Friday, January 23, 2009


Here's some BFA news: we still are looking for staff members for next year- especially a PE teacher, middle school English, a librarian, and male resident assistants. Think about it; pray about it. Spread the word.

Look at how much fun you could be having! "Creeking" is a lovely dorm tradition.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Hey Everyone I know and love in the United States,

I'll be in Evansville, IN from March 29-April 11. Make plans to come visit!!

I'm so excited that I'm already working on my list of things to do. Sadly, most of those things involve restaurants because I miss the wonders of Fazoli's breadsticks, Olive Garden's salad dressing, Hornville Tavern's beer bread, everything beef... ok, I'm stopping that list for the time being. Also, I'm exited about going to Resurgence and CFC!! Driving and maybe giving my motorcycle helmet some use... going out at night (everything in Kandern is closed by 8pm). Speaking English. Eating Mexican food. Listening to country music. Going to a comedy club, maybe?! Or even just a movie. Man, the luxurious options! I'm sure I'll think of way more things to do than I'll get around to because the real point of the visit is to be with you people that I haven't hugged in too many months. So, really, I don't care too much what I do (except getting a steak; that's not negotiable) as long as I get to spend time with friends and family. Nine weeks notice is plenty of advanced warning to make some time. Looking forward to seeing you!

But in the mean time, here's a bit of what's been going on here:

Friday night I was craving some time away, so Saturday Katie and I went to a lake about an hour north of here and split up to go on dates with Jesus for a few hours. It was nice to be far enough away from school that I could breathe. And it was a great date. I explored a new city, stopping at a little cafe for hot chocolate and cherry pie. Then I walked around the lake, through the forest, and conquered some painfully steep hills.

Schuluchsee about 2pm on one of the few clear days we've had lately

The ripples looked like diamonds

This is why they call it the black forest. It was so tempting to climb trees. But given that the lower half of my face hurt from my wisdom teeth and the upper half from getting hit with a football the day before, I realized that when I fell it would likely hurt my head even more than normal... and head injuries in the black forest by myself just sounds like a bad idea. So I was content to wander and imagine Grimm brother fairytales in that setting.

Just 6 more days left to drive! I'm making a "celebration" trip to Bern CH on Friday- actually just going to stand in line for a few hours at the embassy while I have the freedom to get there easily. Pray that the car sells.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Fight

Given the inevitable stress of my job, as part of my contract at BFA I agreed to talking to a counselor to make sure I don't snap. I had no problem accepting their request; it's very respectable that they try to prevent melt downs among staff members. Plus, I usually enjoy welcoming those who want to jump inside my brain with me. Well, my counselor freed me from big brother's watchful eye and deemed me mentally stable a few months ago but we still meet together to chat once in a while... not out of worry on my new found friend's part, but because we enjoy one another's company and of course there are MANY things for me to work on that my friend can help point out. Otherwise I wouldn't have such a self-centered blog. I would write about all the things God is doing around me instead of the truth He's revealing in me.

So, today when we were chatting, we came to a funny realization that my mind and heart are in an epic battle. I imagined a little brain swathed in an epileptic's soft helmet and an even littler heart with balled fists ready to duke it out and had to laugh. I wish I could draw it, but unfortunately the closest I get to doodling is long division.

Thus far in the great duel, my mind has always won. What is practical and efficient dominates any tactics the heart has ever offered. I equate my heart defeating my mind as trouble- the kind of trouble that makes 15 year old girls think they're in love and then have to raise a child on their own. And not doing the right and responsible thing terrifies me. Slipping up, making a mistake, not living up to expectations. Those are the reasons I trust my mind and tell my heart to take the back seat, and to wrap up in a cast iron blanket while you're at it.

My friend asked, "do you want your heart and brain to be friends?" It seemed like a funny abstract conversation to be having, but obviously it intrigued me enough to write about. And yes, I realized, I do wish my heart were stronger... or rather that I trusted it enough to drop the metal shroud around it and let it speak once in a while.

A few weeks ago I heard a sermon about how the things we do for love (agape, eros, or otherwise) sometimes offend our minds. We do things that don't make sense for the sake of showing love to others. The mind let's the heart lead the dance. I want to be capable of that. I probably am and just don't realize it because I'm afraid to try. My brain believes that my heart has the strength to step up, but my dumb little heart is full of doubt.

It's easier and safer to let my mind run the show and guard the heart, but that's not a well-rounded existence. Yesterday afternoon I had a tearful bit of a revelation. After being thoroughly absorbed in the love story of the books I've been reading it was a huge let down to look at my life and not believe that that really exists outside of the pages of creative writing. This is the reason I stopped reading Christian fiction. Those stories are so predictable. Christian man meets Christian woman and knows how to pursue her just enough that would be considered creepy if she didn't want to be pursued, and she knows how to let him. And then two days later they are married. But now love stories at all- even those involving vampires, apparently- are evoking that same emotion in me. And the realization was this: my head knows that those stories happen. There's evidence all around. I am 100% confident that God can create better love stories than even the most compelling authors. But my heart doesn't believe that it will happen to me. I imagined myself as a single, bitter woman, and that was terrifying. I do not want that. I do not need a man to be complete in Christ. My significance is in Him, of that I am confident, head and heart. But, the more I see the heart love in others' lives, the starker the contrast to my mind-driven life.

God's got a lot of work to do in me for sure. I'm hoping that spending more time with families will help build a stronger heart in me as well as a better appreciation for its wellspring of life-ness. I'm fairly certain that as I type this and commit to focusing more on developing my heart than mind for a little while that I'm strapping myself into a roller coaster, watching the guy in charge grin ear-to-ear for what I'm getting myself into. Oh geez. Here we go.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Dear Whoever Reads My Blog,

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I am completely enthralled by a fictional series about a vampire romance, but it's true. I love the Twilight series! I remember about a year ago making fun of Emily as she told me the gist of it, but I can no longer deny it's capability to captivate my attention. Mom mailed all 4 books in the series (after she read them all in 4 days) to Timmy who brought them back here when he returned from break. And I'm just as bad as she is! I read the first two in less than 26 hours... and these are not short books, although also not requiring much intellectual stamina to get through. Anyway, they are great. I identify with the lead chick in her emotion (or lack thereof) and her difficulty in letting someone love her. As a self-critical person it is very hard to let someone else love you, or even believe that they legitimately do. I realize that it's a terrible hypocrisy to love others despite their imperfections and think they couldn't do the same for me- probably quite prideful even- but I'm a work in progress.

Coming back a bit later, I just watched the Twilight movie. I found it disjointed and fragmented; I probably would not have enjoyed it had I not read the books. But, because I have, it was nice to put faces with the characters for whom I've developed an affinity. Dad's right. It it totally a chick flick. I smiled through most of it :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Shield

I must warn you, what you are about to read is sentimental. To give you a better understanding of where this is coming from, here's the preface: I hate poetry. I don't like flowery words. I hope I never compare my emotions to meadows, chirping streams, or flowing birds. See? It's silly. I have more important things to do than trying to decode fluffy words. But! Last night I was talking with my friend Nathan about our future spouses and he said A Scottish man in Afghanistan, and I was inspired by the rhyme. Thus, doomed to write a poem. Gag. So, here we go... a poem about My Shield (which is what I call my husband, as well as the ring I wear on my ring finger, and when speaking in loftier notions, God).

My Shield

A Scotsman* content to live in the Stans**
who knows the difference between Iraq and Iran.

Passionate about our Lord first and foremost,
in himself he would never boast.

Gives me some competition at Boggle- winner drives Deal's Gap;
he likes making me laugh and doesn't put up with my crap.

Always up for an adventure and wilder and crazier than me,
my protector and confidant is he.

Seeing through my hard-to-show-emotion shell,
he encourages my heart's transformation into an overflowing well.

Not afraid to look a fool,
my Mr Fix-It can fix anything given the right tool.

Personally parsimonious so he can give generously,
he knows about and even loves my habit of letting strangers live with me.

Cuttin a rug and making me blush are some hobbies that melt my heart
about the one with whom I am better together than apart.

A prayer warrior on his knees,
our Lord he is eager to please.

Of a bearded manly man who quotes DeNiro,
someday I will say, "that goofball is my spiritual hero."***

*He doesn't actually have to be Scottish; a practiced fake accent would be good enough :)
** Mom, this does not mean that I'm moving to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan- just that I'd be ok with it.
***Applications now being accepted by my dad.

It's Official...

Yes, it's official. I have the coolest sister. (Even though she has a "cute" rat-dog.)

In case there was any question about her awesomeness and creativity, just check out the gift she sent me.

An "I have a pet marder" shirt. (For those of you who don't know what a marder is, check out the blog from last September entitled "Meet Mardy.") I still have him, by the way. And she sent some ziploc bags because they're expensive and not as durable here, a picture of the kiddos at Christmas, some bling for my nails, and a Barbie card with stickers inside. Haha, I'm not really sure why... I despise Barbie. I ripped her head off once or twice when I was a kid... the vacuum looked hungry. But, Jenny, on the other hand is incredible. She is my confidant and sanity-keeper. I am thankful that she has so many children that she has to stay home with them, because that means I can call her during the day. Most everyone else in the states I have to stay up until at least midnight or wait until the weekend to call. I tried to find some recent sister pictures but couldn't find any within the last year. So I opted for funny instead:

And this is a larger version of the kids' Christmas photo she sent. How cute are they??

They are my favorite nieces and nephews:
Allie, Baron, Ben, and Anna

Monday, January 5, 2009


The title of this blog should be read "lip-ometer" and not "lipo-meter." Although I was really tempted to write some long dramatic story about liposuction, I would probably get bored within a few sentences and stop anticlimactically.

It's always entertaining to learn peoples' "tells-" something they consistently do in response to a certain stimulus. For example, I had a friend who used to bite his lip when he lied. Another always shifts her eyes up and to the left when thinking. A lot of people show their tells on their face, but some shift their entire stance, say certain things, or have different laughs for different situations. I used to pull on the skin just below my right eye when I was being sarcastic... that is until someone pointed it out to me. And now he does it as a joke. I think tells are fascinating, and for the most part, people don't think they have any (which is just as interesting to me). But they're just part of the idiosyncrasies of individual personalities.

I usually don't tell people what their tells are unless something is really wrong. Then something like, "hey stop playing tough. I know you are really hurt because you always..." can be valuable. In other situations, it has potential to either make people self-conscious and uncomfortable or make me look like a creepy stalker. So I tend to keep such information to myself.

But someone caught on to one of mine recently. As it turns out, my lower lip gives away how I'm "really doing." A friend apparently had kept that information to herself until she got worried enough about me to ask,"what is going on in your head? Your lip is raw. You always tear apart your lip when you're anxious about something."

Caught! Red-lipped! And she's right. Ever since my face plant "accident" in 2007, I can't stop messing with my bum lip when I'm thinking. I regained some of the feeling a few months ago, but it's still not all back. So I sometimes don't even realize I'm doing it until I taste metal. Yuck.

It's a bad habit that I'm trying to break. But, I'm glad that my friend pointed it out because it has made me try to figure out why the lipometer is in the red. And here it is..... an overwhelming lack of passion in my life. But that will change. Life feels as if it's currently in a holding pattern- that I'm just getting by instead of living it to the fullest, living it passionately for Christ, and instead of sucking the marrow out of life, my complacency is sucking my passion from me. Comfort, complacency, apathy, and the indifference of good men are some of Satan's most powerful weapons.

After my first trip to BFA in 2004, I loved the school and students but decided in my mind that I never wanted to work in an all Christian setting. I have such a stubbornly independent streak in me that makes me crave being different from the masses, and that's not necessarily good in Christianese environments. Not that being different is bad, but desiring to be different for the sake of difference is just asking for trouble. It often manifests in me as pessimism and a bad attitude under the guise of realism and pushing boundaries feigned as battling legalism. Being set apart in a nonchristian environment, however, is a good thing. I'm not really sure if this is a realization of how God has wired me and so I should follow where that's best suited. Or if it's just a barrier that I need to overcome.

But while here at BFA, I cannot be much different from the mold, because I agree with and respect it! So I'm caught in this strange paradox of being around the people that I want to emulate (in some aspects) but also craving feeling independent. Maybe I'm just afraid of actually connecting with people, getting attached and settling somewhere. Or maybe I just need to grow up. I don't know.

During the past few weeks, I've been doing research on what life is like for Christians in other parts of the world and have specifically honed in on the Afghan and Pakistan area. Talking with some friends who live there, reading some "lifting the veil" type books about women, reading their newspapers (and being really excited about being able to pick out a few words before switching to the English version) have me wondering what hope exists in a Muslim's heart... and what I can do about that. I've read the Koran a couple times but have no real grasp of what their life is all about. I found an interesting Muslim website today that points out what they view as biblical inconsistencies.

Instead of researching the inconsistencies of the Koran, I intend to work through that list of questions and make sure I am able to give an answer to anyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have. Some of the questions seem silly and circular, but if these are the legitimate contentions someone has, then I want to be able to give a more solid answer than "that's a dumb question." There are a lot of questions... I have a lot of studying and praying to do. I'm excited about that too! Hopefully doing something I care about will bring the lipometer back into the pale pink zone.

Also, I never put up pictures from my trip to Dallas last month. Here's a couple of Asha and me before her 80s bachelorette party. She was really excited about her jellies and backpack. Personally, the creepy faces on her shirt were my favorite. Less than 2 weeks until she's a Casano!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Who knew that someone incessantly ringing my doorbell at 2:30am would make my day? But that's exactly what happened a few nights ago. I very rarely sleep whole nights through, so I was actually awake when the doorbell rang... and rang... and rang. It took me a few seconds to remember that I don't live alone, and that if I don't answer the door that one of the other girls will. So I bolted down my shaky spiral staircase to Katie and Cara's floor. Cara was already talking to whomever woke her up... Andy! He had some travel complications, and after a lot of walking in France and an expensive cab ride, he showed up here... at 2:30 in the morning. Katie and Cara ushered him in, listening to his story and making tea while I carried his bags upstairs and made my room guy friendly. (I stayed in the guest room with Cara).

The thing that made my night was that Andy knew he would be welcome here. I love that. I love people, and I love providing a getaway for them. So it made me happy that he felt comfortable enough with us to wake us up, throw his bags in the hall, and let us take care of him. My home has an open door but is useless if no one ever walks through it. I'm glad when people do.

The next morning, we took Andy to the guys' place. And the following I took Cara to the airport. Going from a full house to an empty one (Katie was gone with friends too) made me sad. So I tried to go snowboarding again, but it was too icy. Then I tried to track down friends; the guys were busy. The girls were scattered among other friends, boyfriends, and knitting. So I showed up at the Chasteens (family with whom I spent Christmas day) because they seem like open door kinda people too. Twas fun to be with a family.

And today, another guest comes!! A surprise visit from an Evansvillian! LaDawn has been visiting a friend in France for a couple weeks and decided to check out Germany while she's here. So with her, Cara and her mom coming soon, and dogsitting two pooches next week, I'll have plenty of people (and animals) to love :)

It reminds me of my dream to run a halfway house. That would be such an incredible ministry- to offer second chances to those who can't find them anywhere else and challenge them to make the most of the chance. Loving people practically, occasionally getting in their faces, and showing them the forgiveness of Christ. Oh I would love that. This picture, by the way, is of the Blackwell House in Anderson, IN.