Sunday, June 5, 2011

Um...This is Adorable

A few days ago we had some neighbors over to bake a cake. The kids took turns mixing the ingredients, stirring, and eventually, spreading the icing and sprinkling the sprinkles.

But while the cake was baking, we decided to entertain each other by singing songs. The kids sang just about every song they knew before they started making up songs.

We captured one of our favorites on camera:

Well darn.

The video won't load.

But I promise, it was adorable.

I'll try again another day. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Job Hunting!!

You may be wondering what I've been up to since final exams.

Or maybe you're not wondering.

Either way, I'm going to tell you.

I've been looking for a job!

My degree is in math and I am 8-12 certified to teach in the state of Texas, so I am looking for a job, preferably near Fort Worth so Matt can stay at Southwestern.

Each job application takes me roughly 1.5-2 hours.

And that's without an essay!

It's just entering the same information over and over again. Like references. I'm going to make a document with all of that information on it so I can stop looking things up every time I fill out a new application.

I've emailed principals at almost every school/district I've applied at.

I've only heard back from one principal - he said he would keep my information on hand.

That's not very promising.

I heard back from one district - "the position you applied for has now been filled. Thank you for your interest."

I've also heard from quite a few people that I should avoid the district I currently live in at all costs.

One guy told me his wife left the HR department crying and said if she had to teach there, then she wouldn't teach at all.


So that's what I'm up to - searching, emailing, applying.

Say a prayer for me!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My last post was May 2nd...just a week ago but it feels like forever!!

I finished up my final papers of the semester (a few small ones and then two large ones: an exegetical paper on 1 Peter 3:13-17 and a research paper on Arab/Islamic contributions to mathematics), took my final exams, and got busy working some more!

I picked up a second job about a month ago, tutoring math through a local agency. So far I only have one student for one hour a week, which is fine by me!! And this weekend I worked 44 hours at the restaurant from Thursday night through Monday night. I would have worked more (on Friday) but I did a favor for another server by working her food-running shift instead of a floor shift (meaning hourly pay but no tips and less time) so that she could go to the Mavericks game.

I'm pooped!!

My legs felt like jell-o this morning from being on them so much this weekend.

With the extra Mother's Day business I think we all felt the same. Customers had a two hour wait on Sunday afternoon! I got in at 3 and stayed until 11, but many of the servers arrived at 10:30 or 11am and stayed until 9:30 or 10pm. If I hadn't had church, I would have been one of them. They said that by 11:30 the restaurant was already packed, and when I arrived at 3 the patio was FULL of customers. Most of us made a lot of money (I fared pretty well, averaging $20/hr) but some servers were sorely disappointed. That was me last year, so I was SO very thankful for my successful Mother's Day shift.

Now I've got two days to rest and work on wedding preparations.

Task 1: Guest lists.

Task 2: Shower lists.

Task 3: Invitations.

Task 4: Centerpieces.

Task 5: Bouquets.

Also, I'm applying for teaching positions. YIKES!!

With all the budget cuts, right now is a tough time to find a job teaching in Texas. But thankfully, I'm bilingual and I'm math. The two things they need most.

And I can hardly wait to start SEWING again!!

I bought a sewing machine last fall and have made a table cloth and a shirt and a half, and I've got what I need to get started on two dresses and a skirt. I'm dying to let my creative juices flow!!

In other news, our photographer posted some of our engagement photos:

Matt and I are thrilled with the results.

She is doing the wedding as well and a post-nup shoot (me in my dress, him in a tux). I can hardly wait to see those photos, too!! We are so pleased with our choice for a photographer!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Rough Work Weekend

This weekend was...not enjoyable.

Every time I go to work I have to remind myself that God is the one who provides for me.

Going into work this weekend I knew, "I need to make a lot of money." Rent is due, health insurance is due, I recently paid my car insurance, I'm going to the optometrist this week, I joined a gym (my seminary gym benefits expire this week and LA fitness was having a promotion), and the list goes on.

Sometimes being an adult just isn't fun. Everybody wants to take my money away.

Working as a waitress has been a test of faith, a challenge, and a reminder to trust God for even basic necessities.

I worked an extra 8ish hours this weekend and made about $100 less than I do on an average weekend.

On Saturday, one table left me $0 on a $87 tab.

Regardless of whether or not a table tips me, I still have to pay 3.5% to tip pool.

Every other table was just in a 10% kind of mood. If I had given them poor service, I would have understood.

But it was a SLOOOOWWW weekend, meaning I gave GREAT service, because I had less customers vying for my attention.

It was just one of those days.

Then to top it all off, my last table tried to get out of the mandatory gratuity.

I passed out the tickets and she said, "excuse me miss, but I see the gratuity is already included here."

"Yes ma'am, there is a mandatory gratuity for parties of 8 or more."

"But there were only 4 of us when we got here."

Which, by the way, is not true. There were 5 of them when they got there.

"Yes ma'am, but there are 12 now. Would you like me to get the manager for you?"

"No. But why should we have to pay gratuity when there were only 4 of us?"

"The reservation was for 10 ma'am. Would you like me to get the manager?"

"Yes, I think so."

She then tried to convince the manager that despite having 12 in the party, and despite having made a reservation for 10, they were really only a party of 4 (but actually 5) because their friends arrived late, after they had already ordered their food (she said after they got their food, but actually they had only ordered when their friends arrived). Their friends only came because they called them and told them to come here instead of Razoo's.

The manager explained to her that regardless of when they arrived, they were still one party of 12 and Laura took good care of them throughout the evening.

She then claimed that she didn't even know the other people at the table.

"Ma'am, you just told me that you called them and told them not to go to Razoo's. But regardless of whether or not you know them, you are still a party of 12."

Another lady chimed in.

"She over charged us. It says here, 'two large orders of alligator.' We didn't have two large orders of alligator!"

"What did you have, ma'am?"

"We had an alligator for an appetizer, and then he had an alligator for his meal. But it wasn't large."

"Ma'am, the alligator may be served on a small plate but it is a 7-ounce portion, and is considered a large."

"I don't even like this key lime pie. It's the worst I've ever had."

"Well ma'am, you're not paying for the pie because it is your birthday, but if you would like I can get you another free dessert."

In the end, the table paid the gratuity, but only after trying everything they could to get out it.

And the whole time I stood back from a distance, watching, thankful that I have such a wonderful manager who will defend me in the face of such selfish, stingy, and heartless customers.

Moments like that make me disappointed with humanity.

I had to go back to the table and take their credit cards. I had to smile at them. I had to wish her a happy birthday. I had to tell them to have a lovely evening.

After they left, I made sure to pray for them.

To be so cruel can only mean they lack the love of God in their lives. They love not, because they don't know true love themselves.

How can we, who have been loved by God so much, love others so little???

Today I deposited my money and after looking at my bank account, saw just how God, not those stingy customers, is the one who takes care of me.

I shouldn't have had enough money, but somehow I did.

Week after week, God shows HIS goodness, HIS faithfulness, and HIS generosity, even when my customers don't.

Somehow, it always works out.

Somehow, I always have enough.

God has been so good to me, and I'm blown away.

The whole time the humiliating episode was going on, I stood there thinking, "whether they end up paying it or not, God will take care of me."

And he did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why I Need a New Job

On Saturday at work I cried.

At a table.

In front of the customers.

I just stood there, biting my lip, tears running down my face, my cheeks turning red.

I said "I'm sorry."

They told me to sit down and have a drink with them.

I've cried at work before, but never in front of a customer.

But these customers...not the ones I cried in front of, but the ones at the table next to them, were making my life very difficult at that moment.

And let's be honest: it was that time of the month when I get a little emotional anyway.

So let me vent a moment, and take this as an opportunity to learn about customer etiquette at a restaurant.

The table of 7 sat down.

I took their drink orders. Almost everybody order an alcoholic beverage and a water.

I said, "okay, I'll get those drinks right away for you."

The computer to ring in the drinks is right next to that table, and there is also ice and water and tea, but the bar is on the other side of the restaurant. My plan was: ring in the bar drinks, get them each a water and say "I'll be right back with your drinks from the bar", go get them, and pass them out.

The whole ordeal should have taken approximately 3-4 minutes.

But as I was ringing in the drinks, each person at the table took a turn calling me away from the computer to ask me questions.

Now, keep in mind, as this is going on, I'm always standing within 5 feet of the table.

Then this guy says to me, "can you get me my water?"

Now, when you see that your friends haven't even allowed the waitress to leave the table to get drinks for ANYBODY, it's not really reasonable to expect that she's going to have your drink.

That was the story for the rest of the night.

Before I would even leave the table, they wanted to know where their: drinks, bread, bread plates, appetizers, extra butter, tartar sauce, drink refills, entrees, etc were. I would set something down in front of them and immediately they would say "we're going to need some ___". Usually it was in my other hand, or on the tray next to the table.

For example, at one time (close to my breaking point) they asked me for some tartar sauce and butter.

I came back with it in my hand, on a tray with their drink refills as well.

I reached the table, they complained that they were missing a salad (why didn't they tell me that when they asked for everything else?? They were already aware of it!) and then the water guy snapped at me that they still needed tartar sauce and butter.

It was in my hand.


When the waitress has something IN HER HAND, please don't snap at her that you still need it.

She's aware.

That's why it's IN HER HAND.

He had just asked me for it two minutes earlier. Which is why I was GONE for two minutes...I went to GET THE THING YOU ASKED ME FOR.

And now it's IN MY HAND.

The WHOLE night was like that. Over and over and over again.

And to add to it, one lady flat out didn't like her food, the trainee delivering the food didn't read the ticket and forgot the salad and several other items, and another lady said her food was overcooked, so I had to get it recooked.

Now, if your food is overcooked, that's a valid complaint. Your food should be perfect when you're paying $35 for a single entree.

But don't get mad at the waitress when the kitchen isn't cooking fast enough.

And don't ask the waitress why she doesn't have your drink yet when you just sent her to the kitchen with the food that you didn't like and didn't mention that you wanted another drink (a non-refillable drink, that is).

All the while, I had a table of 10 high school and college kids that just could not coordinate when they wanted their beer refills (for the over 21 college guys). Every time I went back to the table, somebody else needed a refill.

At least they weren't rude about it.

I finally delivered the re-cooked food to the first table, only to face the glare of a very unhappy woman who waited too long to get her food that the manager was already giving to her for free.

I was sweaty and tired. I had been running back and forth across the restaurant for over an hour for these two tables, and putting up with the most extreme impatience I have ever seen from a group of adults.

Then the college guys flagged me down.

They asked for two shots of Patrón.

I started crying.

I think I scared the high school girls silly. It must have seemed so out of nowhere. They had no idea what was going on at the other table. But they were the ones who had to watch me cry.

I stood there for quite a while trying to get myself under control. They told me to take my time, they were so sweet.

I went and put in their order, a manager yelled at another server to get me a glass of water, another manager brought me the lady's entree that she now wanted boxed up (they flagged her down, of course, because they couldn't wait two minutes for the waitress to stop crying) and she put in the massive food order that was still looming over me for the group of 10. I went to the kitchen, wiped my face, drank some water and cried my little eyes out.

Then I boxed up the food, put on a fake smile, and delivered the drinks and the boxed entree.

They were suddenly very apologetic.

Both tables left me an excellent tip.

I was thankful for the money, and how God provides even when the circumstances appear dim.

But I also look forward to the day when I can say "I used to be a waitress," and not "I am a waitress."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

102 Days!!

That's right, in 102 days Matt and I will be getting married! We're almost into the double digits...

Wedding planning is...over-whelming. I'm so thankful to my mom and sister for all of their help. It wouldn't be so much if I didn't also have to work at Pappadeaux, continue with my school work, look for a full-time job (teaching math! yay!), and maintain some degree of relationship with my soon-to-be-husband, family, roommate, friends here at seminary, college friends, friends in Spain, etc. Sadly, many of my relationships have suffered as a result of a never-ending ridiculously hectic schedule. It breaks my heart to miss out on so much of their lives, and know that there's not much I can do about it. Life in Spain wasn't like this. Distance and time zones were the only things that separated me from my friends here in the US, and maybe their busy schedules, but in was so much less stressful. I mean, they have a two hour nap-time built into their day! They stay up late, they go out on the streets, they talk to their neighbors, they have a MILLION work holidays! They don't live to work in Spain. They work to live.

Enough about that. It's making me sad.

I only have two papers left and then final exams, and I will be finished with my last semester (for now) of full-time seminary! As much as I would love to continue being a full-time student, somebody's got to pay the bills! And, my time has run out to fulfill the requirements of my college scholarship, that is, to teach in a high-needs public school in Texas for 2 years within 6 of graduation.

So, I am pushing forward and writing my Greek exegetical paper today! I've done almost all the research (which I will finish in about 30 minutes right now), and all I have left is to put it all in writing! I don't expect it to be an easy task, but at least it's not as terrifying as it was last semester.


I've lost 10 pounds! I downloaded an application for my phone called "MyFitnessPal" and started using it about a month ago to keep track of my calories each day. I tell it basic data about myself, and it tells me how many calories I should eat each day to reach my goal, losing no more than 2 pounds per week. And it has worked! Each week I've lost right around 2 pounds!

The only sad part is that the jeans I bought about a week before starting this are now too big. But so long as I use a belt, they will suffice until I can pick up a few extra shifts at work to buy a new pair (after finals, of course).

Also, I bought a book called "Taking Charge of Your Fertility."

I won't get into all the details of it in this post, but I will say that I HIGHLY recommend it to all women, whether they are sexually active or not, trying to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. It will teach you so much about your body and how it works, and how to read the signs that your body gives you every day. It's a huge book, but it's a surprisingly easy read. I read all the parts that interested me (which was most of the book, but specifically how my body works, how to read the signs and keep track of them, how to not get pregnant without using birth control) by reading for just 30 minutes a night over a period of about a week. The rest of it I'll pick up to use as a reference when needed.

I'll probably put up another women-only post about why I'm choosing not to use hormonal birth control, but not now. I don't have the time to dedicate to it, and I don't want to scare away any of my male readers (all two of them).

I'm super excited about everything I've learned in the book, but Matt is a bit grossed out by it all. I guess I can understand that. It made me say "eek" at first, but now I recognize it's just part of the beautiful and amazing way that God made our bodies to work!

That's it for now. Time to work on some Greek!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

SunBelt Football

My fiancee, Matt, recently started a blog about SunBelt Football.

Last week he had a phone interview with the head coach of Middle Tennessee State University, which he posted on his blog in two parts. Tomorrow, he's going to the UNT Spring Scrimmage and will be writing about that on his blog.

Check it out at!

Mice Mice and More Mice!

Remember how I said the mice were gone??

Well...not quite.

I left out some mouse traps just to be safe.

Then I had to go buy some more.

In the past two weeks, I think we killed 5 mice.

Every time it's so pitiful! They're kinda cute, actually, so it's pretty traumatic to watch them die.


We finally got the white one!

That elusive, mysterious white mouse finally got himself trapped!

So we called pest control again and it they found some holes in the baseboard below the cabinets and filled them up, then found another gap in the water heater closet and filled that up.

However, my guess is that there are holes somewhere else and we're just not yet aware of it.

So I'm keeping the mouse traps out.

And I'm buying more.


Monday, April 4, 2011


The cutest thing ever happened yesterday.

And sadly, I don't have any pictures to prove it. :(

Matt stopped by my apartment to hang out for a while. As I was walking him out, a little Nepali boy came running up the stairs.

"Lala!!!" (that's code for "Laura!!!")

He flung his arms wide open and gave me a hug. Suddenly we were surrounded by 5 little Nepali children, speaking rapidly in Nepali followed by "Okay?"

It's a good thing Matt speaks Nepali!

After Emily gave each of them a cookie (Girl Scout - Thin Mints) they walked Matt and I downstairs and I pried the children off of Matt and the hood of his Jeep so that he could go home.

Before I knew it, they were climbing on me!

I had one child in each arm, and several others climbing up my legs, trying to reach my arms.

I told them I had to go, because I needed to study. Does a four year old understand what it means to have to study??? Does a four year old Nepali child with an English vocabulary of 50 words know what it means to have to study?

Not in the least.

Among all the yelling and laughing, I heard one small boy saying over and over, "ABCD! ABCD!"

I said, "you want to sing?"

"Yes! Yes! ABCD!!"

So I said, "okay, let's sit down" thinking we would go sit on the steps.

But they just plopped down in the glass covered grass (there are always broken beer bottles and all kinds of dangerous objects hiding around our apartment), so I said, "the heck with it!" and sat down too as we began to sing the Alphabet Song.

I sang, and they sang along, throwing in letters where they knew them and interesting sounds where they lacked the letters. Most of them couldn't say "Now I know my ABC's..." so they just mumbled something and cheered and clapped when we finished.

Next thing I know, half of us are singing another song and the other half are running around trying to play "Duck Duck Goose."

Of course, I was the goose, but what could I do?? A child sat in my lap! I couldn't get up and run without throwing somebody off of me.

Next thing I know, there's a tiny little boy on my shoulders.

Then P*, my 4 year old neighbor, decided she wanted on my shoulders, but in order to climb up there, she had to get the first little boy off.

Meanwhile, someone is singing and another child is still trying to continue playing "Duck Duck Goose."


Finally I say, "Okay, it's time for me to go home."

But not just yet.

Little boy wants to play another game. He explains to me the rules of this game in Nepali, as he puts his hand on a tree, points to another tree, and then points to his toe.

What was that, sweetie?

I didn't quite catch that last bit.

Again, more Nepali, pointing, and then he puts his hand on his toe.

He wants to exercise? We did some jumping jacks a few minutes ago....maybe he's wanting to stretch now?

So I put my hand on my toe.

Then he says, "ready set go!"

AAAHHHH....I see.

"Race! Race!" the other children yell.

Homework can wait.

I touch my toe and wait for him to say "ready set go!" and take off running with the other children.

We touch the tree, I run back and touch the other tree only to see that all the children ran to the big rock instead.

I guess I missed the part about the rock.

So I ran and touched the rock, and then the kids all run back to the other tree again.

All the while, a neighbor from across the parking lot is watching, and laughing.

From his seat on a to the dumpster.

I took this picture of him after I went inside. I didn't want him to see me so I had to be sneaky and quick...


I love life at Lavender Pines!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Ring! And other things...

Here it is....a picture of the ring!!

I promise I was wearing a cute dress the night he proposed. I knew it was coming, so I had to dress up! But it was so cold, I had to put on a sweater and scarf AND coat!

Isn't it pretty? The diamonds are the ones my dad gave my mom. They were taken from two separate rings, and Matt had them put together into one new ring. He did a great job! And I love that the diamonds are so sentimental. :)

In other news, a few days ago I heard my neighbors outside the window. They're just so darn cute I had to get a look, so I opened my door and this is what I saw:

The bear is bigger than the girl! So of course, we invited the girls in to come play. Emily brought back a basket of toys after Spring Break so now we have things for our neighbor kids to do when they come over, especially if we need to study!

These two girls are so sweet. P* is the little one, and B* is the bigger one. There are a lot more girls in their family but these are the two we see most often. The day we moved into our apartment in December, B* asked me as I was unloading things from my car, "can I help??"

She helped me carry a small rug into the house, and she was so thrilled to have been able to help. Then little P* came running up. She wanted hugs, of course, but then she wouldn't let go! The fist few times we saw her we thought, "that little girl is a wild child!" But the more we've gotten to know her the more we've seen just how sweet she is. She's calmed down a bit now that the newness of our big move has died down.

After the girls played for a while, we told them that we needed to study so they would have to leave. Emily went to work and I hunkered down on the futon to work on a research paper. A few minutes later, I heard knocking at the door.

*tap tap tap*

I ignored it.

*tap tap tap*

I ignored it again.

*tap tap tap*

"Miss Laura!! Miss Laura!! I have something for you!"

Of course, I had to open it.

And there was tiny little P*, with something in her hands.

"I have a flower for you!"

"Oh, thank you!"

I reached out my hand to take what I thought would be a daffodil, or some other weed-like flower from down by the stairs.

Nope. Not quite.

Instead, her hand was full of actual weeds. Just the weeds. No flower. Just green, leafy, prickly weeds.

She was so proud of herself. I gave her a hug and sent her away. I walked towards the trash can but stopped thinking, "what if she asks what I did with them?"

So instead, I put them on the coffee table.

Sure enough, two minutes later, she was back. With more weeds. And she wanted to know what I had done with the first weeds.

Thankfully, I was able to show her exactly where they were.

It's always an adventure living here! From weeds, to giant teddy bears, to Shakira dance parties with 10 little kids and spontaneous crafting...there's so much to tell!!

Speaking of which, does anybody have any craft/quilting/sewing supplies they could donate? Two of the Iraqi ladies here told me that they want to do something to contribute to their family income. They can sew and make all kinds of things, purses, decorative items, etc, but they don't have any supplies. Surely we can get something together, get these ladies busy crafting with their endless hours of free time, and sell some stuff on or some other venue!

Ideas? Suggestions? Donations?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good News!!

I'm engaged!!!

That's right...after one year and one month of dating my very first boyfriend ever, I am officially gettin' hitched!

The big day is July 23rd. FOUR MONTHS!!


I know what you're thinking: "Are they crazy???"

Well, quite possibly, yes.

But don't worry, I already bought my dress. ;)

Matt told me he wanted to marry me a while back...we discussed for quite some time if and when and were we sure and were we really really sure and all of that good stuff.

Finally we decided, "okay...sure!"

When did we want to get married?

Why, over the Summer, of course! I'll probably start teaching full-time in the Fall (if I can find a job amid all these budget cuts!) so we wanted to get hitched before.

BUT....Matt and I have some friends that had a 3 1/2 month engagement last year.

Matt thought a 3 1/2 month engagement was normal.

He thought planning a wedding was easy.

He thought he could just take his time, put a ring on my finger, and VOILA! we'd get married three months later.

When I found out what he was thinking, I tried to keep my freaking out to a minimum.

He didn't even have a ring yet!

In January!

So I asked him, "do you want to get married in the Summer? Or would you rather wait until December?"

He said "Summer, for sure."

"Are you sure you want to marry me?"

"Yeah, I'm sure"

"Okay, then do you mind if I go ahead and buy a dress?"


That's more or less how it went down.

So my mom came to visit, we tried on dresses, I bought one, and they told me it would be ready mid-June at the latest.

Good thing I went shopping early!! I would have been so sad if I couldn't get the dress I loved in time for the big day!!

And it's really pretty, too. :)

I like it so much. :)

I want to wear it every day. :)

And frolic through a field of wild flowers in it. :)

That's it for now!

Back to school work!

It's been nearly impossible to focus on school while trying to plan a wedding. Ahhh!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No More Mice!

No more mice!!

Well, sort of.

The first time we found out that we had mice, we knew they were coming from under the sink.

So pest control came, put out some poison, and filled in the holes under the sink with some foamy stuff.

So instead of coming out of the sink, they started coming out of the water heater closet. It's a cheap, poorly constructed apartment so the sheet rock in the closet doesn't entirely meet up with the wall and there is a gap on both sides of the closet wall.

We tried several kinds of mouse traps and found that the most successful traps are the sticky ones. They're not messy and mice can't be sneaky and get around them...they just get stuck!

In total, we killed FOUR MICE in ONE WEEK!! GROSS!!

So we figured if they could do something about the holes under the sink, surely they could do something about the gaps in the closet.

And they did!!

And we haven't seen a mouse since!


I now feel safe to walk around my apartment barefoot at night, and leave my bedroom door open throughout the day.

AND as an added bonus, we think the poison they put out for the mice (which is supposed to dehydrate them) has killed the roaches. I don't know, but isn't it curious that no matter how many times they sprayed for roaches we just couldn't get rid of them, but once they put out mouse poison they suddenly disappear???

Seriously...I've seen one roach in the past week!

ONE!! And it was a baby!

I used to see one roach every hour!

Emily hasn't seen many (or any) roaches either.


Life is good and pest-free right now, but I don't expect it to last for too long. After all, I live at Lavender Pines, the third-world refugee camp in the middle of the Metroplex. And what an adventure it is!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ice Cream and Mice

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man [or woman, in my case] I gave up childish ways. - 1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV

Do you remember when you were a kid, the excitement you felt every time you heard the sound of the ice cream truck?

In my neighborhood, it usually came around 5 or 5:30 pm, not long after my parents came home from work.

Whether I was inside the house or out playing in the neighborhood, I would hear the truck while it was still far off, run to my parents and beg for money to buy just one ice cream, just this once.

Usually they said no, but on a very few occasions, the conceded and gave me a dollar or two to buy one of those Tweety Bird ice creams with the gumball eyeballs. Other kids liked the Mickey Mouse ice cream, but Tweety Bird was the favorite of my daddy and I both.

If my parents weren't home, or if they said no, I would scour the house looking for lost change. Under the couch, under the cushions, behind the bookshelf in my bedroom, in the laundry room...I knew all the secret places to find lost quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Then I would take what I had found and run to the truck, no matter how far down the street it had gone by this time, and drop my coins on his tiny little counter and find out what I could buy with my change. Usually all I could afford were those white powdery candy cigarettes, but I was happy to get anything from the ice cream truck no matter what it may have been.

I loved the sound of the ice cream truck so much that I asked my mom to buy me a piano book so I could learn to play "The Entertainer", the theme song of our neighborhood ice cream truck, on our old piano.

She did, and I'm quite sure she regretted it.

After I grew up I lost interest in the ice cream truck. Every now and then I would hear it and recall the memory of past excitements, but usually I was at after school activities, or youth group, or a friend's house, and the ice cream truck faded into the distant past of my childhood.

Until recently.

Now that I live in an apartment complex full of little children, I once again hear the ice cream truck pass by daily.

It comes every day around 3.

Remind me never again to be home at 3.

The sound drags on for one to two hours, depending on how many children come running.

He circles the complex over and over, parking outside our side window first, and then moving to the other side.

Just when I think he's gone, he comes back around again.

The song is no longer "The Entertainer" but some awful chiming tune that repeats over and over and over again, usually when I'm trying to study.

After it plays through once, this awful lady's voice says cheerfully, "Hello!"

At first I thought that the ice cream truck was driven by a woman, and she would greet the children as they came running towards her.

Then I realized it was just a recording, and it's probably some smelly man driving that thing as it goes on and on for hours.

What used to be music to my ears and excite in me so much happiness and emotion now has the opposite effect. I dread the time of day that the truck comes by. I intentionally try to avoid being home at 3pm.

And yet it still brings those little children so much joy. They still go running to the truck, and leave with their mouths and hands sticky and too much sugar in their blood. And of course, I can't begrudge them the same happiness that I used to feel every day around 5pm.


Last night at 2:47am I awoke to the sound of a mouse trap going WHACK!

I thought, "we finally got that little white fella!"

Until I got up and saw it.

It was grey.

How many of them are there?? How long must this go on?

And to make matters worse, when I opened the water heater closet to get the broom out to sweep up his little body, I saw ANOTHER tiny mouse go running into the crack in the closet wall!!


I'm terrified of the night I wake up to find them running all over my bed.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Dead Mouse

The other day Emily and I woke up to find a mouse in the mouse trap.



The mouse I saw was white.

This mouse was brown.

Uh oh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There's a Mouse in the House!

The first time we walked into our new apartment, one thing was obvious: roaches.

The first time we slept in our new apartment, something else was obvious: a rodent.

We could hear it scratching in the walls, crawling in the ceiling, and rummaging through the bottom cabinet.

We made sure to keep the cabinet doors closed so that it couldn't get into the house, and when we realized that there was a gap in the sheet rock in the hot water heater closet, we made sure to keep that door closed as well.

And then, two nights ago, I came home around midnight to find the water heater closet door open.

Oh no!!

How could we?? Who did it?? Was it me?? Was it Emily?? WHY???

I closed it, hoping that the rodent of unknown species had not escaped.

And then, yesterday, as I stood in the living room ready to practice my violin, I saw it.

A tiny little white mouse running along the wall.

I nearly jumped but had to stop myself from doing anything drastic with a valuable stringed instrument in my hands.

I put my violin away, put on some shoes, and grabbed the broom in hopes of sweeping the creature out the front door.

Needless to say, I was unsuccessful. That little guy is fast!

So, as much as I hated to do it, I bought mousetraps.

It's so cute. I hate to kill it. But it leaves me no choice.

So now we wait.

And watch.

Poor little mouse.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow Days!

Recently, we had FIVE, yes, FIVE snow days!!

That may not be such a big deal in Massachusetts, North Dakota, or Ohio, but in TEXAS that is HUGE!!

So what did we do?

We had snowball fights!

We made snow angels!

We made little snowmen!

And of course, we studied.

It really was wonderful though, because we had plenty of time to catch up on school work, and spare time to visit neighbors, play with the kids in the apartment complex, and enjoy living at Lavender Pines*

The day before the snow was playing with the Iraqi family that I usually visit, when we saw that there was a little girl in the window of an apartment nearby, watching us. I waved for her to come out and play with us, and after a little prodding, she eventually did.

So on the snow day, my Iraqi family said, "let's go get our new friends!" So we knocked on their door and assured them that the snow wouldn't hurt them, and finally convinced them to come out and play. They weren't shy about joining in the snowball fights!

Then I taught the little girls how to make snow angels:

Our snowman was pretty pitiful, but we had so much fun making it:

We could hardly believe how much snow we got! Remember, this is Texas!

It was such a blessing to spend so much time getting to know neighbors, healing relationships between children of different ethnicities (there's a longer story there), introducing Iraqi Muslims to Iraqi Christians, praying for healing for a family in need, and sharing Christ with our neighbors!

Praise the Lord for snow days!

*Not the real name :) I don't want any stalkers!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things..

After Christmas, Matt and I went to Amsterdam to help out some church planters there.

We spent two and a half weeks wandering around specific areas of the city, talking to people, finding out their needs, their desires, what they think of church, what they would want a church to be like, why they don't go to church or why they would go, etc. We hosted three English conversation groups, two of which were unsuccessful, so we went around finding out why and hosted a third group, which was successful and has potential to turn into something more.

Then we jumped into school the day after we got off the plane. It's been a busy week getting settled in, buying textbooks, starting classes, visiting families, and I still haven't finished unpacking from the move!

Which is why I'm going to take a little break right now to read a book. I need some "me" time. :)