Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wait A Minute Mr. Postman

Waayait Mr. Pooostman.....

I love getting mail. Real mail. Maybe that's one reason I'm an internet shopper. There's something real special about getting real mail. Maybe because we have all these new fangled ways of communication like email and twitter and facebook. So getting genuine mail is rare. And special.

I remember I used to write letters to my best friend Anna Sweeney in the 7th and 8th grade over the summer. Passing notes was a big thing during school. Helped keep you awake during class when discussions of feminist writers wasn't doing it for you. (Oh 8th grade AP English....and Ms. Rob....) Anna and I would decorate our envelopes, write in markers, and sometimes color on top of the entire letter. And how exciting it was to get a letter in the mail!!!

Because of this memory, I try to write to our Compassion sponsored children at least once every 4-6 weeks. Sometimes the turn around time between here to Colorado Springs to their country takes about 4 weeks. (Longer to Tanzania where I get letters dates 2-3 months prior to arrival.)

Something I have heard frequently from newer and even more experienced sponsors is, "What do I say to my sponsored kids?? It doesn't even sound like they're the ones writing back to me."

Don't be discouraged. You're not alone.

Ever wondered if your letter really means anything? Look at this well read letter that was held on to for over 3 years in a shack in Kenya:

More of Eliud's heartbreaking and hopeful story is found with Compassion bloggers Brad Ruggles and Shaun Groves (who's one of my favorites). Warning: Eliud's story will change your life. Especially after watching his video in Brad's blog.

If you don't follow Compassion's blog, you need to. Recently a wonderful post was written about what Compassion kids want to hear from their sponsor. You'll be surprised. And filled with a sad sort of hope for them. Here's a few examples:

I would like my sponsor to write me more about her future plans, hobbies, and what she does during her free time. I hope she will never forget to write me and pray for me.” — Pauline

“What I like most about everything she writes is how she tells me to walk on God’s path. I also like it when she praises my talent, my personality and everything I do is a blessing to her. She writes mostly about her work in a camp and how she spends her time with her husband. One thing I’m curious about my sponsor is if she’s pregnant because she’s been married for almost two years now and I still haven’t read in her letters of them having a baby.” — Hallelujah

“My sponsor always sends me greetings and holiday cards. It feels like I am physically with them during special occasions when I actually am not. She really loves me and shows care for me in each of her letters. I am curious to know how it feels to live in their country. Is it like also here in the Philippines?” — Christopher

Other great ideas can be found at Relationship Building Through Child Sponsorship

Some interesting statistics have crossed my path about the letter writing relationship that I think you'll be interested to know.

Sponsored children do 40% better in school if they receive 2 or more letters a year.

A group of sponsored children were polled, and when asked what is your favorite part of being sponsored, the main response was "receiving letters from my sponsor" more than gifts, going to the center's activities, or receiving the lunch meal at the center (sometimes their only meal of the day).

On Sunday November 7th, we are hosting the first annual Christmas Letter Writing Party for Compassion at Celebration Fellowship. And you're not going to want to miss it. We'll have all the paper supplies you could dream of (but if you've got a scrapbook-junkie friend who wants to get rid of some stuff, we'll gladly take it off her hands).
You can even write unaddressed letters that will be given to Compassion kids who are still waiting for a sponsor.

Now they can all join in the excitement of a handwritten letter together.

So bring your photos, your sponsor number and child's number, your friends, and your family, and we'll see you there. November 7th, 4:00pm. Don't miss it. It'll could change the life of a child.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You'll Be Happy to Know - I'm Going

That's right folks. I'm going to the World Series. Saturday.


There's perks to a blog. Or maybe it's being a preachers kid. Or maybe both.

No wait. What am I saying...few perks to being the preachers kid. But I think it was a combo of both. Love by proxy.

I'll take it.

So we're loaded with Rangers gear, World Series tickets, and a heart full of hope.

And you know what? Thank you Rangers. Good frickin' grief. What a sad sack of a year it's been, and here you go doing whatever you can to redeem it. I should give you guys an award. 5 Gold Stars. And a claw.

My last post Why I Need A World Series Ticket has been my most visited post since Blogger added the stats option. But somehow....out of over 100 one commented directly to the blog....hmmmm. So I people not know how? No. That can't be it. It's so easy. Maybe they aren't really reading? No. Because people comment on them when they see me. So what is it then? You tell me.

In my comments of course. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why I Need A World Series Ticket

I grew up on baseball. No really. I know people say that and it's America's favorite pastime and stuff, but when I say I grew up on baseball, I really did.

My mom is an avid baseball fan. That's really where it all starts. But here's a list of reasons on why you should help me get a ticket (or by all means "tickets") to a Texas Rangers World Series Game.

1. Most kids get lullabies sung to them as infants. As a baby I was sung to sleep to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." True story.

2. When we'd come home from school in the afternoon it wasn't unusual to have mom say, "You guys want to go see the Rangers tonight?" And we'd say, "But mom we have homework..." And she'd say, "It's ok, just bring it with you!" So we spent many a cool spring and fall evening doing homework at the original Ballpark in Arlington.

3. We used to do birthday parties at the Ranger game. One year, we celebrated my July 10th birthday a little late...on July 28, 1994. Kenny Rogers pitched me a perfect game. This day is also my parents wedding anniversary. Our names were on the jumbo-tron.

4. I was selected as the Rainblo Celebrity Batgirl and received a tour of the stadium, a meet and greet with Jeff Frye (who hit me a homerun because I asked - and he wasn't a homerun hitter!), and a great ringer style tshirt that I still wear today.

5. We used to live behind Nolan Ryan and had so much fun driving through the neighborhood after his huge 5,000th strikeout! Signs in everyone's cool. It's so fitting he's the prez now. I know he'd appreciate me being there.

6. I continued to be such a huge baseball fan in college that I regularly attended Baylor baseball games by myself on Tuesday and Thursday nights (sometimes with homework - like the good ol' days)

7. I went to Baylor University with David Murphy and cheered him on for 2 full seasons of college ball. (Kelly Shopack was there at the same time. Go Bears, Go!)

8. I'm probably the only girl you know who's been to over a dozen stadiums, read autobiographies, and collected baseball memorabilia. I could hold intelligent conversations about who your "all time team" picks would be or why we SHOULD keep the DH around. That's gotta count for something.

9. My mom used to work out with the Texas Rangers. There's something real cool about players waving to your mom from the field. Makes you feel tall.

And finally....

10. I lost faith in the players after 2 strikes, a round of steroids, and the annihilation of legit baseball records from the greats of the past. However, the game stayed beautiful in my heart. This group of Texas Rangers has redeemed any hope in baseball that was once lost for me. Josh Hamilton, a story of redemption himself, leads the team with faith in Jesus Christ. After being asked about his post-season experience during the MVP award ceremony, he says, "First, all glory be to God, Jesus Christ." Now that's some baseball I can get on board with!

All of these things add up to one huge thing - I've been a Rangers fan my whole life, and I gotta get to that Series!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Other Brother

Today is my other brother's birthday.

My other brother is Robert Gordon. AKA: Robby, Tinkerbell, Rrrrroobbbbay!

Robby is the man. And he has a great beard. Kinda like this:

Robby and I have been siblings for about 12 years now. He is my favorite man friend and always notices my new shoes. I have a funny impression of that. Just ask our moms. I like to do it for them.

Robby is a fantastic guitarist who has beautiful hair, an impeccable sense of fashion (male AND female) and loves some of my most favorite things including Jesus, Disney, and the color fuschia.

Yo ho Rrrrrroobbbay, You rock.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Calling All exScrapbookers!!!

Hello to you who only thought you were that crafty.

Hello to you who got sucked into the world of tiny stamps and brightly designed paper.

Hello to you who lost the time to care.

Hello to you who had well intentions of keeping the memories of your small children together in a pristine little scrapbook with pristine little cutouts and pristine cornered pages.

Your time for redemption has come!!!

On November 7th there will be an area-wide Christmas letter writing party for Compassion sponsors! And we need your extra scrapbooking material.

ANYTHING you have will be greatly appreciated, but we are specifically looking for:

ink pads
letter cutouts
shape cutouts
color pens/pencils
Christmas "flavored" papers/stickers/cutouts etc.

Let me know you've got them, and we'll get it from ya! An easy drop off at Celebration Fellowship in the office can be arranged as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just Around the Corner...

I feel like lately that life continues to be "just around the corner" for me. The corner is at least getting closer and closer, but we're still not there yet.

Just around the corner is a new professional role.

Just around the corner is the return of free time.

Just around the corner is a new experience with Compassion and Celebration Fellowship.

Just around the corner is.....

What's just around the corner for you?

Actually, today my flight was booked for the Church To Church training event in South Barrington, IL in November. Excited about it. Not about the flight, I don't particularly care for flying, but for the event.

Hey - don't forget to send in your Christmas money by October 31st for your Compassion sponsored kiddos. You can sign in there.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raiders of the Lost Arts

Lost Art #1: Architecture/Interior Design

Now I know that sounds silly, but after you've seen what we've just seen, you know it's a lost art. Everything today is cookie cutter. It's drywall and paint. An occasional mosaic may surface or striped walls, but nothing like what they were doing centuries ago.

America is so young. Our country hasn't had centuries of artifacts rotting away in the underground waiting to be rediscovered by a new generation of people. Between Rome and Greece we saw about all the ruins available in the European world. Including the oldest ever discovered: the Palace of Knossos in Crete, circa 3000 BC. Uh hello.....that's frickin old. And by the way, they had an indoor water system. Still visible (and currently walked on) is the marble and red paint on the floors. Did you hear me? They painted their floors red 5000 years ago and we are still walking on it today!

(Ok if you're bored here, skip on down to Lost Art #2. It's way cooler.)

The Queen's room had a painted fresco of dolphins with a celling built as if it were just underneath the surface of the ocean's waves. Red and black painted columns acted as the doorway:

We also walked the ruins of ancient Ephesus where rows and rows of intricately sculpted marble columns lay waiting for their discoverer to deduct the place of their original standing.

Ephesus is still being excavated. There was a archeological work crew on site at the Great Theater where the riot broke out due to Paul's work in Ephesus (last half of Acts 19).

Also in Ephesus is a library that is adorned with marble statues and columns, standing 3 stories high. Mosaics adorn entryways, and everything was covered in marble. (A lot of things that "were" adorned in marble were pillaged by the catholic church and used for their own buildings.)

I'd like to have seen this process in action. How did they build such massive structures with stone and then proceed to cover it with marble? And thousands of years ago?!

In Venice there is the Basilica San Marco which was originally built in the early 800's, then again in the late 900's, and lastly in 1034...with some of the original mosaic still intact at the west entryway.

Inside there are marble mosaic floors. But we're not talking about pieces the size of a floor tile or checker board designs....we're talking meter after meter of art....

The Basilica wouldn't allow pictures or video, but I got one in this church that is very similar to it. Although the Basilica San Marco is 5x the size....

Lost Art #2: Paper Making

Venice is known for 3 things other than it's streets of water: glass, masks, and paper.

We came across this paperie called La Carta in the district of San Marco. The shop owner and paper maker began telling me about the differences in the journals he sells. (And don't you know I love a good journal...) I became completely enthralled with the detail of his shop. I picked up one journal, flipped through it's blank pages, and in perfect English with a thick accent he began telling me about the quality of it's watermarked pages. He scurried behind his desk, disappeared into a back room, and brings out an old, worn, leather journal. From 1600. He opens it to show me the quality of it's paper. How it's held the ink and outlasted the weather for over 400 years.

He holds up one of its old, worn pages to the light to show me the exact same watermarks as in the journal I'm holding. Each of these journals are bound and covered by him with decorated paper he dyes by hand using water, oils, and metals. Some designs require the use of a comb. Others, he tells us, a paintbrush.

He shows us his handmade leather journals with handmade paper. "100% cotton and water," he says. "Then, like in the old days with the cowboys," he says as he pretends to hike up his pants and kick his boots out, "you do it like this," and he makes a motion like he's sifting for gold. He shows me it's paper up to the light and points out the very fine pattern of a net. For these journals he hand picks the leather and sews the pages together in groups of 4.

We took mom and dad back in the next day to meet him and show them his beautiful paper.

We got a little lesson in how he dyes the paper that he uses to bind journals and to sell as loose leaf.
A true joy Mr. Vianello! A lost art. And he wrapped them for me.

In paper.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (in the usual Broadway song and dance style)