Sunday, September 23, 2007


I've never been a big fan of dental work. Too many traumatic fillings and extractions when I was young, and I have yet to get over those. Any time I am told I have to have a filling or anything of that nature, I have the uncontrolled reaction of... well... crying. That's right. I cry like a baby who's lost her binky.

The same reaction happened a few weeks ago when I was told that I needed, not a filling, but a root canal. I went in for it on Saturday, took my iPod loaded with Christmas music, and spent two hours in a nitrous oxide induced wonderland. I wish somebody could have been in my head with me because it was really funny. One distinct thing I remember is being able to decipher lyrics in songs that I had never figured out before because the song moved too quickly. Apparently, all I needed was to slow down all of my sensory processors with some drugs. At least I didn't remember much of the drilling and other yuckiness.

Unfortunately, my mouth now is terribly sore!!!! My dentist actually prescribed Vicaden, which I didn't take but probably should have. I took some Aleve this morning, which helped some, but not enough to ward off the fatigue that comes from being in constant low-grade pain. I slept for two hours this afternoon.

The worst thing about all of this is that I am paying for the entire thing. The saga of the insurance is a whole different story that still makes me a bit mad, so we won't go there. Let's just say that, if I choose to finally replace my 288 thousand mile car, things will be tight. I'm thanking the Lord for the plethora of sub jobs, and the long-term job I have from the end of November to the end of January.

All of this oral trauma and pain has changed one thing in me: I no longer shirk the nightly flossing ritual. Every night, baby.

Now playing: Lex de Azevedo with Millenium Choir - Some Children See Him
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My new gadget

It's official. I have been swept up into the Nike+iPod phenomenon. I bought myself a nano when I completed my marathon. My sister bought me the Nike arm band for my birthday, and I bought myself the sensor with my birthday money. Now, for the first time, I listen to music while I run. In "El Libro" (which is what Lisa and I called The Non-runner's Marathon Trainer, which is what we followed to train for our race), it says not to wear headphones, but to "listen to the run." So I did that for six months. Today I learned at least one thing:

Runs go faster when I'm distracted by The Aardvark Intermission Song.

The challenge for today was finding the song that kept pace with my running. I wasn't about to try to keep up with the Latin tempo of Club des Belugas's Hiphip Chinchin, and My Wish wasn't doing it either, even though one would think a Rascal Flatts ballad would fit my slow canter. But, when I had finally given up finding a pacing song, the Shuffle Song God touched my little iPod and gave me the gift that spurred me up the hardest 1/4 mile of the day:

Drive... by the Cars.

Solid snare drum back beat. Perfect tempo synchronization. Utter yogging perfection. And now with my workout firmly logged in the electronic annals of, I am left with only one question...

Who is gonna drive me home tonight?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Insanity and mass homicide

From the brinks of these two evils have I just returned. I have never experienced anything quite like today, the content of which made me fear for the loss of my mind and for the blood that would certainly be on my hands. The pitch of the day just kept increasing and increasing until, in a moment sent from God, the bell rang.

and the first graders went to recess.

Yes. That's right. First graders.

I subbed a half-day in a first grade classroom yesterday and it went very well. 30 minutes of coloring books -- that says blue, it's different than black -- 30 minutes of reading, some recess, and I was done. So when I got the call at 6:45 this morning for a full-day first grade job, I decided to go against my normal line of "no elementary" for the sake of having a pay check at the end of October.

I should have stayed home. I have never felt as incompetent as I did today. And the most ridiculous part is THEY ARE SIX! Give me any one of them and I would have been fine. Or even 10 of them. We could have played tag or read or any number of things that I know work with little people. But 26 six-year-olds are TOO MUCH for this teacher.

And my little heart feels horrible because I did what I know is poor classroom management. When they tattled and talked and moved around as if their chairs had electrodes implants, I hollered and threatened and prayed OUTLOUD "Dear Lord, help me to remember not to hurt these children. They are six and I am a grown up." The praying part isn't too bad, but I HATE raising my voice at kids. And that is what I did ALL DAY.

So I'm redrawing the line. Marah, here... first graders.... WAY over there. I don't care if I have to eat Top Ramen from now until Boxing Day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


After hours of dedicated effort, I have just conquered all three levels of Minesweeper on this teacher's computer.

Behold, the life of a substitute teacher.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One more thing...

Sunset over the Olympic Mountains

I just uploaded the most recent set of pictures and had to share my favorite picture from last week's trip to Bremerton.

Thoughts on fear

The official theme of the Women's Retreat was The Battle Belongs to the Lord, complete with a flashback to Petra Praise. The unofficial theme was fear. Two of the main speakers and one of the workshops dealt specifically with fear and how often it can debilitate us and keep us from a closer relationship with God.

Saturday night my friend Rissa (GOTTA LOVE HER!) was sharing about the different battles through which God has brought her, and she gave biblical examples of different battles that were fought in the Old Testament. She mentioned Moses at the Red Sea made the comment that sometimes there is comfort in our dysfunction because we are accustomed to it, so we stay in an unhealthy place because we are afraid of the new. The Israelites said they should go back to Egypt, even though that had been a place of terrible oppression and suffering for them.

That example got me to thinking... and my thinking ended up in the seeds of a teaching that is quite alliterative. If you look at the account of God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, there are four stages of the journey:

1) Pharaoh (which I first called "captivity" but that doesn't start with an "f" sound) -- The Israelites started in captivity with an oppressive life full of back-breaking labor and death. They had family, but no freedom, no liberty to pursue dreams, to pursue purpose, or to pursue God. Their lives are compelled and controlled by an outside force that did not have their best interests at hear. When God hears their cries and sends a deliverer, they have to learn a completely new skill set.

2) Follow -- To follow, one must be aware of one's leader and trust him. There is no force involved in true following, which in and of itself was a stark difference from their lives in Egypt. The Israelites had to learn how to trust God's heart towards them, which was quite the challenge. But they did learn (sorta) how to follow, God provided for them a multitude of times. As we read about them, though, they often wanted to go back to Egypt. Why? Because at least they know what their days would be. There is a comfort in captivity if for no other reason than the unexpected isn't an option. There are no adventures upon which to embark, no challenges to rise up to meet, no potential failure or blundering because you just have to make bricks and you've been doing that your whole life.

The Israelites weren't the greatest followers -- they grumbled, doubted, disobeyed (glory, this is sounding familiar), but God kept leading and eventually they moved into The Promised Land. But they couldn't just walk on in. They had to learn another new skill set.

3) Fight -- If you read through the Old Testament, God had lots of different battle plans, and when the Israelites listened and obeyed, they were victorious.... but they weren't sitting in their Barco-Loungers. They actually had to GO OUT to meet the enemy. Sometimes -- like in 2 Chronicles 20, which was the passage for retreat -- God sets ambushes and the enemies destroy themselves. But sometimes the Israelites had to get out their swords and slay the enemy. And eventually they were transformed from feeble slaves to mighty warriors -- an army worthy of any opponent. And while this was an invaluable part of their journey, they had one more thing to learn.

4) Farm -- yep, they had to learn to farm. Even though the Promise Land was flowing with milk and honey (sounds sticky!), they still had to cultivate the land, maintain it, and defend it. But what a contrast from their starting place. No longer were they controlled and oppressed by a man who had only his own kingdom at heart, but they were loved and liberated by the love of the God who made them and called them into His kingdom.

And so I was thinking about my life, and specifically the internal issues that manifest in the food and body image arenas. I think that I am afraid of what comes with having a fit body. Irony of ironies, I'm afraid of being really attractive. When I was at my fittest, I received attention from another teacher at my old job and allowed myself to become quite emotionally attached even though he didn't share my faith. It wasn't a good situation. I'm afraid it'll happen again.

But I do long for freedom in this area. Not just losing the weight, but reclaiming my heart and actions and emotions for Christ. He's been calling me out of captivity and teaching me to follow Him in this area. And He has called me to fight -- to stand firm in His truth. I tend to curl up in the fetal position with a brownie. But freedom and victory can be mine because of the power of the One who lives in me.

That's flipping fantastic... once I start with the alliteration, it's difficult to finish...

marah jean

Home from the mountains...

I returned this afternoon from the Yakima Foursquare Ladies' Retreat. Normally this kind of all-female frivolity is right up my alley -- I mean, who wouldn't love an abundance of snacks, karaoke complete with tp interpretive dance, and a shopping trip to Bellevue -- but this year, I was just wiped out! I think I might have been allergic to something up there because I had a stuffed up head and achy body the entire weekend. I'm feeling a bit better now that I'm home, but not quite 100%.

I was thinking about my involvement in activities such as these and lamenting my lack of expectation. Rendezvous like this aren't the rarity for me that they are for others, and I think this fact makes me somewhat dull to their charms. I enjoyed myself and was glad to be encouraged by the other ladies from my church, but I more wanted to be home.

And the sad thing for me was that there was nobody waiting for my return. I know so many of the women there would envy my situation -- the freedom to come and go as I please, few familial responsibilities, no diapers to change or anything like that.

I could continue in this theme and lament being single. I choose, instead, to "Yes, and..." myself.

Yes -- I am single, unattached, and currently unpursued.

comma -- pause to remember that I am LOVED by God, not forgotten away in Crackima, that His eyes are on me, His heart is towards me, and His delight IS me

And -- I have a GREAT life here, a family that loves me, friends that do too, and good things to do with my time, talents, and life.

I think I'll go take a lovely walk through my fabulous neighborhood.

much love even though I think I have a mold allergy -- marah jean

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thoughts from yesterday

I had a sub job yesterday in Wapato and, thanks to block scheduling, had 2 hours of prep time. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to keep myself from being overwhelmed with boredom. So I wrote a blog without a computer -- and now I shall type it and save it for posterity.

It is September 6 and thus I've spent most of the first week of my 30th year eating deep fried foods or sugary carbs doused in syrup. I think I ran twice... which I suppose is better than nothing... but not much better than nothing.

It's been just over 3 months since I completed my first marathon, during which spectators who watched the start could have gone home, watched all of Gone with the Wind and still made it back to see me cross the finish line. That was the goal, not to take five and a half hours to finish, but just to finish. Finishing also brought an excruciating metatarsal stress fracture and a 2-month running hiatus. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up any other cardiovascular training, so now what was at one time an easy 3-miler can have me puffing and huffing and sweating like an overworked farm animal.

But -- call me crazy -- I love it. I really do enjoy running. Unfortunately, I'm not as adept at reminding myself that this is the case. I'm much better at recalling junior high memories of the dreaded running days (I was lucky if I could get 4 laps done in 30 minutes) and then the ironic high school "fun run." These people are on something... that is what I would tell myself.

But now... over a decade later... I've changed my mind about running. I suppose now it is time to change my mind about myself and running. I cognitively ascent to the idea that my weight doesn't define me -- an belief that manifested in a 216 pounder coming in 572nd in the Newport, OR Marathon -- but I would love it if my outside self would match my inside self: energetic, healthy, active, confident. I know, though, that my inside self isn't always these things, usually because I've become so focused on my outside self that isn't what I want it to be. It's a vicious cycle.

Thus begins the tale of my 30th year. With 359 days of it remaining, I have enough time to do a great many things: write an article for Runner's World, train to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, lose the extra 30 pounds I've gained in the last two years, and finish my MA. Throw in figuring out what I wasn't to do when I grow up and meeting lots of great people, and we'll have a great year. And am I crazy to want to drop my mile time as well? I consistently can train at a 12 minute mile. Are 10 minute miles possible? Yes. By when.. I don't know.

And with all this dreaming, what do I find myself drawn to desire?

Ice cream.

I refuse to see this as a bad omen.