Saturday, September 22, 2012

Update on Life

Can you believe that I'm starting up my fourth year in China? Crazy! Here's a quick update.

Life in general- I've made some changes this year, partially because I'm trying to be more disciplined, partially because friends have moved away or moved to other places in the city, partially because I can't go through another year exhausted- physically, relationally and emotionally. So, I spend several nights a week at home or at least in my apartment complex, having dinner with friends and still getting home at a decent hour. Having a dog has also encouraged sticking closer to home, and I LOVE it (both having the dog and being closer to my bed). I'm not coaching volleyball this year, and although I miss the sport, the free time it's given me has radically changed my life this semester. I spend a lot of time outside walking or hiking or hanging out with friends. This has revolutionized my devotional life. Communing with God out in nature has been so refreshing for me. It's a wonderful thing to talk to the Creator while sitting on top of a mountain He's created. I'm taking guitar lessons, I've joined a new Bible study, I'm early-to-bed-early-to-rise these days, and I'm finally 100% healthy.

My job- My job is awesome. I have great students, I get to travel all over the world, I get to plan stuff, it's full of variety. Seriously, a fantastic job. And the people I work with and the organization, couldn't ask for better or more. Often, I have a hard time remembering how blessed I am. God has really been working in me, that I would be thankful for this job I have, even though it keeps me so very busy.

I'm still teaching MUN classes and I've added College Prep and dropped World History. I'm planning trips to Korea, Singapore and Italy for our international trips. And we've got our big conference that we host coming up in March.

The people I work with add joy to my life every day. I spend a lot of time laughing throughout the day, just enjoying the humor, stories and perspectives of my co-workers. What a great thing to work in a place where you can laugh and pray and cry and do life together.

Church- I'm still pretty involved with my fellowship. I lead worship once a month and do a few other things every once in awhile like women's worship or singles group. Things have kind of slowed down in that area or at least for this time. And that's okay. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be involved in this year, where my focus is going to be.

Relationships-The thing about living internationally is that relationships are fluid...whether you want them to be or not. Every six months or so, friends leave and new people come in. Letting go of old and familiar and close, letting in new and different and unknown is extremely difficult. This system basically means that you're often mourning loss, always adjusting to new, and never really in the familiar. This summer, some really good friends moved back to America and it's probably been one of my hardest adjustments thus far living in China. At the same time though, new, deep, heart-filling friendships are springing up all over the place. I am so excited about what this year holds, relationally speaking. Allowing the Holy Spirit to use the people around me to reveal sin in my heart, to hold me accountable, to sharpen me, to lift me up, to give me wise counsel, to love on, to grow with, to know and be known, it's a wonderful and beautiful thing. Often hard, but so very worth it. Even in this ever-changing community.

Dreams- There are so many things I want to do. I want to live in Africa and work with orphans. I want to go to Mexico and feed homeless kids and learn Spanish. I want to stay here and help people connect with each other, and learn how to live in community together. I want to go back to school and get a something...worship or Biblical studies or community growth. I want to live in Wyoming on a horse ranch and breath in the blue skies and wide open spaces. I want to move with a group of my friends who have the same passion for people and live out Christ together, teaching and helping and loving those around us. 

So, clearly, I don't have a plan yet. But it's exciting to think about all the possibilities.

Summary- God is good. Last year was a difficult year for many reasons but I am so thankful for His goodness and kindness. This year is filled with potential. I'm looking forward to the adventures and lessons and growth in front of me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

From My Sick Bed...

I have been trapped in my house for the last 6 days with the stomach flu and a minor cold. I went 15 years(!) without having the stomach flu and now I've had it three times in the last 4 months. Some of my friends keep trying to convince me that it's due to the toxic milk I've been consuming (unawares, of course) for the last 6 months but I've assured them that it's in no way related. It might have something to do with a more fragile immune system due to the scarlet fever I had a couple of years ago, but for sure NOT the toxic milk.

To pass the life-sucking-monotony of sitting on the couch for days (which might sound glorious to some of you but 1. when it's your only option and 2.your sure your body is close to locking into a permanently sitting position and can feel the bed sores coming...well, glorious it is not), I've immersed myself into the land of all things true and wonderful, political and American...

It's a little t.v. magic I like to call, "The West Wing".

Oh. My. Gosh. 

I've laughed, I've cried, I've talked back to the t.v., I've thrown a few things, I've considered running for office...and I'm only finished with Season 2. Only four more Seasons, 53 hours to go and a presidential race to begin planning.

On a completely unrelated note, school starts in two and a half weeks. 

My brain turns to mush when I'm sick. I can't read, I can't think, I can't focus. I can barely talk. I've said a very limited number of words this week. You can see, though, I haven't lost my wit....


I've considered cutting myself off from TWW (that's what us true fans call it) and setting my couch on fire (all in the name of health and sanity) so that I can once again return to real life. Because one must do that eventually.

I'm hoping tomorrow. Tomorrow shall be the day I return to normal life. Who cares if I can't eat? Who cares if I don't have any energy? Who cares if I have to stay within 15 feet of a bathroom at all times? 

Not me.


Curse you stomach flu and all things Gatorade and toilet paper and chicken broth!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I have been putting off writing because I have so many things I could write about that it seems overwhelming. The problem is that the 'putting off' only perpetuates the 'putting off' some more. In order to alleviate the pressure of trying to play catch up, I'm just going to write about the main events and pretend the rest didn't happen.

Since the last time I posted...

I starred (I wasn't THE star, or even a 'bright light' really) in a community play called "Into the Woods". I was Cinderella's evil stepmother. Yes, there have been many jokes about how 'fitting' that was. Hardy-har-har. After 6 months of practice 2-3 nights a week, it was a great feeling to complete all 4 shows. We had a cast of about 70 people (almost half of those being under the age of 15), a large plastic cow named "Milky", 2 acts, 16 scenes, a bunch of well places crowd interaction and videos, a live band (I got to sing!), crew from countries all over the world and some great memories to look back on. It was a blast. And one of the most exhausting things I've ever been involved in.

I went to Sichuan Province (western China) with about 25 9th graders. It was a 5 day trip  filled with beautiful scenery, altitude sickness (students), the stomach flu (me), long bus rides, and yaks.

School finished at the beginning of June. We had a Goodbye Dinner for the departing staff. A fancy-ish affair.

Spent a weekend in Beijing for a last hurrah with some friends. We mostly ate Western food, played cards, talked, and shopped. Oh, and watched 'Hunger Games'! Not too many adventures but a good way to say goodbye. Gone for the summer, gone for good.

I went to Thailand with my friend and her parents. I had a lovely, good food, fun animals, adventure, new friendships, sun, beautiful creation, time by the pool, kind nationals. It reminded me of how much I miss Florida too. 

Since Thailand, I have been taking 2 hours of Chinese lessons every day, reading, resting, pursuing friendships (old and new), exploring the mountains and sea near my house, watching movies and doing some school work.

Now you are caught up on my life.

You may be wondering what I’m doing next year. Here’s the scoop…

I plan to stay in my job for another year. I’ll still be teaching Model United Nations but I won’t be teaching World History any more (yes!). I’m teaching College Prep instead. Not even sure what that’s about but I’m sure I’ll figure it out over the next 4 weeks.

That’s it. You know about all the major events that have occurred over the last 3 months.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why I Decided To Observe Lent This Year

I didn't grow up Catholic or Anglican or Methodist. I didn't even know what Lent was until I moved to China.

So, why? Why did I decide to fast for Lent this year? Well, it actually goes back to last year.

At this time last year, we were mourning the loss of a little boy from our school family. He died from a tragic accident. And with that terrible tragedy, came this new sense of realness in the death of Christ. I didn't need to be reminded how awful it was for a Father to lose a Son. How incredible the loss of a friend could be. It was fresh and real and happening in front of me in real life. It wasn't hard to make the connection.

I remember feeling so broken on that Good Friday. I couldn't really separate the two deaths. I don't even know if that makes sense. Or maybe it does and it sounds terribly insensitive. I don't know, it was grief and I was experiencing it both for the present loss of the little boy and the past Loss of my Savior. Both were being mourned. I had never felt my need for a savior more than I did that weekend. Never understood the loss and sacrifice better than I did over that Friday and Saturday.

But then Easter morning came. And it was probably the first time that I even felt an inkling of what those women who, after watching Jesus die on that cross, felt when they came to an empty tomb and heard the angels say "He is not here. He is risen!" What joy! What relief!

What a contrast. To feel the pain and hurt in the loss of this little boy. But to know that battle has been fought and won. To know that my Savior has risen. That death is not the end!

Death is not the end. Death is not the end. Those words have never meant more than they did last Easter.

So, as this year rolled around, I decided I needed more. I didn't want to enter into this precious day without preparation, without ...something more. I didn't want just another Easter, another reason to dress up, a themed church service, a delicious family meal.

I wanted to be reminded of the sacrifice that was made for us. What could I give up? What was something that in giving it up would be a constant reminder of what Christ did for me?

I think often when we think of fasting, we think of abstaining from food. All food. And there's a place for that. But I decided to be a little less extreme. Giving up things that would be plausible to do for six weeks but difficult all at the same time.

I actually decided to fast two-fold, something physical that would be difficult to let go of and something time consuming that would give me additional time to spend in the Word.

I'm embarrassed to even confess what I've been fasting from because it's so lame in comparison.

Caffeine and Facebook. That's what I gave up. No coffee, no tea, no soda (at least the caffeinated stuff), no chocolate. And no FB. The first being the the physical reminder, the second allowing for more time.

I had a friend ask me the other day what I've learned from this. I wasn't really able to answer him. I've thought about it a lot since then. And here's what I've come up with.
  • I've been more aware of my sins over the last six weeks. My heart has been turned inward, examining every motive and action. I have been more convicted of my wrong-doing during this time than maybe ever before.
  • Even though every get-together that my community (which has been at least 15 different parties, dinners, or "let's go get a coffee"s) has revolves around either coffee, tea or chocolate, this part was way too easy. It was barely a sacrifice.
  • Giving up Facebook has been more difficult. Not because it's Facebook but because it's my only link to my friends and most of my family back in America. I haven't been in contact with any of them (except for mom and dad) for 6 weeks and I feel totally disconnected. That's for sure been the hardest. 
  • Doing this did help keep me mindful of what Christ did for me. Not in a in-your-face-sort-of-way that I was hoping for but more like a gentle reminder- "Oh yah, I can't drink that cup of coffee with my friends because I'm not doing that...oh, because I gave it up... *insert prayer of thankfulness here*".

Nothing super profound. I don't even know that I feel satisfied. I could've used my time better, spent more time reflecting and praying. And I'm not sure that I chose the right things to abstain from. The caffeine thing wasn't hard enough and the FB thing, even though it accomplished it's goal of giving me more time, was detrimental in relationships and morale which is not the goal of Lent. If I decide to fast for Lent again next year, I will change what I abstain from and how I do it. 

Regardless, I'm glad that I did it. So very glad. Because even this lame attempt that I made was still better than the alternative. I am changed. I have different perspective than I did six weeks ago. I have been more mindful of Jesus, my relationship to him and others, what He has done, what I need to do.

I am walking into Easter with a heart better ready to celebrate the King of King and Lord of Lords.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Wish Adult Nap-time Existed...

I need a nap. Like a three day nap.

I've been a really pathetic version of myself today. Well, this week...actually, for the last two months. I haven't gotten a lot of good sleep or good rest since sometime in February...maybe even January. Sometimes, I'm able to get it together and be the normal me, but most of the time, when school's finished for the day, I'm D-O-N-E. Stick a fork in me. For real.

The problem is, my social life happens after school.  So, I go from being in a job that requires almost all of my energy to be moderately successful during the day to then go and hang out with people that I want to spend my energy on but have very little left to give. This usually manifests itself in a quieter, sleepy version (some might say grumpy or less patient, but you won't hear those words out of my mouth) of me. Borrrrriiiiing.

Weekends (I've got it down to a time period- Saturday and Sunday, seriously) are the worst for this bratty version of myself . Especially if I'm coming off of a hard week at work. And this last week (uh, month...two months) was hard. Crazy busy, super stressful. Emotionally and physically exhausting. And of course I've got two surprise parties, bible study, game night, special lunches, and a breakfast to attend this weekend. All lovely things that I'm so glad to be invited to.

And all an opportunity to show off this disaster that I am.

Oh these poor people.

I say all that to tell you...


I have lots of work to do and some plans made but I'm hoping to take some time, a day or two, and hole up in my house. I plan to not take a shower (don't judge), eat home-made food (haven't cooked in my own house in at least a month), watch a bazillion movies, take naps, write, read and anything else that allows for a lot of laziness and lack of movement.

Okay, I'm off to my Filipino friend's home to play some Mexican Train (dominoes) and eat delicious Indian food. Be jealous. Be very jealous.

Photo Update

Here are a few photos from the last several months of life. Also, I've discovered a new online website that lets me play with special effects. Love it.

Friends at a conference in Beijing- Fall 2011     
Jeremy's last night in Qingdao: our very best Baman and Piderman poses- November 2011

Winter Ball...somehow I got pushed to the back- December 2011
We went for a walk during Christmas vacation...a 5 mile walk...we were quite exhausted by the end- January 2011
Mustache Bash- February 2012

The whole mustached group- February 2012
We had a murder mystery night. I was Frenchie...a boy. I have no talents for accents so I just kept yelling "Sucre Bleu!" all night- March 2012
"Frenchie and Paris"- Murder Mystery Night- 2012
We were matchy-matchy inverts of each other. Totally picture worthy- March 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Journal Entry: To Love

My friends and I talk about inter-personal relationships a lot. A. Lot. I've come to find that it's one of my favorite topics. I really enjoy learning how people work, what they think, how they feel. Figuring out where someone is coming from, being able to understand them better, empathizing with them, finding out their needs, meeting that need if possible...I love it. Really and truly.

The only problem with all this talk is that it makes one responsible for the information. Which is not really a 'problem'. It's kind of awesome. There is nothing cooler than figuring out what makes a person happy and doing it. What joy it brings! But I do find that loving others (that is what we're talking about here), as fulfilling as it is, can be hard work, regardless of the type of relationship (friend, family, boss, etc.). This is truest with people who are different than me (which is like everyone). And the different-er (yes, I said 'different-er'), the harder it is. Learning what makes them happy, what brings them joy, how to encourage them, love them, sometimes it's so opposite to what I know or need that it's almost like learning a foreign language.
And then there are questions rolling around in my head like...

How do I show love to people who live 6,000 miles away from me that I only see once every two years?

How do I show love to people who are in positions of authority that have caused hurt?

How do I show love to people in my immediate community, in the expat community, in my apartment complex, in my fellowship, in my city?

Learning to love and HOW to love others has been a theme for me this year.  Removing myself and allowing Christ's  love to flow through me... do you know how hard that is? <--Lame. But it's true. It's hard to get rid of me and my selfish kind of love and let His love take over. Because when I do that, it means I have to forgive more, let go more, understand more, ask for forgiveness more, do more. Loving others, I'm learning, is about giving up my rights- fairness, justice, opinions...sigh. Do you know how hard THAT is?

As I'm learning how to show love to those around me, I've started to do a few things. But it really only applies to my immediate community. I'm still trying to get the other stuff figured out (people who aren't in my immediate community, people who have hurt me, people who are harder to love, etc.). And this is not a comprehensive list. Nor am I doing all of these things well. I am barely scraping the top of the barrel of 'loving others as Christ loved us'. I am SO still learning and growing in this area. And will be for the rest of my life.

  1. Consistently pursuing people. Taking time to meet with them one-on-one. Or inviting them to hang out with the big group or smaller group. Mostly just including people who need to be included.
  2.  Asking questions. And not "how are you doing" or "how was your day" kind of questions. Deep , personal questions, even the hard questions, with a lot of followup.
  3. Really listening to what people are saying. Sometimes that means reading between the words of what they're trying to say and listening to their heart. This takes practice, something I'm still really working on.
  4. Sharing where I'm at, what I'm struggling with. Pushing through the awkwardness of being vulnerable and just diving in. A little bit of realness goes a long way.
  5. Sending notes and cards and emails letting people know that they noticed, that they are important, that I'm praying for them, that I care about them, what they mean to me, what they've taught me. This is probably the hardest thing for me, but I'm learning that it is SUPER important to those around me.
  6. Praying for people about specific things on a consistent basis.
  7. Doing things for others- being the living, moving body of Christ to those around me. Fulfilling a need, both physical (running an errand for them) and emotional (letting them talk until the cows come home because they need someone to just listen to them and validate what they're saying). Although this is one of my 'love languages', it's one of the hardest things for me to do because of time. Or lack thereof. But it's also one of the things I find most fulfilling.
I mostly wrote this post for me. A journal entry, of sorts. Sometimes God teaches me these big things but I don't write them down and even though I remember the gist of the lesson, I don't always remember the specifics. Super frustrating. And because I believe the Christian life is kind of works in the shape of a coil, I know I'll continue to revisit this 'learning to love and how to love others' over and over again. It'll be nice to look on this and reflect, refocus and maybe even get a little deeper.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Extremely Extreme

    I am told that I speak in hyperboles.

    This was said to me yesterday after I made the comment "Her hair makes me want to throw up." We were watching a movie and I really hated the woman's wig. It reminded me of a red-haired horses tail. Gag.

    I do speak in extremes. But sometimes I just NEED to. It's the only way to get my point across. If I just speak like a normal person, the point may not get across. And getting the point across is oh so important.

    Life, in general, seems to be running in extremes for me these days. I am extremely tired. I am extremely busy. I am extremely filled. I am extremely drained. I am extremely happy. I am extremely sad. I am extremely stressed. I am extremely peace-filled. Things are calm. Things are crazy. School is great. School is too hard. Friends are wonderful. Friends are hard work. I have no emotions. I have too many emotions. I can't cry. I can't stop crying. I love my life. I wish for a different life. God is using me. How can God possibly use me? He is always there, I feel Him. Where is He? Why can't I hear Him?

    Rarely is there middle ground.

    I kind of feel like I'm living a half life in some ways. I'm so busy and tired that I'm rarely ever able to give more than what is absolutely required of me within the limits of my job and other responsibilities. Sucked dry and barely scraping by physically and sometimes, mentally and emotionally, even spiritually. But in another part of me, in my insides, my heart is so full so much of the time from the love and care I receive from those around me. I see God consistently working in my heart and through others around me, teaching me, guiding me, convicting me. His love is tangible so often.

    This is more of a commentary than anything else. I don't think there's anything to be done about it.This season of life isn't really a negative thing. It is what it is. A time of growth and pain and tiredness and joy. To the enth degree.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Life Update

    I refuse to even acknowledge how long it's been since I've written last. Time runs away from me like its pants are on fire. And don't even get me started on where I should go to scrape up enough energy to write. Sigh. I'm a blogging failure. 

    I like that I totally disregarded my first sentence. 

    I'm am lying on the guest bed at my friend's house right now. She banged her head in the wee hours of the morning (a couple of days ago) and has an awesome purple-y black eye and a concussion to go along with it. After several days of serious pain, she decided it was time to have it looked at. So, I spent most of the day at a Chinese hospital, where a truly gracious nurse whisked us in and out of several different dilapidated testing rooms to eventually be sent home with a promise of results of the CT scan tomorrow. It was quite the experience. I actually got to go into the CT room and stand with my friend to comfort her while they did the scan. She asked me to talk to her while they were doing it. Well, who can just start talking about something on command? So, I decided to sing "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" instead. It was one of those only-in-China moments. Standing in a semi-scary hospital room, wearing my special x-ray shirt, singing a hymn while a friend got her brain examined. 

    It's been really nice to take care of someone today. I love to take care of people, to help, to fix, to solve. However, because this community is so chocked full of people who feel the same way, I tend to step aside and allow others to do it...'too many cooks in the kitchen' sort of thing. It was nice to be needed today. The last few weeks have been so focused on my job...I'm just tired of it. It was lovely to have to focus on someone else, to be able to serve. I was just praying/thinking this week that I needed an opportunity to get outside of my own little world to help someone...

    What have I been doing that's been so all-consuming, you ask? Sigh. From May to February every year, I work on putting together a conference for my job. I've explained it all to you before, right here.  This year  (March 1-3) was the biggest conference we've hosted thus far. We had 25 schools (about 380 students and teachers) from all over Asia in attendance. I wear many hats during the planning period and the actual conference- organizer, director, teacher, task delegator, budget manager, bus and hotel planner, leadership team over-seer, crises manager, hostess, and head of PR. It is an overwhelming job. But this year was really fulfilling. My student leaders and admin staff (go-fers) took ownership of the conference and did an outstanding job. They were committed and respectful and knowledgeable and hard-working. They were everything a teacher would want them to be. I really couldn't have been prouder. It was one of those years-of-hard-work-with-these-kids-and-it's-finally-coming-to-fruition moments.

    Let's see...besides the conference and the concussed friend, I have a few other things to tell you.
    • I've decided to stay with my job for one more year. I'm still praying about where God wants me next. 
    • Practice for the big community play is underway. You all in America should feel sorry that you'll be missing my stellar dance moves for this play. Stellar.
    • I am staying in Qingdao for Spring Break. I'm hoping to do some community work or something. I just want to be productive and helpful.
    • I have no idea what I'm doing during my three weeks off this summer. I thought I had a plan but now no longer do. Praying for clarity.
    • I should SO have more to tell you than this. I mean, it's been two months! 
    • Hm...
    • I think I'm teaching a different class next year. With all my traveling and conference stuff, it makes it difficult to teach other subjects. I'm looking forward to a little change.
    • I have completely given up guitar and Chinese for now. Hopefully, both will be picked back up soon now that my life is calmer.
    • I've been reading a book about poverty. Probably going to be making some changes. I'm just not sure what yet. Oh and I've been watching "The Elephant Room". Interesting. Irritating. Thought provoking.
    •  I am participating in March Maddness. No, I know nothing about college basketball. It's just fun to play with the guys I work with.
    • I'm going to have to do another post focusing on what God's doing in my life, what I'm learning, what I'm thinking about. I'm too tired to do it now.
    Okay, I feel like the list is sufficiently long, even if it is insufficiently 'deep'. And I must get off of here. I have a long night ahead of me, filled with wake-up calls every two hours to check on the concussed friend. Yay. 

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Consistency is Key...

    I teach World History to a class of twenty-three 9th graders. We are about a week into our World Religions Unit where we cover the five major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I'm hoping to briefly touch on Mormonism and Shintoism but will spend most of our time focused on the big 5. As an assessment at the end of the unit, I split the class into groups and they have to create a skit where all the leaders of those religions come together to have a dinner and discussion. It's really fun to watch and students enjoy doing it. 

    Anyway, last week I was teaching about Hinduism and the effect it's had on the social class structure in India. We've already learned-ish the names of the caste system and how each level affects society but I was trying to teach them another word for the lowest class- the untouchables.

    And let me just preface this by saying we were in the middle of really good classroom discussion. I was feeling all teachery and a little rock starish because they were laughing in all the right places and asking questions outside of the info I was telling them.We were in tune. I was well on my way to a "teacher of the year award" with this lesson.

    Me: Let's review. What was the name for the lowest social class in India way back when?

    The entire class: Untouchables!!!

    Me: You're geniuses! Can anybody tell me another word that's used in place of 'untouchables'?

    Total silence....

    Me: I'll give you a hint. It's also a name for a type of fish. A very deadly fish.

    Student 1: A perch!

    Me: (raised eyebrow) No.

    Student 2: A shark!

    Me: Nope

    Student 3: A piranha!

    Me: Oh...ha. Yes, a piranha is definitely what I was thinking of...but not the right word. But it's close...(trying to hide my utter embarrassment and feeling the "teacher of the year award" slipping through my fingers)

    Student 4: Pariah!

    Me: Yes! Pariah! That's it. Not piranha. Please, oh please, do not write piranha on your test. I will be humiliated as a teacher. 

    They laughed but I was so serious.

    Sigh. Sometimes my brain just doesn't work. And I don't even notice that it's not working until I'm deep in the middle of a discussion. 

    The following is a story that I blogged about in 2008. It still makes me blush when I think about it...

    So, I was at church tonight, getting ready to sing on the worship team. We, as in several pastors, the other singers and the band, were all gathered in the green room getting ready to pray and the men were going over the run-down of the service. We're all standing in a circle, I'm the only girl, surrounded by the head pastor, the worship pastor, and all the other guys. This is what happens:

    Head Pastor: "The message today is about Noah. Okay, so-and-so Pastor, you'll be doing the welcome but you won't need to introduce the sermon. We're going to go straight into it."

    So-and-so Pastor: "Oh, okay. I thought I was going to be introducing it so I was looking up information about Noah. I came across a book by Maxwell discussing his (Noah's) leadership abilities."

    Head Pastor: "Well, that's interesting. He really didn't have any. He wasn't a good leader. He couldn't get anyone to follow him."

    Peanut Gallery: "He did get his family to follow him onto the boat."

    Me: "Yah, and he got the Israelites to follow him out of Egypt."

    *Chirp* *Chirp* *Blink* *Blink*

    Head Pastor: "Noah?"

    Me: "Yah, they followed him out of Egypt. Like 2 million pe...oh, I'm an idiot."

    Nothin' like making a fool of yourself in front of a group of pastors. 'Lead Pastor' did go on to question if I taught my students Bible. Which I denied. I'm pretty sure I became neon pink and tried to laugh it off. It's all a blur now.

    Oh, if I only had a brain!


    I'm nothing if I'm not consistent.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    The Vacation Thus Far...

    New friends
    Old friends
    Alone time

    I just finished pushing myself, maybe I was more drawn than pushed, to finish a particular book. I was half-way through before I realized the treasure for what it was. Reconciliation, yearning, the old self at war with the new. It was beautiful and heart-breaking and stirring. It has made me feel contemplative, which in my opinion, is the best sort of book. It pierced me just a little. It was recommended by a friend, one who's opinion on such things I greatly value but hardly ever agree with. Also something I enjoy, finding common ground.

    I know that the above paragraph has nothing to do with this post. But I needed to write it for myself. Sort of as a reflection to look back on. 

    It has been a good week. Just enough to do but not too much. A perfect blend of people and quiet.