embarrassed about our God.

You see, there is a girl that works at my school. She's a refugee, and even that aside, has lived a pretty...difficult life. And there's alot I could and would like to share about the many difficult things she has overcome, but I don't think that would be fair. So...just take my word-the girl is tough.

And she is a faithful follower of our God. And she sings (literally and figuratively) his praises incessantly.

In the foyer of our school there is a piano (that someone generously donated.) One morning we both arrived to work a bit early, and she asked me to join her on the piano bench. She then proceeded to play and sing a hymn (which hymn escapes me at the time). As people were gathering,watching and listening she kept urging me to sing.I must confess my first thoughts were not good ones. I was embarassed, asleep, not used to such open expressions of praise...timid as a small crowd grew.

Well shame on me...so I sang. I started my work day with a song of praise to God (at my workplace no less). And silly to say, but true nonetheless-it was empowering, invigorating, and perfect.

I humbly apologized to God at my hesitancy, and thanked him for the privilege to live and work in a place where I was capable of praising him so openly. And I pondered my embarrassment of being asked to praise my Maker publicly, while people all over the world are punished, imprisoned, and killed for daring to do so.

We are babies here. I am a baby of the faith.


God, grow me up. May I be more like my friend.

every sinners song...

Sometimes all we believe
Turns out to be just a scam
Just trying to get my world
Get it undamned

It's been my lifelong song
Who'll take me Just As I Am
Help me to get my world
Get it undamned

I've got a thousand lost songs
(Far too many they just got away)
I've done a thousand things wrong
(Far too many for me to name)
But I'm not too far gone
To fall
Headlong
Into the arms that love me

Don't count me out just yet
I'm not your little lost lamb
God might still get my world
Get it undamned

I've got a thousand lost songs
(Far too many they just got away)
I've done a thousand things wrong
(Far too many for me to name)
But I'm not too far gone
To fall
Headlong
Into the arms that love me

I've got a thousand lost songs
(Far too many they just got away)
I've done a thousand things wrong
(Far too many for me to name)
But I'm not too far gone
To fall
Headlong
Into the arms that love me

Over the Rhine. "Undamned".

Friday, July 1, 2011

The reason(s) for which I am joyous of late

We invited them over but they said it wouldn't work...but what would work is us bringing dinner to them. So we did. Still in the process of unpacking, they were welcoming, hospitable, and completely down to earth. A refreshing little family living life in a refreshing way. We talked, and talked, and laughed and laughed. Thankful for new friends that make me double over in laughter.


It began with a dinner invitation. We weren't quite sure what to expect. Good conversation, good friends, and a freaking amazing dinner was shared. A competition has begun. A fun-hearted "foodie" competition. Gourmet meals shared alternatively at each other's homes...let's keep it going dear friends...my taste buds are lovin it!

They came...those dear ones of mine. And it is what made my summer. We adventured around the city, we laughed, we toured, we talked. We spent a memorable evening at Mynt, followed by a delicious grilled feast shared with our two best friends. I loved sharing my parents with our dear housemates. And I loved the laughter, the honesty, the questions, and the people. Oh, and the dancing. And then on Sunday morning they sang with Mar (as Mark always sings with him when we venture to CA). And my eyes welled with tears of the utter joy of hearing my father sing. Miss that so much... miss them so much...if ever we "settle", would love to settle near those two.

On Father's Day, with aforementioned friends, we were sharing a wonderful "dim sum" meal at a chinese kitchen, when Maung Way called. Always eager to talk to my friend, I answered. His words.. "baby come, baby no come, I don't know". Hmm...I guess we will make our way to Denver Health then.
So we did. And the baby DID in fact come. And she was so strong, and so brave. And he was so sad that he couldn't be there...so very very sad. And she wanted ME to be with her while she delivered. So I put on a brave face...and once she started pushing quickly sat as I realized my legs were and would give way, and I watched Saw A K come into this world. It was such a breath-taking moment-my very heart gasped as they put him in her arms. To share more would lessen it...it was a gift.

And then, the following Saturday, dad came home. So he called and we hurried to Grace. Oh my dear, dear friend.
(It took me...18 months to get those two girls to talk and play with me. And I am crazy about them, head over heels in love with them. But he is and always will be my favorite. He is the keeper of that family, and everything is more delightful when he is with them).

We hugged and hugged...there were smiles all around. There was laughter that nearly took both me and Maung Way to the floor as we replayed the babies first minutes and my subsequent near collapse. The family was whole and it was a wondrous day. He is my brother, in every way. I love him like one. Oh, there will be a day when communication doesn't stand in our way, and what a day that will be.

(And (I) keep all these things in (my) heart and think about them often). Lk 2:19

Saturday, June 18, 2011

summer

....is a breath of fresh air. Will I ever be ready for the school year to start again...most likely no.

I am re-learning how to slow down, to fully enjoy my surroundings, to make more time for old and new friends.

Some goals:

~to become a little more easy-going.
~invite more people over more often.
~to read through a (or a dozen) handfuls of books (revisit old favs, make way for some new favs).
~Bike at least 20 miles a week.
~Run a 20 mile week.
~Spend more time in the sun, less time on the computer, and more in depth time in the word. (anybody have any bible study to recommend?or books for that matter...).
~Embrace change, and prepare for it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Like the new layout?

Mark is officially DONE WITH HIS FIRST YEAR AS A TEACHER!

He is such an incredible teacher. I hope and pray that when we have kids they have teachers as caring and compassionate as my hubby.


I, on the other hand, have a week (more or less), left of school. I am barely hanging in there....


Some thoughts:

1. swamp coolers can make life much better (when they are installed)
2. the inability to admit wrong is, I imagine, quite debilitating. Almost invokes feelings of pity.
3. Children no longer care about "losing their jobs" during the last bit of school.
4. A summer job is hard to come by. A new job is hard to come by.
5. Interviewing, and still being jobless....makes life hard.
6. Good thing that when life is hard, I have a sweet man, and a handful of mikes hard on hand....
7. Maung Way is far away. I. Am. Sad.
8. In a few precious days I will begin to kick my own butt into shape. I am hoping to shed a good dozen or two pounds-workout or diet advice?

Scrubs is excelllllllent. =)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Carrie

I don't know if I have ever told ya'll about my first college roommate.

I showed up at CCU halfway through the semester, blown in by a huge snow storm. I set up my half of the room-brown subdued colors, then left for the evening.

I returned to find my roommate's decor-neon pink, blue, green. Anime paintings of Elvis and others. I was intrigued.

Then we met. Carrie is the least pretentious person you will ever meet. She is who she is and proud of it. Although we are pretty different, we clicked instantly.


I remember the Elephant Graveyard and the suitcases. The coffee mugs. ooOOooOO Miss Alissa (staying up until 4 am buying songs with our names in them on itunes). I remember reading Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging aloud in british accents. I remember Newsies and sing alongs. I remember my alarm going off every ten minutes and carrie bearing it. I remember school dances, Black Eyed Pea dinners, crazy 21st birthday stories, ice cream stores, and easter bunny costumes. I remember "molecules" and insanely crazy drawings on notes we turned into theology professors. I remember "please refrain from using emoticons on formal papers", and the need to work rap lyrics into research papers (like "the United States of America was a Showstopper"-Showstopper-Danity Kane). I remember iming while in the same room...specifically things like "throw up", cause our online personas would then comply.

Those were all fun things. Fun-this is my college experience and I sure wouldn't trade it for anything experiences. But there were also a lot of hard times for me, and Carrie was there. Listened to my problems, offered advice, never judged. She was (and is) a great friend.

Soooo thanks Carrie. I loved living with you. And I loved hanging out with you at your engagement party. Your approach to life is enviable, and a good reminder to me. I am so happy for you-so happy you found a guy that is captivated by you. Congratulations.

Aim

So, if you know me, you know my all time favorite band, without a doubt, is Over the Rhine. Music for the soul I tell you... On their latest album their is a song entitled "Only God Can Save Us Now", and I swear...the song is about my sister. Maybe not about her...but it definitely reminds me of her. And it always makes me cry, for two reasons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XNkkk_X8QI

First: My sister works in a nursing home. I can't imagine how difficult a job this is...for many reasons, including emotionally. To care, and love, and befriend people when they are physically and mentally deteriorating takes such a special heart. I am so proud of my sister for her ability to love and deal with her job in such a profound and professional way. I don't know that I have the strength to do such a job. I think God uses her in the lifes of forgotten people everyday. Awesome.

Second: Sometimes when we are young we get stripped of everything-our prestige, our talent, our security, our relationships. But, for alot of us,we don't and won't know what it means to be completely reliant on God, with nothing to show for ourselves, until we are older. I love the line "only God can Save us now"....love that when we have nothing left to show for ourselves, nothing really left to offer the world, that's when we finally see that God has been waiting all along to save, and love, and work through us.

Great song. Great sister. Great God. Amen.

Boy


This past week has been very dreary weather wise. On one rainy dreary morning drive to school, my ipod shuffled to Dashboard.

Oh Dashboard, you reflected the inner workings of my emo soul during those teenager years. And, you, always and forever, remind me of a bond formed between my brother and I. I vividly remember belting this song as I drove me and my brother home one late night.


"The Brilliant Dance"

So this is odd,
the painful realization that all has gone wrong.
And nobody cares at all,
and nobody cares at all.

So you buried all your lover's clothes
and burned the letters lover wrote,
but it doesn't make it any better.
Does it make it any better?
And the plaster dented from your fist
in the hall where you had your first kiss
reminds you that the memories will fade.

So this is strange,
our sidestepping has come to be a brilliant dance
where nobody leads at all,
where nobody leads at all.

And the picture frames are facing down
and the ringing from this empty sound
is deafening and keeping you from sleep.
And breathing is a foreign task
and thinking's just too much to ask
and you're measuring your minutes by a clock that's blinking eights.

This is incredible.
Starving, insatiable,
yes, this is love for the first time.
Well you'd like to think that you were invincible.
Yeah, well weren't we all once before we felt loss for the first time?
Well this is the last time.


The last part was our favorite...as we were both (at the same time, even though we are years apart) "in love" with our first little boy/girl friends of our lives. His was Hillary, mine was Colin. Our first kiss happened I think...a day apart? haha. I was just so happy that his first kiss wasn't before mine. And he absolutely loved that his first kiss happened so shortly after mine. And I remember taking his little girlfriend home from...a movie? youthgroup? ...who knows, and us talking and singing of love and crush's on our long drive home. We sure bonded during that time of our life. I love that memory. I'm glad I had that first boyfriend,pretty much just cause I got to share "the first" of it all with my little brother. =)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Giant Meat

A few years ago (back in my college days), I had the delightful experience of a global economics course with an especially interesting professor.

I had had other classes with this professor, and poor girl, there was always some sory of tragedy happening in her life. To say the very least, she was a tad unstable.

In this particular class, during a debate, our professor announced that nothing we said counted anymore. From that moment on, we were not allowed to speak an opinion, or argue a notion, without "quoting a giant". Well, to say the least this threw us for a loop. We looked back at our syllabus, we looked at one another, my dear friend Beth raised her objections and questions...but no, the debate was over. None of us had prepared "giant meat" so none of us were allowed to talk. (Giant meat-the bulk of your debate, the MEAT of it, should come from someone with at least a graduates degree-someone published and acknowledged as a professional in their field).

Well the talk of Giants, and giant meat, and eventually meat treats lasted all year, with the class expectations growing mroe absurd on an often daily basis. But, like it or not,this idea of "giant" has stuck with me.

When hanging out with a friend a few weeks ago, I left our time together thinking, she is a "giant" of the faith. And, she has been a "giant" in my life.

It is fun to think about the people who are "giants" in your own life-the people who have shaped and formed you, encouraged you, challenged you, the people you look up to.

Thank you Giants. You are the Meat Treats in my life. =)

He is Risen

Christ is risen indeed! =)

Happy Easter friends!

Easter....thank you Lord for your sacrifice, your love, your friendship, your resurrection. Thank you for your church.

Church...Mark and I are so happy to be plugged in at Hope. Last weekend we were able to spend 2 days on a retreat with the staff and spouses. It was so wonderful to get to know these incredible people-to laugh, play, worship, and learn together. It has taken awhile...but we are feeling so very apart of this church.

Thank you Jesus for your church.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tears

I hate it when the tears come at the wrong time, in the wrong place, in front of the wrong people. But god has given me what my mother has called a "sensitive spirit", and sometimes....tears are unstoppable.

I am required to attend a monthly para training at my school. Yesterday was one of such trainings. These trainings require a certain amount of "homework" each month, and this month was no exception. We were to bring a box of meaningful items/objects and prepare three stories about our life with a few different prompts, including, "my earliest memory". There are a few girls that I always sit with at these trainings, but much to my frustration, someone else asked me to join them at their table, and I felt I couldn't resist. Of course, even in these small things I think God is at work, as He uses the smallest of things sometimes to remind me of His purpose for me.

We were to split into groups of 4 to share our memorabalie boxes and our stories. I was with a good friend of mine close in age from Burma, and a Nepali man and a Burmese man. They told me to go first and I shared-some lighthearted objects, a funny story of a family vacation spent honking our car horn from the hotel window in the hopes to startle people.

***** shared her earliest memory. Her grandmother leaving the military base her family lived on (as her father was a commander in the Karen opposition army) to collect one of her cousins as her cousin's family members were missing (killed?) and she was living with friends. When her grandmother came home she told young *****, "this is your new sister".

****** shared being sent to a boarding school during his pre-teen years as he tended to be a slightly "naughty" boy. Upon returning home one year he discovered his country was in turmoil, and his families lives were in danger. They crossed the border to India, then ended up in a refugee camp in Nepal. He never returned to his school.

Then... ***** shared. He, for some reason, I have grown very fond of. He is not Karen, he is Burmen, and he has spent much of his life in a Burmese prison as he has actively protested against the Burmese government. Because of his imprisonment, and commitment to his cause, he has nothing for himself. No wife, no children, no possessions. He comes to the U.S. as an asylee, he will never be able to safely return to Burma. His story is as follows:

"When I was a little boy I spent everyday talking with my mother and baking. I was good at language and even at 3 years old was able to communicate everything to my mother. We spent the days talking about everything together and one day I told her I wanted an electric car. She told me she did not have enough money to buy me an electric car, but she would give me a piece of candy instead. I told her I didn't want candy, just the electric car. Every day I asked her to give me an electric car, and every day she told me there was no money. One day after I asked for the car, she told me if I kept asking her for the electric car she would hit me. I told her if she hit me I would run away from her. She said that if I ran away from her she would run after me. Then I told her that maybe I could run so far away, that no matter what, she wouldn't be able to follow me, she wouldn't be able to catch up with me, and most importantly she wouldn't be able to tell me what to do.

Now, I am a grown man, and I have finally run so far that my mother cannot find me, cannot catch up to me, and even though more than anything I want her to tell me what to do, she can't."

Let me tell you people, tears. I asked if his mother was still living in Burma, and he said she died two weeks ago. I mourn for my friend, and shed tears over the injustice of it all.

We were asked to respond to each story with the following prompt:

I wonder why....
And I wonder why God allows such hurting, such sorrow.

I wonder why I wasn't born in Burma and God didn't use me as an activist, and why **** wasn't born in the U.S. with memories of car horn pranks.

I wonder why I care so deeply about a conflict half-way across the world, that I am still barely learning to understand.

And I wonder how people DON'T care about a conflict that leaves people motherless, fatherless, torn up, jailed, beaten, abused, and displaced.

I just wonder about the ways of this world and cry because I don't understand and feel so bad for people who have had to experience suffering and sorrow to the millionth degree that I have.

And I wonder, if God has given me such a heart for these people and these places, why I am not in a place where I can live out my passion more adequately and fully.

And then I wonder, maybe that's why I'm at Place in the first place. And perhaps, despite how challenging it's been, that is why I should stay there.

I was wrong

about Beth Moore, that is. I have gone through my entire adult life thinking she was ridiculous, and not possibly anyone I would ever enjoy.

And I was wrong.

I am doing a bible study with my church entitled "Psalms of Ascent". And yes, Beth Moore wrote it, and yep, I watch an hour long video of her speaking every week. And, surprise, I love it!

Ya, she's a little more girly than I. But she is also scholarly (much to my surprise), and honest, and genuine. And even though it seems that her and I live life pretty differently, what we can and do agree on, is that we want to live life honoring God. And let me tell you, she is doing a much better job of that than I, so I have put our differences aside, and have decided to learn from her, she is my big sister of the faith.

Last week she described an experience she had in South Africa, which reminded me of an experience that I have had in Ethiopia but forgotten about. She was able to spend time with some women in the various stages of health issues brought on by AIDS. They shared with her their stores-how they have come to be infected with AIDS, how their family and friends have reacted to them, and how they have managed to keep the faith. I too have sat with a group of women, who, in broken English, or kind translators, shared with me the exact same things. I was such a child then...unable to process all that I heard and witnessed on that trip. But I remember crying as they told me, and feeling ashamed of my tears, as they were so triumphant in their worship to God. I remember being humbled, and now, 6 years after that experience, I am humbled even more so. I am grateful that that memory was reminded to me for many reasons. And I am grateful that even in my young age, I have had many ...important and growing, and odd experiences.

God is (and has been) preparing me for a great work. When I look to the past I see that the Lord has done great things for me. As I look to the future I expect that the Lord will do great things for me. As I wait here, in the in-between times, I expect and trust that the Lord WILL do, has promised TO DO....great things.

The Truth about the Ways

Sometimes:
(if you were to ask me)

I know everything there is to know about the conflict in Burma.

I know everything there is to know about the history of my friends, the Ways.

I have learned to understand all the feelings that those friends of mine could possibly feel, and have shared their suffering with them.

They are our best friends and we know them (and connect with them) in a deep and profound way.

But sometimes:
(if you were to watch)

20 minutes can go by without a word being spoken.

I, or one of them, might attempt to communicate a thought, a plan, a feeling, or an idea, and then give up mid-sentence as we realize that the concept is too hard to explain. My Karen, or their English just isn't up to it.

Silence is easier than talking...cause talking can be exhausting.

And here, really, is the truth:

I love and connect with my friend the Ways in a deep and profound way. And sometimes, silence IS easier, because their vocabulary is just so limited. And I have mourned and mourned over all the things we cannot discuss because we don't have the words. And I have mourned and mourned and mourned over all the feelings they cannot express because their adjectives consist of "good" and "no good".

For months now, Maung Way has been telling us his job is "no good" and that his hand is "no good". He works at a meat packing plant in Greeley. They move over 2,000 cows through their plant on a daily basis. He cuts the same piece of meat every day. If you can imagine lifting your right arm into the air and slicing with a diagonal motion...well that's what he does. For eight hours a day, usually 6 days a week. And that is what he has done for the last 2 and a half years.

Last week he informed us that he has taken a leave from his job, in the hopes of finding a new job. He can simply no longer continue performing this job as he is in constant pain (did I mention he uses his crippled arm, he was shot in the hand at one point during his time in the Karen Liberation Army).

When he told us he had quit I was shocked, and worried. He has enough money to live off of for 3 months. But it got me thinking...he wasn't shocked by this decision, he has known for months that he simply cannot continue on in this way. He has known that he had to change jobs, he has even been asking us to help him find a new job. And had I known what he was TRULY trying to communicate to us, I probably would have looked a littler harder for a job for him. I probably would have been a bit more sympathetic when he told me about his arm while rubbing oils on it.

If only I listened more carefully. Listened and watched beyond the few words we can exchange. Because, people, you better believe that their hearts and ours are knitted together with the deepest of love and the most precious of affection. We are just limited, and the limitation is so discouraging. But I know that we have touched their lifes in an inexpressible way, and that God has used us to bring hope, and peace, and a clearer picture of His love for them. And I am here to confess that God has used them in the same way for me and Mark.

So ya, sometimes there are awkward moments. And alot of times there is alot that isn't said, that can't be said. But by God's grace, my mind will keep working during those silences, and my heart will hear the words that are unable to be expressed. And one day, whether it's on this earth or in Heaven, we will sit down and talk for days...reminisce of days gone by, laugh about some of the stupid things I've done, and we will hear all about their hopes and dreams and feelings and past.

childbirth

Next week our school will be hosting an "International Night"- displaying various booths, representing various countries and people groups-complete with food and cultural entertainment. In preparation for that night, a handful of displays have been set up throughout the school. I have managed to read and look through a few of them, and have found the various marriage/childbirth/coming of age/and burial rituals extremely fascinating.

And of course....they have gotten me thinking.

One of the Asian birthing customs that I heard about (Pakistan? Malaysia? can't recall...) greatly inspired. As soon as the child is born the father picks him up and whispers in his ear:

"God is Great."
"I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah."
"I bear witness that Muhammed is the Apostle of Allah."
"Come to Prayer."
"Come to Success."
"God is Great."
"There is no object of worship other than Allah."


The desire is for "Allah" to be the first word that the child hears, and for the notion (and act) of worship to be introduced immediately.

If you attended Mark and I's wedding then you know that every minute of our ceremony, every word that was spoken, was planned and rich with meaning. A wedding is a wondrous celebration, but also (in my mind) a sacred moment that is to be set apart. A wedding is a new beginning, as two people start their lives together. It is important to take the time to incorporate one's most important life values at this "new beginning". How much more important, then, is it to celebrate and set apart a birth of a child, introducing the life values you most want to teach to your child?

We have decided that in some form or fashion we would like to adopt this Muslim tradition as a family ritual, to begin with the birth of our first child. We would like to write a prayer for each child during their pregnancy, and for that prayer to be of the first words they hear. We also intend for each of our children's names to be our prayer for their life-and that will be included in the prayer we first pray over them when they are minutes into this world. And of course, of course, I am aware that perhaps the circumstances of our child's (children's) birth will be chaotic, with many people entering in and out, and so maybe this will be out of place in a hospital room. But it will be done...because I want to live this life with my devotion to Christ on the forefront of my mind, my heart, my lips. And my deepest prayer and longing for my children is that they too might devote themselves to our Lord. I want my children to know that the first thing I said to them involved their Savior, I want to read their prayers over them at every birthday celebration. I want them to know, as I know now (even without any plans to conceive a child),that they were divinely created and purposed.

And then a few weeks after their birth I want to have a "Baby Shower". But instead of games and presents, I want it to be a ceremony, much like a wedding ceremony. A dedication to raise my child in a Godly manner. A time for loved ones to gather round and hear my heart, my prayers for my child, and to pray them with me.

This, I think, is something that those Pakistani (?), thos Malaysian (?) families, got right.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Break

This last week has been one of my favorite weeks ever spent with my husband.

Spring Break...does a mind, body, and soul some good. (and a house, apparently)

I (and my husband) have cleaned out 4 closets, rearranged 2 living rooms, painted a microwave cart (to be used as a vanity), added wonderful contact paper to spruce up some old furniture, bought a new bookcase for our overwhelming amounts of books, created 2 chalkboards with a little wood and chalkboard paint (and love), planted an herb garden, re-upholstered the boxspring mattress of our guest bed, and in general have clean/organized everything. (with the exception of a few small boxes I have yet to go through).

(The house is almost exactly how I want it to be. Alas, my break is drawing to a close...it's so hard to get projects done whilst working a full week.)

But don't get me wrong...this last week has been full of fun too! Mark and I have recently purchased bikes and over the week got to do a lot of bike riding on the Platte Trail behind our house. On Monday we rode our bikes 12 miles to downtown denver. Wonderful, Glorious, Exhausting! =) I am super proud of myself though!

We got to dine at some of our favorite places this week, and try some new places. We hung out with dear friends and loved each other well. We looked at puppies at the puppy store. We laughed, worked, planned,soaked up the sun, and cleaned together. We enjoyed each other to the fullest extent. I CANNOT wait until this summer. An easier way of life is within reach...

But for the next 40 work days... I will grin and bear it. I will dream of the golden sun, since apparently winter isn't over yet. I will dream of night time fires and grilling out. Hundreds of vegetables fresh from our garden. A puppy that cuddles and wiggles. A hammock that sways in the wind, and folding patio chairs that aid my future tan. I will dream...oh, I will dream.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

bidhan

we re-opened our "house" center today as a veterinarian theme. I overheard this conversation.

Ms. W: okay...bidhan, you're the doctor. in this blank you write your name. so what's your name?
Bidhan: bidhan.
Ms. W. great! in this blank you put your pet's name. What is your pet's name?
Bidhan: Suction!


hahahahahaha. from the mouth of babes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

in laws

it's good to have family in town. good to visit, catch up, hang out, show off our lives. it's good.


wish everyone i loved lived closer.

shuka

I could never live with someone who doesn't organize the silverware into the right slots of the silverware organizer.

And I don't...I'm not being passive aggressive. I was thinking about how I struggle to tell apart the little spoons from the big spoons and the little forks from the big forks. And I know Nick had them all organized at one time, so I really should organize them now. But then I thought, what if I just threw any silverware wherever I wanted...and then I thought...that is madness....pure madness.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

family

If you know me at all you know that I am absolutely over the moon about my family. I absolutely adore them all-my mom and dad, aim and the boy. and, ya know, the hubs.

I have been thinking about them a lot this week, as my dad preached at his church on Sunday (due to losing a bet) and listening to his sermon (online and a few days later) reminded me oh how terribly much I miss him (and the rest of them).

I don't have kids yet. And am not ready to for some time still, but...I can't wait until my kids are old enough to appreciate me (and hope they will!). I am so proud of my dad. I am proud of him for his amazing abilities-his singing, leading, arranging, creativity, big vision making, music playing. I am proud of my mom-her work ethic, her ability to connect and love anyone and everyone, her piano-playing, her singing, her willingness to tackle so much.

But as much as I am proud OF my parents, and family in general, I am so much more proud to belong to them. I belong to these amazing two people (or did...a little different, I AM married after all). I have gotten to share life with this amazing man who dares to be vulnerable and raw and real. I'm lucky. I have gotten to share life with a woman who, unlike most women I know, is just her and happy with it! What a wonder to have a mom who always always always encouraged me to be myself and love who God has made me to be. She's a girl who sticks to her guns, hope I got a little bit of that from her. =)

Just ...thankful that I spent 22 years belonging to Paul and Linda, and so thankful that in a completely different way I now belong to Mark. Mark, who evens me out and is truly my better half. It is so wonderful to reflect on the things I feel like I am pretty awful at and how capable he is in those arenas.

Where I am:
quick to anger, mark is always loving (and reminds me to be!)
unable to speak professionaly, mark is my resume and cover letter and "Big girl talk" coach.
frustrated with life situations, mark finds purpose, reason
shy in big groups, mark manages
cooking challenged, mark is the iron chef

and so much more. so much much more.
What luck that I belong to that man. And what a God that has blessed me with awesome family.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

If

if we do the peace corp.

and my heart is still leaning in the way it is now.

then I will consider the Fellows program, specifically in social work.

and then, if we happen to choose to stay here, or somehow I can partner on the overseas sides of things, I would like to work with the unaccompanied refugee minors program-currently only supported by two U.S. agencies.

Because it is awesome.

loans

I was expecting no less than a giant "Congratulations" Banner and balloons to pop up onto my computer screen. A box to arrive in the mail, with a certificate indicating I was done, through with the Dept. of Ed Loan Repayment office. Or at least....an email confirmation? My account to automatically delete? Instead of a 0.00 balance a "you have paid me off you savvy financial guru".

No recognition. But I know, you are done. Now to finish the other set. And then I will throw a party. =)

Monday, February 28, 2011

job

It is hard for me to explain my heart in regard to my current job.

In so many ways it has been a gift from God. The children, the languages, the smells, the issues, the vastly different paras represented...all of these things are so good for my soul, so life-giving, so fun.

I love sitting around at lunch with people from burma, morocco, russia, nepal, and talking about weddings and love and things like that.

I love hearing the lilting elongated vowels of the Nepali kids when they speak their own language.

I love when little Bidhan looks at a figurine of a farmer holding a pig and shouts "PIG MAN".

I love when our sub comes to tell me about Set and how she found him squatting on top of the toilet, and I, having seen it a million times over, require no further explanation.

I love smiling at scared moms and dads and kids as they walk into our school after being in the states for only days.

I love the smells that I can't really place, but assume must be some sort of spice used in Burmese food, as I smell it at the Ways and it permeates through the hall where my class is located.

I love friends who think a baby shower means literally showering a pregnant mom..who is shocked by this odd tradition.

I love when sweet little Hai Ny's say "I love your bracelet" while holding my necklace.

I love sitting at the snack table and quietly saying "i'm spiderman" knowing that an almost instantaneous roar of "i'm spiderman", "i'm batman", "I'm ironman", "ironman 2" will follow....first words for a young nepali boy to learn. =)

But.

I don't like politics. I don't like being given a perfect evaluation by my teachers. and a crappy one by someone who has no idea the expectations of my job or how I carry them out.

I don't like the idea of cramming whole classrooms of students into what was once a closet, so we can say we "served 1000" (yet none of them score well on the csap)

I don't like when people are given jobs because they have worked with the person calling the shots for many many years. that's okay if you are good at what you do. not okay if you are awful at what you do, and have no love in your heart for children (see child catcher post).

I don't like to be treated like I don't know how to do my job, because I stood up for myself against a teacher that has tenure. (and who also happens to be awful.) And how even though that was...6 months ago I'm still paying for it now.

So bitterly and so love-filled I arrive...day after day. So bitterly and so love-filled I leave...day after day.
One of my students brought some condems to school today.
He's 4.
When asked if he knew what it was he said, "a glove".
I put a book over my face to hide my reaction.
Which was a little bit of laughter, but also a lot bit of sadness.
Oh, children, losing all their innocence at younger and younger ages.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I absolutely adore the Way family. They have taught me so much, and are seriously my favorite people in the whole world.

I can't wait for baby Way to come into this world.
I can't wait for double dates with mom and dad.
I can't wait for swimming, swimming, swimming this summer with the girls.
I can't wait to call yeye and ask her to babysit for me.
I can't wait til graduations, boyfriends, marriages, babies....I can't wait!

These 4 (soon to be 5) are my utter joy. Love, love, love.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

mornings

Confession- most mornings I have a difficult time getting out of bed. I miss those days of old when my mom would wake me up and I'd bound out of bed with laughter and smiles. Long looong gone days of old. My only saving grace these days is that my husband and I have the same morning schedule. With his help, I am able to get up in the morning with enough time to attempt to maintain my somewhat professional appearance (a new goal this year, minus my hair, as it will always and forever be straggly and stringy).

This last week I had an extraordinarily difficult time getting up in the morning as Mark was sick and I was on my own. On one particular morning I went upstairs to discover my housemates eating breakfast and reading together at the kitchen table. At 6:30. In the morning. On a cold winter day. Believe it or not, my first thought was, "what in the world!? Weird-o's!".
But as I was reflecting on this different start to my day as I drove to school I was very inspired by them. By their commitment to invest in each other in such a purposeful way, their commitment to growing their minds, their desire to pursue Christ and actively choose to do so.

So thanks friends for the inspiration. Keep it up!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

boo blah ickety ick kind of a week...

Hardest week in a long while....lots of changes at school. (change for one five year old is difficult, change for 32 5 year olds....god awful.)

I am super duper sick. And have been. For a very long time. And I miss going out, and hanging out with friends over blueberry waffles, or a drink, or at an ice skating rink....just...at, out I miss! I miss church and good connection time with new friends, I miss my hubby and the way we do life when I'm not lying in bed. I miss the gym and my hour long appointments with the treadmill, I miss the burn, the exhaustion and the delight. I miss a clean house, clean laundry, clean kit lit box. I miss being ahead on all our paperwork-my teaching app, taxes, bills, etc.

Not sure if you can tell, but I hate being sick.

But ...I will live. There is hope for tomorrow, light at the end of the tunnel. Mark did some laundry. I'll call in a sub once more. I'll write some letters to my long lost friends. I'll read some more of my fabulous book, and hey, gym or not I'm back in a size 2...so maybe this sickness will be good for something.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SICK DAY

I have been sick (in varying degrees) for the last two weeks. Yesterday it finally became time for me to call a sub for today. All afternoon I kept thinking if I can just make it a few more hours...

Upon arriving home last night I thought, "oohh sick day tomorrow, what will I do. Sleep in, laundry, sweep and mop, give the kits a bath, get in that long workout, run to the store, make a good dinner for mark...etc etc."

Should of just gone to work.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

not feeling great....nothing better than the bourne identity trilogy, twice baked potatoes, and cranberry and lime nums. =)

Monday, January 17, 2011

there's a woman at my school that reminds me of the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang.

that's all.

my small university

Lots of times I question the university I chose to go to...(for lots of reasons we won't dive into).

Today I visited my alma mater and felt revived, and incredibly thankful.

How awesome is it that two years after I graduated, I can waltz into a number of my professors offices and catch up, talk, discuss, hug....pretty cool! I love it that I went to a tiny school where I was known. Not just by students and faculty but by my professors. I miss those important life view changing conversations, but am so thankful that even now my professors are rooting for me, and challenging me. So thank you CCU, for a chance to meet some incredible deep thinkers, and thank you professors for making me the person I am today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

yesterday

I was feeling really sick, didn't want to get out of bed...had a sore throat, the whole shebang.

But we had promised our friends, the Ways, that we would come over and help with their computer/internet stuff.

So we got there, and things were loud and hectic, and everyone wanted to play with me.

And after an hour or so I was exhausted and promptly laid down on the floor. Shortly after, we were served lunch, which...I was not feeling up to.

And then Maung Way came over with a huge smile on his face and said he was "very, very happy". You see, my husband had been working hard on setting up and explaining skype, and now Maung Way, for the first time in 15 years, is going to get to see his mom, his brothers, his family that he left behind at a young age.

After that I couldn't remember why I had ever been so grumpy in the first place.

Friday, January 14, 2011

feeling sick...and contemplative

I believe in callings. I was reminded of that dear truth a few hours ago during a conversation with a co-worker. She talked of her calling to teach and I was surprised, yet happy to hear her say that. People don't talk about callings really (anymore, or did they ever?). Maybe in the christian circle that is a word we use from time to time, but I haven't heard it in a LONG time. And yes, I believe that some of us do have certain vocational callings. Some of us...don't, and that is just fine.
I used to be someone that was so consumed with being on God's "right" path for me, that I weighed every decision and option in front of me. Oh wait, am I still that way? ;) I just want to live this life right...and there are so many different ways for me to do that. And I don't like choice...I like one clear "right" answer. But let's face it, at every road I look down I see some really awesome things, and some sorrow from missing out on the really awesome thing down that other road.

So, I'm trying to live in the now. And pray. And prepare for a few different options...just in case. And I'm remembering to continue to grow my mind, so I'm reading about people and places that I don't understand but desparately long to. And I'm wishing I could take a class or two in the summer (something other than the bollywood dance class that I know in my heart exists and in it's own little way is my calling for june and july). And I'm remembering my New Year's Sunday connection to God, when I sang that blessed Amazing Grace to the tune of all bets are off, we've got a New Year in front of us, I'm stripping off the weights of 2010 and moving forward to 2011...and I'm attempting to rid my heart of all malice, envy, vanity, pride...and replace it with things of Him.
I'm...trying.

Trying...not just thinking of all the things I want and need to change, but taking little steps and making little efforts...that is trying.

And my throat feels like it is on fire. and there are cottonballs in my eyes. and we know how I feel about cottonballs. it must be time for bed.

so far

The hardest thing I've had to do this year is teach a small group lesson on tying shoes.

One by one I put each child in my lap and showed them (twice) the steps to tying a shoe. "First you take one string in one hand, and the other in the other hand. Perfect. Now cross them. Cross them...cross them...like this...good. Now you make a loop, uh oh, uh oh, a loop....like this. Can you do it? Good!. Then you take the other string and dance it all the way around the loop. Dance him around! Yay! Okay, now drop the end of the string. Drop it. Just drop it. Can you let go? Uh oh, what happened to your ears...drop it (as I am pulling it as hard as I can from their small little fists). Good... Go play with the blocks"

Patience is a virtue.
ECErs aren't ready to tie their shoes (although they are obsessed with their shoelaces)
3 kids succeeded (and one already knew).