corn fed

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table I grew up at, a lukewarm cup of half-drunk coffee (creamer please), a papermate pen, and a pad of paper. The beans are cooking on the stove and my dad is napping in the other room. The tea is brewing in a glass jar in the sun out back and the air conditioning is trying to keep up with this heat and humidity.

And this is surely what it means to be at peace.

Brent and I have been, as my mom would put it, little gad-abouts lately. We have been to a wedding and visited friends in Indiana, hung out for a wonderful few days in Nashville with Dan and Kali (and even got to spend time with Micah), and then hit the road for home for a bit.

I don't know about other people, but I tend to play "theme music" in my head from time to time (I'm pretty sure my dad does this as well). Driving home the other day I couldn't help but play the theme music "Corn Fed" (Shannon Brown) in my head as we made our way home.

" ... We don't flip the bird,
we don't cuss an' scream,
When the cars don't move
when the light turns green.
We don't lock our doors
when we leave the house,
There ain't nobody here
that we'd keep out.
That's the way we do it in our town, yeah.

You never hear me apologize,
For growin' up strong,
growin' up right.
Livin' life by the Golden Rule.
Say: "Yes, Ma'am," "Thank You."
Green fields for miles an' miles,
Ain't nothin' but country on the radio dial.
I thank the good Lord
I was born and bred,
Corn fed.
Rooster crows, six a.m.;
John Deere pulling that plow again.
Soot on your face,
hands in the dirt,
Ain't nothin' better on God's great earth.

...Well, I thank the good Lord I was born and bred, Corn fed. "

All this to say-- there really is something different about people who are "corn fed"-- something different about people raised in "these here parts."

Even though I've moved to a big city I still give directions by landmarks, still consider a population of 50 or more a town, still drive a little too fast on gravel roads, still know when harvest is and, more importantly, deer season. I still am not afraid to use the outdoor "facilities," still know what poison ivy looks like (because I still am not afraid to use the outdoor "facilities" this one is important), and I still don't mind smelling like a campfire.

And I thank the good Lord I was born and bred Corn fed!

It's good to be home.


the gift

[This was a story that was part of the Christmas gift I gave to my family 2 Christmases ago. Kali brought it to my attention that I never posted this one, and she asked that I would.]

The Gift

When I was younger I always knew the things that were expected of me: Buckle up before we're out of the driveway; If you dribble on the toilet seat, wipe it up; Wash your hands with soap and hot water; Keep your shirt tucked in all day; Don't hit, bite, scratch, pinch, or provoke your sister; Set the table-- forks go on the left-- and eat with the family; When it's bedtime, it's bedtime and don't come back downstairs.
Rules and requirements for living. Boundaries.
Battle lines.

When I was living in them I didn't necessarily think of escaping, but I didn't necessarily think of obeying. My sister was a great rule follower. If she ever felt she had broken a rule, she would rat herself out, usually with tears and a lot of remorse. I, on the other hand, admitted my fault only when caught, kicking and screaming.
At the age of six I went forward during the altar call at our small Baptist church. It was revival that week, and something must of hit me and I remember shaking slightly as I stepped out into the aisle on the faded mustard carpet. My pastor was up front and I waited my turn to talk and pray with him. I'm sure my parents were praising God as they sat in the pew-- not only because I made a decision to accept Christ, but because this might mean a little more peace would now enter their home.
I'm sure the first few says were alright. I remember I even read my bible when I thought of it, my six year old mind wondering over the titles like Habakkuk and Zephaniah. I traced the maps in the back with my small fingers, not sure who Paul was or why his "missionary journeys" were important enough to follow.
But soon I was tormenting my sister again and finding myself in trouble. I couldn't always help it though. One time we were going to play Operation and she wanted to play upstairs, which didn't suit my plan of playing downstairs. Before I knew it she was already walking up the staircase and I panicked and I grabbed her arm and dug in my fingernails. I don't think she has the scar anymore.

Although my misbehavior eventually grew less as I grew older, I soon found another source on which to target my mischief-- my mother. Junior high was rough for her and me both. I thought it was just me going through puberty, but I realize now I forced her to go through it with me.
I knew at this point in my life what was expected of me as well: Don't laugh when I'm getting on to you (but it was just too funny when I looked in her eyes); Don't hang out with her too much, she'll get you in trouble (But you don't even know her!); Don't wear that tight skirt our of the house-- leave something for the imagination (But Valerie, Lacy, Jackie, AND Ashley all got this dress).
And so on.
One day though we had a fight and I don't even remember what it was about, but she came back in my room later that night. She said, "Kels, you wear that WWJD bracelet, but do you even think about what that means?" This is all she said.
I know it's probably unrealistic to say that from that moment on I was a changed person-- but it was a pivotal moment. I recall her words many times and the waves crash against my body the same..."Do you even know what that means?"

I respect my mother now beyond what I can show her. I'm turning into her and I don't even care. I've had students laugh at me when I'm scolding them and I know what she felt like when I did the same and I wonder why I'm still alive. That girl she didn't want me to hang out with ended up with drug and alcohol problems and there isn't an outfit I put on that I don't run through a filter that sounds a lot like her voice.

As I am preparing to soon be out on my own and be a mother some day, I realize the gift my own mother has given me. She gave me the gift of motherhood. On the nights when she could have skipped a fight and let me stay out an hour later. On the days she could have turned her face and skipped the discipline that would result in her seeing my actions. On the years she could have dropped me off at a daycare and worked and skipped the struggles with a discontent, impatient, and crying two year old at home. All the times she could have tried to be my friend, she instead chose to be my mom.
She gave me the gift of motherhood and I look forward to passing this gift along to my children, in the hopes that they will one day look at me in the way I look at my mom-- as a friend.

forgotten pictures

I discovered these pictures yesterday that Brent and I took on our last days of work.

I was very happy...

[and mom, wanted you to know I wore the green shoes! --- the rest of you, many years ago mom and I were at Target and I found these cute green sandals. I asked mom if I could get them. Her response, "You'll never wear them!" Therefore, I try and let her know every time I wear them. p.s. I'm wearing them again this weekend for a wedding!]

Brent was exhausted... [oh and hey, a better shot of my shoes!]
Later we went out to eat to celebrate! Thought I'd share the pictures since I had them!


back to trying to come up with thoughtful titles

[Before I write, today Brent and I officially started P90X workouts. I am so sore and it is only 2 hours since the workout...I don't even want to know what tomorrow morning will feel like! Ugh! Micah, I am proud of you!]

I mentioned in my last post that I cleaned up around our desk and computer [our office, if you will]. During that cleaning I found what looked like a scrap of notebook paper. However, upon further inspection I realized there was a poem written on it entitled: Teaching Shakespeare to Freshman. I looked in past blog archives and I don't think I ever shared it on here. It really brought me back to my student teaching experience and the time I spent hashing out Romeo and Juliet with my group of Freshman. It was a wonderful experience, but at times I questioned how much they were really understanding. This is the poem that was birthed from that experience [if you've read the play, this may make more sense].

Teaching Shakespeare to Freshman

kids in a classroom
eyes hungry and tired
listening absently

they want more than
Romeo and Juliet's words
they want to
"lips doing what hands do"

and they want to feel
the poison
on their lips

"oh give me my sin again"

they misbehave because they don't understand
the significance of lord capulet disowning his daughter

they misbehave because they don't understand
the reason their father disowned them

"a rose by any other name
would smell as sweet"
and the girls think it's romantic
the boys

Juliet is a "house bought but not yet owned"
and there are no snickers
or laughter
so it's obvious they don't understand
or their puberty
could not refrain from laughing

how do i reach them-- how do i touch them
timeless words
how do i show them meaning
in the midst of
real tragedy

tragedy, comedy, history
they see this everyday
and they scream from their desks
'let the show begin'

their boredom consents
but not their will
and i pay their poverty
and i don't know if they understand
or if i've hit a nerve

but i hope they see beauty
if no where else
and that as they taste the words
of the play that they
taste life


Now I know my ABC's....time for vacation!

Last Thursday we packed our bags and headed for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We went with our good friends, Shane and Meagan, and stayed through Sunday. It was a truly wonderful start to the summer. We stayed at a wonderful cabin in the mountains (pictures of cabin towards bottom), went hiking, grilled out, mini-golfed etc.

Instead of giving you a very boring play by play of what we did etc., here are some pictures. However, my battery died and I didn't get some pictures I wanted, but I still got quite a few.

During our hike:
Hebrews 12:1 "...Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

This is what Meagan and I did...and Brent and Shane explored.

The falls at the end of our hike

...the falls were nice and peaceful right? Well, we shared them with ALL these others!

Some views on our hike! Incredible.

Back at the cabin playing cards after being in the hot tub.

Yes, the grill was precariously placed against a WOODEN fence.

See the crane?

One of our 2 back porches where we ate.

Front of cabin.

View from deck

It was a beautiful cabin. This is above the living room...there is a loft bedroom to the right where Brent and I stayed.

It was an excellent trip and we had a ton of fun. We were sad to leave the mountains and our friends.

Sidenote: I made pizza last night, and I must say, I am getting pretty good at making pizza!

Also, today I worked at clearing and cleaning our desk area. I should have taken pictures during this process-- there was so much stuff shoved in corners and around the bottom! It felt good to de-clutter.
One problem we had was a pile of cords that we didn't really know where to put...so I made dividers for our cords in this plastic basket that now sits on our computer tower neatly stowing our cords until the next use. (Real simple?)

Hope you enjoyed the vacation pictures!


zzzz's & relaxZation

(Yes, can you believe it? We've made it to Z!)


Last night at about 10:15 I said the Brent, "I want to go camping."

Unfortunately, we hadn't planned ahead and it was dark and calling for rain. So the next thing I said was: "Let's set up the tent in the living room."

Brent laughed. And then said okay. We still hadn't had a chance to use our tent we got for our wedding, and decided it may be best to figure out how to set it up in the comfort of our living room and air conditioning anyway :)

Brent got out the tent and began pulling out all the different pieces and I braced myself for disaster because, well, I went on vacations with my father. However, surprisingly it turned out pretty well. :)
It barely fit in our living room, but we set up the fan and the airbed and we were in business (truly roughing it too, as you can see!)
Brent's favorite part? These cup holders that hang from the ceiling. Ha! It doesn't take much to impress him.
Unfortunately I didn't have the stuff for smores, but maybe next time :) Apparently it was comfy because we slept in until 11! Oh the joys of summer. (And don't worry, we will go "real camping" soon!)


One of the joys of summer is having no agenda. No schedule. No to-do lists (of much importance anyway). Although I do agree with Kali that some days I feel guilty for not being productive, or feel the need to "accomplish" something (what kind of society do we live in anyway that makes us feel this "need"), overall I am planning on enjoying this summer.

So today, after sleeping in until 11, we ate a little lunch, (took down the tent!), and then slathered on the sunscreen and headed to the pool!

Oh the beauty of it all! We came back around 3:30 and cleaned and relaxed a little more, and then I started supper and we had a friend over for supper and the game (Game 3 of the NBA finals). Fun day.

Tomorrow? Going on the river with some co-workers, then home again to hang out with Shane and Meagan. Other than that? Maybe read, breathe, eat some oreos? (Speaking of which, I had a Cherry Limemade from Sonic yesterday-- a real summer treat. This brings me back to the days when Kali and I would snap beans and then get to go to the pool with mom. Some days on the way home she would treat us to a Cherry Limemade. We would get one of the really big ones and share. I loved those trips home [except that one time when Kali was holding the drink and the bottom completely fell out. There was ice and lime and cherry and sticky red all over the backseat and all over us! Oh, memories of summer]

Anyway, who knows what I will do...but it will be a good day because I will choose to not feel guilty for enjoying my nothing days!


Year, Yippee, and Yaweh


Drum roll please.... Cue the music...HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO BRENT AND ME! :)

I truly cannot believe that it has been a year since I was walkidng down the aisle: and I still cannot believe that I was so blessed to be met at the end of that aisle by Brent and his "I do."

The Valentine's day before our wedding Brent and I purchases a journal for one another. However, instead of presenting each other with the journal, we kept them and wrote in them up until the day of our wedding. We then gave them to each other as our plane took off for our honeymoon. In honor of our one year anniversary I wanted to reflect on those days and moments before we said, "I do."

I wrote:
"...We just said good-bye at the airport in Louisville, and it was the last time I will ever have to say goodbye to you like that! My heart literally felt different when I wrote that...This is why I am marrying you-- because life is better with you than apart from you. I remember that first summer before our freshman year when we had to say bye...leaving you was so, so hard, but harder than actually separating from you was the thought of so many goodbyes ahead of us-- the thought that over the next four years at college I would grow to love you more deeply, and yet I would always have to say goodbye to you. It seems unreal that this is actually happening- that the goodbyes are over and that I will be your bride and never have to say goodbye like that again. I will always have you by my side at night. Brent, thanks for being patient in this very long journey with me.Thanks for being willing to work though the distance with me. There is no one else I would have wanted to do this with. And may we always say that of one another. Yours, Kels."

He wrote:
"Today you will be my wife; today we will share my last name. Today you will walk down the aisle and take my hand, and all at the same time you will for the last time be Kelsey C. and begin being Kelsey I.The day is finally here and I am so excited about just enjoying today. Today you will look beautiful and I want to soak up that moment when you walk down that aisle. I knew today's weather would be perfect. I woke up today to the sun shining through the windows. I smiled, knowing the sun wasn't hiding behind the clouds, knowing tomorrow morning I would be waking up with you by my side and just realizing that today is June 7th. I want to be so good to you, always. I want to be a good husband. I want to always care for you and love and protect you. Today, at the end of the day, I want you to fall asleep in my arms, knowing that you are loved, cherished, and safe." ___________________________________________________________________ A year ago:

This year... we have had a lot of fun and "celebrated" over the whole weekend. Friday was the last day for both of us (more below), and we went out to eat, then came home and rented "Marley and Me" (sad. almost made me want a dog. almost.) Saturday we slept in, woke up, went to the pool!, and then went yard sale-ing, and then decided to go to church last night. Interesting enough, the sermon this week is entitled "A love that dares" and Erin Bethea, from Fireproof, is here and was part of the sermon. It was a beautiful reminder that love is a commitment and not a feeling. When we came home we ate supper on the porch and busted open our wedding cake (first year tradition, after all)! This morning we slept in, went back to the pool!, ate lunch, then went to a movie Brent has been wanting to see for awhile: UP! It was GREAT! Then it was Panera Bread for supper (compliments of a student of mine...thank you gift cards) and back home for more cake :) Whew. A fun weekend for us!

Pictures this year? :

We decided we should take some pictures after church (okay...I decided). (And thank you Micah, for the great dress!)
And no, our bed is not made because I am not Kali.
Thanks to mom, our cake was nicely preserved and made the trip from MO to KY

For those of you that don't know the whole story, or have forgotten in, here it is in brief: Our cake was beautiful; we loved it. It was set up a few hours too early, moved into the back of the blazer, fell over...
... and was recreated to look like this. Ha! Oh well...it tasted just as good...and we were just as married at the end of it all!

It was super tasty--- just as good as a year ago!
Brent: Thank you for a great year! Thank you for serving me and loving me, even in my ugliest moments.

At the bottom of our wedding programs I decided to put a favorite quote from C.S. Lewis:
"[Love] is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit' reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God..."Being in love" first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enable them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."


Friday was a big day for both Brent and I: It marked the end of a lot of work for both of us! It was slightly strange knowing that my first year of teaching was over. I still have to go back this week for some end of the year stuff (yes, I will not officially be done until the middle of JUNE!), but as I said goodbye to my students on Friday there was a reassurance that swept over me: I love what I do, and the Lord has called me to this work! What a "blessed assurance." I would like to write more about this year and some lessons I've learned, but since this is getting long, I will write about that later.


As you read above, Brent finished his internship at the church. Now, before most of you ask his favorite question, "What's next?" Let me tell you: We aren't sure, but we know God is faithful. (And no, that is not a cliche answer).

Brent interviewed at a local Christian school for an assistant Athletic Directer position...the interview went extremely well, they offered him the job the same day, and he did not have peace about it. So we prayed about it, both felt peace about our conclusion: Turn down the job offer.

I know this seems crazy, especially in the current times in which we live, but we know that our God, our Yaweh, lives beyond these circumstances. Brent feels called to something directly tied into the ministry. We know something will turn up. For now, we will pinch a few more pennies, kick our feet up, pray a lot, keep our eyes on the lookout for something, and enjoy the summer together! And don't worry...I'll keep you informed.

Okay, I better get back to our final Anniversary celebration: the NBA finals. Unfortunately we watched them last year on our honeymoon, so this may be a tradition. GO ORLANDO!