Saturday, January 28, 2006

Little Perks of teaching Pre-K

What a blustery, busy week! Wednesday we took our annual field trip to the fire station where the kiddos receive their "diplomas" for completing the fire safety training. They really learn what to do in case there is a fire in their house. The highlight of this field trip for me is the opportunity to be elevated in the huge fire truck ladder. On Thursday while in the middle of exploring and enjoying oranges one of my students began to choke and could not breathe! I had to perform the heimlich manouver on her..... Thank God I had just recently been trained in the art of dislodging orange pieces from little kids throats.
Thursday Eve I was invited to the African American Association's annual banquet. It was an honor to be there in the presence of so many beautiful, regal people with dark skin. I especially enjoyed my friends Nadine and Ms. Ellen. Ms. Ellen had us rolling with laughter as she shared her stories of life before the civil rights movement. It was like reading chapters out of Maya Angelou's books.
Friday was our concert- Jose Luis Orozco. For those of you who are not in the know of famous children's performers and those that are famous in the latin world... he is like the Raffi of Spanish speaking children. It was such a great concert! Especially the part when I was called up on stage to dance and sing with Mr. Orozco himself! I can't say that I am stage shy....
All these events culminated Friday evening leaving an exhausted teacher who went to bed at 7pm only to wake up to PINK EYE!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Congratulations are due

Hooray! Angie got a great new job and promotion and Karen got her new guitar!!! Here we are celebrating together with some margaritas, chips and salsa... Check out the chunky cutie eating her chips and salsa. She is a true Mexicana! Karen and I had to play some songs together later on that evening. It is so wonderful playing worship songs with friends.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Nuns and other recent habits....

'Tis the season of the nun. I know it sounds strange, being that I am married and have broken one of the first commandments of nunness. However, I have become so inspired as of late by the simple, beautiful, reflective, spiritual life many of these ladies lead. I recently served my term acting as a nun in the local theatre's production of the Sound of Music. This was my introduction to the world I am becoming increasingly interested in and familiar with. Before the show, I had begun reading Mother Theresa's "In Her Own Words", having had a previous interest and drawing to her wisdom, and life's example of Jesus. Since the show I have picked up another book by an older, but just as simple and wise nun- Saint Teresa of Avila. This book too is written in first person by Teresa herself and has served to inspire and encourage me to choose the life most rich.... to persue the depths of knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ. Don't think me any holier for it- I just realize all the more the need I have for encouragement and example as I fall so very short and far from what is most important, most of the time.
Two of my favorite parts thus far...
"If we do not know what we recieve, we shall never wake into love." (talking about knowing the depth and impact of what Christ offers us)

"Here is a jewel (talking about understanding more of the sufferings and the man, Christ Jesus) which, when we remember that it has been given to us and that we possess it, forcibly invites us to love. All these benefits come out of prayer founded in humility."

The story on the old Singer

So I just finished making 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies and a big batch of brownies for Mr. Dan Hilliard. Dan Hilliard, Sounds like a cowboy's name... a cowboy who fixes sewing machines! Mr. Hilliard and I met for the first time a week ago. I met him at his huge victorian house and together we fixed my perfect little vintage sewing machine on the bed of his Ford truck. It was some true Texas bonding time. I even pulled out a few 'ol aggie bonding tricks with him.
It all started when I got the urge to have another creative outlet during my free time. I have piles of fabric under my bed, in suitcases in the closets, and a perfectly great machine that just needed a little tinkering. Mr. Hilliard has made my creative clothing one step closer to reality and didn't charge me a dime. After we worked together for an hour or so, I asked him how much it would be. With a whimsical, "happy new year!" I knew he had enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed him. He could't bear to ask for a $ amount. I encouraged him to tell me his favorite kind of baked goods and promised him that he would see me again. With my fixed machine in hand, I smiled and returned joyously home. I am further inspired to get to work with some of the ideas I have been mulling over for the past few months. I am waiting, however for my Swiss miss mother-in-law to teach me the ways of sewing, for I know nothing right now.

Anticipate photos of my home sewn creations to be posted soon....

Thursday, January 05, 2006

COYOTE CROSSING: Erich's latest adventure

Yes, indeed, yesterday had the potential to be like any other day, but that is not how the script unfolded... Since Osa's health has been out of kilter, she has been restless and frustrated in her time of recuperation. I suppose like young people, she isn't used to the idea of mortality. Nevertheless, yesterday morning I determined to take her on a long walk at a nice park. The park I had in mind is located on the rural outskirts of southeast College Station. It is called Lick Creek Park, and the whole idea of the park is to keep it wild and undeveloped. The only manmade development is the series of trails that run throughout the thick forest land. It's a great place to go and take long walks because it truly offers a sense of nature.

So, Osa and I headed out for the trails and enjoyed the solitude that a college student on break can acquire when everyone else is at work. It was wonderful and the weather was just right; the birds were chirping and singing; and truly there was nothing but forest in sight. Prayers glided from my spirit so easily as there was nothing in this "garden" to remind me of corruption. However, about a mile into the forest there arose a great commotion to the left of Osa and me. At first, I thought we would see a deer or two scurry away, but as soon as I stopped and turned I saw something I never would have expected. Running full speed towards us was a coyote, but he was not alone. It shot across the trail to the other side of the woods faster than I could blink. Osa was about a yard from me, and the coyote ran by no more than 10 feet away from us both. Osa hesitated and then appeared as though she was going to take to the chase, but I shouted "NO! SIT!" and I grabbed her collar and put her on the leash (luckily I had one with me). All the while there was still another coyote to our right watching us, and I thought there might be more, but I couldn't tell because the brush was so thick. Yet, I just knew Osa would be done for if I let her go. The dog that ran past her was at least her size, which means that it was at least 60 lbs, and it had a sort of grey color; as it blazed by us it turned its head and looked dead straight at us. Its eyes were green, and although it ran so fast, I can remember its face so vividly that even now in my mind's eye I feel as though I'm looking at a still shot of the coyotes face. Looking into those eyes, I saw peace. Not the kind of peace that you might expect, but a peace that made me think this animal is not afraid, it knows exactly what it's doing, and it is doing it with ease. Needless to say, this is not the kind of peace I was looking for! Yet, I also admired the creature. For one it looked a lot like Osa (our German Shepherd) in its shape and form, but it also reminded me of her because of the eye contact. Osa is good about giving people eye contact, and I think when anyone looks into her eyes they can see that she is intelligent. Oh, yes, I could see that this coyote was intelligent.

Yet, so much more transpired than what I have just described. It is amazing how quickly thoughts can run through our minds. We can process multiple things simultaneously, create several hypotheses, and draw a conclusion for action within a few seconds. I don't even know if I can say this is a thought process because it all happened instantaneously. I think that might fall more under the category of intuition. For instance, as soon as I saw the coyotes I instantaneously knew that they are normally more afraid of humans than we are of them, yet they are defying this rule. Then the slippery slope of fear kicked in and claimed that one transgression of the natural order could give way to another, and this begat an image like one I recently saw in the Chronicles of Narnia where Osa and I would be surrounded by a wild pack of coyotes (not wolves). They had to have been watcing us for a while which was an eery thought in and of itself. Yet, I also knew simultaneously that they seemed to be after my dog, and their ploy seemed to be to lure her into a chase where they could then turn on her and eat her for lunch. I also knew that I was all alone and about a mile away from my car, so as fear sought to capture my imagination, faith arose within me and filled me with the knowledge that God is with me and He has given me dominion over the earth and all the animals within it. So I simply trusted in the name of Jesus whose rule and reign is ever increasing and shall never end, and I briskly walked with Osa on the leash back to the car. The 10 or 15 minute walk was a little eery and I had to keep my faith up because I did not want those creatures to attempt another trick. Logic told me they wouldn't, but the woods weren't as quiet as they had been before, and there were several times I thought they were at least following us.

Well, thankfully they never did regroup. It was quite an adventure: one which I actually liked having, but I would not like to plan for the near future. It just reminded me that I need to trust God at all times because I never know when something out of my league will cross my path.