Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Difference

There is a difference when you see news about a place that has become your home... Saddam is dead. That itself is not what is strange to me.... but I am so curious, I want to know what my friends think... what they are going through. I want to talk to my students. I am not sad that he is dead, but I am sad about the destructive hatred that lives and breeds in the hearts because of Saddam and against Saddam. I found a quote from a newspaper that summed up the attitude I have seen so many times from people there.

"It's like God asking you to choose between Heaven and Hell," said Thamer al-Musawi, 47, a slim, salt-and-pepper-haired barber in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, speaking before the execution. "If Saddam gets executed, you go to Hell. If he doesn't, you go to Heaven. I will choose Hell just so Saddam is executed."

How terrible it must be, to be so consumed by hate that you forget the value of heaven. But I suppose it also depends on if you believe in heaven at all.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Back at Home?

The word "home" has so many connotations of love, life, warmth, and belonging. I am now "home" in the sense of the word that I am in the States with my family in the house that I grew up in since I was 14. I am happy, secure, and Christmas is upon us.

I got a Christmas card from the family that I live with in the Middle East. It said that they couldn't wait until I "came back home" in January.

It was then that it struck me that I have begun making my home somewhere else and somewhere else for real. I have two homes. As much as this will terrify my mother as she reads it, it seems like a grand sort of accomplishment for someone who never having created "home" as somewhere other than her parents home. It is a step showing what I feel that I have begun to experience and operate in, this state called adulthood.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

DR--A fifth grader

The Hilly Adventure

Ch. 1=The Gang.
Once there was a gang of people that were lost. There names were: Adam, Fisherman, Doctor Flingler, Jake, Nathan, John, Flicker, and Jessy. The always traveled night and day, but not even a single city was near. One day they got to Mt. Vegas, it was night and Jessy, Flicker and Nathan splited up and they went along. There were very scared. And In fact, very, very scared. Because they heard a very, very, scared sound. It was a n owl. Dr. Flicker and his gang walked along when they saw a thing rope. And ifyou looked down…you would have to fall 5,000,000 miles to get down. It was very deep.

Ch. 2=The fall of Jake.
They all gathered up. Fisherman was very scared but he said that he would go first. He went very slowly. He was about to fall…but her quickly ran to the end. Then Jake said I will go. When he went there he ran. The rope rattled. He…(sigh) fell. So now they were four. They all quickly went to the other side. There they saw there other friends.

Ch. 3=Swimming on the Angel falls.
They all went while 5:30 am past. Jessy was crying for his brother. They all went on when they saw a man. He told them that 2 miles away was the fountain of Angel falls. 7:25 am in the fountain. Everyone could swim except for Jessy. All of them had to swim to the other side. Dr. Flinger put Jessy on his back and swam to the other side while 8:30 am past. When they got to the end, Nathan wasn’t there. They looked everywhere. At the end, Fisherman looked in the water. Then quickly Nathan popped out and laughed. So, 9:15 past and they went on walking.

Chapter 4: The friend of Jessy is found.
When they were walking, 10:50 am past. They walked and walked until…(I give you three guesses) They saw Jessy’s best friend, Rachel. She was crying. They were all staring at her. At last, Jessy rand and said hello. The both Kissed each other and Rachel put out a fire by branches and they sat down and Rachel told them a long story. It was about how she was lost. She said that they had ocme to a picnic here but they forgot her. 3:25 pm past and they got some water from the river and splashed it into the fire. It was very cold. 3:50 pm past and they walked on. Then… they saw a very big tree.

Chapter 5: Falling onto the trampoline
John was a strong boy. He was that on top of the tree was a big sweety house with candy and everything that is sweet. Like lollipops, candy sweety things, all types of colors. So John climbed up and they found a trampoline. So they quickly got it and put it beside the tree. He climbed and climbed and 12:00am past. 12:55 past and John got to the top. He looked in the house and it was full of sweeties. He went inside and filled his bags and socks with the sweeties. The he jumped down and he fell on the trampoline. 5:55 am past and now more sweets were left. They walked on and found a bit of an island.

Chapter 6: Back at home:
They all ran and ran. When they got there…everybody cheered and celebrated. The all went back home and lived happily ever after.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Student's Perspective

The first time when my name was written was because I spoke Kurdish but it was not my fault because the teacher asked me a question in Kurdish and I answered her in Kurdish and you wrote my name. The second time my name was written because I wanted an eraiser so I told S-- to give me one but when she did you wrote my name. But I think that it was fair because you told us not to do these things and I did, because you told us not to do these things and I did because of these things you wrote my name with a beautiful and check with it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If my student were leader in Iraq.

I decided to let one of my students write my blog post for today.

If I was the leader of Iraq I would had gave the people electricity and I will give enough patrol for the people. I will help the poor & sick. I will help my neighbors and free them of dictators. But their are things I want to do for my self. I want to have Hummer, a Dodge Viper, Ferrari and a Limozine that have everything in it. I want to have house that is 10 stories and 100 rooms and I will put a new code of laws that includes the laws that say there is no different between me and a peasant.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

See my pictures!

My pics at
I just downloaded some new ones!

Grammar Nerd!

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Where Am I?

This is a question I ask myself occassionally. One of my readers recently asked this. I am in Northern Iraq. It is safe here... so don't worry. But do pray for those who are fleeing out of the South and Central Iraq and those still living there. Things are pretty rough. Pray.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It made me cry.

Very few (if any) blog posts have ever made me cry. But this one did.

A Reminder

I was reminded of a poem by Anne Bradstreet by a dear young friend of mine. May you be affected.

"And when I could no longer look,

I blest His name that gave and took,

That laid my goods now in the dust.

Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.

It was his own, it was not mine,

Far be it from me that I should repine."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Things ILearn

There are so many things that are basic to living here that I have had to learn. I have learned how to turn on and off a generator, light and fill my own kerosene heater, and numerous other daily life sorts of things. Amazing how these types of things can be so foreign and then become so much a part of one's daily habits.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oddity #29

Have you ever been greeted with "Hello. Mr. Bush."? I was today. He wasn't calling me Mr. Bush, just recognizing my nationality.

Oddity #28

I bought a hat today. It says in bold words across the top ADIDOS. Ahh... it made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oddity #27

My piece of advice... Don't complain about your roads. You have no idea how much it means to have roads that are actually engineered until you drive on roads that are a foot deep in water because no one thought about the fact that it rains buckets here in a matter of days. Secondly, I wish I had a picture of one of the roads I have driven on. It is actually frightening. Again, don't complain about potholes. Potholes are nothing. Comparing the roads here to the roads in the states is like comparing mountains to molehills... as the saying goes.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oddity #26

I miss street lights. Well, I don't mean the pole and bulb part... we have plenty of those here. We just happen to be missing the electricity which creates the light part.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oddity #25

If a girl serves tea to a guy and makes it extra extra sweet it means that she loves him.

October #24

If you get two spoons (by accident) in your piala (tea glass) then you will have two spouses, probably not at the same time, but it doesn't bode well for spouse number one. Thankfully, I haven't been cursed by this.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good Life and Good Love

"Be persuaded, timid soul," writes Archbishop Fenelon, in his SPIRITUAL LETTERS TO WOMEN, "that He has loved you too much to cease loving you."

--taken from a daily mailing by Elizabeth Elliot

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oddity #23 (I think....)

They have thought of a wonderful way to bring air freshener into rooms here. The facial tissues are all strongly scented. Unfortunately they didn't think about the fact that you hold these perfumed papers up to your nose. It is a little overwhelming. *cough, choke...*

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Odd... just really odd... a funny odd though...

This is odd, beyond odd, and really has nothing to do with being in the Middle East.

Many thanks to Rachel... who first plagued me with Charlie the Unicorn...

P.S. A funeral was held yesterday for the rabbit. It is doubted that eating the wall was the cause of death, as it was discovered that he has been doing that for some time. I wish I had the eloquence to write an obituary, but alas, I do not.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oddity #22

My oddity of the day doesn't really have anything to do with being in Iraq.

The rabbit here is eating the plaster of the wall near where he likes to sit. We don't know why. Do you?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oddity #21

At first I wondered why there were so many tractors in the city. Then I saw some of the roads... now I know. SMILE!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oddity #20

We changed for daylight savings on October 1st. So now it is only 10 hours difference between me and my family instead of 11.

Oddity #19

Wierd things are going on all the time... really... just after a while they all become normal. Like the fact that women can buy a headscarf to match their underwear in the bazaar. Other wierd things come from turning over a product and finding that it wasn't made in China or the U.S.A. It was made in Iran, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates. Some things like people going on vacation to Turkey is wierd. Oddities come when you find that this language doesn't have a word for something you want to say or that you are laughed at even when you manage to say something correctly. But lest you get the idea that life here is only strange and not also sweet, perhaps I will begin posting some of the things that make life here sooo sweet.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What I write when I don't know what to write...

I have lots and lots of random thoughts. Unfortunately I can't think of anything right now. I went shopping today. There was a sign that said "A lucky for your baby" on the wall. That is fairly par for the course. There were some wallets with wierd words on them. Yeah, there you go. Sorry.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Refining, Molding, Pruning

But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.
What Thou hast done and doest Thou knows't well.
And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire
I will lie burning; on Thy potter's wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.
--George MacDonald

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oddity #17

Imagine buying your pant size to not only accomodate your own waistline but also your handgun.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Elizabeth Elliot

Lord, break the chains that hold me to myself; free me to be your happy slave--that is, to be the happy foot-washer of anyone today who needs his feet washed, his supper cooked, his faults overlooked, his work commended, his failure forgiven, his griefs consoled, or his button sewed on. Let me not imagine that my love for You is very great if I am unwilling to do for a human being something very small.

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oddity #15

You know how kids in the States will say jinx when people say something at the same time and then the kid who didn't say it first has to be quiet until someone says his name. Well, here, girls cut way past all that sort of mundane life and just get to the important parts of life. Instead of saying jinx, they tug the hair near the face and whoever tugs first will have a more handsome husband. Yeah, talk about serious from the start! At this rate however, my husband, if I ever have one, is doomed to be ugly unless I can catch on and start tugging whenever I get the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Things that I suddenly understand better.

Do you know how in the Bible it talks about people putting up little stacks of rocks to be a memorial? Well, strangely enough, little stacks of rocks really do make you ask "What are those there for?"

Bathsheba bathing on the roof was scandalous!

Those passages in Isaiah where it talks about desert and dust... they are really real.

Shepherds live in huts out in the middle of nowhere... kind of like Abraham and all that.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oddity #13

Get your very own! They are all the rave!

Burqa Barbie Backpack!!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oddity #12

Sometimes it is not worth trying to come up with explanations for things, but other things call out for a reason to have existed. The only thing I can think might have happened here is some guy who wanted to make ketchup bought a honey factory and instead of changing the machine from making honey bears to making ketchup bottles he just filled the machine with red plastic and filled the red plastic bears with ketchup. Thus resulting in ketchup being sold on the shelves in bottles that look strangely like honey bear bottles. How else could you explain? What do bears and ketchup have to do with each other?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oddity #11

I have mentioned the fake brands a couple of times now. Most of the time the advertising is great and the product is less than great. Sometimes, however, you never try the product because the advertising is perhaps rather unappealing. Such is the case when looking down the aisle with the toothpaste. Where normally you would see brands like "Crest", you see the the word "CRUST" in bold toothy letters. Like I would put that on my teeth!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Oddity #10

There are so many brands of candy here that are fakes of good brands in the U.S. For example XLY is a candy meant to be like MandM's. It has a similar packaging, colors, just the candy isn't the same. Same thing with Twimax... same lettering, color of package as Twix. Even a similar name... and yet, kind of gross. There are more brands of terrible "Twix-style" candy here than I ever knew existed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oddity #9

The most common wall decoration is soccer ball prints. I was once in an office/cubicle about 5ft by 5ft and there were soccer ball prints on the walls.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Book Meme

Just as a disclaimer, this task was incredibly hard for me. I have read too many books. [Tagged by Nathan at A Jolly Company... see blog links at right]

1. One book that changed your life:
Elsie Dinsmore [as a child I was deeply convicted of my own lack of attention to my attitude]

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
The Marquis' Secret by George MacDonald [the amazing second half to "The Fisherman's Lady]

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
A dictionary into English of whatever language the people there spoke.

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Princess Bride [the movie is marvelously funny, the book is hysterically fantastic]

5. One book that made you cry:
Learning to Call Them Sisters by [?]

6. One book that you wish had been written:
How to Run a School in a Foreign Country and Foreign Culture

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
1984 by George Orwell

8. One book you’re currently reading [again]:
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
The biography of George Muller

I am tagging: Mom, Jen (Tum-tum Tree), Katie, Nan, and Laurel

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Words of Wisdom to All Girls

guys tend to impress in the first couple months of a relationship...after that their true colors show and I saw his true colors--Ami (a girl who would advise watching the guy first to learn his true colors)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Oddity #8

Cleanliness of toilets is not directly proportional to the extravagance of the toilet embellishment.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oddity #7

I was reading a phrase book today and came across the word for "jeans". The translation was spelled this way "Kawboy". When pronounced it comes out just like "Cowboy". Yes, yes. I laughed too!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oddity #6

Electricians (or ordinary people, such as the case may be), in their ingenuity, have built their wiring to multitask as a shade canopy.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oddity #5

Somehow, the Google on my computer has decided that I must be from Germany now that I am no longer in the U.S. This decision has not benefited Google, as I can no longer read their advertisements.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Oddity #4

We all know the wonderful warm sensation of putting on clothes right out of the dryer. Imagine that same sensation when you put them on right out of your closet.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oddity #3

Steaming up a shower is nothing new for most people... The water is hot and evaporates into the air... But have you ever fogged up your bathroom by taking a cold shower? That was a new one!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blessed be the Name

I have always loved the song called "Blessed be the Name." I heard it during some key experiences. But we sang it last night and it suddenly had new meaning. Below are the lyrics. Read it thinking literally, not figuratively. The desert place and where the sun is shining are kind of the same place. Not having really experienced the extraordinarily sunny desert until now, that connection has been made clear to me. And yes, God is in the bright desert and his name is blessed.

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Great Things He Hath Done

Some days are more learning days than others. Today, was one of those. I was reminded that God is doing a great and mighty work here, through what He has asked me to do. People may look at my life and marvel at the faith I have. I am willing to go half way around the world if God asks me, and He has. And yet, I still struggle, even knowing this is what He asks, if He is willing to get me there or keep me there. The lack of provision is the issue, the doubt, the fear. Why am I so afraid? I have seen God provide hundreds of times throughout my life. Why do I now doubt? And God proves himself to me in my doubt as I receive the hard earned scrimped and saved money of one of my former students, as my sixth grade teacher blesses me from her meager earnings, as a family I knew many years ago suddenly contacts me out of the blue, as the mother of my father’s dead childhood friend gives to me in his honor, as a family new to my church enthusiastically showers me with kindness and generosity, as a single mother scrapes up monthly the last coins in her purse, as my friend gifts me on her wedding day, as a college girl who barely knows me and who is saving for tuition promises her support, as teachers and friends surround me with what little extra they have and are the hilarious and cheerful givers that God loves. Why do I doubt? How can this be? It ought not be so! Forgive my unbelief! And we wonder why when the Jews saw the miracles of Jesus they did not fall as his feet and cry out in wonder and belief. He did not do what they wanted. And yet the miracles were still there. Even so, for us all, the miracles are there, and just because it isn’t what we want or what we expected, we think it doesn’t matter. But it does matter just in the way that Jesus’ miracles mattered. They proclaim His glory and His person. Do not let us forget to praise Him and believe Him—Great things He hath done.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

O Happy Day!

So, after my recent tirades about less than gentlemanly guys, I have to tell of what happened the last couple of days. It was a great day. After spending Friday decorating, arranging flowers, and singing hymns, as well as numerous other details, Saturday morning dawned to a crepe breakfast. Then, progressing into late morning, foot soaks and nail polish were brought out, and I enjoyed pampering my dear friend Marian, the bride. After a good lunch and an hour nap while Marian went to get her hair done and have lunch with her recently married and truly amazing sister. Two-thirty in the afternoon and curling irons, hairspray, bobby-pins, and pearls were all pulled out and spread among girls. By four thirty we wer all standing out in a fantastically beautiful public garden, rotating in the sun until we were able to move to the shade. Then, faces aching with truly happy smiles, we stood in lines, in pairs, and in groups to be photographed. Rushing back to the church at six thirty, we scarfed food prepared by another lady from church, and then praying (during which I nearly cried), we lined up to walk out, one by one. As Marian's father gave his youngest daughter away, he looked like he was going to cry. Once again, I felt the lump rise in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. I did not allow them to spill over. Marian sang "Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine" with her whole heart. Her vows were beautiful and the guy is truly wonderful. They balance each other so well. He is attentive, hard working, and a great leader. He has a heart for God, and he loves my friend so much. I loved seeing him watch her every time they were around each other. During her photos, he stood and watched her with a smile on his face that was truly a blessing to see. So, some stories do have happy endings.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Again, Life is Never Dull

I don't know what it is about hanging out with my old roomie N. She and I always have the strangest experiences. Tonight as we were standing near our cars and chatting downtown we had an encounter with some most likely drunk fellows. They yelled from across the street something along the lines of "You ladies having a cat fight, do you wanna hang out with some bar dogs tonight?" Fortunately they were far enough away and drunk enough not to hear our response which was again laughter due to shock. I actually had to sit down on the concrete. Things like this I would say are a rare thing except this is the second time in a couple of weeks. My friend N. is very stunning, but they were so far away. I have no respect for guys who are willing to take any girl, any where, any time. Even if they think she is pretty, that is no indication of whether she has any worth in any other category. I am afraid that the last several months have given me some pretty weak views of guys as a whole. They play with my friends' hearts, they stir up divisions, they are as waves tossed upon the shore... I have remained safe but nearly every girl I know has been hurt by a guy recently. I knowI ought not generalize about guys; it isn't fair. But sometimes that is the way it is.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Wierd Way to Have Fun

I had a great time playing with this this neat website which I stole from Jolly Company's blog. Although the faces that came up for me varied wide and far, pretty and strange, famous and not-so-famous, old and young. Only two names came up more than once in a variety of pictures of myself. My conclusion was that I must not look like any celebrities because I didn't look much like any of the people that they thought I must look like. Shiri Appleby and Rachel Bilson were two of the highest ranking. It was amazing that I could resemble over twenty-five women and that none of them look like me at all, especially since I am a blonde. There were also several men whom I also do not resemble at all that were in the list, including Prince Harry of England. Astonishing. But still terribly amusing.

Life in Bridesmaidville...

Today I went shopping. It has been the third time I have been shopping this week, every time for necessities for my upcoming trip or the wedding I will be in this Saturday. I really dislike shopping, it is so exhausting and very little is accomplished. But I suppose that the trips have not really been in vain. I was able to get all the needed items. And the bride (my friend) will be getting some pampering from a couple of us girls.

It is so hard and yet so wonderful that my dear friend is getting married in a matter of days. She and I were inseparable from sixth grade all through till graduation. And she still was (and is) one of the first people I would tell when anything happened in my life. And now she will spend the rest of her life with this guy who, although I am sure he is wonderful, is almost completely unknown to me. Perhaps all my childhood fears of her finding a friend she likes more than me has finally been realized. Although these thoughts are there, I really am so very happy for her. Everything I have learned about the guy just seems perfect for her. God knows what he is doing.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

On Fear, Of Which God Has Blessed Me With Very Little of At the Moment

I never have thought of myself as one of those with a penchant for fear. As a child I never remember feeling terrified from bad dreams, although I had them. Somehow I never woke with fear, only sadness sometimes. I was never afraid of people coming after me or of monsters under the bed. All this being said, I have always been one of the most cautious people I know. I never wanted to try anything dangerous and rarely stuck myself in positions of public view. I was generally shy, although I would speak when spoken to. I usually was the one to caution people when they were in the path to get themselves hurt. I don't ever remember thinking it was fear, but more like rationality. And now, as I venture to do something that most people I talk to say that they would be terrified to do, I wonder. I am not afraid in any way. The knowledge of the struggles I will face does cause some preparation on my part. I know that although not a fearful person, I am not brave. And thus I attribute my current peace to the strength of God.

We wake in the early dark and find ourselves the targets of many fiery darts of fear. We may think we are on guard, and suddenly a dart comes at us from an unexpected angle. We can't cover all the possibilities. We dodge and duck, but some of the fears get to us--unless we take refuge in the Lord. The psalmist calls Him "my encircling shield, my glory." No need to stare into the darkness, allowing our imaginations to torment us with the "what ifs"--"Now I can lie down and go to sleep and then awake, for the Lord has hold of me" (Ps 3:3,5 JB). [Elisabeth Eliot]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Small Town Idaho.

I am often asked what people do in small towns. Most of the time I haven't the foggiest idea. I don't ever remember being bored or feeling like there is nothing to do in town. We don't have tons of plays, movies, clubs, etc. But we manage just fine. But as an example of what we do in small towns, I will let you know about what I did yesterday evening. First of all, my sister (R), brother (L) and I went to go pick up my other brother (A) to go play tennis. My sister has played tennis twice and each of my brothers has played once. I think I had played once a long time ago. Anyway, my brother (A) didn't really want to come so somehow it ended up be a water fight between all of us and my brother's roomates. Then, soaking wet, we went and played tennis very badly. After that, I learned to drive my sister's stick-shift car in the Kibbie Dome parking lot. It was a good evening. We went home feeling sticky, hot, tired, and yet, Happy.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Do guys dare other guys to ask out random girls? That is the only reason I can fathom for what happened today in the coffee shop. Me and my friend Naomi were just standing in the lobby talking and a guy came and stood near us. We kept talking, he looked around. Then Naomi gave him her quizzical look and asked him something, maybe if he needed something... Anyway, his response was that we were beautiful girls and would one of us like to go to a movie tonight. We both said um... and No. We don't date for recreation or spend time with guys we don't know. But after he left we couldn't help but bursting into laughter. That was soooo random. Naomi and I joke that life is never dull for us, especially when we are together. It was reminiscent of Big Dan the Meat Man, a door to door salesman whose main goal in life was certainly not the steaks and cuts of beef he purported to sell. Fascinating. True, true, Life is never dull.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Farewell Nashville!

Hey Everyone! Today I am flying back home to Nashville today. I will be there around three weeks before heading out. I will be in my dear dear friend's wedding the 8th of July. I will spend time visiting people, having people visit me, continuing my Kurdish language study, and trying to raise funds for my trip. My time here has been great and I have learned so much. I am so excited about what I get to be a part of and what I have seen God doing here and overseas. Hallelujah!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Enigma--Can YOU solve the Riddle?

'Twas whispered in Heaven, 'twas uttered in Hell,
And echo caught softly the sound as it fell;
In the confines of earth 'twas permitted to rest,
And the depth of the ocean its presence confessed;
'Twas seen in the lightning, 'twas heard in the thunder,
'Twill be found in the spheres when they're riven asunder;
'Twas given to man with his earliest breath,
It assists at his birth and attends him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honour, and health,
'Tis the prop of his house and the end of his wealth;
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned;
In the heaps of the miser 'tis hoarded with care,
But is sure to be lost in the prodigal heir;
Without it the soldier and sailor may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home;
In the whispers of conscience it there will be found,
Nor e'er in the whirlwind of passion be drowned;
It softens the heart, and though deaf to the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear;
But in shades let it rest, like an elegant flower,
Oh! breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This girl is one of the students I worked with today while their mothers learned English.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Couple of Jokes

Taken from A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts by Christiane Bird

Kurdish joke: “After an election, the Americans are very slow, they take twenty-four hours to count the votes. The British are better; they take only four hours. But the Arabs are the best—they know the results before the election!”

Another Kurdish joke: “God pushed the Kurdish people out of heaven and into hell because they were making too much noise with their dancing. But Satan didn’t like the noise either, so he sent the Kurds to purgatory. Passing by one day, God noticed that things were suspiciously quiet. What’s happening? Why isn’t anyone dancing? He asked a young boy. Oh, everyone is too busy to be dancing! the boy said. They are all out smuggling people between heaven and hell.”

I have found that the Kurds are known for their smuggling capabilities. In fact it is merely a matter of price for what level of exit you might want. I spoke with a man who had been smuggled out of Kurdistan the other day. Strange eh?

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I have a wonderful host family that I am staying with that is a little more Northern (they only air condition their house to 78 degrees instead of 68). They make unsweetened tea for the grandmother. The grandmother also has alzheimers and in some ways my time in Nashville has felt like an extended version of my conversation with her:

"Where are you from?"
"You are a long way from home then!"
"I hope you like us."
"I have had a good time so far."
"Where are you from?"
"Oh, you are a long way from home then."

But this is similar to what I get all the time as I constantly meet new people. Potatoes are also generously scattered amongst the words and phrases of the conversations. Idaho is more than potatoes, you know.

Monday, June 05, 2006

From June 2nd

Yesterday, deplaning into Nashville, Tennessee, I entered the world of sweet tea and spray butter (actually anything butter). These things do exist in my hometown but here they reign supreme. I certainly will have to watch what I eat here. I have only had three meals here but I already feel like my innards are congealing. Don’t get me wrong, the food has been great, I just can’t keep up with it. I was pleased to find last night that my generous hostess had forgotten to butter the broccoli before she had set it on the table. I had seen peas buttered for dinner once, but broccoli is taking it too far.

Another fascinating experience was that the youngest boy in the family, who is affectionately called “Boo” by his older siblings, asked me, “Do ya have video games in yer country?” Obviously understanding the importance of video games I was more surprised by the political implications of his question. I don’t watch the news very often but I think I would have known if Idaho had suddenly decided to secede from the Union. Boo’s question had some merit I suppose as it had been precipitated by a string of questions from his family through out the last two days about various stores that we do NOT have in the Northwest. I think as a six year old it must seem to him like only people in foreign countries don’t have Kroger, White Castle, and nearly a dozen other staples of the Nashville community.

Another adventure was linked to Boo’s most recent accomplishment: learning to read. This of course allowed him to begin reading what I was typing over my shoulder. Thus I began typing just for him and typed all sorts of silliness about him and then he really wanted me to send it to my parents. I don’t think they would really care but in summary Boo has two ears, two feet, blonde hair, blue eyes, and he really likes to read, but more than that he likes to pretend his is a black ninja.

That pretty much takes care of it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

C.S. Lewis

Writer and Philosopher C.S. Lewis comments on Christ's claim to have been God:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Monday, May 29, 2006

I am shifting...

It feels like every shred of who I have been these last four years is being stripped away, piece by piece by piece. Next week I am selling my car. I bought this car when I first began college. I bought it with scholarship money so I could to and from school. Today, I moved out of my apartment, the one place in the world that ever felt mine. It wasn’t my family’s home, it wasn’t a friend’s house that I happened to be living in, it was my home. A huge part of me grew there. A huge part of my roommate N. and my relationship grew there. It really hurt leaving that tiny little place with the last of my belongings this evening. It wasn’t the space, or the walls and carpet, so much as everything that went with it: independence, freedom, cooperation, ownership, and peaceful living. That was by far the most peaceful place I have ever lived. I would come home midday to find my roommate K. asleep on the couch or finding how many different ways you can stand up without bending your knees. Sometimes late at night N., K., and I would stay up late drinking wine or eating ice cream, just talking. We would talk and talk about whatever struck our fancy. Life, theology, philosophy, what it means to love, flirts, broken relationships, prayer, our families; no deep topic was without our scope. And now it is gone. I am off to a place that is not mine, where my independence will be reduced, and where I have to begin all over with relationships and friendships. No one there really knows me. I am an enigma to even those who have known me for a while. That said, sometimes I even confuse myself. Part of me is not excited to start over. Part of me is enthusiastic about the idea of a new adventure, rising like the mist from the warm pavement on a rainy evening. A feeling like the English moors with their dusky fog, not entirely pleasant looking and yet filled with an illusive and seductive mystery.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Nuart

I have been trying to find one example that would symbolize and signify what the Nuart has been to me. The idea of squashing all that has happened here into a few words or sentences feels like absolute carnage. God has done so much for me here that no one instance could encapsulate the entirety of all that God has gone and done. Needless to say, the Nuart has been like a second home to me, a place of community, ministry, and hilarity. The other volunteers have been and have become some of my dearest friends.

I have loved pouring into the other women here and helping them grow and learn.
I have loved the effect of the books on people who come in for coffee and randomly pick one up.
I have loved giving away books, especially when you find one that the person really needs.
I have loved talking to the drunks with groups of friends late in the evening.
I have loved talking with hurting women over Instant Messenger through the blessing of the Nuart’s wireless internet.
I have loved seeing myself used to bring love and compassion to women who have come to their rope’s end. God likes to hang out at the end of ropes.
I have loved random prayer meetings with Jim Wilson, seeing various Bible Studies, and viewing people visibly gasp at the low prices for the coffee.
I have loved training several members of the staff and trying to instill in them my enthusiasm for reaching people’s hearts through friendship and conversation.
I have loved.
I have been loved.
I have so many memories of hysterical laughter, meeting friends from all walks of life, seeing people ask questions, and exploring all God has done in my life.
I am so sad to be leaving it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Imagining Thinking You Could Die

One of my students recently wrote a paper about the American author Gary Paulsen. In reviewing one book my student wrote, "Like Brian did in the first book the Hatchet, eventually he relaxes and everything is fine for a while but he always had that thought in the back of his mind that he might not ever be found and 'I could die out here'. Can you imagine thinking you could die? Wouldn't that challenge the hope and faith in everything you believe in?"

I was startled by his understanding of death. I realized that his rhetorical question about imagining thinking you could die was something I didn't have to imagine. I realize that going to the Middle East, I could die. It isn't something I have to try to understand. In addition, it doesn't challenge my hope and faith. This is because my hope and faith are in the knowledge of God's love and that I will die someday and be with Him.

On a more realistic level for modern Americans, we need to know that we could die any time on any day. For example, one of my pastor's favorite sayings is that you could walk outside and get hit by the 7-up truck. I haven't ever seen a 7-up truck, although it is fun to say (you should try it). Anyway, there are car crashes, wierd diseases, all sorts of accidents could kill you.Any of us could die. You really could die out here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


“The only difference—that I see—
is that you are exactly the same—as you used to be.”

Graduations tend to make one reminiscent. I have been to five graduations this May, my own being one. The others belonged to the seniors at the high school that I taught at, a home-schooled friend, a local Christian college, and my younger sister L. Each one was different in it’s own way. Some were incredibly touching; mine was impersonal and boring. I loved seeing my sister graduate, but my home-schooled friend’s graduation was the most beautiful. There were two girls and both their father’s gave speeches and became all misty eyed. It was adorable. The other college graduation I witnessed was fun because one of the men I most respect for his life work was being honored.

Back on the issue of being reminiscent, however. I saw some of my old high school graduating classmates this weekend at my sister’s graduation. It was strange seeing them. Some I have continued to grow with here in college, but the ones who I haven’t seen for a while are kind of hard to be around. I am such a changed person and I suspect that they have changed also. But it is almost as if I become the same person I used to be when I am around them. I don’t know how to address them from the perspective of my newer self. Others I have seen grow and change, have also reverted into their older selves when around old friends. The question then becomes, did I become that person due to the people around me or is it just more comfortable, like the habits fitting into the old mold?

And as I sit here thinking about these things, it comes to mind that I haven’t heard this CD of the Wallflowers in years. It was a class favorite the year I was a senior in high school.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rosalind Goforth

I have been reading a book called "How I Know... God answers Prayer" by Rosalind Goforth a missionary to China in the 1900's. She tells story after story of how God saved them out of terrible things when they prayed. But one thing that struck her also struck me. She was speaking how her family was one of the families that was saved out of the Boxer Rebellion where they were killing all foreigners and certainly all Christians. She said this:

"Then too after all is said, we must believe God was glorified and God's purposes were fulfilled in the death of some as in the saved lives of others."

This struck me more and more as she casually mentioned in other stories the fact that at least four of her children had died while they were out on the mission field and yet God continued to draw them forth. I know that I sometimes struggle giving all to God and yet, I have never had to surrender my children; I have never had children. How much I respect this woman of faith. It is a faith I hope I have should I ever be put in a position where it is tested.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wacky Church Video Found Online.

Ugh... and yet, sadly true in many places.

A Plantly Poem... perhaps?

This poem is entertaining although not really indicative of my own feelings and passions. I wrote it in perhaps a very violent mood.

A Plantly Poem

There are many plants in the world
Some beautiful, others plain or ugly
Some tease the sun and wind
Some display fantastic colors
Other flowers wink at the bees
Calling sweetly for those honey lips
And their pretty faces upturned
A perfect target for the buzzing flirts
But I am not of that kind
I am not the giggling miniskirted lilly
Nor am I the ditzy daisy
I am the Venus Fly-trap
And if those flirts dare near me
I will eat them and have no regrets.

Friday, May 12, 2006


So I just finished my last final. And when I say "last" I mean LAST! I am graduating tomorrow. And I won't be going back for classes ever again unless someday I go to another school, I guess. I don't really want to do that, but I am not one of those people who will swear that it will never happen. And there is much rejoicing! Just enough for me to go shopping and then go home and take a nap before the Honors Convocation and the Open House I am having with some of my friends. Then on to the morning tomorrow where I have to awake early to go buy my cap and gown and then in the middle of two hours of people marching across a stage, I too, will be allowed my turn to march across that stage. Oh, joy. If my grandparents were not coming, I would not be doing the whole hullaballoo. But, alas, to bless them, to make them happy, I would do many things.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The English Teacher's Dream?

There is a website called There is a link in my list of links below. Here is one I found personally entertaining.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A New Experience

Saturday morning I went to my first college party with alcohol as a main source of entertainment. I thought I had escaped this pinnacle of college existence because there is only one week left before I graduate. I went to the champagne breakfast for English majors and after only fifteen minutes, one girl was on her fourth glass of champagne and there was no sign of slowing. Near that time several of the English professors started taking shots of some strange Chinese liquor out on the porch. About half the company was also slightly groggy and maybe hung over from the celebrations the previous night for Cinco de Mayo.

And yet, I did have a good time. I was slightly entertained by my fellow graduating English majors who are strange enough on their own merit, but it was only enhanced by the little bit of alcohol. Even more interesting however, was gettin asked several dozen times what I was going to do with my absolutely worthless English degree. And surprisingly enough I and another guy who is doing missions were almost the only ones who had set plans. Not only that, but my plans opened up multiple oportunities to share my heart for God and what He had done in my life. I actually ended up sharing my whole testimony with one of my professors. Wow, that was freaky.

All in His Hands.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Truly “Born Again”

I know that almost everyone who has spent time with young children has been blessed by their fresh perspective. They notice things that we, as adults, take for granted. The sky is blue, the daffodils are yellow, and a myriad of other things are said that we know, but we do not think of. These are beautiful reminders, because realizing that the sky is blue is a beautiful thing. It is so encouraging to be reminded of these simple things because they are simple and wonderful.

Being around someone who is a baby Christian can make you experience the same kind of encouragement. It is almost like God knew what he was doing when he said we would be “born again.” It is such a blessing to reminded of those basic and beautiful things about God. So often we have begun to walk with God and have found it become normal, which it ought to be normal. But we forget that awe we had at discovering God’s goodness. We forget the first time we heard that God is our lover. We forget his death, burial, and resurrection. We forget how that simple, beautiful, and very strange story transformed our lives and our priorities.

By far that has been the most awesome thing. Watching someone grow in a relationship with God. It is like some sort of addictive drug. There is so much joy wrapped up in seeing a person stop feeling mean, beginning to understand what it means to love, figure out priorities, be excited about connecting with other believers, having conversations that are spontaneously and sincerely spiritual. The list goes on and on. And these are the kinds of thing I have stopped noticing and have become so accustomed to that I don’t revel in them the way a new Christian does.

I can’t wait to see more people hear the message that Christ came that we might “have life and have it to the full.” Life in a person who did not have it before is one of the most exciting and beautiful things I think I have ever come across. I saw it in Japan and here in the U.S. And every time it happens I wonder how on earth I had forgotten the glory of it all and God’s transforming power in the life of a person.

My Ever Present Help

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
For God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Grand Attempt

As I have been sitting here in my very favorite coffee shop, I have been distracted by many things as I try not to try not to write my very large paper that is due tomorrow. These are just a few of my distractions:

1. The idea that just as people leave their legal cares in the hands of their lawyers and stop worrying about them (making the legal advisor the one who worries) we ought to "cast our cares upon the Lord."

2. The idea that when God tells us that he will take care of all of our clothing needs, it means he will provide the clothing for wherever he calls us, not just our own cultural needs.

3. The joy of children's giggles.

4. The smell of permanent black marker wafting from the upstairs where there are many boxes of books on their way to being shipped.

5. This blog.

6. The meeting that I have at 6:00... or is it at 6:30?

7. The other meeting at 8:00.

8. The other paper which I have to print off.

9. All the sources I used for this paper that I am avoiding and for which I must write a bibliography.

10. The neat books all over the walls in here.

In fact, the more I think about what I have been distracted by, the more I am distracted and the more I think about other things that I could be distracted by. Scary!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Hemp Fest

Every spring there is as festival called Hemp Fest and I have gone to every year, being a native of this town. For some odd reason it makes me happy. I don't smoke marijuana and I don't buy tie-dye, but I feel giddy every time I go there. The beads and glass are pretty and the people are wierd. They all dress in all natural hemp, cotton and natural dyes. People wear lei's made of plastic marijuana leaves and talk about all the things that hemp was used for. There are two large busses that come every year. Pink Floyd and the double-decker purple one.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I am a Laptop.

I recently acquired a laptop through the generosity of my grandparents for my University graduation. And something in my behavior has intrigued me. I am very protective. I know how much this is worth and how much of a benefit it is to me and what I need to do. It is a great blessing. I am so carful about not leaving it places it will get hurt or stolen. I know its worth to me. It reminded me of a verse from the Bible.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you." Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?"–Hebrews 13:5-6 RSV (my bolding)

And the part that really stuck out to me is that part about God never leaving us. He values us (obviously more than I value my computer) in such a way that he will never leave us just laying around. And unlike me, who could accidentally do something stupid and lose my laptop, God is not careless enough to forget where he put me or leave me on the sidewalk. God will pay attention to what I need and protect me, in a like manner to the way I take care of my laptop. I only had to pay money to get my laptop, money I didn’t even earn. Christ paid his life for us and he promises not to leave us or be careless. That is something we can put faith in.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Are you weak? Weary? Confused? Troubled? Pressured?
How is your relationship with God? Is it held in its place of priority?
I believe the greater the pressure,
the greater your need for time alone with Him.
Kay Arthur

I was talking with a friend yesterday about how she was stressed and somehow when we are stressed we do the opposite thing of what we should do, which is draw near to God. Somehow it seems that what we need most is more time in the Word and more time talking with God, but instead we spend less time with our dearest Friend.

I was reminded of another thing I was told the day before that. When riding a horse (so I am told) the signals to go faster is to lean forward and squeeze tighter. To slow down lean back and relax. Now, when a horse starts going faster of its own accord, an untrained rider's first reaction is to grip on and lean over. I can fully understand that thought! But instead that is the opposite of what needs to happen. That will only make the horse go faster.

What hope is there, then? We need to train ourselved to react to trouble and stress in the right way. Just the same way a rider trains himself to respond to the horse and control the horse, we need to train ourselves to turn to God in stress. That means realizing where you are and choosing to make the right choice even when it doesn't come as your first response. The rider in training has to make a concious choice to not grip onto the horse in contrast to the rising panic that says "hold on!" Seek and find. Knock and it will be opened. Ask and it will be given. Train and receive.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Weapon of Prayer by Amy Carmichael

"Oh, Amma! Amma! Do not pray! Your prayers are, troubling me!" We all looked up in astonishment. We had just had our Band Prayer Meeting, when a woman came rushing into the room and began to exclaim like this. She was the mother of one of our girls, of whom I told you once before. She is still in the Terrible's den. Now the mother (A devout Hindu) was all excitement and poured out a curious story.

"When you went away last year I prayed. I prayed and prayed, and prayed again to my god to dispel your work. My daughter's heart was impressed with your words. I cried to my god to wash the words out. Has he washed them out? Oh no! And I prayed for a bridegroom for my daughter, and one came; and the cart was ready to take her away, and a hindrance occurred; the marriage fell through. And I wept till my eyes well-nigh dissolved. And again another bridegroom came, and again an obstacle occurred. And yet again did a bridegroom come, and yet again an obstacle; and I cannot get my daughter married, and the neighbors mock, and my Caste is disgraced" - and the poor old mother cried, just sobbed in her shame and confusion of face. "Then I went to my god again and said, 'What more can I offer you? Have I not given you all I have? And you reject my prayer!' Then in a dream my (demon) god appeared, and he said, 'Tell the Christians not to pray, I can do nothing against their prayers. Their prayers are hindering me!' And so, I beseech you, stop your prayers for fourteen days - only fourteen days - till I get my daughter married !" "And after she is married?" We asked. "Oh, then she may freely follow your God! I will hinder her no more!" Poor old mother! All lies are allowed where such things are concerned. We knew the proposed bridegroom came from a place three hundred miles away, and the idea was to carry the poor girl off by force as soon as she was married. We have been praying night and day to God to hinder this. And He is hindering!

Reference used - "Things As They Are" by Amy Carmichael

Monday, April 10, 2006

God Wants Lovers

"You will, I believe and trust, become more and more in love with a crucified Savior. He wants lovers. Oh how tepid is the love of so many who call themselves by His name. How tepid our own--my own--in comparison with the lava fires of His eternal love. I pray that you may be an ardent lover, the kind of lover who sets others on fire."

Amy Carmichael--"Candles in the Dark"

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Amy Carmichael once wrote that God was asking her new questions: "May I deal with every shred of your reputation just I choose, and will you be silent? Are you willing to obey in everything, every time, everywhere?" This same question He asks of me. My reputation, it is a thing I hold precious. Most people admire me and like me, if only from a distance. I am not known as a flirt or chaser of boys. These things I hold as part of my identity. But my identity should not sway with public opinion or even my family's opionion. I know that there are doubts on their part and a few others about whether I am completely sane or wise. Perhaps I should not trust the omnipotent Most High God as much as I do? Is the Lord's arm too short? (Numbers 11)

I loved the great encouragement I received from a friend when the issue of my future safety came up. He said, "There is nowhere saver than in the center of God's will." He was right. I am safer in God's will in "dangerous" country than out of God's will in a "safe" one. "What matter the beating wind and tossing billow if only we are in the boat with Thee?" I will not let the words of doubt defeat me, nor will I lose heart. My God is my rock and my strong foundation. All that matters is how He knows me.

January 2006

Oh Yeah!

In an attempt to do everything to the glory of God I have decided to procrastinate to the best of my ability. (Does that count?) Anyway, the homework is only homework, and I could fail all but four credits and graduate with a decent GPA.

I talked to some people with the group I am going to work with and they have a place for me to live in the fall and so I am going to get to go and I won't have to wait until spring and I am so excited! I am so thrilled that that last sentence was rather run-on. Scary! Next week I will get the budget written out for me and the subjects I will teach. Through all that I will get my support letter figured out and mail it to every person I know. I will spend June in Nashville and then be back here in Idaho for my friend's wedding (I'm in it.) in July. Then off to the Middle East! Wow. Wow. Wow. I can hardly believe it!

Please pray for my sanity, my support raising, and all the women I will leave behind (that they will have counselors to come and take my place). Also, my mom is starting to get nervous the more real and more soon this whole move is going to take place.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A new posting...

I keep telling myself that I have to write a new post, but I don't have any ideas to write about that are shallow and I don't have time to write about anything deep. I have spent my time working, talking, studying, reading, having people over for dinner, teaching, setting up a new e-mail account, writing a support letter, and suffering from the time change. My biggest frustrations with lack of time (although it isn't that I haven't been enjoying myself) are that I don't have time to study Kurdish and I don't have as much time as I would like to pray. There are so many women I pray for and I feel like I ought to give them so much more than I do. And combine all this with a bursting enthusiasm for graduation, ministry, and all the amazing things God has been teaching through His word and my studies of Eastern culture. Wow...

Friday, March 31, 2006

From Blue-Eyed Stranger

"But I will defend kissing. Fiercely. I will also defend fierce kissing."

The picture that goes with this is umm... I don't know, it makes me smile.It also makes me think of my roommate Katie... but that is story that probably has nothing to do with what you are imagining it does.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Having Gone to a Talk to get Extra Credit for Class...

I have always been a sucker for extra credit. There is always that lurking hope that if I do extra credit now, then I have the ability and licence to slack off later. My overacheiver fights my lazier side and I do the extra work so that I can feel better about my general procrastinations. Anyway, this chance was too good to pass up as I could write one paper and turn it in to two different teachers and get extra credit in both classes. And, I had read a book by this guy and actually enjoyed it. Anyway, here follows my take on the talk.

I am in a room with many many people. The sound of clapping is even and strong like the echoes of a steady hail in the metal gymnasium from high school. People stand at the edges of the room filled to the full extent of the fire code. Every seat is full, except one I see up near the front next to a lady who must be saving it for someone. But although these people are far more exciting than the long list of people being recognized for their participation in this symposium, they are not the focus of the evening. No, we are discussing the world's population and resources and collapse.

The speaker, Dr. Jared Diamond, sits at the edge of the stage. His introducer claims Dr. Diamond's fame and acheivements, which I don't doubt. But I wonder if this smiling bearded man, who is still yet a man, can really be worth so much as the seemingly incredible fee and enormous hype. If we ever get to hear him, perhaps I will have a chance to decide. Is this man's mind so truly brilliant? I read a book by him, and it was good. It addressed the broad picture of the world which was fascinating. But he is yet a man. His record is that of a man. He has been blessed by God, certainly, with intellect, intelligence, and witty journal and book titles. Since he has published so many it is good that they are witty. His work "will stand for at least thirty years" the introducer says. Great, I say. But is thirty years enough? I want to have an impact that affects hundreds of years from now, even eternity. I don't care if they remember my name so much as my God is instilled in their hearts and they learn His love. I want to fellowship with them in eternity. I wonder if Dr. Diamond will be "forever".

He begins well, connecting to his audience with fluid speech, uncluttered with fillers like "umm" and "uhh". His brown suit fits his academic persona. He speaks of collapse. It began as a love for the romantic mysteries of failed civilizations. He, along with humanity, is captured by the stories of grand peoples of the past and their clouded demise. We are a species of storytellers and storylovers.

With the collapse there is paired the hope of some success stories and both have lessons to teach the growing global world. Human impact on the world's environment, continuous global climate change, enemies, friends, and internal social framework all play integral parts in the courses of nations. These will be the reasons a civilization collapses. Determining which one was the actual cause could be difficult, nearly impossible, but that doesn't mean that there are not still lessons to be learned.
Dr. Diamond goes through a series of peoples: some failures, some successes. Easter Island was deforested which led to starvation, war, and cannibalism. The island has ironic name for such a death. Easter is a time of rebirth and resurrection. Japan and the Takegawa Era properly cared for their environment and balanced their use and production and have survived without collapse. Environment has importance in the survival of nations.

The world's population is still expanding. Many elites and even the United States are isolated from several of the world's largest problems. A country's collapse in the global world today would not be an isolated event, it would affect the world, especially if it were a large and powerful country. Dr. Diamond has hope however, despite the facts that there are more and more people and more and more destructive technologies, there is the hope that we can learn from past societies and from societies around the world today. We can learn to avoid collapse. Education is the solution. It reminds me of the push for public schools in American history and how for so many, for so long, education was seen as the solution for morality. If people only learned what was nice and what wasn't nice they would do good. But not only is that not enough, it doesn't even work.

Dr. Diamond brings up the Core Values of consumerism and isolationism and how they won't work in our global society. He brought up the fact that we need to invest ourselves in countries for long term. It brought to mind work in Iraq. Then he mentioned Iraq. That country haunts me like a strange smell: alluring, terrifying, beautiful, captivating, and so many other things.

In answering questions, he is smooth, tactful, vague, the essential patriotic with the message to vote. It is all very nice, even pleasant to everyone. And yet, one wonders if there isn't something grander in the world than a simple striving to save the planet. What are we saving the planet for? It is no surprise to me that the world will end someday, but it is not my intention to destroy the planet for my own diabolical plans. Instead, there should be something more, a purpose hidden somewhere in all that agenda.

And then he ends, far too early, far to short, having skimmed the surface of subjects that must be far deeper and far more interesting than the superficial overview in his presentation. What was that for? Why come for a slight taste and overview when there is so much more grander and deeper in his mind that was left untouched? I wish he had spoken more fully or deeper or more somehow. I am left with the frustration of having been told something I felt I knew already but that there still resides something more that I don't know, which he didn't talk about, but could have. Ahh, the grief of lost potential.

His talk was too short. His talk was too superficial. I have not yet decided if the above text will actually be the text I turn in to my teachers. However, I did get to see some of my friends, and yes, I will get extra credit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Be Counted Worthy

Lately I have been thinking about worth. As humans we see worth in a completely different way than God does. As Americans we see worth as something different than the way most of the world does. Americans want the most gain for as little work as possible, even if that gain is not absolutely needed. And anything that requires a lot of work can obviously be done without—because, after all, who wants to do the work?

But God was willing to die for a rebellious and sinful world. We were not “worth” the price. His value far outweighs the value of the people he died to save, you and me.

But through his death he gave us the power “to life a life worthy of the calling you received.” (Eph 4:1) How is this done? “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

When we approach things in life how do we decide if something is “worth” the effort? Is our value system intrinsically flawed? We want and expect results that match our effort and we want them close after that effort. But really most of life doesn’t work this way, and I am convinced that God’s kingdom doesn’t work this way either. He does things in a sort of upside-down and backwards way than we most often expect. He picks the younger son. He spends time with the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years as the high-level official’s daughter died. He eats with the poor and the rich, and allowing the prostitute to wipe his feet with her hair during a dinner with a prominent Pharisee. He picked his disciples, not from the elite scholars, as was the custom for rabbis, but from the working classes, men who fished and collected taxes and sweated for their food.

Are we willing to work for those results we cannot see? What if we don’t even know if they exist? Are we willing to work and put effort into something that we cannot readily see the worth? Do we base our worth on visible results? (“Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.” Job 28:13)

God bases our worth on what he was willing to pay for us—which is a lot, his son’s life. We too should base our worth on that same thing. Are we willing to trust God for the worth of the work he asks us to do here on earth even if we can’t see the results of our labor? Even if others question the worth of our labor? We ought to trust him even at the cost of our reputation among others. We ought to trust him even when we can’t see the effect of long hours or even years of work and prayer. Maybe here on earth we won’t see the fruit. But there is always heaven.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Break!

Hello! :) Smile! It is Spring Break!

Isn't that shallow of us?

We will smile because of something so regular (and yes a blessing) like Spring Break, but we live every day of
our lives, so often not smiling even though our lover died for us. And then, even then, we don't have to live in
grief, because HE rose from the dead and conquered all that holds us in bondage.

As I read about so many of our sisters in bondage in countries all over the world, and even here in this country,
I am cut to the core. This is a bondage to fear, to grief, to lonlieness. Their concerns are the same as ours:
family, guys, money, self-image; except they have no hope of victory.

And here we are, with victory assured and we do not smile and share that victory with others.

Please pray for joy among the believers, both men and women, and pray that God will do great things among
the hearts of women and men overseas. God's heart yearns for them.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So I realize it has been a while...

I realized that it has been a long time since I actually wrote anything for this blog. My business has been hard but so much fun. So, an update for anyone keeping track: I went to Nashville this past weekend and met an amazing group of people. They were people who made me feel young and inexperienced which was humbling, but at the same time so awesome because I feel like I can learn a lot from them. They have incredible patience and kind and generous hearts. They know the difficulties and that God is the only real reward. I was so blessed and encouraged and I have so enjoyed telling people what I learned while I was over there. I even had a chance to talk to some Christians on the airplanes and one guy named Trevor who works with the Gideons was a great blessing. For those of you that pray... I would appreciate prayer concerning the timing of things and that we could find some other women who have a heart to teach and love on women and kids. I do not want to be alone, but I will go alone if that is what God has for me. He has promised not to leave me desolate. In truth I am never alone.

The people of Kurdistan have grown on my heart since I first heard some people speak about the teaching work going on there in November. The teachers at the schools I would teach at are young single women who have not been taught in the way they are being taught to do now. There are lots of kids there and the school will only continue to grow as it adds a grade each year. I am so excited to have a hand in whatever God wants me to do and feel so blessed that I will get to have a part in the beginning of this rising nation. These kids will make all the difference in their country.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Singled Out for Good

Stolen from Deborah's blog's link to skycowbooks? Anyway, this is an awesome article for single women or anyone else I suppose. I agree with a lot of her points.

check it out!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Poem I was Reminded of from Deborah's Blog


Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above?
A woman's heart, and a woman's life--
And a woman's wonderful love.

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win
With the reckless dash of a boy.

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart be as true as God's stars
And as pure as His heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing;
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts---
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did on the first
And say: "It is very good."

I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From this soft young cheeck one day;
Will you love me then, 'mid the falling leaves
As you did 'mong the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.

~Lena Lathrop

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I wish I could write poetry like this!

G.K. Chesterton

There has fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is split on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all-
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.

Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate-
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Monday, February 20, 2006

“Poets do not go mad; but chess players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite."

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits. - G.K. Chesterton

Therse are some of my favorite quotes from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. One of the reasons I like them so much is that they apply to my life so well. I have grown up in a terrible war between reason and emotion. I have been raised both at home and at school with a mind towards the rational. After all, people make stupid decisions based on emotions. But God is an emotional God and a mystical God. Life that is purely rational may not have great grief, but neither will it have great joy. In fact, great grief might result in the longing for that joy. Rationality and analysis are a great way to kill emotion, a great way to eradicate feelings or to protect onself from feeling. But I don't want to live that way. I want to feel; I do feel. Being female, I am essentially emotional, because God made me that way. I am tired of thinking that I ought not be be passionate about anything. I must walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is mystical.

So that is a short summary of the topic of my mind, and heart.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Early in spring I see snow-drop flowers perking up through the damp earth, and there is the smell of little boys and girls playing in the mud, shrieking with laughter and hilarity, then, stepping inside, a careful washing of the hands and toning of the voice, a hushed honor and respect for the jewels and treasures, the thrill of a childhood love for reading.

The leafy maple leaves dance greenly in the summer sunshine, skipping with me on the way to the summer’s greatest joy, the time to ponder and play with friends from foreign lands and adventures too dangerous for your mother to let you go on in real life, sitting in the warm glow and grass on the library lawn or benches.

Swish, swoosh, crackle! A step, a hop, just to see how many you can step on to hear their autumn sounds and release those sweet smells that only come from the delicious crunching of leaves. This is a perfect time to walk and read and discover the mysteries of things you never knew and never imagined, back and forth from my house to the library as often as I can.

Briskly stepping, each print left behind in a row with others and then the warm room full of impossible choices, I must chose the right one, the perfect book for a long dark evening snuggled at home with fleece and earl grey tea with sugar, barred against the cold and beautiful snow with places to go, old stories to revisit, all held in the dear and precious friends we call books, held for us in a house of prized warmth, smells, and memories.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Only mildly related to Valentines Day.

When asked whether Judge Judy helped the public in understanding the judicial system, Don Burnett, a Dean at the UI, replied saying, "Judge Judy is as about as much help as a Valentine is help for a surgeon performing heart surgery."

I thought that was just so funny. :D
Oh God! I am waiting
Waiting for the words, the plan!
You brought her to me
Why me? My talent so untried.
My heart aches with love.
She doesn't know love
Any love, Your love.
How can I help her?
What can I say?
How do I love a hard heart?
But as You brought water
Fromt he rock in the desert
So have you brought tears
From her face of stone.
She is Your's, not mine.
I leave her to You
Perhaps the soil's softer for the tears
How shall it be fertile?
Plant Your seed in her heart
For mine is full of anguish
I look at her wan face
I see how much she needs
Only you can satisfy
Mix her tears with living water.
Drench the desert of her soul.
Plow the ground, break the surface
The layers of brick she has become
Pierce her with Your Light.
Warm her with Your Love.
And make her grow.
And have her bloom.
Can this be the plan?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Stolen from the blog of the beautiful Ashleigh

It permeates to the shallowest of us. The Sorority Girl submits herself to the Frat Boys, to be ranked and valued based on income, loudness, alchohol tolerance, breast size and bone structure. She worships sex and money. Sex + Money = Cool. She sees herself as being above the vassals of academia, the serfs of hobbies, and above all, those who don't dress well.

The Computer Science Major subits himself to the awesome authority of Knowledge. Oh, he doesn't know C ++ ? Cretan scum. The CS Major is above those who only know HTML or how to screw in a lightbulb, and below Bill Gates.

The average Adult is more interesting. He enrolls himself in the service of an abstract virtue, like Diligence (which often translates to Greed), Kindness (which can be good and altruistic, but often dissolves into self-help advice for people who don't want it) or Love (Lust.)He puts above himself the people he knows who have accomplished more for said virtue than he has, and is usually benevolent to those who seek the same path as he does. For those who chase a different virtue, he ranks as undeniably lower. "Sure, he's a good person, but he doesn't understand the importance of Environmentalism" . He gives them the freedom of their own sub-taxonomy, but also bestows upon them a libelous label, like "Republican."

I asked Grant what his hierarchy was, according to our new Movement. He said he's below Love (he means it like Charitos) and Emotion. He doesn't see anyone as below him, just as in entirely different, separate hierarchies that he doesn't have to bother with. I noticed that he placed himself at the bottom of his own heirarchy, and called him a Russian Peasant.Grant threw the question back at me, and I am a slave to Christ, to His Charitos, and to Knowing People. The ones I outrank are the ones who refuse to enjoy themselves. The ones who write techno but don't dance to it, who fix cars but don't take road trips, the ones who camp in the desert and whine about sunburn instead of smelling the sage. I want to stuff rose petals in their mouths, rain meteors on them, do ANYTHING to show them how much beauty Christ has spent on us. Isn't it BEAUTIFUL that He gave us a shimmering sunset, even though most of the people in this town were too busy to notice, and though lots of of the people who did notice don't even know it's from Him? Isn't it Beautiful, just devastatingly BEAUTIFUL that He died for us, whether we like it or not?

I had never realized before how integral Love is to Beauty and Playfulness.


Bloggers Nemesis

It is ironic in some ways but as a amateur blogger my nemesis is my blog. I use my own blog as well as other people's blogs as a way to put off doing things that I really ought to do. Procrastination has become a fine art with this online world of friends and facinations. For example, right now, as I type these very words, I ought to be typing the words to an English paper on the gender issue in late 1800's American literature. So, it isn't that I don't want to be writing. Nor is it that I didn't enjoy the stories we read. I just don't want to do my homework. I struggle with this idea with my students and have yet to discover just how to conquer it. I want them to enjoy what they read in school the same way I enjoyed things when I read them out of school. I want them to enjoy writing for class the same way I enjoy writing not for class. I have not been able to make myself that way, so trying to make my students that way is proving difficult. However, I would like to boast that four of my students actually enjoyed Moby Dick this year. That is a feat in itself. Anyway, I am going to go be a disciplined student and type my paper; well, actually, that is unless something else distracts me first... like those blogs on the side of my page... they are some good ones!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Training for service

The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things, not great things tat can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, sill little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding one scrap. Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.
Amy Carmichael (Candles in the Dark)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Yet Another Day

The weather here in the Northwest has been absolutely fantabulous. We have had warm sunny mornings and the air is fresh and clean smelling. There is something almost intoxicating about melted snow running down in rivers in the sunshine. There is the smell of little children playing in the mud. There is the way all the ground seems alive and growing...almost. The promise of spring is suspended all around. Yes, I know this is premature for up here. It is merely a foretaste of things to come. We will probably even get another snow. But it is delightful and exhilarating while it lasts.

Sometimes I get these glimpses of other things to come as well. Glimpses of the joys of heaven where all who have called on God sing together in a harmony of tongues and colors. That too is something to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I walked past a truck and its exhaust smelled just like Elmer's Glue. You know, the kind that is white and runny and that you use to stick glitter and macaroni onto paper as a kid. The Elmer's Glue smell, however, sparked a different memory in me. There was a boy from India in my fifth grade class. Actually he was there through all of elementary and junior high school. He used to write WACKA WACKA on the desks and chairs. Anyway, in fifth grade he used to eat Elmer's Glue. I think he even put it on a donut once. He was a wierd one--but most boys are at least a little wierd. I foudn out a couple of years ago that he ended up at Georgia Tech in the same dorm as one of my other classmates. Coming from Idaho, that is an amazing coincidence. I probably wouldn't recognize him if I met him and I don't know if we would have anything to talk about. But he remains in my memory with a vividity that I wish I could have for my school lessons from the day before. He is so firmly there that, after years of not having him cross my mind, he can spring into it on an idle Wednesday where I happen to walk past a truck with exhaust that smell like Elmer's Glue.