Sunday, December 23, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday night I attended a “tacky Christmas sweater” party. It was fun, lots of hideous sweaters. I was delighted with the tackiness of my find but every time I went to cross my arms, I scraped my thumb on the baubles decorating the trees on it.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tanya, I found my penguin.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Highlights: lots of family time, playing with JT, good food, a trip into The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City with my parents to see the lights, seeing to old friends at church
Lowlights: well there's really just one - the KU vs. MU game & outcome. Ugh. Miserable.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Saturday night while telling friends that I'm expected to attend my sister's sister-in-law's wedding next weekend, a strange man at the end of the table asked "does she have all her teeth?" What??!!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Back in Wichita Saturday night, I attended a progressive dinner after church. At the last house, we were thankful the tv was on to the KU game. Go Jayhawks! So completely odd that KU is now 10-0, #3 in the BCS rankings and #4 in the polls. After years and years of football woes, it’s very strange for Jayhawk fans to adjust to this new reality. One KU alum said he knew this was the year Jesus was coming back because KU was doing so well in football. When I turn ESPN on during my morning workouts and they’re discussing KU’s chances for making the national championship game, it’s hard to fathom this is real. But we'll happily take it!
Friday, November 9, 2007
On a pop-culture note, check out Peyton Manning's priceless peptalks for a good chuckle. You can even personalize them with your name.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Fresh cooked spinach
Multi-grain bread (thanks, Danielle!)
Lemon pudding cake with raspberry coulis
Montevina Sauvignon Blanc (California/same wine the fish was poached in)
Good conversation with Tanya & Chris (& Seth) and Jim & Danielle.
These are my enjoyable adventures these days.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I had the house painted and love the result. I installed a new porch light, mailbox, doorbell cover and house numbers. And I had the trees professionally trimmed.
The kitchen is almost complete. The cabinets are done. The new countertops are in. The backsplash wall is fixed and painted. The new curtains are made and up. All that is left to do is figure out what to do with the backsplash behind the cooktop and put in the baseboard trim. It's great to have the kitchen back in working order. And the house got deep cleaned in the process of cleaning up the construction mess. Ah.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
For my fellow Miners, the campus has changed a lot in the last few years. There have been many capital improvement projects. They tore down UC West a few years ago. It was a great move as the Rolla Building can now be seen, but it’s very odd to see the puck basically in the middle of a field. UC West is no longer needed as the Havener Center is open and provides the campus with a real student union (where the Student Health Services bldg used to be).
Toomey Hall is huge. The ME Annex was torn down and this beaut is being built in it’s place + much more. Once the new section of the building is completed, the ME Building will be renovated.
Record enrollment this year at 6167. The name change is official on January 1, 2008: Missouri University of Science and Technology. I’m not fond of it, and don’t know an alum who is, but then again the Missouri School of Mines grads weren’t happy about becoming University of Missouri-Rolla.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
His favorite way to wear Daddy's hat.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I encourage you to check out Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. It's about 1.5 hours northeast of Wichita. Bring good walking shoes for one of trails and make time for the 90 minute bus tour through the 10,000 acres. http://www.nps.gov/archive/tapr/home.htm
Another great resource is www.byways.org The website for the National Scenic Byways Program with maps and ideas for day trips along each route. And if you're ever in Cottonwood Falls, get a four star meal at the Grand Central Hotel where an old friend of mine is head chef.
And I had the perfect soundtrack for the drive, the Kansas vs. Kansas State football game, made even better by KU's win. Go Jayhawks!
Friday, October 5, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
I was able to only spend an hour with my sister on Sunday. Had to head out early because of storms moving in. JT started crying because he couldn’t go on a ride with Aunt Jen. Scrunched up eyes, hung down head, crocodile tears. Broke my heart and I had crocodile tears as I drove away.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I bought a hutch for my kitchen – assembly required. You’ve got to love it when you think you’re close to being done assembling something only to find out that a piece is in there wrong and it’s going to require almost complete disassembly to fix it. I was close to finishing the base cabinet and sliding the drawers in place when that’s what happened. The center support for the drawers with the slider on it was backwards – the drawers would not go in. I was able to figure out how to remedy the problem with only partial disassembly of the cabinet. Yea, me. Assembly of the upper shelves went much smoother. And presto-chango, 4 hours later three boxes of parts turned into this:
Monday, September 24, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I am a list person, a detail person. I like finishing things so I can cross them off my list. But there are times I have to remind myself that people are more important than accomplishing what’s on my to do list. I co-hosted a baby shower at my house on Sunday. Saturday’s list was long and I was stressed over getting it all done. Farmers’ Market for fresh produce (huge, juicy cantaloupe!), Dillons for all the other groceries, clean the house, make cookies, last coats of polyurethane on the final cabinet doors, getting those doors hung after they dried. Tanya came to help frost the cookies – the duckies turned out very cute, and helped me hang the doors.
In the midst of this, a neighbor stopped by to say my roommate’s car had a flat tire. Thank goodness it was in the driveway. So I changed the tire for Michelle – she got a rush out of getting the lug nuts loose while I was getting cookies out of the oven. I picked her up when she dropped her car off to get the tire fixed. And praise the Lord, it ended up everything on the list got done in more than enough time.
It’s a good thing for me to be tapped on the shoulder by God and reminded that people are more important than my list and that when I do what’s important, the rest will get taken care of.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Over the 4 years I've owned the house, I've been making a lot of changes. The kitchen has been a work in progress over the last 3 years. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Started by stripping the wall paper and painting yellow & brick red. Elisabeth & I replaced the ceiling fan that matched the wallpaper over the dining room table with a wrought iron look chandelier. I replaced all the appliances. Dad and I tiled the floor (mostly Dad). My parents bought me a nice shiny stainless steel sink for Christmas/birthday to replace the chipped & stained cast iron sink. And July 2006 I decided to tackle refinishing the cabinets. Got started and then my job got in the way, so I've been without most of the cabinet doors for over a year.
Since I returned from France, the goal has been to finish the kitchen remodel before any other projects are started. I have made major progress. A massive thanks to cabinet maker extrordinaire, Tony Racchini, for 3.5 hours of his time tackling the not fun job of rehanging the cabinet doors yesterday. It's so weird to have cabinet doors again but I am very pleased with the results. I added trim to the edges, primed, painted, glazed, and polyurethaned the doors. I still have a few doors left to finish. And I have to rebuild and do the same thing to the drawers and add trim at the baseboards and make new curtains. But the list is getting shorter and having the doors back up is a huge leap forward.
And I have new countertops on order. Don't know exactly when they'll be done, but should be within a few weeks. Yea! Progress, finally!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
I have two other friends who are in the midst of health crises as well. Caden, friends’ 4 year old son, is undergoing chemo for a neuroblastoma in his abdomen. And Cory, an old KCYFC friend, undergoes major abdominal surgery tomorrow.
So I pray, pray, pray for these friends and their families. It’s amazing how life changes in an instant. I marvel at the strength they have to walk through each day, even though I know they often don’t feel strong. Each of them has a community of believers standing with them. And it’s a reminder for each of us to live each day such that when we do face crises that we have a firm foundation to stand on.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Last week I ordered a medium Diet Coke at Wendy’s and was shocked at the size of drink I received. What used to be the biggie size is now medium. This set off a mix of emotions and contemplations.
Having been out of the country a lot lately, my biggest culture shock in coming home is the American excess. Large portions of food which lead to large waist lines. Large homes, large vehicles. I feel sickened by the excess and unsatisfied appetite for it that I see in myself and all around me. Where does this American obsession for excess come from?? We have well beyond what is required.
I think of the people in Costa Rica, about the kids we fed that week. They live in shacks thrown together with scrap boards and sheets of metal. For most of them, the food Ronald brings on Wednesdays is the only real meal they get a week. Otherwise they’re scrounging through trash for food. And the woman who does the cooking for them lives in a scrapped together home herself. She gets up at 4 AM to prepare the food and opens her home to the teams that come to serve. I think of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."”
I am wrestling with this. How can I not live selfishly? How can I give out of all I have? What does that mean? Several years ago I read a commentary that compared SUVs to our lives. Most people buy an SUV to tool around town, to look cool, to keep up with the trend. But they never use it for what it was designed for – off roading, heavy hauling. Many people live their lives that way. They may look cool but never live their lives to the full potential, what they were created to be. I so don’t want that to be me. How do I live my life to be all that God created and called me to be no matter what the circumstance?
Monday, August 13, 2007
I got quality time with JT as he insisted on taking the 8-hour roadtrip in Grandpa’s car rather than with Mommy & Daddy. He does really well, likes looking out the window. We had fun singing and playing. I taught him to say “favorite aunt” – hee.
I have to figure out when to take a trip to see my other nephew, Marshall.
I got the new calculator – I know you’re anxious to hear about it. The HP 33s RPN has a fancy design. It’s incredibly lightweight and has some great functions, but I’m still getting used to it.
I have season tickets to Music Theatre of Wichita but for obvious reasons missed most of this summer’s season. I let a friend enjoy them. I got to attend the last show of the season last week – Hairspray. Fun. However, I was more excited by a discovery I made when I finally glanced at the tickets when we got to the theatre. I got new seats – Row A front & center in the Balcony! Can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I’ve been trying to get from Row B to Row A for 2 seasons. I’m buying season tickets whether I’m here next summer or not so I can keep the seats.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
They have 3 children’s homes – 2 are finished and we helped with construction on the third. One home is up and running with Costa Rican house parents with 6 children. These are not technically orphans, but they have been declared abandoned by their parents. Three of the kids are in the process of being adopted by an Italian couple. These kids long for nothing more than to have a family of their own. The house we helped with will be up and running by early 2008. It will take emergency cases when social services needs to remove kids from homes immediately. The Costa Rican government places the kids in the homes. The Abraham Project has a good relationship with the government. The 3rd home is handicap accessible and will be operational once they find a 3rd set of house parents.
We also helped with construction of the multi-purpose building. It will have offices for professionals to come donate services and a large gymnasium. This will be where the church meets and will be for sports programs for teenagers. It rains 70% of the year in Costa Rica, so having an indoor sports facility will be a large service to the community.
I got to help pour concrete for the multi-purpose building foundation. The project hires Tico (what the Costa Ricans call themselves) workers and the mission teams help out.
We were told the work we did last week was 8.5 weeks worth of one Tico laborer. It really encouraged them. We had a good time with our Tico brethren. Ramon promised to have me speaking Spanish in 3 days – not so much. Us “concrete-stadors” had tons of fun. It sounds ridiculous, but it was a blast.
Unfortunately the lye in the concrete mix started burning my hands, so I had to switch jobs partway thru day two. All the wood used at the project is donated by a company in San Jose that ships glass. The wood palates have to be taken apart, nails & staples pulled and treated, planed & stained. We helped pull many nails & staples.
Sunday we attended their church service. Such passion in worship. That night we went to a youth cell group. One of our guys played the guitar and we sang songs in English while they sang along in Spanish. It was an incredible experience – like the Bible says every tongue, tribe & nation will sing praise Him together. Thursday night we got to have a little party at the project with the youth and Tico workers. We also had a chance to play with the kids in the daycare and children’s home. That was so much fun.
Wednesday we helped with Cristo por la Citudad (Christ for the City) - Transformations. Ronald has a feeding ministry to very marginal areas of San Jose. Every week he takes food there and feeds whoever comes. Then later he goes in to build relationships. We took coolers of rice, beans, salad & juice. The first place we went they have run the police out and barricade themselves in. Ronald is allowed in because of all he has done to share love with them. I had to remember to not focus on the serving and look at the kids and adults who came to get food. It was heartbreaking to think that for a lot of them that’s their only meal for the week. Drug dealers, druggies, kids who know no other life. We then stopped and step up on the sidewalk in four other places as well and served until the food was gone. Laughed when one kid ran back to tell his mom yelling something about the gringos coming with food.
We had one fun day. Took a catamaran cruise to Isla de Tortuga. Got to go snorkeling and hang out on the beach and get burned to a crisp despite two applications of sunscreen.
I didn’t experience culture shock like I had expected. But I understood what Ronald meant when he said it weighs on their team working in that level of poverty constantly. That was emotionally exhausting. But I think the biggest impact on me over the week was seeing the vision of these ministries being worked out to fulfillment. My heartache grew as the vision I have for my life weighed heavy on me. I long for it to be worked out. It was a confirmation that these things really are my heart’s desire. And while God seems to be opening doors that lead in the opposite direction, I’ll trust that He is working and knows my heart and will continue to work in and through me.
It was a privilege to serve at The Abraham Project and with Transformations. To encourage them in the work they are doing. Costa Rica is a beautiful country but I go away with much more than the scenery – with the people in my heart.