Summer Post

  • I’ve been spending my summer resting, visiting friends, visiting family, watching baseball, and enjoying air conditioning!
  • Unfortunately, I’m still suffering the effects of chikungunya–mostly in my wrists, hands, ankles, and feet, so pray for healing there.
  • I was not able to begin my visa process, so I’m just trusting in the Lord for whatever will happen with that.
  • This school year, I’ll only be teaching 5th and 6th grade. I’ll have 4 English classes and 2 math classes. No science!
  • Last week I stood in church with my friend that I’ve been praying for—for 10 years. He’s not a believer yet, but I’m still bringing his name before the throne of God. Excited for the day he responds to Christ’s call.
Family

Family

My buddy, Jordan, is glad I'm home.

My buddy, Jordan, is glad I’m home.

Can't get enough time with my nieces!

Can’t get enough time with my nieces!

I've been to Nats Park (seen here) and Comerica Park this summer.

I’ve been to Nats Park (seen here) and Comerica Park this summer.

Chikungunya

A reporter contacted me about doing an interview about the my experience with chikungunya. The following is what I sent him. I’ll add a link when he posts the article, but I thought some of you might want to read it, too.

My feet had been hurting for a while, which I attributed to standing long hours on concrete floors in poorly made shoes. Then one Saturday morning, the pain on the bottom of my feet was so bad, that I almost had to crawl to the bathroom. It felt like I had severe bruises on the soles of my feet. I tried to go on with my day, and by afternoon, I was feeling exhaustion, and I had lost my appetite completely. By that night, I began a fever (I didn’t have a thermometer, so I don’t know how high, but I don’t think it was very high). 
 
My symptoms the first 3 days were pain in my feet and aching in various body parts (hands, knees, neck), exhaustion, fever (on and off), and lack of appetite. On Monday, I went to work, but I was in pain and exhausted. I think the fever was gone by then. I stayed home from work on Tuesday. Wednesday was the final day of classes, so I forced myself to go, but again, the exhaustion was the worst part. Still, I ate very little. I was taking 800 mg of ibuprofen (which I had from the states— it’s not always easy to find in our city). A friend also brought me complex B tablets which she was told would help. I don’t know that either of those helped much.  I would compare the aches in my ankles and wrists to that of having sprained them— painful to move, unable to do some basic tasks (opening a sealed bottle of Coke is sometimes painful).  Because it was so much pain, I felt like it was going to be impossible to recover quickly. You know, when you sprain something, it takes weeks. But the severe pain only lasted a few days. Then came the itching. I didn’t have a very obvious rash, but for about 3 more days, my arms, legs, and back began to itch. During that time, though, I had no fever, and the pain began to subside. I slowly regained my appetite. In all, it was about 10 days until I felt like I was 100%. The heat here had increased, too, so it’s hard to say what was attributed to heat and what was a result of the chikungunya.

Now, about 20 days later, after feeling better for about 10 days, my wrists, feet, and knees have regressed into the similar pain. Along with that, my feet and hands are often swollen. My limbs and tongue often feel like they are going numb–that feeling or poor circulation. The pain in my hands is greater now—it’s in my wrists and fingers. Ibuprofen seems to help a little, but I don’t feel a big difference. I have at least 2 other friends who are experiencing similar regression. As far as mosquito prevention, I really only use repellent when I notice the mosquitoes are bothering me. I get bit a lot, so I figured I was bound to get it eventually, especially since friends who claim to rarely get bit had the illness. I haven’t really changed anything since the illness because I read that it’s unlikely you can get it again (similar to chicken pox).
 

Question and Answer Time

Suzanne gave me an award, but it’s one of those chain things where I’m supposed to tag other blogs, but I really don’t read enough blogs to make tagging worth your while. But I figured I could still answer the questions that go along with this prestigious award. ;)

What three words would you NOT use to describe yourself? 

motivated, type-A, healthy 

What would thirteen-year-old you find surprising about your life right now?

I think we’re still the same. Maybe surprised that I don’t watch much hockey anymore.

If you could go back to school (for free!!), would you? What would you study?

Yes, but I don’t know what I’d study. Maybe broadcasting.

In a movie of your life, who would portray you?  Drew Barrymore or Tina Fey

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it include?

JETS pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms 

If you had to play Never Have I Ever (a game where each player says something they’ve never done and everyone else who has done that thing loses a point) with three celebrities, who would they be?  

Tina Fey, Bryan Williams, Seth Meyers

What are your three favorite things about yourself? My eyes, my humor, my mediocrity 
What is your movie version of comfort food? Shawshank Redemption or Zoolander
What’s the last thing you did that really scared you? Walked up those rickety spiral stairs to a roof with both hands full.

What’s the next thing you’ll do that really scares you? Fly home, not knowing if I’ll get my visa to return.

What’s your dream job? being a stay-at-home non-mom. Or working in baseball, but I don’t know what I’d do.

Those Boomerang Lessons: Faith

You know what they are … those things you tell someone, only to find yourself hearing your own voice (or is it the Holy Spirit?) repeating your very own words back to yourself!

Teachers deal with a lot of tattling. Sometimes it’s legitimate, but if someone actually plotted and compared volume/importance, I have a feeling I know how that graph would appear. Teachers (and probably parents, too) find creative ways to deal with tattling. While some have created qualifications for tattling, and others have displayed a tattle jar, I’ve tried to take a different approach. It just came to me one day (once again, probably the Holy Spirit). A student tattled about who-knows-what. Instead of even dealing with whatever-it-was, I said, “Really?! He did that TO YOU?! Guess what that means? You have an opportunity to be like Jesus now! You have the opportunity to FORGIVE!” 

So today, when I was getting frustrated with circumstances that are completely (and frustratingly!) out of my control, I wanted to cry and quit and whine, and God said, “Really? This is happening TO YOU! Guess what that means? You have an opportunity to TRUST ME!” 

Boom…erang. 

Right back at me.

 

Finding the Eternal in Temporary Things

This week, I’ve cried a few times while thinking about Arundel Bay closing its doors. I taught at ABCA for 8 years. It was my ministry, my heart, my life. When I was in the states over Christmas, I was able to visit the school, see former students, and even go on a field trip with them. Now, there won’t be a place to “go back to.” 

What do I do with these things, these things that end?

“This world is temporary.” That’s what God said to me. This is not our home. Schools will close. Scenery will change. Even  memories will fade. 

Lives were impacted at ABCA. Children heard about Jesus. Children saw grace and love. Coworkers and teachers prayed and leaned on each other through hard times. We laughed together, and we cried together. Though the school was temporary, the community that God built there is eternal. God will finish what He started at ABCA … in the lives of the people. 

The heart of the school wasn’t the building. It wasn’t the education. It wasn’t even the name. The heart of the school was the community of people who loved and cared for one another. This is the eternal that we carry with us as we walk through the temporary. The love of Jesus.

Me, not We (and not They): The Bible is a Mirror, not a Magnifying Glass

A few years ago, I did a Bible study where I was specifically reading to see God. I found this is the best way to read His Word because it keeps the focus on Him, and not on me. But sometimes, when we’re looking for Him, He reveals things about ourselves as well.

This last week was pretty crazy, and I definitely missed a few days of reading my Bible, so today I decided I would “catch up.” While reading in Luke 14, Jesus makes some clear statements about how we should treat people. He is very specific about the fact that we should not esteem “important” people above others. He says when we give a banquet, it should be for the poor and for the strangers: the people who cannot repay us. 

As I read this, I became frustrated with the church.They don’t do this. They have important visitors stand. They give high praise to people of importance. And where are the poor? Do we really serve them and reach them? Or are we too interested in making friends with rich, important people because they can do things for us in return? 

Then, Jesus said to me, through the Holy Spirit, “Stop making this about WE and about THEY. What about YOU?” And He spoke these words through the story in Luke 15 of the Prodigal Son. It’s not because I was a prodigal; it’s because I’m the brother who stayed home. I’m the one who’s constantly saying, “But I try to do everything right, and what do I get out of it!” That’s me. And the Holy Spirit convicts me of that regularly. 

Not to mention, I don’t do everything right. I am definitely guilty of the things I try to pin on them. I just try to magnify the sins of others instead of peering at the reflection of my own faults that I see in the light.

When we look in the Bible to find God, When I look in the Bible to find God, His light reveals my sin. And then I rejoice because it is covered in the blood of Jesus. I confess, and rejoice because God is rejoicing too.

 

Classroom Quips

5th grade

STUDENT: Miss Melissa, I wet myself!

ME: I’m going to take the time to teach you a very important English lesson right now. If you spill water on yourself, you want to say, “I spilled water on myself!” Otherwise, you’re saying you peed your pants, and I know you didn’t pee your pants!

6th grade

STUDENT 1: What is oozy?

ME: It’s like slimy.

STUDENT 2 (extremely intelligent): It’s when a liquid has a high viscosity.

ME: I’m going to quote you on that later. (And here I am, quoting him.)

7th grade

ME: Do you know what it means if your mouth waters?

STUDENT: Yeah, that’s what ##### does when she sleeps in class.

ME: No, that’s drool.

8th grade

The students were presenting their Fantasy Kingdom projects last week.

ME: Where is your coat of arms?

STUDENT: Oh, right here. This is the jacket the boys wear, and this is the jacket the girls wear.