adding another book to the library

Merry almost Christmas, friends and family! I have created a new blog for Philip and me. I may or may not still post on this blog. I haven't decided yet. Here is our new address:


Pretty simple. :) I hope your Christmas celebrations are merry!



Philip and I came home from choir practice at Logos and spent the evening in the kitchen and living room, baking pie, eating dinner, doing dishes, starting laundry, clipping Ophy's nails, and doing little household chores. We turned on some music and lit some candles to get rid of the fish smell. I love the low lighting and the relaxing music.

Mmmm. Nights at home are entirely underrated.

Now for some Gilead. Or perhaps Leviticus.


nuggets of wisdom

I spent Thursday and Friday up in Surrey, B.C. at our annual teachers' convention. in the past, I've been excited for the convention to arrive (no students! I get to go to classes and be taught!), but I've immediately been disappointed by the keynote speakers. In general, they have been good people with a large amount of knowledge, but with little understanding of how to connect with a room filled with hundreds of teachers, yearning for practical bits to take back to the classroom.

This year was different. our convention theme was "educating for global discipleship", meaning, "How do we teach our kids to walk with Christ in light of the global community?" Our two speakers shared personal stories and presented us with practical and meaningful applications.

Our first, Dan Egeler, grew up in Africa as an MK. He is now working for ACSI in Colorado Springs as the Director for International School Services. He has experience with schools across the world. Dan talked about the clash of worldviews in our Christian schools (humanism vs. Christianity) and how easily humanism can sneak into the way we teach. "Education can be our salvation!" He told a story of a group of students who were assigned to write a Christian response to "Dead Poet's Society" (which uses the catch phrase "Carpe Diem.") These students chose to respond: "Carpe Aeternitatem! (Seize Eternity!) Why settle for just one day?" Dan challenged us to address the fallacy of individualism and live life in the light of eternity. We are on a faith journey together, in community, with our students. He pointed out that gratitude makes the difference between a mature and immature Christian. Do we live lives of gratitude? Do we model gratitude to our students? I felt convicted by these words. How often do I complain or have a bad attitude, all the while shaming my students for doing the same thing? I need to see my work, my students, my own life, in the light of eternity.

The second speaker, Mike Goheen (the Goheens were old family friends who lived in Sioux Center for a few years), teaches worldview and theology at Trinity Western. His speech touched me even more. He spoke of the history of education and how it has been shaped by the economic climate of the western world. Again, education becomes the vehicle for our salvation. It will take us to a new world if we perfect it. Nietzsche described the 18th century as "God being killed", and by the 20th century, our new religion is consumerism. Education becomes a means to an end: If I get a good education, I can get a good job and then live a successful life filled with everything I need and want. Mike talked about the criticism of this worldview from the viewpoint of the Vatican. The first two are widely accepted, the last two are not:
1)There is an unequal distribution of goods.
2)Excessive consumption threatens the environment
3)Consumerism creates ungodly character
4)Consumption has become the primary goal--to the detriment of our own being.
As the prophet Ezekiel says, "When culture serves a god other than the living one, they will reap destruction." This kind of economic idolatry is impacting our Christian schools, and we don't even recognize it happening. We marginalize subjects that don't raise test scores; we marginalize continuing education for teachers, and we face parental expectations and the accompanying consumeristic ideology.
Mike then placed before us the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. This should be our new starting point. Our goal is to make disciples. A true disciple is to center his whole life on Christ, obey him, and become like him. A true disciple will challenge the social and economic structures in place today, and be willing to suffer for it. A true disciple will hunger and thirst for justice.

Wow. I felt convicted by these speakers and what they had to say. I think the most disturbing thing is that we don't recognize that our schools are serving this purpose. It makes me sick, and it makes me sad. I feel like Philip and I are really trying to not get wrapped up in money. We're trying to be smart about it and put it towards the most important things (donations, tithes, paying off loans, etc.) I don't think the point of Mike's speech was to shame anyone for spending money. I don't see a problem with Philip having an iPod touch or with me buying a new pair of shoes just for fun. But I think he was saying we need to keep our priorities straight and recognize the path our schools are following.

I guess I don't know how to end this, so I'll just stop. I'm grateful for the chance to be refreshed, renewed, and reminded of the bigger picture.


shine a light on me

Random picture from my Yellowstone adventure with the siblings. I think I may have been faking sleep in order to make the picture funnier. Everyone else was sleeping for realsies.

School is going well--in fact, I feel a little guilty that I'm not more stressed out. Can I still be a good teacher even when I'm not stressed? Not sure. But I am enjoying the fulfillment of working with the same kids day in, day out, working in my field, and the paycheck (first one tomorrow!).

We have a Sufjan station on last.fm. I just heard a song by Great Lake Swimmers. I think it was called "Concrete Hearts." It was soothing and relaxing. Philip is out tonight hanging out with the youth of the church, so it's my night to veg out and eat popcorn and read and watch sappy chick flicks. I look forward to it each week, now that I have less down time.

Life is changing but staying the same, too. We had a great visit from Philip's parents and from LQS (one of my favorite people!) We love visitors, and it's worth all the craziness. Hint: Come visit.

This post is a little disjointed. I felt like updating but not in a diligent, coherent way.

I'm establishing the bad habit of coming home, putting pjs on and vegging out with food and tv or a movie. The other night we committed ourselves to not turning on the computer after 6ish p.m. And I read almost the whole book of Genesis for small group. The hard part was deciding to turn off the computer, but once we did it, we really enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of background music, soft lighting and candles, and a Good Book. Today we went for a bike ride in the beautiful fall weather. I would like to commit myself to being more intentional and active so that vegging out is more well-deserved.

We'll see how this goes.

Can anyone else not believe it's almost October? (Did that even make sense?)


everybody's got a seed to sow

School started last Monday. I was anxious the full week before, but once Monday arrived, I felt good. I had slept well and was feeling excited and only a little nervous. Feeling relaxed as a teacher is great! Of course, there is always some kind of stress available, but I'm making the choice to not be stressed about it. Instead, I'm joyful and excited to face the challenges that are coming my way.

Fourth year exceeds first year. And even second and third years.

This weekend, I had a major bout of nostalgia. We recently realized we won't be able to go anywhere over Christmas this year, which sucks. This will be the first year I won't be in Iowa for Christmas, but we won't even be with Philip's side. It will just be us. I'm a little nervous. I think it's coming out in waves of nostalgia:

-I bought crayons yesterday. 25 cents!
-I've been singing Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant several times.
-Philip and I have been looking through my high school yearbooks.
-I saw a beach towel that Al had when we were growing up.
-Philip & I watched Big this weekend. Tom Hanks has always been amazing.
-I'm missing the 80s. Yeep!
-I hula hooped at the farmers market on Saturday. I'm starting to write my birthday list.

Anyway, it's been fun to look back and remember "the good old days." At least I've had time to make WA home before having to miss out on an Iowa Christmas. I love living here. Hopefully that will help get me through the holidays. I'm grateful to have Philip here to make memories with, too. It will be special for us, I think.

The weekend is ending. It's been a good one. Lots of friends, ridiculously unhealthy food, and naps. And I'm actually feeling rested and ready to return to school tomorrow. We're starting The Giver this week, which I'm super excited for. It's a great book with great discussion material--perfect for my 8th graders.

Here goes!


give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

I am employed! I am having a hard time actually believing it; after a year of uncertainty and financial strain, we are out of that valley! Everything for this job came together so quickly and effortlessly, it was clear to me that God orchestrated it. I'll be teaching middle school language arts at Lynden Christian, the place where I did part of my student teaching. My dear friend, Shelly, who teaches at LC, let me know of the opening last Thursday as soon as the staff received the email. I immediately contacted the principal, who attends our church and was my supervisor for my student teaching assignment.

To make a long story short, I had a good interview today and was offered the job an hour later! The principal said the decision was unanimous (I had been interviewed by 5 people) and they were ecstatic (yes, he used that word) to welcome me on staff.

How unexpected. And full of grace. When I look back over this past year, I see that God has challenged me and grown me in ways that would not have happened had I been fully employed. I (we!) have had to rely fully on Him for provision and strength, and He gave it to us abundantly.

I know this year of teaching will bring many challenges and obstacles, and I'm looking forward to all of them. Most of all, I'm looking forward to belonging somewhere again. I've belonged in our small group and in our church, but the I've felt detached in the employment sector. I can't wait to be part of a staff again.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. We really appreciate it...and I won't turn them down even though I'm not unemployed anymore. :)

Praise the Lord!


they were shining there for you and me

Well, I was going to load pictures. But Blogger is dumb. Maybe I will ditch it for something else. Is there any way on Blogger to load more than 5 pictures at a time? Or rearrange the order without complete redoing it? For now, you'll just have to check out the album I will be putting up on Facebook in the next week or so once I get around to it.


California was fabulous. Not necessarily relaxing, but fabulous. We did everything I listed in my last post and more. It was truly delightful! Some of the highlights were:

-experiencing sunshine!
-eating breakfast on the porch
-bbq with Philip's cousins
-seeing Andrew & Melissa's new place
-spending a great couple of days at Yosemite with Mom & Dad and Rod & Vonnie
-seeing bears at Yosemite!
-spending all that extra time with Philip
-taking Highway 1 up the coast with Dad & Mom (very very curvy!!)
-camping in the beautiful Oregonian "wilderness" with Philip's extended family
-reading Lord of the Rings aloud in the car since our CD player apparently stopped working...
-celebrating our anniversary with a $5 pizza and a nice hotel room with a TV!

We arrived home on Monday afternoon and greeted our kitty. She forgave us pretty quickly for abandoning her for 11 days, which was considerate of her. Now it's back to the grind. The unpacking isn't all finished yet and there's lots of cleaning that needs to be done. I went from seeing Philip 24/7 to barely seeing him at all, since he's volunteering this week at a Cub Scout camp in the evenings. It took a bit of adjustment, but we're getting there.

I also had an interview yesterday with a woman from our church who owns her own tutoring business. She started it one year ago, but it's rapidly growing and she needs to hire an additional tutor. It sounds like I'll get the job and I can even do it during the school year, depending on what I find out about next year. Still haven't heard from the school in town about an interview. I'm grateful to my knitting instructor from church who dropped my name to this woman while I was on vacation! God really does provide in various ways through various people. Praise God!

And a FB album of our CA adventures is forthcoming.