Saturday, December 27, 2008

high school?

Last night I went out and got new snowboarding gear which you would think would be the highlight of my evening...until i got back to dover and i went to the one of three bars we have here and saw about half the people I went to high school with which i have not seen since high school. I'm not really sure why Ive been avoiding it, since it was bound to happen in dover anyways - it wasnt really all that painful, in fact it was really quite pleasant.
and for some reason these are the only high school pictures i can find on this computer....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have yourself a merry little christmas

Well. I have a new computer. I got a Sony something or other and I must say I have not been so impressed with it. it is already letting me down and thats depressing since I have had it for only about 24 hours now.

In other news..we had the shortest christmas eve service in history - under an hour! It just didnt feel right. But we did manage to come in late, take up the entire pew since we had 10 people with us and make enough noise to annoy all of the other 15 people at my dads church...awesome.

So for now i leave you with this little honor of Ron Jester, who unfortunately was not at my dads service this year or last..he is missed...but this is a pretty good representation of what we have to listen to every year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4 weeks down, 2 weeks to go

Well, two weeks from today I will be packing my bags and heading back to the states. It’s crazy to think that 4 weeks have already gone by. I feel like I just left the states, but I also feel like I have been in India forever. It is nothing like I expected and I am living much more comfortably than I thought.

I started working at a new organization a week ago, I split my time between two orphanages. Three weeks at one, and three weeks at the one I am at now. The two organizations, living situations, and jobs I am doing could not be more different. The first organization I was working at I stayed with the children at the hostel, but now I am living with a family, and living quite comfortably. I have a hot shower (most days) and 3 meals a day as well as my own bedroom and bathroom with running water and electricity. It’s funny how developed Bangalore is - nothing like I thought. I wear long skirts and semi frumpy clothes with no make-up (making for some great pictures!) while everyone else who lives here is wearing jeans, make up, and always looking trendy and nice. It’s actually quite funny. The family I’m staying with took me out to get a pair of jeans so I would fit in more. I didn’t bring any because I thought it was going to be deathly hot. It’s not hot here at all - I was actually cold last night! Crazy!! I can wear jeans and long pants and be very comfortable and not sweat. I was appreciative of the clothes I brought when I was living in the orphanage because I would go outside and play cricket with the kids, or run around, sit on the ground and never care about my clothes or getting dirty. But now that I am in a new organization and I am sitting with adults most of the time, I always feel a bit underdressed.

I am learning so much about myself and about others and culture since I have been here. The culture is very different, but the guys I am working with are very open about talking it through with me. They explain the way households are run, how women are treated and how children are disciplined. All very, very different from the way I was raised and from what I understand to be “right”. But I am in India now, so now I am wrong in my thinking. I am being open to learning and integrating into the culture. There have only been a few minor bumps along the way. But I am so thankful for the guys openness and honesty with me to teach me and not get offended because I don’t know any better. And in the same way - they want to know about American culture and the way I was raised too. It’s really cool.

I have been learning about prayer and worship since I have been here as well. Because the culture is predominantly hindu, staying with Christians has been really awesome to see the kind f struggles they have and the kind if faith that they have that even though they face persecution, death threats, trials…they are not pushed down. I am reminded constantly of 2 Corinthians 4:8-12;16-18:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is in work in you.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not o what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Beautiful! And people are always singing here, all the time. They are always talking about God and praying before they do everything - eat, make decisions, drive. Everything. It has been a good reminder for me when I get back to the states that God is first in everything I do.
That’s all for now, I should get to doing some work and drinking some tea. i drink a lot of tea here….

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

tomorrow i leave the hostel where I have been staying. I'm going to stay with some friends I met here and work for their organization I'll be doing development of their programs, admin stuff, teaching bible study every night adn helping with tutoring. I am so excited about the change in work but I am so beyond depressed about leaving the kids in the place I am at now. I really love them and want to adopt them all. I have become way more attached than I ever thought I would.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

food, demons, and toys.

I come back to the states in about 1 month, and when I do you will not recognize me for 3 reasons:
In a culture where no means yes and leaving food on your plate, no matter how much you started out with, is rude...I am stuffed and gaining weight. All the time. I am considering telling people I am fasting everyday and then sneaking food when I am alone. They believe in force feeding over here and guests get extra and no matter how long I stay, I am still considered a guest. So i try to stuff all the food in and then they give me more..
I will be covered in paint, or mendhi..the girls at the hostel love to put this traditional paint on me, on my hands and arms. They said it only lasts 10 days, but when I went to school the next day all the teachers said..oh no, it lasts 2 months. I hope its off in time for Jessica's wedding!!
I will be speaking about 95% less than before I left. I figure since I sit in silence so much here, I will get used to not speaking and become a "quiet person" OR (and more likely) I will talk about 95% more to make up for lost time.

No one really understands me here, they say I have a weird accent. I thought that once I left Denver the jokes about my weird accent would dissipate...however, they have gotten much worse since I have been in India. Yes, we are both speaking English, but their version is so different. They mumble and put emphasis on very different syllables. Wednesday is actually said "Wed-nes-deh" and Lunch is "Luns" (I thought they kept saying lungs...i was confused) and commented is coe-ment-ted, emphasis on the ment. It's like a game really, and when I speak you should see the look on people faces! Priceless! They have no idea what I'm saying. My favorite part is the ENGLISH teacher has no idea what I'm saying, he always says "I'm not getting you" So i try to think of other words to explain what I'm trying to say. You try to think of other words to explain denomination and let me know how you would explain it.

I have a lot of down time here, at least I will until Thursday. On the third I go to another orphanage to other work. Very different work, for a very different organization. But for now I am trying to appreciate the alone time and silence. I have been reading and praying a LOT. The things that always seem to work their way out of my busy schedule when I am at home. But reading become very interesting when there is no tv, cell phone, or computer at hand.

Prayer is something very sacred here, and I have had many conversation about it. Where as many see it as somewhat mystical in the states, or maybe they forget or don't have time to make a prayer meeting every week, here it is the first and last thing you do every day. No matter what religion. God is present and living here and it only seems normal to pray to him..since He is directing their lives. Some of the conversations I have had about it have also included spiritual warfare and things like that. One recent conversation I have to share. I was sitting at Satish's house with his entire family and they were talking about the times their father performed exorcisms. On legit demons.
When they asked me if I had ever seen a demon cast out and I said "no" they looked at me like I had been living under a rock my entire life. They had all seen numerous demons cast out - all on separate occasions. And then they went into detail..
They told a story of this girl, about 11, who had very long hair, down to her waist. One night she sat straight up and so did her hair. All the way up in the air, eyes rolled back in her head. Her parents called their father to cast the demons out, so he came and they said it looked like a furry animal crawling across the floor after it came out. Satish still shivers thinking about it. There were many other stories, and when they talked about the US and why I hadn't seen any I said perhaps it's because sin and Satan manifests itself differently according to the culture. Even the Bible itself says that Satan was crafty (see Gensis 3:1). In the US demons may be drugs, and alcohol..I'm not really sure...but I really think it depends on the culture, as long as it ruins lives and it is not of God, I think you could call it Satan. Anyway, it was all very interesting, if you want to hear the other stories, we'll talk. But I will warn you I didn't sleep at all the night we talked about it.

I am starting to get used to things here. The crazy, crazy driving with no traffic laws or lines in the road. People don't use turn signals, they use their horn. I have started enjoying bucket showers and eating with my hands! I have also started responding to "auntie" which is what the kids at the hostel call me and "sister" which is what the teachers call me since they can't pronounce Carolyn.
But there are things I just cannot get used to. The staring. People watch me do everything, to see if I do it differently or the same. I am honesty surprised they haven't invited themselves into the bathroom with me yet. Along with the staring comes royal treatment which I am not at all used to and don't really like. I was standing in a kitchenware shop today waiting for my house mom to buy some things and the guys all ran outside and got me a chair to sit down, and if I even lift a finger to help with the meals, sweeping, or laundry I get yelled at. Its so weird. I want to help, I want to work. I like cleaning. I appreciate the service and kindness but I try to find new and sneaky ways to help before I get caught and sent to my room to "rest". It's humbling to be waited on, but I hope they don't think I expect it, i always tell them I don't..but again, no one understands me so I doubt they know what I'm saying.

I love the kids at the hostel where I am staying. Everyday after school we play fun games and they have kind of taught me how to play cricket. Last night I gave them some toys like cars for the boys and hair barrettes for the girls and coloring books. They absolutely went crazy over them. They appreciated such a small toy so much, they didn't put it down all night and we all colored until it was time for prayer at 9. They bring me so much joy and I love being around them. If i could just stay here and play with them all the time I would be happy. But they always want me to sing. They love my singing and eveynight at prayer they say "AUNTIE! You sing now! sing!" and i can't resist. So now Victor said i had to sing at church on front of everyone. ay ay ay.

okay...I think this post is long enough. I feel like i have so many other stories and things to write! But I hope this will be god enough reading material for the next several days. I miss everyone a lot! Only 27 more days here...crazy! For now I leave you with this amazing compliments of Andrea Swatski :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No one said it would be easy.... one ever said it would be this hard. Things in India are nothing like I expected! I have been here 10 days and I feel like I have learned so much about the culture and about myself that I feel like I have been here for 10 years. In a good way of course...I have been teaching for the past week which is so hard. I didn't really know what to expect when I came, but I didn't think they would place me in front of a class and say "teach". Well thats what happened. Day 1 at the school in front of 70 7th graders and told to teach was kind of humorous what I came up with and then I had to do the same thing for 8th, 9th, and 10th...all at very different levels, but me teaching the same thing: American greetings. The next day I taught verbs and nouns etc...they really have no clue what I'm saying. They know English, but my accent is so different from theirs that they are often confused and stare at me very blankly before they begin to talk amongst themselves...
Living at the girls home is so good though, everyday after school I get to play games like duck, duck, goose and red rover..they LOVE it! It is so much fun for me to play with them and get to know them. At night we have prayer and eat dinner around 930...late meals here.
Things are going really well and I haven't been too terribly homesick, although it's hard having so much free time,but it's good and I am doing a LOT of reading, writing, and praying. Somethings I haven't had time to do in the US...I miss everyone a lot though and can't wait to see everyone and tell my crazy stories in person...which you know I will have tons, complete with hand motions and all.
In 2 weeks, I switch to another orphanage and will get to do some traveling around the country! Maybe even out of the country to Cambodia! :) I am so excited about this adventure!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 1

Well, I am here. In India. Getting here was half the battle I feel like. My plane ticket said I would be arriving on Friday June 13. That was just a lie. I actually arrived on Saturday June 14 in Bangalore at 4:30 in the morning all alone. I did not have Victor's phone number or address, and so I was stranded, because he was not at the airport. By the time I figured that out, I was outside of the airport, with all of my luggage. I did not know that you cannot get back in once you are out. I had only american money and no phone. But I was persistent. I showed the security guards that I had a boarding pass and I had just arrived and that I just needed to use the phone. They didn't understand my hand motion for they got their chief. It was all very dramatic when you haven't slept in 2 days and you are in another country with no phone number or address or access to a computer. I managed to get back in and found Satish's number, a guy I met in Denver and knew he lived here in Bangalore. He was literally a God send! My first weekend in India was nothing like I expected. I went to a local pub, the movies, had Subway and pizza hut, and slept in as late as I wanted. This was a really nice welcome. Satish and his family are amazing and they didn't want to culture shock me too much so I have only had a couple Indian dishes and they were all made "bland" which is funny because they weren't bland at all. His family is great and I have my own room there and am planning on working at his mission the last 3 weeks I am here, and he has welcomed me to stay there on weekends.
I am at the first orphanage I was supposed to work at the whole time, but I am only planning on being here the first 3 weeks. I thought I would break it up a bit. It is so huge! 800 kids....I have my own room at the orphanage and it is huge as well. It is so strange being here, but I am honestly trying to soak up the experience and not think about missing home and the comforts of America too much.
Feel free to write me emails and if you are planning on sending me any mail the address has changed from the original I first me if you want it.
i miss everyone a lot but am enjoying my time here! I still kind of can't believe I am here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

think twice....

my life is now complete with this invention.

So I was looking for these particular shelves for my lovely Liz when i stumbled across what could quite possibly be my favorite invention of all time. Invisible shelves for TOWELS.

I want these in a serious way. I want some for every room, even rooms that don't require towels, like the living room and dining room.

In other news i get my vaccinations on Thursday and am still fundraising for India. Only a little but more! CRAzY.
And I am starting the official leave Colorado countdown on May 1. starting with T-30 days. Or something like that.

Later I will write a post on the top things I will miss about Colorado. Starting with DOLLAR tacos and half price margaritas at Lime on Tuesdays with entire evening for $4. I was instantly in love.

Friday, April 11, 2008

it's like 10,000 spoons when all ya need is a knife

So I haven't been the best at updating this blog thing - mostly because I want it to be entertaining for those of you who read it. And i feel like I have had lots of changes in my life, yes, exciting blog worthy changes? no. recently came to my attention that I am leaving the country soon. Yes, you heard correctly. God is good and the money actually came in! I have raised $1970 so far and all I have left is the $500 for living expenses and a visa! HOLY mother of....I'm actually going to INDIA this summer. Can you believe it??
Please continue to pray for the rest of the money to arrive though. And that I haven't completely lost all my marbles. I have also been giving serious thought to staying in denver after the summer and deferring graduate school...hmmm wanna hear more? Give me a call sucka

Also....I spent all day at Vail today, my first day on REAL the kind you get stuck in and you re screwed and have to take off your board and sucked a lot at first, and it could quite possibly be the most frustrating task I have taken on in a while. But after some pointers from a few good friends and a few more runs, I actually got the hang of it! I wish I had pictures of the day, but Andy selfishly (unknowingly) kept (forgot) the camera in his backpack all day.
So just know that 7 of us went to Vail with 18 inches of fresh powder and ended the day at the Dillon DAM restaurant and it was glorious.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

So I was at this meeting the other week...People Living in Public kind of crazy that there are actually meetings like that and people actually come. But they were talking about how there is no where to go to the bathroom in denver...I never really thought about it before. But they had a solution. Self Cleaning bathrooms....San Fransisco has already done it, and so should Denver. I thought it was an interesting idea. But for now it's just an idea and nothing is really being done about it.

Had a really eventful past month here in Denver.
I have:
Gone snowboarding...a lot

Realized I am officially living pay check to pay check...aka broke
Gone home to Delaware

Got accepted into Eastern...YAY

Started a new position at the Rescue Mission with the Refugee program and community outreach

Finally started to feel like I fit in at Ann Taylor Loft

Started realizing Denver's real beauty

Began to realize I am truly not here for myself
Started appreciating what I have and what I had growing up

Learned how to lean on others for support

Made new friends. (doesnt she look friendly?)

Found a church (fellowship denver)

Got a speeding ticket
All of these things and is crazy and its funny how when you really do start to pray for things, God really does give you opportunity and a little voice in your ear telling you to do right and change...theres this quote in Evan Almighty that says..
"If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

I think that is beautiful and so true. It has been very true for me, especially recently....I have been praying to be humbled and I think I could be the definition of "humbled" right now. It is the hardest thing I have ever experienced and I know I will come out of this a changed person because I am no longer depending on myself. I can't..I would drown. Life is short and the are hurting people in the world that we cross paths with everyday...why not love them? Why not take a little time to hear their story...why not a little bit less of us and a little bit more of others?

To leave you with a humbling fact...I just found out that there are 1,000 kids who are homeless in the Denver Public School system at any given time. 1,000!!! And 20% of the other students probably are too...but they go undetected. I learned this among other startling statistics at a staff meeting...tell me you wouldn't have walked away from that humbled and wanting to change the problem is..where and how do i start?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Celebrate diversity

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live."

"Nonviolent action, the Negro saw, was the way to supplement, not replace, the progress of change. It was the way to divest himself of passivity without arraying himself in vindictive force."

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

"The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility."

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence."

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."

"Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority."

"The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America."

"We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart"

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."

"The nation doesn’t have sense enough to share its wealth and its power with the very people who made it so."

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of racial justice. Now is the time to get rid of segregation and discrimination."

"If you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they're mistreating you."

"What is wrong in the world today is that the nations of the world are engaged in a bitter, colossal contest for supremacy."

"When there is massive unemployment in the black community, it is called a social problem. But when there is massive unemployment in the white community, it is called a Depression."

"Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so."


Saturday, January 19, 2008


And here it is...the third and final video from Hales and my trip to the lovely new england.

If I were a dog, my name would be norma

So I have been thinking a lot about dogs lately, mostly because Alyssa:
moved out opf the mission :( and into a place of her own, and in that wonderful place of her own, she has a wonderfully hyper puppy, Oliver:
Oliver and I are friends even though he gets ridiculous and tries to eat me even when I am watching the ever so important show Man vs. Wild.
So today I had kind of a long day. I have to work at the mission and at LOFT all weekend, but its okay because I get MLK day off and an extra day next week. Anyway...I was had two trainings today and at the first one they fed us lunch because it was from 10-2. We had pizza and I'm not supposed to eat pizza. In fact I don't even like pizza that much. BUT when you eat at the mission, pizza is like a delightful feast that one cannot pass up. In fact when I do eat pizza I am usually satisfied with just one piece. But not today. Today I couldn't help but have two. As I was driving to my next training across town, I was thinking about how someone once told me that dogs eat everything they can fit in them as a survival thing because they don't know when they next time they will eat will be. And it occurred to me that I tend to stuff myself a lot more when I am eating real food outside of the mission lately, not because I don't know when the next time I will eat will be, but because I do not know when they next time I will eat something good will be. So in conclusion, I have come to the point of comparing myself to a dog. So just call me Norma.

Monday, January 14, 2008

So this priest, Levite, and Sarmaitan all walk into a bar...

This past Sunday I went to church at Greenwood Community. Tom, the pastor, is going through the parables of Jesus…which I have heard too many times, it seems to be a theme of churches I visit. So I sat back to hear the same things I have heard many times before when he said something that struck a chord with me, so to speak.

The parable is in Luke 10, at the end I think starting with verse 31. It is the one about the guy on the road to Jericho who is beaten up and the priest and the Levite pass him but the Samaritan man stops and helps him and pays an inn keeper to watch over him until he is better. Anyway…Tom’s message was about helping people and not living life with blinders on. Look around and see need and help, stop being so sheltered by thinking everything around you is fine..look around, everything is not fine. Well he made these three points at the end.

Care – See
About – (I honestly forget what word goes here..)
For - Respond

…WHICH MEANS… care about people and do something about it. Actually see the need, don't ignore it any longer. But what he really said that is still sticking with me is you can care about something/someone and not do anything in the same way you can care for someone and not about them or their situation. Which I feel like I can get in the habit of doing. I am in a ministry opportunity/situation all the time. And sure I help people at the mission everyday and I care for their needs by helping them, but sometimes when I’m tired or I don’t really feel like it..I don’t care about them. I think that is the extra step that God calls us to take when we “do things in the name of Christ”. We can throw money around when there is need, but the extra step is getting to know the person who you are throwing money at.

Sometimes life lessons are hard but good. I think this was something that was hard to hear but good to be convicted of.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New England as we know it.

2 out of the 3 videos Haley and I recorded on our new england road trip.....I'll post the third later. For now - enjoy these. (ps they're not that exciting, but at least Haley and I think that we are really funny, and really, thats all that matters)


"I start wondering what it must be like to live in the shadow of a mountain. All of Houston lives in the shadow of downtown. Downtown is how we orient ourselves. It stands as our compass, a mountain of glass and mirrors. It strikes me as I think about it, how beautiful we find massive structures, either man-made or organic. I wonder if we find them amazing because they make us feel small and insignificant, because they humble us. And I remember feeling that way back in Colorado, that I was not the center of the cosmos, that there were greater things, larger things, massive structures, forged in the muscle of earth and time, pressing up into the heavens as if to say the story is not about you, but for you, as if to remind us we are not gods."
Through Painted Deserts

I read this as I was flying over the rockies, and it struck me probably more than if I wasn't flying over massive structures that constantly humble me. Get this - you and I are not the center of the cosmos. Sometimes I forget. I forget why I am here, I am here to serve, trust, and glorify God. Be in His constant splendor. He made us to praise Him. I know thats hard for a self centered race, such as humans, to grasp. We think...well then God must be selfish, and yes, He even says so, He is a jealous God. But He has reason to be.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and a lot of wrestling with this whole "what is life really about" "what would really make me happy" it always comes back with questions towards God. Not because I am a Christian, but because how else do you explain everything? Life, beauty, nature, else would you explain that? How would something so beautiful just happen on its own? It wouldn't. Sometimes having perspective of not having things, helps you realize how wonderful and simple life can be. Not even material things, but things like love, and friendship and family. I talk to people everyday who have nothing but life and the love the God has given them to give to others. And they survive, most of them are even happy.

Why do we make things so complicated? Over analyzing and dwelling on things we cannot change. I have made a resolution for let go and love. I hold on to things and dwell and wonder and I miss things that are happening around me. I miss things that are happening to others, I miss life. I am happy I made the decision to move to colorado, to try something new on my own and trust that God is here with me, no matter what mistakes I make, no matter what wrong turns I make. It is comforting to know that I am not actually alone in this big city. I am not alone, I never have been I never will be.

You may not be able to change your situation, but you can sure as hell change your attitude.
It's all in your perspective.