Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I just figured out how to put pictures on my blog, so I'll be having fun with this for a while. In the meantime, and to help me test this out, here is a picture of what the skies have looked like around Texarkana for pretty much the past three weeks.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A Doctor's Visit

Today I went to the doctor. Although I will not divulge details which are too personal, I must record some of this experience, since it is so typical of the past year of my life.

Step 1: Arrive 10 minutes early for my 9:00am appointment, because there is always paperwork to fill out before the doctor will see you.
Step 2: Sign in using the highly sophisticated new method of protecting patient information, which involves drawing a thin pen line through your name after you have gone in to see the doctor. After signing in I am given my paperwork which includes at least 5 pages of filling out my and my family's entire medical history. No, it doesn't matter that I've done this every time I've seen the doctor. Just do it. Don't ask questions.
Step 3: Receptionist asks for my insurance card. What? I didn't bring your insurance card since you've been going to this doctor for the past 6 years and they should have it on record by now? Sucks to be me! No no, it's okay. I'll just have to pay the doctor's fee up front. Sure, they'll reimburse me when I bring my insurance card up to the office later in the day. Sure. Wink wink.
Step 4: Wait 45 minutes in the waiting room. Luckily, they have 3 copies of Self magazine. Luckily, I like Self magazine. No crying children, yet. But one 70 year old man asleep and snoring like a beast.
Step 5: Called back to the office! Victory! Yeah, right... First I must pass the scale of doom, which I swear always reads at least 8 pounds more than my scale at home.
Step 6: Spend another 30 minutes sitting on the examination table in the examination room. Don't even try to get up and move to the comfortable looking chair, because as soon as I do a nurse will come in and remind me to sit on the table. To help calm my nerves, the room has been designed to be as serene as possible, from completely lacking reading material (unless I want to read the chart on contraceptive information) to the artwork on the walls. No, wait, the artwork on the walls depict 4 different battle scenes from World War II. They're all aviation battles, so you can't see any people, thankfully. Except for that one guy falling out of his airplane. Yes, very calming.
Step 7: Doctor arrives! She is very kind and nice once she gets to me. She listens to everything and answers all my questions. Due to my lengthy list of concerns and symptoms, she has ordered several tests, which will begin immediately.
Step 8: Wait for 20 minutes.
Step 9: The EKG! I'm given a paper, midriff-showing tank top to wear as the nurse sticks on 8 little electrodes. After attaching the wires to all these electrodes, the nurse turns the machine on. 5 seconds, I swear 5 seconds later the test is over. Rip all the electrodes off.
Step 10: Wait 15 minutes for the doctor to come back and examine the results and tell me they're normal.
Step 11: Chest x-ray! The radiology room smells like a high school chemistry class gone terribly wrong, and I get to put on another paper tank top. This was quick and easy.
Step 12: I think I'm done for the day, but the radiology tech sends me to the lab. The lab?! What?! My doctor never mentioned bloodwork! Oh she didn't? Well she ordered it! So off I trot, trying to be as brave as possible. The nurse was the most amazing bloodworker I've ever had, and I applaud her. It was quick and easy and relatively painless! Amazing woman! Yaaaaay!
Step 13: Queasily head back up to my doctor's office where I wait for another 25 minutes.
Step 14: Doctor comes to tell me that my x-ray looks good. She has ordered another x-ray for tomorrow. I am free to go!

So there was my day at the doctor. And this is very typical. So goes my life. Another round tomorrow. Wish me luck.

*note: most waiting times are guestimated, although I do know that I was at the clinic for a total of 3.5 hours today.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Picture Perfect

A shot of the shelves I installed! I also hand-stamped the border and painted the walls (6 years ago).  Posted by Hello

What a Stud!

Tonight I am feeling very tired but empowered thanks to a home improvement project I did (with much guidance from my father). I have been wanting wall shelves in my room for a long time, and today I finally just went to the garage, got the measuring tape and the stud finder, and went to work. I then went to Home Depot to buy my wood and brackets. It boggles my mind to go in that place! You could build a rocket ship or a catapult or anything you could want from a store like that! Amazing. You could smell the testosterone in that place. :) So I came home and used the cordless drill (mostly by myself), and installed those suckers! They are up and they are beautiful, and I am so so proud of myself. But I have to give a shout out to my dad, who taught me to measure twice and drill once. :)
PS- I hope someone caught my incredibly clever title. ;)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Random Things You May or May Not Care About

Hello all. Long time no post, I know. A few random things to blog about tonight.
First of all, I put some of my Brazil pictures online. They're very low quality on the web because I was going for fast upload time, so if for some reason you want to see good copies just talk to me and we'll figure something out.
Second of all, I am tired. I am tired of bickering and prejudice and hate. I don't care whether it's republicans hating democrats or democrats hating republicans or Iraqis hating Americans or church of Christ hating everyone else or any other combination under the sun. I shouldn't be surprised, I know. For as long as there was time there were people hating other people who didn't agree with them. It just makes me tired. I think it made Jesus tired, too. But He kept on loving. He also brought down woes on people who thought they were hot stuff (which is definitely one of my favorite Jesus moments), but He kept on loving. But you'll notice that Jesus mostly loved on the "unlovable" who were oppressed. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, right? Hmm... too much to think about.
Thirdly, I am having a garage sale this week. That is, if the clouds will ever part. It has rained here everyday for at least the last week, and I'm not talking about any baby rain. Big time buckets of rain. Too much rain will drive a person crazy, I think.
Fourthly, well, I don't really have a fourthly, I don't think.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


I read with sadness that today Mattie Stepanek, author of several books of poetry and Muscular Dystrophy advocate, died today at the age of 13. I had heard of him many years ago, but a while back I was visiting a friend who had one of his books so I read through it. Mattie had incredible depth and insight for such a young age. Despite all the turmoil of his young life, whenever I saw him interviewed on TV he always seemed to have such a peace and warmth about him. "The earth is a little poorer tonight, but heaven is richer." (taken from a eulogy written by Max Lucado for Allen Dutton Sr.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Days of my Life...

It's been a while since I've posted, mostly because I really don't have much to say. Lately my time has been spent getting ready for a garage sale, tying up Brazilian loose ends, unpacking/cleaning, and spending time with the fam. I have been making many many lists to help me organize my thoughts and actions. I'll post again when I have something exciting to share.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Nothing to Say...

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

100 Things About Ann- Part 2 of 2

51. I can juggle.
52. I’m not afraid of flying, but I really don’t like it.
53. The only jokes I can remember are inappropriate.
54. I like quiet.
55. I have been skiing twice and am very very terrible.
56. I don’t pray like I should.
57. I am not a fan of church camps or home schooling.
58. My name is an indirect object, which I think is very strange.
59. My name is derived from Hannah, a fact that I love.
60. I have a chicken pox scar on the end of my nose.
61. I have a massively overactive conscience, which is probably a good thing and what makes me do “the right thing” most of the time.
62. Knowing that I am inhaling bad fumes (cigarette smoke, pollution, nail polish remover, paint) almost makes me sick.
63. I sleep with earplugs.
64. I have a tendency to do things that I say I’ll never do.
65. I like to write much more than I like to speak, because when I write I can choose my words deliberately and think long and hard about them, whereas when I speak once they’re out, they’re out.
66. Chocolate calms my nerves.
67. I used to have my hair permed when I was in elementary school.
68. Very few people intimidate me.
69. I am hardest on people who display weaknesses that I know I have.
70. My prom dress my senior year cost $20, and it was very pretty.
71. I haven’t “planned” anything about how my wedding will be, except that it will not have a unity candle.
72. I very much believe that it is impossible to separate spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
73. Coke Icees make me very very happy.
74. I don’t like ice cream very much.
75. The last time I was tested I could type 80 wpm with no errors.
76. I don’t read my horoscope because I am afraid that some part of my subconscious will buy into it.
77. Pharmaceutical reps who take up my doctor’s time when I am waiting for my appointment anger me. And it should be also noted that they contribute to the outrageous medicine prices.
78. I think it is silly to trust anyone in politics. Except maybe Jimmy Carter.
79. When people ask me where my hometown is, I don’t know what to say.
80. I think that the “I just want you to be happy/God just wants me to be happy/Well at least I’m happy” mentality is one of the absolute stupidest things ever.
81. My hands are disproportionately small.
82. I can see myself being a very strict parent, which is ironic because my parents were not, and I think I turned out pretty well.
83. I don’t understand people who think that the past doesn’t effect the present.
84. I think I’m probably too serious.
85. I like to have relationships that are independent of each other, which is probably why most of my good friends come from different circles.
86. I still have good relationships with all of my ex-roommates, except one, but she was only my roommate for a few weeks.
87. I am glad that I didn’t join a “social service” club at OC.
88. Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven are gifts from God.
89. Driving in any kind of bad weather terrifies me. I used to be completely unafraid of it.
90. I have translated the books of Jonah and Ruth from Hebrew to English.
91. Chris Rice is my absolute favorite song writer.
92. I love to make lists. I am a very visually oriented person, and making a list of things to do or what to pack or books to read or people to email helps me tremendously.
93. I like to touch people while I talk to them, i.e. having a hand on their shoulder or something.
94. I think I handle conflict very well.
95. When I am hungry, I cry easily.
96. I have given up something for Lent for the past 6 years. It is usually cokes.
97. I floss and use Listerine daily. Perhaps I should add that to my “pre-requisite for a husband” entry.
98. I love sending and receiving correspondence of any kind: cards, letters, emails, IMs, etc.
99. I collect old, black and white pictures.
100. I don’t watch war movies.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

100 Things About Ann– Part 1 of 2

1. I write with my right hand, but I do several leftie things, such as wearing my watch on the right hand and batting left handed. I blame this on the fact that my dad is a rightie and my mom is a leftie.
2. When I was 4, I fell into a fountain at the mall while throwing in a coin. I still remember my dad pulling me out by the hair.
3. I have spent 11 weeks of my life in the hospital and 17 weeks in Brazil.
4. My mascots through the years have moved up the flying food chain: honeybee, yellow jacket, hawk, and eagle.
5. I think my greatest fault is that I am semi-obsessed with being right.
6. I think my greatest strength is that I am semi-obsessed with being right. :)
7. I have owned many fish, my favorite being Gil, who was my companion for 2.5 years in college. He was named after the mythic hero Gilgamesh. RIP Gil.
8. I was voted “most dependable” in third grade– a title I hated then but would be proud of now.
9. I don’t think Paul (the apostle) and I would have gotten along.
10. I hate favorite questions. I am pretty sure I don’t have a favorite anything.
11. I think most people who don’t like the Simpsons just don’t get the jokes.
12. Most of my ancestors were Welsh and German.
13. If I could choose to have one language implanted in my brain, it would be Latin.
14. I love OC and wouldn’t trade my time there for anything.
15. I think people who say they have no regrets are stupid or lying.
16. I have dreams about things that stress me out.
17. Virtually no one can draw a conclusive answer to what color my eyes are. On legal documents I say blue.
18. I think that the naming of children deserves more depth and thought than most people give it.
19. The basic three prerequisites I have for a husband are that he’s 1) a Christian, 2) wiser than me, and 3) stronger than me.
20. Cell phones are my nemesis.
21. Foz do Iguassu is the most shockingly beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in nature.
22. The only reality show I’d go on is the Amazing Race, and I’m pretty sure there are only 2 people in the world I could partner with.
23. I am very much a product of the post-modern era.
24. I probably don’t give people enough credit.
25. I want to live in Brazil for at least 5 years.
26. The people who drive me craziest are usually those I love the most.
27. I think the words “hero,” “friend,” “love,” and “hate” are overused.
28. I cry every time I talk about being sick last summer in more than passing.
29. After flying, I stay very vulnerable to motion sickness for about a week.
30. I am extremely introverted, in that I draw energy from being alone.
31. I still sleep with my teddy bear, Teddy, that I’ve had since I was 1 year old.
32. I think I have 12 scars on my body, ranging from 10 inches to 2 cm.
33. I despise the word “shall” and think it should be banned from modern English.
34. I think it’s funny when people try to explain salvation or why God does what He does.
35. In high school, I wrote down what I wore everyday, so I wouldn’t re-wear clothes “too soon.”
36. I think NASA is either a gigantic conspiracy or the biggest waste of money ever.
37. I’ve worn the same lipstick color, Jane’s “Kiss of Caramel” for over 4 years.
38. I have a bad habit of reading more than one book at a time.
39. I already have 2 lullabies picked out for my kids: “Now the Day is Over” and “No Sanctuario” (a Brazilian hymn).
40. I love grammar. Give me a verb conjugation chart and I’m a happy girl.
41. Shots (injections) don’t bother me.
42. My earliest memory is eating spaghetti at the dinner table when I was between 2 and 3.
43. I don’t drink coffee because it’s gross and I don’t like the idea of being addicted to anything. I’m a social drinker in Brazil.
44. God has blessed me more than I could ever deserve or ask for through my friends.
45. I was anti-Harry Potter until I saw the movie.
46. Throughout my life, the following shifts have taken place in my desired profession: mail carrier, florist, band director, geometry teacher, accountant, literature professor, English teacher, Bible professor... now what?
47. Brazilian supermarkets send me into culture shock.
48. Going to Target agitates me because of all the red.
49. I am allergic to bananas, dilaudid (pain medicine), and phenergin (nausea medicine).
50. I don’t make wishes.

Part 2

Back at Home

Hello friends!
Well I'm back in Texarkana again. Where did those four weeks go? Our time in Campinas, Itu, and Sao Joao da Boa Vista was wonderful. I had the opportunity to meet many new people and rekindle friendships. I had the opportunity to see many types of churches in Brazil, one fairly new one that has a strong American presence (Campinas), one well established one that has maturity and Brazilian leadership (Itu), and another that is completely self-supporting and growing (Sao Joao).
We had the opportunity to establish friendships with different schools in the different towns through visits at English and public schools, we did physical labor such as passing out flyers and painting church buildings, we sang for the different lectures that were given, and many more things. Ultimately, we simply tried to praise and glorify God in whatever we did. I pray that God will grow the seed inside the peoples' hearts that we came in contact with.
How can I sum up in a simple email how much this trip meant to me? I thought before I left that this would be sort of my farewell trip to Brazil-- one last time to say goodbye. But instead it renewed the fire in my heart that I have for that country and the people there. I don't know what God has in store for me, but I know that Brazil will always hold a part of my heart.
Thank you for your support, whether it was financial, emotional, or spiritual. Thank you for your emails and your prayers. I love each of you so much, and pray that God reflects to you the blessing you've been to me. Always remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
much love-

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Hi from Sao Joao!

Hi Friends!
Just wanted to drop a quick note to say hi and let you know that we arrived in our last town-- São João da Boa Vista. It is a beautiful small Brazilian town up in the hill country. BTW- a small Brazilian town is still 80,000 people. Anyway, we have spent a lot of our time handing out flyers and advertising for theology courses they are having here. If you´ve been to Brazil, you might have noticed those crazy people who stand in the middle of busy intersections handing out flyers to passing traffic. Yeah, I was definitely one of those people. However, miraculously, we all survived and I think we had a lot of interest in the classes. The church here is so different from anywhere else I´ve been. There is no missionary/American presence here; it is completely Brazilian. Their last campaign was in 1998. I am staying with the local evangelist, Jose Domingos, and his wife Alessandra and their four year old son Lucas. They are adorable and I love them sooooo much. Today we had lunch with a man named Claudio and his family. He is a 7th day adventist, but a strong seeker and very wise man. Pray for God to guide him to wherever he should be. Okay, I need to go, but I´ll be home very soon. We leave here Monday morning, spend the afternoon at the São Paulo airport, then fly out at 10:00pm. I´ll arrive at DFW airport at 10:00 am on Monday.
Love you guys and miss you dearly, but I´ll miss this place, too.
Beijos e abraços-

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Hello Again from Itu!

Hello my friends!
I just wanted to write again and share with all you guys how things are going here. Have I mentioned how much I love this town and this country? :) Being here has really worked up the fire in my heart for Brazil. We have continued to visit many English schools. I think we have probably been to 7 or 8 by now. This afternoon we are going to a youth rally being held by the jovens (youth group) of the Igreja de Cristo in Itu. I have to tell you about how amazing this youth group is. First of all, the joven group in Brazil isn´t just for high schoolers, it´s pretty much where you stay until you get married. :) Also, usually campaign groups are guided and scheduled and directed as to what to do by the local missionaries. But not here! There are 4 people, Ivan, Vanessa, Jandira, and Marusa, who are leading us. They are all 22 or younger, and have arranged their work schedules and their lives to devote this week to us. I love them all sooooo much. So let this be a lesson to all us jovens in the US as to what we could be doing.
Last night I talked to Antenor Gonçalves, the missionary here, about how much I loved it here. He was like, "well then why are you going to Japan instead of here?", so I told him a short version of the story, and he went on to tell me that they are currently planning to open a vocational school here in Itu that will be run by the church, and one of their primary subjects will be English! So guess who will need an English teacher! And guess when they will probably be ready to open the school! :) Yep... around 2 years. So who knows, maybe I´ll end up here after all. Antenor sure was excited. And so am I! But don´t worry-- I am still going to Japan. God went to great lengths to show me that´s where I need to be, so I´m going.
Oh, I think you can tell how much I´m glowing through this email. I had almost forgotten how much I love this place, but now I know it´s definitely in my blood. Who knows... I am really starting to see the benefits of this campaign, too. I can´t remember if I told you guys this, but after we sang for several nights in Artur Norgeira, 6 families began Bible studies with their evangelist.
I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. I miss you all, but I´m having a great time. Thank you all for your love, support, and encouragement.
God bless!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Update from Itu

Hey guys-
Not much time, but just wanted you guys to know I am in Itu, Brazil and loving it. Itu is where Allen Sr. and Maria Dutton lived (if that means something to yáll). Umm.. we are hopping busy. I love it here. I love th people and the church-- they have such a great personality. I think we´ve already visited 5 English schools, then one more today and I think 3 tomorrow. The people here love us, and we sure do love them. Again, the church is so amazing. I wish I had known to do the HIM program here. Not much else for now, and I´ll probably write again from our next town, São João da Boa Vista. We´ll arrive there next Tuesday. Love you all and your emails. God bless each of you!