Thursday, July 19, 2012

looking forward...

i've come to a conclusion over the past few days:
     moving sucks.

not the moving part, actually. though i would in no way say i enjoy packing, it really isn't all that bad. we've accumulated a lot of stuff in 8 1/2 years of marriage (especially since the kids entered the picture) and packing gives us the chance to get rid of a bunch of stuff we don't need.

even the 800 mile drive with me most likely alone in the car with both kids for most of the trip isn't stressing me out that much. i don't mind long drives--and while it stinks that nathan will be in the moving truck instead of with me, it does mean that i get to control the music!

i don't even mind the unpacking once we get up there. i like rearranging furniture, and it will be fun figuring out just where to put everything in our new home (one i haven't even set foot in, by the way. that seems to be a bit of a trend for my family...but i digress).

so i guess it isn't the moving i don't like.
     it's the leaving.

i know, in the grand scheme of things, that 4-6 years isn't that long. when we're looking back when this chapter of our lives is over, i'm sure we'll talk about how quickly it passed. from where we are today, though,
looking forward,
it seems like a long, long time.

in a world where family is becoming an old fashioned concept, i guess my family is considered old fashioned. we are together a lot and for the most part we would all rather hang out together than hang out with friends. when i think about being gone the next five years, my mind can't help but linger on how many family get togethers we're going to miss.

what really got me, though, was saturday. my baby sister got married, which i actually made it through without a tear. the hard part came at the end: she left on her honeymoon, a cruise she won't be back from until after we leave for toledo on friday.

my own wedding was the last time i saw my brother, so though it is illogical and a bit paranoid, a tiny voice in the back of my head has been bringing up that very fact, telling me that saying bye at her wedding is a bad thing, that it means something is going to happen.
     let me tell you, sometimes those small voices you hear say some really crummy things.

i broke down monday while i was packing up the kids' rooms. it was like everything hit me at once and the emotions had to go somewhere.
     in this case, that meant tears and other fluids common to crying all over nathan's shirt...

i've been fine since then (though i'm sure won't be the case tomorrow when we say bye and pull out), but it put some things on my mind.
so, i'll end this post (which, by the way, will be the last one until we get settled and have internet access again) with what i wanted to say to my baby sister...

i am so excited for you--a beautiful wedding with a gorgeous bride and a pretty great groom; a wonderful home with an amazing view to go home to; a brand new career you'll be great at; an amazing family to become a part of. it makes my heart smile to see all the ways you are being blessed and to imagine what blessing are in store for you.

at the same time, though, i can't help but feel like i'm abandoning you. as your big sister, especially since michael's gone, i feel like i should be protecting you (even though nathan reminded me that that's seth's job now) and it seems like that is going to be hard to do from 800 miles away.

you have all these amazing new beginnings ahead of you, but as amazing as they will be, they will also be hard. i'll let you in on a little secret: people say the early years of a marriage are the "honeymoon years," but they really shouldn't say that. it gives newlyweds the idea that everything will be amazing and fresh and new like the actual honeymoon was...and that just isn't the case.

the first few years are when you have to get used to all those quirks that seemed so cute and endearing in small doses but that will threaten to drive you insane! all of a sudden there is this other person right there every time you turn around, somebody who is stealing the covers, eating the last piece of bacon, and putting things back in the wrong spot.

through it all, though, remember that you are in this for the long haul. this is the guy you chose to spend your life with. when things get tough don't look back--
look forward to when you are both old and gray, sitting out on the porch together. 
look forward to becoming grandparents together, seeing the world go on through your family.
look forward to seeing your own children walk down the aisle while the two of you smile and cry together.
look forward to life, not backward to what used to be.

remember that God is the One who brought you two together, and though His plans may seem crazy at times, He always knows what He's doing and will bless you.

i know this whole teaching thing still doesn't seem real to you. to be honest, it won't seem real even when you go in for that week before classes start and hear all the administrators talk. it's not going to seem real until you are standing in front of that room full of students who are expecting you to have all the answers...and to be able to teach them algebra, of all things!

know, though, that you can do this. you know your stuff, and you are going to be an incredible teacher. don't sink into a rut because other teachers are telling you how it "should" be done--you will develop your own style, your own methods of dealing with discipline, your own way of getting through to the kids. do your best, but realize that you can't save every kid who walks through your door. all you can do is love on them and show them that you care. don't get too stressed out by the politics that are a part of teaching. do what you know you need to, and all that stuff will take care of itself. also, it's best not to take a page from pop and my handbook on teaching: don't wait on all that ugly paperwork (not that you would) because it isn't much fun to do on the last day!

if i have to be so far away, i'm glad tiffany is going to be right down the road from you. from what i've seen she'll make a wonderful second big sister. i feel better knowing she'll be there to take care of you. know, though, that i'm always just a phone call, text, or email away, any time.

i love you, kiddo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

when the chase gets too important

dreams are funny things.

especially when they are dreams that other people may see as crazy or unrealistic--but hey, who ever said a dream was supposed to be realistic?

i ran across a post today that was written by someone who, to some degree, is chasing after the same kind of dream i am: writing.

like her, probably like most people who have this crazy dream of weaving words together to make a story, i've read just about every scrap of advice i can find about writing.

i have a journal full of quotes, most of which have something to do with putting words down on paper.

i put "writing advice" or "writing quotes" in the search bar on a regular basis, occasionally stumbling across something new that wasn't out there yesterday (that's how i came across a guy named jeff goins...a good read for anybody else chasing this crazy dream).

i've spent a good 6 years or so chasing this dream.
more if you include those strange junior high years...but who counts those?

the problem is, the chase has gotten me distracted from the dream.
*instead of writing, i'm reading what other people say about writing.
*instead of being caught up in the world i'm trying to create, i'm reading what other people have to say about creating a world.
*instead of dreaming, i'm chasing.

most importantly, though, i'm running blindly down a path that other people say i should take instead of asking the most important question:
         God, what path should i be on? which way should i go?

over at (in)courage one man put it this way (with my paraphrase): we get this picture of how a dream is supposed to turn out. when we cling to that picture, we diminish the Artist who creates the picture.

so, no matter what dream it is you're chasing, i hope your prayer will be the same as mine:
"let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for i have put my trust in You.
show me the way i should go,
for to You i entrust my life."
psalm 143:8

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

playing catch up

i am a terrible procrastinator.
actually, i am a rather accomplished procrastinator. i've had a lot of practice at it over the years, so i've gotten pretty good at it!

that trait has made a few things more difficult through the years, leading to things like finishing physics homework assignments in class 5 minutes before they are due and stringing tiny beads onto a veil the day before my baby sister needed it for her bridal portraits...

this time, though, the habit that drives my mom crazy is actually going to be a good thing for me.

today is tuesday.
we move out of our house in arkansas and head to toledo a week from friday.
thursday, friday, and saturday of this week will be spent doing wedding stuff.
and here's the kicker:
            we have about 8 boxes packed.

yes, 8. for a family of 4.
and at least 3 of those boxes are books...
and there are still books on multiple shelves...
          i know, i know--we are book addicts. there are far worse things...

now, it could quite possibly be that i have finally lost my mind, but i'm honestly not worried. this will be the 7th time that nathan and i have moved in our 8 years of marriage. 2 of those moves don't count because the coast guard packed all our stuff for us, but that still means that we have packed everything up 4 times. we've gotten lots of practice throwing things in boxes!

so, despite all the delays and all the time we've been away from home in the past month, for the most part i would have to admit that things are pretty much on schedule.
we would have been putting it off until the last minute anyways :0)

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