Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Update

One thing I love about seeing people post about a similar event is seeing what everyone walked away with. This past weekend, Julie, Lauren, Mindi, Erin, and I met up for Wicked and visiting in Austin. Mindi and Erin have both weighed in with pics and thoughts so I'll let you check with them for the shots and their thoughts. Here are mine:

1. I love these girls! Always have, always will. I could do an entire post on each one individually but I'll just hit the high points for you. Lauren makes me laugh so much - just ask her about her snake! Mindi has such a sweet heart and knows how to bond with my over teacher stuff. Julie is just that friend that always feels like time has never passed and you can just be your true self with. And I have done entire posts on Erin but I love to watch her with her friends. What a gift it was. Again, I just love these girls!

2. I love Austin! Just the very little bit we drove around stirred up all of that love that has been settling in. This weekend reminded me how great I would be with living there again. Lord willing, I would be thrilled to call Austin home!

3. It may have been the fourth time to see Wicked but it gets me every time. I noticed this time an odd sense of pride towards the performers. I admire the amount of talent and work putting on a musical night after night takes. I love curtain call just to celebrate and honor their accomplishments.

4. Charlie and Jeff are amazing with kids! Honestly, they were incredible!

5. Julie's home is beautiful! Not only can she decorate but she knows how to make people feel comfortable and welcome. What a gift she has for hospitality!

6. I'm not obsessed however - there was a Man vs. Food illustration in the sermon. I about fell off the pew. I'm just saying....

7. You know you are on the same page when we get ready to go and our clothes all coordinate perfectly without any thought or planning!

Overall, what a great weekend! Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrity Crush

The first week of school is down and I'm beat. It was much easier to adjust to than I anticipated but I'm exhausted. So after a long week (and that intense last post), it's time for something light, fun, and a touch on the embarrassing side. :)

I've never been one of those swooning girls. Celebrities have never really done it for me. Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey have brought many friends to their knees but not me. I've noticed a few famous actors but they have never really made me pause to take notice. Until this summer....

While I wait for my beloved Office to come back (September 17), I decided to check out a show I had heard about from Gregg, Erin, and the Fritsches: Man vs. Food. OH. MY. GOODNESS. It has jumped up to one of my top four favorite shows ever. The host travels the country taking on food challenges while exploring the city of the challenge. The massive amounts of food can be absolutely disgusting at times and makes this girl's TMJ scream but one thing keeps me watching when I can - Adam Richman. That's right - my celebrity crush.

Now please keep in mind through this next paragraph that I am a level headed, normal person with two realistic feet on the ground. I'm going to sound rather odd but you love me so I'm okay with it at the moment. Here is the greatness of Adam - not only is he obviously passionate about what he does, he is adorable, amazing with people of all ages, incredibly smart, loves to travel, and is absolutely hilarious. The best thing of all is that he is real. He doesn't put anything forward that is not truly him. Based on things I have seen and read, we have quite a few similarities. I've even called some of his unscripted lines at times. In any reality where there would be an opportunity to hang out with him, I have no doubt that good times would be had. However, the reality of a Houston school teacher meeting the host of a popular national television show is highly unlikely. So in exchange, I'll keep my crush from a far and enjoy the show as I unwind after a day with students. At least I don't have to ever worry about cooking for a food aficionado!

So don't leave me hanging here. We all have a celebrity crush whether we want to admit it or not. Time to 'fess up and share. Who is it?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School

This is a post that has been rolling around in my head for a while. It has been difficult to write about and I'm sure it still won't convey what I'm thinking/feeling in its entirety. Thanks for bearing with the stuff and fluff the past few posts have been while I process this.

A few months ago, I was blessed beyond measure to work with a community of Bhutanese refugees during the Houston Project. I wasn't the only one who was significantly touched by these people. The other people in my class were also affected and we have decided that the one week was not enough. In order to truly make a difference for the Lord, we have to be in there, building relationships and serving them in love. And they are SO easy to love! So far we have done two follow ups. Both had to do with school. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that it has completely changed my world view.

For most people, back to school time is fun. New supplies, new clothes, seeing old friends and making new ones. For those families we have been working with, I am seeing this experience in a completely different way. I am scared to death for them. We have adopted a few families but my experiences have really focused on two specifically. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Most of the families we have been working with have been here for one to four months.
  • The families we work with have escaped intense political and religious persecution.
  • The parents speak minimal to no English.
  • The fathers cannot get jobs - These men were farmers, shop keepers, and business men in Nepal and Bhutan. Now they are unable to find work. Language in a barrier and they don't know how to look for jobs here. On top of that....well, you know the state of the job market.
  • Since there is no job, there is no income. That means: no money for uniforms or supplies, no money for a car.
  • Since they don't have a car, how do the kids get to school? They live 1.6 miles from the school so they don't qualify for the school bus. Their choices are to either pay $1.25 a day to get to and from school on the Metro bus or they walk. The $1.25 a day doesn't sound like much but remember, no job. So they have to decide by tomorrow morning how to get to school.
  • The school district where these kids will attend hands out vouchers for one free uniform to those in need. But....they ran out last week so we have to hope that they can get one - IF they kid can figure out who to ask and how to ask for it. The parents can't help because of the language barrier.
  • They don't speak English so today we helped them fill out free and reduced lunch forms, emergency information cards, and employment surveys.
  • For the older kids, they not only have to get to school, they have to learn how to navigate in an American school. In Nepal, they stayed in one room all day and sat on the carpeted floor. Not so here.
  • We taught a girl how to open a dial lock for her locker. That is hard enough with English speakers!
  • These children will have to translate everything for their parents if they can remember it all. I'm not even going to go into the whole homework thing right now!

So tomorrow as I spend the morning getting ready to begin my seventh year teaching, I'm already thankful that I don't have a group of little ones to corral. My mind will not be on them. It will be on dozens of little ones who will hopefully be stepping foot into a new school tomorrow. Overwhelmed and having no clue what is going on, they are the bravest souls, eager and ready to get going. I honestly wish I didn't have to work tomorrow so I could just take them to their schools.

Pray, y'all.....Pray hard!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You're Kidding, Right?

So many wonderful things have happened in the past week but I am WAY to brain dead to put together more than a couple of coherent sentences. So to hold you over....

I was getting ready to check my email and a recipe caught my eye. What was the recipe? Bobby Flay's Root Beer Float. Well, Bobby Flay must have SOME magical ingredient if his root beer float is so good it calls for a highlighted link. I clicked on it and the ingredient list consisted of....wait for it.....vanilla ice cream and root beer! Seriously!?!? How sad is it that just because your name is well known, you can get a highlighted recognition for something so obvious/common! I bet tomorrow they will be featuring Rachel Ray's Water!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And There Go My Teeth...

Yesterday I was watching the Today Show while I was finishing breakfast (waffles, blackberries, and orange juice). On at that moment was a story about the five worst things for your teeth. Number four was lemonade. The dentist on the show was saying that it has the double whammies of sugar and acids. As she was mentioning the acidic drinks, I was taking my last drink of my orange juice. So I jump up and run to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Got the toothpaste on the brush, ran it under some water, and was about ten seconds into it when I returned to the story. As I am finishing up the bottom teeth, the dentist shares that if you do drink acidic drinks like lemonade, white wine, or orange juice, you should wait about 30 minutes before you brush your teeth. This is because the acids are so thick on your teeth that immediate brushing will actually be scrubbing your teeth with the acids instead of removing it.

Grrrr....I only thought I was starting my day right - healthy orange juice with breakfast and good dental care. In about 2 minutes, I learned I was swinging and missing. Oh well.....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Major Catch Up

So I've been without my computer for five days due to virus repair. Yes - FIVE DAYS! I know that the world continued turning and that I survived it. Life did go on. However, I cannot tell you how WONDERFUL it is to have it back! So of course, I had several blog ideas and no computer to put them on. Now that it is back, I can't remember them. :) So here is a recap of yesterday.

You know how when you move away one of two things can happen to your friends: a) you drift apart due to lack of contact or b) you have such a strong bond that time and distance make no difference. Yesterday was filled with option b. I took a day trip to San Marcos and it was exactly what I needed! I got to have lunch with two of the most amazing girls yesterday. Just seeing them made me giddy with laughter. I've missed them so much and just didn't know it until I could hug them. The greatest blessing is that is was mutual. These are the women who taught me how to teach and have just loved me, no questions asked for four years. They are so funny and such wonderful listeners! As we sat and visited about everything and nothing, all I could think about was what a blessing they are to me. I really don't know how I fooled them into thinking I was in their league but somehow I did. :) When we get together, it is like no time has passed at all. Now if we could get together more than once a year...Love you Adrienne and Danielle!

Then it was off to see my friend Brent. We've been in touch over facebook chat and we saw each other in February. Thankfully, it worked out that we were able to get together again. He is one of the few people that I have really kept in touch with from the barbershop world and we seem to be more at ease with each other ever time we get together. A few of the other guys came by while I was there. They didn't know I was stopping by so that was a fun surprise. Lots of hugs and just great joy! Again, lots of laughing!

Overall, it was a day of unquestionable love. Through years of moving around and coming into and out of different stages of life, I've learned that even though you love friends dearly through that season, you don't always get to keep them for years to come. You wish them well and remember them with fondness. Sometimes you get to keep friends but not to the same degree. Staying in touch is hard and it takes its toll. Things change and people change but some friends endure it all, loving you the whole way through. There is no difficulty in being together and time does no damage. Those that endure are truly treasures! Yesterday was filled with those I am incredibly blessed to keep - specifically Danielle, Adrienne, and Brent!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Daddio and Bladen

Erin and Gregg are having a son! In four short months, Bladen Joel will join the family! I was talking to Dad tonight and observed that he will be the first little boy our family has ever had. Poor guy will be the guinea pig for all of us!

While there are many things about Liz that I have loved, one of my favorite has been watching Dad with her. There is something about watching a man with a little girl. For me, it has been so sweet to see that side of Dad. I obviously don't remember what he was like with us as babies. Now, I feel like I get to see what I don't remember - Dad with his baby girls.

Now we are getting ready to welcome Bladen and I anticipate the same thing with him. Dad never had a son and has never felt like he missed out on anything (I know because I asked him once). Now, he gets a chance to fall in love, play with, and experience life with a little boy. I have a feeling we are going to get to see a side of my dad that we have never seen before. I cannot wait to watch him wrestle and rough house with Bladen. It will be so interesting to see the differences in him. I've loved watching him with Gregg but we are entering a whole new ballgame. It is one of the things I am looking forward to the most about Little Man getting here.

Here's to Bladen and all of the joy he will bring to our lives!