writing fix

I needed a little writing fix today. As you can imagine I'm getting a bit restless. So I went to a handy "writing prompt" website that generates a prompt at the click of a button. Here is one that happened to pop up: "Did you take enough sun screen and bug repellent? Tell the story of something that happened on a favorite summer vacation with your family."

Here is what I wrote.

Last night some friends were over at our apartment and after a great meal, good conversation, and much laughter we settled in to our usual seats around the table for a rousing card game of nertz. We were into the second or third round [I was, of course, winning], when we remembered there was a new series airing on the History Channel: "America: The Story of Us."

"I'll just turn the TV on and face it this way, but we can keep playing," Brent decided for us. We all shook our heads in agreement as we shuffled for another round. We dealt the cards and played one more round before the program began expounding on the Revolution. We all cranked our necks uncomfortably in our seats until we just decided to call it quits and moved to the couch. And so there we all were, the four of us 20-somethings on a couch on a Sunday evening spending our time watching a new series on the History Channel.

I don't know what the rest of their problems were, but I know what mine was: family vacations.

You see, for those of you that don't know I sometimes came home to this:
It was simply normal. He would lay his satchel in his "toy chest" with his other "dress up clothes," tell us what he did with his "pretend friends" that day and, if we were lucky, shower before joining us at the supper table.

History was a part of my everyday life. But on those really special occasions, Kali and I were called into the adventure as well. [And heaven help her, mom was too!] Yes, those "special occasions" that most people call "family vacations."

I have wrestled with the term "vacation." You see, dictionary.com's definition of vacation is: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday." It's the idea that a vacation is supposed to be a time used for rest; a suspension of other work that gets me. Don't get me wrong, I greatly looked forward to our family trips, but I would not venture so far to say that they were restful.

So what might a typical C. family vacation entail? Well, what follows is a generic plan of what you MAY have encountered had you traveled with our fearless foursome into the great unknowns of American civilization:

Preparing to leave:
Step one: Pack your bags. Have mom remind you to pack your underwear because after checking your bag for camp in the summer of '97 and realizing you only brought two extra pair, she has been a little leery.
Step two: Try to help dad find all the camping gear which has been unsuccessfully lodged in places not meant for lodging in the garage.
Step three: Realize dad may better be left alone trying to unbend the fishing rod from that odd angle and retreat to the kitchen to pretend like you're helping mom pack the cooler for our picnics along the way.
Step four: Get shooed out of the kitchen because she realizes you really aren't helping.
Step five: Plop on the couch and wait roughly 1 more hour and leave roughly 2 hours behind the original plan.

Step one: Fight Kali for the seat behind mom who is always selfless enough to give you a little more foot room.
Step two: Realize the cooler has to rest between you and Kali, and the Atlas has to be in the seat back in front of you so that the top part bends back and scratches your knees with every move and your travel bag has to go under your feet and realize that step one was a bad choice.
Step three: Put in head phones and try to gain back the time you lost when you had to wake up early for the extra underwear inspection.
Step four: Wonder why dad is turning around the vehicle. Notice the look on your mom's face and decide it's a better option to leave in head phones and pretend you don't notice the turn around occurring.
Step five: Retrieve Dad's wallet from the kitchen table and cram back into the vehicle.

The drive:
Step one: Sleep as much as possible while trying to avoid drooling on your sister's arm ... or the Atlas that is still flapping precariously in front of you.
Step two. Stop an hour down the road to figure out what the rattling noise is that is irritating dad. Figure out that it is simply the car, and that it will be accompanying us the entire trip.
Step three: Stop another hour down the road because you forgot to go to the bathroom before we left the house...both times.
Step four: Have a successful chunk of time on the road, possibly 3 hours, and then notice the brown sign approaching up ahead. Pretend not to notice the brown sign. It is getting closer. Hold your breath because he may not notice the brown sign.
Step five: Pull over to the side of the road by the brown sign, watch all the semis you recently passed fly past you, and decide who will read the sign this time.
Step six: This particular historical landmarker denotes the death place of some general in some war that you're pretty sure someone made up. Take a picture and feign interest.
Step seven: Continue the drive, legs beginning to cramp and cabin fever beginning to set in.
Step eight: Picnic. Find a picnic table which will most likely be set in a horribly windy spot so you must chase down paper goods before the squirrels get a hold of them. Eat sandwiches and, the best treat of all, CHIPS!, remind yourself to go to the restroom and then shove the cooler back into the backseat and crawl in behind it.
Step nine: Drive. Stop because dad needs to "coke up" and informs you we all probably need a "seatbelt break" and then gives us a few calisthenic stretches we all participate in in the "Speedway" parking lot.
Step ten: take the "scenic route" when you are within an hour of your day's destination, only to find this actually adds another few hours.
Step eleven: Nix the picnic for supper and stop at a Wendy's. Bacon cheeseburgers all around.
Step twelve: Tumble back into the car, this time rotating spots with your sister only to find that, although the atlas is not chaffing your thighs raw, the fishing poles from the back end are sticking over your left shoulder and may, if you make the slightest wrong move, poke your eye out.
Step thirteen: Realize mom left her purse with all of our vacation money sitting by the table at Wendy's. Stop at a gas station, make a few phone calls, lose about an hour, miraculously figure out how to get the purse [and all the money] back, buy ice cream sundaes to celebrate and get back on the "unbeaten path."
Step fourteen: Begin to get slightly delirious from the 13 hours you have spent in a car.
Step Fifteen: drive thirty miles off the interstate to find a campsite. Absolutely under no circumstances believe the "no vacancy" sign at the entrance and be sure to check every lot for yourself.
Step sixteen: find a hotel, preferably a hole in the wall called "Sequoia Inn" or something of the like [although it is worth noting here that a Holiday Inn will also do the trick on occasion if you are feeling particularly crazy]. Sleep.
Step seventeen: repeat steps one through sixteen for roughly 2 to 3 more days for the really great trips.

The Vacation:
Step one: be sure to take a dip in the hotel pool before leaving for the morning because you just never know what may happen during the course of the day.
Step two: Try to find the new "Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center," try being the operative word. Ask a mailman for directions while weaving in and out of one way streets.
Step three: Find the interpretive center and check out the dugout canoes, interactive dioramas, and the informational video.
Step four: Head to a Historical Art Museum. Enjoy.
Step five: pick up mom's purse from the location to which it has been mailed.
Step six: decide you should probably drive a few more hours West, because Custard once said, "Go West, young man." [duly note what happened to Custard].
Step seven: discover a battle field. Don't pay for the tour guide they provide but let dad do the talking. Throw in some quotes from the movie "Little Big Man" or "Jeremiah Johnson."
Step eight: Decide to give camping one more shot. Drive through the backwoods to a spot recommended by the toothless lady [I think] at the gas station.
Step nine: fly fish and get absolutely zero bites.
Step ten: Realize the "no camping" sign posted and pack up and head back into town, your camping dreams thwarted once more.
Step eleven: Sleep. Visit some more battle fields/museums and decide it would be best to get a head start home.

The drive home:
Repeat the aforementioned steps under "The Drive," only in the opposite direction.

Arriving home:

Step one: Help unload the camping gear that was piled all around you, realizing you never actually used it on the trip.
Step two: Curse the Atlas one more time.
Step three: join in giving dad a hard time about the trip...reminding him about your beach suggestion the past couple of years...
Step four...and this one is important so don't miss it: secretly enjoy every moment since you left home 7 days before.


here we go....

In the past two weeks my life has changed.

Around Christmas time Brent began considering applying for a job back home in Missouri. He had been approached by a good family friend who just so happens to be president of a very successful bank, and so our conversations and prayers began.

Fast forward to March.

We flew home for a weekend to see everyone and to support Brent's sister who had just lost a baby, and Brent was able to throw on his suit and go in for an interview.

Enter the waiting game.

Two weeks ago was my spring break. My mom and dad were both flying in to Nashville [babies do that, you know], and so I went down Tuesday evening to help Kali before they got there. Brent had to work until Thursday evening. Why are these details significant? Because we had to, just like before, make our life changing decision over the phone. You see, there was a little bit of distance between us in college...roughly 8 hours... and as we were wedding planning and life planning it all had to happen over the phone. That is how we made the decision to move to Louisville 2 years ago. And on Wednesday when he called to let me know he had been offered the job we were once again stuck communicating via phone line. Good thing we became pros at this.

More prayers, conversation, a few tears, and a lot of smiles later he officially accepted the loan officer position on Thursday.

That weekend was a little hazy for me. My family was all together again: Mom, Dad, Dan, Kali, Caroline, Brent, and me. It was wonderful. We grilled, we went for walks, we dedicated Caroline at church, we talked and laughed etc. But in the back of my mind was this very large decision that we had just made.

For the most part Brent and I decided we wanted to just enjoy the weekend with the family; however, on Saturday we had a little bit of time to ourselves and so, after buying Brent a new shirt and tie and guitar strings to celebrate [oh, and I got a Java Chip Frappuccino!], I got online and began looking for jobs. This was something I had been putting off. I put it off for several reasons: I didn't want to ask for references at work before I knew we were leaving for certain, and I didn't like thinking about leaving my school. So here I was, on this particular Saturday, realizing that I had put off the job search probably too long, overwhelmed at the thought of moving in 2 months, and figuring out the crazy emotions running through my mind. I sent out several emails that day and received only one real possibility...which I wasn't all too excited about.

Feeling slightly defeated, I closed the laptop and refocused on time with my family. And then I got a text...

A possible job opening at my alma mater. I didn't want to be overly excited, as it was just a possibility.

The weekend came to an end as, unfortunately, all good things must do. Brent and I headed back to Louisville with excitement, questions, and a lot of unknowns.

And then Monday came. I had to tell my coworkers. Scratch that...I had to tell some of my closest friends here in Louisville that I would be moving. I brought my make-up, knowing I would probably have to reapply after the tears. You see, at my school we have what we call "teams." My "team" has worked together the past two years and the five of have become very close. We're like a strange family. I mean, it's odd that a 24 year girl who has been teaching for two years, a mid 30s mother of one teaching for 13 years, a single 30 year old male teaching for 5, a late 50s [I think?!] year old woman with 2 grown children teaching for I don't even know how many years, and a mid 50s year old man whose youngest daughter is my age could all co-exist so peacefully and have so much fun together. It is beyond me why it works, but it does. I couldn't sleep the night before, and felt nauseous driving to school that Monday.

In their defense, they were very supportive. I mean, they cried, gave me a hard time, and asked what it would take to get me to stay [and I had some VERY good offers, including DVR and Ralph Lauren sunglasses], but they were also supportive and understanding. We sat there that morning, the five of us oddly crammed into desks meant for middle schoolers, realizing this would be ending soon. We made a pact that there would be no end-of-the-year countdowns for us; that we would just ride it out and enjoy the time together. We also began planning our "last supper," but I will save that for another post. The next day they all secretly planned to wear black as a symbol of their mourning.

After telling them, the news quickly began to trickle through the building, and I eventually wrote my official letter of resignation.

With this behind me I finally felt like I could let go a little more, and began to get very excited about our 'return to the homeland!' Family is one of the most important things to Brent and I, and as we begin to think more about starting our own, we couldn't even imagine doing this away from our parents and grandparents. We realize it is these relationships that shaped us, and want to provide that for our children as well. Oh, and I hate the city, so that is an added bonus.

As we began to look at houses, collect boxes, and make other arrangements, I was slowly realizing I still didn't have a job arranged for next school year. And then the phone call came. Tuesday morning, not even a week after Brent had accepted his job, I received a call from the principal of my old high school...go big red! He told me he had heard we were moving, informed me of a sophomore/junior English position that had just opened up, and we scheduled a phone interview for Friday morning.

I arrived at school a little early on Friday. I found a cup of Dunkin's hot chocolate on my desk and a "Good Luck!" note from Jenn. And on cue my phone rang. After an hour long interview I left it in God's hands and enjoyed my team's Friday ritual of walking across the street to McDonalds.

Monday morning I was offered the job!

So there you have it, folks. In less than a two week time period Brent and I were both offered jobs and our dream of moving back home has become a realization. If you didn't believe in God, do you now?!

And so, as I said in my last post, "God has recently grabbed Brent and I by our collars, thrown us on a tilt-a-whirl, and flung us into our future." We are supremely excited and blessed, and slightly nervous for what He must have in store for us :-)

We are currently looking at houses and making other moving arrangements, and I'm sure I will keep you up to date as this crazy journey continues. So if you have been frustrated by my lack of updates, hopefully this will help you understand.

Two years ago I came to this city, probably kicking and screaming a little more than I should have. It was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done, and even though that may sound a bit melodramatic it is true. However, this soil has proven fertile for growing our marriage. We had to learn to rely on each other, as we had NO ONE else. We had to learn to look to God, and trust Him in each other. We want to be home. And God has opened the doors. And so when I think about leaving Louisville I realize that the tears I shed are tears of unexpected blessings. I didn't expect to find comfort or friendship here, but I've learned location has never been a factor for God. And even though we hate the traffic, buildings, and business of this place, Brent and I will always be able to look back to our time here in "the desert" with happiness in our hearts.

God is so very faithful.


oh my!

No, I'm not "oh-my-ing" about lions and tigers and bears, but rather the way in which God has recently grabbed Brent and I by our collars, thrown us on a tilt-a-whirl, and flung us into our future. I don't know if that is the precise analogy I am looking for, as it sounds a bit too harsh for the very personal God I have recently had holding my hand, but it's nearly ten o'clock, state testing is tomorrow, and ...so there.

I don't have time to quite go into detail this evening, but will hopefully blog more in depth about the aforementioned "flinging" tomorrow or Wednesday. In the mean time:

- I bought myself Crest White Strips this weekend. I haven't used these since my wedding. I love them. They bring me happiness, which I understand is silly to say, but it's true. I look in the mirror, flash a smile, and the whiteness makes me happy. Judge away.
- I was also recently kissed by the sun and my arms, legs, and face display the truth. This also brings me happiness.
- I have a student who frustrates me to no end. I am blessed to be able to say "a student" because this year there is seriously only one who unnerves me like he does. We are both very stubborn people. It's an interesting little thing we've got going. But today was a good day with him. When other students got in groups to do their assignment, he remained at his desk. Usually this means, "I don't feel like doing work, leave me alone, I'm going to ignore everything you say to me." I didn't feel like butting heads and so, like many times before, I tried yet ANOTHER approach with this kid. Instead of assuming he wouldn't do his work, I assumed he would. This was not spoken, might I add. I sat down at my desk, which is right next to his as every good teacher knows is the oldest trick in the book to put the troubled kid by you. I had a pack of Starbursts that I had picked through and only the yellow remained. "Hey," I said nonchalantly, "you like yellow Starbursts?" He looked up startled, and shook his head yes. I handed him a stack. He smiled great big and said a giant and sincere THANKS. And then...hold your breath folks... he STARTED TO WORK! I acted like this was no big deal, checked in with the other groups, then headed back to my desk. This is when I remembered a forward my mom had sent me about a Vietnam veteran... this student had recently given a speech about how we should respect our veterans [that is another story in itself for how I got THAT out of him...I was very proud]. I printed the email and casually brushed by his desk..."Uhhh...hey, I got this email today. Looked like something you would be interested in..." He began reading; I walked away. I secretively spied on him and he was intently reading it. He finished, read it again, studied the picture then called me over. "Did you read this?!" Seriously, man? Why else would I have given it to you.... bite the tongue, Kels, bite the tongue. "Yeah. Pretty cool, huh?" He said, "Yeah this is awesome. Can I keep this?" I coolly said, "Yeah, sure." And then...sit down for this one...he got back to work and FINISHED what he needed to finish by the end of class. Never once did I say, "Focus. Regroup. Come on, get to work." etc. I know all that I have to show for it are some empty yellow wrappers in my trashcan, but I was pretty proud! :-) And even though it is nearing the end of April, I'm just glad I hadn't quite given up on him.
- Brent and I went to the store tonight and bought a frozen pizza for supper. We ate in the living room with our feet up on the coffee table. I felt like a slob, a horrible homemaker, etc., but when I had no clean up, a fed husband, and a smile on my face, I didn't care.

Forgive me for the random post, but now it is bed time. Adieu, Adieu, to you and you and you...


brent's gift

For those of you that didn't know, today is my birthday. Hoorah. My students joked all day that I am now 42. Gotta love 8th grade humor. It has been a wonderful day, my co-workers and students were awesome [another reason I love teaching...if you didn't read the post yesterday] but mostly thanks in large part to my wonderful, thoughtful, and talented husband.

Last year Brent got up in the middle of the night and posted notes all over the apartment telling me things he loved about me, and then he came to my school with a delicious ice cream cake! Yum.

This year he went a step above and beyond most and wrote me another song. For those of you that think it is cheesy, I'm sorry for you, because it is awesome. This is the 9th song he has written me, but it is the first song he has written since we got married [and I think it helped that I just gave him new guitar strings as a "congrats-on-the-new-job" ... but more on that later]. So he totally surprised me with this one. As all songs go, they are better when listened to, but for now I wanted to share the lyrics. I think my family will get a kick out of it, and I think it will show you all how incredibly blessed I am to get to call this man my husband and best friend. He would do anything for me, and loves me and my many, many faults :-). Thanks, Brent. You're too good to me.

What I Love

She says she has a crooked smile
She warns me she was, an ornery child
But I don't see, no I don't see that
It's what I love...

She takes all the peas from her food
She wishes she had more dance moves
But I don't see, no I don't see that
It's what I love...

**Chorus: I don't see her in that way
No I don't see all those things she sees
Because all I see are all the things I love
All I see are all the things I love
What I love...what I love.

She claims she always needs more sun
She tries working out but hates to run
I don't mind, no I don't mind that
It's what I love...

She asks for massages every night
She yells the loudest when we fight
But I don't mind, no I don't mind that
It's what I love...


At the airport she stares too long
Her grip on my wallet might be too strong
But I don't notice, no I don't notice
It's what I love...

When she wakes up her pillow is wet
She finds a way to win every bet
But I don't notice, no I don't notice
It's what I love...



reasons i love teaching

- because children GLOW when I praise them, encourage them, listen to them
- because children trust me with their stories
- because when I am excited, they get excited
- because it puts me in my place
- because I learn something everyday
- because I can fill a room with laughter, fear, or inspiration
- because there are 30 of them in one room, and one me, and I like that challenge
- because I get to experience hormone-induced power surges, and very few experience so many at one time
- because I can brighten someone's day by giving them a new seat, letting them read on the floor instead of at their desk, or simply by giving them a sucker for a job well done
- because I can endure the most boring, monotonous stories with a smile on my face and expressions that make the student/talker feel like they are telling an award winning story
- because I can be goofy and can enjoy their goofiness too
- because I have very few other things in life that I am THIS passionate about
- because I truly like my students...all of them...but I don't have to love them
- because simply by having extra pencils on my desk I can make a forgetful student appreciate and a student who can't afford school supplies blend in
- because I can teach a child the skills necessary to THINK for the rest of their lives
- because I don't ever give up on my students, and they can tell
- because I can make a phone call at supper time that can cause a grounding or a reward
- because I have learned that discipline is rarely necessary when a classroom is well-MANAGED
- because middle schoolers don't quite know who they are, or what they are capable of becoming, but they still believe they can change the world
- because I get to go to work every day and work on a "who" not a "something" or a "what"
- because I can be in his corner when his dad keeps saying to him, "Why can't you be this...why can't you be that...what can't you do more...better...why can't you be..." and I can look his father, a man at least 15 years older than myself, square in the face and say, "Let me tell you what your son is...what he's the best at in my class... and that I am in his corner..."
- because I will always have them, and they will always have me
- because on days when I think, "Are they really getting anything?!" a special-ed student of mine writes that the "lightening ATE THE SKY" or that the "LUMINOUS WIND TICKLED her face"
- because I am reminded how hard it is to be a teenager on a daily basis; and I am reminded of how little I truly know by their know-it-all attitudes
- because I have learned that the ones that are hardest to love, need love the most
- because seeing it "stick" is worth the extra hour after school
- because my patience is tested daily
- because a new air freshener is a very big deal
- because we can all pretend to love our "grammar-o-fun!"
- because I see a group of misfits become a family over a 9 month period, and realize that they have let me be a part of that family too
- because writing a real, thoughtful note on a student's piece of writing, or in their journal, or on a sticky note is something they may keep forever
- because I have learned that fair doesn't mean the same thing for everyone
- because I get notes that say things like, "Your the best teacher I've ever had," or "Your my true role model," and I've learned to look past the wrong form of "YOU'RE" and accept the compliment
- because everyday I can work to become the kind of person my students think I already am

- and because I could sit here at my computer for 5 more hours and write a million more reasons


spring break

A few good moments of my break so far:


Part II

To read from the beginning, click here and scroll to "Part I."

Part II

My freshman year ended without much ado or fanfare, and summer was greeted with open arms. Flip flops were welcomed, and the curls in my hair grew tighter as the Missouri humidity grabbed hold. If I would have kept a planner, it would have been filling up with softball and basketball games, family trips, camps of many varieties, and a mission trip.

Church camp was early that summer, and I relished in that fact. Since I had been in fourth grade, camp had captured my heart, as had the people there. The first part of June was spent preparing for, and looking forward to this year's week at camp, and so the meetings to prepare for the mission trip were but a blip on my radar screen.

The previous summer had been my first mission trip with my church's association, and we had traveled to Branson, Missouri. It had apparently been a big hit to all involved, as this year's trip would again be to Branson. At our first meeting I felt the pain of unmet expectations. The year before our group had been incredible, and many of the friends I had made were not planning on making the trip this year.

Not only that, but there was also a new group that would be going with us from Union Star. I knew their youth leader, Matt, and although I liked him I was not happy with the way his group acted like such a clique. I knew a few of them from other encounters, as those from small towns have a way of becoming interlaced with others from nearby towns; like one big, messy patchwork quilt, you're not sure how the stitches end up where they do. There was Annie, who was related to a lot of people in my town and who I had played against in basketball for years. I actually played on a traveling softball team with her years before too. Then there was Holly, who I knew for the same reasons as Annie. And there were two of the guys, Derek and Brent, who looked vaguely familiar as I had met them at a church lock in in the 7th grade. My friend, Rebecca, had invited me and introduced me to Brent in the foyer of their church. I remembered awkwardly shaking his hand, him barely saying a word. I had bangs and a retainers then, and he had his hair parted down the middle. He left me standing there and played racquetball with his buddies the rest of the night, and never spoke another word to me. I looked for those buddies at the meeting, but didn't see any of them. It was probably better that way. Their group only spoke to one another, and they laughed at a lot of inside jokes, which I thought was an incredibly rude thing to do.

I was also slightly disappointed in these meetings for other reasons, though I would never admit this to anyone. The more I wrote my future husband, the more I felt certain I would "know" him when I saw or met him. Of course, the good Southern Baptist in me thought what better place to meet him than on a mission trip?! But as I sat in the small basement where we were meeting and hastily judged the crop around me, I was frustrated and defeated, my plans foiled.

On the way home I explained to my sister, Kali, who was also going on the trip, "I'm concerned about the intentions of some of the guys from Star. I just don't think they are going for the right reasons."

Like Kali always had a way of doing though, she responded, "Kels, just give them some time. Who knows, they may be awesome." And in a way that only older sisters can, she seemed to read my mind and added, "Besides some of them are kind of cute, right?"

I laughed, rolled my eyes at her, and thought, "Oh how I hope she's right..." because some of them were kind of very cute.

Church camp came and went in a flash of tank tops, water fights, worship services, and pranks. I took four rolls of film and filled up pages with addresses and emails. I was glad that some of my fellow mission trippers were there, happy to have a few solid connections and van buddies pre-selected for the trip. I left camp, finally feeling like I could adequately get excited about the trip before me.

Soon, the time came. I packed my suitcases, bought more film for my ever-ready camera, hugged my parents good-bye, promising them I would behave myself, and my sister and I headed out. All those going met in a parking lot, threw our bags in a trailer, and then circled up for a final prayer before setting off. As I listened to one of our leaders, my heart whispered a prayer of its own, "
Lord, may I not focus on boys; I'm here to do your work." And we all said "Amen."

We loaded all of our vans, filling them with the smells of sweat and sunscreen and whatever snacks we had packed for the five hour drive. I wasn't surprised when all of Star's youth group got in one van together. "Do you think they're going to be like this the whole trip?" I asked my friend and van-mate, Micah.

"Wouldn't surprise me. Want a fruit snack?"

Chewing on a cherry flavored smiley, I was mad that they wouldn't try harder to get to know others, but as I popped a grape smiley snack in my mouth, I knew I was mostly jealous that I wasn't in their van.

A couple of naps and license plate games later, we pulled into our hotel, and the chaotic process of unloading began. There were cramped legs and arms and pillows and trash pouring out of vans everywhere I looked. I headed over to the
trailer with the luggage, stretching my lazy travel-worn arms above my head. Several guys were taking charge of hauling the luggage onto the sidewalk, and that's when I spotted it. It was in a hardback case with shiny golden clasps sealing its contents. I stepped back, pretending to stretch my legs and arms a bit more, watching to see who would claim the guitar case. And then Brent, the one who had ignored me at the lock-in, casually loped by, grabbing the guitar in his left hand. In shorts and a cut off t-shirt, he disappeared around the corner of the building. As much as I wanted to fight it, this quiet guy who owned a guitar and no longer parted his hair down the middle intrigued me.

I spotted my suitcase and, stuffing my pillow under my arm, grabbed it and headed to my room, whispering once again under my breath, "
Lord, may I not focus on boys; I'm here to do your work. Amen." I flung my pillow on the flowery bed-spread, my body soon following, and waited for my roommates to show up.


Part I

As mentioned in my last post, I have been inspired to write "Our Story." I can't promise that it will be perfect, but I promise to make it as true to life as I can remember, and to keep it entertaining the best that I can. So please join me on this journey...enjoy! [And remember, comments help me stay motivated :-)]

Part I

As a freshman in high school, boys weren't off my radar screen. I liked basketball, mesh shorts, food, and ponytails, but I also liked boys. I was a "pretend-like-I'm-not-a-girly-girl" flirt, only wearing just enough lip gloss to be allowed into testosterone circles without causing much angst. The boys at my school knew my standards though, making it difficult to find a date. I was sick of the run around, the "you're-just-like-one-of-the-guys-I-could-never-think-of-you-that-way"s, the mindless conversations with girlfriends, and I observed just enough to see there was a picture bigger than high school.

This breezy April night was not unlike so many others: stay after school and shoot around, lift weights, catch a ride or walk home, homework, supper with the family. But then it hit me, like many lonely moments before. I wanted to pick up the phone, call a him who would smile when his mom handed him the phone saying, "It's her..." But as the curtains fluttered in my little room above the kitchen I knew that phone call wouldn't be happening tonight, and since there were very few perspectives, I knew the reality was that it wouldn't be happening for a very long while.
I flopped on my twin sized bed, chest down, toes dangling over the edge and, like so many evenings before, put my head in my hands and let my gaze and my thoughts drift out the open screen of the window at the head of my bed.

I don't know if it was the flowery purple spring sky, or the smell of a fresh, mid-western breeze tickling my nose, or the unrelenting weight of my barely 15 year old soul longing to be cherished, but I grabbed a notebook from a pile on my floor, and pushed aside deodorant, hair ties, yesterday's granola bar wrapper, a folded note from my friend at school with "B.F.F." scribbled on the front, my alarm clock... "Ah-ha! Finally, something to write with..."

I dated the paper: April 26, 2001, but then put the lid back on the pen. I focused, cleared my mind, and dreamed up the man I wanted in my future. I have always had an excellent imagination, and in no time the vision of this man was in my mind's eye: Taller than me, dark head of hair, guitar strapped around his shoulder, bible in his hand, and playing peek-a-boo with a giggling child. Sigh. Perfection.

I picked up my black Bic once again, and started writing:

To: My Future Husband

I thought I would write you because I think it will be really cool to show you someday when we are married! I just want you to know how much I already care and think about you! I know you are God's send just for me... I pray for you and for our future together, for the children we are going to raise together and for the problems we will face... I have complete faith in Jesus that He is preparing your heart for me! ... I want you to know that I will fully wait for you... I know when we say "I do" it will be forever! ...

Waiting 4 you always, Kelsey

The letter was complete with exclamation points dotted with hearts. In the top right corner, just above the date, I printed "First Letter," envisioning many more love notes to be scrawled in my ever-changing handwriting. I closed the notebook, and cleared a spot for it on my cluttered nightstand. I flopped back on my bed, this time laying on my back, hands folded across my stomach, and smiled at the ceiling. I may not have been making a phone call that night, but I sure knew what I wanted.
* * *
Maybe I watched "Cinderella" one too many times when I was little, but after that first letter I could not get the vision of my Prince Charming out of my mind. The days tumbled by, as they have a way of doing, and I continued writing:

4.28.01: "I have felt God telling me to be patient. I know that every guy I date is a potential candidate to be my husband/you, so I need to be slow to get involved."

5.14.01: "One thing...I want "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman [at our wedding]. It's awesome."

5.30.01: "Somehow writing you makes it seem more real to me--I mean, I know you're real, but it makes it seem like somehow you're next to me."

6.25.01: "I am writing because I came across some scripture in "The Message" that made me think of you. Romans 1: "God, whom I so love to worship and serve...knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask Him to clear the way for me to come see you. The longer the waiting goes on, the deeper the ache."

I wrote and I wrote. In pink pen, in green, in purple. And I rambled and I made a fool of myself, and I drew hearts, and I folded each one carefully and placed them in a box. Eventually I decoupaged the wooden box with magazine clippings and on the inside of the lid wrote in Sharpie:

To: The one I will always love
From: Kelsey [5.13.01]

I slid the box carefully under my bed, not quite ready to, and not sure how I would, explain the contents if it were to be found.

As the box began to fill, my longings waxed and waned like the summer moon, and little did I know that the man I was addressing in each of my letters had already shook my hand.


recent projects

Dear March,

Where did you go?

Sincerely, Kels

This past month seriously escaped me. I mean, I can look back in my planner and see that I had a meeting here, and there, and there, and there etc., but beyond that I don't really recall March. I have accomplished a lot of little projects here and there, however, and I thought I would just do a quick catch-all to show you that I have been doing SOMETHING, besides laundry and the other usuals, even if it hasn't been blogging:

I finally got around to sewing a button on a pair of Brent's pants. This may not seem like a big deal, and it's not really, but I was semi-proud of myself, and Brent can wear these khakis again.

I have also started writing our love story. I have always wanted to write Brent's and my entire story, from the beginning, but just never quite knew how or where to start it. One of Kali's friends wrote her story for valentine's day this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was the final push I needed. So in a composition notebook, I have begun scribbling. It will appear here in segments someday.
I have also been trying a lot of new recipes. Some of them I create, others I browse for online, and others I combine a few different recipes here and there. Most have been tasty. Like this one, which was just too pretty and tasty NOT to take a picture of! Yum.

One of my coworkers just recently finished applying for his National Board certification. This is a very lengthy process, and all the teachers at my school that have endured this torture have said it was more difficult than getting their Masters. One evening when Jeremy was at our apartment to watch "Lost," he noticed all the canvases on the walls and in passing said I should paint him a Purdue one [he went to Purdue]. So, when he finally finished his million pages of writing and shipped off everything required for National Boards, I gave him this.

This isn't necessarily a project but... We have been having a wonderful year at school, enjoying wonderful 8th graders, which is a rarity. Jenn, our team's math teacher and team leader, was voted "teacher of the year." We were so proud! So we used it as another excuse to take a team picture [Jenn didn't want us to put "Teacher of the Year" in the background, but rather "Team of the Year." We accepted]. From left to right: Cy [science], Jenn, Deloris [special ed.], me, Jeremy [social studies]. And I'm not sure what we are all laughing about in the one on the bottom...who know?!! We're always laughing about SOMETHING! I love my team.

So there you have it. Things I've been doing. And now I'm off to make some Chicken Kiev as our Easter dinner. Yum.

And in light of the Easter season, I'm going to leave you with some lyrics that are especially close to my heart during this time: Behold the man upon the cross, my sin upon his shoulders. Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, but this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.