Monday, March 31, 2008


“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”
~Erma Bombeck
yet another nugget of a reward found in coordinating the 3rd grade lesson plans at DSCS... :)
p.s. Now reading with Ryan: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. How is it? Well, let me put it this way: it's been at the back of my mind all day, and I keep looking foward to the moment when I'll get to read some more with Ryan!! ...hehehe after I take him on our surprise date...

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Ryan says he always remembers you as the man who took him fishing and to Disney World, and probably always will. :) I know you as the man who adopted me straight into your clan, whose smile and gentle welcome still make me feel loved and accepted. We love you, Grandpa!!

(here he is deep in concentration, trying to help his team win over Thanksgiving...)

We hated missing the party this weekend... HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY!!! We see this being true in your life, and pray it always is!

"The righteous flourish like the palm treeand grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in Him." Psalm 92:12-15

-- your Szrama grandkids in Louisville

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Being Appreciated...

Thursday was "Tutor Appreciation Day" at our school. As Corrie Ann & I were saying, "I LOVE being appreciated." Heheh, especially when the appreciation includes yummy FOOD!! Which it did. For me, that was thanks to Sina Shuey, who completely spoiled me (and made everyone not allergic to gluten/soy jealous) with a scrumptious salad, topped with mandarin oranges, carmelized almond slivers, and a homemade dressing; vegetable lasagna; garlic bread, and an entire tupperware full of chocolate chip almond scones!! Dude, I wasn't hungry again until 7 pm!!

For your enjoyment, some excerpts from my students' notes of appreciation (some are from the preschoolers, some from middle school choir students):

"Dear MRS. SZRAMA...we love being in your class. Thank you for being our teacher!! We love you more than we can explaine..."

"Dear Mrs. Szrama, I like when you teach me (I like my classmates, too!) I like when you hug me. You are my Valentine. Thank you because I love you. Thank you for telling me about Jesus. You are my friend. When you teach me I love you."

"Mrs. Szrama, thank you for teaching. It's been fun."

"Mrs. Szrama, thank you so much for teaching me choir. I have learned so much about notes and stuff. :)"

"...Thanks for letting your love for music and for our Lord overflow to our children" (from a Mom)

"Mrs. Szrama, thank you for teaching our choir this year. I alreday enjoy singing but you made the class so fun!!" "Mrs. Szrama- Thank you so much for teaching me choir. I love it! You are a great, great, GREAT teacher." (don't you know I love that!?) "Choir is my favorite subject!!" Mrs. Szrama, Thank you for teaching choir this year. I've learned a lot. Hope you're my teacher next year."

"Dear Mrs. Sarama, please have "Tender Mercy." From, G." ("Tender Mercy" is a song one choir is singing) That one made me bust out laughing!

"Dear Mrs. Szrama, Thank you so much for giving your time to teach us how to sing! You are very pretty and you are a great teacher. Hope you have a great day! Thank you! Love, S. :)"

One that especially meant a lot, because I've prayed for this child over and over: "Mrs. Szarama, I love you so much. You are a wonderful teacher and person. I admire you for everything you do and I hope one day to be just as kind and loving as you are. Thank you so much for your support. You don't understand how much it means to me!..."

...And then it's always heart-warming to read "You rock, Mrs. Szrama!"

Several of my Moms were so encouraging in their notes, telling me that I have made a difference in their child's life, and that my labor has already borne some fruit. That is so encouraging!! It has also served as a reminder to live righteously all the time: as I stubbornly refused to submit myself to Christ (and my husband), these words came to mind "You are a special light in their lives and you show them Jesus every day..." Was I showing Jesus to my husband right then? What about to the angels and demons?

Anyway, those are some scattered thoughts I wanted to share... my world every day. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Something About...

...Mom waiting for you when you get home from school...

If you were a child who grew up expecting this, secure in the comfort that Mom would be home after school-- would make after school "home"-- you know what I mean. Those of you who missed out on this blessing can imagine it, I'm sure. For us homeschoolers/private- schoolers, Mom often either never left school, or picked us up from school, but still... I remember the pan-grilled-cheese sandwiches and BLTs Mom made after school on homeschool days, or the way we'd unload from the van to get shooed outside (Mom knew we needed a mental break after school), then called back inside for our snack before we started in on homework again.

I got a little taste of that again last week, when my Mom came to visit us. And oh, yum! It was a SWEET taste! :) Home really is where your family is. I usually come home from work, and it's just me. I really enjoy getting the empty house ready for my family (Ryan) to come home-- filling it with clean-house and dinner-cooking smells, and emptying it of eye-sore mess. Then Ryan comes home from work, and I get to welcome him, and then it REALLY feels like "home." On two days last week, though, I pulled up to the 2-story house on Camp Street, and there already was a familiar face brightening the house. Heheh, both times I came home, Mom was doing yard work! Let me tell you, my Mom put me to SHAME!!! She came to serve, not be serve, and serve us she did! She did everything from the yard work to helping with floor-finishing to house-cleaning to coffee-grinding to cutting my hair to filling our fridge with tasty groceries!! AND she always offered to help cook dinner, and wanted to treat us when we went out... it really amazed me. The last two afternoons of her visit, she came WITH me to school, and served me AND my students there!! The preschoolers LOVED her, and she fit right into their little world. (those little ones are so blessed; their worlds are full of adults who love them and teach them of Jesus!!)
Mom came and just lived with us for 5 days, and we did our best to show her a full picture of our life in Louisville. Some of our excursions were not so exciting- Kroger, the gas station, the bank, etc. Some were a little more adventurous, and thus merited photographic documentation:
One of our favorite "hole-in-the-wall" eateries: the Santa Fe Mexican Grill. (on 3rd street...the purple building. If you're a Louisvillian, you've GOT to check it out!!) Ryan enjoyed being one of the few gringos there, and I got a HUGE kick out of this sign!

(it reads "We have a fresh-squeeze limenade. No free refills!") I just kept giggling every time I read it!

The Americano examining his "Americano burrito." This was a momentous occasion for Ryan; his first time branching out at a favorite restaurant -maybe ever! (he always gets the same thing everytime, every where we go... ;D)

Sorry for the zoomed-out-edness of all these pics. I haven't figured out how to crop pics on Ryan's mondo desktop (my laptop still lies, useless and un-alive...)

On Tuesday, I introduced Mom to "Napoleon Dynamite" as Ryan taught at the T-house. We stayed up a full hour after we went to bed quoting it to each other, lol. I think Moms of college students can appreciate that movie as few other post-teenagers can.

Wednesday, Mom & I had a fun time on my favorite street; Bardstown Road (despite the pouring rain. I think that's the only time I've ever deposited money at a bank solely for the purpose of using their parking lot! Drastic times call for...) We ate at the
Butterfly Garden Cafe, which we HIGHLY reccommend, and browsed around the White Linen Tea Company, and the Clay & Cotton. No pictures, alas. :( I think we were all encouraged by Immanuel's midweek prayer meeting that night. Mom & I also managed to squeeze in a coffee date between my classes on Thursday, and she got to watch me conduct my 5/6th grade choir! I think they behaved better with Mom in the room. :) As House MD put it, "I think the world would be a better place if everyone lived like their Moms were looking over their shoulders." Some pre-school pics:

(during our music time)

(getting ready to put our flowers on the Living Cross, for Easter)

We had a last hoorah on Friday morning before Mom left, getting up a little early so we could breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. It was SO yummy, and so much fun!! I just love that place. What more could I- a girl who loves breakfast foods best of all, and is a little on the "nuts" side- ask for? Mom & I split a fantastic omlette (a dish she raised me to enjoy... actually, that was the first dish I ever cooked! ...though I don't know how Mom ate it... I didn't even put salt or pepper in it...yuck...)

My husband, VERY eager to eat his french toast.

All of us after a yummy meal. This weekend Ryan dubbed himself my Mom's "baby-in-law," and the term has stuck. Lol...

Everyone who knew my Mom was in town last week is asking me this week if I miss her. I guess they could see her missableness, just from that one meeting. And they are quite right. I do miss her. Thank you God for Mommys! I'm off!


Monday, March 03, 2008

Who Knew!?

It's amazing the stuff you find out when researching for 3rd grade Phonogram Assignments...

It all started out with the poem our DSCS 3rd graders are reading this week. First off, I had no idea who this poem was by, so I had to research that. (Lord, thank You for giving me free internet access, and putting it in the hearts of scholars to make anthologies available, and SEARCHABLE online. I mean that prayer!) After a little digging, I found a great gem of a story! How many of you are familiar with King Sethon of Egypt? Now don't you be scared because the lines don't reach all the way across the page. Poetry ain't scary. 'Specially not the kind 3rd graders read. ;)

by Maud Keary
From Enchanted Tulips and other Verses for Children, published in 1914

Cried out in his woe,
"My kingdom will perish,
My race be brought low.

"Ruthless Sennacherib
With warriors draws near
To conquer our country
With arrow and spear.

"Our men are a handful;
In vain we contend;
Vain, vain is our struggle--
But short be the end!"

Beneath the clear starlight
Of Egypt he stood,
The invaders' camp stretched
Far away like a wood;

When lo! through the stillness
Arose a strange sound,
A scratching and scraping
Came up from the ground.

And thick as when corn-blades
Each leaps forth a tongue,
Some thousands of field-mice
From the warm soil sprung.

They scrambled up palings
And scaled pediments--
They sped past King Sethon
To the enemies' tents.

And there helter-skelter,
They seized on the quivers,
They nibbled the bowstrings,
Bit into shivers

The wooden shield-handles
The enemies used,
Who woke in the morning
Surprised and confused!

Without arms, defenceless,
They fled fast before
The happy Egyptians,
And came back no more.

Then a statue of Sethon
Was made--very grand--
A crown on his head and
A mouse in his hand!

I was like "what is that talking about!?" So I did some digging, and HERE's the background story! King Sethon was a priest of Vulcan reigning in Egypt at the same time that King Hezekiah ruled Judah. He offended the soldiers of Egypt by taking away the land allowance they’d always been given. Therefore, when Sennacherib of Assyria invaded in 713 BC, no soldiers would defend Egypt. The legend is that Sethon prayed in great anquish all night, until he received a vision from his god that the god would win the victory for Egypt. Comforted, Sethon marched out with a group of non-soldiers. During the night, they were indeed delivered, by a very surprising force!

Even more intriguing: some historians believe that this story is a corrupted version of Judah’s miraculous delivery from Sennacherib’s army by the might of the One True God, recorded in 2 Kings 19!

Source: Ancient History, Vol 1: History of the Egyptians [and lots of other people. seriously, the title stretched on for lines and lines]. By Charles Rollins, 1844.

That story captured my fancy, for some reason. History is so cool!! WHY am I not a literature or a history teacher??? Choir... what was I thinking!? to grade papers for said class... sigh...

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Thank you, Jeannette...

Please, all you aspiring ministers... don't end up like this. It would be funny, except it's so SAD!!

And read all the follow-up comments. They're thought-provoking and at times hilarious. For an example of a thought-provoking one, Byron Harvey said...
"An observation: as a recovering fundamentalist (now an E Free pastor, still solidly evangelical, so don't worry), I spent some time in fundamentalist churches, and was educated at independent Baptist schools. There was much good there, but the truth is that some of the people who defended the inerrancy of the Bible the strongest did the most absolutely hideous job of actually preaching it. In that sense, this gentleman follows in a long, but sad, line..."

Blue Chair Blues

Grandma & Grandpa Presley gave us a very comfy BIG blue recliner, and it graces the corner of our little living room. (getting it here in the back of our truck over the mountains was quite its own adventure) It's the spot of choice on cold dark mornings before school; I eat my breakfast and drink my coffee in coziness and warmth as I read my Bible and pray. Ryan usually finds me curled up in it grading or reading or writing letters as he gets home. Before my laptop went nuts it was the perfect spot to sit and work on lesson plans, too. Ryan loves to sit there to study himself...on Tuesdays before he teaches at the Transformation House, I try to leave the chair for him. :) And after he tucks me into bed he usually reads there... sometimes I awaken in the wee hours of the morning and he's STILL in there, quite comfortable and sleeping happily. All that to say, we love our big blue chair.

I just dropped Ryan off at the airport; the first time I've done such a thing since marriage. The last time I did that, I cried (it was when we parted ways in Cincinnati after getting engaged in Oregon, last February). This time I got it out of my system a little before the parting... in the big blue chair, actually. Ryan's boss' girlfriend was going to pick him up on the way to getting Andy (Ryan's boss) to the airport, but I wanted the extra minutes so we called and canceled...and spent the short sweet time cuddled in the big blue chair, and just being together a little more. I cried... more at the anticipation of the missing-him-pain (I remember it way too well) than actual current pain. I was against his chest, after all, still comforted by the smell and feel of him...

"I'd rather you be leaving and be married to you than be saying goodbye without being married," I said. "I'd rather be married and leaving and sad than married and leaving and not sad," he answered. "It's right that we should want to be together. It's good to be sad that we have to be apart."

It's true, what Ryan said: it's good that we should miss each other. It's good that we should be sad and cry. It's good that there is love and one heart that hurts to be apart. I'm married now; not just myself, but part of a new One Flesh... Hmmm... guess that's why the blue chair makes me sad to look at just now. And happy, too. :)

It IS only for 5 days. And we'll both be happy and doing things we love to do. And we'll both rejoice in the presence of the Lord, and pray for the other's every day. :) But just right now, in the "meantime," (Dad, you'll catch my reference) I think I may curl up in the big blue chair and seek a little solace. Prayer, the Word, my journal, a book, and just maybe some of that dark chocolate my Love gave me for Valentine's day. :)

Happy Lord's Day.