Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bulleted lists are useful in many situations

  • Andrea is staying in Oman for another month!  She won't be home for Party on a Hill, The real July 4, or even her birthday, or Grandma's 80th birthday party, or Craig's homecoming from "East Asia"!  Egads.  To clarify, it is her choice to stay... :)  I am so happy she is seeing God working through her time in the Middle East and that she has a great team with her...but she be greatly missed in the next month.
  • The previous bullet was really too long for a bullet...sorry.
  • Just Dance is a really super fun Wii game.  And it is great exercise too, of course. :)  Thank you, Mac.
  • Mary Poppins is a wonderful movie.  I always know that I love it, but I tend forget just how much until I watch it again.  I watched it with Ben for his birthday since he loves Chimneys and Mary Poppins contains an entire scene about people cleaning chimneys, shooting up chimneys, walking on chimneys, singing about chimneys, dancing on chimneys, etc.  Chimneys as far as the eye can see!  It was a good night. :)
  • Yes, that bullet was longer than the first.
  • I love salmon.  Kristen and Carl made some of the best grilled salmon I've ever had the other night.  It melted in our mouths.  Fantastic.
  • The Sunday School Picnic was really good.  Strong work on the games, Amber.
  • I'm sure there's more that I could add....but.......that's all I got for now.
  • Drive thru, please.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The piteous Point

"Behold yon miserable creature.  That Point is a Being like ourselves, but confined to the non-dimensional Gulf.  He is himself his own World, his own Universe: of any other than himself he can form no conception; he knows not Length, nor Breadth, nor Height, for he has had no experience of them; he has no cognizance even of the number Two; nor has he a thought of Plurality; for he is himself his One and All, being really Nothing.  Yet mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn this lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy."

An illustration of self-centeredness and introversion?  Interesting, anyhow.  I admit that the book Flatland has more heart than I anticipated.  :)  It's pretty short, so if you're looking for something to read, look into it....and don't pass judgment too fast.  I kind of like this business of having time and energy to read in the evenings. On to Catch-22?  I've been meaning to read that for years....  Laura and I are going to my parents' house to go swimming this afternoon.  Maybe I will start it while sitting by the pool....that sounds nice. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A good problem to have

I am blessed to know too many cool people, and I know that I should take time to hang out with them all.  Individually, when possible.  I have today and tomorrow off "work", and I am racking my brain about how to make the most of this 4-day weekend.  Of course, the racking of the brain eats up quite a bit of time in itself...

How do you know if you are an introvert or an extravert?  I have heard it said that it's based upon "from where you derive your energy".  Whatever that really means.  Some people make me feel energetic (for a while), and some people plain wear me out.  Sometimes it is peaceful and rejuvenating to be alone, and sometimes it makes me feel lonely and lethargic.  In the end, I'm probably an introvert who has learned that people and relationships enrich the purpose of life, and that God created us to be social creatures (not lone rangers) and to show His love to others.

Before college I was not a very social creature. I had a few quite wonderful friends, but rarely branched out from that comfort zone.  Having a multitude of places to go and cool people to hang out with happened very quickly when college began and was a little overwhelming.  And every year I still meet more and more cool people.  I just hope that I can be as good a friend to all these people as they have been to me.  As I said...it is a rough problem to have.  :)  I am very blessed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It turns out that after six years of college I actually do know something about speech and language disorders!

About 2 weeks ago, one of my old professors from the Special Ed department asked me to be a guest speaker in her disabilities course.  She wanted me to talk about speech-language disorders for, like, a whole hour in front of her class of grad students.  Eep.  But it ended up going really well.   Thankfully the class was talkative (to me), had lots of questions, and could follow my rambly train of thought with relative ease.  Or at least they were polite and good at pretending. :)    It felt sort of like an exit exam for my 2 years of grad school....and it is encouraging to discover that I have learned something in the past several years.

In other news, I keep hearing about people who accepted a job, then found another job and said "sorry, never mind..." aka, "yoink!"  Really??  People really, really do that?  (For background, see post entitled "conflict"...)  Okay, you did it.  Whatever.  But please stop telling me that I should do the same thing.  In the words of George H.W. Bush (Dana Carvey version...imagine hand gestures and imprecise, hypernasal speech), "Not. gonna. do it.  Wouldn't be prudent."

INTEGRITY.  Eesh....

Today started out sort of long, but things are definitely looking up.  :)
Happy first day of summer!  Get out there tonight and enjoy the longest day of the year!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have been long-winded lately.  Time to post some pictures.  These are from my cousin Melissa's graduation/birthday party at Lake Bloomington last Sunday.

The 'rents in a canoe

Carl catching a series of jumping children...

Connor...Okay, catching wasn't necessary here...



Dad and Allie (my 13-year-old cousin from Northbrook) came down for supper last night, and then we gave Allie the patented Allen Drake Tour of U of I Campus.  I haven't been on my Dad's tour for many years, but it all came back to me pretty quickly.  This is where Allen met Rita....This is where Allen and Rita had their first date....This is where Allen and Rita ate their first pizza....etc.  Haha, no, there are other very important U of I landmarks on the tour....such as the Foellinger echo spot and the Foreign Language Building, which was designed so that the supercomputer housed in the basement would be safe in the event of a nuclear attack.  Good stuff.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I know that doing mission work in another country is very difficult, don't get me wrong.  To leave one's family and friends, not to mention one's native nation, culture, surroundings, and oftentimes language, sounds pretty crazy stressful.  However, while we are in our native country, we should still be doing mission work, and there are a few ways in which international missionaries have a serious advantage over us in the States.

Allow me to expound.  It generally takes a strong conviction and a huge leap of faith to be an international missionary.  You pack up/get rid of everything, move to another country, and set a very clear boundary between your stateside and international stages of life.  Every day that you are in your new country, you are constantly reminded of your purpose and your new vocation.  Every person you interact with looks or talks a little differently (or possibly very differently) from the people in your "old" world.  The scenery out your window may be drastically altered.  Every step you take may be on different flooring, or soil...or sand.  You came to this place with the express purpose of spreading the Gospel, and there is very little of your previous context to tempt you to revert to complacency.

Not to say that we in the States don't go where we go or do what we do with the purpose of spreading the Gospel...we often do.  It is just so easy to get distracted when much of your environment is operating as it always has.  Tina and Jenny are living with us now, which is a huge deal.  I don't know Jenny very well yet, but Tina has shown a great desire to know God.  It has been wonderful to see her excitement and determination to learn. The problem is that the Dojo girls still have work/school.  We still have young group stuff and family stuff.  We still have all our other obligations in addition to this new mission that has plopped into our laps.  Sometimes I think it would be easier if I had to drop everything else and focus on this huge mission.  I mean, just think about all the other thousands of international students in this town!  They can't all live at the Dojo! :)  ...But then I remember that, well...loop back to beginning of this post and repeat.

I guess what I'm saying is that I could use some prayers for patience and a self-sacrificial attitude...and that I will remember the Purpose in this whole business.  I am to be God's hands and feet and give Him glory.

Unrelated Epilogue: You know, blogs are a really good platform for opinionated people.  CNN has always said so, but I am discovering it first-hand. Blogs are mostly a one-sided conversation (the computer has to listen to me for as long as I can ramble), and no one can interrupt to argue.  :)  And if someone does leave an argumentative comment, no response is required and the comment could be deleted.  Haha.  It is a dangerously empowering feeling..... hmm....I'll try not to let it get to my head.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Irony is one of my favorite things....

...which is fortunate because life is full of it.

Even the simplest parts of a day may be found to contain irony if you scrutinize them enough.

Before I sat down at my computer just now, I was going to sit down at the piano.  I didn't make it there because I was struck by an ironic thought.

I was headed to the piano to play a song about lightning bugs.  It's a song I made up several years back.  Every year when the lightning bugs come, I am super excited to see them.  I chase them around the yard, catch them in my hand, let them crawl around my fingers, and admire their cheerful glow.  Then I quickly take them for granted.  Before I know it, before I've hardly had a chance to give them more notice, they vanish away with the rest of the summer.  It is very sad.  In the song, the lightning bugs serve as a metaphor for the people in my life.  You see, I have the unfortunate tendency to take people for granted, just as I do my glowing insect friends.  I assume they will always be there, that things will always be the same, and one day...life happens.  Things change.

Where is the irony in this situation?  The irony is double-decker, I suppose.  Firstly, I was going to sit at the piano and play a song about how I take lightning bugs for granted when I could have been outside chasing lightning bugs.  Secondly, had I gone outside to chase lightning bugs, I would have missed the whole metaphoric point of the song, which is to pay more attention to the people in my life.  Frolicking around with bugs, as much fun as that may be, is not going to help me build and nurture relationships.    Neither, I fear, is spending time sitting at my computer writing a blog post about the whole matter.....but at least some people read this.  There is some human connectivity involved.  :)

Another somewhat ironic thing that happened lately is that I whacked my head on a cabinet during VBS.  I mean, really whacked my head.  Like, Sue-Plattner-and-Whitney-rushed-me-to-Convenient-Care-as-I-clutched-my-bloody-forehead whacked.

We were reenacting the fall of Jericho.  We had all the chairs stacked on the table ("the wall of Jericho"), and we were marching around it 7 times.  Yeah, how can that go wrong, right?  Well, it did go wrong, but not in the way you might expect.  (That's the ironic part. we feared someone would get hurt by the chairs stacked on the tables, BUT...)  The kids kept messing with the markers on the white board as they marched past, so I grabbed all the markers to remove the temptation.  At the end of lap #7 around the "wall", I dropped one of the markers....right under the cabinet....and as I stood up to continue marching, WHACK!  My glasses were off, and I was on the ground.  The kids were pretty concerned, but the nice doctor at Convenient Care glued me up, and in 30 minutes I was welcomed back to church by my applauding 1st and 2nd graders. :)  

Haha, it makes a good story, right?  And actually, some good came out of it.  The kids seemed to learn something from the whole event.  One of them commented later, "If we wouldn't have been playing with the markers, Sarah would never have gotten hurt."  Hmm.....well, if it helps the children learn a valuable lesson, I'm happy to take one for the team.  :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On age

I recently bought a Wii(TM).  This purchase followed the realization that I can be motivated to exercise by frustration and perfectionism.  Or rather, the realization that exercise may result as a by-product of my compulsion to conquer all the games on Wii Fit(TM).  Whatever works, I suppose.  But anyhow, One feature of Wii Fit(TM) is that it calculates your Wii Fit Age(Probably TM), which it claims to determine from your BMI and performance on various balance tasks.  One problem here is that the balance games require some instruction (not provided) and it is a different game every day.  So instead of assessing your balance, they are really assessing how quick you are on the uptake.  How quickly can you catch on to every new game presented?  And on the off-chance that you have seen the game before, and the Wii(okay, I'm done with the TMs) really is assessing some balance-type skill, it's probably testing your learned ability to shift your weight in the specific manner that pleases Wii Fit Balance Board(Nope, one more...TM), not so much your functional balance.  What is my point?  The Wii Fit age is an insignificant, arbitrary number...basically.  Oh good, one can balance....and is a healthy weight.  But what about one's joints?  Lungs?  Heart? .....Emotional maturity level?  I don't know.....there are seriously a lot of factors that should go into figuring a person's age.  In short, don't trust everything followed by a TM.  In fact.....be more skeptical of it.

But really, this got me thinking about age in general and how arbitrary it is, Wii Fit or no Wii Fit.  Past a certain undetermined point, those particular numbers on your birth certificate don't tell you a whole lot.  Important for planning birthday parties, yes.  Important for determining your level of physical, mental, emotional, or social functioning...quite debatable and certainly variable.

My brother John is 8 years older than me (take that, grammar nazis...I'm a rebel).  That used to be way, way old.  Chiu Fang (Hereafter, Jenny) is John's age.  I don't think of her as any older than I am (okay, I caved).  And there's Tina too.  Age is really not a factor in our friendship, and that is cool.  There are no Wiis in Heaven....or BMIs...or, I don't know....joints.....

I really want a strong closing sentence for this rambly mess of a post....but I am losing interest and am afraid that that is simply not going to happen. 

"There are no Wiis in Heaven" would be a good name for a Country/Western song.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who wants a worm, anyway?

...Nonsensical bird.

Speaking of nonsensical, this post is going to make no sense. You doubt? I am pretty sleepy at the moment, but I feel like a lot has happened...so for my future self's benefit more than anything, I am going to record some events from the last couple days in an abbreviated fashion that perhaps only I will be able to understand. Time will tell.

  • I got up at 5:30 this morning. Well, I'm not sure if it was really 5:30, but it was before 6. And my alarm was set for 5:32, so close enough. I'm afraid I am going to make this a habit. Haha.
  • Amber and I winded around the countryside all over creation last night. All the bridges are out between Champaign and Gridley. Virtually. I feel like we learned quite a bit about the landscape of the region. It contains corn and beans.
  • Chiu Fang (if that is really her name...I hope it is) moved in this morning. She is cool. I think she and Tina will be BFFs. I also think she will learn English very quickly.
  • VBS started tonight. Yep, fun times.
  • My cousin Melissa got a job teaching special ed in Bismark! Which is the neighboring town to Rossville! And she is going to live over there! Which means I will hopefully get to spend quite a bit of time with her AND have a place to crash in nasty weather! She has been one of the most dedicated job searchers I have ever heard of, so it is super exciting to see her get snatched up! :)
  • Whitney just commented on my last post as I am writing this one....hold on, Whit...check again in a second! :)
  • I am very blessed. Like, really. God is so good.
  • Katrina Stoller's new place is super creative and cool.
  • I should practice Spanish more often.
  • Chinese is also a cool language.
  • Are you still reading this? .....Really? You didn't just skip down here? You did, didn't you...I would have too. :)
  • Heartland Health Care is a good place. All the therapy staff is super nice. If a loved one ever needs rehab, do not discount it.
  • Okay, I'm done now...time for bed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

quick update/correction

Chiu Fang came down today to meet us. It turns out her name is Chiu Fang and not Jiu Song... And I'm still not entirely sure I have it right. :) Tina says it is a very common name. In fact, Tina's old company is named Chiu Fang, which is pretty random. Anyway, she seems like a really cool girl. She loves band/music, works for an orchestra, and plays the euphonium. She likes to play sports, and studied forestry in school. It appears that she has things in common with each of us who live here, so I think we will all get along just fine. :)

Psalm 85:10

Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other.

Beautiful. I never noticed this verse before this morning. It's a good one to stop and visualize.

TRUTH may indicate fairness...getting what you deserve.
Truth is black and white at its core.
MERCY is the opposite, really. Not getting what you deserve
Not black and white.
Met Together: And what do you get? A rainbow? Hmm......

RIGHTEOUSNESS indicates uprightness, morality.
PEACE is an important aspect of morality,
But morality itself...True, Christian morality, is surrounded by controversy (not peace).
So when righteousness kisses PEACE...and peace kisses righteousness...
It is beautiful. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

The neighbors would laugh at his pet giraffe

I love listening to Tina's perspective as she learns about Bible stories. It makes me stop and think about stories or concepts that I take for granted. For example...

Garden of Eden

Tina: In Eden there is apple tree. God say no eat apple.
Then why God make apple?
A good reminder of God's gift of free will. He wants us to obey him because we want to obey him, not because it's our only choice.

Noah and the Flood

Tina: Why God save only Noah?
Me: Because everyone else was very very bad.
Tina: HAHAHAHAHA! So God only save Noah??
Me: Yep, Noah was good.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

So happy together....

....so it would seem. :)

Phase 1/2 : initiated and in progress.
Phase 2/2: to be initiated next Monday...same day as first day of VBS.

Translation: Tina has moved in. Jiu Song (Derek Chang's sister) is moving in on Monday for the summer.

I should go to bed early tonight...or write graduation thank yous...or pack up my stuff to make room for Jiu Song...but instead, Amber and I are going to Tremont to have supper with Jenny, Bob, Nic, Amanda, and Kaleigh. :) Maybe I'll sleep tomorrow night.