Friday, March 26, 2010

My Absence

It's been two weeks at least since I last blogged. Even as I write that, I feel like I'm in an "A" meeting- you know, like "BA"- bloggers anonymous. It's silly, because I most definitely do not have an addiction to blogging. I rarely am a more than 3 posts per week person, I don't often spend endless hours surfing others' blogs.... although I might like to, I don't have time, and I don't make time, which in my head = not addicted. But still, it's been two weeks since I've blogged.

I know that in the big scheme of blog world, my absence is a non-noteworthy issue (although I must admit that I felt warm fuzzies when my friend Southern Gal wrote me to tell me she's missed my posts!), and my desire to be noticed is partially why I was absent.

I'll explain it all more later, but the short version is that after writing about my friend's hubby's death, I then had the funeral to go to and time to spend with her, which was wonderful, but the whole thing has weighed heavily on my heart. I spent a few days in Louisville with some wonderful people who are planning an awesome conference for teens in July (my role is minor, but I got to listen to all the big stuff). I jumped back into school and parent teacher conferences. I've been busy.

But that's not the real reason I haven't blogged, because if busyness were it, well, then I've had multiple opportunites to blog this week, as I'm on Spring Break. My heart, though, has been in need of some prioritizing and soul searching. I am finding that I'm a bit out of order, and I feel a bit incomplete, and that really, it's all because apparently I'm having a close-to-quarter life crisis about who I am. Crisis is too strong a word, I'm not falling apart, I don't wish I had a different job or life, and I'm not really a giant disaster. But I digress. (My "short" post on acknowledging my absence is turning into a novel. Go figure- me, write too much?) The point is, I've been absent because I've been thinking and needed to keep myself away from trying to find validation in blogland.

I think I've made enough progress in self-awareness and prioritization that, for those few of you who might be interested, I will be back soon to the land of Bloggie Friendships (which I love). And, of course, being the me that I am, I will share with you more about what's in my weird, jumbled, random, doesn't make much sense head and heart.

Till then,
With love,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Three Things Good for the Soul

1. Almost purging as I journaled everything that has been going on, all my thoughts. Petitioning the Lord to hear me, to heal us, to show His plan for the big G Good. Reading my daily Psalm to find out that He, indeed, is listening. 2. Going for a walk/jog on an overcast morning, music playing through the iPod, life being breathed into my soul as I watch the fog over the mountains and the 7 little sparrows who hopped and flew along the path ahead of me, as if they were guiding my way.

3. A cup of coffee, a book to read, and a heater to warm my feet and hands after being in the cold.

Disclaimers: 1. while on my walk, I kept wishing I had my camera. you'll have to settle for a glimpse of grey sky from my front stoop instead of the grand vista of city and mountain and fog you would have seen. 2. yes, that book is Twilight. no, I'm not obsessed. It's something I picked up to better understand my students' obessions, and despite the many, many things "wrong" with it, I kind of like for a little light reading. My brain has been too full this week.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Speaking to Sadness thru Psalms

Linking up today with my Coffee Company girls, a Friday favorite of mine. Right now I'm sipping on a Mexican roast coffee that I made even yummier by adding a little cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mmmmm. My students are busily working on skits for a chapter final project (a school appropriate version of Dr. Phil meets Jerry Springer), so I thought I'd steal a few minutes to catch you up on the week.

Thus far, I've been faithful to my committment to read a Psalm a morning (I'm only on Psalm 4, so it's only been four mornings, but hey, that's a start, right?) Each morning I've had jotted down a quick thought from the Psalm I've read and have tried to hang on to that thought throughout the day (no easy feat considering how much I think about and have going on in a 10 hour period). Both Psalms 3 (yesterday's) and 4 (today's) have had a verse or two that have really spoken to my heart, particulary in light of what's been on my heart this week. Let me share that with you, and then you'll see how God's been speaking to me.

(First thing to acknowledge is that I need a scanner, because I really wanted to scan some old photos and upload them for you to see. Sadly, no scanner, no photos.)

13 years ago I started at a new high school as a freshman, knowing only one other girl. Quickly, she introduced me to her friends, one of them being a really nice girl named Janelle. Janelle and I clicked- we even became locker partners sophomore year. We survived some serious high school drama and stayed friends even after I switched to a different high school for junior and senior year. When we went off to college, we roomed together freshman and sophomore year, again surviving some big drama. We dealt with a lot of stuff together, supported each other. We've been living in the same town for the last 13 years of our lives, and although for these last 6 we haven't hung out every week, we're the type of friends who get together every couple of months and it's as if no time has passed.

About 2 1/2 years ago, we called each other within months to relate our engagements- and then we chose wedding dates a month apart, too. Coffee dates in those months were filled with plans, dreams, laughter. We talked about her new favorite movie, P.S. I Love You- she was so deeply touched because she was on the verge of being married and she couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose your spouse after such a short time. She and her fiancé, Dave, came to our wedding to celebrate with us, but also to "take notes." Dave commented to me during the reception that they had thought of several things they wanted to do/not do at their wedding. I could only find this picture of the two of them from the wedding (they're the couple talking to each other in the bottom right corner of the picture), but I'm sure they're talking and joking and planning and dreaming their future together.

A month later, Husband and I enjoyed celebrating their marriage at their wedding, a beautiful and simple ceremony. In the months that followed, Janelle and I continued to get together for coffee dates periodically, talking about our adventures in marriage, our husbands, our in-laws. Our last coffee date was a while ago, but I'd been planning to call her soon.

On Monday, I was sitting in my classroom grading when I got a call from another college friend. I knew right away something was wrong, because we hardly ever talk. She wanted me to hear from a friend that Dave had passed away. Unexpectedly. He'd been "missing" and Janelle and filed a missing persons report and the police found him. Thank the Lord that Janelle was not the one to find him. She had no idea anything was wrong, no one appears to have known.

My heart is broken for her. I cannot even imagine life without Husband now. A year and a half of marriage is such a short time. The shock of it, the reasoning, the living with it. Unimagineable. I didn't know Dave well, but I know Janelle. And she LOVED him. And he was GOOD for her. And now? Now it's broken. She's broken. We're all a little broken.

But God has been speaking to me through His Psalms. Yesterday (in Psalm 3) He told me, "Look, there are more enemies than I can count, and they're saying I can get no help from you. But you shield me on all sides. I stretch myself out and I sleep. I'm rested, fearless before the enemy mobs. God help me! Real help comes from God, blessings." And today, from Psalm 4:7(ish), "I have God's more-than-enough, more joy in an ordinary day."

Though enemies are numerous, God is faithful, and rest will be provided. Though my heart is broken for my friend's loss, for the heartache and pain that will continue to come, though Satan tries to trick me into feeling guilty for not being a good enough friend, though I do not know that Dave knew Christ and I do not know where Janelle stands, God is faithful, He will defeat the enemy, and there will be rest.

Though today holds sorrow and pain and darkness, yet there is joy to be found. Joy is not dependent on circumstances. God is more than enough.

God is more than enough.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

150 Days of Psalms: Day 1

Several years ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing quiet times and the "best" time to have them. He drew an analogy (that I think he stole) that I've never forgotten. Does an orchestra rehearse after the performance is already done? Then why would I do my quiet time (my practice, my preparation) after the day (my performance) is already finished?

As a morning person, I acknowledged that I love to do things in the morning, but since I have to get up early early and be out the door by 6:15, I often find it impossible to do anything more than get ready for work. Evening quiet times are sometimes a challenge too, because there are always a million things to accomplish and before you know it, it's late and that 5:00 alarm is going to be coming mighty soon. Needless to say, this often results in a total failure of having a quiet time at all (or, as my students would say, a "fracaso epico"- an epic fail).

Recently, though, I've been trying to work on discipline in this area and have more regular quiet times, because I know that, if I want to be a different woman in 10 years than I am now, I need to be God-filled. In the last few weeks, I have had more evening quiet times than in the previous months, spent praying, reading, journaling..... and it's been wonderful.

But the idea of starting my day off with the Word still resonates with me deeply.

So I've decided to try reading the Psalms, one a morning. (There are a few that will probably take me more than one morning, due to their extensive length.) 150 Psalms, about 150 days, about 5 months. My goal is to read a Psalm each morning and journal (in my real journal) a quick thought to start the day off right. When I can, I'll also blog the quick thought, to keep in you the loop and to get some accountability.

I'm excited!

So here's today's quick thought from Psalm 1. (I'm reading in the Message for a fresh look at the Psalms- if you don't have that version, my notes won't make sense at all.)

David writes that he "thrills" to to God's Word. The idea of thrilling, of being really excited about the Word, is a little foreign to me, but something I would love to find. Hoping these 150 days help bring that around. He also writes that "God charts my road." I've been thinking about contentment and, with the help of another bloggie friend and this verse, realize I need to have contentment not just for the past and the present, but also for the future. Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Four Minutes

I was over at Grits and Glory, browsing around, and read about Alece's "Four Minute Fridays," where she begins with "Go" and ends with "Done" and in between, writes for four minutes about whatever is on her mind. Although I feel a little big guilty about borrowing the four minute idea for this post, and although it isn't Friday, I'm just going to plow right ahead into this entry anyway. With all that's on my mind, I think it will be a helpful processing tool. So, here we...


I just finished one of the two longest weeks of the school year, Sadie's. Our Student Council puts on several events, a show-like a assembly, and a big dance with mondo decorations. As the StuCo sponsor, I spend every free minute of the week working on Sadie's stuff and was there until late late late three nights in a row (plus the whole day Saturday). I don't love all the pieces of StuCo, but I do love the leadership and the kids and the way we try to provide for the school. But I'm struggling with feeling like it's a lot of work for little appreciation, even from our kids. Today we did an activity where kids could secretly "vent" by putting their complaints on a piece of paper, which someone else read aloud. There were a few pointed at my co-sponsor and I, and although I'm trying to practice what I told the kids to do (which is to listen for the grain of truth, to try to understand why that would be someone's perception, to be honest with yourself and change what you need to change), I'm still struggling a little with the always-being-criticized feeling.

Besides that, I'm working on not being worried about money and the future. Here's a secret: Husband and I would like to start thinking about kids. I'm not saying we want to have them right now, but we're talking about and thinking about it. But the whole how the heck will afford them thing is a little scary, especially considering that we'll both have to work and I know that day care is really really really expensive and we won't be able to afford it. So I'm working on trusting God and trying to think and brainstorm and plan.

In my last minute of writing, let me just make one other comment. I'm trying to figure out whether I'm putting my identity in others or in Christ. I often feel lonely and like I don't have a place to belong (except in my classroom and with my family), but then I wonder whether or not the way I feel has any valid reason or if I'm just looking for something in the wrong place. Probably a little bit of both.


Well, I think I would need more than four minutes, but I do feel like I started to think more about what I need to think about. I'll need to write in my real journal, I think, to continue this processing journey, but at least I've begun.

Unwrapping the gift of processing and the bizarre comfort I find in blogging about it.

P.S. I've decided to try to read a Psalm each morning, which will take me about 150 mornings, and blog a quick thought about it. You can read my first thoughts here.
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