26 February 2008

preschool vs. earning money

The preschool was fantastic! I know I didn’t always appreciate it when I was there, but being away has made me miss almost everything about it. I loved that all day. every day I got to hang out with little ones. Outside time and snack time...man you cant beat that! Running around, finger painting, getting horribly dirty and messy, playing house, making funny noise, singing ridiculous songs, what is not to love?! Sure they cried and pooped a lot and more often than not threw their food every where....but compared to an office and a desk all day....well i think i will take the food fights!

I got an email today from Shannon Losacco, and it made my day! Shannon is the mother of little Sadie Rose. Sadie is just precious. She was in my class last year and was by far one of my favourites. I know we aren't suppose to have favourites, but I did. Sadie Rose and Carson. Oh, the Peter's family! Another one that I love. Somehow over the course of the year I managed to click with Shannon and Noreen (Noreen is Carson's mom) and have stayed in touch.

So the point is, receiving the email from Shannon reminded me how much I miss working with kids. I wish I had the chance to do it. I wish I could teach kindergarten. That is my ideal job! But alas, no teaching certificate or PGCE, and I am stuck. Stuck at a desk, working on a computer in an office full of older British men! Its really not as bad as I just made it sound, but it also is not the most fulfilling position either. But I can’t leave. It pays exceptionally well. That’s how it goes doesn't it? Preschool vs. money....shame the later of the two has to win today.

25 February 2008

pleased and very tired

It has been a great last few days. Having Jamie and Laura over has been really fantastic. It has pleased my heart so much. It has made me want to move to Boston tomorrow instead of in three years! The last week was full of lots of activity....touring around London, lots of fun food, pubs, drinks, friends and lots of laughter. It was a great time! Now, come Monday, I am exhusted. But its a good kind of tired. Its not everyday that you get the chance to let lose for days in a row. I am very pleased at the way the last several days were spent. I was sad to say good bye at the airport on Sunday. I was surprised at how sad it really made me to see them go. I enjoyed having Laura around to just relax and hang out with. But at least I can look forward to the day when we will all live in the same town. I will go to bed at a normal time tonight. I will get my usualy 7 and a half hours of sleep. But even though I will be well rested, I will be a bit sad. I will miss Jamie and Laura and all the good times we had.

20 February 2008

Oh, how I miss Corn Dogs!

Today is Market Day in Staines. The high street is lined with vendors selling everything from knock off designer jeans to fresh meat and fruit. I love the cheese man. Huge amount of cheese in every shape and size. The beer man also puts a smile on my face. My favourite item for sell at his stall is the make your own brew at home kit. He is always smiling and singing. Today though, I spotted a new vendor. A cart so full of glory and splendour that I actually stopped walking and just stared for a few moments.

His cart was a blinding shade of yellow with unevenly painted white stripes. An awning of teal and light blue was haphazardly affixed to the top. But the sign was the best, for it advertised fresh squeezed lemonade and hot dogs! Straight out of the Tulsa State Fair was this vendor. Unshaven, shirt unbuttoned far to low, revealing a messy, hairy chest, grease all over his hands, face and clothes and missing a few teeth in the front. He was the epitome of state fair culture. And yet here he was, in south London, selling yummy fair treats on the high street! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was briefly saddened by the lack of Corn Dogs, but was able to over come my disappointment enough to approach the cart. It was here that the difference between this man and the typical fair man became blatantly obvious.

It was my lunch and I so wanted a hog dog. Corn dog really, but I was willing to settle. When one ventures out to the fair, it is expected to pay a huge mark up on typical foods. Lemonade for $3, extra long corn dog for $2 when every one knows full well they bought the frozen jumbo bag that came with 50 dogs at Sams for about $10! But its ok because its a warm fall night, rides buzzing about in the back ground, hands grimy with the grit that only comes in with the carney's and overloaded with cheap, furry prizes won in exchange for a small fortune. But now picture south London. A cobblestone high street that is constantly clicking with the sound of fancy work shoes worn by the busy business people, cloudy, misty and barely above freezing. None of the enjoyable attributes that make one more likely to pay outrageous prices. So when I walked up to the cart, my mouth salivating with the anticipation of a fresh lemonade and hot dog, I was appalled at what I was to find next. The lemonade was £3 and the hot dog was £4.50! A total of 16 dollars for crappy fair food!!! I walked away, shoulders slumped, beyond disappointed. I just couldn’t do it.

On my way back to the office I got a Grande Chai Latte with an extra shot of espresso and a mini sushi snack pack. Sitting back at my desk, remembering the joys of the fair back home and the market in Staines, I wished I had forked over the dough and gotten the hot dog and lemonade instead. Even with the overpriced food, what an amazing thing to have right here in London. A little bit of carney fair culture to brighten my day!

18 February 2008

the 10 of them

Rhys has a very unique situation. He is part of a group of ten boys that are beyond just good friends. The bond that that these boys have is amazing to see and even more amazing to be a part of. The group goes back with some as far as primary school, with other just to the first year of university. But for the last 8 years these boys have lived life together in the most real way. Rhys, Tuna, Oli, Ricey, Dave, Osian, Johnny five, Ryan, Jamie and Gav. They all have a very 'speacial' bond with one another that consists of constant mockery, unending banter back and forth and a continous stream of laughter.

As the wife, I have the privelge of being a part of the group. When there are get togethers, the wives and girlfriends come along. Me, Laura, Wendy, Michelle and Lara. Michelle and Ricey have been together for the better part of 10 years. Jamie and Laura nearly 7. Lara and Oli at least 5 and Ryan and Wendy almost 4. That makes Rhys and I the baby couple at only 2 years. The girls are great too. We always have a good time with each other and with the boys. It is always a time that I look forward to.

This weekend was one of those times. Jamie and Laura flew in from Boston and we all went up to Ricey and Michelle's in Coventry. We had a great meal, loads of drinks and after playing a rousing game of 'sing star' I was sitting on the couch, surveying the room, and it hit me. What an amazing thing I am a part of. Oli lounging on the bean bag chair, Ricey, Jamie and Rhys all laughing hystrecially about who knows what, the girls huddled together, cosmos in hand, chatting away. What a moment. It is speacial to have friends that are close. It is almost unheard of to have a group who would do anything for one another, no questions asked. I dont have that. I dont really know anyone else who does. I have a few close friends that I treasure, but nothing at all like the 10 of them. It's a great thing. I am so pleased that Rhys has those boys and equally as pleased that as a result, I get to be a part of an amazing group of people. It was a fantastic weekend. And I know there are many more to look forward to.

14 February 2008

a photo a day......

I have had a new thought. I am going to take one picture everyday of something that I find special or significant or sad or amazing or....... sometimes I feel that I waste too much time,having no recollection of what actaully happened on a given day. Every day can be unique. Every day is a gift and should be treated as such. I would love to be able to look back years from now and have a photographic record of what I thought was so significant that I choose to forever capture the moment. Time stands still, forever caught in the folds of a memory. I want to remember everyday as having a special meaning. I reslove to begin this today!

13 February 2008

the showers

I lived in California for the summer of 2002. Specifically in the back country of Kings Canyon National Park; a place only rivalled by New Zealand herself. It was an amazing and life changing summer. Kings Canyon will always hold a special place in my heart.

One of the reasons I loved that summer so much was my job. Most of the time I worked 'the showers' at the small little lodge situated 2.5 hours down the mountain, in the woods. Basically I sat at a desk all day and sold showers to the people in the camp sites. The building was pretty old, the showers were pretty gross and they were $2 for 15 minutes. But people lined up for them. Mostly though I sat and did whatever I wanted. I journalled, I collaged, I wrote letters, I ate food, I sun bathed my legs, I talked to my good mountain buddy Jason....it was fantastic. I had hours and hours each day to reflect on life. I could pray and read and create all the live long day!

For years I have wanted a job like 'the showers' Often when I was sitting at whatever job I had at the moment, I would fondly remember the good ole' days and wish for time to reflect and ponder like I had then. I often prayed for such a chance again. A time to really sort things out.

Well, my prayers have been answered! I am at 'the showers' again. Ok, ok so not quite the same. I have no sunlight and I can’t actually collage nor do whatever I want. But on the slow days (which are kind of often) I sit and journal and think and pray and create. It’s fantastic. And for the first time today it occurred to me that God had answered my prayer by giving me a job that gave me the time to be creative, inventive, peaceful, restful and reflective! How great is our God?!


I want to take a moment to recognise the wonderful amount of sunshine we have gotten here in the normally gloomy, rainy, grey soup of the UK. It is fantastic! It makes me smile! It makes everything better! I am forever in a good mood as long as I can see the sun! I hope it never ever goes away! i wish I could reach up and take the sun, keep it with me always! Praise Jesus for the gloriousness that is the SUN! I would never survive without it! Stroll on winter.....come on summer!

six months in london

Laurel has been my friend since I was 11. That is a really long time. She has seen me through some very interesting times. By interesting I mean really awful, horrid periods of my life. She was at one point my only friend. She has also shared with me some of the most fantastic moments of my life. Even though over the years our contact has been sporadic and minimal, she holds a very dear place in my heart. She always will.

I feel compelled to begin with the Laurel note as a segway into the rest of the blog. She asked me to fill her in on the detials of my life. So I did. In the longest, most detailed email I have written in a long time. but it was honest. There are good and bad things about what is going on in my life at the moment. strange things and simply wonderful things.

So I have decided to post the email I wrote to Laurel here. It is an honest and pretty complete account of the first 6 months of life in London. It ended up being a very long email, so also a very long blog. apologies. Its more for me, in a threaputic way, than anything else.


I must say that I was very excited to open facebook today and have received a message! it made me smile and I decided that I must write you straight away! how are you? how is life in Oklahoma? I assume that you are still loving married life. are you still working for the mortgage company? isn't that what you were doing? fill me in on details, I would love to know what is going on.

as for me....well my apologies in advance if this ends up long winded, but you asked to be filled in....so here goes. I live in London....watford to be exact. it is about 15 minutes from central London. and it is fantastic! I live in an old building of flats, all red brick with cobblestone drives. my door key is something out of the 17th century...its like a castle key! its a little moldy inside, but to be expected...

I walk everywhere i need to go. we only have one car between us and Rhys takes it most places. it has left hand gear shifting so i haven't even tried to drive it yet! i love being a walking commuter. walking to the high street for this and that, walking to meet friends for drinks, walking to the train station every day, i love it all. i ride the train to and from work every day. that has its ups and downs. i like having time to sit and read....or sleep...in the mornings, but its often crowded and smelly! most days its great. about once a month of so you get a 'jumper' someone who commits suicide by throwing themselves in front of the train. its really sad to be. people are always up in a tizzy because it upsets their train schedule and its always hours of delays....but it breaks my heart that people do it, and so often! this month was a 66 year old man who couldn't take the pressure of a high stress central London job. so sad.

I work in south London. I am sales coordinator for a computer technology company. pretty much its like project managing. its not too bad. i get lots of travel out of it because its an international company. they are based in the States and have offices in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, several African countries and Greece. I was in Arizona last month on business! its good for now. not my dream job, but it pays exceptionally well and the experience is good. my office has me, one girl and 10 crazy Brits! its always a laugh going in every morning.

Rhys plays rugby for the London club. He loves it! They practise every Tuesday and Thursday and then have games every Saturday. Their season runs end of august through April so we are still right in the middle of it. It was really a blessing that he got on the team; it is really how i have met most of my friends. There are some really great guys on the team, who in turn have really great girlfriends or wives. We have made some really neat connections. Now every Tuesday while the boys are at practise, some of us girls get together for dinner and drinks and such. Saturdays are always a good time with everyone on the sideline. I really need to get some pictures up!

we have found an excellent church as well. Soul Survivor is the name. it meets in an old warehouse in the industrial district of Watford. its very relaxed and contemporary. a bit more charismatic than what I am used to, but its still so wonderful! the worship is fantastic and the head pastor guy is great. we really enjoy the community there. Early on in the rugby season, Rhys and I decided that we would make the rugby team and their respective partners our ministry. We wanted to live life with them in such a way that they noticed a difference and wanted that change. we invite the boys with us to church every Sunday and we are gradually getting more and more to come! :) we always go out on the Saturday night after rugby and although by the end of the evening most everyone is drunk beyond belief, we stay sober and manage to have conversations centring around religion. the beliefs on the team range from nothing to professed pagan to Buddhist to one other christian guy, but its great that people want to ask questions and are interested. Rhys always makes a point to pray on the pitch before the start of a game; he has gotten lots of questions about that. people always ask us why we don't get drunk, why we seem more peaceful, how we have a good relationship....we love those leading questions because it gives us such a chance to share the love of Jesus! one boy started coming to church with us back in late September. at first he thought it was kinda weird, but we kept picking him up Sunday morning, so he kept agreeing to go. one Sunday right before Christmas, he just kind of wandered away to the front of the church during the offering time. he came back, never said anything, but a week later he changed he religious beliefs section on facebook to 'I love Jesus' we thought that was huge!! It is such a great story, I wanted to share it with you.

I love the excitement that living in a big, foreign city offers. I have sushi in soho, or drinks in Camden town, or shop off oxford street. Just last week there was a big beer festival in battersea (near clapham...south London) it was so great to be able to make a stop off on my way home to sample unique flavors from around Europe....fantastic polish food included as well! I love the history that is everywhere. old buildings, museums, a monarch....everything. I sometimes just smile to myself as I walk along thinking...really? this is my life? and I love every second of it! ......one of my favourite things about all of London is Camden Town. I know you would like it to. It is a little section of off beat culture in the centre city.(kate moss, amy winehouse, and jude law all live there for some reference) There is a HUGE food market with everything imaginable being sold on the street. There is a big building, built originally in somethign crazy like the 1500's, full of stalls of crazy hippie vendors. You can find the neatest things for sale....and some crap too! But I wander around Camden for hours on end! I love it! (on a sad side note, there was a huge fire over the weekend in Camden, and the market building almost burned down! everything is temporary closed and it makes me so sad to think of it. no one was injured though which is good) there is also the Notting Hill open air market on Friday and Saturdays....crazy vendors and great vintage buys! Again, I know you would love it!

I know the preceding explanation made it sound like everything is cake and roses here, which is not always the case. The first three months were the hardest three months of my life. Not an exaggeration. I managed to get married, move across the ocean, and go from having friends and family around to knowing absolutely no one in a matter of two days! It was pretty traumatic to put it mildly!! Rhys went back to work on the Monday we landed in London. My stuff from the states had not yet cleared customs, so I sat in an empty flat, all alone, for almost 2 weeks! It was rough. Rhys and I had never been around each other, in the same country, together for more than 90 days. So that was a change as well. We were living together, finding out things about each other that most people find out while they are still dating! It was a big change. But that said, I wouldn't have traded it for the world. We were put in a unique situation, really had to learn to openly communicate all the time, lean on one another and really trust in one another in everything. It was a very valuable experience and has helped us be a long stronger now I know. And we have really grown into one another so nicely. I truly think marriage is the most fantastic thing that has ever happened in my life.

so that was the giant, really long email to fill you in on the details of my life here in London. I really like it. there are ups and downs, but i wouldn't want to be anywhere else at the moment. I am so glad that this is where the lord has put me. I am so glad that we have the ministry that we do, with the friends we have....oh laurel, you should come visit! I would love to see you and love to show you around!"

7 February 2008


Someone once sent me a long list of different categories. each required that i list out 8 answers to each one. I have decided to do that and publish it here. it was a very therapeutic process, and I encourage you all to do it as well.

8 Things I am Passionate about:
1. My Jesus
2. RHYS!
3. Sunshine
4. The Ocean
5. Really, REALLY green grass
6. Laughing...or hearing laughter
7. Small children
8. The people I love in my life.

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. Be a mom!
2. Run my own hostel
3. Have my 50th Wedding anniversary
4. Visit Japan with my mom
5. Own a Defender 90!
6. Write a children's book
7. Go to Africa
8. Drive through every European country.

8 things I say quite often:
1. Dude
2. Sweet
3. Really?!
4. I have an idea....
5. I Love You, Rhys
6. come on now...
7. totally
8. can i get some fries...

8 songs I could listen to over and over and over again:
1. Constellations by Jack Johnson
2. Symbol in my Driveway, also by Jack Johnson
3. Dont Let Me Down, Beatles
4. Back in Black by AC/DC
5. Everlasting God by Soul Survivor band, Watford
6. Love Me Tender, the Norah Jones and Ray Charles Version
7. All I Got by Newton Faulkner
8. Fans by Kings of Leon

8 things that attract me to friends:
1. Laughter
2. Compassion
3. Common friends
4. Nationality...i like accents, what can i say :)
5. Sports
6. Faith
7. Bags. I love bags...if you have a cool one, chances are I will talk to you!
8. Mercy

8 things I have learned (or been reminded of) this past year:
1. Marriage is the most fantastic, most sacred, and most enjoyable covenant ever!
2. All it takes is a little bit of confidence, life kinda happens after that.
3. Life is all about choices
4. You can learn something from everyone if you open your mind long enough to find it
5. I enjoy big cities more than I ever thought I did
6. Sometimes all people really need is a SMILE, all the rest need a HUG! :)
7. I have good and interesting things to offer to those in my life
8. Consequences will always catch up with you, no matter what!

8 Issues that are important to me and I need to actually do something about:
1. Children with AIDS
2. Adults with AIDS
3. Child abuse
4. Ocean pollution
5. Eating healthy
6. Recycling
7. Alaska oil drilling....NO to that!!
8. I need to make a choice about the immigration question....

6 February 2008

feeling used...

everyone has at least one of those friends who always seems to take advantage. they always expect to be invited everywhere, but never invite you along to anything. they always want to tell you about their day, their life, their friends, but never want to hear anything about you. they pretend to be understanding, interested, even someone to go to for advice. but really they are none of the above. in fact, they really just want to milk you for all you have to offer....and then leave you hanging on, wondering what happened to your friendship.

I have a friend who is all of the above, albeit in less overt ways. Said friend is uninviting, unforgiving, uninterested and seemingly wanting no part of my life. I took a big step out to help said friend along, and i feel walked on and disgarded as a result. its unfortunate that i trusted so much, only to be shot down and left in the dark. i voched for friend, i endured a lot from others for friend, i sacraficed for friend. and i wanted to becasue said friend was important to me. it hurts and it makes me sad to think that this is where it is now. worst yet, friend probably doesnt even realize that they have done anything. that is how self absorbed they can be. too caught up in what they are doing to even remember the feelings of someone once considered a best friend.

there is no point to dwelling on said friend and lack of genuine friendship. writing about it helps to clear it up a bit. regardless of how i have been treated in the past, all said friend would have to do to make it all go away would be to give me a ring, a mention, a recognition as someone of value. not just a stepping stone to get them to a better place. friends are helpful; friends can be a great part in getting each other on to bigger and better things. but not when one simply stomps on the other to get their own footing. sad. painful. yet for some reason, i dont want to let go...

4 February 2008

Something Fantastic.....

I want to do something fantastic! I dont know what that something is...but I want to do it. Sitting at my desk at work I come up with the most fantastic ideas. I have gone from hostel owner, to pub manager, to shoe designer, to jewerly maker....the list goes on and on. But i am tried of just sitting and dreaming of all the posibilites that are out there. I want it to happen! i want to make it all happen!

There is a little store in Fayetteville, Arkansas full of the most unique and creative things. scarfs, boxes, jewerly etc... the owner, a Kiwi named Liz, travels all over the world collecting various pieces and then sells a bit of exotic kitch in arkansas! sometimes i think 'why isnt that me?' there is nothing stopping me from doing something like that....well money is, I guess. But there has got to be something out there! The Camden-town market is another one that gets me. All these little stalls and shops selling the coolest, most exotic things! where did I go wrong that I sit in an office all day instead of living on the beach in australia with a tan and dreadlocks?!

I have been wondering a lot lately how people actually get jobs that they like. I know loads of people who love what they do. It ranges from working for a huge accounting firm, to being in sales, down to one girl who makes jewlery and one guy who loves to wait tables! seriously?! how is it possible that no matter what I do I cant actually manage to find a job that even moderatly fulfills any desires that I have? i dont think its too much to ask.

so...something fantastic! some day that will be me! I know, I know, I dont need to wait until I get some magical job that suddenly grants every wish and desire I have ever had....but some day I wont feel stuck. Some day there will be options, and when that day comes, I will run as fast as I can to catch the dream that right now seems just a little too far out of my reach......