Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'm glad I'm not a politician

Because I get too emotionally involved, and I'll make decisions based on my emotions. Besides, I have a mental block against political talk.

But I'm constantly faced with one issue. Everyday. An issue that affects my students, my coworkers, and to an extent, my family.


And it slapped me in the face again last night when I went to the movies. I knew it would. We watched Under the Same Moon. So good and highly recommended! It gives you a different perspective on the whole immigration issue; makes it more real.

Many, if not most, of the people at my school are immigrants. Some legal, some not. Of course all the teachers are legal, but for years I've heard the stories of their struggles -- wives separated from husbands, lawyers taking advantage, employers reneging on promises, dreams deferred. Just two weeks ago my friend, Adriana, was telling me her husband wants to go back to Mexico since he hasn't been able to find work or been successful in obtaining the appropriate visa. But she has a job and she makes good money. The first year they were here she was miserable, missing her family, friends, and life in Mexico. Now she's managed to make a life in Texas, but her husband is the one that's miserable. They are such a sweet couple; it's obvious that they are very much in love. And they love the Lord and radiate His love. Which is probably why I was so shocked when she said she told him he could go but she wasn't leaving!

Then there are the students. I'm fairly certain that all of mine were born here in the States. But some of their older siblings weren't and their parents were most certainly not. They come from all over -- Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Salvador, Ethiopia, Nigeria. And many of them are not here legally. So when the father of one of my mother's students was arrested outside the school Thursday morning, we were almost certain little Erik wouldn't see his father again for a very long time. It would have been the second time he was caught, so that meant imprisonment. But by some miracle he was released because the charges they arrested him on were not valid.

How can I be relieved that another illegal resident was set free?

Simple. I look into his child's eyes everyday. And I know what those eyes will look like once his father is taken from him.

I've seen how Randy's ready smile has faded a bit since his father was deported back to Honduras several months ago. His teacher has commented on how his performance in school has waned. He's not concentrating or working as hard as before. And he's only just turned six. How do you explain politics to a kindergartener?

I'm not disillusioned. I know that not all the immigrants here illegally are honest, hard-working people. I know there are murderers, drug dealers and rapist here as well. Some of them may also have students at my school. That's a scary thought. But I just wanted to enlighten you a bit, show you the side of immigration that's not scandalous enough to make headlines.

And to further your enlightenment, go see Under the Same Moon:

Finally, I'll leave you with some of my dad's thoughts on the issue:
For the vast majority, undocumented immigrants seek entry into this country in order to work. Most cannot provide for their families in their own poverty-stricken homelands, so they come to America. They are willing to risk their lives and suffer all manner of hardships for an opportunity to provide for their families. Wouldn’t you?

In his Inaugural Address, President John F. Kennedy declared, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Millions that have been shackled with the chains of poverty in their own homelands have escaped to America. They seek to free themselves from the shackles of an oppressive condition that would deny them the right to provide for their children. They do not wish us ill, but they will “bear any burden,” and “meet any hardship” simply to acquire relief from the humiliations that come with poverty.

The world is watching and waiting to see how America will solve her immigration issue. It is imperative that we navigate through this human crisis cautiously, and not allow our emotions to convert us into “ugly Americans.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

We're stretching today, people, so bare with me!

1. I received my proof of employment yesterday! I was worried they wouldn't get it to me in time because apparently no one in HR opened the email I sent TWO WEEKS AGO. I should have never doubted God's provision. DUH!

2. My grandma gave me a big chunk of change to hold in my savings account so that the British Consulate won't think I'm completely broke. I definitely don't have enough to last a year, but it will hopefully be enough for them for the time being.

3. I got to chat with Debs over the phone on Sunday and got the skinny on her man! Now she's trying to play matchmaker and has sent me pics of potential bachelors she knows. HA!

4. The parent that was arrested in our school parking lot yesterday (yeah, you read that right) was released the same afternoon, thankfully. It was a bogus charge of playing music too loud. We were worried he may get deported, so we're quite thankful this family will not be separated.

5. Little Luis, one of my "blessings," is finally learning to read! 'Tis very exciting!

6. The Speech Competition we worked our butts off for the past two weeks was POSTPONED! Now it's not 'til May 13th, which is ok because we'll have time to perfect the kids' speeches now that they have it all perfectly memorized.

7. I love my fuel efficient car, especially these days now that gasoline prices are inching closer to $3.50!

8. Only 24 days until I can take a deep breath and rest easy!

9. I've successfully cut my caffeine consumption in half since MONDAY. I get headaches, but it's nothing I can't live with . . . well, except that first day . . . I kinda passed out as soon as I got home and then couldn't keep any food down the whole night. But I was good as new the next morning!

10. All NEW episodes of all my shows tonight!!! And let me take this moment to say that I'm SO over Henry and I think Betty will be better off with Gio!

Ok, turns out I do have loads to be thankful for. I'm just so darn tired and stressed! I'll try not to let that rob me of my joy . . .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

1. All the pieces falling into place.

2. Completing my visa app with no problems.

3. The kids catching on to the flow of the speech comp, and them gaining confidence with every recitation.

4. Only 30 instructional days left until the summer. That's actually a bit stressful because there's still SO MUCH I haven't taught my kids!!!

5. What Brandi said Daniel told his little sister after she hit him: "Do not do that again, or satan will be glad!"

6. Hearing more of my students reading more and more everyday. And hearing them help each other learn.

7. The fact that Jim bought Pam an engagement ring two weeks after they started dating! And the fact that they can both laugh over his faux proposals. I heart The Office.

8. Hearing a British accent during my phone interview Tuesday morning . . . even though it was at 6 a.m.

9. Having coworkers that will come in and hold up my arms whenever it gets to be too much. (I have friends that do that too, but at work my colleagues can literally help shoulder the load.)

10. Discovering that God was right when He assured me 2008 would be the year of Restoration.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm not the only one

All seems quiet in the blogosphere. At least the sites I visit are. So I don't feel so bad about the lack of posting. I guess I haven't felt much like talking.

Work's been crazy, as usual. In exactly a week we have a speech competition, which was a surprise - it wasn't supposed to happen until May. But all the kids have managed to pull it together. Mostly. Two of the kids I'm coaching are still learning their speeches. YIKES! I know they'll know them by Wednesday. I hope they'll know them well enough. For their sake. I'd hate for them to freeze and forget it all once they get in front of the judges.

I had a phone interview with King's Arms Tuesday morning. Because of the time difference I had to wake up at 5 a.m. so I could get ready for work before the 6 a.m. phone call. It went well, and it was good to voice my reasons for still wanting to go work on project after so long. Of course they still want me to go over, so the interview wasn't too daunting. But I hung up feeling a bit overwhelmed. It will put me in a hard place financially, somewhere I haven't been in a few years now. And since others are involved that makes this decision even more difficult. Makes me wonder if I'm being selfish, foolish, etc. But I keep praying for God to close the door if this isn't His will.

Speaking of King's Arms, I went back and tagged most of the posts from when I was over there in '04. So if you're interested in knowing exactly what I'll be doing for the next year of my life, just click the tag labeled "KA" and scroll down to start reading from the beginning. There's some powerful stuff there.

Ok, 5:30 a.m. has been coming way too early lately, so this is it for my semi-update post. Tomorrow is Thankful Thursday. Yay! But that means I need to decide if I'm going to Waco on Saturday or not. Oi! I don't think I even mentioned it to B&B yet. I guess they'll find out when they read this!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Guess who

just completed her volunteer visa application to work in the UK starting August 20?

Come on, take a guess . . .



It's ME, of course!

Application is complete and electronically submitted, the fee is paid, now all that remains is my appointment at the "Application Support Center" in exactly two Saturdays. Sounds a bit scary, if ya ask me. But I made it this far; I might as well close the gap.

Now let's just pray that the nice people of the British government will overlook the eensy weensy detail of the low funds in my savings account . . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

1. Our last Family Night was tonight! Yay!!! The best part was we didn't have to plan ANYTHING - a free trip to the Children's Museum!

2. Crossing off something from my "Majorly Daunting and Oppressing To Do List" everyday this week. Yay for being responsible and proactive!

3. My public school students wanting to say a prayer before they ate their lunch in our classroom today.

4. The week quickly passing.

5. Trusting that God will work out the details of our upcoming speech competition - the one that was supposed to take place in MAY but turns out is APRIL 23. YIKES! (You can pray for the 6 little ones participating. I'm not sure they even understand what they're getting themselves into - they're only 5, 6 & 7! And tomorrow I'm going to have to change one of the girl's speeches and pray she learns it all in less than two weeks. Oi!)

6. A new episode of The Office tonight. FINALLY!

7. DVR to recored the aforementioned episode since I was at the museum.

8. The British government making applying for visas so much easier than before! Yay for user friendly websites and online apps!

9. Airfare to London during peak season dropping from $2,000 to $1,000. Can we get below (or at least around) $800, please?!

10. Grace to finally talk to my principal about my plans for next year and her SUPPORT and BLESSING in my endeavor! She thanked me, THANKED ME, for telling her now, since she's making plans for next year. You don't understand what a miracle this is, people! God can do some amazing stuff!!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The silly things I say

"You can get your shoe out of the trash now."

"No sweetie, it's not pick on tree; it's pecan tree. And it's mockingbird, not monkeybird."

"That's not how you wear your shirt!"

"I don't believe you have the audacity to (insert misbehavior here; for example "step out of line")."

"That was a rhetorical question."

"Rule #1: Lift the toilet seat and don't drop pee anywhere! The girls don't want to sit on that!"

"Adam is a boy; so you say he, not she."

"I don't know what it is . . . just eat it . . ."

"Be careful around my computer. Unless you have $1200 to buy me a new one if you break it!"

"Abel, did you pooh on yourself again?!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thankful Thursdays!

1. Caffeine

2. Triscuit Thin Crisps

3. Pasta & Brown Rice (not necessarily the 2 eaten together)

4. 3 scoops of ice cream with a cup of hot coffee poured over it. Mmmm...

5. Girl Scout Cookies (yeah, I know, I know, they're not SB friendly. Whatev.)

(Hmm . . . I'm sensing a theme here . . . )

6. Perfecting my Carne Guisada recipe.

7. Caffeine (Yeah, I know I said that one already; I've been exhausted all week and it's the only thing that's kept me partially awake.)

8. Being able to hold Parent Conferences in Spanish.

9. Hanging out with my little cousins last weekend while their momma was having baby Benjamin.

10. 39 days left of school!!!
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