Friday, May 30, 2008

where's my easy button?

i'm officially homesick. it's been months in indiana, and i'm homesick. but not just for my family, whom i do miss dearly, but for a sense of purpose and the "easier" life we had in virginia. in a conversation with tim the other day, he mentioned how he missed virginia because life seemed easier there. i bluntly reminded him, "well, we had more money and less bills." we laughed, but only half-heartedly. i've got to admit, when people ask me how we like it here, i have to think a little more than usual to answer. i want to say, "oh, we love it." but sometimes, i don't. but only because i feel like i have no sense of purpose driving 30 minutes south to work an hourly job that most of the time, i get let go early, and therefore only working enough hours to pay for that day's commute. i remind myself that my graduate degree that i worked hard for will go to use soon when i finally land a teaching job and can dive straight into using my talents for that. i remind myself that life isn't about the money, or the fancy jobs, but about the attitude and contentment that you seek in the day to day humility of being responsible and having to do what you need to make ends meet.

it's jobs like this that make me wonder if God had to stick me somewhere to force me to think about what i want out of life. so many times, i just wanted to cut corners with school and not go all the way, working for my graduate degree. i wanted to just "work a job" and be done with it. but now that i'm actually doing that, i want so much more. while dusting at the store today, i saw a mug that read, "Love what you do." i stopped. i thought that meant either of two things: i need to buck up, and appreciate the dollars that ARE coming in and invest in the people around me right now. or it means i need to be more aggressive in life and really strive to do something that i am all out passionate fore.

i think both are true.

i've heard it said before (or maybe it was another mug?) that life is too short to . nothing could be closer to the truth. i have so much i wish i could do, but i know that i won't ever get to do it. or is it that i've just given up already? i get these temporary "rushes" of inspiration to start looking up job opportunities for what i really want to do, and then after Googling for a few hours, i get discouraged again and walk back into the living room, now grumpy.

i thought it'd all start once i graduated college. then i thought it all started when i got married. then i thought it all started when we started over and moved.

but really...where do i start?

p.s. i promise i'll stop complaining soon and start writing something more...uh, uplifting?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

lost but found

on a trip farther north to chesterton to surprise my best college friend for her bridal shower, i was refreshed. not only in friendship and the meaning of marriage, but refreshed by two rooms in a building. i walked into both of their classrooms, where they both teach lower elementary school and it was like it all came rushing back. as soon as the smell of dry erase markers and the sight of book baskets hit me, it was already familiar to me. it was the first time i'd been in that school, those rooms, and seen those things...but it was the same. for lack of better words, i just knew that teaching is part of what God has gifted me with to give to the world. i remarked that they seemed so "grown up" with their own classes, something we dreamed about as grad students not too long ago when the endless torture of internships and papers dragged on. i felt a twinge of jealousy and felt almost like i hadn't made it yet. and then i remembered that God's timing is unpredictable and perfect.

through college, i struggled off and on with the desire to teach and the desire to be involved in children's ministry. i knew ministry would have been the "easier" degree and shorter school career, but still stuck with teaching.

when i was offered a children's ministry job right out of college at a place i was already incredibly familiar with, a well endowed paycheck, and a staff i already considered friends, it was a match made in heaven. through the months of figuring out who i was as i sat behind a desk i thought i wanted so badly...i realized that i was created and woven together with threads of passion that only thrived in school hallways and on brightly colored carpets. i was designed to have certain passions and gifts, and God just needed a place to "keep" me for awhile until i realized my place.

the funny thing is, i still don't have a teaching job. i'm sure in foresight, i can only see the frustration and impatience of waiting for a job so in the meantime, i make trips to see friends and let them refuel my passion for life. and the God that loves and speaks through them. and the peace that lets me know that i was created to be a certain, specific someone.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

hoosier country living

the past few weeks have been the first time i've EVER seen the city of Anderson without snow or rain or cold. i've never experienced Indiana in the spring or summer. it doesn't even begin to compare to the rolling hills of Seymour, TN but it has its own glory. but now i find beauty in our little backyard, now that the trees finally have leaves and the grass is growing at an incredible rate. i love the purple color of the crepe myrtle and the way the shed sits just right on the hill. i love that in the evenings, if you're quiet enough, you can wait for the white-tailed deer to come walking through the cornfield only several yards from the deck. i love the smell of firepits, almost more common than swimming pools.

on the peninsula in Virginia where we lived, it was nothing but the hustle and bustle of new shopping malls and everything commercially related being cramped together on a peninsula stuffed with growing families wanting wider roads for their SUV's and newer subdivisions for Home Owner's Associations to bicker over. i found things to be proud of in my "home town" like the rich history, the convenient commute to beach life, etc.

Anderson is not that, by any means. oh my, no. i know i often laugh when i'm describing our new town, but then i think...i only hit ONE traffic light on the way to church, i can actually take scenic drives that last longer than a few miles, i am getting used to recognizing combines, Amish stars actually look like they belong on the side of barns, and 200 E is a familiar road to me. in virginia, if you could see for miles it was because you were getting ready to land at norfolk airport. in anderson, it's because you just decided to take State Road 32.

i've never been one to call any state of the U.S. (or any country of eastern europe, for that matter) home for myself. i've moved around so much, i never really had much attachment to one place over the next. i never understood what was so great about taking pride in tractor country.

until i grew up, fell in love with a boy, and followed him back to Indiana.