Thursday, October 28, 2010

Braille [Brl]

I haven't really talked much about my new job... mostly because there has been other things to post... but its going really well. I am loving it!

That being said, I have a HUGE test coming up - my state Braille Competency Test. How much do you know about Braille? Braille letters (and some whole words and phonetic contractions) are made by six "cells" - six bumps or spaces for bumps...
Not many people know that writing braille is not just spelling using a braille alphabet... there are 189 braille contractions. For example, the above sentence I wrote in braille is:

Not many people know that writing braille is not just spelling using a braille alphabet
[Capital sign] [n] [456 m] [p] [5 k] [t] writ [ing] brl is [n] [j] spell[ing] us[ing] a brl alphabet. Okay, that probably didn't make any sense to you... but it was a great braille mind exercise for me. :-DThere is a braille symbol for [ed], [ar], [ing], [ble], [ound], [ount], [ity], [ally], [en], [in], [ance], [ence], [the], [and], [for], [with], [of]... ON MY GOSH THE LIST IS ENDLESS!!! - Yes, [less] is another one. Not only are all of the above (and more) part-words, but regular words are abbreviated (just a few):
  • receive = rcv
  • myself = myf
  • about = ab
  • above = abv
  • immediate = imm
The above (abv) picture is of a braille (brl) writer. It's kind of like a typewriter, but obviously much different. Oh, typing different reminds me about the complications and rules possible. Dots 2356 when alone = were, in the beginning of a word = open parentheses, end of a word = close parentheses, and in the middle of a word = gg... Is your brain tired yet?
Have you ever watched a cat play with a typewriter or a printer? Lexie LOVES my brailler...My test is November 22... 4 hours, 100 multiple choice questions about braille rules, and 4 print pages to transcribe into braille with less than... umm 5? 7? 3? mistakes... I'm not sure how many mistakes. I have not met anyone who has passed this test on the first try - but I'm going to give it my best shot!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Prayer Changes Me

I feel like I'm learning a lot about prayer these days.

Warning: I'm about to quote a secular television show... You have been warned...

I seem to have a hidden talent - or hidden curse that I can quote movies/plays/radio broadcasts/tv shows perfectly after seeing or hearing a dialogue MINIMAL times.

In an early episode of Dawson's Creek, Jen's grandmother is a church-going, "Bible-beating" woman. When her husband dies, Jen finds her grandmother at church praying and Jen comments on her grandmother's prayers, "What makes you think you can change God?"

"No, my dear. You have it backwards. Prayer changes me."

I've always liked that quote -- it was why I remember it so well. But I feel like I'm really experiencing the meaning for the first time in my life.
I have been hurt by a sister in Christ. I have gone through phases of being so angry, trying to brush her off and forget she exists, telling God I don't want to pray for her because I'm angry with her and hurt by her, composing all kinds of letters in my head from humbly trying to rebuild things to strong-worded convicting words about how her actions did not emulate the love of Christ... but in every phase, I keep coming back to prayer - to talking through the situation with God.

I tell God how angry I am by her actions; I tell God how hurt I am by her silence; I tell God how I don't know what to do to repair things; I confide in the Lord like a real friend and I tell Him I am disappointed in my human friend, this woman, my "sister", His child... then, time after time, I find myself sincerely praying for her. Praying for her journey, praying for her heart, praying for her relationship with God, her husband, her family, her children; her friends; her life, her joy, her growth and her testimony.Prayer really does change my heart. I am learning that I can count on Jesus even when I cannot count on his followers. God is God regardless of Christians -- this is a big lesson for me, but it is a comforting lesson as well.

I am not surprised or heartbroken when I am hurt by those who do not know the Lord. They do not believe in the same guidelines or power and therefore, they cannot be held to Christ-like standards... but hurt from Christ-followers is a very different pain. I'd call it a confusing, mind-numbing, bitter, choking kind of pain that leaves me trying to pin-point where I hurt, because I hurt so many different places. Have you ever had that kind of pain? Its such a confusing pain... Its such an intense pain...

No matter how His children act, God is God; God is good; God is faithful; God is loving; God is powerful; God is listening!

Prayer is comforting; Prayer brings peace; Prayer calms my anxious heart; Prayer soothes the man-made pain; Prayer softens my frustrations; Prayer changes me.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Broken Tools

Have you ever had to do a job with broken tools?

I haven't ever had to hammer a nail into the wall using a broken hammer... but today, well, this week, I felt as though I was working, working, working toward a goal... with broken tools.I cannot get into specifics and moreover, I do not want to get into specifics... but have you ever tried to sew a seam with a broken sewing machine?It is your job to sew. You spend hour after hour sewing because its your job. You try to work hard and take pride in your work... and then you look at your work and realize you have been using a broken sewing machine. Not only have you been using a broken sewing machine, but it is all you have to use... and you still have work to do.It is your job to keep working and your job includes using a broken sewing machine - because that is all you have. I would imagine this is a frustrating feeling.
I hope and pray for a relaxing weekend... I need it.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness: Seven Dwarfs and Randomness

I have a theory... it involves Snow White... actually, more specifically, it involves the Seven Dwarfs...
I believe, with very few exceptions, every emotion can be categorized by the name of a dwarf. Think about it... can you name them?
Grumpy, Happy, Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Sneezy, Sleepy... I think Hungry and Weepy are the only two emotions missing. Speaking of sleepy... below are some pictures of Lexie from when we watch college football together. She curls up next to me on my Michigan Wolverines blanket, and its a special time.
She's always in the window when I get home...
My work took me up to Vail Village today... and you can smell and taste the expectation for snow... this is Vail Mountain - no leaves, little color, it's like a child on Christmas Eve, it is so excited and ready for snow.
Have you ever been curious about Rules For Teacher in 1872... see below:
If you're unable to read some of these, they include such rules as:
  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.
  3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupil.
  4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
  8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
  9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay providing the Board of Education approves.
For more randomness, visit Lost In Prairies...Found By God.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Denver Half Marathon 2010

The Denver Half-Marathon this past weekend was a lot of fun! Honestly, it was my most enjoyable running race I've ever done.

So... brief story - we missed the start of the race. Always double-check the start-time. Actually, don't double-check, just ask someone at the race-expo (which we did not) what time the race starts. You will have a better chance of getting there on time and actually starting the race.
My roommate (Maggie), her sister (Andi) and I all ran in the race... what fun! This picture was taken pre-race when we were perfectly oblivious to the fact that we've missed the start of the race.
When we finally asked a volunteer where the starting line would be, he showed us and said, "The front-runners of the half will be finishing any minute." EXCUSE ME!?!?!?!?!? We coped as best we could and jumped in at mile 4... this trip was as psychologically and problem-solving taxing as it was physically taxing...

It was a beautiful day. My new thing is to run listening to books on tape (or ipod) rather than running with music. I LOVE IT. I get lost in the story while I get lost in my run... and I only get to listen to that book when I exercise so its added motivation to exercise that day.Another was I passed time on the race was to pray for people/groups during each mile. It wasn't 9 minutes of constant prayer by any means, but when I started to focus on tiredness or sore muscles... I would remember to look at my arm and send up prayers for the person for that mile.My prayer list was pre-race - Chris and his hunting weekend, 1. Daddy, 2. Work Colleagues, 3. Kelley, 4. Large Family, 5. Momma, 6. Caspers, 7. Maggie, 8. Vision Kids, 9. Chris, 10. TVS (my brother) & Family, 11. Nick and Obinna, 12. Miller Family, 13. Meghan Freeman, post-race - Race volunteers
Throughout the day, I would glance down at my arm and have to do a double take -- it looked like someone else's arm. Maggie recommended I not get my fore-arm tattooed... I agree.Lexie was interested in blog posts tonight...She also helped me bake cookies...How was your weekend?
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Signs of Fall

Most of my adult life, the following song and video has marked my fall weekends:

Now, there is a hunter in my life... scenes and outfits like the ones below have become frequent sights during my fall weekends.

Can you guess which shoes are mine and which are Chris'?This weekend, Chris is actually out amidst the mountains of Gunnison to pursue elk. (The cookies were supposed to be divided some for his hunting group and some for my colleagues... and I accidentally left them all with Chris - we met for dinner and he showed me the hunting cabin and I delivered the cookies and accidentally left him ALL the cookies). I send Chris a lot of postcards during the week and since he'll be out in the mountains, I gave him a little card packet for his hunting trip... one card for each day. I'll write more about this later - there were specific cards for specific days...
In the morning, the lake near where Chris will be hunting lets off steam and it turns into a dense fog hovering right above the lake... it is beautiful.
Do you see any elk? This is there territory where Chris will be looking...The leaves are beautiful right now!What am I doing this weekend? I'm running the Denver half marathon tomorrow with my roommate and her sister. My goal is to run the entire race. Please pray for me. I'll be praying for different friends and family members each mile I run (I'll write them on my arm so I remember...)

Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010


Chris is headed elk hunting this weekend with his dad and brother up in the high elevations of Colorado... and I am working on coping.
I've been baking.
I get to see Chris tonight and early tomorrow morning... and that's it for the whole weekend. I spent all of last night baking so I could give him a variety of great fall cookies for his time in the wild.
I made gingersnaps, chocolate-chip cookies, pumpkin-oatmeal-raisin cookies, and pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies... overall all batches were a success. Then I had to find enough tupperware to put them in.The other way I've been coping is anticipating NEXT weekend, when I will get to see Chris again... and we're going to carve pumpkins. So I have purchased a pumpkin family for my porch to enjoy the anticipation of our fun. The ones on the left are for Chris and his elk (the big one and the tall one) and the ones on the right are for me and Lexie (the medium one and the smallest one). :-DHappy Autumn... I miss Chris. Still trying to cope... maybe I should start softening more butter or buy a family of gourds.
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