i can't muster up the deep thoughts or interesting events in my life to write about. but i'm still going to write. something will come.
i'm so excited about christmas time, and tim and i are finally going to have a christmas together. even while we were engaged, we spent the holidays at our seperate homes with our families, 12 hours away. this year, we'll have our own christmas AND get to spend it with both sides of the family. we put up our donated 6 foot artificial christmas tree, and, well...it's ours. that's why we like it. we had fun decorating our apartment for christmas, and then realized we have a lot of catching up to do with our mothers' decorating.
we are getting ready to fly up to Indiana once again, this time with Jake. i love flying, and i love Indiana. charlie's getting married, which is craaaazy, and i'm excited to be united with friends i haven't seen in a few months. we'll get to see Ella and realize how much we've missed already in her tiny little life and hopefully not catch the baby fever ourselves. hopefully we won't sit staring out the window and holding back tears as we're sitting in the airport waiting for our return flight like last time.
this month will fly by fast, and it's bittersweet. we have a lot of decisions to be made about life and jobs that this month brings. january is also a crazy busy month for children's ministry, which i'm honestly not really looking forward to. the weather's getting cold but probably won't bring snow, like most Virginia winters. my youngest sister was accepted into college.
depending on time, i've been considering going back to school at the community college for Art Instruction classes. i figure now is as good as any to continue to chase after my dreams of being an art teacher. if anything, i'll be doing something constructive. i know it's just an idea, but it's a step. i just won't accept that it won't be an option for me as a job at some point.
as for now, i haven't gotten back into art. i'm still waiting. for what, i don't know. i actually checked a book out from the library the other day that was recommended by a friend. i'm still trying to pry myself from associating reading with school books.
i'm definitely in the midst of figuring out who i am, and not trying to change what i'd like to be. for some reason, we tend to think when we finally get married, finally get out of school, finally get a job, etc. that we will have defined ourselves, but i find it to be quite the opposite. i think you end up sitting at your desk and wondering if you were crazy for wanting to do that in the first place. you look at the person you chose to marry and are forced to stare yourself in the mirror as well. you realize that life is happening, with our without you. all those things you had on your "i'd like to do this one day" list just became things you should have done yesterday.
we all make to do lists at some point or another. i make them ALL the time. it started in class, when i was bored and wanted to remind myself of a life outside of school, and now i keep them faithfully....grocery lists, work deadlines, presents, hobbies, etc. just whatever i need to remind myself to do, i make a list.
they say you can tell a lot about someone by their to do lists. well here's mine:
move chairs for Sunday make copies of seminar outline clean apartment order wedding pictures look for christmas ornaments chili for small group next week check for Dad clean car
walmart: blinker bulb shaving cream
now for a list a little more long term.
things i want to do at some point in my life:
raise a family fix up an old house start or help run a business teach go back to Europe have a vegetable garden read the entire Bible work at a bakery get really good at painting learn to play a string instrument take a road trip across the country live in NYC teach an art class
that's all i can think of, although i'm sure there will be more as i go through life weeding through what things are important, and what aren't.
what's that one reoccuring thing on your life's to do list?
i've noticed most people on my "links" list have updated lately, so i felt guilty and here i am, typing.
i really don't have much to say that i haven't already said. as far as life's events and decisions go, we're still playing the waiting game.
so onto something that i can think and dream about no matter where we are or what we get paid for.
i need to get back into art.
i have this hidden passion or creativity that sometimes (ok, really most of the time) gets tucked away behind the everyday habits of just getting through life and has nowhere to go. i've always had this desire to create beautiful things and i usually funnel that passion through pencils or paintbrushes. even collages. i'm not really that great at it. i couldn't paint a woman standing in on a dock with the wind blowing her skirt around her ankles, even if i wanted to. maybe i haven't explored it enough to feel successful at it, so i tend to steer towards just plain design. i love simplicity and, therefore, usually end up creating a painting that doesn't even fill up the entire canvas, has only 2 major shapes in it, or just is a bunch of colors and lines.
even still, i end up content and feeling somewhat talented. like i have something that makes me, me. like i have a "thing". a talent. something that makes me special and admired. it's almost the way that i try and show who i am or even, who i'd like to be by creating something that shows people something about myself in a way i know they'll never be able to see any other way. i'm not great at it. maybe not even good at it. but i love it.
and i've lost it recently. i haven't picked up a magazine clipping, a charcoal pencil, or bottle of acrylic in so long. i think i'm too busy trying to find something else that could make me unique instead of just doing what i love to do. perhaps i was waiting for that stage in life where i was "settled" and could focus on things like art or hobbies that have nothing to do with the world around me and the life i am so wrapped up in.
well, if that's so, then i may as well never think of myself as an artist.
The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. -Emile Zola
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. -Oscar Wilde
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. -Thomas Merton (I'm making Tim proud with this one)
this weekend, tim went to knoxville to go to an Old Crow concert with Bill, a UT game with Ben, visit Crossings, etc. needless to say, i was very jealous and wish i was able to go along. i'm actually surprised he came back.
friday started out alright, with a solo trip to Va Beach to check out some pretty cool stores i'd been wanting to go to. i bought myself more than i needed to, and then felt guilty for spending so much money. i do now have my own pair of chuck taylors, which was probably my favorite purchase of the day. i don't regret those. i'm definitely a victim of retail therapy.
while he was gone, my parents left for a cruise to Bermuda. jealous again. sarah's staying with us for the next week, so i get to play dog-sitter and sister-keeper. she and her friends are my favorite high school girls ever, so it was great fun to help fix hair and makeup for Homecoming this last weekend and host the slumber party after their dance. i also have to brag on Hope- my sister's bff that won Homecoming Queen WHILE wearing her football jersey. that's right. she's the only girl on a varsity football team in the district. this was all after pulling off a Fall Festival for church for what we expected would be 1000 kids- all inside due to the 3 days of downpour that we had, going to walmart to stock up on food for the group of girls staying at our place, and walking up the stairs to find our apartment door open at 10:30pm. good thing i could run across the street to Lindsay & Nick's and make him come check EVERY nook & cranny in the apartment for killers-including the dryer.
add church to that, which is also a work day for me. making sure teachers are there on time, finding subs, passing out food drive bags, and preparing breakfast for 50+ volunteers.
by the time Tim got home on Sunday night, i was absolutely drained. to say the least. i cried for absolutely no reason, and then took a nap that lasted for almost 5 hours.
Tim and I both played hookie on Monday, cancelled our responsibilities for that night, and told real life to back off for one more day.
the up sides to the last few days:
fall weather is finally here. i have an entire box of brownie mix at home. ruth ann sent us a package with a nice Starbucks gift card at JUST the right time. october will be over TOMORROW.
so i really have no idea what my/our life's gonna look like in the next few months. we could still be here in virginia. we might not. we could still be a family of two. we might not. i could still have dark hair. i may not. ok, that's a little far, but the point is-i am learning to be okay with not knowing.
i've felt a little stressed/worried/pressured the last few days/weeks about things here in virginia. trying to figure out if i like it, if it works, if it's the best thing for us, if there's something out there that i'm more passionate about, or if i've just lost my passion from wandering around york county. it's a big deal, this grown-up thing. i also know the rewards of sticking things out and being dedicated, but that doesn't mean that change and something different or other decisions are necessarily bad, either.
i don't really recall any time in my life when i "just knew" that God wanted me somewhere. i saw the open and shut doors, the advantages or disadvantages, weighed my options based on my knowledge of "the long run" and made a decision the best i knew how. so far, it's been a pretty flawless process. i've ended up in my life healthy, happily married, educated, and wanting not.
but i also strongly believe that God may give us choices to make. He lays two (or three, or four) in front of us, and says, "It's up to you. I believe you'll choose wisely. Either way, serve me." And He lets us decide one small section of our life's journey and then gets to work helping prepare us further for that choice. Free will, right?
maybe i'm just doing some wishful thinking. maybe i'm on my tiptoes looking over the fence and thinking, "ooh, that grass is greener." maybe God's going to sit me/us down and say, "ok, guys. here's what i have. what do you think?"
so we're back from Indiana....ella and tim are, in fact, best friends. just like he predicted. i've never seen a boy and a baby so enamored with each other...other than her daddy, of course. we got to play "house" for awhile and help take care of the baby, cart her around to youth group, church, downtowns, restaurants and outlet malls. this weekend was food for the soul. tim and i took it all in while we could. we loved being with kenny & nicole and having a chance to spoil their baby girl. we went shopping, fed our Starbucks addiction, watched our shows, ate at Cracker Barrell and played speed scrabble-all memories for us. we got a chance to share in each other's lives even though we're close to a third of the way across the country.
we also go to see tim's parents and sarah...which was awesome. ruth ann had the usual roast, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, etc. etc. for us on Sunday afternoon. we took naps and watched some good movies. tim finally got to see Reign Over Me- one of my favorites now. i missed goofing around and making faces with sarah. tim usually doesn't laugh as much as she does.
i sat in the airport, trying my hardest not to cry. i didn't want tim to see how much i'd fallen in love with indiana, too. of course, he saw. there we sat, thinking and doubting. we wondered if we'd ever find a place to settle into. we wondered what would make us happy. we thought about teaching, dreaming, ministering, starting a family, and sharing life with close friends.
we both had tickets in our hands, so we both got on the plane and came back.
i was reading old posts of mine on xanga, the blog i used to keep up. it's always interesting to go back and read something you've written a long time ago, especially if it's in the form of journaling due to the usual emotions that go along with it. i was reading entries from last October, when i was pretty well into student teaching, looking forward to going home for the holidays, barely getting into planning our wedding, and really struggling with what i was going to do with my life and where tim and i were supposed to be living. i was so ready to be moving on, starting something new, and enjoying life without being in school.
i've realized it's taken me a full year to come full circle.
even though i'm not in school anymore, but in some strange way or another....i'm at that same place again.
still trying to figure out what i want to do with my life. i'm confused about a job that i saw God place so obviously in front of me, and now i sit for hours at my desk wondering what else is out there. tim has a steady job, but still has no idea what he wants to do, either.
we miss Knoxville like you wouldn't even believe. Crossings, a church plant that i was a little hesitant about, seems like the kind of faith movement that's right for BOTH of us. the weather, the artsy city, the countryside...it's got it all.
we've settled down together....and in turn, become more restless. how is that fair?
ps. happy one month birthday, ella grace gooch. we get to finally meet TOMORROW!
i was in Borders yesterday, exploring the Psychology section, a section that i would frequently visit (and purchase feverishly from) at McKay's in Knoxville. i was interested to see what was considered "new release" in big shot bookstore psychology.
an interesting title caught my eye: The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word and Image.
this book intrigued me. i started reading the cover flap and discovered that it was actually a guy's thesis on how written language has a "masculine" effect on culture because it uses the left hemisphere of the brain, which controls linear thought. if you consider visualization, vision, and seeing the "big picture" or an abstract thought process as right brained (or feminine), then his theory makes sense. he explores several different people groups and events in history and writes that society has moved from a feminine way of thinking (when groups of people prayed to the goddesses of the earth, and had no written language, their cultures based completely on character and told stories) to the movement of written laws and literature and therefore became more masculine. he then explains that society could possibly be moving back towards the feminine way of thinking with all the sci-fi and fantasy-like media, movies, music, etc. he thinks society could be meeting an equilibrium of both ways of thinking. he says that visual orientation is moving its way back into society, especially with the rise of power in women authority/political figures.
oh, hillary. you might have a chance.
many people have opinions about his book, mostly saying that one way of thinking is good and the other is bad.
what do you think? is it good for society to have a linear, practical, masculine way of thinking.....or a visually-oriented, abstract, visionary feminine way of thinking?
what's sad is that he implies that no one is using their ENTIRE brain-only one half at a time.
the weather is finally looking and acting like fall could happen sometime soon. i'm excited. i'm with tim- when the fall weather gets here, you're just automatically in a better mood.
helped out with another wedding this weekend, a fall wedding. it was beautiful and made me want to do mine all over in the fall. sike. but it was beautiful.
the children's ministry job is still going well. i'm sloooooowly learning how to lead, and i miss teaching more and more every day. thought about subbing on fridays, but then i remembered that i need that day as my "sane time" before i head into another weekend of ministry. it's a hell of a lot harder than i thought.
we're going to see Kenny & Nicole in less than 2 weeks and i'm SO excited. we're really ready to meet Ella Grace, and from what i hear, she's ready to meet us, too. we miss watching Grey's with them and the Wolfs, playing games, and just being the 4 of us. the only part i'm okay with changing is that there is now another person to learn how to play Nerts.
we have a lot of things to look forward to in October, one being Montebello this weekend! it's not going to be the same without the carloads of JBC friends to bring, but it's Montebello, and it's freaking awesome. apple festivals, picking our own pumpkins, camp fires, beautiful trees, s'mores (how excited am I??), hugest sleepover ever. good times. heck of a tradition.
i'm learning how to cook a lot more, now that i'm addicted to Take Home Chef and have my own kitchen stocked full of fun Pampered Chef toys. it's hard to cook for just two, and Tim tells me i have to stop baking and cooking so well to keep him healthy.
this is a random post and i don't really have much else to report. my apologies. but life is moving along and the seasons are changing.
so tim and i are going on 3 months of being married. ella grace is already 2 weeks old. i'm entering my fourth month of being an associate children's minister.
life is weird right now.
i'm not sure why, but it is. i don't know if it's because i feel like i'm supposed to be settling in, but i don't feel like i am. it is home, though. it's where my parents live, i went to high school, i grew up in an awesome youth ministry, and got married at my home church.
maybe i'm just so programmed to live in a temporary state in my life, so that i'm always looking forward to what's next. we knew this is where God wanted us, the plans just seemed to lay themselves out. the timing, the job, the apartment, the people we already knew. it was all set out in front of us, and it was exciting. we knew this would be the perfect place for us to get on our feet and get established in all things life before we "really knew what we wanted to do".
but every day, i dream and think about what's to come. i think about moving closer to friends. i think about how much i miss teaching, despite how ready i was for a break.
i know tim doesn't see life in virginia the way i did. his job is just a job, and that wears on someone. his opportunities to do ministry are there, but i sense that he's not "free" to do ministry like he'd really like to. and that wears on me. we'd both really love to find somewhere we can engross ourselves into it. maybe we can, we just have to do it.
so what's going on? am i just not good at being content in my given situation? have i lived in a state of anxiousness and looking forward to events for so long that i've trained my mind to do the same? do i need to struggle through the uncomfortable insecurities of the present in order to grow and be ready for the future?
i'm really trying to get back into the habit of blogging at least once a week. hint- it encourages me to do so if i see comments. :) seriously, though...i love being able to share a little bit of how life is now that everyone who was my life before is all doing life in different parts of everywhere.
today, we're celebrating a birthday. nicole FINALLY went into labor this morning, and i am SO EXCITED. but it hit me...we were all so ready for this baby to be here, but now that i know they will actually be holding their own child today, their vows in flesh and blood, it's like it's news all over again. i can't even begin to imagine how that feels. hopefully now, tim and i can put our trip up to see them on the calendar and get to hold their tiny miracle for ourselves sometime soon. then i can give her the tiny faux leather & fur snow boots i bought her the other day. this is going to be one hot kid.
this last week, i really felt like i went through the ringer in ministry. i'm really getting to the point of finding out the in's and out's of how this all works, and even then, i know that it will still take awhile (if ever) before i'm there. i finally dealt with my first "explosion" of unhappy people on Sunday mornings. i knew it would happen, and now i can say "ok, well now that that's over..." but i really ended up going through a week of fear, doubt, insecurity, and then coming through it with a lot more under my belt and a really good idea of what i need to do. unfortunately, i have a hankerin' (i miss tn) that that won't be the only time i learn something like that.
tonight is a little bit exciting. i'm being commissioned into full time ministry with a little mini-ceremony tonight at the start of the elder's meeting. it's kindof the equivalent of being ordained into ministry, but not as fancy (in my words). just my family, tim, maynards, nick & lindsay are going to be there, with the rest of the church staff and elders, of course. so it will be quaint and small, and meaningful. just some news that should be shared. definitely not as exciting as a baby being born, though. come on.
well, life is happening, and taking me with it. it's been interesting to see how i've been growing and being stretched and twisted throughout the last few months. i always thought that once i got out of college and got married, that i'd finally be a "resting point" and feel like i've gotten somewhere, but i really think now is the time i'm starting to feel the momentum of being molded through Christ. weird.
God's always gotta keep us moving. as my old friend Chad says, "keep on truckin'."
this weekend was truly a weekend. four days long, and nothing to do but eat good food, visit with family, and take naps.
my aunt jen and uncle joe came into town this weekend. they're the kind of relatives that can call us up and ask, "can we come visit?" the truth was, they are having their floors in their house redone, and they had to escape the smell of ether. just as well, i was excited to spend time with them without the craziness of a wedding weekend.
we had tuna steaks, corn on the cob, caprise salad, a five pound bag of Hanover's pretzels (which we ate in entirety), and our best menu- banana splits for dinner.
if i could describe my aunt jen, it would be a description similar to a character in a children's storybook. she is beautiful and graceful, but loud and bold at the same time. she has lived through tragedies in her health, marriage, and family. she knows every aching heart that comes at her, and can recognize character traits in you that you didn't even think you had. she loves to read aloud, even to me at 23. she is well-read, well-versed, and can pull the deepest doubts and fears from you after a simple conversation. she recognizes God in everyone, and has a contagious learning streak in her that makes you want to know everything about everything. she is talented as a seamstress, a chef, a mother, a grandmother, a medical nurse, a sister, a wife, and a prayer warrior.
after this weekend, when the boys all sat in the den for what seemed like all day, watching movies and eating pretzels, the ladies sat on the deck under umbrellas strung with white lights and our ice cream, talking for HOURS about our lives and the people in them. we talked about the women we've become, and the women we'd like to still be.
it was refreshing, to say the least, to enter into more of an "adulthood" after those few days. i was really included as a "grown up" and got to talk freely about marriage, faith, friendship, and food. i think i've learned more about becoming the woman i want to be in those 4 days than i have ever sat down to really think about.
i now have a new challenge. or maybe it's not new- maybe i've never challenged myself with it before. but i have to decide who i want to be. i want to be able to sit on the porch under white lights and share with my newly married neice and sister-in-law how my life has molded me into the woman i am.
Snickers Dark Chocolate Sunday lunch Banana Coladas girls' nights w/ tim s'mores mountain biking high heels Cajun Talapia from Applebee's tshirt sheets LA Ink Take Home Chef tim's old blanket Wednesday night small group vintage food ads painted fingernails Peanut Paradise smoothies w/ soy protein yellow working out early in the morning (gasp!) library books Rachel Clemons
lindsay and nick are now officially husband and wife. she was probably the most perfect bride i've ever seen, and nick was probably the most nervous groom i've ever seen! the weekend was full of fun friends and laughs. the girls went and got our nails done, had a dance party, fashion show (really it was only Summer & I), fancy bridal breakfast, jacob came in town for a long weekend, and we stood through one of the hottest weddings ever, trying to stay still with sweat dripping down our legs.
it's so much fun to share in the same season of life with friends. it's pretty easy when it seems like EVERY one of our friends is engaged. it's also very nice to relax and be a part of the celebration without having the stress of being the bride!
i'm starting to settle into my new job. the new school year is starting, and even though i'm not teaching, we have a pretty hectic September along with everyone else. summer events are over, but new teachers have to be recruited, trained, given supplies, and kids have to be promoted to their new classes. this job is all about the people skills and the details- sometimes not my biggest strengths.
i'm a little overwhelmed as i sit here in my office, which is still being pieced together. countertops are just waiting to be taken apart, books on the floor, pictures not hung up. i think once i get a good workspace, i'll feel a little more at home and productive. i'm also overwhelmed by the responsibility of being answerable to so many people who are older than me. i've gained the respect of knowing what i'm doing by my degrees sitting on the shelf, but the every day nervous pit in my stomach that i'm going to run into someone who finds out my secret- i'm still not sure what i'm doing. But until then, I will love people as much as I know how and take it one day at a time.
We're excited about this fall coming up, with summer schedules maybe calming down a little bit. Nick & Lindsay won't be in wedding mode anymore, so they can hang out and do neighborly stuff with us. Our small group is slowly becoming a "Newly Marrieds" group, but we're spreading the love of speed scrabble and mountain biking to everyone we can get our hands on.
We're planning a trip later this month to go see the Gooch family- baby Gooch needs to arrive soon so we can start packing! I'm absolutely and incredibly excited about that trip- I know it will blow me away to hold her and see her with her amazing parents. Let's just hope we don't come back with baby fever!
Well, this has been more of an update on our activities lately, but with those of us who don't live close anymore, sometimes that's nice.
Tim and I have taken up mountain biking. It's something we've always said we'd like to do, so when Dad asked us want we wanted as graduation gifts, we knew this was our chance to get something as a gift that we would never be able to afford ourselves.
Mine is blue (as shown) and Tim's is red. These bikes are incredible. Tim's taken his out on more rides and mini adventure races than I have, mostly due to VBS week. He and a few more experienced bike racers in the church have taken him and Nick (Lindsay's fiance) under their wing and shown them a few good trails around the area.
My parents bought a pair, too. I knew that would happen, given the time that I got a new car and Dad bought one for himself as well. It's awesome to have something for the four of us to go do together. We've ridden everywhere from neighborhoods to the battlefields, and recently, Mom & Dad & I conquered a pretty tough trail full of drops, roots, fallen trees, sand, etc.
My shining (and slightly novice) moment was when I flipped my bike on the trail, rolled the bike off me and stood up thinking, "That was awesome." Lindsay might not appreciate the bruised legs I'll be baring in her wedding, but I'm a real biker now. I can't help it.
We were beginning the trail this last Saturday morning, and I was riding across a wooden bridge in the middle of what couldnt' be named as anything else but just plain swamp, and three dragonflies flew right alongside me for what seemed like minutes.
They kept right in step, flying next to me and never running into me or leaving my side. It was as if we both were of the same make at the time, both thinking, "yeah, I know. it really is beautiful out here. can you imagine what it was originally supposed to look like?"
oftentimes, when caught up in a moment of awe at nature's beauty- even in such an urban area of Virginia- it's as if God reminds me:
"You think this is beautiful, but I really wish you could've seen its orginal plan."
I miss those days I miss those days Autumn is falling And I won’t be going away
I miss those years I miss those tears The tears that were falling Cause no one was calling my name
A thousand people just like me All frightened and excited to begin I miss those days They won’t be coming back again
I miss that life I miss those nights Looking for someone To hold and to cherish To love me despite
The thousand people I tried to be Just like everyone I was looking around for me I miss those days It felt good to be sad and lonely
But I am happy now Oh so happy that I’ve found you And I am quiet now Yes, and quite content Now that we’ve been living here Cause I’ve got everything I’d ever needed And half the things I’d ever want And I miss those days But if they came back I would miss you so much more
This song nails it. I can't think of another that exists and would describe the way I feel about fall approaching next month and not returning to JBC.
For the last five years, my life was created and molded by the people and teachings of Johnson. I fell in and out of love several times there. I fell back in love unexpectedly and found my husband. I became who I was by the people I loved and the friends that I made. I met lifelong friends, people who, when I think about being so far from them, makes me physically hurt from missing them. We grew up, learned, fought, cried, laughed A LOT, played, grew tired, grew strong, and loved each other with everything we had in us.
The last verse is where it gets me, though. Although I absolutely cherished every moment I had at school, I wouldn't go back for the sake of having to take back the first 2 months of starting a life with Tim. Now I have, wrapped up in one person, someone to grow old with, learn, fight, cry, laugh, play, grow tired, grow strong, and love with everything I have in me.
"I've got everything I've ever needed here,and half the things I'd ever want."
I miss the hell out of Johnson because of the friendships I left with, but life goes on for all of us, and it's not the last time I'll get to laugh and cry with any of you.
so it's been over a month since i've last blogged, and a LOT has happened.
i will spare the silly details, since most of you were a part of our big events in the last month.
i can say that our wedding was the best day of my life. not only because tim and i were getting married, but because i was in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed by the friendship, love, and FUN that we all shared. it was a beautiful day and i everyone who meant everything to us was a part of it. tim and i are still spinning from the feeling of being surrounded by our best friends and our amazing families. so to those of you who made it sooooooo special....THANK YOU doesn't even cut it. we were blown away.
i'm now into my second full week of being an associate children's minister. it's been another overwhelming experience, and one that is both exciting and scary at the same time. there are some great perks- a new apple powerbook, my own huge (but still very empty) office, flexible hours, awesome co-workers, working with my mom every day, etc. i'm still in the state of trying to wrap my mind around the incredible amount of vision that someone has to have in this type of a ministry. we're getting ready to add on a new children's wing, start new curriculum, and pretty much explode into new extensions of ministry we didn't think possible a year or so ago. it's an incredible amount of responsibility but God has been in the details and in every volunteer that's welcomed me so far.
tim and i are officially settled into our new place, and me being the picky and precise person i am when it comes to decorating, i'm still "considering" where things should go on the walls, colors for each room, etc.
dad bought tim and i nice mountain bikes for a graduation/wedding present, and my parents ended up jumping on the bandwagon as well. now the four of us can go ride all over the battlefields, the beaches, or wherever we choose!
we're headed to IN this weekend for another wedding reception and to say hi to alot of people that I won't know:) my parents are coming as well, so we're loading up mom's new car w/ plenty of The Office dvd's, snacks, and things to keep us happy for 13 hours one way. another chance to see our friends and just get away - i love it!
my dad's coming tomorrow to help me move back home, and we're both pretty excited. i'm a daddy's girl for sure. i may be a spitting image of my mom, but i've inherited the sarcasm, tough love, and sometimes stubborn reasoning of my dad. we'll pack, clean, and eat out with friends. i'm excited. once dad gets here, that means only 1 day of class, and i'm home free.
this weekend was the first one in a long time that i actually wish it was over. at this point, i'm just thinking we could've gotten 2 days of class over with instead of just had saturday and sunday. but then i remember how this weekend was great fun with some friends that i will miss as if my own head fell off, which i hope never happens.
a few highlights: starbucks' new orange creme frappuccino.
speed scrabble 2 days in a row.
i felt nicole's baby move! i have to admit, it was an incredible feeling. i swear she gave me a high five from inside the womb. we're gonna be bff.
nicole, kenny, taylor, & i made a giant speed scrabble puzzle in record time as a team effort.
picking tweet up from the side of kimberlin heights b/c he ran over a pair of PLIERS that got stuck handle-first in his tire. i almost didn't believe him. neither did roadside assistance.
seeing bill & betsy pull over to help us with our "emergency" and then laughing and leaving us with the plier-ed car.
re-living stories about how dangerous the jbc dorms really are.
tara's dress-up game in mine & lindsay's give-away clothes.
bill wolf leading worship.
wedding dresses w/ HB. crazy.
spying on new people moving in with lindsay through closed blinds.
s'mores w/ the girls (again).
seeing bill & betsy every day no matter where i went (walmart, side of the road, church, etc. i will miss just knowing they're out there somewhere.)
tackling kenny outside the admissions office & scaring him so bad that he drooled in his goatee. priceless. for one who's notorious for pullin' pranks on me, i won today.
i guess looking back, those were two days i wouldn't give back. alright, alright. court, just take your time and enjoy your friends. i wouldn't have half the crazy life i do without them.
kenny can juggle. you can make a half-decent clay animation video in about 2 hours. every cd in the entire world is a different length. computers break sometimes. i might like that tim has to wear suits for his new job;) you can pick your own seats ahead of time on flights. indiana is farther away from virginia than i thought. (gooches, don't go.) i'm happiest when my friends are happy. fake eyelashes suck. jacob and i have a lot of funny memories. a girl's favorite diamonds are her own. i don't like rap. any kind. the word "cuiba" in portugese means anything you want it to be...they think it means anything from "onion" to "teacher". i'm going to miss knoxville's market square. how happy and worry-free i am becoming now that school is REALLY ending.
anxious to get back home, i thought this post appropriate.
these pictures are from downtown historic yorktown beach. the first picture is a shot of the shops along the beach including the new ice cream parlor and the local pub. the sunsets along this beach are to die for, and the fishing pier just aways down puts you in the path of some incredibly interesting locals.
the second one is the victory monument, where the langley air force orchestra proudly takes its place every july 4th and creates music that would give any american goosebumps. i'm sad to say i'll miss another virginia july 4th this year-we'll be on our honeymoon. yeah, shucks.
i've gotta say that i really think i do live in one of the coolest places on the mid-eastern coast. right in the middle of the "historic triangle" as they call it, we are close to williamsburg, jamestown, and of course, yorktown. we've lived here the last 9 years, and it's where tim and i will be heading back to. it's got character, for sure. battlefields, military posts, the largest naval harbor in the country, beautiful historic buildings, etc. i can't get enough. and i'm only two weeks away from heading back for more.
the days of grad school are winding down, and i'm so ready. tomorrow will be june; a month i've been waiting for. linds and i are slowly packing up the house, getting rid of a lot of stuff, and closing up this chapter of our lives. we've lived together the past 3 1/2 years, and it will be strange without her. but on the up side, i get a new roommate to look forward to;)
tomorrow's my last day at Seymour with my kids, and i think i'll miss them more than i realize now. right now, i'm just wanting to be done so bad that i'm looking straight ahead towards that goal. but today during our first grade "awards day", i realized just how special each child is and how much i've fallen in love with so many of them.
there's really nothing much to tell; my days of late consist of cleaning, packing, wedding details and getting ready for my next class on monday.
the end of grad school means a lot of new things: free time to read for FUN back home with my family a new job that i will LOVE a new apartment with a new husband:) becoming a real not-in-school-anymore grownup.
the boys got ahold of some of the leftover bridal shower supplies one night during graduation weekend, and this is what came of it. of course i stood by and caught it all on tape. some of my favorite things about this video: 1)jake's mustache, 2)tyler's giggles, 3)our only interventions as "yeah, that DOES look like it hurts" or "no, put it there at least", 4)jake's very accurate imitation of Santa meets the talking trees from LOTR, and 5)that he actually let tyler keep going.
i know i've talked a lot about my first graders at Seymour Primary, but you have to understand- they're my life right now. plus, you'd fall in love with every single one of them if you were in my position, too.
here's a picture way back from Halloween. Instead of "Halloween" costumes, they were all asked to come dressed up as a book character. This is my favorite. This child is the most gentle, loving creature God ever made. Lauren knows exactly when to latch onto you and hug you until you're blue in the face, and the perfect time to just slide a handmade picture of a dolphin that says "I love you" across your desk when you're busy. She sits right in front of my desk, always watching me. She doesn't get to go to second grade next year, though. But she just tells me that it means she'll get to help out the other kids.
my kids at Seymour surprised me today with a "secret wedding party" as they called it. it was so sweet of them- they made a sash, special decorated chair, had cupcakes and juice boxes...the whole shebang. they were so good about not giving it away the entire day i was there, and they were all so excited about the presents they picked out.
they had a kitchen theme for the shower, so i ended up getting a massive amount of fun kitchen tools, half the stuff the kids have NO idea what they're used for (and neither do i).
my favorite present was from a little boy named Jacob. he has coke-bottle glasses and always wears a Sheriff's star. he gave me salt and pepper shakers in the shape of a hot dog & hamburger. they're pretty incredible. he also gave me ice cream dishes and an ice cream scoop. this kid knows what's good in life.
this weekend was a little bit lonely. it seemed like almost everyone was out of town, or preoccupied with other things. i guess i'm so used to traveling on the weekends, that when i have a weekend for myself, i don't know what to do. i was looking forward to some time for myself, but too much of it makes me depressed and really bored. and when i'm bored, i look for ways to spend money. which is never good.
so this is what i've done so far this weekend:
watched seasons 4 & 8 of Friends start to finish babysat a cat picked out music for the wedding ceremony written baby shower invitations got the rest of the bridesmaids' shoes cleaned the house found a rug & pictures for our new kitchen sold used clothes gone running a few times packed a few things in my room went to dinner w/ a friend church @ Crossings rented "Because I Said So" and had a movie night w/ Nicole's cat worked on our thesis defense presentation got my oil changed
...so i guess looking back, i really did get some things done that needed to be done. however, this weekend has dragged on. i know i'm just anxious for days to start flying by.
well, i'm sick again. back to Seymour = the crud. i love the place, but apparently i'm allergic. it makes for some cranky mornings and headaches early on. ah well, 2 more weeks. at least the kids are absolutely precious. ;)
gonna have a great weekend for "me". i'm cat-sitting at the Gooches, which means every single season of Friends at my disposal, along with cable tv. a big comfy bed, and time to just do whatever i want. (aka prework)
spent some good QT w/ the Wolfs tonight...which only reminds me of how much i'm going to miss them. we held in our tears during the season finale of Grey's tonight, which are moments that i can only share to the fullest extent with Betsy.
also, i got some "i have a new job" shoes tonight at good ole' Shoe Show for only $7. gotta love it. they have pointy toes, so don't tell Tim. he'll hate them. but you can't win 'em all.
i apologize for the meaningless post. three times a week is harder than i thought.
my friend Betsy Wolf took a few (awesome) pictures of downtown Knoxville this weekend, so i wanted to share. if you're like me, you've spent some great summer nights in Market Square at Sundown in the City, met the flower guy, walked around wishing you could afford a cool studio loft at Sterchi's, attended the Dogwood Festival, and just enjoyed a little part of east Tennessee.
it was awesome walking in the house and watching my mother absolutely flip out when she saw me. she was so excited, she hung up on the person she was on the phone with. she got her wish- all of her kids (plus Tim) home for mother's day.
tim and i signed a lease for our new apartment! i'll post pictures later. i love the place, and we're going to be living in the building next to nick & lindsay (friends from home getting married this summer, also) so it's going to be a blast. it worked out great that i went home, since we couldn't get the apartment unless i was there. it was a little bit surreal to walk around an empty apartment and realize that it would be our first home.
dad got a nice sized gift card from work to a fancy steak place in downtown Virginia Beach, so to celebrate Mom's birthday, Mother's Day, and my parents' 25th wedding anniversary (yeah, Mom's got it real good this time of year), we all got dressed up and had a night on the town. we did the whole thing...appetizers, steaks, desserts...everything. this restaurant has the best steak i've had in my entire life. i'm not going to mention the fact that the average entree was $40-50. we had a great time, on someone else's dime, of course! ;)
church today was very encouraging, as well. Northside's congregational vote for my call into ministry is next week, so there were a lot of people coming up to introduce themselves to Tim and I. it was very encouraging to have so many people express how excited they are of us coming back to Northside, friends and strangers alike. it's amazing how much peace we feel about this whole thing, and how it all just fell into place in a matter of a month's time! God is good.
all in all, it was hard to leave. it was so much fun being home with the entire family at once, celebrating so many fun things. only five more weeks and i'll have it all back! :)
i decided rather last minute today that i'm going to go home to surprise my mom for mother's day. all of us kids will be home, and i would rather be home with everyone than anywhere else right now. her birthday was yesterday, mother's day is sunday, and she & dad have their 25th wedding anniversary on tuesday. she's got it made.
i can't wait to get home and just be with family. i don't even have to pay for gas- i'm counting it as "moving expenses" from the church so i'll pack my car to the brim with my stuff and consider my moving started.
this weekend was wonderful with everyone in town for graduation. it's so weird to think that it's already been one full year since we walked across that same stage. so much has happened in that year, and i feel like it's flown by. of course, looking back it seems to have gone by faster, but in the midst of the student teaching and papers and paperwork, i didn't seem to think so.
we all had so much fun together enjoying each other's company and really holding onto the fun times we had together. other than our wedding in June, i'm sure when i'll see some of those people. Tim's already having a hard time with it since he's already in Virginia, and i can spend time with people while I'm still here. It makes me realize that we really do have the best friends i could ever ask for. the friends i've met at jbc are HONESTLY friends that will be there for the rest of our lives.
and yeah, i realize that we all grow up and live in different places and have families and jobs that take us away from eachother. but i wish it wasn't so. wouldn't it be great to still have that community where you know you're going to see everyone during dinner, and at least five times a day? we complain about it sometimes when we have it. but i'll miss it.
p.s. i don't know what the matter is with my smile.
I'm at that realization where i finally realize what it might mean to completely leave everything up to God's timing. Before, I've at least been able to do something about the options I had, the decision was ultimately mine, and I knew what to expect for the most part. Now I feel like I'm completely dependent upon the events of the next few months, and the way that God chooses to work in my life. I don't like the way it feels. It makes my stomach tighten up similar to the way I feel when I get nervous about something, or when I know that my future is going to happen according to someone else's decision.
What's even scarier is that I don't have the fall-back plan of still being in school. Until now, all my big decisions had to do with school. I at least had the security of knowing where I'd be living, how long I'd be in school, and how things would be paid for. In 5 months, Tim and I are on our own. And we have NO idea what our lives will be like. 5 months.
We're struggling to find a way to stay in Knoxville, so we can be a part of an incredible ministry that we've both fallen in love with. The challenges that come with making that a reality are proving themselves to be bigger and scarier than I thought. We started out saying to each other, "Well, we'll deal with that when we get there." Well, we're closing in on that time where we have to make decisions, and possibly find out that what we thought we wanted to do isn't going to happen. It's in my nature to have a plan about the future and to know the direction I'm headed. Honestly, this situation scares the hell out of me. I don't like not knowing. I don't like wondering, hoping, and doubting all at the same time.
I know that God is teaching us both something huge in this situation, no matter what the final decision. That doesn't make it any less scary.
Where is that line that lets me know the difference between God's lessons and Satan's distractions?
How do I know that what we're encountering so far is just Satan's attempts at trying to lead us away from an incredible opportunity? What if these challenges are really doors closing and God leading us somewhere else? Do we wait in faith and rest in the fact that God is faithful and will provide us a job so we can stay in Knoxville? Or is that being foolish and not doing our part in being responsible about starting our life together?
one thing i do know - there's something big at the end of whichever path we end up taking. i'm holding on to the faith of knowing it will be worth it.