The Ashley’s

 

There are three girls in my group with the same name. We’ll call them the Ashley’s. First there’s Ashley W. She’s really tall for a second grader, easily the tallest kid in the group. She’s so tall that one day I heard Giggles say to her, “It’s like you’re in the wrong grade.”

I felt bad for Ashley W. I looked at Giggles. I didn’t say anything, but I gave her the “How-could-you-say-that!?” look.

“What?” said Giggles, as if she did nothing wrong. “It’s true.”

I didn’t want to say anything in front of Ashley W., and I didn’t really know what to say anyway, so I gave Giggles the “It-may-be-true-but-you-still-shouldn’t-say-it” look. I think she actually got the message. Sometimes non-verbal communication works really well.

Then there’s Ashley M. I haven’t written much about her yet, but she’s a really nice kid.

Then there’s Ashley I. She’s quiet. Really quiet. Most of the girls love talking to me, but Ashley I. hardly talks to anyone, and when she does she speaks really softly so you can barely hear her. But she has friends and seems happy, so I’m not worried about her. She doesn’t say much to me, but instead just stares up at me and smiles.

Ashley I. is also noticeable because she is one of the only kids in the group who doesn’t have dark brown eyes, the way almost all Asians do. Nearly all of the kids in my group (and the entire school) are Asian (that’s how it is in Hawaii.) But she’s mixed ethnicity, and has pretty hazel eyes. (At least, I think they’re hazel. I’m not sure what you’d call them. But they’re different, that’s for sure.)

Some of the kids have various extra-curricular activities they signed up for, and Ashley I. does ballet. I know when all the activities are, and who goes to what activity, so I used to just send the kids on my own. But my supervisor told us not to send them until she radios us on the walkie talkie to do so. It’s more organized like that, and sometimes the activities are delayed or canceled, so I guess it’s a good idea.

So my boss radioed me, and named the girls I was supposed to send to ballet. “Mr. Robert, will you please send Ashley W., Mary Ann, and Kacy to ballet…” she said. So I did.

The girls were grabbing their things and preparing to go when Mary Ann whispered to me, “Ashley I. is crying.”

I looked over and saw Ashley I. with her face in her hands, crying silently.

“Uh-oh,” I thought. “We forgot about Ashley I.”

I went over to her. “Hey, it was just a mistake. We’re really sorry. You’re gonna go to ballet now, okay?”

She nodded, trying to stop the tears. But they were already flowing, so it wasn’t easy for her to stop. I felt really bad.

“Sorry, it was just an accident, we’re sorry,” I said, comforting her. Eventually she caught her breath and the tears stopped. “You okay?”

She nodded, wiping her eyes. Poor girl.

Later I joked to my supervisor, “You made Ashley I. cry!”

“How?” she asked.

“You forgot about her when you called for the ballet girls,” I explained.

“You know she’s in ballet, why didn’t you just send her?” asked my supervisor.

“You told us not to send the kids until you tell us to.”

“You actually listened to my instructions!?” she asked. I guess I (along with many of my coworkers) don’t always follow the procedures she tells us to. Oops.

“Kids,” joked my supervisor. “They’re too darned sensitive.”

Imagination Shortage

“Can we bring some books with us to the playground?” Alice asked me one day.

“No,” I said. “They’re going to get dirty or lost. Playground is for playing. You’re going to get tired of holding books.”

“But we need books because we need magic books to help us defeat the bad guys.”

“Use pretend books.”

“But I don’t have any pretend books,” she said.

“Well, get some.”

“How do I do that?”

“You hop in your pretend car, go to the pretend bookstore, and use your pretend money to buy some pretend books. That’s how.”

“Oh,” said Alice, laughing.

Book List 2011

Taking a cue from one of my friend’s blogs, I’m going to do a list of the books I read during 2011. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty small list. You would think that writers should be reading a lot, and generally they should. But I really don’t read that much. Or rather, I tend to start reading books, but I usually stop reading them fairly quickly. I guess I have a short attention span. For 2012 my goal is to increase the number of books I read to 15. Seems like a reasonable goal to me.

So here are the books I read in 2011. I think this is all of them. Not sure though. It’s possible I’m forgetting some. But oh well. I’ll also list how long each book is. (Short: 200 or fewer pages – Medium: 200-600 – Long: 600-999 – Epic: 1000+) Listed more-or-less in the order I finished them. Not included are children’s books, because they’re too short and I read a lot of them. (Mostly to kids. Mostly.)

  1. The Case For Christ (medium)
  2. Having a Mary Spirit (medium)
  3. The Red Pyramid (medium)
  4. Crazy Love (medium)
  5. Beauty From Ashes (medium)
  6. Heaven is For Real (medium)
  7. Japanese Children’s Stories (short) [I know it’s a children’s book, but it’s in a foreign language.]
  8. Obama’s Wars (medium)
  9. Family Practice (short) [A super long medical text book. But I only read the first few chapters.]
  10. The Bible (epic)

Here’s hoping I get more reading done in 2012.

Kelsea Plays Matchmaker

One day I walked by and saw Kelsea playing with these little toys called “squeaks.” Squeaks are figurines of animals or other cute creatures. She matched them up in pairs, and had them kissing each other.

“Kelsea! Why are they all kissing?” I asked. She’s too young for stuff like this.

“Because they’re married!” she said.

“Yeah!” said Yuna, who was sitting right next to her. “You can do that to your wife when you get married!” she said to me.

“Thanks for the advice, Yuna.”

“You’re welcome!”

Kelsea has decided for herself that I need a girlfriend, and has made it her goal to find one for me. She examines the female staff looking for someone she thinks would be a good match for me.

You might expect a little kid to make outlandish matches, like trying to set me up with a 60 year old lunch lady or something, but actually she puts a lot of thought and consideration into it, and her matches, at the very least, are sensible.

I don’t know why, but when she does this she usually likes to write it as a note, then hand it to me, even if we’re standing right next to each other and it would be easier for her to just say it.

She handed me a note saying, “Do you like Miss So-and-so?”

“No,” I said.

“Whyyyyyyy? She’s tall.”

“What does that have anything to do with it? What makes you think I like tall girls?” I asked.

“So you can see her,” was her reply.

Oh. That’s very practical.

She took the paper back, wrote another name, then handed it again to me.

“No,” I said again.

“Whyyyyyyy…?” she asked.

“God will provide the right person at the right time. There’s no need to rush.”

“But you need a match!”

Before I started working with kids, I would have never expected 8 year olds to be on the look out for my personal well-being. But now nothing surprises me.

The next week Kelsea came over, handed me another note, then went back to her seat. I opened it, read it, gave it back to her, and said, “No, Kelsea. No.”

I went back to helping students with their homework. Out of the blue, one of the students (a girl we’ll call “Ashley M.”) came up to me and said, “You like Miss So-and-so!?”

Immediately I knew who was behind this.

“Kelsea! What are you doing?” She looked up. “Come here,” I said. “You are going to start so much trouble.”

As if I needed anyone’s help getting in trouble.

“You shouldn’t start rumors,” I told her. “That’s very bad.”

“But do you like her?” she asked.

“No.”

“Whyyyyyyy?” she asked.

“No why’s. If God wants me to have a girlfriend -”

“You would probably have one…” she said dejectedly, finishing my sentence.

“Good. You remember.” Not exactly what I said, but it was close enough. “You have to be patient.”

“But I want you to have a girlfriend now…” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“So then she can work here.”

Aw. I gotta admit, that’s pretty cute.

“Look, Kelsea….there are plenty of other girls who work here who take care of you. You have to be patient.”

I think it’s funny how I’m telling her she has to be patient for me to get a girlfriend.

“But you need a match…” she said.

“No, I don’t.”

“But how are you going to have kids?”

“I’ll adopt.” *

[* In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t adopt a kid unless I was married. Having a dad just isn’t enough. Kids need moms too.]

“But don’t you think Miss So-and-so is pretty?” she asked.

“I think Miss So-and-so has a boyfriend, Kelsea.”

She seemed so disappointed. I felt kind of bad.

“Thanks for your effort, Keslea. But there’s no need to rush. If God wants me to have a girlfriend he would provide the right person at the right time. He has everything under control. Just wait for God, and everything will be fine.”

Kids.

All Who Are Thirsty

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

Isaiah 55:1

“whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”

John 7:37

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:21

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:20

The Book of Love

A friend of mine introduced me to this song. At first, when I heard it, I was like…”It’s an OK song, I guess…kinda sappy, but whatever.” But then I heard the first chorus, and my heart turned to mush.

“But I

Love it when you read to me,

And you

Can read me anything.”

“Aww…” I thought. “That reminds me of the kids.” If they’re done with all their homework and have nothing else to do during study hall, I’ll let them choose a book and I’ll read to them.

“I like you,” said Giggles. “You read to me.”

They also love to read out loud to me. The other day Adam did a stirring rendition of the book “Who is Melvin Bubble?” It’s a funny story about this kid who goes around asking different people what they think of him. Everyone from his mom, to his friend, to Santa Claus, to the Tooth Fairy, and the Monster-Who-Lives-in-His-Closet. Everyone has a different opinion of him. Adam was changing his voice to match all of the characters, and the other kids thought it was hilarious.

The second chorus goes,

“But I

Love it when you sing to me,

And you,

You can sing me anything.”

The kids, Yuna in particular, like it when I sing to them.

“Can you sing please?” asks Yuna.

“What song?”

“Anything.”

So I would sing, and Yuna would sing with me. She’s a good singer. The song we’d sing most often was “O Come All Ye Faithful,” since it was the Christmas season. We also did “Joy to the World,” and “Hark the Harold Angels Sing.”

The last chorus goes like this,

“But I

Love it when you give me things”

A lot of the kids like to give me things. Small things, like erasers or food. And they have cool erasers these days. Like, erasers that look like mini cupcakes or koalas, and other cute stuff. I’m not allowed to give them things though. School policy. But if I could, I totally would. When I’m out and about and I see things, I think, “Hey, Yuna (or any of the other kids) would like that.” I can’t wait to have my own kids. Then I can buy them tons of stuff.

The only part of the song that doesn’t make me think of the kids is the last part of the last chorus. The “wedding ring” part. That would be weird. Really weird.  But I guess if I had a daughter, that part of the song could relate when she’s older and I give her away in marriage.

Leave it to a bunch of kids and a sappy song to get a 25 year old guy all choked up.

2011 in Review – Top posts

2011 was the first full year I’ve kept a blog, and I found it to be a good experience. It’s not only a good way to hone and improve my writing skills, but it’s also helped me mature as a person. Not to mention, it’s fun, and I enjoy sharing things with you. Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate knowing that people do read my blog, and I appreciate the feedback I’ve received.

Here’s what I consider to be my best posts from 2011. I chose this list (and the order) based on my own critical analysis of myself, and based on the feedback I’ve gotten. It’s a very unscientific list, and you are free to make your own judgements. I’ll also list the reasons why I chose them.

 

5. Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

I had to include at least one of my writings from the first half of the year, and this was one of them that received quite a bit of feedback. I considered all of the others that I wrote, but some I thought were too long, while others I thought I hadn’t written as well.

4. Cambodia Sharing

This was the transcript of the testimony I gave at church about my mission trip to Cambodia over the summer.

3. Praise of the Week

I couldn’t make a list without including a post about my kids from school. (And I also limited myself to one, because when it comes to posts about kids, I’m sorta biased.) I chose this post because it’s short and sweet, and kinda sums up my interaction with kids into one little post.

2. Ashlyn the Whack-a-Mole

Funny because you wouldn’t expect this type of behavior from a little kid, yet still innocent and sweet.

1. True Love

I chose this as my number one article of the year because I think it’s heartfelt and deep. Not too long, and not too short, I think it’s one of my more well-written posts of the year.

 

I guess the list is biased, since 4 out of 5 choices were written in the second half of the year. I tend to judge my earlier writings harsher than my more recent writings. One reason is because my earlier writings were lengthier, and recently I’ve been into writing shorter, more frequent posts. The other reason is I’m slightly afraid of going back and reading my earlier writings. I don’t know why. I guess I’m afraid they’ll be terrible, and I’ll be embarrassed for having written them. But I guess that’s part of the process, right? People grow and change. I may have written something at one point in my life, but that doesn’t mean I would have written it the same way at a later point. The same, I think, goes for everyone, in everything we do in life. Interesting to see growth and change, no?