It's the End of the World as We Know it..

... and I feel...pretty good.

I am shocked that tomorrow is my last day in San Diego! This training experience has been really good. I have learned a lot - about Kurdish culture, yes, but more about myself and my role in all this madness.

I hope to find more time to write about this experience later, but for now I just want to say:



Too Much Free Time?

Funny Video! Click here.


Closing In Fast

Min zor serim sermawe!

That means I’m very surprised for those of you who don’t know. Why are you surprised, you might ask. You might even ask Bo çi to serit sermawe?

Well, because I only have 8 days left here in San Diego and I find myself in a strange place mentally. I can’t wait to come home, but I will miss it here at the same time.

I wish you could all come here and meet the family that I’ve been staying with. You couldn’t have chosen a better one for me. It’s as if the Meekers were Kurdish. Seriously.

I am also surprised that no one commented on my last post, but that’s neither here nor there.

Ooh, and I have learned two new high quality jokes which I will have to share when I get home. Yes, one of them is a knock-knock joke which I am excited to share with Hannah. And Kate. Kate loves the knock-knock jokes.

Happy Birthday to Kate, by the way. And Angie. Two nerds, one birthday. How convenient for me. It’s still the 14th in California, so I can still say it.

Since I’m rambling anyway: has anyone heard from Erin? I have called and left messages, but no response. Last time I told her that I would have to call the police and report her missing if I didn’t hear from her. Perhaps she’s calling my bluff. Or she’s actually missing. Either way, she didn’t call me back. Is her face on a milk carton? Have
they issued an Amber Alert? What’s the deal?

I would like to apologize to everyone who has read this far. For the lack of a coherent plot, etc.

Let’s face it, though. You really didn’t have anything else to do, did you?

Well, really. Did you?


What I've Learned

So, I’m sure that you’re all wondering what types of things I’m learning here in San Diego, so I thought I would give two examples:

1) I have learned to say that the flying monkey ate my homework:

Mêmuneke kefirrî wazîfekê minî xward.

     Native speakers should ignore any spelling errors.

2) Apparently, Bigfoot is alive and well. If you don’t believe me, check out this website.

You’ll notice that all Ohio is not a popular place for Bigfoot sightings.

I highly recommend that you check out the Skookum Cast. I also recommend that you try to recreate Bigfoot’s actions when grabbing for the fruit as seen on the diagram. Most of us have.

I should warn you, though, that I find that the re-enactment makes the whole thing seem very doubtful. Why would Bigfoot do that?

That’s no way to reach for fruit, if I do say so myself.


1/2 Way

So, I am halfway through training. I’ve learned some pretty good stuff. I am progressing with the language and for less than two weeks, I’d say I’m not doing too badly. I know how to say that I am going to the hospital and that I went to the bazaar on the bus, both of which I hope not to need.

More importantly, I know how to say that a flying monkey ate my homework and please, I don’t like the orange.

Seriously, though, I think I’m picking up some great skills: people skills, culture skills, language skills, anthropological skills, nunchuk skills.

God’s really teaching me a lot about myself and what I can do and where I need to learn and why He made me this way. And to be patient, especially with people.


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Isabelle who?

Isabelle broken? I had to knock.



...are great! I went to a Lutheran church this morning and had a great time.

I even took communion. So, in two weeks, I've had communion with the Chaldean Catholics and the Lutherans. It's great to be a part of God's church.

One thing that these California Lutherans do is something called a "Blessing Bag." They have plastic bags made with the church's info and people fill them with nonperishable food items. Then - and this is the great part - they keep them in their cars to give out to homeless people as they see them! I mean, that idea is so simple and perfect. Why didn't I think of that!

What did you think of my pictures? Pretty lovely out here. Now, I know why people risk their lives to live out here: It is gorgeous every single day.

Cameraphone pics from La Jolla

Can you see the seals in this picture?


December 1? Already?

Hello, everyone.

I hear that it is snowy at home in Columbus. It's cold here in San Diego, too. The high was probably only in the low 70's today!

Things are going pretty good out here, though. They're keeping us very busy, but I hear that we'll get free time on Saturday and Sunday, so I plan to go see the ocean. I may even stick a toe in.

I would like to add that I check everyone's blog everyday and two people who shall remain nameless are not keeping up-to-date. You know who you are.

I miss you all, but I'm starting to feel excited to go. Imagine that. God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Who would have guessed?


San Diego

So, I’m actually here at training. It’s been a long time coming.

Things are going well so far. It’s day two of 28, not that I’m really counting, but I am looking forward to seeing everyone over Christmas.

Maybe by day 10, I will have forgotten all about you all. That would make things easier. Or if you were all horrible people, that would work to.

I met the rest of the team, and they are all really nice. I am also staying with a Kurdish family who are all great. It’s an older couple, their two grown children and a younger child.

More importantly, Angie finally got a bank account. Welcome to 1956, Angie!

Hopefully, I’ll have time to read e-mails and stuff everyday, so send me some.


So much time, so little to do. (Wait. Strike that. Reverse it.)

Three days and counting.

OK, so Angie is officially having seizures as proved by the Prolactin test taken following last week’s seizure. She does not have Cardio-Neurological Syncope Syndrome as was hypothesized last week; her cardiologist has ruled it out. (For more information on the relationship between syncope and seizures, you can check this out.

This means she’s still undiagnosed and frustrated.

Mom, meanwhile, is doing better, but is restless. She was cleared to go back to work on Monday, but cautioned against over-exerting herself, but I’m sure she will. She gets the results of her pathology report tomorrow and, assume, more information on the plans for chemotherapy.

As for me, I’m doing ok. I’m not sleeping so well, but that’s to be expected. I am pretty well packed, though. So that’s good.

Interest factoid for the day:
Projected length of Mom’s chemo:     6 months
Amount of time Angie cannot drive:     6 months
Expected length of my stay in IQ:     6 months


To Quote Cinderella J:"What the 'H'?"

So, I've been planning to go to IQ for some time now. It seemed as though delays were never-ending. Over the summer, I seemed to have all the time in the world and I was anxious for the time to come when I could get this started.

Now, the time has come and it seems like it's all happening so fast. In reality it's life that's happening so fast. Mom's been diagnosed with breast cancer, Erin's getting a divorce, Sam's being tested for Cystic Fibrosis. It seems like a lot all at once.

In addition, Angie had a second seizure today. She had seen her cardiologist (who thinks she may have Cardio-Neuro Syncope, by the way.) and then, after lunch at Quizno's, she had a seizure in the parking lot. Honestly, it was pretty scary. It was the first time I'd ever seen a seizure. So I called 911, and she was taken back to Doctor's West where the did a couple of tests and sent her home. On the up side, this may convince her doctor's to speed up the tests and, if it is Cardio-Neuro Syncope, then it's totally treatable.

Just 9 days from San Diego!


Mom's Fine

Just a quick update:

Mom's surgery went well. She is in some pain (obviously), but she's doing well. She's at home now and early indications are that the cancer has not spread beyond her breast.

We'll have more details about chemotherapy and everything else in the coming week.

Thank you all for your prayers!


You Can Publish from WORD!

I’ve been thinking of keeping a list here of the books I’m reading. I read a lot of things that I enjoy but then forget. This might be a good way to keep track.

But, if I’m honest, I know that this list will likely last about a week and then I’ll stop. If that’s the case we can all pretend that this little experiment never happened.

Ok, so right now I’m reading the following:

Principles of Global Security by John D. Steinbruner
It’s a look at post-Cold War international security issues and the role of the U.S. I’m only on page 10, so I’ll have to get back to you on this one.

They Poured Fire on us From the Sky by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak
These are true stories of three Lost Boys from Sudan. I haven’t gotten to the tragedy yet, but the book seems to be very interesting.

The Qur’an: A Modern English Version
Or, as I like to call it, the NIV Qur’an. I have to be honest; this one is not an easy read. I have no idea what’s going on. I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll check out The Qur’an for Dummies. I thought that by reading it I’d gain understanding of Islam, but not so much.

Wo Bist Du? by Marc Levy
Yes, I am still reading this. It’s about a woman who travels to Honduras to do humanitarian work while her boyfriend goes to New York to study architecture. They’re French and the book is written in German.  It’s about how they both change in the absence of the other. Or at least I think it is. It just serves to drive home the point that I’ve allowed my German vocabulary to atrophy.

What the...?

So it’s official: Everyone on the planet now has a blog.

My mother has a blog. Can you believe it? You can check it out here.


Looks like a rant...

I've been thinking lately about how quick we often are to judge others. Maybe it's a heightened sense of awareness that comes when facing a "crisis" situation. I know from experience that when something serious happens people are most critical of others and especially their responses to the situation.

The first time I really remember being confronted with this was when my father died. I had no idea how one was "supposed" to respond to that. I looked around at my family and found that everyone responded differently. Some where devastated. And I mean this literally. Their lives ended the day his did.

I faced it the way I've come to face most serious issues in my life. I played the role of the stoic. I didn't cry much in public and I "moved on." I know what people think of that. Some find it callous and wonder how I could do it so easily. There's nothing easy about it, but it is a decision that I made and one that I don't regret.

Now, facing Angie's mysterious seizures and mom's breast cancer, I have acted in a similar manner. And I know that my actions and outward shows (or lack there of) of emotion have been questioned. As if I should break down at the hint of trouble or put on some show to prove my love and devotion. For the record, that won't happen. And, more importantly, I don't feel bad about it.

I know what loss is and I know how painful it can be, but I refuse to spend time pre-worrying about it. Honestly, I don't have the strength for that.

I can only pray that Mom and Angie both will be ok. I'll put it in God's hands and I'll be emotionally stable for them both so that they don't always have to be.


Who Needs Brains When You Have These?

Now that I have a title that she will appreciate...

I've avoided this post for about a week. Mostly because Mom reads this and she doesn't want to make big deal, but...

Last Thursday, my Mom, Tammy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then she's been through a whirlwind of doctors visits and terrible news.

And, yes, I know everyone reading this knows someone who has successfully beaten breast cancer. My grandma Kay (pictured with Mom) is a cancer survivor. But, here's the deal: I don't care. Not today. Today it's my mom who has cancer; not yours. Today I get to be scared and irritable and sad and angry and I even get to keep it all bottled up inside and say "fine" when you ask me how I am.

My mom and I are very similar. She said the other day that it seems like breast cancer has become the common cold - everyone's had it. Although she hasn't said it, I think that in everyone's quest to make her feel better they've tried to minimize her fear and in doing so they've implied that she shouldn't be scared. Can you imagine being told one day that a part of your body was going to be surgically removed? And not just any part of the body, not like a toe or your pancreas.

I can't even begin to imagine how she feels, I only know that she doesn't want to cry, so, if you see her, don't make her. It's the least you can do.


My Utmost...

I'm not a big fan of Oswald Chambers, but yesterday I read the following in his My Utmost for His Highest.

"We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprises is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.'"


As Promised...

So, last time I promised a picture of Angie. Here it is. (I should note that this photo was taken by my 5 year-old niece, Hannah)

She's spent the last 5 days being driven around town as she is unable to drive herself for two whole months. I think she hates it.

Also, her mother has been in town since Friday night. She leaves tomorrow. She's a great lady and I'm glad I got to meet her before I leave.

That's the big news from the weekend, I guess.


Something About Angie

Ok, so most of you who read this blog know who Angie is, but, theoretically speaking, there may be some people who are reading this who do not.

Angie is my girlfriend of about 6 months now. She's the High School Youth Group leader at the Vineyard in Grove City. Her official title includes assimilation and other churchy words, but her heart and ministry is for high schooler. Why? I'm not sure. With the exception of Kate, I avoid high schoolers like the plague. As most people do.

Anyway, the point of this story is that she had a pretty serious seizure yesterday at work and was in the emergency room for a few hours. After blood tests and a CT scan she was released and referred to a neurologist for more test, etc. Until she's cleared by the neurologist, she can't drive and she shouldn't be left alone in case she has another seizure. For the record, she has no history of seizures or any major medical problems.

She's doing well, but keep her in your prayers.

I guess that's all for now. I don't have a picture of Angie on this computer, so, instead, I've posted a picture of my mom punching a close family friend for your enjoyment. I will post a picture of Angie soon, but you can also check out her blog (for pictures and seizure stories). The link is on the right.


One week on...

So, it's been almost a week since I got the dates of my departure. I have to admit that my sleep time has suffered a little. I feel anxious and excited and nervous and happy and scared. All in all, I'm a little freaked out. I mean this is a big change! For a long time all I had was ambiguity which was frustrating, but I didn't really have to think about the reality of leaving. Now, I have actual dates!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not second-guessing the decision to go. Not in the least. I still believe that God called me to this, so I'm not afraid of what will happen to me. But, let's face it, this is 6-12 months in a foreign country where they don't speak English. Oh, and there's a war.

Like I said before, I'm not afraid for my safety - I trust God for that. I've just never lived anywhere like this before. I lived in London for two months, but they all spoke English, so this is kind of a big deal.

Anyway, keep praying and enjoy the photo of Queen Victoria in front of St. Paul's.

Also, if you're reading this, keep it up. And write comments. Lots of comments.


Twice in One Day?

I know it's unusual for me to post twice a week, let alone twice a day, but I actually have news!

I have official dates:

Nov 25th - Arrive in San Diego, CA area for training

Dec 22nd - Finish in CA and go back home for Christmas.

Jan 2nd - Reconvene in Phoenix, AZ area for training

Jan 5th - Leave AZ for Houston, TX area for additional training

Jan 13th - Leave TX for IQ!!!!!

Jan 16th (or so) - Arrive in IQ

Keep praying!



So. I read a book this week which gave a brief bio of each of the disciples. As I read, I tried to decide which one I was most like. Could it be John? No. Could it be Peter? No. Maybe Thomas. That seemed pretty close, but I know I wouldn't be the one asking questions. I don't really do that.

Then I read the chapter on Judas. The author (and I'm sure many other scholars) theorizes that Judas may have betrayed Jesus because he was impatient. Judas not Jesus. Hmmm...I can relate to impatience. Also, the author reminds the reader that Judas was present for he miracles just like the other 11 and he was called by Jesus specifically. Just like the others. Additionally, the others seemed to trust him. He was the groups "treasurer" even. Also, I notice that, at the last supper, Jesus even tells Peter that Judas will betray him, but it seems that not even Peter believes that Judas would be the one. Certainly Peter would have tried to stop him, right? But he didn't.

The author goes on to say that Judas didn't know that the authorities would kill Jesus. He thought that by turning Jesus over, he could help move things along. He could give Jesus a little push into establishing God's kingdom on earth.

So, let's recap. He's impatient for God to act and wants to push things along with his own power without a clear understanding of the consequences. Also, and even more important, he's a good disciple.

I don't think I would have read the book had I known that my personality would be most like Judas'...

I guess the question then is what would Judas do if he were supposed to go to Iraq, but then had to wait six months? I need to figure that out and then do the opposite, I think.



I'm not sure it's an update if I have no new news to share, but I thought I'd go ahead regardless. You'll notice that I added a picture. I did this so that this update would seem more exciting. It's a picture of Lake Michigan taken from Racine, Wisconsin.

On Thursday I'll have orientation to sub at Columbus Public. I am really looking forward to it. It will be nice to be employed again like a regular person.

I am still waiting for official word on when I'll go to training. I should hear something one way or the other by the end of October (at the latest). Craig assures me that I'll hear by Friday. I hope so!


Interesting Developments

Ok, Ok , Ok. So I got the following e-mail yesterday from Ca...umm... "Phyllis" with "The Agency."

I have, of course, changed the names to protect the innocent...

"The usual question of 'any word on training or new applicants for our team?' has been coming around again-so I wanted to specifically address that. Good news- 'Leroy', the...director, is beginning to budge and is now willing to send you guys out without the full number of 12! Not to paint 'Leroy' in a bad light at all or to try to 'blame' him for this waiting period....but as director of this department, he bears the weight of discerning what is the wisest move for us to make for each team-and he has felt so far that the wisest thing for everyone was to wait until we had at least 12 to send to training. But one day last week we all were talking and he shared that he really felt that we needed to send you guys out before the years' end-to serve you well and to be most strategic with what's happening on the field. So I still can't give you specifics-but we are looking at some kind or arrangement to train you in November and December-ish. Like every other time I've told you an estimate-don't pin every hope on this bit of info. It is our 'GOAL' to have you guys sent out before the end of the year. Pray with us that the Lord will pave a smooth road to make this possible. All things depend fully on HIM!"



People Really Read This Stuff?

I found out today that Vanessa fasted along with me last Thursday! That means she actually reads my newsletter! I didn't think anybody really did.

She said she only made it till noon. Like most of us, she gets hungry when she doesn't eat. Imagine that! More importantly, though, she made time to pray for me and the rest of the Team. That's pretty awesome.

I told her about my fasting plan last Thursday. I was starving (literally) by about 4 pm, so I decided that I'd stay up until midnight and eat a sandwich. That was my whole goal: make it to midnight, eat PB&J. I made it to midnight, but then it occurred to me that normal people would just go to bed and eat in the morning. Now, typically, I don't pay too much attention to what normal people would do, but, in this case, I did just that. I even thought about adding another day of fasting on Friday, but I'm pretty sure God wanted me to eat Chipotle instead...

Anyway, today I got an e-mail from one of the Team. She thinks it would be a good idea to set aside every Thursday for prayer and fasting. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I think we need to be more purposeful in our fight for IQ.


Doing the Unthinkable

So this morning I applied for a job with the University of Phoenix. Anyone reading this from Franklin will be scandalized, I'm sure. But they would pay up to 24% more than I was earning at Franklin, so ...


Prayer and Fasting...

Today "the Team" (my new name for us) have set aside the day for prayer and fasting. So, if you stumble upon this page today, please take a moment to pray for us.

There's me (who I assume you already know) along with 4 others. One of them sent the following passage this morning:

Isaiah 40:27-31
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired and weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.


Back From Wisconsin

I wish I could blame my long delay in posting on my trip to Wisconsin, but that only accounts for 6 days. I also wish I could explain the trip properly. My goal when I talk to people about the trip is to get them to think "Hmmm, I should do that." Because they should. Everyone should.

But, in the end, it's an atmosphere that draws me in and keeps me wanting to go back and I just can't find the words to explain that properly. It's nice. It feels good to go and serve these people. The whole place feels peaceful happy. Ever been in an empty Catholic church on a bright day? With the sun gleaming through the stained glass windows so you can see the dust particles? It's like that.

Plus, you get to be amazed every day. Did you know that Shepherd's has a bell choir that travels the country? Did you know that Gordon traveled to Japan and won three gold medals at the Special Olympics? Did you know that Ruthie lives with a couple other girls in an apartment? On their own? Did you know that David is a certified "Master Gardener?" Did you know that Connie sings beautifully?

Nope, you don't. Because you didn't go. Maybe you didn't go because you didn't know you could. Or maybe I wasn't bold enough before to tell you that you should (but you should). Or maybe you're scared of "retarded people." I guess maybe you should be scared. They're more capable, spiritual, loving and powerful than you think they are. And they'll change your life, no doubt. So I guess you should be scared.



Not a Political Statement

The War Works Hard
How magnificent the war is!
How eager
and efficient!
Early in the morning,
it wakes up the sirens
and dispatches ambulances
to various places,
swings corpses through the air,
rolls stretchers to the wounded,
summons rain
from the eyes of mothers,
digs into the earth
dislodging many things
from under the ruins...
Some are lifeless and glistening,
others are pale and still throbbing...
It produces the most questions
in the minds of children,
entertains the gods
by shooting fireworks and missiles
into the sky,
sows mines in the fields
and reaps punctures and blisters,
urges families to emigrate,
stands beside the clergymen
as they curse the devil
)poor devil, he remains
with one hand in the searing fire)...
The war continues working, day and night.
It inspires tyrants
to deliver long speeches,
awards metals to generals
and themes to poets.
It contributes to the industry
of artificial limbs,
provides food for flies.
adds pages to the history books,
achieves equality
between killer and killed,
teaches lovers to write letters,
accustoms young women to waiting,
fills the newspapers
with articles and pictures,
builds new houses
for the orphans,
invigorates the coffin makers,
gives grave diggers
a pat on the back
and paints a smile on the leader's face.
The war works with unparalleled diligence!
Yet no one gives it
a word of praise.

-Dunya Mikhail, 2004



"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

-Nelson Mandela


Waking the Dead

"We live in a far more dramatic, far more dangerous story than we ever imagined. The reason we love The Chronicles of Narnia or Star Wars or The Matrix or The Lord of the Rings is that they are telling us something about our lives that we never, ever get on the evening news. Or from most pulpits. This is our most desperate hour. Without this burning in our hearts, we lose the meaning of our days. It all withers down to fast food and bills and voice mail and who really cares anyway? Do you see what has happened? The essence of our faith has been stripped away. The very thing that was to give our lives meaning and protect us-this way of seeing- has been lost. Or stolen from us. Notice that those who have tried to wake us up to this reality were usually killed for it: the prophets, Jesus, Stephen, Paul, most of the disciples, in fact. Has it ever occurred to you that someone was trying to shut them up?
Things are not what they seem. This is a world at war."

So I'm rereading John Eldredge's "Waking the Dead." I told Angie yesterday that I purposely avoid theology and analysis of God, Christ, the Bible, Christianity etc., because I spent too much time defining myself by what I knew. I think that's why John Eldredge's work appeals to me so much; he speaks directly to my heart. He doesn't try to convince me of anything, but reminds me of what I know to be true in my heart.

"The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it."


"I quit this."

So just two weeks after starting at CallTech, I am unemployed again...

It's of my own choosing; I just couldn't work there indefinitely. Not knowing when I'm leaving made me worry about doing that job long-term.

Or maybe I'm just rationalizing. I really hated it. Maybe that's all there is to it.

In other news, the team to IQ has gone from 5 to 4 and back to 5 with prospects for more in the near future. I guess we'll see how things go.

Also, the Team from church that went to Nicaragua gets home today. I can't wait to hear how things went for them.

Hopefully someone got to touch a monkey.


1 Peter 5: 7-11

...casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!


An Apple a Day

So, I started at CallTech on Monday and...it's not so bad.

The hours for training are 4:30 to midnight which isn't super pleasant, but I'll survive it. Probably. I'm working on the Apple iPod project, which basically means I'll do phone support for the iPod. The past three days have really proven that Apple makes the best computer and computer-related products on the planet. I'm not a huge geek, but we've been training on Mac OS X (10.4, I think). It makes Windows look like (i don't know...insert your own analogy for something not as good as something else).

On to more important things...

My team was fourth at this year's Almost Amazing Race. This seems like good finish, but we were in second for much of the race and in first for parts. In the end, it's all Mrs. Mulvaney's fault that we lost. We were behind her at CVS trying to buy nail polish and she refused to speed up her activities even though we were obviously in a very important and monumental race.

Thanks alot, Mrs. Mulvaney! Now I may never know what winning feels like... :-(

Also, running the AAR before the potluck made me less hungry at potluck time. I think that deserves a :-(, as well.

Ramble, ramble, ramble...


Much Ado About Blogging

I went to see "Much Ado About Love" on Sunday in Schiller Park. It's a mish mash of Shakespeare's writings on love. It was pretty good; well acted and witty but with a couple of dull moments.

That's not really the point, though. The point is that I saw Tony there. (Hi, Tony). Tony's a former co-worker and, when I saw him, he mentioned my blog. Apparently, Jenny from Franklin told him about it. So, even if no one is reading this, word is out. That means that someone could pop in to check up at any time. And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't update once in a while? According to Angie, no blogger at all.

I have a couple of interesting updates I guess:

1: I sold the MINI. I am now driving a Ford Ranger. I always wanted a pick-up, and now I have one. It's pretty nice, but it's not as smooth as the MINI. Also not as fuel efficient :-(

2: I got a job. I'll be working at CallTech starting July 18. I needed something short-term, and I think it'll be alright for a few months. Speaking of a few months...

3: Official word is now October or November. September's no longer in the running. There are benefits and drawbacks, of course. It's just hard to imagine that, in the whole United States, there are only 5 people left willing to go to IQ.


Live from Red Rock

I've been to Vegas numerous times, but I've never been to Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire. Until now, that is. I really can't describe how beautiful those two places are. The picture is from the Valley of Fire State Park. If you ever go to Vegas, pull yourself away from the slots long enough to visit.

When I'm home, I often forget how much I love Las Vegas. I usually travel in the summer and I LOVE the heat. It was above 90 every day and most days it was above 100. And dry! Arid climates are where it's at. I don't know why we waste our time with humidity like a bunch of suckers.

One last note from Vegas.

Mankind has achieved his ultimate goal: Curved Escalators.

Not just once, but several times! The new Wynn Hotel and Casino boasts a set of them (plus a Maserati dealership) and Ceasar's Palace has a three or four story spiral thing going on. It's only a matter of time before they spring up everywhere.



I just sent out my first e-mail newsletter, so hopefully some new people will be reading this.

I feel like I should write something extra interesting and insightful for the new readers. Unfortunately, I don't have anything that fits in either category.

Next week, I'll be travelling to Las Vegas for my cousin's graduation (as well as some serious pool time.) I'm pretty excited to see my Uncle Butch and my cousins. I haven't seen them in over a year and I haven't been to Vegas in almost two years. I hope that this time, we'll be able to go to California as well. I've never been there and I'd really like to.

I'd also really like to hit it big while I'm there. Unfortunately, the nickel slots don't really pay that much ;-)


13 Months from when, exactly...(Update)

I received news yesterday that my training has been pushed back a little. It is now tentatively scheduled to begin in either September or October.

At first, I wasn't quite sure how to take that news. I mean, it gives me a lot more to time to raise money and get prepared and it gives me more time to spend with Angie. Plus, I won't miss Hannah's fifth birthday or her first day of kindergarten.

More importantly, though, Courtney pointed out that it means I won't miss NBC's new one-hit-wonder competition show which begins next week. ;-)


Ephesians 6:19-20

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


A Little Nervous

Today I feel a little nervous about the whole IQ thing. Someone, who shall remain nameless, reminded me that it was a huge life change. Not only going somewhere new, but leaving a life behind. (One that I'm pretty fond of, I might add.) I was doing a pretty good job of avoiding thoughts like that.

I can't believe that I only have 9 days of work left. It's insane to think that, in less than two weeks, I will walk out of my office and probably never go back. I have an office plant with a plastic spider in it that I've come to think of as my own, but it'll stay behind for the new testing coordinator, the new "me," so to speak. That makes me a little sad.

Not to mention the people here. They've all become an important part of my life. I mean, 9 hours a day, I'm with them. I know God has great plans for me, but I think I'll miss playing cards on slow Saturdays or just hanging out at the front desk looking at random websites. I pray that the new "me" gets as much out of these people as I did. I hope the new "me" appreciates the people around the office and can see them as more than coworkers, but also as the wonderful people that they are. I can't wait to hear where life has taken them 1, 5 or 10 years from now. Franklin's SLC has always been blessed with the best staff, whether they stay long or not.

Maybe the new "me" will leave in a couple years to become a missionary. I've told the plant to use his best persuauion tactics. I asked the plastic spider, too, butI don't trust him. :-)


13 Months From When Exactly?

As of today, I have 10 days of work left here at Franklin. The inevitable question then is, "When are you leaving?"

The answer is still, "I don't know."

My educated guess is still mid-June, although I've started saying mid- to late-June just to be safe. It's hard waiting. Everyone talks about "God's timing," but it can be hard on a person to relinquish the control of knowing.

I know that God's using this time to get me more prepared for the work and to give me more time to build some key relationships with important people in my life and, for that, I'm thankful.

As soon as I have a date I will post it here. In fact, I'll probably shout it from the rooftops.

Sis graduates this weekend! Praise God!


Post #1

I thought that it would be a good idea to have someplace for everyone to get quick and up-to-date information on me as I prepare to go overseas.

So, here it is...

I hope to update as often as possible. Daily even, if I can.

I don't know about security issues so, I won't be too specific on where I'm headed (I'll use IQ); I assume that, if you're here, you already know :-)

As of today, I have 12 more days at work. I still do not have a final concrete date for training, and therefore, no concrete date when I'll officially be in IQ. Please pray that these details will come together soon.

Fundraising has gone well, and I have truly been blessed. I'm about half wayto $25,000, which is pretty awesome.

I guess that's all for now. I'm pretty new to this whole blog thing, so bear with me.


About The Author

I started this blog in 2005 as a way to communicate with family and friends when I went to Iraq.

Over the years, this blog has seen three trips to Iraq, a marriage, a baby and hundreds of posts.

I am a two time graduate of the Ohio State University with a Masters degree in Public Administration. I worked in academic testing after college and throughout graduate school and my first post-graduate job was as Testing Coordinator for a local university.

In 2004, I made a life-changing decision to spend 6 months working for an NGO in Iraq, a journey I began in November 2005.

I spent January through July 2006 in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and, before returning, decided to return.

In September 2006, I married Angie and we began planning to go back to Iraq. In December 2006, we found out Angie was pregnant!

I went back to Iraq from June to August 2007 and came home just in time for Nila's birth on September 1.

The whole family went to Iraq in November and stayed until May, 2008. Nila was a huge hit with the Kurdish people! Everyone loved her there almost as much as the family that loved her here from the US.

Now, we're back in the US, but we're still very much interested in the Kurds! We want to go back one day and continue to serve them as Jesus would.

Brothers Together Iraq is an organization we were lucky enough to meet in Iraq. They send children to Israel for heart surgeries and they could use your help!
Read more here.