Monday, August 29, 2011

the promise of a new day

219. crickets in unison, behind closed windows
220. early morning darkness surrounding a computer screen
221. Kate sleeping across the room
222. the beginning of a new week, and the promise of strength to do what He has given me to do
223. the end of the first week of school: being back in the classroom lessens my anxiety and makes me more confident; the students are very good (for the most part) and I love what I teach and I love them! I am learning so much myself--still so much to learn and this year still seems daunting--but I still find it so humbling and hard to believe that this is my job--to learn alongside the students and to just keep learning the best way to share the things I learn with them. So daunting but oh-so-exciting. :)
224. the Upper School teachers who stopped by my room after the first day (which was most of them)--how encouraging! God doesn't allow me to dwell on my inadequacies for long!
225. MP's laughter and perspective when I unnecessarily apologized
226. Lance's willingness to help and down-to-earth honesty
227. dinner with Heidi, Natalie, and Kathryn--transitioning to a new community of sorts (moving to the Upper School, switching churches, getting new roommates, and being more fully involved at NCS and entering more fully into the community) always reveals things to me about myself that I'd rather didn't exist. But I appreciate those who still spend time with me, who reach out and care and put up with my silliness, because I have learned (and am learning) so much!
228. good conversations with a new roommate
229. potlucks at church
230. seeing Nikki unexpectedly (and sharing teacher stories and tips!)--she came into Lynchburg to escape Hurricane Irene since she lives on the coast!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

music and lamps

215. new speakers in my classroom and classical music playing as I work
216. a new lamp on my desk--makes reading under florescent lights so much easier!
217. a good conversation with the landlord after things had gotten tense (failure to communicate some of the changes this summer led to some accusations we hadn't anticipated since our last landlord didn't care how many of us are in the house)--it went so much better than we anticipated!
218. great roommates (and good communication)

Friday, August 19, 2011

a broken record

Well, not really. But that's how I feel this week--the community at work is so wonderful and the interactions with my colleagues are some of the greatest gifts. I've never realized how much we are created for community until now. (OK, well maybe in grad school, but it was a more artificial community, I think, where we were all doing the exact same thing. Now, to see our gifts--both academic and social--mesh in so many different ways is really exciting!)

205. Natalie's tight hug
206. her straight talk when I was being paranoid and listening to lies (I did not even realize how much I was doing so and refusing to believe--and remind myself of--the truth until she said something). I was struggling with inferiority, convinced of things others were not seeing, and she just gently, lovingly told me "You are not...you are just...ridiculous!"
207. Heidi's teasing (which is *almost* all deserved) :)
208. Kathryn's smile and encouragement--and gentle way of reassuring me that some decisions really are mine to make (i.e. the arrangement of tables in my classroom)
209. Marion's smile and humor--of course, sometimes I'm not sure I exactly want to be the cause of one of her smiles, but she is so encouraging and has our backs :)
210. Onastazia's openness and friendliness--so thankful she is in the high school with me!
211. the encouragement and tips from the older teachers in the middle school (esp. last year)
212. Lance's helpfulness and general laid-back-ness
213. John's welcoming and kind words, stopping by my room despite all he has to do
214. lots of other instances where I have been so sharpened by others around me...and writing this out, I cannot believe how well some of the others know me...I need to do better at acting like an adult. But I am so thankful for the community in which I have been placed...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

morning stillness

201. waking long before my alarm to an open window and crickets chirping
202. singing "Non Nobis Domine" with all the other faculty at matins (I could have said this any day this week--so gorgeous!)
203. a phone conversation with Nikki last night...we've played phone tag ALL summer so it was great to catch up. And she is doing almost exactly what I'm doing--three different high school English levels at a classical school. It was so great to hear from her!
204. a freshly painted living room and kitchen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a community at work

199. coworkers who make me laugh, calm me down, are honest with me, encourage me, teach me, share their insights, give hugs, smile, and in general welcome me into a community. I love my job so much more because of it and could not do what I do without them :)
200. supervisors who also do all of the above...wow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

open windows, co-workers, and a new classroom

192. the first open window night of the season...I love waking up to the sound of crickets and a bit of a breeze
193. friendships with my co-workers (Although in some cases this is really stretching me because I am forming new relationships and learning a lot and seeing myself in a new light just as I am at church as I get to know many new people, I really do love the community at NCS. Especially all the friendships I made last year in the middle school--I really love those people. But I am excited about getting to know better those in the high school, too!)
194. my new supervisor--he is so laid back and we seem to approach things the same way and see eye to eye for the most part! I am opening up and asserting myself and asking questions far more than I usually do!
195. a green classroom (it is pea green, and a couple of others who have stopped by do not like it, but it makes it seem warm, so I like it!)--I also love having my own space and having a place to work!
196. a student who was at the school yesterday who came by and helped me get my classroom set up
197. new dress skirts on sale really cheap (I promise I really went to Ross to look for a clock for my classroom. But, you know, I had to check out the skirts, too) ;)
198. late summer evenings when the sun still sets so late...allowing for a jog later on yesterday evening

Monday, August 15, 2011

teacher training

186. quiet morning before work
187. boiled eggs
188. leftover peach juice from Heidi's shower (I finally opened it) :)
189. teacher training
190. encouragement at church yesterday--I really felt God's affirmation that that is where I should be. Although being vulnerable and opening myself up in a new community is always hard for me, I am grateful for those who I've already gotten to know a bit (and the things about myself I've recognized as a result)
191. an afternoon with Stacey yesterday--again, one of those old friendships I cannot imagine losing, even if we keep in touch only sporadically. Refreshing to be honest with her.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

work

181. teacher training at Blackfriar's playhouse--so much to learn and so many great discussions
182. watching The Importance of Being Earnest
183. drizzly rain outside
184. indoor workouts on a Saturday morning
185. my own desk (and a little classroom off the library!) at the school! I just found out that I'll have one, and I am headed there now for a productive Saturday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

windows

176. a very, very encouraging (and freeing!) phone call last night about a decision I have been praying about
177. stopping in to see a former professor (who is so much more than that) who told me I looked more healthy and happy than I have for quite a while!
178. a "window seat" in the library, with natural light and a view of the mountains
179. raw almonds (easily eaten subtly because of the "no outside food or drink" signs--*ahem*)
180. quiet moments, sitting in silence, reading, thinking, without being distracted by guilt or regret

mesas, friendship, family, and New Mexico in general :)

I wasn't as diligent to keep track by hand of this next part of the trip as we went. Still, there were plenty of gifts along the way, and I will make note of the most significant here:
167. visiting Uncle Ken and Aunt Susan in Los Alamos: it was GREAT to see their house, the view of the mountains and mesas from their back deck, and to be able to stay with them
168. the rain they experienced while we were there (after all the fires, 100% contained only in the last week, this was significant and sorely needed)
169. that, although the rain disrupted one of our hikes, it didn't disrupt our sightseeing as much as it could have--it kept storming just before or after we most wanted clear skies!
170. the tram in Albuquerque at sunset--phenomenal! And according to our guide, it was the clearest night in quite some time! The sunset, the moon, the mountains beneath us, the city below us--magnificent!
172. seeing Jessica again--on her own turf at the Zuni reservation in NM! It was sooo good to see her. She is such a good friend. It is amazing how easy it is to pick up with a dear friend even after years. The time with her was so sweet. I've missed her so much...and the little bit of time we did have was just a reminder to me to stay in touch with those dear friends that I have from each stage of life. It isn't a huge number, but it is a fair number of girlfriends who I cannot imagine losing contact with...and I want to be more deliberate to pray for them. They are SUCH blessings!
173. flying back into Richmond (safety in the air, etc.--I love flying but don't take safety for granted!) and seeing my cousins briefly. Some really good conversations with them--we are all growing up (at last!) ;)
174. spending part of the day with my family--long morning run, swimming with the girls, making salsa with mom--before heading back to Lynchburg
175. the green-ness of Virginia: yes, after all that travel, I am so thankful to be back at the foot of the mountains, in the rolling hills, with tall green trees. I love Virginia!

I will try to post some pictures at some point!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

quiet mornings

163. ceiling fans
164. quiet mornings
165. Isaiah 6
166. a really great rental car for the next part of the trip

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

things little and big

158. a jog on the level Texas terrain
159. the Texas sun
160. failing, learning, communicating, apologizing, forgiving--and, hopefully, although I can't see it myself, growing
161. a good talk with Dad on the phone
162. a roommate who waters my plants while I am gone :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

iron sharpens iron (and other lessons along the way)

145. the gym in the hotel ;)
146. safety pulling a trailer in downtown Dallas (yes, this was the scariest part of the trip)
147. a parking space in front of the only empty space in a VERY crowded lot opened up just as we pulling into the empty space (if you'd seen traffic, you would realize that even ONE empty space was a miracle, much less two facing spaces) so that we could pull the trailer all the way in (it would not have fit in the parking lot otherwise!). (Megan wanted to introduce me to In-N-Out. We had to drive through Dallas anyway, so we stopped. But, the temperature gauge on the jeep indicated we were overheating, and we were in heavy traffic and then unable to find a space to park, so it was nerve-wracking. But the facing spaces was definitely a HUGE mercy at just the right time!)
148. the temperature gauge never coming back on!
149. trees spread low, as if bowing or making room for the large Texas sky
150. the big wind turbines in west Texas--stretching on for miles and miles as the sun set in front of us--gorgeous part of the trip!
151. sunset--and the view interrupted only by windmills (heading west gave us some gorgeous view of the sunset while we drove!)--Texas sunsets are awe-inducing!
152. windows down as we drive down a long Texas highway
153. wide open skies at night (this struck me so much more than during the day!)
154. the big sky and the stars--and the wind on my face--and the song in my heart--all helped me to see and understand more deeply than I have before that I am more precious than gold to the God who created the heavens and earth and set the stars in place)
155. laughing hysterically while driving the long way around the 289 circle to Megan's house in Lubbock
156. a solid night's sleep on the floor in her new room
157. two very timely articles--one by Noel Piper and one by Dr. Prior--on friendship, accountability, and iron sharpening iron: very convicting for me anyway, as it is something I struggle with as an severe introvert, but VERY timely on this trip. Lots to learn about myself, both as I receive and encourage such "sharpening" (I'll post these soon!)