Wednesday, September 16, 2009

At the right place at the right time

It seems to be the story of my life in so many ways, this being at the right place at the right time. However, since I believe in a Higher Design, I know that it's more than fate. The story of my life is a God thing.

And so it happened that when I came back to Taiwan earlier this year, I came with the intention to find a part-time job, earn an income, do my studies, and seek ways to honor God in the process.

Within a day, I started tutoring my first student, and within 2 weeks, I started working as a substitute teacher at TAS. I considered a freelance marketing/writing job in China, but after my trip to Shenzhen, decided not to continue down that path. Instead, I'd just focus on teaching.

When I came back from the US after the summer, I started subbing and tutoring again. Soon after the school opened, I was asked to work with a pre-K (KA) class. That's 3- and 4-year-olds. These little ones remind me of my kids in Kenya. They, too, are little. And cute. Adorable. Difficult sometimes. They're kids! They're also very, very different.

I love 'em.

And when the teacher I was subbing for decided to move on, I was asked to stay on. (Yes, I am a certified teacher. That's what I started out my career as. As an ESL teacher. Didn't know that, did you?)

So for going on 3 weeks now, I've been a full-time teacher to mostly 4-year-olds.

I am loving it!

I'm no longer tutoring as my commitments as a full-time teacher do not allow the time or energy to do that. Nor am I coaching swimming any longer. I also quit the Taipei Philharmonic since I need every free evening I can get to work on my studies.

As for my kids? They are amazing little ones. A diverse group of 12 balls of energy. For professional reasons, I won't be writing much about them.

But I did want to explain to all of you what's happening in my world.

Just so you know and so you can rejoice with me.

God certainly has very interesting ways!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I am blessed.

I don't doubt that for a moment.

I am in good health. I have a great job. I have wonderful friends all over the world.

And I've had amazing opportunities to grow, learn more, be stretched.

I've faced my share of challenges, but it pales in comparison to what some of my friends have gone through.

I truly am blessed.

It struck me again today as I sat with some amazing people and shared with them the challenges that some of my friends face in Africa. It was part of a fundraiser friends of mine put on for ELI.

In the process, I got to exhibit some of my photos from Africa.

For me, showing the photos is about inviting people into the story behind the picture. It's about educating them, whether about nature or about people and customs.

I've been blessed with a camera that helps me capture pictures that speak to people's hearts.

I. have. been. blessed.

So today, as I try and mentally prepare for the rest of the week (teaching my precious little ones, working at completing two doctoral classes, ironing out details of a medical team I'll be taking to Kenya in October, running to the coffee shop after school to be at the photo exhibit), I will not be overwhelmed.

I will keep smiling.

Erwin McManus shared a thought that's been mulling around my head for a while now. "Joy is not something you find when circumstances change. It's what changes circumstances."

I've seen that in my mom over the past few months. When we thought she may be facing a terminal condition, she remained upbeat. Through her neck surgery, she and my father have stayed positive despite the pain they've faced together.

I'm blessed to have parents who choose to look at the bright side of life.

It has rubbed off on me.

Not a bad thing to have rubbed off, I'd say.

And so, this week, as people come and look at my photos of Africa, I hope that they'll fall in love with my continent. That they, too, will stand with my friends who've faced more challenges than we might typically face in some other parts of the world.

I hope that they, too, will find the hope behind each of the photos.

And that they walk away realizing how blessed we all are for understanding more about one another's journeys.