Monthly Archives: January 2009

25 random things about me


I have been tagged on Facebook at least 5 or 6 times… so I have finally finished my list and I am posting it here for your enjoyment.

25. I always wanted to be a music teacher.

24. My husband and I were high school and college sweethearts (with a few break ups in the early years)

23. When I started college (working toward a degree in Music Ed) I always said I would NEVER teach middle school.  It was my first job and I loved it!

22. I owned and ran my own business for 8 years.

21. I have traveled to 11 countries.  This year I hope to add 2 more to the list.

20. When I was growing up my family took long vacations in our motor home all across the country.  It was WONDERFUL and I miss it! We even spent Christmas one year in the camper.

19. When I first came to OU (Boomer Sooner), Robert insisted that I buy season tickets to the football games.  The cost for a season pass for student tickets was $40.  I thought that was really expensive for 6 games.  Why would I want to do that?!

18. I love watching old musicals.  My favorite is Singin’ in the Rain.

17. I type pretty fast but make lots of mistakes.  This is very annoying to my husband.

16. I love movies- all kinds, except horror films.  They give me nightmares.

15. I confess, I am a Trekie.  Is that how you spell it?  I have never written it down.  I hope it will make my dad proud.   I have seen all of the Star Trek Movies (more than once) and I avidly watched Star Trek the Next Generation.  Someone I know has several seasons on DVD here in Albania.  My husband is opposed to the idea of me borrowing them.

14. I don’t bathe my kids every night.  I never have.  I know this seems wrong to some people.  Now that we live in Albania, my boys shower only twice a week and Jadyn takes a bath only once a week.  I hope you won’t judge me.

13. I used to travel a lot with my job.  It meant that I was away from my family for a few days a month.   I miss that.

12. I didn’t really know how to cook “from scratch” until I moved to Albania.  I am now of the mind that anything made from a box or a can is “fast food.”

11. I used to drive around Wal-mart parking lots looking for the closest parking space because I did not want to walk that far.  Now I will walk 20 minutes each way for a “short” errand.

10. I love to read…. lots and lots of books.

9. I love to buy and collect books…I have learned this from my dad.

8. I miss my mom everyday.

7. I hate folding laundry.  And this is the one things I do almost every day.  Hmmmm

6. I have found a new passion and enjoyment in writing.

5.  I like to be organized and to have a plan.  It gives me the illusion of control.

4. I think everyone should have professional counseling a few times in their life.  We all have baggage …. need to unpack it every few years.

3. I love reading and studying the Bible.  Beth Moore is my hero.

2. I am completely and totally changed by adopting my youngest child.  It has changed the way I love all my children.

1. I love my husband…. he is my rock.




dsc08760Tonight I was holding Jadyn and she touched my mole and said……

Yup, you guessed it.


If I was Cindy I would say “For the love.”  I just love it when she says that. (Cindy, I mean, not Jadyn)

Me-  I sigh and say “Sheesh.”

Worship Conference


This weekend, our church hosted its first Worship Conference.  It was designed to help worship leaders and members of their worship teams build healthy ministry in their churches across Albania and equip them with skills and tools.  I was asked to lead a session on Vocal Technique. I was a little unsure how I could communicate the wealth of information there is to cover in an hour and 15 minute session (about 40 minutes of material with translation) but I was willing to give it a shot.
There were over 20 women and 1 man who attended my session.  Most of the men who are singers are also guitar players and attended the session for guitarists… go figure.  But we had a fun time learning some of the basics and a few exercises that can help singers develops good habits and technique.
You know you’ve had a good session when…. you have requests for private lessons and seminars with churches in other cities.  Not that I can take any of that on just yet.  But I will be praying for the right time and opportunity to use the gifts God gave me in music here in Albania!  Who knew?

Only God.

I’m paniking!



A few days ago, Austin and Tyler came home with little stuffed bears that their Kindergarten teacher sent to their class from the US.  It is amazing to me how much they still loved stuffed animals and how receiving a new one sparks their love for all the old ones!  After playing with them for hours, we were getting ready for bed when Austin came in teary eyed.

Austin: I can’t find my bear!!

Me: Where did you last have him?

Austin: (A little louder, and more tears) He was in my room!

Me: Well, have you looked all over in your room?

Austin: (Getting very upset now and a little angry)Yes, he’s’ not there!

Me: What about the office?

Austin: (Totally losing control) He’s not anywhere!

Me: Okay, take a deep breath.  Let’s just calm down and talk about all the places you have been and where you need to still look.

Austin: (Deep breath, still very tearful) Okay, but it’s just that I’m … well, I’m upset because I’m paniking!

Oh, that I could explain my rampages this way.

Chinese New Year in Albania



Yesterday was Chinese New Year. 2009 is now the Year of the Ox.  All over the world, people celebrated this important Chinese holiday, even in Albania.  I took Jadyn to the mall yesterday.  The main store is the largest grocery store in Albania (think miniature Super WalMart) so I was getting some shopping done.  I saw more Chinese men yesterday at the mall, than I have ever seen in ALL of Albania!  I guess as a part of celebrating, they were making their New Year purchases at the mall.  One thing that was interesting to me was that I saw NO women.  I guess they were at home make food and feast preparations.

Since I had Jadyn with me, I drew an extra number of stares.  I am quite used to the staring by now since in Albania is not considered rude to stare.  So I made a few head nods by way of greeting and drew a few smiles.  Later as I was walking by a group of men I had seen earlier I attempted to strike up a conversation.

Do you speak English?

Flisni shqip? (Do you speak Albanian?)

They spoke only Chinese!  So we smiled and said “Ni Hao” (hello in Chinese) and went on our merry way.  I’ll admit I was a little surprised that they didn’t speak at least a little Albanian.  I have so many questions!  How long have you lived here?  Where in China did you come from?  Did you come here with your whole family?  How did you learn about Albania?  Can you teach me some Chinese?!

I wonder what they were thinking or wanting to ask me!!!!

Side note: NO, this picture was not taken in Albania….

The one about New Year’s Eve


Our New Year’s Eve day was full.  We got up in the morning (not early, mind you… we are on vacation) and took a trek up Mount Dajti.  This is the local mountain which has a gondola you can ride to the top.  There is a playground, coffee shop, lookout over the city and a number or restaurants.  (To read about one of our early Mt. Dajti adventures from our third month in Albania click here.)

We took a Frisbee and a ball so we would be able to enjoy the wide open spaces and mountain air and bundled up for the cold.  But we found plenty to do between the playground, lookout and SNOW!!


In the afternoon, I helped cook my neighbor’s turkey (their stove broke a few weeks ago).


This was after she spent a week in my freezer. At least I didn’t have to cut her head off and pluck her feathers.  That might have put me over the edge.

Later that evening (after the hair episode) we gathered at Matt and Cindy’s (with the Watanabe’s and the Zollinger’s too!) for an evening of food and games while waiting for the fireworks at midnight.



ALL the kids stayed up for the fireworks which we watched from Matt and Cindy’s 4th floor balconies. Fireworks in Albania brings a whole new meaning to the word “DANGER” so we’ll give you a little peak.  Unfortunately, I lost some of my videos from this year so this one is from last year when my mom and dad were here but you will get the idea.  🙂 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

My brain made me do it


Tyler was caught in a lie a few weeks ago.  He and Austin had wanted to play on Webkinz World one afternoon and I asked if they had their homework done.  They both told me yes.  This was not the case.

They were both grounded from TV and video/computer games for 1 week.  Since this was just a few days before Christmas break and they were going to be home a lot this seemed to be a very big punishment in their eyes.  A day or two later, Tyler asked me if he could play with his dad’s Ipod.  I told him no, he was still grounded from video games.  Later that afternoon, I was looking around for him only to discover that he had taken the Ipod secretly up to his room to play when I thought he was reading.

After a time out and a little bit of time, I sat down with him to talk about what he had done.  He cried big tears and told me it wasn’t his fault.

“My brain made me do it!!”

I tried really hard not to laugh.  Really, I did.