Sunday, June 29, 2008

Emails from Mexico...

Dan is doing well on his mission trip in Galeana, Mexico, as far as I know - his phone doesn't work and the Internet is spotty at best down there. However, he actually only has two days left until he comes home! He asked me to post excerpts from his emails on the blog to update everyone on how he's doing. Hopefully when he comes back, he can either write a post about it (thanks for the idea, Andrea!) or at least put up some of his pictures.

Day 2 (First email):
today was fun, we literally went to a village in the middle in the mountains. its like going back 100 years in time. except they do have electricity. i did a whole lot of stuff today, it was kinda like whoever needed help i helped out. Grant [the pastor of Fellowship Bible Church] and i shared some resources with a pastor, i babysat the little kiddoes, and i also helped out in the pharmacy. being in these tiny villages in the middle of nowhere really gives you a new perspective on how much we have.

Day 4:
yesterday was good, we went to a different rancho, still in the middle of nowhere, i helped out a little in the pharmacy and the dentist again, but mostly was helping grant talk to some pastors. the hotel is pretty bare bones but after spending all day in a rancho its more than enough. my neck got super sun burnt yesterday even though i put on sunblock, so today i think im wearing my rain jacket all day regardless of the weather. it has been really neat to cultivate relationships with new people. obviously grant is probably the person ive connected most with. i'm starting to get pretty worn out, outside all day in the elements really takes it out of you, i think translating also drains me mentally. grant is really appreciative of my help and i think is pretty impressed, but in these situations i get a little frustrated becuase i realize how much spanish i dont know.

Day 5 (today):
yesterday was a pretty cool day. once again we drove about 2 hours into the mountains on dirt roads in the middle of nowhere. its amazing that there are these communities that you would never know they were there. i really think we are serving some of the poorest people in mexico. yesterday grant and i were looking forward to meeting with a pastor in this community that grant had met last year. when we got there we learned that this pastor's son had died in an accident at work, he fell from like 50 feet. the accident was on wednesday and he died friday evening. grant and i and another translator were able to meet with his family and express our condolences and also give this pastor some resources. it was quite an emotional experience to meet with him and his family in their home, which was basically a two room shack with dirt floors and have the opportunity to pray for him in his family. the most amazing part was when this pastor prayed and the focus of his prayer was thanking god for bringing us there during this time of need and asking the lord to bless us and our church. i couldnt believe that at this time of intense pain for him and his family the focus of his prayers was on us, and not on his own needs. this type of selflessness is not seen very often. so combining that with the extremely humble surrounding was quite an experience.

I'm excited for Dan to come home but it sounds like he's doing great things down there, and helping out a lot. :-)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ten Things I've Learned Since Moving to Waco

I just realized that I have lived in Waco for over a year! I moved down here June 19th last year. So in honor of this, I will post a top ten list on things I have learned since moving to Waco.

1. People living in Texas are extremely proud of their state. This pride extends to their Bud Light: Texas Edition, Ford Explorer: texas edition, and every other product that the producers just stamp "Texas Edition" on it and know it will sell millions more.

2. Southern Barbeque is different - it's not shredded, like it is in Ohio, but it's just pieces of meat and you put on sauce from bottles. And there's white bread involved. Lots and lots of white bread. Which I have observed is apparently for slathering up your extra barbeque sauce.

3. I have personally learned what is ringworm and what is not scabies. Enough said.

4. The Branch Davidian complex and the Bush Ranch are approximately the same difference from the city of Waco. We are more than happy to associate ourselves with the Bush ranch, and will talk for days about how Bush flies in to our airport and how they're likely going to build the Bush library here. We will, however, protest vehemently if someone tries to say that the Branch Davidion stand-off occurred anywhere near here.

5. People in Ohio are really missing out on the concept of "local restaurants," and could gain a lot by gaining more of these.

6. It's hot in Texas.

7. You appreciate your family and friends a lot more when you can only see them every once in a while - and when they visit you, it's almost ridiculous how excited you will get.

8. I don't think I'll ever say "y'all" - "you guys" seems to pretty much be ingrained on my mind.

9. No one down here has ever heard of Miami University, and my refusal to refer to it as "miami of ohio" (that's not the real name!) can cause a lot of confusion. I have a friend who actually thought Dan and I went to school in Florida until a month or two ago.

10. I miss Easton. And Polaris. Waco has nothing even close. When they tell you they have a mall here, don't listen. Just because they have a men's Dillards, women's Dillards, Belk, and Sears, it does not actually count as a place that's good to shop.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Debbie just sent me this picture, so I wanted to post it. Bottom row is me, Dan, and Debbie, and top row is Molly and Diana. Nancy was the one who took the photo, but she was there too! She was nice enough to take a family shot so we'd be able to have a picture of us and "the aunts." ":-) This picture was taken in the Capitol building, right before it started thunderstorming like crazy outside. Fun fact: The capitol building in Austin is the largest in the country - it's even bigger than the one in DC! We also noticed that the chandeliers are in the shape of a star, and the door hinges are engraved with a star and the word "Texas." And you think taxpayer's money gets misspent....
Oh, and I've gotten a lot of questions about ringworm, so I think it's time for an educative lesson about it. First of all, it's not actually a worm, but it's a fungus. That comes from .... POOP. Ewewewewewewwwwwww. It's spread by skin-to-skin contact. The kids from Talitha Koum get it a lot, and I most likely was holding a baby who had it, which is why it's on my arm. To treat it, I had to buy some cream from the grocery store - the same stuff used to treat athlete's foot and jock itch. I also had to buy Selsum Blue, because it has anti-fungal properties and I'm supposed to use that as a body wash so the fungus doesn't spread. Right now, I just have a bubbly red circle on my arm. Any other questions? Anyone want a hug?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fungus, Fotos, and Fun

I have one week left of working with the Talitha Koum kids. I came thisclose to making it....but I didn't. I have ringworm. :-(

The other girl who works over there with me has gotten it three times over the past year, but I figured I was safe since we only have ONE WEEK left!

On a happier note, my friend Pato showed me that we made the Waco paper's photo gallery:

Dan and I, Cassie and Jim, and Pato and Jason all went to a concert together a few weeks ago. Jason, Cassie, and I are all in the clinical psych program together and so we went out together. There were a bunch of activities going on, and as we walked by, one of the workers asked us if we wanted to color. Cassie, Pato and I readily agreed and started coloring fish. Of course, there was a photographer at the stand. We didn't actually make the paper, at least as far as I know (we don't get it delivered or anything) but if you look at number 132, that's Cassie and I, and 133 is Pato.

The aunts visit went off as planned this weekend, and we all had a blast. Dan realized he really likes golfing and has been on Ebay non-stop since we got back trying to find a driver he likes. The weirdest part of the whole weekend was on Saturday. It started thunderstorming like crazy in the middle of the afternoon, so we decided to go see a movie. We get to the movie theater, and there's a sign out front that says: "We just got hit by lightning, closed for the rest of the day." How random! And it totally ruined our plans. But luckily, it stopped raining soon after and we were able to walk around the city some more.

Have a good Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Dan and I watched the movie Slingblade on Friday night, and have been quoting it ever since. It's impossible not to want to imitate Billy Bob Thornton after watching this movie. I'm pretty sure that for a solid 24 hours Dan did not say anything that didn't start out with "Mmm...I reckon...."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Dad's Day! (by the way, want to spend some money on me?)

Dear Mom and Dad (or anyone who's interested),

As you may remember, my 23rd birthday is coming up - July 1st, to be exact. I know, I know - 23 is pretty old to still be making long lists of things you want and asking your parents (and other generous family members) to buy them for you. So, this list is purely for informative purposes and please feel no obligation... but if you're's my birthday list:

1. My Wish List Click on that button to see my Amazon wish list, which I've been keeping for a while. It includes several books for school that I was supposed to get but were too expensive, and was able to borrow from older students for a little while, but I would really like to add to my collection. It also has some magazines on there, because that's pretty much one of my favorite things to do to relax. And of course, a few other books that I would just like to have. If you're interested in buying me one of these, I'm perfectly okay with a used copy.

2. Wii Fit - I know this game is pretty much impossible to find, but I really want it! We love our Wii and I would absolutely love to have this game.

3. Gift card to clothing stores such as Ann Taylor Loft, Express, the Limited or Victoria's Secret. These are mostly because I need to buy work clothes and jeans. Also, unfortunately, our puppy went through a stage where she would sit in the laundry basket if I left the closet door open and chew on all my underwear. I know, I can't believe I'm sharing that with you either - GROSS! But I had to throw away a lot of it, and a lot of it has holes now, so that's where the Victoria's Secret card comes in. And luckily, she's past that stage now. :-)

4. Gift card to Michael's or Bed Bath and Beyond. We still have some registry stuff we haven't gotten yet (such as the rest of our dishes...) and I'd love to be able to do that! Michael's is for home decorating and craft stuff that I've been enjoying lately.

5. Wine - We have been really into drinking wine lately and trying different kinds, especially since Dan took wine tasting. I don't know if there's like a one month subscription to a wine of the month club or something like that, but it would be something I'd definitely enjoy.

So there you have it! Of course I always love surprises, money, know. :-)

By the way, Happy Father's Day! I feel so blessed to have THREE great dads to share it with - Dad, Mark, and now Chris! Hope you all enjoy it even though we are here in Texas.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Craziness

We have a crazy month coming up, so I figured I'd share our plans so everyone is in the loop about where we'll be and when. :-)

First of all, my aunts are coming to visit next week! They're going to San Antonio first, then we are all going to spend some time in Waco and Austin together. I'm so excited for them to see where we live and of course, to get to meet Sammie. Dan is going to make use of the golf clubs he brought down here, but up until now have just been sitting in our closet. So they will be here next Wednesday-Sunday, although we'll only be with them Friday and Saturday.

Then on Wednesday, June 25th, Dan will be leaving (at 5:45 am) to drive to Galeana, Mexico with our church for a medical mission trip.

That's our church's website, although I couldn't find any pictures or details about the trip. Basically, he will be translating for our head pastor - they picked him especially for the role because of his Spanish skills! (And maybe they somehow knew he's not exactly the type of person who enjoys watching others get shots...) Dan has been working hard since school got out on his curriculum and things for his classroom. He's made tons of slideshows, word searches, crossword puzzles, and Jeopardy games for each class. He's still got a lot more to do, and that's what he's mainly going to be doing this summer. This trip will be a great opportunity for him to take a break from that, as well as brush up on his advanced Spanish while really making a difference in a community.

I would have loved to go along as well, but there were two reasons that I'm not. First, I get extremely car sick, and it's about a 15 hour drive ....over a 15 passenger van. Okay, I know, I know, it's a mission trip, I need to suck it up. But the second reason I'm not going is because I can't miss class and work, because the next week we're going home for Matt and Leah's wedding!!!

Dan will get back on Monday, June 30th (our 6 month anniversary). The next day is my birthday, and then the next day we drive to Dallas and fly home for the wedding! The trip will be packed. Dan and I are both throwing the respective bachelor/ bachelorette parties on Thursday night, and then attending the rehearsal dinner on Friday, and then the wedding is on Saturday. We can't wait and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures (with Dan's camera - still no battery charger for mine). This will all be in Cincinnati, by the way.

We come back on July 6th. I start my new job at the Speech Clinic the 7th, and will continue with classes, etc. That's when life will go back to normal, somewhat. However, I will be coming home to Columbus August 14th - 19th. Dan will be back to work by then, but I have a short break between semesters, so I'm coming home for a visit! I will definitely want to see everyone.

I can't wait!! The next few weeks are going to be great.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eye Scars and S'More Pie

Well, it's been kind of a rough week for me in random ways. I scratched my cornea the weekend before last, and have been to the eye doctor twice and am still taking steroid drops six times a day. I went to the doctor again yesterday and he said it's healing, but there is a small scar on the middle of my cornea. He doesn't think it will affect my vision - but still, how weird to have a scar on my eye? I've been wearing my glasses for two weeks and will be in them another week, which is really not my favorite. :-) Then yesterday, my computer, which has been acting funny for a few weeks, decided to just completely give out and start flashing orange lights at me everywhere. I called Dell, fully confident that because my computer was under warranty, it would be fine. Well, apparently the problem is the battery, which actually is not under warranty anymore. Oh, cool. And right now my internet still isn't working and no one is quite sure why... (I'm on Dan's computer).

Luckily, though, at church on Sunday the entire sermon was about Phillipians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again - Rejoice!" The sermon was about that we should be joyful no matter what our circumstances because of who God is. So I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday and this morning, and I kept thinking about this verse. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how lucky I am that a small scratch to the cornea and a sore throat (yeah, I have that too) are the biggest physical problems I have...and thank the Lord I have a computer, and I can afford to buy a new battery if I need to. For some reason, I dreamed about the helicopter crash in Sandusky and woke up sad about that as well. I can't imagine what that felt like for all the other people there, and all the family members of those in the helicopter. I don't know, I guess I just sometimes get into these traps of feeling sorry for myself and forget to be grateful for everything I have.

So, on that note, we had a wonderful weekend where we got to hang out with friends quite a bit. On Saturday night, we went over to Matthew's house, and ate dinner and played Guesstures with Matthew, Camden, Sean, and Faith. Here are Dan and I fully involved in the game:

It was a hard fought battle but the guys ended up winning in the end. (Yes, Dan made me write that!)

The other highlight of the night was the S'more Pie I made. It was seriously such a fun and delicious dessert - perfect for summertime! I'm proud to say that both Sean and Matthew said it overtook their previous favorite dessert and has become the new title-holder.
Here's the link to the recipe and pictures from the website I got it from:

Okay, time for class....enough of this procrastination!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

We Work with Movie Stars

There's a new documentary out called "Crawford" about the town where Bush's ranch is, which also happens to be about 20 minutes outside of Waco. It's a pretty low-budget film, but I know it's showing at least some places nationwide. I talked to Dad earlier today, and he said he thought it might be playing at the Drexel in it seems like it's probably at smaller, more independent type theaters.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but this is a quote from the director kind of explaining what it's about: "I was duped. I thought that Bush was from Crawford. I thought he grew up there, that he had roots there. When I found out he had moved there in 1999 just before he announced his candidacy, I became very intrigued with what life would be like in this 700-person town to have the then-governor move in, win the presidency and sort of put this town on the map and just explode it...... When I first went in, I was very interested in the notion of political stagecraft and the way in which the town contributed to Bush’s folksy, small-town image, and that element is still in the film. But, ultimately, I found something much more compelling and that was the people of Crawford and their stories. The film really became about them, their story . . . and I think it’s better for that."

The neat thing about all this is that Dan's boss, Misti Turbeville, used to be a history teacher at Crawford High School. Dan has been talking about this movie for a while, because Misti was apparently one of the main people they talked to in it and she has been excited for it to come out. There was an article in our paper the other day where they interviewed the director, and he mentioned Misti by name!

(I'm not sure if you have to log in to read the article, but if you do, it takes like ten seconds and is no big deal)

So it sounds like she plays a pretty key role in the movie. We can't wait to see this documentary -when we do, I'll let you know what I think. But I really encourage you to see it if it's playing anywhere around you and cheer for Misti! Then you'll know Dan's boss on a very personal level, just like you were here in Waco. :-)

[[UPDATE: Okay, I don't know that it's actually coming out in theaters for a while. But here's the trailor:
Misti is the woman who says the parts about"He had to be from somewhere besides the Governer's Mansion..." and "Most people think everyone around here is conservative, but I'm not." Also, here's the official movie site: in case you're interested!]]

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Baby Pics

My friend Melanie fosters animals for the humane society, and back in October, she took in one of their dogs who was very pregnant. The dog gave birth about two days after living with Melanie to four adorable puppies.

The puppies look exactly like her, right? Well, Melanie ended up falling in love with Lizzie, the mom and decided to keep her. The light brown girl (second from right) is Sammie, and obviously we ended up keeping her! The best part is that my friend Lauren took her brother, Gus-gus, so they all still get to see each other pretty regularly.

Melanie just gave me the CD of their baby pictures, so here are a few of me with Sammie when she was two weeks old. We had no idea we would adopt her at the time - we didn't decide until she was about 6 weeks.

That's me holding Sammie, along with Dan and our friend Camden. Dan's holding Gus-gus although you can't really see it in the picture. Please ignore how gross I look in the next picture - I couldn't resist putting it on here because of how cute our puppy was.

I know...I'm sort of obsessed....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Some thoughts on racism

Today I started my first summer class, Multicultural Issues in Therapy. During the summer, we have two month-long sessions where we take one class during each one. This is the first session, and I have this class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00-12:30. I actually really enjoy any class about multiculturalism/ diversity - I just get so fascinated by the psychology of all of it. So for example, here's some interesting ideas we talked about today.

There are lots of basic psychological processes inherent in humans that make us biased against people of other cultures. For example, we naturally categorize people - our minds do this automatically, because if we didn't classify things, we'd never be able to sort through life. So we classify people automatically and unconsciously, and one of the easiest ways to do this (because of the fact it's so visible) is by race.

We also naturally favor our own group over others. We don't do this to be mean, but people just naturally want their group to have the best. Therefore, if we're classifying people by race, we automatically desire our race to have the best.

These basic processes are then added to the cultural and environmental stereotypes we grow up with, news articles we read, and attitudes we're taught.
For example, there is an example of two different pictures in similar newspapers after Hurricane Katrina. One shows a black man carrying bread down a street, and it reads "Man after looting grocery store." Another shows a white man in an almost identical situation, and reads "Man just found food for his family at an abandoned grocery store." These newspapers have slightly different headlines for the same picture which carry very different connotations about people of different races. You can't argue we implicity learn different things about different cultures, even if they're not always this obvious.

So those are the things that contribute to racism. What contributes to people not being racist? It's a short list. In reality, the only things that lead to people fighting against this racism are abstract principles of justice, fairness, and equality. Period. And a lot of people do have these principles, and they're very important, but are they enough to overcome all those unconscious things going on inside our head? It's definitely questionable.

So we watched this lecture by a guy named John Dovidio, who has done all sorts of research on this topic. (Look it up, it's really interesting.) He has basically found that modern racism consists of people who desire not to be racist, and who in fact believe they are not racist, but often their unconscious decisions, actions, and behaviors are racist. As in, they are more favorable to whites than blacks. (Of course you can argue this with any type of minority or majority, but his particular research is mostly on white/black relations.) So people's verbal actions and desires truly often are toward equality and justice, but when situations are ambiguous, or they're in a hurry, or any other type of situation where they're relying on the unconscious decision making process, they tend to be somewhat racist.

This makes me a little defensive, but I think there's a lot of truth to it. I definitely don't think of myself as racist, and I really don't want to be. But do I identify with this in some way? How will this affect me when I'm a therapist for people different than myself? And more importantly, how will it affect them? How do these unconscious attitudes affect minorities in their day to day life? How do they affect you in your day to day life?

Just something to think about...