Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We're off... the lands of the north, for one whole week. Hurrah! Hopefully, we'll see many of you there...

To paraphrase the Psalm: I was glad when Brad said unto me, "Let us go up to the House of the Lord." ( Well, he didn't say it exactly like that...) I'm almost afraid of how happy I am to be going.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"The PreSchooler and The Holy Bible: The Stuff of Nightmares" or " The Bible: Not just another Spongebob-Squarepants type story"

Back in February, I took over the teaching of the Pre-school Sunday School, to give the teacher a break for a month....and I've been the teacher ever since. So beware of volunteering, folks. Just kidding. ANYWAY...

Heretofore, my only teaching experience at this sort of level was a month or two of substituting for Toria when she went to Thailand. ( Different church...) It was a roomful of Reeds ( plus a Post once in a great while - and most of them were older than preschool ); I never failed to have fun with them. I always left laughing, with a great story to tell about some funny thing they had said or done.

Pre-school Sunday School is not really that bad because they don't have much of an attention span so you don't have to plan anything really intense or challenging or deep. Plus, this may be the first time some of them have heard some of these stories. Pretty cool. They're not all like,"Yeah, yeah, been there. Done that last year."

Recently, I've had three or four students in class on most Sundays and I'm learning more every time about what works and what doesn't. Here are some things I've learned:

When there is silence, pounce on it with all your might and talk really fast because you might be interrupted at any second and then the flow is lost. Come to think of it, forget about flow. Flow in preschool Sunday School is like a tea party in a state penitentiary. It doesn't happen. But still: pounce on the silence because it's good to be the only one talking... for three point five seconds.

When you bring in your guitar, they are all going cluster around you and want to play it with you at the same time. You should tell them to pretend it's a kitty-cat and just stroke the strings very gently...otherwise you'll probably have to buy new strings shortly.

C is for continuity. Talk about what you learned last week and connect it to today's lesson. Sounds like a no brainer, but I'm just figuring this out. ( It's been a while since I've taken a class on the methods of teaching... three years, in fact. And the last class I had on teaching Sunday School was like, um, maybe ten years ago. ) We've been talking about Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh lately and I cannot tell you how happy it made me that they remembered their names this week! Wahoooo! I point to a picture and ask, " Who's this?" and they say, "Pharaoh!" And it's high fives all around. ( Same for Mmmmmm....0ses! and his brother....Aaaaaaaa...ron!)

So today we were talking about Passover. I know, I know. It's Rosh Hashanah right now but I'm not correctly oriented to the Jewish calendar at this point. ANYWAY... I realized as I was talking about the angel of death, that this is a pretty scary story. I mean, here are a couple of four year olds and a three year old...and most of the angels they've heard about are friendly guys ( or girls?) who have wings and trumpets and sing Christmas songs. So...we're talking about an angel who goes around killing people...Ah. Bad people. ( But I'm thinking, were they really bad? Or were they just unfortunate b/c they were living under a bad ruler who kept hardening his heart...) And on top of that, two of the students are first born sons...and I'm talking about an angel that...GULP...kills firstborns! I tried to sanitize it a little bit...but how do you sanitize a PLAGUE of DEATH? I tried not to laugh when Joshua was saying with four year old fierceness that he would hit the angel of death with his sword. ( Imaginary sword.) I hastily tried to explain to him that he wouldn't have to- because the angel wouldn't come in his house because of the blood on the door. Blood on the door? Oh Maaaan! This is too hard! Let's skip this part of the book! I shudder to think of the rendition that he is going to give his parents of today's lesson. It'll probably sound like a horror movie.

I'm thinking that aside from stories like Noah's Ark, and Jesus blessing the children, the Bible is NOT a great preschool kids' book. Jonah gets eaten by a whale! How terrifying is THAT? Okay, he gets thrown up, but...STILL! Daniel gets thrown in a lion's den?! Okay- so he gets out without a scrape, but STILL! Pretty traumatic experience through the eyes of a four year old. Abraham comes within inches of killing his son? Moses' mom left him in a basket in the river? Samson had a building crush him to death. Bottom line. No cheerful ending THERE. A lion eats up a foolish prophet? Talk about your nightmares! The three worthies get pushed into an incinerator? Lot's wife gets crystalized? Herod kills all the babies? Saul throws a spear at David to try and kill, why? Oh yeah, he's kinda insane sometimes. John the Baptists' head gets cut off? David kills a giant? "YAY! Phew! Something good!" you say. " David kills Goliath!!!" Um...yeah. He kills a giant with a rock and then cuts off his head with a sword...When you have little boys in your class, you better hope they don't get any ideas about re-enacting their Sunday School lesson in the parking lot afterwards.

Not to mention a bunch of mean guys killing the Son of God. Okay- YES- there's a happy ending, but man! It's a tough thing to tell a four year old about the crucifixion. You avoid the graphic details, but still...Jesus was killed.

The Bible is a tough book. It's got some things that are pretty hard to explain to kids. Pretty hard to explain to ANYONE, for that matter. But, I guess the flip side is that it's EXCITING! And REAL! I mean, truth is stranger than fiction! The Red Sea PARTS? People get raised from the DEAD? The sun goes BACK in the sky? God's people RETURN HOME after captivity in exile for decades? How could anybody just make this stuff up? And so maybe the Bible is a GOOD book for kids. Welcome to the world, little people: it's dangerous, it's scary, it's violent, it's sad, it's gory, it doesn't seem to make sense sometimes, BUT! Guess what? There IS a God. And He's a good guy. So- this life isn't necessarily an ALL FUN- ALL THE TIME kinda place? You should see what He's got planned for us next....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

This Crazy World

After listening to the news this week, I felt a sort of dazed disbelief at all the insane events going on around the world. If my Grandmother S. were here, she would shake her head, wave her hands around and say, " Oh, this craaaazy world!" and then go on to mention something about how the Lord must be coming back soon...Well, I guess I've sort of caught her mantle. Yes, this IS a crazy world. And Yes, here's hoping for Jesus.

( Boy, reminiscences of the Grandparents S. are coming thick and fast these days! It's funny... the little things that stick out in our memories about our older, departed relatives...little sayings or habitual actions that sort of encapsulate who they are... )

( We just found a green lizard in our house. Brad grabbed the property tax bill and shooed him out the door, which I was holding open. How did he get IN here?)

But I digress. I was talking about this crazy world.

So....Hugo Chavez says our President is the Devil and that the rest of his days will be a nightmare ( a threat perhaps?), Iran's president prays to Allah in the UN, while he is developing nuclear technology because the 12th imam is supposed to appear within the next two years and eradicate the planet of humans ( thus the motivation to develop an A-bomb), Muslims are foaming at the mouth, murdering an innocent nun because the Pope quoted a fourteenth century text which said that Islam was spread through violence...

...and more...

...It's the end of the woooooooorld! Hurraaaaaaay! Everybody take to the bomb shelters and good luck! Break out the old Y2K rations! Anybody got any Spam? See you in the afterlife! Take care now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pahking the Cah in Havahd Yahd

Yesterday I heard a couple of men speaking in Boston accents. And I mean, accents of the deepest dye. It wasn't just a gentle inflection. It was like the guys on This Old House times TEN. I know it's kind of a low-brow sound, but for some reason, it warmed my heart in a peculiar way. I enjoy listening to a deep Southern accent; MidWestern and Canadian accents crack me up. I love accents from New Zealand or Ireland or Scotland. But there's something about that Boston sound that makes me smile like nothing else. And it's all the weirder because I don't talk like that. Nobody could guess that's where I spent my formative years. As evil and expensive and liberal and depraved as Taxachusetts may be, it will always be my home.

In these days of homogenization and frantic, random migrational movement, when the world has shrunk because travel is so convenient and affordable, it's really quite something to still have a distinguishing mark in the form of ones' tongue. Just by the way you say simple words like "car", "doll", "about", "father" or "shibboleth", many times people can generally guess - often with some degree of accuracy but with a few exceptions of course- where you were born and raised.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Here I am, procrastinating yet again. I should be filling out a job application that I just printed out...but no...instead I am satiating the urge to blog.

It's rather a depressing thing to think that I am still unemployed. Yes, I did temp work this August gave way to September, and my little interview with Mr Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor himself, was fruitless ( thank God) ... I have a renewed sense that the time gaps in my resume are growing. Rarrgh. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the time off and basking in the freedom to do unusual things. For instance, yesterday I spent a second day volunteering at the setup of a traveling exhibit called, " From Abraham to Jesus." Lisa A. alerted a bunch of us to this opportunity and last Tuesday a carload of us traveled up to the heart of Atlanta and did some serious, heavy work helping to set up the maze of pillars and panels through which people will walk to view the art and artifacts. Muscles were sore afterward. We didn't actually do the construction itself ( it was a horribly huge task...the kind of thing that is like a Christmas Eve assembly nightmare: " Insert flange B into slot A, using Object C..." except with objects that are hundreds of pounds); we just assisted in moving materials to the appropriate places...

ANYWAY- yesterday Lisa and I went back to help again. My main job for the day was helping to set up the gift shop in the form of a bazaar. There are some interesting folks there, and I overheard a lot of Hebrew being spoken. One Israeli man asked how I had gotten there: "By bus?" I said that I had driven myself and he said he thought I didn't look old enough to drive. "I thought you were fifteen!" He almost reeled in disbelief when I told him I was twenty eight.

And my friend Sarah C ( used to be Sarah L...), flew in on Sunday night for a conference and was staying at a hotel just a couple of blocks down the street from where I was volunteering yesterday. SO! I met her for lunch AND dinner! We had such a great time catching up. Her room is on the 63rd floor in the tallest building in Atlanta; one entire wall of her room was a giant window and her view was breathtaking. I could have sat there all night just watching all the lights. We even rode the glass elevator up to the revolving restaurant at the top of the building where there was a little inside observation deck; you could walk around and look out at the whole city spread out below you. Coooooool!

Anyway- it's times like that when I am grateful for the fact that I am not working. Then I look forward to the future and it's a total blank; I get a little freaked out. But after a year of looking for a job, it gets harder and harder to psyche yourself up to keep looking. It's like the opposite of a perpetual motion machine. You have to fight a downward spiral of inertia and pessimism. You go to the same web-sites and papers and job-recruitment things and it's like having a nasty recurring dream. And you can't find the will to fill out another application because you're sure it's going to be a waste of time, ink, and energy. And so you blog.

It helps me to remember a little talk that my friend Lindsay and I had recently. She reminded me that everyone has times of waiting in their lives. Waiting for different things to happen- waiting to find your soul-mate, waiting for God to answer your prayers, waiting for a child, waiting for the right job opportunity, waiting for healing, waiting for your dreams to come true... Sometimes it seems that half our lives are spent waiting. But that's okay. Because as another friend, Alison, often says, " That's the way it's supposed to be."

Friday, September 08, 2006

"One Clear Call"

For any and all that are interested, I just thought I would make a little announcement that Daddy's book about Andrew's life has been published. You can find more information and order it here.

Congratulations, Daddy, on the completion of this labor of love.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The dictionary is on Brad's side

Happy Labor Day all, and Happy Birthday to Amy B., my blogosphere friend in Kansas! It's so interesting to have friends that you have never met- and that you only know through the internet. Ooo- I rhymed there! ( Sort of.) Anyway- Happy 26th, Amy!

The other day Brad and I saw a person wearing an interesting T-shirt. ( I say "person" because, sadly, neither of us could figure out whether it was a man or a woman. Sigh. Don't get me started on THAT topic...) Anyway- the T-shirt said, "If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at others." I thought that was super hilarious. I guess we should have taken his/her advice and started laughing right then and there at him/her. But, no. We didn't. We restrained ourselves until we were safely away.

Yesterday afternoon, we were sitting around Nate and Penny's living room with a witty little crowd: Mr. and Mrs. B---- ( of the Joe and Helen variety), Daniel A., and of course, Nate and Pen. We were playing Ghost ( the word game), looking at Pampered Chef catalogs ( some of us), talking about cameras ( some others of us), and trying out Nate's chair shiatsu massage thing. SOMEHOW the subject of "brooming" came up...( See the post from 8/24 entitled "The Thing Witches Fly on"- or something like that.) And we actually looked it up, and lo, it IS a verb. At least, according to a couple dictionaries. So if you actually trust those kinds of things, I guess they prove that Brad is right. And he insisted that I post something to vindicate him. So here it is. Broom is a verb.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Death to all bugs! ( in four difficult steps)

I still haven't heard back from the place where I interviewed on Monday. No news is good news, right? But what is good news? That I got the job? Or that I didn't? I still can't decide. I probably should email or call someone today...but ignorance, in this case, really is bliss. I'm terrible, I know. Everything is worse on the other side of Labor Day. I'll postpone the knowledge of good or evil until then.

Brad called me from work the other day and told me a most disgusting story which I now feel compelled to share with you. He was walking into the store when he noticed that something felt strange in his shoe. He thought perhaps there was a quarter in his shoe. He forgot about it as he started opening the store, but later, he took off his shoe, and there, smeared all over the bottom of his sock and the inside of his shoe, was the mangled, smashed corpse of a giant cockroach. Oh my word. Limbs, fluids and all. AAUGH!!!

As I talked to him on the phone, I checked the inside of the shoes I was about to put on. You can never be too careful.

We've had quite a few bug sightings recently and I have been mastering the art of How to Get Your Husband to Kill Something For You, each time learning a bit more about the valuable skill of manipulation.

First, don't scream. Use all your willpower to clamp down on this feminine instinct. It will simply scare him within an inch of his life because he does not know what horrible evil has caused you to let out such a bloodcurdling noise. Then he will get really annoyed because it was "just a bug" and he will be mad at you for scaring him. Instead, speak in a slow, calm tone. You should force yourself to sound almost bored with the fact that there is a hideous, frightening creature threatening you. And "threatening you" can mean anything from crawling in your general direction to just existing in your bathroom.

Second, don't walk away from the bug to go find your husband who may be in another room because when you come back with your husband, the bug will most certainly be gone. And your husband will be annoyed that he made the trip down the hall for nothing. Then you will stay up half the night searching the bedroom, stripping the sheets off the bed, and crawling around on hands and knees, to try and find the bug and make sure that it's not going to come back and hop on you whilst you sleep ( a fate worse than the worst fate) ...and your husband will get annoyed at you because you won't turn out the light to go to sleep.

Third, as soon as your husband is in the room, and you have calmly implored him to rescue you from this horrible menace, and he has actually agreed to do so ( instead of saying something like, " You can do this yourself. What would you do if I wasn't here?" which is a silly question, because hypotheticals do not apply right now: You ARE here! And therefore, by all the rules of nature, I should be spared this trauma...), LEAVE. Don't walk- run. Don't stay around and listen to the crunch of death, and the yells of, "Die, Commie bug! Die!" This will only distress you further.

Fourth, after he has emerged victorious from his encounter with the beast, thank him profusely, turning on the grateful tears if necessary, to let him know how much you appreciate him taking the time to squish your foe. This is the time to dust off all the helpless/damsel in distress/"Fascinating Womanhood" charm and employ it with as much power as you can muster. Bat the eyelashes and all that, if you feel it is needed.

Bugs, and other household pests, can pose major problems in relationships. There are just so many pitfalls to negotiate. So many opportunities for your husband to get annoyed. It's tricky and dangerous, but if you follow these steps closely, you should be successful. If your husband is away when you find vermin, or you don't have a husband, or you ARE a husband, well...good luck to you. You can be brave and then go write your own blog post about your experience.

And, P.S., if your husband refuses to kill a bug for you, and the bug is on the ceiling, don't get on top of a stool and jump up at the ceiling brandishing a weapon while screaming ...and miss the bug...because the bug will just fall down into your bureau drawer, which you stupidly left open, and it will be amongst all your clothes and then you're REALLY in trouble.

Black AND White

I decided to take liberty with today's color and post a black and white image. I took it the other day in color for the red/pink day, but it was too orange.