Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seminary recount

Fall Semester 2009 - 17 hours

Papers written: 14
Pages written: 133
Avg. pages per paper: 9.5

Books read: 29
Pages read: 7797
Avg. pages per book: 269

Avg. papers written per week (14 papers vs. 14 class weeks): 1
Avg. pages written per week (133 pgs. vs. 14 class weeks): 9.5

Avg. books read per week: 2.1
Avg. pages read per week: 557

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Houses, Dress Up, and Runnning as Fast as You Can

The Anderson Christmas Party

The Gingerbread Man cooked in the oven...

but don't worry... he didn't escape!
Santa, Tannenbaum, and a Christmas gift came caroling!
I'm glad we can still celebrate Christmas together.
We also made Gingerbread houses. Below is the Anderson residence.
(Please note Eric's bear bungee jumping off the roof!)

Christmastime is Here!

Our house now looks like Christmas! We decorated our tree, listened to Christmas music, and tried to stay warm! This week the weather was brrrrrrrrr! I stayed below 0 degrees most of the week.
Lighting the tree

The stockings were hung by the bar with care...
Ta da!
Merry Christmas!

Parade Pictures

The first Saturday in December Eric and I joined our friends for the Downtown Denver Christmas Parade! It was a cold and fun time!

Monday, November 30, 2009

This One's for You, Sus

10 Honest Things About Me
also titled, More Than You'll Ever Need to Know

1. I make a lot of "never" statements that usually end up coming true. For example...
"I'll never date Eric." "I'm never getting Facebook or a blog." "I'm never going back to school." or case in point... "I'll never write lists about myself." As I usually eat my words, I am working on changing my statements to... "I don't plan on having kids for X years" "I don't think I want to live in suburbia..." etc.

Okay, one down.

2. I am much better at planning to workout than actually doing so. Perhaps, my intrinsic motivation for working out is not what it should be. This is somewhat embarrassing as I have played sports since a young child and even ran competitively in high school. I do much better working out with a buddy or hopefully with joining a gym, which Eric and I did yesterday.

3. I love hosting parties! When I was a young child I would make elaborate decorations for birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day... you name it. I would also plan carnivals in my backyard for the neighborhood friends. This has not waned with age, and owning a house has made partying a priority. We've had a Mexican Birthday Party, PJ party, game party, and we have an exciting Christmas party and January's a Boring Month party on the horizon.

4. I frequently make up ridiculous songs to common tunes. This is useful in the teaching profession and when I was memorizing vocabulary words in sixth grade, but I must honestly admit that I pretty much make them up all the time. I really can't share any with you because a) it's embarrassing and b) they are very spur of the moment and I don't normally remember them.

I have, however, never done karaoke.

5. I can be long-winded. See above numbers. I can talk for hours about things I am passionate about including poverty, politics, education, Sierra Leone, education.... But in honor of this "revelation" I'll stop here.

Lucky you.

6. Speaking of education (mwa haha), I knew I wanted to be a teacher at the ripe ol' age of 5. I marched home from kindergarten, bribed my 3 year old brother, and played school. I especially loved grading the papers. Twenty years later, after a brief middle school stint where I was going to be a psychologist b/c school is so uncool at that age, I am teaching my fifth class how to read. And I still love it all... except grading papers.

7. I love to bake and cook. This is a skill I've been acquiring post getting married. With my mother-in-law the world's sweetest Martha Stewart, I guess I figured I needed to make some good faith efforts in the kitchen. And I discovered, I like to cook fun and fancier things. But what I enjoy most is when Eric and I cook together. Shrimp stuffed tomato anyone?

You know you're skimming.

8. Speaking of Eric... I love him a lot. He is good for me- a good leader, a good husband, a good friend. He is my gauge and filter for when number 5 kicks in. He has a gift for communicating and putting others at ease. He's going to be a blessing to a lot of people in his ministry. He gives the best anniversary gifts ever. He's made me a liberal and ever so slightly a nerd. And we've almost been married for 4 years, if you round up by half a year. He will probably think this post is ridiculous.

9. I love language. I'm way into Scrabble; I've taken up crosswords; I started a bookclub; I get great pleasure out of editing papers; I get an even greater pleasure out of explaining the grammar rules behind my editing marks; I love commas (except in this sentence); it was a beautiful day when I discovered diagramming in sixth grade; and I secretly enjoyed writing literary analysis papers in high school as well as my course in Advanced English Grammar in college.

Lest you think too highly of me, I also greatly enjoyed the Twilight series.

10. I love being 25, and I love living in Denver.

Enough said.

Oh and... I'm supposed to nominate other people to write these honest things. So I nominate...

1. My Grandma (GM, I'm talking to you!) I know you won't write a blog, but this is my secret reminder of what I do want someday :)

Carissa You have exciting things happening- write about them :)

3. Amy I'm sure you'd love this exercise.

Julie I think you'd actually enjoy it.

5. Mary Maybe you could do a photography one.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Over the Mountains and Down I-40...

This year all the Andersons traveled to Sedona for Thanksgiving! My grandparents graciously hosted and Eric's parents, brother, and 3 sisters all graciously traveled. It was a lot of fun! We did some good hiking and sight-seeing and game playing. (By some kind of miracle, I won Settlers.) Oh, and we ate yummy food too! I wish I had more pictures to post, but I am waiting on them from family members who were better at taking pictures! Having good family together for the holiday reminded me of how thankful I am for all of them!

Scenic views

Eric's mom, Laura, and my hardcore Grandpa
Alyssa being glamorous...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cowboys and Settlers

Though we didn't really dress up, we still had a lot of fun! While passing out candy to ages 1 to like 40???, we had friends over for an October 31 game night. First Eli settled it in Settlers with a close win, and then we went on to play the best game ever: BANG! I was the sheriff for the first time ever, and I am sad to report that my deputies did not do their job, nor I mine, and the west has yet to be won! However, it was awesome fun. Even all my skeptical friends agreed. If you want to play Settlers with us sometime, please do! But if you want to play BANG you need to become friends with Eli and Naomi first :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

This Fall Break Is Brought You by....

SNOW! Lots and lots of snow. Enough snow to get school canceled for two days!

Last Wednesday, the snow started falling and kept falling and kept falling until Thursday night. Wednesday, I slept in post the 6:15 a.m. wake-up call from my principal (good thing I was still in bed!), did some yoga, called offices I never have time to at work, went sledding!, and stayed up ridiculously late with Eric and friends playing a full game of Mexican train.

Thursday only got better with another sleepy morning, more yoga, and then girls' time with two Sandra Bullock movies and a fire. Susan did have to pick me up though, as our car was officially stuck outside of our house. Being on the corner, we collected more than your average amount of snow!

When I returned home, Eric took a paper break (he used his snow time more wisely than I), and we began shoveling our sidewalk, our car out, our driveway, and a path to the garage. I am very
proud to say that I shoveled our driveway, only managing to fall once. All in all it was wonderful.

Friday was a return to responsibilities, and Saturday was sunny beautiful. And that's Denver for you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Letters from Samuel

Today Eric and I received a sponsorship letter from Samuel, a teenage boy we sponsor in Ngolala, Sierra Leone. Doing sponsorship in Sierra Leone is not my favorite task, and it even received its own motivational song. The reason for this is it is hard to eek out of the younger children meaningful messages in their own words to send back to their sponsors. What was exciting about receiving Samuel's letter is that he was able to write it. And it impacted me deeply.

Last week, Eric and I found out that the girl we had originally sponsored, Janet, is back in Ngolala. This is exciting as we began sponsoring her after my first trip to Sierra Leone. I became close with her family- her mother Margaret, her younger sister Mangela, and at the time her very new baby brother. I received news last April that Janet was no longer in Ngolala and was heartbroken at the thought I would miss seeing her in the summer. However, God was (is) good, and He allowed me the opportunity to see her back in Freetown (SL's capital). Her uncle explained that her mother had been injured from a motorcycle accident and had to leave Ngolala for medical care. He explained that they would be returning home in the fall. When the sponsorship coordinator for COTN let us know, Eric and I were excited to once again be part of Janet's life.

These children, and all the children of COTN in Banta, mean so much to me. God is at work in their lives and on their hearts. My prayer is that He would raise Janet and Samuel and Ami and Musa and Joseph and Sahr Brima and Christiana and, and, and as godly leaders in Sierra Leone.

There are many other children who are in need of sponsors that they too can receive a good education and an opportunity to hear of Christ daily. If interested please go to COTN for more information.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Let the Holidays Begin!

I did take [a lot of] pictures of this. This past week, our small group convened for a fall party-meets Monday night Bronco football night.

The guts

The glory

And the die-hard Bronco fan

The Hunts
And us

And our masterpiece- I picked/drew the design, and Eric wielded the knife.

The group sans photographer

Happy fall!

Punjammies, Princesses, and Bollywood

We were hearting India last Saturday night!

Susan and I hosted a "Punjammie Party" to raise awareness of sex trafficking in India (and around the world) and also of cute pjs that help make a difference.

I found out about International Princess Project last fall from this blog and proceeded to buy some for my dear friend and sis-in-law. When I received the package in the mail, I realized that I knew the name of the person on the return address. It turns out my old JBU R.A. and R.D. both work as admins for this organization. Talk about small world!

So last Saturday, we got to drink some yummy chai, eat some naan, and learn more about this organization that provides women rescued from prostitution with a way to make a sustainable living. Basically, they make beautiful pajamas, and we buy beautiful pajamas. Please check out the website!

I wish I had taken pictures, but unfortunately I forgot. We did however get to laugh our hearts out to Bride and Prejudice, and if you come visit me, I can sport my pj pants for you in person!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And Now It's Winter...

First snowfall today.

Last year, it was beautiful and thick. This year it couldn't decide between rain, slush, or real snow (sorry Dallas).

But, it didn't scare me today. And I had no problem driving it.

Maybe I'm becoming a real Coloradan.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fa-all!"

I love fall! It just makes me happy!

Meet Our New Member of the Family!

Meet our new car! After "Oldy" bit the dust at the good ol age of 23, we were fortunate enough to be able to buy our good friends' (Chase and Julie) car. We gained a car about 10 years older, and Eric is cruisin around town reliving the days of driving a stick. (And I plan to learn!) We got the car in mid-September... but now you finally get to meet him too! Any name suggestions?

Friday, October 2, 2009

It was time.

You know work-life has gotten a little bit ridiculous when..

* you and your co-teachers leave at or after 6pm almost every night
* when you can't find a time to schedule an optical appointment almost 4 weeks out
* when you have no voice and are still attempting to teach (especially first grade!)
* when you're sick and are in need of a sick day

Well, don't worry about me, because I am taking the day off. I'm attempting to heal from this ridiculous cold, recover my voice, and recover my sanity. I only sent one school related email and now I'm off to relax and recuperate. Happy Friday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It was a shoe in the hamper kind of week....

It was a ridiculously crazy, lousy feeling, too busy, too many late nights and early mornings kind of week. (My own version of Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.) Friday night I got home from work already late to our friend date at the park. I went to put on my tennis shoes but only found one. Eric and I searched under the bed, in the corner of the closet- really in every corner of the house. We couldn't find it, so I squeezed into my tennis shoes that are too small. (Why oh why are my feet growing???) My main question was about the fact that only one shoe was missing. As I pointed out to Eric, any person in their right mind (aka me) would have put the shoes away together.

So following my way too early 6th certification test to become a teacher (again), I began sorting laundry and found ... you guessed it - or if you didn't read my title :) - my shoe in the hamper. Apparently, my mind was "left" at some point this week.

Not to worry, though. It's a beautiful Saturday, and I'm off to read for bookclub and recover my brain!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Viva la Mexico!

In the United States, we go to great lengths to celebrate Mexico's Independence Day... you know Cinco de Mayo... err wait, that's just the day the Mexicans won the battle of Puebla against some French people. Anyways, either way, it's an excuse to party!

So to help correct a grave misconception, Eric and I decided to throw a real Mexico Birthday Party for their independence day on the 16th of September... except we had it on Friday. Either way, it was an excuse to party!

We had great food, great music, great friends, and great Mexican train goodness. Below are some pictures from our Fiesta de Dieciseis de Septiembre on September 18th!

(tres leches cake- yum)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Evening!

Yes, indeed it was a good one.

* Managed to leave work before 6 pm (ugh, don't even get me started on that...)
* Had a good run with Sus... and solved the healthcare system (yeah right).
* Eric made a delicious dinner... involving pasta, chicken, and mushrooms (yes, I like mushrooms now).
* And he even agreed to watch what I've just re-decided is one of my all time favorite movies...

This movie always cracks me up. I've had a hankering to watch it for a few days ever since I was talking to a friend about Fool's Gold. However, hands down Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are much better in this. In college, we probably watched this movie- how many times???- I'll guess 7. The soundtrack is awesome; the memories are awesome; and I think Eric may even like (tolerate) it.

All in all, it was a good evening. I'm off to bed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Slow and Steady...

Gets your body up two 14ers in one day!

Eric and I reached our first 2 14,000 feet summits. And it was good- and tiring!

We are glad we went- and next year plan to do it again!

Peak #1 (Gray's)

Peak #2 (Torrey's)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When I was blog walking this morning...

I saw this:

Faith without social justice = narcissism
Social justice without faith = despair
(Kevin Lum)


Friday, August 28, 2009

School Thoughts

So, once upon a time I used to go on and on about school...

haha. Okay, sometimes I still do. But seriously, you can ask Eric, I talk about it a lot less than I used to. I mostly credit this to having a co-teacher. It's amazing what having an adult in the room with you does to your need to process with your spouse!

So in the spirit of my last post, I'll let you know the scoop on my first week:

#1 It was way too busy. First grade teachers pulled several 6 pm departures... leaving today at the miraculously early time of 4:10. (Too bad I just finished the schoolwork I didn't get done on location.) But we did enjoy some relaxing time together with other coworkers before heading home, which was great.

#2 I really like my class, I think. I'll put in that disclaimer since it's only been one week. It seems like a great dynamic though, and I love the different personalities that are popping up in our room!

#3 Geography lessons were part of the curriculum this week. We learned all about the seven continents, including the one we live on- North America. When asked what the name of our country was, one of my English Language Learners replied, "The United States of North America," which I thought made perfect geographical sense. Here's to the good ol US of NA!

Now this weekend, much to Eric's pleasure, I will be enjoying my time sans schoolwork. Check those bubbles in your mouth, hands at your sides, and have a great day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obligatory First Day of School Post

It came with 26 children (4 absent). It went (still with 26 children).

There were no catastrophes.

Chalk it up as a good day one for class #5.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Don't you just hate when...

you try so hard to do everything right and then find out that somehow you made some major error that you're not sure how you would have prevented in the first place?


that happens twice in the same day?

Don't you just love when...

your husband loves you well by cleaning the house and volunteering to start dinner and insists on making you relax?


when you spend good time with friends, who though from a different culture halfway across the world, you have deepening, real relationships with?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faces of Change

The past two years as I have prepared to go to Sierra Leone, I have spent a lot of time talking about the organization and the programs and the inservices and all the things that we do there to help promote a better future for the country. I think it is easier to talk with people about those things since saying, "Aunty Miatta and I had a good time watching the male teachers play in a football match," does not as easily inspire people to give prayers or otherwise. But the foundation for all of our man-made programs is the God-made people. And people are reached, grow, and change through relationships. The words we imparted have no impact if we are simply foreigners to one another. And in my mere words, it is hard to express the impact that these specific people have had upon my life. To me, they are not simply Africans. Or cute children from a different culture and continent. They are friends. And I strongly believe that it is through friendships that change takes place. And it is through the nationals' relationships with their people that Sierra Leone will change.

But people change slowly. Heh, I feel in my own life that I'm often one step forward, one mile back. But just as Christ's commitment made at Calvary doesn't have a deadline, neither should my relationships with them. And this confronts my American efficiency. I need and they need the transforming work of the LORD, and I am thankful that God uses us to grow each other.

I wish you could meet these people. Please pray for them...

Leader of the international (that's us) teams. He was miraculously saved from death during the war. He is hilarious and gets American humor.

Stephen Michael.
Child polio-survivor. This does not define him. What defines him is his godly leadership. He is admired by the younger home children and has started churches. (He is "only" a teenager.)

Uncle Sons.
Primary principal. He desires to teach correct content in the school. He believes, with a minority, that all children (regardless of ability) should be educated.

Sahr Brima.
A young man growing in his faith and in his leadership.

Rescued from a life on the streets, she is one of the older home girls. She is a becoming a leader of the other children.

Brave enough to stand up for the first time a year ago and encourage her peers to keep themselves pure and away from premature marriages.

Aunty Miatta.
Believes in the training we have brought. Loves on the good and "troublesome" students. Is excited to grow as an educator.

Aunty Chris.
Has blessed us through her service the past two years. Pastors a church with her husband in Freetown. Love the home children like a true mother.

One of the oldest home children. Is going to the university in the fall to study law.

Aunty Batu.
Loves well. Seeks to bless her family.

Musa Jongo.
Will be a diplomat or president someday.

Knows how to have fun with her peers and how to be a friend.

Goes to school and works hard on his very own farm. He's also 15.

Janet Nicol.
Eric and I's sponsor child. How I pray that she will grow in the LORD and become a leader in her country.

A national intern. Has a servant's heart. Loves well.

Leads by example. Has great hope.

International friends seeking godly change.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.