Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

It is the season where people tie a Christmas tree to the top of their cars and drive about each one with a giddy look on his face.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Which one of these things is not like the others!

My grandfather used to collect clocks. You had better carry your own timepiece with you in his house or you will never know what time it is! These are just a few The second to last one was dug out of an old barn in Norway!

Friday, November 19, 2010

First Snow (In Which I Take Pictures of Red Things)

I like the color red. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that some red livens up things and makes them look cheerful. Therefore, as I walked and took pictures, I only ended up taking pictures with something red in them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Snow's Early Arrival

My sister has decided that she really wants something called a "wallflower" for the basement. It is an air freshener that works really well and she hopes that it will mask the rather potent smell of my brothers body spray. It smells great on him in person, but it should have a label warning against the choking fumes that fill the basement every morning.
Thus I have begun keeping tabs on sales and specials at Bath and Body Works where they sell these wallflowers. Today an advertisement popped up with the fragrance Snow Apple Mint. Now, generally I find fragrance names somewhat melodramatic. Nothing like the difference between "Exotic Coconut" and "Creamy Coconut" to make you give up entirely. Or how about "Moonlight Path"? What is that supposed to smell like? Whatever the case, I can usually come up with the idea that that thing or situation would smell like something. But Snow? Snow doesn't smell... Sure, other things smell when you have snow. I associate the smell of snow with wood and sap because that was always on my snow gloves from having hauled firewood as a kid. But that is not typical.
I also object to the fragrance name because snow, apple and mint sound like a very strange combination. What are these people thinking?

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Universities gather people together in the same stage of life and experience (generally) and puts them all in the same bale. But afterward everyone is threshed and beaten. The grain of who each person is mixed in with people from other parts of the field. Some grew near the edge with the weeds. Others weren't fertilized the same. A few were near the path and barely escaped being eaten by the birds.

And while this metaphor breaks down at a certain point, I have come to realize that after some life is lived it is hard to find others at the same point in that growth. It is hard to build community when my life experience is so wildly different from most people I know. Getting to know people is hard and complicated.

I had a friend visit this week. One of my dearest friends, Katie lived with me for 2 years in the ME. She and I talked for hours and hours and hours. We never ran out of words before we ran out of energy for speaking. We didn't even just talk about our time in the ME. We know each other's hearts.

I have come to be so much more thankful for the friendships and community that God has given me over the last years. It wasn't always easy, no... but God provided kindred spirits and fellowship. He will do so again.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Berries on A St.

I never cease to be amazed at how God provides beautiful things for us everywhere if we are willing to open our eyes and see.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feeling Inspired

I don't feel inspired to write. But I was reading a blog today by a professional writer that said that she wrote everyday even when she didn't feel inspired. Lots of people go do their jobs when they don't feel like it. They have to... so also, she had to. I don't HAVE to, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't put in the effort to even try.

I'm working on learning how to do some things with my writing. I want to play with words, be poetic, make pictures and laugh. I want my words to somersault and back flip across people's minds.

So, I think.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Witch

He comes in every week to chat with me. He tells stories and laughs and laughs. He loves to play with word images and some of the ones that come out in our conversations are fascinating. He knows about Christians, occasionally quotes Bible verses, but doesn't really understand the heart of the gospel. But I think he's beginning to get curious.

The last couple of weeks we've been talking about light and sunsets and color. It all began with a discussion about my upcoming newsletter that I was writing.

Then today he told me that a group of Christians had a party in or near his front yard (not sure where exactly). And they glowed with light like we had been talking about. He enjoyed that light and basked in it in his living room rocking chair like someone who goes to California for vacation sun. But he can't live there, he said. He's too dark.

He does things like go to the Burning Man festival. They burn some huge statue or something. He admitted that that was a man-made fake, a counterfeit attempting to be real light. We discussed how its size is trying to make up for the lack of true light, that it is missing reality.

It made me think of the Israelites in the desert making a golden calf because although they had experienced God they wanted something earthly.

But he says he's too dark. God is showing him light.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What to do?

Do you know how old these 5 and 1/4 inch floppy disks are? Do you know how many people keep these things? Do you know anyone who has the capabilities of reading them?

Posted by Picasa

Work and Having Lost My Camera

Those are my excuses for it having been three weeks since I last posted. The first is a lame excuse since I don't actually work as much as I should. It was the second that really devastated me. Unfortunately for Mr. Procrastination who was getting fat and happy, I found my camera yesterday. Now I only have to go get photos of all the things I thought of taking pictures of for the blog... yeah.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,

Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;

But over its terrible edge there had slipped

A duke and full many a peasant.

So the people said something would have to be done,

But their projects did not at all tally;

Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff,”

Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,

For it spread through the neighboring city;

A fence may be useful or not, it is true,

But each heart became brimful of pity

For those who slipped over that dangerous cliff;

And the dwellers in highway and alley

Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,

But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is all right if you’re careful,” they said,

“And, if folks even slip and are dropping,

It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much,

As the shock down below when they’re stopping.”

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,

Quick forth would these rescuers sally

To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,

With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: “It’s a marvel to me

That people give far more attention

To repairing results than to stopping the cause,

When they’d much better aim at prevention.

Let us stop at its source all this mischief,” cried he,

“Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;

If the cliff we will fence we might almost dispense

With the ambulance down in the valley.”

“Oh, he’s a fanatic,” the others rejoined,

“Dispense with the ambulance? Never!

He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could;

No! No! We’ll support them forever.

Aren’t we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?

And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?

Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,

While the ambulance works in the valley?”

But a sensible few, who are practical too,

Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;

They believe that prevention is better than cure,

And their party will soon be the stronger.

Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,

And while other philanthropists dally,

They will scorn all pretense and put up a stout fence

On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,

For the voice of true wisdom is calling,

“To rescue the fallen is good, but ‘tis best

To prevent other people from falling.”

Better close up the source of temptation and crime

Than deliver from dungeon or galley;

Better put a strong fence round the top of the cliff

Than an ambulance down in the valley.

--Joseph Malins

Monday, September 13, 2010

Flowers of Flame

I'm starting to notice a pattern here. Are you?

These seemed to become part of the sun...

As a teenager people told me I was all about Jesus and flowers. I remember feeling a bit miffed that they thought I could be so easily defined and put in a box. But if I were going to be "all about" only two things... these would be a good two.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pots of Sunshine

We painted these flower pots yellow.

The tomatoes were just sitting there on the windowsill.

And God made the sunshine!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More on Bright Colors

I covered some shoe boxes with pretty paper... cheaper than buying matching organizational supplies from the store and way more fun!

My walls are this bright orange color, which I really like with teal. =D

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bright Colors

I've decided that I really like bright colors. Growing up, I was always a pastels and neutrals kind of girl. And while I LOVE the white and pale blue kitchen at my home in the ME, I also like the colors that I recently painted my mother's kitchen here in the U.S. They were inspired, in part, by this Turkish bowl:

I really like the Turkish pottery you can find in Istanbul. It's all so bright and cheerful. And yellow is such a sunshiny color. As a child my color was yellow... yellow cup, yellow blanket, etc. But painting the kitchen yellow? Nope.

The walls and cupboards used to be off-white and the curtain a medium green color (before picture will come later). And now the walls are red... my mother calls it fire engine red. It really isn't the color we planned, it's brighter than the paint chip said it would be. But I'm okay with that! The curtain is gold yellow and we've just finished painting some little flower pots yellow to put some little herbs in on the window sill. White trim and some black accents also play a part in the room. My parents were also inspired to redo the flooring (which hasn't happened yet). It's going to be lovely when it is all finished. I'll post pictures of the project then.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Water Lilly Love

My brother is so amazing.

He brought us water lilies from the lake.

Aren't they beautiful!

Monday, July 26, 2010

All you need is a little light.

It's amazing how an ordinary vase of flowers, a broken chair, or a simple meal can be transformed by a little bit of sunlight streaming through a window. Suddenly it looks gourmet even though it was thrown together by three girls in a tiny kitchen with whatever they could find.
And it's beautiful.

How often would a little vision of the light of Christ transform our personal worlds from the ordinary to the extraordinary?
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Further adventures of the cockroach...

While visiting some friends Katie and I found another cockroach. She killed it with my shoe. Chacos could come up with a new advertising campaign... "Our shoes can kill cockroaches excellently!" Well, I'm sure that the people they pay to come up with slogans could do better than that, but the concept is there.

Back at the house other roommates put the cockroach spray to good use spraying one that showed up on Molly's bed. That's scary. In bathrooms is bad... but beds? This is too far. Maybe they get a point for that one?

Girls 4
Cockroaches 2

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Score

Girls 2
Cockroaches 2

Coming up with a good scoring system for the cockroach war is a bit difficult. As of right now, we have killed 2. That makes a pretty good score. But as we hardly expect any of them to kill us... Their score is made up of the number of them we have seen since last kill. I realize this probably isn't fair. Their score should be higher as there are probably more that we haven't seen lurking about under our cupboard and in the drain in our bathroom. But since that thought is a little unnerving we'll imagine that only 2 still survive in the toilet room.

Yesterday we decided we needed to increase our technological level as shoes were a bit hit and miss... maybe too much "miss". So Katie bought a large spray can of Roach Killer and it now lives on the back of our toilet, a monument to the genocide we plan to inflict. Living in the shadow of Saddam Hussein's era and the chemical warfare he choreographed has not prevented us from agreeing that there is a time and a place for such things. This should be much easier to employ than a shoe when sometime after midnight, one of us walks bleary eyed into the bathroom and switches on the light to find one of the unwanted guests scuttling across the floor. Look on this, ye roaches, and despair!

Previously our only method of attack was for about four of us girls to each grab a shoe and stand around the bathroom door on our tip-toes. Katie managed to stand on the toilet and cover the drain to cut off its way of escape. Then, we attacked. It ran, there was screaming, but by the end the cockroach was a small pile of brown slime. As I said however, that is not the preferred method.

I look forward to seeing the new chemicals in action. But the war has gone cold since the arrival of the new weapon. Have they gone into permanent hiding? Did they smell the scent of death? We are waiting to find out!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Great Honor

One of my students wrote a note thanking me for teaching him this year. He gave me one of the best compliments I've ever received. He said, "You taught me how to control my temper." Wow...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Clearing and Cleaning

So, the process begins to pack up to leave... but this time for a whole six months!

I just opened a bag full of my birthday cards and pictures drawn by my kids. I am thankful for each one.

  • The pink envelope that says "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YUO" and had Superman stickers holding it closed in the back.
  • The ones cut out in the shape of a heart with kisses and "I love you" written all over.
  • The ones that play music (very badly out of tune and with a high pitch) when you open them.
  • The good wishes, including the most popular "I hope all your wishes come true!"
  • The ones with lots and lots of glitter.
All have bad spelling, worse grammar... and yet... I'm having trouble throwing them away. I'm going to miss my kids.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yearbook Awkwardness

We finished the yearbook. Have you ever known 2 people to take on a project like that? It was ridiculous. I'll never do it again. Katie should never do it again. I saw the other side of midnight several times.

Now we laugh hysterically over nonsense. We're all sleep deprived. Kirsten is throwing popcorn at Molly. And we discuss European culture and breaking the awkward social barriers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Going to the Movies

So I found out today that I really was on the news the other night. My roommate and I, having come to see the opening of Prince of Persia, hadn't counted on the camera crews. We enjoyed the movie... but we're not sure about whether or not we like being celebrities just for being foreigners.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How I sound...

Has anyone ever told you that you sound like your doing well? An e-mail or short phone call... and somehow they think you must be in excellent spirits. Why do people say stuff like that? If they are wrong are you supposed to say, "No actually... life is rough right now, I'm just smiling to keep from making everyone else's lives just as bad." Not that my life is bad right now... I'm just curious about the comment, especially when it is applied to an e-mail. I guess I am sounding good right now... hmm... what is it that spurs people on to make that comment at some times and not others. What specific words or phrases make that come to mind. It is only a question.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Being Thankful

1. That I am not afraid of being stranded on the side of the road in Iraq. (Which is where I was on Saturday.)
2. That I found a bright yellow duplo in my purse that somehow got there from children's church.
3. That the house is quiet right now.
4. That while life is hard, and I'm sick all the time, there is no where else I'd rather be.
5. That our power switches over automatically and I don't have to flip any switches when it does.
6. That friends are coming into town this week and we need the outer society.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Don't begin by assuming you don't understand.

When I'm speaking another language I usually assume that if it doesn't make sense I must not be understanding correctly. So, when a taxi driver turned back and asked me how long my husband had been dead I got a bit confused.

"No, no... I don't have a husband," I protested. Unfortunately that didn't really help explain things.

"Where did he die? Here? America?" the taxi driver persisted.

"No, nothing. No husband; dead or alive..." I struggled to try to say something like this but I made him only more confused. Then he pointed to a ring on the ring finger of my right hand.

Oh. I laughed. "No, this is just to be pretty." He then told me that that wasn't a pretty place for a ring. I guess here if you wear a gold colored ring on that finger then it means you were widowed. Oops.

Another cultural lesson.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's dark.

I love rainy days. I love to curl up with a blanket and the wet cool smells and read a book. But reading books is hard when the lights go out. And if it is rainy with no electricity then it is also dark... which means it is very dark in the house which then tempts me to take a nap, which isn't the very best use of my time. Hmm....

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's old...

One of my housemates has a bed that broke the other night. Her bed has broken a few times over the past years. Tonight she told us that the bed was old. Poor bed. Then it was revealed that the bed was a whole six years old. How is that an old bed?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Adventures in the Classroom

Somehow, one of my kids got a hold of a Jesus action figure. If you press a button in his back he speaks random sentences from the Sermon on the Mount. He was the most muscly Jesus I have ever seen.

This is my inventor. This week he came up with a way to have 3 bottles of water all connected by straws. There was another straw that came up near his mouth so that he hardly had to move to take a drink. He's a genius. =)