Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rainbow 'round me...

Rainbow over the Praha sky earlier this week... 

Have you ever had one of those days when you didn't leave the house, get out of your pajamas, or even cook- just snacked your way through a lazy day? Well that about sums up my day... I did organize the recycling and I have showered and put on clean pajamas- but today I just felt like staying in. I don't know if it is the unwelcome, un-summer, bi-polar weather (a bit chilly and stormy and then sunny but windy), or if it is the anxiety "school" dream I had last night, or if this is just the right of passage when you have summers off work. Whatever it is, I can tell you that I did accomplish a lot today- even if I never unlocked the main door this morning- and it is already 7pm. 

PK3- drawing of classroom teachers and children's names.

Above is a drawing of me (notice the curly hair.. ) and my classroom aides surrounded by all the names of the children in last years' PK3 classroom. It was designed, drawn, and written by two 4 year old children. This is the type of drawing I expect to see at the end of a school year- it reminds me how well I do my job. Not because all the children draw and write at this skill level, but knowing that each child has progressed throughout the year... artistically, emotionally, socially, academically, and most importantly within the community. Last night, I had an anxiety dream about school. It happens a few times a year... I think this one has to do more with the fact that July is nearly over and there are only a few weeks left of summer break. There is really no need to be so concerned about school planning, but I think that as I have been reading education materials and doing some pre-school planning my mind is racing- the response being an anxious dream. Last week, after trying to fall asleep I sat up compelled to grab a pen and paper and write down ideas circling in my head... even during the summer a teacher's brain doesn't stop... but should it?

La camiseta roja de Espana de mi hermano, Dusty.

Many of you know, I have been studying Spanish since February... I took a class at the Spanish Institute in Prague for 10 weeks. It was less than enjoyable because it was all in Spanish with no English guidance or explanation making things difficult to rationalize, and Czechs who were masters in a beginners class. This made things really difficult for Lyndsey and I. So, this summer when I was visiting the U.S, I picked up a few "How to" and "Teach yourself" Spanish books... actually, I believe one of the books is titled, "Spanish for Gringos." (Eso es muy divertido!!) Most days, I include some type of language practice or study session into my day. I either practice in my living room (which is the ONLY place I feel comfortable speaking out loud- right now), or I find myself at Starbucks sifting through flash cards I made with common vocabulary and verbs. Today, I didn't feel like studying Spanish but as I move around my flat the phrases keep running through my mind... good sign?

It still feels strange to have an entire summer off work... no kids, no nannying, no field trips, no summer camps, nothing school or work related except by choice. For someone who has worked since I was 16 years old, been involved in sports, church, youth, and social activities and was a total academic (all at once)... well I think I earned this break. But on days like today- staying in all day, I do feel a little guilt of laziness and have to accomplish something... thus my organization of the recycling, putting the laundry away, and getting some emails out. It isn't a terrible thing to build in new habits and break old ones... right? But the foundations of our lives are difficult to uproot, but shouldn't they be? You can tell I have been thinking today... but where am I going with this? 

My work ethic is solid- apparently all year round and despite 8 weeks of summer vacation! It isn't a bad thing to find balance in our lives either although sometimes we compromise the wrong parts of ourselves to increase our gains. With more free time available these past few weeks, I have gotten back in the habit of reading my bible- daily. In fact, I have also been reading a book titled, Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives, written by Wendy Horger Alsup. It has been an excellent reminder of what it means to live for Christ everyday. Alsup quotes C.S Lewis, one of my favorite authors on spiritual matters, saying, "Truly those who lose their lives in the arms of God's grace are the ones who finally see what true living really is." Amen to that. This past year, living away from the accountability of my spiritual mentors and without being involved in youth ministry, I have not abandoned my faith, but I have not spent much time planting for the harvest or sowing the seeds of Christ in my heart and soul. I think I temporarily forgotten what it meant to "live in the arms of grace." But with the time to reflect comes the time for repentance and also to revise... starting with my bible. 

Seeing rainbows throughout this week of interesting summer weather has been a reminder of the Promise that I have in Jesus...  And I leave this post with the lyrics to the song Embracing Accusations by Shane & Shane.

"The devil is preaching the song of the redeemed- that I am cursed and gone astray, that I cannot gain salvation... Oh, the devil's singing over me an age old song, that I am cursed and gone astray... singing the first verse so conveniently over me... he's forgotten the refrain- JESUS SAVES!" 

Love and Blessings - Nikki

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer's nature...

Clackamas River: Oregon

Fish Creek Trail on the Clackamas River: Oregon

Fish Creek: Nature's cooler!

While I was visiting Oregon earlier this summer, I enjoyed a day on the Clackamas River with friends.  I discovered this swimming hole with my friend, Mandie, three summers ago! It's called Fish Creek Campground located on the Clackamas River and the Fish Creek trail head. We camped there multiple times the summer of 2007. It is a quiet spot along the upper Clackmas. At this particular spot there is a cliff-jumping hole on the west side of the river where rafting guides stop to let their rafters take the plunge before they continue there journey along the rapids. On the east side of the river is where Fish Creek trail and the actual creek originate. The water is cold and you have to "ford" the creek, so to speak, in order to get to the "beachy" area. At this part of the river there is a somewhat safe, swimming hole void of much current and so far I have never experienced any major under-toe! However, the water is cold in early July... much different temperature than when I was there in August and September of 2007. But with the Portland temperatures bordering 90 degrees last week, this was a refreshing get away from the city! And with the water level being so high after the extreme Spring rainfall, it became an adventure to carry our beers, chairs, personal belongings, and occasionally each other across the creek. A task well worth the effort to find some relief from the heat. Today the temperatures in Prague are only suppose to be in the upper 20's- a relief from the hot weather in the 30's. (That is upper 70's vs mid 80's for you who are not familiar with the metric system!) Right now, there is a cool breeze coming through the window and the storm clouds are forming but rolling by without much action. I love summer thunderstorms almost as much as I love Oregon Coast thunderstorms- the sky is so beautiful. 
 Sunrise meets the storm clouds early this morning! 

But in this hot European weather, it is hard to cool off without lush lakes! Summer in the City is not as much fun as I thought it would be... and I realize that I have been spoiled living in Oregon- growing up on the lake in Lake Oswego and having access to various other water spots- most of them no further then 30 minutes drive from the city! Supposedly there are a few "beaches" in the city here in Praha- but swimming in the polluted Vltava is a risk only a brave, thick-skinned fish should take. I have done some internet searching for local lakes close to Praha. I intend to find a couple of them next week.... with friends or by myself I will find a way to cool down from the summer heat! I think that it is time to get a bit adventurous... either that or I will melt! Cau Cau - Nikki

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Brady Bunch Photo- Take Two!

"Hey, hey were the [Humes]... people say we monkey around!" And we do! 
Here is the 2nd edition of the classic, "Brady Bunch" photo. 

Socks... the old Hume cat! 
He was napping during the Brady Bunch photo shoot... but he is still part of the family. 

Well, this is the last weekend I will be in Oregon until Summer 2011. It has been a family-filled and relaxing three weeks. I will miss the ease of living in an English-speaking environment... the lush greenery, floating on the lake with one of my closest friends, authentic Mexican food, and easy access to my friends via general vicinity, text messages, and local time zones! However, I am looking forward to sleeping in the middle of my queen size bed (instead of a twin), coming and going on my own time instead of my dad's bedtime, and avoiding traffic via underground, public transportation and walking instead of driving everywhere! I will soon kiss my family and the old, Hume cat goodbye (for now) and I look forward to starting another year in Praha... and a new year of blogging! 
Cau Cau

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

With Love... and Roses!

International Rose Test Garden-Shakespearean Garden
Portland, Oregon

"Can you feel this magic in the air... it must have been the way you kissed me." T.S.

Congrats to my baby brother, Jason, and his wife- Eva HUME!
July 3, 2010