Little bits of happy

-the excitement of a few boys and me about seeing each other in a few months

-loving life so much in many different places- it seems a bit extravagant, but why not enjoy?

-helpful employees at the meat counter while grocery shopping (and enjoying the name but not purchasing the chicken “lollipops”

-fans, glorious fans

-the satisfaction of finishing a unit plan and being excited to teach it

-internet access at home

-chatting with my dad

-bedtime :)

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You’re in charge!

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And by you, I mean my students. :) This photo shows a “parent” and student practicing for conferences. My kids are accustomed to a few days off for conferences, but I think that they, as the learners, should be the ones to share!

We’ve spent the last week getting ready- writing reflections, choosing a just-right book, putting post-its in place to mark the spot. We even filmed speeches (with Kuya Jun’s help!) to share. Now, just (nervous) anticipation remains.

I’m so proud of my kids and their growth that I may have the most trouble sleeping tonight. Don’t get me wrong- there’s always a little anxiety of the negative kind before conferences for me. But there’s also excitement as I look forward to seeing proud smiles from kids and parents over the next few days.

Student photo is posted with parent permission.

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OC Response to Typhoon Yolanda

You can see more here on the One Challenge site about this, but these photos will give you a peek into the OC response to the recent super typhoon, called Yolanda in the Philippines.   

Meet the Manns, a family who moved to the Philippines about a year before I did to work with OC.  Two of their kids are at Faith, and Wyatt (dad) has been involved in getting help to areas affected by Yolanda.  

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The work of OC day-to-day is supporting pastors and churches as they reach their communities.  The goal is to have a church in every barangay (neighborhood/village) in the Philippines.  What does that mean when disaster strikes?  

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In this instance, it means chainsaws and boat motors go through relationships to pastors in areas of need.  Chainsaws provide jobs as downed coconut trees need to be cleared and materials for rebuilding as coco lumber is used.  Boat motors allow fishermen to get back into the water.

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While food and water are necessary (!), I appreciate that different aspects of relief and aid can come from around the world, through hands and feet on the ground, to enable people to rebuild.  There may not be easy answers, but there are often creative ones!

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Reading and Wrestling

I write to get things figured out.

The blog gets silent when things feel…unfigured…unsettled…generally, un-.  It gets silent when life gets crazy.  It gets silent when my home internet goes down, and stays silent when months pass and the internet still doesn’t work.

So may this serve as my apology for being generally absent.  After being convicted of my desire to keep things private until they are neat and tidy, I’m here to take a baby step into the vulnerable place of wrestling publicly.

Seven months into life in the Philippines, I feel no closer to conclusion on the matter of what to do with privilege than when I came.  I see my privilege more than I did living in the U.S., but I’m not sure how much more I actually possess.  During International Week, I read If the World Were a Village, a kid-sized view into the inequality in the world.  We discussed how unfair life is and how much we have- clean water, food, shelter, education, etc.

Around the same time, I was finishing Playing God by Andy Crouch.  It’s an excellent book for anyone in any sort of leadership- leading kids in a classroom or leading adults in a job or leading a family or the other forms of “leadership” we have.  I read slowly, reflecting a lot on the power I have, the temptations we all face, and the ways I am called to bear God’s image faithfully.  Crouch addresses injustice and privilege as they relate to our use of power.

Then today, I happened across this post On Being Rich by a missionary in Burundi.   While he is in a very different part of the world than I am, his words about our richness and the warning of Christ in the midst of wealth struck me.

Where does this leave me?  I’m not really sure.  I’m loving the much simpler life I live here.  I’m quite sure that I haven’t fully mapped my own footprint here and wonder if I ever will be able to do so.  And I long to follow Jesus in the little ways as well as the big, even when I’m not totally sure what that looks like.

(If this were my kids’ writing, I’m sure we would have a conversation about the organization of this post.  But…it’s not figured out, and I’m going to leave it for now.  Ok?)

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The Roomies

The Roomies

Kelsie, Nicole and I went to the Faith Community Festival last weekend. In support of the junior class, we visited the photo booth.

It’s no wonder I feel spoiled to live with them! :)

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TCT: Timothy the Third-Culture Turtle

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Meet Timothy, the third-culture turtle brought to my class by Aunt Diane. This 28-year veteran of Faith Academy came back to visit this week and spent some time with my class today. She shared how third-culture kids are like a turtle- they take their home with them, in a sense. Ironically, Timothy was made in Indonesia, purchased from a store in Colorado, and will live in my classroom in the Philippines for the foreseeable future.

What a great way to end International Week! After celebrating the differences of cultures around the world, she shared Jesus’ promise to make His home with us, no matter where we are. It’s a good reminder for me, too. :)

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A Beautiful Day

I’m sitting here with a dumb smile on my face, my room filled with the steady whir of my fan. (It’s not really necessary as the weather has cooled to a chill 79*, but I’ve become accustomed to the white noise.) Today was beautiful.

Not easy, mind you, but beautiful. Grace peeked out here and there- teaching Sunday School to some littles and the grace of a translator (thanks, Jasmine!), washing dishes after the meal together, playing prayers in the form of songs, sharing the pain of transition with a unified body, seeing Jesus in Micah 6:8, and an accidentally correct turn on the way home. Coffee and merienda and life-talk with Florence rounded out the day with delight.

It’s good to belong. What grace that in this Body, you don’t have to look the same/act the same/speak the same language/know the rules/have it all figured out to belong. The song says, “There’s a welcome here,” and it is true. It’s beautiful to belong even when you don’t “fit.”

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