Thursday, June 30, 2011

My radical experiment

While in Honduras, I read the book Radical by David Platt. It seemed an appropriate place to read it. There are a lot of amazing thoughts in that book. Things I had never considered. The subtitle is "Taking back your faith from the American Dream." I have often asked myself where my Americanism ends and my Christianity begins. You can't ever separate them, but I think it's good to know that one influences the other and vice versa. So since the book was about being more Christian and less American, Honduras seemed like a good place to read it. At the end of the book, he talks about a radical experiment. It involves 5 things to do in 1 year:

1. Read the entire Bible
2. Pray for the whole world
3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
4. Spend time in another context (like a not-your-home area mission trip)
5. Commit to a multiplying community

Considering I'm a youth leader at my church and involved in other committees AND I've been to Honduras and am trying to go back, this looks like an easy list right? Um...NO

Confession time coming.........................................................

I am HORRIBLE about reading my Bible and praying regularly. Yes we drill these things into the heads of our youth and I try to post something about the Bible weekly on here. But I don't really do it every day. During the school year, I can always manage to fit in 15 minutes or so. Sometimes less, but I can fit it in. When I don't have a structure like on the weekends or on a day off, I don't seem to get around to it. I pray with my son every night and I add in some of my own thoughts silently, but I don't spend a lot of time in prayer just me and God. So the first two things on that list are massive for me. Being inspired and knowing I have some pretty big things that God is calling me to, I did a little bit of looking.

1. If I read 5 pages a day, I will finish one of my study bibles, including all the study materials in slightly less than a year. I am on page 25 on day 4. LOTS left to go, but this is a start.
2. The book mentions a website, Operation World. They break down some general prayer needs for EVERY country in the world. So I'm praying for 2 countries a day. There are less than 200 countries in the world, so I figure I'll go through the list 3 and half times.

3. We sponsor 2 kids and a missionary. Not to mention, I want to give to just about every charity I hear about. Sacrificing for a cause is easy, but using our money better every month is a little harder. It is also my goal.

4. I want to go back to Honduras. It was amazing and the kids are awesome. However, it isn't just that. I learned quite a bit while I was there about where God might be leading me and how to get there. I have a long way to go, so I need to learn all that I can. Plus leaving the country helps me see some more of where America ends and Christianity begins.

5. I am a part of a local church and I really, really, really want to see it grow more in spiritual stature. So this is something to which I'm already committed. Now I just need to PRAY about HOW God wants me to do it.

So keep me honest guys. I've put it out there and of course right now I want to accomplish this. Help me keep this want to up all year long. Thanks for taking this journey with me!

The best Honduras has to offer

So after a busy week of VBS and a fun weekend of hanging out, Honduras seems a world away. I still think about the kids often, but I feel firmly back on US soil instead of half here and half there. So I'm looking forward to the post this week. It will give me a chance to relive some of the best moments. So this post might seem a little random, but I'm going to try to put down my top 5 memories.

5. Pulperia - Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what the word means. In Spanish, anything ending with -eria is a store that sells the first part of the word. Zapateria - Shoe Store. Joyeria - Jewelry store. Panaderia - Bread store (Bakery). Pasteleria - Cake store (Cake Bakery). So what is pulpo? Octopus. Personally, I was really confused. I had never heard this word before and had no clue what to expect. It is NOT a store that sells octopus though. It is a little snack shack generally attached to someone's house. There was one every 'block'. I use the term loosely because we were in the country and there weren't really blocks, but you get the idea. Why is it called pulperia then? A woman has to be like an octopus to run the store, her house, and keep her kids in line. Cute huh? We went to the pulperia close to Casa Hogar one day. It only cost 1 or 2 lempira for a little ice pop, called Chavi, or a bag of chips, or a drink. That's like 5 or 10 cents. I couldn't believe it was so cheap! On the suggestion of one of the kids, I had a Chavi. It was awesome! Fruity and icy withougt all the syrupy grossness of American stuff. In typical Latin American fashion, you bite off the corner and suck it out that way. (My students in Mexico would do something similar with their fruit drinks.) I just love the entrepreneurial spirit you find in Latin America that realizes the necessity of family as well.

4. Tortillas Unlike the options here in the US, they are neither flour nor corn. The best explanation I can give is corn flour. A little bit of both and so yummy. The are served with every lunch and dinner. I'm not sure if there is a correct way to use them. So sometimes I would put rice in them and eat it that way. Sometimes I would tear it up and use it to soak up extra broth. They are a little dry to eat just by themselves, so they are in my experience always eaten with the food. You know a bite of food, a bite of tortilla, bite of food, etc. They are made fresh for every meal as well. The masa (dough) is made before hand and kept in a large bowl. When the meal time comes, the last thing they do is get some dough from the masa and make the tortillas. Like the following:

Sorry for the bad videography!

I have seen a tortilla press used and other times when it isn't used. Mostly I think it depends on the crowd you are serving. In this case about 30 or so people, which is a lot, so the press is used. I love eating them because the rest of the food compliments them so well. Yummy!

3. Homework The students in Honduras go to school from February through mid November. So the kids were in school while we were there. Friday was a teacher workday, so they had a long weekend. Even with the long weekend, most of them had homework to work on every afternoon. And since I'm a teacher at heart, I loved helping them with their homework and watching them understand it. I loved watching the other adults helping them with their work. I loved watching them help each other and studying on their own. These kids work so hard on whatever it is in front of them. There was never complaining, well maybe a frustrated sigh, but no verbal complaints about it. They knew when homework time was and got to it. There were several times when we got to help them work and I discovered long division is hard in any language. More than once the other Americans deferred to me because I speak Spanish fluently or Amy, the math teacher. I worked through several problems with them, but I'm not sure if I did it right. I had them work out some of the guess and check on a separate piece of paper. Sounds okay right? That's what we do here in the US, but I'm not sure if they were supposed to or not. I got the impression they were supposed to do the multiplication for the guess and check in their head. Even though it was 56 times 7 and other problems as such. We tried a couple without the paper to work it out and I just couldn't keep up, so we used paper. And the whole time I thought, "I hope I'm not ruining some the methods of some other teacher." Constantly a teacher!

2. Music The kids LOVED music. They loved singing and dancing. They sang Justin Beiber, the songs on the radio, the songs with our lessons, and even the commercial jingles. Sometimes I wonder if they didn't prefer singing to speaking. They also loved dancing as evidenced by our last night there. We had an impromptu dance party. They showed us their dance to Baby by Justin Beiber. We tried to imitate it only to find out that they showed us the boy part and not the girl part. We tried anyway. After Justin, I showed them the merengue, which was also danced to Justin Beiber. They loved learning something new and all jumped in to try it. My students are NEVER that eager to learn it. Then Maya showed us the Scottish Sword Dance. To me it looked like Irish Step Dancing, but around swords instead of a pattern. Of course, we didn't use swords. It was a mop and a broom. Then Keith and Katie, another couple visiting Casa Hogar, showed us their swing moves. The kids REALLY loved this. I think for many of them they enjoyed seeing a loving marriage in action. They don't get to see that often. To make things better, music and dancing were involved!

1. Kids being kids These kids were not worried about how cool they looked or acted. They weren't worried about being dressed right. They weren't worried about having the right music on their ipod or watching the right TV shows. They were just kids that ran and jumped and played in old clothes without thinking twice. They were just kids who were excited by suckers, Jello, and Kool-aid. (Sugar is a rare treat.) They were kids who liked playing with duct tape, paint swatches, and potato chip bags. Or at least they pretended to enjoy our crafts. They loved playing with the bubbles Ashley brought and even created their own bubble wands with grass or their mouths. They took jump ropes and made 3 different games out of them and created tournaments among themselves. This is how I remember the best moments of my childhood. And I wonder do our kids here in the US experience enough of this or do they grow up way too soon?

If you want pictures and details head over to Katie Hawkins' blog. Start with Wednesday and read through until Tuesday. There are lots of videos and photos. It is totally worth the read!

One last thought. Honorable Mention goes to afternoon rain storms and bilingual church services. A little rain to cool things off in the afternoon is never a bad thing. Some of the kids even walked home from tutoring in one of these storms. And unlike storms here in NC, they actually cooled things off instead of making them hotter. We went to church while we were there and it was amazing. The music was nice, but the sermon and the prayer were AMAZING!!! They both spoke directly to me and had me in tears. God works in all languages!

Another few thoughts on Honduras are in this post from Katie Hawkins. Even with all the amazing things, she picked up some bad habits. Can you believe it? Head over there and read all about them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where is my heart?

I had a much more detached and cerebral post planned, but I can't do it. I have to pour out my heart and tell you everything I'm thinking. Not just because this is my blog and that's what I'm supposed to do, but because this is a community based on Christ and transparency is essential.

The week I spent in Honduras has changed me. "Well duh!" you say. I know that's what mission trips are supposed to do and I expected some change. I didn't expect this much change or for such a struggle when I returned. Going down there I had a few ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. Things like reconnecting with Latin America to share with my colleagues when I returned and getting some good ideas for the classes I'm teaching in the fall. I was thinking of this trip as a way to connect me to my new responsibilities at my job. And it has done that some.

I expected to be more appreciative of what I have and I am. I have really been enjoying simply watching TV with Drew, eating as a family, and playing with Ben. The simple act of getting a glass of water has become special. I am beginning to realize what a luxury it is and I'm taking advantage of it. I don't feel like I need soda or tea. I am genuinely enjoying drinking water. Having a closet full of clothes and a paved road to walk on are things I see with new eyes. These are things that I hope to take with me from now on. This appreciation is something I hope to hold on to. Even now, sitting here listening to Ben scream because he doesn't want to take a nap. I realize that these moments are special even when they try your patience. God has blessed me TREMENDOUSLY to be able to live here in the U.S. with anything I want within reach. There are certainly problems and things we could learn from other places, but we are also very lucky.

What I didn't expect was the kids. Each individual kid was SOOO amazing. They are hard working, creative, and loving. They are fun and humorous. They are honest and just. They get along wonderfully with each other. I may spell some names wrong, but I need to mention each one. Paola, Milda, Liliana, Malena, Dionora, Maria, Dania, Joselin, Eva, Luz, Dariela, Maycol, Junior, Bayron, Oscar, Edin, Moises, Raul, Haroll, Jonatan, Axell, Luis, and Denis. And I can't forget to mention some of the AMAZING women who work there, Alicia, Gloria, and Maricarmen. I am in love with this place and these people. I could go on and on about the special things about each one, but I'll reserve that for another post. I am ready to go back there right now. I am genuinely missing these kids. I'm here at home feeling not so useful. It seems that there is so much left to do. If these kids were adoptable (their parents can't raise them, but they still have guardianship.), I would have honestly come home and started adoption proceedings. I know I'm not the only one of my group that felt that way.

I am repeating "Not my will, but Yours be done." I'm hoping I'll start meaning that soon. I hope I begin to focus again on what needs to be done in front of me here and now instead of obsessing over what is out of my control. I need to have faith that God has a special plan for each one of these children. I don't have to plan it or be a part of that plan. Bottom line, I didn't expect to leave part of my heart in Honduras and I'm not really sure what to do about it either.

In case you want a little lighter review of the trip check out my other post and Katie Hawkins

Linking up with Casey for "What is on your heart?" Friday.


8 myths busted in Honduras

These are in the order that I discovered them, not order of importance.

1. Roosters only crow at sunrise. I quickly found this to be untrue. Or I should say my sleeping routine did. They crow at night, in the morning, and pretty much all throughout the day. I have to say that after a couple days back home, I still expect to hear them everywhere.

Thanks to Katie Hawkins for the video.

2. Poor people are sad. The people I saw there seemed to be enjoying life. They may not have everything they need or want, but they do enjoy what they have. I saw a lot of laughing and smiling. The really seemed happier than most people I know here in the US. That old saying 'Money can't buy happiness' is very true. We have money and lots of people around here aren't happy. They don't have so much of it, but they were pretty happy. Happiness is not a reflection of your socioeconomic status. It is a decision that you make.

3. Uninvolved parents aren't a problem. Most of these kids come from crappy home backgrounds and their parents are not involved in their day to day life. We say, 'Oh that's a bad thing.' But do we really mean it. When I'm working more than I need to and I'm not home to play with Ben, do I know it then? Do I know it when I'm trying to watch a TV show instead of reading him a book? I think I forget this way too often. One kid had a birthday while we were there and his mother called. He and his brother ran top speed to get to the phone and talk to their mom. Another child got in the arm during a soccer game. It hurt him quite a bit. He went over to the corner of the patio crying. He needed his mom to put him in her lap, give him a big hug, and let him cry for a minute. I would love to tell you I stepped right up and did that. But I have to be honest and say that I was overwhelmed. I saw his need so clearly and I felt TOTALLY underqualified. I should have done something and I didn't. The whole thing just makes me sad.

4. People in 3rd world countries don't care about their country. We may not consciously say these things, but in our heads we think them. We hear stories and think, "How can they let this go on?" They don't just let it go on. They do care about what is happening, but they are not equipped to deal with. Maybe because of a lack of education, maybe because of government corruption, maybe because of a bunch of other stuff that I don't understand. But I know what I heard and that was an incredible prayer from an incredible pastor that brought me to tears. He was praying very passionately for his country to be a fair and just country for everyone. We should pray like that more often for our own country.

5. You have to speak the language to communicate. Two of the women that went with us did not speak Spanish at all, but they communicated. Hand gestures and tones of voice go a long way. But even more than that, they loved on these kids. And that needs no language.

6. You can wear it right away. No washing necessary. I generally live by this rule, but my blue wrist now tells me that I shouldn't. Oops!

7. Kids have no imagination these days. With two jump ropes, these kids jumped rope, played limbo, played high jump, and had jet packs. They had TONS of imagination and loved to use it. A more accurate statement might be kids that spend all their time tethered to technology have no imagination.

A drawing one of the kids made with the rain water in a puddle. I thought it was super creative!

8. Accepting love is easy. Giving love can be easy sometimes. It certainly was this week, but accepting it is not. These kids did an AMAZING job of letting us love on them. Their acceptance and openness to loving and being loved showed me just how closed off we are as Americans. Our "do it yourself" mentality extends as far as our hearts. That is unfortunate.

There is lots more that I learned, but I haven't processed it all. So the coming weeks will be filled with more lessons to share. In case you are interested in a few more thoughts, check out what Katie Hawkins had to say.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding my story: My Parents

Family Group Photo Credit: anyjazz65

I have always loved to hear family stories. When I was a teen, I had boxes of old family stuff in my closet because my closet had the tallest ceilings. I remember spending weekend nights looking through those boxes. Some kids go party, I looked through family history. I used to be self conscious about that. I felt like that made me a freak or something. I have since come to embrace this about myself. I love hearing stories about family members whether I knew them or not. I enjoy hearing stories about my husband's family. I even enjoy listening to people tell stories about their grandparents or other family members.

With that in mind, I thought I would tell some of the stories that I have heard about my family members. What story to start with? That one was a little hard because there are so many. then I realized that my parents 31st anniversary was yesterday and I thought a short little story about them would be great.

A little background, my parents started dating when my dad was a freshman in high school and my mom was a junior. They dated for 4 years and then got married after Dad graduated, like a week after he graduated. They have been happily married ever since then. And yes I am that lucky to have parents who are still so in love. It has been an amazing blessing.

So on to the story, once my dad told me about the first time he saw my mom. He was walking through downtown Fairfield probably going to work or coming from work. There was an advertisement on a store window for the Miss Fairfield pageant. Knowing that I can assume this was in the fall, like September or so. The Miss Fairfield pageant is just what it sounds like a pageant with high school girls to find the prettiest girl in town. So in effort to get the word out about all the pretty girls competing there were advertisements on store windows showing all the girls competing. This year my mom was one of them. So he was walking by one of the store windows and saw her. She was the only one he noticed because he thought she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen and it was love at first sight.  Sometime he asked her out.  They had a first date around Valentine's Day I think. And they lived happily ever after.  Happily ever after is our goal too.

  Image from courthouselover via Flickr

  Image from Fairfield Chamber of Commerce

  Image from Southeastern Illinois

Monday, June 13, 2011


My last post was an update on My One Word. I started this journey from a random Facebook link and then 6 months later I'm blown away by what a difference this whim has made. Another blog I read, Grit and Glory, asked for an update on our words. So I obliged mostly because I was planning on posting that anyway. Then I actually linked it up and thought I was done. Or not! I read through several other blog posts from other people about other words. They were wonderful!! They spoke about their words and gave examples in their lives. They spoke clearly and openly so that even a newbie could see their path. I feel like I only halfway did that and I think God feels that way too. How do I know? Church today! It's amazing how often a good church service can do that.

Today was Homecoming Sunday for our church. I have to be honest and say I didn't really get why were having it. Sorry to all my SRWC readers out there, but I really expected this to be just a fluffy little Sunday. I didn't expect to learn something or a whole lot of somethings. I now understand that Homecoming is to celebrate the birthday of a church. I also understand why that is important for our church, which by the way is 106 years old.

So a little more info that should have been in the last post before I tell you what I learned in church. I have long lived by the motto, "Let your life be your witness." That is a good idea, but you can't rely solely on that. And I have for a while. This word hope required me to actually speak up for Jesus, not just smile and nod until someone seeks me out. I spoke up and said Jesus is the answer. I had to stop and listen to someone talk about their messiness. I have had to pray for that person and for an answer. I have had to deal with the heartbreak of a non-response to my message. And that is awesome! It has not killed me. It has not driven me to depression. It has not caused me to lose my job. It has not caused me to lose friends. It has not caused me to lose reputation points. HOWEVER, it has caused me to discover a bigger calling than I knew I could handle. It has caused me to passionately care about the endangered childhoods out there. It has caused me to face each day with more hope and more vigor than I knew I had. It has caused my faith to grow. It has caused my control freak nature to back off a little. It has caused me to live more intentionally. It has caused me to focus on my real priorities in life. So yeah I'm excited about living out the rest of my hope year.

Today I learned what I need to know about hope. It may be a shock to hear a 'good Christian girl' to say this, but I don't really look forward to Heaven. I know it is there and I will love to hang with Jesus, but I don't want that right now. Ever since I have become a Christian I have lived in fear that Heaven is closer than I want it to be. So I haven't looked forward to it. I have always thought about it as forcing to leave things undone. God has been pressing me about this for a while. I have posted about Eternity and Paradise. I have been getting an glimpse of the big picture that I haven't been seeing. In my little sermon notes notebook, I recently wrote, "Stop desiring the beauty and glory of this world. Desire God more. Desire his beauty and his glory. He made it, so [you should] want him and his [things]. [And] not just to make up for what I don't have here!!! God isn't a sloppy second." The term may be a bit risque. Sorry, but that is exactly I was feeling. All too often that is how I treat God, especially when it comes to the issue of Heavenly beauty vs. natural beauty. I want to see it all and experience it all here because when I get to Heaven my chance will be over.

So our guest pastor today talked about our home during Homecoming. It was very appropriate for so many reasons. The most important one being God wanted to tell me this. The guest musicians we had also talked about Heaven. Both of them mentioned that Heaven is beautiful. So beautiful that we can't really describe it well. Gold, jade, rubies, and crystal are a pale reflection of what Heaven really is. Once again I go back to the idea that God created the whole universe, including the beautiful places here on Earth. So won't Heaven be like what we have only better. God is there and his creation is there! I need to take the time to picture Heaven as it really is and not as my fears have made it out to be. I need to see what the reality of it is because I am supposed to be giving hope. How can I possibly be giving hope if I don't have it myself? How can I give people hope about my anchor that gets me through the storms of this life and not give them hope about the shore that we are going to? The truth is that I can't. If I am not giving them hope for the whole picture, then I'm not giving them hope. At the very least not enough hope.

This is especially important right now because on Wednesday I'm going to Honduras. I'm going there to spread the love and hope of God to these children that so desperately need to know it. How can I look at them and tell them about Jesus without telling them the best part? Because if I leave out Heaven am I not telling them that this world is the best there is? And that would be a really crappy message. So this very appropriate message that God reinforced to me over and over again is the next step in My One Word journey, a journey that ultimately leads me to other people.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hebrews 6:19 One Word

At the beginning of this year, I was introduced to a new website/concept named One Word. The idea being that you focus on One Word to improve on throughout the year. Picking an accompanying Bible verse is suggested as well. If you focus on improving that one thing about yourself for the whole year you will see significant change in yourself. It didn't take me long to pick a word because the Sunday after I heard about this there was one word that I heard repeated by several people that morning. The word? HOPE. There are so many out there without hope in their lives and I have hope. So I need to be sharing and giving that hope to others.

The accompanying verse: Hebrews 6:19 "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,"

That anchor for the soul is what I need to be sharing with others. So with my word picked, I have been praying and thinking about that word. With June being the halfway mark, I have to say that I have not been thinking about it as much as I should in the last few weeks. However in this first half of the year, I have gone out of my way several times to give hope to people. I have taken the time to listen to what is going on in the lives of those around me. I have prayed for the right words and then used them. My family and I have sponsored a 2nd child and I am getting ready to go Honduras in a few days to spread some more hope to some really great kids down there. As a part of my trip, we have had to raise money. I have made the effort to present the needs of these children in an honest and heartfelt way. I don't really like the guilt trip approach, but sometimes the truth just works that way. I have presented truth and given people an opportunity to spread hope as well.

One difficulty that I have encountered is that even when I give this hope, not everyone receives it. I have tried in various ways to spread hope to those in my circle of influence. Some have received it and moved forward in their relationship with God. Others have listened closely and I knew that a seed was planted or watered. Other have listened, seemed to follow, and then fallen back into old ways. Those are the difficult ones. It is frustrating to see them making the same mistakes over and over again. Hope sounds like a nice fluffy word, but in order to give it you have to look right into the messiness of real life and meet people where they really are. I didn't know hope involved so many other aspects. I have most definitely grown this half year and I feel like I am a different person that I was just a few short months ago. I know that is because of my word, HOPE!

Did you pick one? How is going with you?

UPDATE: I had more to say than I realized. If you would like to hear more of the story, read this.

Special kid

As a parent there are some moments when you are completely right there and you realize, "Wow, this is really happening!" I had several of those moments the other day. Monday I came home and Drew showed me Ben's new trick. We have a calendar from PetCo of adopted animals and the money supported animal shelters. We needed a calendar and who doesn't love a kitty or a puppy? So last month we showed Ben the calendar to distract him from something. He has been pretty demanding since then. He loves the calendar. Anyway, Monday I came home and Ben had a trick. Drew would point on the back of the calendar to an animal and Ben would say it's name. He knew June - Dec. and a couple months in the first half. It was then that I thought, "Man, this kid is smart!" Followed by, "How will I keep him engaged and not tearing things up from boredom?"

Shortly after that, I was playing with him in the backyard. Of course, he is running. So I took his hand and ran with him. When he was running, I actually had to jog to keep up. I thought, "Wow, this kid is fast." Followed by, "Wow, I'm out of shape!" I have to admit I was winded after running back and forth a couple times. Of course, stopping after a run to get him going back in the right direction didn't help. But still I'm out of shape. I should probably run with him in the backyard more often.

I am very blessed that God trusted Drew and I with this special little guy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Isaiah 30:21: Tunnels

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Ben and I were playing last night and he pulled out his tunnel. He crawled through it several times giggling all the way. Of course to be funny I crawled through it too. That was hard and Ben got impatient and crawled over me through the tunnel. At the head of it where my shoulders were he couldn't quite get through. So he whined a little and tried to shove me out of the way. This got me to thinking a little. When I made it out, I sat at one end of it and Ben ran to the end of the hall. He turned around and came running back to the tunnel at top speed. Then he sort of jumped into it. I say sort of because it wasn't a full jump or he would have pretty seriously hurt himself. The running to the tunnel got me to thinking some more. This is what I was thinking about.

Tunnels have one way in and one way out. They are generally relatively small spaces. You can't really turn around in the middle and go back the way you came. There isn't a whole lot of space to move around in. You get in and you have to keep going forward until you get out. What if God's will for us is like that? What if he wants us to go one very specific path? What if there isn't room to turn around or room to just hang out in the middle of this path? Will we run to that path? Are we so content to keep moving forward?

I feel like God has had me on a very specific narrow path for a little over a year now. He didn't show me the ultimate destination and I'm not sure I know it yet. He has just shown me one step at a time. There are a couple times I have balked at the next step, but like a tunnel there wasn't any room to turn around and it was uncomfortable to stay put. The only option was to move forward. So I have been slowly moving forward. I didn't come running to this path either, but I am glad that I am on this path. I know I am in God's will and it is a little overwhelming, but I'm excited about what he as in store for me.

Are you in a tunnel? Have you been in one? How did it turn out?

Thursday, June 2, 2011


When the internet came to Southern Illinois and I got my first email address, the problem of a username. You want something that sounds cool and represents you. Of course at that time with dial up internet and what not, you had to be careful about information that you released. So you wouldn't want to use your name or anything. My final decision was the nickname I had my senior year and my birth year, mud_80.

After a little while, this one got boring and I wanted to switch email providers. So I went to yahoo and zoinks_44. The number of my favorite hockey player at the time and something for Scooby Doo, my favorite cartoon. After awhile, that one also had to go. I got tired of the underscore. That seems petty in hindsight, but I changed it. Now it was cloudboxer. Why? It was totally random. I thought those words sounded cool together, it was a valid username, and it didn't have any numbers or extra characters. A little while after this, I made a list of words that I thought sounded happy and looked cool. Then I put them together to make potential usernames for whatever needs may come.

So a couple years ago, I was presented with the wonderfulness that is Google. After some prodding, I switched. And yes another username. I referred to my handy list and narrowed it down. I decided that I did want a dot in between the two words. The dot is way cooler than the underscore in my book. (I may have had myspace before google in which case the username was decided upon there.) Of the words I had, citrus and sunshine seemed the happiest and a good length to have. So I put a dot in between the two words because the 2 letters together is too much, which is why that sentence is so weird. I didn't know how to word it without two letters back to back like that. Now the word success doesn't bother me, but when it spans two different words and the become confused we have a problem. So Google with it's wonderful dot separated the two words and I had a username with which I was satisfied.

Then came the blog, which started as a little pregnancy update for my family. (Don't go read the first few blogs, I'm sure they are really bad.) I didn't have a name for the website, so I thought just go with the username. I didn't have a name or a good design either. I know have a name and a design that is getting there. The website name remains the same and seems oddly unrelated to the blog name. I'm okay with that because I like to think I am becoming citrus.sunshine.

How? Partly because I think I have finally picked a favorite scent with Scentsy. After a year of burning a bunch of different stuff and having probably 30 different bars in my house, I think I have decided what is my favorite. Citrus Sun Tea is the best. I smelled it in a sample at first and it was okay. I got the bar and it smelled a little better. I burned it tonight for the first time and it is amazing. Citrusy? Yes, but not overwhelmingly so. The sun tea part tones down the citrus to make it pleasant with a hint of fresh tea. (I guess you would call tea fresh.)

So I have finally found a perfect username and I am happy to be out in the internet world as Mrs. Citrus.Sunshine.

P.S. Having said that, I realize that my Twitter name is different. It is another option from that list of great words. At the time I wasn't as comfortable with my username. I'm not quite as pleased with it as citrus.sunshine, but I guess it is too late to change it.

How did you come up with your username? Do you like it?