Thursday, November 29, 2012

MOTh: Days 28 and 29

3 Gifts in Community
  1. I'm thankful for the Bible study I've joined here in Korea.  This is a group of women who are all unmarried and in the same program to teach.  We've been studying community, and I've been learning a lot.  Furthermore, it's really nice to meet with a group that's full of people who are in the exact same station in life.  It's reassuring to hear my same struggles coming out of their mouths, and it's such a blessing to have just about every viewpoint of the spectrum represented in our group, so we get the full gamut of perspective.
  2. I'm thankful for the Bible study I joined in high school.  We still communicate regularly - more so than usual these days.  We've all changed a good deal, but it's amazing to have a group that immediately knows the background story that you bring into any situation you lay before them.  Whether we come to each other with a life update or asking for opinions on which umbrella to buy, we know each other and how to answer.
  3. In case you've missed the rest of my thankfulness posts, I'm thankful for my family.  Today, I came across the picture below, and immediately thought of my cousin.  The more I talk about my relationship with her, the more I'm told it's unusual and something to be cherished; think about it: I have a cousin with whom I'm so close that we would fall into the superficial definition of "sisters," even according to those who have them.  That is a blessing that few can claim.

3 Gifts Red
  1. I'm thankful for Kris and Cora, who live upstairs.  They're both sweet, incredibly caring people, and I'm so happy for them to have been married recently.  (Their wedding colors were Black, White, and Red.)  And for bonus points, the color of the hydrogen peroxide bottle that Kris ran about a mile to get for me in order to help me stop an allergic reaction is (you guessed it) red.
  2. I'm thankful for Dr. Nate Kerr, who introduced me to Soren Kierkegaard.  Soren changed my life through his book Fear and Trembling, which happens to be bound in red.  His words and Nate's teachings changed everything.  Not a day goes past without me repeating a Kierkegaard quote or concept to myself.
  3. I'm thankful for the blood of Christ.  I'm so overwhelmed by it.  I'm crushed that it was necessary.  But I'm thankful.  I don't have enough words to convey that.  Luckily, I get an eternity to attempt to do it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MOTh: Days 26 and 27

3 Gifts Preparing
I've failed at this since Thanksgiving time.  In my defense, there's a storm brewing, and it's been killing my head for the past couple of days.  As much as I feel strongly about snow, I wish it'd just do its thing already and leave my head out of it.
  1. I'm thankful that I have options of where I want to go from here.  Granted, the only option I'm going to take is the one G-d puts in front of me, but I don't need to feel panicked about it while waiting for Him to show me His way.
  2. I'm thankful for all the Christmas and Chanukah stuff laying around my apartment.  I think I'm going to try to get around to putting it up tonight. :)
  3. I'm thankful for the mission G-d is preparing me for.  I know that He's got a plan for me specifically, and that warms my heart to know. :)

A Gift Handmade
One of my professors in college made my Harry Potter wand for me.  I'm a child on the inside, so I was thrilled.  :)
A Gift Held
Miss Paisley Grace means a ton to me.

and a Gift Happy
재영's sweet smile always could make me happy.  :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

MOTh: Day 25

3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful
  1. I'm thankful for Tyra Banks.  Not that she's ugly at all, but she talks about being ugly-beautiful a lot on America's Next Top Model.  Judge me if you'd like, but I really enjoy that show.  Furthermore, I think Tyra is doing wonderful things, especially for young women around the globe.  She's probably the one person on this earth I'd most like to get to know.
  2. I'm thankful for snow.  That stuff makes me feel ugly, but it's really beautiful to look at.  And, even though it makes my face grumpy, my students really like it... so, that's a good thing, I guess.
  3. I'm thankful for the movie Elf, because, even though I'm not a big fan of it, it's going to handle the rest of my classes for a while.  Yay.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MOTh: Day 22-24

A Gift Grateful
  1. I'm grateful for friends who are experiencing the same things I am and can become a family together for Thanksgiving.
3 Gifts Only in Christ
  1. I'm thankful to be alive.  I know that if it wasn't for Christ, I'd be dead now.  Sometimes I forget, but mostly it shapes everything I do.
  2. I'm thankful for my G-d.  I'm thankful that He loves me.  I'm thankful that he died for me.  I'm thankful that He uses me.  I'm thankful to be His.
  3. I'm thankful for love.  I fully think that the only reason why we can love is because He empowers us to do so.  Maybe He empowers us without us knowing Him, but it's all Him.  It's something only He can do, and I'm grateful for the moments I can tap into that.
3 Gifts Humble
  1. I'm thankful for (humble) pie.  I really like pie.  It's delicious, and I've had a lot of bonding moments over pie.
  2. I'm thankful for the Humbles, who I met at Trevecca.  In reality, we barely know each other, but I often think about them.  Sometimes they pop up on my Skype, because Emily was willing to talk to me about living abroad before I moved to Korea.  I barely know them, but they have blessed me.
  3. I'm thankful for bumble bees.  They're not really humble, but I can't say that word without thinking "bumble."  I'm rather nervous of bumble bees, but they allow for things like flowers.  And other bees make honey.  So, really, bees are pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MOTh: Day 21

3 Gifts Family

Yup.  Breaking format.  In reality, almost every gift is because of my family, so I'm posting way more than 3.  I have another side to my family, too... this is just the Thanksgiving side.

  1. I'm thankful for my family.
  2. I'm thankful for my family.
  3. I'm thankful for my family!

Thanksgiving 1992

Thanksgiving 1993
Thanksgiving 1994
Thanksgiving 1995
Thanksgiving 1996
Thanksgiving 1997
August 1998 (I don't know what happened to Thanksgiving.)
Thanksgiving 1999
Thanksgiving 2000

Skip a few...

Thanksgiving 2007
Thanksgiving 2008 (Dave and I went to Texas to see Becky this year.)
Thanksgiving 2009
Thanksgiving 2010 (This was a hard one.)
Thanksgiving 2011 (This was hard for me, as it was my first Thanksgiving away from family.)

And many happy returns.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

MOTh: Days 19 and 20

3 Gifts Autumn
I'm naturally inclined to be a fan of Autumn.  The only problem is that I've never really been able to get through one without allergies coming in and trying to suffocate me.  It's miserable.  I'm normally a mouth-breather for three months (at least) of the year, and, let me tell you, it doesn't matter how cute that sweater is... Pockets full of tissues and snot-trailed make-up are not attractive.  But!  This year has happened to be different, because...
  1. I'm thankful that my allergies haven't kicked up this Fall.  That's right!  I can breathe!!!  I don't have to be continually EXHAUSTED (although I've been staying up too late these days, and that's definitely making up for it).  I forgot what it was to look cute in the Fall, and, I've got to say, I'm loving it. :)
  2. I'm thankful for Fall holidays.  I love them all... or at least the concept of all of them, since there are a few in there that I don't really celebrate.  But, really, there are all of these wonderful days, most of which are centered around thankfulness and remembrance, and I love it.
  3. I'm thankful for Fall food.  I crave it all year, but, while some people try to limit their Christmas music intake, I try to limit my harvest produce intake.  On the other hand, as soon as I get the hankering for Christmas music, I play it... even if it's April.  I try not to do that in public, though; I realize that there are those who wouldn't appreciate that.  So, laugh at me for this one, if you'd like, but know that I'm laughing at you as you're craving Christmas music, and I'm just going ahead and listening to it.

3 Gifts of Tradition
I love traditions.  Maybe that's because I can't put my finger on many that my family has kept going, but I think they're wonderful.
  1. I'm thankful for my family's traditional Christmas party.  We stopped doing it after we moved to Maryland, but I loved that party.  That thing pretty much defines the "Christmas spirit" for me.  I'm excited to be rekindling it this year (while I'm trying to ignore the amount of work it's going to take).
  2. I'm thankful for the tradition my dad and I are trying to start.  Since I've "grown up", Dad and I have tried to go to at least one Orioles game a year together.  I love baseball and he tolerates it, so it's nice to have something that we can bond over.  My abilities in management show even there, as I try to make management calls, and it's a nice stroke to my ego to hear my dad agree with me (or at least pretend to).  :P
  3. I'm thankful for the traditional Schanck-family Thanksgiving.  You've heard enough about this to know what this is; so I'm just going to leave you with yet another photo... one you haven't seen me put up yet. But be prepared, because the next post is "3 Gifts Family" - one I've been excited about... and yes, I'll be deviating from the requested formatting for it.  You've been warned.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A video I made for you yesterday.

And by "yesterday," I mean Sunday.

Just a normal day, cooped up in my house...

MOTh: Days 16 - 18

3 Gifts Hard Eucharisteo
It took me a while to figure this one out... well... sort of figure this one out.  But I found a decent description here, and based on that, I am creating my thankfulness list today.

  1. I'm thankful for the moments where G-d is slapping me in the face.  Yes, I don't like it in the moment, but it always ends up for the better.  Sometimes, I think we should slap each other in our faces more.  There's nothing more of a wake-up call than that.  Except don't.  You'll get arrested.
  2. I'm thankful for Jeremy Camp.  This man has the most striking testimony, and I'm not sure how he brings himself to share it, but I'm glad he did, because he taught me to stretch myself and worship through my tears; that it's most important to do it then.
3. I'm thankful for the homesickness I'm feeling right now, because it reminds me how much I love my family.  It's so hard to be without them, especially at this time of year, but I am confident that they are incredibly special and important to me.  I love them!

3 Gifts of Laughter
This is the juxtaposition post, I guess.
  1. I'm thankful for friends that I can laugh until it hurts with.  Seriously, there's nothing more special than that, and there's nothing that bonds people together like that.
  2. I'm thankful for laughing through tears.  Those are the most precious times of laughter.
  3. I'm thankful for the laughter of children.  Theirs is the most pure... I just need to remember that when I'm tired.  HA!
A Gift Made, Shared, Passed On
Catching up!  I want to get on par in time for Thanksgiving itself!
  1. I'm thankful for the time that my friends MAKE to spend with me.  I know I've said stuff to that extent before, but I'm still thrilled because of it.
  2. I'm thankful for the days when there's a really awesome treat in the cafeteria, and my co-teachers bring me some up to the office.  They've never expressed discontent that I bring my own food.  In fact, they bring me other food they think I'll like.  They're so sweet.
  3. I'm thankful for my grandfather, Norman Schanck.  Although he's passed on, I still love him dearly, and I can't help but have him over-arching through all of my thoughts this time of year.  Like I've said before, he's the rock of my faith; I'd be someone entirely different, if not for him.

Monday, November 19, 2012

MOTh: Days 14 and 15

3 Gifts Silent
I know, I know... I'm really bad at keeping up with blogging.  It's been a BUSY week, what with Kris and Cora getting MARRIED!  I did shoot a video for you, but I couldn't post it from my phone!  Soooo... it didn't get posted.  Maybe I'll put it up tonight.
  1. I'm thankful for Sunday afternoons that are so quiet that I'm tempted to think I'm the only person in my building.  I'm secretly an introvert.  I like quiet.
  2. I'm thankful for snow.  But only when it's falling in the middle of the night and I'm the only person around, so it seems silent... and then you can hear the snow.  After that, I'd be happy if the snow went away... or cancelled things.
  3. I'm thankful for music with rests in it.  Because sometimes, dear Mozart, holding my violin up for an entire symphony gets tiring.  I just thought I'd throw that out there.

3 Gifts Golden
Annnd... I had the time, so I thought I'd hit another in here.
  1. I'm thankful for 50th wedding anniversaries.  They're rather uncommon in this day and age, and I think they're an amazing thing.
  2. I'm thankful for the gold cross my aunt and uncle bought me a long time ago. Every time I look at it, I remember how much they love me and how important our religion is to them.
  3. I'm thankful for glitter, because glitter makes all things more fun.  Makeup is more fun.  Projects are more fun. Everything is more fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Politics: What Korea Wants from President Obama

Well, since I'm here, I may as well inform you on the atmosphere surrounding American politics in Korea.  In general, people assume that all Americans love President Obama.

Yeah.  I know.  Let that sink in.

As I've mentioned before, Koreans (North AND South) aren't really allowed to speak out against their government.  Such things get censored online, and, as a result of global short-term memories, the assumption is that everyone likes the current government.  Since this is what they're used to, the same assumption gets applied to Americans.

Trust me.  I've had to quickly de-contort my face many times for that one.

Basically, everyone I've talked to here (who's Korean) is a pretty big fan of Obama.  (Well... except potentially this girl.)  But then again, I apparently missed a group.

I titled this post "What Korea Wants from President Obama."  I probably should have clarified.  CNN somehow got a small group of North Korean defectors to speak out - without having their identities protected, no less - on what they wanted from this election, and what they want moving forward.  It's certainly not ground-breaking or incredibly unexpected, but it's still fascinating to watch.

Go ahead.  Respond.  What do you think is most important for President Obama to do this term?

MOTh: Day 13

3 Gifts Behind a Door
At this point, I'm pretty sure they're just stretching for these, but, nonetheless, I will complete this challenge... in my own arbitrary pace, as the case may be.
  1. I'm thankful for the cabby that was right behind the door to the outside this morning.  I'm also thankful for the particular cabby that was behind the cab door.  With Kris and Cora's wedding rehearsal tonight, I definitely had my hands fool on my way to school (today is a "no rest for the weary" kind of day).  Normally, I have to walk halfway to school and then call a cab from a landmark they'd recognize (my apartment building isn't big enough for them to know it), but today, there was one at the red light outside.  I definitely thanked G-d for His small miracle on that one.
  2. I'm thankful for the apartment behind my door.  Despite the bunny smell (which is really bad now that the heat's come on), despite how small it is, despite the fact that it's not really good for entertaining company, I have a roof over my head and a warm, safe place to sleep at night.  There are MANY people who can't claim that; I have no room to complain.
  3. I'm thankful for Jeff, Terry, and Jenny, who sit behind a certain door at KNU.  They work their butts off to help all of us here, and they are so often taken for granted.  Our program is unique in that it has people like them to help us out, and, man, do they HELP us.  I feel like they're there to help me every time my eye twitches.  They put up with all of us when we run by at the end of the day, tired and grumpy.  They put up with us when we're panicked.  They put up with us when we're frustrated.  They put up with us letting down our cultural appreciation shield.  And, yet, I've never heard one of them badmouth us.  They deserve some sort of Nobel Prize for that, I think.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MOTh: Day 12

3 Gifts at Noon
I meant to write this by jotting down the first three things I thought of at noon.  However, I was really quite busy at noon, so, now, I'm taking a different approach, and I'm writing noon-time things for which I'm thankful.
  1. I'm thankful that my school allows me to bring my own lunch.  As my body doesn't do well with meat, I'd been spending a lot of lunchtimes at my previous school not eating.  I lost a bunch of weight from it.  Now, I'm allowed to bring whatever I want! (usually, I go with a PBJ, carrot sticks, and a yogurt).  I'm happy to no longer be unhealthily losing weight.
  2. I'm thankful for the tuna fish sandwich the 7-11 in my building often sells.  This is the best tasting tuna sandwich I can remember having in a LONG time.  I think the fact that it's so easy to get plays into that. yum!
  3. I'm thankful for the relaxed atmosphere in which I eat lunch.  It's nice to be able to take a legitimate break and chill out.  I don't have to worry about who I'm offending or impressing or what anyone's saying about me, because I'm at my desk, usually watching Tyra beautify some conceited girls.  Beautiful.

Why I think Texas is right on... Regardless of how I feel about their actions.

In case you've been living under a rock (and yes, you MUST have been living under a rock, since even in KOREA I know what's happening), let me catch you up on what's been happening in the good old US of A this week. I'm going to quote the Washington Post, since I think they introduce it quite succinctly and well:
From states across the country, Americans have filed petitions on the White House Web site seeking to secede from the union and form new state governments.

While most of the petitions come from states that supported Mitt Romney in last week’s election, a few swing states and even the deep blue Northeast are represented.

Petitions have been filed for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

“We petition the Obama Administration to peacefully grant the State of Alabama to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government,” reads the Alabama petition. The following text is the same in most of the 20 filed so far:
As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
“…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government…”
Now, I don't normally like to talk politics, because I think that the American people are almost always too uneducated on any one political subject to talk about it at all, but I'm making an exception this one time, because, having been educated in the deep South (or a city that thought it was in the deep South), States' Rights is a topic I feel pretty competent on. And I think I can probably still leave you guessing on my political bents on this one. You know how women like to be mysterious.

Okay, so there are a lot of rumors going around on this topic: Secession is unconstitutional... secession is fine... blah blah blah. Here's the thing: It's neither. Way, way, WAY back in the day under the Articles of Confederation (Go ahead, click on them and do your research, no one will know if you do, so no one will mock you. Oh, and here's the Wikipedia Article, just in case you want to only pretend like you know what they say.), states were unable to secede from the nation. However, the United States Constitution nullified the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution doesn't speak on the topic at all. (I'm just going to trust you know what the Constitution is.) So, that leaves us in an interesting fix.

So why does the world seem to be focused on Texas out of all the states (count them... it's almost half of the nation) involved in this hissy fit (for lack of a less biased word)? Well, Texas has a long, grand history of secession, seeming to jump on that band-wagon whenever possible. It seceded from Mexico in 1836 asn was quite happy to do so again during the American Civil War in 1861. But in 1869, this issue came into dispute in the Supreme Court ruling of the case Texas vs. White. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase had a LOT to say on the topic, including this:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
And this:
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
Unfortunately for Chief Justice Chase, he seemed to be leaning a little too much on the Articles of Confederation, because in 1870, President Grant signed an act, readmitting Texas to the nation, which seems to be an action nullifying the opinion of Chief Justice Chase. Or does it?

Chief Justice Chase also specifically mentions a scenario in which secession is appropriate, which brings us to where we are today:
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) that unilateral secession was unconstitutional while commenting that revolution or consent of the states could lead to a successful secession.
So... what now? Well, no one really knows, honestly. I predict that this all is mostly likely going to be dropped almost unilaterally. The only state that I'm curious about is Texas which are the only state with the financial stability and enough motivation to follow through on this - they had a range of reported number of signatures on their petition, all of which are over the necessary 25,000 to receive direct attention from the White House (although there are a number of other states financially able to, if they wanted).

Here's how it breaks down in my head:

A lot of the highest tax bracket lives in Texas. Like it or not, Texas is the land of oil and ranching, and those are two things Americans cannot get enough of. People are filthy rich there - mind you, not all people, but there are enough. These people are getting slammed with tax increases left and right, and if there's one thing Texans don't like, it's big government telling them what to do. They (and I use the general "they" here, not the all-encompassing) of the opinion the government is being tyrannical, so they're implementing the right that our Founding Fathers gave us: To stand up to the federal government and tell them to shove it. (Or, as the Declaration of Independence so much more eloquently puts it: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”)

Now, does it hurt me to think of a divided United States (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)? Yes. Absolutely. Unwavering. Am I as proud as they come of Texas for standing up for what they believe? Heck yes. Don't just bow down when you feel your rights slipping away; they don't come back.

As for the other states... I'm just going to roll my eyes at them and suggest they take a bit of a time out as cure to this hissy fit of theirs.

For more information on secession and how it happens, click here.

Feel free to leave your incensed comments below, although I will filter out any offensive language and/or trolling.

Until next time!

Monday, November 12, 2012

MOTh: Day 11

3 Gifts of Remembrance
I've been seeing all the Veteran's Day posts go up, and I thought I'd add one of my own.

  1. I'm thankful for our veterans.  I may live a life of a more pacifist bent, but I do recognize that these men and women fought so I didn't have to.
  2. That being said, I'm thankful for my grandpa, who fought in World War II.  I'm proud to be his granddaughter.
  3. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had in Thailand to understand just exactly the scope of World War II.  I felt decently knowledgable on the subject, and, yet, I still had no idea.  War is a nasty thing, friends.  We should be doing everything in our power to avoid it.

The graves of Allied soldiers (POWs) who fell in Thailand.

MOTh: Day 10

3 Gifts Found in Bible Reading
For this, I'm listing my 3 favorite Bible verses.  And no, I'm not kidding on any of these.
  1. Zephaniah 3:17.  At first glance, this may be obvious.  Of course, I'm going to love any reference to G-d singing, but, as I've grown older, I've seen more and more heart-warming reassurance and peace in this verse.
  2. John 11:32-35, with particular emphasis on verse 35.  I know a lot of kids claim to love this one because of its length, but I love it because it shows the Heart of our L-rd.  He truly loved, very deeply.  Every time I read it, it brings me to tears, because I know what it is to lose someone you love, and, again, every time I read this, I learn more.
  3. Genesis 3:14-15.  Three chapters in, and we get our first Messianic prophecy.  Let me point out, that it's not even a full 10 verses past the offense.  We messed up, and G-d immediately gave us a solution.  If that doesn't make you feel truly and deeply loved, I don't know what will.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

MOTh: Day 9

3 Gifts Harvest
Sorry, I know I'm very behind,  I intend on making that up.
  1. I'm thankful for pumpkins (and apples, and squash, and eggplant, and pomegranates, and persimmons...).  I'm a big fan, especially this time of year.
  2. I'm thankful for the work that is provided by the harvest.  I look around at Korea, and I see so many little gardens and people selling their produce on the street, and I'm so grateful.  I can eat wonderful food, and its sellers can make a living.
  3. I'm thankful for the Harvest.  You know - harvest with a capital H.  The sooner it happens, the sooner I get to see my G-d and everyone else who's with Him now.  What could be better than that?

Friday, November 9, 2012

MOTh: Day 8

A Gift Sweet, Salty, Sipped
I'm so incredibly distracted right now, so this post will probably be the shortest one yet... sorry.
  1. I'm doubly thankful for both Bobbie and Addie, the sweetest children I've ever met.
  2. I'm thankful for McDonald's hash browns, and my growing weekly tradition of sharing them with my friend Nick on Sunday mornings.
  3. I'm thankful for my free cup of coffee this evening.  Seeing how incredibly exhausted I was at the end of this week, the owner of my current coffee haunt sent me an extra cup over this evening.  Praise be to G-d for His small blessings.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MOTh: Day 7

3 Gifts From Your Window
I love my window, so don't let the length of this post through you off.

  1. I'm thankful for my AMAZING view.  Honestly, the only person who has a better one is Kris.

Just look at that.  Gorgeous, and it's even better at night.
2. I'm thankful for the massive size of my window.  My window pretty much takes up my whole back wall of my apartment.  I adore that.  I adore that I look up and see this whole magnificent view, no matter where I am in my apartment. 

3. I'm thankful for screen that can be pulled down to cover my window.  It keeps all the buggies out and I can appreciate the fresh air whenever I want.  It's absolutely wonderful.

So yes, short, sweet, and to the point, but it all was actually about my physical window, so I think that you can understand how much I like that particular feature of my apartment.  :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MOTh: Day 6

3 Gifts Government
As you all go to bed or stay up celebrating the president or legalized marijuana in Colorado  or gender equity marriages in Maryland or the fact Sonic has finally come to the Northeast.  I'm going to do something that may blow your mind.  I'm going to, completely abstaining from my political opinions, give thanks to G-d for our government, and I have a feeling that I'm going to go over the 3 gift stipulation.
  1. I'm thankful that, agree or disagree, I am a citizen of a country that doesn't kill me for my political opinion.  Seriously.  I don't want to hear about your conspiracy theories, because they only degrade the people who do live in a country that doesn't allow them to disagree with the person leading them.  I can call any politician I want a complete idiot or any other name I can think of (as I'm sure almost all of you are at this moment) without any serious repercussions, and I take this for granted so much of the time.  Heck, the fact that you're reading this at all is proof that I have this right.  (Not even all "Developed" countries have the right to say what they'd like about their leaders.)   I guess I could boil this down to being thankful for the freedom of speech, even though the way some people choose to use it really bothers me, it's a wonderful gift to have.
  2. I'm thankful for and incredibly proud of my family's deep ties to the founders of this country.  As I continue to study my family history, I'm finding more and more familiar names that played big parts in the foundation of the USA, and I couldn't be more proud.  Who those men were and what they stood for still is at play in our country.  Sure, maybe it's not playing out the way you or your religion would like, but it's still playing out because of things these men set into motion.
  3. Speaking of your religion and the founding fathers, I'm incredibly grateful for our freedom of religion.  Again, no matter how "oppressed" you think you are in America, you're not being killed for your religion.  I'm not saying people don't persecute you; I know what it is to be persecutes for having a different religion from those around you.  I am, however, saying that it's not government sanctioned, and that, friends, is a big deal.
  4. I'm thankful that I have the right to vote.  I'm not sure I understand the need for an electoral college, but I do at least have some say in what happens.  Even if you're a Democrat in a Republican state, there's a lot more on your ballot than the names of the presidential candidates.  Speaking as a woman who spent a good three to five hours filling in her ballot, I would know.  Voting this year frustrated the crap out of me, what with the obviously biased writing of the ballot and the people who bought their ways onto it, but, at the same time, I still treated the paper with a certain reverence, and, to be honest, I'm a bit disgusted by the people who don't.
  5. I'm thankful that I am a citizen of a country that takes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for granted.  I mean, really.  Stop and think about that.  That's a BIG deal.  Ladies and gentlemen, we are FREE, and all we do is complain about it.  Seriously - pull yourself together and think about the gifts our government gives us.
  6. I'm thankful that my government allows me ways to avoid it.  If I don't like what the government is doing, I can leave my country... and I did, if you don't remember.  Granted, I didn't leave my country for political reasons, but I will say that it has been nice to mostly escape from politics for a while.  I could fully escape if I wanted to delete my Facebook, but, I'm a product of my generation, and that thought seems unfathomable to me, so I just hide your political posts from both sides of the line and try to continue on my ignorant way.
  7. I'm thankful that my future doesn't feel bleak or hampered by my government.  Maybe that's really just my disposition, but I still feel like my future is wide open, and I love it.  I still feel like I could do almost anything if I really set my mind to it.  My Olympic career is pretty much blown at this point, but, other than that, I think I'm good.  I know others that aren't in that position, and it really does make me so grateful for what it is I do have.
I'll get off my soapbox for the moment, but, rest assured, push me beyond my pursed lips at a degrading comment, and I'll be happy to take it up again.  

My friend Toni and me, celebrating the 4th of July in Germany... Cultural sensitivity: naught - American pride: one.

    Love and PEACE to you all, and happy election night.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    MOTh: Day 5

    3 Gifts Acorn-Small
    I'm really excited about today's post, even though I've only thought of one answer, currently.  I'm a big fan of acorns, you see.  We had this massive oak tree in our backyard when I was younger, and I used to look up at that thing and absolutely  marvel.  Think of what that tree has seen!  Think of the people who climbed its branches when it was young.  Think of the storms it weathered and the hot sun it deflected.  Think of the red clay it overcame.  Think of the tiny acorn from which this giant came.  The acorns that came from this tree would invaribly be the bane of my existance when I ran through the yard or when I was outside and hungry but unwilling to go inside (nothing is worse than watching a squirrel happily eat an acorn when you're hungry).  But, I'd always end the experience with remembering the wonder of the acorn.

    1. I'm thankful for my faith.  The Bible talks about being able to do miraculous things with the faith of a mustard seed.  Personally, I'm never sure if Christ means a faith the size of a mustard seed of a faith like that of a mustard seed, but, for the purpose of this blog post, we'll just go with the common opinion of the comparison of size (because, frankly, I think a tiny mustard seed must have tremendous faith to grow into such a hearty, pungent plant).  Sometimes, my faith is so tiny it's invisible even to myself.  Sometimes, I fancy it's so big that I could fill houses with it.  But, mostly, I figure my faith is tiny-acorn-small, steadily growing toward mighty oak-dom.
    2. I'm thankful for the tiny paper crane that sits on the shelf next to my kitchen.  I wish I had a picture of this thing to show you, but I don't; sorry.  This is the smallest piece of origami I've ever seen - probably also tiny-acorn-sized - and it was given to me by one of my students at my last school.  Written in the tiniest handwriting I've ever seen on the wing is a message: "I love you."  "Don't forget me, teacher," the child said to me when she placed it in my hand.  That was always their request: "Don't forget me."  It seemed strange to me that this is what they would ask, but, as I sit and think about it, it begins to make sense to me.  I'm not going to do them the disservice of trying to explain it, but I'm sure that if you think about it, too, you'll begin to understand.
    3. I'm thankful for each and every square on my calendars... all three of those bad boys are incredibly important to my life.  I used to mock people who were so dependent on calendars, not because I could remember things, but because I didn't like the idea of being so confined to something like that.  I liked being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  Unfortunately, that usually meant that I ended up doing nothing at all, because nothing got planned.  My calendars help keep me organized, so that I can spend quality and effective time with the people I care about, and that makes me thankful.

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    MOTh: Day 4

    A Gift Gathered, Given, Good
    This particular one is giving me a bit of trouble, since I'm not sure that I've ever gathered anything before in my life, but I'll give it some thought and see what I come up with.

    1. I'm thankful the skills and abilities that I've gathered over time.  It's not everyone who feels so capable of surviving the zombie apocalypse that this is the first time they're mentioning it, but I do.  I feel capable of building things, planting things, insulating things, locking things, hacking things, and being able to figure out how to shoot things, should the moment call for it.  But in all seriousness, I've gotten the opportunity to have so many life experiences that many people never get (Thank you, class-based society), and, while others might feel ashamed or degraded by having these, I'm very grateful for them.

    2. I'm thankful for the time that my friends and family have given to me.  I've found that it's so easy to give money in this day and age, especially for Americans.  We almost always have more expendable money than time, and so I cherish every moment that my loved ones have chosen to give to me.

    3. I'm thankful for this big, beautiful, wonderful world.  G-d declared this world good.  In spite of knowing everything that was going to happen in it, He declared it good.  Who am I to argue with that?  So, in case you haven't figured it out, I've decided to make the most of that good thing and go see it all, and I'm grateful to G-d for that amazing opportunity.

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    MOTh: Day 3

    3 Gifts That Start with N
    I'm not going to lie.  I'm pretty excited about this one, because it's as silly as I've been lately.  :)
    1. I'm thankful for nuts, because they're a delicious source of protein that make me feel better when hypoglycemia is kicking my butt, but I don't have to eat meat, which will make me feel better.  I also like nutmeg and machos, which have nothing to do with hypoglycemia, but they are foods that start with N that I like.
    2. I'm thankful for for the Newsboys (the Peter Furler Newsboys).  I'd link you to them, but what you'd find is not what I'm thankful for, because the new Newsboys are just annoying.  The Newsboys album Step Up to the Microphone was my first, and it started me on the path to the music industry, which I don't regret for a moment.  I love the music industry.  Step Up was a gift to me from my Deeda, as was a lot of my first music.  My cousin David and I spent endless hours pouring over the Newsboys and Phil Joel's solo album in the years following my receipt of that CD.
    3. I'm thankful for the Nazi who changed my life.  It's not my story to tell there, or rather, part of it is, but I don't feel comfortable telling it in this forum.  Those who know, know.  But I will say that he taught me so much about life and love, and I'm eternally grateful.  

    MOTh: Day 2

    3 Gifts Worn
    So, my cousin Becky decided to do this challenge, and I've already seen her answers for today, which is making it harder to think of my own things I'm thankful for and not just steal her answers.  However, I'm tired enough that my brain isn't really working, as this is the second night in a row that I've stayed up until 2am.  But that just goes to show that I'm still keeping up with my old goal of going out with friends.
    That being said, I'm choosing to interpret this as the other definition of "worn" from Becky.
    1. I'm thankful for my Bible I got from my Uncle Glenn and Aunt Carol.  I think I got it for my twelfth birthday, and that thing has traveled.  The cover fell off, so I duct taped it back on.  Psalms fell out, so I duct taped them back in.  The former worked so much better than the latter.  Galatians and Ephesians has more of my writing than Paul's in them.  I smile when I look at that Book.  I don't use it as much anymore, but it's a record of my growth as a Believer, and I love that.
    2. I'm thankful for my "Mousie" from my Uncle Lance and Auntie M.  When I was little I'd rub the tag on this thing because it was really smooth, and it would help me relax and go to sleep.  If I remember the story correctly, Auntie M felt that people gave gifts to new babies when they were born, but always ignored the older sibling, so Mousie came to me when my brother was born.  She sat on a shelf for a while, but then, one night, I looked up at her, and she just seemed to want to join me in bed, which has been her home ever since.  Well, Mousie made it to Korea with me, and, when I'm really stressed, I can still rub that tag and fall asleep.
    3. I'm thankful for the family that taught me to allow things to become worn.  I walk around in Korea a lot and see brand new things in the trash, just so families can prove they have enough money to throw away these beautiful things.  Because I don't mind scavenging, I have saved so much money that I've been able to use to go on fabulous vacations.  I'm sure I've done other things with that money, too, but that's what's on my mind right now.  Yay, vacation!