Friday, April 29, 2011

The Storm

I've been thinking. This is a problem. My brain can get ahead of itself. I have so many words, thoughts, ideas, concepts running through my head. The connections between them are lightning... fast, bright, crackling and sparkling. A moment after I can't really see them anymore but the imprint is burned into my retina and a shadow still remains.

I'd like to draw out a bubble chart as the Bible, One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp), Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (by N.D. Wilson), and the Odyssey all collide in this tornado . I read Rasselas (by Samuel Johnson) next with my students and I know that that will only add force to whipping wind that swirls in my head.

At moments it's just confusion, at other times I've been drenched in the rain of revelation, where things suddenly make sense... a word or phrase fills me with understanding and sinks in deep, I'm wet through with it.

I am in a good place. It's hard place. But my God has given it to me and he only gives good gifts. Sometimes my favorite gifts are the thunderstorms.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Thoughts

"What Have I Got to Do with Easter?!"

It's amazing how we use hard-boiled eggs to represent life and resurrection for Easter. I've never quite caught the vision for the parallel. It has always seemed an image pushed too hard, an attempt at Christianizing a symbol taken too far. After all, hard-boiled eggs? Really? Whatever might have grown in there is dead. Really.

It wasn't until I actually got chicks that this idea began to make sense. I've been researching about chicks and chickens a lot lately. I don't know if mine will be hens or roosters; I don't even know really how old they are. I looked at photos and drawings of the various stages of growth and gender traits. This is where I found "candling". This is how breeders tell if an egg is fertilized or not, by whether various certain details show up in the egg when a bright light is shined through it.

And while I've always known eggs carried chicks, I caught some of the enthusiasm for the coming life that eggs can be anticipatory of. As I imagined my own chickens laying eggs some day and how each of them came from an egg of their own, I saw how an egg could be a symbol of life. It became more real to me. That said... I love Easter.

153. The propane truck's ice cream song warbled with the call to prayer-makes me laugh!
154. Life is not an emergency.
155. Watercoloring with Laurel and her painting of a yellow umbrella
156. Funny Boggle words
157. Beautiful bagels in the oven
158. Borrowed eggs
159. Meeting new people in my cleaning clothes
160. Sunbeams revealed through orange dusty air
161. The smell of rain and the sound of rain on a covered football stadium
162. An orange and yellow sunbeam quilt with the word "Hope"
163. A little girl with her head on daddy's shoulder and wrapped in his arms
164. A deep Scottish voice leading songs on Easter
165. Man in jili kurdi, with guitar and sunglasses... a traditional "rockstar"
166. Young charismatic Kurdish man preaches and is translated by conservative middle-aged reserved Scottish man
167. Christ is risen and gives us new life
168. The glint of sun off of jili kurdi pants, orange, white, pink, silver...
169. The seed of woman is not limited to biologically birthed children

Monday, April 18, 2011

When the head aches...

I step into the school building, a veritable flood of noisy children running and screaming in every direction, forming eddies around the pillars that hold up the swooping marble staircase. The whole place echoes, it wasn't made for any sort of quiet. The tile walls and floors bounce the sounds around over and over again, magnifying the effect on the ears.

Up the staircase and down the hallway, cliques of adolescent girls or boys gather like dust bunnies in corners or around trash bins. Their voices mingle with the crunch of chips, the smell of overcooked hot dogs, and the vision sunbeams showing in the dusty air.

Entering the classroom with no doorknob, accidentally kicking an empty water bottle left on the floor, and piling my things on the empty student desk at the front of the classroom, I let out a sigh and smile at the students who are milling around the room. It's warm today, but not bright. The haze hides some of the sun, and the students have pasted pieces of paper to the windows to keep from being blinded on the sunnier days.

I smile, nod. Some rush past me with a mumbled phrase in Kurdish or English. Rubbing hard, I erase that morning's math lesson from the white board, the ink well soaked in and all over. In a few minutes, the bell will ring... a mass of students, half of them screaming, will rush toward their classrooms. Others will dawdle, waiting until the last minute to enter, pretending to throw away trash or that they were in the bathroom. And then, then, I'll quiet them, then I begin. Then it finally gets quiet enough for me to hear the pain throbbing in my head and I am filled with wonder.

142. That the headache comes on a day where I have very little lecturing to do.
143. A silky bright orange scarf
144. Boxes with gifts from friends and family
145. Little cheepers running towards me for breakfast
146. Starting thankfulness lists with my Muslim students... who knows...
147. The painting Pauli made for me
148. New cross-stitch colors to fill in missing spots
149. Laurel's willingness to take care of me
150. Water... that we can drink it and it tastes good!
151. Language lesson revelations... I finally understood the word for wash in the present tense!
152. Giving away books and stories of others who have given away books

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: On Distance

Ok... I know it's not Friday. Maybe next week I'll get it on the right day. But here goes...

Over at Gypsy Mama, there's the prompt to write for five minutes without worrying about whether or not everything is all perfect and correct. So... I thought it would be good for me to try. The prompt was "On Distance".

So, here goes!

On Distance

Rich Mullins has a song about how the “other side of the world is not so far away as I thought that it was…” and sometimes it feels true. I live on the other side of the world and my home is not on either side of the world and on both sides I have homes. What is distance when this is the case? How far away is heaven? Even 3 days of airports and airplanes can’t get me there. But it takes longer, a lifetime, and shorter, a moment of death.

That is the distance that seems the furthest and yet the end is coming sooner than it seems. And yet, some days I feel like I have come farther than I wanted to; I am ready to leap into heaven. Why do I feel this way when so many people I know cling to life like it is everything? I do not plan to leave friends and family, do not wish to make them sad, but to be truly home? What better thing can I think of? There is no home on earth for me. I yearn for it, while I make temporary homes here in one country or another.

I feel the foreignness more than most people I know, I think. I cannot delude myself into thinking that I belong here or where I grew up. I can taste my difference.

Monday, April 11, 2011


131. Our new table in our kitchen, the smell of wood and varnish

132. Boggle games with my sister and finding the words
league and malaise

133. Cooking fresh green beans

134. Learning new vocabulary

135. Cilantro and basil sprouts

136. The word
home cut out of an orange magazine page

137. Enthusiastic student speeches reveling in classical music

138. Fresh homemade bagels with my sister

139. This year's Starbuck's Tribute blend of coffee

140. Being able to listen to Christa Wells even though Amazon won't let me buy her music because I don't live in the U.S.

141. Sunsets caught with my new camera

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jeepers Cheepers?

This is Pecky.
This is Pushy.

I now have 4 chicks:two older ones, and two new little ones. Fortunately they are all getting along great. Now we just have to wait and see if they are hens or roosters.

These two are Twitch and Hermes.

Monday, April 04, 2011


121. My mom and sister flying half way around the world to visit me!

122. Lizzy's back!

123. New photo possibilities with a new camera... hopefully more to come... once I figure out how it works... =D

124. The sound of my sister waking up in the morning.

125. My mom making a whole pot of coffee in the morning.

126. Pecky and Pushy nesting in my sister's hair.

127. A tan sky about to pour rain

128. Sugarfree cinnamon gum

129. Waking myself up in the middle of the night speaking Kurdish

130. Ten copies of "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp to give away (soooo excited!)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Good Work...

There are some days where I enjoy nothing so much as housework. Today was one of those. I dread the pile of grading that awaits me. But cleaning my house for the arrival of a good friend, my mom, and my sister thrills me to my toes.

I have realized however, that my house looks a little ghetto. Nothing matches. I've been so blessed to inherit things from a wide variety of households (this means I actually have enough bedding, etc, to host people!), but it also means that none of it was bought with any thought for the other things in the room. Thus, coordinating colors or decorating themes are not even to be dreamed of. That combined with the style and patterns found in Middle Eastern items makes it even less cohesive than it might otherwise be.

Part of the amazement in this is that I don't normally notice these things anymore. I don't think about it again until I try to look at it with my mother's eyes. When I see how my sister (who's amazing decorative abilities have painted nearly every wall in her house) might see these places and items, I'm a little embarrassed. It's a good thing she's so nice!

But none of that makes it not worth it for them to come. I'm SOOOOO excited! =D