July 31, 2012

Travelin' Again

Happy Anniversary: to my parents, who have been married for 30 years! Yay!
 Fun Fact: I have always spelled "traveling" as "travelling." Always. And it has always had a little red squiggly line under it. Then this summer I learned that doubling the L before adding the -ing is a British thing, and everything made so much more sense to me. So now I am practicing my American spelling.

Headed here today:

So excited to spend a week on Hilton Head Island hanging out with PJ & MK (aka my grandparents) and taking some time to just chill out before I begin student teaching/the rest of my life. Which starts in two weeks!

[pictures by Allie MacDonald]

July 28, 2012

NoVA Weekend

I've been hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law this weekend in Northern Virginia, cheering on Ethiopia (and Kenya, and America... but I only had an Ethiopian flag to wave) during the Olympics opening ceremony last night, then just hanging out and even doing a little canoeing today.

And the good thing about Northern Virginia is that, as of this summer, a bunch of my friends now live here too...although, somehow, most of them decided to skip town this weekend. I did, however, get to eat chocolate croissants and drink three cups of coffee with my (former) housemate Margaret this morning, and will get to eat lunch with my high school friend Matthew tomorrow before heading home to Cville. Thank goodness for old friends.

[pictures by Linnea]

July 25, 2012

Thought of the Day

you shall above all things be glad and young
For if you're young, whatever life you wear
It will become you

- e. e. cummings

[image via Whimsicalities]

July 23, 2012

That First Day Back From A Big Trip When You Don't Really Know What To Do With Yourself

Today was my first day waking up in my (newly-painted turquoise) room in Charlottesville, post-Colorado.

Today I ate breakfast thinking it was the fairly normal time of 10:30am...then realized my computer is still set to Colorado time and that it was actual 12:30pm.

Today I wrote five pages in my journal, trying to process all the things God taught me in Colorado. And I cried a little.

Today I thought about all the friends and kids and families I got to love in Colorado, and how crazy it is that I knew absolutely none of them just six weeks ago, and how amazing God is that he can create community like that (which is something I find so vital), and how reassuring that fact is for my future.

Today I told myself I was going to go running, then decided a walk would also be good (to say hi and I missed you to the Corner and the Lawn, of course), then decided once it started raining that I didn't really need to do any of that til tomorrow.

Today I made chicken enchiladas and black bean and corn salad for two friends got to share my stories with them and hear theirs and sit and talk for three hours. And it was wonderful.

And tomorrow... we shall see :]

[picture by Steve Anthony]

July 17, 2012

Three Songs for Tuesday

I am currently mid-waking-up-from-a-nap and consequently somewhat bleary. Today we did an "itineration simulation" with the kids, where they had to get their passports and visas and medicals and go through security and customs, which were all set up in various locations around the church we're working at in as confusing a way as possible (à la airports in others countries). This meant I got to be in character as an impatient airport official all day...and let me tell you, being mean to kids in a British accent all day is just really exhausting.

In the meantime, though, here are some of the jams I've been listening to recently:

(Because On Top of the World just made me want to listen to more of these guys.)

(Because you just have to belt this one out when it comes on the radio. ...No shame?)

(Somewhat old but still so good. And stuck in my head.)


July 16, 2012

72 Hours' Worth

In the past 72 hours, I have:

- been so proud of my kids as they performed their musical for their families:

- transformed one of our classrooms into a winter wonderland for a surprise "Christmas in July" party for our kids:

...and ate spaghetti with syrup and candy in it as we watched Elf, of course:

- Done some community service with our teens at a local food bank:

- Dressed up as a cow for some free Chik-fil-a

- Celebrated our participants who will be going out and making disciples in a commissioning ceremony (including a special part to commission our twenty-four favorite five-to-thirteen-year-olds...)

- Met three new friends and had all sorts of adventures, from making the largest breakfast in the world:

...to hiking Horsetooth Mountain:

...to traipsing around Fort Collins and delivering birthday cupcakes.

- And, of course, made time for a few other shenanigans:

So now you can probably understand why I need to go to bed asap...especially so that I can be up at 6:30 to start my final week of this adventure. (Can't. Get. Sad. Yet.)

[pictures 1, 2 and 7 by Scott Kral. The rest are courtesy of Emily Nichols]

July 10, 2012

This Is What We've Been Up To.

Currently Listening To: It's Time by Imagine Dragons 
A Year Ago Today: was my sister's wedding! Happy anniversary, Linnea and William!

Here are a few things we've been doing with the MK2MK kids that are particularly fun:
  • Because all these kids are the children of missionaries, we did a simulation where they had to do what their parents do: raise support. Each kid was given a continent, and they had to go door to door getting people to give them a certain number points so that they could be missionaries there. I was pretty stingy with my point-giving: I told them I'm just a grad student with no income, and I only had a certain number of points to give away so I had chosen only to give to kids going to Africa because it is my favorite. Then the kids had to write support letters and thank you letters. Which might be the cutest things I've seen. (And there has basically been non-stop knocking on our door since this activity began...) 
  • We took a field trip to Old Town, Fort Collins, to put our observing skills into action. All 25 of us traipsed around, making observations about the town, making assumptions based on the observations and then asking FoCo residents to validate our assumptions. We also played the pianos scattered around town (yes, FoCo is amazing), frolicked in sprinklers and had a picnic. And then we got to eat ice cream.
  • To learn about observing and adapting to new cultures, we did something called "A Meal's A Meal," where we had a meal made up of five separate courses, and each course had a different "culture": different rules to follow, different ways of saying yes and no, different ways to speak. For example, during the bread stick course, you had to sit on your right hand and only use your left hand. You couldn't bite off a piece of bread stick, but had to tear it then put it in your mouth. Boys could only use the white sauce, and girls could only use the red sauce. You said yes by snapping, and no by rubbing your nose. And you had to sing everything you said. So, each course had a different set of rules like this, and when the kids came in, my co-teachers and I were already eating according to these rules, and the kids had to watch until they felt like they knew what was going on, then join in. Especially because in one of the courses you had to hang a spaghetti noodle over your ear to signal you were done, and in another, kids had to eat skittles off the floor and get approval of the Skittle color before they could swallow it. Hilarious.
And, of course, every day is full sorts of other lessons and activities, such as using play-doh to explain what a Third Culture Kid is, or doing crafts from and eating the snack of various people groups around the world. Not to mention, the kids are performing their musical this Thursday night! And I am so proud of them.

All this crazy fun busy-ness, plus a retreat in the Rockies this past weekend (what? I got to spend time with grown-ups?) is what has kept me from sharing this with y'all, but hopefully now you can get a picture the kind of things we've been doing!

July 6, 2012

The Bones, They Sing For Joy

Some words and paragraphs to ponder, written by Ann Voskamp in the book One Thousand Gifts:

"In the moment of singing that one line, dedicating the work as thanks to Him, 
something - the miracle- happens, and every time. When service is unto people,
 the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. Because, agrees Dorothy Sayers,  
"whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of 
trouble.The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have the notion 
that other people owe you something for your pains...You will begin to 
bargain for reward, to angle for applause."

When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, 
I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes 
joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work is my song of 
thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant
 to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing 
feet of Jesus alone - the bones, they sing for joy and the work returns to its 
purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.

"The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action," write Mother Teresa. 
"If we pray the work...if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it 
with Jesus...that's what make us content."

[image via Whimsicalities]

July 2, 2012

This Was My Weekend.

Shout out to Lizzy for the idea of a music video and corralling all those kids into participating. Shout out to Emily for welcoming us to the camping trip in the very first video clip I took on my iPod (when I was really just showing her that Lorenzo has a video camera) , which then inspired us to record the rest. And a shout out to all of the superstars featured in this video, because we had a fun weekend and I like them a lot.

p.s. This is the first time I've edited a video like this...which explains why it's not perfect. But I hope y'all enjoyed it!
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