Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Waking up to the voice of Amos Lee, drinking blueberry tea, getting a coupon for the new book by Michael J. Fox (such a cutie!), and finding flowers outside my door...

Talk about a nice morning.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures in Growing Up: Weekend Edition

This weekend by myself...

I bought car insurance.
I filed my taxes.
I paid off one semester of grad school.

While these might not seem like a big deal to many of you, they are huge to me. Steps in growing up and becoming even more independent. (Plus, I have a number phobia and all of these involved numbers I was highly uncomfortable with.)


Did you know that I am related to some of the most incredible women in the world? All five of my sisters (including Rachel who is not pictured) have the uncanny ability to fly in moments where most are brought to their knees. They are truly people I look up to and admire.

Friday, March 27, 2009

#2 of "152 Insights Into My Soul"

I laugh at terribly inappropriate times. It is bad. For example, when a motorcyclist went flying off a bike or tonight when Amy kicked the ha-ha out of her toe. I am still laughing. Sigh... inappropriate Beth.

Red River Flooding

Below is an email from some friends in Wyoming. Please keep them in your prayers along with the hundreds of others in the Red River area.

Hi Laurie:

Almost 4:00 AM here - I just ran back from working an emergency shift at our south hospital...both north and south hospitals are being completely evacuated - I came home to check on Jeannette, because I just heard that a dike is weakening in south Fargo, near Lindenwood Park - not good. Jeannette is sleeping soundly, and it could be her last good night of rest for awhile if this situation worsens, as it is expected to...They keep raising the top crest prediction, and each time it means trying to build the sandbag and clay dikes higher - not enough time to do much more, and once the crest happens, they are saying it could stay at the highest lever (now predicted to be 43 feet) for a week - how can the dikes hold back water that long?

We will probably lose our home, Laurie.....it broke our hearts today to tear the place apart to try to save what we can. I was the only one on our block to take out flood insurance, but took it out on March 8th, and it doesn't go into effect until April 8th - when I took it out, they were predicting a crest in mid-April, and only at 39 feet.

Pardon my late night rambling - nerves are shot, I guess....Keep praying for all of us here in Fargo, Laurie...

Love you, Wayne
picture from Fargo

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are You A Cherry Blossom?

Washington DC is famous for their annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival actually started on March 23rd so we just missed it. However, we had hopes... big hopes of actually seeing some in bloom.
Several of our walks around town, we found ourselves stopping to ask "Is that a cherry blossom?" This Saucer Magnolia was especially sneaky, trying to make us think it was a cherry blossom...

The Saucer Magnolia is also called a Japanese Magnolia.

Just outside of the National Museum of American History, Amy found herself a cherry blossom!

It was a happy day...

(Can we say Chinese engagement photo?!!?)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lucky 7

Because Brian is going to make me something, I too will post...

The first SEVEN people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For YOU.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:- What I create will be just for you.- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!- You will receive your item before the end of the year.- You will have no clue what the item is going to be. It could be a story or poetry. It could be a piece of handmade jewelry or a cheesecake. I may draw, paint, collage or crochet something. I might bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
The catch? Oh, the catch is that in order to receive a gift, you have to re-post this memo and make and send out seven surprises of your own, so if you aren't gonna follow through and make something for seven others, you get nothing from me. And you need to send me your mailing address!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Home Again

Made it back to Nashville, but too tired to post right now.

Thanks be to Father for such a wonderful week with my family and friends.

It was a truly wonderful Spring Break.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Travel Update

Made it back from Dallas and now I am currently in College Park. Maryland which is just right outside of DC. Lots to post soon... but you will just have to wait. ;)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Completely happy being here in Dallas with two of my favorite people in the world...

Friday, March 13, 2009

What A Week...

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a week.

This week at school, my kiddos lost their minds. This was not impressive, but made for some great kid comments. One of my students gave Amy a hug which is HUGE and I am pretty sure he did not feel super comfortable, but he wanted to show her that he cared for her when she was having a hard day. My principal really has gone out of her way to help me and support me in all the things going on in my life. Today, she let us know that she is retiring in May. I did shed some tears, but I am so thankful to have this woman in my corner presently. I am just in my classroom today wrapping up things before I go on real vacation. It is quiet and I feel productive.

Tuesday night, I got to spend time with French Lemons group. What beautiful girls... It was nice to catch up with some of them and have some good cheap pizza. :)

Wednesday night was Mexican food and Taize prayers. A mid week energizer and one of my highlights of each week.

Monday and Thursday nights, I spent with Amy, Josh, and Jordan. There was much laughter... MUCH.

Travel planning has come right along. I am leaving tomorrow to see the great Valenta family. I cannot wait to see my nephew. It is a good thing he is attached to my sister so I get to see her too. ;) I will fly back from Dallas on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Amy, Justin, and I are traveling to Blacksburg, VA and will stop to see Jordan. Thursday, we will continue on to Washington DC to visit with Kathy. I CANNOT wait. It has been a couple of years since we really got to spend much time together so this will be great. Really geeked. We will get back Sunday in time for the new week. Today, some of us French Lemons ladies got tickets to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend. A super great fare provided a way for us all to head out of town and have some good girl time. I really cannot complain these days about being "stuck" in Nashville.

Running wise, I ran 5 miles on Wednesday. Tomorrow morning, I will be running 8. I do enjoy a good run, but sometimes I think, "What was I thinking!?!?"

Spiritually, I have been really working on some memorization. I have noticed that these verses have been coming to mind when I feel myself getting upset in my classroom. Hopefully, it will play out more and more in my patience levels. I have also been encouraged by reading Life Together by Bonhoeffer. Prayer life has been kind of sucky though. :( Really trying to remember each moment to be purposeful and remember what I am deeply rooted in.

That is my life these days... What is going on in yours?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I am a little heart-broken today and wish so deeply that I could be in China right now.

Please read Amy's blog.

While I do not know this teacher, I do know that she took my place when I left. All of those students she taught were mine. They have tenderhearts and I wish I could be there with them.

Lift them up in your Thoughts today, along with the teacher's family.

For those of you still in Yichang, Thinking about you and the work that can be done during this time. You are missed greatly, loved deeply, and thought of often.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Yesterday it reached 81 degrees. It was beautiful and sunny. I wore a skirt and short sleeves. I took the kiddos out for recess. I took a nap outside after school. Strong.

This morning, I could not even bear standing outside while I pumped gas. When I got to school, I checked the weather forecast for tomorrow...


45°F 31°F
Are you serious?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marvelous Monday 3.9.09

You can't go wrong with fabulous weather, good friends (old and new), the Saucer, Indian music and lots of laughter. Another Marvelous Monday...

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I could not have enjoyed the weather more this weekend! From sitting outside with girlfriends to taking an extended ride with Dad on the motorcycle, it has all been perfect! Going back outside to paint some more and listen to some tunes by Aireline.

Oh happiness!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I miss China.

Transitioning is strange.

The first few months in America were miserable. I talked about going back. I thought I made a huge mistake. I wanted to go back to that familiar little piece of the world that I had made home. Then, I got a job doing something I love, found a church that challenges and inspires me, spent more time with a group of people more like-minded about life,and found a routine which was comfortable. My "need" for China slowly started disappearing.

My life is full of happy things. I am super blessed and do not lack. However, lately I find myself dreaming more about Yichang and the people. I wish I could spend evenings with Peach in the kitchen, walk with Felix around town, eat on Snack Street with the Monday night boys, listen to crazy Daniel play the guitar, cook for a Tuesday night crowd, and be with a very small, but amazing group of Family on the weekends. We are so blessed to have the communication technology we have, but it isn't the same. We can't even talk about everything. To hear Amy and Brad talk about their last semester... I just miss it. It is a different kind of missing than my first few months. Can't really explain it even.

It is a beautiful Saturday morning here in Nashville, Tennessee, but I am wishing that I was at the market outside of my apartment in Yichang.

Friday, March 6, 2009

1 Thess. 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life
to mind your own business
and to work with your hands,
just as we told you,
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders
and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
-1 Thess. 4:11-12 (NIV)

It's Coming...

Mule Day is coming!

March 30- April 5, Columbia, Tennessee is hosting their annual Mule Days. The festivities include: mule shows, seminars, riding lesson, pulling contests, parades, clogging, bluegrass jams, gospel singing and church services. All things that make the redneck in you "Hee-haw!" with delight.

I am a little stoked. ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mini-Break: Cincinnati

On Saturday after mailing in my research paper (sigh.), Amy and I headed to Cincinnati. My heart just felt lighter with every mile away from Nashville. It was so nice to have a small break!

The weekend was spent mostly just talking and catching up. There were trips to Skyline (yum.), church with family, birthday celebration of Willis (yea.), Greaters Ice cream (yum again.), a Yao Ming documentary, Brad's life planning session, and lots of naps for me. I seemed to fall asleep everytime we sat down. It was a little hard to get used to Brad's manners again. (His mother did a great job of raising him.) It was so good to be together again with both Amy and Brad.

Of course, we could not leave without doing something ridiculous, so we went to Northern Kentucky University to catch Barnum and Bailey's circus. Sadly, it was not the greatest show on earth. (Maybe I am biased because I did have a whole circus for my birthday!) The ringmaster did not have a moustache and there was a trained porcupine. Guess times have changed... It was very colorful and fun to take photos of.

Now, it's back to reality and work again. So thankful for this mini-break!!!! Spring break is right around the corner and with that come trips to Dallas and Washington DC. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Father Daughter Dance

On Friday night, my school hosted a Father Daughter dance. I was as excited as my kiddos... maybe even more. My dad drove down from Hendersonville for the big shindig. Dances sure have changed. I felt like I was clubbin' with my dad and a bunch of elementary kids. "Party Like A Rock Star" and some peanut butter song were the tops hits. My father was way out of his element and frankly, so was I. We had a good time though. I got to dance with my father for the very first time. :)

My other dates :)