Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Control Freak? Me?

So, if you've followed my blog, you might notice that I have a nice, tidy 10 posts per month. You might also notice that toward the end of the month, my posts can be pretty short and trivial. This month, I think I've done 8 blog posts in 5 days to make up for the shortfall the rest of the month. I was reflecting on this part of my character this morning on my way back to work. Pathetic, I know.

Well, this part of my temperament came out this morning. I found out that one of my subs before Spring Break was a dream. The other did not follow my plans at all, but rather had the students color pictures and do word search puzzles. Not exactly my idea of quality music education. However, I need to release control and not get too upset about it.

That is, until I see that she used my expensive printer paper (rather than the provided recycled manila drawing paper...for the lesson originally provided). Almost an entire ream. What did they use to color with? I don't have markers in my room? Oh, wait...I used to. She went through my private supplies and had kids use whatever they could find...Sharpies, dry erase markers, overhead pens, you name it. Then, they threw all the markers back in the basket. WITH THE LIDS OFF!!! For two weeks. To top it off, they used the individual white boards for a hard surface to use when coloring. Imagine Sharpie pens bleeding through on all my white boards. First graders! Little kids with permanent markers!

Okay, so am I entitled to be a *little* bit of a control freak over this issue? I guess I'm locking up my personal supplies from now on. (Did I mention the 50 or so broken pencils?)


Back in the Saddle

It's been a lovely 2 1/2 weeks. I enjoyed a professional conference in Dallas, followed by Spring Break in Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma. I came home to a long weekend with Monday and Tuesday as my regularly scheduled days off. But alas, all good things come to an end.

The alarm was a rude awakening this morning.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited to be going back to school and seeing my students, trying out some new ideas from the conference, and getting back into the swing of a career I absolutely love. But, I'm also facing an April that will be almost as crazy as February was. I have a workshop to coordinate next weekend, a program 4 days later, and I'm one of the conductors for a mass concert at the end of the month. This was the season last year that things started to fall apart for me when my Grandma died and I just couldn't keep up with everything in my life.

So, I appreciate your prayers that, once again, I would take things one at a time and do them to my best ability for God's glory.'s going to be a wild ride.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Almost Instant Dessert....Thanks, Joy (I think)

Last week, my dear friend Joy (and her family) hosted my family in their home for a few days. She introduced me to the most dangerous dessert...let me tell you about it:

1/4 cup cake mix (definitely chocolate)
2 Tbsp. water (mix with cake mix)
1 coffee mug
1 minute in the microwave

Stir a little caramel or chocolate sauce in for kicks.

I guess on the flip side, it's a great way to do portion control (unless, like me, you sometimes splurge and double the amounts in a LARGE coffee mug.)

These taste like the "Warm Delights" desserts you pay an arm and a leg for at the grocery store, only much cheaper, and they take approximately 75 seconds to prepare.

Hope you don't mind me sharing your secret, Joy :)

Signs of Spring

After a long, long winter, it's been pretty fun this week watching the thermometer rise. My bulbs are coming up (I thought I'd lost them all when our basement was waterproofed last spring and all the dirt around the foundation was moved) and the temperature outside is warmer than the temperature inside for the second day in a row. I saw a pair of cardinals on my long-neglected bird feeder a few days back. Even now, I'm listening to the giggling voice of my daughter as she scampers around the backyard gathering sticks with her dad (little does she know that it's considered work by most people.)

And yet, with all these signs of spring, nothing gets my blood flowing and toes tingling quite as much as the first load of laundry hanging on the line. (Here's to you, Aunt Sharon...miss you tremendously!)

(No, these are not our clothes...didn't think you'd all want to see the Wilson laundry...we'll just make our neighbors take in the sight.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Children Learn What They See...

...and not what they are told.

Dayna and I are taking some time to "sparkle" up the house (i.e. spring clean, one room at a time.) We've been tackling the master bedroom pretty hard today, including cleaning the wood floors and collecting tons of dust bunnies. I've vacuumed the decorative wreath hanging on the wall, moved furniture, scrubbed and tossed and organized...this has been going on for 3 hours (I'm about halfway done...)

Midway through the morning, Dayna decided to take a break (I was unaware of this temporary cessation of work) and started rummaging through the house for a "notebook." I had no idea what she was up to, but when I found her a few minutes later taking it easy on the couch, I couldn't help but ask.

"I'm doing Bible Study."

She was so intense in her study, that I couldn't help but snap a few pictures.

You can't really tell, but she has her tongue sticking out of her mouth. That's some intense study!

Dayna copied the words from her story Bible onto her "notebook." She still needs some work on spaces between words and getting her letters going the right way...we figure we'll have to save something for Kindergarten!

I can't help but feel warmed down to my toes to think that she witnesses enough quiet time and Bible Study in this house that she feels it important to do it on her own.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's a Cruel Joke

You see them. Secretly you may even admire them. You may even daydream about joining them. They're svelt, lean, and they look happy. They're runners.

They will trick you into believing that running is an enjoyable activity. They talk about the "thrill" you get while pounding the pavement and letting the wind run through their hair. They may even spend thousands of dollars on a treadmill to keep in their homes for those days when the weather outside doesn't cooperate enough for a road run.

Let me tell's all a cruel joke!

I maintain that nobody actually enjoys running. Yes, they may enjoy the feeling of finishing a particularly long run; they may enjoy setting a personal record or achieving an accomplishment never before attempted. (I confess to experiencing these very things...especially my first 5K last summer.)

I've been running for a year now. I'm 5 weeks away from a half marathon. I just completed 7.4 miles (I'm alternating running and walking), and confess that I was walking (very slowly) the last 3/4 of a mile or so. I've been home 45 minutes, and I'm slowly starting to feel my feet again. My blisters have blisters, and my knees and ankles feel pretty wobbly.

Did I enjoy my run today? Absolutely not. Did I enjoy the 90 minutes or so of quiet, sunshine, and time alone with my favorite podcast? You bet. Do I feel excited that I'm now over halfway to my half marathon distance? Without a doubt. Am I proud of my pace this afternoon? You can count on it! But did I enjoy the actual process of running?

Let me get back to you...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Recipe Time Again! Creamy Italian Chicken

While visiting my friend in Oklahoma last week, I was turned on to the Pioneer Woman's website.

I found this recipe and decided to try it tonight. Dayna took one bite, sighed happily and said, "Okay, Mom, you win!"

Disclaimer: I opened the wrong can of soup and used cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken. I did add the mushrooms, and used whole wheat penne. I do believe this is my new favorite crock pot recipe. I think it would be uber-delish with fresh Parmesan sprinkled on top.

A Bit of an Update...

Excerpts from emails sent by my friend in Asia:

Dear Friends,

Yesterday (Saturday) I went to the hospital to see a doctor about the continuing saga of my month-long cold. It has moved into my eye and ear now. I had woken up on Thursday with my right eye-lid swollen and Friday with my right ear fairly impacted and starting to hurt. When the doctor saw me, she asked the various questions of how long I had had the cold, various symptoms, etc. Then, she asked if I was ok with “bitter”. She wanted to know if I was ok with taking a bitter Chinese herbal medicine to deal with my symptoms. I said I was ok, but would also prefer some antibiotics as my ear was moving toward infection. She was ok with that, but also gave me the prescription for the Chinese herbs.

As I waited for the pharmacy to bring me my medicines, one of the ladies from the front desk saw me and called me over. She had apparently spelled my name wrong in their system ... and was worried I would not be able to reimburse it with my insurance. As I was waiting for her to correct it, one of the nurses brought over a large bundle to the front desk. Inside was a 1 month old little girl. Apparently 2 men had just come into the hospital, dropped her off in an elevator, and then ran out and disappeared. She had a bruise on her forehead, some medical tape on the back of her skull, and was not breathing so well. A doctor came up and she and the nurses were visibly moved. They wanted to find the men to figure out what was going on. They wanted to help this poor infant girl. But, their hospital was not equipped for infants. They called around to some other hospitals to find out which had facilities and made arrangements for her to be transported over. I left my number in case I could be of help, although not sure how.

As the pharmacy called me over to get my “bitter” medicine, I was in kind of a daze. I have heard of infant girls being abandoned here, but this was my first time actually see it happen. What must the mom and dad have been going through to be brought to this decision? The mom had not come … was she too distraught? They obviously wanted their little girl to live as they had brought her to a hospital. They were likely migrant workers with no one to turn to, very little money, and were trying to find a way to help their little girl.

Today (Sunday), we had a family worship. It is snowing pretty heavily and I didn’t feel I should go to church in the cold. We read about Jesus calming the storm and talked about it as a family. We discussed the little girl and the storm her mom and dad must have gone through/are still in. For the disciples, and us, we can cry out to Jesus in the storm. For this family, did they know they could as well?

I think about my “bitter” medicine. It is pretty nasty stuff, tastes like a cross between bitter licorice and grass. I think about the “ bitter” that this little girl’s parents are going through.

Tomorrow I am to go back to the doctor for a follow-up appointment. I am praying that I will learn the little girl made it through the weekend.

Dear Friends,

I went back to the hospital yesterday. This time, the Ear-Nose-Throat doctor was in and she was able to do a much more thorough investigation. The Herbal medicine I was given was a bit too “effective” at purging my system, so she recommended I stop that (glad to be done with that one!). She also determined that the eye swelling and ear blockage issues are all stemming from my sinuses, so she is continuing the antibiotics and gave me some other medicine for helping me to clear things up. I am to go back in another week to see if this new round of medicines will be effective. With all the medicines and sinus infections, though, my body continues to be quite weary, so I ask for that you pray for strength and stamina. Today, (my children) told (my wife and I) that they are also starting to have cold symptoms. We are hoping that they don’t have as serious a run as I have been having.

While at the hospital, I also asked about the little girl. Some of the nurses were aware of what had happened and they told me that between when she was dropped off until she was taken to the new hospital that her breathing had improved somewhat. Beyond the fact that she was transported to the other hospital with infant-care facilities, they just don’t know how she is.

I thank many of you who have written and begun to pray for her, as well as many of those like her. This situation touched a chord in my heart as it did many of you. I wish I had more information to give, but there is not much there. It’s a tricky situation. I think that the doctors and nurses at the hospital genuinely cared for the little girl. But, there was also the issue of “face” as this happened in front of a foreigner. If I pressed too hard for information or to help, it could actually have become counter-productive (not to mention that I did not want to further complicate her health issues with my own virus).

Abandoned infant girls are not uncommon here, although they tend to happen more in the country-side rather than in the bigger cities. I suspect, although cannot confirm, that in this case with the little girl having health issues, that poverty was a huge part of why she was left at the hospital. The parents may have been faced with a decision of whether to lose their daughter by death because they could not afford to treat her or try to get something better for her by giving her away. If they had brought her in themselves, there may have been a fear that no one would help her because they had no money. I don’t know, but it is my suspicion based on what I saw. If they were migrant workers from another province, they essentially have no rights or social services made available to them. It can be a pretty scary place for them. Of the 17 million that live in our city, I have heard that up to 25% are such migrant laborers. It is unfathomable to have such a large number of people without access to health care, education for their kids, or other social services. Their pretty much left to fend for themselves.

As you pray for this little girl, please also remember the parents and the 2 men that dropped the girl off. I don’t think any of us can fully comprehend how all this came about. But we can bring it to the Father and entrust them to Him.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Mother's Heart

I have a friend who is a missionary in East Asia. This morning he visited the hospital after a cold that wouldn't go away. While there, he witnessed an infant girl (one month) with apparent health issues being left. Abandoned.

My friend is also an adoptive father, and while he has heard of these situations, this was the first time he witnessed such an event.

I can only imagine the heartache those parents much have felt as they made this decision. A decision that many in the Western world view with incredulity and often judgment. What helplessness to know that you can't care for your child, and her best chance in life is to be left alone in hopes that another will find her.

Please pray for these parents. Their hearts must be broken beyond words today. And pray for this little girl. Pray that she finds the medical help she needs and that God would orchestrate the next steps in His plan for her life.

As for me, I'm going to hug my own daughter a little closer tonight, and pray for the man and woman I may never meet who made a very similar heartbreaking decision almost five years ago.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Kids in Sierra Leone Have Their Food!

I just saw this update from The Covering, the orphanage sponsored by The Raining Season. This is the project that Dayna's dollar got to be a part of (see November blog entries for more details). How exciting to see her faith in action. These pictures make it real...Dayna didn't help feed hypothetical children somewhere in the world...she helped feed THESE children. I can't wait to print the picture and put it on our fridge!