Putting the "ick" in Limerick...

There once was an anonymous girl
Who lived in a Kansas town rural.
She stayed with her folks
To prevent going broke,
And gave the newspaper a whirl.

On Tuesdays she taught girls and boys,
Who hollered and made lots of noise.
Kansas was great,
But she couldn't wait
To return to the west--oh joys!


Best of 2007

Here I sit with my laptop and my journal, looking back on 2007... Before it becomes ancient history, I thought I would review some highlights and notable memories. I do this in the form of an awards ceremony. It's like The Memories Emmys. Except without the $5,000 dresses and the "I want to thank my make-up artist for always being there" speeches.

Fiddlesticks. I just realized my journal only goes back to July; the previous journal is sitting in some cardboard box in Provo. OK, so it's more like "Best of the Latter Half of 2007"...

Most Interesting Food Tried: Tie between octopus tentacles and pig tongue. My weekly supper with my Chinese and Taiwanese friends was always a culinary adventure! (FYI: octopus is strangely chewy; pig tongue is rather tasty!)

Best Hike: Squaw Mountain, 8/25. It was a moderately difficult hike--which is perhaps more a statement of my lack of physical prowess than of the height of the mountain--but the view on top was sensational, all 360' of it! Utah Valley and the city of Provo to the west, and to the east miles and miles of rugged mountain wilderness, seemingly untouched by civilization.

Best Concert: The Wailin' Jennys in Park City, UT. Heavenly, flawless three-part harmony from a trio of Canadian singer-songwriters. This event would also win an award for Highest-Priced Ticket Karisa EVER Purchased...but it was worth every penny.

Best FREE Concert: Sam Bush and David Grisman in Salt Lake City. Two legendary mandolinists on one stage...for FREE?! I'm there! This event could probably also get some kind of award for how many standing human beings I've been squashed against at once. But I'll leave that one alone.

Funniest Teaching Moment: While I was teaching a Bible story to some kids at my church, one of the students suddenly gasped with a horrified expression! Noticing he was looking at my feet, I abruptly halted mid-sentence, thinking there was some massive hairy spider crawling up my pants. When I found nothing and asked the student what was wrong, he replied (still horrified), "Your shoes! They're so... different!" Mind you, they were the same nondescript brown shoes I have been wearing for the past 4 years. Evidently, something about them is shocking to that young boy. I laugh every time I put them on now!

Best Purchase: Mandolin. Sure, it's made in China and it has a bad 7th fret. But still! It's beautiful because it's the beginning of realizing a long-time dream.

Most Sobering Moment: Leaving Mrs. R. She had been my senior care client for over a year and had grown dear to me. A shut-in, she sees nobody except her daughter, her doctor, and her church's visiting teachers. When I had to quit my job and leave Provo, I knew that this dear, lost lady would likely never have contact with a believer again. Sobering, indeed. And how many more are there in/near Provo just like Mrs. R??

Best Wildlife Spotting: Bull moose. My folks and I spent a few days at Brighton, UT, a ski resort in the mountains. While taking a walk one evening, Mom and I stumbled upon a huge bull moose lying in the grass, not 10 feet away! We were too surprised to be scared, I guess, so we just stood there gaping. Wow, was that sucker BIG. Later, we read that a sign of a moose being annoyed (and thus dangerous) is when he lays back his ears; I remember our moose doing that. So this could possibly be filed under "Closest to Being Mauled Beyond Recognition by a Wild Animal," as well.

Most Notable "Helpless Female" Moment: Calling Chris late at night because I "smelled something." See, I was house-sitting for some friends, and when I caught a whiff of an unidentifiable odor, my over-active imagination conjured up a picture of their house burning down--because of my negligence. How would I explain THAT one?? So I called Chris and woke him up. Trooper that he is, he drove over and went through the entire house with this helpless female meekly following him around, murmuring helpful things like, "It smells stronger here," "It's probably nothing," and "So you don't think their house will burn down?" Chris finally sniffed out the culprit: the locked up motor of a ceiling fan. (The pathetic thing is that I had to choose this Helpless Female moment out of many nominees. I should probably just come to terms with this role, as much as I despise it.)

Most Unlooked-for Blessing: A $1,000 check. This arrived in the mail the day before I left Provo, enclosed in a Christmas card from some old friends. I kept looking at it again and again to make sure I had counted the zeros correctly! Really, though, it was just case-in-point of God's unbelievable provision of my needs throughout all of 2007. He keeps surprising me with how He provides for me--and it is often through the sacrificial gifts of believers sensitive to His leading. An awards ceremony isn't complete without a few tears, and I feel 'em coming on...

Greatest Privilege: "Letting my light so shine before men that they may see my good works and glorify my Father in heaven." Not that I succeeded at this even half so well as I should have... But 2007 was a year of realizing anew my privilege of bearing and demonstrating Truth in a culture of deception. That meant scrubbing my elderly clients' toilets till they shone! That meant taking the time to share the gospel with two confused young women I ran into while hiking with some friends. That meant making it a point to nurture a heart of compassion for unbelievers. ...Because everything I do, in word or deed, should be for the Lord's glory. Whether people notice or not, whether I see results or not, my job is simply to let my light shine. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm gonna let it shine...

Shine in 2008, I'm gonna let it shine!