Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy


Living in Exile

Posted by admin in June 1st, 2009 | 3 comments 
Published in Heaven

“With a name like Teresa McCarthy we just assumed you were Irish,” the voice from Limerick on the other end of the phone sounded so sweet.

I AM Irish! In my heart anyway—kind of like the way I’m blond. I think Irish. I feel Irish. I dream Irish. I love all things Irish. Doesn’t that make me Irish?

Two years ago I applied to teach at a university in Ireland and was thrilled to hear I got the job! I had a phone conversation with the director of the program just to touch base and ask her about some of the details. As we were talking she mentioned that she needed my Irish or EU passport information. I don’t have an Irish or EU passport, I explained. Well, you’ll need to get one she said a little exasperated with me. I asked her how do I do that? “Well love, aren’t you Irish?” she asked. “Uh…no,” I answered. “Do I need to be?”

“Yes! We can’t hire Americans to come and teach English in Ireland! The government would never allow that. Don’t you have an Irish grandparent or some relative still living here that can help you make application? […] Continue Reading…

Two and a Half Weeks

Posted by admin in April 30th, 2009 | 4 comments 
Published in faith

Well Big D and I are heading to Ireland today (4/30). From Ireland we go to Lithuania. Yes! It is work. But such nice work. We get to see IICS professors. There’s Olga Artamonva teaching Russian at Trinity College in Dublin; she’s an absolute sweetheart. We’ve got Frank Peters and his amazing family living in Cork. Frank teaches physics. Jo, Frank’s wife, is one of my favorite people on the planet. Their five kids are awesome. I’m more than excited to see everyone. We are traveling with a group of ten. I’ll let you know how that worked out. I think of Daryl as the shepherd and I’m the herd dog. I’m the youngest in the group so it sort of works like the bear formula: if you and a friend are being chased by a bear…you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your friend. So on this trip I don’t have to keep up with Daryl, I just have to stay a step or two ahead of the slowest guy in the group. And I’m very excited because we’re going to Skellig Michael. There are 938 steps up to the top of […] Continue Reading…

Beauty is in the Eye of the Creator

Posted by admin in April 16th, 2009 | 4 comments 
Published in faith, Uncategorized

Pursuing beauty in our nation has become an expensive and somewhat obsessive pastime! Last year Americans (both men and women) spent $10 billion on cosmetics and beauty aids. (Compare that to $956 million back in 1996—a bit of an increase). Also in 2008, 10 million US citizens had elective cosmetic surgery. Of that number, 1 million were men and 200,000 were kids under the age of 18. Cup size tops the charts as most popular…uh…among women of course. Nose jobs are the surgery of choice among dudes. A recent survey shows that in our country, 62% of women and 51% of men believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with plastic surgery. Hey, I’m not judging. I love my hair bleach! I tell folks I’m a natural blond…in my heart.

But beauty is such an ambiguous thing. When I lived in Russia the guys liked chubbies. I had a Russian man tell me, “Teresa, Russian men are not dogs! We do not like bones.” Kind of freaked me out coming from Anorexia Nation. In Africa, well Nigeria at least, in preparation for a bride’s wedding day she is put into a fattening hut for 30 stinking days. She is fed, fed, […] Continue Reading…

When Empty Is Good

Posted by admin in April 11th, 2009 | 2 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Easter, in my opinion, is the most important holiday of the year. The most important holiday ever! This is the time that we acknowledge the life-giving death and resurrection of Jesus. Christmas is great. I love Thanksgiving. But Easter is the big one. Easter is the essential holiday!

There are two specific events in the Easter narrative that shout at me the truth, the whole truth, of the Gospel message. These two events are “the Gospel in a nutshell.”

The first one is Peter’s denial of Christ just hours before the Crucifixion. This really is the story of Christianity—at least my story anyway. Here’s a guy that followed Jesus, saw all the miracles, hung out with him, heard Jesus pray and when the rubber met the road, Peter denied even knowing Jesus. I’ve done that. Not directly denied Jesus, but each and every time I disobey him, each and every time I sin, it’s a denial of who he is, his love for me, his power being manifested in my life. Sin is for all intents and purposes–denial.

So Peter denies Jesus. We have no record that he showed up for the Crucifixion and this is the guy who […] Continue Reading…

Name It and Claim It!

Posted by admin in April 9th, 2009 | 4 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

The Trans-Siberian Railroad runs east and west/west and east across Russia. It’s the longest railroad in the world. It starts in Beijing or in Moscow—depending on which way you’re heading. It’s been running full steam (sorry) since 1916. Depending on who you talk to it takes anywhere from eight to twelve days to go from Beijing to Moscow. Why this discrepancy? I have no idea.

In June of 1986 I boarded the TSR in Beijing and headed toward Moscow with plans to eventually end up in Helsinki, Finland. (Remind me sometime to tell you how I got tickets for this particular train! The story is unbelievable).

PBS has lots of programs about the TSR. Daryl and I saw in Borders recently a whole DVD series on the TSR. (Isn’t there a band by that name? Anyway…) I first heard of this train when I watched the old movie about the great missionary Gladys Aylward, The Inn of Sixth Happiness starring Ingrid Bergman (shout out—I recommend this movie). There are two choices a traveler has in deciding on the TSR. One may take a Chinese train or a Soviet train (okay, okay, I know. There is no longer a USSR, […] Continue Reading…

Mohammed is Greater Than Jesus?

Posted by admin in April 8th, 2009 | 3 comments 
Published in faith, missions

“Monkeys will fly out my nose before I go there!” I was very serious and very firm with Daryl. He’d made an agreement with UNESCO and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education that he’d bring a team of academics to Kabul for university faculty training by March 2003.

“You know I can’t go to a Muslim country. And from everything I read about Kabul it is total chaos there. No! I’m not going. And that’s final!”

He knew I meant business because my arms were akimbo. That always means: final word.

Stupid Terry Mitchell. Daryl made an announcement at one of the IICS Vision Conference sessions (www.iics.com) that he was looking for folks to go with him to Afghanistan. I usually like Terry Mitchell, but after the session, I was standing too close to him ‘cause he started talking to Daryl about how much he wanted to go to Afghanistan and how much he loved Afghans and to count him in and that he was really excited about the opportunity and somehow the Holy Spirit, which was supposed to be on Terry Mitchell, spilled over and hit me! It was almost involuntary and I found these strange words coming out […] Continue Reading…

Mean Old Lao Deng!

Posted by admin in April 7th, 2009 | 6 comments 
Published in faith, missions

I was a big, dumb, white girl from Kansas living in a city of 1.5 million Chinesers. In fact, in the fall of 1983, there were only about 15 foreigners total in our newly opened city of Changchun. I was there with two other women and we were the first Americans to teach at the Changchun College of Geology in the school’s 35-year history. We were a part of Deng Xiao Ping’s Open Door Policy. Oddly enough, China’s ruling powers believed that China needed to learn English in order to modernize. Hmmm. Looks like they were right on that one.

I’ll never forget my first moments on campus. The taxi pulled into the parking area of our new home! It was a gray, unpainted Soviet-style concrete cracker box with three stories. Though the building could house 100 to 150 people, the administration decided it would be best to house only the foreign teachers there so as to keep our foreignness from contaminating the whole campus. So we were the only ones living in the entire building. We were on the first floor. The second floor housed the ping pong table and none of us ever dared to […] Continue Reading…

Too Much Time on My Hands

Posted by admin in April 4th, 2009 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

I have a terrible habit of arriving early. I guess it comes from overcompensating for the many years I was habitually late to everything. Once I got my life right with God, I decided being on time was evidence that I had truly changed. Well, then that “change” turned into obsessiveness. It drives my husband crazy. Like when we are traveling by air I want to be at the airport literally hours before our scheduled departure. If my friends want to have lunch, I end up sitting in the parking lot at least fifteen minutes before hand because I arrive too early. OCD. I know.

That’s what happened one stinking cold February day in Moscow, 1992. A group of Campus Crusaders had just moved to town. I liked them—all of them. They had microwave popcorn AND a microwave! They had a VCR with lots and lots of movies from home. They could afford creamy chocolate from the Irish Store that required hard currency. A few of them had a great sense of humor. They had a team meeting twice a month and somehow I was able to get invited! I’m sure it was my charm.

This particular […] Continue Reading…

You Can’t Judge a Priest by His Cover

Posted by admin in April 3rd, 2009 | 3 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

You can’t blame me! You see I was raised in a very fundamentalist home. We didn’t have priests. So when Little Olga (see Is There Life in Outer Space? February 11th) and Svetlana asked to be baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church I struggled. When they asked me to be their godmother and stand with them during the ceremony, well I had to really pray. Honestly, I wrestled with it. Russia was just emerging from communism and I felt Orthodox priests were “iffy” to begin with; add to that the fact they survived the communist government and I concluded: can’t be real Christians. But it was what the girls wanted and I did have a strange inexplicable peace about it. So we scheduled the date in late October when the girls would be baptized.

I met them at the church an hour before the ceremony. I had bought roses for each of them. There was a fresh foot of snow on the ground but the morning was clear, and the sky topaz and the church looked so beautiful. I love Russian Orthodox architecture. I love the onion domes and all the arched windows. We greeted each other with […] Continue Reading…

Fasting Today

Posted by admin in March 31st, 2009 | 1 comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Just a reminder for those who are interested, this is the day to fast and pray for Millennials. I hope you can join me. Peace.

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