Sunday, December 21, 2008
When I was in Kenya she was about a year and a half old and she was HIV positive. On my last night in Kenya I was working with the infants (downstairs at the home) and noticed that the crawlers (Chrissy's group) were all being brought down to the nurses station for their medicine. Chrissy didn't come. I excused myself and raced up to see what was going on. The woman working, Eunice, told me she was waiting for me to take Chrissy since it was my last night. I had a bond with this kid.
Last week I got an email from a friend of mine who is working at this home in Kenya. It was an updated photo of Chrissy. She no longer lives at this home, but now is part of a home on a tea reservation that was started for kids who have not been adopted (the mission of the home I worked at where Chrissy was is that the kids are adopted prior to turning 2). Chrissy was not adopted.
My prayer for Chrissy is that she is happy and the picture above, a recent photo, shows me that she is. She touched my life forever and I will never forget her. If I have the chance to see her again you better believe I will. I hope I can even tell her someday, when she is older, how much of an impact she made on me.
To be honest Amalea reminds me a lot of Chrissy. They both are incredibly active - crawled early and walked early. They both love to laugh and have incredibly charismatic personalities. You can't help but smile when you are around them. They play hard and cuddle gently. Some may say this is how all children are, but a part of me believes that I was given a child so much like Chrissy as a gentle reminder to never forget the children who don't have a mommy and daddy to love on them like Amalea does.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The only bummer in all of this is that we only have 3 days built into our school year for closures. What that means is that 3 days don't have to be made up, but anything beyond that will have to be made up. So, instead of getting out June 11 I will now get out later for summer. Jim and I had planned to fly out in the morning on June 11 to attend high school graduation in California as Jim has a lot of former youth group students graduating so now it may just be him going and Ami and I meeting him later. We aren't really going to think about that just yet, but that is the one bummer.
The good thing is that I have loved having the extra time with Amalea and Jim. Both Jim and I had the whole week off since the classes he teaches were canceled too. We had a great week together relaxing as a family.
Today the next storm started and this one is supposed to be much worse. Roads are closed and even the airport is closed. Hopefully it will be open by Christmas because we fly out Thursday morning - the weather looks like by then it will be clearing up. Church is canceled tomorrow too so we will continue to play and have fun indoors.
I really do love snow!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It is really annoying when it is something bigger than a pair of jeans or shoes. For example, I made a decision to get a different car than the one we had. Now I wish I could return it, but of course that just doesn't happen.
Part of me knows I am just complaining and I have a problem in that I am always just a little dissatisfied with things. Maybe my real issue is that I need to be more content with what I have instead of always dreaming of something different.
I was making breakfast while Jim was sleeping in a little to recover from a crazy week he had teaching. The forecasts had said snow, but when I woke up I checked - nothing yet. As I was cooking I saw out of this out of the corner of my eye...This is looking out our back window. I grabbed Ami, ran upstairs, flung open the blinds, woke Jim up, and starting jumping up and down...yes, I love snow!
After we had a little something to eat we got all bundled up and headed outside to play in the snow. Amalea had so much fun playing and started to cry when we told her it was time to go back inside.The fun didn't stop inside though. We went out on Monday with our neighbors and ran a few errands together. While out we picked up a sled for the snow and Ami tested it out. Jim pulled her all around the house and she loved it.It's Tuesday now and I had another snow day. So, yesterday and today I didn't have to work. The weather calls for the temperatures to drop again tonight and maybe more snow Wednesday night. We'll see what happens. To be honest it was silly to me that the schools were closed today because the roads aren't too bad, but it seems like in Portland when it snows things shut down because people are so excited, which is fine by me.
P.S. Sorry, I don't know how to make those underlines go away. Lo siento
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"I have a kind of weird question to ask you"...
Today I was asked by a friend from work if I would be willing to come to her church sometime and basically critique it. Let me explain because I know that sounds weird. Basically the church she attends wants to know what a new person who didn't know anyone would experience when they walked into a service there. Would they be able to find the bathroom or the kids room? Would they be confused during the service about when or how things happen? I think it is actually kind of cool that they are looking at this. So, I plan to take my family and see what it is like.
Another question that started with the same statement...I was asked to help coordinate a wedding of a girl I work with. This actually happened back in October, but I never blogged about it. This girl whom I had never really talked to (besides introductions the first day) came in to my class one morning and asked for my help with her wedding. Apparently when I met her she said she had just gotten engaged and I replied by saying how much I loved weddings and how I had recently helped coordinate a few. So, I am helping with her wedding in March.
So, next time someone starts a conversation by saying "I have a kind of weird question to ask you", be curious because it could be anything.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tonight I gave her Tylenol before bed and we got Orajel for her teeth also. We'll see if those help. She is also starting to sleep with a night light. I admit my fingers and toes are all crossed tonight - we all need to get some rest.
The great thing is that tomorrow Jim and I are headed away for a night. This will be our first night with just the two of us since Amalea was born. The only other time we left her for the night was when we took 13 junior high students to Mexico - definitely not a "romantic" getaway. So...I am thrilled for this weekend. We'll be on the coast staying at a really cute little bed and breakfast we went to in June 2007. We plan to sleep, eat, sleep, maybe take a walk, sleep, eat, catch a movie, and sleep :-) Should be wonderful.
Also, for those of you concerned about our lack of time alone (Carolyn) we have found a few different people that have offered to babysit to give us a night out. We plan to take those people up on the offer soon.
Happy weekend to everyone and may we all find rest.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Two babies in 5 weeks - so fun. I wonder who will be next :-)
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
In the end I made one really close friend, but honestly that didn't happen until after I had lived there for about 3 years. It was really hard to leave my closest friend in Thousand Oaks because she taught me so much about how I truly did and do need friends that live in close proximity and how important it is to have girlfriends I can share ALL of me with (as sad as it is I have come to realize that even with some of my closest friends I do not share all of myself).
So, here I am now in a new town again and attempting to make friends. My approach is much different this time. To begin with I know I NEED to make girlfriends and I am not too proud to say that. Also, I am being totally me from the beginning and sharing the good and the bad right from the start. I am being real, being transparent, being vulnerable, being myself - and not trying to impress others. I am not judging people, but instead I am being positive and giving people more credit than I have in the past (just being honest with how bad of a person I can be).
I don't know what friendships will develop here in Portland, but I do know that in the short time I have been here I have already gotten to know some really amazing ladies and they are people I truly hope become close friends. I am thankful that I have learned from my many mistakes in Thousand Oaks and that I am making friends here.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now that we have begun to settle into life here in Portland we have developed a little routine with my work, Jim's work, and life with Ami. I love this. I love that I know when I go to work, when Jim goes to work, when and where I pick Amalea up and what to expect after I pick her up. I feel prepared and ready for the days because to some degree I know what to expect and this keeps me calm.
Now, I say all this and at the same time I do hope I can be more flexible and spontaneous, even in the every day happenings.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
One of the reasons I love Portland so much is that Fall actually exists here. Unlike Southern California that sees little change as one season passes to another, Portland trees transform the landscape and light up the skyline with intense and beautiful colors. It is awesome.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I think my husband is one of the most insightful people I know. He makes me think about tough things and he also makes me laugh so hard. He is the perfect balance of goofy and serious. We have been married almost 4 years and it has been one incredible adventure. Much has happened in those 4 years - we welcomed a child, we traveled and served in other countries, we invested in the lives of youth in Thousand Oaks, and of course we made a huge move recently. Jim recently posted on his blog about our move and I love his words. Many people have asked why we moved and for whatever reason that is a hard question for me to answer, but I think Jim does a great job explaining it from his perspective. So check out his blog and see what he has to say.
Monday, October 27, 2008
"As a parent the two most important things I want for my kids are for them to be happy and healthy. So when my daughter came to me and said she was the happiest she has ever been, that she has found someone she loved, then of course I was happy and excited for her. The only thing was, the love of her life was another woman. So I reacted like most other mothers would and I cried. This is not how I pictured her. The thoughts that ran through my mind were endless. I feared for her. I knew she would encounter many obstacles, that people who did not know her and know all her qualities would make unfavorable judgment of her, that her life would be so foreign and different from mine. It wasn't until I understood the depth of her unhappiness and her personal struggle to come to grips with her sexuality that I realized that she was hurting. She hid it well and sometimes even hid it from herself until she met someone who made her feel loved.
I tell you this because California has a proposition on the ballot that will affect not only her but other gay people who like her are extraordinary people who want the same rights and lives as married people. They have the same dreams as the rest of us have and they deserve the same joys and love that married people share. It is time that we open arms to everyone and dismiss our fears and treat people equally. I encourage you to vote No on Prop 8 so that all people have that chance of a happy and complete life with the one they love."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's funny how there are so many little things that go into making a move to a new city. Things such as finding a new doctor, dentist, hair stylist, etc. This week Jim and I both got our hair cut by a girl that we met at our community. We both walked away very happy with our new cuts. I decided to cut most of my hair off in the back because I wanted it to be easy and not take too much time. It ended up a lot shorter than what I had imagined in my head, however I love it. I guess that is why I am not the hair stylist and Joelle is. I don't look like a boy which was my fear after my last two times cutting it short (6th grade and 12th grade). She left it long in the front which helps keep the girl image going. Anyway, here are a few pics of my short hair and you can also see that Ami's hair is getting long. She has great curls which will be fun learning to tame since neither Jim nor I have curls.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Here is a picture of my wonderful birthday cake. My amazing husband and wonderful friend created this masterpiece. I was not allowed in the kitchen while they worked away and then when it was all finished we dove into the cake. It was my favorite - confetti cake with confetti frosting!
My birthday was extra special this year because I had an unexpected visitor. Jim and my dear friend from SoCal, Andy, planned for her to surprise me. Last Thursday Andy flew up to Portland (after being told by her doctor not to fly - what a great friend) and I had no idea at all. Even as Jim was "craving Panda Express" (which is near the airport) and wanting to go shopping for a few things (also at a store next to the airport) I had no idea. When he suggested we walk around a little after eating and shopping "because it was such a nice evening" I thought nothing of it. Even when he suggested we drive through the airport since we were so close I honestly had no thought that maybe we were picking someone up. As Jim pulled to the curb and I saw Andy standing there it still took me a good 20 seconds for it all to register and for me to believe that she was actually there.
I had so much fun having one of my closest friends here for the weekend. She is a friend that life feels so natural with and I didn't feel the need to entertain - we just relaxed, saw Portland, and had great conversations together.
I am so thankful to Jim and Andy for making my birthday extra special. And thank you to the rest of you who sent text messages, facebook comments, called, sent cards, and thought about me. I truly am blessed and felt loved as I celebrated my last 3 years until the big 30!!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I am also finishing up making some cards to be mailed out this week.
I guess I am doing better at making time for those things. I haven't gotten out my sewing machine yet, but once Christmas gets closer I am sure I will. I'll be making some budget Christmas gives on my sewing machine this year (so get excited, but also very nervous).
It feels good to finish a book and to get lost in it while I was reading. It feels good to create cards for others to enjoy. I'm happy to say my crafting days are dusting off the cobwebs and beginning again after a much too long break.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
First, I miss scrapbooking and sewing. I was never great and either one of those things, but it was something I enjoyed doing. I didn't start sewing until I was pregnant (after giving it up in high school), but I really liked it. Both sewing and scrapbooking were times when I would focus on the project before me and put everything else aside. For Amalea's birthday she got an incredible home made gift that really made me miss sewing. I often have project ideas in my head, but they rarely ever get made.
The other thing I really miss is reading. Reading is one of my biggest hobbies and I haven't read anything since August. That is a really long time for me. The pile of books I intend to read is growing as is my list of books to get at the library, but I am currently reading nothing.
I feel like I need to make time for these things again. I find myself often overwhelmed with all that is going on in life. I know I need to have more balance and I am sure if I did I would be a better parent and a better wife. I hate that I get frustrated with those around me when they have done nothing to deserve it. I am stressed and therefore incredibly crabby to people who don't deserve to have to deal with me.
I miss taking out a project and working until that feeling of being overwhelmed disappeared. Sure, it often came back after I finished, but that hour was blissful. I miss getting totally lost in a book and staying up way too late because I can't make myself put the book down.
I guess I've complained enough. I suppose my problem is my own fault. I mean I could have been reading or crafting instead of writing this blog to complain about the absence of those things.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
"I don't think being a teen is about what they make it: relationships, defiance, alcohol, drug use, partying, attitude, change in sexual preference and waiting to move out.
Sure, it involves that, sometimes, but it's about finding a few more pieces to the puzzle.
Sure, you'll do stupid stuff, but for your own reasons.
That's what they don't understand, when you make a bad decision it is your decision.
For your own reason.
So, in turn it also means experiencing shit that at the moment is so many emotions you want to scream, and cry, and hit, and run, and yell.
But yet also laugh, and joke, and play.
Strange, isn't it?"
Here are words from one of her friends:
"We've been duct taped into silence for our whole lives. No matter how much we struggled against the oppressive nature of our parents, our opinions were never heard and never mattered. So now, when we're about to be pulled apart, we're ripping the duct tape off and saying what's on our minds. We're politically charged, musically endowed, and 14."
I love it!
Friday, September 12, 2008
I cried for the unfair treatment she receives at home
I cried for the violence she has to view in her home
I cried because life isn't fair
I cried because I didn't know what to do or how to help
I cried because she is only 14
I cried because she told me her secret of 4 years
I cried for the love she has never felt
I cried for the hope she has in the midst of so much pain
I cried because she trusted me
I cried because I want it to stop
I cried because she still loves her mom even while she hates her
I cried for her and every other teenager in her position
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Now that school is back in session I am at work and starting to get into my routines again. Last year I didn't stay on campus for lunch, however this year I do stay. Therefore, I have set a goal for myself to produce the least amount of waste that I can when making my lunches. Tonight I made lunch for Friday and managed to not bring anything that will become trash. It's somewhat healthy too :-) but that's another goal to tackle later. Tomorrow I will have a turkey sandwich, a few slices of salami, mozzarella cheese chunks, a plum, and water AND I won't have to throw anything away.
I probably am way too proud of myself for this small feat and I am sure many other people have been doing this forever, but I'm getting there at my own pace :-) Now if only I could ride my bike to work (it's over a small mountain though so it's just not going to happen) or even our scooter (of course I should probably get my license first and stop being lazy). Oh...one thing at a time I suppose.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I am really liking middle school though and think it was a great decision to make the move from high school. It's a lot of work and I feel like I have so much to learn and so much to do. I am trying to stay sane and find time with my husband and daughter whenever I can...but it's hard. I have to learn the routines of a new school, try to meet people, create lessons for a whole new curriculum, learn the systems of a new state, and try to make it so my students actually like coming to class. I'm overwhelmed just writing about it!!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
So, while flying through mid-air I am comforted. Though everything around me has changed some things have not and for those things (friends, family, and God) I am forever thankful.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
On our last Sunday before our move (we left Tuesday) Lindsay and Andy (pictured above) threw us the most incredible going away party. So many people showed up to say goodbye to us and they put together a unique, fun, personal, meaningful party for us. I felt so honored by the people who came to wish us well (including one friend about to go into labor at any moment). I don't know how we would have ever been able to say goodbye to everyone if this day hadn't happened. So, family and friends - thank you for coming. I don't know how to say thank you to these two amazing friends for all of their hard work because thank you just feels so insignificant - I am truly grateful for the love and friendship they both showed me and am honored to be friends with them.
We are now getting pretty settled into our new place. I haven't had a chance to upload pictures yet, but will post some soon. It still doesn't feel totally real to me that this is our home and this is the town we live in. We are learning our way around which has been fun and confusing. We had dinner tonight with the couple that lives next door and I have gotten to know a few people at my work that I could definitely see myself being friends with. It definitely helps to have friendly neighbors who invite us over - they are really great. At times I do feel sad about having left behind such wonderful friends, but thankfully many have already purchased tickets to come visit (if you haven't yet, you need to!).
Leaving comes with very mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to certain friends was emotional and it was hard to let go, but I remain confident that distance cannot break up friendships. I trust that this is the place where God has brought us and I am excited to see where the adventure takes us.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Austin was great (not the place, but being there with friends) and we had a great weekend together. Since I've been home it's been non-stop packing, but moving day is coming quick.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I guess I didn't think the whole process would be this challenging. I know we could make just about any place work, but if we aren't even allowed to apply it makes it hard.
We leave in two weeks and it would be really nice to have a place to live when we got to Portland. I am trying to remain hopeful, but honestly it's discouraging at this point.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
This is something I want to change. Not the fact that I am an introvert, but the fact that I am not outgoing upon initially meeting new people (of course there are always exceptions and at times I can be my totally zany self from the start). When we move to Portland my goal is to push myself to talk to strangers more and to really put myself out there when I meet new people.
It makes me so sad that people around me think I don't like them or that I am mean and I want my true heart to show - the heart that loves and accepts all people.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
I will be flying up to Portland the end of this month with my mom and Amalea to sign my contract and do some house hunting. Jim will be in Peru with some of his students so we are going to try our best to find a home we like.
More and more I feel so confirmed in this decision to move and I can honestly say that even though I am a little scared I am excited more than anything else. So, Portland Oregon...here we come...
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
From the moment we began seriously talking about moving it has been a lot of up and down emotions for me. Some days I cannot wait to get out of here and other days I feel sad to be leaving wonderful people and a good job. I guess the biggest thing that makes me nervous is that neither Jim nor I have found jobs yet. To be honest that has been discouraging for me - I have applied to a lot of teaching jobs and have not gotten any calls or interviews. I know I am a good teacher and not getting interviews makes me feel like maybe I am not. In this area I am trying my hardest to stay positive.
Lately, my prayer has been for Jim to find a job that pays enough so that I don't have to work. Then I could tutor or do something small on the side until the kids are in school and then I can go back to teaching. We don't know what is in store for us, but we know that it is an adventure that we are excited to embark on come August.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
So, I'm not sure anyone ever reads this, but I guess to some degree it's more for me anyway.
Anyway, I stole the following questions off someone else's blog. In fact, I don't even know this person (sure hope she doesn't hate me for stealing) but was reading her stuff because she is a friend of a friend (you know the whole blog community idea). I enjoyed reading what she said and started to think about my own answers to these questions. I have many other things I should be doing right now (laundry, making baby food, packing for another wedding weekend, cleaning up, working in the yard) but its nice to sit and ponder my life for a bit. Here goes:
1. What have been the proudest moments in your life?
My wedding and when my daughter was born. I always thought I wouldn't get married and when I met Jim I felt so lucky and honored. Committing my life to him before family and friends was a very great day. When Amalea was born I have never felt more proud. It was a tough day, but she is so amazing and beautiful and I feel proud of her everyday as she grows.
2. What would you do if you won the lottery and money were no object?
First, I would go back to Kenya and work with the kids there more - that was one of the best experiences of my life. I would adopt children. I would buy a house that could be filled with multiple families and start a communal living situation. I would buy my friend Lindsay a new car (and selfishly probably buy myself one too). I would go visit friends I haven't seen in awhile or pay for them to come visit us. And I would put money aside so my children could go to college one day.
3. What are the roads you didn’t take because at the time they seemed wrong to you, unfamiliar, too rocky, or just less traveled?
Initially I didn't take the road to becoming a teacher, but instead pursued something else. It didn't take long for God to get through to me though and now I teach and absolutely love it. I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life.
4. What did you daydream about as a kid?
Camping and being at the lake. I have always found peace when sitting by a lake.
5. What childhood pursuits or pastimes would you like to pick up again?
Riding my bike everywhere. I used to ride all around the neighborhood and adventure all over - I wish I did that more now.
6. What makes you feel free, serene or full of nervous excitement?
This sounds silly, but I feel free when I am playing with Amalea. I am totally crazy and weird, but I don't even care at all - it's wonderful.
7. What would your perfect day contain?
Chocolate, my husband, my daughter, lots of laughter, adventures outdoors, and good food.
8. List the women you most admire.
My mom for her strength in fighting a disease every day and my grandma Lorene for her attitude and spirit when life was hard.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
These are just some of my thoughts.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Luckily I found a friend. Ha, that sounds so funny, but it's the best way to say it. Over the summer two of our friends got married and moved to Thousand Oaks. I have bonded with this new friend and she is just around the corner and ready to hang out anytime. I am more honest with her than I usually am with new friends (or any friend for that matter) - I don't feel like I have to be all together - I can just be me and we have amazing talks. We talk about marriage and everything that goes with that, family drama, theology and our faith struggles. We have cried together and laughed a lot together. I am so thankful for this new friend - she is a breath of fresh air for me and an answer to what I have prayed God would bring for the last 3 years.