Tuesday, April 07, 2009

When one door closes...

Well, the poor economy has now hit Harding Academy.  I got told last Thursday that my contract for next school year isn't being renewed due to budget cuts and low enrollment.  I've been asked a million times (okay, so maybe that number is a little exaggerated) what I'm going to do, so let me tell you before you ask... I HAVE NO IDEA.  I'm still in the shock and depressed phase to even think about it.  Please pray for me that I have a good attitude to finish this school year and for God to open a door for me for next year.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I doubt people even look at my blog anymore since I haven't written on it in months, but I'll write anyway.

School is flying by; spring break is in two weeks and then it'll be 4th quarter.  I am so blessed to have such great students!  They put up with my hormonal stupidities.  Not having adrenal glands that work effects so much more than I ever realized.  The first thing people think of is adrenaline (energy), but there are so many emotional hormones that they produce as well... it's crazy.  I can't wait for insurance to decide to give me some medicine!

Softball started last week, so that has added to my stress levels, but I think it'll be a fun year.  I don't know how well we'll do, but it should be fun nonetheless.

I'm trying to get a group together to go to Honduras this summer, but I haven't had a great response this year like I did last year.  Also, I'm trying to decide if I'm going to Honduras for the right reasons; am I going to help people or because it's a routine for my summer breaks?

Well, I have to go shopping for my niece's 2nd birthday!  Carson has quite the personality.  Her first birthday was hilarious, so I'm assuming this one will be entertaining as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Prayers please...

I don't know if anyone reads this anymore since I haven't updated it in months, but I'll write this anyway.

I want to ask for prayers for my health.  The past 8 months or so have been a struggle.  My adrenal glands are working at less than 10% and I have neurological issues that stem back to college that have gotten worse recently.

I'm seeing doctors regularly and am taking tons of pills and supplements every day to make it through, but it costs quite a bit more than I have to spend on medical bills.  And with teaching and volleyball there is little time to get the rest I need.

Please pray that my body gets back to normal, so I can give my absolute best to my students, players, friends, and family.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

My summer (as does everyone's) went by way too quickly.  The trip to Honduras went famously!  And then the rest of the summer was spent going to the doctor for therapy... but I did get to spend a weekend in Montgomery visiting Brett and Judy (the first time I'd ever seen them in the states) and it was a fun-filled weekend at the Biscuits games. =)

School has started now and we're getting back into the routine... waking up early (like 5:30 ish) and not getting home until late.  Volleyball should be pretty good this year- we lost a lot of seniors from last year, but I believe this year's seniors will step up to the plate and do well.  My 7th graders are wonderful!  I'm still holding my breath, but I believe this will be a great year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Honduras Trip Days 9-12

Sunday we had church at the Mission House, got our stuff ready for Tela, and then went to Valle de Angeles (Valley of Angels) to do some shopping. I finally got my pupusa, which was incredible, and I bought a painting to go with the one I had bought a few years ago. It poured down rain while we were there, which made it a pain since there are very few places to duck for cover.
Monday we loaded the buses and headed for Tela (which is by San Pedro Sula) on the beach for our retreat. It is a beautiful beach, like Siesta Key in Florida, and basically this is the only hotel on the beach so we almost had it to ourselves. We played in the ocean, in the incredible pool, and played lots of cards. Tuesday was more of the same and then Wednesday we left for home.

Honduras Trip Days 1 and 2

On June 27th, the Harding Acadmey group met at school at 11:30pm and drove to Nashville because our flight left at 6:00 am on the 28th. Since the plane crash at the Tegucigalpa airport in May, that airport was closed, so we had to fly into San Pedro Sula. Since we had to change our tickets not everyone was able to get on the same flights. When we got to Miami, 7 from our group were able to go on right away and then were able to take a bus to Teguc that day. However 3 of us had a long layover in Miami and therefore had to spend the night in San Pedro.

I was pretty nervous about it, but God was looking out for us the entire time. Ben, Kadi, and I spent the night at a nice motel (actually one I stayed at when I lived there) and got a good night sleep.

We woke up Sunday morning and went to the restaurant next door, packed our things, and went back to the airport where we met up with another group of TORCHers to ride the bus to Teguc. We got to the Mission House about 7:00 pm and met up with everyone else. It was so much fun to see all my TORCH friends.

Honduras Trip Days 7 and 8

Friday about 30 of us went to Good Shepherd Children's Home (8 of us to build part of the playground and the rest played with the kids all day). I was on the playground crew. A few people had already been there the week before and set the posts in concrete. We built the floor 7 feet up and then put the roof on. It was a lot of fun and I got to work side by side with Josue who hasn't work with us in a while due to his job at the airport. But since it's closed TORCH hired him for the summer.

Saturday we were determined to have the medical clinic at Didasko orphanage. Dr. Gayle had donated some medicines since our container (full of stuff) hadn't been released yet. The opened up 3 classrooms: doctors/nurses in one, one for the pharmacy, and one for the nutritionists and hygenists. It was so hard to turn people away.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we had a VBS team that went to Didasko, so while we were doing the medical clinic the VBS crew set up a carnival with games and toys and a Veggie Tales movie.

Honduras Trip Days 5 and 6

Wednesday Tyler, Ken, and I headed up building a house in Neuva Oriental. The house went pretty well. Now, you have to remember that these are not houses like the states... they are one room (16x16) made out of wood with a tin ceiling.

Due to some recent health problems and the hard work I did yesterday, I couldn't do as much as I usually do, but that allowed me to supervise and coordinate everyone while those that didn't have any experience to pick up a hammer and work. It is a great feeling of accomplishment for people that are not good with their hands to be able to hammer in some nails and have a house in a few hours.

After we were finished we met all the other groups at the blind school to visit and play with the kids there. That is something we do every year that everyone looks forward to because this was one of the few places where the kids seem to be well taken care of and loved for.
Thursday a group of us went back to the dump and this time we brought more people and several were on their first trip. Those of us that had gone before were trying to prepare the others, but there were still a few that had a hard time handling it, but that is okay. Sometimes we feel that we have to be able to handle everything that comes our way, but really it's okay to say that we can't.
Afterward, we loaded up the bus with bags of food that an earlier group made and we took them to Nueva Oriental (where our 2 construction teams were working), hiked the mountain passing out the bags of food. It is an amazing experience to give someone food in the name of Jesus and they tell you they didn't know what they were going to feed their children that night for dinner. God has timing that we, as humans, cannot even fathom!

Honduras Trip Days 3 and 4

There were about 100 of us total on the trip, so each day there were about 4 or 5 projects that we volunteered for. So while I am talking about what I did, just know that there were several other projects going on that I wasn't involved in.

Monday (our first day of work) several of us got to do something we've never done before. 15 of us that had been on several trips made about 300 baggies with half a sandwich, chips, cookies, and a bag of water and then we handed them out to the people that live at the city dump. The leader was trying to prepare us for what we might encounter: he said that we'd be hated and not wanted, that are safety was in question, and to be aware of the people (especially the men) because they sniff glue to lessen the pains of hunger. The complete opposite was true: we felt welcome, appreciated, and safe.

As we drove down the road, we turned a corner and the bus got silent at the sight of 100-150 people digging through heaps of trash trying to find food scraps, anything they could use to live, or anything they could sell, like plastic bottles. Everyone living there carried bags of their "treasures" and would not set it down for any reason for fear that someone would take it. Here, in the states, we put our purses, Ipods, phones, etc, down and if it gets stolen or broken we just buy a new one without thinking much of it. I can't imagine what it's like to hoard someone else's trash as my treasure that I cannot set down.

As we pulled the bus to a stop, a line formed immediately... they have been programmed what to do when a bus pulls up. We had buckets with fresh water and soap that we washed their hands with and, if we let them, would've washed their whole body. Then, they made their way to the back of the bus where several of us stayed to hand out the bags of food. However, when a dump truck came around the corner the line took off running after it because they each wanted the "best" pickings of the load. They ran away from good, never-been-eaten-off-of, food for garbage because that's what they have lived their lives doing. That was the saddest moment of the day for me.

Let's not forget that this is a city dump, so not only are these people competing against other people for survival, but there are dozens of dogs, millions of flies, and thousands of vultures (more than I've ever seen in my life) walking around digging through the same trash. And then there's the smell... a stench like no other you have ever smelled.

One sight that I will never forget is the sight of a young pregnant woman. Can you imagine being a young woman, probably 18-20 years old, living in the streets, being raped over and over again and winding up pregnant. You have no where else to go but to go to the dump, so you have to give birth in the dump and amazingly enough, you and the baby live through it without any doctors. And now you start raising the baby in the dump to live the same lifestyle without any hope of a different life.

There were a few men playing soccer with an old, flat basketball and several of our guys started playing with them. It was so wonderful to see the divisions of status being blown away by a simple game of soccer. These Hondurans are the untouchables of all Hondurans. And here they were laughing and playing together on piles of trash!

Everyone has a story; several were on the run for their lives, so they always kept ski masks and long sleeves on even in 90 degree heat. Another family came from Mexico in hopes of a better job, but that fell through and they had no where else to go. And the list could go on and on.

And as you are focusing on the absolute poverty, you look up and see the incredibly gorgeous view of nature that people in the states would pay millions for. We are so blessed with material possessions, we take them for granted, and are not content. Yet these people are content with their lives and have the faith that their needs will be provided. I want to be like the woman in the dump today... when we said we had enough to give out seconds and thirds, she said, "No, there are others on the other side that need it." In her utter poverty and desolation she was thinking of others!

Tuesday I went to the bodega (warehouse) where a group of us split up: half of us were taking stucco off to be redone and the other half were doing painting inside. I was doing the stucco outside and my right arm went into complete exhaustion when all you have to work with is a claw hammer.

While we were doing that another group was doing a "Gatorade Blitz" where they went to the store, bought a bunch of Gatorade, and then drove around town handing it out to the city workers that sweeps the streets and pick up trash. They earn about a dollar a day in wages and usually do not have anything to eat or drink during the work day.

Other activities included visiting the hospital, visiting orphanages, and building houses.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What is your story?

Monday, in chapel, the speaker started talking about what makes a good story.  You have to set up the characters, then there must be some conflict, and then there's the final resolution.

He, then, related it to our lives.  For instance, who wants to see a movie about how this kid wants to get the newest cell phone.  That's boring... no one would want to go see that movie.  But a good movie has a plot and our goal as Christians is to stand before God and he say to us, "Well done good and faithful servant."  So, now our story must be how we're going to get to that scene.

Even though he was mainly talking to a group of high schoolers I think everyone benefits from being reminded that life is not supposed to be safe.  If our goal in life is to be safe, then we have a pretty boring story and being safe doesn't bring people to know Christ.  In this day and age when crime is so rampant staying safe is a goal that many people have, especially those with children.  But, I challenge everyone to step out of their comfort zone little by little for the sake of bringing people to Christ.  Yes, it will be uncomfortable and maybe even a little dangerous or scary, but our lives aren't ours to live.  God gave us life to use for His glory, not ours.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring Break

It has been too long since I have written anything, so I apologize for that.

Life is hectic (as always) with teaching, softball, and getting projects done for our mission trip this summer. Spring break was a nice change of pace where I got to visit friends and family in Washington state.

I got to Seattle on Tuesday around lunch time and went to my Aunt Jody's house where I was going to stay the night. After a few hours of talking I drive over to my Uncle Digger's house. When I got to his house there was a note on the door that they had to pick their dog up from the vet and to come on in. I assumed that we'd have dinner at the house since it was only 5:30 and we couldn't go out because their dog, Packwood, just had surgery and couldn't be left alone. Here I was talking with them and all I was really thinking about was food. I had planned to go to Paradise, WA to do some hiking the next day and when I told my uncle he said, "Don't you dare!! That place is still snow-packed." So we figured out a place in the lowlands in Rainier National Park that was safe for me to go hiking.

As Wednesday morning rolls around Jody and I go for breakfast and then I pack up and leave for Randle, WA in Rainier N.P. I'm following the directions and I cannot find the trail that I was planning on hiking. I keep driving and I found a visitor center at Cispus River. I go in, get a trail map, and head on my way. They always say to plan for the worst, so I had extra socks, jacket, gloves, hat, food, water, and flash light. The lady inside the visitor center said that part of the trail had some damage.

At this point, I am feeling good, taking lots of pictures, and I'm ready to commune with nature. I pass some beautiful falls that you can walk behind and I start up hill on the other side of the falls. This is the point where the lady said there was some damage, but it looked pretty clear so I kept going. As I got higher and higher, the path started getting narrower and narrower. The higher I got the more snow covered the ground, but I was sure I could see the path on the other side so I kept going. About 50 feet into the snow-covered ground I looked around me and I couldn't see the path at all. The best thing for me to do was to follow my footprints back the way I came. However, when there's lots of other footprints (the snow had been there awhile) it's not as easy as it sounds. I must've been following someone else's footprints because I ended up no where near where I started.

People think I'm pretty calm and collected, but in reality, I can panic quite easily. And this was one of those times where I started to panic because I am miles from the nearest person and there are waterfalls, which means even if I yell (and I tried) no one will be able to hear me. I am on the side of a mountain with such an incline that if I lose my footing at all the only thing stopping me from a 200 foot fall are trees. After an hour and a half of being lost, I gave up control and said (more like yelled), "God, if you just get me back to the trail sign by dark I will be okay." Not more than 2 minutes went by and I looked up and there was the sign. There's a lesson in itself!

So, I made it back in one piece... a little dirty and bruised, but in one piece. That night I drove down to Oregon City to stay with my cousin, Jeff, and his family. Thursday I did some visiting with Dale, the head coach I worked for (who's more like a Dad), and his family and then with other cousins, JoLynn and Amy, and their kids.

Friday, Jeff and I went hiking up Beacon Rock and Rodney falls. Beacon Rock is a hike that is only a mile, but it is straight up hill! When we got to the top it was very windy. We looked around and there was a bald eagle just soaring over the tops of the trees! It soared and came up behind the rock and then hovered about 20 feet right over us! It was so beautiful.

Then, after eating some lunch we hiked up the trail to Rodney Falls. Usually in the summer time the falls is just a trickle of water, but the springtime (although cold and wet) is the time to go. Even the overlook was filled with water creating its own waterfalls. The power that the waterfalls created was absolutely stunning.

Saturday I drove up to Ocean Shores, WA and met a friend at the beach for a clam festival. They advertised this huge clam chowder cook-off. When Phillip and I got to this tiny town there was 3 people entered in the cook-off and about 15 booths. So what we thought would take hours took about 30 minutes. =) You gotta love small towns! So after the wonderful time walking around the huge convention center we drove the few blocks onto the beach. And I literally mean ON the beach. Phillip has a 3 ton truck and we were able to drive 10 miles on the sand and barely leave tracks (except in one spot where the tires spun). It was kind of fun to go for a drive that close to the ocean. It was a really windy day and a little rainy, so we didn't want to get out, and the temperature was about 50 degrees. The waves were huge and it looked pretty dangerous. When we got a few miles down the beach there were guys surfing! The water couldn't have been much above 50 degrees. I guess that's exhilarating to some people, but that does not appeal to me.

Here are some pictures from my trip: