Wednesday, November 25, 2009


She only comes out at midnight. When no one is watching and no one can see, how she feels and the woman she truly is to be. She doesn't need to perform or feel pressured by others around her. It's just her, the sound of her feet, the soft cool breeze, and the open air. She's not caged in or striving to be who someone else wants her to be. Her beauty is displayed for only the moon to see. She's not pushing to achieve for others, to have them say yes, you are enough in my eyes, although you can always be better. She's not comparing, for all she sees is the unique beauty of the sun and moon and stars and each differing tree. If only she could see that in people and not compare.

She is free indeed. Her thoughts, her legs, her heart, her soul. For the first time, her true raw beauty is seen and whispered back to her. Her feet fly and her soul dances as her thoughts escape and her heart is filled. The overcast day no longer clouds her beauty, as the veil of night is revealed in the glowing moonlight. She is fully seen and fully loved. The world sees her partially and partially loves. He sees her (w)holy and (w)holy loves. Only through Him can she be (w)holy herself.

All she hears is the pounding of her feet, the life of her lungs, and the whistling of the wind sweeping up her thoughts. It is only after this emptying that she can be filled. After the silence, it is then that she hears.


Sleepless in Lombard

I couldn't sleep. I have gotten off my normal sleep schedule, which I think has caused this sleepless night. So I thought I'd blog. I had some things I wanted to blog about too, but I'm not as passioned for them at this wee hour of the morning. More in a reflective mood, so we'll see where this goes.

I'm a converted night owl to a morning rooster. Some days the rooster does better than others. There's something about being up at night while everyone else is asleep. Being up early in the morning just doesn't have the same affect on me. I'd rather stay up later and wake up a little later. I'm learning to do the opposite, as that can set my day all off kilter and make getting up a struggle. I love being out star gazing at night or just reflecting on my own. Some people are scared of being out at night, while I love it! I love running at night! I used to go on midnight runs with my cross country team or sometimes with my sister or dad. In college, I used to go for walks or runs around campus at night alone, before cell phones had entered my world. I even had a guy friend who offered to walk a ways behind me and just basically ignore me, so I could have my reflective solitude and still be safe. I never took him up on it. Seemed to defeat the purpose. I still go for walks or runs at night when I have friends to check in with, although I realize it's not the brightest thing.

I just love being out when the whole city is quiet and asleep. In the morning, the hub-bub begins as the city awakes and everyone starts their day. At night, it's so peaceful. From a biblical sense, people commonly think of light as good and darkness of evil. But the Lord created the day and the night. He created the sun to shine by day and the moon by night. And it was good. I think we'll have both light and darkness in heaven to display God's full beauty. The moon demonstrates light piercing through the darkness. There's something hopeful and radiant about it. About the hidden peaking through. Like rooting for the under dog. Even when I used to run, I did best finding my inner strength away from the crowds through a path in the woods, rather than running through the hype and noise of the spectators where other runners tended to excel. Words of perserverance and encouragement from teammates and family were clear in the stillness away from people. In the crowds, it was just an overwhelming wave of noise. I think similarly, I could feel God speaking to me in the stillness of the night, away from the rush hour traffic and hurriedness of the day. I wrote something about it 3 years ago now, when I was just out of school. Crazy it's been that long! I was struggling getting used to work life, which meant earlier mornings and consequently earlier nights. It seems like it should be a post all its own. So I'll put it as the next one!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Fish Story

So, like any job, teaching has it's ups and downs. It also has it's humorous moments, especially when you're working with kids. So, today during recess time, a 1st grader came to let me know that there was a fish on the roof. I was doing the "teacher half listening while doing something else and listening to a couple of other kids" thing. (mom's are really great at this too). So, our conversation went something like this...

"There's a fish on the roof."
"Ok, ok, cool, a fish on the roof."
"A fish, a fish on the roof." (more animated).
"WHAT? A FISH on the roof?!!" (very animated)
"NO, NO, a FISHBEE on the roof! A FISHBEE!" (EVEN MORE animated)
"OOOOOHHHH a FRISBEE." (dawning of realization)
"YES, a FISHBEE!!" (sound of satisfaction)

And he's not even one of mine, but a darling boy I've come to love from the neighboring apartments. And that my friends is a fish story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Simple Praise, A Huge Praise

My old roomie (sadness) and friend Rachael recently posted about a simple praise: finding her Bible. I can understand the frustration. I recently lost my journal. And by recently, I mean I have been searching for it for the last month. Actually, the last date written in it was Sept 20th. Ever since this Spring, I have been using my journal weekly if not daily. It has been used to plan out my week, make lists of things to accomplish and dreams to strive for, sort out my thoughts, to pray and pour out my heart, and just to monitor how I'm doing and how far I've come. I felt lost without it. Just like Rachael, I could start another journal...I have new ones that I could use, but it wasn't like my old, worn journal. It felt like I lost a piece of me, to some degree. It's like losing your diary as a kid. Except I didn't have a lock and key and a "do not read or else..." sign tatooed all over it. I mean, who knows who got ahold of it! Except in this case, my name wasn't on it. I looked in both work places and both homes with no luck. I was beginning to feel like it was gone for good and started a new journal. As a last ditch effort, I tried to think where else I could have left it. I realized there were 2 possible locations where I had not checked: 1) church 2) my Dr.'s office (where I had not been in a month). Today, I went to the Dr. and remembered to ask about it. Sure enough, it was there! So excited!

Another HUGE praise, is that I just found out that my rather sizeable hospital medical bills from this spring were paid in full through financial assistance in association with my hospital!! I was hoping for a little bit of help, but in no way expected it it to be paid 100%! What a blessing. God is good!! Not sure if I'm more excited about the journal or the hospital bills! JK :) Both are a blessing. Just a reminder to me of how great of a provider He is in knowing our needs both big and small. YAY God!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have been wanting to write a blog for awhile on first impressions. This fits along similar lines. My mom sent this to me. Read below. Do you take a moment to stop and really see what is around you?

Washington , DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007 The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.


No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people's priorities. The questions raised: "In a common place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?"

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn Air

My roommate Amber just wrote a post about fall and asked "What reminds you of fall?" She has inspired this post. I'll try to stick to 13, just the same as Amber.

Here's what makes me think of Fall:

1. Freshly sharpened pencils
2. Labor Day at the Dells with the Watermans (missed it this year)
3. Concerts
4. Jonathan's Soccer Games
5. Brown Sweaters and Comfy Hoodys
6. Crisp, cool, autumn air: the smell of cross country season
7. Leaves in an array of fall colors to view, to jump into, and to crunch under foot
8. Football
9. Apple-picking, caramel apple dip, pumpkin bread, apple cider, a good cuppa, and my new faves: pumpkin muffins and apple chai at Starbucks! :)
10. Costume Parties
11. Bronchitus (I'm hoping to break that tradition this year).
12. Retreats
13. New beginnings

How about you?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Groom on Motorcycle?

I was on my way to work this morning when I saw a young man dressed in a black suit, cruising along on his motorcycle. Immediately, I imagined him off to his bride on his wedding day. Considering it was Thursday in the afternoon, I'm going to guess that's not where he was headed. But it was fun to imagine his story. Running late for his wedding, heading to the church to be married for the 1st time with his lovely bride. Perhaps there's a romantic in me after all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Moving Walkway

SO, after traveling this weekend to D.C. and back for my cousin Hol's wedding, I decided that life should have moving walkways. Wouldn't that be great? If you were in a hurry, you could just jump on and double time it, makin it there in no time, even with all of your baggage. When you're on it, moving forward seems so effortless and you're passing everyone around you. You feel so light and weightless. If you felt particularly burdened by life, you could just jump on the moving walkway, let your things down, and coast for a bit. The most "annoying" thing would be if people in front of you are obstructing the way by standing. Many times you can slip right by them, but if you are forced to stand still because of them, you're still moving forward! You may get a little tripped up when you first get on and switch speeds. But before you know it, you're moving right along with the faster speed of life. You're keeping up and you're thriving. And when the fast pace walkway would end, there would be a voice saying "the moving walkway is ending" to prepare you for the slower pace of life coming up ahead. How great would that be?

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Good Cuppa

There's nothing like a good cuppa, as New Zealanders would say. I just had a lovely cuppa, which warmed me up after the weather dipped rather cold tonight. It was a nice way to wind down at the end of the day. It's been awhile since it's been cold out, that I forgot how much I love it. Warm in my hoodie, cozy under a fleece blanket, sipping my chamomile tea, journaling, relaxing, peace. Ready for sleep.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What I Know

I've been writing this blog for awhile now in my head. At this time in my life, there are many unknowns, as I am in a mode of transition. Friendships, my job, my living situation, my life goals and direction, my interests are all changing and coming to life. One of the biggest life changes is that this coming year, I am taking (at the very least) 1 year off from teaching. And I am so very excited about it!! I have always said that I was interested in teaching and missions. Throughout college and H.S. I have said this with the strong driving force being a love for children and wanting to help others. I never really knew what the missions piece would look like. Originally, I thought teaching oversees would be splendid, but instead the Lord led me back to my hometown of Wheaton and the Chicagoland area. I have been blessed in a number of ways through support of being so close to my parents' home and having wonderful new friendships that feel like home. The last three years have been some of the toughest and best times of my life. In many ways, it has been draining, frustrating, discouraging, and hard to understand, as I struggled with health issues and the stress of a beginning teacher. In other ways, I have been truly blessed by some of the closest friendships I have ever had, by growing closer to my family, and growing closer to God. And I have found hope again. I began writing this July 17th. And many unknowns have been answered. Below I've listed some knowns. Some of them for this year. Some of them are hopes and dreams I've had on my heart for awhile now. Some are very lofty. But that's why they are hopes and dreams. Lord, take them, use them, guide me, show me, provide.

Here are some of my knowns:

~God has a plan for me (and for you). To prosper me and not to harm me. He knows the desires of my heart. He will never leave me nor forsake me. Nothing can separate me from Him. He keeps His promises and will provide. His Word, the Bible, is truth. It describes His character and is our guide to a life of hope with Him. He hates injustice. He does not want me to walk through this world alone. Only He can satisfy me. He loves me, truly, wholly, and unconditionally.

~I need a job for health insurance. God has since provided this in a Starbucks job!
~I need to stay around the Chicagoland area right now for the support system I have in place in Drs, friends, and family.
~I have amazing Drs that speak both medical and biblical truth into my life.
~My friends and family have been such a huge blessing in my life!
~I am passionate about kids, literacy, and have a heart for the needy.
~I would like to live and work in a diverse, low-income community.
~I would like to work in an After-school program or privately tutor in reading. I have a possible part-time job opportunity with an outreach center in a diverse, low-income area working as an after-school teacher!
~I am passionate about literacy and how it pertains to unemployment, H.S. dropouts, and a non-English speaking population.
~I would like to take a conversational Spanish.I'm thinking about getting certified in ESL. I would like to get my Middle School Reading Endorsement. (1-2 more classes)
I would like to get a Masters in Reading.
~I would like to become certified in Susan Barton's Spelling and Reading program, for dyslexics. (Did you know that 90% of school dropouts are due to dyslexia?)
~I would like to coach/referee running or soccer.
~I would like to become injury free, so that I could join a soccer, ultimate frisbee, or softball team; enjoy a leisurely run; take dance lessons; run in road races without pain.
~I would like to take Bible Classes.
~I would like to take violin lessons in improv/fiddling. Have time to play music. Learn guitar. Take voice lessons. Songwrite.
~I would like to travel. Some places on my list: KY, LA, NC, WA, IN, TN, OH, Europe, Africa, NZ, and possibly Colombia to name a few. ;)
~I'm attending Urbana 2009!
~I would like to have time to read for pleasure and for personal enrichment.
~I would like to have time for friends, both new and old, and for family.
~I would like to volunteer to discover areas, jobs, missions, or ministries where I would like to serve.
~I want this year to be a year of discovery. To discover and renew my passions and see where they can take me. It's about health. It's about building a foundation for the future. It's about not overdoing it. It's about me. It's about others. It's about God.

God take and use my gifts, my loves, my desires and use them for Your Kingdom. I know that you who began a good work in me will carry it through until the day of completion. Nothing will hinder Your will and the spread of Your gospel. Not ill health. Not pain. Not sorrow. Not injustice. Not people. Not ruling authorities. No nothing. Take, use, be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Active Rest

During high school, my track coach used to assign "active rest days". These were days that we took a rest from what we normally did (running), to be active in some other sport (biking, pick-up game of soccer/frisbee/volleyball, roller blading, swimming, walking), whatever your heart desired, as long as you were active! These days were usually Sundays after a meet, which was a perfect day to rest.

This past weekend, I feel like I had an active rest weekend.

I rested from:

Chicago suburbs, friends, my immediate family although I missed them, normalcy (if you could call transitioning into the unknown "normal"), planning, applying for jobs, schedules, thinking about my future, wearing make up/earrings/clothes (we lived in our swimsuits), tv/movies (surprisingly, we didn't watch any this wknd!!), showering (the lake was our shower), my workout schedule, answering my phone, computer/internet access, shopping, doing laundry, driving, running errands, paying bills, and just your everyday worries and concerns!

I checked all those at the door and enjoyed active rest of:

Walking in the Northwoods, Attending the Three Lakes Parade, Watching Fireworks (both professional and our own), Jet Skiing (for the 1st time!), Kayaking, Swimming across the lake, Tubing (w/6 tubes), Hot Dogging, Wakeboarding (yeah, I got up and stayed up!), SPEED volleyball, Cornhole Tournament, Garbage, Team Nertz game, Catch Phrase, Connect Four, Password, WOW Cranium (did I ever mention that Waterman's like to play games?), staying up late, sleeping in, spending time with 27 family members and friends, meeting and enjoying cutie petutie 1-year old Rubie, reading a book, journaling, listening to God, laying out and enjoying talking with my cousins, and loving the fabulous "want to be outdoors till the sunsets" days!! :)

I am now rested and rejuvenated to return to a life of "normalcy"!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bills, Bills, Bills

I have a lot of medical/hospital bills that I am figuring out right now with great frustration. In my opinion, those that are sick and their family members should be able to fight for health, as opposed to fighting medical providers and insurance companies to get the correct coverage. Here are some of my examples:

1) In-patient hospital bills are 1/5th the amount of outpatient hospital bills, for the EXACT same procedure.

A)In-patient: $26
Out-patient: $130

9 inpatient: $234
9 outpatient $1170
Difference: $936

B)In-patient: $16
Outpatient: $80

9 Inpatient: $144
9 Outpatient: $720
Difference: $576

2) How a medical professional writes a diagnosis can change your bill drastically.

Routine Labwork: $62 (Covered at 90%)
Same EXACT Routine Labwork with other diagnosis: $310 (Covered at 50%)
Difference: $248
How can this be so for the EXACT same procedure? It's discriminatory.

These are examples from my medical insurance as a public school teacher, which is considered to have excellent insurance. (It's Blue Cross Blue Shield to be exact.) To top it all off, I've had to catch a few errors where inpatient was billed as outpatient or where the diagnosis was incorrect. As you see above, this can make quite a large difference in health bills. Imagine those little old ladies or people without family to help them work through all the bills, that just pay what they are told. Imagine those with poor insurance or none at all. Imagine those with mental health issues, that have no family or insurance coverage or job. They can't even begin to understand their illness, let alone the medical bills and discrepancy between mental and medical. Health reform needs to happen. Obama agrees. But what would it look like? It seems like such a big mess...where would you begin? I wish I had answers. I'm interested to see others' "answers".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Runnin' On Empty

My family is visiting my grandparents in GA right now, about an hour outside of Atlanta. It is so great to be with them and be able to celebrate Father's Day with my dad and grandpa, even though it's one day early!

It has been an adventure of a trip, starting with a call from my mom at 11PM on Wed night, asking if I wanted to join them on a visit to my grandparents. I asked when they were planning to go to which she responded tomorrow morning. They have not been able to plan summer vacations right now, as their lives are monopolized by my brother's traveling baseball games. Wed night his team got knocked out of a tournament in the 1st round, which meant he had the next week and a half off.

Thurs morning we departed. We were just outside of Indianapolis, when my dad ran out of gas. He has this thing where he likes to go as long as possible before he gets gas. He also has a Shell card, which gives him a discount, so he waits till he sees a Shell sign. We stopped just before an overpass and about a half a mile from the next exit. My mom and I navigated through the long grass to stand away from our car, but still close by behind a guardrail, while my dad and Jonathan started hiking it to the nearest gas station. Our men deserted us. Meanwhile, much to our displeasure, my mom and I were getting honked at by passing truck drivers. How did they know that we were stranded on the side of the road for their pure enjoyment? Only about 15 minutes had passed and a car pulled up behind us. My dad and Jonathan got out of the car. I guess the driver had been worried about them walking along the road across the overpass and stopped to give them a ride. He took them to get gas, dropped them off, and then parked aways behind us to make sure we got off ok. What a blessing! Apparently, he told my dad on the way back that he'd be hearing about this for the next 20 years. You would think he had learned, but further along in our trip in TN, he was skirting along the empty line and wouldn't stop till he found a Shell. The first one was closed, so he wanted to go to the next exit with a Shell. And again, it was closed. He caved and we got gas, but not without a lot of grief from my mom and I. It's only been three days...but already he is hearing about it! And now it's recorded for posterity.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Truly Amazing Grace

The other day, I was driving from my apt in Lombard back to my parents' place in Wheaton and this song came on the radio. When I listen to the radio, I tend to jump around to different stations. Once you listen to one station frequently, you seem to hear the same songs over and over again. On this occasion, I was listening to the Christian station, 94.3K Love. "By Your Side" came on the radio and I found myself overcome with emotion. I know it meant a lot to me this past year when I felt like I just needed rest. This Thursday morning, I felt like I had an overwhelming sense of God's grace and how amazing it truly is. Not just for me, but for everyone. It is no small thing. I don't know how you could look at the world's sin and God's grace and not be overcome with just how amazing His grace truly is.

"By Your Side" By Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good Samaritan

SO today, I along with my family, were able to be Good Samaritans. Let me set the stage...

I was helping my mom make homemade pizza for dinner, as Melissa and Greg were visiting from KY and coming for dinner. All of a sudden we heard screaming through our front screen door. A girl was screaming hysterically, "PLEASE, PLEASE, someone help me." We rushed to the front door as she continued to scream "PLEASE, PLEASE help me!!!! PLEASE call 911. PLEASE help me!!" She started running to the neighbors' house and it was clear she had a child in her arms. I was thinking the worst....that the child was unconscious or having convulsions or any number of things. She turned to us and said, "Please, she fell from the monkey bars and cracked her head open. There's so much blood." My mom immediately stepped in with a calming voice telling her to calm down, to bring her inside, and insisting that she did not need to call 911. She (we'll call her Suzy) followed us into the kitchen and my mom told her to sit down on the chair. Instead of sitting down with the girl on her lap, Suzy sat her in the chair and started to leave. My mom asked where she was going and she said she had to get the other kids. The girl, Karis, was no older then 4. She had a cut on her forehead that was bleeding into one of her eyes. She would need stitches, but her head was not cracked open. After running to get my mom a washcloth, I went to the front door to help with the other kids. Meanwhile, both my parents were calming Karis down and wiping away the blood, which was not excessive and letting her know that she would be just fine. When I got to the front, Suzy was there with a little girl only 2 and boys about 6, 8, and 11. Suzy looked to be H.S. age, although maturity level was about middle school. She wanted me to run her 11 year-old brother, Chris, home in my car, which I wasn't so sure about. He ended up running home to tell their families, while Suzy was trying to call them. She was still pretty hysterical and told the kids to "just sit down" in the front yard and she ran back inside. (My parents told me later that Suzy came inside and got Karis all worked up again by telling her "it looked so bad" and "it must hurt a lot".) Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out the situation. I found out that the three of them, 2, 6, and 8 were siblings and that Karis was their sister. Chris and Suzy were siblings and they had agreed to take their neighbors (the four kids) for a walk to the park. I knew that Karis was in good hands, so I worked at keeping the 3 siblings calm and occupied. I took them to the backyard and got the boys involved in a game of catch, while I held the little 2-year old. Long story short, their mother came to pick them all up and take the 4 year-old to the Dr. for stiches. Suzy calmed down a bit and I helped them collect their things at the park.

The situation was not as bad as we had anticipated upon first hearing the screams, but it definately added some excitment to the evening! We were able to keep those kids calm and cared for, even if we were not able to spare them from nightmares. The one thing that I learned was that I would never trust "Suzy" with any of my kids. Not because the accident happened, but because of her ballistic, panicked, unreasonable response, that heightened the kids' (and our own) anxiety levels. Hopefully those children will not be having nightmares as a result, but needless to say, they are all in one peace and safe at home.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


"A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart- chaff and grain together- knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."

~George Eliot

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pretty Dress

Put your pretty dress on its time for you to go to the dance.
Tie your hair in ribbons and lace and wear pearls round your neck.
And all the pretty princes will see you,
All the pretty princes will see you,
Someday, someday.

Put your red boots on its time for you to walk home from school.
Everyone will laugh they'll point fingers at you, they'll be cruel.
Cover up your ears and don't listen,
Cuz you'll know much better than them
Someday, someday.

And they'll wave to you
And they'll wave to you.

Put your red coat on and walk with the light in the woods.
If it gets dark don't get scared there's so much waiting for you.
Cover up your tears and don't show them,
Cuz you'll know much better than them
Someday, someday.

And they'll wave to you
And they'll wave to you.

Put your pretty dress on
Put your red boots on
Put your red coat on
Put your pretty dress on
Put your red coat on
Put your pretty dress on...

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm going to try to blog once a hold me to it!


"In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong." ~Job: 122

So, this week I got really upset, angry, sad, hurt, and just grieved some of the things that have been going on for me these last few months. I don't know where this hurt came from, but the floodgates just poured open.

Even though I had reason to be hurt 1 or 2 or 3 months ago, those real tears didn't come forth until now. I remember even thinking a few weeks back that I just wanted to get really mad. I wanted to be angry about my health problems and limitations, as I had seen others express, but I couldn't. Until now. From somewhere deep inside, it poured through.

It's interesting to me to see how people around you respond to it. Many times, they just try to give you some positive antedote to try to get you to move on and away from there. They tell you not to take things too personally or to let it go. Just hope that if they spin things positively you'll be alright. Now, I'm not talking about constant complaining about difficulties, or trying to get others to feel sorry for you, or dwelling on the negative, but for real sadness and just anger about the tough situations in our life and consequences of living in a fallen world. Many times we don't understand that this grieving is part of the process of moving on and leaving things behind us. I expressed all this anger to God, not to blame Him, but just to say, you know what, I've been pushing on and will continue to hope and strive to fight, but the reality is that it sucks. And I felt so much better afterwards and rejuvenated to continue the fight and to perservere with hope that things can be different. I can't change the past, but I can grieve it. The truth can hurt, but just like the Lord and Job, we can have anger and yet not sin.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


So I recently got new glasses. I had gone without for about a year. I'm near-sighted, so it only became a problem when I was watching a movie at the movie theater, driving, or sitting at the back of a class or meeting. (Not to worry, I passed my driver's vision test without my glasses). I could see things in front of me and I could see things far away, except for the details. After having my glasses, everything seemed newer and brighter, as I could see all the details of a person's face from far away or the skyline of the city in focus or the details of every leaf and branch on a faraway tree. I could also read road signs from much farther away and watch tv in focus from across the room.

Today, I heard in church, the old familiar hymn, Be Thou My Vision, which has always been my favorite, due to its celtic sound and meaningful words. My last year at college, I shared an arrangement of it that I had written for a contemporary service that met every Wed night at Valparaiso's Lutheran Chapel. It was a gift night, an opportunity to share one of your God-given abilities with the college YA community, as a semester was ending and many were graduating. I arranged a version of Be Thou My Vision, complete with a lot of Celtic lilts included. At that time, I didn't know where I would be living, nor had I found a teaching job. I was trusting God with my future. That day, it really seemed symbolic of trusting the Lord with my whole life ahead, whatever befall. Today, I heard the hymn with new ears (or should I say new eyes). We're not just trusting God with our future, but we're asking God to be our vision, even for those things in the future that seem so faraway, confusing, and unclear. Our vision is blurry and we see only part of the details, but God's vision is always 20/20. We need to put on God and trust Him to show us the details in His time. Trust Him to one day clear our vision to see with His eyes the purpose and completeness in loss, pain, struggles, and hardship. What a difference my glasses have made in my vision. One day, God's eyes will be all I need to see clearly.

"Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely." ~1 Corinthians 13:12

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Friend

Last night (April 17th), I had the pleasure of hearing one of my fiddling role models, Sara Watkins live in concert!! She was a member of the band Nickel Creek, which I have been a fan of for years. Sara has played with many other artists and most recently played with Fiction Family (consisting of Switchfoot's Jon Foreman and her brother and Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins). I went to that concert mainly in support of Sean Watkins and secretly hoping that Sara would make an appearance. And she did not disappoint! It was then that I heard about her up-and-coming debut album to be produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. The release day at the end of February could not come soon enough. I debated waiting for the show to hear her new stuff or purchasing the album on Itunes ahead of time. I decided a day before the concert to go ahead and buy in order to be prepared for her new creations. I knew I loved all her work and would buy her music either way. Well, the concert was amazing! She has an energy and presence on stage like none other. Her brother was on stage performing with her as backup for most of the time. Their sibling antics and interaction with the audience was hysterical. It was interesting to me, to see how Sean was much more comfortable talking and joking around with the audience when he was performing with his sister, than when he was on stage with John Foreman in Family Fiction. If I were to be in a band, I would like to be in one like Nickel Creek/Watkins. She is not under a Christian label, but does Christian covers, as well as alt-country and bluegrass covers. And of course she writes her own original pieces as well. She has a unique style and sound all her own and she's not afraid to put herself out there.

SO I decided to do the same. The show was about to end and I had not heard my favorite song on her new album. My friend Rebekah agreed with me that I needed to do something drastic if I wanted to hear the song. I was waiting for an opportunity to yell out a request for it, but she had no pause for a breath. She's a fast talker and it was hard to find a chance to interject. Well, she announced that the next song would be their last and I knew that this was my last opportunity. She took a half-breath and I yelled out "Can you play "My Friend" too?" She paused and looked in my direction, with a look like, you have a lot of nerve and yet your gutsiness impresses me! She quickly responded back, "whether I play another song is for you to decide. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. But if i do play another I will take your request into consideration." Sure enough, an encore ensued and she played my request!! Prior to that, she said, I know someone requested my friend. It was a girl from that area (as she pointed in my direction). She said she felt quite honored as this was the first time someone had requested a song off her solo album. She was quite excited! I loved the song that she had written, b/c of the simple words and melody. And it just resonated with me. It's one of those songs you can drift to sleep listening to, as I had the night before. So now I will introduce you to my friend...

My Friend
My friend is worn and torn, he's badly wounded
I don't know what he really needs
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
He lives for love of what he knows
But he cannot put his trust in much anymore
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
Keep my friend safe, strengthen his eyes
The night has been long, but the dawn is sure to be fine
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
Bring hope to his heart, relief to his mind
~Sara Watkins

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finding Your Feet Again

So I lost myself. It's been awhile that I've been gone. But yesterday, I felt like I found myself again. Or really myself was given back to me. I hope I stick around for awhile. But it's been a year of coming and going. It's great to feel alive again. The same things are all around you, but you can actually feel them this time...the act of breathing, the crisp cold air, the beauty of nature, the delight of infectious laughter, the sweet sound of music, the excitement of life, the joy of kids, the camaraderie of friends, the love of family, the goodness of the Lord. Even when I don't feel them, I know they're still there, I just can't see them. Other people have to see them for me. Remind me they're still there. I just heard this song by Rosie Thomas on Pandora. It seems to depict some of the things I felt and all of us feel at some time.

Death Came And Got Me

I can't, I can't stop crying.
Everyday I’m so afraid
Afraid of dying
Death already came and got me
Cause I’m not living...
I'm not living anyway...

And who am I supposed to be?
Everybody seems to see except for me
Who cares anyway....
Cause when it's over,
It's all over, and what you gain you throw away

When will love ever find me?
All my life all I’ve craved is to be seen
Who cares anyway...
Cause when it's over,
All that matters is the love you gave away

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's the little things

Today, I went to school and had a good day. It may seem simple enough, perhaps even in your own life. But you have to celebrate the small things. A quote comes to mind, that I'm sure many of you know. "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." ~Mother Teresa

We should look to our creator as the originator of this mindset. God sent a pretty stinkin small thing (baby Jesus) to give to the world the greatest love ever possible. And He uses us, as small as we are, to point others to Him, even in the smallest of ways.

As a friend told me recently, even just breathing in and out, brings glory to God. Sometimes we get caught up with trying to be smarter, achieve more (in the work place, in our Christian walk, etc.), or look better than others, which turns us away from God instead of to Him. This may sound corny, but God loves us just how we are, if it's just you, sitting alone in your room doing absolutely nothing...He loves you. (You may be extremely boring to everyone else in the world, but not Him). He doesn't care how smart you are...Sure, He made us smart, but we're all just pions compared to His intelligence. He knows you're good looking...He made you, but you're just one speck of His wondrous creation. He knows you can achieve many things...He created you to do so. But you'll never outnumber the things He can (and has) achieved for you, through you, and in you. We are because God is. It's never the other way around. So don't try to be the savior of the world. It's already been done. And no one can top it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Girl's Night

I just finished my lovely girls night.
I know what you're thinking:
a sleepover, a few chic flicks, a pillow fight, chocolate, candles, girl talk, nail painting, and hair braiding.

Not this girl's, girl's nite. Let me enlighten you. The nite consisted of:
pizza, a movie, Mariocart Wii, snow diving, and frisbee.

A spontaneous "girl's night" fell it turned into a "night". I was with my family. We had pizza and I got caught up in a movie with my parents. Bruce Almighty was on tv and I had only seen it once before. (It's a great movie, BTW.) When the movie ended, Jonathan wanted to play me in a quick (4 game tourney) of MarioCart Wii, before I left to meet up with Sarah and Rachael. Well, I lost and my brother was talkin smack, so I wanted to put him in his place. I took him on again (another 4 games) and lost. I wanted to play again (I'm not competitive at all), so I played while texting Rach to see what they were doing. (Yes, I caved and started paying 5$/month for texts). I found out they were just talking. When it came between going out in the cold to talk (I love you girls) or staying home and playing Wii. It was a tough choice...but Wii won. I'm not sure how many more tourneys we played, but I will tell you that I did not finish any of them. At this point, my dad had asked us to take Kody on a walk (and hyped up the dog with the w*** word), so we had no choice. But to his credit, he joined us, along with my mom.

Let me explain to you my 13-year-old brother's definition of a walk. It consists playing catch with a frisbee or football and little walking. He asked me if he should bring a light-up frisbee or football. I said neither, that I'm just going for a walk. Then he brought a light-up frisbee. He said, "I thought someone would end up playing with me." Someone as in me. So my nice, quiet walk turned into a long game of catch. Regardless, it was a lot of fun. We ended up coming up with calls, so he would know which direction to run. "Hang right." "Hang left." "Dive right". "Dive left." Pretty simple, but it turned into: "LEFT, LEFT, LEFT," "RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT," "DIVE, DIVE, DIVE". I suggested that he try diving into a snow drift to catch the frisbee. (Notice, I suggested it to him, but did not volunteer. Don't worry, his wild throws sent me retrieving many a frisbee from snow-covered yards.) We set up the perfect diving spot on the way my neighbor's front yard. It took us about 30 tries. I had to use baseball terminology to get this kid to work with me. He may have me whipped in MarioCart Wii, but he could learn a thing or 2 from me with frisbee. By the 33rd time, we had it and called it a night. We also left a huge grass mark in my neighbor's snow-covered yard. Good thing she likes us.

And that is this girl's perfect girl's night.
And she lived happily ever after. THE END.

Days of Blessing

This is how my New Years Resolution of blessing is going:

Monday: Honestly, my blessings were even sad. I had to work hard to even come up with that list and even I am bored reading it.
Tuesday: Came home and burst into tears. That speaks for itself.
Wednesday: Called in sick, because I felt so sick about school that I physically could not get out of bed. This wasn't oversleeping (believe me, I know oversleeping).
Wednesday Night: Someone helped me reframe, so I could face Thursday morning. Basically told me to "fake it till I make it".
Thursday and Friday: AMAZING! :) (I could list them all, but there were too many to count!) Great day with my kids and making some breakthroughs with my lowest group. I had NINE (9!) great conversations with staffmembers. (Not even "pleasant" or "cordial", but GREAT!) I was able to have my school store, a (belated) Christmas party, and give my (belated) Christmas gifts. (I think I will always give Christmas gifts to my kids after Christmas...everything is 50% off or more. Seriously spent like 2 hours in the dollar store). I was at school very early and went home at an almost decent hour both days. I was healthy and happy. I almost ate part of my lunch before 5PM. I even exchanged a few pleasantries with my boss.

Thanks for those that were praying!

I had an epiphany about plans for this summer/next year. More to come...

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Blessing A Day

SO my "New Year's Resolution" (I hate saying that because it seems destined to failure) is to think of one blessing a day at school. One way that I have been a blessing or been blessed. My work place has been very negative and this is my way to dwell on the things I've handled well at the end of the day. On a similar note, I know a guy that instead of asking his kids "How was your day?", as kids give a generic answer of "good". He asks them, "What was one thing that you handled well today?" If they say, I got an A on my spelling test, he'll say well that's good. I'm glad you are doing well in school, but what was one tough thing that you handled well today? And his son would say, well, one kid was being left out and had no one to play with him, so I invited him to play with us. His dad would say, that's exactly what I'm talking about. You handled that situation very well. He puts the focus on his kids' interaction with other people, as opposed to focus on their own personal achievement. So this is my way to do just that. I won't record all of these, but feel free to ask what my one blessing was from the day. Today was rough, so they may seem small, but here we go. It may be a blessing in disguise.

1) I asked the kids about their winter break/Christmas. I asked them to tell me their favorite present or one fun thing they did over break. (I know kids want to talk about their presents, but the last part was my attempt to focus on time with people.) All the other kids talked about their favorite gift, but one child talked first about his aunts, uncles, and cousins visiting from Texas.

2) I'm working on blends with my 1st graders. For example, they can read "lip", but not "slip" (it comes out like "sip"). So today was day uno with blends. They also all need work on automaticity (think automatic) with three letter words. Most of them have been moving from sounding words out aloud to sounding them out in their head. My lowest student in this group, *Matthew, has not been sounding out 3 letter words in his head and saying the word, let alone 4 letter words. He tends to mimic what the other kids say and I've been thinking of moving him down to a lower group. At the end, to review the skill, I had each child read one of the words with a blend on their own. *Matthew sounded out the letters in his head and then said the word correctly! It took longer for him as far as processing time, but he was able to do it!

3) My mailbox was packed with Christmas gifts and cards.

4) A teacher said she had been praying for me over break and gave me a Christmas gift.

5) Dark of my gifts! :)

I'll stop...don't want to get too carried away on day one...