Thursday, April 28, 2011

tonight

Tonight was a beautiful night. There was laughter. There was food. There was praying. There was joking. There was care. There was dessert. There was English. There was Spanish. There was Jesus.

My friends, Leah and Amanda, hosted a dinner with more of my other friends that I have made while here at Doulos. It was such a good time to be with them and enjoy life together.

My time here has been more than a blessing. It has been complete and full. These past four months will always be apart of who I am and who I become. The people I worked with everyday are apart of that. God knew. He orchestrated. He provided. He Loved.

I lay my head down tonight content. I hope and believe that God is honored by that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How Beautiful!

It's been a slow day and exactly what I needed.

The past couple days have been full of hanging out with people I get to see every day at work. Amanda mention the other day how funny it was that we even spend Spring Break together. What a testimony to friendships that are made in Christ. Spring Break wasn't a week for us to get away from each other but a week to grow closer and do more than just work together. Do life together. I think it is beautiful and pleasing to God.

Tomorrow we begin work again, and I must say I am ready for the routine of it. I am ready for a few more days there. But it will not be long before I am returning home. I am ready and thankful that the Lord blessed me with a desire of my heart.

He is a good and fun God.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

La playa Fronton

This is where I spent spring break! You would have thought that I was straight out of a travel magazine or something!
We camped on the beach from Sunday to Wednesday. It was the perfect amount of time. There was a lot of resting, eating, reading, sunscreen, laying in hammocks, talking, and admiring the beauty God created. For most of my life I have always done something non-traditional for Spring Break. This was first (or maybe second) spring break that I went to the beach. Definitely a great one to end on and worth waiting for.

I still have a few more days off work and then before I know it, I will be on a plane back home. Bittersweet.

Happy viewing!...I will write again soon.
















Saturday, April 16, 2011

Today

hallelujah grace like rain
falls down on me
hallelujah!
all my stains are washed
ARE WASHED AWAY

when we've been there
10 thousand years
bright shining as the sun
we've no less day
to sing your praise
then when we first begun

Hallelujah!!!


Today I sit a small room on the island if the Dominican Republic. I sit with windows open to the warm breeze and noise of the neighbors beside me. I sit forgiven. I sit not worthy. I sit beloved. and I sit restored.

You know those days where you just feel different. You can't pinpoint why today more than any other but your heart, your spirit is radiating from you and you can feel the difference. You can feel peace swelling in every muscle of your body. You feel rest. You feel right. You feel God. You remember Christ on the cross. You remember your sin. And you are content. You remember where you have come from, the stupid things you have done, the shameful things you have thought, and the people you have hurt. You remember the resurrection. And you feel life.

Today I feel that. Nothing in particular has occurred, but I can feel it. I am confident that the Lord brought me here. To the Dominican Republic for Himself. Not for Doulos. Not for me. Not to graduate college. But for Him. I feel that this afternoon and I am content. I am able to just be.

With every new experience, adventure, journey, peak, and valley the Lord brings me I feel like I have only scratched the surface of it all. There is so much more. He is so much more. HOW COOL!! it NEVER ends! Forever and EVER we get to feel, experience, know, learn, and be more.

God wants me. My doubts, my questions, my emotions, my thoughts, my actions, my rest, my discipline, my wardrobe, my friends, my future husband, my family, my life. Everything that is apart of me, He wants. Not to fix. But to be with me. To take me farther, deeper, stronger, weaker, harder and softer.
How exciting! How scary! How Beautiful is our God.

Today I am in the DR. In two weeks I will be in the United States. In three weeks I will be a college graduate. In six months I will be a wife. Forever I will be adopted by God through His only Son, Jesus, who died on a cross for me and then woke from His tomb and presented to me living water. It tastes so good.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

sleepy time

So I feel like most of the time that I have blogged about my time here it has been positive and exciting. Which my time here has been but there are also some annoying things that make me so excited and thankful

Sleeping here can be one of the most frustrating things. Especially when you are someone like me who makes sleep a priority :) Here is why:

The mosquitoes here have superpowers and find there way to any human possible. In the states I was already a Hot commodity with the mosquitoes and therefore here I might as well draw my blood and hang it outside for their convenience and make the whole process easier.

Therefore at night when I am trying to sleep I will wake up at some odd hour of the night and have 5 or 6 mosquito bites burning and itching on any exposed skin to the air (most commonly my arms). Last night this occurred. It requires me to get up, grab my bug spray, go out of the room (as to not wake up Stef), and spray myself down. However this does not dampens the intense itching that is holding on strong.
By this point in the night the rest of the Dominicans have actually gone to sleep which means I can take out my ear plugs. (If you go to bed before 12 or 1 noise will keep you up if you are someone who can't sleep through it). So I get the freedom of taking out my ear plugs (they kinda hurts after a while) but at just the right time when I am drifting back into sleep and I have forgotten about the itching, one of these precious super-powered little creatures (the mosquitoes) will think it's fun to circle directly above my ear playing it's beloved mosquito anthem of "bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz". It is enough to wake you up and keep you up. (Matt is a witness from his visit here).

Ideally we would have a fan that ran all night which is the trick for people who don't have mosquito nets (the strength of the wind is too strong for the mosquitoes). But naturally ours broke about 2 or 3 weeks ago right as it was getting warmer and these little beast were coming back out to play (more than they already had been).

This is definitely a part of my time here that I am looking forward to coming to an end.



I hate to say, I hate those pesky mosquitoes in every way!
I hate them buzzing around especially near my ears!
I hate them biting on me whenever they have chances!
I hate them leaving red marks on my fair skin and make me so itchy!
Unfortunately I’m like a mosquito magnet. Mosquitoes just love me so much.
I must have pretty tasty blood! :grrr:
I hate mosquitoes, do you?


http://monkeywong.com/2008/07/17/i-hate-mosquitoes-do-you/

I couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

goose bumps

It is Saturday (the day that I usually put up a blog post). Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to share this time. i have not received them from the friend that had the waterproof camera on my last adventure.

This morning I got to talk to my daddy! It was so good to talk to him about life here and life here. As I have said a number of times. I am glad I have three weeks left here but I am glad I only have three weeks left here all at the same time. I miss my family and friends at home. I was talking to my dad about food that I miss and I think it has made me hungry for the entire day. I keep wanting things I can't get.

I did laundry this morning but could only do one load because we lost water and haven't had it since. No telling when it will be back on. Maybe any minute maybe tomorrow. I remember when a pipe broke in the house I lived in at Georgia College. We didn't have water for 48 hours and you would have thought that we might die. Ok maybe not that extreme but I remember being way more inconvenienced by it then than I feel here and not. Here it is just a part of life and it is not worth getting worked up or worried about. It was a blessing to get one load done though! Luckily it happened to be the "essentials" load :)

The rest of this day has been slow and magnificent. I love slow mornings that transition into chill afternoons. It is so good for my soul. I finished reading the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia today (The Last Battle). The ending gave me goose bumps! it was so good. I feels so good to get to read for pleasure. In college I always knew that I should be reading for class and had a hard time allowing myself to spend time reading when I knew that the same activity could be "productive." I worry too much about being productive. I am trying to get better at it.

All in all, I am sitting in my room here in the DR and just being. It is such a good place to be and I love it more and more I allow myself to be taken by it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

sneak peak

Yesterday, a couple friends and I went to "27 waterfalls" here in the DR. It was so much fun. Basically you hike up past 27 waterfalls and then on the way back down you either jump off or go down a natural rock slide at ALL 27. It was so so so much fun and not to mention beautiful. Also it only cost around 12 bucks. Something like this would have cost 30 or 40 dollars easy in the states.

One of the friends that went had a waterproof camera so she was able to take lots of pictures but I don't have them yet so I will post again some time this week with those.

Until then here is a pic of what we saw on our drive to Santiago yesterday morning!! So Dominican. So crazy. And so great!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

one of those days

Today was one of those days that I got A LOT done. That is always a good feeling. I had a goal of getting two grades done and I ended up getting four. I got double the amount of what my goal was!

While I have been here I have been trying to do a job of setting reasonable and flexible goals for myself every day. Goals that are probable to get done but will require focus and effort. It is usually my tendency to have the goal of getting as much as possible done and that is setting myself up to fail. As a result that is how I felt after many days of work, like a failure. As I have tried to set more realistic goals it has proven to be helpful, healthy and productive. So when a day like today happens, it makes it that much better!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Abilene

Exciting News!!!

My sister is currently in labor as I type and she should have a beautiful baby girl by the end of the evening (hopefully earlier)! I am going to have a niece!! Her name is Abilene :)

I was so excited when I received the email this morning that I squealed!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

typical Saturday

this week was quite the busy week. preparation for my presentation kept getting distracted by other priorities but it all got prepared and was completed on Thursday after school at the staff meeting. It was a lot of fun to talk to the staff about how cultural adjustment affects their health.

here i am!


It is nice to have that part of my internship completed.

Today I have been able to have a "typical" Saturday. A typical Saturday means that i clean, do laundry, and catch up on the emails and such as best I can. These days also include slow mornings (my favorite part) and reading! I have never enjoyed reading as much as I have in the past months I have been here. It is probably because I get to read what I want to without feeling like I have a class that I SHOULD be reading for instead. I just got done with another Narnia book and am starting on The Silver Chair.


Exiting news! While Matt was here visiting a friend of mine, Leah, who teaches 3rd grade at Doulos took pictures of us! They are so great! It was such a blessing to even have any taken because they are very expense. Leah is a natural and do hope that one day she is paid more adequately than cheez-its and chewy bars in the future (Matt brought those two things from the States as a "thank you" because she can't get them here). But Leah is more than the person that took pictures of Matt and I. She is becoming a close friend whom I love and cherish. I will miss her greatly when my time here is over.

if you want to take a look at the pictures you can find them on my Facebook as well as Matt's. Be sure to give Leah the credit for taking such beautiful pictures. and making Matt and I look like models!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

time is precious

**written on Sunday

I am sitting in the house of Whitney Scarborough. I have been staying at her house this past week while her husband, Tim is away at an Expeditionary Learning conference in the States. Whitney is a beautiful and gentle woman. It has been more than a joy to be here and live life with her for the past week.

It has been a slow and restful weekend. It is so funny how spending time at another American’s house for the week and weekend is like a vacation here. It is such a privilege to eat familiar food and converse easily. And yet at the same time, I do miss my host family. I do miss the challenge of practicing my Spanish and using energy to even understand what time dinner is going to be at. I miss the constant growth that living in the depths of another culture requires of the human soul. Especially on one what is saved by God.

The Dominican people are one that all Americans and Christians could learn from. They are one of the most loving groups of people I have ever encountered (even within the body of Christ). It is beautiful the way that they love and the way that they share.

I only have about 6 more weeks here in the Dominican and at this moment, at the kitchen table of Whitney’s house, with the tropical wind blowing in through the window, I feel like that is not enough time. Not enough time to learn all that I can learn from this place. As much as I yearn to be around my family, my friends, and my fiancĂ© back home, I know that this time is precious. My time here is unlike anything I have experienced before and no experience in the future will ever be the same. I do not say that meaning nothing will be better or that something could be better. It is just is that there seems to be so much to learn here and a semester is only scratching the surface.

But the weekend is now over and the work week will begin in when the sun rises again. Another week will go by before I know it and time will pass too fast. In the mean time, I will do my best to just be. To stay present where I am. To be honest with the Lord no matter how much it scares me. And to live free.

I give the second half of my presentation requirement for my internship on Thursday at the staff meeting so my week will be quite busy preparing. I will put it on my to-do list to post a blog about how it went this coming weekend, if you don’t hear from me before that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bed & Breakfast

Today is Wednesday and I never have appreciated Wednesday as much in my life as I do now. Wednesday means that you are half way though the week. Wednesday means that there is a two day break on the horizon where I can breath and rest until I get to try again on Monday.
Don't get me wrong nothing awful has happened this week or anything but things have been busy and the weekend is so attractive right now. Sleeping in till 8 is so attractive right now.

This week I am staying at a staff member's house while she is in need of care and her husband is gone to a conference in the states for the week. I am getting the pleasure of making her dinner and setting her up for breakfast and lunch while I am gone at work. I have found that I really enjoy this opportunity. It is fun for me to host. Let me clarify, it is fun for me to host small groups of people.

This past Sunday I made dinner for my friend, Sara and her two friends that were visiting. They had gone to the beach for the weekend and came back on Sunday. Nobody likes to figure out what they are going to eat for dinner the night they come back from a trip so I volunteer to make dinner. It was a joy and fun to get to know them while cooking and eating.

So this morning I had this crazy, random thought. What if I worked at a Bed and Breakfast? and even crazier: What if I opened one some day?? You and I both have to understand that this was my thought at 6:15 this morning when I was putting together breakfast and lunch ideas out for Whitney. Who knows how rationale my thoughts are that early in the morning yet on the other hand, I am my best in the morning...

just thought I would share.

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

frogs are sweet!

Wow, it has been quite a while since I have posted. And so much has happened in the time I have been away.

First off, my original computer is on its way to Atlanta as I type and will go to the Harold, the computer doctor for one last diagnosis and attempt at treatment. Luckily we got all of the files off of my hard drive so I didn't lose anything!!! that was big: the day we were trying to get my files was the same day that I had a presentation to give to the staff. Literally 5 minutes before the presentation our IT guy, Greibys comes quickly walking through the doors with a big grin on his face. He had did it. Not only retrieved all my files but also the one that I needed right then.
the presentation went great and I have another one to complete my requirement on March 24th.


Well to move on to more exciting events, like I mentioned in the last post my fiance Matt came to visit. He got here on March 4 and left this morning. We had so much fun together and it was such a blessing to have him come and see my life here. I am comfortable that I have about 7 more weeks here but I also can't wait to be back home and only 40 minutes away from him. Here are some pictures from the two waterfalls we went to.

The first one was the Upper Jimenoa. Rumor has it that this is the waterfall that in in the movie Jarasic (sp?) Park.




We found a frog and I got Matt to catch it for me!!



The second waterfall that we went is one that I have been to from coming to the YL camp here Pico Esconido on work teams the past two years. It is quite a fun hike because you have to hike through the river leading up to the water fall. There is a small waterfall first then you keep going and eventually get to the BIG one **sorry for the ones that aren't turned the right way...I get get them to work







And we found more frogs :) My dad gave me a flip for my birthday and send it with Matt so that I could use it while we were going on our adventures. So here are the frogs :0

video


I hope that worked. Welp there are some glimpse into the parts of the week I captured. I will try to put a full album of pictures up on Facebook sooner than later.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Death of the Dell

sorry readers for the delay in an update. This weeks has been busy with preparing a presentation that I gave to the staff yesterday.

further yesterday my computer stopped working and so for now I am without a computer and am using other teacher's computers when they are in class. SO i might continue to have a delay in writing an update post but I wanted to let everyone know what was going on really quick (I need to get back to work so I am making this short).

today my fiance Matt is coming to visit for a week. We have a couple fun adventures planned so I will be sure to take pictures and share when i get the time.

Thanks for all the prayers and support from everyone!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

blog worthy

Last night I went to friends house for dinner. We had hamburgers and french fries. It was awesome!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Refinement vs Lies

Today was a hard day in the DR. Coming here I knew that there would be hard days. But I didn't know that they would come at me like a Mack truck. I feel like here it has been joyful or difficult. no in between. Often I feel like when I was in the states I would have periods of difficulty and then periods of joy. Here it changes on a day to day basis.

This has nothing to do with the fact that I am in the DR. It has everything to do with what God is doing in my life. God is doing great things. I don't mean great as in something you can see or something that I will be able to take a picture of and show you when I get home. He is doing something great in me. It is great because it is less of me and more of Him. But MAN does that hurt sometimes. And on top of being burned by the fire of refinement, Satan is pissed that I am in the fire and wants to throw in lies and accusations into the mix to have me running for my safety. Running back to the safety of what is familiar and comfortable.

So right now there is a war going on in my life and I am in the middle. Sometimes I am strong enough to fight alongside of Jesus but some days I am not and I can do nothing but lay on the ground and trust. Trust that I will come out of the fire refined and transformed and not charred to a crisp.

Today was another day of lies and refinement but as I am typing I am realizing that at least for this battle, refinement won!

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Santo Domingo

Last weekend we went to Santo Domingo, the capital of the DR. It was quite the experience. We took a bus to get there which takes about 2 or 3 hours. There were some Dominicans behind me playing guitar and singing in Spanish. They were pretty good....if only I understood the lyrics.

Once we got there we got to tour the city. We met up with Rosario's daughter and her husband who speaks English well. He described to us what all the significance of a lot of the building were. Half of the tour we just rode around in his truck and looked around but then half of it we would stop and walk around.

Here are some pics!!

this is the house of Columbus' brother who lived and ruled in Santo Domingo....I think. It's historic, that for sure



Selling hats to tourists, Stef tried to convince me to buy one.



Old weapons! The gun was as big as me!!! and the sward is SWEET!!





Around lunch time we hung out at around this courtyard that had tons of birds hanging out. You could buy food to feed them or just fun in the pack of them to make them all fly up for a few seconds...this is what most of the kids did. It was fun to watch them play and get scared all at the same time!






Last one!!
Dominican White House...except that the President doesn't live there.



Well folks there are some more glimpse of my life. Happy viewing!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

cheap produce

I just remembered that I still need to post up an entry from our trip to Santo Domingo. It was a lot of fun and I will put that on my list of things to do.

Things have been going well done here. It is so nice to feel healthy again and people able to get up in the morning, have some coffee, journal, and read my bible. I am not getting up as early as I was before I got sick because I still want to ease my body back into my schedule.

yesterday I went to the vegetable market. Vegetables are so cheap here...sure you have to make sure you clean them right so you don't get sick but it is so incredible to be able to get produce for so cheap. I can get a couple peppers, a cucumber, and a carrot for like 70 pesos. That is less than three dollars!! Any vegetarians...you should move here.
Yesterday I got 4 bananas and a whole pineapple for 60 pesos! really!!

If you know how to clean things right and you know the right places to go eating health here can be really cheap and accessible....unfortunately the Dominicans have not figured that out yet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

teaching/presenting

****From my GCSU journal

Well I am feeling very close to 100% so it made today go a lot smoother. This morning I wrote two or three curriculum guides. And then I finished planning for my class today since I was home sick on Friday (the day I had planned to do it).
In class we went over the basics about diseases with emphasis on how to prevent and take care of yourself when you are ill. As I have mentioned before, I don’t have the schedule to do complete units on topics so I am trying to cover what is most important and what will have the most impact in their life. I liked class a little bit more than usual today. It was a struggle to get the students to do anything as usual but I think I am just getting used to being in front a class. The students are a lot like the students that I led at Baldwin High school so I feel comfortable with the general defiant attitude. I think that I enjoy presenting and teaching. I enjoy knowing that I am passing information to people that could change their lifestyle and their future. I enjoy being creative in the way that I present (although I don’t think that I am good at it) and I also enjoy making it look “pretty” (for lack of better words). All of that is to say that I am interested maybe finding a job that would have an aspect of teaching or presenting to it. I don’t think that I want to be a teacher in a school but going in as a guest speaker or once or twice a week might be something that I enjoy.
After lunch, I started grading the homework assignment that I gave the students last week. It is still amazing to me how difficult of a time they have with following directions. I only got a couple of them done.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

stomach virus

just when I thought I was seeing the end of the tunnel to my upper respiratory infection I got hit with a stomach virus.

Thursday afternoon I started to feel nauseated on my way home from school and within two hours I was hugging the toilet watching my lunch and Lord knows what else come out of me. To make a long story short, I spent a couple hours at the Medico (which is a story in itself), a full night tossing, turning and frequenting the bathroom, and then the next morning/afternoon doing my best to eat just enough to take my antibiotic (for the ear infection I got last week) and sleeping waiting for my fever to go down. Needless to say it was a miserable 24 hours and it has been a rough last week. I have been hit with a lot back to back. And to top it all off I started with cramps this morning. Thank you mother nature. But the green grass on the other side of the is that (ideally) I should feel 100% in about 5 days and be good to go for at least the next 28 days!

thank you again for everyone that has been praying for me during this time of sickness. As i mentioned before being sick away from any thing that is familiar is more than hard. I have not missed home like I have this past week since I have been here. But I know that this too will pass and one day it will be just another memory to tell.

tomorrow Rosario is taking Stef and I to Santo Domingo (the capital). I think I am up for the trip and definitely don't want to miss out on the opportunity. I will bring my camera and be sure to put up a couple pictures and a post when I get the time in the next week or so.

Today I am taking it easy and enjoying time to rest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dominican food

today was a long day. I am glad that tomorrow is Friday.

Tonight Adrianna's dad is coming for dinner. We are having Soncocho...which is like a soup/stew. It wasn't my favorite when I first had it but every time we have it, it grows on me. Not sure if I have mentioned it in another post or not but everything here has a similar taste, most of the time. The taste of cilantro (I don't think that is exactly what it is down here but basically). It takes over any other taste. Mommy you would hate it. But the longer I am here the more tolerable it is and the less I notice it. So far I have had pretty good experience with the food but it isn't like what you grow up eating. Of course I am sure that any Dominican that came to live with me for four months would think that my food is weird too. The way they cook here is always with a lot of spices and flavors and sometimes I just want something simple. Like grilled chicken and some rice. Negative, we have lots of chicken and lots of rice but always with lots of additions.

But nevertheless it is food and always satisfying when my little belly is hungry! There have only been a few things that I have turned down which usually include a lot of vinegar. I don't know how they stomach it. But the good thing is that the family always gets a good laugh at my thats disgusting face :)

Daddy tell Papu he would be proud of me, I ate a soup the other day that the main ingredient was cow intestine. That wasn't my favorite either. :\...I sneaked some crackers in my room after!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

here and now

Today I feel much better! Thank to those that have been praying for me.

Today I have been thinking a lot about taking advantage of the ability to learn Spanish while I am here. I want to try my Spanish as much as I can. I always said that I hated learning a language in a classroom because i didn't think that it was teaching what you would need to actually live in another country. Well now I am in another country and have my opportunity to learn the way that I think is best. I live with Dominicans who are more than willing to fight through the barrier and if anything we all get a good laugh at it. It definitely teaches you that it is ok to make a fool of yourself, people won't not like you afterward. if anything they like you more.
I think that when i first got here I was scared of the culture. Scared of not getting my alone time. How selfish! Life is meant to be lived with other people. Don't get me wrong God did not wire me as an extrovert and I embrace that but He also didn't wire me to be a hermit. (Although that is how I am described by most) There must be a balance. Balance is key to everything. And so instead of soaking up every alone time opportunity I see and can get my hands on because of the fear that it might be taken away, I will go home today knowing that what I walk home to is what God intended. And even more beautiful than that God knew that is what I would be walking home to. It is my choice how I receive what He gives. May I embrace the times of precious solitude and silence but may I also embrace the times of friendship and relationship. That in both I will learn to just be. Not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, or this morning or this evening. But being present here and now.

Some how that was stirring in my spirit while I was writing curriculum today.
God is pretty cool.

**Portion of my college journal
I am feeling much better than yesterday! It feels good to be able to look at a curriculum and not feel immediately defeated. I will continue to take it easy the rest of the week to ensure that I do not relapse. I have not been that sick since the summer of 2009 and had forgotten what it feels like to be drained of everything.
Today I worked through the PE units for Kindergarten and got all the rest of them done except for the Biblical Integration section. It is my goal for tomorrow to go through that and hopefully have a rough draft of the entire kindergarten curriculum by Friday. It is hard to keep the creative juices flowing when I writing curriculum but I feel like what I have done so far is ok. I look forward to writing for the higher grades.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

sick

I have been sick the past couple days. Friday I woke up with a horrible sore throat and by sunday night I was awaken by a horrible ear infection. I took yesterday off and the antibiotics a fighting in my system as I type...If only I felt as better as they are working. The symptoms of congestion, pressure, headache, cough, and that gross feeling you get when you are sick are hanging on strong but I am confident that they will lessen day by day.

Please pray for my health and ability to stay afloat with my work load. My responsibility this semester is large and will be difficult to accomplish it all if I don't continue at a steady pace. Most of all please pray for sleep (the Dominican is Loud!)
This is also the time that I have felt the most homesick thus far in my time here. It is very difficult to be sick away from home and away from America. I wanted nothing more than to be five years old again and be taken care of by my mommy.

Praise Jesus for the community I am apart of this semester. They have been nothing but willing to comfort and help me in my time on sickness (Rachel lent me her apartment yesterday during work so that I would have a quiet place to rest...however quiet is all relative here in the Dominican. I could not be more thankful for her and her generosity.

feel free to skim below

***entry from my college journal
Today was a harder day because I am still not feeling well. I debated staying home again this morning. But yesterday, I (Brock) assigned the students in my class a small research “project” on a disease. In order for the students to use the computer lab after school there must be a teacher present. So I came knowing that I have to be here this afternoon, but now I am wishing that I had spent the morning at home and only came in for a half a day. But what is done is done.
I spent the morning grading the quiz that was administered yesterday in class as well as the question they had to write about after the quiz. “If you could cure any disease what would it be and why?” I also graded the homework assignment that they turned in from last week. It is so surprising how much students simply do not follow directions. Their grades would be much better if they took the time to listen and do things as they are asked. I see this in the states but in general it is even worse here due to the culture.
I created a curriculum guide for the Presidential Fitness unit in Kindergarten but I was struggling a lot with it. I am not sure if it is the PE aspect or the sickness aspect. Today I kept trying to tell myself that anything I do today is more than I would have gotten done if I had stayed home. I tried to be optimistic since my tendency is productivity driven.
I will try again tomorrow.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Its Friday

Today was a slow and hard day. I spent the morning in a meeting with the rest of the high school teachers. It didn’t apply to me tons but some of it did so I needed to be there. I do enjoy that the teachers take time to share about the students whether it is something be praised or cautioned. I also enjoy that we pray for them in that too. It is so easy for me to forget that I was in high school once. And as much as it can be frustrating on the teacher side of it all a lot of times there is something deeper going on. Sometimes it is more tangible like problems at home and other times it might be something less tangible like insecurities. It reminds me to continue making an effort to be patient with the students.
I woke up with a terribly sore throat. It started to hurt last night around six in the evening. So that is what has made the day so hard. In general I don’t feel well and my thinking has been cloudy all day. So it has been hard to think and write my plan for Monday which should have only taken me the morning part before lunch but it has taken me all the way through after lunch. I am trying to give myself grace and know that one unproductive day is not going to kill me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

learning

Today the morning was a little overwhelming. I started out the morning beginning with curriculum in the 1st grade. It wasn’t long before Sara came in to meet with me. I was very thankful that I could check in with here before I completed more guides. I showed her what I had so far and she said that as a whole I am on the right track! There were a couple of formatting details that I needed to change. Afterwards, Brock came in and talked to me for a while about his lesson plans as well as the possible schedule for high school. This was overwhelming because I had compartmentalized high school curriculum to be out of my thought processing until I work through elementary and middle. So it brought up concerns about not being able to finish the curriculum in time and writing more in depth curriculum for the high school level will be harder than what I am doing now. Brock did not mean to overwhelm me but I had to take a moment after we were done talking to re-channel my thoughts. It was about time to take my break so I went ahead and took it to clear my thoughts and pray a bit before I got back started.
After my break, I started back with curriculum and continued doing these for the rest of the day. I surprised myself again and got through all of the health units for first grade. I am trying to remind myself that this is a blessing and not the new expectation for my work days. Through my time here, it has been clear that my tendency is to judge my worth and value by how productive I am during the day. I am trying to break myself of this thought process and re-train my mind to be freer and more opener. In my orientation, Shelly told me that if you get one thing done during the day that it is a good day, especially in Dominican culture. There are so many things that are out of our control during the work day (water not working, copier breaking and jamming, internet going in and out etc.). It is teaching me to let go and do what I can while I can.
Another thing that I learned today is that I work best at a table setting. In the teacher’s lounge (where I do most of my work) there is a table with benches and then two futons. I have found that I am much more focused and awake when I sit at the table than when I sit at the futons. Also I benefit from having my papers organized in front of me and not spread out beside me. For some reason that makes me feel more scattered and disorganized which is not good for my though processing.
P.S. Thanks Dr. Funke for requiring us to write these journals. I am realizing that I am learning more about myself personally and professionally by processing through my day each afternoon than I would if I didn’t write it out. Which I know was the goal…its working!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

***

Be sure to scroll down two or so posts to read about the Women's retreat I went this weekend.

I started writing it Sunday and didn't finish until today. When I posted, it was inserted into the date I started it on.

that's confusing...just scroll down :)

just the beginning

Today I wrote five curriculum guides. However, the guides are not as big of units as usual so it didn’t take as long to write them as it would for the bigger units that I will start tomorrow. I had them looked over by another teacher that is a good person to ask. She said that I was on the right track and to keep moving forward to keep making progress. I am hoping that I can sit down with Sara soon so show here where I am now. I want to make sure that I am not doing the same wrong thing over and over. Hopefully by the end of the week I will be able to have her review what I have accomplished. My goal was to get three curriculum guides done today and I ended up getting all five of the health units done. At this rate there might be a possibility that I could get a rough draft of the entire kindergarten curriculum written by the end of the week. This would be a great encouragement to me. I am a little concerned about how much work needs to be done and how long I am here. Granted I am a worrier so I should just stop right here and know that it will all get done.
I have had a lot of communication with Brock in the past two days which has been good for the both of us to stay on the same page. I have also been thankful and encouraged at how willing other teachers are to answer my questions or to give me advice. This helps the most with the class that I am teaching on Monday’s.
I am mentally tired and know that this is just the beginning.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Yet another monday

Today was a Monday. It seems that Monday’s have been the hardest days so far. I think that is just takes some time to get back in the work mindset. This morning I reviewed my lesson plan and then spent the rest of the time writing a curriculum guide for kindergarten health. It was to meet the nutrition standard in that unit. I was not able to get it reviewed by Sara today but that is on the top of my list of things to do tomorrow. I am hoping that as I write guides that they will continue to get easier and easier. I also hope that with that I will be able to complete them faster and faster. I know that I still have a lot of time here but I also have a lot of work to do and want to make sure that I complete all of it. This is will be one of the biggest projects I have ever done (which I also know was the point).
I had class at 11:40am. It went ok. I put them into assign seating and I went over how the class would be run as well as grading. I think that they were expecting me to be a “push-over” teacher and today they got a glimpse that this is not going to be a joke. However, I did stress to them that it is their choice how easy the class is. Most of their grades are going to come from participation and completion. So if they will pay attention in class and take notes and not loss their worksheets they should be ok. I am hoping that at the core of what they learn from my class they learn that everything in life is a choice (which applies to health as well) and that they have control of the choices that they make. This will affect every area of their lives.
After class and lunch, I wrote out the quiz that we will be having next class and starting looking at material to teach next class after the quiz. We are going to start talking about diseases. I found myself frustrated when I started though because I do not have enough time to go into all the detail that I think is important. I am struggling with what I think is important as a health educator and what a once a week class enables me to teach. Also it is hard because I am starting with the absolute basics with them. So even though they need to know the more detailed specifics I can’t teach them without giving them a foundation. I feel deeply about it because no matter what they decide to do in life health will affect them. Therefore it is so hard when I know they are not getting the adequate education that they deserve. I understand that Doulos is still growing and developing so I am not frustrated at the school but it still makes it hard to decide what to teach and what to leave out.
And over that I know that the most beneficial thing I can accomplish for the school is this curriculum so I want to make sure that I am not letting class planning take up all of the time that I could writing curriculum. Balance is a life long pursuit.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Women's retreat

So this past weekend, I went to a women's retreat here in the DR. Almost all of the women on staff at Doulos went! It was crazy that all of us were there and I am was encouraged to be worshiping with all of them during the weekend. The Lord of course was on the move throughout the weekend. We were all randomly put into small groups but of course there is no such thing as random to the Lord. I was put in a small group with a women that I felt most threatened by at Doulos. Now let me preface by these feelings were completely my own. She had done nothing to hurt or disrespect me but I had these feelings that Satan used to turn into defense and judgement. From the moment I found out that she was in my group I knew that God was going to show me the beauty of the daughter that He had created. By the end of the weekend, I was so grateful for the time I had with her and that we were able to share Christ, memories, and laughs. The Lord is good and all knowing of our hearts and sin.

At the beginning we could all chose a lanyard that we wanted. The were all made out of different strips of fabric. It was so simple and such a great idea. It got the job done with variety and style. Then in out first small group meeting the all gave us identities from the Bible as out name tags. "I am dearly loved" was mine. I was surprised at how much this resonated with my heart and how much I felt like I needed to hear it. As always I thought that I was secure and I was mistaken. This was good to hear and look down and see during times of the retreat.



There was a river right behind the retreat center that we went to. During free time on Saturday, Rachel and I went out and read for a little bit. I did a little exploring and put my feet in the water a bit. It was so cold!!





One thing that the Lord clearly spoke to me during the weekend was this:

"In order to fully experience the DR, I must fully experience Him."


I think that this is probably true of any event or season of life. I know that there have worried trying to ensure that I don't miss out on something or that I take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. The reality is that if I am not experiencing the Lord here, it doesn't matter how much I do or don't do. This was such great truth that God gave me to put my Spirit at rest and peace.

The retreat was so refreshing. I was blessed with the opportunity to sing and listen with Dominicans. I was able to praise God in Spanish. This is cooler than you think it will be. On top of that it is so beautiful to listen to Dominicans sing their hearts out!

Friday, January 28, 2011

end of four day weeks

Today I spent the morning planning and preparing for the class that I am going to teach on Monday. I am going to be teaching about physical activity. On Monday, I will need to put them in assign seating, go over the way grading is going to take place and then discuss the expectations for the class. After that we will have our discussion/instruction. For homework, they will complete a week long activity log and next Monday they are going to have a quiz over the first two classes. There is so much that goes into being a teacher and it is hard to keep it all straight.
Another part of the morning, included me having a discussion with one of the other high school teachers about his opinion on sex education, how early to start it and what to include. According the Washington standards sexual education will begin in fourth grade. This teacher has three children that go to Doulos. That is why I wanted to get his opinion being a father as well as being a teacher that agrees with the values and core values of Doulos. His opinion can be summarized as follows: “Ignorance is never the solution.” He basically expressed that he thinks students need to be taught the facts because other wise they are learning from their friend who more often than not have false information. We both agreed that it all comes down to how it is presented and how the education builds upon itself. This conversation was encouraging and I hope to set up the school as well as the students for the best health education possible from all angles.
After lunch I spent time researching and brainstorming ideas for my first health unit in kindergarten. I need to come up with a tangible way that a teacher could explain the aspect of different dimensions that affect our health to 5 year olds. I have not come up with something but will be sure to either move on to another unit or establish a teaching method on Monday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cafe!!! (coffee)

This afternoon I learned how to make coffee the way that Dominicans do. It didn't take any longer than a automatic one would in the states and it made the perfect amount. (In my opinion)

It is fun being here and learning how to love and serve Virginia (the "maid" in our homestay) even when I can't speak the language. It is fun to laugh at both of us trying to communicate. Plus it is nice to know that she trusts me enough to try and make things on my own. Sometimes I think it must be nice for her to just have some one else in the kitchen area. (I am trying to read more out at the table rather than on my bed in my room). Morning and Night she has to serve and then during the day she is alone and cleaning. It must get kind of lonely. Who knows she might think I am weird and annoying but until I know what those words are in Spanish, I will enjoy being ignorant :)

This weekend Stef and I are going to a Women's Retreat. We have no idea what to expect. Literally. As with everything here in the Beautiful Dominican, it is all by word of mouth and know one really knows what the deal is. Yet even with my type A personality and my perfectionist-ness...I am enjoying letting go. I am enjoying not worrying about what I am going to bring, how I am going to get there, what we are going to do, and when we are coming back. It is freeing. Granted the culture helps with this but I would love to learn how to bring this back to my life in the states.

It's almost time for dinner!! so I will go but look for a post on Sunday or Monday about the retreat!

long day

Today was one of those days that could not have been any longer. It was a day that was tedious and repetitive but needed to happen. So, today I spent the entire time going through each unit of each grade and copy and pasting the respective standards into the curriculum template. I started with 2nd and all the way through 8th grade. It was my goal to get all of them done because I know that it would not be fun and so if I just forced myself to do it all in one day I wouldn’t have to dread doing it tomorrow. It is fun to learn how to set goals for myself as well as learn what is realistic for me so that I do not set my goals to high and end the day discouraged.
Today I also talked to the librarian, who is Dominican but speaks great English, about what a health need for the population is. My supervisor would like me to give my presentation during a parents meeting. So I figured it would be a good idea to talk to a Dominican about what health related topic would be the most beneficial. He said that nutrition is probably the biggest. He said exercise is second but nutrition is the kicker. Here in the Dominican, the culture has incredible access to cheap produce and yet they do not utilize it at all. The eat rice, beans, chicken, yucca, and plantains on a regular basis. So I am starting to brainstorm what would be the best approach: doing more of teaching and lecturing or doing more demonstrating and providing resources. I have thought that maybe I could gather recipes that would utilize the ingredients they are used to but also incorporating a lot more variety. Or I could do a presentation that would be focused more on prices and how to economically purchase healthy groceries on a budget. I want to do something that will actually be beneficial and applicable to my audience. So I am just starting to think about what I will do for the future.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

finally

This morning I had a meeting with Sara! It was so good to finally meet with some one who can give me answers that are solid. I showed her what I had divided up this far and asked her a couple questions. Thankfully, she said that I was on the right track and that I just need to keep moving forward. That must have given me a boost of confidence because after that I went through the curriculum again and worked through the health standards. I came up with temporary units and placed standards for respectively for each grade level. It only took me two or three hours to go through all of it. I am not sure if this is because the content is more familiar to me but I was happy to feel like I got something substantial done.
After that, I started formatting the templates for the curriculum. So I have to go through each unit and copy and past the standards I designated for it into the document. I was only able to get through kindergarten and first grade, for this part of the process. Tomorrow I will start back up with formatting.
I have not received any lesson plans from Brock. However he has much more on his plate and there is plenty that I can do in the mean time. I am focusing on being patient. It will all get done in the end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

trust

Today was a full day of what I have been doing the past couple work days. However, somehow I got way more of them done then I had been in the past. I did all the standard dividing within the PE units for grades 4 through 8. For that portion of the process, I am finished. Hopefully, Brock will have the lessons plans for the Kindergarten units sometime tomorrow or Thursday.
Sara, the instructional coach and curriculum “guru”, came back to work today. I got to pull her aside at one point and ask her if there was a time we could meet and go over what I have been doing for my curriculum so far. We established that tomorrow at 9 in the morning will work best. I was hesitant to ask her because I knew that she would be busy but she was very understanding and willing to work me in. Sara has a great spirit about her and I look forward to working with her.
I am learning a lot about self-motivation. Here at Doulos I don’t have to report to anyone when I come in or when I leave. I pretty much have to take all of the initiative and make my own schedule of what needs to get done and when. This is great from the standpoint that I can manage the work as to what makes sense for me but there are days that I am tired and it would be easy to slack off since know one is keeping me accountable (except for what I present as my final product). It is my responsibility to ask questions and find resources. I think that although at times this is frustrating it will be a good challenge and development for me professionally. Also it is nice to be trusted from the “get-go.” It makes me want to honor that trust and perform with excellence.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

who would have thought!

I just blogged about my time camping and wrote about what has been stirring in my hear...here are the pictures from camping I hope that these give you a glimpse into my weekend. There is a full album on Facebook if you want to see more!

our campsite


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Rachel and I went to the waterfall...but didn't know we were supposed to cross this small one (and we ended up at the top of it instead of the bottom so I couldn't gett a good picture) but here is what we found!






Who would have thought that coffee beans look like this before they get into our mugs!!







a few from our hike down...







welp i hope that this is successful...first time I have posted pictures. There will be a whole album full on facebook so yall can see more!