all around the world

I just spent the last hour getting lost in blog-surfing. I've read blogs by close friends and by almost-strangers. And I feel as though I've been having coffee with my best friend. I'm seeing that so many others are going through the same things I'm going through right now...moves, changes, goodbyes, crying so hard you can't stop because you miss the days when home was only one place and one set of acquaintances...
Home has been wonderful. Yet every morning I wake up and have to remind myself that I'm not here to stay. In about a week I will again be waking up in my basement bedroom in Lynden, making preparations for school on Monday and wondering what the heck my next P.E. unit will be (curse you, physical education!) These changes are so difficult...yet reading others' blogs puts my own situation into perspective. Change is inevitable. It's necessary.
I look at people like Carolyn in South Korea, Erika in Norway, Rachel in Nicaragua...they are so much further from home than I am. But in some ways I feel farther from home. Those people are surrounded by others who are far from home. In Lynden, I'm surrounded by people who know only one home...one place...one set of acquaintances. It's difficult because few others understand the way I feel. I'm scared of saying goodbye again and returning to the place I was so excited to leave last week. It's my life now, and as proud as I am of making it through the last 5 months, it's only the beginning.
Ok...on to happier things. This week has been wonderful. Phil and I have celebrated our 6-month anniversary with two dates. We took turns planning. Last night, I took him out for Mexican and ice skating!!!! And then we went to his place and watched The Ringer--well, I slept through it, but what else is new? He made dinner for me the other night and the townhouse's living room has never looked better. I've spent time with my sister and brother and sister-in-law and nephews. I took Dillan to see The Waterhorse yesterday and it was a great bonding experience. I also gave him his first couple of piano lessons last week. He is eager to learn. I miss him and Landon so much--they have grown up a lot since July. I saw my Bepa the other day, which was wonderful, considering the fact that I didn't think I would see her ever again when I said goodbye to her in July. I love being near my parents again, although we know that our relationship has shifted somewhat. I'm a little more independent and self-sufficient than last time we were together.
Another week to spend with family and loved ones. Thank you, Dad and Mom, Philip, Al and Trav and Tami and Dillan and Landon and Kasey, Becca, Josh, Nikki, Matt and April, Nick and Lari, Walhof and Paul, Chad and Ephron and hopefully Dre and Scott and Sheryl...for making this Christmas break a time to strengthen relationships. I love you.


have a cup of cheer

kerri as zwarte piet...i looked something like this as well
kerri standing guard at our chosen tree
the traditional picture...me not getting my choice of a tree
my students decorating for Christmas

flooding at ebenezer!!!
the view of our backyard from the laundry room 2 weeks ago
dara and i making snow (errrr...slush angels) on the deck
dara dismantles the male snowman
our little Christmas tree

6 days. 6 days until a break, home, family, Phil, food, Iowa, Covenant, Dordt warts, traditions, games, dates, friends....the list goes on and on.
I am excited.
On the downside, my car is currently getting a new transmission. If you have a guess for how much that will cost, guess higher. Ouch.
Oh, well. It's just a car. And it's just money. More than ever I am understanding the importance of Christmas. It's a time of waiting, expectation, family, and celebration with ones you love. And I will get a 2-week dose of it in just a few days.
But for now...time to clean my house and finish Christmas shopping. Much love to all!


what they don't teach you in school (at least not that i remember)

1. Waiting sucks. I guess I had to wait my turn to answer a question or to get a sip from the drinking fountain, but that's not even real waiting. Grrr.

2. Catching mice may be preferable to leaving out bags of poison for them so that they wake you up in the middle of the night with their chewing and you possibly find them dead 5 days later.

3. The first Christmas season away from home is very difficult. Because now every stupid sappy Christmas carol makes you cry because you're not hearing it in the familiar living room or with the familiar people.

4. Other people's Christmas traditions are not as cool as mine.

5. Adjusting to not having friends your age is difficult, especially after living in a college community (where something is ALWAYS happening) all of your remembered days.

6. Life apparently goes on even when you're down and depressed, dragged kicking and screaming into a world you're not sure you want to be a part of (and by dragged, I mean I made the decision to sign a contract that would take me 1700 miles away from life as I know it).

7. Time actually flies if you'd stop thinking about it. IT'S FREAKING DECEMBER ALREADY!!! AND I HAVE TAUGHT MY STUDENTS NOTHING!!!

*Edit: The latter part of #7 may not be entirely true. However, I don't have the courage to take a poll.


you came along one day and you rearranged my life

thanksgiving day and haircut day! and we're still friends!
sarah and neil return to their childhood. apparently sarah had too much turkey. :)
columbia: the van dyken kids and their arm candy
my personal favorite
rod opening the tea i gave him for christmas; vonnie looks on
biker babe!
my hot biker guy
in between bike rides--mistlin park
mark is wiped out after the family christmas celebration
stay awake!

What a wonderful weekend. It was amazing. It's going down in the record books as an important weekend. The only bad part of the weekend was having to leave yesterday. It's going to be a long three weeks (I know, Phil, it will go fast) until Christmas.

Highlights of the weekend:
1)Looking for Phil at the Sac airport and seeing a mountain man!
2) cutting Phil's hair without losing his affection
3) holding hands all weekend
4) That one winery we went to...with the jazz trio...
5) sunshine and 50 degree weather in the mountains!
6) spending time at the cabin in the mountains
7) getting big hugs from Rod and Vonnie yesterday when I took off
8) riding motorcycle with Phil
9) playing Pepper with Sarah & Neil and Mark & Apryl
10) fitting in with the family

Only 3 1/2 weeks until Christmas. Long distance relationships suck. Anyone else have a tough time living in the moment instead of in the future? I thought so. I know what I want and now I have to wait for it. It's a new experience. I suppose it's what Mom would call a "growing experience." Thanks, Mom.
Keep plugging, everyone. It's the advent season. A time of expectation and waiting. We've been doing it for over 2,000 years. We can do it a little longer.


in this bittersweet world...

cuddling at mcmenamin's

cardwell hill cellars...family-owned and operated
a bit o' booze
jaz, nick, and andrea at tyee winery
fall colors do exist in the northwest...
Why do I wait so long to post? Now I either have to leave nothing out or leave everything out. Grrr.
In the past few weeks, I have completed my first set of report cards, survived my first parent-teacher conferences, participated in Whatcom County's celebration of the CRC's 150 years, eaten out too many times, drank beer with my boss once, attended a play, and driven through torrential rain and wind in order to visit my dear Nick and Lari (oh, wait! That was just today!)
I think that's the short list.
I am counting down the days until Thanksgiving break. We are currently at 8. Not long. Yet I'm at the point where I'm again realizing that I need to live in the moment, because it's really all I have. Memories are good, but they can't take the place of the present. In our school office, we have a little sign that says, "Today is a gift...that is why it's called the present." And worrying about the future can't change it. I'm trying to enjoy the little moments that make up my days. It's a great idea, but tough to follow through on.
I will end with a list of the excellent movies I watched while cuddling with Nick and Lari this weekend:
1) The Ringer
2) Accepted
3) V for Vendetta
Watch them! They are stupendo!


life is unraveling and being woven together

amanda and i at a park in chilliwack after teacher's convention
amanda and denise checking out the fish
an incredibly pc pose
october sunrise at ebenezer
this is from the front step of my classroom...
kerri and i ready to plow mt. shuksan
i be a photographer!
the meenderincks ignoring the "danger! slippery rocks!" sign
kerri and i in a tree...there IS a story behind this!
some pretty mountains
The honeymoon is definitely over. I'm realizing that when I go home for Christmas, I won't really be going home, because I'll have to leave again. Today, that realization really freaked me out. I was at Target today and it was CRAZY with families shopping for Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/we need to buy stuff because we haven't bought anything for two days. And I really missed my mom. I saw tons of mothers and daughters, and all I wanted was to wander the aisles of Target with Mom and talk about how premature the holiday stuff is. I miss you, Mom. And Dad, every time I see an SUV (or a Hummer at a gas station...a frequent occurrence for gas-guzzlers, you know), I scoff and miss you, too.
I have tons of people out here to connect with...but they're not my family. I have officially reached the I've-never-been-away-from-my-family-for-this-long point and I'm still going.
As Phil says....life is unraveling and being woven together at the same time. Life as we know it is ending, but something new is beginning. It's scary and refreshing and scary and fun and really really scary. Hopefully the end result is a beautiful design. Hopefully.


a countdown: take two

--days of rain in the last 11 days: 10
--days of school in the last 4 days: 0
--incoming calls on my cell phone in the last 24 hours: 10
*Note: Apparently Saturday is "I miss Andrea and I should call her!" day. It never rains but
it pours. Thank you, friends and family; you have shown me love.
--meals eaten in my home in the last 5 days: 0 (except for breakfast w/ Denise on Friday a.m.)
--hours of teacher's convention spent catching up with Dordt people: all of them!
--number of recent Dordt grads bumped into during said convention: 9 (I think that's all)
--number of full-spectrum light bulbs now installed in my room to give me the feeling of
sunshine: 4
--amount of french fries eaten in the last four days: 3 pounds-ish
--hours spent laughing in Ryan Stiles' Bellingham UpFront Theatre: 2.5ish
--text messages sent/received in the last 4 days: 58

I think I need to change my texting plan.


rainy days

the melancholy is setting in. lots of rain. i'm missing home this weekend. missing my family and friends. facebook pictures are making me jealous of good times at dordt.

but i don't think i want to go back to that era of my life, either, because this is a good era, too. i got paid yesterday! HA! take that, college students! i got paid and it's not going straight to dordt college! at least not until november...

teaching is good. teaching is fun. teaching is my calling. and this weekend, i get to see denise and amanda and hannah and jason and margaret and probably more people i'm forgetting about. teacher's convention! 5-day weekend! (well, no school for 5 days, anyway).

ok. this post is dumb and self-centered. sorry i wasted some of your time, but it's your own fault for being on the computer...


september in review

This is the mink (not a muskrat!) that USED to inhabit our pond. Don't worry; he's at a farm now happily catching ducks.
sunset on birch bay
kerri and i at boulevard park in fairhaven
flowers from philip
berscrumptious, denise, & i over labor day weekend
ferry ride from whidbey to seattle
scary seattle carousel
kerri and i in blaine at the maritime park straddling countries at the peace arch border crossing


now i'm the bad guy

i made my kids write lines last week. their memory verse....15 times. took some of them three hours. now they hate revelation 21:1-4.

ahh, classroom management.


let it be said of us...that we live to be a blessing

Saturday was a good day.

1. I got 9 hours of sleep.
2. The sun was shining brightly.
3. I talked to my parents on the phone.
4. I had breakfast with a dear new friend who is becoming a surrogate mother to me.
5. My dear friend shared with me information about the Whatcom County Chorale...which I hope to audition for this week sometime.
6. I cleaned the house.
7. I talked to Phil for 2 hours.
8. I did my laundry.
9. I took a short nap.
10. I went to a barbecue with Kerri and met some Bethel people.
11. I held a beagle puppy in my arms for a half hour.

Today is a good day.

1. I got 9 hours of sleep.
2. The sun is shining brightly.
3. I started adult Sunday school this morning and met new people.
4. Alvin and I sang in church and received glowing compliments. I have missed being part of the church in this way.
5. Bethel hosted a "Lunch on the Lawn" where the following happened:
--I talked to my 2nd cousin once removed and discussed various family reunions taking place in the past and future
--I talked with Alvin and Sherry (my "family") about the good old days
--I chatted with the pastor's wife about teaching and various curricula.
--I was invited to join a women's Bible study
--I have dinner plans and evening plans for Thursday night with the Vos'...faculty concert at LC! Go, Broadway!
--I had a discussion with my second cousin once-removed's wife about small towns vs. big cities.

I feel at home in my own church in Sioux Center, but I feel overwhelmingly at home at Bethel here in Lynden. I'm feeling more comfortable living on my own, because I'm realizing that I'm not on my own completely. I always have people to call, and I always have Someone nearby even when I feel alone.

I hope that I can bless others as much as they have blessed me.


no time...must sleep...

This post will be sadly lacking in content because I don't have lots of time with which to dally on the computer.

School started and I LOVE teaching. I love my school and my coworkers and my kids...and there are tons of frustrations, but this is my calling for right now. Thank you, Lord.

I miss everyone. I'm tired of being without my college community. This transition will take awhile.

I had an AWESOME weekend with Denise, Berky, and Robin. Thanks, girls. Another sleepover soon, I hope!

Love and blessings to all. Pictures to follow eventually.


going somewhere sometime

Yuanita is quite the wrestler. And this was after we actually wrestled. We were resting instead. I like Yuanita and Jana because they balance craziness and intelligence. Yuanita is crazy, and Jana is intelligent. = ) Hee, hee.

I miss people. I hate being so far from home when most people in Lynden have their entire extended families around. It's beautiful here, but I'm really a midwest girl at heart. I'm not sure I can stay this far away from my family for the rest of my life. Good thing I'm taking it one year at a time. Heck, one hour at a time. Right now, I feel particularly far from home because my Bepa is not doing well. She had a heart attack and a stroke this week, and she's very weak and can't speak (which for her is a rare and sad thing). I miss being with my family during this tough time...

Today has been crazy. We had inservice this morning and then I started outlining some science lessons. I left "briefly" to go to the library and got sidetracked by a FUN package from Frau Nikki and a phone call from Amanda, my dear neighbor to the north. So tonight, I need to eat dinner with Amanda and hang out with her, possibly help Yuanita pack, call Phil, call Mom, figure out a few more things for Day 1 of school...laundry...letters....when did all this stuff pile up? EEEEEK.

Prayers are appreciated. I feel about ready to explode. I miss you all.


ten and counting...

Nope. Not how many days until school starts. This is how many spider bites I found on my left leg yesterday morning. My basement room, although I have made it cozy, is a breeding ground for spiders. I was not sure what the bites were, but my colleagues are thinking a spider had a hayday on my leg. In the meantime, it's red and swollen. Ick.

Days until school starts: 7.5
Number of students who left my class as of yesterday: 2
Number of students enrolled in my class: 21
Relief I feel at having fewer students: 100%
Number of subjects I feel prepared to teach: 0.5
Number of subjects I will be teaching: 6
Number of subjects I will be teaching if you count all the language arts components: 10
Number of times my principal used a fishing analogy at the NWCSI workshop: 8
Number of times I made fun of my principal for using a fishing analogy: 8
Dollar amount my salary dropped after making fun of my principal for using a fishing analogy: $3,000

Just kidding about that last one.

I am ready to have a hectic schedule. At least I won't have as much time to miss people.


the closer i get, the farther you run

This Iowa girl lost the milking contest to a city girl! Score: 2 cups to 2.5 cups
Yuanita, Catherine, & Andrea ready to fly!
Ahh, the Northwest Washington Fair. I saw cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, bees, flowers, and all kinds of vegetables. It was a good show. I attended with four other girls. Three of us were new to the fair, so the other two had a good time showing us around. Of course, we shelled out six bucks to take a couple of rides as well. The price we pay for fun...
Still working on my classroom. Still getting used to waking up in Lynden. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step back. But I'm still making progress. And there's a bonus. I have a very grandmotherly neighbor who has all sorts of Ebenezer connections, and yesterday she baked me a blackberry pie. Never mind that I don't like pie; I like this one. She's the sweetest old lady ever and I think we will become good friends and neighbors.
So here's to taking two steps forward and one step back!


keep on the sunny side of life

I don't know why my pictures are doing this. Argh. But I had a fun weekend in Sunnyside with Berky and Denise. Ha!!! You can all be jealous now!!! Ha, ha, ha!
Now back to planning. And attending the Northwest Washington Fair, which has made Lynden an interesting town at last! Much love to all. I will say more interesting things at a later time.