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.



Today is an exhausting day. I'm getting ready for our trip to California (we leave tomorrow), and there's way too much to do.

In my younger and naive-er days, I thought all a trip really meant was packing. Mom would be stressing out because of all the stuff there was to do, and I was like, "Really? All you need to do is throw some clothes and toiletries in a bag, grab some books, and we're good to go!"

Now that I'm old and wise, I know the truth. I've been insanely busy today and I haven't even started packing yet. I've been doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, baking bread so we can eat sandwiches in the car, writing up/sending minutes from our uber long chorale board meeting last night, loving up the poor, neglected kitty, taking care of applications/interviews, emailing people about vacation plans and directions, preparing for cat and plant care, emptying garbages, eating leftovers...

And I'm sure I'm forgetting something. We still need to go to the library and pick up books on CD, organize the music we want to take, pack the camping box, pack the bag of food and the cooler, pack our clothes, pack our electronics and accessories, purchase a travel mug so we actually have two (which means going to our neighborhood coffee shop...and what's the point of going unless we get coffee, too?)...

Plus, I'm somewhat anal about the state of the apartment. Who wants to come home from vacation already having laundry to do, pictures to download, and tents to air out and have to clean the bathrooms and vacuum? Maybe I should be less anal. Genetics is not in my favor on this one.

Regardless of the insane amount of work this vacation actually is, I'm so looking forward to it. Anticipation is such a wonderful thing. We've been planning this vacation for months and months. And finally I get to say, "Tomorrow at 2:30 we're leaving whether we're ready or not!" Plus, it's a road trip. None of that stress that comes with air travel. We can travel at our own pace (which in this case, means booking it to make it to Ripon by early Friday evening). I love love love road trips.

Things I'm looking forward to on this vacation:
1)Seeing Mom & Dad
2)Seeing Mom & Dad Van Dyken and all the siblings
3)Seeing other Ripon relatives/peoples
4)Lake Pinecrest
6)San Francisco
7)Hwy 101
8)Warm weather
10)Taking tons o' photos
11)Camping with the Havemans
12)Staying with Nick & Lari in Portland
13)Celebrating our first anniversary! (whether it's camping with extended family or taking off early to do our own thing)
14)Spending quality time with my husband

and there's lots more.

In employment news, I feel like I've taken some important steps. I'm not going to have daily employment this summer, but through the workings of friends and connections, I am tutoring two or maybe three students in math this summer. I'm really looking forward to working one-on-one with the kids, having a reason to get up on some mornings, making a little money, and staying in the field of education.

I'm also waiting to hear back from a small Christian school where I applied for a job. I was supposed to hear about having an interview today or tomorrow; no word yet. But I feel optimistic. I've met the principal and toured the school and I actually took initiative on this! I feel that the school and I are a good fit for each other, but right now the only choice I have is to trust God (and there are worse choices, right?)

Back to loving up the kitty. Happy summer!


i want to run the race with vigor

I've felt discontent lately.

I feel as though this year has been full of surprises. Some good, some not-so-good. In the midst of these surprises, I've felt out of control. I don't know what will happen next. The moment I feel I'm getting into a groove of some sort, something new comes along and pops me out of the groove. I don't enjoy being popped out of my groove. I can't plan ahead, my expectations are unfulfilled or destroyed. I am a slave to my emotions at any given moment.

At the same time, I look back on the past year and feel incredibly blessed. God has provided much more than I could have asked or imagined and has given me a place to serve. I have a loving husband, a great apartment, wonderful friends, an inspiring church, a cuddly kitty, enough sub jobs to keep me busy and to keep the bills paid. Yet I'm discontent.

I feel homesick in the strangest way. I miss my family and my hometown, yet I feel at home here. I'm not immobilized by my homesickness, but it comes up again and again. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm homesick for the new creation.

I see disease, age, and infirmity cripple people I know and love. Accidents happen swiftly and bring irreversible change. An oil spill threatens ecosystems and the livelihood of thousands of people. An earthquake strikes without warning, killing thousands and leaving the rest without homes or hope. A lonely man makes an early morning phone call to an acquaintance, longing to fill the void.

Yet I have been blessed. What do I do with that? Where is my place? Who needs my help? I look for these answers, but not too earnestly. I'm afraid I might actually find them and have to do something about it.

I don't have any answers. But the following song brings me a little closer.

Let Me Sing (Andrew Peterson)

I wanna open up my eyes
And see a more beautiful world
Let the hand of God Almighty
Sweep his colors through my life
I wanna hold tight to the laughter
And ride it like a child
On the winds that billow joyful
Through the sky

I wanna open up my heart
But you know, sometimes it's hard to find
Because I've buried it beneath the selfishness
That I've hidden behind
I wanna stand my ground unshaken
But I wanna tremble when I kneel
And let my song remain unbroken
Through the tears

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing

I wanna open up Your word
And let the thirsty enter in
So they can drink deep of the water
You have given to them
I want to run the race with vigor
I want to fight the fight with strength
And let my song rise from a whisper
To a scream

I wanna open up my arms
And embrace that old rugged cross
I wanna take pride in the reason
And be humbled by the cause
And when this lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing your praise
I'll sing your praise

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing.



i just got my west-e test results back. i passed the math (barely), but i didn't pass the science test.

i feel so discouraged. here i am, paying hundreds of dollars to take stupid tests that have nothing to do with my ability to teach. i study for hours. i fail anyway. now i have to pay over a hundred dollars to take the test again. i hate this system.

i don't even want to teach middle school anymore, but if i don't take these middle school tests, i can't get my washington teaching license. i'm wondering if God is trying to tell me something, or if i just need to try again. i realize i get easily discouraged and i'm not so great at the "try, try again" mentality. i studied...don't i deserve to pass?

it's as though i'm back in high school again, or even early college. i don't know what i'm supposed to do with my life. part of me has no desire to get a full-time teaching job. teaching is a lot of hard work, and i've really enjoyed having the free evenings and weekends, no grading, and no long-term issues to deal with. the other part of me has really enjoyed subbing and loves being in the classroom with kids. i know i'm good at it.


i absolutely despise tests that don't measure what they're meant to measure. i remember some of the questions on the science test, and they were NOT general, over-arching themes of science. they were minute, obscure details that i would easily know if i were actually teaching it (by reading the textbook).

in addition, it's difficult to part with money for something like this the first time. doing it the second time will be crushing.

at least philip and i had a good talk about it. i'm grateful for a wonderfully supportive husband. hooray for spousal encouragement. :) i guess i'll study some more and take the test again, and worry about the next step when it comes.


oh, sweet peace

al & greg came this weekend and we all attended a wailin' jennies concert. it was exactly everything i hoped for and dreamed of. i love concerts where you can sit back, relax, listen, and sing along. it was delightful. and now my wailin' jennies pandora station is going full bore!

yay, jennies. and al & greg, too.

philip and i went for a bike ride yesterday afternoon. it was a beautiful, sunny day in bellingham. we pedaled slowly, enjoying the blossoming trees, green grass, and bright sunshine. twice we stopped, parked and locked our bikes, took our shoes off, and walked through houses on the market. one was a gorgeous old-school house with 5 bedrooms and three stories. the top story was one big bedroom with a deck, a fireplace, and 2 window nooks. it was also 449,000 big ones. the other house we checked out was one story with 2 bedrooms. beautifully painted walls (greens, yellows, and reds), but too small. it's fun to look at the great houses near our neighborhood and simply talking about what we'd like in a house someday. i always feel like a kid in a jewelry store when i do stuff like this: it's fun to look at the pretty stuff, but i sense that people know i can't afford it. however, the realtors were really laid-back, nice people who probably knew that most people were coming in out of sheer curiosity.

i have entered my final week of cramming before taking my standardized math and science tests for my teaching certificate. on the whole, i've felt discouraged, but today (at last!) i studied the portion focusing on changing percents into decimals, solving for 'x', and commutative properties of addition. see, this is the type of math i actually teach. not all that stuff about parabolas and antiderivatives and cosecants and other trigonometric functions. those phrases and concepts have triggered something in my brain...a memory of being in high school and almost but not quite understanding the concepts.

philip and i went for a walk to the library to check out a science desk reference book, since my study manual hasn't come yet. now i'm reading up on covalent bonds and the endocrine system. science fascinates me, but i don't get it. i hope to learn a few things while i desperately cram information into my mind in these next few days.

last but not least, i encountered a first this morning in subbing. i got a middle school job (starting at 7:30), which was awesomely surprising since today was the first day back from spring break. i got to school and headed up to the classroom, and the teacher i was subbing for was there. it turns out she had cancelled her previously planned personal day but there had been a mix-up with the sub coordinator. i talked to the sub coordinator and thankfully, she had another job for me today. great! except it started at 8:30 and i had an hour to kill. i went to woods' for some tea and to study math. it was actually a nice little break. i'm thankful i had work today. i feel that this particular school district takes great care of me, which i totally appreciate.

well, the periodic table is calling me. if only this test were only about memorizing the names and symbols of the elements. i'd be golden (Au) and would lead (Pb) the way in my class, breathing life and oxygen (O) into the teaching world, earning my nickel (Ni) and contributing more to our budget. however, i fear it may be easier to just swallow some arsenic (As).

if only i were clever enough to work in ununnilium (Uun) or berkelium (Bk).

perhaps another day. for now, my brain cells shall be dedicated to excessive memorization.



i must confess right away that i'm blogging because it's a new month. i get pretty excited about new months. it's like new year's, except it's new month's. now i can see the new number at the top of my blog (4.2.10) i like chances to start over, and a new month seems to be a good time to do that.

and what better way to start off a new month than with easter weekend? i really enjoy this time of year, although i have another confession to make. my mind hasn't been in the lenten spirit this year. it's strange, considering philip and i are on the worship planning team. i attribute my mindset to the lack of tradition i'm experiencing. sometimes i think tradition is a bunch of bunk, but other times it truly feeds me. in the case of the liturgical church year, it feeds me. philip and i usually attend the early service at our church, which for lack of a better explanation, is the "contemporary" service. i've been through my phases with worship: growing up with hymns, experiencing the 90's praise and worship phase, turning back to hymns and their solid text and beautiful harmonies...and then back to the praise and worship setting. i love hymns; don't get me wrong, but our 8:30 service is praise and worship done well. huge difference. anyway, i still love hymns, but i'm finding my heart opening up more and more in beautiful guitar/piano/drums/vocals.

but during lent...well, i crave the tradition. i want to hear the familiar lenten hymns of sorrow and lament. i want to walk the lenten road, and i feel like i've experienced church services with too much joy. the services have been done incredibly well, yet i'm missing the sorrow of Christ's death.

i think tonight will cure that. our good friday service is tonight, and besides the fact that we're not having communion (which is strange to me after growing up attending maundy thursday celebrations), i'm looking forward to this service.

today, philip and i decided to fast and read scripture since we both had the day off. this brings me to my third and final confession for today...my fast only lasted until 11:30. my husband was cruel and baked bread. i also found out that i get extremely crabby when i'm hungry and at home. so i broke the fast and truly enjoyed the warm homemade baguette with cheese and butter. i'm disappointed that i didn't make it all day, but i don't feel like the day has been wasted at all.

"With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
-Mark 15:37-39


a morning resolve

for the last several months, my routine has changed significantly. getting married, losing my job, becoming a substitute teacher with a constantly changing schedule, i never know what my day will hold. i've tried to keep it safe. on the days i don't teach, i spent too much time on the internet and not enough time engaging my mind and my senses with God and his creation.

it's difficult for me to be proud of the way i spend my time when i feel that i'm spending it avoiding things (a tough day at work, uncertainty, things i think are terrifying which probably are not). i've decided that in order to be proud of myself, i have to act in ways i would be proud of. amazing how that works.

last week, i signed up to pray for a man in our church who has been in prison for many years. while in prison, his life has completely changed and he now leads Bible studies for other men in prison. each year when his parole comes up for review, it is shot down and he continues to lead this study for another year. his parole is coming up again next month and over 100 members of our church has committed to praying for him one hour a week for four weeks. at first, i thought it would be really tough to find a specific time to do this, and i wasn't sure how i wanted to break it up. however, with philip's new job requiring him to be up at 5:15, we now go to bed at 9:00. i have decided that whether or not i have a job, i'm going to get up at 5:45, have the job site on the internet up, and spend that time waiting in prayer rather than cruising facebook.

on monday i prayed for this man for 40 minutes. it was incredible. i prayed scripture, my prayers went on tangents as the Spirit worked through me, and i felt like i was being the truest version of myself. i remember that my pake used to get up at 4 or 5 every morning and spend an hour in prayer for his family members. that always struck a chord with me. it reminded me of how prayer should be: unselfish, done in private (not as a show), and sincere. i don't intend to make a show of my rejuvenated prayer life. i merely wanted to share that i have been missing out for too long.

while we were on break at choir rehearsal last night, i read the following Anglican prayer on one of the bulletin boards:

A Morning Resolve

"I will try this day to live a simple, sincere, and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seekng; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.
In particular, I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right.
And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit."

it's quite the list, but i like lists that give me things to work on. i hope this list will help me be proud of how i spend my time. and i think i'll start by praying for God's strength.


Ain't got time to die

A few notes about our busy month of March:

  • Dad & Mom are here! We've had a great visit so far; our time has included lovely walks around Bellingham, a delicious bay-side seafood dinner, baking time, a stop at the Pickett House down the road, worshiping together, eating dinner with Grandpa & Grandma Haveman, and seeing the DC concert choir perform in Abbotsford. A side note: It's nice to be pampered once in awhile by my parents. :)
  • I'm really getting into reading books of the Bible, thanks to my husband and small group. I'm learning things about exegesis & hermeneutics I never knew before (including their definitions). I don't remember ever feeling anything besides obligation regarding Bible reading in the past, and now it's exciting to me that I enjoy it and am learning from it.
  • Work is slow (for me) this week due to parent-teacher conferences. I am looking forward to subbing for my friend Laura this week Friday! I'm realizing that I'm getting sick of subbing. I actually don't mind the actual classroom time...that's the fun part. I hate the instability and the not-knowing and getting up early and looking at a screen and having an inner battle each time a job comes up...to click or not to click? I much prefer being pre-assigned to jobs. It makes getting up easier and more rewarding.
  • Ophy is an enjoyable pet. I love having a cat.
  • I'm feeling frustrated with our upcoming concert this weekend. I feel overwhelmed by German and fast-paced gypsy songs. I have not put the work into this repertoire that it deserves, which makes me more miserable about it.
  • Philip's family shows up Thursday, shortly after my parents leave. I love showing off our new apartment and neighborhood. It's rewarding.
  • Happy birthday to my wonderful husband! I love you, Philip!


yays and boos

a list.

  • we had a luffly weekend in montana with al and gregory. it involved walks, yummy food, hot-tubbing, books, and pixar films. yay for siblings!
  • philip began his new job, which he will be enjoying more once training is completed and he hits a groove. yay for happy work! boo for finding new insurance...
  • kendra has found a job and an apartment, which means she's leaving tomorrow but coming back in a couple of weeks! yay for more friends in the area!
  • i began subbing in another district. it's much smaller than ferndale, but i'm still picking up jobs there. yay for more money and another foot in the door!
  • my family's puppy (well, good old dog, actually) had to be put down last week. she was getting old and had lived out her good life. boo for losing a lifelong friend. we did have many happy memories together since the time we got her when i was 10 years old.
  • we have had ridiculously beautiful weather here the last month. tons of sunshine and warm temps. it started when kendra arrived, and ironically, it should be leaving about the same time she is. oh, well. yay for unexpected beautiful weather!
  • mom and dad dj are visiting over their spring break, and then the day they leave, the van dyken clan will be coming in for a long weekend. yay for seeing family and for them seeing us and our new place!



yesterday, as i was leaving my morning job for my afternoon job, one of the students in the class came and gave me a goodbye hug.

a little background: i have been in this particular class several times. two weeks ago, i subbed there three days in a row while the teacher was ill. this class is made up of the top 2% of the 5th and 6th graders in the district. all these kids are intelligent and self-confident...but this kid is the most self-confident of them all. i don't mean to say he's cocky, because he's not. he's loud, but he's one of the sweetest kids in the room. yesterday he was prancing around in dark shades because he had just had his eyes dilated. he was convinced he looked like michael jackson. he asked me for my opinion and i told him he needed a glove. so he found some cutesy girl's pink glove and paraded around. it was quite entertaining. shortly after that, his teacher returned and i gathered my things to leave.

"wait! mrs. van! i need to give you a hug!" he proceeded to hug me (and then accidentally elbow me in the nose).

perhaps he hugged me because his teacher had just come in the room and it was a way for him to get attention (because while he's really sweet, he's also an attention-monger). maybe he felt like we bonded that day. maybe he was just hoping i hadn't left a nasty note for his teacher detailing his lack of focus. regardless of his motivation, it was sweet and welcomed by me.

i've learned that subs can often be taken for granted. i've felt pretty blessed in this regard...i sub a lot for teachers who leave good notes and trust my ability to cover for them. however, i've also been on the end that receives very few lesson plans and the expectation that i will make all the copies they need (and who cares what your name is?). it felt pretty darn good to receive the validation that one little hug gave me. maybe i'm still making a difference. even if these aren't "my" kids, i can still be a role model for them.

i probably read way too much into that hug, but i only want to say that it was nice to be noticed.

also, philip and i are leaving for montana tomorrow! bring on the weekend!


kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep

i am desperately trying to think of a sentence to begin with other than, "well, it's time for an update." nothing. blech.

january is over. it was a busy month of subbing. praise God! i subbed more (full) days than any previous month. too bad i won't see the fruits of that labor until the end of february. being on a tight budget is becoming a game. let's see how little money we can spend this month! it's amazing what you can save by cutting out little extravagances. and it's amazing how much you still have to spend on the necessities. yeep.

last weekend (as in, 8 days ago), walhof dropped in for the weekend. it was a nice surprise. he left monday morning and kendra came in monday evening. philip calls us the revolving door of dordt alum. i'm ok with that. the last week has been crazy with full days of subbing, full evenings of introducing kendra to the community, and nights of deeper sleep.

today i have the day off. i didn't find jobs early this morning, so i blocked off my day to prevent a later morning phone call. i decided to take the time to bring kendra to various potential places of employment, do some laundry, and attend a worship conference led by sean hall with my dear friend lynda. we'll top off the day with kendra's quesadillas and knitting night. a good day, methinks.

yesterday was also a good day. we had church (a combined service, but we accidentally showed up for the early service!), a birthday dinner for doug (complete with lots of great people and delicious...i repeat, delicious food), bringing soup for the jesus gathering and attending worship, and debriefing with small group at our apt. it was truly a small group, too! i love everyone in our group, but i enjoy the times when the group is a bit smaller, for conversation's sake. good times.

i'm rereading harry potter. after spending 3 days in a classroom where kids worked independently and therefore reading an entire commentary on hp, i couldn't stay away any longer. i'm loving the second time through. i'm almost done with book 2 and i'm trying to ignore the cries of the other books on my shelf: "are you kidding me? i've been here for four years and you haven't picked me up once! love ME! read ME!" i guess they'll just have to wait.

oh. and i caved. or rather, philip caved. we made the mistake of going to village books on saturday. i found a half-price copy of eleanor roosevelt's political writings. philip said it was another late birthday present for me. sweet husband = happy andrea.



this is what i felt like 6 months ago, applying for our marriage license 2 days before our wedding.

now that the ordeal of the wedding is over, i feel much better.

and 6 1/2 months later, i feel incredibly blessed. my husband is cheerful, good-natured, patient, and sweet 98% of the time (don't ask what my percentage is...) i am learning many lessons from him and we're figuring out communication and good attitudes. we love hanging out together; baking, organizing our apartment, sneaking up on the cat together, talking, and watching episodes of the office on netflix. i've learned to not take him for granted, but i learn it more every day.

this week, one of the women from our church lost her husband in a farm accident. he was only a few years older than us; she is left at home with 3 girls 6 and under. i have never met this family from our church, but i cannot fathom what she is going through. i feel so spoiled, taking my husband for granted while she would do anything to go back in time and talk to hers one more time. i can't imagine what i would do if i didn't have philip to come home to, to do things with, to talk to about everything. my heart aches for this woman i've never met. experiencing a beautiful and lifelong relationship with philip makes me mourn this loss with her, even if she has no idea who i am. today, i held my husband tighter and more often, and i pray that this sister in Christ can have the courage to continue her life.


the worst day...

...actually began yesterday. i'm going to do this in bullet-point since i'm too drained to be very creative.

items contributing to my worst day:
  • receiving 3 text messages from someone i don't know calling me a foul name because i didn't reveal my identity (other than to say they don't know me)
  • drinking a tall mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream at 8:30 p.m., preventing me from sleeping easily.
  • imagining that the aforementioned texter was a creepy serial killer who found out where i lived, further contributing to my inability to sleep
  • hearing "noises" that sealed my inability to sleep
  • getting up at 5:45 only to find no sub jobs for the day
  • calling the eye clinic for the 4th time since Christmas, only to be told "we're still processing your request! we'll call back!" (liars), condemning me to continue wearing my blurry contacts
  • receiving 3 more text messages from a different number, being called more foul names and being threatened. because of my lack of sleep and the above factors, i had a very teary day.
  • verizon's idiotic website which frustrated me to no end whilst i tried to block the offensive texters from my phone.
thank goodness i have a wonderful husband who does things like files harassment reports with the local police department. it's interesting, since philip & i have been together, we've called 911 three times and filed a harassment report. before we were together, such things only happened in movies. hmm.

anyway, i hope to redeem today's downright suckiness by eating some nachos and snuggling with my husband after choir practice tonight. a good tonic, methinks.