Sunday, December 05, 2010

six impossible things before breakfast

Yesterday I was asked to consider how to explain faith to children in a Sunday children's sermon.  For some reason, when I thought of explaining faith to children (and adults), I thought of Alice in Wonderland.

What is faith and why is it so difficult to understand?

Here's one definition:
"complete confidence or trust in a person" - World English Dictionary

That's not so hard to imagine.  We all probably know someone that we have complete trust in. Someone that we know loves us and will do anything in their power to keep us safe and happy. (*)

Now how about this next definition:
"a strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence" - World English Dictionary

That definition is much harder to understand.  How can we believe in something that we cannot prove exists?  Something that we can't taste, smell, touch or hear?  Something that seems impossible?

This definition reminds me of Alice in Wonderland (2010).  When she is having tea with the Mad Hatter, she says "sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast."  And the Mad Hatter's response is "that is excellent practice."

It's a curious exchange.  What is the point in trying to believe in impossible things?  Why would it be excellent practice?

I imagine that is was quite difficult for Mary and Joseph to believe that they were going to be parents to "the Messiah".  In the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed this child would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  What kind of child was this going to be?  Can you imagine?

What about the shepherds that heard from the angels announcing Jesus' birth.  Don't you think they wondered if they imagined the whole thing.  Who would believe their story? Or the wise men who had this idea they should follow a star to find the king of the Jews and give him expensive gifts even when they found him in a stable.  Where did they get that impossible idea?

We don't know why they believed these impossible things, but we do know they had faith that these things would be possible with God.  Faith gave them hope when things seemed hopeless.  Faith gave them courage when the odds were against them.  Faith gave them joy in experiencing the love of God.  Believing six impossible things before breakfast may seem like a silly idea, but when we have faith that God makes things possible, we are also given the gifts of hope and courage and joy.

* I realize that having complete confidence in someone else is a real challenge for many of us, but my thought is that as a child, one usually hasn't yet experienced crushing betrayal or disappointment by a trusted person.  Then again perhaps my glasses are still too rosy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

project justice - days 4, 5 & beyond

When I talk to people about this justice week that I had imagined for my middle school students, it sounds like a risky proposition, even to me.  How was I going to expose these children to social justice in a way that didn't go too far or not far enough?  Would they really find an issue they were passionate about?  Would they comprehend the difference between justice and charity?  Would they complete a project?  Would they follow-up?  Would their hearts and minds be changed? for a day? for a week? for a lifetime?

I can't measure how they changed, but I can tell you what I saw.  I saw struggles with jumping to a solution before understanding the problem.  I saw anger at the way things are.  I saw stereotypes broken down.  I saw passion, commitment and the dawning of comprehension.  I heard ideas and saw projects that changed me (click here for the complete list of justice projects).

One project in particular was a video for Falling Whistles: A Campaign for Peace in the Congo.  I had never heard of this organization, but one of my students had seen their video a month ago and when it came time to pick a project, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.  The kids working on this project disappeared into a room for a day and a half and produced this video.

Project Justice: Falling Whistles from Kim Wilkens on Vimeo.

The first time they showed it to me, I was stunned - by their interpretation and by the stats they shared.  The next day, I didn't believe it.  45,000 killed in a month?  Biggest war of your generation?  Are you sure?   Yes, they were.  I started researching online.  There's not much to find.  I went to and they tell a compelling story, but was it really real?  Even so, I wanted to buy a whistle to show my support for the students, but they were sold out.  I happened to click on the Tour dates and noticed they would be in Richmond this past Sunday.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to find out more, so I went.

When I got there, I felt a little like a party crasher and also old.  I met some of the interns and shared my story.  I saw a large room filling up with high school students that were part of a human rights and history club.  I heard Yves and Sean share their stories.  They were compelling, frightening, engaging, inspiring, passionate and humbling.  I bought a whistle and I changed a little more.

But now that I'm wearing the whistle, what do I say?  My brain still can't cope with the reality - it's searching for other answers.  There are precious few answers to be found along the information highway, but something is definitely not right in the Congo. 
  • "no humanitarian crisis generates so little attention per million corpses, or such a pathetic international response" - Nicholas Kristof (NYTimes)
  • Congo's war without end (Globe)
  • Smartphones Caught up in Congo War Controversy (CBS)
  • Raped women used as pawns in Congo War (CNN)
  • The US blinks, and children will suffer (Huffington Post)
I had no idea!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

project justice - days 2 & 3

Yesterday morning, the students heard from the Family Support Coordinator of the local International Rescue Committee and visited Computers4Kids in the afternoon.   Today we had our last speaker, the Lead Organizer from IMPACT.  She really helped the students gain a deeper understanding of the difference between charity and justice. 

It has been a whirlwind of activity and lots of information to absorb, but the students eagerly brainstormed possible education and advocacy projects to work on and were busy all afternoon making plans.  The energy and passion of these youth is inspiring and a little overwhelming. 

Everyone we encountered along the way made comments about how impressed they were with these kids and their ability to grasp complex concepts and be so engaged.  While I also think this is a special group of kids, I know they can't be the only ones with this potential and it makes me wonder why we, as society, have such a difficult time appreciating the input, perspectives and contributions of our youth.  I know I've certainly been aggravated by the idea of anyone not taking these kids seriously.

Monday, November 08, 2010

project justice - day 1

I have been so excited about the opportunity I've been given to pull together a week long immersion experience for my middle school students that focuses on local social justice issues.  We just completed our first day which included a field trip to The Haven at First and Market, a day shelter for the homeless, and speakers from The International Rescue Committee.  I'm taking it as good omen that we bumped into Tom Shadyac on the way into the Haven and that he wanted to speak to the kids about this project.  I myself was a little star struck and couldn't seem to put the camera down.  Luckily, the kids put it all into perspective and I've posted some of their comments @ Opening Our Eyes to Homelessness.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

computer science meets social justice

At the beginning of the school year, I set up a shelf with resources about my two passions:  technology and social justice. I didn't really know how the two were related, but I knew I wanted to bring them together.  I learned how they were related at the K12 Computing Teachers Workshop that was part of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.  What I learned is that there is a crisis in computer science education both in quality and access.  The result of this crisis is that women and minorities are missing opportunities to advance academically and economically in a field whose employment potential far exceeds the number of students preparing for it.  Also, if we don't get more diverse participation in technology, then we miss out on innovations that are relevant and usable by a wider range of people and end up instead with technological machismo (and more first-person shooter games).

Things really haven't changed much since I first started in the CS field

  • Girls and minorities are not represented in the CS field.  This still baffles me, but it was reiterated again and again by industry (google, yahoo, microsoft) and academia (stanford, duke, mit)
  • Many kids are not being exposed to programming until college.
  • AP CS is not a required course in high school and sometimes AP CS courses are not accepted by colleges.
  • School administrations don't understand what CS really means, often equate to applications (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, keyboarding)
  • There are way more CS jobs available than students studying CS.
  • There is a bill in Congress (Computer Science Education Act of 2010) geared to addressing this crisis.
Girls wait later to make a decision about their major, 
but decide earlier what they don't want to do
  • By age 13 girls determine a positive or negative attitude towards subjects like technology (I did this by deciding I certainly didn't want to be a teacher when I was a teenager and changing my major from math to CS once I was exposed to programming).
  • Girls often associate technology with white, nerdy, boring men.
  • The impostor syndrome is a real problem for women at every age and occupation, but especially for women who find themselves in male-dominated fields.
Relationships are still key
  • I met amazing people and learned about resources that have helped re-ignite my passions for technology and social justice.  
  • Technology teachers like myself who are just trying to reach and teach students as much as we can about technology with little direction and funds.  
  • CS professors from major universities who are so passionate about their field, willing to listen to the struggles of K12 teachers and provide their support.
  • People from industry who seem to be willing to fund almost any worthwhile project, if only we could get hooked up.
Online Resources:
Other Resources:
  • A Clean Slate Approach to High School CS by Jan Cuny
  • ACM K-12 CS Model Curriculum, 2nd Edition
  • Computer Science Education Act of 2010
  • Exploring Computer Science Curriculum 3.0 (really interesting CS curriculum based on social relevancy)
  • Let's Fight It Together (movie about cyberbullying)
  • Impostor Syndrome Panel Presentation by Katie Siek
  • Odd Girl Out (movie about bullying)
  • Rising Above the Gathering Storm Revisited
  • Running on Empty (a paper coming soon about the state of CS by state)
  • Stuck in the Shallow End
  • The Power of Abstraction by Barbara Liskov

Friday, July 09, 2010


My favorite new song is The High Road by Broken Bells, especially the refrain:
it's too late to change your mind;
you let loss, be your guide

At first, it seems like a pretty negative sentiment and being ruled by loss can certainly be a sad fate. I've been thinking about loss a lot lately. My weekend's experience of loss was pretty superficial, but when I thought I had lost the diamond from my engagement ring, I cursed its very existence for making me feel so bad for losing it.

Frankly, I am terrified of loss, but when I read Philippians 3:8 - "More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ..." (NSRV) - it seems that I am to let loss be my guide.  I know loss is inevitable and it started the moment I was born, but I'm still in denial and for some reason prefer living in a state of fear instead of acceptance.

So I've been thinking about things I've lost or will lose or should lose:

childhood is lost to time
virginity to fate
memory betrays me
everything can't wait

the future is not secure
diamonds not forever
jobs will come and health will go
everything will wither

promises are broken
trust can be misplaced
arguments will not prevail
everything's a waste

expectations bind me
disappointments haunt
can I find in this world
everything I want

choices all around me
the high road has a cost
following the Jesus way
everything is lost

Monday, June 28, 2010

are we there yet?

"Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.' " - John 21:18

I've been thinking about this verse a lot since last summer when I heard it in the context of a Renovare conference session titled - Where you do not wish to go: discerning and yielding to God's guidance.  It hit home on a personal level early this year with my brother's health.  This theme of control vs. surrender was revisited in worship this past weekend.  I also met someone last week who shared her poetry with me and it inspired me to try some verse again. 

are you there yet
where you do not wish to go

did you arrive without a plan
or did your plans go awry
did you think you could avoid it
walk around it, sneak on by

is there illness in the family
did the homeless go away
are children starving anywhere
did you eat your fill today

is there justice in your city
are the bullies loud and mean
do people die for no good cause
is your drinking water clean

we are there now, don't you see it
where we do not wish to be
that's exactly where we'll stay
until we learn to be set free

where we do not wish to go
is a place we all avoid
instead we build up walls of fear
as our purpose is destroyed

can we banish pain and sorrow
with instincts of flight or fight
or should we face reality
and begin to search for light

illuminate the darkest hour
with thought and word and deed
doing justice, walking humbly
making kindness our new creed

be still, stay calm, hold fast, judge not
believe in a better way
lose pride and immerse yourself
sending out your love today

forgiveness and acceptance
turning enemy to friend
fear not, for I am with you
until the bittersweet end
(updated 9/29/10 for submission to First Amendment Writes poetry contest)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

lost thoughts

I really liked the finale. I've been a "fan" of Lost since the beginning. There were definitely times when all the twists, turns and answers that turned into more questions really irked me, but I couldn't help watching just one more episode (and then another...). For me the series mirrored humanities fascination with trying to solve life's mysteries with science, philosophy, religion or brute force, but in the end, it all comes down to "why am I here?", which is still the greatest mystery of all.

Lost answered this question through Jack's dad - "Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them and they needed you." That's still an answer that leads to more questions, but I can live with that.

Other post-Lost musings @ The LOST Recap and Making sense of LOST.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

why church?

I just finished reading a friend's manuscript called "Why God?". In his book, Bob McAdams leads his readers on a quest to sift through our common human experiences of reason, truth, good and evil, time, and beauty to "gather from this richness some new thoughts about the reasons for belief and non-belief in God."

It was while I reading his chapter titled, "the shoe that does not fit", that I recognized I was on yet another quest.
"Our cosmology, the etched and stained transparent dome through which we view the universe, like every other part of our lives is in motion. Within our cosmology, our roles require that we constantly ask and answer the question, “What shall I do next?” What happens to a cosmology that is itself in motion? Can a cosmology also be subject to this same ‘what next’ question? Do we outgrow a cosmology in the same way we outgrow shoes? Can a cosmology simply not fit, simply give us daily, constant pain that forces us to face the options of holding on and suffering or letting go of the cosmology itself?"
The cosmology that I am struggling with, against, and often simultaneously for, is no longer why God?, it's why church? What is next for the church as an idea and for church as the reality that I participate in weekly?  Coincidentally, I've stumbled across lots of interesting quotes about church this week.
"Church should only be about comfort for the sick, the dying, the grieving, and the oppressed. Everybody else--buck up and change the world." - Diana Butler Bass
"it’s about the people, people. not the programs. not the banner-waving on others’ behalf. not the countless other things that can seem important but take away from what was at the essence of Jesus’ message & incarnation–love people. love people. love people." - kathy escobar
"After all, the church is relatively irrelevant as it stands in most other parts of today’s social fabric, meaning, the church won’t receive any congratulation except from itself." - Deacon Hall
"Jesus as somehow a window on God; Jesus as somehow a norm that transcends ideas, ideals, and principles but also serves as a standard for them; Jesus as somehow a living reality who confronts as often as he comforts. Christians don't need – indeed perhaps would be better off without – the traditional ways of trying to express these matters and the traditional confidence that their doctrinal assertions can actually contain the full truth of these matters. The truly hard intellectual work for disciples of Jesus today is to re-express our relationship with Jesus and our glimpses of God by re-contextualizing them into a far less complete and confident frame of reference." - Tom Wilkens
"The clergyman and the layman - who together form God's mission people - definitely have a different function in it. Permit me to put it in this somewhat schematic way: the minister must take care of the continuity, he guards the tradition; he must preserve and may easily be a bit conservative. The layman, on the other hand, takes care of the progressive movement, thrusts himself into the actualities of life; he must develop and build.

Both these functions belong together. It is good not only when there is harmony between them but there remains some tension as well. We must not sound the alarm when the layman can hardly stand the church any longer. That does not have to imply that he looks down upon everything as it is being done. It can also mean that the layman understands his function well and for this reason goes into loyal opposition. We are mortally afraid of those tensions and write church papers full about them, but that does not strike me as a cause for concern. Concerned we must become when the laity meekly walk in step behind the preacher. Then they have lost their function. Because then it becomes apparent that they have moved from the world into the church, and it belongs to the grandeur and misery of the layman that he experiences his membership in the church in an extra-ecclesiastical way." - The Church Inside Out by J.C. Hoekendijk

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

in search of a revolution

This afternoon, I met with a few of the readers of "the book". It was a good experience. Getting there was another story - let's just say that because of many mistakes I made on the way, I was super late (guess I needed a good dose of humility as well).

One comment that really stuck out for me was from a woman who said I was born 35 years too early and she was born 40 years too late. She said that I was clearly in search of a revolution, but all the good ones, which she had been a part of, had already happened. She, on the other hand, had to go through those revolutions because she couldn't live out her dream to be a fighter pilot.

This morning, I was prepping for the 3D programming class I'm teaching (which is why I lost track of time and nearly missed the aforementioned meeting) and was struck by how fast technology is evolving. Not only in my lifetime, but even more so in the lifetime of my students. However, this level of change is second nature to them. So how can I put it into perspective for them? I needed to find a story and as often is the case with technological advancements, it was a science fiction writer who saw the vision of 3D programming in virtual worlds. In 1992, Neal Stephenson wrote about virtual reality in Snow Crash.
"So Hiro's not actually here at all. He's in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It." - pg. 24
The first world-wide browser wasn't on the scene until 1993. It was the very next decade that brought the virtual reality games of Runescape (2001), SecondLife (2003) and World of Warcraft (2004) to life. The massive change in technology in such a short period of time really reflects the definition of a revolution.
revolution - a sudden, complete or marked change in something (
I'm beginning to suspect that much of my fascination and time spent on technology is in search of that next big revolution. That thing that is going to "beat the shit" out of the real world problems of poverty, discrimination and greed. You may think I'm crazy, but I'm not alone.
"Reality is broken and we need to make it more like a game." - Jane McGonigal

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review in Lutheran Partners Magazine

Just found out from my pastor that the book I co-authored with my dad, (Un-American Activities: Countercultural Themes in Christianity), got a nice review in the Lutheran Partners magazine, a bimonthly magazine of the ELCA for ordained and lay leaders.

"The chapters would be valuable for Christians of most denominations and would be useful for both ordained and lay Christians. In general, in fact, Un-American Activities is accessible, entertaining, and enlightening, especially for those trying to minister more effectively to the wandering, skeptical, and searching young adult."

David von Schlichten is pastor of St. James Lutheran Church, Youngstown, Pennsylvania, and the book review editor of Lutheran Partners magazine.

Find the complete review - March / April 2010 • Volume 26 • Number 2

Oh and the added bonus in this review is that I get referred to as a young adult. I know he's probably talking about me writing on my thoughts as a young adult, but still, I'm feeling younger already!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Genesis 1 & 2 from a Postmodern Viewpoint

[I was asked to write about my postmodern viewpoint for a class about Ways to Understand the Bible that will also include the modern and fundamental approaches to Biblical interpretation]

First, a disclaimer, I am neither a postmodern scholar nor a biblical scholar. So, I wonder what gives me the right to "interpret" any part of the Bible? I think one of the key ingredients to studying and trying to understand the Bible is a healthy dose of humility. Next, I need to acknowledge that I bring my own subjective lens to the Bible and so does everybody else. Finally, I find that I have learned the most from the Bible when studying it in community. As a child of God who is full of curiosity, questions & doubts, I certainly can't ignore the Bible or simply let others interpret it for me. Instead the Bible has become my primary source for searching for answers about God and joining in the story of God's people.

We are interpretive by nature; we can’t know anything objectively.

Let me start by sharing some of the lenses that I am conscious of having while also acknowledging new research that suggests most of my thoughts and your thoughts are unconscious. My theories of choice about the beginning of the universe - the big bang, the beginning of humans – evolution, and the beginning of patriarchical society - Adam. So, reading Genesis has always been uncomfortable for me. I have problems reading about a universe created in six days, a Garden of Eden, Eve created from Adam, a tree of life, a serpent that speaks and the fall of humankind. So, I had been categorizing this story as a myth devised to explain creation in ancient times and tried my best to ignore it.

The Bible is a human response to God.

I see the Bible as a masterpiece that was created using the invention of the written word versus the tradition of oral history used for centuries before. The intent was to harness the rich and diverse collection of stories, history, wisdom, poetry, prophecy and first-hand accounts of God's work in the world, but the medium had some unexpected drawbacks. The most obvious is the problem of translation. There are twenty English translations on alone. There are much-debated, different styles of translation. Like paint flaking off a masterpiece, there are words that have become obsolete and are in need of having their meaning restored. If the words need to be translated, what about the metaphors?

Approach the Bible as metaphorical, relational, and missional in the hope of seeing our lives with God through it.

Often I can't get over these mental blocks I put up surrounding some verses and stories in the Bible on my own. Recently a few authors have helped me to see Genesis in a new way.

In Bruce Feiler's book, Walking the Bible, he writes about how his views of the Bible changed from that of just a book about a faraway land in a faraway time to a living, breathing entity about stories that happened in real places to real people.

Reading about his transformation and how he connects with the Bible through the present-day landscape helped me to see the creation story in a new light. Of Genesis 1 and 2, Bruce writes: "In a few short words, the Bible had taken the story of water, the story of humans, the story of Mesopotamia, and had created an entirely new story that explained the history of the world. Stories, like rivers, give life."

From Donald Miller's book, Searching for God Knows What, I read about his thoughts on Genesis. "If man was wired so that something outside himself told him who he was, and if God’s presence was giving him a feeling of fulfillment, then when that relationship was broken, a man would be pining for other people to tell him that he was good, right, okay with the world, and eternally secure."

I began to appreciate the idea that we’re wired to know our creator, to understand our creator's will for us and to find fulfillment in this relationship. I get that somehow our connection to our creator got damaged or broken. I don’t understand how this happened, but I see that it causes us to not feel whole, but instead feel naked and ashamed.

Ron Martoia, in his book Transformational Architecture, explores the concept of imago dei – being made in the image of God. He writes that "the God who presides over creation, and who creatively serves and rules the world, creates a humanity with the same role. They are to represent God by creatively and lovingly serving the rest of the world." Ron goes on to suggest that our imago dei is the very core building block of our spiritual beings that naturally seek out transformative, creative, change the world missions.

I now see many layers to the words of Genesis 1 & 2:
• It hints at the profound shift in humanity from nomad to farmer.
• It relates the story of our relationship with and to God.
• It shows us a blueprint for how our imago dei should care for creation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sex, Love and Wholeness

We are doing a Sermon on the Mount worship series at Peace with various members writing devotions each week.  So, of course, I wanted to write something -  that was until I was assigned Matthew 5:27-32, which includes this nugget - "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."  Well, that's some serious shit.  I was given a couple of resources on the theme of looking, loving or lusting, but I found them to be kind of weak when compared to this text.  I finally opted for what I think is a more direct approach.

Day 1 - Adultery & Divorce
Read Matthew 5:27-32. What is your gut reaction to this text? For me, it starts with guilt because my focus immediately goes to the "divorce" section. I'm divorced. What does this mean for me? I find there are generally not many words of comfort for the divorced in the Bible. My next reaction is anger because as a female I don't like reading this patriarchal language where husbands seem to have all the rights. Did you also feel some strong emotional reactions to this text? Why do you think Jesus uses such strong language and disturbing imagery around the subject of adultery & divorce?

Day 2 - Betrayal
Sex is the ultimate intimate act with another. As such, it can also reveal our most vulnerable selves to another. When one experiences betrayal and/or abuse associated with this act, gut wrenching emotions, spiritual and possibly physical damage will surely follow. I think this must be why Jesus treats this subject so harshly. The consequences of heading down the path of adultery and unfaithfulness are destructive to all involved. Read Lamentations 1. Have you ever been betrayed? What did it feel like? What lasting effects did it have on your life?

Day 3 - Evil
It doesn't seem like any rational person would argue with the concept that faithfulness is good and betrayal is bad. So how come our actions are often in conflict with our reason? This is where evil enters the picture. Evil is not rational. Read Mark 7:1-23. Jesus reminds the teachers, the crowd and his disciples that evil resides in everyone. We cannot blame outside influences for the existence of this evil. What outside influences can do is make it very hard for us to overcome our resident evil. Consider how the values of our culture and the portrayal of sex and love in the media might influence your resident evil.

Day 4 - Love
Many people spend their lives "looking for love in all the wrong places". With so many false ideas and images about sex and love out in the world, how are we to recognize the real thing? In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul does a beautiful job of describing what love is.
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Read the rest of 1 Corinthians 13. How is this kind of love possible? Have you seen or experienced this kind of love in the world?

Day 5 - Wholeness
Read Matthew 5:27-32 again. I wonder if Jesus uses such explicit language about losing body parts not only to capture our attention, but also to indicate how it is our thoughts of betrayal that begin the damage within us. Maybe it is not really the act itself that gets us in the end, but the way we let our hearts become twisted and broken with thoughts of adultery, indecency, envy and pride. Read Romans 8:31-39. Paul's words remind us that nothing can separate us from the love of God and that is where we need to turn to find forgiveness, reconciliation and a path to wholeness.

Friday, January 01, 2010

adventures in dog-fostering

I read about fostering a dog for the holidays from the SPCA and convinced the family this would be a good deed we could do since we had no plans for the Christmas break. I didn't really know what to expect, but fostering Gobi has been a great experience!

Our adventure began December 18, 2009 when Xander, Freyja & I went after school to pick up the foster dog. There were several dogs to choose from, but after checking them out, we were drawn to the shy hound. He was shivering when they brought him out to meet us, but it did not take him long to warm up to us. Then we brought Freyja in for a meet & greet and they did well together. By the time we left, the car packed with dogs, humans & crates, the predicted snow was really coming down.

It took us over an hour to make the 15 minute drive to Pantops, but it was on our treacherous neighborhood road that the Charlottesville Snowpocalypse finally caught up to us - both of our cars wound up in the ditch. Luckily, dogs & humans were fine and we walked/slid the rest of the way home.

We found Gobi to be a very sweet and sometimes silly dog, who listens well and plays very nicely with our family.  He really enjoys going on walks, climbing snow drifts, barking at deer, chasing Freyja around the house, fetching tennis balls and snuggling on the couch.

Gobi does suffer from separation and stranger anxiety.  The separation anxiety was pretty severe at first as he would thrash and whine when left alone, but now he is taking some anti-anxiety meds and we have seen improvement every day -  especially at night when he goes into his crate.  He did not have many opportunities to meet new people - we really did have a very quiet holiday, but he did warm up pretty quickly to a friend of Xander's that visited one day.

Our adventure with Gobi is ending  on Sunday, when we take him back to the SPCA.  We hope that a family will soon discover the love, laughter and adventure that Gobi can bring into their life too!