Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Girls basketball here is a bit of an adventure. There is such a wide range of talents and most girls have never played any organized sport at all. Fortunately, this year I haven't seen that we have and girls that duck when the ball is thrown at them. We all work hard and we all have a lot of fun. That's what I realized from the pictures I took the other day. They have a great time.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Maps of Greece!

This is one of my most recent projects. I made two wall maps of Greece for the 3rd grade classrooms. I may make some more (of other maps!) because I enjoyed the project so much.  I'm still an elementary kid at heart. I've never gotten tired of coloring in the lines!

Monday, October 17, 2011

O Giver... of good gifts...

O Giver of good gifts... thank you for the abundant graciousness you flood me with.

But God... some gifts are hard to handle at first...
                   Sometimes too wonderful to behold and overwhelming with joy they spill over
                   Sometimes hard, aching, uncomfortable... 
                                 where all I want to do is                   
                                                                       crawl in a corner
                                                                                             and hide 
                                                                                                   because one of my greatest fears is...  
                                                                                                                                           being a burden.

And I... forgetting that God is the carrier of my burdens,
                                                                                                         press on in my pride, 
             forgetting the cross and finding only my fear, 
                                                                                                    shut my eyes to pain and joy alike.
But God... through all my foolishness, forgetfulness, blind fear and failures...

                                                                             Giving and giving the good, again and again.

463. Sunrise through red-orange zinnia petals
464. Slow mornings alone with papers and books
465. Coffee brewing smell
466. Laughing hard over dying rabbit calls
467. Sweet baby smell on my hands
468. Young people beginning their own lists 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Yes and the No

This morning I saw the sunbeams fan out from behind the mountains and kiss the clouds so that they blushed. And when I found this poem, it felt like maybe Cummings had seen it with me.

e.e. cummings poem

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

It is unusual for me to like a cummings poem this well because as a teacher of lots of kids who speak English as a second language, I struggle to read anything with such poor capitalization skills without marking it all up with red pen.

But this poem captures a lot. I like the end of the first stanza where it says, "which is yes"... everything which is yes... Isn't everything "yes" in Christ? And then paired with the middle of the third stanza, "the no of all nothing". Isn't that where the "no's" come from? Nothing. C.S. Lewis writes in the "Screwtape Letters" that nothing is very powerful and that many people are led astray by merely doing nothing.
"The Christians describe the Enemy as one "without whom Nothing is strong". And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man's best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off." ~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Letter #12
The battle against nothing is only hopeless to those who are without Screwtape's Enemy, God. But with God, we can have open ears and open eyes to see the great somethings that God has given us as gifts. How beautiful it is to see all the "yes's", to see all the birth, to see "the gay great happening illimitably earth".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Versatile? Really?

So, I was nominated for something! This has never happened to me before! I'm not sure what to do with it exactly. Fortunately for me, there are rules from a joyful mother, who nominated me. Thank you!

According to her, I have 2 responsibilities: writing 7 things about myself and tagging 15 blogs with this award. I hate feeling conned into these sorts of things. What if I don't visit 15 blogs? I'm not the really obsessive blogging world type. My face to face life is pretty important and a bit more attention needing than the blog world. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy blogs. But I am nowhere near a faithful follower of more than 6 or 7.

So first, 7 things about me.

1. I'm not sure that my blogging is versatile. I always think that a versatile piece of clothing is one that you can wear with lots of different outfits, or a versatile person is one who can perform a lot of different jobs. But what makes a versatile blog? One that you can read when you are in different moods? One that goes with your outfit? I don't know. Or wait... I suppose this actually means that I'm a versatile person who has a blog. Well... I don't know about that either. Now I'm confused.

2. My least favorite job may just be emptying the dishwasher. I don't know why. It only takes 5-10 minutes. How can I procrastinate so much on something that takes so little time? I admit that I'm ridiculous.

3. I really love coloring. I don't mean drawing... I can draw a few things ok, but nothing realistic. I like coloring inside the lines. I find it relaxing. In this same category I like cross stitching because it is so ruled and ordered and repetitive.

4. I've always been a little vain about my feet. In a family full of ugly feeted people, I have lovely feet. So, I try to take care of them well to keep them that way.

5. Pumpkins make me happy. EVERY YEAR! Not carved ones, just the ordinary orange shapes... and anything else fall-ish. I think Fall in America is my favorite season... followed closely by Winter in America and Spring in the Middle East.

6. Plants and animals also make me happy. Some people say that I take too much pleasure in taking care of things without souls. I disagree. Soul-less things are far less responsibility.

7. I like watching Star Trek re-runs. Next Generation is my favorite.

Now for the tagging. I won't manage 15. But I'm sure the blogging police won't chase me down and arrest me!

1. Dragonflies and Kingfishers
2. The Empty Nest
3. Blessed to Be a Blessing
4. Mariana
5. Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts
6. Dancing with Dragons
7. Timmyjimi

That's all for now!

Monday, October 10, 2011


You know, sometimes God asks us to give things up. They may even be good things. But I firmly believe that there is blessing in the sacrifice. I wouldn't sacrifice if I were my old self. But the old self is dead, and the decision to sacrifice came easily, although not without some sadness. I'm just waiting to see the amazing good that God brings out of it.

This week, Thankful for SO MANY THINGS!
442. A Surprise Wedding443. Time slowing with friends who are like family
444. Sunbreak joy
445. New dark brown bowls all smooth
446. The Yellow Tablecloth
447. Skype calls with old friends who use sports metaphors
448. 3rd grade portrait of myself
449. Braided playdough with marker spots that means love
450. Lanea and her learning to hug me from the front instead of sneaking up from the back all the time
451. Student eagerness to come to my home on a weekend
452. Sabbath day afternoon naps
453. Two wall maps of Greece for the classrooms
454. First sighting of fall pumpkins
455. Curried lentils
456. Sacrifice that God directs (because God will bring blessing!)
457. Student thankfulness lists
458. My teammate who is a noticeably more joyful and communicative person this year
459. Backrub machine on loan from a friend
460. A roommate willing to trade backrubs
461. Lunchtime conversations with students

Monday, October 03, 2011

Team Dinner

Every week we have dinner together as a team (those of us expat teachers at the school where I work). It's awesome. Tonight my housemate and I made breakfast for dinner: egg casserole, fruit salad, and muffins. We had a good time hanging out and fellowshipping together and got to hear about everyone's week and classes. There are so many wonderful things this week that I wasn't able to capture them all on my list, but here's a partial!

431. the smell of our fabric softener
432. Rereading a note from Ann Voskamp (I feel so blessed)
433. Molly making it back home
434. Morning time to be used well
435. Talking with Noor
436. Wall maps
437. BBC
438. Knowing people who make me feel safe
439. The first rain of the fall and the smell it makes in the dust (petrichor!)
440. Divine drawing of hearts
441. Sidesplitting stories