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 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


****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


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


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.