Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I went snowboarding for the first time Sunday and loved it (except for the lifts that I never got the hang of). I was so excited/nervous that I only slept about 3 hours. Still dark and early, Cara and I loaded up our borrowed-from-Maugenhard gear and went to pick up Micah and Chris. I wasn't sure how all 4 of us and our boards were going to fit into my average-sized sedan, but both the guys are the engineering, make-it-work type and made it work. The ride was funny. I was in my happy place- driving curves (although I spent most of the time thinking about how much more fun it would've been in a 911, R8, or something of that beautiful nature). Micah was the navigator who didn't pay much attention to Nuvi, the GPS. So Cara became the default back seat navigator. And Chris was the entertainment. We headed to Feldberg, the highest mountain in the state and just about 50 km NW of Kandern. It was wicked cold. I'm glad that Cara made me wear more layers than I wanted to.

As we stood in line--more like a throng-- for the first lift, Cara Micah and Chris talked me through some basics. Unfortunately the lesson of "don't try to sit on the lift thing; just let it pull you" didn't take. And when I tried to sit on it, I took my first spill of the day. Not painful but humbling to realize that I wasn't going to be naturally good at this. Those of you who have known me for any length of time probably know that I don't often like doing things I'm not naturally good at. So, the whole day was a very stretching, humbling, and fun one for me.

I waited at the bottom of the hill for my three friends with years of experience to greet me with "it's ok"s and "everyone falls off the lift at some point." I wanted to understand the physics of how boarding worked, so Cara and I stood behind a snowboarding class for a while so I could watch and glean. The guys got a break from me for a while and did their own thing. While Cara, ever so patiently walked backwards down the hill holding my hands while I tried different skills. What a good friend :) But after a while I asked her to leave me alone so I could make some mistakes and figure stuff out on my own.

I was equating this process to learning how to drive stick: last summer I bought a brand new manual trans without knowing how to drive it. Dad drove it to a parking lot for me, showed me the basics and rode with me for about 20 minutes. And then I kicked him out and told him I'd see him at home later. And that's when the real learning took place- while I was alone and could experiment. So Cara went on a long run by herself, and I found the wimpiest little sled run where I could test myself without someone holding my hands. I conquered the tiny hill 4 times then moved on to a real run. Everything was fine until I got to a big drop where all the cool guys were doing jumps. I freaked out and stopped myself by colliding with a padded light pole. I would've been content to lay there for a few minutes, but some man was picking me up before I'd even completely opened my eyes.

At this point I thought I had learned everything my brain could handle for one day, but Chris and Micah were not convinced. After all, the only minimally painful fall I'd had was with the sign. And how can someone learn to snowboard without some battle wounds?

So the three of us (don't know where Cara was) went to the T lifts. They talked me through it as we waded through the throng. I was so nervous! Chris went first to show me what to do. And Micah went with me- telling me before we got on, "just stand there and I'll do everything." The only thing I had to do was stand, and what did I do? I'm not really sure, but it wasn't standing because we fell. But Micah's the man and somehow pulled me back on. We ended up making it all the way, but with every bump he reminded me, "you're ok. Just keep standing."

Now atop, I imagined putting on my motorcycle helmet and barreling down the mountain taking out small children along the way. After all, my biggest fear was hitting my face on something and repeating last year's facial/teeth injuries. But if I'd had my helmet, I'm not sure what I would've been scared of.

But given that my helmet is currently in my parent's garage, I was a whiny, scared little girl. But Chris and Micah were so great. Chris would explain some skill, do it, then plop down in the snow about 25 feet away. Then Micah would pep talk me into trying it, following right behind me. This went on for a long time. I felt bad for those guys going so slowly with me when I bet they just wanted to fly down. But I was the only one complaining. Poor guys ;) I wouldn't have had the patience to put up with me. Every time I fell they sat down and waited for me to get the nerve to try again.

We finally made it down, found Cara, breaked for some food, then went back out to the same devil T lifts as before. Cara and Chris went first. Then Micah (again telling me to JUST STAND) and me. We didn't make it very far. But once again, he still had one arm gripping the bar and the other around me. They stopped the lift, and just as we were almost back on, they started it up... and we were dragged until my board somehow flipped sideways and got stuck in his. I really wish I could've watched us looking like a pretzled car wreck. It was funny from my perspective, but I bet it was hilarious to the people right behind us.

Somehow he talked me into trying it again, although I made him promise that he'd go without me if we fell again. After a brief initial slip up, we made it almost all the way up! Because Micah was busy getting me on the lift and telling me to JUST STAND!! he didn't actually get on the T. And his back foot wasn't on the step grip thing. So when we hit a bump near the top, we went flying. Again, Micah was my hero and very patient with me, following down behind me, encouraging me to get up when I fell, and pulling me up when I didn't want to.

All in all, it was a great day, and I am so thankful to have had such patient teachers. I didn't really get hurt, only ran into 1 person and 1 pole, and kept tackling the lifts despite falling every time. I consider that a mostly successful day :)

Friday, December 26, 2008


When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Proverbs 10:19

I love when God brings righteous conviction through watching someone else lead his or her normal life. A verse that has been a 2x4 to my mind and heart for the last several years is Prov 10:19. I can justify running my mouth as venting, asking for advice, or even asking for prayer. But it is probably the most obvious sign of my human depravity.

Recently, I was challenged and encouraged by a friend who apologized for something she said to me about someone else several months ago. I really wanted to thank her for the reminder, but I was afraid she would interpret that as cynically meaning "thanks for making me feel guilty for what I just said 5 minutes ago. I'll be sure to watch what I say around you." So I just smiled, thanked her for being obedient to repent, and made a mental note to emulate her as she emulates Christ.

Because I want to be glorifying Christ and not flaunting my old sinful nature, I've been studying the ways in which we sin with our tongues. And let me tell you, there are so many more ways than just lying...

Lying is an obvious misuse of the tongue. Prov 25:18 says a man who lies is like a sword or sharp arrow. Prov 6:17 states the Lord hates lying- that a liar will be broken beyond repair. Flattery in Psalm 5:9 comes from the open tomb of a throat, leading to inward destruction. Those are harsh words to be paired with flattery. Words of flattery (not to be confused with genuine compliments, but trite platitudes) in Psalm 12:3 also go along with proud words. David prays that the Lord "cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaks proud things." The overused tongue in Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 sounds all too familiar to me:

"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words."

Sometimes when I'm talking I can hear how foolish I sound, but the words just keep spilling out along with my pride. I argue with myself: maybe if I keep going I'll be able to recover and fix all this.

God says in Prov. 18:13 that folly and shame are his who has a swift tongue and speaks before he listens. We should, instead, "be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (Jas 1:19). The backbiting tongue of Prov 25:23 "brings angry looks" and is in the same category as murder, hatred of God, and "every kind of wickedness" in Romans 1:29-31. Gossip is a poison that "goes down to a man's inmost parts"
according to Prob 18:8. Cursing similarly "enters into the body like water" and can be retained as a garment that one wears all the time (Psalm 109:17-19).

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Prov 12:18). This verse is different than the others because it contrasts the wickedness of the tongue to its potential for being instrumental for good; it can heal too! The tongue can be used for good too: for glorifying God, edifying and encouraging one another, for teaching, correcting, rebuking, singing, praying, etc.

Who knew the tongue could wear so many hats? Lies, flattery, pride, overuse, swift, backbiting, gossip, cursing, and recklessness.

"The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts... it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." Jas 3:5-9

Please pray for me as I try to submit my words to Christ. I want to be exude truth and wisdom, not the poison I've been so quick to pour into my soul and others.


By the way, in my research of the tongue, I learned that crocodiles can't move their tongues.

Friday, December 5, 2008

First thing's first

Recently someone asked me what the first thing is that I would do when I went back to the States. I didn't have an answer then. But looking back now (I've been on American soil for a few hours), the first thing I did here that I wouldn't have done in Germany was to tell a joke to a stranger.

I'm quieter and more reserved in Germany- kind of dull really without the ability to connect with people through wise cracks. It was so nice to look around Detroit and soak up the confidence that came with seeing a sea of people that I could effectively communicate with. Ahh, the motherland.

I'm waiting for my flight from Detroit to Dallas but am happy to report that I haven't gotten sick yet!! I only slept for 3 hours last night, so I was able to sleep through most of the train ride from Basel to Frankfurt this morning. Then when I got to the airport, I met the love of my life... not really, but he was an excellent flight attendant. First of all, this German man thought I was German (which always makes me feel good and boosts my language confidence). When I found my seat, he asked if I planned on sleeping most of the time. When I answered yes, he asked the man sitting next to me if he'd like to move to another seat a few rows away. The dude followed the suggestion, then my attendant friend came back and told me that now I could stretch out between three seats and wished me pleasant dreams. That made all the difference. I slept through one of the snacks. When I awoke, he showed up with chocolate ice cream in hand, telling me he set some aside for me. And then, when there were some problems that had our plane going in circles for a while, and we landed 4 minutes after my next flight took off, he called and rebooked a ticket for this evening, which was hand delivered as soon as I got off the plane...along with a voucher for a free meal, some frequent flyer miles, and a discount coupon for my next flight. Nice! Who says money can't buy love?

One more flight, and then I get to be with Asha! Yay!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

True Friendship

Jafer, Asha & Me 2003.

I know a friendship is real when I can invite myself to someone's bachelorette party and bridal shower... and invite myself to stay at that person's apartment and be chauffeured to and from the airport at last minute's notice... and know that they would be ECSTATIC about it all!!!

That's my Asha :)

Ashaface, my best friend and college roommate, is getting married on Jan 16th, and unfortunately I can't go. So when she told me Monday that her parties were this weekend, you can imagine my excitement as I dreamed of crashing it!

So I busted tail Monday and Tuesday to get a week's worth of work done, bought my train and plane tickets today, and am headin out at 4:30 tomorrow morning!

I should be packing, sleeping, finishing up some work stuff, writing cards that I intend to mail from the States or getting together my 80s outfit for the party. But instead I'm watching Prison Break, eating Heath bars and penning odes in my mind about my love for Ashley as I reel in excitement.

Asha likes milk chocolate, and I like dark. Asha likes standing on desks when she doesn't get enough attention, and I like trying to knock her down. Asha loves her male family members...and so do I :) Asha likes doing hair, and I like having mine done. Asha likes to sip coffee, wear man pajama pants and read a book with her cats for days on end... then take a random trip to Vegas. I like to down my hot chocolate while tormenting her cats, and then take a random trip to New York. Asha likes to do silly things when she is "Shmashley," and I enjoy laughing at and taking care of her. Asha likes Gilmore Girls, and I like Prison Break. She likes Eloise and poetry, and I like soccer and fixing things. Basically, what I'm trying to say is, Ashley, you complete me. hahaha, just kidding. I know I could never compete with Frank the Tank.

Maybe I will write a list of remember whens on the flight. Like, remember when we threw the mattress out the fourth floor window? Or the day we became "blood sisters" after a wrestling match on concrete? Or when we listened to the animaniacs "nations of the world" song on repeat...in collge? :)

Ashaface is a true friend, and for her I am very thankful. It's too bad that we live on different continents and that she's about to become one of "those people"-- married ones who only hang out with couples, that is. Hmm, on second thought, are all your male family members married off?

Ok, it's 8pm and I haven't packed a thing. Time to go raid a girl's dorm for 80s gear.

Me and Asha 2003-4ish