14 11 2011

A bunch of my friends on facebook are daily making their statuses something they are grateful for. For whatever reason, I did not join that bandwagon. Probably because I’m typically ungrateful. So here is my attempt at getting up to speed with them. A list of 14 things I’m thankful for and why (in no particular order):

1. I’m thankful that I get to experience life in Barranquilla. It has been challenging and difficult at times, but I know I am the better for it.

2. I’m thankful for my mom and Billy. Without them. I definitely would not have survived my transition into life as a grown-up. They have been there for me emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I owe them an unpayable debt.

3. I’m thankful for my awesome sisters. All four of you mean more to me than I can express. I love that we can laugh together and that we can celebrate each others’ successes and support each other through the “failures.” I love you all!

4. I’m thankful for my mutt Abelard. He has been my little shadow for three years. It’s been a difficult few months without him and I’m sure he’ll have some trouble transitioning back into my care. But I love that crazy dog even when he poops in the house and eats things he shouldn’t and gnaws on my dresser. He makes everyday a little more interesting.

5. I’m thankful for my nieces and nephews. These kids light up my life. I’ve watched some of them grow from adorable little babies who just wanted to curl up on my chest and go to sleep to amazing young adults. And for the younger ones, I’m enjoying watching you grow and learn. All of you make life worth living. I’m so blessed to be your aunt.

6. I’m thankful for my brothers. Ryan, I have some great memories of when we were kids. I hope that we can make more now that we are adults. Jason, I’m so thankful that we were finally able to meet! It’s been a great two years getting to know you and your family. I love you!!

7. I’m thankful for Monica and Alvaro, my Colombian parents. I’m constantly amazed by their generosity and hospitality – not just to me, but to everyone that they encounter. May I learn to be that gracious.

8. I’m thankful for Divine Life. I’ve been a member of this particular community since the summer of 2004. This community has been there to support me during some of the darkest moments of my life. They have also been there to celebrate with me through my successes. I’ve learned more about grace and forgiveness and hope and love from you all than you will ever know. I miss you all and cannot wait to be back amongst you. (fingers crossed that you are missing me, too!)

9. I’m thankful for my dad. He and I are a lot alike in that we are both very hardheaded and stubborn. It is this that makes us argue so much. But I’m grateful that I get to hear his stories a hundred times and that we have a good relationship. It has taken many years on my part to get to this point, but I’m thankful that I won’t have any regrets about our relationship when all is said and done.

10. I’m thankful for Colombian style hotdogs. Seriously, they are delicious. I’m going to learn how to make them before I come home.

11. I’m thankful that I can at least understand some Spanish, even if I can’t speak it yet. It definitely helps that I can figure some things out on my own.

12. I’m thankful for the way God has provided for me to get to Colombia and while I’ve been here. I still need a few hundred dollars to get me home, thanks to a passport issue, but I’m confident that God will handle that.

13. I’m thankful for good friends. I’m thankful that I can laugh until I cry with you. I’m thankful that you forgive my stupidity and let me be myself. I’m thankful that you stuck with me when I was difficult to tolerate. I miss you all!!!!!!!

14. I’m thankful for Skype. Without it, I would be very limited with my contact home. I’m so grateful that anytime I’m homesick, I can call my family or friends and speak in English really fast!

So there you have it, up to date gratitude ūüôā


It has been a while

13 11 2011

Hello, oh you myriads of Jill Nelson blog followers.¬† I hope you are all doing well.¬† I sure am.¬† It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged and my only excuse is that I’m lazy.¬† Super lazy.

This week is the last week of official class.¬† For the two weeks after that the teachers will do their wrap-up stuff and work specifically with any students that may need it.¬† I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, whether or not I’ll need to be there for any of that.¬† I guess I’ll just go with whatever happens.

I’m really going to miss my students.¬† I adore them.¬† Even the ones that don’t want to pay attention and interrupt me every three seconds by saying “I don’t understand.”¬† They are, by far, the best Spanish teachers.¬† They make me laugh all the time. Here are some of my favorites:

In transitions (like pre-first), there is a boy named Samuel who cannot sing a song without serenading me.¬† It’s funniest when he sings the ABCs on his knees with one hand on his heart, the other outstretched before him, and his eyes tightly closed to express his passion.¬† I laugh every time.¬† He’s the one in my facebook video that slaps his butt during Silent Night.

In pre-k, there is a girl Lina who cracks up every time we get to the part in Rudolph about Santa.¬† They put their hands in front of them like they have a big belly and sing like men, “Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say.” She thinks it is so funny.¬† And I think she is so funny.

In 6th grade, seldom a day goes by without one of the boys doing a ridiculous freestyle dance in the middle of the lesson.

In 8th grade, there is an ongoing debate on the number of continents. Apparently Colombia teaches that there are 6, not 7.¬† They think I’m wrong.¬† I think they’re wrong.¬† Fortunately, even scientists can’t really agree.

In 9th grade, they are the most committed to teaching me Spanish, but I think it’s because they are the most committed to NOT learning English.¬† They are always up to some crazy antic.¬† I don’t even know where to begin.¬† Just know that these kids will be missed extra.

In 10th grade, I can’t walk into the room without them all yelling “Jill!”¬† I’m like Norm from Cheers.¬† Everybody knows my name, they just can’t pronounce it ūüôā

In 11th grade, they have senioritis.¬† Bad.¬† The other day they asked me if I ever had to take Spanish classes.¬† I told them I took two years in high school but I didn’t pay much attention.¬† They laughed and said, “like us.” I said, “Yup.¬† But now I’m living in South America. I’m wishing I would have paid attention now.”

I know I didn’t hit all the grades, but that gives you an idea of what my school day is like.

some of 11th grade

a few of my pre-k babies. yes, there is one blonde kid - Carlos Andrés


After school lets out, it’s two and a half weeks full of social events: birthdays, celebrations, and graduations.¬† I’ll be dressed up a lot.¬† I’m really wishing I would have brought my black heels with me now.¬† I just didn’t think I’d be getting all gussied up for anything.

THEN, after all that social mingling, I’m going home.¬† Home.¬† Somewhere around the 14th of December I’ll be heading back to Stilwell.¬† After Christmas, I start life over in Oklahoma City.¬† It’s crazy to think that I’ve only got a month to go.¬† I’m certain it’s going to fly by.¬† I’m really going to miss Barranquilla.

more lists. I really REALLY like lists.

12 04 2011

Duh! Whining!

I think I have the beginnings of a sinus infection again.¬† This would be the second one for the year.¬† Awesome.¬† NOT!¬† My nose burns, I have one tooth that has become overly sensitive to cold in the last three days, a cough that won’t stop, and a pounding headache caused by said cough.¬† I’m a tad bit miserable and I feel like whining.¬† So I will.¬† I really want to be resting, but I can’t.¬† I have to work and I have to write a paper. I think the stress of the paper is the instigator of all my health problems right now.¬† boo.

30 Day Push Goal Challenge:

On Sunday, I had to rewrite my 10 goals for the year.¬† I decided I would share with you.¬† I didn’t look back at last weeks so this is all fresh from my head:

1. pay off credit card
2. apply for PhD
3. successful VBS for Divine Life
4. $500 in savings/emergency fund
5. send out resume to schools so I can teach
6. buy a bed
7. visit my dad in Phoenix
8. improve my Mary Kay sales
9. lose the weight!
10. Save up $300 for Christmas

I love goals.  They make me happy, especially when I knock them off the list because they are complete!!

Top Ten Lists:

Because I love lists, I have two more to share with you:

Top 10 cities in US that I must visit:

1. NYC Рcheck!  went in Dec 09
2. Boston – check! went in July 09
3. D.C.
4. Miami
5. Vegas – went once as a kid, would like to go as an adult
6. Orlando
7. San Diego
8. Los Angeles
9. Seattle
10. San Francisco

Top 10 Non-US places to visit:

1. Ireland
2. Russia
3. Greece
4. Egypt
5. Italy
6. New Zealand
7. Australia
8. France
9. Germany
10. Spain

I love to travel.  I need to travel!

Today in History:

1633: Galileo is convicted of heresy

Anyone want to guess his heresy?????  Heliocentrism.

Galileo believed the earth revolved around the sun. What a wingnut!  The church, under Pope Urban VIII, believed that it was scriptural fact that the earth was the center of the universe.  Galileo was condemned, his book of Dialogues was prohibited, and he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Around 300 years later, the church cleared his name Рturns out, he was right!

click here for more details.

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter J – for baby Jack.¬† GET HERE ALREADY!!!

On Goals, Goals, Goals, and the Thesis Chronicles

5 04 2011

Goals, Goals, Goals!!

I’m kind of becoming a Chalene Johnson junkie.¬† She’s very motivational.¬† I hope she’s forgiving because I call her some not-nice things when I’m doing her work out video (she created TurboFire).¬† She also has a 30 day push-goal challenge.¬† It’s a free program, so you should all check it out!¬† Right now, I’m on day 5.¬†

  • Day¬†1: basic instructions on how the program works and what to expect.¬†
  • Day 2: I identified my “guiding principles” and top 3 priorities for my life right now.¬† My top 3, right now, are 1) school and all that entails, 2) getting my budget/finances under some sort of control, and 3) my health.¬† From there, she has you think about why your #1 priority is what it is, identify what needs to be done to keep it priority, identify behaviours and patterns that are inconsistent with it, identify what changes have to be made to live according to this priority, and then write a mission statement of sorts.¬† Mine reads: “my number one priority is to complete my PhD by being obedient to the call God has placed on my life, focused and attentive to the work at hand, mindful of the wisdom of my mentors, and unrelenting in my pursuit of excellence.”
  • Day 3:¬†I created a list of ten goals I’d like to see accomplished in the next year.¬† This will be done once a week and by the end of the 30 days, I can look back over my goals and see which ones made every list.¬† At that point I will be able to identify what is really important to me.¬† Her are my 10 for this week: 1) pay off credit card debt, 2) apply for a PhD program, 3) go on a date :), 4) save up $300 for Christmas, 5) go on a missions trip, 6) Pull off a successful VBS for Divine Life, 7) Start work on a Not-for-profit organization, 8) Lose some more of this weight!!!, 9) write a paper that gets accepted for the 2012 National SBL meeting, and 10) make some improvements on my Russian.
  • Day 4: I identified¬†my “push goal.”¬† This is the one or two¬†goal(s) on the list¬†that make¬† most or all the others possible.¬† For me, paying off my credit card and applying for my PhD are my push goals.
  • Day 5: Today I make a promise to someone¬†that¬†I will achieve my push goals.¬† You, my faithful readers, are that someone.¬† This is my official promise to you that by the time 12 months have passed (hopefully much, MUCH sooner) I will have paid off my credit card and applied for my doctorate.¬†

Dear friends, I am asking you to believe in me.¬† Heck, join me!!¬† Check out the challenge and start lining your goals up with your priorities.¬† I think it’s going to make a world of difference!

Thesis Chronicles:

You may have noticed that my thesis isn’t on my goals list.¬† That’s because your goals should be a challenge, not something you know you will complete.¬† I am a month away from a type of freedom I haven’t had in a long time.¬† I’m pretty stressed out right now.¬† I am suddenly riveted¬†by everything on facebook.¬† I am suddenly exhausted from anything and everything.¬† I feel a little bit like this:

But, it really is almost over.¬† And come May 11th, I will have my final grade imput and a degree on its way to my door.¬† After that you can call me Master Jill.¬† And I will live in complete state of peace – until Abelard decides to go nuts.¬† I’m 25 pages in….only about 50 to go.¬† I can do this.¬† I think I can. I think I can. I think¬†I can!

Today In History:

1994: Kurt Cobain kills himself; found three days later.

I don’t remember this happening, but I was only 11 and didn’t listen to much besides country and 70s.¬† Besides, I’m not much of a Nirvana fan.¬† Yet, his suicide somehow touched music lovers in a way that I don’t think anyone expected.¬† It was almost like his suicide spoke for an entire generation, defying the universe.¬† Gotta love that 90’s angst.¬† I still don’t get it. And I think it’s a shame his life came to such an abrupt end.

Today’s blog is sponsored by the letter “P” for pillow pets:

2011 goals

11 01 2011

1. make a goals list.
2. actually blog once in a while.
3. finish my thesis.
4. learn to love my guitar again.
5. learn to play blues guitar.
6. go to San Francisco in November or New York City in December – or both.
7. pay off all debt but my student loans.
8. meet Matthew Gray Gubler.
9. exercise regularly.
10. be a good Mary Kay consultant.

I think I can accomplish this.