Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Still growin

New name and new site. Still blogging.

Definitely still growing.

Come hang out with us at And update us if yours has changed as well.

Looking forward to connecting or re-connecting with you.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Promise Fulfilled

We went to pick up Isaac's ring in Lörrach Monday, and I went to the ATM in Kandern to have cash for the ring. I am in the middle of working to pay off my credit card, so I had been hoping to pay cash instead. "Not enough funds," it told me. So I subtracted 100 Euros. "Not enough funds." I asked for another 100 Euros less. "Still not enough, you idiot!" it said.

Finally, I scraped out some bills - not enough for the ring, though. And like a good fiancee, I began to be a complete butthead to Isaac! We didn't have enough change for a meter, so we had to park in a garage in town. "Yeah, I'm sorry I'm being a jerk," I apologized to him. "I just get really stressed out about money stuff - especially when I don't have as much as I thought I did..."

We climbed the stairs to ground level and Isaac said, "Remember the promises that we claimed together? 'May the Lord of hope, give you all joy and peace as you trust in Him, that you may be full of hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.'" "Yeah, you're right. I know He'll provide, but it's just so hard to be okay in the meantime..."

As we walked past Subway and crossed the street, a familiar face strode out of the grocery store. Sarah Saxe, the student teacher who is living with me this semester, was in town with a German friend and walked right up to us. "Hey, you want my rent money now?"Mouth agape, I could only stare at her. "Suzanne, money? You want it?" "She says 'yes,'" Isaac piped in. "Wow," is all I could get out.

We walked less than a block to the jewelry store. All I could think was, "Wow." John Conway, the Irish soccer-star-turned goldsmith, decided to give us a discount. "Oh, I've got that... oh, but wait... I forgot I deposited more money in my German bank account... Wait..." I had exactly enough cash in my wallet to cover the discounted price he had just quoted me. We strode out of the shop with a ring, a lot of praise and not even .60 cents for parking to our names. (I took out another 20 Euros to cover parking). I heard God saying to me, "Dearest, you don't have the need or the right to know the next five steps ahead of you. Just take the next one. Trust me. I AM faithful." What a very good God we have.....

Follow batgirlsuz on Twitter

Friday, February 19, 2010


"Now we're going to use this 12-bar blues progression to improvise. I'll play I, IV & V while you use the blues scale in your right hand to improvise a melody."

*shuffling while students plug in headphones & adjust for exercise*

"But, Miss Morton, if it's improvising, why do we have to stay with you?"

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Dependence of Asking

This fall marks my fifth year at Black Forest Academy. Time goes by so quickly! My best friend and former roommate in Wichita remarked that this means I have now lived in Germany longer than we lived together in Kansas. What a landmark!

I am so grateful to you for your support and prayers for me these past four years. How did God do it? How did He get me get here? The original plan was teaching piano for two years and then heading back to “real life.” The thought of asking people for money turned my stomach. Now, however, I would not have it any other way. The word “dependence” has dirt under its nails.

The Book of Joshua has captured my attention for the past month. The action has been great – battles, cities taken due to the power of musical instruments (I especially like that one as a music teacher!) and people being swallowed by the earth. God’s people obey, disobey and obey again.

Toward the end of the book, it’s time to divvy up Promised Land real estate. The author takes several chapters to specifically delineate the properties of each tribe. Each tribe, that is, except one.“But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.” Joshua 13:33

How incredible! The Levites who received no ration of land, actually received the One who was the only portion they needed! Later, the Levites come to Joshua to say, “…The Lord commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock” (21:2).

Our God was faithful to provide for them. He had promised to be their inheritance and portion forever, but the Levites still had to ask. Was it hard for the descendants of Levi to ask Joshua for what they had been promised? Either way, they had to have been reminded once more of their dependence, their need.

He has promised to be my inheritance forever, but He commands that I still ask Him to provide my daily bread. Perhaps it is in the asking, that He is already providing. Perhaps dependence on Him alone is already His gracious provision.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Story: Part 2 (in response to the youth at River)

Okay, take a minute to think of a time you were rejected. I'll wait... Got it? How did you feel? (e.g. Angry? Hurt?) Why do you think you felt that way? (e.g. Unmet expectations, hurtful words, identity crisis) Now turn to a neighbor and discuss how you felt and why.

As a review: I had applied to a mission agency in order to teach piano at Black Forest Academy, but I was rejected by that agency. And it was hard.

Part 2: Some very generous people had already given money toward my mission training that summer. I had informed loved ones that I would be leaving. And the night before I was to get on a plane for training, I got the phone call. "We do not feel you are ready at this time to go to the mission field." Ouch!

So I spent the next week handing checks back un-cashed and trying to be grateful and to sheepishly explain why I would not be going to Germany after all. I suppose you're wondering at this time as well why I was not going. Well, essentially, I was very honest on my application to the mission about some things that were going on in my life, and they were questionable.

It was a pretty dark time in my life. I had failed my last graduate recital hearing, which meant that I was not going to be able to give my recital yet. A boy had broken up with me not too long before, and now I felt like my spirituality was being rejected, too. I was hurt. Angry. Frustrated. Confused. Ashamed. Lonely.

Take one minute to think on your own: If you had a friend who told you he/she felt this way, what would you think? How would you respond to him/her?

I meant that it was a dark time in quite a literal sense as well. One afternoon I was feeling the weight of my choices while driving west on E. 21st Street. In my memory, the sky in front of me was pitch black, though I know it was actually around noon. At that moment, I hit bottom. Despair and exhaustion overwhelmed me, and without knowing what would come out I opened my mouth... and sang.

Praise. Praise came out of me in what seemed like an involuntary response. I couldn't help it. And I didn't understand it. (And I also don't remember it, although I'd like to think it was "Blessed be Your Name / when I'm found in the desert place / though I walk through the wilderness / Blessed be Your Name") I started crying and had to pull my car over. What a good God to give such a gift - hope. He was near. And He still loved me.

What song reminds you of God's love for you?

For the next two years, God began to surround me with truth about who I was. My pride and independence had built my identity apart from Him for a long time. I had been a pianist, a girlfriend and spiritual leader, but God was beginning to show me that I was His. I was chosen, dearly loved and holy only because of Christ. The pressure was off. It was no longer about me and what I could accomplish. It was now about Him and what He wanted to accomplish in me.

Two years later, in 2005, the phone rang again...

How did I end up getting to Germany?
Why is teaching piano in Germany considered missionary work?
What in the world is Kohlrabi, can you eat it, and why should you care?

Stay tuned... these questions and more answered in My Story: Part 3.

p.s. No, the truth is, I much prefer the original Fleetwood Mac version of "Landslide!"

Friday, June 05, 2009

My Story: Part 1 (in response to the youth of River)

My name is Suzanne, and I am 31 years old. I grew up in the Dallas area, went to college in Arkansas for 4 years and graduate school in Wichita (which is how I found my church, River). I went to River for 5 years before moving to Germany to teach piano at Black Forest Academy (BFA).

When I was 12, I went forward at a chapel service to tell God that I would be his missionary. I think in the back of my head I thought if I volunteered then surely I wouldn't get sent to Africa... I half expected a letter in the mail the next week with my assignment. It took 15 years for that letter to come. (Hmm... sidenote: I remember reading somewhere that it took an average of 15 years to see answers to prayers... where was that again? interesting...)

In the meantime, I figured out that I really liked playing the piano and that I was kind of good at it. My friends, parents and teachers encouraged me in playing, so I decided to pursue it in college. Then I got a masters degree in it as well.

It was in graduate school at Wichita State that I discovered a love for teaching. The more I taught, the more I wanted to play. The more I played, the more I wanted to teach what I was learning.

It was also in graduate school that I found out about BFA (, a school in southern Germany - in the southwestern corner, within 20 minutes of France and Switzerland). I found out they had an opening for a piano teacher the next year as well. Since I had had an interest in learning German after childhood trips to Europe with my family and a semester abroad in Austria in college, and I would get to hang out with youth and love on them - this seemed like the perfect job for me!

So what did I do? Nothing. I didn't check out the website. I didn't write them. Nothing. I still really can't explain why, but fear definitely played a role. My friend Dwayne, who had grown up at BFA, had to tell the personnel director to call me. I talked to him on the phone and was CRYING.... oh, I was so weepy. After that conversation, I knew I was supposed to apply to teach at BFA. Something was stirring in me. Someone was stirring me.

So I applied in 2003 for the open piano teacher position. I began raising support for summer training and getting myself over to the land of bratwurst and sauerkraut. I told friends, family and neighborhood pets that I would be leaving for Germany the next fall. Goodbye parties in my honor were being planned, people were telling me what a good person I was for going to the mission field, and the day before I was to fly across the country to training, my mission called to tell me that my application had been rejected...

Why was I rejected?
How did I end up getting to Germany?
Was I angry?
What did it feel like to have to give money back to people and explain my rejection?
Why is teaching piano in Germany considered missionary work?
Did I like the Dixie Chicks' remake of Landslide better than Fleetwood Mac's original?

For the answers to these questions (and others you might have), you'll have to stay tuned for Part 2.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Today I want to learn how to play the accordion... so I'm knitting instead.

I heard a statistic recently about our generation's struggle to be present in the moment.... what was I saying?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Of all of God's vegetable creations, the pumpkin has to be one of His yummiest. This semi-annual blogger is a fan of all things pumpkin: pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup (especially at the German restaurant Fünfschilling in Fischingen), pumpkin cake, pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin Coffee Mate.

Hmm. Is that really how you spell pumpkin?

I have now discovered baked oatmeal here in ex-pat land, and today I turned it into pumpkin baked oatmeal. :) (This dish, by the way, is already very popular in the northeastern region of our beloved homeland, but it's a relative first for this southern girl.)


Suzanne's Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Recipe
serves 6 - 8

3/4 c. brown sugar
4 c. oats
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. ground clove
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately. Combine and pour into a 9" x 13" pan. Bake at 350 F or 180 C for 20-25 minutes until set. Serve warm with milk on top. Yum..... :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bite-Size Senses

"Your office smells good."

I get that a lot, and I am very proud of it. These smells bring distinction, yea even honor, to my humble place of work. So burn on, Gingerbread. Burn on, French Vanilla. I will not stop you.

This week has been bite-size. I've trimmed my nails and kept the living room picked up. I had an afternoon with a roommate and worked 10 minutes a day on a music festival program. There were 15 minutes with my Bible this morning, and I'll spend 50 minutes with a sick colleague's theory class today. It's not that this list really sets apart this week from any other - with the exception of the nail trimming. Maybe it's that I find myself this week recognizing a longing for more.

The long, the enduring, the deep, the satisfying. This week, I want lasagna, not another sandwich. I want Schubert sonatas rather than Chopin Mazurkas. I want Paul Simon, black coffee, and corduroy. I want transparent streets of gold and the absence of shadow.

I want to pour out again.

And I feel out of practice at blogging. Please forgive a first effort in six months.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


There's more to say. There's more to be said, and sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to say it all. I remember very clearly as a girl wishing that someone could crawl inside my head and know my thoughts without me having to take the time to articulate them. I walk out of libraries, especially those in Europe, overwhelmed by the sheer number of volumes that I will never read. Last night, it struck me that I will never speak fluent Italian, and I don't know why that made me sad - I've never aspired to learn Italian.

John Eldredge wrote, " . . . contentment is never wanting less; that's the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if she's killed her heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy, while waiting with eager anticipation for the feast to come" (The Sacred Romance, p. 199).

So today, I will enjoy my dear friends here that like to hear me play. In this moment, I will enjoy the breeze that is coming through the computer room window, causing my feet to wiggle happily. I will enjoy His promise that I am chosen, holy, and dearly loved. I will be thankful for the burning and for the waiting and for the feast that seems so close I can smell the anticipation.
And I will sing.

Friday, April 27, 2007

To Gloria

"James, time for your lesson," I called to my fourth-grade student in the gym over trampoline.

"Wait, I think Ms. Morton looks like she needs to jump. What do you guys think?" asked Mr. Pelton, their gym teacher.

"Yeah!!!" was the uproarious and unanimous reply of the other fourth graders gathered around the trampoline, eagerly awaiting their own turn.

"Really?" I asked. I may have also been gawking. "But I'm wearing a skirt."

"Ah, it'll be fine," Marty smiled.

And with that, I kicked off my shoes.

My mother would've been proud. Three years ago, she gave me the book/cd gift set of Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." That song is one of the most precious things my mom has given me--that and the laugh that came out of her the day she watched from the passenger seat as I drove our van into two parked cars. After that, I couldn't blame her bristling as I drove through drive-thru windows. I don't sing along with the song a lot or open the book often, but I know that the same mother who matra-ed "Slow down!" is now cheering, "Swerve a little!"

And I swerved myself right up onto that trampoline with Hannah.

"Do this," she held her hands over her jeans and pantomimed keeping my skirt down. I held, she smiled, and we jumped. And giggled. We couldn't keep from giggling. And after two stellar demonstrations from Hannah, I even learned to fall on my knees and successfully land back on my feet.

As James and I walked back to his lesson, he was smiling, and I was still giggling. I smiled for the rest of the day.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Saturday, April 14, 2007

But most of all, I wish it for myself

We said goodbye to Anna Pearl yesterday.

There is a deep longing in me to be original. It claws at me when I see a painting of daffodils in the teacher lounge or a night sky full of stars. I planned to write music during my time off this week. Reading Psalm 37 and entering the early stages of a grieving process, I want to respond with originality. But this week has left me feeling like my swollen tongue after a night of mouth-breathing.

I'm an imitator. My super-power of wanting to always be appropriately dressed was borrowed from a friend's blogsite (I couldn't even bring myself to write the word "stolen.") I like Rufus Wainwright because Vince did. I like Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" because Ilana and Peter did. It seems I can't separate much from who I am and call it my own. I even wear my hair in a ponytail occasionally because I remember Josh Ihde telling April Cunningham he liked them in the Frito Pie line in second grade.

Is there anything original--new--in me, Abba? Am I bound to be an imitator? Is that really so bad as I've made it out to be?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

...not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry...

But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.

Friday, March 09, 2007

All Good Things

Were any of the women who followed Jesus ever in love with him? I really don't see how they couldn't have felt an attraction to such a man - as he healed the lame, he healed her. As he spoke words that stirred crowds, he was stirring her.

Jesus has been drawing me from my bed this week to wait for Him and to talk to Him.

At staff devotions this morning, I read a story I wrote two years ago while in Wichita - A Celebration of Dancing Shoes. Two years ago, almost to the week, God gave me a set of dancing shoes to remind me today of His love for me. He doesn't just want to give me food and shelter. He hasn't settled for keeping me alive - He wants to give me good things hidden so deep that I may have even forgotten that I once wanted them.

When I was a little girl, Kim and Jessica were two of my best friends. We spent second through sixth grade together. They had the same birthday in May, and I loved going to their parties, which they always threw jointly. Twice the presents, cake and fun. My birthday was in March, and the only other person with the same birthday in our very small school was Edgar, and he was in eleventh grade. Man, I wanted to have someone to share my birthday with . . .

Eleven years ago, Serge joined our family. He arrived in February - just in time to celebrate our birthdays on March 4. Two years after that, I got a sister for Christmas - Tatiana. That March, we celebrated our birthdays on the same weekend. Tat was born on March 2. It wasn't until the middle of those festivities that the goodness of God sunk in - He had listened, and He had remembered.

And He is listening now. A year from now, I will be able to look back and see the line of grace traced a bit longer and deeper than it lies today. He hears, and He will remember.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fail safe

"One of the greatest gifts we can offer another person is a safe place to fail." --John Lynch, Bill McNichol, and another author who I can't remember, TrueFaced

I've got a pristinely-perfect, unopened package of Oral-B Satin Floss in my desk drawer at school. I just opened the drawer to check the spelling of "Oral-B." I reread the above two sentences three times for errors before continuing to type . . .

Being me is often not a safe place for me to fail, let alone offering a truly safe place for others to fail.

"Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me." -- Frederick Buechner

That struggle between grace and striving . . . where is the line drawn when a student has not practiced and comes ill-prepared to a lesson? Governments and education systems have not been built on grace. A man steals and is sent to jail for his crime. I was rewarded for my performance in school with plaques and praise and A's. I am unfamiliar with grace. And if I cannot recognize it, how can I begin to offer it to others?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I walked out for pizza tonight. At the one bus stop between our place and the pizza shop, I passed thirty grown German men dressed in monster costumes. They were carrying their masks, but their arms and legs were brown and grizzly. I think one of them may have fallen in love with me as I passed--I'm sure I heard grunting and caught the beginnings of a mating ritual. Well, there was some jumping around at least . . . And because I wasn't planning on taking any pictures of the Hawaiian delights that I was picking up, I don't have any of this caught on tape. If me and Harry end up with little gremlins, though, you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ein Gedicht zu einer beherzten Katze, die mir die ganze Welt ist und wahrscheinlich wird länger als mich leben, mindestens kann man hoffen, oder?

Meine Katze liebt mich treu,
sie geht in ihrer Streu.

English subtitles:

A poem to a beloved cat that means the world to me and will most likely outlive me, at least one can hope, right?

My cat loves me truly,
she "goes" in her litter.

ok, fine. so it doesn't rhyme in English.
shoot me.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wrong Exits

npr replayed a terri gross interview with stuart murdock of belle & sebastian. terri played murdock's lyrics . . .

if you find yourself caught in love / say a prayer to the man above / thank him for everything you know / you should thank him for every breath you blow / if you find yourself caught in love / say a prayer to the man above / you should thank him for every day you pass / thank him for saving your sorry ass . . .

You talk of freedom / don’t you see / The only freedom that you’ll ever really know / Is written in books from long ago / Give up your
will to Him that loves you / Things will change, I’m not saying overnight / But something has to give / You’re too good looking not to live . . .

i was supposed to drive straight home to denison tonight from lewisville after the movie. so i pulled out of the theater and headed toward 121 and turned right. when i found myself almost to dfw airport, i realized i had gone the complete opposite direction of home. tat had to be in bed by 9:00 tonight because she's opening at work at 5:00 in the morning. so i stopped for gas, put the ethanol kind into my dad's car instead of the premium, and proceeded to take 114 to dallas instead of 121 back toward denison. i was so irritated with myself . . .

i was supposed to be heading home to bed because i was tired and i knew tat was tired . . . and then i saw a 747 fly just a few hundred feet in front of me right over the freeway. "wow!" i said outloud. i had forgotten how much i had wanted to watch the planes land sometime while i was home. so i slowed down on the freeway and waited for the next one to head in. i watched it from the rearview mirror as i missed my exit to 121 again. i realized it twenty minutes later as the dallas skyline appeared over the curve of the superhighway. "crap!" i shouted to my dashboard. and then i looked again at the neon green building that had been in the opening scene of every imax movie i had seen as a kid on school field trips to the dallas museum of natural history. and i held my breath for a moment, remembering how beautiful the dallas skyline at night really is.

after this lovely little moment, i promptly took the next exit and turned around heading north again, away from the skyline, back to my sister and my bed . . . and my computer -- because at this point i just wanted to write. interviews with murdock and with radiohead's tom york (and with two mothers of mentally-retarded sons who have published their letters to one another about their lives) have been circling in my brain and pummeling my fear of writing, my fear of creating. i just had to get home and get at least some of it out of me.

it's not enough. i keep thinking something's going to be enough. i have been made aware during this trip of my constant, nagging desire for more, something better, something that will make me enough. each new book on the subject or cup of coffee with a friend, i think i've finally grasped it, finally come to realize that God really is enough. every time my heart gets broken, i think, yes, this time i've got it--this time it hurts enough for me to say with permanence: My God is sufficient.

but over the past days, i've come to abhor the phrase, "this is my friend--she lives in germany" simply because i like to hear it so much. living and working in europe, in part, has been just one more pursuit of my heart to be enough. to have done enough. to have it said of me that i am enough.

staring into blinking ruby taillights tonight, i faced the familiar realization that even this, even this part of my life that i have given away, even this is not enough.

he really is -- he really is -- he really is -- enough. sufficient. complete.

and i feel my striving, trying, tired muscles relax once more into sweet sleep.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fall Party Fun, Part 2

be sure to watch after the first one. that's why it's called "part two."

line missing between Part 1 & Part 2:

"...I didn't know."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Summer Bloggin

A friend of mine was playing with a roll of duct tape on the couch tonight. After it had hit me for the third time I said, "You know some people have made whole purses and outfits and things out of that stuff."

To which he replied, "Yeah, I've even heard about people showing up to prom completely decked out in it."

I just kind of stared at him disbelievingly and grabbed his laptop. Knowing me well, he chortled, "What, are you going to google it?"

"Just hang on there, bucko," I retorted.


It's been good and hard to be in Kandern this summer. I almost put the word alone with the in Kandern part, but I haven't really been alone. It's just somehow felt more lonely without the students and most of the staff around. The pile of books by my bed has been a bit taller, and there's been some travelling, some hiking, some sewing, some picture-taking. I've met some cool new friends and hung out with some cool old friends, too.

But I haven't really felt like myself, and though I feel like I've been learning a lot , it seems to have gotten to a point of "naval-gazing," as my graduate music research professor liked to call opinions created entirely from one's own viewpoint. New staff is arriving, and I feel out of practice in simply saying hi and asking questions. I actually shook the hand of a new resident assistant at church this morning, said hi, and then just kind of stared at her. "Oh right, where are you from?" I finally stammered out.


"Look!" and I handed the computer back to him. "Right there!" And I showed him one of my posts from last summer: "You Did What? Part One." There it was--the proud couple with their duct-tape tux and fancy dress. He then proceeded to read aloud one of my most embarrassing moments, which was pretty much self-made and which I had completely forgotten about.

"You really did that?" my roommate Julia asked incredulously as we laughed and huddled together on the couch.

"Oh yeah, I did. I can't believe I forgot that."

It made me miss my family. It made me miss writing. It made me miss feeling like I have something to write about.

So please catch up on my most embarrassing moments of last summer, and I'll do my best to pay attention to the new ones. If you need more than Part One, then check out Part Two as well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Missing Kansas

I stripped my brown sweater yesterday of its brown buttons and replaced them with French-flea-market ones with little pink flowers.

I think the rooster-crowing-at-the-sun thing is a bunch of bunk. The rooster that lives next door to us only crows in the middle of the afternoon. It's 7:00 a.m., I haven't heard a peep out of him yet, and the sun's been up for two hours.

My cat crawled into my lap four times in the past three days. She hasn't done that since we were in Kansas. It reminded me how much I miss Kansas.

I found a Ted Nugent record and was really excited to bring it home and listen to it because Kevin had high-jacked me into meeting the man in KC, and I have the picture to prove it, but I had never really listened to his music before, and now I realize my 2 EURO album is warped and makes shirtless-Ted-with-guitars-for-arms sound like he's been up all night with a bottle of whiskey, which, let's face it, he probably had been.

I dropped Amy off an hour ago to send her back to Kansas. I drove away from the airport with the window down and over the Swiss border to fill up with gas. The border patrol guard waved me through and even mouthed "Morgen," which is German for "good morning." I wasn't expecting a friendly border guard, and I couldn't react quick enough to mouth "morgen" back, so I ended up greeting my dashboard.

We got up at 4:30 this morning to get her to the airport, and I meant to go right back to bed when I got home, so I am going to join the kitty on my bed now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I think God's been taking me down a path of laying at his feet my worries, fears, and hopes of what others think of me and my work. A book called TrueFaced by Thrall, McNicol, and Lynch describes it as trusting God--trusting what he says about who I am already, that he is already pleased by me, and that I can please him no more than I do right now. That's some major trust.

I was supposed to pick up the Gibbons family from Frankfurt this morning at 10:00. The trip began somewhat troublingly at 7:00 a.m. when I couldn't find their car to drive up in. Then about an hour into the trip, I decided to get some gas and put unleaded into their diesel tank. My cell phone went dead in the middle of the call to the tow-truck. I waited at a dealership for three hours, paid for the repairs, finished the hour and a half trip to the airport, rode back another three hours with the Gibbons and just got home tonight at 9:00. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have cried today. I am emotionally, spiritually, physically wiped.

My dear friend Susie drove up to sit with me at the dealership and bought me a sandwich. She's so great. She reminded me that we don't know why God works the way he does. He could have been saving me from a major accident. As I drove away with a newly-cleaned gas tank and headed toward Frankfurt again, I asked God against the wind beating through the open windows of the van if I was able to really say that I felt his love. Could I honestly say in that moment that I felt loved? I had cost this family money and time sitting in tremendous heat after an already long 14-hour travel itinerary. . . I had made a stupid mistake and had been mentally replaying what should have happened for five hours.

I've been reading TrueFaced every night for the past couple weeks and have been trying to understand and soak in yet again a God who loves me just as I am (It seems the more painful times in my life boil down to the question: will I choose to see myself as God sees me?) It's pretty easy to believe I am loved when I am freshly-showered and powdered and lying between clean pink sheets. It is harder to believe when I am stinky, sweaty, using bad German grammar and putting unleaded into diesel tanks.

I think I did feel his love today more than I have in awhile. By the grace of God I understood a bit better how to trust him with the all-masks-off me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My World Cup Tribute

that crazy screen you're seeing in the background (that is, unless you're blinded by the cuteness in the foreground) is the official fanfest area in frankfurt. that baby was double-sided, double-stick fun for the espana game in which we partook.

those crazy germans.

a skyscraper in frankfurt. the word for skyscraper in german is "Hochhaus," which literally means "high house."

germany hasn't seen this many flags waving in a long time.

drive-by waving.

the teens at the local cafe hanging out together. the guy up on the mantel was the self-proclaimed cheer leader. they love them some football.

thar she blows!

the best part of wakin' up . . .

i woke up to this email today:

"i have a very reserved, kind of nerdy first-grade student who always plays ahead in his book. so whenever we are starting a new piece he can already play it, but just with a screwed up rhythm. he is very small and polite, and he is asian but does not have any kind of accent--but he said something today that shocked me so much that i thought at first he was speaking a different language or something. after playing through 'skip to my lou', he very politely said, 'miss nicole, once i held my poop so long, i had a seizure.'

well, i couldn't believe my ears so i said, 'ooooooh! look at the next song! it's a really cool one!'"
blessed be the ties of bodily functions that bind. or, in this case, that don't bind . . .

Thursday, July 20, 2006

meet the newest family member

hit ctrl + end to meet the new baby!

kittyrific will now be here to entertain you for those long months between posts.

treat her nice. no knives or flame-throwers allowed. and myles, watch where you're driving.

Friday, July 14, 2006

idylls & idols

“When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere…then the artist listens.” -Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

worship makes me uncomfortable.

i had been looking forward to tonight's worship concert all week. "looking forward to" really means "experiencing simultaneous enthusiasm and dread." there's a stirring and then just staring.

dr. parsons spoke last sunday morning on the rich young ruler who came to Jesus. he emphasized that the young man had initiated the conversation with this esteemed teacher and yet walked away unable to give what He had asked of him. "are you listening to what God might be asking you to give up?" he asked. "are you willing to lay down your riches--your Idol?"

i don't know whether to put my hands in the air or clasp them together when i sing. more often than not, they're gripped white-knuckled in front of me. it's more comfortable. in fact, i like the title "worship concert" because concert gives me license to stay seated--also more comfortable.

was that a IV chord or a V chord?

after dr. parsons' sermon and the visible school had led worship, someone asked me if i ever led worship at the church. two weeks earlier at a wedding party, one of my german friends had asked why i had never helped with worship at our german church. i answered both questions with something like, "well, it's not really my thing." "i haven't really had much experience." "i've been classically trained." what i wanted to say was: because it's scary as hell.

i live with a piano now. it's not greatly in-tune, but i find myself at it often. especially mornings and rainy afternoons. i've been drawn the past few weeks to bach's partita in c minor, and the sinfonia melody gets stuck in my head.

the last performance i saw at ouachita was the great god brown by eugene o'neill. the play had brilliantly captured the fear of rejection and the masks that we have grown to love and see as our true faces. i couldn't leave my seat when it was over. the actors had removed their masks for the curtain-call, and i had inadvertently reached up and removed my glasses.

what does it feel like to play the sinfonia for bach's ears only? how hard would i have to listen to only hear what chopin said about my fingers on his ballade?

my masks, my idols . . . they are c chords and d chords. they are green glasses and paisley skirts. they are cat hair and geraniums. they are tattoos and toenails. i'm serving the wrong art, i'm tired.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

ok, as promised, it was a hazy day but if you look closely, you can still make out a bit of africa in the distance to the left and the geat continent of europe (spain) on the right. we were standing on the rock of gibraltar, which is technically britain, and also the very spot where timothy dalton walked as 007 in "living daylights." now if that ain't vacation . . .

this was my new friend carl. we met on gibraltar, but it was a short-lived relationship. i refused to give him any sugar.

se�or pepe peep, our faithful traveling companion on spring break, enjoying a little sun.

se�or peep climbing the rock of gibraltar.

these are the two ladies responsible for our beautiful vacation in spain. thanks, guys! we had such an incredible time. they each received a mr. pepe peep tshirt for inviting us to accompany them.

our feet on the mediterranean shore.

gena and her camel. watch out -- they spit.