Friday, May 28, 2004

Update Again

I know this is kind of a quick update, but after today the email usage is going to be very iffy I´m afraid. The last two days have been very cold and rainy, so that cancelled some of our plans. We did go to English schools two nights, which was tons of fun. They loved us and a lot of people said they would be coming to the lectures Bob is holding at the Igreja de Cristo Guanabara this weekend. Bob is speaking on a Biblical response New Age Spirituality in Brazil, especially faith healing and things of that sort. I wish I could understand what he´s saying so I could learn some things. We have also spent a lot of time putting together Sunday school materials for the church. So many things we take for granted in the States, and children´s books and things of that sort is one of them. Yesterday the four OCers spent the day with one of our friends and former LST readers, Jane. She owns a country house about an hour outside of Campinas that is beautiful. We saw all kinds of fruit trees and got to pick them and eat them! And it was a wonderful opportunity to rekindle friendships that we build two years ago. She is also coming to Bob´s talk this weekend. On Tuesday we are leaving Campinas to go to Itú, a smaller city about an hour from here. That is where Allen Sr. and Maria Dutton lived, if that means anything to anyone. The church there is very excited and has lots of things already planned for us to do. Then the next week we are going to São João da Boa Vista. I have no idea what to expect there. That is the week we will break off from the Harding group. It´s amazing how well our two groups have blended. I´ll miss them all once we separate, but after yesterday´s only OC excursion, I know our team is going to get along great.
A couple of prayer requests: the entire Graves family (one of the missionary families) has been very sick, so please pray that their health will return. It has turned unseasonally cold here, so there are many families who do not have the blankets or clothing to stay warm, and we need to pray for them. Pray for Bob´s seminar this weekend, and pray for our group to work in a way that we will best glorify our Father.
I love you all dearly-

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Hey guys,
Just wanted to give you all an update from Brazil. Things are going very well here. I guess I could hash out all the details of everything we´ve done, but instead I´ll just hit the highlights.
Sunday was amazing. We went to worship with the Igreja de Cristo Guanabara, which is the church I´ve worked with for two summers. I just can´t tell you how happy it made me to see all of my old friends again. The church here just built a new building that I hadn´t seen yet, and it is beautiful, but the best part is that it was full! I think I´ve already written and told some of you this, but there was a woman named Valderane who started visiting when we were here 2 years ago, and now she and her husband are Christians and they attend services regularly. What a blessing!
Today we visited a hospital that specializes in treating children who have cancer. It was wonderful to play with them and see them smile and laugh, and we got to give each of them a beanie baby. As wonderful as it was, it also brough back many memories of my own hospital stay. It broke my heart to know that these children are so young that being sick is all they´ve known, and might be all they know their entire lives. I was deeply effected (affected?). Tonight we´re visiting an English school. I asked the missionaries here if they could help me talk to the owners and find out what they´re looking for in teachers, but they said that instead of looking to work at a language school I should talk to a local American school. Ken Graves is probably going to take me there some time this week. Yes, I´ll be in Japan for two years, but after that who knows? :)
I guess that´s all I have to say for now. I love you all and miss you very much, but I´m having a fabulous time here. Keep the kids who we visited today in your prayers. And their families.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Oi Do Brazil!

Hi guys!
I know some of you already got a message that I made it here safely, and that was sent via the missionaries just so you guys wouldn´t worry. Everything´s great here (except the backwards apostrophes because I can´t find a normal one on the keyboard). No major mishaps yet. I´ve already seen many old friends. The Harding group is great; I know I´ll make some great friends out of this trip. I still can´t believe I´m on a quasi-singing campaign. We´ll see how that goes... we have our first "performance" tomorrow. :) I wish I had something more exciting or profound to say. I sitll don´t know how often I´ll get to check email, but please send it to me so you will make my day when I read it. I love you all so much!
Beijos e abraços (kisses and hugs)-

Oi do Brasil!

I´m blogging from another continent! I rock! I want to spend my internet cafe time on email, so I´m going to keep this brief. Love you all and can´t wait to tell you in person about everything here!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

In Memoriam

Well, I didn't go to OKC today. Long story short-- my plans changed, and I am leaving tomorrow morning.

However, this blog isn't about me. This is to honor the life and career of a hardworking member of the NYPD, Detective Lennie Briscoe. Briscoe has been a staple of one of my favorite TV shows, Law and Order, for 12 years now. His sharp, dry one-liners and keen fashion sense have inspired us all over the years and will continue to inspire new generations of L&O fans who will discover the show in re-runs on TNT.
It breaks my heart that I will miss his last episode, which airs Wednesday night on NBC. However, rather than viewing this as the ending of an era, I see it instead as Lennie and I moving on in new directions: me to Japan, where the only channels I get on TV will probably be filled with freaky game shows, and him to yet another L&O spinoff.

A moment of silence for Lennie Briscoe.
:::taps plays softly in the background:::

Absentee Blogger

Well just in case you're living under a rock and don't know, I am leaving for Brazil on Tuesday morning. Since I fly out of OKC, I am actually leaving T-town tomorrow afternoon, so that means no blogging for a while. What will you do?! Haha... Who knows, maybe I'll surprise you all and blog once from another continent. That'd be cool. So keep my team and I in your prayers. I'll miss you guys, but will be back before ya know it. I can't believe I'm going for less than a month. That's so weird! I'm used to staying there for 6 or 7 weeks. It'll be great fun. If you want to email me, use my school account. I have no idea how often I'll be able to check it, and you probably shouldn't expect to hear anything from me. I'll be back June 15.
Love you all.

Awesomely Bad

Today, instead of packing, I decided to watch VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever. You can see the entire ranking here. I've already had a discussion about this list with one of my former professors who feels very passionately that VH1 is hypocritical in their complete dissing of the 80s, since that is the decade that spawned the entire VH1/MTV movement. I don't know so much about that. I do know that there are some songs that I feel do not deserve to be on this list, such as "Don't Worry Be Happy" (#9), "We Didn't Start the Fire" (#41) and "She Bangs" (#8). Call me blinded by lust, but I love Ricky Martin. Yum.
Anyhoo, the song I would have like to have seen as #1 is Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." (#20). I dislike Toby Keith with a passion. I dislike this song with a passion. One of the commentators on the show put it well when he said, "After the terror attacks of 9/11, Toby Keith felt moved to do something that required bravery and courage-- he joined the armed forces. No, wait... he just wrote a song about putting a boot in someone's ***." Nothing like a sweet dose of hatred with a dash of revenge. Just as Jesus commanded.
Off that soapbox. The songs on this list that I felt lived up to the title "awesomely bad" were "Hangin' Tough" by NKOTB (#12), "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice (#5) and "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (#17). Now those songs... those are the ones you make fun of in public, but when they come on the radio you belt them out.

Friday, May 14, 2004

My Life as a Series Finale

As proof of my self-absorbedness, I have found myself identifying with and comparing myself to the characters in the two highly publicized series finales, Friends and Frasier. I think that I identify more strongly with Frasier, because although I am much like Rachel of Friends, who is preparing to take a job halfway around the world, I am confident that I would not give it up for a boy, even if he were my lobster. My lobster would have to swim across the Pacific Ocean and come to Japan to be with me. :)
No, instead I relate to Frasier. Although leaving Seattle is hard for him, he knows that he needs to step out and begin a new chapter of his life. Real living is taking the opportunities you're given, not wondering years down the road what might have been. If even a secular TV show can see that, how much more should Christians be ready and willing to use the talents and opportunities that God gives them? "Here am I! Send me!"

New 'Do

Today I went in for my quarterly haircut. Quarterly may be more frequent than I go in, though. I probably go once a semester then once in the summer.
One of the reason for the long span between haircuts is that I never found a stylist in OKC that I liked. I've gone to the same woman in Texarkana for several years now. Her name is Holli and she works at the JC Penney Salon, just in case you're ever in this part of the world and needing a haircut.
Anyhoo, the last two times she's seen me she's been semi-traumatized at the amount of hair that I had lost. You see, being severely malnourished for 6 months last year had some side-effects that you might not automatically think of, such as hair loss. I was literally losing hair by the fistfull at one point last fall.
However, today Holli was like, "Ann! Your hair looks so much better! You have about 2 inches of new hair that is growing all over your scalp!" :) So I'm kind of like a baby, or a baby chick, or a man using Rogaine. I am re-growing hair! I'm excited. So in a year or so that will fully grow out and I'll once again have nice, full, thick hair. :)
Oh yeah, by the way, in case you're curious I got the same old haircut. About an inch below my shoulders with long layers.

Only 25 More Days!

Chris Rice is my absolute favorite artist. He's a Christian song writer and singer. He also happens to be a youth minister, which I have forgiven him for. :) The point of this post is not to merely sing his praises, but to inform my little world that he has a new best of CD coming out on June 8th! It's called "Short Term Memories," and features the following songs:

Deep Enough to Dream
Go Light Your World
Smellin' Coffee
The Other Side of the Radio
Mama Prays
Welcome to Our World
Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)
Power of a Moment
Sometimes Love
And Your Praise Goes On
Face of Christ
Home Tonight

You can find out all the rest of the info on his website, which I have linked to above. This is a great selection of Chris Rice's work if you want to jump on the bandwagon. Mark your calendars for June 8th so you can go to your local Christian music retailer and buy this album! Trust me, if I weren't going to be in Brazil, I would be there when the doors open (don't doubt me...I did it for the last album!). Yes, I am a dork. Since I will be gone, I need to find a surrogate to go in my place, so if you're interested just let me know. ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Man in Black

I've never known much about Johnny Cash, other than he was an older country singer. Of course I knew his songs, such as "A Boy Named Sue" and "Ring of Fire." When he died a couple of months ago, suddenly it was really trendy to like him and to be very grieved over his passing. I tend to be very skeptical towards trendy things and people, so I almost purposefully tried to not pay much attention to his life or music. However, tonight I caved in and watched CMT's Inside Fame about Johnny Cash. Call me a Johnny-Come-Lately (no pun intended), but what can I say, I'm a fan now. He was a man with principles, beliefs, and a message, and the people closest to him respected and loved him. I'm not going to pretend I have anything profound to say about Johnny Cash after just watching one hour long show about him, but I will close with a song that I find extremely touching and relevant.

What Is Truth?
The old man turned off the radio
Said, "Where did all of the old songs go
Kids sure play funny music these days
They play it in the strangest ways"
Said, "it looks to me like they've all gone wild
It was peaceful back when I was a child"
Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys
Are trying to be heard above your noise?
And the lonely voice of youth cries "What is truth?"

A little boy of three sittin' on the floor
Looks up and says, "Daddy, what is war?"
"son, that's when people fight and die"
The little boy of three says "Daddy, why?"
A young man of seventeen in Sunday school
Being taught the golden rule
And by the time another year has gone around
It may be his turn to lay his life down
Can you blame the voice of youth for asking
"What is truth?"

A young man sittin' on the witness stand
The man with the book says "Raise your hand"
"Repeat after me, I solemnly swear"
The man looked down at his long hair
And although the young man solemnly swore
Nobody seems to hear anymore
And it didn't really matter if the truth was there
It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair
And the lonely voice of youth cries
"What is truth?"

The young girl dancing to the latest beat
Has found new ways to move her feet
The young man speaking in the city square
Is trying to tell somebody that he cares
Yeah, the ones that you're calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world's wakin' to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it'll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
"What is truth?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Never Before and Never Again

I just felt the need to record a bit of a conversation between my friend and me tonight on AIM.

Friend: Friend2 and i are having our bi-monthly "solve all the world's problems" convo
Ann: oh good. well let me know how that goes for you. :)
Friend: oh we have tons of good ideas
Friend: i don't know why the world doesn't listen to us;)
Ann: well if you have any ideas for me, i'll listen
Friend: hahaha
Friend: oh ann, you are the paragon of greatness
Friend: you need no ideas
Ann: wow, i don't think i've ever been told that
Friend: :)

So there you have it on good authority: I am the paragon of greatness. If I can find that in Elvish somewhere, I've found my tattoo.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Book of the Moment

I received many books for graduation, most of which I have started and all of which I fully intend on completing this summer. However, the book of the day is entitled, Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller.
This book came recommmended to me from a friend who thought it reminded him of me. After reading it, I take that as a compliment. I hope that is how it was intended... :) This guy says a lot of things I would say were I more articulate and not worried about being excommunicated from "The Church." Anyway, I bought it this morning and am over halfway through it. I might finish it tonight. It is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man who truly cares about people and is honestly seeking God. As much as I love Max Lucado or any of the other popular Christian writers, they oftentimes seem to gloss over the meat of Christianity for more of a cotton-candyish spirituality. The theme of the book is the examination of humanity's fallen state (the sin problem) and how this penetrates our entire existance. Another strong theme I've noticed is our need for each other; not just the need of Christian for Christian or non-Christian for Christian, but the need we all have for each other... how every person is created in God's image, and we can see some characteristic of God in them, even if they haven't made Christ their Lord. Miller also struggles with the issue of remaining true to Scriptures and the Lordship of Christ, but at the same time loving and accepting all people.
I will say right now that this book is not for everyone. Blue Like Jazz presents an amazing portrait of the reaction of a product of the post-modern culture to Christianity. Most moderate to strong conservatives would recoil in horror at that statement, and if you did, you should probably not read this book. :) Miller challenges the standard white bread, Republican, GAP-like church mentality that I know most of my friends and family (and school) fall in to. So if you're feeling good and content about being in any of those categories, this may not be the read for you. But if you want to broaden your perspective, challenge yourself, or identify with someone who has asked maybe the same questions you have, then I suggest you pick it up.
I'll wrap up this too-long entry Lavar Burton style--"Of course, you don't have to take my word for it." :)

New Look

Blogger has really stepped up on the template offering, so I decided to change mine. It was a little bland before, but not anymore! Sadly that means I lost my links and comments... perhaps I can retrieve them, but that's another fight for another day.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

To Post or Not To Post...

That is not so much the question. The real question is what to post. Should I be informative and just tell you about my day, or should I try to be cute and witty and make you laugh? Or should I be deep and profound? I don't know. I will admit that I lean towards the deep and profound thing. That's the stuff I want to write about, but then I think, "Hmm... do I really want to post what I really think for all the world to read?" So who knows what you'll get when you tune in here, folks.

Friday, May 07, 2004

He's Her Lobster

Friends ended tonight. Of course, like every other chick in my generation, I watched it, and I cheered wildly when Ross and Rachel finally got together. What a great way to do it, too. The whole answering machine thing, "I love you. I love you. I love you... what am I doing? I have to get off this plane!" "Let her off the plane, let her off the plane!" Then boom, there she is: "I got off the plane." A fairy tale kiss, then the whole world "awh"s.
No worries though, people. I don't think anyone will be rushing to the airport to stop me from getting on my plane around the world. :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Pictures Online

I finally got my graduation pictures online. They're in an album at Check it out and enjoy!
This will also be the website where I will post my pictures once I move to Japan.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I is a Graduate

My apologies for the lack of posts in the last 5 days, but surely you understand. I don't want to go into a long schpiel about every detail of graduation, so I will surmise it to say that it was a special time with good friends and family. I won't lie-- it was a hard time with conflicting emotions and too much to do. You try to take care of all the logistical aspects-- finals, packing, moving, cleaning-- and also enjoy the time with your family, and try to say goodbye to all of the people you've come to love over the past four years. It's hard, but it's time. I'm in the process of getting the graduation pictures on the internet, so I'll link to them when that is done.