Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't hate...

....but both of us having 2 whole months off is awesome. Honestly, this is the very first summer since 7th grade that I haven't worked in some way, and while I realize I am quite young...it feels like a much deserved break. Joel and I have learned some things about how we spend time off, and it's pretty different. He's the type to work out at the gym for three straight hours and then veg for the rest of the day. I, on the other hand, maintain a constant state of low-intensity activity (tidying up the house, running errands, starting projects, etc) while managing to not find enough time for a workout that lasts longer than an hour :) We're pretty glad, though, that we talked through this different early on this vacation. It's one of those conversations you never have to have until you're in the same house together for weeks on end.
Our current summer hobbies include:
-DVDs of Psych
-Watching the World Cup
-Hanging out by the pool and going to the gym
-Perusing Hunt and Gather, our favorite antique store
-Shopping at the Farmer's Market
-Laughing a lot.

I've been trying to plan ahead for the school year, especially by thinking through some ideas I had about how to improve writing instruction in my classroom. Do any other teachers just get dragged down by writing? I am a HUGE fan of teaching science and social studies-the kids' questions seem to guide most of our lessons and I have a high interest in the material. Math is hands-on, for the most part, and can move at a quicker pace. Even reading is enjoyable, because students can choose their own books, and I love modeling with my favorite read-alouds. But so many of my students last year hated writing, and I found myself 1) baffled by their writing dilemmas and 2) bored out of my mind with the constant conferences. So I'm trying something new this year, hoping to integrate the writing instruction in more of the other subjects that are high interest. I'll keep you posted.

So in summary, I am super thankful for our vacation together. I'm thankful for this time that the Lord has given to rest and relax, but also to gear up for another year of teaching and to strengthen our marriage. His timing really is perfect, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I started reading through Psalms 4 months ago. Daily, I'm astounded at the Psalmist's...normalcy. Those emotions, wonders, and trials can apply to so much of everyday life, and it is so true that "There is nothing new under the sun." In February, I heard someone mention that the Psalms never say IF trials come but instead talk about WHEN trials come.

I once had this deal, of sorts, with God. It went something like this:

"Ok, God, if you will just make sure <> works out and <> is always here, I know I will be ok."

It's like I created my own bubble that I thought I had control over, forgetting completely that I'm actually in control of very little.

What I've learned is just how fearful I was of that very worst thing. Paula Rinehart spoke about this idea of "IFs." She says that we so often live in the If onlys and What ifs, but God is telling us to live in the Even ifs. And I heard the Lord very clearly say to me, "Even if your 'worst thing' happens, you will be ok." Because it turns out, the real worst thing to me is that I would be separated from the Lord. And it turns out that there are worse things than those trials. And to me, the real tragedy is living in the "If onlys" and "what ifs." I am terrified of bitterness. Maybe I'm prone to more cynicism that your average person, but I have come to realize that forgiveness and letting go (although a daily process) is necessary to me having a free heart.

And I've learned that the Bible makes no promises that certain people will always be here or certain events won't take place. What the Psalms repeat over and over again is that the Lord is our shield, our stronghold, our Comforter and Protector. He is the sustainer of life. EVEN IF, the Lord is present. EVEN IF, you are not alone.

It's really tempting to build up walls of protection to guard against those "biggest fears." But the Lord created us for relationship, and to give of ourselves to others. And doing that inevitably involves incredible risk. Love is the riskiest of businesses. On good days, I know this. But not everyday is a good day.

One of my all-time favorite songs is by Caedmon's Call. It's called "Table for Two" and it's and oldie but a goodie.

Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden,

And You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt.

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means

I highly suggest and immediate iTunes download.

So I'm on Psalm 140, which means that I have only a few days left. I'd love to do a Beth Moore study...any recommendations?
The first official days of summer have proved insanely productive for us. We went to the beach with Joel’s family last week, but these past couple of days were the first we’ve spent with no real timetable at home.

Yesterday, we literally woke up at 7am to go to the gym. While I was incredibly cranky, it ended up being really fun, and my arms are very sore today. Somehow, even doing the minimal amount of weight on the machines can still rip them muscles up.

After running several errands, including buying some super cute leaf green paint for some bookshelves, we relaxed by the pool and ate Pasta Puttanesca leftovers (delish).

Today, our schedules didn’t match up so much, but I got all of this done:

Got a haircut at Lather Salon

Made homemade pizza dough and individual pizzas for dinner

My pizza (half eaten and blurry): pesto shrimp

Lemon cranberry pecan muffins

While listening to my favorite podcast: Radiolab

Watered my pretty tomato plant

Before picture of one of the bookshelves (Laura, I think these used to be Caleb’s!)

Primer on one of the bookshelves. I decided to finish the job later this week, because it looked like it was going to rain. The skies are clear now, but I sure will enjoy The Office marathon instead!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No way to sum it up, but I'm back!

It has been a while, I know. Life has been hectic these past few months, and blogging has seemed the silliest way to document all of life's changes. But since I religiously read the blogs of close friends, I figure it must not be so narcissistic. Or maybe it is, but we're all ok with it.

I finished this second year of teaching and was actually sad to see my kiddos go. I feel like I really improved and became a much more professional educator. I wish I could post pictures of the cuties but with weirdos on the internet, I'd rather not. Suffice it to say I had the most precious class of 8 and 9 year olds.

The team I had the privilege of working with was AMAZING. Together, we went to Belize over spring break to work in a school. Our students had been collecting books and school supplies all year, and in lieu of shipping the items, we decided to go! I'm so very thankful for a group of teachers that stepped out of the boat together and decided to make a very meaningful impact. Needless to say, the experience was priceless for us and incredibly important for our kids. It helped them realize that taking action was possible, and didn't just mean donating money. We had really supportive parents and administration, and are even partnering with the school in Belize to continue this relationship.
(We got to read to some of the students during their break, a cutie was completely willing to oblige to our paparazzi-style of photography, we climbed some incredibly Mayan ruins, we met a new friend, Dubsy, who is literally carrying 6 iguanas. No lie.)


Like I said, life has been hectic and the Lord is so faithful. These verses can really sum up the past few months for me:
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD|
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13, 14

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2


For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,

that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:8-9

I am astounded by the works He has done and hopeful for what He will do. One of the most meaningful books I've read recently is Better Than My Dreams by Paula Rinehart. I highly recommend it...but have a highlighter handy. It's a quotable book.


Joel and I are looking forward to a couple of months off. We love our jobs, sometimes specifically because of our vacation! So here's to a much-needed rest and reconnection.