Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ESL Stories

As promised, I'm going to begin to share quick stories and funny things that happen during class. I jot them down as they happen so I don't forget. I tend to think that I'm going to remember something, only to try to think of it later, and only remember that it was something funny.... So here are a few anecdotes from the last couple of weeks....

I'm going through the Christmas story one character or element at a time with First Grade (today we talked just about the angels and their involvement). The other day we were talking about sheep. So I asked: "What do sheep have to do with the Christmas story?" One girl answered something about dancing, to which another replied, "No! Sheep can't dance. They don't have hands."

During a rainy lunch/recess time, Preparatoria (Kindergarten) was eating in the class and playing a guessing/I-spy type of game, asking "What's red and a circle?" and answering "A ball." They mostly used pictures or objects that they could see around the class, which made it easy for me to guess because I just had to look where they were looking.... So at some point one of my class clowns looks directly at me and asks, "Who has a mouth and glasses?"

With Christmas coming up, we're doing a lot of practicing of Christmas songs and dances. One of the boys excitedly exclaims to me in class, "Miss! Ya entiendo que es Merry Christmas! Es la cumpleanos de la escuela!!" (I understand what is Merry Christmas! It's the birthday of the school!) He went on to explain his reasoning being that one of the songs contained the phrase "Happy Birthday." I'm not sure which song he's referring to, but I did manage to explain to him that it is the birthday of Jesus we celebrate.... not the school.

Sometimes kids and their language skills just make me laugh. I had one of my First graders come up and ask me all in Spanish: "Can I tell you something? But can I tell you in Spanish because I don't know how to say it in English?" I ignored the fact that she had just asked me all of that in Spanish and let her continue.... I didn't entirely follow her story, but it was something about Santa.

In both grades, we've been talking about bees. In First Grade, we read a story last week all about Honey Bees. I would ask at each page the jobs of the different types of bees that the story discusses. We get to the drones, the only male bees in the colony. In the book, it says "The drones help the queen." So I ask the girls, "What do the drones do?" Their answer? "The queen."

In Preparatoria, we're reading a story about flowers, so I took some time to explain nectar, pollen, and bees. Not sure if they got it, but they got some of it... So then I explained the difference between bees and wasps. I drew a bee with honey and a wasp with an arm showing a stinger and a sad face... I asked what bees make, and the answer was a resounding, "Honey." Then, as I worked on the drawing of the arm, I asked what wasps make. One girl hesitantly responded, "Sandwich?"

More to come soon!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Quitting Time

Sometimes, it's just time to quit, so that's what I'm doing... Not my job..... Facebook. I'm quitting Facebook.

Last night, I was still up at 10pm, and instead of either reading my Bible or just going straight to bed to get a "full" 7 hours of sleep at that point, I signed on to Facebook.... I used the excuse that I was chatting with someone to keep scrolling aimlessly through my feed, reading, liking, and commenting on things I didn't necessarily care about and could have done without knowing.

When I finally got off at 12:30, I had an epiphany, and finally admitted to myself that I was addicted to Facebook among other things. After doing some journaling, praying, and declaring myself free of these things, I decided to quit Facebook.... I felt the same sense of overwhelming relief and freedom that I've felt on several occasions when I made decisions to get out of unhealthy relationships.

So, today, I made my last post (a birthday greeting to my brother, although now that I think about it, THIS will be my last post, but this feels more like the shutting of the door), will soon be updating my cover picture to direct people here, and then it will be time to close that tab for the last time. I am asking my cousin to change the password so I can't get back in, but people can still get in contact with me if necessary.

The good news is that this will give me more time to pursue real relationships with people rather than searching for personal connections in a long list of posts. I'll also have more time to devote to the ministry I'm doing here and the work I do from home. It will provide me with more time to sleep and get into the Word.

While this one victory over this one addiction tastes sweet already, I know I still have a long way to go, but am grateful to know that God is still willing to work on me, and that He hasn't given up on me, and that He isn't finished with me yet! Defeating this one addiction will help me get the strength to continue breaking the others, one by one if necessary.

The other good news is that I will be updating my blog more often since I don't have a better way of keeping the "general public" informed of all my happenings. :) Please feel free to check out my Facebook page to get my contact information. If you don't know me and desperately need to get in contact with me for some reason.......... Leave a comment? That will work.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Back to ESL Business

So.... I gave up on this blog a long time ago because of the Google takeover of Blogger and I couldn't figure out how to get back into my account.... Then today I was trying to figure out Google Adsense and found that this site was still making (a bit of) money, so I tried signing in for the heck of it, and it worked! I'm not sure how, because I just clicked on the "sign in" button and it took me to my home page.... But I'm glad it did. This blog name is a LOT easier to remember. So, I will be writing in here from now on.... As often as that happens....

So many funny things happen throughout the day when teaching English to little kids, so I've started jotting them down in my iPod during class so I don't forget them. Here are the stories I have collected at the moment.... Enjoy!

I was with my Prepa (Kindergarten) kids, and their new favorite phrase is "I love you." It's usually adorable, unless they say it right after they've just done something they know they're not supposed to.... I was on my way out of the class when they surrounded me, saying "I love you," one at a time, and of course I told them I loved them back.... Then I turned to one of the girls who looked especially eager to tell me how much she loved me and she asks me, "Can I go to the bathroom?"

There's a song we sing in chapel called "One Way." It's a very upbeat song and the kids love it. The chorus goes like this: "One way, Jesus / You're the only one that I could live for / One way, Jesus / You're the only one that I could live for." The tune is very catchy. We are also doing "Let it Go" from Frozen for our Christmas show. So, I had just announced that we were going to practice (which gets them super excited, because who doesn't love dancing to Frozen?), and one of the girls starts singing to the tune of "One Way." "Frozen, Jesus...."

I was in First Grade, where my girls get stickers for using their English. For some reason, the phrase "Can I go...." sticks with them. So one of the girls asks me, "Can I go to the sticker?" This was quickly followed by another girl asking, "Can I go to the bathroom?" And a third looking at me thoughtfully before saying, "Beautiful."

As much as the chaos that often comes with teaching young kids drives me crazy, it's the little moments like these that reminds me why I love what I do so much.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jack and Khalil (RIP)

Jack is among the few horses that were here from the beginning. His name still hangs in the little barn in its original place when WWR started their horse program some 25 years ago. Khalil arrived not too long after that. During the last 10 years that I've been here, we've relied on these two as our "A list" horses, the ones that could go out and handle the littlest day campers and the most terrified residential campers without us worrying over the results.

As they got older, their health started failing. Jack was nearly blind as a result of an eye injury a few years back coupled with cataracts, and Khalil had some pretty severe arthritis that made it difficult to get around. They had this whole past summer to mill about in the pasture at the little barn as a good long retirement, but on Monday was their time to move on.

They went down together and without a fight, clearly ready for this life to be over. As sad as it was, I saved as many of my tears as I could with the thought that they're better now. They get to be up in heaven now, where Jack can look around and see the beauty around him, and Khalil can gallop through golden fields with the horses that have passed on before them.

Life goes on. While the mares that were pastured with them aren't sure how to come in anymore without the boys to guide them, they'll soon have other horses moved up to keep them company. Their stalls at the big barn were filled during the summer with younger horses that will hopefully take their places along the "A listers." Whether it's the loss of a human or equine life, we must always look to the future and seek to raise up the next generation to be as great or even greater than the one before it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haven't Been Here in a Long Time

I would say it's about time I update my blog, but it's probably way past that time. I do plan on updating more often as I come across new adventures, but I tend to get busy with other things and forget. :(

So, I am back at WWR, and have been for over a month now. Wow! I can't believe it's really been that long! I'm LOVING it here, and picking up a bunch new hobbies, such as various things involving the milk goat I bought, and tanning animal hides. Who would have ever thought me of all people would enjoy tanning hides? Ah, well. I guess some people do change.

There's not really a whole lot to report. I'm getting into the swing of things here, and keeping busy with a couple of online writing jobs, including a book on fly fishing. If you do need to know anything about fly fishing, let me know. I'm about a third of the way through writing the book and already know way more than I ever thought I would about fly fishing.

The other job is ongoing and involves burlap. I recently got a shipment of burlap from the company I'm writing for, and will soon begin to make crafts with it and do DIY tutorials about burlap crafts. That should be a lot of fun, and my friends and family can expect to get a lot of burlap for Christmas, because I'm not sure what else to do with all of the crafts once I've made them.

On that note, I am beginning to try to sell crafts online. I have a couple pairs of feather and bead earrings that I made up for sale, and will eventually add other items, such as binder twine bracelets, which are popular around WWR, but maybe not elsewhere. We'll see, I guess. I also have 15 other pairs of earrings that I've made, but are lacking the actual earring piece. I'm waiting until I finish writing the book to buy them, so I can actually devote the time into making more of them. They should all be online by the end of November in time for people to buy them for Christmas.

Well, I have a whole pasture to go through and pull out all the wood and branches that are out there. We're borrowing a wood chipper from someone, so it's the perfect time to get the pastures cleared of logs and such, and have good use for the rotting wood. Back to work!

Just because I'm trying harder to get more pictures put up here more often, here's a picture of a saddle that was donated here years ago that we haven't been able to use. I cleaned it up, and put it for sale on craigslist. The money I get from it will help out with other expenses in the barn, like repairing the saddles we do use. I have some better pictures of horses and pretty skies and such on my other camera, so I'll try to get those in the next one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tough Choice

Life is full of tough decisions, and I feel like my entire summer was spent wrestling with one.

It started back in February when I heard about a full-time staff opening at Wildwood and my heart leapt inside of me. Before I had felt called to Honduras, I had been interested in having such a position. At that time, however, it wasn't available to me, and God had other plans for me first.

I went to Honduras and served there all last year, teaching Kindergarten. Then, I got hired on to work another summer at Wildwood as a wrangler. As the time to go to camp drew closer, I grew more and more excited, but started to feel somewhat conflicted, wondering if I could do both. Could I have my heart both at Wildwood and in Honduras? I wasn't sure.

It was about a week into the summer when I regretted going because of how much I loved it, and I wasn't sure that I could ever leave. I started to feel a freedom that I hadn't felt in months, not only to go out and do things without fear of being robbed, but to be who I am.

Whether from a lack of language or feeling uncomfortable expressing who I am for fear of what people would think of me, I had lost myself while in Honduras. I left it out of my blogs, but I had become depressed again for the last couple of months of being here, and it took a lot of effort to get through each day.

Throughout the summer, people would frequently ask me when I was returning to Honduras. My answer was always the same: August 8th, and I always felt a rise of anxiety about returning. I talked with a close friend about it, and she asked me what I would do if I didn't go to Honduras, and I expressed how badly I wanted to stay at Wildwood.

I eventually ended up going to my boss as well as the director, and it was more/less settled that I had a job there if I wanted it. At first I was ecstatic, but the more I thought about it and pictured it, the more of a dream it became, and the more sure I became that I wouldn't ever be able to work full-time at Wildwood. It was one of those "this is too good to be true so it can't be possible" feelings.

As summer started drawing closer to an end, my fear about returning to Honduras grew stronger, and I started to have the sense that I shouldn't go. People frequently asked me if I was excited to go, and I would honestly tell them I wasn't. When they questioned me further and I explained how I felt, they would ask why I was going if I felt that God was leading me away from there? My answer was simply that I had already committed to teaching another year, and I didn't want to let anyone down. Plus, with my emotions on high, I wasn't entirely sure that that's what God was saying.

The day before summer ended, I went on a trail ride with the other wranglers. I chose a goofy Arab named Dottie not only because she had become one of my favorites during the summer and I wanted to help her overcome her fear of jumping (caused by an inexperienced and nervous jumper on her earlier), but also because I had had a dream where we had been soaring majestically over jumps and it was glorious.

Before we left, I had a feeling in my stomach that something bad was going to happen on the trail, and felt like I shouldn't go. But, I forced the feeling down, attributing it to excitement and having not ridden all week, and off we went. Sure enough, I fell off one and a half times, and got hit in the neck with her head (still not sure how that one happened). I have plenty of nice bruises to show for it and am otherwise fine, but I definitely knew before we left that something was going to happen. And so it did.

I spent one night crying out to the Lord and praying, and that sense that something bad would happen if I went rose in me again, like before the trail ride. It was impossible to ignore, but I was still planning on going to Honduras at that point, and considering leaving at Christmas if things got bad again. At long last, I asked God if I should stay, and a peace washed over me. I was then able to calmly get into bed, and slept.

As I presented this to friends and family members, they were excited about me staying, but agreed with my decision not just based on that. I'm SO grateful to my friends and family members that were there to support me, listen, and pray for me.

Currently, I am in Honduras. I had already paid for 2 weeks of Spanish language school, and have a few items that I left here that are important to me. So, I bought myself a return ticket for 3 weeks from now, and will be starting up back at Wildwood almost immediately.

It's been sort of hard coming back. God was definitely with me. There was a miscommunication, and nobody showed up to pick me up at the airport. However, I was on the plane with a member of the church and her two sons (one of which goes to the school here), and they were able to make some phone calls for me and drove me to a friend's house who took me to another friend's house where I'm able to stay for at least tonight. A lot of the details are still up in the air about how I'm getting to Copan this weekend, but I trust that God will work all that out for me.

It's been hard because of how many people I've already seen that I'd grown to love, including the couple that I lived with, and one of my students. It did stir up some doubts in me because I did love teaching, but I know that God has me elsewhere now.

So, I guess that's it for now. I'll likely continue updating this blog, or else start a new one to chronicle my journey at Wildwood. Thank you all for your support, and for believing in me even when I didn't. I'll be seeing most of you sooner than expected! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saying Goodbye

For those of you who didn't know, I have been working at Wildwood this summer, literally since the day I returned to the States. It's been quite the ride, as I knew it would be. Most things came easy because of how many years I've already put in here, but there were some things that have definitely been harder than I expected.

Leslie and I started the discipleship program at Wildwood together after working a summer together. However, we went into it not really knowing each other since we didn't actually have more than a couple of conversations all summer. Despite that, we became friends quickly, and were sisters before long. Going through the ups and downs of a two year program and seeing each other struggle as God worked in us made us close. "Sister" barely begins to describe our relationship.

After the internship, I went to Honduras, and she stuck around Wildwood and did different things around the Howell/Fenton area. We got to see each other at Christmas and frequently exchanged Facebook messages, so our relationship didn't waver at all. During this summer, she was again working at Wildwood, but only for the first half of the summer because she was moving to Los Angelos, California to do another internship, this one at the LA Dream Center, where her heart has been for the last couple of years.

Although I knew she was leaving, I hadn't allowed myself to give it much thought, because it didn't seem like a big deal to me. She was going off and pursuing her dream as I had pursued mine. We'd still be closer than sisters, and we'd see each other again sometime. We had to.

Then the day of her leaving came. I felt anxious about the time that we hadn't spent together this summer because of being in different parts of camp and surrounded by so many other people. For one terrifying moment, I thought that I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to her because I was getting the horse campers ready to go on a trail ride and cookout for the next couple of hours, and she was leaving in one hour.

But, God is good, and she was down by the lakefront, right near our campsite. I was on the wagon with the girls that didn't ride and got out there quickly, so we were able to meet on the road to talk. I was in tears before we even got close. We held each other and talked for a few minutes. We told each other we loved each other, and she headed off for more painful goodbyes before she left on her next great adventure. We didn't say "goodbye."

The more I've thought about this over the last few days, the more I realize how different it is to be on the different ends of goodbyes. When I left for Honduras, it was sad, but I knew where everyone was. They were all in Michigan supporting me as I went off on my adventure. I knew where I was going and was excited about meeting new people and having new experiences.

But sending Leslie off was painful. Of course I love and support her, but it's hard to not know what she's doing or where exactly she is. I can't picture the people she's going to be with and the places she's going to. I know that God will take care of her and I know that this is where she's meant to be, so I need to keep trusting in God as she does.

I leave for Honduras in just 2 and a half weeks, when I'll have to go through another time of saying goodbye. I've always wished that I could live somewhere with everybody I love so there's no need for painful goodbyes, but I know that that's not the way life is. I have learned what home is. Home is God. Home is family. I have homes scattered throughout Michigan, in Honduras, and now in LA. I know that wherever people I love are, that is home, so I never have to be alone.