Confessions #7

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1. I hate math. I hate teaching math.

2. I would love to learn to man a sailboat.NYC-Sailing-School-Statue-of-Liberty

3. I wish I could dedicate more time to writing a blog and less time worrying about life….if they PAID me that would be FANTASTIC.

4. Living in an apartment is hard because I feel like any decorating or fixing I want to do will be in vain.

5. I love chocolate, more specifically dark chocolate, but I don’t like getting mountains, and mountains of chocolate for Valentines Day from my students. Especially when it is raspberry, or mint, or cherry, or strawberry.

6. My husband plans great surprises.

7. Doing laundry is one of my least favorite things….but only because I don’t like lugging baskets down stairs and unlocking doors, etc. If I had a house, basement, washing machine like my parents, life would be way different.

8. I’m happy the champagne I like is not expensive. Martini_Rossi

9. Granite City brewery has the BEST margarita.

Granite_City

10. Confession of advice: work close to where you live. It makes life much simpler.

Christmas Confessions

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1. I always wanted to be Mary in the Christmas play (doesn’t every girl) and never got to be it.

reception_nativity__all_on_stage_1Yeah, like her.

2. Eggnog disgusts me. Ew. I. will. not. eat. it.

3. One day, I will not give cookies or chocolates or ornaments to my child’s teacher.

4. You know you are getting older when you get things you actually need for Christmas. Example: This year my mom got me an ironing board. Ironing board for Christmas= I am now an adult.

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5. I don’t feel like a geek wearing big boots to places during the winter…even just wearing them in the car to work. I suffer much less in the cold if i do this.

photo-20Was it the boots, the socks, the coffee, or the cute boyfriend that kept me warm?? Hmm….

6. For the longest time I thought that the Hollidazzle parade went past New Years…only to discover this year that it ends BEFORE Christmas.

7. I didn’t make the connection between cold and sunshine until this year. I NEED sunshine. It’s WAY colder when it is sunny. Warmer and dreary, or sunny and freezing. These are both not good combinations for my body.

8. ANYTHING under 2 weeks is WAY TOO SHORT for kids and especially TOO SHORT for teachers.

9. As a child or teenager, I would dream about the cool things to do on New Year’s Eve. Now I am definitely old enough to do these “cool” things, and I can hardly keep my eyes open past 12am. Sad story.

10. I’m very excited for what 2013 has in store!

Confessions #6

1. I’m white. I watch BET.

2. Sometimes I don’t blog for long periods of time, even though I have lots of things to share, because I’m afraid of becoming one of those stereotypical bloggers who just puts whatever up.

3. I hate drivers that even after seeing the sign “LANE ENDS MERGE RIGHT” they continue to sneak up as much as they can in that lane to get past traffic. If they only realized traffic was bad BECAUSE of their dumb actions!

4. I bring pudding snack packs to school, even though I am no longer the 5th grader.

5. I’m appalled by the amount of high fructose corn syrup in even normal foods like bread and the fact that I have to try to avoid it because it causes insulin resistance.

6. I missed fall.

7. Handing out Halloween candy is not all that it is cracked up to be. It is a lot of work….especially when you don’t have a doorbell…and the formal sitting room near the front door is not as comfortable as the real living room.

8. I like when my boyfriend drives me around in my car.

9. I think the USA needs to start to import Noche Buena cerveza from Mexico. Nothing like Mexican seasonal beer.

10. I’m extremely happy, blessed and content in MN, but I still miss Mexico. México te quiero.

I pre-judged the Puritans -My bad

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Readers, followers, fellow bloggers and stalkers, please bear with me as I catch you all up on my life. This current blog is one I had planned to write and post over 6 weeks ago. I recently made a huge move and change and I know I have a ton of people wondering how it is going. I need to finish that blog also. They are all kind of intertwined…at least in my mind and weirdly connected thoughts…so dive in, and keep hanging on!

One or two years into living in Mexico, my mom gave me a book called Valley of Vision: a collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. It sat on my shelf for 2 more years, until a year or a year and a half ago when it became on of my faves. But in order to have it become one of my faves, I had to get over one thing:the Puritans.

In my mind when I hear “Puritans”, I think: pilgrims, America…or specifically when the Thanksgiving pilgrims got comfortable and uptight. Not the greatest image. Now, I have no idea where these images or preconceptions came from, but…still. There they were. This is the image that is STILL stuck in my head:

I was way wrong. I discovered this two ways: Google-ing “Who were the Puritans?” and reading Valley of Vision. All in all, I discovered the Puritans really knew their stuff.

  • Bible was their sole authority and they believed it applied to every level and area of life
  • They wanted a break or to separate from the Church of England because things were starting to be based more on ceremony, liturgy, etc. and less on the Bible
  • Worship and prayer were uber important

I guess that makes me a Puritan too.

When I first began to read from Valley of Vision, I had no idea where to start. Each time I would open it, I would just be drawn in to wherever it was that I opened. I was never disappointed. Granted, there is an amazing table of contents that I’m sure is designed to help guide people like me, but i didn’t use it.  I could do nothing but read in awe of how my journal, my prayers, my heart-pourings are so like theirs in my head and heart, but so much is lost from hand, to pen, to pencil.

About 2 weeks before I made the move back to Minnesota, I had been, and still am, spending a lot of time meditating on God’s will and I ran across a passage from Valley of Vision online. Little did I know, but it is actually the first excerpt, introduction to the book, and so much of it embodies the thoughts and feelings going through me- both two weeks before the move, and today, 7 weeks later.

“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,

where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;

hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox

that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high,

that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

that to give is to receive,

that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,

and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;

let me find Thy light in my darkness,

Thy life in my death,

Thy joy in my sorrow,

Thy grace in my sin,

Thy riches in my poverty,

Thy glory in my valley.”

– from The Valley of Vision

It’s funny how the title of this new favorite book of mine now makes so much more sense. Maybe I wouldn’t even understand it had I not been going through such a valley myself. But I’m relying on Him to use this long long time that I’m spending in the valley, as a time to reveal His vision for my life to me.

Confessions #5

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1. I think lawn mowing should be permitted only after 9am on weekdays and 10am on weekends. No one wants to wake up to a lawn mower or week wacker sound.

2. Dressing up is one of my favorite things, and I believe I do it quite well. Boys, if you have a black tie event to go to and want to bring a hot date, it is an excellent excuse to ask me for a date or to just be your arm candy. Getting to dress up is enough for me!

3. I would love to be on Cash Cab. Who do I wish was with me in the cab to answer questions? My mom.

4. My sister is moving to Colorado for a year. I’m selfish and don’t want her to go. I’m gonna miss her too much.

5. In Minnesota, when I hear Latinos speaking Spanish in restaurants, on the street, at the store, etc. I find myself smiling. And eavesdropping. And find myself wanting to somehow make friends with them, each peanuts enchilados, and watch my Chivas.

6. I REALLY ENJOY POOLS AND WATER SLIDES. A LOT.

7. I have to buy a car and it’s freaking me out.

8. I’ve caught quite a few fish in my day, but I want to catch a fish that is so big I have to stick my thumb in his mouth to hold him up (and hopefully someone will want to take a picture of it)

A picture like this..but instead of a man will be me, and the fish will be an itty bitty bit bigger. 🙂 No, I don’t know him.

9. I don’t live in Mexico anymore, but my Facebook profile says I do. I don’t want to change it because then that means it’s real.

10. This is one of my favorite movies.

Lebron, You the Bomb.

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It is currently the middle of the NBA playoffs. Eastern Conference Finals and Western Conference Finals are well underway. I’m not a big regular season NBA fan for a number of reasons. One reason is that the MN T-wolves have been struggling for a long, long time. Only this year with Rubio have we had any sort of hope what-so-ever. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a fair weather fan. It’s just my heart lies with the NCAA. NBA regular season has so many games, and to tell you the truth, too many teams. But last year I saw some regular season games, and was more intrigued than I had been in the past. I ended up watching most of the playoffs last year too, very entertained by Lebron James-Dewayne Wade duo.

This year the Miami Heat are once again a hot item, led again by James and Wade. I’ve been watching the conference playoffs and something interesting has been brought to my attention: the personal touch Lebron James adds to his mouth guard.

To my knowledge NBA players are not required to wear a mouth guard, yet a majority of the players do. In middle school we did not have to wear mouth guards  for basketball, but when I played lacrosse in college it was required. One night while at practice I decided not to wear my  mouth guard. Guess who ended up getting a bounced ball in the face…and a bloody lip. Me Needless to say, I learned my lesson and never again failed to wear my mouth guard for practice or a game.

When I started wearing a mouth guard for lacrosse, either fancy mouth guards were just gaining popularity, or didn’t exist yet because Dick’s, Target, Sports Authority, etc. only had about 3 options: clear, blue, or black. None of these options scream, “Choose me!”. To me they scream, “I play American Football. Move out of the way.” or “Hockey kids rule. Wear this if you want to save your face.” 

Lebron James showed his creative, and sometimes pompous, side in his mouth guard choice at various times throughout his season. The first one I noticed was the one below. At first, I thought it was nasty teeth, and that Lebron was being funny. Nope. It’s Roman numeral 16. 16 seasons to a Championship win. Clever. Pompous, but clever.

After seeing this, I thought, “I wonder if he has others!” And sure enough, he does.

Heat pride.

Country pride.

Jersey number pride.

My favorite: Twilight??? pride.

I greatly appreciate Lebron’s humor particularly with this last mouthpiece. If I played high school or college sports, I would add a little spunk to my play and use vampire mouth guards too. Then it got me thinking….what other kinds of funny mouth guards I would use. As a high schooler, many nights and early mornings were spent at Perkins. Open 24 hours. I remember one night…er morning…being with the Fab 5 and buying some fake teeth out of one of those 50¢ prize machines. The teeth were billybob-like teeth. Bloody gums and a hole through one of the front teeth, much like the one below, only no ring.

Needless to say, my abs are strong today because of the knee-slapping laughs that these teeth caused for me and my friends. Can you only imagine how entertaining a mouth guard like this would make high school, college, or professional sports?? Hmmmmm?

I would also like to make an honorable mention as far as mouth guards are concerned. Or maybe not even an honorable mention…more like 2nd place….the GRILL. These mouth guards are actually for sale..and I would wear one of these. Maybe Lebron doesn’t know about this kind yet, because I think he could pull it off.

Lebron, your mouth guards make you the bomb.

Confessions #4

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1. I like LOTS of pepper on my Kraft macaroni and cheese

2. If I ever had need for a different kind of income, other that a teacher, translator, retail worker, swim instructor or lifeguard, I would LOVE to go to bar-tending school. And then use, or not use the skills I learn. I just think it would be fascinating!

3. Tortas ahogadas are one of my favorite Mexican foods, but they are super-messy. I’m usually against bad table manners, like eating out of bags, but it is fun to eat a torta ahogada out of a bag once in a while.

4.DREAM JOB: Travel writer (meaning I get to visit exotic and non-exotic places, do weird excursions, adventures, eat local food, and stay in fancy hotels and critique every aspect)

5. I was wrong to stop taking piano lessons. I should have taken them longer.

6. I think chipped painted fingernails and toenails looks trashy…yet I’m the one that usually has both. Boo.

7. I think that if you are an ice cream driver it automatically makes you creepy. I have never seen an ice cream truck driver that was not creepy (not that I have seen very many) male OR female.

8. Parents with disrespectful children drive me crazy.

9. I’ve never cried so much in my life as I do right now and I constantly wonder when the tears will dry up.

10. Indoor pools gross me out. There’s just something about a wet place ALWAYS being humid….EWWWW.

Confessions: Fears

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This post is going to be a little bit different. And I want to make a few points before you read these, so you are clear about my…heart and reasoning regarding these. For many of you, you could probably care less about reading these because they aren’t entertaining for funny to read. So feel free to stop reading now. This is more for me than anyone else.

Now, maybe fears is not the perfect word to use for each one of these confessions, but let’s think of it as an umbrella term in which all the other ones I could have used (worries, inquietudes, wonders, scaries, things that unsettle me, etc.) fall under.

For my reasoning:

First: I’m not good about admitting when something is hard for me. These things below are all things that are hard for me and make me this awful weepy person that I have been for the past…week….s…..month…s….errrr.. I’m hoping and praying that by somehow voicing these fears it means the next step will be to have them somehow overcome…or solved…if you can solve fears. So again, this is for me.

Second:I know that I have no reason to be afraid. at. all. I John 4:18 “Perfect love casts out all fear….” Christ is that perfect love and He is mine. I am His. And even though I have these fears, I know He is with me. I’m not a Bible-basher, don’t worry. So again, this is for me. Having to put it into words, type it out, and have these verses in front of me will hopefully take root in my head and heart.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

So here goes nothin…

1. I’m scared to leave Mexico, even for a little while, and lose my Spanish. I know I still sound like a gringa, but I don’t want to lose any of the accento Mexicano that I have tried so hard to learn.

2. I’m scared to leave and possibly lose this person I care about so much; to lose one of my best friends…lose him more than I’ve lost him already.

3. I’m scared he will never realize how great we would have been together.

4. I’m scared the only thing in the way is fear of a really good thing.

5. If he does happen to realize how great we would have been together, I’m scared he won’t come after me.

6. I’m scared I’m becoming this angry, sad, bitter person…

7. I’m scared to teach in the States. Too much stress, too much red tape, too many politics…and I’m too used to and happy with Mexico.

8. I’m scared to even try to listen to God’s voice or make any decision whatsoever because I apparently was off last time, or didn’t understand correctly, or hear the timeline on it at all…

9. I’m scared and sad to leave people here who have adopted me into their family, their lives, their world, and treated me as one of their own.

10. I’m scared I won’t be able to express to people how much I care about them and how much they mean to me. I’m scared they will think I’m one of those gringas that says she will miss Mexico, but doesn’t- when I KNOW I will.

11. I’m scared to have to re-acclimate myself to Minnesota when I know my heart will be aching for México mío, unsure that anyone will REALLY understand.

12. I’m scared other people will come and fill the “Marin” here when I’m gone.

13. I’m scared to buy a one-way ticket.

Until next time, Me.

Confessions #3

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1. I’ve never broken a bone….amazing, considering all the sports and ridiculous play I get myself into.

2. I love living abroad. I would love to live in yet another country, but I don’t want to move to another country without someone.

3. If you are an adult, I don’t think you should have to eat foods you don’t like. For example, if I cook you dinner and you don’t like it. Don’t eat it. I will not be offended. Life is too short.

4. I love going to sporting events with my dad. ANY sporting event.

(Daddio, we should have taken a pic when u took me to the Barn to welcome home to Gophers after March Madness in HS.)

5. I’m VERY picky about bananas. I only like 3 types of banana related things: bananas (you know, straight from the tree), banana bread, and banana chips. Everything else banana…NO THANK YOU.

6. I would love to have my own swimsuit line and make swimsuits for people. YET, I have designed and made one, and now I know why swimsuit prices are so stinkin high- suits are hard to make and take a LOT of time.

7. I’m a syrup snob. I will eat nothing but pure maple syrup. It is my mother’s fault for spoiling me. Aunt Jemima, you will NEVER be good enough.

8. I think I would be a killer Roller Derby chick.

Probably not as cute as them, but oh well.

9. Italy. I want to go back.

10. I was, along with Jensine Pulford, and official member of the Irreverente porra de Las Chivas.

Yes, that one.

It Was Too Soon

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“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.”

John MacArthur

A few weeks ago I experienced a great loss. My friend Karina, 31, was taken unexpectedly to be with our Heavenly Father.

I have not experienced a lot of deaths of loved ones in my 26 years of life. I’ve lost grandparents who I loved very much. These deaths were not surprises, and they were well along in years. I lost a teammate to suicide in high school. One of my students lost his dad in a car crash. These were difficult to deal with. But nothing in comparison to Karina.

Making friends in Mexico has been hard, especially female friends. I had a rock solid support system of girlfriends in the States, and it took me a really long time to find some here.

Lucia so graciously adopted me into her real family during Christmas 2009 when I was not able to go to Minnesota. She then introduced me to her group of “Fab 5” a little after and they as well adopted me into their group. Let me tell you, as a female, letting other females into your group is not an easy thing. Karina was part of this group of Lucia’s. And they made me feel so loved. They are truly a huge blessing in my life. Here’s a little picture summary of my friendship with them.

Chivo’s Birthday: The first night I met them Jan 2009

Phoenix concert: RAINY RAINY RAINY but oh so much fun.

Beach trip to Sayulita: Chivo turns into a superhero

Ale’s Birthday

Lore’s Birthday

My Small Group (minus Lucia’s mom who’s taking the pic) on my birthday

Celebrating Christy’s engagement

Posada de la Vecindad 😉

Runway Show for Christy and Karina’s clothing line: Farala

Girls Crepe Night: the last night I saw her

These pictures and events are treasured memories to me: a huge example of God’s love towards me.

Karis passed away on Sunday night. I found out on Monday morning, when I got to school. I was shocked. So shocked I didn’t exactly know how to react. “Is this for real?” i kept thinking. I had no idea what funerals or the mourning process are like in the US, let alone in Mexico.

Immediately after school I headed to the funeral home or panteon as they call it (like a US funeral home/hotel mix). The whole afternoon people would come pay their respects to the family. The room was the size of a small conference room filled with lots of pleather couches, end tables, flowers and lamps. Towards the back of the room was a mini alter/ banister about knee-high and behind it was the coffin. There was space for you to pass and look in if you chose to do so. I did. She looked so peaceful. Before I went before the casket, I greeted Karina’s mom. It’s a tough thing to do, because what do you say? I don’t know her mom super-well because I’m not a childhood friend like many of the rest, but I was touched by her when I greeted her. She hugged me so tight. She knew my name. She introduced me to the lady she was with. And she didn’t force me to say anything. We said and exchanged all we needed to in the heartfelt embrace we had. My heart was breaking for her, not because we don’t know where Karina is, but because she out-lived her daughter. No parent wants to do that.

Outside of the room in the lobby there was also quite a bit of space filled with the pleather sofas, etc. plus a soda fountain and coffee area. People would come and sit, then leave. Or come, stay and talk. At 8pm many people arrived for the little message a pastor was going to give. He started with a prayer:

“Dios, tu eres Soberano….”

“God, you are Sovereign…” He talked about the fact that we are at a loss as to why Karina was taken so soon, but we know that God is in control. And He makes no mistakes. At this point, I could not hold back the tears. I wept because that is exactly what my heart was feeling. Why Karis, Lord? Why now? Why like this? This beautiful creature who wanted so much to get married and have babies just like I do. This motivated and talented young woman who works so hard at what she does and invests in her friendships just like I do. This seeker of you Heart and your Kingdom, just like I am. Why?

What now?

I looked around to see a fascinating group of people, who had all come together to mourn and celebrate Karina. Faces I recognized from my church, the pastor of my old church (but not Karis’ church), different groups of friends who I had spent time with at various concerts, bar, restaurants, etc., even places I was not at with Karina, cousins and aunts of Christy, Lucia’s parents, the Bravos, all joined together because Karina’s heart shined bright.

The Sunday after this happened, my friend Toño got to preach at church.  It’s always a blessing to hear Toño preach because for being so young, he is very gifted in this area. He’s good at putting the thoughts and questions that are running through all of our heads into words, and sets out to answer them WITH us.

The past few messages in church had been about grace. Now, I cannot tell you the main hook he make about grace exactly in this sermon…but I got a lot of other stuff out of it. He took a twist this week as we looked at Romans 6:3-4,11, 8:4-19, 1 Cor. 2:14-16, Col. 3:5-17.

He started off the preach asking the question, “How many of you have ever dealt with the death of a loved one?” What do we associate with death? We see in some of these verses that each time the body is mentioned it is mentioned regarding death. But each time the spirit is mentioned its is mentioned regarding life. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Jesus Christ  were baptized into his death? We can forget about this body/life now, because we have life in Him, regardless of what happens to our body. The confession was given that we have a problem with this because we have a hard time dealing with the things we can’t see.

What is death for us? It opens our eyes to the spiritual life, it makes us understand the value of things. That money, clothes, work doesn’t REALLY matter. So with all these considered, do you think it is a coincidence that Christ keeps telling us to die to ourselves? Good point.

Now, I confess my thoughts and notes and ramblings are all over the place. At the time, I wasn’t taking notes knowing that I would be blogging about them later…

Romans 8:9-11 is the one that really hit me:

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

These bodies God so graciously blessed us with are temporary. In the end, they don’t matter. Karina just got to go enjoy the streets of gold a little earlier than the rest of us.

I miss her.

But God’s purpose is in it. He is Sovereign.

He is Holy.

He knows best.

Pics from Christy and Che’s Civil and Church Wedding: April 12 and April 14, 2012. Karis, we missed you this day especially, but we did you proud on the dance floor.

I miss you deeply, Karis, but I WILL see you again someday!