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!
This morning Brent woke me up at about 7 (I think!!!) to say good bye as he left for work (soccer games on Saturday AMs). I felt a smile cross my face as I then rolled over, didn't even bother looking at the clock, and drifted back into sleep. How beautiful is that moment! I then woke up around 9, since I had to use the restroom. I crawled back in bed, and as I was drifting back to sleep I thought, "Kels, you're awake, so get up and enjoy the morning. You've already gotten about 3 hours more sleep then you normally do!" So, unlike most mornings like this, I listened to my head and pulled on some sweatpants, cut some pieces of homemade bread for toast (thanks for the bread machine, mom!), brewed some coffee, and grabbed the book I'm currently reading (and have currently been reading for far too long since I don't have time to read it), and headed out onto our little porch. I leisurely drank my coffee, ate my toast, and read and read and read. At about 10 I was really hot (a combination of the coffee and the fact that it's already about 80 here today in mid-october?! What is that about?), and I came back inside. It was a very refreshing time, and something I haven't allowed myself in awhile.
This past week midterms were due, I was pleased that I didn't get any phone calls from parents complaining about their child's grade. I think this was mainly because I worked my butt off and had kids stay after and retaught and retaught and retaught and then had them retake quizzes etc. unlike all grades were above failing (even if just by .01!!!). My school's grading system/philosophy is interesting. They split grades into two categories: Academic, and Effort. Something can only be deemed and academic grade if it is assessing a state standard. This seems to be hard to accomplish in Language Arts. If we are reading a book and I give them reading questions, I cannot record this as an academic grade. If I have them write daily in their "writer's notebooks" and I grade them, I cannot record this as an academic grade...as you can probably tell, this gets a little hairy. It's a fine line, and it's even harder to keep track of actual "effort." Beyond this, we don't have such a thing as a "D." All grades are A (Excellent), B (satisfactory), C (Needs improvement), or F (Failing). This way, they feel, a student can't merely skate by. THey have to show actual achievement. In theory, all of this is great, but you can imagine it actually being played out.
In other news, my first observation for KTIP is on Monday. I'm starting a poetry unit. It should go okay, but if you think of me around 1 oclock (my time) say a little prayer :). I've already told my students in that class that no matter what they need to act like what I'm saying on Monday is the most interesting thing they have ever heard! :)
I had a great conversation with the other new teacher in our school (who is just across the hall from me). I want to dedicate an entire post to this, so look forward to that later. She just really spoke a lot of biblical wisdom into my life and prayed for me at just the right time. God is always faithful, huh?!
I have a ton of pictures that I have not had the chance to update you all with, so after I post this one I am going to create one more new post today as a sort of "picture update." So please, stay tuned. ...
But then again, my KTIP (kentucky teacher internship program) has started -- which is basically DUMB. It is supposed to be in place to help me be a better teacher, but currently I feel it is actually hindering me from preparing for what I actually need to do in the classroom...anyway. If you ever want to talk about this- I'll fill you in more in person!
This past week was rough on the homesickness side. I think I'm just realizing that it has been 4 months since I've been home, and it's definitely starting to show.
Other then that: Paige got her license! WOOHOO (congrats!), my basketball league at the church will start on Thursday (no broken bones, please), and my fall break starts a week from Friday (can you come any sooner?)
I have oodles and oodles of little things I have been wanting to blog about (scribbled on a post-it note by the computer). Hopefully I will have a reprieve of some sort shortly. In the meantime, pray for my sanity, for speed in grading, and for Brent's patience with my stress (he's been great.)
More to come...now back to those pesky papers.