Monday, November 24, 2008

Moving Weekend

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
-Walt Disney
Rob now has a bed to sleep on at the new house, while I'm left to curl up on a futon mattress on the floor. Our apartment is left in chaos with just the random odds and ends left behind. It made for quite a frantic (and even unsuccessful) search this morning as I rooted around for certain odds and ends that I know I saved out from the moving boxes. But they certainly aren't where I last saw them.

I never felt too young to be looking at houses. I never felt too young to be putting an offer on a house. I never felt too young to buy a house. I never felt too young to fork over our life savings on a down payment.

But this weekend when we rented a moving truck on Friday night, I wondered, are we really old enough for all of this? Are we really adults already?

Friday, November 21, 2008


“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
-W. T. Purkiser

Today I’m thankful for…

  • Phone calls to my mom after work and Google chats with my sister throughout the day
  • The financial wherewithal to purchase a new house
  • The faith my husband has in me to pursue a new career
  • Wonderful memories of my childhood
  • My Christmas shopping being almost complete
  • For a never-ending supply of inspiring blogs to read

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Falling in line

“There cannot be a crisis today; my schedule is already full."
-Henry Kissinger

Crazy how some things work out. I've been trying to schedule a day that I could attend a substitute training workshop and another day that I could observe the class that I will be subbing for in January. I was feeling bad about taking days off of work, especially now that my days are numbered there, and my vacation days are even less. (They're very lenient with vacation days, but I certainly don't want them to think that I'm abusing it.)

I finally got my complete job application (and references) in early this week to the school system, and when I tried to sign up for the December workshops they were all full. Panic mode!! However, I was able to get the principal at the school to email human resources, and they are now going to let me take the course by DVD. Hooray!!! Now I can use my "day off" to visit the school. This is all becoming a reality, right before my eyes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
-Kevin Arnold, from The Wonder Years

For the last week, I've been following along with Jessica Sprague's Stories in Hand online class. What a great exercise for anybody, scrapbooker or not, to participate in! Lots of memories have floated to the top of my head that I haven't thought about it a really long time.

Part of the adventure is figuring out the best way for me to tell my story. Lots of the students are using scrapbooks, journals, blogs as their medium of choice, but I haven't yet decided which format works best for me. They're very personal stories and it's a continual work in progress, but I also would like to have feedback on my stories, or to at least know there's an audience--isn't that why we write them down in the first place? for a future audience?

So my plan is to keep a Word document of the "snorkeling"--all of the story ideas, the notes, and the half-stories, but as I finish the "scuba dive"--diving deep into a story, I'm going to be posting them on a new blog: Stored for Safekeeping. They're still WIPs, and I may go back in to edit and embellish, but at least I can keep track of my progress.

However, given the personal details that may be revealed in these stories [I don't want to have to censor myself], I have chosen to increase the privacy settings. Please email or comment if you're interested in reading more about what makes me, me.

Friday, November 14, 2008


“There aren't enough days in the weekend.”
-Rod Schmidt

What I’m Loving today:

  • That I can snap an almond directly in half with my teeth, and then my tongue finds this really smooth surface that’s hidden inside.
  • That it’s almost the weekend again. I haven’t seen a lot of Rob this week, and I’ll be glad to get some uninterrupted face time.

What I’m not Loving today:

  • That I’m so overwhelmed with packing and moving that I become paralyzed and can’t make any progress at all.
  • That Rob’s moving into the new house next week, leaving me to hold down the fort at the apartment. I’m going to miss that boy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


“Preach faith until you have it”
-Peter Bohler

For Laity Sunday, 'tis tradition for the Lay Leader of the church to preach the sermon and lead worship that morning. This year, our Lay Leader refused to preach, so I was volunteered. Quite a task for someone who is pretty unsure of what she believes. Here's what I said (posted mainly for my mama to read):

“Bursting at the seams”

"I went to high school at one of the best schools in the state of Louisiana. I was taught by some of the best teachers in the state. But even among that caliber of teachers, you could easily tell the difference between a really good teacher and a spectacularly awesome, super duper teacher. I realized in my senior year that despite being afflicted with all-too-common “senioritis,” I was genuinely looking forward to my academic classes.

Why was that year so different? Because all of my teachers that year were passionate about what they taught. They lived and breathed calculus, physics, literature, and even art. And as a student in their classrooms, it was almost impossible not to get swept up in their enthusiasm.

Some of you may know that I’m currently pursuing a career change toward teaching, and these are the teachers that most inspired me. I, too, want to ooze with the love of learning, inspiring students and the next generation.

But who else do I hope to inspire?
My family… my family of today as well as Rob’s and my family of the future. My friends. My coworkers. And even the people that I walk by on the street.

I think that we would all agree that we have the power to stir other people with our words, with our silence, with our actions, with our emotions. So what message do we want to send? And more importantly, what message are we sending?

What would happen if the Holy Spirit and our love of God just overflowed out of us? If you could see it seeping out of our pores. Out of us as individuals, onto the streets as we walk by, out of our mouths as we speak, out of our eyes as we smile. Could it happen? Does it happen?

Does the Spirit spill out of the doors of the church on Sunday mornings? What about every other day of the week? Pouring out onto the sidewalks, into the community…. a visible sign of our commitment to Christ.

Psalm 64:10 says,
“Everyone sees it. God's work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit.”
Make praise your habit. What does that mean?

David Crowder, a contemporary Christian musician, says that praise is something we are, not something we do.
If that’s the truth (and I believe it is), then being a follower of God, means to live a life of praise. Bursting at the seams with an enthusiasm for the Lord. Praise must be an expression of our whole being. Not only with our voices, but also with our actions and our emotions. We tell the glory of God with our very existence.

Before we return to the passage, let me give you a little historical background:
The letter in 1 John was written in around 85-90 A.D. to the second generation of Christians by John, one of Jesus’s disciples who has firsthand knowledge of Christ’s life and death. At this time in history, the Church had faced and survived severe persecution, and the main problem that the Church was confronting was declining commitment. Sound familiar?

In today’s Scripture, John explains that by living in praise, you can grow in community and also bring people to Christ.

Let me read you an excerpt from The Message:
“3-4We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!”

We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
Isn’t that the point of being a part of a church community? To share this wonderful Gospel with each other. To learn from each other. To rejoice with each other.

And what is the message that he’s talking about? John continues in the next verse, “This, in essence, is the message that we heard from Christ and are passing onto you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.”

God is light. That which is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable. His Word sheds light on the world. As opposed to darkness, which is sin, evil, and the lack of God. Living in the light means that we no longer have to stumble in the dark.

I can get really wrapped up in metaphors, and I struggled not to make this whole sermon a giant light vs. dark metaphor. I mean, you’ve got to admit, this is an awesome metaphor. Light, where everything can be seen clearly vs. darkness, which might be a little exciting and alluring, but you have no way to see what you’re doing or to see what’s ahead.

But it’s important to remember that God’s light isn’t the physical electromagnetic spectrum, but it’s a spiritual light, a light sensed by our heart and by our conscience.

John says: “If we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another.”
By walking in the light, we grow closer together in our fellowship. With God and with one another.

The whole chapter of 1 John can be condensed into three sentences:
God is light, God is love, God is life.

John’s letter is an attempt to put the believers back on track as well as to encourage the Church to grow in genuine love for God and for one another. The key is genuine, real love. Not just on Sundays. Not just when we’re rested and worry-free. Not just when it benefits us.

Sure, it’s difficult to praise God when the world seems to be falling apart. In his writings, St. Augustine himself asks the same question. "Do you really expect me to sing alleluia to you in the midst of my anxiety?" He concludes that yes, because God is faithful and always sees us through… anxious, doubtful, stressful times are as good of a time as any.

On my sixth grade choir tour with our church youth choir, I was asked to sing a solo in one of our songs, the hymn, “I want to walk as a child of the light.” I’m sure many of you are familiar with it, but the chorus goes like this:
“In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.”
I think one of the best things about this song is that as you read the lyrics, you realize that you don’t have to understand it all, everything doesn’t have to make sense, and you can still call on the Lord to shine in your heart.
For 4 summers in high school and two in college, I attended my church youth group’s annual weeklong mission trip to the Appalachia Service Project in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. We worked to repair homes for families in the county, making homes warmer, safer, and drier.

I made some really strong friendships on these trips, and I was always disappointed when we arrived back home and those friendships weakened as we returned to our everyday lives. I remember my mom trying to explain that the trip itself was what we had shared, and that maybe back at home we actually had little in common.

That might be part of it, but looking back, I think that there was something more. We were united by something more than the trip itself. We were united by God. United by our worship for Him. Worship, in the traditional sense, with singing and prayer, but also, and perhaps more importantly, our worship out in the world, as we worked, as we drove, as we spoke to the families, as we enjoyed simple pleasures like an ice cream cone. Someone called this awesome feeling, “the ASP high.”

These weeks definitely weren’t easy; in fact, they were some of the most physically strenuous, mentally challenging weeks of my life. I sweated, cried, and I even took home a few scars as souvenirs. But I also laughed, sang, discovered, and cried many happy tears as well. I was inspired by all of the luxuries that I am lucky to have, I was inspired by the families who lived with much less, and I was inspired by a group of teenagers who were willing to sacrifice a week of their summer to take on this work.

But when the vans pulled into the parking lot back in Louisiana, it was back to real life: back to work, back to other friends, back to school… and the awesomeness of the ASP experience was pushed aside to make room for these day-to-day activities.

The challenge is learning to live the “ASP high” after you’ve left—to live the “Epworth high” after you’ve walked out the door—to live the “Christ high” in a seemingly apathetic world.

Living in praise brings people together, it brings people to Christ. If God is shining in your heart, then you will reflect that light for the world. Live in the light, live in praise.

And sometimes that light and our praise are impossible to contain. Praise for our God should flow forth uninterrupted from our lives. We can find God in the pew this morning at Epworth United Methodist, in bedtime prayers at home, and even in the lunch that you’ll eat as soon as I get finished talking. Isn’t that awesome?!?! God is here among His people. If nothing else, I give praise for that.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sofa Shopping

“I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it”
-Shirley Conran

Let’s just say it’s difficult to shop for formal living room furniture with a man.
We did both agree on the last sofa (the one in the bottom right corner) though. It’s made our short list.

Painting 101

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
-Henry Ward Beecher
Things we learned this weekend!

  • Taping up a room takes twice as long as you think. Don’t plan to tape up three rooms in one evening—you won’t finish.
  • Also, have more tape than you expect. Luckily, we had each brought our own rolls, not knowing the other person had already packed some.
  • Splurge on the wider tape—you can be a lot more haphazard with your painting that way.
  • Don’t judge a paint color until you have a whole wall painted. I promise it will look better once you start rolling.
  • Leave a pair of flipflops outside the door of the room, so that you don't track paint all over the house.
  • But if you do, paint will wipe of hardwood and tile, if you can catch it soon.
  • Our new house has great acoustics. You can turn the radio on in one end of the house, and hear it all over.
  • Invest in the more expensive roller extension (and handle, too). Over the course of the weekend, we broke three extension poles and two handles.
  • Don't bother with cleaning paint trays. Buy tray liners that you can toss!
  • A room with nooks and crannies take a whole lot longer to paint than a room with four straight walls.
  • It’s best if you don’t switch off the breaker before you paint, however, if it’s necessary, wait until daylight to paint—you won’t be able to see what you’re doing otherwise.
  • Bring socks because the metal ridges on the ladder will cause your feet a lot of pain.
  • Rob and I battle each other when conquering a familiar task (one where we both think we know the right way to do it), but when it comes to something new (like painting a room), we get along just splendidly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Who needs window treatments when you've got curtains?

“Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you -- you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside.”
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn

This past weekend my mom came to town. How lucky that her visit coincided with our first weekend in the new house! We organized quite the curtain factory (the second one that she's led in the last few months), choosing fabrics and styles for each room of the house. Of course we didn't finish a single project but we're really close on all of them. Check out Flickr for photos of our creations.
Next weekend is a painting weekend. Wanna help?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Civic duty

"The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Rob and I stood in line for an hour and a half this morning, and now I'm proudly sporting this:
Now we wait...

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