Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I intended to post this several weeks ago, but it came as no surprise that time got away from me. So, here I am on New Year's Eve, posting about my Christmas tree. She's a real beauty.

What's that? You want to see one more picture of the same exact thing? Okay okay.

I've so enjoyed being at home each chance I had this month, relaxing by my tree. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!


October, you were solid.

It must be true that with each passing year, the time goes by faster. I'm actually finding that most things I was told as a young child are actually true. I now talk to myself, I'm exactly like my mother, I'm doing and thinking things I swore I never would. Ha. In other news...

I spent the first weekend of October in central Arkansas, visiting old friends and former students at Homecoming:

I am relishing having my family nearby:

My work life has improved immensely over the past two weeks, and because I have no shame, meet Mooogan:

I brought home this lovely Scentsy today! It's the little things, you know?

I am eagerly awaiting the return of this:

And I am becoming a member of Crosschurch soon. Just a minor hangup... it's Baptist, and I grew up attending an Assemblies of God church. Because of this "minor hangup," I need to be re-baptized. I've been stubborn about it, but my heart is slowly changing.

Most AG believe that salvation is not eternal; it can be lost. Baptists believe in "eternal security," meaning salvation cannot be earned, and therefore cannot be lost. It is freely given. Where do I stand? According to scriptures, salvation is freely given. There is no argument. It is actually a non-issue.

But here's the deal: I cannot grasp it. I want so badly to believe that if you are "saved" at the age of 7, then live your life as though Christ doesn't even exist, that you are not worthy of eternity with Christ. The truth is that you aren't, and neither is the one who follows Christ relentlessly. I get too caught up trying to figure out how it works. I find myself wanting a clear distinction between true Christ-followers and those who only claim to be. 

Praise God He is not that way, though. We'd all be condemned to Hell (which I believed was true for too long)! I still have questions, of course. My mind will never fathom nor grasp it all, but that is not what I was created to do. 


Crazy Love

I finally finished this book. Ask me on any given day what I am currently reading, and I will answer with two or three titles--all of which I am genuinely currently reading. It usually works well, but sometimes I end up re-starting the book every time I pick it up because I cannot remember what previously happened. Such was the case with Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I recommend it. It was not life-changing, but it reinforced and brought to my mind several thoughts and ideas, mostly related to my last post.

At some point in the book, Francis Chan described a moment in his life when he felt totally prepared and pumped up to go serve the homeless people where he lived at the time. He got everything ready, and to my understanding, basically hopped in the car and was on his way when he realized he had no idea where to go. He had no idea where the homeless people were, and did not even know any poor or needy people he could help. As I read this part, I just thought wow, now that's something, and continued reading. He eventually made the point that he then realized his circle was too small...and so forth and so on.

Fast forward to the end of the book, where he tells stories of sacrifices that people have made. There were several incredible stories, but one stood out to me more than the rest. I read and reread this one story, cried about it (duh), and shared it with Ryan. From the book:

The Robynson Family
This family of five, with three kids under the age of ten, chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ in a unique way. On Christmas mornings, instead of focusing on the presents under the tree, they make pancakes, brew an urn of coffee, and head downtown. Once there, they load the coffee and food into the back of a red wagon. Then, with the eager help of their three-year-old, they pull the wagon around the mostly empty streets in search of homeless folks to offer a warm and filling breakfast on Christmas morning. All three of the Robynson kids look forward to this time of giving a little bit of tangible love to people who otherwise would have been cold and probably without breakfast.

The tears ensue. :) I immediately knew that I should do something similar, but I came to a startling thought: just like Francis Chan, I have no idea where to go. I do not know where to even find the obviously needy. I try to justify it by saying that "I would know where to find them in Little Rock, but since I'm new here..." blah blah, a bunch of bull. I have not seen a homeless person since I have moved to northwest Arkansas, and I doubt there is any shortage of them. (Did that last sentence sound weird to you? It did to me, too.) It's not even just about the homeless. I'm dumbfounded that I don't even know someone I can help. I know they are right under my nose, which makes it even worse. 

Nonetheless, I finished this book 3 weeks ago, and I still can't shake the magnitude of "giving up" a Christmas morning to serve someone else. It definitely puts a fresh perspective on Christmas. What would a homeless person think if a Christian took time away from opening presents to lovingly serve them a warm meal instead? 



My last post about work was unnecessarily negative. I considered editing or deleting it that night when I went to bed, but it embodied what I was truly feeling. I think, to a point, that I just needed to say it and get over it. Every day since then has been good. It is not my favorite, but it is good, and I will count my blessings. :)

Ryan and I went with our church to see Courageous last Thursday night. I am not big into movies, but I do like them more than I used to. The movie, company, and whole experience was fantastic. It's a crying movie, but I bet you anything in the world you'd never guess what part I cried over. It'll mean nothing to you if you haven't seen it, but I cried over Javier eating a tortilla for lunch one day on his way to work.


And I cried about it again later. I can't stop thinking about it. Ridiculous, right? I'm trying to make sense of it, but I am irrationally sensitive to situations like these. I cried one time at Wal-Mart because the custodian in the bathroom was so incredibly nice. I remember crying and crying at home, telling Ryan, "he is just so nice, and he is working so hard. I'm sure he doesn't get paid much and probably struggles to make ends meet...I don't know how people can do that; how can people live comfortably when..." It went on and on. You can't even imagine.

So, when we got in the car after the movie, I asked Ryan if he cried. "Not really, but I think I teared up a little" he said. When I told him that I cried over Javier eating a tortilla, he sweetly smiled and said, "I'm not one bit surprised." Ha!

I have this weird heart with a giant  soft spot for the hard-working but getting-nowhere person, and I don't know what to do with it.  That description is way too specific because it is so much more than that, but I think you get the idea. The overarching thought for me is that I have always looked forward to Ryan finishing pharmacy school and getting a job. I have always known and deeply felt that it would give me a sense of freedom to do what I want to do without having to worry about income. However, not everybody has that. Many people will work hard their whole lives and never make ends meet. I just don't get it. I don't think it's fair. I don't know what I can do about it. Just watch Courageous, and know that my heart is for the Javier's of this world.

At the end of the day, this is what I say to myself: how dare you complain. I actually have said that out loud to myself several times. The job I have this year has been a good source of discipline and humility, for sure! :)

I will post again in the next couple of days; there is so much more I want to say right now! I have been reading more than I have in a long time, and I am learning and re-learning many things... probably because I now have the time.

God is good. ALL things from Him are good, even when I'm too stubborn to admit it.


Don't Worry

Yesterday my pastor's message was about worrying. Nobody likes to worry, but we all seem to do it, just because. It is harmful, and also sinful. Ever thought about it like that? Easier said than done, so don't choose to be weak. I have to tell you what my pastor said (my paraphrased version, of course):

Worrying is an issue of obedience vs. disobedience. God commands us not to worry in the same way He commands us not to murder, or not to steal.  

It certainly is stated as a command in Matthew 6, so why do we ignore this command while upholding others? I had never thought of it that way. But DUH. There is no rationalizing that I should be worrying about something; it's disobedient to God. So now that you've read this and been taught what I have been taught, you're also held accountable. No excuses. It is sin.



I don't love my job.

My old job stressed me out, but I was guaranteed to laugh, cry, get angry, find joy, feel loved, and be despised all in one week. I loved it. Now, I don't do any of those things at my job. I simply come and go. I can perform my job duties while being brain-dead and distant. It requires nothing of me. Even when I'm teaching all day or part of a day, the same rules apply. It's the easiest thing I've ever done, and I don't love it.

It is boring and easy and dumb...

And I'm just ranting at this point.

I like the teachers, and I like the kids, but it doesn't even matter. The other day some people around me were talking about the X-Factor and Idol, but I just remained silent and acted like I had never heard of them. You, my readers, know I'm obsessed with singing competitions on television, so it was so out of character for me. I'm just not connected to this job in any manner.

It's quite strange. But I don't care. The reason I go is so I can leave. You know? But it's ok. :) I considered not writing about this, but it's my blog, and I don't care at this point.

In other news, I got to go to central Arkansas this weekend to see some friends and my old students at homecoming. I really enjoyed that! I'm also looking forward to this weekend; we are going to a local corn maze with my family. This was one of my favorite things to do in Little Rock, so I hope this one can compare!

Anyway, if you're of the prayin' type, send some my way--specifically that my days at this job will go by quickly and that I'll daily be reminded that it's only temporary. Most importantly, that I'll receive some direction as to what to do next year. I'll work at Taco Bell before doing this again. Not a joke... at least not tonight. :)

7 weeks down, 29 to go.



 I've been slacking on my leisurely reading lately, but one of the books I'm currently reading is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I bought this book and read half of it a few years ago (whenever it came out) because I heard several of his sermons when I was in Atlanta and immediately became obsessed. I'm not too crazy about his books; his one is so tiny I felt silly for not finishing it, and it does have some excellent points. So ponder this:

"The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?"
– John Piper, God is the Gospel, p. 15. (Referenced in Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, p. 100.)


My Grandpa

My Grandpa Michael had a heart attack this morning and passed away this afternoon. It came has a huge, nasty surprise. My heart is filled with loss, hurt, love, and a tinge of regret that I did not spend enough time with him lately. But he was happy, I think, and I loved him.

So here's to the smartest man I know: my Harley-loving, chain smoking, software-writing, long haired, tell-it-to-ya-straight Grandpa. The one who had his Harley stolen and "simply" built another. The one whose life was spared in a horrible motorcycle accident. The man who wrote computer languages for the Navy, knows more languages than I can count, has lived in more places than I have even been; the most intelligent man, always supporting our academic endeavors; the man who is all-knowing about religion, politics, history, and all current events. That's my Grandpa.

I have been distraught all afternoon, but it only took the recalling of a few memories before I was in my car, smiling and giggling to myself on my way home from work (which I left early). My favorites:

  • Him "babysitting" us sometimes, and always watching ice skating with me. He would even watch me pretend to be ice skating in my socks around the house.
  • We always put peanut butter in everything, my Grandpa and me. Chocolate brownies? Throw a blob of peanut butter in before baking. Cookies? Put a dollop of the 'ole PB on top. Rotten food? Just add some peanut butter and it'll be alright. (Ok, I made that last one up, but we love our peanut butter).
  • I just remembered this one, and it's huge! My Grandpa Michael is the one who started my sweet tea addiction many, many moons ago. 
  • One time when I was young, he was having problems with his hearing, so he had a little ear piece that was connected to a microphone. He fell asleep on the couch and my sisters and I screamed into the microphone louder than one can imagine. Any idea what happened next? Eek. So funny though.
  • He didn't miss anything: high school graduation, college graduation, wedding. He was there for it all, and it was never in a convenient location for him. 

As soon as I got in my car, my radio sang an appropriate lyric: slow down  before today becomes our yesterday. I don't "slow down" enough, that's for sure.

Grandpa, I love you and will miss you. See you soon.


No Mercy

Over a week ago, I constructed an entire post about our new church, Cross Church in Fayetteville. I chose not to post it because I never quite put my finishing touches on it, and it was too detailed to be even remotely entertaining. To sum it up, though, I adore this church. We moved up here and immediately began attending this church. In Little Rock, it was at least 7 months before we found a church home, and even then, we knew it was only temporary and that we'd be moving.
Just a few more details--I feel like we started at the right time because I have always feared the end times (partly from growing up AG, I'm certain), but it was amazing to hear it preached in such a straight-forward, well-articulated manner. They did an entire series on the topic. I love our pastor(s). I particularly love Nick Floyd's straight-forwardness.

Moving on, because that has basically nothing to do with this post. Entertaining, this will not be; important, yes.

No Mercy:
 Long story short, our pastor preached about the beatitudes on Sunday, and I knew before I ever listened that I needed to work on showing mercy instead of being hard on others. Showing mercy isn't particularly the issue. The issue is that I have a hard time piecing together this puzzle of mercy and truth. You see, I totally believe in biblical correction. If you are a proclaimed Christian and I happen to know you, I'm fairly quick to ...let's say redirect you.

But is that wrong? Should I just endlessly forgive and be patient and accepting? (Yes, yes, I know...but just listen.)

I feel as though it would be a sin for me to watch one suffer and falter, and the last thing I want to do is give them a pat on the back and just keep "encouraging" them. I know that sounds awful, but I feel like too many people do that, and far too few will actually try to correct and redirect. I would never want to kick somebody while they're down, so to speak, or turn somebody away from Christ. It's not like that at all. That's not even the topic at hand, ok? What I'm talking about is far past that point.

I recently heard a sermon titled something along the lines of "What Kind of Friend are You?" Truth be told, I can't remember if it was in Little Rock or Fayetteville, but I remember leaving and boastfully saying, "I'm the truthful friend! That's what we're supposed to be!" But all that glitters isn't gold. 

I am surely making myself sound horrible, but if you know me, I think you'd see that I do extend grace and mercy. Sometimes I just don't want to, and I don't think that's out of stubbornness or failure to submit. I think it's because I truly believe there is a time to get real. A time to get serious and to quit messing around. The Bible talks about mercy, but it also talks about correction.

So at what point should correction override mercy? How do the two fit together?

I'm frustrated at the moment because this isn't coming out as I had hoped. It's incredibly difficult to articulate this, for some reason, but I have struggled with balancing the two for quite some time.

Hmm. I'll leave it at that. :)

P.S. I miss my hair stylist in Little Rock so badly that I've refused to go elsewhere ever since we moved. I got desperate, though, and randomly googled a bunch of places...then equally randomly called a salon and said "anyone who is good with long hair." On my way there today, not having a clue what to expect, I decided I would try to work up the courage to give my new stylist a Cross Church card with the service times. But I didn't have to. I immediately found out from her that she goes to Cross Church and even serves there. I was impressed! What are the odds?


A blessing, or not a blessing? That is the question.

The Town:
Fayetteville has proven to be as fun, swanky, and unique as I always thought it would be. It feels a little small, but we have adjusted easily. Ryan asked me the other night if I would ever move back to Little Rock, and I answered honestly and told him all it would take is a mere mentioning of the idea. He, on the other hand, would have to be dragged in chains the whole way there, I'm quite sure. So this place is a nice compromise, I suppose.

Job Outlook:
I have to tell you that I feel insulted. Unappreciated. Let down. Humiliated...the list goes on. I did not find a teaching job, but I never could decide if I even wanted one if given the opportunity. For the past two years of teaching 10th grade English, I said aloud on a weekly basis that I wanted something different when school released for summer. The problem is that I didn't know then, and still have no idea today, what it is that I want to be doing.  Listen--that's for a different post. Or probably one already written.

Everybody knows the high schools in NWA are among the most competitive in the state, besides maybe Conway, Benton, and Cabot. They are bigger, they pay more, they are competitive academically, and it's harder for teachers to find openings in these schools. I got a call from Bentonville asking me if I would like to be a teacher's aide and help the 2nd grade teachers at a particular elementary school. Oh, if you could have seen the effects of my soul swelling with rage, pouring onto my face. I was mad for days. I'm still mad. In fact, I've taken on a new swagger that goes by the name of "bipolar." I'll be a raging rhino about it one second, and in lala land after weighing the pros against the cons, and vice versa all the livelong day. Seriously. It's enough to make a person insane.

I told Ryan for three days straight that I would never do it, throwing around phrases like "over my dead body!" and "I am SO overqualified--they better tell me that every day!" And, in fact, they have. I've heard them tell me on multiple occasions that they would be so lucky to have me, and I quite humbly have to agree.

I took the position. Want to know why? For completely selfish reasons. I do not know if I will ever go back into the land of education as a teacher. I might. But listen. This school starts at 7:30 AM and gets out at 2:30. Major perk. I can work another part time job with this schedule, if I want to, and I found that to be so exciting. I will not get paid anything like a teacher, but I will certainly be getting more than I would at a different, normal job, all while working 9-10 months out of the year and still being done with my work day at 2:30. Seriously fantastic. But the bad--oh the bad. I'll have another commute, but at least I'm used to that. I'll have to do duty. Yuck. And I'm sure I'll have to continually explain to people, friends, randoms, that I am certified to teach 7-12 grade English, and yes, I'm helping with 2nd grade. Ugh.

Here's what I'll be doing: there are five 2nd grade teachers at this school. Each teacher gets on hour per day to work with students on remediation and enrichment. During this time, the teacher will work with the kids who need remediation, and I'll be working with the ones who need enrichment. So, doing that for an hour with each teacher will be 5 hours of my day, and I'm sure the duty and whatever else will fill the rest. I'm seriously, frantically praying that I'm not bored out of my mind.

Back to some more of my favorites: ask any high school English teacher and she will tell you it is perfectly normal to clock 60-75 hours per week because the grading and planning is so intense--unlike any other. So, with that in mind, hallelujah for this job. My heart is physically fluttering in excitement. I will have no anxiety what-so-ever about the 130 research papers I have to grade next week and the 130 essays the next, and the novel I have to annotate before I can teach it the following week. Again, hallelujah. Nor will I have to worry about spending a lot of time in the morning preparing my physical appearance for the 130 judging eyes and outspoken tongues of these near-adults. Oh my gosh, hallelujah.

Another blessing that I'm choosing to see: I've wondered before if I would like teaching elementary, or if I would hate it. This is as good a chance as any to figure that out. I am already sad and mopey about not getting to have a relationship with a new group of super fun high school kids this year. Although I often hated the work, I equally as often would miss my kids on the weekends (what?! I know!) and during breaks, so I am certain to feel a void there this year. In fact, other than feeling like I'm going from being the president to a person who shovels pig poo, that is what I'm the most upset about.

Now, if you're still with me, it's important that you finish reading this paragraph, too. You've stuck with me this long, there's no getting out now! I have been feeling sorry for myself, but I'm over it. That's gone. So I don't want you to do that either. It's still a fresh wound and I'm liable to get annoyed with you if you ask why I'm not teaching high school this year. :) I might not ever go back, but I might. I can't decide. I'm seeing this year as a perfect opportunity for so many reasons. It will be good for me to be out of the high school classroom this year to see how I like being away from it, since that's all I've wanted the past two years. I know, how fickle can I be? But I'm not making that up. I feel so completely blessed because I'm being forced to face what I've claimed to have wanted this whole time. So we shall see.

I'm making an effort to not have such a despondent outlook. Despite these wretched circumstances, I truly believe this is for the best.

*Disclaimer: I'm sure I'll hate the snot and poop and whininess of the little kiddos, but come on. You know this is going to be a GAJILLION times easier than any real teaching position. I'm going to do it for this year whether I like it or not, and then make a move--either going back to school for something totally unrelated, trying again for a high school position, getting certified for P4, who knows. Just say a little prayer when I come to your mind, please.

Simply put, from this point forward, I refuse to be bitter. It's just a job. It's not who I am; It's merely what I do. And I might just be a little excited about it. :)


Summer 2011

Sucks. (Not really, but it's not my favorite!)

I haven't had time for much of anything because of my crazy classes and moving, but here's an extremely inadequate update:
  • Moved to Fayetteville-- love our new place, but not sold on the town (yet)
  • I'm totally in love with Little Rock and I miss it way too much.
  • I'm also totally in love with living near my family
  • I've applied for 30-40 jobs and am still waiting to hear something (I don't care what I end up doing because I have plans and this is only temporary)
  • I love my classes, but hate the work. I'm considering giving up my 4.0 for a little ounce of sanity... but I don't think I can.
  • I'm insane and tossing around the idea of going back to school all together for something else
  • My best friend is now on Twitter and I love it because I've been on for a year and a half and have only followed famous people. Now I have her, my sister, and hubby! Lol
  • Our cruise was great even though it caused a horrible few days of work. The water was so clear that when you look at our photos, you can see our legs under water in what would normally be a waist-up photo. (Did that make sense?)
  • The only tv I've watched in 2011 is college football, Idol, and The Voice (totally normal); apparently we now have a gazillion channels and I. don't. care. :) Who has the time?
  • Last week I was throwing up and thought I had a stomach virus, but it turns out that it was stress. I don't even know why? That was sucky.
  • I haven't even read the book I started at the beginning of the summer. Ugh.
  • My classes are over a week from tomorrow, so hopefully that will change!
  • Mine and Ryan's anniversary is coming up in July! It's been almost 8 years since our first date, and 2 since we've been married! We're basically the same person except he's nice all the time and I'm not. And he's an eternal optimist and I'm not. And he likes golf and soccer on tv and I don't. I love him.
As you can tell, I'm in need of a friend up here. I can't stop talking typing! 7 hours of class again today; I'm giving my 25 minute presentation in just a few minutes! But during the others, please comment so I will have a reason to be distracted and take a tiny break when I get tired! :)



I love words so much. I told a friend earlier that I am a "quote junkie." Whatever. I'm not feeling too philosophical today, so I'll just quickly say that I feel weird when I go a while without writing something. I don't like it, so I set aside just a few minutes to give an update on our lives.

I still have school through next week. I'm sure most teachers hate it, but I'm trying to soak up as much as I can before I have to move. It's the most bittersweet feeling I've ever had, followed closely by graduating high school and leaving for college. I've been looking forward to this all year long, but now that it's here, I'm feeling much more sadness than I had ever expected. I've lived in Central Arkansas for 6 years now--not just any random 6 years of my life, but some of the most important years: college, first 2 years of marriage, first 2 years of a real, "big girl" job.

What's gotten to me the most so far is leaving my students. Sure, I'm happy the year is ending and that I get a break, but there are a few students whom I love to pieces. I don't know if it's because I'm young or because I just happened to find that connection with a few of them (which I know could happen only like once in a billion light years), but I feel like I am leaving a couple little siblings behind. Weird, I know. But it's true. I'm definitely struggling there.

I'm not even to the point of thinking about leaving my friends and this city in which I adore living. If I began considering that in conjunction with the aforementioned, I'd be one hot mess. I've hated my job at times, but looking back, it's been incredible. Just trust me when I say I can't stand to leave it.

Cannot stand it.

Luckily, our cruise heads out on the 13th and I have that to look forward to! I don't even think I've posted about that, but we've had it planned since December or so. This Bahama Mama is ready... after this horrid sunburn goes away. When we get back from the cruise, it's moving time! I should be super excited because I don't have a job yet, which maybe means I won't have to work! Not.



Hey, Stranger!

Lately I haven't made time to blog. I think about it every day, but I haven't gotten around to it. I'm ridiculously late in saying this, but Ryan's surgery went really well. We are in week #5 now. Long story short, there was much more damage to his knee than expected, and he was told to not put any weight on it at all for 6 weeks. Thursday is our last day of that! It's been tough for me because he couldn't do anything on his own--getting drinks and food, bathing, and other normal everyday tasks. You can imagine. But he's doing great, and as long as everything goes well at his appointment Thursday, he'll be walking out of the surgeon's office without crutches! He'll still have another whole 6 weeks of physical therapy, but it will be such a relief to lay down those pesky crutches. I'm stoked for him!

Somehow with taking care of all of that, I've been reading a ton lately. I haven't really been watching t.v. or getting on the Internet very much. Here's what I've read in the past 3ish weeks:

Great book. I saw the movie, too, and they are really similar. The book has more detail of course, but I enjoyed both.
This is a young adult novel. It's about a Hispanic gang member and rich, preppy white girl. I loved this book!
I cannot get this book out of my mind. I loved every second of it. It's quite adventurous and had my heart completely racing at times! It's a young adult novel, too, and I'd venture to say it's maybe my 2nd or 3rd favorite book... surprisingly.
Another great book. It's written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy who has never been outside the one room he's in. I can't tell you why or anything else about it. See for yourself!
Eh. So so. This book made me think, but it's one of the less climactic/exciting books I've read in a long time.

I enjoyed reading these little essays, both by famous people and ordinary people. Quick read.

I started this book yesterday and am about 200 pages into it (which is about half way). It's fantastic! It's a young adult novel, basically told from the perspective of a girl whose boyfriend committed a school shooting. Excellent book so far!

 I feel like I'm leaving a book out, but I can't think of what it would be. That should be it. Pick any single one of those and you will not be disappointed! My least favorite was Please Look After Mom, but books like that have their places, too. Do you have any recommendations?


March Madness

Unlike many of my friends in the northwestern part of the state, I have been able to enjoy this entire week off from school (sorry Meg). I made no plans for my break because I'm so tired of having to be places at certain times. I hate that... even when it's things that I want to do! Weird, I know.

It's been a great week, and, as usual, I'm dreading going back. But I get an extra day off: Ryan is having surgery Monday morning. In January, he tore his ACL, Meniscus, and LCL. This is the second time he's torn his ACL in the same knee! Just like last time, he's walked around on it and has done everything like normal during this two month waiting period. He's such a tough guy.

I'm working on applications for NWA; sometimes I get excited about them, but generally I'm dreading "starting over." I just want to know where I'll be--that's all! We want to find a place to live as soon as we can, and it sure would help if I knew where I'd be working. I'll keep you updated for sure. :)

So long for now. If you think of it, say a little prayer for my hubby on Monday! Enjoy this crazy madness of busy spring schedules!


February, will you be mine?

I kept a "time sheet" the week before last to see how many hours I worked in a week: 70. Clearly that was a busy week; they're not all like that, but it's not uncommon. Part of it was for my job and part of it was for the classes I'm taking. I was surprised by that number because, well, I think I just handle it well. That being said, I'm taking a personal day tomorrow to just clear my head and get refocused. I have surplus amounts of work to do while I am on my "personal day," but I already know it will help me more than anyone can understand. I remember calling in sick one day during my student teaching so I could fill out job applications and do wedding planning. That was a stressful day, but it allowed me to get it over with and focus on the task at hand for the remainder of the semester. So that's similar to what I'm doing tomorrow, in a sense. I love clearing the path to a relaxing near-future.

We should find out next week whether we'll be in Fayetteville or not. If you know me at all, you know I haven't doubted it one bit. I feel completely silly saying we'll "find out" because I already know! I can't believe how quickly time is zooming by. It's already March! Ryan and I are still successfully following our "Read the Bible in a Year" plan. I truthfully didn't think we'd make it this far because the first couple of months is what I consider to be the more boring parts. But we're trucking along!

We also, for the month of February, decided that every single day we were going to text each other something that we love about the other. It ended today, and I think I'll be sad when I don't get one of those texts tomorrow. It was very sweet and I recommend that you do the same. After a while--after you get past the "I love those soccer legs" and the "I love your beautiful smile"--you have to think in order to come up with something. Those were my favorites. It helped us focus on each other and deepen our appreciation for each other. Oh, what fun!

In other news, I'm obsessed with Idol as always. It's on for several hours during the week, but since it is literally the only show that I watch, I can swing it. :) Also, I'm totally loving my Nook. I got another Birthday surprise, too: a huge aquarium! I have to wait until we move to set it up and move over the fish from my small aquarium, but it was a great deal and we couldn't pass it up. I'm way too excited about it! This has been the best month ever, especially since it was topped off with seeing our families for the first time since Christmas. I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I can't wait to see them more often than we've been able to in the past!

All of this, coupled with the blizzards, tornadoes, sunshine, and earthquakes we've had in Central Arkansas this month, life has certainly been exciting! I loved this month.


SNOW Excited!

I'm snow excited because I still haven't had a full week of school since Christmas break. This also happened last year, and I remember just relishing the relaxation that a short week brings. Even though it's not a vacation per say, there's just something about an extra day off that can bring such excitement and giddiness to our lives. Nevermind my sometimes unhealthy love affair with snow!

I'm snow excited because Ryan is getting me a Nook for my birthday/Valentine's day! Last week at school, our journalism teacher weighed my purse because the students are writing an article on heavy backpacks. My purse weighed twelve (12!) pounds, and I then discovered I had three (3!) books in it. I can't wait to get it, for that reason and many, many others. Duh.

I'm snow excited because Ryan and I have had such a blast hanging out with our friends lately. The closer it gets, the more saddened I am that we're moving. I'm already concocting plans for quality time post-move. It will still be so much fun. After all, I'm no newbie to long distance relationships! In fact, I cannot even express how thankful I am every single day that I get to be with Ryan every single day rather than a few days every couple of weeks. Thank God.

I'm snow excited because Ryan and I are still going strong with our plan to read the Bible in a year. We are definitely enjoying it, even though some nights I complain about the selection being boring. The plan we're following goes in chronological order, so we won't be in the New Testament for quite

I'm also snow excited because I got an A on my first test for one of my classes. Some of the students who are almost finished with the program said this particular class was their hardest. As said in last post, all I feel like I've done lately is work, but it pays off. I'm usually private about things like this because I feel some innate need to be "modest," but I've worked for it. Someone shared this quote with me this week:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

The bolded part especially caught my attention because this is something Ryan and I have discussed extensively. For example, when I got my Jetta, I didn't want to drive it to his church because I felt bad for the people who couldn't afford new cars. Any time I've gotten an award for anything, I've kept it mostly to myself because I don't want attention for it from other people. I often feel embarrassed--more like guilty--if someone goes nuts over my outfit or shoes in front of certain people because I don't want the attention like that. To put it plainly--I often "play small." Not to say I'm going to start boasting about everything, but this at least gives me a new perspective. It's fine to be modest, but my feelings are wrong. Trying to be so "modest" about things actually makes me seem more selfish, I'm realizing.  Who am I to say other people will "shrink" themselves just because I'm shining at the moment? That's actually quite disgustingly selfish. I can't believe I ever thought I had that kind of power over anyone. 

I know I ramble, but I'm snow excited to live my life.  :)



Valentine's Day is one of my most favorite holidays, for a reason uknown to even me. I think it's a subconcious appreciation for a dainty pink/red combination, because on that day and that day only, it's acceptable to the world. But who am I kidding? The truth: I always get a more spectacular present than most because it's always combined with my birthday! Ryan and I decided that I'm very special for having been born in February. It's the least likely month in which to enter this world because it has the fewest amount of days. I always knew I was special, and I'm relieved to finally figure out why. I kid, I kid!

Even more special is this white gloriousness that has been intermittently falling from the sky this winter. I absolutely love it, and I get just as excited the fifth time as I do the first. Lately I've been craving the idea of sitting in front of a fire place in a cozy cottage, watching the snow fall outside the window. Thinking about this scene relaxes me immediately. I don't know where this originated or why it has this effect on me, but I'm rolling with it.

Maybe it's because I've been painfully busy lately. I can't even begin to give details other than the fact that I've been reduced to working, and sleeping in between working binges. Between my job and my classes, I have no evenings and no weekends unless I choose to sacrifice sleep. Last night was parent-teacher conferences (which I enjoyed), so we didn't have school today. It was helpful, but again, I was running around like a fool to do the things that needed to be done. I did get to stop and savor a decent chunk of time with Lydia, which was so wonderful and necessary to my vitality. I enjoy being busy, but not when I don't even have the freedom to procrastinate!

But I'm not complaining. Busyness can be so fulfilling sometimes.


Holiday Haul

As my Christmas vacation comes to a wrap, I'm all settled in back at our apartment and ready to conquer the upcoming semester. I'm struggling, as usual, with thoughts of displeasure and unwillingness, but I keep telling myself, ready or not, here it comes! Whether it goes well or not, you can't stop time, and it will be over in 5 months. I could possibly be going crazy, but talking to myself like that actually has helped. I keep telling Ryan, "I have decided not to teach again next year." Of course, he is supportive no matter what, but it's comical how many times I have made that declaration. I do think it might be in my best interest to at least take off a year and see if the grass is truly greener on the other side. I can always go back, right? That's where I stand right now. And just so we're clear: I like teaching when I'm actually at school; I hate how much it invades my personal time.

Anyway-- Christmas break! Oh, what fun! I enjoyed my time at home with our families. I stayed a few extra days to help my mom paint and finish other random projects that need to be done before my parents put their house on the market, then I came back on Wednesday because I learned last year that I get super stressed if I'm not at my own place to rest a few days before school starts. Christmas Eve and Christmas day have the potential to wear us out, but we love it. We have six Christmases in two days if you count the one we have by ourselves. Fortunately, it's always worked out to where we don't have to miss any. This was our 6th Christmas to celebrate with both of our families, so this schedule is becoming second nature. Thanksgiving is just as crazy and jam-packed, but as I said, so far it's always worked out. I'm not sure how it will work when we move and my family moves; it will be different, but hopefully the celebrations will continue!

This was our second New Years Eve spent in Little Rock rather than back home. Ryan and I are number one grandma and grandpa, it seems, but I'm actually not ashamed. We went out to eat on New Years Eve, then we came home and just hung out by ourselves. I kept telling him that we were probably the only people on the planet to not be doing something, but it's exactly what I wanted to be doing. I've never made resolutions, per say, but I do have a little list this year:
  1. Floss more often.
  2. Exercise more often.
  3. Eat healthier.
  4. Focus on health (specifically, get my neck and back fixed...among others).
  5. Take at least one day each weekend (probably Sundays) and do no work.
  6. Read the Bible in a year.
  7. Read all of the books in my stack of "books to read" before I buy more.
So far, I'm on track to sticking with these. I came up with more, but I knew I was setting myself up for failure and chose not to resolve to do those things. I had to giggle to myself as I typed, "choose water over tea" because I know that won't happen. :) I don't think these will be too challenging for me, except #2 and 3. Ew.

Happy New Year from my home to yours!