Monday, August 22, 2005

The Bee-ch, The Bietch and The Beach

It's a speedo clad beach
with crystal snorkeling water
and comfy chairs
and shrimp... but we brought our own peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches.

We've spent the last two weekends here at Sosua beach... oh the good times. We don't seem to have much of a camera here. No camera at all actually. I am not exactly sure how we managed to forget one, we tend to be over achievers. Entonces, you may see a pictorial variety of friends and strangers in the near future. We're working on it.

Ain't Got Nothing on Me

You seem 'em don't you... nasty little black turd-like structures! Bacteria. Please forgive such graphic content and phrasing, but there has been a raging week long battle here.

"Battle not with monsters, Nietzsche cautions me, least I become one." Moron. Obviously Nietzsche had never known bacteria to attack his digestive tract, experiencially or existentially. I happen to know for an autobiographical fact that there is pure exhialration in kicking a monsters butt!

The prayers of you loved ones in the Body, my white blood cells, and the Cipro prescritive have achieved VICTORY by grace of God... working all things together for good and not for harm.

I feel great today! I was up at 5:30 this morning stringing clothes line (we finally got around to laundry yesterday afternoon and no sooner had the washer finished a cycle than a wonderfully, long, nap-taking perfection of a storm hit. Which means that the clothes certainly could not be hung out to dry when you consider that our clothes line is on our roof. You must also take into consideration that if the clothes were to be left damp in the washer there is the assurance that when we return home this evening there will be reeking mildew spurred by the afternoon humidity.... so there you have me adorning our apartment in clothes line across the bedroom and kitchen spaces this morning... with happy, bodily healthy feelings!)

Again... I feel great! Busy, but great. I'm beginning tutoring today with one of my students who was in my kindergarten class. We are going to work on getting her brain ready for school.... I just hope I can keep up, as long as i keep my brain one step ahead of hers then I have something to offer!


Friday, August 19, 2005


I'm reading a book about a guy who is very bitter towards lizards. He was a boy when Fidel came down from the mountain. Eventually, the boys parents cracked under the tyranny of equality and made a decision far too many parents had to make in Cuba those days. They sent him to the United States, alone and orphaned, with only the clothes on his back.

The lizards however got to stay in Cuba, unaffected by the spreading communist infection.

He thought that was pretty unfair and has since harbored an intense bitterness towards lizards.

I think this is a shame. I love lizards. I have them all over my office. One was perched on my laptop when I opened it this morning, waiting to IM his lizard friends I guess. He's too little to open the computer himself so I assume he was waiting patiently for me to come along.

But the little guy left before even emailing a single fellow lizard.

I assume it was to eat some spiders.

And it is for this very reason that I gladly welcome, nay, embrace any lizard who would consider sharing office space with me.

I despise those dastardly eight legged demons. And most of them I run into are the hairy kind that actually make an audible "hiss" when you get too close.

Spiders should not be able to make audible sounds.

Feast my lizard friends, feast.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Our First Sonogram

A few things I was not expecting.

I was not expecting to be writhing in pain upon returning from the beach Monday night. I was not expecting my husband to insist on taking me to the hospital Tuesday morning. I was not expecting the doctor to request full lab work, a sonogram and a pelvic exam. I was not expecting the lady to look at me, hold up a cup and announce... "dame tu pipi aqui." I was not expecting to be lying on my back, Jesse holding my hand, jelly all over my tummy and a french-dominican doctor revealing shadowy black and whites of my insides.... wait hold on a minute how did i get here?

I'll tell you how. Mofongo. Yep. I ate some and it did me in. I have "abundantes bacterias" in my guts. So right about now you are thinking that I'm expelling in every which direction... not so. I have yet to expell anything at all (a problem in and of itself). I do have what is known as severe abdominal cramping. This is a phrase that has always eludded me. After all, on all boxes and mediactions it tells you to consult a physican if severe abdominal cramping occurs. Now, all you ladies out there can support me on this one... i've had cramps so bad in the past it makes one reconsider ever birthing a child. HOWEVER... i've come to learn that is NOT in fact severe abdominal cramping. I NOW have severe abdominal cramping and it is very uncomfortable... i suggest thinking of it as truly painful.

So that is my little update. sigh. I should be getting a prescription from the doctor today. He wanted to wait until my test results were in before prescribing... procrastinator! Pray my body quickly murders these little things...

mucho amour.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Your Humble Opinion Pt. 2

more ramblings...

An example:

The story of a guy temporarily named Abram:

God, longing to redeem the human race to Himself, shows up one day and tells Abram to get moving but doesn’t tell him where to go. He tells Abram He plans to make him “great” and “bless all the people of the earth” through him. Abram thinks that sounds pretty good and leaves with his shifty nephew Lot and his wife Sarai. Along the way they stop in Egypt where Abram fibs about Sarai being his wife and sells her to Pharaoh in exchange for a couple goats, cows, camels and house cleaners. He makes up for it though when he meets Melchizedek, the very first king ever mentioned in scripture (who just so happens to rule right where the future Jerusalem will be), priest of the God Most High, and Old Testament personification of Jesus. Melchizedek serves Abram bread and wine (communion) and blesses him. Abram responds by unwittingly instituting the tithe and giving Mel a tenth of everything he has. (If that’s not classic foreshadowing I don’t know what is.) Things go good for Abram for a while. God, being who He is, re-asserts His promise to Abram a couple times and eventually promises him a son. He and Sarai get a bit impatient though and decide it would be a good idea to conceive that son by means of adultery. When this doesn’t work they eventually dump the poor child and his mother off in the desert with some food and water. God then pulls a literary no-no and changes the names of the two main characters of the story, a bit of a habit He has. Meanwhile, Lot’s making babies…with his daughters mind you, and the LORD levels an entire city with fire that falls from the sky. Proving his thick-headedness, Abraham once again sells his wife to a king in exchange for some more favors, this time claiming a technicality rather than admitting he lied. Eventually Abraham and Sarah do have a boy, Isaac, whom the LORD in turn tells Abraham to kill. Abraham blinks, says ok, goes to kill his son but the LORD instead provides a ram (more foreshadowing), His heart warmed by His friend Abraham’s faith. Sarah dies at a young 127 years of age leaving father and son heartbroken. But nothing balms a broken heart like a wedding. With his son newly married to the lovely Rebekah, Abraham decides to tie the knot once more before he kicks it at age 175.

Every word of that story is true. And what’s more, I am redeemed to my God and Father through Jesus Christ in part due to the role each of the characters in that story played. I suddenly feel a bit better about myself.

The Anti Christ is a Girl Who Brings Too Much Luggage

Alexi Murdhoch had a dream last night that he sat beneath an orange sky. I however dreamed something else....

I was sitting in my office at school here at SCS when Floyd McClung walks in and hugs me. (This exact thing has happened to me in dreams before and usually has been interpreted as a sign of approval and affection from the LORD. If you have been hugged by Floyd, you know this to be true.) I ask him what in the world he is doing in the DR. He says that he is just dropping by on his way somewhere else....maybe South Africa...I don't think he says but I know he means somewhere other than the DR. Then he says to me that he is taking the anti-christ with him. I am shocked. Even more so when the anti-christ walks into my office and is a slightly overweight young lady in a business suit who had way to much luggage to go on a trip eight to ten bags which are all carried in for her. Floyd and I exchange glances. I believe he rolled his eyes.

That is all.



Please Keep Your Opinions Humble

So they want me to write a curriculum. Technically I've never done this before, unless you call streaming together my mostly uninformed opinions on things and forcing other people to listen and be tested on them writing a curriculum. I think that's more like blogging with tests afterwards.

Seventh through twelfth grade. Those were the days. Arms a bit too long. Skin a bit too oily. Girls a bit too intimidating. Like Don said, playing video games was easier than changing. But, these are those I've been asked to teach a little bit of bible. So where does one begin?

There is a curveball thrown my way as well. And like most curveballs, its fun to look at but hard as hell to do anything with. It is this: the majority of students I am asked to teach scripture to are not believers. Great you say? Well remember this. One, they are highschoolers and there is not a more self-centered culture on the planet. Two, we're not just chatting about the scriptures over coffee here (though a good method). This is a high-school credit course. They must be tested on measurable objectives. Three, they've had classroom bible instruction of some kind or other everyday, since kindergarten. There is a bitterness factor involved.

"Gee Jess, you seem to have a real good attitude going into this thing", you might say. In all actuality, I could not be more excited. I just had to take a good hard look at what I was up against. And once I did, I realized a very interesting thing. I've been asked to teach people who are just like me. Self-centered: check. A distaste for discipline: check. At times bitter and fed up with the system: check (see Steinbecks and Shinerbock's "An almost funny article"). Still intimidated by girls: check. I'm just like them. I would hate to sit in a classroom for hours on end exegeting the bible, an instructor using it as ammo to assault my character..."...and that's why you should behave this way and not this way."

But, I love the bible. I love it. I'm looking at one right now, thinking to myself, "I love you." I love to read it, dissect it, and put it back together again. I even love letting it judge my character and motives sometimes. Why? What happened? How did it happen? Well, there's an answer that I believe to be mystical and one that is more natural. And the space that separates the two I estimate to be smaller than expected if any space between exists at all.

It is this: The story of God and His people.

I dig the story. I dig the twisting plot. I dig the vulgar parts. I dig the screwheads who are in it. I love, absolutely love, all the foreshadowing. I love the story, start to finish more than I love its individual parts. Am I allowed to say that? Cuz its true. God makes because He loves and loves being loved. He loves what He has made. What He made doesn't so much love Him so He redeems what He has made so it can love Him and He can love it. And they all live happily ever after. Did I miss anything?


At least...that's my humble opinion.

So there are those among you who are smarter than I in these issues: both the scripture and just teaching in general. It it to you I submit a bit of what I have so far. Keep in mind it is just a start and the teachers need to be introduced to this philosophy on teaching scripture as much as the students need to be introduced to it as a way to learn them.

More will follow as I write it.

An Introduction

You know, it’s hard to find someone, anyone, who doesn’t love a good story. I think we’re wired that way…across the board. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of one single culture or people group that does not in some form or fashion communicate to one another with stories.

Think about it.

In casual conversation: “Man you’re not going to believe what happened to me last night…”

In the way we learn: “The single most efficient and terrifying armed force the world had ever seen descended upon the small band of rebels. War was upon the American Colonies and things would never again be as they were…”

And that’s not even mentioning the way we entertain ourselves. Imagine a world void of the elements of story. Imagine a world with nothing but unrelated facts and figures given in linear sequence with no thought of detail, no time given to color and purpose.

This sounds like math. I never liked math. And you can’t tell me the story of Bob and Paul traveling on two separate trains that left at differing times moving at equal speeds towards two separate points in space counts as a good story either.

But that itself brings up another good point:

Elements of story help us learn by making us more interested in what we are learning.

Take Bob and Paul; characters added to a numerical problem in which all that is really needed is correct data and calculation to find the solution. Bob and Paul are just there to motivate us. Who’s going to get to the station first? I want to know! Something that was in reality, lifeless and rigid, just put on some human skin, entered my conception of reality, and thus became more meaningful to me. I am no longer trying simply to discover what “x” is, but rather if Bob will beat Paul to the station, steal his girlfriend and live happily ever after.

A test, if you will.

1. On December 7th, 1941, the US fleet at Pearl Harbor was attacked by six Japanese carriers and close to 500 aircraft.

The attack removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion.

With over 2400 Americans killed, the attack ended all public debate on U.S. involvement in the Second World War.


2. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dad was a 19-year-old seaman first class and Coxswain in charge of a forty-foot liberty motor launch of the USS Raleigh. According to some of his shipmates, he had just returned from taking a load of "whitehats" to the liberty dock in the Navy Yard and had brought back some others off shore leave.

His breakfast was probably just a bowl of cereal, some milk and coffee. I like to think that he was thinking about his high school sweetheart and the recently purchased engagement ring he had stashed in his locker below deck. I'm sure he was full of anticipation of when he would be back home and be able to pop the question.

Then about 7:55 a.m., on December 7, 1941, the first torpedo in the assault on Pearl Harbor hit the USS Raleigh. The blast threw him down a stairway to another deck. (

Of the two inserts listed above, which interested you more? Which would you rather continue reading?

“But,” you say to yourself, “which is more testable?” A good point. And one we will get to.

That is what I have so far. What say you?


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Surfwax DR

The article is so named due to the fact that my wife would not allow me to name the blog itself as such. Seeing as how I do not surf, I am neither tan nor hairless enough, I relented.

Well we are arrived. And while outside men do landscaping with nothing more than machetes, I am in my office, blogging. Thus, the polarity that is the Dominican Republic. With glitches that can be at worst described as minor, my wife and I are settling in nicely. Our luggage: arrived. Our apartment: painted. Our showers: wet. Mostly.

The inauguaral post of our blog will be relatively brief and informational. Unforced Rhythms of Grace will be our primary way to comminicate with you our community concerning the goings-on in Santiago; an attempt to do all the things we would do were we with you: laugh, cry, verbally process, confess need, confess sin, ask for prayer, pray for, and hoist a drink now and then. Seanboy, we may even try a little backgammon. Other than that you will get attempts at witticisms and reflections on various subjects.

So let's jump right in. Here are things my wife and I are asking the LORD to show Himself concerning. Join us won't you?

1. Pray for us and our apartment. Its a great place. Have you ever been anywhere where the peace of the LORD seems to rest heavily? You walk in and immediately feel like curling up and taking a nap? Its as if Jesus Himself said "come to me and find rest, I'll be at the Douglas' or the Langford's". Do you know these kind of people and their homes? If not, go to either College Station or Bolivar, get fetal, sleep for a while, and when you wake up Mark or Joe will be there with some tripped out encouragement straight from the heart of the Father and maybe some beer. wife and I want this for ourselves, our home and the folks that come into our home.

2. A car. Or the funds with which to purchase one. They are expensive boogers down here, all hopped up on import taxes.

Perhaps eventually we will be savy enough to have a portion of the blog purely devoted to prayer concerns.This will do for now.

Check out our friend's blogs.

Pictures and audio will follow.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Posted Banners


Monday, August 01, 2005

Posting Pics