There really is nothing quite like being at home. Being surrounded by things you know and people who know you... there is truly something medicinal about it all. Yesterday Brent and I were driving into St. Joe, a drive that we have probably driven about 500 + times in our lives (or so it seems...) and yet yesterday I was just soaking it in. I had this moment, watching the hills and pastures roll by, and Brent wasn't saying anything and more surprisingly I wasn't saying anything-- we were both just totally THERE. Living in the city now I feel like that awareness side of me, the side that notices the new calves and the hawks on fenceposts (or "statue birds" like I used to call them) is gone. But when I returned to my "roots" I was relieved to find out that it was still there.
Brent and I also had an interesting conversation shortly after these thoughts ran through my head on our drive. Brent simply said, "It's amazing that our brain can still remember how to get everywhere back home." It is something I hadn't taken the time to stop and think about, but it's heartwarming to realize that we don't just push old memories out of the way and replace them with our new directions, and locations, and numbers, and addresses etc. We retain them. This relieved me as I thought of this simple truth regarding directions, because I realized this was the bigger truth I was realizing while being home. Since this is the first big trip home that we have taken, we were both maybe slightly apprehensive that what we once felt when we were home wouldn't stick...yet, just like directions to st. joe, it is a part of us, and just as easily we are able to resume our position in our homes.
We have been able to relax a lot, but we have also done our share fair of "bouncing" as I like to call it. Since our families live about 20/25 minutes away from each other, we just bounce back and forth. It is nice that our families are close and that we don't have to decide one place to spend the holidays, but sometimes it feels like we're shortchanging everybody! Christmas day was a good example: Christmas morning was spent at my house, then by 2 we were at my dad's parents with his side of the family and by 5 we were at Brent's house with his family! Whew. That doesn't take into account all the other Christmases we have had while being home...but it sure is great to see everyone. I even got a big surprise when Aunt Linda and Uncle Alan pulled into our driveway on Saturday!! Everyone had kept it a secret from me and it was SO good to hug A.L. again...I think I want to have her on my birthday cake this year :) I have also been able to spend some quality "play time" with Paige and Torri, always a treat, and not enough, but some time with Micah. Another fun surprise came when some of my closest college friends called yesterday and said, "Hey, if you think it would be alright we would love to come and spend New Year's with you?" OF COURSE! So tomorrow I get to surround myself yet again with some old memories that have not yet been pushed aside!
I have taken some pictures that I hope to post when I get back to Louisville (Brent got me a new touch screen digital camera for Christmas, so I have pictures!). But for now, I don't want to waste anymore time I could be spending with the wonderful people that are around me right now.
The real reason for this post is three-fold:
1) I left a lot hanging with my last post...I DID recover from what HAD to be something I ate- yuck. I finished the week at school complete with kids crazy for Christmas break! Brent and I then journeyed to Missouri late Friday night, and despite our check engine light coming on before St. Louis we made it home safely and have been enjoying time here ever since.
2) I am just going to say it up front: my blogging may be sparse now that I'm at home. Not only are Brent and I busy splitting time between our two wonderful families, we are also busy sleeping in, napping, reading, sleeping, watching movies, and partaking in many other important ventures. :) I hope to update at least once or twice more before we head back to Louisville after the new year.
3) I actually mailed out Christmas letters this year (yeah, talk about feeling like an adult! Whew! It was exhilarating...and surprisingly costly! ) Anyway, needless to say I underestimated the amount of pictures I would need, and then ran out of time tracking down every one's addresses. So, I figure if you are interested enough in my life to check my blog periodically, and you did not receive a Christmas letter from me: shame on me...BUT here it is for you! There were a few pictures with it, but since I'm not on my computer I can't put those back on here...but if you missed it in the mail: here it is!!! Just for you...
Hello from Louisville, Kentucky! We still can’t quite believe we are here, but we’re more and more certain that this is just where God wanted us for this time. We can’t believe that it has already been 6 months since we packed up everything we could and headed out east, but it really is time to start thinking about Christmas and what next year holds.
If I had to summarize our past year in one word it would be CHANGE (not meaning to echo any political campaigns, either J). Not only a year ago both Brent and I were busy college seniors anxiously awaiting what lay ahead of us. In April Brent secured a year long internship/job at Southeast Christian Church here in Louisville (www.southeastchristian.org). After much prayer and many tears thinking about leaving home, we knew we were to follow that call. We both graduated in May, I landed a job at South Oldham Middle School (in the number 1 school district in the state of Kentucky) teaching 8th grade Language Arts. During this job hunt we were busy finishing up final papers and making last minute plans for our upcoming wedding.
June 7th came with no rain and we still reflect on how perfect it was to get married in my grandparent’s garden. We only wish we would have had more time to spend with all of you who made the trip to share that special day.
After a wonderful and relaxing honeymoon to Colorado, it was time to load the truck, say some very hard goodbyes, cram as many memories of home in our bags as we could, and make our big move eastward. I’ll never forget that Tuesday in June when we unloaded everything, Brent drove off to work, and I waved goodbye to family. I looked around the apartment full of boxes and belongings and knew the romance and newness of it all had faded.
Slowly the boxes were unpacked. Slowly we began to make friends (which the Schoon family would be proud to know we taught Nerts), and slowly we felt more settled. In October a fellow teacher of mine hugged me and said, “Wow! I can’t believe everything you have been through and accomplished in the last few months!” I immediately melted into tears simply in appreciation for someone recognizing everything we’ve done since May.
It has been lonely at times, and it has been thrilling at times, but overall Brent and I are happy to be able to share so much time together and figure out the beauty of marriage on our own. We miss family and home deeply, but are thankful for this time to become “The Irwins.” Brent is really enjoying his job in the Sport’s and Fitness ministry at our church. He has helped organize and prepare for softball, soccer, basketball, racquetball, and volleyball (did I miss anything?!). He is currently coaching a young basketball team of 8 and 9 year olds, and we are taking advantage of such a wonderful sports complex so near by. We are both playing in the adult basketball league, and let’s just say that his team has been slightly more successful than mine! As far as my job goes….whew!!! I’m tired A LOT. I remember being an 8th grader and I think 8th graders just make people tired wherever they go J but I am also beginning to see some of the benefits of teaching. Just recently I asked my students to write “Why I write…” and what they produced moved me to tears. I posted it on my blog if you want to check it out and see what 8th graders truly are capable of: www.kelseylynae.blogspot.com. (Duh...I think you got this)
With all this CHANGE Brent and I have become ever more grateful for everything in our past that has made us who we are. We are thankful for family dinners around the table that faded into hour long conversations. We are thankful for friends who never wanted to be entertained but just wanted to be with us. We are grateful for family that invested in us, prayed for us, and walked with us. We are grateful for a God that goes before us and beside us.
Has all the CHANGE that marriage, moving, and new jobs brought us been easy? NO, but we are ever-thankful for the life we have been given, for the gift we have in each other, and for the Savior we celebrate this season. We look forward to spending two full weeks at home over Christmas relaxing with friends and family, and recharging in the land that made us who we are. Whatever you may be doing this year for Christmas may the Lord of every CHANGE in our lives bless you, and may you be refreshed and renewed by His goodness as the new year begins.
Love and Blessings,
Brent and Kelsey
We had some friends over yesterday for lunch and over the next 20 hours some how or another all of us got sick. Unfortunately, I got it the worst. I called in sick today (or actually filled out my "subfinder" request online...everything is so impersonal, isn't it?). I'm feeling better now and even managed to eat some of my favorite noodles.
I am typically a very healthy person. I DO NOT like being sick (of course, when I write that down it begs the question, "who really does, Kelsey?"). Maybe I should say it this way: I am a very pathetic and unhappy camper when I am sick. I'm trying to be better, and Brent has been fantastic, but I feel like I have the right to display how miserable I really feel...is there anything wrong with this?
I only have four more days until Christmas break, and I know I can survive, but it is so weird that I have been as sick as I have been this year. Weird. I just want it to be Friday, for the drive home to be over, and to wake up to mom's homemade toast and FEEL BETTER....
I have a large stack of papers that need to be graded (and I would prefer getting them done before break - this Friday) so I am going to try to accomplish two things with this post: a good update for all of you faithfuls who have been patiently withstanding my tardiness, and brevity (the latter of which is not my strong suit).
Since my last post:
- Thanksgiving...at home. Beautiful. And even though I had strep throat it was wonderful to be with family. Unfortunately, because I didn't feel very well I took very few pictures. Here are a few that I was able to get with our nephews (who we hadn't seen since JUNE!)
-Since Kali and Dan were at home for Thanksgiving, but will be traveling to California for CHristmas, we decided to give Mom and Dad their present while we were all home. The four of us "kids" all went in together and were SO excited to give them their new flat screen TV! Needless to say, they were very overwhelmed and thankful.- Final KTIP observation for cycle 1 is complete (2 more cycles to go...) I received very good reviews and the board member who is on my KTIP committee asked me if there is anyone else from my college who needs a job :)
- Brent and I decorated for Christmas last weekend (with the few decorations we have...I'm waiting for the sales after Christmas this year to stock up a little...but don't worry, I won't go overboard). We put up our Christmas tree, including out "First Christmas Together" ornament :), our nativity set, which was passed onto us by Renae and Jared (who, strangely enough, did not register for a nativity set but received 3 for their wedding in MAY...weird), and a poinsettia that one of my students gave me.
- Last Sunday we had a phenomenal message at church which I would encourage all of you to check out and listen to online if you have a moment (I usually just turn it on the computer and then crank it up while I clean) : http://www.southeastchristian.org/sermons/?id=808. I was expecting a "typical" Christmas message, which sounds horrible to say... but I think this Christmas season pushes a lot of us into a routine place of "Yep...Jesus is the reason..." But this Sunday I was shaken out of that place. The sermon started with the sanctuary lights being turned off, and when you're sitting in a room with 10,000 other people and you can't see anything, you're are uncomfortable...and you're listening. The premise was this:
-Until you grasp the extent of the darkness in this world you won't be able to truly celebrate the light of Christmas
- Are we still afraid of the dark...within us?
- He talked about the history of Christmas lights: That in medieval times they wanted to create something to hang up that would remind them of the LIGHT of Christmas: Jesus in a dark world.
I would just really encourage you to check it out if you are finding your self needing a step back from the chaos of Christmas, a step back from the world... a step out of the darkness so you can truly appreciate the LIGHT of this season!
- Brent had an interesting day at work. For the all-staff Christmas pary each department at the church puts together a "float" and they have a parade and then worship and food and all that good stuff. He said it was a really fun day: everyone leaves at noon, gets paid until 5 for the day, and there is happiness all around :) Brent's sports and fitness crew decided to do a "political" themed float and ordered masks online. They made a replica of the whitehouse for their float, and Brent was a secret service guy. The picture is a little far away, but there is a Palin, Clinton, Obama, and Bush (the McCain mask didn't come in in time. Brent is on the left holding a paintball gun)
We leave to go back home for TWO WEEKS on Friday, and could not be more excited. Hopefully this update has sufficed...May you remember the Light of this Christmas season!
- Because it takes me anywhere I want to go.
- Because it influences me every time I write a piece.
- Because it makes me feel good about myself.
- Because if I didn’t, the monster would unleash itself.
- Because it is the only thing that keeps me contained.
- Because I am heartbroken, and need to mend my shattered heart.
- Because my heart is overfilled with emptiness, and I am in hopes of filling it with emotion.
- Because I don’t have the guts to say things in person.
- Because I am shallow; like a creek without water.
- Because they are my stories, my imagination coming out on paper.
- To see a new world.
- Because I’m full of mistakes.
- So I can start a new page.
- Because I’m only 13.
- To answer my questions.
- Because my teachers say I talk too much.
- Because I have ADHD.
- Because it is a never ending story.
- To see myself grow.
- It’s the only thing I know I’m good at.
- Because somebody will eventually read it and feel the same way.
- Because it’s a part of me: just like singing, and dancing, and my family.
- Because I can hit words instead of people.
- Because it takes the edge off of some pretty embarrassing things.
- Because I can’t say it out loud.
- Because everyone passed by too quickly.
- Because I can create a world and rule it with an iron fist.
- Because I am ignored.
- To start a riot.
- Because I don’t know how to stick up for myself.
- Because telling people things to their face is not what I do.
- Because my feelings get hurt easily and I don’t show it.
- Because I can’t handle the truth.
- Because I can’t take this anymore.
- Because nobody is perfect.
- Because I made another mistake.
- Because if you’re really writing you have the feeling you could go on forever and you just stop thinking about it and you just let the thoughts flow freely.
- Because I need to keep myself from going crazy.
- Because I need to get over my anger.
- Because it makes time go by quicker.
- Because it’s not the end of the world, it’s a new beginning.
- Because I have a story to tell everyone.
- Because it calms me down.
- Because I let go during writing.
- Because I don’t have to stop.
- Because there is no limit.
- Because nothing goes wrong while writing.
- Because it never holds you back.
- Because it’s a way of life.
- Because it always agrees with you.
- Because it never talks back.
- To keep my brain active.
- To persuade.
- To change the world.
- To impress people.
- Because the world is messed up.
- Because nobody listens.
- Because that’s a piece of Springdale, Arkansas—home—that I don’t want to let go.
- Because I’m afraid of being judged.
- Because it’s my peace of mind.
- Because it makes up for hesitations and regret.
- Because it lets me be where I want to be, to see who I want to see, to say what I want to say, and not have to think twice about it.
- Because I want to compare my handwriting from another day.
- Because I love the feel of the imprinted paper after I’m done.
- Because I love to tell how much I miss you.
- Because it helps me cry.
- Because it’s my freedom.
- Because no one cares anymore.
- Because I’m heartbroken into shattered pieces.
- For the same reason a baby cries; for the same reason water freezes; for the reason a volcano erupts. I write because it’s natural.
- Even though there is never enough time to let your mind drip out onto the paper.
- Because the paper is the only one who cares to listen, and will not be hurt by what I say.
- Because the paper will listen without indifference.
- So I won’t yell at my mom.
- So I don’t put burdens on others.
- So that when the stress of the world is so great, and I am so alone, I don’t break.
- So the good times, feelings, and relationships have a safe haven, where I can keep them fresh forever.
- So there will be less of me and more of everyone else.
- To save myself, the world, and the ones I love.
- Because it is like breathing on the paper
- When I’m cold, tired, alone, worried, laughing, and rejoicing.
- Because I want to remember how I felt, where I was, how far I’ve come.
- Because I can actually get a whole story out.
- Because then I can make a story end the way I want to.
- Because it’s the only time I’m not interrupted.
- Because writing can be edited, unlike speaking.
- Because I’m too shy to say it out loud.
- Because I secretly want someone to hear my thoughts.
- Because I feel too small, too plain in the world.
- Because it’s the only way I know to touch someone’s life.
- Because I know my memory is never as good as visiting my memories in ink.
- Because I have an opinion; a voice that is suddenly heard over the crowd.
- Because of rainbows.
- Because there is a thing in my head called pain.
- Because my family is a distant memory I can’t seem to want anymore.
- Because I’m emotionally unprotected.
- Because I want my mother to have a better life.
- Because I fell through the cracks and was buried in cement.
- Because no one looks twice.
- Because I can’t seem to get the smell of paper out of my nose.
- Because I think pencils can remove my pain.
- To feel writing outside of schoolwork.
- To become a bestseller.
- Because things left unresolved can never be mended.
- Because I don’t want to leave my something broken because I may get no other chance to fix it.
- Because some people can’t, so I’ll write for them.
- Because I don’t want a chance to pass me up.
- So I can leave this trace of pencil markings on paper to be held and read for all eternity.
- To be the cause of someone’s laughing; someone’s tears.
- Because it is the over-popular blue jeans that never go out of style.
- To be the red rose in a field of gray.
- Because there are lies that are believed.
- Because there are too many hours in my midnight.
- Because I miss my grandmother.
- Because I am different.
- Because I am the girl who tripped over a bag and broke my arm.
- So that my mom will have a reason to get up in the morning.
- To feel, smell, see, hear, and touch.
- Because I have many things to say and no one has a long enough attention span.
- Because I open my mouth too much, and it’s my apology.
-Because I like to start with little ideas and turn them into big ones.
- Because people call me names and I don’t care.
- To start a revolution.
- Because I am like those priests that turn atheists into worshippers.
- Because I have the right.
- Because I tell my friends I don’t like to write, that there is nothing to write, but inside that is all I feel like doing.
-Because I’m a ship in a bottle with no escape.
- Because my parents don’t listen.
- Because I’m the youngest in my family.
- Because I was forced to grow up and I’m looking for a way back.
- Because it’s like putting a pressure release valve on my mind.
- Because I have a sponge-bob band-aid on my shoes.
-Because Wal-Mart isn’t open.
- Because I want to find love.
- Because every novel starts with a rough draft.
- Because it’s like being in a place where everyone understands you, and those types of places are hard to find.
AND... early Thanksgiving morning (at about 4 am) I woke up and felt horribly sick. My throat had been huring me but at this point I could barely swallow, felt sick to my stomach, was running a fever, and had aches all over. So at about 5 am the decision was made to head to the ER room (what else would be open on Thanksgiving), and at about 7 am we were headed back home with antibiotics in hand for strep throat. I still don't feel like they have completely kicked in, and I'm a little worried about my next observation at school coming up on Wednesday.
All in all though, I would rather be sick at home than healthy anywhere else. I had many pairs of hands working to make sure I was comfortable. Our big family THanksgiving was a little overwhelming as I couldn't really talk to anyone becuase it hurts to speak, but it was so nice to see everyone.
I'll post the few pictures I've been able to take when we get back, but until then, please keep us in your prayers over the next few days (that I would have a speedier recovery and that Brent would stay healthy -- he is prone to get Strep every year!). We plan on heading out early afternoon tomorrow (pray about that too...I really don't want to leave :)
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Even in the midst of sickness I have so much to be thankful for.
I'll throw some pictures up here from Renae and Jared's visit (which was fantastic, by the way), and then I'm afraid I have to get PACKING!!! We are meeting Kali and Dan in a few hours to HEAD HOME! We could not be more excited. This will be the first time home since we moved here and I need me some Missouri! :)
However, I do want to post when I get back about some things my students wrote about writing. They literally moved me to tears and left me inspired and THANKFUL :)
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, wherever it may be...
I realized I never put this picture up from our trip to Nashville in October.
We went to the Louisville Slugger Museum with Jared and Renae.
On Sunday we, of course, had to watch the Packer's game :)Last Friday was Brent's birthday and we went out for Pizza! Happy Birthday!
This was my present to him...new golf shoes!! He has been wearing them around the house since the weather hasn't exactly been cooperating.
Monday: Staff meeting after school, then at church until 8 (and it was a Monday...yuck)
Tuesday: Meeting before school, meeting during planning, meeting after school...at church until 9
Wednesday: Meeting during planning ... at home by 6. Beautiful.
Thursday: FCA in morning at 7:30, meeting during planning, meeting after school, at church for basketball until 8:30.
Friday: Supposed to have meeting during planning...CANCELLED, beautiful. Left school by 4 to go to grocery store. Home by 6. Good work.
Renae and Jared are coming tonight (around 9:30) and staying through the weekend. Brent had the day off and did a rockin' job of cleaning the apartment. He also went in for an eye checkup, had to have his eyes dilated, and could hardly see all day! :) What a trooper. There are still a few things to be done, and although I won't just be chillin' like I do most weekends, I will so enjoy this time with a dear and loved friend and know it will be good for my soul.... and next week are student-led conferences (our version of parent-teacher conferences), a few more meetings, and grades are due on Friday (but the beauty of Thanksgiving and home just around the corner gives me hope :)
I will most like be "out" this weekend, and hope to update with pictures next week. Hope you all are staying blessed.
It's November now here and apparently in Kentucky this means it is officially nearing the end of fall. We were on quite the streak for awhile, but I mentioned to Brent the other day that we should turn the heat on. We haven't yet, but I think we will within the next couple of weeks (those of you that already have snow...I'm sorry). We've truly enjoyed the warmer weather and beauty of fall. I've forgotten how long a normal fall lasts...instead of in Iowa where the trees change one day, you rake the leaves the next (in case the snow comes that night!), and then it snows within the next few days! Yikes. Here the colors have been so intense and have lasted so long. There are still so many trees holding onto their leaves in brilliant reds and burnt oranges...it is so peaceful and beautiful.
My students have been working on their poetry unit for the past few weeks. Today officially marked the last day of their writing of poetry, although we'll have a few more reading/elements of poetry to cover. I decided since they have been working their hineys off (or most of them anyway), that it would be fun to wrap up this unit with a "coffee house poetry reading." So today, as they filed in to class with their typed up poems in tow, I turned on the lamps, put on some music, and even pulled up a picture of a coffee house on the projector for a backdrop. It was really great listening to them share their writing, and I hope to post some here in the future. I thought about getting some hot chocolate to share with them for the occassion, but calculated the cost (both in dollars and in time and in spills) and decided against it. I mentioned it to my veteran teacher collegue across the hall who has been teaching for about 30 years now and his response to the hot chocolate idea: Are you crazy!?! Overall the kids seemed to enjoy listening to fellow classmates, and it was nice to sit in the back of the room and just listen for a day. We even snapped for each other when we finished reading, just like the pros!
Last year when I shared an apartment at college with 3 other girls we decided we would be wise and buy the huge bottle of refill soap for our hand dispensers in the kitchen and bathroom. We bought the big refill bottle in September or October of 2007. I was the last to move out at the end of the school year, and found that all three of them had left the refill bottle behind. There was still about a third of the bottle left, so I decided to pack up the little dispensers (which, yes, cost about 90 cents at WalMart) and the big refill bottle. I first hauled all this home, and then I packed up and hauled it to Kentucky. Yesterday the dispenser in the bathroom ran out, and I noticed the one in the kitchen only has a few squirts left in it. That dang refill bottle lasted us this long! Man...my roommates sure missed out! :)
And last but not least...puke
For those of you that don't know...I don't do puke. This was seriously one of the deciding factors for me when I was deciding between secondary and elementary. I figured secondary students know, and can get out of the classroom when they "feel it coming..." Well, sickness is starting to go around and I am clorox wiping and hand sanitizing all around me (thanks a lot Mrs. Sandbulte), and lucky for me, have have not even gotten the hint of a cold yet. However, today I had about 15 students gone over all, and in my first class of the day this scenario played out:
The bell rang, the students were getting situated and student #1 approaches me.
#1: "Umm... Mrs. Irwin, umm...I just threw up."
She continues to look at me. What she was looking for...?? Seriously.
Me: "Okay...go to the nurse."
She proceeds to the back of the classroom where I have a sign out sheet and passes and begins the process when I interupt her efforts...
Me: "Just leave."
about 5 minutes later...the students have begun writing in their Writer's Notebooks and student #2 approaches me.
#2: "Umm...Mrs. Irwin?" (looking very...very ... very pale)
Me: "Yes." (Why they come up to me, say my name, and then wait for a response is still beyond me...)
#2: I feel like I'm going to puke."
Me: (Immediately averting eye contact and distancing my body from student) "Then get out of here" (said in a voice not near as loving as it should have been said in).
#2 proceeds to the back of the classroom where I have a sign out sheet and....
Me. "Just leave."
(IN the meantime, #1 returns, says she is staying...wonderful)
About 5 minutes later #2 comes back.
Approaches me...I back peddle.
#2: "I threw up."
Me: "Go to the nurse." (No, not..'I'm sorry. Are you okay? Can I get you anything...but go to the nurse.)
About 20 minutes later. #2 returns, yet again to the classroom, and says the office told him to just wait in the classroom until his ride comes.
...and my stomach is turning just thinking about it.
Whew...am I cut out for this!?
Last night we had some friends over and watched the states turn red and blue...and blue...and blue. A fellow teacher at school (yes, surprising enough there are a few conservative teachers left) sent me a text that said, "Well, I think I'm leaving the country." I know many have agreed with his statement or jokingly said the same thing once the news was in that Obama was officially our president-elect.
I followed this election closely and really read up on each of the candidates. I feel like I did my part. And now I am left asking, "What do I do next? How do I respond?" Much wiser people (my family) have sent me emails today, and I want to glean from these words and share with you all my mixture of thoughts, via their well said words:
Hey, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri all went to McCain; we did what we needed to do. I did notice that the sun is up this morning! Am I apprehensive about the next four years? Absolutely. Am I incredulous that a man named Barack Hussein Obama is going to be my President? Can't even go there! Do I still live in the greatest country in the world? At the moment I sure do. And ultimately, is my Great God still in control? Praise the Lord, yes he is! Ezekiel 7:27 says, "The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with despair, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the LORD."! Wow. I think I choose to not be depressed.
Kali says to me:
I KNOW God is Sovereign, I KNOW He knew the outcome of this election before the campaigning even began, I KNOW He holds me safely in the palm of His hand. But I also know that Obama does not follow our God – which leaves me a little dumbfounded as I try and think how on earth I’m supposed to pray for this man. I can pray that God will give him wisdom & guidance…but does God grant that to those who don’t follow Him? I guess we pray that God would protect our country. I’m praying that God would teach me what it means to respect him as my president ...
I think it's great and historic that we were able to elect a black man. My generation is often criticized (and rightly so) for being lazy, idealistic, etc. But this is something we can be proud of- we really are "post-radical." Now, let's move on folks! I found it ironic that leading up to the election we just kept hearing that "it's not about race..." up until he was officially elected, then that's all we hear.
God is still sovereign, and I am thankful that I am first and foremost a citizen of His everlasting Kingdom!
"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders." (Deuteronomy 33:12)
Dad says to me:
Well, we got thumped. It is no fun to lose and we are definitely in a scarier place today than we were yesterday but all is not lost.
#1 It looks like Amendment 8 has won in California. That is huge. If we had a choice on election night and we were told we could only have one big win, the presidency, or 8 in California, I would have taken 8 in California.
The country is not suddenly a bunch of leftists if Marriage can still win in California. We get another shot at the presidency in four years and Congress in two. We would not have had another chance to save marriage if California went by the wayside.
#2 Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri at least had their heads screwed on right!
#3 Obama is now confronted with reality, not just hope,change, blah, blah, blah. He will have to go slow and we can fight things as they come up, start to win back some seats in 2010 and hold him to one term hopefully.
#4 We don't have to hear about how great it would be to elect a black guy any more.
McCain blew it from the start. He tried to distance himself from conservatives and other republicans. He also thought he could win by getting Independents and people who were Hillary supporters upset with Obama. As Doctor Phil would say, "how's that workin' out for you John?" That was not ever going to happen.
Hang in there.
There are still deer in the woods and the sun will come out. I think I will go sit in a tree. (Now that is wisdom, Dad, :) thank you!)
One more person...Kali and Dan's friend Jenny. She blogs and I occasionally check out her blog through Kali's. Her husband is in the military and her view of this election has been inspiring. Her words today:
I do rejoice and marvel in the fact that last night we elected the nation's first African-American man for president! What a far cry this is from 100 years ago, no, just 50 years ago! ...
Yet, in the same sense, I felt as though his skin is the only thing that matters. Watching NBC last night, after they announced his victory, his skin color was the main topic - no, the ONLY topic. I wanted to yell at Brian Williams: "We all are rejoicing that he's black! But, let's get to his policies... his morals... his leadership...!!!"
What about the millions of unborn babies that will be murdered?
What about the socialist/Marxist government that Obama wants to implement?
What about the disrespect for the military and his lack of knowledge/experience in that area?
What about his lack of experience overall?
What about his many anti-American/terrorist "acquaintances" (friends)?
What about his wavering stance on our relationship with Israel?
This man is deeper than his black skin, and I'm afraid that America is simply judging a book by its cover. If Barack Obama's name was Bob Olson and he was just another white guy, with his exact same experiences and acquaintances and socialistic values, I doubt very highly he'd be where he is today...
A friend of mine said, "We kill a Hussein, we elect a Hussein...God help us!" I could not agree more.
In closing, I read a very good article written by a man who worked with Kerry during the 2004 elections regarding Bush's treatment in the last few years-- an excellent read (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122584386627599251.html) that ends, "Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House." I think this is also a good gut-check for us that, regardless of how we voted, Obama is now our president. Let's not be the people others are writing articles about in 2012.
We've been taking it easy for the rest of the day, trying not to watch too much TV until tonight. Some friends are coming over to watch the states turn in their verdicts with us. The unfortunate thing is that we only get CNN, so I have a hard time watching too much of it at a time.
And for those of you that want to know, the observation went really well yesterday. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I felt them, and the kids responded wonderfully to the lesson!
I think I'm going to go sit on the porch and read for a little bit to enjoy some of this day off (Beck, I am finally getting around to reading "The Shack," and am enjoying it so far...more to come :)
Now, I didn't receive her permission, but since I have lived a lot of life beside her and cried in her arms, I know that I don't need to ask to steal this idea from her (if you are offended...my bad). I really liked reading one of her posts where she just documented her past years. I thought it would be interesting to do the same here, on my blog. So here we go:
twenty years ago:
I was merely two years old and was able to roam about my house all day under the supervision of my wonderful mother, who I know that I exasperated much during this time in my life.
six months ago:
I married my best friend in my grandparent's garden shortly after graduating from college and going to Wisconsin to stand up with my bosom buddy, Renae. In the setting sun we vowed our lives to each other and then whisked away to Colorado for the week. We returned, packed everything we owned, and moved to Louisville. Brent started his job at the church and I unpacked, and unpacked, and unpacked. And never felt so lonely as I did during this time during the days.
3 months ago:
I started my job at school teaching 8th graders Language Arts. We began making some really great friends, and I began missing home and NWC and Orange City and past friends.
Yesterday was Halloween, and my school encouraged students AND teachers to dress up. I didn't want to do anything over the top, as I still had to be capable of teaching all day, so I borrowed this smock from a friend of mine, donned some khakis and a black shirt, and was a Starbuck's barista! The kids actually really like it...and they all seem to love their Starbucks!
I seemed to get the most comments, however, about my glasses (which are fake...and awesome! Renae always hated them and I emailed her yesterday to tell her I wore them to school and she said this: "Glasses are acceptable if a) you need them or b) it's Halloween" :) So this one is for you, Renae!):
Brent and I didn't have any big plans for the evening, so like most other times like this we had our friends, Shane and Meagan over and played another mean round of nertz.
This picture is of course staged after a game that it looks like Shane had won (surprisingly :) I made way too many calzones (one of my new favorite things to make):... and then we watched what we felt was a good "halloween movie choice," a British flick called "Shaun of the Dead." It was a horribly funny comedy that was so over the top ridiculous that we laughed the entire time and then we called it a night as Brent had to head into work this morning for a youth basketball clinic.
Now it is time to make use of this Saturday and get some laundry done! Hope you all have had a great week!
I'm not going to, but if I were to write more about this I would talk about how the smells of the land are a part of me as well. How the fall harvest and the combines in the field conjure up some sweet smells that refresh me. I would write about how the colors of the landscape fill me with energy and renew me.
I would write about how my soul is connected to the land of home.
But I'm not going to. Instead I need to get supper started. Have to turn in some more KTIP forms tomorrow...yuck. Maybe instead I'll close my eyes and picture the landscapes of Missouri...
Just go to this link:
The one that is pulled up is "From Attendance to Worship," and the other sermons are listed below. If you do get the chance to watch one or the other, let me know what you think.
What I really wanted to talk about today though, was to reveal a little bit of what I learned on Monday when I was cleaning. I went to Rob Bell's church's website (if you haven't heard about him, it's okay), and I just randomly picked a sermon to listen to. I saw one titled "Shine like Stars", saw that it was in one of my favorite books of the bible, Phillippians, and began to listen. I don't know if it was the teaching (He is a phenomenal teacher with great understanding of Old Testament culture), or the fumes from cleaning, or the fragile state that I find myself in right now, or a combination of all of them coupled with the Holy Spirit, but his words and the message hit me like a ton of bricks.
At first, I was just listening in, happy to have the day off and listening to what I thought was going to be another typical message about "shining like stars" for Jesus. But then he beganto pull from the OT knowledge the that listeners of that day would have had when they heard Paul's words and the significance and it was as if I had never heard this scripture before. Rob talked about humans' need for having to constantly be reminded of things...or we forget. Just like the Israelites we have to be reminded over and over what God has done for us. And then he talked about how when Moses was leading them across the red sea and into safety it says that they kept complaining about the mud between their toes and they were too busy looking down to look up and see what GOd was doing.
And so then we come to Philippians and Paul uses the same rhetoric--to do everything without grumbling or complaining--and the people are automatically reminded of how the Israelites missed the blessing becuase they were grumbling. And then he went off on this whole idea that most of the things we complain about are blessings. For example: I complain about my job right now because I think it's hard and draining etc--but I have a job.
And just when I think, that'll do, Rob, thanks for the message- he smacks me in the face. He began to talk about how so often people think back to their past and think "If only I could get back there, If only...If only...THEN everything would be okay." And he said this:
"You can't go back to how it was because you aren't who you are. Sometimes you just have to grow up...."
Wow. But then he continued...
"When the past becomes romanticized we become paralyzed with thinking "I just wish it was how it was," and then we have a difficult time imagining that tomorrow could be even better. Sometimes you have to be the kind of disciplined person with the kind of character who can continually rediscover your own innocence. We can't go back...
... This life is a marathon. In marathons sometimes there are thousands around us cheering and we feel as if we could run for days. But sometimes we are running up a mountain and there has been no gatorade stand for the past 4 hours and you're about ready to pass out...
...Somethings are really difficult. That difficulty is actually an invitation to become a more grounded, honest, truthful, filled with wonder sort of person. This is part of God's salvation...pary of the way in which we grow."
Wow. Talk about "needed-to-hear-that" learning. It really gave me this new perspective about our move and my job.
Last night Brent and I went to The Post, which is a church gathering for college/20 somethings. There was a guest speaker who talked about letting our lives touch other lives. Brent and I had a great conversation about this on the way home, and I saw how it connected to Rob Bell's message as well. Brent said he wanted to really change his mentality about his job here. He can sometimes feel like what he is doing is fairly meaningless, setting up courts or fields or running and getting gatorade at Sam's Club. But he said that he wants to change his mentality so that he really begins to get to know the people that come to the Sports and Fitness Center. For example, there was an older man the other day who wanted to sign up for a Raquet Ball league but had never had anyone teach him how to play, let alone play with him. So Brent spent the next 40 minutes or so teaching this guy how to play raquetball, and even though he told him to look for him if he ever wanted to play again, Brent didn't step out and be intentional and say "Hey, let's meet same time, same place next week." Brent saw that this was an opportunity for what his ministry here is all about....
In the same way, I see that I should be more intentional about touching the lives of my students. Although sometimes I wonder what this will really look like, I know that just being a constant, and positive figure in a lot of their lives is all they need me to be. I was talking with one of my friends who is also a teacher and she said that she is learning that so many of her students have never been loved in a proper and healthy way. She said she feels like the biggest part of her job is to show them what it is like when you are loved correctly.
So, after this time of remediation, I will head back to the classroom. I will take these lessons and wisdom with me. I will know that I am here for a purpose, that I can't go back because I'm not who I was, that God is using this time to make me something greater for Himself, and that I can touch the lives of each student that walks into my classroom. And unlike the Israelites, I pray that I do so without grumbling and complaining, and I pray that I don't forget what my God is capable of doing.
I absolutely love/appreciate/adore Yankee’s Macintosh candle scent. Brent and I recently received a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond (or “BB&B” as Brent loves to refer to it), as a thank you for participating in a friend’s wedding. I hadn’t let myself indulge in the luxury of my favorite Yankee candle, as I have always felt that they are WAY overpriced. However, I convinced Brent to let us use the gift card for a candle I had been coveting for quite some time (I had refrained from using any of our wedding gift cards to purchase one), and that day I left the store the proud owner of a Macintosh scented YANKEE candle. As I carefully held the candle in my arms Brent still didn't quite understand the obsession...his exact words being, "What? It just burns and smells."
We love our apartment, but our neighbors that share a wall with us love to smoke. So occasionally the scent will waft through our cabinets and other crevices, or I’ll cook an, albeit tasty, unreasonably stinky meal, and a candle is simply a necessity. Sure, some may like to use air freshners you spray from a can, or nifty plug ins, but since I was deprived the privilege of burning candles throughout college (which, might I add at this point, even if the college had given us the okay, my roommate, whose father is in the insurance business, would have otherwise convinced us not to burn them), so…I like to “light up.”
So the other night, like so many nights since I have purchased this wonderful (and although I hate to admit it…totally worth the money) candle, I lit the pillar of wax and relaxed in the awesome scent of Macintosh (a very fresh, apple smell, for those of you not familiar with Yankee lingo).
This is when I realized the connection I have to this smell…as “they” say smells evoke more emotions than anything else. As I watched the flames flicker (yes, I appreciate this candle so much, sometimes I just like to watch it burn), the smell brought me back a few years. It was at this point that I realized that one of my favorite teachers in high school always had a Macintosh Yankee candle on her desk. Burning or not, her room typically smelled of this wonderful scent. And as I sat in my apartment here in Louisville so far away from that room in my high school back home, I realized that this smell was helping me remember… and then the next memory flooded in, as if wanting to get its press time as well. All of a sudden I was back in my first car, a little, red ’91 Ford Escort, bumping down the old…beat up…potholed brick street towards the house I grew up in, a little Macintosh Yankee air-freshner dangling from my rear-view mirror.
Isn’t it amazing what smells can trigger? Somehow I realize that my fight to obtain this candle and burn it in our new apartment was an attempt, however weak it may be, to keep drawing some connections to my past…to keep my soul attuned to the life I have been given, both past and present.
Unfortunately, although it says 90+ hours of burn time, my candle of memories is quickly, and quite literally, melting away. I’ve tried cheap imitations, but nothing quite captures everything that Yankee’s Macintosh scent holds for me. So, if you’re ever at a store and see a Yankee Macintosh candle for sale, let me know! Or better yet, buy it, burn it, and maybe somehow you will think of me :)
This past week was my first observation at school, and Kali was oh-so-thoughtful as she always is and sent me these beautiful flowers to school. In the card she simply said, "To the best teacher I've ever had." I, of course, immediately began to cry once I saw them and read the card (Why oh why have I been so emotional), but I enjoyed telling my students all day that my sister had sent them when they asked who they were from. Thanks again Kali! (Sidenote: The observation went great, thank you all for your prayers. My next one is a two weeks from today!)
This weekend I read a book that I had been wanting to read since July, and I finally went grocery shopping. In case people didn't believe me when I said that our shelves and fridge were close to empty, here is proof:
Brent actually said we should make it a game and see exactly how long we could push it. We still had rice, a couple potatoes, one chicken breast, some goldfish, and a couple cans of tomatoe paste, chicken noodle soup, and chicken broth. We could have made it a little bit further, but since it is flu season I told him I wanted to eat healthy. And besides that, I was missing cooking. So I made a list and Brent and I were off to the store. We were very proud of ourselves because we ONLY bought items that were on the list, which felt very disciplined of us. So now, not only do I have a week off, but I have stocked cabinets finally!
Another interesting thing that has happened recently is regarding our garbage disposal. Saturday night I decided I would get a few things ready for pot roast, so that in the morning I could just dump everything in the crock pot as we headed off to church. Well, I was peeling pototoes and carrots etc into the sink, and then ran the garbage disposal. Much to my disapproval, the water started to fill up in the sink...a murky, brown, smelled-like-dirt-and-pototoes water. So I turned off the disposal and immediately started reaching down into it to grab any chunks out, thinking this would release the flow of water again.
Not so fortunate. Instead I ended up rubbing the side of my hand, literally, raw in the process, and the water was still sitting. At the time, Brent was in the shower, and once he got out he came to the rescue. He removed some pipes, we found the...umm...clog, or moutain if you will, and then he reattached here and there and everything works great now! And the potroast was well worth it when we came back from church yesterday! Whew!
Last night was also a good night because I was able to teach our friends, Shane and Meagan, how to play Nerts. Although I had an unfair advantage, as I have been playing that game since I was about 5, it was still a lot of fun and they showed promise for competitive games in the future.
I need to wrap this up now. Hopefully I will be a little bit better about blogging this week. Until next time...
We were also excited this week when we got a CD in the mail with our wedding pictures on it. Our friend, Rebecca Alves, was our photographer and we were oh-so-happy not only with how great she was to work with, but with the beautiful work she did. Vist her website at http://www.myspace.com/journeyswithbarefeet. Here are just a few of our favoriters: I'll try to put up a few more later, it takes awhile to resize them and put them on here.:
We've really been enjoying getting to know the other interns. Last week we spent almost every evening with them, as the two pastors at our church had us all over for supper --one on wednesday and one on friday. The guys were all able to participate in a "golf scramble" at Cincinnati Christian college, and had a blast. Here is Brent and Justin (preaching intern), who accidentally wore the free t-shirt they got that day on the same night! The other night it was late and yet Brent and I were both hungry. So we decided to make some eggs--cooked to order! I pulled out my poacher from Grandma Hazel to poach some for myself, and scrambled Brent's with a little cheese. It was a nice little midnight snack! :) (And Beck, I'm telling you, my eggs where poached perfectly! Thanks for all the lessons.)
One of my wedding presents was the Vidalia CHOP WIZARD! I love it! (Thanks Kelly). You don't just have to use it with onions, either. Last Sunday I decided to make a Zuccini casserole and freeze it for supper sometime later that week. I pulled out my chop wizard and had nicely cubed zucchini, squash, carrots, and onions in no time!
In other news... a pair of my new pants (Anne Taylor Loft Khakis at that!), I'm afraid will have to be laid to rest. I have no idea how this happened, but one day last week I somehow was able to put a nice BLACK mark right square on my butt with a dry-erase marker (I must have really been into what I was teaching, or something). I actually stopped and asked if any of my students had a Tide-To-Go pen...one kid actually pulled one out of his pencil pouch! Even with this immediate (and humiliating) treatment, I was still unable to remove the mark. I got home and tried oxi-clean to no avail. So I got online, did a little research and found that Murphy's Oil Soap is supposedly the best to treating this kind of stuff. I let it soak. I srubbed. It soaked. I scrubbed. After about 3 days I noticed it was starting to fade a bit. I don't know if I have given up yet, but I also don't know if my pants (which already were fairly thin material), will survive such treatment. I try to be very frugal, but this just may be one of those things where I have to throw in the towel (and besides, Brent and I are getting sick from smelling Murphy's Oil Soap!)
This week was a hard one emotionally for me. I think that I'm just finally really homesick, overwhelmed by a new job, and realizing everything that I have been through in the past 4 months (Graduation, marriage, moving, new job, etc!) Brent had the day off on Wednesday (since he is working today), and spent the day cleaning our apartment. It was spotless when I came home. And beyond this...he even pulled the pre-made casserole out of the freezer baked it, added some other stuff to the table, but on a tie, and greeted me at the door when I came home from work. He had even left little notes scattered throughout the apartment with bits of encouragement. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and it truly made my week! Thanks again Brent!