Thursday, December 07, 2006


Check out this website. After only 8 questions it will tell you what political label to give yourself. For example, I am a Centrist with a bit of Libertarian in me. Tell me how you score!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Decorations

Friday night we got our Christmas tree!! I was so excited because this is our first REAL tree since we've been married. We rearranged our living room and now it's cozy and feels like Christmas. I had a permanent smile on my face all night.

Today I decided to use up some of the branches we cut off the bottom of the tree and made a couple wreaths. It was so fun. I had never really done it before, but I think they turned out well.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I just left my middle school student teaching placement. I am finished!! I still have to work on my work sample (many detailed pages of everything you could possibly think of: leson plans, adaptations, school demographics, evaluations, data analysis...and on and on), but I don't have to go back.

The last month or so went by really fast. I will be back at Willamette for the next two weeks, and then it's CHRISTMAS BREAK FOR 3 1/2 WEEKS!!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006



I took these pictures with my laptop at school on Monday. The kid went CRAZY with the snow, especially after a five-day break.

And then yesterday was a snow day! So, no school/work for Michael and I. Instead, we had FANTASY BREAKFAST. It's a tradition we started with a couple friends. First, we had FANTASY CHICKEN BURGER night. We thought of every topping we could ever want on a chicken burger, and had those available. Then, yesterday, we made a ton of different breakfast foods and ate! The menu included french toast with strawberry butter, cinnamon rolls, lemon scones, hashbrowns, biscuits with sausage gravy, eggs and sausage, and orange juice. It was so good!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Call me Crocker. Betty Crocker.

Today I baked the following:

Sour Cream Peach Pie

Iced Lemon Scones
Chocolate chip and white chocolate Scones

and a lemon meringue pie!

Yum Yum!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Gravy Mishap

Last weekend one of my high school friends and I decided to have a big Pre-Thanksgiving dinner and invite all our close friends from high school. Yes, I am one of those rare breeds who still talk to and even keep in close contact with many of my high school friends. It helps that I'm living in the same town, but I have kept in touch with many of them since graduation.

Anyway, neither of us had ever cooked a Turkey, and we wanted to try it. We were worried that prepping the bird was going to be a long process, but we were pleasantly surprised when it didn't take very long. That turkey neck is one ugly piece of giblet! Because we thought it would take a while we had opted out of stuffing the bird with bread stuffing. Instead, we just put in cut up carrots, celery, and green onions for flavor.

Fast Forward three hours.

After we took the bird out, I was going to make the gravy. My friend had bought a new baster and for some reason it was not working very well. Once I took the cleaning brush out it worked much, much better. I put all these turkey "juices" into a pot, along with the veggies that had been cooked inside the bird. After boiling this my next job was to strain the vegetables out of the gravy.

Disclaimer: When I think of straining something, I picture straining macaroni or spaghetti, where the object is to get rid of the liquid and keep the solids.

So, I got the strainer set in the sink, (with two of my friends standing there watching), and proceeded to dump the pot into the strainer. Suddenly, I heard the sound of a liquid going down the garbage disposal, and I screamed, "NO!!!" OOPS! I forgot to put something to catch the gravy and instead dumped it down the drain.

Fortunately, Michael was already at the store buying milk for the mashed potatoes, so I called him (trying to decide if I should laugh or cry) and asked him to pick up some gravy packets.

For the rest of the night everyone gave me a hard time, such as, "hey Melissa, can you get me some pumpkin pie, as long as you don't strain it!"

Monday, November 20, 2006

35 Days Until Christmas!!!!!!!

It's true. I counted.

I pulled out my Christmas decorations yesterday, to the "silent protest" of my husband (his words). As I put up my nativity scene and sang to my Christmas CD's, I was reminded of how much I love this time of year.

Yes, I have heard of those grinches out there who believe Christmas music (and all the decorations and hoop-la that goes with it) should be limited to a tight After-Thanksgiving-Until-Christmas Day schedule, but I couldn't disagree more.

I walked into Starbucks the other day and my mood changed. I was happy and cheery. Yes, partly it was the peppermint mocha I bought, but I had to buy it, to match the festive decor of the store. (No need to point out that yes, I am a sucker for this type of advertisement). Those decorations and all the Christmas happiness and joy that comes with the season is what put me in a great mood. That, along with the realization that another Christmas is almost here. My 3rd Christmas as MRS. Santa. :)

And of course, as I put up my decorations (scant as they may be), I had to acknowledge that Christmas is sooo over-commercialized. But I don't care, because I know the real meaning of Christmas, and I'm so excited it's just around the corner!!

Ready or not people...CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


After some up and down feelings about my lesson plans over the last week, today was a great day!

I felt like my students were really engaged and focused and learning.

After the period was over I actually remember thinking, "that was a lot of fun." I really enjoyed helping kids today, seeing them understand what they are studying and making connections.

I gave my students a homework assignment last week to interview someone at a home, a parent or other person, and find out about their ancestry. We are doing a unit on immigration and I thought it would be interesting for them to find out about their own family's history. Well, today I was reading the assignments that were turned in and I almost cried (out of excitement that they LIKED the assignment)! Many actually wrote that they had never asked their parent about any of it before, and had learned a lot about their parents as a result. There are quite a few students in my class whose parents immigrated here from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Mexico, all within the last twenty years. One girl wrote about how her mom was illegal for a while but recently became legal.

Later in the day I saw a student who had been absent during my class (she said she had to go to court, again) and told her she could come by after school and work on her project if she wanted. Well, she did. I had been worried that she was falling behind, because she had missed class and is usually a little behind even when she is in class. It was SO rewarding to work with her, to see all the work she had done, and, to top it off, I asked her what she thought about this assignment, and she started rattling off all the things she's learned about Japanese-American immigrants (her assigned research topic). It was so great! Sometimes I think teachers start to wonder if students are really learning anything. So, today was a big boost that reminded me why I want to teach.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just an update

Yesterday's election was the first that I had ever voted in. I don't really have a good reason why I hadn't before then, because I do see that it's very important. And, as a social studies teacher I think I definitely should be aware of politics, etc. Last night I found myself anxious to find out the results, to both elections and ballot measures. I've truly entered adulthood.

On another note, today I taught my second lesson. My professor from school also came to observe me. I felt like the whole thing sort of flopped. I'm sure for the most part it was ok, but there were a few glitches in the morning that caused some temporary chaos. But I am learning a lot, and that's the point, or so they keep telling me. Either way, I'm 1/3 done with my teaching here.

Michael and I have completely opposite schedules. He is gone three nights a week, and I am gone when he is at home. I find myself coming home, watching Oprah, reading the newspaper, catching up on email and blogs, and just laying low all night. I need to get motivated and go work out or something, but I just feel so tired most of the time. Today's teaching wore me out! I felt so exhausted after that period, I was really surprised.

Only four more lessons!

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Official!! #2

Today our team was officially accepted to run the Hood to Coast relay next August.

This is Michael and my Christmas present to each other. We signed up about a month ago with a random group of friends who asked us to run. Only 1000 teams are chosen by random drawing, so we weren't sure if we were one of those lucky teams until today.

We ran our first "training" run a couple weeks ago, and haven't gone again since. We realized we wouldn't be as motivated to train until it was official, and now it is.

I read somewhere that you shouldn't being training for a marathon (which is different from this, I know) until you have worked up to 15-20 miles per week. I would say that our first goal is to run this, but in reality my first goal is to run any length at all each week.

As we all learned in "What about Bob?": Baby steps, baby steps.

It's Official!!

Today I taught my first full-length lesson plan.

And I survived!

I was really nervous last night and this morning, but during it and afterwards I was loving it. I've been observing classrooms for the last few months and have been really antsy to get into the classroom. For the most part it went well. There are a few things I would do differently. But, overall, my students seemed really engaged. I was happy about that because I haven't seen this class do much beyond research on the internet and give speeches to each other. So I had no idea how they would respond to me up front teaching. But they seemed interested.

I gave them a pre-test and was able to see they have a lot of room for improvement. :)

The topic for the next few weeks: US geography and Immigration. Woo hoo!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Michael finally got paid for the first time since we moved to Salem, over two months ago.

So, last night Michael and I had to redo our budget. And we concluded that it is the pits to not have money. We aspire to live simply, but there are basic needs! Money is such a source of stress and tension between people. Have you ever borrowed money from someone and forgot to pay them back? Or worse, have you ever lent money to someone and never got paid back? And you didn't want to bring it up for fear of being seen as stingy?

Yeah, money stinks.

But money also talks, and we really can't do too much without some form of it. And steady streams (or trickles) of it helps.

Today I got home from my student teaching school to find Michael at home. Normally this is a pleasant experience, and it was, but I was also confused. He was supposed to be in Newberg at his other job. He told me that the car broke down on the highway on the way to his job. Not just broke down, flat out broke, as in it's not worth fixing the axle that completely broke into two.

I surprised myself at how calm I was. He was upset, mostly frustrated and worried about money. We sat down and tried to talk about it. Michael was also trying to decide if he should still head to Newberg, because he had registered to take a 3-week class on Preparation for the GRE, and it started tonight. He was debating going because of the money, but more importantly because he has still been unsure if he should take the GREs, or even go to grad school next year. And I suddenly realized that we needed to stop relying on ourselves, something we do often.

So I prayed. I prayed for peace and guidance and thanked God for all the ways He's provided for us lately: scholarship, Michael finding two jobs, etc.

And a few minutes later Michael suddenly realized he had to go to Newberg to get his computer, and he also went to the GRE class. God had answered my prayer, literally, only a few minutes later.

God is good, even when our car breaks, or our dryer breaks, or surprise bills arise.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Church is a Verb

Michael and I have had a hard time finding a church. It's hard knowing that we're probably only here for a year, and then we'll be leaving again. We did that last year, and by the end we felt like we had checked out, and so had the people at the church.

However, that's no excuse for us. This week I have been thinking a lot about how much I miss being surrounded by a community of supportive and prayerful Christians. I am (trying to) learn how to live the way Christ is calling me to in a secular world, while still maintaining my integrity and faith, and I'm finding that it's difficult at times.

I received a phone call from a friend this week and he reminded me that it's ok to just be me, that I don't have to try to be this super-Christian (I'm paraphrasing). That was helpful. Then last night Michael and I went to a Harvest Party hosted by some old friends from Fox. It was crazy because many of my worlds were colliding, there were friends from high school, college, and my old church all in one house. But again, it reminded me that I have been aching for a young married-Christian-type supportive community.

Yesterday we went to a wedding that also reminded me of the importance of having others within the Christian community supporting Michael and I and keeping our marriage accountable.

Today Michael and I went to the same church that we went to a few weeks ago. I felt a peace there today because the sermon was about some of the exact things Michael and I have been talking about lately when discussing the Church. The pastor spoke about the disconnect between Jesus' teaching and the way Christians live their lives. He shared a story about a young woman he met that complained that Christians are angry, judgmental, hypocritical, and politically motivated. The pastor realized that this girl wasn't saying that she didn't see Truth in God or the Bible, she just saw this huge disconnect between the preaching and the people and didn't want to be a part of that.

The pastor said a lot of Christians are extreme, they are either A) Turn or Burn or B) Stick their heads in the sand. This sort of resonated with the phone conversation I had that reminded me that it's ok to not be extreme either way. I have to remember that yes, people are watching me and I need to represent Christ as best as I can, but I know I won't do it perfectly or fairly. And that's part of the learning and growing process.

The sermon was the first of a three part series called, "Church" is a verb, and the point was there's a lot more to the Church (big C not little c) than showing up on Sunday for an hour.

1 Peter 2:12-13(MSG) "Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the people so that your actions will refute their prejudices."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In a rut...

Well this is the week I finally hit a big wall.

The last couple months of school have been busy, but not extremely difficult. The last few weeks we have been slowly transitioning from observing to preparing a two-week unit to teach at the middle school level. I am so excited to be having more interaction with students and to be moving on to this part of teaching. Along with that comes the extra stress and difficulty of planning lessons and class time.

Many of us in my MAT program are starting to feel overwhelmed with the work load of homework and all the planning we are doing for teaching.

I just need to remind myself to push through this next month or two, and then I will be home free!! Well, sort of. Once everything is turned in during December, I can really focus on my student teaching full-time experience for second semester. I can't wait for that!

But alas, one step at a time, one lesson plan at a time...

It's true...

"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Habeas Corpus only applies to Americans

I am blown away by the signing of the Military Commissions Act which was signed on Tuesday. I barely can comprehend how this country has justified this. I understand that the bill is directed towards "aliens," as in, not American citizens, but this comes back to the question: Is an American life worth more than ANYONE ELSE? Well, according to Bush and this Act, Yes it is.

Basically, this Act says prisoners do not have a right to ask a court why they are being held, a core value of our American heritage. It also gives the President the right to detain anyone he wants indefinitely, another slap in the face of the Constitution. Again, whether this is referring to American citizens or not seems beside the point . Basically, this Act is saying that we believe in natural rights of Habeas Corpus for Americans, just no one else.

This bill also gives Bush the power to "interpret the meaning and application" of any limits on prisoner treatment, or what does or doesn't qualify as torture. So we've put this determination into the hands of our President, who is now able to cover the rear-ends of all the people involved in the explicit torture of prisoners over the past few years.

All this justified because we are "fighting" a "War on Terrorism."

In The Oregonian this morning there is a story about an Iraqi in search of missing relatives, only to find them tortured and mutilated to death. The last statement he made at the end of the story spoke loudly:

"I don't believe there is anything or anybody that is cheaper than Iraqi lives these days."

Monday, October 16, 2006

How to vote regarding education this Novemeber

Today I received this email and I thought I'd spread the word. Now that I will be part of the public education system, I am suddenly a lot more aware of issues that will affect me as a teacher.

I don't agree with everything, but a lot of it is good stuff.

This link is the Oregon Department of Education's recommended list of how to vote on key issues in the upcoming Oregon election.

I encourage you to be educated before you vote on these important issues.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sarcasm and a movie

"Sarcasm is the devil's tool for destroying intimacy."

My old Young Life leader from high school used to say this. And I've quoted him ever since. In college I had a couple friends that were extremely sarcastic, and I'd whip this little line out. They would reply, "I don't want to be intimate with you." Then I would have to explain that the point of the saying is that people who are sarcastic are using sarcasm to build up a wall, because they are afraid to get close to people. (I'm sure there are more interpretations.) I usually just got more laughs and sarcasm.

Lately I've found myself making sarcastic comments constantly, especially at school. My quick-witted responses and sarcasm get a lot of laughs, but it's almost like I'm addicted to it now. I feel like I am way too sarcastic all the time. So I'm trying to be more intentional about what I say and how I say it.

On another note, Michael and I were given free movie passes by some dear friends, so we went tonight. I can't remember the last time we had seen a movie in a theater. We saw "Man of the Year," with Robin Williams. It looked like it was going to be a comedy, but it actually had a lot of depth to it. It was funny, but also made some important points about our nation's political system. I recommend the movie!!

Friday, October 13, 2006


I've officially entered the world of education; along with that comes the world of politics and other exciting ways to spend my time thinking.

And boy does it have me thinking. I am not becoming some whacked-out-crazy-liberal; however, my "conservative" roots are giving way for issues that go beyond the typical Republican, (especially the Far Right Christian Evangelical-type Republican.)

Let me explain.

It all began my freshmen year of college. I remember reading a school newspaper article in which a student argued that many (most?) Christians are Republican for two reasons: 1)Anti-Abortion issues and 2)Anti-Gay Marriage. The point of the article was to argue that there are other issues besides these two that Christians should be concerned about. And I remember agreeing that all I ever heard about politics growing up in the church was to vote Republican because Democrats were Pro-Choice. That was my basic understanding:

Democrats=bad because of Immoral Bill Clinton and because they are Pro-Choice.

An example of this was in The Oregonian a few weeks ago. The article discusses how Jerry Falwell equated Hilary Clinton with the devil. Then the article explains why Falwell, and religious conservatives (aka Christians), "do not favor Clinton for several reasons, but mostly because she is an abortion-rights advocate, 'the cutting-edge issue for social conservatives.' "

One more time: why is abortion (and gay-marriage) the only major issue(s) with so many Christians???????? Can someone explain this to me???

I have to clarify that I am still Pro-Life. But, if Christians are Pro-Life, what about after the babies are born, such as Health Care? Education? (the list could go on and on)...I'm Pro-Life for these issues as well.

To be totally honest, I have been doing a lot of reading and studying of current issues lately. And I have been unimpressed with Republican stance on issues of social justice. Yes, the statistics of abortions are alarming and downright sickening, but what about the number of children (or people) that die from war, starvation, war, lack of clean of water, war, homelessness, WAR, suicide, and war? Shouldn't Americans, I mean Christians, be concerned about these issues as well??

And, to get on my soap box for a minute, (which I can do because this is my blog and no one reads it anyway), what the heck is up with Christians=war mongers?? There is a disconnect to me. I'm embarrassed to be associated with the "Religious Right" that supports torture and war and all the other things that I just don't think Christ would support. As Bill Maher said, "of all people, you'd think Christians would be opposed to torture...Christ was Crucified!"

Speaking of Maher, have you listened to his show? He finds these evangelical, far-Right Christians and tears them to shred on his show. The ironic/maddening part is that I usually tend to agree with him. He knows the Bible better than some of the people he brings on the show!!! It's people who are extreme fundamentalists that have caused people like Bill Maher to 1)stereotype all Christians as the same, and 2) denounce the hypocrisy of Christians and thus Christianity itself. And I can honestly say, as I listen to his show, I get frustrated with what many Christians say and do, because I don't agree with them.

The even more frustrating part of all of this is that there are Christians that are doing really good things, but they get overshadowed by the extremists.

I recently registered to vote in my new county. And I had a hard time picking a party to be affiliated with. As cliche as it sounds, why can't we vote for the issues instead of strictly by party??

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Is an American life worth more than an Iraqi?

Is a Christian life worth more than a Muslim?

426,369-793,663 Iraqis haved died violently since March 2003

2,756 Americans haved died since March 2003

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I hate being sick.

I hate it even more when my husband isn't around to take care of me.

I'm sick and Michael's out of town.


Yesterday I had to leave school because I was feeling shaky and cold and feverish. I had to go talk to my professor and tell her I wasn't feeling up to class, and as soon as I walked into her office I started balling! I was so embarrassed because I couldn't stop.

I got home and went straight to bed, where I was still crying, shaking, and freezing for the next hour and a half. I was sort of freaking out, because I felt so weird. I started calling people, but no one was answering their phones. I don't know what I thought anyone could do for me, but I called anyway.

Finally I got ahold of a friend who came over. By the time she got there I had finally stopped shaking. Well, I went to bed last night feeling better, and then woke up at 3am and the whole thing happened again: shaking, freezing. So I got up, made some tea, and laid on the couch for a couple hours.

Needless to say I called in sick to school today, even though it was supposed to be the first day at the middle school where I will be teaching a unit in a few weeks.

I'm feeling better tonight, though still weak. A lot of my symptoms remind me of when I had mono for a week in high school, although in that case I was hospitalized for a week, and I'm not that bad.

Tomorrow I have to go to school and then leave early to make it to the Portland airport. I'm flying to Fresno, California where Michael flew yesterday for a wedding. The busyness never ends.
Hopefully I'll get some good sleep tonight...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Carmel+Cider+Whip Cream= YUM!

I just finished my last paper of a looooong string of papers due this week for school. Many of my classes are ending tomorrow as a new set of classes begin.

Beginning Friday I will be moving from the high school site I've been observing at to a middle school. For the next month I will be observing a 7th grade Geography class twice a week. In November I will be teaching a two week unit (on what specifically, I'm not sure yet.) Of all the social studies topics I could have been assigned, economics is the only subject that falls below geography in my interest level. I am excited to find a way to make geography engaging both for my students and me!!!

I have no doubt this will be beneficial in the long run.

On another note, I'm so excited that it's the time of year for Carmel Apple Cider at Starbucks!!! I love to eat the whip cream and gooey carmel off the top!!! There is nothing better. A good friend emailed me recently to remind me they are in season. This particular friend and I used to take study breaks in college and head to Starbucks for this delicious treat. It's funny how tastes and smells evoke such strong memories...

Sunday, September 24, 2006


This week I've had the opportunity to hang out with a few friends from different parts of my life. On Tuesday Michael and I hung out with a good friend from college who I was also on summer staff with for two summers. He told me sometimes he reads my blog, which shocked me because I didn't know anyone did, and so I thought I'd give him a shout out. You know who you are!

Then on Friday I got to see a really good friend from my very first summer on summer staff. She was my "twin" that summer. EVERYONE called us by each other's name, and we were just super close! I haven't seen her since my wedding, (which she sang in) and it was fun to see her and her husband of just over a year. She's one of those people that although we don't talk super often, I know we will always have a special in each other's hearts, and every time we see each other it's just like where we left off.

On Friday I also spent time with another summer staff friend from a different summer. It made me realize that some of my closest friends, or at least meaningful and life-giving relationships began at Twin Rocks.

To top it all off, today I spent time with a close friend from college. I haven't seen her in quite a while. Her and her husband are raising financial support right now to head to Tanzania soon to work with a Bible Translation organization and to work in an orphanage. I was soooooo blessed by our conversation and the few hours we spent together. God is so obviously guiding their steps toward this lifetime ministry in Africa. I came to tears repeatedly as she shared how God has been faithful through all the doubts, fears, changes.

I have had many experiences where I've been blessed with meeting and befriending Godly people. I am learning that I am pretty bad at keeping in touch with people, but I try. And I'm learning that I can't keep in touch with every single person that I want to, but that through these every-once-in-a-while meetings I can experience a little more of the community that we are created for. I am so thankful for friendships where God blesses me through others.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Maybe it's because I'm now in the world of education (as a career), but I've found myself really worked up about how much money ISN'T spent on education, and is spent on other priorities in America, such as fast food, military, and pets (to name a few).

I am loving my classes and found myself actually thinking to myself the other day, "I can't imagine myself NOT teaching." I feel like God has continued to stir in me a passion for working in a high school setting, working with students and faculty that have so many needs: emotionally, spiritually, educationally.

All this to say, I read this quote the other day and couldn't have said it better myself:

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."


Saturday, September 09, 2006


Yesterday in one of my classes I was sharing with a partner the answers to questions on the overhead:

Who am I?
How do I describe myself?
Who do people who know me well think I am?
What is important for people to know about me?

My partner and I both said that we tend to be perceived as shy or quiet when we are in new settings. We come across very serious at times, but can "let our hair down" and have a lot of fun too. I have surprised myself how much I take on the observing role in new situations. I used to see myself as so much more out-going. I still see myself as out-going, but it tends to be more when I'm with people I'm at least somewhat comfortable with (not strangers.)

One of the other things I said that was important to me was my faith and relationship with Christ. I was surprised at how nervous I was to share this with another student. Not that I was embarassed, but it was not comfortable to just sit there and talk about it. Actually, as soon as I said that, it opened the door for a ten-minute theology and faith talk.

I am learning how to immerse myself more and more into the secular world, in this case the world of public education, without comprimising who I am and what I stand for. Not that my beliefs are changing, but i haven't had too many experiences where I've really had to verbalize my faith to a person who doesn't have the same Christian Vocab that I do. I think we'd all love to say that we would be unashamed and proclaim boldly to anyone who asks us about our faith, but I'm here to say that it's not as easy as it sounds. I definitely look up to and admire those who can speak so naturally in any setting about Christ.

I hope and pray that I am working towards that a little more every day.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Our furniture delivery truck arrived yesterday! (AKA my parents).

They gave us a matching (applause goes here) set of couches. We are officially moving up in the world, from bright orange, mismatched-bachelor-style furniture to something that actually matches. We are very thankful for all the ways God has been providing for us lately. This furniture for one, finding good deals at garage sales, and friends that were a blessing by allowing us to live with them for the last week and a half.

And the latest way God has taken care of us: Yesterday I found out I got a scholarship for school that I wasn't expecting, so they wrote me a refund check in that amount. That was a HUGE blessing considering all the ways that going to school and moving into a new house costs money.

Because of all this I have every confidence that God will also provide Michael a His own timing.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


We're in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We got the call about 4:00 yesterday afternoon and spent the next 9 hours (Yes, until 1 AM) driving around picking up our stuff unloading boxes into the car and then into the house. We had to drive from Salem to North Keizer, back to the house, to South Salem, back to the house, then Michael had to drive to Newberg and back. It's nice to have all that done.

We are excited! I am feeling a little overwhelmed because I really want to be unpacking, cleaning and organizing, but I also have to force myself to stop so I can get homework done. I am glad it's the beginning of the school year so I'm not quite as overwhelmed with homework.

Besides moving, yesterday I went to my student teaching placement site. It got me really excited about observing, teaching, and just being in the school environment.

Last night Michael and I both felt this big's a relief to just be in the house.

Next step...Michael finding a job...

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Virtue I Lack at Times

I think God is trying to teach Michael and I patience. We both tend to be impatient by nature in many areas of life.

We thought we were moving into the house last Friday, which would have been great to have the whole weekend to move in, unpack, etc. Well, paperwork delays and such caused the date to be moved to Monday (today). We went out to the coast this weekend to get all of our stuff out of storage. Now it's all packed up in a trailer, truck, and one of our cars sitting on the front driveway. Today we heard that some paperwork got messed up and it probably won't be until tomorrow that we can move in, assuming nothing else goes wrong.

At first we were really frustrated. Michael had spent a couple hours cleaning at the house we've been staying at, getting it all ready so we can leave. The sheets are even ripped off the bed. But we both cooled down and vented in our own way, and we are feeling much better about it. We played some Mario Party Beach Volleyball, and it only took 6 or 7 games before we finally beat Mario and Luigi.

I think we are just so excited to be in a house that we are really antsy to get in. That and we've been sort of putting the whole "job hunt" on hold until we got into the house, and this just pushes that back even further. But we're OK. It's only a few more hours, really. I am learning that I can't control this situation and I have to just deal with it and realize there's nothing I can do to change the facts.

I can only control how I respond: with or without patience.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

One Man's Junk...

Yesterday after I was done with classes Michael and I headed out to West Salem High School where I will be doing my student teaching this year. I am definitely not ready to be in front of a bunch of high schoolers! AGHHHHHHHH!!! But I think that will come with time.

Anyway- Afterwards we decided to check out a "couple" garage sales in the area.......5 HOURS later we pulled into the driveway of our friends' house where we are staying, with the back of our Subaru full of stuff! It's true what they say, "one man's junk is another man's treasure." Boy did we find some good deals! We couldn't stop! But, we feel really good about everything we bought, it's not just "junk." We finally had decided to head home, but every time we saw a Yard Sale or Garage Sale or Estate Sale sign, we automatically turned down that road.

This morning we woke up and had to run some errands. We had decided we wouldn't go to any more sales. We didn't even make it a full block, and we stopped at the Moving Sale around the corner!! We came home today once again with a full car. Not to mention we have to go pick up a few things on Monday.

We mostly bought stuff for our new house, that we will be moving into on Monday (hopefully)!!

Here's a list of SOME of what we bought:
-Solid Dining Room table with chairs
-2 stools for our kitchen counter
-A bread maker with makings for bread
-A vintage surfboard (This is that one item that maybe didn't fit with the house theme)
-2 History novels by Stephen Ambrose
-3 Rugs
-A Jewelry Box
-Pottery Bowl
-Queen Bed Frame
-Wicker Chest
-Wooden Salad Bowl

I think Michael and I have entered the world of Garage Sales. We're definitely not as hard core as the people that were out this morning before the sales even started...waiting in front of the closed garages. We'll leave those early morning tactics to the experts.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Bubble Has Been Popped

My first week of Grad school is almost over. It's been a tiny bit of a culture shock. I've realized I've been in a little Christian "bubble" for the past 5 years: 4 years at George Fox, with the 3 summers in between at a Christian Camp. All last year I worked at a camp, and then...BAM!!!...Back to the real world! I feel a little immune to something as simple as's weird to hear people dropping swear words left and right, even Professors! I am used to my Professors praying before class, not encouraging us to get together with our peers "over a beer."

But I am glad I am at this school. Last summer was the first time in a long time I wasn't in a Christian work or school environment. I found myself feeling more hungry for spiritual food and found myself being more intentional in my daily life. I've noticed when I'm in the Christian "bubble" I am not as intentional.

And, I figure if I get a job in a public school, I need to get used to it now. That is going to be my "ministry": Students, co-teachers, and school staff.

Someone asked me the other day why I'm not attending GFU's MAT program. Well, a huge reason I'm at Willamette is because it fit my summer commitment. Most MAT programs start in June and this one started in August. But honestly, I think I would have wanted to come here regardless. I wanted a more "well-rounded" educational experience, and as I said before, there is plenty of opportunity for ministry right where I'm at.

I think it's going to be a really good year.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Good Bye Camp, Hello School

I haven't posted anything in a while, for many reasons, one of them being I couldn't remember my password or Username to sign in to my blog. After exhausting every possibility I finally remembered it. Did I mention I have a TERRIBLE memory? And I want to be a history teacher!

ANYWAY- I'm welcoming myself back to the blog world. Michael and I just pulled into Salem, Oregon. We are officially done working at Twin Rocks and I start school...TOMORROW! I'm excited for Grad school, but a little nervous as well.

Goodbyes are always difficult for me. Yesterday we said good-bye to the 16 college summer staff that were at the camp all summer. They are such a special group and I'm still realizing just how much I'm going to miss them, especially the girls. This was the first time I've ever been in that type of designated "mentor and leader" position. I had a hard time with it at the beginning of the summer, but by the end I loved it. Those 9 summer staff girls are so special to me, and hold a very dear place in my heart.

Driving to Salem I was listening to the summer staff CD that Joe and Stephanie (my Supervisor and his wife) made for all the summer staff. They found a song for each person that spoke about who they are or what their summer was about. I found myself crying as I listened, especially to the two songs about coming down from the Mountain High and holding on to those lessons as we journey to the next phase in life. I was reminded that I'm leaving a mountain and starting a new journey in Salem.

Again, this was a very special group of college students and I miss them already. Differently then when I was actually on summer staff, because I invested so much into these 16 and saw their ups and downs of the summer in a different light, as their supervisor AND as their friend.

After many tearful goodbyes, Michael and I began the task of packing up our own apartment to prepare for our move. This morning I woke up and had to write a paper to turn in on my first day of school tomorrow, finished packing, and drove into town.

It's a quick transition, but we are excited and ready. I'm still thinking about and praying for my friends who left yesterday, some heading to their home as far as North Ireland. :)

God, help me to walk down this mountain with my heart held high, to follow your footsteps, and to offer up my broken cup, full of all the fears, joy, sadness, and excitement that I'm feeling right now, as Michael and I begin this next big step in our lives.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Good Bye Peanut Butter Cookies!

I have never given up anything for Lent, but last year I actually tried. I had decided to give up ice cream for Lent, and it lasted about three days. I had always seen Lent as a time when you give up something in order to spend more time with God. For example, you give up TV so you can use that time normally spent watching TV doing something better or more spiritual. So, I decided that giving up ice cream wasn't really meeting this criteria. Later I realized that the sheer fact that I couldn't give it up probably means I have too much of a hold on ice cream.

I am a huge sweet tooth. The other day I decided I was going to give up sugar for the whole summer, starting when the summer staff arrive on June 1st. Partly because I've realized I have a bit of a self-control issue, as in, I could eat three bowls of ice cream and not think twice about it. (I don't do this, but the point is I could). Well, the other day Michael and I got to talking and decided, why wait until June 1st? Why not start now? So we started last Thursday not having desserts or sugary sweets. So far so good, though a few times it's been a little tough, like today. Today was taco salad and peanut butter cookie day for lunch, my FAVORITE lunch!!! It was hard to look at those cookies and not take one. But it's definitely getting easier.

I don't know how long this will last, but I am working on not being controlled by the little voice in my head that tells me I need dessert!!! :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Easter Bunny

So yesterday was Easter. We didn't have any big plans so it mostly felt like a normal Sunday. Except of course the fact that we actually got up for church before 7 am and were at church at 8 instead of 10. For most of the day I was kind of bummed, no Easter basket or Cadbury Eggs, no Starbust Jelly Beans, no deviled eggs or ham for dinner. (I realize this is not at all what Easter is about, but I still noticed the lack of them on Easter.) It was kind of weird.

We went out to lunch with Nick and Lindsey and then watched like eleven episodes of 24. We couldn't help it!! It was season 2 and it was intense! We just had to finish it. We are addicts, what can I say? At least season 2 took a whole week for us to finish. Season 1 took us 2 days and we stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish.

We did go play a few rounds of mini golf here at the camp. Michael was outside our apartment whittling our candles we made at Staff Family Fun Beach Day from last Thursday and he saw two rabbits. He came and got me and we watched them for a few minutes. We tried to take a picture but they hopped away. They came back again about twenty minutes later and we got some pics. They were so cute! I think we are going to adopt them because they live right in front of our apartment.

If nothing else, at least we saw the Easter bunny and its mate on Easter. :)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Would Christ be Pacifist?

I've had a few people comment on the name of my blog. I know that I am here writing for myself and not necessarily for other people, but I wanted to clarify just a little.

I don't mean to say that by following Christ certain issues become less certain. If anything, it's just the opposite. Christ is pretty clear on a lot of issues. At the time, of course, the things he stood for went against the culture and society in many ways. The black and white that I am referring to are the things most Evangelical Christians are associated with that I don't think are always 100% correct. For example, Christians are known for bashing homosexuals. I wouldn't argue against the fact that God hates homosexuality. I just think if Christ were on earth he may go about a few things differently. I think Christ would be the one hanging out with homosexuals instead of blasting them, judging them, and distancing himself from them, like so many Christians do. This is the grey I'm referring to, the areas where I think we as Christians still have some work to do to figure out how to approach some of these topics.

In Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?," he opens the first chapter with a story about a prostitute who had rented out her two-year-old daughter for sex to support her own drug habit. Yancey asks the woman if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. And she replied:

Church! Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse.

To me this story speaks volumes of how much work the Church has to be what we idealize it to be. In the Bible, prostitutes like this usually flocked to Jesus and today they are running from the Church, scared of being judged. That is not the type of Church I want to belong to. We need to change that.

A lot of Christians are very patriotic and thus also supportive of war, or just actions by the government. Our country was founded on Christian values supposedly and therefore many Christians support much of what our country does. (I say supposedly because I've studied the Founding Fathers enough to know that a lot of Christians quote the parts of history they want to. Not to say that many of the Founding Fathers didn't believe in God, but there's much more to being a Christian than just believing in God. A LOT of people believe in God, that doesn't mean they are Christians.)

I grew up surrounded by family members that are or have been part of the military in some form. I always have seen it as a noble choice to enter the military. As a history major I studied many different wars and appreciated the times soldiers were called upon to fight for their country. I know many brave people have died serving my country.

Attending a Quaker school began to open my eyes to the ideas of Pacifism. I remember one specific class where a couple students did a presentation on why they were pacifist. It was the first time I really understood, and I felt very drawn to their reasons. One piece that has stuck with me is that it made me wonder whether Christ would condone war, REGARDLESS of what the issue was over. I used to argue with pacifists that there are times in history when war was inevitable. The point that was hard for me to hear was that the only reason war is often seen as inevitable is because we see it that way. If we were to not even consider war, it would cease to be an option. The entire world throughout history has simply assumed war is the best way of solving issues. What if, in an ideal world, no fighting took place? We wouldn't jump to the conclusion that war was the answer all the time.

My point is, I don't believe Christ would support war, regardless of the reasons. This is true even if it means war would stop other people from killing. How much better are we if we go kill people who are doing the killing? Looking through history, I don't have any easy answer for alternates, but it doesn't mean that because there's no easy answer war is the best answer. I don't know if I classify myself as a "pacifist," but I wonder if Christ would be??

This may or may not clarify what I meant by "fade to grey," but that's ok, because it makes sense to me!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Our new plan

Michael and I have been working on our budget. We decided to try a new system. Recently after our last payday we took out cash for each of our budgeted areas. Michael made labeled envelopes with each respective area, such as "groceries." We have been working hard not to use our debit card and just use our cash we budgeted.

So, tonight we went grocery shopping with an X amount of money we could and would spend. We are usually good about money but always find a few extra things that we end up buying. So tonight we had our list, and our X amount of money, and we bartered with each other and talked through what we thought were the most important items. We are also trying to eat healthier and were able to buy some organic and more natural products. When we got to the checkout, we had estimated only 1 or 2 dollars over, which we felt GREAT about. The total? We had one dollar in change!!! We were very proud of ourselves for being right on budget and for being healthy!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Today in staff devotions our director read the Bible passage about how God can do immeasurably more than we ever hope for. Then he asked us to share situations in our life that we think are too big for God to handle. This happens to touch on some things I've been working through lately.

Recently I was catching up with a good friend I had not seen in a while. I was sharing about my struggle with the tension between God's will and our free choice. I first grasped this concept during a theology class in college. My favorite passage growing up was Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord." I believed whole heartedly in God's will for my life and had no question that God was "in control" of my life. So when I first understood what free will meant, I had a hard time really coming to terms with how God's will relates to my own free choice. I still go in circles at times. I get the basics but my struggle relates to trusting God to be bigger than our own mistakes. I know that God is able to heal any brokenness, regardless of the size, shape, or form. But what about when we are so stubborn that we refuse to listen? And how do you pray for someone when you know that their stubbornness and decisions to shut out God may never change? Again, I know God can change hearts, but he can't and won't force it. He WANTS us to choose him freely. So I just go around and around in circles with these questions, which are nowhere near black and white.

I know and trust that God CAN do more than I can even imagine. So, I guess at this point that's where I must put my hope because from my human point of view some things feel impossible, unrealistic, or just hopeless.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fade to Grey

You may recognize "Fade to Grey." Yes, it's the title of a Jars of Clay song. I have been wanting to start a blog for a little while but wanted something catchy, but more importantly, something that would guide my thoughts as I blog. (Also, I tried not to make it cheesy, since a certain husband of mine warned me about cheesy-ness.) Today I was listening to this CD and the words described my spiritual life as of late, most significantly the last line of the song:

It's not hard to know what you're thinking
When you look down on me now
Your trance of love is seeking
To turn this world around
But in my state of blind confusion
No God can pull me out
I see your love is willing
To turn me inside out

And then I see you there
The lonely tears I cry
I wish they'd release me

It's in despair that I find faith
Summon the night to bow down to day
When ignorance is bliss
Save me from myself

And then I see You there
With Your arms open wide and You try to embrace me
These lonely tears I cry
They keep me in chains and I wish they'd release me
Cold is the night but
Colder still is the heart made of stone, turned from clay
And if you follow me
You'll see all the black, all the white fade to grey

I used to think spirituality, the Bible, God, and any other topic I learned in Sunday School were very black and white with no room for grey. I was raised mostly non-denominational and always thought I had it all figured out. Ever since I left for college I have been challenged repeatedly that there really is a lot of grey. I've come to the conclustion that the grey is ok, and healthy to explore. I want to use this blog to further that exploration. There are a lot of random thoughts and pieces of spiritual truths that I wrestle with constantly, and I am ready to do it here.