Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Come back, Stephanie.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Fireflies by Owl City
Say it Right by Nelly Furtado
Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
Love Song for a Savior (the new remix) by Jars of Clay
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
"I think if I could play the part of Mary again, I would add more humor and boldness to her line delivery and whole persona. I played her too sweet and timid, when really I think she's rather forward and obvious about what she wants. She is proactive and confident without overstepping her role or place as the lady (both in her relationships and in her community). I played Mary before I was a wife and mother. And now I know what it's like to step up and take responsibility in life (especially when others around you are timid and unsure). I think I can relate to her a lot more now and would give her more spunk and energy to the point where she might fight a little more for the spotlight, so to speak. Not because she is needy, but because she is aware and ready for it. She is a much-needed character of stability in this play because George is the one fighting the personal battle.
Alternate-reality Mary is not so complicated in my opinion. You don't have to know much about her because she is supposed to be a stranger. Mysterious, dead to George and the audience. That's what makes that part so sad. I would not be afraid to be disconnected from her because I think that's what she is with herself. Pretty depressed, dull and lacking purpose. She's just the opposite of what the real Mary is.
Hope this helps you. It was fun to reflect a little on that character! I wish you all the best on your performance. You are a wonderful Mary, I'm sure. The more I think about her the more you seem to suit her rather well.
God bless you!
Whoa. First of all, I find myself daily trying to make up for the "weaknesses" in others or do what others are not in order to keep life moving as I think it should. Most of the time I am annoyed at either myself for always taking on that role or annoyed at others for not being more productive or efficient. Not a way to live! But now, looking at Mary, I see how this personality of mine can be very good for the people in my life when it is not an issue of control but rather of love and serving where it is needed. That confidence and forwardness has been very beneficial and is doing a lot of good in all areas of my life and I should not learn to dislike myself because of it (although it shows up in unhealthy ways at times). I also see that the battles others are facing can be very crucial to their walk of life, the lessons they learn and their personal growth.
The other eye-opening part of this reflection is the alternate-reality Mary. I have found myself resorting to daydreaming at the end of the day and also when I am particular depressed or exhausted. It seems like a safe and easy place to go when the world is hard to deal with. I can be whoever I want in my head and accomplish or say whatever I want. But who I imagine and who it would feel good to be sometimes is not who I am or necessarily should be. I think I started to realize this about myself when I wrote: "She's just the opposite of what the real Mary is." Then I read that whole paragraph again as if it were about me and it scared me. I have a very important responsibility and purpose in my real life. That makes the daydreaming life rather unappealing to me now. I love the real Mary. She is a wonderful person who in the end changes the whole story around. Because of her, George and the community are saved. And what's best is that everyone comes together in the end for someone other than his or herself. It's what I want in my life. That ending never ceases to bring me to tears. Sacrifice. Community. Love. That's what is needed most.
The only three good snapshots I could find from the play:
Sunday, November 22, 2009
October 15, 2009
It's only Thursday, but who knows when I'll have time to reflect and tell my story of Indonesia when we return. Just one more day here, one more in Singapore then we return to America.
I am barely able to stay awake on this couch in Amanda's apartment with the mosques trying to sing me to sleep. Five times a day they try to sing me to sleep. They're hard to get used to, but it's a neat reminder that I'm in another culture altogether. Within the guarded walls of a Christian school it can feel comfortable and normal until I look up at the coconut trees and tile roofs. But once we step outside the gates, all the motor bikes, carts full of crops and dark, curious faces make my heart thump with excitement. I am outnumbered. I am lost. Thankfully Amanda is practically fluent in the language and knows these streets in the dark. But "Mari" and "Ma'af" and "Tirama kasi" connect me enough to all the questioning passersby. They nod and smile and come close to touch Oliver's soft, white skin. He's universally irresistible. He makes me seem approachable and safe. He's my free pass to just about anywhere.
My first impression of Indonesia was the crowded streets of staring faces and the amazingly new kind of traffic. It's amazing because there are no rules other than staying on the left, yet the drivers are so aware and in control. I felt very unexpectedly safe.
October 23, 2009
I finished half of an article in the Voices of the Martyrs newsletter and suddenly felt the urge to continue my story of Indonesia. Those 10 days of Asian cultural exposure awakened something in me I don't think I'll ever be able to let go. My stomach flutters at the thought of seeing more of this continually amazing world. And more than that...I long to live dangerously for my faith. I don't mean that in a naive, romantic-missionary way. I mean that this trip opened my perspective of spirituality and what it means to live whole-heartedly for whatever you believe in.
If I could pick out pieces of this trip to show you, it would be the way it looks to walk down the streets on Java island, the constant spiritual awareness of the culture, the simple yet struggling way of life, and the most amazing coffee I have ever tasted.
Perhaps the reason the streets stand out so much to me is because that is how you get anywhere any day and so that is what I saw most of. Almost everyone owns a motor bike. It's apparently the most efficient way to get around, and to transport your goods, believe it or not. Whether you need to move your furniture to a new home, your crops to the market or your family of five to the nearest mosque, the motor bike will do the trick. And if you see someone along the way who needs a lift, pile them on top. A piece of wisdom I picked up from this trip is: You can always fit one more. I experienced this my first day in Salatiga when we took the angkot to the market (a van with bench seats along the windows so that passengers sit in facing each other). The four of us climbed in when there were already five other passengers in the back. I couldn't help but smile the whole ride as we somehow fit more and more in. And I loved the fact that when I was explaining to Amanda that I felt like this was a ride in a circus clown car that possibly no one in the whole van could understand my language. Suddenly I was a foreigner....and I spoke a cool and different language! I became very aware of the sounds my mouth made wondering how they sound to the Indonesians who keep staring at me.
The next thing I noticed was the open commitment to faith. A young man sitting beside me held a pocket version of either the Koran or the Holy Bible. Two other women in the bus wore head coverings and long dresses. And five times a day(often more than that) voices from all the mosques in the community would call the Muslims to prayer. Instead of feeling separate from these others who held tightly to a different belief than mine...I felt somehow closer to them than ever before. I don't have any Muslim friends or ever get to talk to Muslims. I've only heard about the faith from books or radio or television or school or friends who have been to or live in Muslim communities. It was a surprise to feel such a strong connection to these people. And I think it's because I too live by faith. And our two faiths are similar in many ways. The Jewish and Christian faiths are at the roots of Islam. We are like brothers and sisters who are now walking in different directions praying the others will change direction. I am now hoping to learn more about Islam. Maybe take a class or befriend someone who either is Muslim or used to be. I'm thankful to have experienced and understand better this new connection.
Beyond the outward religious appearance of this part of Indonesia, I learned about the spiritual awareness that is a part of every day life. And by that, I mean the cultural traditions and experiences that include praying to spirits, bodily possession of spirits, physical displays and interactions with spirits. It's not ridiculous or dramatic in this culture. It's everywhere. From the spirit trees that no one dares to cut down to entertaining audiences with demonic-possession. It is a very real and interesting aspect of this place that I wish I could have learned more about. I will have to live vicariously through Abbie (a teacher at Amanda's school and my new Facebook friend!) who's similar interest in this spiritual culture is captured with incredible photography and documentation.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to move outside of busy streets to fields and farms. We walked along footpaths through rice fields and small farms. Saying "Mari" to the workers and chidlren at play. "Turan, turan?" (which means sightseeing) they would ask. Yeah...just looking at your fields and yards and homes and children and animals. They seemed to like our interest in their home. What amazed me is that they harvested all their crops by hand or by plow pulled by water buffalo. This raw, dirty labor is an expected and normal way of life. And watching them made me want to get soil under my nails.
November 22, 2009
I suppose the last aspect I want to tell you about is my coffee experience. It was like inviting myself on a National Geographic or PBS documentary. I took the tours of plantations and stood in the forest of coffee trees breathing in the Jasmine scent of their blossoms and picking the little red beans. I saw them roast the beans over the fire. Then they let us sit under a pavilion with the mountains and tree tops to stare at while we sipped the freshly-brewed coffee in little glasses; coffee grounds soaking in the bottom. On the table was a dish holding shiny, black beans and another holding flakes of palm sugar. Our guide told us you eat the two together. I can't blame my excitement on caffeine. It was the whole atmosphere and experience...and the fact that the coffee I was tasting was indeed the best to have ever passed my lips. I was on the island of Java...and the coffee is no myth. The plantation gave us little bags of the powdery grounds to take back, and it disappeared too quickly. Thankfully, I was able to buy green beans at the second plantation to roast myself at home. Two pounds for $2 US. I couldn't stop grinning. I haven't roasted them yet, since my in-laws left a huge can of Folgers sitting regretfully on my coffee bar. But I love the way my 2 bags of green coffee beans remind me of my Indonesian gift of true experience.
I will close this blog with a quote from a book I am reading called Cross Cultural Connections. It refers to a short-term stay in a foreign country and the slight culture shock you might receive upon return to your home country. The author refers to one's background culture as square, and a foreign culture as circle. "You find mild disappointment in your home culture, but in a couple of weeks the busyness of life consumes you and many of your feelings and thoughts become submerged in being square again." It's a bittersweet time as I reflect on my trip. I wish I could have had the opportunity to become more "circle". It was almost too easy to come home to the American society. I know Indonesia left a mark on me. I just don't know exactly what it looks like and I hope it doesn't fade.
To see photos of this trip visit my facebook album #1 and album #2.
PS - The most common question people ask me about this trip is "How did Oliver do?"
He did great. GREAT. We were complimented over and over on how well-behaved and mellow he was. I think he was made for traveling; or at least adapting. The new faces and scenery were really good for him. He thrives on new experiences. It's sort of scary that he's okay with running off in a different direction without looking back once. But it helps my mother heart to know he is NOT comfortable in strangers' arms. The women especially were drawn to Oliver's angelic looks and couldn't help but stroke his cheeks and blond hair. But he didn't necessarily have the same interest in their skin color and hair. He just wanted to run through their streets and fields. Keep it up Oliver, and you will experience more than I could ever imagine for you.
...for those who are still reading....
PPS - Our very last day of vacation we spent in Singapore with a college friend, Mar, who was able to spend the day showing us what makes Singapore strange, unique and...well...Singapore. I have a hard time knowing what to say about it. It happened so fast, and we saw and learned so much. Tall buildings, mega malls, we talked about politics, the crazy strict laws, we saw China town and little India. We ate really great food for really cheap. But the best part was getting to know Mar more than we had the chance to when we all attended JBU. He's got a huge, honest heart and speaks up when necessary for what is right. He has a hardcore belief system yet the patience and contentment to be used by God wherever he is in life. We hope to see you in the states again, Mar. And if not...I'm sure there's more of Singapore we haven't seen. :) I'm up for seeing Bali too!
Monday, September 28, 2009
The crazy thing is that my camera is nothing spectacular (although I love it like a pet). It's an Olympus SP-550 UZ and it takes two seconds for the poor thing to focus and snap the shot. But since I am a slow, patient photographer as it is, I don't always mind this (unless I'm trying to take pictures of an almost-2-year-old in low lighting...).
Okay, I'm done with the technicalities. I want to show you some Ruth.
To see more photos and other versions of these go here.
I had more fun that day than I've had in awhile. I loved spending the entire day with Layne and Ruth. Their home is so comfortable and relaxing and we always enjoy just being around them. Since Shane and I are still sort of new to Spokane and not very extroverted, we don't have many friends in the area. But Layne and Ruth are by far our closest friends here. Because of them we had a place to stay before we found a home in Spokane. We found a great church to call home and made even more friends. We don't feel so alone in a "big city" full of strangers and acquaintances. We've cried together, rolled in laughter together and sat in content boredom together. It's a forever kind of friendship I'd say.
To top this great Saturday off, they invited us to stay for a dinner they were making for a Bhutanese family. Layne and Ruth volunteer for Global Neighborhood which is a non-profit that helps refugee families settle safely and comfortably in Spokane. There are a lot of refugees in the area from Bhutan, and this family in particular spent 15 years in Nepal in a refugee camp. We had such a great time getting to know them. Their kids were great entertainment for Oliver (or vice versa) and the food was so good I had big seconds (thanks Ruth!). Shane and I long to immerse ourselves in other cultures. The only way I have experienced this is with people who have immigrated from other countries. But Shane has been overseas several times and is formally educated on relating/understanding other cultures. I love to see him so in his element and long to enjoy more of the world with him. The good news is that in less than two weeks we will be traveling to Indonesia to visit Amanda, Shane's sister! My first trip overseas. I am so, so excited and can't wait to take pictures of that colorful culture!
Well, I got sidetracked a little. But I just want to say one last thing. Ruth, thank you for welcoming Shane, Oliver and I into your life. You are a treasure on this earth to more than just us. I cannot wait for your little boy to finally make an appearance. I want to cuddle with him like you did with Oliver in our cozy little cabin in Idaho. So many memories ahead!
Okay, one more!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I like how the tops of your ears slightly stick out. Like mine.
I like how your eyes look amazing when you wear blue.
I can't help but give in when you take my hand and drag me to wherever you want to play.
All I want to do is make you happy and I fight the urge when I know the best thing for you only brings disappointment.
Every little tear of yours pulls me apart inside.
Every giggle makes me feel like a queen and reassures me we're doing okay.
Somehow you hold my entire vault of emotions in the palm of your small hand.
You make me feel completely strong and able, yet completely vulnerable and incapable.
I anticipate and fear your future.
I yearn for your affection, but want more than anything for you to share it with others.
I love the mystery and the contradiction life reveals as I learn to be your mother.
originally posted by .hello foto
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
May 12, 2009
I suppose there’s somewhat of a frustration gurgling inside me. I’m brainstorming constantly. I keep waking up in the night with crappy logo ideas and then mentally kicking myself before falling asleep again. I just bought and read through Jeff Fisher’s book Identity Crisis and I learned a lot. But I found a few of the redesigned identities featured to be boring and unoriginal. So, shouldn’t I be able to come up with something not boring and unoriginal if I’m able to identify the ones that are?? But I can’t! All my pages of sketches and hours of creative brainstorming have left me feeling like I’m not very creative and I’m cheesy and boring. So maybe I should just create something that’s expected. Why does it have to be way amazing and completely new and exciting anyway?? Maybe I set a standard for myself that’s too high. A standard I am incapable of meeting.
And the fact that my boss wants to see my progress and be in on what’s going on in my head makes me nervous and frustrated as ever. Because if I were to show him my sketchbook right now or even try to explain my ideas I don’t think I could explain them at all. In fact…I don’t think I even have any ideas! My thoughts are not organized enough to even begin to lay them out for someone. So the whole organization has put their trust in me to create a visual identity. And if you think of how huge of a responsibility that is…particularly for a place that is doing such an amazing work in their community, then maybe you can imagine how heavy my shoulders feel right now.
Ok…simultaneously I am completely aware that God is in this and He is ultimately the One we are putting trust in for our identity. He is the one who gives me creativity, so it is not myself and my own mind I should be leaning on. So, I know this…and I know he has called me to this place and has His hand on me. But how do I keep working and sketching and moving forward with the creative crap I keep producing??? I can design a flyer, a poster, a brochure, a newsletter. But a logo is sooo completely different and encompasses a lot more than just one area or focus of the organization. How can you put everything about UGM into one small mark? I’ve done so much research and so much reading, interviewing, thinking, thinking, thinking. And I’m just waiting for that amazing revelation? Is that ridiculous or what? Persevere.
Back to present time
Well, I did persevere...and I came up with a brand new logo and identity for Union Gospel Mission Spokane. I had that "revelation" in church actually...right after I asked the church to pray for this process I was going through. I doodled on the bulletin because it was impossible to turn off my brainstorming process at that point. It was too easy. But brilliant. And the more I stared at it the more it made sense. The more it told the bigger story of UGM. Well, I've come a long way in a few short months and it has been frustrating to get this logo out there and we're trying to apply this new look to every little detail on the small donation-based income of UGM.
Well, the good news that I received happend to be that a generous investor is donating a large sum specifically toward UGM's rebranding process. Praise God, He is so faithful. We don't have to settle now for the cheapest quality of everything. We're going to put our new look out there and show our best face. Spokane will not be able to ignore the work we do for the poor and homeless.
Lord, make this logo shine. Thank You for always doing great things here and letting me be a part of it all.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Things I love about Karen:
She is uninhibited about her love for horses and spends HOURS looking at them online.
She fights for what she believes, but allows room for others to speak their hearts.
She almost always insists on buying ice cream or cake or brownies when she visits.
She loves to stock our fridge even when she's as financially tight as we are.
Um, she bought us plane tickets to Indonesia. Not a tiny thing.
She respects our rules and guidelines for raising Oliver.
She completely desires more than anything for her kids to experience life to the fullest and will sacrifice all in order that they do.
Whatever it is....she takes it like a man.
I could go on about this. But I'm just happy that I get to see her today and watch her enjoy Oliver...because I know that's her main reason for visiting and she'll want some special time with him. And since I'm leaving tomorrow for a 2 day Staff Retreat with my work (my first night away from Oliver I believe!) then I'm sure she'll have plenty of special time.
Love ya Mom #2!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Speaking of Oliver...a good way of describing what he's like these days: Where I am, there will he be also. At least when I'm not at work. Whether I'm doing laundry, on the computer, doing pilates, unloading the dishwasher, watching a movie or taking the trash out...he somehow wiggles his way right in the middle of it all. I love and sometimes not-so-love his complete attachment to me. So, all the housecleaning before Tuesday better start now if I ever hope to accomplish it. Which is why I'm online uploading photos to Facebook, listening to Pandora, and browsing friends. I mean, who actually starts cleaning 3 days before company? Really.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I’m forcing myself to take 10 minute breaks, late morning and early afternoon, instead of just truckin’ through the day with just a 30 minute lunch to keep me going. Hopefully I can use this time to get my head out of my work world and maybe update this blog????
Well, I thought I’d at least say one thing. Yesterday I felt like a super woman. Super mom, super wife, super employee. The last 2 weeks (probably longer than that) I’ve been so drained with work and as a result a complaining/nagging wife and a boring/unplayful mom. Well yesterday I finally printed a rough draft of a HUGE project (that will change EVERYTHING as UGM knows itself), so I think that’s why I was able to be so super. After only 5 hours of sleep, I went to work for 6 hours, came hope, went on a much needed shopping trip with my boys, left Shane on the couch with a headache that he suffered since morning, made spaghetti and fresh salad for dinner, played with Oliver inside and outside the house, did some laundry, took out the trash, had coffee with Jonathan, tucked Oliver in, and even stayed up to spend some quality time with Shane. All this with joy and enthusiasm and an attitude of thankfulness. HOW ON EARTH DID THAT HAPPEN???
Is there a magic button so I can be like this anytime I want to? Don't you wish.
Honestly…the Lord is my strength. There is no way every I can be like that when I want to be. In fact, usually when I put the pressure on myself to be like that…it gets ugly. God, thank you for pulling me through and helping me fit so many roles and a support so many people. It’s enough to have a family of my own who needs me….but to think of all the people that are depending on my skills at work. All the homeless…all the employees...the community. God, it’s you. YOU make this happen, and you’re always using me SOMEHOW to better lives of others and this world. Measly, complainy, tired little me. Thank you.
Friday, May 22, 2009
It kills me (in a good way) when he does the following:
Finds something that looks somewhat like a cell phone (remote, small alarm clock, computer mouse) and talks on it while walking around the house.
Falls down in the most awkward position, scrapes his knee, and gets back up and starts running again without even a whimper.
Shuts himself in a room and pounds on the door yelling "Dad. Daaad. DAAAD."
Puts his arms around my neck and kisses me right on the mouth. (The best Mother's Day gift ever!)
Does that little bounce and head nod when a song with a nice beat comes on.
Says "no." very seriously and clearly when he really means yes. (he hasn't learned "yes" yet so "no" is the answer for everything.
When he tries on my high heels, or carries around a purse, or puts on one of my bracelets. I can't help but crack up. I love that he wants to mimic me. And yes, he does try on Shane's shoes too...but Shane doesn't have all the fun accessories.
When he gets in trouble for disobeying mom or dad and runs up to cling to our legs repenting in tears and indistinguishable words of apology. (which is a lot different than the typical response of anger and tantrums)
All this to say I couldn't be more proud of the amazing piece of life that grew inside me and is doing his best to grow up and change the world.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Oliver is adjusting really well too. In fact, he's always been able to adapt to his surroundings rather easily. When I say goodbye he just smiles and watches me go. When I see him after work (Shane brings him to my office while I finish things up), he acts like it's all so normal. But he is a lot more cuddly that time of day. :)
Shane seems to really enjoy focusing so much time on Oliver. He's motivated to teach him and discipline him. I think he's realizing how much work it really is though. And that taking care of a kid and keeping house does not leave time for much else. Perhaps remodeling a home will not be as easy as we thought...it will probably be a longer process (which might be better anyway to sit on a house right now while the market is in this state).
All in all, we're really feeling good about the role-changes. Shane is so supportive of my work and says he can't believe how perfect it is for me...for us. We're moving into a small apartment this weekend that will buy us some time before we decide on a home to purchase. There are a lot of changes still ahead...and we're ready.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Shane is a new full-time Dad.
Looking to buy a house for Shane to remodel. (currently staying with friends)
Celebrated Oliver's first birthday on Christmas Eve.
Celebrated Christmas with Shane's family and made my first homemade clam chowder.
Enduring Spokane's record snowfall. (Over 60 inches in December!)
Weaning Oliver. (only nursing at night now)
Trying to pretend I don't mind the whiney stage Oliver is going through. (is it a stage...?)
Feeling like time is completely flying right now and I can't possibly keep track of anything.
Totally did not celebrate the New Year...seemed boring this year. (fell asleep at 11:45, woke up at midnight to the neighbors' fireworks, gave Shane a kiss and fell back asleep.)
Kicking myself every day I forget to send out our Christmas cards. (yeah, I still haven't mailed them...they're stamped and in my purse and I keep forgetting they're there!)
Happy New Year. I still love you all even though I'm too busy right now to talk much to anyone.