Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Using my hobby for a good cause...

I have been making jewelry now for almost 5 years. I really enjoy it and have had the opportunity to create for good causes several times in the last few years. Last spring I had a jewelry sale to raise funds for North Korea. This year, the proceeds of my Christmas auction are going towards the Home of New Beginnings, one of the ministries I visited in Thailand last summer. In short, this awesome organization meets bar girls in the Bangkok sex industry and offers them an alternative. While many girls have compelling reasons why they feel they must remain in the sex industry, others are able to get out thanks to groups like Home of New Beginnings. Dedicated to living Christian ideals, the workers at Home of New Beginnings love broken women and help them gain vocational training, education, and healing. See my posts from June to learn more about the sex industry in Thailand.

I am very proud that the proceeds from this auction totaled 740,000 won (approx. $700)!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Therapeutic Art

One of the things that I have discovered while living in Korea is that I LOVE POTTERY! I love buying it, looking at it, imagining how I could design it...I just love it. And no one knows my love of pottery like Annette. Annette is my Korean-Canadian friend who has patiently taught me art, Korean, and tennis :) She invited me to join her and another art teacher (did I mention Annette is a high school art teacher?) to complete the trio in private weekly pottery lessons. So now, every Monday, I have 2-3 hours of clay play to look forward to after teaching 4 classes and sitting through PD sessions. Yay!

Today marked the last session for the semester and I am quite sad that it will be another month until my next art therapy session! I have thoroughly enjoyed my weekly opportunities to create and clear my mind. So far I have made an odd coffee mug (not my favorite creation), a star shaped candle holder (much better than my first piece), and a large earring holder (now this one I am finally proud of). While any new endeavor comes with moments of insecurity, it was nice to end my first chapter in my new pottery career on a positive note. I walked away from this session with an art piece that genuinely looked similar to the vision I had imagined in my head. I can't wait to see what it looks like fired! Pictures to come after firing :)

With Seon Young Baek, the talented potter who leads our class:

Annette working on a creative container... my favorite thing she designed this month by far:

Modeling the Christmas gift that my teacher, Seon Young, designed for me!:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Overcoming the Distance

While the miles between my family and my Korean life may be vast, distance will not hold us back. Today I brought my grandfather in to my 9th grade classes via Skype. As an avid poetry reader, my grandfather is a great example for my kids of a person who is genuinely impacted by poetry. My grandfather can recite poetry by memory for hours on end, and this morning he recited a few of his favorites for my class. He also read aloud "The Cremation of Sam McGee," a humorous poem my students analyzed in advance in preparation for his reading. My students asked him questions about the poem and also enjoyed the opportunity to ask about their teacher's childhood. Grandpa took advantage of the opportunity and showed pictures of me, age 5, in a tutu, leotard, and hardhat. Grandma poked her head in for a moment to tell a story as well. All in all, a very special experience indeed :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Belated Thanksgiving Post

Just a few things I am thankful for this November/December:
1) A God who has watched me get things wrong so many times, and yet still loves me.

2) A family that supports me, makes me laugh, humors me by doing video skype...even at 6:30 am CA time, reads my blog, listens to my rambling stories, and loves me, no matter what

3) Dear friends on 6 continents (no friends in Antarctica yet) and countless shared memories with these beautiful people. I have so many mentors, encouragers, adventurers, thinkers, givers, teachers, and

4) I have never had to worry about having enough food to eat or a place to sleep... the more I see poverty face-to-face, the more I realize how unusual this privilege is.

5) Health. There were no complications from my gallbladder surgery; even though I've had a fall full of colds, stomach issues, the flu... I have still been spared from any long-lasting or debilitating health issues.
6) I work in a community where kids openly care about their teachers, each other, and the world. I really teach some amazing children.

7) Technology: it has really enabled me to stay connected with so many loved ones! Skype, Magicjack, Facebook, Gchat...I am grateful that these things help me feel a bit more in touch with the lives of people I care about around the globe.

8) Creativity. I am so glad that I was wired to design jewelry, write, make pottery, compose out of the ordinary lessons, invent strange uses for ordinary objects, and live a colorful life.

9) Travel. I have had the opportunity to learn so much about myself and the world through travel.

10) The endless depth of knowledge in the world. In the words of Socrates, "The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know." I love that! So much out there to discover. My God is one crazy smart dude.