Friday, February 23, 2007

articulation lessons...

It's been awhile since I've blogged so I've got a little catching up to do. A few weeks ago a friend from church called and asked me if I ever did any "language or pronunciation training" or knew of someone who did. She was looking for someone who'd be willing to teach her and 2 of her friends from Columbia to speak better English.

The last time I worked on ESL pronunciation specifically was at St. Cloud State with one of the engineering profs from China. He wanted to speak better English so his students could readily understand him. I recall him bringing fantastically difficult engineering terms to practice that I would have to look up to figure out how to pronounce myself...humbling for both of us I think. We had a great time though!

I kind of felt like God was placing this in front of me as another opportunity to practice what may be coming in my future...even if I don't end up overseas to at least be able to use my training to help people FROM other countries. This past Wednesday was our first "lesson" and we had a blast! Two of the three know English pretty well, one is very new to the U.S. I wasn't exactly sure how far we'd get or how much to prep but after working on consonant sounds we decided to call it a night. I think they were feeling a little overwhelmed by that point. Oh friends, just wait for vowels! Our language is nuts! We have rules for our rules and exceptions to our exceptions. I am excited for our study time together and hope they get something helpful from it! :)


Many of you know this exciting news but for those in far away places, Willy and Adrian Shelton had their twin boys this past Monday!! They scheduled a c-section so it was pretty quick and easy as far as labor goes. I had a chance to swing by the hospital later that afternoon to see them and they are INCREDIBLE! Babies truly are miraculous, all their little body parts in tact, 10 fingers, 10 toes, lungs breathing, brains already soaking in the world around them. They are a gift to be treasured!

As I walked in the room Adrian had both boys on a pillow in her lap...all four family members taking a little snooze. As a good friend would do I woke them up and they graciously showed off their new little men. Bitty tiny Joel was born at 4 lbs. and a few ounces and Nathan was born almost twice that size at 7 lb. 12 oz. They are both amazing! When I asked Adrian how she felt her first response was, "I can breath again! It's WONDERFUL!" They got to take them home on Thursday. Blessings on you guys as you raise them to be godly men!

P.S. Will post a picture later!


A little update on my nerdiness...about a month ago a co-worker of mine asked me if I'd be interested in going to a "Toastmasters" meeting where people work on public speaking, giving speeches, etc. She's looking at going back to school at some point to get her Ph.D and wants the practice for university teaching and I'm looking at going into full time ministry where the opportunities to speak will likely multiply from here. SOOOOO, I said yes and have now given two speeches.

My first speech was an "icebreaker" where I got to sum up who I am in a 3 minute speech. Woohoo! It took me all of 30 minutes to think of my "topic" and write out the speech. Hmmmmmm, any ideas what I talked about?? I gave a nutshell version of my testimony and passion in life, knowing God and making Him known to people of all nations. I don't know if we're supposed to quote scripture being that it's a public/national organization but I had free reign to talk about me so I took advantage of the opportunity!

It's a pretty neat organization, what I know of it thus far. We meet at Windbreak every Tuesday for an hour before work...yes, I get up earlier than sane people do to WILLINGLY learn and practice public speaking, I am a NERD!! Anyway, they accomplish a lot in a short time and give great feedback and advice on how to improve your skills. I critique kid's speech and language all day every day so this has given me a new's a little nerve racking being the one critiqued!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

Friday night my parents and I went to the VPA performance of "Beauty and the Beast." I've been to several VPA plays in the past, but this one was all the more exciting b/c I got to see my brother and sister-in-law perform together. Dave's done musical performance in the favorite was his senior year in "Camelot" where he wore tights and ballet shoes!! Yeehaw! He always razed me growing up doing all my ballet performances...tutu's, tights, tiaras, ringlets, but that was HIS time to shine! Anywhoo, I enjoy REMINDING him occassionally of those moments as he is now a police officer. I don't know that Aimy's done a musical performance before, but she sang all through high school and has an incredible voice!

So Dave and Aimy had two roles in the show, towns people and my personal favorite...dancing knives. How, you ask do knives dance?? Excellent question, very CAREFULLY!! During the enchanted object dance, if you've seen the Disney production, the entire kitchen comes alive, they tango together (not to be confused with tengo :)). I was VERY impressed! I'm attaching pictures to capture the moment as best I can seeing as there was no flash photography during the show. If you're in the valley and can get tickets GO!! It is definitely worth it! They have 18 shows left to perform! Awesome job you guys!! We LOVED it!


Thursday night was our monthly BUNCO night again. The theme you ask..."Grease," not to be confused with GREECE. I was initially planning on dressing up like a Greek god, but changed my plan when another member the week prior reminded me it was the 50s flavor, John Travolta, sandals and olive leaves were out! We had a blast as usual. More socializing than game playing and the best was out at VanWingerdens. Marie always does a fantastic job decorating b/c she does a photo shoot after. Marie and Carrie are my pre-professional photographer friends. The shot you are admiring however is from my little digital. If I get some pics from Marie later I'll update to better shots. :) Next month is my turn to host and I'm a little at a loss for a good's that have crossed my mind, March maddness but basketball doesn't really fly with a huge group of girls, GREEN b/c of St. Patricks or ??? Any great ideas, post them as a comment, I am wide open to suggestions!

P.S. If you can't make it out, that is Marie applying gobs of hot pink lipstick! She's a die hard girly girl deep down!