the thursday thirty, issue six.

this life is a beautiful one, and here are just some of the things/moments/people that have made these past several weeks all that they were. perhaps they all add up to thirty, perhaps a few more or less.. but i hope you are able to identify with a few of these smile-makers nevertheless. :]
  • for my birthday earlier this month, my precious mom sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers - the first time i've ever had them delivered! after a mix-up [or should i say fiasco!] with fed-ex, i got a bonus bouquet from the flower company. here they are! almost three weeks later, they're still lookin' good!

  • i wish you could meet my nieces and spend even five minutes in a room with all three of them. as they approach their 4th birthdays this summer, it seems like zoey, sydni, and kaitlyn keep getting sweeter and livlier every time i see 'em. if you haven't already, go read my last blog post about a story from kaitlyn. and pray for my mom and i as we babysit all three of them while my siblings have a night out - at a rick springfield concert, no less. ;) i can't wait until my fourth niece, ari jade, finally arrives in june! a whole gaggle of little girls - what could be better?

my brother and the girls sent me a care package for my birthday, complete with drawings! is it just me, or does zoey's seem to have a picture of that creepy guy on lord of the rings?!

  • teaching conversation labs with our international students in the intensive english program is such a blessing [and i'm even more blessed to teach them with my roommate and best friend!]. this semester, we've had a blast with students new and old. the pictures below are of our level 3 class playing phase 10 and the level 4's creations for our lesson on invitations and appointments. we have too much fun most days. :)

[bahaha. kelly's is the 'aztec party,' just so you know. and the green one is complements of sergej, a student from bosnia. he apparently is hosting a dance party. and he's a sexy machine. geez.]

  • oh, the oscars. it was a privilege to watch it with my dear friends and compete in a nominee poole with them - even though addi won, i'm not sour. *ahem* :) if you didn't watch it live or haven't had the opportunity to youtube the acceptance speeches yet, go here and here!
  • le roi soleil is perhaps the most beautiful theatric creation of the century, and our french club got to watch this musical about louis xiv last week. oh man. you need to buy it. and a special french dvd to watch it on... or just stick with the youtube clips!

  • speaking of french club, our mardi gras get-together was this tuesday, of course, and brought with it my first king cake experience - in which a plastic baby is hidden inside a cake [strange, i know!] - and mask construction with kelly and sebastien. yes, we get wild here at obu. =)

  • my tesol [teaching english to speakers of other languages] methods class, though it soars over my head most days, is still one of my favorites. and because i'm such an organizing freak, assembling our portfolios [which will be in this giant red file box] and compiling my own binder of goodies for teaching in the binder are actually becoming fun assignments. class... fun... who knew?

  • bows are back in. wear 'em proud, girls.

  • and i love my roommate. here is just one of many reasons why. :)


kitchen courage.

wanna hear a good story?
thought so.
my family is all about reminding one another to "make good choices," and if you've ever heard me talk to my nieces on the telephone, you know this is something my siblings ask me to reaffirm during everyday conversations. in between time-outs and crying episodes over missing any action with a nap, good choices are still a big chunk of their conduct. my girls are so sweet and brilliant, and i couldn't wait to jot this story down to show you just how valid my bias is. :)
earlier this week, as my sister picked up kaitlyn belle from pre-school, kaitlyn very quickly admitted, "mom, i made a bad choice today. i was mean to emily and wouldn't share while we were playing at the kitchen."
my sister, who has always prided herself on talking to kaitlyn in a very mature manner, thanked her for her honesty and explained how important it was to make things right by apologizing to emily the following day.
"but mom, i'm scared." here is where miss belle apparently had a very grief-stricken expression on her face. sweet girl.
"i know, honey. it's sometimes hard and scary to ask someone to forgive you, but it's the right thing to do. you'll be so proud of yourself when it's done."
though it took my sweet girl another day to work up the courage to approach emily at the play-kitchen area, she couldn't wait to tell her proud mama the results.
"mom! i apologized to emily today! she hugged me and told me, 'it's okay - we're still best friends'!"
oh, to be three years old again and have the world fall into place while playing house. i'm so proud.
what would our lives look like if we weren't afraid to admit transgression and ask for someone's forgiveness?


the thursday thirty, issue five.

i'm such a bookworm. it's been a trait of mine since before i even truly learned how to read, when i decided to carry around a 99 cent dictionary everywhere i possibly could - never mind if i could actually pronounce any of the words it contained. i hope my love for prose never ceases, and in honor of that, here are 30 of my favorite books.
  • anne of green gables // lucy maud montgomery
  • rachel's tears // beth nimmo & darrell scott
  • my utmost for His highest // oswald chambers
  • a long way gone // ishmael beah
  • the pillars of the earth // ken follett
  • the green book // elizabeth rogers & tom kostiken
  • the challenge of missions // oswald j. smith
  • walking on water // madeline l'engle
  • the sisterhood of the traveling pants series // anne brashares [don't judge me...]
  • the other boleyn girl // philippa gregory
  • breaking free // beth more
  • to kill a mockingbird // harper lee
  • the canterbury tales // geoffrey chaucer
  • the historian // elizabeth kostova
  • the kite runner // khaled hosseini
  • velvet elvis // rob bell
  • the poisonwood bible // barbara kingsolver
  • abundance // sena jeter naslund
  • prisoners of hope // dana curry & heather mercer
  • kingdom ethics // glen stassen & david gushee
  • blue highways // william least heat-moon
  • cold mountain // charles frazier
  • divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood // rebecca wells
  • love you forever // robert munsch [who said children's books couldn't be on the list? :D]
  • authentic beauty // leslie ludy
  • four souls // matt kronberg, jedd medefind, mike peterson, & trey sklar
  • the diary of anne frank
  • she said yes // misty bernall
  • the daily round [this devotional from the 1800's is one of my favorite flea market finds.]
  • the mates, dates, and inflatable bras series // cathy hopkins [mmhmm.]

any of these look familiar? what's your favorite book?


o, israel.

how closely our own stories resemble that of israel's. i pray this chapter from the prophet hosea will challenge and permeate you tonight.
"when israel was a child, I loved him, and I called My son out of egypt.
but the more I called to him, the farther he moved from Me,
offering sacrifices to the images of baal and burning incense to idols.
I myself taught israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand.
but he doesn't know or even care that it was I who took care of him.
I led israel along with my ropes of kindness and love.
I lifted the yoke from his neck,
and I myself stooped to feed him.

but since My people refuse to return to me, they will return to egypt
and will be forced to serve assyria.
war will swirl through their cities;
their enemies will crash through their gates. they will destroy them,
trapping them in their own evil plans.
for My people are determined to desert me.
they call Me the Most High, but they don't truly honor Me.
oh, how can I give you up, israel?
how can I let you go?
how can I destroy you like admah or demolish you like zeboiim?
My heart is torn within me, and My compassion overflows.
no, I will not unleash my fierce anger.
I will not completely destroy israel,
for I am a God and not a mere mortal.
I am the Holy One among you, and I will not come to destroy.
for someday the people will follow Me. I, the LORD, will roar like a lion.
and when I roar, My people will return trembling from the west.
like a flock of birds, thy will come from egypt. trembling like doves, they will return from assyria.
and I will bring them home again," says the Lord.
[hosea 11]


the thursday thirty, issue four.

30 [or a maybe a smidge more!] blog posts i adore - with links, of course.



it's true. as of yesterday, i am no longer a teen. :-D and i owe an extravagant and joyous birthday weekend to my dear friends here at obu - and my sweet mama who sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. i cannot wait to snap a photo of it once all of the buds bloom!

well, in case you ever wanted to know what goes on during one's birthday in our circle of friends, here is the inside look.

a lively bunch at abuelita rosa's serenaded me friday evening. i could not contain me glee!

kelly and addison are perhaps two of the most precious people i know. after pigging out with jake and some new guy on the baseball team, we retired to watch an andy warhol bio that left us puzzled.

even the colonel decided to get in on the fun.

last night capped off the elaborate weekend, as we cheered on our obu bison at the basketball game, then took over the local chili's with kelly, addi, moi, sebastien, anastasia, curtis, kyle, katie, and taylor d. [yes, i am aware you know none of these individuals, but listing them like that makes it look like i have an entourage.]
i am so blessed.



it is hard to believe how quickly a year can pass, how four seasons can complete their cycle in what seems like a flash. it has been a year since brady passed away, a precious little boy who words cannot do justice. my first love's baby cousin touched a multitude more than i can ever hope to touch, and on february 3rd - his sixth birthday - he was released from the pain and obstacles which had plagued him during his short time here. i attended his memorial service on my birthday last year, which i have often described as the most horrific and most precious day of my life. i dearly wish i could detail it much further than that, but his legacy really speaks the loudest. hundreds of friends, family members, nurses and doctors, even news anchors, were present to celebrate brady. the following night i posted this note, pleading for prayer for this wonderful family i came to love. tonight my plea is the same.
oh great God, be small enough to hear us now.
my heart has never ached so uncontrollably for another's anguish, and i'm astonished at how unaware i once was of what it means to mourn with those who mourn.
it isn't right to hear a mother and father wail for their child.
it isn't right for this beautiful, brave woman to acknowledge my birthday on the very day she's burying her youngest son.
yesterday was amazing, precious, and devestating.
i witnessed how one quiet but mighty soul touched thousands of individuals - something few of us will ever accomplish, but a feat brady conquered within six years.
i rejoiced for a boy who i only had the chance to be in the presence of for a handful of occasions, for a man among children who required only one brief encounter to make you fall in love with him.
i smiled at the thought of all the foods he is finally getting to taste, all of the songs and laughter he is finally getting to hear, all of the races he is finally getting to win.
and i continue to weep for the matchless family that had to give him up to Heaven.
they are all i see when i close my eyes at night. this heavy, horrible feeling consumes my chest when i even begin to think about it. i always thought there came a time when one was all cried out.
i now know that is only an awful myth.
i beg, i plead with you to pray for this group of people i love. if i could only ask you one thing for the rest of time, this would be it. pray for peace to be imparted tonight. pray for joy to show its face soon. pray for comfort to surround ripped and torn hearts. but i think this beautiful boy would also beg you to celebrate, celebrate all of the tiny things we so constantly fail to give a second glance. to celebrate the balloons and flowers he cherished in his tender hands, celebrate life and love itself.
the Father labored and toiled for six days to bless and cultivate everything that is around us, and rested when He saw His work was good.
brady labored and toiled for six years to the very day, blessing and cultivating everything that is around us. it was good. and he is finally resting.
someday all that's crazy, all that's unexplained will be beautiful, beautiful. someday all that's hazy through a clouded glass will be clear at last. and sometimes we're just waiting for someday. we're just waiting.
now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. all that i know now is partial and incomplete, but then i will know everything completely... // 1 corinthians 13:12