X (P90) and eXodus

I guess I didn't realize exactly how busy the end of the school year gets. Hence the space in between this and the last blog post.

For those of you that haven't seen the long, crazy infomercials, P90X is a set of workout DVDs (I believe there are 13 total). It is supposed to be a "revolutionary" new workout, implementing the idea of "muscle confusion." Without muscle confusion, one can workout for a year and after about 3 or 4 months you won't notice much change. Brent has noticed this in his own life, as he has been consistently lifting weights 3 days a week since last fall. At first he noticed a lot of change, but now, he has plateaued.

A few people have told us about P90X, and several of our friends are going through the series... and they say it is a true workout. Well, Brent decided that we have to do this. It is a 90 day commitment, and after 30 days the workout changes (therefore, muscle confusion).

We are ordering the DVDs and will begin when they arrive. I'll let you know if I'm alive at the end of it all!


We knew the time was coming. Yesterday, it was upon us. Our great friends, Shane and Meagan, loaded the trailer and headed off...and we followed them. (Okay, so that part wasn't planned; I'll fill you in).

Friday night Brent and I brought supper over as they finished up packing. I was feeling a little lousy, with the start of a bad head cold, but we got everything ready to go for the next day of packing.
Brent and I even managed to help them clean some ice cream out of their freezer!

I didn't even know that such a thing as this existed: Puffs with VICKS! Shane and I really enjoyed the smell of vicks, and it helped clear my head some.
We headed back over Saturday morning, planning on simply helping them load up the truck, the suv, and the trailer and then waving as they drove off into the sunset.

Well...things didn't go quite as planned. Once we (and by we I mean Shane and Brent) got all the big stuff loaded into the trailer, we quickly realized we would be needing another truck...or two or three. We were all making phone calls, tracking down someone who would be willing to lend us a truck, when Brent and Shane decided they could maybe get enough more stuff in the trailer that it would just take our car for extra help. Thus began a crazy game of life sized "tetris" as they called it! You would think that 3 hours into all this these guys would have been at their wits end-- well not these two! They were cracking themselves up with each box they accomplished to find a space for. Brent said, "And just like the original Exodus, we created another miracle..." They actually accomplished fitting enough stuff in the trailer to only need our car!

They were thrilled with themselves and just kept laughing. (Please note what Shane is holding in his hand: There was not a single spot it would fit...so I got to hold it on my lap as we drove to their home town).

Their little home town is directly on the Ohio river and it was a lot of fun to unload, walk around with them, and they even treated us to supper because they felt bad that we "had" to make the trip. We were happy to help, but a little sad that they left. They are currently looking for jobs in this area though, and hoping to move back soon...we may have to lend our car again!

Today I slept a lot, trying to beat this cold. We did get some cleaning done as well (Brent has been wonderful). Tomorrow I am in the dunk tank for our "reading carnival" at school...brrrr.


weddings, wonderful, what?!, and winning


Brent and I returned late Monday after A LOT of driving over not a lot of days! Was it worth it? Every moment.

Saturday Brent headed down to Joplin to be an usher in a wedding (He says he was the MVP of ushers...I'm sure he was ;) and I went to a wedding a little closer to home (Congratulations Katie and Devin, and Brandon and Julie!) It was fun for both of us to be able to see a lot of people we know and love all in one location. Here is a picture of my family (minus Dan- taking the picture- and Brent) at the wedding:

I felt like this one is fitting: Mom and Kali are getting focused "You stand here..." Dad is looking at the clouds (I think), and I am looking at him, clearly not paying attention to Mom and Kali's direction. Picture 1.

This time I'm sure dad something just before the click (or Dan)...whichever...Mom thought it was hilarious


Having a brief second at home was a breath of fresh air. On Sunday we had quite the party! Brent's parents and grandparents all were able to come, along with my grandparents, uncle Creighton, Uncle Kirby and Aunt Lisa (and Stella, Jesse, and Shane!), and Aunt Linda. It was a full house and the hustle and bustle and food and conversation was wonderful!

The birthday boy (Creighton) explaining some story about German Chocolate Cakes to Shane who has learned, like the rest of us, just nod, occasionally laugh, and keep listening
And, of course, getting some input from the dads on which was the best route to head back to Kentucky

Uncle Kirby and Jesse restringing the Dulcimer that Kirby built.
(Aunt Linda: You posed for this!)

One of our new favorite games: Bananagrams!
Brent was a very tired boy from all the driving he did.
And then this kid showed up and we had no clue who he was...until we figured out it was our nephew, Luke, who apparently decided to grow 4 feet!
After I took this shot of Grandma Pat she said, "No one is safe now!"
Okay...so Mom made this wonderful cheesecake and, being the wonderful hostess she is took it out of the fridge to feed to crowd. I don't know if the mob was pushing in on her, or if she was in a hurry...but she turned and !!!

Luckily, we're all family, and it wasn't really "technically" on the floor.... It still tasted delicious!

Okay, so I don't even know what to say except that Grandma and Grandpa and mom and dad gave me my graduation/christmas/birthday present while I was home. Tucked in it was a card stating: "Some things are worth waiting for!" So I opened up the box and....
Can you even believe it?! (Neither could I!) THANKS again! I will enjoy it for a very long time and you will reap the benefits (pictures). I shot some pictures of the stormy sky on the way home:


I think this is one of the funniest things that has ever been documented on my blog, but here I go again....

Remember the soap challenge? To not buy soap until after our one year anniversary? Call me competitive; call me strange...whatever.

I think it is safe to say: I WON!!!Some "mysterious" Maysvillian sent me a big bottle of soap in the mail! I could not stop laughing after I opened it, but I suppose I asked for those antics :) Then when I was home, mom handed me a bottle with a foaming pump (which, don't worry, I will reuse!) Oh man...it's all so funny to me and yet I was serious about this competition. :) Thanks for all your support!

One final, and important note: Brent has an interview tomorrow for an Assistant Athletic Director position at a local Christian School. His interview is at 9. Your prayers are very much appreciated!


ventures, victory, and vacation


Today I went to a Louisville Bat's game (minor league baseball)... with my students! It was about 90 degrees and SUNNY! We had a lot of fun but I don't really remember watching any of the game because I was figuring out who was where. It was great to get outside of the classroom though for a little while, and interesting to see how certain kids act outside of those walls (some really come out of their shells). So I got a little color, got to watch a little baseball, and got paid while I was at it! Not too bad. I am completely exhausted though, and 8:30 is looking like a good time to hit the hay...


I did end up watching the American Idol season finale, and Kris Allen and America pulled through! I was very pleased with the results, and to see a youth worship leader humbly accept the title was refreshing. (For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about...I'll get back to more important business)


Brent and I will head out tomorrow for a speedy trip home. Unfortunately we both have to work tomorrow, which means we won't make it home until about 1/2 a.m. Then on Saturday we are attending separate weddings; Brent is driving another 3 1/2 hours to Joplin to be an usher for a college friend's wedding, and I will be off to a close family friend who is getting married (Congratulations, Katie! So excited to be there!)

Sunday we hope to get both our families together so it is a little less hectic trying to spread our time. Kali and Dan will both be back as well, AND Aunt Linda is coming! Whew...it will be busy but fun, I'm sure. We'll head back on Monday and hopefully not roll in too late, as I have to face the summer-fevered 8th graders again on Tuesday :)

So...if you don't hear from me all weekend, you'll know why! Well, I think it's off to bed for me right now...I'm pooped just thinking about this weekend :)



So "U" is a hard letter to write on. I thought "unbelievable" or "unimaginable" or something else along these lines, but didn't have much to write about under these titles. So here are some rand"umm"s that I've been thinking about lately:

- Last night after supper Brent and I sat at the table for awhile and talked. We do this a lot, whether it's 15 minutes or 30 or more. I realize how much I really enjoy these times with him.

- I have a friend who has been married about 6 years and Brent and I stayed with her and her husband not too long ago. While we were there we somehow began discussing nightly routines. She said that there are probably only 4 or 5 nights A YEAR that her and her husband go to bed at the same time. Brent and I were surprised, because it is a rare occassion if we don't crawl in and crash at the same time. I don't know if these happens with time, if it's just a personality thing, or if it's just a difference in schedules. Last night we broke this cycle as Brent stayed up and baked cookies and watched the Lakers vs. Denver game.

- I don't know if any of you are American Idol fans. Personally, I've only half way watched this season. The main reason I haven't watched it very much is because Adam Lambert. Does he have a good voice? Yes. Is he talented? Yes. Does he need to stick out his tongue when he sings and paint his fingernails black and wear eyeliner and leather pants? No. He is now in the final two with a guy named Kris Allen. Kris, who is a youth group worship leader, is everything Adam is not. It will be interesting to see America vote on this; to see who they think is "Idol" worthy.

- It has been so awesome outside lately. I don't know why, but every year I am just in awe of spring and summer when they come. Isn't it amazing how easily we forget their beauty when we were stuck in the grey of winter? (Sounds like a metaphor for life).

- What is up with the word grey? Is it "grey" or "gray"? Does it even matter? Is it one of those british words?

- The other day I let my students take home their prized Writer's Notebooks. They had invested so much time into these things and so I wanted to do one final writing activity with them before releasing them to their care. So I had them look back at all of their entries and reflect on their growth as a writer. And then I asked them to turn to a fresh page and write, "This year I became a writer. I became a writer because..." and had them finish that sentence. I was amazed at the poetry that came from them but more than that I was amazed that not a single one of my 115 students said, "But I don't think I've become a writer...I don't know how to finish this sentence?!" I had one girl write, "I became a writer because I found that it is my destiny." Another kid, who at any given moment this year was in the process of driving me crazy, wrote, "I became a writer because my 5th block language arts teacher kept pushing me and pushing, and I want to thank her."

- It's incredible how quickly my summer is already filling up. I don't necessarily like this because I know it will make it go incredibly quick.

- Brent is in the process of applying for a job and it is looking somewhat promising. I don't want to count our chickens yet, but please keep this possibility in your prayers.

- Enough rand"umms" for you today? It will have to be. I'm done.


Time, Today, Television


I only have 15 days of school left. (If you do the math, you'll realize this means I will be in school in June, which should be illegal). Regardless of the fact that I wish I were done now (and wondering how all you other 12 month people do it?!), I can't believe how quickly this past year has gone. This time last year I was up in Wisconsin marrying off my friend Renae, and getting together last minute things for my wedding. Brent was graduating this day a year ago, and then preparing for his start at Southeast here in Louisville. It was a scary and exciting time of year for both of us.

I remember last summer; the anticipation of being married, and dreading the move far away from familiar. I remember unpacking and then laying out at the pool everyday because I knew no one and knew where nothing was. I was preparing for my upcoming school year; wondering what my students would be like-- wondering if I really had what it took to be a teacher. I was questioning whether I had the strength to stay here a year.

This morning in church we sang a song and it took me back to that time in a flash. I remember several occasions having the radio on and hearing this song and dissolving into tears. The words? Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your perfect love is casting out fear. And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life, I won't turn back,I know you are near.

And I will fear no evil, For my God is with me. And if
my God is with me, Whom then shall I fear? (Chorus:) Oh no, You never let go. Through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go In every high and every low, Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on. A glorious light beyond all compare. And there will be an end to these troubles, But until that day comes, We'll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that h
olds on, And there will be an end to these troubles, But until that day comes, Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Thanks for that song, Matt Redman. I don't feel right describing last summer as a dark time for me, but it was definitely a difficult time of transition. Singing that song this morning in church, I realized that the Lord truly never lets go of us in those moment
s we can only see as darkness. He is holding tighter to us, even if we are hanging on for our life to Him.

Now that Brent and I have decided to stay for another ye
ar, I look back on this time and just have to shake my head at how silly it was for me to think I couldn't do it. I hope in the future I will realize again in these moments that there is a light coming for the heart that holds on. I don't know where you're at right now, but I hope you hold on and praise Him through it!


Interesting enough, I watched a Nooma video yesterday
entitled "Today." This really hit home with me, as I feel that once I "got" this message, I was able to move past the "dark" time I was describing above. In the video, pastor Rob Bell is trying to get across the fact that life is not static. It moves. There is ebb and flow and we have to ebb and flow with it.

Do we believe the best days are behind us? How much energy do we spend wishing things were the way they were?

I know I have a tendency to do this. I have loved my life. I have had a good life. Great parents, a happy home to live in, a sister who didn't fight with me (much), intelligence to enjoy school, friends to survive jr. high and high school, athletic ability to create memories in sports, a wonderful college community, amazing friends...you get the picture. I have been so blessed and it is easy for me to, instead of just appreciating the fact that this is my legacy, trying to recreate it and trying to get back there.

Bell says in the video, "Despair sets in when we believe life w
as better back then. When we hold onto the past, our arms aren't' free to embrace today."

My prayer now is not that I can forget my past, but that I can realize that I have a rich past that I can remember and celebrate. I have a past that I was w
ise enough to fully live in the present in...I didn't miss anything, and I don't want to do that with what God is trying to give me today.

"May you accept the past for what it is. May you celebrate what needs to be celebrated. Grieve what needs to be grieved. And may you receive from God a new spirit-- one for here--now--today."


Wow...I have been reflective, haven't I? I'll try to balance that out and move into something a little more superficial.

Yesterday we bought our "something." I really thought about your comments and Brent and I talked a lot, as this was a "big deal" for us. I heard a mi
nister say the other day that the times in your life when it's hardest to figure out what to do with your money is in your 20s and 60s because that is when your income changes drastically. (Tangent. Sorry.)

As you can probably tell by the subheading, we decided on a TV (and decided the computer will come next). We ended up getting one at HHGregg, and stumbled upon a 3 day sale we didn't even know what happening! Awesome. We are truly enjoying our new LG flat screen!? (Who are we?)

We also decided it was finally time I get the "laundry cart" I had had my eye on since last summer. Nothing special, just a storage unit that sits between the washer and dryer, but we were excited (and it was on CLEARANCE!):
There were two other purchases that are worth mentioning. The first was a flat clasp wallet (I don't know what they are really called). I don't know if you have seen these, but they are awesome and I have been wanting one for a very long time. I am not really a purse person, and hate carrying purses into stores, and usually just end up carrying my wallet. Well, Brent decided it was time and he helped me pick out this one. Please notice how much smaller it is than the other wallet (and how much cuter!):

And one more item I have been wanting since I was a curly haired child: John Freida's Frizz-Ease hair products. These were also on special, and I really like them. Especially the "dream curls" spray that helps "revitalize" curls when they are dry. I have also found that I have to use less of these products then the cheaper ones I usually buy. I don't know if I can work them into our budget all the time, but it is a nice treat.

Alright, it is time to take the pot roast out of the crock pot! I also need to give Brent's hair a trim. Tonight we are going to the church for a final get together with other interns on the fifth floor since this is the last weekend they will all have keys and access (internships are officially over this week...I'll keep you updated).

Also: I am enjoying a cup of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee. A student of mine brought me a pound of beans this week. Thoughtful. And delicious.

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday. And this incredibly long post is over.


continuation of S...

(Funny side note: My mom, sarcastically, mentioned that she was disappointed when the entire "S" post was not about her, Sharon. So mom, this little note is for you. She's awesome. You should know her. And eat her food. )

Also, thanks for all your thoughts on our "something" to buy with the extra I get this month. We'll keep you posted.

In my S post below I mentioned writing my students an "end of the year letter/reflection." I thought I would share it with all of you, so you too could see into my little corner of the world for a minute. Enjoy:

May 2009
Dear 8th Grade Students of 2008-2009:

Before classes started this year, I wrote myself a letter. In this letter I reminded myself why I wanted to teach, just in case all of you persuaded me otherwise :). In this letter I told myself the following:

I am writing this so you remember what it is like to be passionate about your job… You’ll get tired. You’ll get sick of the routine. But so will your students and they’re looking to you to see if you will break this time. Don’t break. Let them know you need their support as much as they need yours. Let them know that you expect the world from them… and don’t ever stop believing that they’ll give you anything less. Don’t ever become too proud to learn from your students.

When papers stack up to grade, write each comment with compassion, like you always said you would. Your students read your scribbled writing in blue and they read, “Be sure to show not tell and it will make this beautiful story even stronger,” and they also hear in those words, “Someone is still taking the time to believe in you.”

Above all, remember that you love what you do. And remember that nothing done in love is ever wasted.

I hope you have seen a reflection of this in some small way this year.

I honestly could not have asked for a better first year than the year I spent with all of you. Whether we were laughing at backward pants or my “word” to Will Smith in 3rd Block, or a funny anecdote, mafia, or “Captain Canada” in 4th, we somehow covered the material and learned something along the way. Even in 5th Block when we listened to my embarrassing stories and Max’s phone died…again, or in 6th as we laughed about “Mrs. Irwin’s view of 6th Block” through Writer’s Notebook, or heard Jeff break into song, we somehow became, although slightly strange, one big family.

Thanks for writing beautiful words, and for discussing books deeply. Thanks for making me windows and pictures so I didn’t get severe seasonal depression J. Thanks for your attempts at improv, your enthusiasm during review games, your beautiful and humorous poetry, and for understanding the lesson on the writing process (even if it meant feeding you ice cream sundaes)! Although some of you hated it, I hope you remember practicing “stillness,” and what it felt like to truly be still and quiet and alone with your thoughts.

Thank you for inspiring me to become a writer again. I will never forget the day you all wrote in your Writer’s Notebooks, “Why I Write.” I read your entries and knew I was learning far more from you. (I attached the list so that somewhere down the road if you forget, you can look and remember why you ever filled an entire notebook with your writing in the first place.)

I’m going to leave you with a poem I wrote when I was first in the classroom doing my student teaching:

frozen faces
in a routine world
of read and write this

response, intrigue
is thirsyt on their tongues

tired eyes
tired bodies
working for their own identity
acceptance &
a true friend

they want meaning
they want to
be meaningful
do meaningful work

so it’s up to you
dear teacher
to convince the sons and daughters
of both wealth and need
that they have a great story
that they are a great story

and that you are listening

Why do I share this with you now? Because I hope you have felt meaningful; that you have felt listened to. I hope as you continue your education at the high school that you will continue to feel this. And always remember, even after you leave room 138 and SOMS, that you have a great story…you are a great story & I have been listening…

Best of luck at all you do! “Oh the places you will go!” :)


Happy Mother's Day!

To our mothers: Sharon and Joan.

And to our grandmothers: Hazel, Pat, Ann, and Alice

And to our sisters who are, or are soon to be, mothers: Lesa, Beth, Kali, and Rian



(please don't forget to check out yesterday's post, as I would appreciate your input)


soap, students, spouse, something, and spring


Okay, I know this is going to sound incredibly silly, however I am trying to ration our hand soap for one more month. Why? Well, not too long ago I realized that Brent and I have yet to buy any hand soap. My mom put together a type of "beginner's kit" for me at a bridal shower that included a bunch of essentials (paper plates, matches, a cleaning bucket, batteries, hand soap, sponges, etc). I also was able to leave my college apartment with what was left of the surplus bottle of soap we had bought for the school year. A family friend from home read the post I wrote in November about that refill bottle (see previous link), and for Christmas gave Brent and I two bottles of Bath and Body hand soap (woah! Gourmet! Thanks, Diana!) Needless to say, with all this soap that was given to us, we never had to peruse the soap aisle at any store! Okay, so it is May 9th and now I have this very odd determination to last a full year before we need to go buy soap. This could seem strange to many of you, but for those of you that have occasionally seen my competitive streak, this may be a way to fulfill some sort of competitive void within me. Kelsey vs. Hand Soap. Here is a picture of what we have left:

I think we would have been fine, but then the Swine Flu hit the country and I have been feeling the need to wash my hands every time I pass the sink. I'll keep you updated (and please don't worry: Neither Brent nor myself have sacrificed any necessary hand washes for this silly competition, although I am more hesitant to have any guests over who may feel the need to use our restroom, and therefore our soap!)


So, the school year is actually coming to an end. Although for awhile I thought that it wouldn't, the reality that my first year of teaching is wrapping up is becoming very real. I have always been told (by professors, friends, colleagues, mentors), that I am "reflective by nature." I have found that to be true in this area of my life especially. I had each one of my students write me a letter to let me know what activities they liked, and didn't like, and how they would like to see a few things change. These were very helpful, and encouraging, and some even made me tear up a little (I may share a few at some point). However, they also pushed me to do something that I maybe shouldn't have taken on: I wrote a letter back. I am going to give everyone a copy of this letter, but I also wanted them to have a personal note from me. I am about half way through and have a week before I want to give them to my students. I think that some of them will care less, but for those that it means something to...it's worth it. Last week I had a girl write me a FOUR page letter just venting about how frustrated she was with how she felt about a lot of things: being a middle school girl, being a christian young woman trying to hold on to her purity. I took the time to type up a two page response and for a minute I thought to myself, "Kels, this is crazy." But then I reminded myself that this is the reason I became a teacher in the first place... so I gave her that letter, and for the same reason I wrote that letter, I wrote the letter to my students. I will post the letter on here tomorrow for those of you that are interested in reading my reflection for the year.


Yesterday Brent and I were able to attend an event at our church titled, "Marriage Rocks!" I may have been slightly apprehensive, but the evening turned out to be a lot of fun. There was a live band, an improv team, and some very humorous MC's. We played a few games and listened to a speaker and ate some desserts. It was a very fun evening and gave us a chance (about a month before our 1 year anniversary. What?!) to just reflect on our marriage and enjoy each other's company. It also made me very thankful for a church that puts a priority on marriages, and invests in married couples in very real ways. They are planning on having two more this year, and since last night was SOLD OUT, I think the future ones will be hits as well. We went with our friends, Shane and Meagan, and finally remembered to take a picture together.


Brent has begun working on the ball fields again... and he is SO SORE! His legs are so sore he says it hurts to walk. On top of this he sliced open his thumb, and banged his shin up pretty bad. Oh what a crazy job :) Today he decided to soak in the tub, and I pulled out a book we got for our wedding: Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things. I found a couple different things that were supposed to help tense/sore muscles. So he just had to trust me as I poured vinegar and mustard in his bath water! We'll see how it works!


(How vague, I know!) This year I helped with the yearbook. Helped is a very relative term because I feel like I still don't know what I'm doing. However, for this I receive a substantial payment added onto my next paycheck. I am also helping with intramurals for the next two weeks, which I will also get paid a little extra for. So, Brent and I are trying to decide on which something we should put this extra money towards. We have, I feel, been making great strides towards becoming good stewards with our money, and we both feel so blessed for everything the Lord has provided us in this past year. We obviously will put some in our savings, but have 3 options for how we will spend the rest. I would really appreciate your input. Here are the options:

1) A new TV. This probably seems silly, however we have a TV that is probably about 15 years old, wood-paneled, wavy lines, blurred corners, and occasionally likes to make a high pitched squeal.

2) A new computer. Our computer was Brent's in college and is beginning to slow down substantially. We are also debating between another desktop, or purchasing our first laptop.

3) Throw the money at student loans. Boring, but probably a fairly wise option.

Like I said, I would like your input. (And yes, this may be a weak attempt to get you people to actually COMMENT on my blog).


It is spring here (although it feels more like summer lately), and it is absolutely gorgeous. I have always loved spring. The newness of everything. The smells. The thunderstorms. The GREEN after so much brown. It reminds me of my daily prayers last year that all the rain would get out of the system during May and leave June rain free :) Hard to believe that was a year ago?


roadtrips, renae, really, relationships

I think I am still on "r," but it's hard to remember since it has been OVER a week since my last post. I apologize (I can't have my adoring fans mad at me ;)


One of the reasons for my lack of posting is due to recent trips I have been able to make. I really think I was just waiting for a dependable car before I became, as my mom would put it, a "gad-about."

My first trip was last weekend. I took a personal day on Friday (any time you visit your pregnant sister it is definitely personal!), and tore out of Louisville as soon as I could to get to Nashville in time for the Dove Awards. I barely had time to throw on my dress, but I'm glad I made it in time for this incredible event that Kali helped plan. Instead of boring you with a list of all the artists that were there, check it out online sometime. Needless to say, we saw a great show at the one and only Grand Ole Opry and had a fun opportunity to get gussied up! .

It was also incredibly good to spend time with Kali and Dan. I still can't believe we don't make the trip more often, but I am oh so thankful they are relatively close. We had a good time just relaxing, and Kali and I were even able to find a maternity swimming suit she liked! Whew! It's hard enough for a Carroll girl to find a swimming suit when she isn't pregnant! :) Dan grilled out for us while we were gone and now I am addicted to the grilled veggies he made! And doesn't Kali look cute:
We also went and got haircuts together...what a girly weekend! Brent wasn't able to make the trip, as he was gallivanting around himself on a trip to Phoenix for a Sport's Ministry conference through the church. He had a great time and made some good contacts.

This past weekend we made the trip through Indiana up to Illinois: final destination: Chicago. I had Friday off for Oaks Day (this is a state holiday... it is essentially the horse race for "commoners." The Derby was on Saturday and Brent and I decided to get the heck out of Dodge!). So Thursday after school we took off and made a pit stop at Ryan and Sara's in Indiana. (Sara was my RD/boss in college...Ryan was/is her husband). I hadn't seen her since last May, and it was great to visit and have coffee together again. (Don't know what is up with my hair in this picture)Ollie is their 2 year old and boy has he grown since I last saw him. I babysat him frequently while in college, and was a resident assistant under Sara when she was pregnant with him: even though he didn't technically remember me, I felt we still had to have some kind of connection :) He didn't mind Brent either! Thanks for a great visit!

Definitely a two-year old face :)

Our next stop was Chicago to visit Renae and Jared. Since Renae starts with an R, I decided she should get her own subheading...


I should probably clear something up first: I have no romantic feelings towards the city of Chicago. Most people at least want to visit at some point in their life... I would be perfectly happy if the city did not exist. It is too much upon too much upon too much. Needless to say, for Renae, Brent and I country-folked our way through 2 1/2 hours of rush hour traffic(We even saw the Sears Tower!!! :)But it was all worth it. I think in one's lifetime they are only allotted a certain amount of authentic friendships. I believe Renae is one of these lifers, and I believe it is my responsibility to continue to invest in such a beautiful friendship. For those of you that don't know Renae, she was my college roommate, and we could not have been more different in a lot of ways. We became friends our Freshman year because 1) She was dating a guy who was 8 hours away as well 2) She was close to her family and missed them and 3) She had a nice car and I didn't trust mine to get across campus, much less to Walmart (this is a familiar theme, huh?) Thus our friendship was born. She is loud and blunt and yet surprisingly introverted; an accounting major who can add numbers quickly. I am not blunt, extroverted, and am afraid to make a doctor's appointment; and English major who still has to count on her fingers.

Somehow this all worked though and through the years we bonded in ways we hadn't bonded with many others in our lives. We threw each other surprise birthday parties, fought with each other, went to movies in our sweatpants together when everyone else were on dates, and we stood up at each other's weddings which were three weeks apart from one another. And it was high time we were together again! Her husband and Brent get along really well together also, and so the weekend was a lot of fun. We decided we didn't want to do much but hang out, play games, and eat good food. Renae made great meals, and they even treated us to a Chicago deep-dish pizza! (and Renae even bought lettuce for our visit, thus the lettuce in the picture, even though she does not eat "that rabbit food.")

It was sad to leave, as it always is sad to leave a good friend, but mostly as we drove away I was again thankful that the Lord has blessed me with such a friend! Thanks Renae, for your patience with me all these years and for a wonderful weekend!


I am officially, 100%, DONE with KTIP. I got my certification in the mail today. YEEHAWWW!


Our church is currently doing a series called "On the Rock: Building Relationships that Last." There are 4 sermons in the series: Friendship, Dating, Marriage, and Parenting (conveniently on Mother's Day). The first three have been incredible. I especially encourage you to listen to the Dating Rocks message if you 1) are dating or 2) have kids who are dating or 3) have kids who will one day be dating. I just feel that in the society we live in few people invest in truly authentic relationships, and as Christians, that is part of what we were created for: to be in a relationship with God and others. This is a very long post, but I just want to end it by encouraging you to stop by and listen/watch online if you have a chance (The previous series is posted as well "The Upside Down Way of Jesus" and if you want some solid teaching, listen in there as well!)

Hope to post sooner rather than later...we'll see. Who knows WHERE I'll be next weekend :)