March 31, 2018: Sunrises and Sentiments

I can’t believe it’s already the last day of March! We made it! I made it! (See, like I said on day one, I’d get all the way through the month!)

So I’ve been saving this one up. I really want to talk about Easter. Now, I can’t actually tell you about my FIRST Easter. Obviously I wasn’t even a year old at the time… so I don’t really remember.

I can however tell you about the first (and maybe only) time I wore pants on Easter.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big thing to you. Perhaps you don’t celebrate Easter. Or perhaps you didn’t attend a church event on Easter. Or maybe your family just isn’t as intense as mine.

I told you a while back that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. That, while I do enjoy the family time, gift giving, (and mainly) gift recieving just isn’t my thing. For a long time I don’t know that I could have pinpointed my favorite holiday. I don’t really have favorites for a lot of things.

With that in mind lets get back to the point…. PANTS.

You see, Easter hadn’t been my favorite holiday either. Why? Because I was ALWAYS forced to wear a dress. And as I’ve told you, I was somewhat of a tomboy. I HATED dresses. The only time my mother would really push the issue was for Easter. How did she talk me into it? By telling me my Grandma would be upset if I wore pants and not a dress to Easter.

My Grandma is probably my favorite person in the world. My Grandparents could and did get me to do just about anything for them with a single request. I’d do anything to make sure they weren’t disappointed in me. So every year, the doting granddaughter that I was, donned a dress (much to my chagrin).

That is until the fateful day arrived. I was in high school and in one of my more rebellious phases. I’m not sure what side of the bed I woke up on but it wasn’t a good one.My family usually volunteered to help cook easter breakfast for sunrise service. At my home church you wake up before the dawn, drive out to church and have a hill side service. We sit out chairs outside facing the east and have a short service to put you in the right mind for the day. As the service progresses you watch the sun rise up over the distant hills. It’s really quite moving. Afterward the church serves breakfast to everyone. Most people who come have on jeans, t-shirts, and kids usually wear pajamas. Then you go back home take a short down time and get ready for the primary church service.

I got dressed and walked out of my room and into the kitchen. As soon as my mom sees me she scowls and shakes my head, but it eventually turns into a sigh of resignation (either it was too late to change or she didn’t think the argument would do any good).

We only lived down the hill from our church. So not even three minutes later the car is parked and I’m hesitating in the backseat to open the door. As soon as we drove up over the hill and I caught sight of the building a dread and guilt started in the pit of my stomach. I was going to disappoint Grandma.

I trudge through the doors and up the steps like a kid who’s been sent to their room and ordered to clean it. I through the pews and pause at my grandparents row (we didn’t usually sit with them at the front, but holidays were different). I walk into the row and cautiously make my way to my grandmas side. She looks me up and down and gives me a soft smile as she hugs me and mummers in my ear, “don’t you look pretty.”

I’m pretty sure that was the day Easter became my favorite holiday. It’s grown to mean so much more to me as an adult whose developed and depended their own faith. But that was the starting point. I remember being a really surly kid that year. And then March rolls around and spring is peeking out of a long winter it felt like maybe a shift was coming. Something about that day and Grandmas comment shifted something in me.

I know we get caught up in the production of the holidays. We want them to look the right way. Or be just right. Or we wan’t other to perceive us in the right light. But really what matters on any of those days is where your heart is at.

Easter is a day of resurrection. A day when were reminded of the promise of a new life that springs eternal. Of a savior who didn’t come to throw out the old, but to rescue the dying.

…A savior who could care less about appearances and more about intentions.

I never wore pants to Easter again. But every year since then it’s been my choice. It’s been in celebration and honor of a God who would give his life to save mine. I think the least I can do is give a little reverence to the occasion. And I think that’s all my Grandma (and mom) has ever hoped for.

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March 30, 2018:Anxiety and August

I don’t have a lot to say today. I was thinking hard all day long about what I wanted to write about. What’s funny is that I had this particular blog planned for a long time. It was actually the one I was leading up to. Then I changed my mind as I started to plan them out a little more and decided on a different ending post for tomorrow.

I wanted to talk about buying my first house.

But the honest truth is that I don’t have a heck of a lot to say about it. I still get a lot of questions about how I’m liking it. My usual answer is, “ask me again in a year.”

The problem is that large financial decisions put me into a sort of fight or flight mode, where survival is my primary goal. In the past the largest financial decision I had made were for my cars. And at the time I felt like I was signing my life away. I really don’t like having debt. I don’t like owing people…anything. It makes my nerves raw.

While there are defiantly aspects to owning a house that I’m enjoying there are just as many that put me on edge.

  • I love that I get to have pets again! But, I’m going to have to invest in a better fence that he can’t dig under…
  • I love that I get to put holes in the wall and not worry about rules to decorating. But I have to keep in mind that I might want to sell it some day…
  • I love that I get to have a garden. But I have soul say in yard maintenance….

With every good there seems to be and equal worry. I’m hoping that when August (the one year mark) rolls around, I’ll feel more secure in my choice to buy a home. For now I’ll just have to enjoy the good parts and try not to worry so much.

 

March 29, 2018: Graduates and Girls

As a freshly minted graduate, I was ready for college. I didn’t know if I was actually going to succeed or if I’d fall flat on my butt.  But I knew, not matter what I was ready for the next step. (I actually miss having that sort of certainty.)

There were two primary concerns, on my part, about college. One, did I have the ability to compete, academically. Two, could I live in a dorm room with 50 plus girls. I think I might have been less confident about the latter than the former.

Not only would it be my first experience living outside my home but it would also be my first experience living with all girls.

Kindergarten through senior year I always felt most comfortable around guys. I had a brother. My father has 2 brothers and one sister. My mother has two brothers. I have 8 male cousins and only 3 female (thats on both sides). (All of those numbers I mean by blood… not married in.) So, even most of my extended family is male. At school I always made quicker and deeper friendships with guys.

While I did have girl friends, I had much fewer and our relationships often spent more time on the rocks than on solid ground. So, I was a bit nervous about living amongst a horde of them. I wont lie and say I made the best of friends with everyone. But, I was surprised to find how much fun it was to share my life with a close pack of females.

I’m also surprised that the friendships I developed at college have been so lasting. After my first or second year out of high school I lost touch with most of my high school. I’m eight years out from college and am still very close to my college friends, even those who live 10 hours or more away.

I’m also blessed by my experience. I think it taught me a lot about how to relate with women (which should come naturally, as I am one, but it doesn’t). I really believe that God had a hand in it, because even I didn’t know at that time that I would one day be working in a female dominated profession. I think without that experience I’d find it a lot more difficult to be a team player/co teacher.

March 28, 2018: Planes and Plotting

It’s kind of baffling to me that so many of my students have been on planes or cruise liners. I was actually the first person in my family to fly on a plane, and I didn’t get the chance until I was 22.

The truth is I love to travel. It feeds into my art and historical fascinations. I’ve already mentioned that I don’t have a loving relationship with water. So, unlike the majority if I am going to take a trip somewhere I don’t want to spend it on a beach. No, I’d much rather experience the local culture, eat the cuisine, stop by a few art galleries or historical tours. Thats MY idea of fun.

My family didn’t really do family trips. I did get to take a trip out to Wyoming (for a family reunion), and a trip to some historical battle fields once. Every where that I HAD gone was a road trip.

The summer of my 22 year of life my best friend Chelsea had taken an internship with a church plant in New York, New York. I missed her terribly. Her mother and I plotted together to visit her near the end of her time there.

To say I was excited was an understatement. I had never had a chance to visit a place like New York. It wasn’t so much the city life that I was stoked to experience (I know who I am and that’s a wide open spaces kind of girl). I was thrilled to be visiting one of the most popular cities in the world, experiencing the collective identity of so many cultures crammed into such a small space. A city of so much historical significance where more than a few american icon symbols were exhibited. A city where art of any shape and size wasn’t just enjoyed but embraced. And a city that had countless food options!

Thankfully Ginger (Chelsea’s mom) took the reigns when it came to booking the flight and hotel. Having been ignorant I would have gotten myself into some trouble with out help. I might have been able to book the flight but I would have gotten kidnaped in St. Louis Lambert airport (not to mention Laguardia)! That place, to a newbie, is terrifying!!!

I have to say, it was the airport more than the plane that had my anxiety spiking. I withheld judgement about being in a flying form of transportation. I didn’t THINK it would bother me (as I actually kind of love heights)  but you never know about some things until your knee deep in them! I was right though, actually flying was thrilling. There’s just something about looking DOWN on clouds that will always enchant and bewitch me, no matter how old I get.

We successfully surprised Chelsea. She knew her mom was coming but we kept my tagging along a secret until she walked into the hotel room to pick up Ginger. That moment, the shock and joy of her enthusiasm to see me,  was my favorite out of the three days there.

While I had a blast exploring the city my country roots stayed firm. The second I got back to Missouri I stretched out my arms took in a lung full of (slightly fertilizer scented) air and spun around  on my toes. Having space to breath and stretch had been sourly missed while swimming through the sea of humanity that is NYC.

I’d say I caught the travel bug. The next year I found myself signing up for a class at Southern that’s final assignment was a two week trip to China. I went from a 22 year old who had never flown before to a 23 year old international traveler plane hopping half way around the globe, in a span of 8 months.

I don’t know what my next trip will be, but I can’t wait!!

March 27, 2018: Seasons and Sentiment

I was kind of at a loss for what to write about today. But, something caught the corner of my eye a christmas ornament wreath. As I’ve already confessed I often have multiple projects going on at one time. They are usually spread out all over the place. Sometimes I get side tracked and forget about them.

Which is why I have a christmas wreath in my bedroom in march.  I had grand plans of fixing it to hang up this year… but I got side tracked. So, there it sits… probably until summer, broken and waiting to shine again.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about Christmas. I have to admit (even though some people will think less of me) Christmas is NOT my favorite holiday. I like the festiveness of people around the holiday. But the day itself I could take or leave.

I’ve felt that way for most of my life. I love the time with friends and family but I’m not really a gifts person (I’m more for acts of service or quality time).

Even though all of this is true there is a point, somewhere in your life span, that even the festiveness of Christmas looses its luster. I think it’s the point that we finally tip over into adulthood. Something about the event seems more like an obligation than a celebration. Maybe that’s not true for everybody. Who knows, maybe its just me.

But I remember that my tipping point was junior year in high school. To be totally honest I just wanted to skip it. The holiday had lost its alure for me. Even after I learned the truth about our favorite rosy cheeked saint, I still loved the experience.  Then that winter of 2004 things shifted off their axis and it just wasn’t the same any more.

I know this is kind of a bummer post. But I’ll end with a happy note. A few years later my nice and nephew came into the picture. Seeing their love and wonder sparked some of my childhood sentiment, but in a new and different way.

… and just a hint. My favorite holiday I’ll be able to blog about soon! 😉

March 26, 2018: Sleep and Seven A.M.

I have a confession.

I’ve waited to long to write todays post. In all honesty I got wrapped up in getting back into the school grove that I sort of wasted time.

As I sit on my bed listening to the rain and glaring at a screen that is incongruously bright against the black of my room there is only one thing on my mind, sleep. And, I’ve decided it is sleep that I am going to write about. (As it’s the only thing I can concentrate on at the moment.)

As a child I detested sleeping. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was convinced that all the best things happened when I was asleep. That grown ups were sending me off to bed so that I would purposely miss out on them.

Once I was sent to bed and about 30 minutes later got out, walked across the house and downstairs to the basement. Perched on the bottom step looking out at my parents having a game night with their friends I demanded a glass of water. My mother promptly told me to go back to be. See the rule when I was growing up was that you could ask to go to the bathroom or to get a glass of water before you were in bed. But, once you were there you were expected to stay unless it was an emergency (which was pretty much death, sickness, or burglary).

I’m not sure what I snapped back at my mom but I know it was rude, and I knew the minute it left my mouth I was going to get in big trouble. The other thing you should know about my family is that my dad is a pretty even keel guy most of the time but he has certain triggers. Growing up the number one trigger I pulled was disrespecting my mom. I was very mouthy, particularly to her. Next thing I know dad is out of the chair and haling me up the stairs. Let’s just leave it at my parents are not anti corporeal punishment and were thorough enough in it that this was only once of twice that I remember it happening.

Needless to say, I avoided sleeping even to my own detriment. Sunday’s were family nap days. My mom and dad would pass out as soon as we got home from church. Even my brother, seven and a half years my senior, would take a snooze. I would be zombie tired,  but I’d fight with ever last ounce of my will power to stay awake. I was truly convinced that I’d have a sleeping by the tree on christmas eve moment, and I’d catch some one awake doing something awesome.

Fast forward to my freshman year in college. The college schedule is weird. It took me a lot to get used to. At OCC one of your requirements is to attend chapel. Even though it’s not at an absurdly early hour it always hit at my sleepiest moments (I think it was actually the 7 AM class that made me so tired during chapel). I had been in school for about two weeks. And finally one day after coming back from Chapel, I broke down and gave in. I didn’t have another class for two or three hours.

I laid down on my bed and PASSED OUT COLD. It was the most AMAZING thing I had ever experienced in my whole life. I after waking to the alarm I set (one that I actually didn’t want to kill when I heard it) I texted my parents, “Sleep…I get it now!” The responded with something like, “Welcome to the wonders of college.”

And that was the first time I loved napping.

March 25, 2018: Phones and Parents

“Texting wasn’t always easy. In my day you had to work for it. You had to want it. You need an S? You better click that 7 button FOUR times!”

-Meme Author Unknown 

My first phone.

I think one of my favorite things to tell my students is that cell phones weren’t REALLY a thing when I was a kid. It’s true, they did exist but really they were more like a cordless house phone. (That was a difficult concept to convey to the kids…I had to show them a picture.) Life without immediate access to a phone is kind of unfathomable to kids these days.

Cell phones were just becoming popular. Quite a few kids in my class were starting to get them. I stuck to the classics the first time around and tried to convince my parents that  needed one because everyone else had one. As I’m sure you’re not surprised, it didn’t work.

I had just recently started driving and had gotten lost when I went to visit a friend in a town, about an hour away (in Eminence, MO). The town is hidden among the tangled branches of the Mark Twain National Forest. There are no strait roads into town and most of them are precariously narrow and curve around the steep edges of cliff and hill faces. When I got home much later than I should have I had a bright idea.

I eventually convinced my folks it was a good idea so they could always get ahold of me, especially important as a new driver. I got my first phone when I was 16. It was one of those super popular Nokia brick models. My parents actually got those cool flip phones.When I asked why they didn’t get the same for me, my mother responded she thought I’d like the Nokia better because it had games on it.

It was a great phone that lasted me at least a couple of months. I accidentally drowned it in grape juice. I know that doesn’t sound like an accidental situation (it took a lot of convincing to prove that was an accident to my mom). My second cellphone came in that same year. It was still a Nokia but this time it was a flip phone with a camera (a fairly new concept) with an SD card insert to store photos on!

Even when I find myself staring at my phone for the zillionth minute. In fact that’s when I hate it the most. I wish we lived in a world where it wasn’t a necessary.It’s funny. To think back on it, I wanted that phone SOOO bad. Now that I’ve had one for the last *cough* years I’d do go back and convince everyone I knew that it was a bad idea. I really hate my phone.