First, let me explain. For the past few days I have known that I was coming up on Q. Q! of all letters. I remember playing the wonderful travel game of "alphabet" and dreading J...but then Q even more! (Thank goodness for Flying J's and Antiques!). So, I had contemplated some words such as: Quizzical, Quaint, Quiet... And thought I could figure out something to write about.

Well, here I am at Kali's (which I'll write about later...we went to the DOVE AWARDS!!), and since both Kali and Dan have to work until around 1 today, I thought I would go outside on their porch with their nice chairs Grandpa and Grandma made them and read my book and enjoy my day off and the awesome weather. ...

I lasted about 40 minutes before I realized there was sweat RUNNING down my back and chest and on the back of my legs. My face was also sweaty and red, and so I jutted back inside quickly, ashamed I couldn't bear the heat a little longer. I stepped in the door and lifted up the hem of my shorts and saw a faint TAN LINE-- from 40 minutes of April sun exposure. And my first thought was, "Qua?!"

-- This is where I must explain. In college I had a dear friend, Becker. Becker was the queen of witty sayings, jokes that had me crying, facial expressions that were second to none, and the phrase, "Qua?" I am not quite sure how it all began. Maybe a mix of some Spanish terms she was learning, maybe it just came out one day, but in our dictionary this expression could be defined as: a very surprised, almost exasperated, sometimes confused, WHAT?!

So as I stood looking at my fresh tan lines and Qua? flowed from my lips I thought two things:

1) I am thankful to have inherited my mother's dark, easily tan-able skin. I remember days at the pool (which were a treat after snapping beans in the summer :), and I would be splashing around in the shallow end, Kali, somewhere lost in the deep end for hours! I remember mom sitting on the end of the blue lined pool, navy and green suit, feet dangling in the water. She had endless, or almost endless, patience for my "Watch this!" and "Count how long-s." I remember her birthmark on her thigh that got darker and darker over the course of the summer on her thigh. But mostly, I remember floundering over to her, grabbing her legs with my pruned hands, and laying my body down on her hot, tan skin that smelled of sunscreen and chlorine. This is a memory I have packed away and that resurfaces when I put my hands on my thighs after sitting in the sun, just to feel the heat radiate from them. It takes me back to the edge of that pool with my mom.
2) I am thankful for college friendships in which there was safety in creating words and sayings and laughter. I am thankful that even now, Qua comes to mind and I can look back and laugh at previous encounters with this word.

Now, if you don't mind, I have cooled off, poured myself a glass of water, and would like to return to the porch and read and watch water condensate on the outside of my glass and put my hands on my thighs and feel them burning with memories.



For those of you that are unaware, Louisville has the biggest fireworks show in the country every year to kick off 2 weeks worth of Derby celebrations. It is called "Thunder over Louisville" Another big part of this celebration day is a large airshow. Thunder was this past weekend:

We did not want to face the large crowds (700,000 this year!), and even though the show is spectacular, we decided to make it a day with friends and barbecue and games.

We decided to do kabobs on the grill and they were delicious. I also brought some corn and potatoes to fill up the big boys a little more :) (Question: Our friend Justin said that a man at the grocery store told him that kabobs cook better if you cook everything that is the same on a stick. I have done them before where I put peppers, onions etc all on the stick with the meat. What do you do and/or what is the best method? Regardless...they are delicious!)

Afterwards we headed to the fifth floor at the church where we could see, even though we were roughly 15 miles from dowtown, the fireworks. They set them off from barges on the river, and a lot are set off from the bridge that connects Indiana and Kentucky (which is why we are called Kentuckiana...which I hate, if I haven't mentioned that before). It really is an impressive show.

We actually had friends drive from Joplin to come watch, and they were planning on driving back to St. Louis to spend the night that evening. Well, traffic is ridiculous leaving town, so they ended up crashing at our place and going to church with us Sunday morning. It was a fun weekend, and Brent and I are thinking that maybe next year we'll brave the crowds to see the big event! (Want to come?)


Off & Open


Yesterday a colleague of mine told me about a relative of hers that teaches Juniors in high school. She has an interesting "activity" that she does with them nearly daily, that she calls Stillness. What does Stillness encompass? Well, it's all in the name. She sets a timer for 5 minutes and in silence, everyone in the room is simply still. They turn off.

I thought about it for a minute and kind of brushed it off, knowing that juniors and 8th graders are different kinds of creatures.

But then, I brought it up with my students and they were very eager to try it. After a couple rules (namely, you can't talk, you can't sleep), I sat down and the five minutes began. Five minutes of silence. In every class the first minute was slightly uncomfortable for most. Most of us have not taught ourselves how to be still. But interestingly, after that initial minute or so, the students settled into "the zone."

As a Christian, I was ashamed that I don't do this more. In 4 blocks of classes throughout the day yesterday, I was able to practice stillness for 20 total minutes. Although it is a little different because I am still in charge of 30 bodies at the time, those 20 minutes lifted so much stress off my back for the day. I used a lot of the time to pray for certain students while they were in my presence. It was a really great experience. Today I'm going to have them reflect and write one their "stillness," and hope they want to do it again. Some may say this simply a time-waster, a perfectly good waste of 5 minutes of "instructional time," but when I was sitting here in this nice little community we've built yesterday in complete silence, I realized that this could be more powerful to some of my students than 30 hours of instructional time.

I challenge you to try 5 minutes of stillness today!


Interestingly enough, this connects quite nicely to the above story. As you know, I give my students 10 minutes to write in class everyday. (If you practice writing everyday, you become better at writing everyday). Well, a little while ago I used the inaugural poem, Praise Song for the Day, as a writing invitation. It was a day I decided to write with my students. It was a rather splotchy piece of work, but after yesterday's Stillness, I thought it would be fitting to post these two together. Here is what I wrote:

As I sit in my classroom and read the line: "all about us is noise," and then "each day we go about our business walking past each other..." I know it is true. I know we don't stop and notice one another. I know we don't really look
or listen
or feel.

We do.

We do enough to get by and are on our way.

Them. And Me.

Me, the teacher who wants to make a difference; who is too young and new to be hardened by all of this already.

But do I ever really stop to look and listen past the noise. In their eyes? Do I stop to hear them say something, or do I snap because they are saying something without my permission?

When I smell smoke on their 13 year old breath and see no sleep in their eyes, do I stop and love, or roll my eyes at parents who haven't loved enough?

All about us is noise.
& let the light in.


new, N-laws, neat, Nathan & Natalie (updated)


I thought it was interesting when I realized that I would be on N around the time of Easter because the word "new" just seems to scream at me during this favorite holiday of mine. Because of Easter/ because of what Christ has done we have a NEW hope in which we can live. (Sunday our pastor said that HOPE is mentioned 71 times in the new testament... and only ONE of those times is BEFORE the resurrection of Christ). What a hope we have in being NEW creations in Him...the weak is now strong and death is now life! (Here is our Easter picture)

I hope you all had a blessed Easter!

N-Laws: (getting creative)

This was the first major holiday that Brent and I would not be going home to celebrate, but we were fortunate enough to have Beck and Joan (his parents) come to visit us. It was so great to have family around, and when I'm around these two incredible people I understand more why Brent is the patient, kind-hearted, and thoughtful person that he is. Thanks Beck and Joan, for everything! (I will post pictures when I get home to upload them... I'm here late today for Student-Led conferences...actually, here late every night this week except Friday for something! )


For those of you that didn't know, today is my birthday (and it's completely okay if you didn't know). This is the first birthday that I am spending married. Brent knows the past birthday traditions of my family: waking up to a homemade sign from my dad, a crepe paper decorated dining room, a cake by mom....Ever since those birthday's of my youth I have felt slightly disappointed when I wake up on my birthday.

Well, not today! Brent has made an incredible effort to make me feel loved and appreciated (he may someday regret having expending this much energy on the FIRST one...and maybe should have built up to it :) I was a little bummed that I would have to be at school until about 7 on my birthday, thinking the day would be wasted on meetings and papers...

When I woke up and walked out of our bedroom door I was inundated with sticky notes! Everywhere there was a note saying how much Brent appreciated me and was wishing me a happy birthday- on the clock, on the TOILET!, on the mirror, on my lunch he had packed for me the night before, in my school bag, on my cell phone (everywhere he knew I would look in my rushed mornings). Then!, after driving to school already feeling blessed I had a knock on my classroom door at about 8:45...in walked BRENT with an ICE CREAM CAKE (only my FAVORITE!) He had brought plates and everything and we shared the cake as a little breakfast treat! (It said, "Happy Birthday Kelsey" but we made a mess of it before I took a picture!)He then gave me a present (as if he hadn't done enough)... TWO seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.! A show me and my college roommates LOVED, but one that I never owned. (Season 3 and 6 if you were wondering). He also gave me a Starbucks gift card, showing me that he knows me oh-so-well! He hung out for awhile, and then, unfortunately, he had to go to work and I had to run copies and make plans for today.

I have also had several student bring be cards and treats! One student even gave me a package of double stuffed oreos and a picture frame! I feel so blessed and loved today.

Thanks Brent, for making this such a wonderful day!

Nathan and Natalie: (From my trip to Iowa! I used to babysit Nathan and I got to meet his sweet sister. I painted him the canvas for his room, and he seemed to like it. How cute are they?!)


monotony, maybe, and moment

a b c d e f g h i j k l M! (although looking back I realize I never did "a"): Those of you who have just joined us on this alphabetic journey, welcome.


For those of you that didn't notice, I changed my background. I believe this is the 4th, maybe even 5th time I have changed my blog's background. I am not sure why, but I can't stand the monotony of the SAME THING all the time. (Those of you who have blogs, please do not feel the need to change your background for me. I spend a lot of time on my page, thus the monotonous feelings that have arisen within me.)

Once I realized this feeling, I thought back to several things that have been like this in my life. First would be my bedroom I grew up in. My family members and elementary school friends could attest to this. I changed my room (which was NOT very big) more than I changed my underwear at the time (sadly enough, that just may not be an overstatement...which my friends and family members may also attest to)! In that small space my parents were gracious enough to let me "explore the possibilities" and BOY did I!

I can distinctly remember moving my bed in ever possibly position. This was an easy task as it was on rollers, on a wood floor, and was a twin. I could swirl that puppy around quick (Once I had spent the previous 4 days picking up everything off the floor-- I had a problem with this as well-- I remember I once found an egg that a fellow classmate and I had won an egg-drop contest with SEVERAL months earlier; I obviously felt a connection to the thing that I had saved from inevitable doom while being dropped from atop the slide, so I made a "nest" in my bedroom which eventually was buried...now, where was I? Oh yes...) So I would move my bed and "rearrange." But it didn't stop there...oh no! Not for this girl. I remember making a "reading corner" one time. I had a "pet net" (remember those?! See picture below) in one corner and around its edges, to enclose the space, I hung old gauze curtains and placed a lamp inside. I then hung a rainbow-streamer-thing (that is the best description I can give it, sorry), and I was in my own little world.One other ingenious decorating move that broke the monotony for me in that small living space was when I decided to collect "got milk" adds (and anything remotely related: i.e. cows, milk jars etc). Well, if you don't recall there were A LOT of "got milk" adds back in the day, and I soon had every available space covered...every...including my ceiling, dressers, closets, and a couple spaces on my windows. Wow. If I had pictures, I would post them. Mom and dad, thanks for not destroying my dreams and letting me create....however disturbing it may have been for you to walk in my room! ( I could write many more "decorations" I had throughout the years in my room...but lest I bore you with the details, or severely disturb you with them, I will move on).

Maybe: ?

Today was a big day...

Last night I stayed late at school and almost completed my KTIP paperwork (Kentucky Teacher Internship Program OR Kelsey's Trip Into Purgatory). This has been the longest, almost completely worthless "program." My dad usually says that stuff like this is just the big wigs wanting to hold hands and sing kumbiya (I don't think I've ever tried spelling that, so that is probably incorrect...but it's the song "Kumbiya, my Lord....Kumbiya" It's a different language. Whatever. Moving on.) Well, this was a little more than that. It required 100 documented hours outside of school (on top of what I already needed to do outside of school as a first year teacher), plus 50 hours in school meeting. This amounted to oodles of paper work, lesson plans, reflections ya da ya da ya da.

Moral of this story? I finished my last official document today! I still have to sit through the final meeting where they critique everything, but as one of the other teacher's said today, "Yeah, but by this point you've learned how to sleep with your eyes open, haven't you?" Another teacher who went through this horrible process last year said she is going to take Brent and I out to celebrate!

(Disclaimer: I know this sounds like I have a horrible attitude, and maybe I do, but don't judge me until you have gone through KTIP. )

So, I MAY be done with this whole process. We'll see what they say...


When I was driving home today (in my "new" car), I noticed some of the trees that had already let out their buds had begun to wither a little. We had been having consistently gorgeous weather, and the grass has turned brilliant green, some early bloomers have sprung, and some trees have begun to sprout. However, yesterday and today were chilly which had an affect on these courageous sprouts.

I was wondering, how often do we rush into things before we should, like the early buds on the trees? We may have a week of 70 degree weather in our own lives and before we seek God's opinion in the matter, we do our own "sprouting." Wouldn't it be better if we let it soak in, then sought God to see if it was okay to come out? I have always struggled with patience, and today when I looked at the trees and realized some of them will suffer for their early blooms, I realized the beauty in being patient.


laughs, lonesome, loved, & length

I am still going strong on "l"!


After getting back from Missouri, I still had a few days remaining of spring break. Brent and I have always enjoyed spending time together, and I think now we realize even more what a blessing time together is, after all the time we spent apart. One thing I absolutely love about being with Brent is his ability to make me laugh. He may seem like a quiet, serious guy at first, but there are times that I am just about to keel over he makes me laugh so hard. This was definitely the case throughout our time dating, and it is definitely the case now. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the remainder of my break with Brent laughing-- even if we were cleaning cars, cutting his hair, cooking supper-- it didn't matter! Thanks Brent, for the humor you bring to my life daily, and for never letting me take myself too seriously.


After writing about my observation of our unwilingness to branch out and "impose" a "hello" to others when travelling, I felt compelled to heed my own advice. I flew out of Kansas City into Chicago-- and from there to Louisville. Well, it was raining in all 3 locations which totalled about 2 hours worth of delays. I didn't change plans in Chicago, but me and baout 5 other passengers had to remain on the plan we had just landed in which woudl be our continued flight to Louisville. Most of us took advantage of moving to the front, and during this transition I noticed the guy behind me was reading a British Literature text book! Any good English major could not pass this up, and since we would be sitting there who-knows how much longer, I decided to "impose." I asked, by chance, if he was an English major...this sparked a conversation for the reander of the time on that plan. (I found out he even goes to KU--rock chalk jayhawk!)- from family to weddings, to books, to careers, to apple cider, we discussed a lot. At one poinw he said, "I always want to talk to people, but I just never quite know how to start a conversation!" Well, that is something I am good at, and even though I'll probably never see the kid again, it was nice to have a conversation with someone instead of merely bumping shoulders and staring at the clock for time to pass. I wonder how many other want to have a conversation but just don't know how to start?


Here are a couple of pictures I snapped while at home, where I feel loved so much!

It snowed pretty much the whole time I was home...and even though I was slightly jealous of my student's tans today, these sights were well worth seeing:
Mom and I even made a trip up to Baker's...and a trip down to the "toy basement..." Not a THING has changed since I was a kiddo:
There happened to be one dino-rawr left (see above linked story I previously wrote), so mom and I of course had to grab it! There were a couple rips in the stitching (imagine how long this thing has been around?!), so they cut us a deal: $4!
Paige drove us over to "the rock" where we used to walk when we lived in town. I remember barely being able to climb up the thing!
It is good to be at Aunt Linda's, where Blue Bunny Ice Cream flows like wine! (And they let you eat out of the carton! )
Oh, those who teach English! Supper with Trish and Tricia-- don't worry, we had food, not just glasses with ice...
Also: our "new" car! Why is this under "loved" you may ask? Because Brent's dedication to finding us a good car was truly a labor of love! Thanks Brent...it is wonderful!!

At lunch today I was discussing how much school is left (I have discovered that teachers do this just as much, if not more, than students), and we ahve 42 days left.... add in state testing, bless it's heart, and end of the year activities, and we ahve baout 20ish more full days of teaching! Woo hoo! I think it is time to say: I SURVIVED!



I wanted to post some pictures from my trip but I am feeling slightly unmotivated at the moment to actually get out my camera, plug it in, upload pictures...ya da ya da ya da...give me a break! It's my last day of spring break and then it's hi-ho-hi-ho...

You get the picture. But because I had envisioned using "kodak" for ' k' , because I have a "kodak" camera (clever, I know)...I thought I would still stick with the picture idea. I know this is kind of a long time in coming, but here is a website where you can go check out ALL the pictures to our wedding (or just a few if you'd like). There are several albums and ours obviously is "Brent and Kelsey Wedding." It will say that it is locked but there is a "hint" to unlock it and it's just initials. Enjoy! Let me know what you think/ if any of you would like some (as I still haven't placed an order...woops!)




In keeping with my alphabet theme, I thought of the word joy. I thought this was quite fitting for my trip home/up north, so for my entry I wanted to simply write on some "joys" I have noticed during my trip (I always seem to be a bit more introspective on these trips, and as those that have often observed my teaching say I am "reflective by nature..." whatever that means!?! :)

Joys: (in no particular order)

- The miracle of flight.
- Seeing one's mother after an absence, no matter how old.
- Seeing your luggage actually appear.
- Hearing your grandpa say, "Be careful" every time he says goodbye.
- Seeing your dad laugh so hard he cries when you are recounting a story about you and your sister (Kali, the one where you slip on the icy steps, spill grapejuice everywhere, and proceed to then blame me!)
- Seeing the sign "Entering Dekalb County"
- Seeing the sign "Entering Sioux County"
- Smelling the signs that you are, in fact, in Sioux County
- Watching snow fall in the spring, as it should. :)
- Szcheswan's chinese (which you will probably never be able to spell correctly), and thanking Mary as you pick up your order.
- Having Grandma Schoon holding your hand.
- A hardware store's basement full of toys that hasn't changed since you were a kid.
- Having to go to the bathroom so bad and knowing you can't make it home and knowing it's okay to pull off on the next gravel road.
- Reading a good book.
- Having time to read a good book.
- Being at Aunt Linda's, and finally being okay with how the water tastes :)
- Seeing a little boy you used to babysit.
- Above mentioned boy wanting you to still read books to him.
- Holding a newborn (she's beautiful, Carrie and Eric)
- Having coffee with an old friend who you have held when she was crying and who has returned that same favor.
- Getting to use your brights, something you have long since not had the need for in the city
- Still remembering your old radio pre-sets.
- Your mom's home cooking
- Crawling into a freshly made bed with newly washed sheets that you had nothing to do with
- Cheese in the refrigerator and oreos in the cabinet just for you
- Driving a car that you know won't break down (Thanks mom and dad #2, I was never so sure I would arrive somewhere!)
- Still being so in love with someone that even though you are having a great time you miss him like crazy
- Hugging someone you held in the hospital, even if they almost look you in the eye now.
- Microwaves (okay, this isn't something nostalgic about my trip, but hey, let's admit that they are incredible!)
- Driving through towns where you could close your eyes and probably still get where you needed to go.
- Having professors sit in their office and chat with you for an hour and half and still care about you.
- Eating lunch with an old roommate's brother.
- Coming across a "road closed" and having the truck in front of you pull over, roll the window down, and ask you if you know of any gravel roads that will get him where he needs to go
- Knowing gravel roads that will get him where he needs to go.
- Dutch names.
- Going back to a favorite thrift store.
- Your mom still buying your kind of shampoo to keep in the shower for you.
- About 15 hugs in your old church before you have even entered the sanctuary.
- Finding old notes from your "high school sweetheart" in your dresser drawer at home, and reading them with a prayer in your heart thanking God that man became your husband.
- Doing laundry at Aunt Linda's (it was just a pair of jeans, but I had to for old time's sake!)
- Gravel roads, camouflage, and hunter orange
- Eating supper with two ladies that took you under their wings and made you absolutely love your entire student teaching process, and laughing with them like you used to.
- Having this many things to consider "joys.

I'll post pictures when I get back to Louisville (flying back tomorrow night).