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.