romeo and juliet die?

My time with the freshman is winding down and although I am excited to have a little free time, I'll miss my time at the high school.

We were able to finish Romeo and Juliet this week [big test Thursday!] It was just fun to finish and see the kids sit silent for just a moment and soak it all in.To read 100 pages of a Shakespeare play is a big accomplishment, and I think they realized this....and to UNDERSTAND it is even bigger! I think they're pretty proud of themselves.

And I'm kind of proud of them too :)


weekends, i prefer the weekends

[The title to this blog is from an old Saturday Night Live sketch with Will Ferrell... it's a song that continues by saying: "Mondays, I hate Mondays. They make me so steamed"]

With only one week left of student teaching to go [well, and the Monday after that!], I have been realizing that my time here at Northwestern is quickly fading. It was strange this morning on the way to church when I realized that I only have a few more Sundays here. This made me recall many of the countless weekends I've spent in this town, all the crazy Saturdays and lazy Sunday afternoons. My freshman year I thought they would never end, and now they are almost a thing of the past.

My weekends here have consisted of many late night walks, card games, movies, and yes, even homework. No matter how great the week was, when Saturday and Sunday rolled around I was always thankful. Now that I have been student teaching, I think my love for the weekends has maybe tripled :) Every weekend from now until May 24 is planned... and then I have a little gig to attend on the 7th, so even though I enjoy the weekends, I'll be busy!

This weekend has been particulary nice as I was able to watch the KU game friday night and play cards with some friends [Rook to be exact, which, if you're not from this region you've probably never heard of]. Yesterday I was able to go to shopping all day with Aunt Linda, some highlights included: Panera Bread, Cold Stone Creamery, getting my invites printed [which will probably be arriving in a mailbox near you soon, if you're reading this :)], a CLEARANCE bargan on a dress, 7 dollar shoes, AND great conversation with Aunt Linda.

Today I woke up and went to church with my roommates, as usual, and had so much fun at the service as today was "Youth Sunday." I watched from a completely different perspective as nearly 20 of my students helped lead the service. And afterwards was POTLUCK! which is always great for a college student. The church I attend has an abundance of college students, and so many of the families bring extra food knowing this, and there is always plenty to go around. I had a fun conversation with my roommates about potlucks at our church's back home, which varied:
Renae's church is in a wealthy neighborhood and so their potlucks are often catered!!! She said they usually run out of food though, so her and her brothers "motor" past the "senior citizens" to get in line first!!
Amy said her church doesn't have very many...a shame. Amy always eats SO much faster than the rest of us, and we said that this talent could work to her advantage at a potluck, as she could get back in line for seconds first... a real trick.
And I said that I can always tell who brought exactly what at my church based on which dish it is served in.

What great memories have been built during these potlucks! I wonder if my new church in Kentucky will have them, as they have thousands of people in attendance every Sunday-- probably not.... Maybe I'll organize something :), and I'll of course have to bring Leola's potatoes!

Only a few more weekends to go... and then I'll leave this quiet Sunday afternoon town behind. And I can say something I don't think I could have said my freshman year: I'll miss it!


it's almost april

... and it snowed/sleeted/rained all day.

enough said.



I had a great trip home over easter break. Just to catch everyone up, here are a few highlights [sorry there are no pictures, I currently have no camera :( ]

- meeting up with my friend Cody who just got back from Afganistan. We had coffee and talked and talked and talked and then it was time for supper so we had supper! It was just a great time to talk face to face with him again.

- thursday night I was able to sit up and have some good conversation with my mom...always a blessing.

- Friday morning I was planning on going to grandma and grandpa's and was SURPRISED by Brent--- who had been in Colorado and wasn't going to be home until later that night--- he and another friend of ours drove through the night so that he could surprise me!

- Eating lunch with my grandparents and seeing the absolutely beautiful bedroom set that they refinished for brent and me.

- ordering wedding bands!

- spending easter with my family...and then Brent's family.

- watching Brent's nephews...3 of them, always fun.

- Helping Brent find a suit for the wedding... he looks sharp!

...and just being home, always a huge blessing. I hope to update more soon, but for now I have papers to grade :)


growing up

With Brent’s visit this past weekend came many a conversation about next year [and a thrilling game of Rumikub in which we discovered Aunt Linda loses it after about 9 p.m. :) love ya!]. We have had many conversations surrounding this topic over the course of this school year, but it seemed that the harder we tried to figure it out the more question marks seemed to appear. However, this weekend was different. There were fewer and fewer question marks and more and more peace.

I’ll try and make this as condensed as possible: Brent has never really been sure of what he wanted to do after he graduated. This ultimately was not a huge deal to me, as I trusted him to eventually get there, and was reassured by his commitment to work hard at whatever—all in all I knew he would provide no matter what. I, on the other hand, have known what I wanted to do [teach] since I was in my mother’s womb—or sometime around then. Early this school year Brent had widdled down his options to most likely grad school in Southern Missouri somewhere for a post-bach. degree in teaching probably. However, he took a church planting class in New York City and a different path appeared.

He met a man who was part of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky who had started a sport’s and fitness ministry program there. Once the man said this, something clicked and Brent remembered reading about this program, and remembered the excitement and passion he felt about this ministry. A little chat and a few emails later we realized there was a sport’s ministry internship position open for next year at their church. So, shortly before Christmas Brent decided that he would apply for the position and see where God took it. I’ll just say I was a little more than skeptical.

February rolled around and a call came and a phone interview was set up. Around this same time a position opened up for a Jr. high English position at my old school back home. Question marks EVERYWHERE! I was super excited about the possibility of going back home, and Brent was excited they were interested. I uploaded and printed an application and Brent talked with the main sport’s ministry guys for almost an hour for his phone interview.

His conversation ended with a job offer.

Long, hard conversations ensued for us—we felt if we picked his option we were choosing him and my option we were choosing me. We wanted to both feel right about the decision, whichever was made.

And then… it just clicked. I don’t know exactly how but one day he said, “Okay, what are we going to do?” And I said, “Well… what do you think?” And he said, “I think we need to go to Louisville.” and I said, “Me too.”

It just seemed like God had opened up all the right doors for us. The people at the church have been very helpful in giving us information about schools in the area for a teaching position for me, and even said they would potentially help me get a job at the church if I can’t find a teaching job right away. We’ll only be about 2 1/2 or 3 hours from Dan and Kali! We just feel a lot of peace about the decision and even though it was hard for me to not try the possibility of teaching back home, we just say, “maybe someday…who knows?!”

At church last Sunday we sang The Summons which just really seemed to encapsulate all that we are feeling about this decision. And as I stood by him and we sang these words, I knew we’d be taken care of:

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?

Will you let my life be shown will you let my name known?
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Check out Southeast Christian at their website: http://www.southeastchristian.org/index.aspx
Type in sports ministry in the search bar and check out the facility!

Thanks for your prayers on this matter…please don’t stop :) I’m sure there is much more to come.


spring melt

If you are not from Iowa or anywhere north of there you do not truly understand what this term means. Yes, in other midwestern states this term may be used... for example I have heard it used in my home state of Missouri, however, this typically means the ground is thawing and the little bit of snow that is around from a few weeks ago is disappearing.

However, in Iowa SPRING MELT means that your seasonal depression is just about over. It means that you can see patches of grass emerging that have been hidden since November.It means that you can once again smell the hog farms a few miles away, but it doesn't even matter because you no longer have to zip up your winter coat [because it does not mean that you can stop wearing your winter coat just yet--- that will come in May]. But to not have to wear scarves, and gloves, and hats, and boots, and long underwear at all times is a nice treat.

Spring melt means that little kids are covered in mud from head to toe from now until May, and a chorus of voices can be heard "Mom, Dad...can we go play in the patch of grass this is showing in front of Billy's house?" It also means that high schoolers who parents no longer dress them begin wearing shorts to school, just because the weather man said there isn't a chance snow today!

Although it is muddy and mucky and your car is coated in earth, I will proudly and gladly hike up my pant legs and avoid the biggest puddles and enjoy the SPRING MELT!

Now, come June we'll see if the mounds of snow that have been pushed back in parking lots are gone, you know, the walls of snow that are 25 feet tall and 40 yards wide... but for now, this is enough :) It has to be enough... or I may go crazy.


in the classroom

Welcome to my freshman class... here we are reading Romeo and Juliet! Everyone looks enthralledPop questions for candy is always a hit!

Explaining part of a sonnet to a group of freshman-- I can't talk without my hands

I look a little tired in all of these pictures...
Here I am explaining how women at this time would pinch their cheeks to get color on them since they didn't have Mary Kay to help out-- girl one looks confused and boy one looks interested

Thanks for the sweet dress slacks Brent :)
Here I am in my senior class discussing personal narrative writing- unfortunately he [my professor] didn't take many pictures in this classroom.


I got a few responses to my "Resume Really" post and here are a few I was asked to add to the list :
-guitar hero [thanks for thinking I'm good at that Paige :)]

-making Brent the happiest man in the world [gee, I wonder who wrote that?]

-Getting flat tires [this is very true... in my first year of driving I believe I had 6!]

-Going days at a time without showering [I'm getting a little better...:)]

- Writing/making cards that are meaningful yet concise [although many of my English professors tell me I'm being too VERBOSE!

- Making a pack of gum last a really long time by only chewing 1/2 sticks at a time [it's just as refreshing]

-Eating ungodly amounts of cheese

-Finding cute shoes

-Playing "Follow the Leader" all by myself [another something I'm getting a little better about :)]

- And I believe she was being sarcastic which I don't appreciate but just for you, Torri: Karaoke!-- and she also said not shaving! :)

I think I have exhausted the list.


that butter feeling

A weird little something I wrote:

When I am not in love, which was a short period of time when I was 5, I eat butter from the table. On a little saucer warmed by the August heat, it trembles at my touch and conformes to the prints on my forefinger.

I pinch off a little more than "just enough to satisfy" and I make sure I am alone. I bring the solid, liquid to my lips and gently, firmly press the cream into my mouth. At first I don't taste I just feel the smooth, the melting. Then it slides to my cheek and I begin to taste it.

I relish in the beauty of it. It tastes like swinging on the tire in the tree out back and it tastes like the rain on the window and it tastes like being young enough to run through sprinklers naked.

My eyes close automatically. It slides down my throat and it is now, forever, a part of me.

I do not know at the time, but I will come back to this butter feeling again and again. Yes, again and yes, again.


my left hand is different forever

A few reasons I am writing this post: Brent is coming today! His visits to Iowa are a big deal and this will probably be a last until graduation... it feels like just yesterday we were both crying and trying to figure out how in the world we were going to make it through 4 years of this! But we survived the distance and only have 3 more months....Also, Sunday marks the 1 year of our engagement-- which also hardly seems possible. I wrote this a little while ago but I thought it may be appropriate to share now:

It is already slightly scratched on the bottom and I’ve only had it 8 months. This wear makes sense though, as it goes with me everywhere. He gave it to me after a long time of wanting it and when he slid it on my finger, breath held, praying it would fit, my ownership of it was complete.

But I know it is not just mine, this ring on my left hand.

It is also his. I see it and think of him and the hours he put into building a wall to buy it. Landscaping was hot and had long days but decent pay, and this symbol on my finger lets me know he will always provide. And this ring is his in the same way that I am his.

But it is also my parents. I wouldn’t know how to wear it if it weren’t for them. And so I look at it and I see my mom holding my Dad after he experienced injustice and I see my dad rubbing her shoulders after a long day of changing diapers.

And it is my sister’s. In its shine I see her face, not perfect, not flawless, but right. A face that taught me how to behave in the first place—taught me how to maintain a relationship when it is hard.

And it is my town’s—a town that taught me to be proud of a man who would work hard enough to put the diamond on my finger.

But mostly it is mine.
And I wear it and I hear in it the voices of everyone. I look at it and I know who I am and who’s I am, and I know what made this ring will sustain.

Yes, it is enough.


hindsight is always 20/20

I think there will be a lot more things like this that I regret when I look back on my life. This was a lesson for me in being a person who makes people feel like they are worthwhile...no matter what. I think we all have things we would have done differently in high school-- here is one of my stories:

I don’t know how to start this piece because I don’t know what it was like to sit in their gym shorts or see their reflection when looking in the mirror. I don’t remember the panic rising in my sternum when the teacher said, Find a group for this assignment. I can’t quite recall what it was like to push myself to the front, only to be looked through and picked last.

But I do remember the question Will you dance with me and my answer haunts me still. I remember the look in his eyes, full of hope and fear and self-depreciation, his untucked Hawaiian print shirt flowing around his Carhart jeans. Oh, actually, Jesse already asked me for the next dance. The guy’s name was interchangeable in this response, of course.

I didn’t have a problem being seen with Andy. I wasn’t offended by his presence. I made conversation with him, and I wasn’t even afraid to sit with him in the cafeteria from time to time. But this was different, this was skin next to skin and his sweat close to mine. This was taking an awkward high school dance to the next level—this was actually showing him my humanity and communicating dignity with my sways to the music.

Oh, actually, Kyle already asked me for the next dance. He was persistent though, and as I would dance with Troy, John, or Craig, I would always catch a glimpse of him sitting on the bleachers, still with that look of hope and fear and laughing at something his friend Travis had said, who was inevitably sitting next to him. Oh, actually, Jaret already asked me for the next dance.There was too much humanness at stake. It would be too messy.

Oh, actually…

And looking back I see myself swaying to Aerosmith, lights flickering all around on the old gym floor. And there they are, sitting on the bleachers, and I scream to myself above the music, them! Dance with them! Dance with Andy.


My Resume Really

I am currently in the job hunting process and part of this means constantly revisiting my resume and getting it just right….however, I wish I could send in my real resume…what I am truly great at. It may look something like this:

--Please consider me for your company/school/business. I could be a great asset as I am quite talented at all of the following:

Getting the last little bit of lotion out of the bottle, even if this means cutting it open which provides at least another week’s worth of moisturized skin.

Applying mousse evenly through a lot of hair.

Folding underwear, which when done correctly, consists of three folds.

Dipping oreos with a slight rotation as to ensure that my fingers do not end up in the milk.

Responding to emails.

Loading dishwashers.

Steaming vegetables until they are just the right amount soft.

Eating foods high in fat content.

Making snow angels.
Scraping car windshields covered in ice.

Reading books that are everything but what I was assigned to read.

Catching students off guard who are talking/sleeping in class.

Finding treasure at thrift stores.

Avoiding dusting.

Still having some of the white candy stick left to enjoy after the rest of the Fun-dipis gone.

Cleaning retainers in vinegar.

Blogging instead of doing lesson plans….

[any you think I should add to the list]?


words that sing... huh?

When I first began this blog I shared a little bit from a piece I wrote about why I love words and writing. I only shared the first half and so today I thought I would share the rest:
I don't remember when the simple and complex sounds of words grabbed my attention, but when they did I could no longer neglect their beauty, their potential.
I love words on a page.
I love words turned to song.
I love the sounds, the looks, but mostly I love words on my tongue. I love turning them over and over in my mouth and pushing them from front to back and back again. I love feeling out the rounded vowels over the arch in my tongue, or kicking a hard consonant against my palet.
I love that if you love words you know what I mean-- that you know what it is like to dance through the alphabet and pour back into its source.


a granparent's dwelling

I remember the farm where my mom grew up, mostly from stories and pictures. I'm the cut-off for the grandchildren, I've discovered-- Everyone older then me remembers the sack-swing and the hayloft-- everyone younger doesn't. I do remember walking to the bridge on the old gravel road that marked the farm's lines. In NW Iowa on a gravel road in the country you can see the surrounding farms for miles. Here, at my grandparents, you could see into Minnesota. On that old bridge Grandma and I would collect rocks and line them along the rusted railing. ONce we had ten or so, we would each walk down, as quickly as we could, flicking the rocks off, kerplunking our way to bliss.

Once they moved to the house in town, I soon forgot about the lined rocks on the railing as I was distracted by my new infatuation: the basement. Making my way down the steps, sandwiched between two wood paneled walls, I could feel the excitement rising. Under the bright flouresent lights, I would first make my way to the pool table. I ran my fingers along the felt, picturing my grandpa doing the same. His scent lingered in this place-- the smell of toothpicks and authority. I could see him in his thin, button-up shirts, a devilish smile on his face. I grabbed the maroon pool balls, leaving the solids and stripes in their place near the sticks-- both of these were items I knew I was not allowed to touch unless supervised. The maroon balls rattled around on the table, and I was again kerplunking bliss into the silence. Occassionally I would get fiesty and one of the deep red balls would drop onto the tiled floor and the crack, crack , crack of it bouncing away made me freeze in my tracks. I would wince at the sound, praying no one would hear it upstairs. After I was bored with the table, or had pocketed all the balls, I would make my way to the dress-up bin. Pulling out the old dresses, feeling their rough fabrics and letting their smooth places flow over my fingers. After snugging up a dress that was 5 sizes too big and finding the right hat to go with it, I would make my way up stairs... through the kitchen... and into the living room. I would twirl and my audience would ooohh and awww until I was satisfied that I was the prettiest of them all.

Yesterday I was able to visit my grandma in her new dwelling place. She resides their alone now, in her little chair with a quilt over her shoulders. After some conversation I help her by telling her what is in her drawer, and I help her feel where things are located, her vision having long deteriorated. She drops a hard candy on the floor and instead of feeling embarrased for her I drop one too, the familiar kerplunking of long ago. And then we settle down and she asks about my wedding and I begin to explain what my dress looks like. And again I am back in the old living room twirling around... she ooohs and awwws and although she can no longer see what I will look like, I still feel the prettiest of them all.

Although time continues to swirl around us and things continue to grow and change, we can hold onto the things that are most important. We can hold onto those moments that made us who we are.

sunday evening

I often get on other people's blogs to find that they haven't put up a new post in well over a week. This frustrates me. Then I usually click over to my own blog and for some strange reason, no one seems to want to update it either! I'm sorry that everyone is so lazy.

Spring break officially started for Northwestern students, but for me this only means that there are less people on campus and a gauranteed parking spot right in front of my apartment. I have to stick around for student teaching and all of my roommates are still here for basketball, so we're making do.

My parents also came up this weekend which was so nice. It's weird to think that may have been the last time they come to just kick back while I'm at Northwestern, as Graduation in May will be too busy to consider it a real trip :)

I will be starting Romeo and Juliet with the freshman this week. I have to constantly remind myself that this is their first experience with Shakespeare, and I have to remember how daunting the language can be. Hopefully they warm up to it and enjoy the play. My professor is coming to observe tomorrow [if you don't know how student teaching works, occassionally my professor must come in order to give me a grade...last time he observed he said that it appeared I had been at teaching for a lot longer than I really had].

Other then that, same ole same ole. Brent and I are taking bigger strides into our decision for where we'll be next year-- which is both exciting and scary at the same time. Hopefully in the near future I can update everyone on our status---hopefully in the near future I can update MYSELF on our status :)

Well, all for now. Hopefully someone will be better about blogging this week :)