Lines in America…

...for $60 toys and $200 game consoles

Lines in Haiti…

... to see a nurse after not having any medical care in months, possibly years.

Lines in America…

...for $10 coffee pots and $1000 tvs

Lines in Haiti…

...for half a peanut butter sandwich and a small cup of juice

Lines in America…

...for $300 computers and $170 mp3 players

Lines in Haiti…

...for one used piece of clothing that someone in America no longer wanted

Tents in America… be the first in line for Awesome deals

Tents in Haiti…

...because this is where they live.


Life to the Full


Image by Ferran. via Flickr

Over the last few weeks months, I’ve been slipping into a depression.  With all the transitions and trials in my life, I rather expected the ever-looming dark cloud to pop up above my head & drench me in self-pity.  However, I’m quite acquainted with my gloomy shadow, and can usually kick it to the curb before I get too far into the pit of despair.  But, this cloud has lingered, and its shadow has darkened the goals I set for myself during this sabbatical from ministry.

I lived 15 years with a full plate…and now that that plate has been scrubbed clean and stored in a cabinet, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Overall, the transition has been refreshing.  I feel little stress and NO pressures to perform perfectly.  There’s no rushing around from one commitment to the next.  I do what I want, when I want, and how I wantand it feels good!

However, accompanied with these new luxuries of time and freedom comes boredom and loneliness.

I’m not surrounded with the abundance of friendships that used to envelope me weekly.  Phone calls & texts have stopped.  Facebook messages & comments have significantly decreased.  Invitations to dinners, parties, and game nights have ceased.  I know I still mean something to these friends, but it’s difficult to be on the outside.

And, because I’m not invited anywhere or involved in anything, I’ve got nothing to to do.  I’m bored.  Except for the occasional, once-a-month weekend activity, I do nothing but come home from work, get on the computer, cook dinner, get back on the computer, watch a movie, read a little bit, and then go to bed.  It was nice for a while.  But now it’s tedious and making me lazy…and when people only idle about, they become overwhelmed with feelings of uselessness…which leads to depression.

I’m not excusing my depression.  I’m quite aware that it’s unacceptable…and I’m working on it.  I’ve opened up with Josh and a few friends (and now to the world), and am making steps to lift myself back up.  I don’t expect it to be a quick process, but that’s why it’s called a process…it takes time to figure out solutions and implement them.

One of those friends who knows what I’ve been going through, sent me the following poem.  It has been a huge encouragement and is exactly what I needed to hear.  For so long I’ve lived a full life…but it’s time I figure out what it means to “live life to the full.”

For years I lived full.
Full schedule.
Full plate.
Full speed ahead.

I found myself weary, wondering,
“Is this really how it’s supposed to be?”
And then it seemed God asked me to learn to live differently.
To focus on love.
To make time to listen to His voice.
To embrace what He’s called me to do and let all else drop away.
“Isn’t that what I’ve already been doing?” I asked.”Don’t you want me to be busy, to push myself to the limit?”It seemed the heart of heaven smiled and these grace-words drifted into my day. “Daughter, I did not come to give you a full life. I came to give you life to the full.”
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

–by Holley Gerth

Teacher Talk

As a teacher, it’s easy to fall to the temptation of negativity and bad-talking students – harping on their low grades, big attitudes, and inappropriate behaviors.  We want to vent our frustrations about assignments turned in late, half-done, and scribbled in chicken scratch.

Their apathy irritates.

Their vocabulary stinks.

Their never-ending talking and laughing and farting noises and snide remarks dig into my brain like nails on chalkboard.

and, damnit, I want to SCREAM!!

But it doesn’t mean I should.

Nor do I really want to.  I don’t want to be one of those teachers who only sees the negative in her students and voices it to all the other teachers.  I don’t want to be the teacher who ends up bitter and unhappy with life, wishing she had chosen another profession.  I don’t want my students to look at me in fear or disgust as a sour-faced, cold and merciless old hag who enjoys giving big fat “F’s” on major grades.

If I aim to be a compassionate, caring, and sincere teacher, who embraces every one of my students (and all their idiosyncrasies) , then I must have integrity in my thoughts about them.  I mustn’t look at their failures and shortcomings, but instead view them through the lens of Christ, who sees them as his precious creation, unconditionally loved.  I must remember that God has a purpose for each of them, and God has a purpose for placing them in my classroom under my direction. And for those reasons alone, I need to speak of them in love…even in the midst of my frustrations.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  ~Philippians 4:8

A Must-See Video

I saw the following video on a blog that I follow (Aspire2) and had to share it.  It’s a must see…and then go hug your children and pray for those who never had a chance to enjoy this life God has blessed us with.

(for some reason, I can’t get it to embed…so to view video click HERE and then press play on the video.)

The BBC Book List


Image by Robert Burdock via Flickr

I’ve had several friends post this in Facebook this week.  Since I find it interesting, I thought I’d give it a go…

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES.

Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.

Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

My additional notes are in blue.

I’ve read 37 of these books in their entirety, and there are 10 that I’ve started but didn’t finish.  I find this a bit sad for an English major and a High school English Teacher.  At least now I have a list of novels to read through!

After you see what I’ve read, comment with your thoughts and what you’ve read… (Or not, after all reading is not a competition! I’m betting that we’re all well over 6 books, and I am curious to see the common ground).

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – umm…this is a trilogy…I’ve read all 3.

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – favorite book of all time!

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible not straight through, but over time and in chunks

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark MaterialsPhilip Pullman – Also a trilogy…His first book, Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in America) was a huge controversy in the Christian world…I wrote a review, which you can read by clicking HERE.

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott – I even played Meg in the Mesquite Community Theater production!

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – most of them, I’m sure…but his works are quite extensive…

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier – close 2nd for favorite book

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – and the sequel

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David CopperfieldCharles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis  – wouldn’t this go with #33??

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini – reading it now!

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal FarmGeorge Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare – again, wouldn’t this part part of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare”?

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


November is NaBloPoMo…or National Blog Posting Month.

I’m a little lot behind in the festivities, but I’ve been telling myself that I’m ready to begin blogging/writing again, and what better time is there to  jump back on the writing wagon when there’s a party going on in the blogosphere?  I’ll admit, though, that I’m still feeling a bit uninspired in what to write about.  So much has happened in the last few months, that I’m not sure where to begin…or rather if I even want to share it on my blog at all.  Not yet, at least.

But, since it is NaBloPoMo, there are a plethora of blog prompts out there for me!  So, to start off my month of daily blogging, I’ll start with today’s prompt offered to me by the official NaBloPoMo website:

How did you end up where you’re living right now? What factors will help you choose the next place you live?

Starting broadly, I ended up in Texas in 1991 when my parents loaded up our car and a Uhaul truck and moved us from an Atlanta, Georgia suburb to a Dallas suburb.  As a child, my parent’s jobs had us moving around quite a bit.  Even though I was a pretty shy girl, I enjoyed the adventure of discovering new places.  I still carry that love and passion of travel, experiencing cultures, and frequent change.  Too much of the same ole’ stuff gets me all ancy and restless (and moody).

I ended up in Garland because (1.)I married a Garland boy, (2.) my church at the time was in Garland, and (3.) most of my friends lived in Garland…so logically Garland would be where we planted our roots.

However, just because my roots are planted in Garland soil doesn’t mean that Josh and I are firmly planted.  We’ve been married 10 1/2 years, and we’ve just about moved at least once each year of our marriage…to apartments, houses, living with family, and twice overseas to Europe and back again to Garland.

Right now, we live (for the 3rd time) with my mother (for various reasons too long and complicated to write about here and now).  But, we are saving up to buy our own house and settle down for good!  We still haven’t determined exactly what we’re looking for (except it has to be a one-storied, garage-in-the-front, 3 bedroom home with a well-maintained yard, large kitchen, and spacious master bedroom/bathroom located in a kid-friendly neighborhood and not flush against a major road but still within a 15 minute drive to both of our jobs). We’re hoping to move into that perfect place early next summer.

Until then, we’re content here, where God has placed us for this time in our lives.

Dear blog…

And blog followers,

I’ve missed you.

I’ll be back soon.