This update went out via email to some of you blog-readers, along with a visual aid . . .
We returned from the last Cross Country race in the pouring rain, each girl emerging soaked to the bone and quite bespeckled with mud splatters and smears. But what I am most proud about is the fact that not only did all finish, but all finished with at least a minute of a faster time than her best race so far. I teased them as they moaned about the rain pre-race, saying that the rain would make them run faster. One new recruit, still naive about my occasional propensity for sarcasm, looked at me curiously and asked “Why’s that, Coach?” So I did not hesitate, post-race, to grin at her and say, “See? I told you rain makes you run faster!”

blessings and benedictions

October 18, 2006

So today I met with the headmaster, to tell him about the strange new opportunity on my horizon. I trembled with fear of the unknown as I broached the subject, knowing that I could not go through with this unless he not only said it was ok to leave, but that I could see that he really meant that it was ok.
As I began to explain the background and current situation he stopped and got up to shut the door [his office door is usually left open]. He got tears in his eyes, and then proceeded to tell me several instances lately in which he had been especially thankful for my work there. He said that I would be an asset as long as I chose to stay at the school. And then he spoke of how clearly God speaks to us through our lives at times . . . and he told me that I had his blessing if I went ahead with this plan.
I guess that pretty much clenched it for me: I spent much of the day on the verge of happy, decided tears: sad at the prospect of leaving but increasingly confident that I must follow this “unknown” path before me.
Incidentally, I also spoke today with the man who trained me in my first library job. He was preparing for a 2-year mission abroad, and I was blessed to benefit from his tutelage before he left . . . And now he and his wife are back in the U.S. trying to figure out where to devote their work energies. For this semester he is teaching 2 classes at the school . . . and he said he would seriously consider taking over the library if I were to do this. I would end up [sheepishly] training him in the ways of my library, if so . . . Strange to realize that this would bring us full circle, in a sense–in a bizarre, God’s-sense-of-humor sort of way :-)

pursued by a dream

October 17, 2006

Africa has been pursuing me for as long as I can remember, but with a bit greater intensity for the past several years. I have not known if it is processing, writing, analyzing that is required or if it is a nudging towards something more active in nature. I have wondered if missions is in store, with a background that should presumably leave me prepared for it. But I always dismiss it as impractical for now– But then again, I am wondering, perhaps my single, as-of-yet un-settled status makes it time to think about it after all. After spending time in France, China, Peru, Jamaica, Mexico, and other countries, my past several years of work as a teacher, writer, and school librarian have left me content and yet with a nudging in my heart towards overseas work that never quite leaves. I used to push it aside thinking that it would be more suited to once I was married. Now, however, in my late 20’s, I am realizing that it is a cop-out to push God’s voice to the background out of some sort of a fear of living an independently fruitful life . . .

So I wrote a few weeks ago. And tonight I am asking myself what I have gotten myself into . . . So what do I do when a dream is within reach and I, only I, can answer the question of whether or not I should take hold of that dream? Africa has been pursuing me . . . and this past week it caught up with me. Do I leave everything in my life at the moment in order to fill an immediate need for a teacher in Zambia? Because the need is there does it mean that I am the one who is meant to fill it? Is it right to change current commitments in order to answer an apparently more pressing need? So many questions . . . and so little time left now to answer them . . .

today is . . .

October 5, 2006

According to a story on NPR, October 5 is the most common birthday in the world. Strange to me, as I do not know that many people with this birthday. So when the most common day of birth combines with the least common personality type [according to Myers Briggs], you get . . . ?? ;-)

natural causes

October 2, 2006

Tragedy has struck in the hills. But after extensive investigation city officials have concluded that the victim died of “natural causes and was not the victim of a dog or coyote attack as originally feared.” All the same, protective measures are now being taken to prevent harm being done to the others . . . guard donkeys, it seems, are the solutions. These are no ordinary donkeys; these ones “know how to deal with dogs or coyotes with a strong kick” So the newspaper reported this week. We mourn the loss of one of our appetite-endowed goats. But we have emerged wiser and more prepared for potential attacks in the future . . . and there will be a replacement goat, our goat farmer assures us, so that we can continue fully-forced in the battle against kudzu.