27 June 2007

A bit of "family" news

Thought I should give a little notice to all of you dear people who love my roommate Sara almost as much as you love me: she has now formally entered into a dating relationship with one of my good friends, Jud. I think this will be a wonderful enterprise for both of them and I am excited to see how it works out. In the meantime, I am still very single and learning to joyfully embrace my singleness in a the midst of hectic city life:-)

24 June 2007

A little bit more about grace

This is the last blog link that I will inflict upon you today, I promise! I just can't tell you how encouraged I have been by both Fall to Grace series(es?) and I wanted to point you to the most recent installment. I read them all, but this one even prompted a comment....

You can tell it is Sunday...

because I have so much time to read all the blogs I haven't been able to get to and I want to share them ALL with you.

Recently I stumbled on a new blogger (new to me) via the true womanhood blog and she has a very interesting story about her journey to a new understanding of grace. What she has to say rings true with my heart, not so much because I share her journey but because the resulting joy and accompanying pain are very definitive of my life. She is writing from the perspective of the conservative homeschool movement and I strongly encourage you to read her entire series on her Fall to Grace, but if you can't, at least read this.

More on Potts

A brief update and a little background on Paul Potts can be found here.

More on my mind

Life has left me with a lot on my mind lately and little time to write. This, however, really needed to get out here, so I am taking a moment on this Sunday to finally write.

Many of you may or may not have heard of Paul Potts, the winner of the UK equivalent to American Idol, Britain's Got Talent. He is absolutely amazing, and before you read any further check out this

This man takes my breath away. American Idol and all its spin offs have driven me crazy for years. The obsession with being famous and having your moment in the sun has driven totally talentless people who have been told all their lives that they are wonderful to exhibitions that should NEVER make it beyond the living room. These people often think they were born to act or sing or dance or some other performing art, but their pettiness at being refused the recognition of greatness reveals a shallowness that cannot support art. And then Paul Potts happens across the screen.

I am almost convinced that he could only happen outside of America. There is too much pressure to conform to a stylish and plastic representation of talent here, and almost no appreciation for the arts in their more formal forms to allow for an opera singer to win a talent contest. Additionally, there is little true value given to people who pursue their life's passion with passion. Passion requires pain, heartache and incredible sacrifice. There is nothing comfortable, sane or pragmatic about passion. It is not balanced or profitable. Passion requires a tenacity that would have a man work for years selling cell phones so that his non-existent confidence in a rather homely package could prompt him to sing opera before the most callous judge in what basically works out as a popularity contest.

Passion is a topic worth meditation. I have often defined myself as a passionate person but it is a dangerous label to give oneself and it is not conducive to normalcy or balance. Can I become a less passionate person? Can I be whole and remove that as foundational to my identity? Can you be passionate without an object to your passion? There is more here than I can go into at this time, but I keep thinking of Paul Potts. What am I born to do? What do I have to do before I know that answer?

21 June 2007

More on women...

For those of you who have been reading my recent posts, and particularly those who checked out the discussion on Stay At Home Daughters I am including this link. My dear friend TulipGrrl linked to it on her blog and I think it says so much to those women of us who find our brains fun enough for ourselves, but not necessarily as appealing to the opposite sex. Enjoy!

Quick work update

Some of you have been unclear about what I am actually doing at work: I teach reading classes to students from pre-K to adult. These are not remedial classes, but for the junior high and high school students they are classes for students who do not like or enjoy reading. The main focus is on teaching students good reading skills, including phonics for the little kids, so that they can get totally absorbed in what they read and become life-long readers.

As you all know, I love to read, so this is an ideal job for me. I teach all over the Chicago area and even have a few classes in NW Indiana. I will continue working with IRD (The Institute for Reading Development) until mid-August and then I will go on to full-time work. Right now I am interviewing at Moody Bible Institute for a possible job there, and if that does not work out, I will have to see where God leads next.

Hope that helps some of you who had questions:-D

Just say "No"

Many of you know that I often spend more than my fair share of time thinking (some have said it is more like obsessing) about whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment. Recently that has included such topics as: what to do when a long-term friendship is going sour, how to handle work stress when I make a mistake, what should my goal be for employment in the fall, where will I ever meet an interesting man who wants to have a serious relationship with me, how much church involvement should I aim for, etc. This is a lot to carry around in your mind and on your heart. And it often leads to physical discomfort as well as mental discomfort.

So I have been thinking about that as well. Surprise, surprise.

But God is so gracious to me. This morning he enabled me to get out of bed in time to go running/walking in Grant Park before my day really got going. The endorphins did me a great deal of good and helped to reset the icky feelings I have when I have been thinking too much. He also sent along an excellent reminder of his ever gracious love in the form of another of Solo Femininity's blog posts.

Now this was not a new truth to me: God is perfect so he only gives perfect gifts. If God chooses to say "no" to me, then that is the most loving thing he can do. I know this. I have known it for years and often shared it with friends. However, I had not realized how much I was holding on to fear and resentment as I considered how many times he had said "no" to me and how many times it was likely to happen in the near future. I am not good at planning my own life. I get carried away by my emotions and desires of the moment and my focus is not on the God who loves me, but on my own needs or inadequacies. Sometimes I think God has to say "no" to me just to get my attention.

So now I am ready to look at things again. All those topics that swirl around in this cranium looking for answers may remain for a long time to come. Life as an adult is complicated and there are no easy answers. But I am in this for the long haul. So, I can continue this wonderful dialogue with my Savior and rejoice that even when he says "no" he is still talking to me... And I gain so much joy and comfort when I hear his voice.

14 June 2007

An interesting blog post

For those of you who may not peruse my comments, I would encourage you to check out an interesting discussion at the True Womanhood blog. Tulipgrrl brought it to my attention. The post itself was short, but it generated a lively debate/commentary on the question of Stay At Home Daughters. This issue is close to my heart, and I encourage you to take some time to skim the comments. There are couple on there from yours truly and Amy weighed in as well.

09 June 2007

The first day on the job

Today was my first day working with IRD. Not only did I teach my first set of 3 classes, but I was under observation by a veteran teacher in my second class! He was very sympathetic to my situation and mentioned that he thought is was rather unfair to be observed on your first day.... He was altogether gracious and helped me out of two difficult situations, and for that I am very thankful.

One of the best parts of this job is how well it fits me. I love to teach and these workshop set-ups teaching various ages means that I am not easily bored or likely to get in a rut. It was a long day, however, and it felt great to be home. Sara and Jud, however, ran off on me and went out swing dancing at Willowbrook. They invited me to go along, but after getting up at 5:30 and teaching for 6 hours + set-up time and drive time, I didn't have anything like the energy necessary.

Sara and Jud were lifesavers today, in spite of running away on me this evening. While preparing for my first class I suddenly realized that I had forgotten ALL the student books for ALL 3 of my classes! These are the books that the students use to do their in-class reading practice which makes up .5-.75 of the class. I sent an SOS out to Sara and she and Jud rode the El out to the northwest side and brought me the books for my second two classes. I am not sure what I owe her for sacrificing such a big chunk of her Saturday, but I am EXTREMELY grateful. Now I know to double and triple check my packing list before I head out. This is especially important because my next 4 classes are Monday/Tuesday in South Bend IN, about a 2hr drive from our apartment (if the traffic is good). Sara couldn't rescue me in that situation:-D


I just read this quote and thought it was worthy of thought. It came from a recent post on the blog Solo Femininity, but there wasn't a lot of context. What do you think of it?

"People talk of the pathos and failure of plain women; but it is a more terrible thing that a beautiful woman may succeed in everything but womanhood." G K Chesterton

08 June 2007

Now for the rest of life...

I wanted to let you know a little about the rest of life: The attorney was attractive and interesting and we went out on several dates, but it was mutually decided not to take it any further. We had some "irreconcilible differences." We parted amicably and I hope that he can find someone because he obviously desires to be married and starting a family.

The job is going well. I finished up my training on Wednesday and will beginning teaching tomorrow. I teach on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays with a 2 hr. continuing training meeting on Thursday mornings. The training was grueling, but IRD does a wonderful job preparing their teachers for the classroom. I am very excited to get going, but it is daunting to think that for the next 5 weeks I will be teaching everything from entering 1st graders to adult professionals.... It is quite a spread, but I am excited about all of them!

Katarina is back in town for part of the summer and I will see her for the first time this evening. I am glad that she will be here for a little while and I am looking forward to seeing more of her.

Now that I know my schedule, I am planning on taking some time to work more intentionally on my writing. Because all of my graduate schol plans have come to nothing, I am looking into low-residency MFA writing programs but I have to have a much larger body of work to submit from. I also feel like there are quite a few poems right under the surface that I need to work out..... It will be interesting to see what comes from this.

Now I need to get back to my lesson plans:-)

07 June 2007

The Apartment

Welcome to our lovely apartment!

Front Entryway
I have to apologize in advance that we are still unpacking and therefore nothing is in terribly good order.

The Hall
The door on the right goes into the bathroom and the curtain functions to keep noise from the living room from echoing down to the shared hallway. We are planning on making a more interesting curtain when there is both more time and more money:-)

The Bathroom
Not the greatest photo, but we have a FABULOUS bathroom! A huge Jacuzzi soaking tub, double sink and great tile. There is a door on the left, across from the toilet, that opens into my closet. We are planning on painting the bathroom red sometime in the next couple of months.

The Kitchen
This is truly the heart of our home and we LOVE it! Having lived for some time without our own kitchen, Sara and I covet this space. Not to mention that we have Gourmet line appliances, including 5 burner gas stove and a very roomy fridge.
The Living Room (in 3 parts)
There is not too much to say about this, aside from "please excuse our mess!" The kitchen and living room are all one big area and we appreciate the flexible space. We are still negotiating the position of the furniture and trying to decide what goes and what stays. But do notice the huge windows....that was my heart's desire.

The Porch
We like having some outside space, although now it seems to be functioning best as storage space for all our chairs:-) It is a rather sizable balcony and is delightful in the mornings and the evenings especially.
The East View
The South View

The North View
For all you dear people who have wondered why there are no pictures of my apartment anywhere, here they are. These are pics that Sara took to email her mother and aren't the most flattering to the lovely and delightful apartment:-) However, it will give you a better idea, and hopefully, encourage you to come and visit! Pics of the bedrooms are not available at the moment because they are both still under construction and it has been difficult to get any taken.

If you would like to see the outside of the building, click here. For our floorplan, click here. I am in the master bedroom, with the full wall of windows facing east, and Sara is in the second bedroom that is completely windowless. This suits our sleeping patterns VERY WELL!