Friday, October 19, 2007

Phinally Phinish!

Yesterday was a momentous day. I defended my dissertation. It was nerve wracking and a rush at the same time. The good news is that I PASSED!

It was unexpected, but I was very glad that a Deaf woman attended my defense. No one told me that she was coming, but she came with 2 interpreters. She is the first Deaf grad student at Biola. :) As I talked with her before the defense started I felt my nerves calm greatly. I was relieved to have a Deaf person there. I can't explain exactly why it was comforting, but it was. We talked at length after the defense and I learned a lot about her. I look forward to getting to know her more. Amazing young woman.

Before we started, Dr. Judy read from Philippians 2 and prayed. She started crying as she read it and told me not to cry before my defense. That was hard because I really wanted to just break down and cry. She read:

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Then she said that throughout my dissertation it was clear that I placed the Deaf community above myself and that my passion was inspiring. She was in tears and then prayed. Wow. What a way to start. It was moving for me too.

They asked MANY challenging questions. Only a couple of them really made me think and I wasn't sure if I answered it the way they wanted. They didn't give me much feedback on those questions. Other answers they interacted with me and they even joked a few times. That made me nervous.

They then asked me to leave as they conferred. I sat in the lounge talking with the Deaf woman and we had a great talk. She said it was the first defense she had attended. I told her it was my first as well! :)

After a few anxious minutes, they called me back in and Dr. Judy come over and looked me in the eyes with tears and said, "Congratulations Dr. Barbara O'Brian Garrett!" and hugged me. Then Dr. Barber shook my hands and said "Congratulations Doctor!" And Dr. Hayward did the same. I thanked Dr. Judy for all her help and for sticking with me through all of the years. She's been amazing. She nodded but said nothing.

What an amazing experience. Overwhelming and exhilerating at once. Dr. Judy said that I needed to publish this dissertation and I told her I wasn't sure I was ready to write on this anymore. But she encouraged me to work on it and get it published because she said it had a lot to offer and discussion surrounding this needed to take place. I just felt like the guy in this comic strip.

But seriously... maybe I will work on that. She encouraged me to really consider it. I wouldn't have to do much to publish it. Maybe this summer. I guess it depends on life and my own enthusiasm about it. Scrapbook or write? Hmmmmm

I had paperwork to do and visited the bookstore for a little while. Later when I returned, I ran into a student I had taken classes with years before. She was in the hallway waiting for them to decide about her dissertation. She was crying and was very nervous. I encouraged her to calm down. She said that she got the impression from them that there were some major flaws in her research and something about the cultural piece not being strong enough or something. It wasn't clear to me. But she was very upset and she clearly thought she had not passed her defense. Yikes. I could tell from the other people around that they were equally concerned. I asked her what happens if she doesn't pass? She said she didn't know and then really started to cry. I encouraged her and stood with her as long as I could. It was very difficult. It set me on edge and I was thankful my defense went so well.

Linda Crews and I met up that afternoon and went to a lovely dinner at Kincaid's on the Redondo Beach Pier. This was the view from my seat outdoors. It was a gorgeous California day. We enjoyed a wonderful meal but even better conversation. Linda's always been a spiritual mother to me and this evening was no different. She is a woman of Godly advice and one of the ONLY people that I can share some of the deep spiritual things I face. Our time together was truly a blessing. I look forward to more of those kinds of times. I couldn't have asked for a better celebration.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Timberwolves Tickets

As you may or may not know, Michael is now working for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He specializes in selling group ticket packages to churches. However, if you need season tickets, partial season tickets, single game tickets or any other group package for your business or organization, Michael is your guy!

And the good news is that he can probably get the tickets for you at greatly reduced prices! He has set up his own private site at
Go to that site to get all the details!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I have two amazing sisters. One is younger and the other older. Both have been supports to me in ways that are beyond a blessing. I just can't say enough. One has ALWAYS been there for me through everything in life. We talk almost everyday. The other has become a wise and stable voice in my life. She makes me laugh and reassures me that I'm okay. The both lead busy full lives centered on family. They both have noisy houses with a lot of activity in them. One has a never ending stream of people coming and going at all times. It's a house you can literally hang out at ANY time of the day or night that you need to hang out. No pressure, no worries that a kid might break something (even among the antiques) and lots of laughs and sharing of life and family and friends. The other has a sense of style that would make Martha Stewart weep! And her house is also a place to kick shoes off and lay back and enjoy life. Sometimes I wish all of us lived in the same place so that we could have the networks we have altogether!

Just imagine, NorthCentral University with the Deaf program in the Northwest somewhere near Wenatchee. And Paul's entire family living in the Seattle area. And Michael's family nearby, and Linda ( living nearby so that we would all have our familiar family networks but there would be this overlapping of other families and friends that would just grow and become this amazing community. Dreaming....

For now, I am content to be where I am at. :) Love you sisters!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


This morning has been wonderful. I was so enjoying my morning today. It was like there was background music playing in my life that was happy and joyous. Then I opened my email and it screeched to a halt! :)

So, I'm taking a deep breath and just re-focussing to enjoy the day despite the stresses that I face.

It's just gorgeous outside today! It's a crisp Fall day with trees changing colors. The yellows and oranges are bright and cheerful.

The days are getting shorter, but we still have sun until 7:30 or so. It was around 54 degrees this morning and should get to nearly 70 today. Just a lovely, not humid, sunny, Fall day. I love Fall - it's been my favorite time of year for so long. I do miss the long Fall seasons in Missouri. It seemed like Fall lasted a good three months there. And the Lake of the Ozarks was so beautiful. Here Fall seems to go by really fast. By the time Halloween hits Fall is OVER!

This morning I enjoyed the drive to work, looking at the beautiful trees, and thinking of my family.

I am so blessed.

Mazen brings such joy to my life. She is such a loving caring little girl. She hugged and hugged me this morning and said, "Mom, I'm really gonna miss you." It touched my heart. I told her I was going to miss her too. I love her so much. She got to fall asleep with me last night. She goofed around far too much, but I just love that she wants to be near me. These days of a little girl curling up with Mom to fall asleep will only last a short time so I cherish them. A day will come when I annoy her simply because she will be a teenager and parents are always somewhat annoying then. :) But I hope I get to hold her all the days of my life. Hold her when she has a baby. Hold her when she is sad. Hold her when she faces tough times. Hold her when she's thrilled because she bought her first house. Hold her when she's scared to death because she bought her first house!

Well... enough of life with the lovely background music. Back to the email that is waiting for me. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

When is a person educated?

"When he can look out upon the universe, now lucid and lovely, now dark and terrible, with a sense of his own littleness in the great scheme of things, and yet have faith and courage. When he knows how to make friends and keep them, and above all, when he can keep friends with himself.

When he can be happy alone and high-minded amid the drudgeries of life. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something besides mud, and into the face of the most forlorn mortal and see something divine.

When he knows how to live, now to love, how to hope, how to pray - is glad to live... and has in his heart a bit of a song."

- Joseph Fort Newton

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Michael drove his Mom and Dad back over to their friends' house tonight and said goodbye. They were here for a few days visiting. It was wonderful to be with them. Mazen was so excited that Grandma and Grandpa came to visit her. I told her she's a very special girl! She had Grandpa playing dollhouse with her today and she read books to Grandma.

They bought KFC today and Mazen ate "chicken with a handle" (as she calls it) and some mashed potatos. It was a big hit and a nice relaxing day with them. I've been under the weather and they hung out at our house today just visiting. Such wonderful people. We made BLT's for dinner with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from their garden. It was delicious. And also laid back. Everyone napped this afternoon.

Before she left, Betty said some very touching things to me. It brought me to tears, the good kind. I feel so welcomed and a part of the family. These are amazing people. We are so blessed. We will see them again at Christmas and they will come next for Mazen's birthday in February. Mazen's already counting the months to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Mazen already picked out her birthday cake. It's a purse! Is she my child or what?! I'm really looking forward to making that cake for her. It will be fun. I'm sure it will have to be pink.

I hope to get to work tomorrow, but I'm rather sick and weak and may not make it. We'll see how it goes. In the midst of feeling down this weekend (for several reasons) it's been a time of huge blessings for me. God is faithful.

I've been waiting for the new Ken Burns WWII documentary to come on PBS and it started this evening. It's called "The War." It was intense. I look forward to watching it, but it is a sad thing to see what humans can do to each other. Such brutality, and we keep doing it. Has a generation on earth ever gone by without a war somewhere?

If you want to read about this click on this link: Ken Burns "The War" And, yes, it is closed captioned if you are wondering. Raelyn said the next part is on tomorrow night. I don't know, I might have to rent this one and watch it when I can face this serious stuff.

My dissertation defense has been set for October 18 at 10 am. I'm thrilled and very nervous about it. I can't believe I am done and I am so thrilled to be done! Whew! What a ride! I don't know what to do with all my free time now! :)

I guess that's all for today.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Today I finished the third draft of my dissertation. I had to make three copies to send to the committee so Michael went out and bought 3 reams of paper. I can't say what a relief yet because it hasn't really hit me completely.

Michael surprised me with a special evening at Long Lake. He planned everything and then Dave and Ali surprised us all by bringing their boat and a new tube they recently bought. We swam in the warm lake. The water was 80 degrees! It was amazing. The sun was out, the water was warm, and the beach sandy. Michael and Mazen tubed with Mazen squealing in delight the whole time. Then Raelyn and Mazen tubed. I would have tried, but it was 6pm and they didn't allow tubing after that time. It was probably a good thing because my hips and back are giving me trouble today.

Maybe I can soon start staying on top of things on this blog now! :)

My Mom is coming home from the hospital tomorrow. She has been through a major surgery and all the reports I get tell me she is doing really well. I hope this relieves a lot of pain for her once she heals and completes physical therapy. Jon has been driving back and forth to the hospital several times a day and taking care of her. Kelly and I are thankful he loves her so much and is so good at caring for her.

I hope to put some pictures up soon but this is all for now. I'm tired and have early morning classes. It was a busy labor day weekend with the CDS retreat and dissertation work and it was a very good one. I have a wonderful family! Michael, Mazen and Raelyn are so good to me!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tropical Storm Barbara

MEXICO CITY, June 2 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Barbara made landfall on Saturday near the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Guatemala, lashing coffee and sugar-growing regions with wind and rain but not causing any injuries or major damage.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Barbara was located just southwest of the Mexican city of Tapachula, a few miles (kilometers) from the Guatemalan border and the heart of an important agricultural region.

While it packed sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph), and higher gusts, the center said Barbara would likely weaken.

Earlier predictions had Barbara developing into a hurricane over the weekend and barreling toward Mexican coastal resorts like Puerto Escondido, a major surfing spot.

I wish I was barreling toward a Mexican coastal resort!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Yesterday, after a weekend with JJ visiting Mazen says to me: "Mommie, sharing is HARD."

Tonight Michael checked on Mazen after bedtime. She was laying on her stomache on the floor with her elbows on the floor and her head in her hands. He asked her what she was doing. She said, "Thinking." "Thinking about what?" he asked. "My family." "What about your family?" She said, "About Mommie and Daddy and Pokey and Booboo and.... why don't you come help me think Daddy?" Daddy said, "I gotta get some stuff out of the office for Mommie." "Okay, then you come right back here after that!" Daddy said, "How about I think about it out there while you think about it in here and we will talk about it tomorrow morning?" "Ok daddy."

What a doll.