Friday, December 28, 2007

Today we are sad

Last night at a little before 9:00 pm we lost our baby. We were surprised, because things had been going so well. We had just had an ultrasound on Christmas Eve that showed that the region where the placenta had pulled away had shrunk to half its size, and the baby was very active and healthy. As difficult and shocking as it was, we are glad we lost the baby here at home and not in a sterile hospital room surrounded by strangers.

I'm not going to any more detail about what happened other than to say that Beta was a little boy.

Today Lisa, Ian, and I are spending the day together as a family, celebrating the rich blessings that God has bestowed on us. Why this happened we may never know, and nor do we need to. We feel His comfort, and we trust in His goodness, which is all-sufficient.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh

Good news! My doctor took me off bed rest on Thursday after only one week! When he found out that it had been almost a week since any bleeding, and when he heard the "whooshing" sound of a strong heartbeat, he decided that I'd had enough lying around and is letting me resume "light" activity. Praise God!

So, I have another ultrasound and an appointment next Wednesday and Thursday in order to keep tabs on things, but the situation seems to be looking up!Thank you, all of you out there who have been praying and sending encouraging notes. I have never felt more loved and supported than in the past week.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lisa's first ultrasound was not scheduled for another 2 weeks; however, some events today necessitated an emergency trip to the OB/GYN. There is good news and bad news. First, the good news. Say hello to ß (Beta):

The baby's heartbeat was strong and normal, and developmentally everything looks on track. However, there is a problem. It seems that the placenta has begun to pull away from the uterus in one spot, causing quite a bit of bleeding.

The upshot of this is that Lisa's pregnancy has just jumped up pretty far on the "high risk" scale, and that Lisa is now confined to bed rest for the foreseeable future. There is nothing to be done other than pray and wait. Our doctor told us that he has seen babies in this situation come to full term, but that there is simply no way to know what will happen.

So, we covet everyone's prayers right now. Regardless of the outcome, we know that God is in control, and that is good enough for us. Even if we can't understand why certain things happen, we fully accept whatever He allows.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We're Still Here!

We really are alive, honest! Sorry about the long delay between posts, for those of you who check here regularly. As you probably know, we've been very busy and tired. We've actually had a lot of interesting things going on, not the least of which is that I'm pregnant again! We're extremely excited and are expecting "Beta" (ß) to arrive sometime in late June (Ian is "Alpha," the next one would be "Gamma", etc). So that's some good news for ya.

This week, Eric is in New Orleans for a conference where he's presenting a paper linked to his dissertation. Research is going pretty well, and he hopes and plans to start writing at the beginning of January. He's almost done!

Ian is talking up a storm -- not sentences yet, but about 20 or more recognizable words, which is making our lives a bit easier. It's so nice to understand what your child is trying to tell you sometimes!

Some other things we'd love to blog about right now, but simply don't have time on which to expand are:
* The exciting conclusion of IU football's regular season & possible bowl berth
* The hiring of Coach Lynch for said football team
* The holiday season and how we're trying some new things this year
* Exciting adventures with potty training

We won't make any promises, but we'd like to try to get to some of these topics in the next week or so. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ian goes to bed

Some more video for family and friends who are interested. One of our favorite daily rituals...

Monday, October 29, 2007

5K Update

I have to take a minute to brag a bit about my husband; I hope you all don't mind! On Saturday, we participated in Bethel's Homecoming 5K race, and Eric accomplished the awesome feat of running over three miles in 21 minutes and 35 seconds! That's more than two minutes better than his time last year, and is a very competitive pace. I am so proud of him! Even though he's been really busy with research for his dissertation, he's gotten himself out of bed early in the morning several times a week to prepare his body to compete, and he did an amazing job! My father-in-law, Nate, also beat his time from last year and came in at a little over 26 minutes. (Not too shabby, Nate! Good job!)

I ended up walking the race, while pushing Ian half the time in his stroller. (I was walking with my mother-in-law, Pam, who pushed the stroller the other half of the time.) We finished in about 42 minutes and Ian had a great time. By the end of the race, he was clapping his hands and singing as we fast-walked to the finish line.

Eric and I have pretty much decided that we're going to try to find a 5K to run in every year, no matter where we end up. It's just such a fun way to keep in shape as a family and have some sort of measure for our health. We have so much fun participating in the race that it makes all the work and sweat leading up to it completely worth it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Thanks to a suggestion from some friends, we've made a mini-revolution of diapering in our family! They're called gDiapers, and they're.....wait for it..... flushable!!! No more stinky poopy diapers in our trash cans, and no more filling up landfills with disposable diapers that will take at least 500 years to decompose! Apparently, conventional disposable diapers are the third largest contributors to landfills in the world and yet only five percent of the world's population uses them. Even though we were only using 30-40 disposable diapers per month (because we use cloth diapers during the day), that was still at least 360-400 diapers we as a family put out there in the last year alone. And to think that most diapering families use on average 2500 disposable diapers a year!

At any rate, after much consideration and research, we decided that the best thing for our family was to switch to gDiapers for at night and while travelling. And they really work well! They're kind of a hybrid between our cloth diapering technique and regular disposable diapers. They have cloth covers (gPants) with velcro fasteners, water-proof polyester snap-in liners, and environmentally-safe "pads" that get pressed into the liners, which are then either flushed or composted when dirty or wet. We've even been able to switch from using pins and plastic pants with our cloth diapers to using the gPants with a cloth liner instead of the flushable liner. This also makes potty training much easier since we can much more easily take off Ian's cloth diaper right at the toilet, without having to mess with pins and whatnot.
We've been fairly happy with the results, too. The gDiapers are really an ingenius invention that could possibly change diapering as we know it. They certainly changed our lives, and in the process, also made us more aware of our waste in general. I was reading in the book of Genesis some time ago, and in chapter 2, verse 15, it says, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." In the original Hebrew language, "work" has more of a meaning of "serve" and "take care" has more of a meaning of "protect." Adam's first job was to serve and protect the land that God gave him! How does this not apply to us, as well? This earth is a gift from God, and we are responsible for serving and protecting it as best as we are able. Therefore, we've become really convicted in this area about making sure we're not polluting the land with our trash, and have stepped up our recycling habits. Our next step will be working on a good compositing system so we can throw away even less waste. It's all a process, and I'm sure God has more steps to take us through!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

October Update

As you can probably tell by the long blog hiatus, life has been pretty uneventful. We've been busy, of course, but nothing really exciting or interesting has happened lately.

Eric is plugging away at his dissertation and was able to run the first two subjects of Experiment Three for his thesis this past week. He feels really good about how things are going and thinks that, at this rate, he'll be able to accomplish his goal of finishing up by next spring. He's been working really hard at searching out potential job opportunities for us for when we leave Bloomington next summer and has found some intriguing possibilities.

I'm wrapping up the first fall session at the IEP, and the second session starts the week after next. Next week is our big "Week Seven", which is full of exams and whatnot, which means that my schedule gets upended and, hence, so does our family routine. Flexibility is the key!

Eric and I have been running a lot lately, getting our bodies ready to compete in the Bethel College Homecoming 5K race, which we also did last year. I think we'll both beat our times from last year, and hopefully make a dent in the standings. We've been enjoying this warmer weather -- it makes for nicer running in the morning -- but we're also ready for it to cool down so we can turn off our air conditioner and leave it off for awhile! 88 degress in October is ridiculous!

Ian is suffering from a nasty chest cold, which I think I contracted today. (Fun, fun!) He's got all four of his first molars in, and is working on a fifth. He's eating everything in sight and having a lot of fun being independantly mobile. Playing outside and "going bye-bye" are some of his favorite activities. He's also graduated to a "big boy" bed -- we took off the front of his crib and turned it into a daybed, with a little guard rail to keep him from falling out. He loves getting in and out of bed by himself, and does really well with going to sleep when he's supposed to. That kid loves his sleep -- thank goodness!

All in all, things are well with us.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ian tells a story

Here's a video of Ian from the other night. He's gotten into "telling stories" at the end of the day. We can only make out a few words here and there, but it's fairly entertaining (for us, at least). In this video, there's a little speech at the beginning, followed by some playing around, and then a concluding speech at the end. Enjoy, Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall is here

Summer has finally decided to let loose its grip and allow fall to bless us with its presence. My fall crocuses are in full bloom, the weather is a sunny and crisp low 70's, football season is in full swing, and our fridge is stocked with apple cider. After almost seven years of marriage, my husband has persuaded me that it really is a wonderful time of year. And I truly believe it is. While I used to view fall merely as the precursor to winter (my least favorite time of year), I now see it as a time of reflection and repose. It's the time of year when it's so incredibly pleasant to both sit outside and have a hot drink at the same time. Yes, summer is passing, the fields and my flower beds are beginning to surrender themselves to the earth, and the winds are beginning to be a bit more blustery, but it's also a time of new beginnings, especially since we're in academia, where the "new year" essentially begins at the end of August. It's a time to look ahead at the work to be done and revel at the fact that we have so many interesting things to look forward to in the year ahead! Let's just say that, this year at least, I'm enjoying the wonderfulness of autumn just as much as my husband.

Here are some pictures of Ian and Eric enjoying our morning excursion to Apple Works, a somewhat local apple orchard with a cute petting zoo and all kinds of wonderful apple-y goodness!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Indiana vs. Indiana St.

To me, this is one of the most beautiful pictures I've seen in a long time (I pieced this together using multiple shots from my humble little Nikon COOLPIX 2500):

There is something special about a nighttime college football game. This one was particularly meaningful given the passing of Hep this past June, as well as ongoing construction of the North endzone enclosure. It was nice to see the team come out and destroy Indiana State 55-7 on a day when #5 Michigan lost to 1-AA Appalachian State.

Kickoff for the IU-ISU game was after 8:00 pm, and it didn't finish until nearly midnight (curse you TV timeouts). Ian tailgated with us until 5:00pm. At that time, some friends from church picked him up and watched him until church the next day. Lisa and I took advantage of being Ian-less and went to BW3 for some hot wings after the game (mmmmm.....wings at is wonderful).

Speaking of Ian, much to Lisa's dismay it appears that he is already showing signs of wanting to be a QB. I can imagine Lisa wanting to charge on the field and slug anybody who tries to sack her son.

Friday, August 24, 2007

We Believe

We thought some of you might find this interesting. Jane Hoeppner had a 2007 media guide sent to us this week, and look what we found on the first page.Recognize anyone?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Camp fires, cabins, and long drives

Wow, it's been forever since we've updated this thing, and over a month and a half since I've contributed. I got super busy during the last teaching session since I ended up teaching a full load of four classes due to a shortage of teachers. I had two weeks off afterwards, but we spent those going camping at Lake Monroe with our good friends Cary and David, and then taking a trip down to Kentucky and Tennessee to see some family and good friends.

While we were camping, we had the awesome experience of viewing a meteor shower at midnight. Cary asked Eric a bunch of space questions that I had never thought of before, and I ended up being reminded how smart and cool my husband is. It's amazing to even try to fathom how vast our universe really is and very humbling to realize that our lives really are just a "blip" in time.

During our Kentucky trip, we had the pleasure of spending some time at Eric's brother's family's house. Rob and Anne have two kids who are just the cutest and coolest niece and nephew I can imagine. Ian had a lot of fun playing with them, and us adults had a lot of fun watching them all.

From there, we went to Tennessee to meet up with some of our best friends who now live very far away. We stayed in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and pretty much just played a lot of games and ate a lot of homemade food. On our way back, we stopped again in Kentucky to see my uncle's family and spend the night at the Long's, some very good friends of ours who used to be at Bethel College, but now are located at Asbury Seminary. We always go away from their house encouraged and challenged to be good parents. The Long's certainly are a good example to us.

I guess the biggest thing I'm feeling right now is supreme thankfulness for the wonderful friends and family we have. The past two weeks, while busy, were incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating simply because we were always in such good company. How fortunate we are to know so many quality people and to be able to spend time with them.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Loud...very loud

For my birthday, Lisa, Adam, and Sherri went together and bought me concert tickets for the Collective Soul/Counting Crows/Live concert in Indianapolis. When we got into Victory Field (the concert was in a minor league baseball park) we found out that all of the seating was general admission. As a sign of our age, we immediately bypassed the "standing area" in front of the stage and made a bee line for the bucket seats on the upper level.

When we got to our seats, we were comforted by the fact that we were surrounded by other 20+ year olds (and actually quite a few 30, 40, and 50+).

The show started with Collective Soul; they played a lot of songs off of their greatest hits album. Apparently, about a 1/3 the way through their set a fight/scuffle broke out among some fans in front of the stage, and Ed (lead singer of Collective Soul) called out, "Hey, stop that s***! Don't be interfering with my show!" When security went to throw the guy out, Ed then said, "Don't throw him out...just separate him...we'll all have a good time."

Next, Live performed. I haven't heard a lot of their music, but I really liked it. They put on a great, energetic show.

Finally, Counting Crows performed. Overall, I was kind of disappointed with them. Whereas Collective Soul and Live performed as if they actually wanted to be there, Counting Crows seemed like they were just phoning it in. One neat part of their concert though was that it started pouring the rain while they sang "December." Lisa and I sat in a section by ourselves (nearly everyone else left) getting drenched while we enjoyed "December".

On our way home, we had a major case of the munchies, so we hit Burger King for some cheeseburgers and onion rings.

Going to a concert like that was something I wouldn't want to do very often (based on my work in the Speech and Hearing Sciences department at IU, I have a pretty good idea of the permanent damage I probably did to my hearing), but it was definitely a blast. Who needs those upper couple thousand Hz of frequency response anyway.....

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Many of you know that I finally ordered the replacement for my computer this week. Well, because I'm (still) a student, I was able to purchase a new 30 GB iPod for only $50. It arrived today. I'm in iLove.

Also, as of 7:07 pm Eastern Daylight time, my customized Macbook is in Anchorage, Alaska (say 'hi' to it for me, Adam and Sherri!)...I hope hope hope it arrives tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Growing Up

Sometimes things happen which make me realize that Ian is growing up right in front of me. I was making supper this evening when I saw Ian go crawling down the hall to his room. A minute or so later, he came crawling back to the living room dragging something. When I reached a stopping point in my work, I went into the living room to see what he was up to. The first thing I saw was this:
Ian had arranged these pieces from his toolbox in a symmetrical pattern. This is actually quite impressive given that there are two of each color. I haven't sat down to figure out the probability of randomly generating a sequence like this, but the odds aren't actually that good.

Second, I looked up to see him sitting in one of the living room chairs with his face buried in a book, and he was talking to himself. It turns out that the thing he drug back to the living room was one of his books. The kid had gone to his room, picked out a book, brought it back to the living room, climbed into a chair, and started "reading" to himself. I just quietly walked back into the kitchen and resumed working...he didn't need me to entertain him.

P.S. Look how old he looks in this picture of him and Lisa...and how much he looks like Rob.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Look out world.

I don't think this needs any explanation.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Baths and Butterfly Lunchions

This is Ian after one of his evening baths (his most favorite part of the day!), "reading" his favorite book. And he loves his birthday suit. After all, what are those stupid clothes and diapers for anyway? He's also decided he doesn't enjoy being towel dried, but would rather air dry while speed-crawling around the house, laughing all the way. When we're particularly tired or feeling quite lenient, we let him have his fun. And, lo and behold, it becomes fun for us, too.

And here is one of my new friends. He comes to the flower bed at the base of our deck every day to sample the sweetness of my butterfly-inticing flowers. I was able to capture him on camera this afternoon while he ate and drank to his heart's content. It was really a joy to watch. I hope he comes back tomorrow for another buffet meal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Teaching in the IEP

This afternoon is my first day back in the Intensive English Program after taking a break for one session while Eric was teaching his Intro to Linguistics course. This session, I'll be teaching three courses: basic level grammar, basic level communication, and level three communication. Each session is seven weeks and there are six sessions throughout the year: two in the spring semester, two in the summer, and two in the fall, and we're just beginning Summer II. The IEP somewhat follows the general schedule of IU's collegiate calendar, but with these divisions in the middle of semesters. So it looks like my life from now on will be measured by seven-week sessions! Pretty much every session will be different, especially for me since I'm a "newbie" in the department and get the classes that the more experienced teachers don't want. So my schedule will most likely change from session to session, which is kind of nice for me because it will provide me with a wide range of experiences and levels. Hooray for boosting the resume'!

At any rate, I'm excited about the upcoming session, as well as the next year or so as I get my feet wet in institutional teaching. I'll be phasing out my tutoring students, which basically means that as some of them leave at the end of the summer to return to their native countries, I won't be replacing them with new students like I usually do. Eventually, my main focus will be my teaching in the IEP, which will provide me with more time to spend at home (which means less time for Ian at the babysitter's!).

It's amazing how God has worked this all out. The way things have fallen into place with my career is certainly not because of my brilliant planning. Sure, I've worked hard, but God surely deserves the credit for working things out so beautifully and in just the manner that our family needed. Thanks, Lord!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Today, the world lost a great man...but heaven gained one. Indiana's head football coach, Terry Hoeppner, passed away this morning due to complications from a brain tumor that was discovered a year and a half ago. While we don't know Hep very well personally (we only met him once, briefly), we feel the loss. He was an energetic, tough-nosed, yet compassionate man who led IU football for a mere two seasons. He had the ability to breathe hope and fire into a lifeless program, creating excitement that had not been felt in some time. As far as we know, he was also a follower of Christ, and that conviction showed through in his actions. It is encouraging to know that he is no longer feeling pain. However, his family, friends, and players, as well as the IU community, are experiencing hurt due to his passing. Our prayers go out to them, especially to his wife Jane, who will surely miss him. The two of them were a great team and their unity was obvious. We are thankful to have "brushed elbows" with this man while he was alive, and hope that the legacy he started here at IU will continue in the future.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday night musings

Not much has been going on lately. I'm rounding the last lap as far as teaching is's hard to believe that Summer Session I is almost over. Once school is done I'm taking a much needed break for a week or two. Since returning to work about a month after Ian was born, I haven't really taken any kind of break. Even when I've been traveling or seeing other people, work/school has occupied much of my time and thoughts. Come June 14th, I'm putting an "Out to lunch" message on my e-mail, and I'm not turning on my computer for a week (of course, I may turn on my wife's computer...hard to go "cold turkey" on the internet).

Looking to the future it is hard to believe that I'm getting ready to start the final leg of my formal education. Come July, I am going to start building the last of the infrastructure that I will need in order to write my dissertation. If all goes well, I should have all of my data collected by the end of December, and I can spend January - April primarily writing up the final portions of my thesis. I'm aiming to defend my dissertation late next Spring, and walk for graduation in May. Being the sentimental sap that I am, I have begun to allow myself to start reflecting on the winding academic journey that has led me to where I am today. The further I have progressed in my education, the more I have come to realize that my acheivements are not mine alone. Who I am today, both personally and academically, is a direct consequence of dozens of people who have poured some aspect of their lives into mine. Most anything that we accomplish is not really due to ourselves; the real doers are those who make us into the kinds of persons who can accomplish things. So, as I enter this "year of fruition", I recognize that it is not about me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


In the next week or so I'll be saying good-bye to the S-10, which has been an Oglesbee family workhorse for 20 years. For me, the S-10 is more than just a is one of the last physical objects I have that is directly connected to growing up. I don't see a rusting, moderately dangerous, underpowered compact truck, I see my dad picking me up from elementary school in order to take me to piano lessons. On those days, he usually had a small thermos of milk and a couple of mom's chocolate chip cookies ready and waiting for me. We would listen to NPR on the AM radio that came with the truck. I distinctly remember listening to some sportscasters discussing the new football term that had been coined for the region between the goal line and the 20 yard line (i.e. "red zone").

I also think of how dad would hitch the boat to the truck, and as a family we would head over to lake Waubee and go sailing (Rob and I would ride in back). Later on, when Rob got his license, I remember the contract he had to sign with dad in order to use the truck. Rob succeeded in filling every bit of cubic of the cab with a speaker or amplifier. Given what I've learned in my Ph.D. minor, I'm shocked that neither of us show any signs of hearing loss. I have to say that one of the bass tapes (yes that's right, tapes) Rob used to play always made me feel like I had to poo.

Later, when it became my turn to learn to drive the truck (it's a manual), the one memory that stands out is killing the engine roughly 6 times in rapid succession on a county road at a stop sign. Dad just sat calmly in the seat next to me, waiting for me to figure out what the problem was. Eventually, I got the truck moving, and when I went to make the shift into 2nd, I discovered what my problem had been. I had been trying to start the truck in 3rd gear (it was a 4-speed transmission), and had succeeded...the burnt clutch smell testified to my persistence. Although the truck only has 83,000 miles on it, I believe it has gone through 3 clutches.

Some of my favorite memories are from college, when Lisa would sit in the middle of the bench seat and fall asleep when we would be driving back from Nappanee or Ft. Wayne. One of the worst things that ever happened to couples was the mass adoption of bucket seats.

Some might think that it is silly of me to be so attached to a physical thing, especially something which is likely to give you tetanus if you're not careful while washing it. However, more than being a vehicle, the truck is a symbol. Among other things, it is a symbol of fun family times, growing up, and helping others. Symbols are important. Symbols help define us. The Christian faith is jam packed with physical items that serve as powerful symbols (i.e. the Elements in Communion). It's okay to treasure the symbols, as long as we don't let that stand in the way of letting them go when the time is right. For me, that time has come.

Although it is hard to let the truck go, I'm happy to say that she is not headed to a scrap heap (for now). The S-10 is being fixed up and is going to a guy from our church who is just a little bit older than me. He has had a difficult life, and has spent the last year in a program at a local rescue mission that has helped him turn his life around. He owns virtually nothing, and some people from our church are helping me to fix up the truck to give to him. People are donating money to pay for plates and insurance, so that this young man from our church will get a working vehicle to start out with.

So, I bid my S-10 a fond farewell. She has been a good truck, and I will miss her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whatever you do...

"So whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

This verse stood out to me this morning in my brief quiet time before Ian woke up. It comes at the end of a chapter where Paul is lining out "rules" for holy living. He has some good suggestions, actually: Focus your thoughts on Christ and heavenly things. Get rid of sinful acts. Don't let your emotions control you. Stop always wanting more and more. Banish bitterness, hate, and lies from your life. "Clothe" yourself with mercy and compassion. Be patient. Forgive. Let peace infiltrate your heart. And finally, whatever you do, do it for God, with thankfulness.

It all sounds so simple, doesn't it? Do this, don't do that. But it's more difficult to flesh out in the day to day kind of stuff. What does it really look like? We were discussing in our small group this past weekend how to glorify God in the mundane, every day occurrences. How do I glorify God when I'm stressed out? When I'm sick? When I'm frustrated? When I've got so much on my plate that I can hardly think straight? I know I tend to think sometimes in those moments, "External forces are caving in upon's just not possible to glorify God right now." But Paul says, "whatever you do." In everything. In every situation. In every word and every action.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Romanian Lettuce

Sometimes I forget that I live in a place where people know food. This past weekend we went up to South Bend/Mishawaka in order to celebrate our 6th anniversary, as well as reconnect with some friends. Anyhow, while we were at a restaurant, one of our friends asked the restaurant owner (who happened to have stopped by our table) whether one of the salads was made with Romaine or Iceberg lettuce. The owner responded saying, "Romanian lettuce? Nope. The lettuce is American." At first I thought the owner was making a joke, then I realized, he wasn't. My friend asked a couple more times about the lettuce, thinking that he was just being coy. What was funny was that you could tell that the owner had no idea why my friend cared so much about where the lettuce came from...

Our anniversary was quite nice. We washed/waxed our car and went to a small Italian restaurant in Mishawaka with some other friends. It is cliche, but time does move along so quickly. Here's us after six years of marriage...

One other funny story. I'm currently teaching an introduction to Linguistics course at IU, and yesterday one of my students said something that made me realize the age/experience distance between me and them. At one point, we were discussing the syntactic properties of the sentence "Jack and Jill ran up the bill", when I happened to mention that one of my former roommates routinely had a $150-$200 phone bill from talking to his girlfriend at another school. One of my students raised her hand and asked, "Didn't your roommate have a cell phone?" A second student immediately chimed in, "What year were you in school anyway?" It's amazing what has changed in just 8 years.

Friday, February 23, 2007

For all of you wives/moms out there

Yesterday, I was able to attend our church's "Mom's REST stop" for the first time. A group of moms, mostly in their 20's and 30's, get together every other week at the church with free childcare provided by older women in the church and do various things like crafts, Bible studies, and prayer time. Yesterday they had a guest speaker, a lady who was in her 40's and a mother of 3, the last of which was a "surprise" and is a little over a year old. I had met her several times before in-between services when she and I both used to give our little ones a midmorning snack. My impression of her was that she was one of those "granola", ultra-feminist types, and that really is how she carries herself. However, she spoke about how to be a Biblical woman, mostly focusing on our roles as wives, and I was impressed and encouraged by her talk, and filled with respect over the way she presented a Biblical view of how a woman should act that is completely anti-cultural. I'll highlight just a couple of things that really struck me.

First, she mentioned that she believes that women have a special place in God's heart (though we're saved with the same grace as men), and cited several verses that supported her opinion, one of which was Isaiah 40:11, "Like a shepherd He will tend his flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes." That whole chapter is my favorite portion of scripture, but I had never thought about that last line before. God especially singles out mothers and "gently leads" them! How encouraging!

Secondly, she talked about Ephesians 5:22-33 where it mentions how a woman should submit to and respect her husband. Not a very popular passage in this day and age, she pointed out. But she gave some very encouraging, practical tips on how to live that out:

* find some way(s) to praise your husband every single day and let him know how you admire him
* don't try to "fix" him by correcting his attitudes and behavior; that's God's job, not yours
* don't criticize him; that's also not your job, but Satan's
* ask him for advice whenever you can, even if you don't feel like you need it; his opinion and wisdom will certainly help you, and he will feel needed by you (which he is!)

She gave an example from her own life to illustrate some of these things: her husband loves books, so much so that he has over 3,500 books in their 1000sq.ft. house. They don't have enough bookshelves (or room for more shelves), so he stacks the books on the floor. They also have a 15-month-old daughter -- you can imagine the combination! Whenever her husband gets upset about his books being messed with and she feels the urge to scream, "You're being selfish and crazy!", she prays for forgiveness and the grace to respect her husband, regardless of his faults, and resolves to try to discipline her daughter better so that she doesn't mess with her daddy's books. I found that striking because it seems to me like she's got every right in the world to be upset at him, but instead of criticizing him herself, she lets God do the work through her respectful and kind actions. And she said the result when she does this kind of thing is that her husband realizes on his own that he's being selfish and wants to do better.

This kind of attitude goes along perfectly with what God says in 1 Peter 3:1-7, "Wives in the same way [as being obedient to Christ], be submissive to your husbands, so that...they may be one over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come [merely] from outward adornment...Instead it should be that of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight..."

I was impressed by the fact that this strong, independent, self-sufficient woman would be saying these things! I figured if she can do it, maybe I can be a better Biblical woman for my own husband. I certainly pray that God will help me with that.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Back in the USA

Well, thanks to all of you who were praying for me while I was in Honduras with my father-in-law! God's blessings were rich upon me, and I really felt the love and support of those of you who were at home. It was an amazing week of encouragement -- something I never expected. I guess I kind of expected it to be a "testing" experience, or at least an "eye-opening" experience, and in some ways it was. But the feeling I'll always have of last week is one of support and comfort. I was blown away by the overwhelming amount of love I received from my teammates and even from the Honduran people. I expected to be the one doling out the love, and instead I was the receiver for the most part. Believe me, that was not my plan! But God had other things to teach me: things like how to receive love and how to rely on the help of other people. My personality doesn't lend itself well to these things, and I think I needed a little bit of a wake-up call. Praise God for it.

Now, for you less touchy-feely people, I'll try to give a brief summary of the week's events.

Nate and I arrived in Tegucigalpa (a.k.a., Teguc) on Saturday afternoon, where we met most of the rest of our group. The group was comprised of two main parts: one part from Illinois and one from Michigan. Nate and I were just along for the ride in our own little group. However, by the end of the week, the geographical lines between the groups blurred, and everyone seemed to have always known each other. I guess that's how it is on these types of trips. Anyway, Saturday was spent in orientation and getting to know one another. We were able to enjoy for the first time the splendor and beauty of the view from the mission house's balcony, which is located on a mountain to the north of the city.

On Sunday, we attended a Spanish-speaking mega-church in Teguc, after which we took a drive over the northeast mountains to an area called Valley of the Angels, where we ate a lovely meal and did a little bit of sovenier shopping. There was a TV at the restaurant, so I was able to catch some pre-game Super Bowl highlights. (Yay COLTS!)

On Monday and Tuesday, we had our first medical brigade at a church in the west part of the city. It went fairly well. I think we were able to help some people who really needed it. The brigades were organized into sections: general medical, dental, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, children's, and evangelism. Everything seemed to flow quite nicely. World Gospel Outreach (WGO), the ministry we were down there to support, does a really good job of organizing everything.

On Wednesday, we had a "break" and were able to tour the other parts of WGO's ministry. We went first to the top of a mountain on the east side of the city, Rancho Ebenezer, their alternative to an orphanage, where they house abandoned children with married couples, usually 4-6 children per household. In this kind of setup, the children are able to receive real love and care from a real family setting, while also getting a first-rate education through the school at the ranch. It's WGO's way of enhancing the Honduran culture from the bottom up -- by teaching people real values, integrity, and what it means to be part of a family. Once children become 18 and are no longer under the legal guardianship of the ministry, they have the option to become part of the Bridge house, which is the second place we visited. The Bridge house is located in the middle of Teguc, and is run by one set of house parents who help the young adults adjust to living on their own. I was very impressed with the skills that were being practiced at the Bridge house: cooking, cleaning, managing a budget, maintaining good grades, and showing spiritual and emotional improvement. It seemed like a good "bridge" from the ranch to the real world, and I think the ministry has the chance to produce some of the country's future leaders. Before returning home to the mission house, we went up the mountain a little higher to the future mission house site, where WGO hopes to begin building sometime in the next year or so. The view from that site is almost as breathtaking as the current mission house's view, and in some ways, more. It looks like a good place to put down roots and establish the ministry even more strongly.

On Thursday and Friday, we continued our medical brigade, this time at a different church on the east side of the city. Everything went well, and once again, I think we helped many people who needed it. The joy of giving someone some glasses and helping them to see better than they had in a long time (or in some cases, ever), was wonderful, indeed. We had about 350 people go through our optometry station, and about 1600 came through the whole brigade! I really enjoyed that part of the trip.

On Saturday, we packed up our things, said goodbye to the friends we made, and boarded the plane back to the US. It was sad to leave the people we'd grown so close to, but it was also nice to know that we were returning to our homes and families where we belong. I praise God for the many blessings He bestowed upon us while we were away. I had the pleasure of receiving the "Honduran welcome," as it is affectionately known, which is really just a nasty bug that upsets your stomach in a variety of ways. However, it only lasted two days, and during those two days, I was able to experience the love and care from many people in ways that I did not expect. Praise God for His loving family of believers!