well, after a reaaaally long five months, my love and i knew that it was time to celebrate! so, we threw a party! we wanted to celebrate our new life and give everyone a chance to meet lina. (i've already done a lot of meeting of her friends in sweden, so it was finally time for us to get together in the states with some of mine).

we had school (tc roberson) friends, minister/pastor friends, & church (where i used to work) friends all gathered together in one place. during the party, i realized that, for perhaps one of the first and only times in my life, almost every area of my life was coming together in one place. my life has been filled with so many different compartments, places, and people... and on friday, everything met at one time. i even had a visit from one of my professors/mentors/friends from seminary (and his wife). at one point i felt completely overwhelmed! of course, my family was not here, so i was missing them, but, lina and i are so looking forward to seeing them and spending lots of time with them during the summer. the entire reynolds family will be together for about 2 weeks!

anyway, here are some pics from the party! loved it! thanks to all of you for coming to celebrate with us!! it was an amazing opportunity to be with you all. LOVE!

i can't resist

i didn't see the plane land. they drove about a mile from my school (while i was working!). the closest i'm gonna get to the obamas is the security helicopters i've been hearing constantly since yesterday. and no one has any idea what they will be doing. but, thanks to youtube, i can see them ordering lunch at a restaurant very close to the apartment where my love and i lived. hehe. yes, i'm a little star-struck.

p.s. love to see the president and the first lady being so down-to-earth. and michelle's bracelets are freakin' cool!

snowstorm weekend

all the preparations have been best i can do. i am ready to take on the january 2010 snowstorm in nc!!
  1. grocery store shopping done...lots of snacks and junk food!
  2. school dismissed early i am safe at home.
  3. taken a shower, doing laundry, and gathering case i lose power (typical here in the states)
  4. iPhone is charged
  5. waiting on directions from my dad on how to use the generator - to keep some power on all the time.
  6. got movies, blankets, books, and wine
  7. missing my love so much (but hopefully will be able to talk some on msn)
  8. and the snow has started!
wish me luck!
the first snowflakes are falling...
we're ready...

no matter what, i love asheville

perhaps you will judge me for this story, but oh well. i need/want to process my thoughts.

i went to a birthday party in asheville tonight. one of my friends/co-workers invited me to join her party at a restaurant downtown. so, i did. i parked my car in a parking lot across the street from the restaurant. when i walked over to the machine where i pay for my parking, i was met by a 40-50 year old man who stuck out his hand to shake mine, introduced himself, and asked me for $5. it was clear that this was a homeless man. he told me he was hungry and asked again for the money. i told him that i had no cash with me (note to self: always carry a little bit of cash), but that i could go to an atm to get some so he could have some food. in a perfect world, i could go and buy him food and then give it to him, but i was due at the birthday party so i didn't have time.

let me tell you a little something about myself. i give money to homeless people. i say this not to say that i am some great humanitarian, but to say that this is not something weird for me to do. and i am not ashamed. over the years i have met some amazing homeless people who have touched me deeply, and some who are crazy, and some who made no real impression on me. so, in my belief/practice of the equality of all people and because i try to not judge people based on their circumstances or outward appearance, i walked with this man downtown for about 10 minutes. we talked about haiti, poverty, and laughter. at a stoplight/crosswalk, he asked if he could hug me. i wasn't scared or concerned...rather i was humbled by this opportunity to share a human moment with him. however, i was aware that a police car was stopped at the same light and there were people all around, which helped me feel more at ease. i'm not stupid, and i am cautious. we crossed the street, he stayed at the corner, and i went to get money. when i gave it to him, he gave me a hug, and then he took off.

i waited for the light to turn, crossed the street, and felt a bit disappointed that he just took the money and "ran". a few steps later, the police car pulled over beside where i was walking. the policeman rolled down his window and called me over. he asked me if the man was bothering me. i told him no; that he had asked for money and i gave it to him, and we had walked together, but he had not bothered me. the policeman asked again if i was ok and i replied that i was. i told him that i appreciated him "looking out for me" (and i do!). then, i walked on. when i got a few steps away, he got out of his car and approached the homeless man. i kept walking and headed to the party.

i had a nice time at the party... leisurely enjoying my food, beer, and the company around me. about 15 minutes before i left, i looked outside and saw the homeless man hanging out again near the parking lot across the street. i looked back at my surroundings and i thought about the gap that exists between us. a few brief moments of shared humanity and then back to our individual lives. is that right? is that just the way that it is and must i accept that? will there ever be justice and equality? will there always be people who have to beg for money and go to sleep at night hungry?

it was a strange night. it was good. and disappointing. and heartbreaking. and amazing. no matter what, though, i will always love asheville.

hanukkah & advent

well, it was a crappy, crappy week at school. the kids are going freakin' crazy... which leads the teachers to be crazy too. not fun to be around anyone. meetings, meetings, meetings, tests, and more tests, and more hoops to jump through because the education system in the states in far from perfect! and, i'm about to jump out of my skin waiting for my plane to take off on the 18...

but, today was saturday. yay. a day to breathe... i thought.

i took a student to a jewish synagogue (i am his mentor for his high school graduation project - he is comparing religions, and basically coming to the conclusion that there is not that big of a difference in what we all believe. if only more people could realize/learn that.) the service lasted 3 hours because it was the first day of hanukkah. we sang psalms in hebrew (ok i followed along), listened to scripture sung in hebrew (this time i read the english), and heard a sermon reminding us that when we feel success, to not let it go to our heads. perhaps part of the human problem is our desire to be successful, and then to use that power for selfish reasons, instead of ones that lead to peace, justice, and equality. today i worshipped the God of the old testament (the same one Christians worship) - who reminds us that there will be a day when all tears a dried, peace rules the land, and each person feels love, lives in justice, and has hope. so, like the jews waiting for their messiah to usher in this time of peace, we christians, spend the advent season waiting for exactly the same things. yes, during advent, i celebrated hanukkah and it fit perfectly with advent. it was amazing.

christmas concert
this afternoon, i attended the 3rd of 3 concerts at lake junaluska. the music was so good, i am sure i annoyed the poor lady in front of me who had to hear me sing along with the choir. hehe. oops.

phone calls & webcams
i had multiple opportunities to talk with my love today. i love that so much!! we're gonna be together next weekend! can't stop thinking of that.

smoke smoke smoke
earlier this evening, i was upstairs and i smelled some smoke. i went down to check it out, and what i found was terrifying! smoke had filled the whole downstairs and was on it's way upstairs. i ran around trying to close the wood stove and stop the smoke from pouring out of it. i grabbed pillows and waved them all through the air. i opened every window and door. zola was hiding under the bed. it was crazy!  but, i managed to get the smoke out after about 45 minutes. still, it was some scary moments.

think i'll head to bed now. gonna enjoy some calm, quiet moments before i get all snuggly under our cozy covers. good night. peace.

what do you wanna do today?

it all started with that simple little question. and it ended with a road trip to IKEA in charlotte, a 5 hour shopping spree, a late-night return home (with new furniture in tow!), and a restful night. and then, this morning...a phone call with an invitation to another road trip BACK to IKEA! am i up for it? oh yeah.

so, we are off again! a rainy day won't keep us down. see ya late tonight. who knows what will happen?! love it!

IKEA - Charlotte

busy making notes...
busy making notes on what we like/need...


i stayed home today. i didn't feel great. and i needed sleep. so, i slept. and rested. my love did school work, zola (our cat) slept under the bed. i ate some, and now i'm gonna sleep some more after eating a little.

but i did do one productive thing today. i read a book. becoming chloe. and it inspired me. it was the story of a homeless, young man who meets and cares for a very troubled young woman. after living with an old man for a year, they take off across the country - in search of beauty. jordy's challenge is to prove to chloe that the world is beautiful. she has always lived in the midst of darkness and ugliness. now, they are on the road pointing out all the grand and simple beautiful things. what an amazing story of love and beauty!

wouldn't it be a great idea to write down, as chloe did, all of the beauty we see in a day?!
the beauty today:
  • a cat sleeping cozy in my love's lap
  • a loving phone call
  • a long nap in the afternoon