Yeah, this happens

This happened to me recently…while reading Frankenstein. Not sure what that says about me. What can I say, I’m a book nerd!

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For the fatherless

Almost 10 years ago, we were eating out with some family friends when they told us they were going to adopt. It’s one of my strangely crystal clear memories. I remember my initial reaction and how surprised I was. Let’s be honest: I thought they were a little crazy. At the time, I didn’t understand why they would want to adopt, but in that moment God began to reveal His heart for adoption to me.

I’m blown away by how God has worked in my life since then. I now have 2 beautiful sisters from China and have worked in orphanages in Mexico and China. God has made it painfully obvious that I have a passion for orphan care.

Since November is adoption awareness month, I’ve been reflecting on all God has taught me about orphan care and adoption (including my adoption into His family!) and thinking about what the next step is for me. When I went to China this summer to work in Maria’s Big House of Hope, I expected God to make it clear what my specific role is in orphan care. When that didn’t happen, it was hard to come back and focus on classes and work.

I have a heart for orphan care, but over the past 4 years I’ve also discovered a love for speech pathology. I didn’t understand how I could reconcile these 2 passions! Then this semester God has shown me that these things can go hand in hand. I’ve found myself applying what I’m learning in class to some of the kids I met in China.

It’s like God has this all planned out or something. 🙂

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Of course I still don’t know exactly what He has planned for my future (I’m hoping getting into grad school is part of it!), but I’m excited as I continue on this journey. I’m so thankful that God gives us certain passions and desires for a reason. He interweaves different aspects of our lives together in such a beautiful way!

All that to say, I’m excited to see how God works in peoples hearts this month as He calls people to care for orphans, whether that’s through prayer, financial support, missions trips, foster care, or adoption. Please join me in praying for orphans around the world and considering our role in caring for the fatherless. Also, I’d like to challenge you to take some time out of your busy schedules to read one book about adoption or orphan care. I did this last year (because reading is another one of my passions!), and it’s a great way to learn more about these children’s needs. For book suggestions, click here. Or if you’ve read a good book on this topic, I’d love to hear about it!

It can be overwhelming to hear statistics, like how there are an estimated 153 million orphans around the world, but there are also statistics that say if every Christian family cared for one orphan, there wouldn’t be any more orphans. For me, getting involved and putting faces to the numbers changed my perspective. We can’t change this broken world, but through God’s power we can change the world of a child.

What a blessing to share in God’s love for the fatherless!

john1418_blog2image from showhope.org

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Daniel and Room 101

While looking through an old journal, I was reminded that God works in mysterious ways. A couple years ago, I took an English class where we were required to read George Orwell’s famous 1984. I can count the number of books I’ve read and hated on one hand. 1984 is definitely one of them. Yet, thanks to God’s irony, it is also one of the most memorable books I’ve read.

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image found at images.google.com

“Good afternoon.” My English teacher strode primly into the classroom and set his copy of 1984 on the front desk.

I was so ready to be done with that wretched book. That week we were finishing the readings and discussions. That afternoon we were discussing the part with Room 101 where Winston is tortured with his greatest fear. I couldn’t think of anything cheerier than discussing rats trying to eat your face off.

Our teacher started class with a large group discussion. “Alright, I want you to think about Room 101. What makes it so terrifying to everyone? Why doesn’t anyone want to be sent there?”

Sitting in silence, everyone looked like they were about to be sent to Room 101. Or maybe we were already there.

“It’s a torture room, right?” he asked, answering his own question. “What method do they use to torture people?”

After another moment of silence, someone mumbled, “Fear.”

“Correct! They use each person’s own, possibly illogical fear to get a conversion out of them. What is Winston’s greatest fear?”

“Rats.”

“Rats! And in Room 101, these aren’t just any rats. These are giant, ugly, mean, carnivorous rats. They put this cage up to Winston’s face, and these rats are just fighting to attack him! Now, I want you to think for a minute and figure out what your Room 101 would be.”

I inwardly groaned. Did we have to have this discussion?

“What have you got?” Our teacher sat on the front of his desk and folded his arms expectantly.

“Spiders,” grinned one of the girls.

“Spiders! So for you, they’d put you in a room with huge, hairy-legged spiders.”

The girl shivered at the thought.

“Snakes!” declared another girl.

“Anyone else?” asked our teacher.

“Birds,” answered one girl.

“Birds! Why birds?”

“I’m terrified of birds,” she explained, shuddering while also laughing at herself. “I’m scared of having them fly at my head or something.”

“Like that movie, The Birds?”

“Yes! So creepy.”

I noticed the guys were staying out of this discussion.

Shifting on the desk, our teacher grinned. “This is actually fun! What other things are you afraid of? What things would cause you to betray someone?”

He was enjoying himself far too much. Thankfully for me, enough of the class was warming to the discussion so I didn’t feel the need to answer.

What would I say if he decided to call on me? I wasn’t sure what my greatest fear was, but I was hoping it was something deeper than spiders or birds.

While the rest of the class described their ridiculous fears that–according to our teacher–they would do anything to avoid, I tried to figure out my fear in case he called on me.

I glanced anxiously at my watch. Was he really going to drag this discussion out for one and a half hours? Oh how I despised this class.

Suddenly, I had a bizarre thought: Room 101 was similar to Daniel and the lions’ den.

This thought took me by surprise since I didn’t normally draw comparisons between my least favorite book and favorite Bible story. Yet somehow it made sense. In fact, I thought, the lions’ den could have been Daniel’s Room 101–his greatest fear. It was possible that Daniel had a fear of lions beyond the normal fear of powerful, sharp-teethed beasts. Daniel might have had an illogical fear of lions, but he was still willing to face them! My English teacher was wrong! A person’s Room 101 could be successfully endured. Through the strength of God, it was possible!

Once I figured out my Room 101, would I be willing to face it, knowing I had God at my side?

Horrified, I realized God had just used English class for my benefit. How was that possible? I had learned something because of 1984! How mortifying.

 

Not long after that, God did reveal my fears to me. I was forced to face those fears, but in my weakness I saw God’s strength at work. During that time I had the reminder of Daniel and his Room 101. God works all things–even annoying English classes and George Orwell–for good.

*Random side note: Do not do a google images search for “1984 and Room 101” late at night. Or any time actually. Oh my stars there are some creepy pictures out there!

 

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Let the summer reading begin!

Voices

I FINALLY FINISHED READING LES MISERABLES!!! It only took me 5 months, but it was worth every minute (in my defense, I also read several other books and finish a semester of classes during those 5 months)! It’s a long book, and Hugo tends to go off on semi-related rants, but it’s still beautifully written and filled with wonderfully crafted characters. Hugo’s dramatically romantic style fascinates me–Marius cracks me up with his melodramatic episodes!

By the way, if anyone is interested in reading Les Mis but is feeling overwhelmed by the length, I highly recommend Enriched Classics’ copy. It cuts out some of the long, descriptive passages that don’t affect the storyline as much, causing the story to flow more smoothly and quickly. That’s the version I read several years ago, and I really enjoyed it.

Now that I’ve finished Les Mis, I’m ready to tackle my summer reading list! Looking at the 40+ books I want to read, I think I’ve slightly overestimated my reading abilities. I guess after Les Mis I think I can accomplish anything.

What’s on your reading list this summer?

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Successful Book

Successful Book

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Lurk in libraries

Libraries

Happy national library week!

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Holler If You Hear Me

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“But as I was coming to discover, that’s part of what teaching is about: the willingness to explore with kids, to reach with them, to follow a dimly lit path together, often unaware of the dazzling surprises that may wait around the bend.” ~Gregory Michie

In my multicultural class, we read “Holler If You Hear Me” by Gregory Michie this past month. The first week, we were assigned the first 100 pages, and I sarcastically thought, “Oh boy this will be fun.” How wrong I was! I ended up reading the 100 pages in two days and thoroughly enjoying them!

In this book, Michie describes his journey as a teacher. Although he didn’t major in education, Michie found himself teaching African American and Hispanic students in Chicago. I appreciated Michie’s honestly as he told of his victories and failures in the classroom.

Each chapter focuses on a different student or group of students. At the end of each chapter, Michie includes an interview with a student, offering the reader a chance to see things from the student’s perspective. Throughout the book, Michie addresses topics such as discipline, cultural differences, gangs, and racism. Michie encourages teachers to have a positive attitude towards all students and to help students build on their strengths. I would highly recommend this book to anyone working with kids because I think that, along with Michie, we can learn from the stories of these amazing children.

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Smell of Books

Books!

I loved this quote from my current obsession–Doctor Who! Even with kindles and nooks, nothing can replace the smell and feel of a real book!

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Les Miserables

Les Miserables

Image from www.imdb.com

No doubt about it, “Les Miserables” is an incredible story! I first heard the story as a kid when I listened to the radio drama (Focus on the Family Radio Theatre). Years later, I fell in love with the book. I’ve always been disappointed with the movie versions of the book–until now! I would have never guessed that the musical would follow the book’s plot better than any of the movies I’ve seen! Beautiful music and an incredible, heart-wrenching story combined! Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised! So now I’m rereading the book just because it is that good!

And in case you were wondering, after seeing the musical, Inspector Javert still is (and probably forever will be) my favorite character.

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Old Book: The Spinster Book

This book absolutely cracks me up! “The Spinster Book” by Myrtle Reed is a guide on how to be witty, charming, and flirtatious in order to un-spinster yourself. It includes helpful chapters, like “Notes on Men,” “The Natural History of Proposals,” and “The Consolations of Spinsterhood.” It was written in 1901, and this copy is a reprinting from 1903. Not only is it good for a laugh, it is a gorgeous, soft red leather, old book! I love the bright cover, unevenly cut pages, and Victorian-style language that fills the pages! Although it’s not very flattering to men, the book includes helpful advice for women, for example, “Men are but children of a larger growth.” One of my favorite parts is a three-page dialogue between a man and woman:

Time, evening. Man is reading a story in a current magazine to the Girl he is calling upon.

Man. “Are you interested in this?”

Girl. “Certainly, but I can think of other things too, can’t I?”

Man. “That depends on the ‘other things.’ What are they?”

Girl. (Calmly.) “I was just thinking that you are an extremely handsome man, but of course you know that.”

Man. (Crimsoning to his temples.) “You flatter me!” (Resumes reading.)

Girl. (Awaits developments.)

Man. (After a little.) “I didn’t know you thought I was good-looking.”

Girl. (Demurely.) “Didn’t you?”…

So yes, this is how I’m entertaining myself over Thanksgiving break.

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