Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas Letter Pics

Thanks for reading the Christmas letter! Here are some photo highlights from our year.

April-- Caleb and I got to travel to Memphis for Jon's senior musical. It was amazing, and I saw it three times. 

June-- Caleb and I biking in Niagara. 

I included this one so you could get the whole effect of the Canadian ponchos. 

October-- Jon started at Northwestern, and we got to visit him briefly one weekend. 

November-- My mom finished her MFA program at the end of the year, and we got to see her final show over Thanksgiving. It was awesome. 

All of the three kids were able to be there, and we were very proud. 

In December, we went to Brazil for Ben and Denise's wedding! It was a beautiful wedding and a great time with friends. We were so glad to be there. 

Christmas dinner in Brazil. 

Pao de azucar in the background in Rio. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Coming home -- fresh start

I want to do the things I used to do.

There's nothing like going on a two week trip to completely re-focus your perspective. Some of these things have been in the works for a while through friends encouraging me and small opportunities popping up, but coming back from Brazil, I can feel the wind in my sails.

I think for the whole first part of the school year I was running uphill and giving it all I had for so many weeks that it totally drained me. I feel more confident now that I can do my work, and I feel less stressed by it. Things are looking good heading into the end of the quarter. Still more to learn, but it seems doable. And I am more willing to try things, take risks, have fun, be more open.

I want this to be the year of creativity. I want to write more, make more music, read more, think more. My brain is coming back to life. All the tendrils are uncurling stretching basking.

I want to live. Really live. Not be a machine.

I want to share more of who I am at my new school and with the staff. Shout-out to CF!

I want to live free. Or die hard. Just kidding. hahahahahaha that's all for now.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Million Things

This is day three of having two interns live at our house. I thought I would have less time, but it feels like I have more. Looking forward to getting to know them better. We have waffle night tonight so they can meet some of our friends and our friends can meet them. I want to have a girls night soon.

I wish we had a pool we could go to.

Just saw the email that all my clinical evals are in-- all my hours are done and all the evals are in. Here I come for student teaching in the fall. Soon I will be a real, licensed teacher.

While eating like a rabbit is an effective and mathematically sound practice, it can be boring.

The garden is coming in nice-- lots of plants that I don't know. There is a real bunny that lives in the rocks beside our house. There is a big bunny and a baby one, at least one baby one. The bunny is in the garden every day, eating whatever is close to the ground, which isn't anything really pretty. I am kind of employing him/her as a weeder so that I don't have to do it. The rose bush is opening up. The seeds I planted in May are now plants about 7 inches tall. Soon there will be flowers!

The house is coming together. We're still loving it. I got some art from my mom and it really spruced the place up. Still waiting on my favorite one to be ready.

My birthday's coming up soon.

I'll be working at a different summer site this year. I'm prepping the materials this week with my boss.

Gotta go! Time to make pizza!

Jeff Buckley

I am loving this music by Jeff Buckley.

This album is awesome.

I was reading up on who this guy was and found out that he died in Memphis, probably when I was living there. He drowned in a river that I frequently drove by. It's weird to think that if my family had known him, we could have been there to save him.

I wish he were still alive so he could make more music.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day

Some people say don't bring the old
to the new. Now is the time
to throw away bad habits.
Maybe we humans need more than
sheer will to do what is good for us.
A baby was also born on December 31.
Lines float to us in neat rows shining
on screens. We watch the world,
see things we wish to never see,
say "Happy New Year"
because that is what we hope for
deep in our hearts, but, deep in our hearts
we know that someone is dying
and the world cannot always be
the rosy place we'd like.
We hope that it will be Happy for us.
We have made it this far, hurrah!
We sign on for the next twelve months
like soldiers signing up for another tour.
And after all this, my body speaks
unbidden, come Lord Jesus.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Idealist, Disappointed

As a die hard idealist, I often struggle with reconciling all the "should's" with the "are's."

Politicians should tell the truth. We should have friends in Madison. My mom's store shouldn't be closing. My church should be a great  place to meet God.

Reality isn't always kind.

But then, there are a lot of good things that happen out of the blue that by all rights shouldn't happen.

What do you do when you are disappointed? My personal trend is to run. Hit the deck and run like hell. Get out of there before any one else can hurt or disappoint you. But I have been thinking about this a little and have decided that while this is the easiest option, it might not be the best option long term. If you keep running, you eventually arrive at a place where no one knows you at all. None of your relationships can survive beyond a conflict. I learned this from C who for some reason doesn't consider running. Once you run, there is no way to fix it. You can't make a change (and neither can the other party) because you are gone. You stop giving the other side a chance. You take control.

Control is something I am a pro at in this context. I usually justify my decision to run with statements like "I'm not getting what I need, and I need to go somewhere where I will. Nothing's going to change." Or, "if I don't fight for myself, who will?" Or, "Why should I wait to see what happens?" It's all very "I" centered. It's gets close to the self-preservation instincts, and it's all about control.

I am not always sure how to fight the instinct to run. It's a habit that's been ingrained through a life of moving. It's easy to believe that my decision to leave won't affect anyone, but that's my impression of reality,  not necessarily the facts.

I have so many questions about how to live. I don't want to put a gloss over everything and pretend to be happy. I feel like a little kid in a pink dress outside under a tree. The bad guys came and knocked my glasses off and now they are standing around laughing at me while I grope around on the ground and try to find them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Good Seeing You

Sometimes it's hard to hold on to yourself. That's what this summer has been like. I'm coming back down from working full time, school full time, friends moving, family trauma, big church changes, if it wasn't nailed down, it's gone. But, there were and are some bright spots. For example, I have become a semi-expert on the Civil War. And also I love playing softball. I never would have seen those two coming. I'm also very excited about my new food processor.

I became a Civil War expert through this online class I had to take as a pre-req for my certification program. It was among the classes that I have done the most work for in my life. I read over 1,000 pages and watched 9+ hours of video (so did loyal Caleb) with the same music playing in the background. I learned so much and I got really into it. To celebrate finishing the class, I went to the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum and explored their Civil War exhibit. They had a giant interactive table-screen that was like a general's desk. You could tap on the different objects (a hat, a coffee mug, various maps and folders) like on an iPad and read about their significance. You could also trace all the regiments from WI through all of their engagements, but they only had the data for up to 1862. It is hard not to get carried away talking about CW facts whenever something comes up in conversation that relates to it, because, you know, everything goes back to the Civil War. I've also been reading a couple of books set in the 1850s and I find myself fact checking the authors. For example, "I don't know if they would have had paper money at that point because the Civil War wasn't in full swing."

Softball is the fun sport I never knew. I am really enjoying the people in my cohort for the ed. program. I feel more and more affection for them as the weeks go by. We are having a cohort softball game this weekend that I am very excited about. It is good to have some more friends. After over a year in Madison, it is our closest friends that we long for, and our mentors. We realize even more how good we had it. But we are still trying to build, one step at a time.

That's all for now, folks!