Thursday, December 07, 2006

There is no frigate like a book...

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Emily Dickinson

I remember learning this poem when I was about ten or eleven. It came rushing back to me yesterday as I was finishing a novel. Not just a novel, but the first novel I have read in months and months. Just for fun. Just to escape into another world, just to board a frigate to take me lands away. And I have to say, that though this book was randomly chosen out of the library at school and was at times both morbid and disturbing, I soaked it up. At times I was so engrossed that I would be shocked to find reality rearing its head as a door shutting or phone desperate was I to read, to imagine, to be the recipient of language and creativity instead of the giver of it.

Then, to top off the literary wonderfulness that was yesterday, I watched the new version of Pride and Prejudice. How many hours of happiness has Jane Austen provided me? Many, many, many. Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Pride and Prejudice....the books, the movies, the beauty.

I do realize, and Joel likes to remind me often, that reading novels can become a waste of time if you are neglecting other things and it becomes mere entertainment. Oh, but what fun for an afternoon! I am also reading a soul-nurturing book that is convicting, refreshing, and more than entertainment for sure. I'll review it for you soon. For now, though, I hope that you have the time to get lost in a good story in the near future. Just curl up with a good book (whatever that may mean to you), and a cup of tea, and preferably a kitty if you have one:) Its worth the time.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Winter Wonderland....

This is what we woke up to on Monday morning....

Our first snowstorm of the season!! Joel is in absolute heaven as he looooooves the cold weather and snow. He did ride with a friend to school that morning, but on Tuesday he was back on his bike happily peddling through the snow! I, on the other hand, look longingly at my "summer drawer"' of flowey skirts and my neglected flip flops underneath the dresser. I have never missed Hawaii so much since we moved. It is beautiful here and the mountains look just as they should look, but it just isn't my favorite. I better buck up though, as this is just the beginning. When we moved here in May there were still three snow days before the warm weather started to show its face.

Anyway, as I sit here at the sunny kitchen table eating grapes and strawberries and hot chocolate with cool whip while looking out at that snow....I can't complain. I have a cozy little house to keep me warm, good music playing(Jonie Mitchell, Jack Johnson, and Keith Green:), yummy snacks and lots to keep me busy.

Hope you all are doing well, whatever the weather may be where you are. Jen

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Here are the promised pictures--a bit late but better late than never:) We loved being with our Hunts and the house seemed a little lonely without them here today. As expected, we had a restful and rich time full of conversation, yummy food, and even a trip to Olympic Park.
I actually ordered our Thanksgiving meal from Wild Oats and it was so great!! The flavor was delish, the time in the kitchen was minimal and the leftovers were plentiful:)

Shanyn made a wonderful apple pie using her super duper apple peeler/corer/slicer!
Yummy! After all of the food we needed a little workout, and so we went to Park City and paid a little visit to Olympic Park where the Winter Games were held in 2002.
Joel did a little skiing...
Jim and Shari practiced carrying their torch together, as they will be doing just that as they head back to the Ukraine...
Shanyn and I even went bobsledding. This was just a practice run which is why there is carpet underneath us, but man is the real thing a thriller!!

After all of that excitement we had worked up a huge appetite and so we went to The Pancake House and gobbled up some yummy breakfast foods.

So, as you can see, we had both a relaxing and exciting time with the family. I hope you all had wonderful days full of Thanksgiving....

Much love, Jen

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Hunt Reunion...

Hurray for Thanksgiving with our dear Hunts! Jim, Shari, and Shanyn will be arriving tomorrow night and staying with us until Sunday morning. We are soooooo excited to see them and just talk and talk and talk (and eat and eat and eat of course). We don't have any big plans...probably drive up to the mountains to see the snow, spend an afternoon at the library b/c Shari loves libraries and this one is the mother of all libraries, and just hear all about their Ukrainian adventures,etc. I'll try to update sometime during the week with some pictures.

Thanks to those who commented about where you came from (Sharon, Robin, Anna, and almost Mom:) I loooooved your responses.

Also, I have been thinking about my baby brother and his Tara so much latley as they just had a wedding shower. I hated not being there and thought of them the whole time it was happening. It went wonderfully, though, and I'm so glad for them to be showered with love. Here they are in all of their loveliness...
Love you guys!!!

Hope you all are doing well and having a fun time getting ready for the holidays. More soon, Jen

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Where I'm from...

I’m from cornfields and cow pastures. I’m from having 11 cats at one time(Joel says that this conjurs up images of a gross "cat woman house", so i'll clarify by saying that this included kittens and strays and that they were always outside cats), and loving each one dearly. I’m from a stray animal haven, and sometimes a stray people haven too. A home full of love and safety. I’m from riding bikes to the “white thing”, making sheet forts in the living room, playing Annie and singing “Rover” until my lungs were horse (thinking that I sounded beautiful of course). I’m from eating quiche and taboulli when everyone else’s family was eating chicken casseroles.

I’m from grandma and from granny and papa. I’m from grandma’s house in Hockley where she made us grilled cheese with SLICED cheese, where we ate delicious TV dinners and talked about food and my friends and where I was completely myself and completely loved. I’m from trips to the “big city” to see granny and papa and go on special shopping trips and out to eat. I’m from their house on Northampton where I always felt treasured and where I loved (ahem, love) being the only granddaughter among the 5 of us grandchildren.

I’m from children’s church on Sunday morning and Awanas on Wednesday Nights. I’m from a mom that believed in answered prayer and acted like it. I’m from a dad who shared with those who were struggling in the midst of his own financial struggle. I am from a legacy of seeking God.
I am from watching the Cosby show, loving Punky Brewster, mowing the lawn while practicing “very important but never to be spoken” speeches to boys and grown ups, watching falling stars on the driveway, watching fireworks from the roof every fourth of July, going to the Towery’s to swim, listening to Rich Mullins and Carole King, having magical Christmas mornings….. and so much more.

Where are you from? Jen

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Kids say...

Today as I was teaching something made me think of the funniest conversation I had with a kindergarten last year. I was subbing for his class and he looooved to talk. And I have to admit, I loved to talk with him too. The things that came out of his mouth were some of the most clever, imaginative things I have ever heard. For example,

Little guy: " Do you have your own class?"

Me: "Yes I do. But I teach grown ups how to speak English because they only know how to speak Spanish."

Little guy: "Do they sit in big chairs?"

Me: "Yep, their chairs are as big as your teacher's chair."

I can tell his wheels are turning and then he gestures and seriously says,

" So, do you open their mouths like this and puuuuull the Spanish out and then puuuush the English in? "'

Me: "Well, no, it's a little more complicated than that, but that is a very creative idea!"

Little guy: "Oh. "

Oh my gosh, I just wanted to gobble him up! I miss those little kindergarten classes sometimes, though I really don't think I could do it everyday. Anyway, do any of you have a favorite conversation that you can think of? I'd love to hear 'em. Jen

Monday, November 06, 2006


Yes, I have finally enrolled in Spanish classes. I promised myself that I wouldn't return to Honduras without learning at least some basic here I go(I don't have any plans in the near future to go to Honduras, but I figure I better get a head start) . I am studying through a private language school. Our first class was fun, and there are some really interesting folks in this beginner class with me. The guys sitting next to me is an adventure photographer that travels often to Latin American countries for his work. He has even done work for National Geographic Explorer--I told him that Joel would looove to sit down and have a long chat with him:)

Anyways, its fun to be a student again--and this time in a very low pressure atmosphere. Also, I think it will make me a better language teacher to be in my students' shoes for a while. You know, feeling embarrassed trying to pronounce these strange sounds and knowing that you sound so foolish, etc. I am always telling them to challenge themselves, to be brave..etc and now I have to take my own advice!
So,that's where I'll be on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the next 6 weeks.

Nothing much else going on these days. Fall leaves are making their exit while the winter weather starts to push in. A couple of weeks ago it even snowed! It was fun because I was teaching and all the sudden I looked out the window and said, "Oh my that...." and, of course, the students (ever ready for a distraction) ran to the window and started shouting "SNOW!! SNOW!!" It was some of their first time to see it and so that was so much fun to see their reaction.

Joelie is doing well. He is just in super study mode as he has a final every Monday this semester(yuck!!). He is actually in bed conked out right now and it isn't even 8pm! He's a trooper, though, riding that bike to school every continually amazes me and it would you too if you could see the enormous hill he has to ride thank you!

Hope you all are doing well. Much love, Jen

Monday, October 30, 2006


Joel got a letter from the US Army today informing him that he is officially OUT of the military! After we left Hawaii he still had to serve two years in the inactive ready reserves (IRR)--that has just been completed. Hurray! While we are breathing a big sigh of relief, it did make me think back to our military years and all of the memories. What a HUGE time in our life. Amazingly, as most of you know, we spent his whole enlistment in Hawaii. What I think of most, even more than the beauty of Hawaii,are our adventures together, the friendships God blessed us with, how we grew together through tough times (like when we first got there and had no friends, no family and were parched for fellowship or when he was deployed for 8 months-YUCK), how we grew individually with me finishing college and getting my ESL training and Joelie in his career and leadership skills, and our spiritual growth as we teamed with our closest friends in ministry with the youth at our church. So many sweet memories. In so many ways that whole time period seems like a dream and yet there were so many raw, real life moments that I wouldn't trade for anything. Thanks be to God for that time in our life, for keeping Joel safe, for providing for us, for abundantly blessing us with friendships and adventure and love for each other. The journey continues....

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Cat and the Vacuum Cleaner

...Not a good combination!!

Saturdays are cleaning days at the Hunt household and Joel's duty is the vacuuming. He likes it.

So Willow and I were in the bedroom watching Pollyanna(the new version, really cute) and Joel opens the door and starts to enter. Well, lets just say that we are all scarred from what followed. Willow literally started jumping up and down until I yelled for Joel to turn the vacuum off. Then she went into a catatonic state where she was frozen on the side of the bed. I then tried to pick her up and she freaked out again, leaving marks on my wrist that looks like I made an attempt on my life.

She then proceeded to jump off the bed and head towards the door to get outside. She had to pass the vacuum cleaner, and as she did she looked at it in horror, jumped in the air one more time, and scooted out.

It was so funny, sad, and painful for us all (Well, the kitty probably wouldn't agree on the funny part). Anyway, we are all recovering fine. Just thought I'd share our excitement for the day. Nothing much going on....just more life. Cleaning, reading, studying, tutoring, teaching, talking, writing, eating. Speaking of eating, I'm off to the store to get some eggs and avocados...yuuuum!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A relaxing week...

Well, last week was wonderful. I had the week off as the English Language Institute was in between sessions, and I just had a really laid back week. At the same time, I was amazed how much not working increased my people contact! I mean I guess not technically because I see so many students every day, but in one week I:

* Ate dinner with our new friends Ann and Ben. They have the CUTEST brick bungalow house across the park from us and we had such a great time with them.She made a gourmet meal that was deliciouso and we had great conversation.
* Had my friend Eliza and her mom drop by one morning as they were on a walk, which was so much fun because she had not been to our house yet.
* Went to visit an older lady named Miriam with three of my students, which was a precious time.
* Went and had coffee with my friend Sarah and her cutie patootie baby girl Stella
* Last but not least, we went to a baptism celebration for Eliza's daughter Oakley!

I realize that some people work full time jobs and do things such as these every week, but I just don't have that kind of energy!! So it was a real treat for me. I also did things like wander through natural food stores and look at all of the healthy yumminess, and then left and went directly to Taco Bell (oh my).

So, sorry for the lack of updates. We are now back to regular scheduled programming:) Hope you all are well, Jen

Monday, October 16, 2006


I was sitting in our Honduran hammock today and it made me think of swinging with these precious ones, and that made me miss them. I wish I could will myself back there, swinging on the porch with one or two in my arms, watching the rest of the kids playing in the front yard. It was exhausting spending two weeks at Destino, and frustrating because of the language barrier, but our hearts were full. Our hearts were full of love for these kids and joy at seeing God's provision for them. You can read more about the ministry at

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Things I love:Teaching international students

Here are some pictures of the cutest hand made card EVER that my students gave me at the end of the session. What joy it gave me to read the words in this card,as, for the most part, I had no idea of whether they were enjoying or understanding my classes, especially grammar which I wasn't sure if I was understanding or not! Well, it all came out through this card and actually through their words on the last day of class. Music to the soul for this teacher whose love language is encouraging words:) I guess I got so used to to my super expressive Hispanic students, that I went into a bit of shock when I came to ELI and have almost all Asian students. I really enjoyed this group and look forward to next session when I'll be tutoring a few of these same students.

Anyway, here is the card. The two chickies are Joel and I:) Sooooo cute!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Things I love: Books

I love books of all kinds. To curl up and read a good book on a cold, winter day is my idea of heaven on earth. I think this stack of books is a good representation of my favorites, so i thought I'd share with you a little about why I love them so and why they really represent who I am in a lot of ways.

Stepping Heavenward-- Ladies, if you have not read this one, run out to your local internet bookstore and buy it:) It is written in the late 1800's by Elizabeth Prentiss. It is the fictional diary of a girl from her 16th birthday to her later years that describes her spiritual journey is such raw and realistic ways. It is a sweet book--pure and truthful and inspiring.

Woman After God's Own Heart-- Another book that really influenced my walk with the Lord and my marriage. It is full of good, solid principals followed really practical applications of those principals. I don't make it through a lot of "Christian self-help" books, but I have made it through this one many a time!By the way, guys, Joelie really enjoyed and recommends "Man after God's own Heart."

Taking Charge of Your Fertility--I'm sorry if this is too much information, but I do love women's' reproductive health. If I were to choose another profession, I think I would choose to be a midwife.For any of you who have questions about fertility or want to know more about natural family planning-- I heartily recommend this book--it's very empowering.

The Baby Book--I admit to being a bit obsessed with Dr. Sears and his "Attachment Parenting" books(not 100% of his ideas do I agree with, of course). For the most part,I love them--they echo many of my heart's desires in raising children. Once we actually have children who knows what will happen, it may all go out the window:) But I am a researcher at heart, and so in this waiting period before we have babies I have read and will continue to read a lot about birth, babies, and child rearing philosophy. I love children and I love books and so I guess it kinda goes hand and hand.

Classic Classroom Activities-- I looooooove ESL curriculum. If the staff at work needs to find me, they always look in the curriculum library first. I hide in there sometimes in the afternoons just devouring all of the yummy choices. They didn't know what they were asking for when they asked the instructors to review some of the curriculum we used this session-- I had to ask for more sheets because I ran out of room:) I think my love for curriculum comes from my need for structure. I like to be creative, but I need some guidelines and organization. Okay, I admit it, I like to have some lines to border my drawings!! I guess choosing the curriculum is choosing the most beautiful and rich colors to use inside those lines:)

Material World--This is such a great book. A photographer from the United Nations went to all of these different countries and compared the socioeconomic status of an average family from each country. He had each family bring ALL of their belongings out of their house into their yard and he photographed them. Beautiful pictures and the provocative truth of disparity. I use the photos as discussion starters in my ESL classes often. I love learning about cultures and people.

Oh, and for all of you cat haters out there who agreed with Joelie's post (which, may I remind you, was written only one day after I wrote about how cute I think he is?!), I will have to rebut your thoughts about cats with a post titled "Things I love: Cats" , starting with the fact that a good book becomes even better if you have a purring cat curled up next to you! Jen

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Cat

This is Joel. I have to make a note about the cat. I have not been known to be a cat person and I do not think I am turning into a cat person, not at all. However, I will say that I have become a bit more accepting, at least toward this one particular cat that we have taken in. I think I am the one who actually initiated the "adoption process" of this cat. It all stemmed from the fact that Jenny wanted a cat so bad. I am normally allergic or sensitive to cats and did not think I could handle a cat in the house, and if we bought one I thought the local stray cats would rip it apart, but I wanted Jenny to have a little pet to keep her company, especially since I spend so much time studying. So when this cat kept hanging around I thought it could be a solution to the problem, we would not have to adopt one and keep it inside or worry about its existence when outside. Perfect. So I started luring the cat and feeding it and even petting it. I even allowed it to lay in the bed, our bed, in my presence and welcomed it when I saw the joy it brought Jenny. Again, I fed it and called it by name. I still do all this. But let me tell you something......

I think cats have to be one of the dummest animals on Earth. I cannot emphasize enough that I am the one who feeds this otherwise outcast animal, I helped take it in off the streets and now it is fat because of me, truly fat I tell you. I let it in in the middle of the night. I let it out in the middle of the night. And the repayment I get for all this is hissing and clawing and shear horror emmitted from this bizarre animal whenever my presence is thought to be near. Somehow I terrify this feline into hysteria and all I do is be kind to it. I cannot figure it out. There must be some kind of lesson here and I am patiently trying to find it, but for the time being I think the lesson is that cats are generally dumb.

This is a rebuttle to Jenny's post that "Willow" is a smart cat, I think not. But then again, maybe it's a genius, although I do not see how that could be when it literally bites the hand that feeds it. However, I still welcome this little creature, more like a monster, into our home because Jenny does so enjoy its company and I kind of get a kick out of it.

Matter of fact, my hero Johnny Cash has a song something similar to my plight called “Mean Eyed Cat” and the last line in the song is “…And now we're curled up on the sofa, me and her....and that mean eyed cat.” An apt and fitting lyric.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

So lovely is he...

Tonight Joel was leaving to go meet with some church guys and I thought he looked soooo cute in his newish Earth shoes and thrift store shirt. So I told him I wanted to take a picture and he went into model mode. This made me laugh...he makes me laugh. I was deep in the trenches of grading essays when he walked in, and it just brightened my evening. Maybe it'll brighten yours too:) Jen

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Every girl needs a place of her own...

Yes, this week Willow got a new bed. Her own Shabby Chic basket to curl up in. I just couldn't resist it. Now, as I'm writing she is still curled up beside me in our bed, but she's a very smart cat and when she hears the front door open (indicating that Joelie is home) she jumps off the bed and into her basket! Also, if I'm not in the room she prefers her basket as well--soooo cute is she. So, yes, I am spoiling this new little companion a bit--but,hey, she is our first real pet. I mean, there were the Jackson Chamelions in Hawaii, who I did somehow manage to get attached to even though they are the most anti-social creatures on earth! Then there were the hermit crabs in San Marcos, who I also sort of became attached to but who, sadly, I managed to kill like 5 of in a couple of months:( So, Willow is our first pet who even comes close to returning affection and that makes her much more lovable and easy to spoil:)

Today I was again amazed by the colors of fall. I am soooo disappointed that the colors seem so muted in the pictures that I take. They are vibrant and alive and rich and I want you to see that, but alas, this is the closest I can get to sharing it with you...

I'm not giving up yet!

Work went well this week. I will really miss some of these students after this session ends (in two weeks!!!). Though sometimes the academic atmosphere feels stifling and the lesson planning overwhelming....I love being an ESL teacher. I really feel so privileged to be one of the first faces to welcome these students to the U.S. and hear about their cultures and help them learn about ours. So many times I just want to plop down in a chair and say, "Lets forget about this stuff and just talk!" because they have the most interesting thoughts and perspectives. On Thursday the students in my speech class were discussing whether they preferred the Asian "passive" philosophy of life, or the American "aggressive" philosophy (this was after reading an article written by Arnold Schwarzenegger about his love for America). I was in heaven as I walked around listening to their responses. Responses like, "Well, I like the ways Asians seem to be more cooperative in their living, but I do think we need to give our opinions more like the Americans do. They are very brave in that way." They also love that they can come here and blend in and people may just think that they are Asian Americans whereas in their countries, people stick out that are other ethnicities. It was a great hour and I told them that i could just listen to them talk forever:) Next week I am subbing for a teacher while she is on her honeymoon. She teaches a video class and we will be watching Hitch, so that should be fun. I'll try and take some pictures of the students soon.

Guess that's all for now. Hope you all had a great week! Jen

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Step by Step

This week was a good one. Teaching went well this week as I veered away from the curriculum and focused on functional English in my speech class--it was sooo much fun! We discussed and practiced language used at a restaurant and then on Friday, I brought menus and an apron and turned the classroom into "Jenny's Texas Diner".I put on the apron and became the waitress while they practiced their ordering skills and , though there was a lot of giggling from everyone involved, I think a lot of learning took place. It was one of those days that made me love being an ESL instructor:)

In other news, the growth area I'm focusing on in my life right now is discipline. Spiritual and physical discipline. "Step by step" is the phrase I keep coming back to. I can't change every bad habit in my life at once,but I can make good choices step by step. I'm talking baby steps. I probably won't turn into Martha Stewart over night, but I did cook a casserole this week for us to take for lunches. I probably won't start running marathons in the near future, but I did take a few more trips to the grocery store on foot this week.I am far from having the insight of Oswald Chambers, but I did seek the Lord more often during my days.
The thing I try to keep in mind, though, during these surges of wanting to grow through my own that the most important is thing is drawing close to the Lord, and "all these things shall be added unto me". Elizabeth Prentiss, one of my favorite authors of all time, wrote this...

More love to thee, O Christ,
More Love to Thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make
On bended knee;
This is my earnest plea,
More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee!

Once earthly joy I craved
Sought peace and rest
Now thee alone I seek
Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be,
More love O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee...

When I focus on loving Him and asking him for guidance, it takes the pressure off, and the guilt away. He is happy to take our ashes and turn them into beauty.
Hope you all are doing well. Much love to you sweet friends and family, Jen

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For mom....

As requested by my momma, here are some more pictures of fall in Utah...these were taken today on our Sunday drive through Big Cottonwood Canyon(where we had our picnic mom). Most of the evidences of fall, other than the dropping temperature which can be felt everywhere, are found only in the mountains. The trees down by us are still mostly green. I wish we could capture the changing leaves better, but this is the best we can do for now:)

Oh, I also wanted to show you what Willow does when I'm grading papers. She likes to be right in the middle of the action and spreads herself all over whatever it is I'm doing. I have started putting her out when I write on the blog because she'll just plop right down on the keyboard and not want to move:) Funny Willow, I just love her:)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

There's snow on the mountains tonight!

I can't believe it....suddenly it's cold in Utah! I knew it was coming, but those sweaty days of no AC in the classrooms at school just last week made it impossible to imagine. Today as we walked to the grocery store the temp was about 52 and then joel took a drive in the mountains and the car said it was 32! Right now I'm sitting in bed grading essays and I have the space heater rolled up next to the bed and turned on full blast and I'm still chilly! Now, I'm sure I will be really tired of cold weather by the end of winter--but there is such excitement in these first few days. We stayed in bed late as we couldn't bear to get out from underneath the warm covers, drank hot chocolate, watched a movie, wore layers to go to the grocery store.....I love it.

So, last night I completely forgot to take pictures of our time with Tom and Cristy. They were in SLC for a conference and so they got to come by for a visit. I did remember to take a picture of the food before they arrived...chicken spaghetti,yum,yum. You'll just have to imagine the rest of our visit. The four of us eating in the kitchen and then the girls sitting in the living room sharing a blanket and our souls with each other while the guys are downstairs looking up the White House on Google World:) A great time was had by all.

Guess that's it for now. Joelie is at a friend's house studying so Willow and I are holding down the fort:) Hope you all are well, Jen

Friday, September 15, 2006

The noises that surround me...

I am cooking this afternoon (how do my posts keep coming back to food?). The windows are open and I hear rain, and thunder and the house feels cool and crisp. I hear hear Willow meowing outside the door and Dr. Laura coming through my headphones as I putter I around chopping and mixing and then washing the dishes. I hear the guys next door working on their cars as they always are in the afternoons(can there really be anything left to fix?!) and these noises that surround once again make me feel happy and calm. Pretty soon I'll hear Joel pull up on his bicycle and hear his laughter and stories of the day and his awesome ride home in the rain, and in a couple of hours I'll hear the voices of friends as they arrive for dinner. What noises surrounded you today? I hope they were good ones:) Jenny

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Tonight Joel and I tried a restaurant for the first time called Mazza. It serves Middle Eastern food and it was sooooo good. We both had the Chicken Kabob sandwich which was chicken with a yogurt sauce and some kind of yummy pickles on a toasted french roll. It was served with potatoes that had the greatest seasoning....mmmmm. As much as I love eating at home (economically), I do love our late afternoon dinners out after work and school. Its our time to reconnect before studying and lesson planning , we don't get distracted by all of the "home stuff" that needs to be done, and we get to experience new and fun places. Do I sound like I'm trying to justify eating out so much?Yep, I am:)

School is going well...I have really enjoyed my students this week. Today I met with one student who wanted me to read and correct her journal that she has been keeping. It was soooo funny! She is a great writer and has a wonderful sense of humor. One story was about her walking down the street the other day and how a dog came out of nowhere and started barking("yelling") at her. She freaked out and started yelling at the dog in Korean and then she thought, "I bet everyone is looking at me thinking 'that crazy Asian girl'." So she started yelling in English and then kicked the dog. Then the owner walked out and started yelling at her. So she said to him, "I'm sorry but I hate dogs. I'm Chinese and I'm not used to having big dogs yelling at me."
I said, "Why in the world did you say you were Chinese?" She said, " I am proud of being Korean and I didn't want him to think that all Koreans yell and kick dogs, so it just came out of my mouth that I was Chinese!" Oh my goodness.

My favorite conversations are when they ask me how to say things that they want to use in their everyday life. I think they have learned that I respond to that because we'll be in the middle of a grammar lesson and I'll say "Do you have any questions?" "Yes Jenny, what is the correct response when someone says 'What's up?' to you. I have been saying 'Good'. Is that okay?" Um, that has nothing to do with the Passive Voice that we are studying, but okay we'll talk about that for a minute:). It's fun.

Guess that's all for now. I think Joelie has a new post up and I put an update on the Hunt's blog not too long ago, so check them out. More soon,Jen

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Weekend...

A little catching up on reading...

A lot of catching up on housework...

Some time spent at the Coffee Garden watching folks and lesson planning and talking to my man...

A drive to the mountains so he could show me the turning leaves, the coming of fall, the beautiful land...

A great morning of worship and trip to our favorite library ended the weekend and made me think about how thankful I am for days such as these.

Thinking about tomorrow and remembering 9/11 makes me think about how thankful I should be for everyday. How much time I waste and how much "woe is meing" I do when life is so fragile and can end in an instant. Glad for the reminder, praying for those who will be remembering their lost loved ones tomorrow. Jen

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sometimes we make dinner....

....mostly when our friends come over. Tonight we were all three starving and so the food tasted extra good.Truly, it was pretty funny how much we were relishing every bite. Well, I guess you can see that on Joelie's face:)I love sitting around the table eating and talking and eating some more and talking some more. That was tonight followed by more talking outside where it is starting to feel and look like it. Now the guys are off to study and I'm gonna watch a movie--hurray for my weekends starting on Thursday! Hope you all are well, Jen

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Lately my spiritual life has felt like chapped lips feel...dry, thirsting, a bit cracked, and needing some serious attention. The root of both chapped lips and a dry spiritual life come from lack of discipline to care for them. Neglecting to put on chap stick, neglecting to spend time with the One who gives Living Water...well, you get the analogy. So it was with a bit of a heavy heart that I trodded to church this morning...weighed down by worries, disappointments, etc. that have not been given over to the Lord.
So, what great relief it was to fellowship with believers again, to sing of God's great character and love, to confess to Him and to receive forgiveness,to hear His word taught. It was a soothing balm to this so often foolish soul. Thanks be to God for His faithfulness. Hope you all felt great refreshment today as well. Jen

p.s. One of the hymns that we sang today is called "Jesus With Thy Church Abide" and I just love it. It reminds me of what our role as the Church is and why it is so important to indeed "beseech" Him daily. Here are some of the verses to the hymn...

Jesus, with Thy church abide;
Be her savior, Lord, and Guide,
While on earth her faith is tried:
We beseech Thee, hear us,
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Keep her life and doctrine pure;
Grant her patience to endure,
Trusting in Thy promise sure:
We beseech Thee, hear us,
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May she guide the poor and blind,
Seek the lost until she find
And the brokenhearted bind:
We beseech Thee, hear us,
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's only 10:00 and I'm done lesson planning!

This is a major breakthrough folks. This week the average time has been about 10 is fabulous. Dare I say that if we had television that I would even watch a show or two?! What a fun thought. Well, I'm going to have to settle for writing this post and reading my new Readers Digest:)
Unfortunately, the main reason for this early night is that I don't have any papers to edit...that's the big time stealer. So, this may be a rarity...but I'll take it! Even more fun is the thought of a four day weekend starting Friday--yippie!
Okay,I think I'll list some good things that have happened this week:

We named the cat Willow and we both love her, which is miraculous.

I haven't eaten out once this week, which is also miraculous:)

I have a sweet group of students who make me laugh and who work really, really hard and make all of the preparation worth it.

The days are getting cooler and it makes my spirit feel light in the morning when I walk out into the crisp, fresh air.

I have had a caffeine free week and still have had plenty of alertness and energy during the day.

God has been teaching me about resting in His timing,and finally my heart seems to be listening.

Living with Joel is (almost:)always a wonderful thing and this week was no different as he made me laugh with his wild antics, listened while I told him IN DETAIL about my days at work, and took care of me when I was sick. What more could a girl ask for?

What are your "good things" for the week? Well,I'm off to curl up in bed and read. Hope you all are doing well, Jen

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Your Whalecome"

First let me say thanks to Joelie for that sweetest post ever (see below)... more importantly, though, is how he lives out those words. This weekend I have been sick...again! Fever, chills, body ache, the whole works. Well, let me just say that Joel has become the greatest taker carer ever when I'm sick and it makes me feel so loved. I say he "has become" because when we first got, not so much. See, I grew up with mom who made being sick as wonderful an experience as it could possibly be. Out came the sprite, the soup, cold wash rags, a soft bed of blankets on the floor or couch, and lots of movies. Also her soft words of encouragement and empathy that go a long way in healing! I remember when I was a young teenager and mom and dad were out of town and we were staying with some friends. Well, I got sick and expected, you know, that every mom was like my mom in that area. Apparently not. Though I love this woman dearly, I was told I could go upstairs and lie down and given a bottle of aspirin, a glass of water, and a pot in case I threw up! I felt like I was experiencing abuse or something...this is how people lived?!?!? A little dramatic, I know, but that's just me:)
Yes, so when Joel and I got married he was more than a little taken aback on my expectations for care when I didn't feel well. I, on the other hand, couldn't believe that all he wanted was to be left alone to endure his illness! Well, over this seven years we have finally adjusted and even now as I'm writing I have my fresh glass of O.J. , crackers, and two new blankets all brought in recently by my Joelie. I am also known to be a bit weepy and sentimental when not feeling like myself and last night he endured a pretty weepy conversation that actually really cracks me up now that I'm thinking about it. At the moment though, it is very important for him to understand the point I am trying to make, incoherent as it may be. He listened to my weepy monologue so seriously and then laid down beside me and just held me for a while. Oh, the ways we have to learn to love each other!
So, that's what has been happening in our home the past few days. Last week was a blur of waking up WAY too early, feeling like my classes were flying by way to quickly during the day, coming home for a brief time with Joel and then lesson planning until bedtime. This next seven weeks is going to be nutty. Good for me, though, as I can really underschedule and not use my time wisely. So, if I'm not posting as much, you'll know why.
Oh, I wanted to tell you all about this sweet Thai man who works at our favorite Thai place down the street. One of the reasons we go there is because we love the way he says, " You're Whalecome". Really, he pronounces it just like this and with such sweet sincerity and says it probably 20 times a visit. So this whole time that I've been sick and Joel will do something for me I'll say, "Thanks so much" or whatever and he'll do a little bow and say "You're Whalecome". It makes us laugh and I thought it might make you smile too:) Jen

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sneak Attack

Hi. This is Joel. I'm sneaking on here and writing a blurp about stuff.

First, the break we had was absoluetly wonderful, as is evidenced by the pictures that Jenny so dilligently puts on here. The sites we saw were so spectacular and exhilirating and yet, somehow, peaceful and quieting. Huge ole mountains raising their stony, craggy heads above sweeping, sleepy valleys with rivers cutting through the meadows like a lazy serpent filled my soul constantly on our road trip. I just cannot imagine thinking that God created all that beauty for no reason. I think He wired us to be inspired and awed at those magnificent wonders of His. We oddly do not get inspired by concrete and boards, which can be wonderfully crafted into amazing things, but we are superbly inspired by dirt and grass and rocks that make up these mountains and valleys and meadows and plains. It's innate in us to connect with our Creator through His creation, and that is just what happened.

I must add that there were a few things that totally captivated my utmost attention on this trip that were not moutains, valleys, or rivers. They came in many shapes and sizes and ages, yep, you guessed it: people. I had a blast being with my most thoughtful and cool brother, Bub. Everytime I am around him I come away better equipped on how to be considerate of other people and in tune to their needs. I was utterly taken by Carter and Brady Jensen, what awesome little people, future men, future dads and husbands and leaders. My Grandma (Gee Gee), my sister, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, my family. It was so wonderful to see and be with my family, some of whom I had not seen since my wedding. There is such a keen connection among family that can only be experienced between family members. I had such a good time and adjusted my schedule so that I could stay with them longer because family and people matter so much more than mountains and rivers. I left my family to see some more people, Garret and Mandy White who gave me laughter like nobody else can. So, in light of God placing in us an admiration for His creation on Earth I believe He placed in us a much bigger admiration for for His best and most loved creation: people. I did not get near the joy and fullness from all that glorious wonder I saw through my windshield and sunglasses that I saw when looking into the eyes of those little boys or my Grandma or any person I came in contact with. So this trip for me was much than seeing glaciers and geysers, it was about seeing people as a much greater creation than anything else on this Earth.

I start school again tomorrow (it seems I have been saying that all my life) and get to learn more about the physical aspect of people and I hope I will keep in mind the great lesson I learned during this most wonderful break. I hope I will start with the person nearest and dearest to me, my most wonderful companion in life, Jenny. She deserves so much and has so much and gives so much, she is truly my mountain, my river, my meadow and so, so much more. I love you Jenny.

Back to "Normal"

Gone is the first day teaching--hurray! My body was in a bit of shock when the alarm went off at 6...but you know, I'll get used to it again. It feels good to be productive. After i got home from work Joel and I were walking to eat at the burrito place down the street and we saw "the pink guy". Have I told you about him before? Poor guy, he is definitely a bit mentally ill but seems to do pretty well in this little niche of SLC, and the thing is he ALWAYS wears pink Well, there he was in all his glory. He had on pink jogging pants, a white t-shirt, a pink backpack, his pink hair, a pink key holder and his pink water bottle. So the point is that when I saw him walking in front of us I thought to myself, "Yep, we're home from summertime travels and things are back to normal." Then the thought quickly changed to "This is what normal is for us?!" Well, I guess it is:) Walking around the neighborhood, seeing all the various characters that live near us, eating together and talking about our days.... It's a good normal i think. Oh, Tom and Cristy, i wanted to tell you that we copied the dinner you guys made for us,modified it to fit the contents of our freezer, and had a wonderful dinner last night of turkey burgers, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries,and fruit...yummy!!!We are fixing it again on Thursday when some friends come over:) Off to work on lesson plans, Jen

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Texas trip, part 2

Let's see, where did I leave off?!

I think it was the Sunday of my first week. We went to Calvary Chapel and it was so much fun to be back there worshipping with those folks--comforting may be a better word than fun. I don't know...With our friend Lance and his son Marley up there rocking out it was pretty fun:) We really miss our Calvary family for sure church we went and ate with some friends at Furrs. I never would eat there before because the name sounded so disgusting but, hello, its cafeteria food and so I loved it! (I'm not being sarcastic...I'm a Luby's fanatic!) So, after that fantastic meal we went home and hung out for a bit and then Robin came over for a visit. We had a great time, got to hear some wedding plans(Make sure to read more about Robin in my post titled "Bub":), and then dad and I got started on our great running aspirations. Here is dad....stretching? Hee, hee. I love this picture:)

Then it was on to College Station to see sister-in-love Shanny. We had a great time eating, talking, laughing, talking, shopping,and talking some more. I always find myself talking until my eyes can no longer stay open and I fall asleep in the middle of some very important sentence! After my visit with Shanyn I headed to the little, bitty town of ???? I can't remember what it's called. Well, its outside of Brenham and its really pretty, rolling land. Anyway, more importantly, I got to have a visit, that was waaaay to short,with my dear friend Holly.

I also got to see Holly's son, the cutest godson a girl could have...Matthew Ryan Howard, and his new baby sister Megan.

Oh, yes and Holly is married to wonderful Travis who I don't have a picture of...sorry Travis!
After visiting the Howard family it was on to see Joel's grandma, AKA Gee Gee. Oh, what a wonderful time I had with Geeg. Her home is so welcoming, her heart is so precious, and her love for the Lord is so true and deep. I'll always remember the giggling that went on during this late night photo shoot:)

Also, while at Gee Gee's house my friend Anna came by--hurray!! I love my visits with Anna, we just take up right where we left off. She is my most frequent commenter on this blog too, (well, she and mom probably tie:) those of you who read comments can now put her beautiful face to her name.
From Tomball it was on to Granny and Papa's house. We celebrated Papa's 80th and Dad's 50th and had such a great time. Mom came up with the idea to make a banner where everyone drew something that represented a favorite memory with dad and with papa. I highly recommend this for family, or friend, was so meaningful. I love this picture of Granny explaining her favorite memory drawing to Papa. It was their wedding day.

There isn't much I love more than being with my family...miss you guys!
Next, we took Tara with us and headed back to Wimberley. Tara is my other lovely sister-in-law to be. She is such a whimsical, creative, interesting and interested love that John Mike has found.I can't wait to watch their life unfold together. I hope you all get to meet her. I loved our time together and look forward to much, much more.

Now all that was left was to say good-bye to Barney the basset hound, Mama kitty, the wonderful Wimberley house, and sweet mom and dad. I'll leave you with this parting can you resist those ears? Jen