15 May 2013 2 Comments
24 Mar 2013 2 Comments
My father and I flew from California to Chicago this afternoon, and I’m back at my little desk in the middle of the big city. I had a wonderful, wonderful two-week break and you’ll probably be hearing much more about the past 14 days in the weeks to come. But for now, the floor is asleep, classes start again tomorrow, and I have for you a picture of my two phenomenal parents at Monterey Bay, taken yesterday.
We’ll catch up tomorrow, friends.
20 Mar 2013 2 Comments
19 Mar 2013 2 Comments
I realized yesterday
that in all the bustle
and Spring Break,
I forgot to tell you
that we’re in California now!
There’s been family time
and a ladies’ tea party
and time at Robert’s Ranch,
and now we’re at Yosemite!
11 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
10 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
I don’t think I exactly told you, although you’ve probably picked up on it by now: I am on spring break.
Spring break at the Moody Bible Institute is two weeks longs, which length I took advantage of last year by going to Kenya. There are no international travel plans this year, but tomorrow begins a week of adventures in Florida, followed by several days in California. We’re departing rather early in the morning, and I’m off to bed quite soon, but I have prepared for you a list of things we’re rather excited about, in no particular order- a list of Happy Thoughts, if you will.
• Going to Florida
• Staying in a hotel
• Swimming in the hotel pool
• Seeing Stevy swim at Jr. Nationals
• Reuniting with the Michigan-based side of the family in Orlando
• Going in Disney World (!!)
• Not being in a city where snowfall is replaced by rain which is replaced by grey
• Reuniting with the California-based half of the family
• Going to Yosemite
• Spending time with each other, our aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins
We’re looking forward to a wonderful, crazy, exciting two weeks- stick around and we’ll see how Spring Break 2013 unfolds!
21 Feb 2013 2 Comments
It started with Puppy Chow. I’m lying on my bed, toes cold tucked into fuzzy socks with penguin faces on them. I’m lying there with my feet on the pillow and my head by the desk, and I’m supposed to be reading a textbook on the Gospel of John, but right before I get to John 6:60, I’m suddenly thinking of Puppy Chow.
You know, Puppy Chow. Chex cereal covered in melted peanut butter and chocolate, with a thick coating of powdered sugar on top? That Puppy Chow.
I told The Roommate that I was craving Puppy Chow and she nodded and mhmmed and invariably it’s times I’m talking that are times she’s reading, and the direct inverse is also true. But that’s okay because remember, I’m supposed to be reading the Gospel of John. So Puppy Chow floats low on the swirl of my mind, and I finish the reading, but when the textbook’s back on the shelf, Puppy Chow’s back on my mind. It’s back and it’s making me happy because, conditioned response, do you know what Puppy Chow leads thoughts to?
Almost four years ago, the mother and the father have taken the littlest sister to Mexico to scope it all out; we hadn’t lived there yet. So Stevy and I, and the four-year-old Glendy, we stay a week with the grandparents, in sunny March California. The cousins are over, it’s a Saturday maybe, and my grandmother takes us up and down the grocery store aisles. We need cereal first, because the recipe’s printed on the back of the box. Glendy’s in the cart, jacket sleeves too long, she’s holding those chocolate chips tight, and we buy all the ingredients we need, and some extra things, too.
And the next day, while the youngest cousin, the girls’ nearest playmate-friend, chases Glendy around the miniature trampoline in that bright backyard; in the kitchen, we made Puppy Chow. Mia and I work together, and my grandma, she oversees, of course. I’m not sure where everything is, and she pulls powdered sugar from behind the spices and measuring cups from the drawer, and I’m secretly happy that she’s there. The family’s never had Puppy Chow before, and I’m proud to be the one to introduce them.
And this sister-cousin and I, we follow all the directions and we heat and we stir and we pour and we mix. And finally, finally, the chocolate mess is into a great, big, circle Tupperware and Chill in Freezer might as well have been Leave in Freezer Until Eternity Arrives. I’m not sure that patience was really my thing then. Or if it’s really my thing now, for that matter.
The next day we’re off to the aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, the most happiest museum I’ve set foot in my days, but we take that big Tupperware, frozen all through now. And at night, when we’re passing through yellow streetlights, and the aunt’s home with the dog is waiting at the end, we eat that Puppy Chow.
And that’s not the only time, either. Maybe three time’s a tradition, maybe it’s more, but there are measuring cups in the cabinet, and a giant blue Tupperware down below, and we’ve photocopied the recipe now, too. And I guess this could all be explained because three weeks and a day, the plane’s scheduled to touch down. And it’ll be California spring all over again, and the cousins and the aunts and the uncles and the grandparents will all be there. And maybe, too, we’ll make Puppy Chow.
02 Jan 2013 Leave a Comment
I’ve never really made New Year’s Resolutions. That resolutions are eventually broken, discarded, forgotten has stuck with me more than the purpose and excitement of creating resolutions, and I’ve rather avoided them. When pressed, I said I hadn’t thought about it, that I needed to give it more consideration.
And that’s true.
But a little more questioning; do I have any ideas? And suddenly, I’ve created a list.
I’ll get my life together, which is mostly for humor because let’s be honest: a life put together doesn’t actually exist, and even if it did, I’d be the last one to figure that out. And I’ll make this semester better than last year’s spring semester. And I’ll read more books and maybe visit Pennsylvania again and Mexico most definitely, and I’ve been thinking about New York City for a while now.
And there’s lists and goals and I can see why people make resolutions. But it takes a breath and a thought to wander wide of God’s plan, and a blink more and I’m running myself full speed on my own way, my own power, my own resolutions.
But I’ve tried that before and I know falling hard. I know trying my hardest, giving my very best, running on empty to get this right because I know I can do this.
But I wasn’t made to do this by myself. I wasn’t made to create plans, to right my path, to master the realm I live in. I was made for the purpose of following Him. Loving Him. Glorifying Him. His intentionality far outweighs anything I could ever imagine, ever fathom, and He put me in this year, this place, this now for a reason.
And sure, I have resolutions. Or maybe goals is a better way to describe them. But they’re not my purpose. My purpose is to follow Him, and He’s the undercurrent, the rock, the strength behind my every step. In His power, I’ll glorify Him. But it doesn’t just stop there. His purpose is where I’m supposed to be, but it’s also the best place to be. I don’t get it, and I don’t get Him, at least not completely.
But I do trust Him. I trust His will to be right, and His heart to be perfect. I trust His grace to hold fast, and His words to be true. I trust Him to teach me and I trust Him to lead me.
And it’s not really a resolution, because it’s only His power in me that makes anything right, but this is exactly how I want to start my new year, in the hand of the God who’s brought me this far, and won’t leave me stranded.
20 Dec 2012 2 Comments
This time last year,
this time last month,
this time before;
the power of memory is strong
and a looking back snapshot can be crystal clear.
Today, this morning, this time
six years ago,
O’Hare airport with the mother and brother.
Little Family Six was Little Family Four,
and we’re on our way to a California Christmas.
Dad’ll meet us there soon.
And somewhere around Security,
the cell phone of the mother
buzzes with a call that changes lives
and the voice on the other end
says three hours old,
welcome to the world,
And I didn’t know what she looked like,
and it wasn’t finalized on paper
until months later.
But on December 20, 2006,
this time, six years ago,
Larissa became my baby sister.
12 Dec 2012 2 Comments
I’ve told you before about the time I almost drove away into the sunset by myself in a dilapidated van in central Mexico. It’s a good story, an exciting one, and it started right outside the bus station in my Mexican home city.
There’s another adventure, occurring more than a year before my solo driving bus station shenanigans. This adventure occurring on the way to the very bus station that appears to have caused so much drama in my Mexican life.
In August 2009, my brother, father, and I attended a conference in Mexico City. This scholarly event was a sort of “kick-off” for the individuals who, like my father, had received Fulbright scholarships to study and work in universities all across Mexico.
Father, myself, and Stevy at a Fulbright formal reception
We dressed up, attended receptions and conference meetings, explored Mexico City and the surrounding area, and got our first taste (rather more of a gulp, if you ask me) of life in Mexico. It occurs to me right now that one of the joys of writing is remembering, and I have just remembered that I was plagued at the time with two sprained rib muscles and the remains of a light case of pneumonia. Clearly, I survived both the conference and accompanying tourism without any lasting effect on my health and wellbeing.
Stevy climbed Teotihuacan. I remained at the bottom and puffed on a pneumonia-drug-filled inhaler.
The conference complete, my father, brother and I took a taxi through the crazy, vibrant, gloriously varied streets of Mexico City to the bus station. My father purchased tickets and we boarded a bus to the city that we would call home for the next nine months, and for long after that.
The bus was a rather luxurious affair with wide seats, TVs located intermittently down the aisle, and a bathroom in the back. Stevy and I sat next to each other, and our father sat in front of us. We were tired from an intense conference experience and settled into the ride listening to our iPods, sleeping (ahem, Dad), and watching the Mexican country roll by the huge windows that spanned both sides of the bus.
I was dozing comfortably between sleep and window watching, my headphones tucked into my pocket for the moment, when a sound like a gunshot went off and several people towards the back of the bus screamed. My heart pounding, I whipped around in my seat, only to see our middle-aged bus-mates huddled low in their seats, ducking salt and pepper heads below the window. Turning back around, I followed their example and sunk low in my seat, dragging my brother down, as well.
Moments passed and my heart pounded fast and hard. My Spanish was frustratingly limited, but somehow we came to understand that the sound was caused not by a gun, as many had suspected, but rather a rock striking one of the vast windows. The window had shattered, cracking into thousands of tiny pieces.
Still more than an hour from our destination, the bus driver had to stop, but we found ourselves on one of central Mexico’s many two-lane, two-way highways; cars zipping past at high-speed in the opposite direction on one side, and a steep mountain descent on the other side.
Finally, after what seemed like decades, the bus driver pulled off the highway and several of the men on the vehicle descended to assess the situation. The window, while spiderwebbed with cracks, was still mostly help together, but threatened to fall at any moment. The men removed the shattered window from its frame, covering the resulting gaping hole with the window curtains and some tape.
There was not much more that could be done, and everyone trooped back onto the bus to complete our journey. Dad, Stevy and I packed together in two seats, affording the gentleman who had been sitting by the broken window and clean, safe seat. And so it was that we rolled into the city that I’ve come to adore as my second home wedged three bodies where two should go, the wind whipping loudly through a broken window pane, and hearts still racing just a little from the excitement of it all.
Nighttime view of our mexican home.