Away We Go...

Away We Go...

Again... massive thanks to our talented friend Amy for designing this card!

Tomorrow. Tomorrow. After weeks of dreading planning, we are actually leaving TOMORROW for our first missions service (and the next few) on a 10-day trip through multiple states. I won't lie and say a part of me isn't truly terrified, but I'm definitely excited and even a little relieved that this process is finally getting off the ground for real. After weeks of calling churches, emailing pastors, scheduling services, and mailing prayer cards, we'll be able to actually interact with people and tell them about our plans (and, in turn, hopefully receive some support. That's the goal!) Also, I should mention that Jonathan was the one doing the calling, emailing, and scheduling... I was mostly reading, napping, and eating. No, I'm not proud of that fact. 

Also, I'm painfully aware that this post is the first in quite a while, and since I just admitted two sentences ago that I've been doing basically nothing lately, I really don't have a good excuse for the silence. The long answer is a lot of blubbering on about feeling like my life has stopped since I'm not in the classroom and feeling aimless and other emotional baggage you shouldn't feel obligated to carry (not that dramatic, but still), and the short answer is simply that the longer I go without writing, the harder it becomes to write. There have been multiple times in the past month that I've opened up my laptop, drafted a post, then refused to hit publish because, "this is garbage!" It's probably not, but you get the idea. The voices in my head (yes, there are several, mostly with New York accents) can be absolute dears but can also convince me that I have absolutely nothing worth sharing these days... true, to an extent, but making it extra hard to be motivated into blogging.

ANYWAY, now let me tell you our plans for this trip. (You know, barring any emergencies which we- you and I, yes?- will pray to avoid.) We leave tomorrow (!!!) for Hickory, NC, where my dearest friend Sara and her darling mother live. We'll hang out tomorrow, spend the night, then attend church with them on Sunday morning. (I'm counting on them for one continuous pep talk during our stay.) After lunch, we'll head to Knoxville, Tennessee, for our very first missions service. Ahhh! Fortunately, our first service will not be with strangers (oh, the horror!) but with familiar faces of our friends the Hollomans. Yay! They recently moved to Knoxville to Hardin Valley FWB Church and we are thrilled to have our first service with them. (I can't overemphasize how relieving it is to be with people we know for what is essentially our guinea pig. Pray it goes well!) 

On Monday we'll leave for... wait for iiiit... NASHVILLE for a few days of church planters' training. After visiting Nashville in college I absolutely fell in love with it and I am SO excited to be able to spend some time there. I've been wanting to go back ever since! We'll also have a service at a church in the area (Grove FWB) on Wednesday night. There are so many places I am looking forward to re-visiting (hello, SATCO) and also our friend Stephen who is starting a church in California will be there with us so we're excited about that too. (Again, I'm pretty hung up on being surrounded by familiar faces... wish you were coming, Lauren! =( Anyway, I'm really stoked for this part of the trip. And if I'm constantly distracted by my quest to meet Jon Acuff then so be it.

We'll leave Nashville and head to Cincinnati, mostly because it's on our way to our next service and Jonathan wants to go to the Creation Museum. I'm still a little leery of Ohio in general (a few horror stories from college travels still haunt me) but Cincinnati is a cool city so I'll be okay, I guess. =) From there we'll leave for the Detroit, Michigan, area for a service with Jonathan's aunt and uncle's church, Southgate. Jonathan did an internship with them one summer in college and loves the church and people so we're excited to visit again and see family! Then Sunday night we have a service in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with Rex Evans at First Church. He and his family are friends from Faith- more familiar faces- and we're so thankful they scheduled a service with us!

On Monday we'll head home- we're considering a stop in Chicago because I love it and Jonathan's never been- and then we'll be back at home in our own little corners... all alone in our own little chairs. (Okay, sorry. Jonathan doesn't want to be likened to Cinderella.) 

PLEASE pray that we (and by we I mean Jonathan... clearly this girl isn't doing any public speaking) will be able to convey our need/desire to get to Houston and start our work at Woodforest! Pray that we'll get the prayers/financial support that we need at each service and that we'll have more success in scheduling services over then next few weeks/months. Oh, and safety while we travel, naturally... and pray that I don't do or say anything outrageous. I'll try to keep the movie quotes locked up unless absolutely necessary. (I COULD insert a White Christmas quote RIGHT HERE but I won't... see? I can do this.)

And, folks, lest you think I'm too nervous/paralyzed by fear, just remember...

...I've done this before. Granted, I'm nowhere near as cute these days but the charm of that three-year-old with the heavy Southern accent is still lurking inside somewhere, I hope. =) 


Now That I'm Not Teaching

Now That I'm Not Teaching

So, in case you missed it, I'm not teaching this year. There were many reasons for that, all of them legit, but now that I'm spending my days without any real excuse to talk about grammar or literature it's a little difficult to remember exactly what those reasons were and what made them so significant in the first place!

I kid, of course. This is what the Lord had for me this year and even though I miss teaching immensely, there are a few perks to being able to stay home. As I've done many times before, I thought I'd share them here as a bit of a visible reminder to myself that I am not, in fact, living a miserable existence simply because I'm no longer in the classroom. Sometimes it feels that way- after all, teaching is who I am. It's part of my personality, part of my gifts, and really part of my identity. But the opportunity to take a year off is one that I'm trying to be grateful for, so here are a few reasons why. (Also, one of my FAQ's right now is "What are you up to these days?" This- plus an unhealthy amount of online shopping- is it!)

1. I have time to read. In the past year or so, I had gotten way better about actually going to the library and checking out books because I wanted to read them, not because I was forced to for a class. (Looking at you, Silas Marner.) But when I was still at school, there just wasn't as much time (duh) and now there is. It's a huge pick-me-up to be able to go the library every couple of weeks and fill up my bag with new books. (And in case you missed it, my recent stack was discussed at length right here.) I've read over 30 books this summer and it's been glorious. As always, if you're in need of a book recommendation, head to Janssen's book index for inspiration. Or just start with The Wednesday Wars... you won't regret it!

2. Two words: sleeping in. Now, before you get the wrong idea, I'm not living an alarm-clock-free life and snoozing the day away. I do have SOME discipline (not much, but some.) But after years and years (pretty much since kindergarten) of being forced to be up early every day for nine months out of the year, it thrills my sleep-loving heart to be able to sleep until 8:00 because I can and not because I hit snooze didn't hear my alarm and am thrown into a late-for-school frenzy. Many times while I was teaching I asked myself (with great regret) why in the WORLD I had chosen a career path that forced me to be not only awake but alert and ready to impart essential information at an early hour every day. Getting a little reprieve from that schedule is no trial, I promise.

3. I've got the morning routine I've always wanted. This naturally follows the whole sleeping later thing, but there were many, many things that I've always wanted to do in the morning but, let's be honest... I wasn't going to get up at 5:30 to do. One of those is exercising. When I was teaching, I tried to exercise a few days a week, at least by walking a mile or two, but getting up before school to do it just wasn't going to happen. All that plus a shower and "getting ready" time- have you SEEN my hair? It would take me longer to blow-dry my ridiculous mop than it would to actually work out, so... no. But now I can get up and exercise before I start my day (or before I change my mind.) Also, I've always read that you should have your Bible reading/devotion time in the morning but again... the whole early thing... so since I am lazy super spiritual I'd wait until nighttime, but now I can do that in the morning too!

4. I can go to lunch! I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but for all these years I've never been able to meet a friend for lunch (or breakfast, for that matter) because of school. So, now I can meet someone in the middle of the day without getting a substitute or rushing back for study hall. A little thing, but I enjoy having the option!

5. After years of talking about it, I can start on my book. Since I was a teenager, I've wanted to write a biography about Papaw's life. And even though I'm still in the very earliest stages (aka looking through mounds of pictures and a few news articles, and mostly just thinking it over, I'm finally getting started! Papaw was SUCH an amazing person and the more I've found out about his life, the more I'm itching to tell his story. It's a pretty massive undertaking (and I'm totally intimidated after reading this!) but I think it's really important for our family and for a lot of people because he was so inspiring. And what better time than during my indefinite hiatus? So, now I'm like Cosmo Brown on Singin' in the Rain... "I can finally start suffering and write that musical!" 

So, even though I'm not nearly as busy as I'm used to being, I'm trying to enjoy this season. Soon (we hope!) we'll be traveling to different churches and before I know it it'll be time to move across the country and start a BIG new chapter, so a little downtime to read, write, and even exercise (gasp!) is something I'll look back on fondly, I'm sure. (And let's be honest... I look back on a lot of things about teaching fondly, but waking up early will NEVER be one of them. Amen and amen.)