Saturday, November 26, 2011

breaks with family

290. turkey dinner with cousins, aunts and uncles, Pop, and my immediate family (except for Karissa)
291. a very warm fall weekend, perfect for a long walk after dinner
292. playing UNO with cousins...all sorts of old memories
293. conversations with Cristy and Timothy and Uncle Ron about theology, etc.
294. funny conversations about grammar and MLA formatting with aunts (who are also teachers) and cousins
295. listening to Dad play piano and a few others singing "In Christ Alone" and "Before the Throne of God Above"
296. Aunt Debbie's upbeat attitude despite her illness/injury
297. walking her dog with Kaitlyn and Kory (on an even more gorgeous day--if that were possible!)
298. raking leaves with Kory and Dad outside (on yet another gorgeous fall day...I love warm weather late in the year)
299. sitting outside on the porch with Kaitlyn, both of us reading and trying to dodge the dog's slobbery mouth :)
300. listening to Kaitlyn play her violin and Kory singing as I type... :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

good friends

286. picking Kimberly up from the airport and catching up with her...I think I learned more medical terminology in an hour than I knew before! ;) It was good to laugh and catch up and hear how she's been!
287. a safe trip home to my family
288. petite little white roses from Onastazia...very lovely on my desk (in a vial from the science lab--ha!)
289. a few days off of school

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thoughtfulness (and thankfulness!) of students

282. Sunday night with the women of my church, singing songs of thanksgiving, hearing powerful testimonies of God's grace, and engaging in community with others desiring to live the Christian life
283. dinner last night with the Oleniks and Shannon and Toby (I can never remember their last name)--it was a low key get together and refreshing--I appreciate them inviting me in, as I know they've all been meeting on Monday nights for a while
284. beautiful, warm November days
285. thank you notes from my students--so sweet and thoughtful--they shocked me and I wondered if they could even be genuine. It is rewarding to teach students who are thankful and willing to say so. Makes me feel even more humbled and inadequate...but I love them so much! (At the end of the day yesterday, I had two thoughts: (1) I must have the sweetest students in the world, and (2) I sure do wish they would remember to put their names on their assignments before they turn them in!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

familiar faces

278. seeing Kaitlyn and Kory (and a bunch of others) in a really great production of Les Miserables tonight. (They did such a great job...and I can't believe how old all those "kids" have gotten.) What a play.
279. unexpectedly seeing Stephanie at the play...we never coordinate which nights we will be there, so I was so excited to see her there and to catch up a bit!
280. listening to Michael Card's "Starkindler" while driving home in the dark--absolutely gorgeous album
281. seeing so many familiar and comfortable faces. I really enjoyed catching up and talking to many I hadn't seen in a while

Friday, November 18, 2011

warm blankets

268. Grace that is greater than all my sin
269. outside on a cold fall night, with fires and heaters, listening to students recite poetry
270. a lovely bagpipe performance
271. students who make me laugh far too hard at myself
272. my co-workers
273. a free Chick-fil-a sandwich
274. wasting a little time tonight listening to Christmas music
275. a really great article on the distinction between procrastination and rest...and the discipline required to make that distinction a reality
276. warm blankets on a bitter cold night
277. bedtime ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


or, rather, sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

262. reading Shakespeare with really great students
263. warm fall mornings
264. a father who is doing the best he can with his 3 young children as his wife is dying--such a gentle, broken man, getting booster seats out of the van for the field trip, doing all he can for his precious children
265. a refreshing talk with a fellow teacher while the students danced
266. my students making me laugh at myself (they were saying it was funny how fast I was running at the cemetery last week--Shelby found a quote from the Rubaiyat on one of the plaques, and when Collyn asked about it, right at the end, as we were all about to head back to the buses, I told her we could run and see it really quickly, so Sarah, Collyn, and I took off running to see the quote--leave it to Collyn and Caleb to make me laugh at myself, though! ;)
267. regret, forgiveness, and learning hard lessons in the context of grace...always, always understanding grace just a little more, bit by bit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Autumny foods, cemeteries, and hard lessons

242. a good night's sleep
243. whole food vitamins (esp. when my throat is sore!)
244. pumpkin cookies (I have an excuse: they were for a baby shower)
245. homemade sweet potato fries (I've decided that sweet potatoes and pumpkin make even the impending winter cold OK) ;)
246. making Brunswick stew outside in a cauldron with my parents
247. more invitations to social events than I can attend and keep my sanity (and thus, learning a crucial lesson: how to say no without guilt)
248. a service project in Old City Cemetery with my students--it was refreshing to dig in the dirt (weeding), lay mulch, pick up sticks, and spend time with students in such a different context
249. Onastazia's perspective, encouragement, and realness
250. feeling excitement about church before I get there (I've always been refreshed and encouraged and convicted and glad I've gone after the fact, but now I look forward to church all weekend! Entering into a new community has been scary and stretched me, but I really do love it)
251. singing "Before the Throne of God Above" at church
252. hiking Dragon's tooth with my new church family (LOVE this hike--want to go back soon!)
253. Learning more about grace not only at work but also from my new church family (and esp. when I lightly rear-ended a family--it was a nice vehicle--when I was trying to park on the side of the road...still no idea what happened) :(
254. Laura's love for India and Byju and God's perfect orchestration of that situation (and prayers for her that she'll be able to return very soon!)
255. being summoned for jury duty--not exciting, but thankful that I've been placed in America and given a voice in the government
256. watching little sisters grow and mature
257. watching students grow and mature :)
258. conviction to be more involved in the community--love that I am in a reformed community that takes this seriously--I want to fill out a volunteer application with the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center
259. roommates who (1) have a much better memory than I do about how to pronounce literary names, and (2) can teach me all sorts of things in the kitchen!
260. a letter from my sponsored child in Togo, Bernadette; she drew me a pineapple! ;)
261. a conversation with a student--at the end of the day--who has so much perspective and wisdom and honesty, who said the exact words I needed to hear--words about decisions she'd made about how she wanted to live her life--just when I had been most guilty of doing the opposite. Father, thank you for such a convicting (yet gentle) reminder. Change my heart.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Autumn sun

236. lingering Autumn warmth in the late afternoons, before the brisk evenings as the sun drops
237. the end of Wessex Drive, as it follows the crest of a hill, reaches toward the sun and provides some late afternoon vitamin D even when I leave work late and Daylight Savings time has already come (or gone? which happens in the fall?)
238. one of the hardest weeks at school I've ever had--not because of the students or the material or anything in the classroom but because of my own sin. Overwhelming at times and the remorse and the guilt paralyzes. The ugliness of my own sin has never seemed more horrific; I glimpsed but a bit of my unawareness of the wretchedness of my heart. But then Grace seems so much greater. And I pick up the pieces--even as I still feel poured out, broken, unable to collect myself--and do the next thing and cry curled up in the closet as I try to push past the pride and scan the words of Scripture and go back to work the next day and smile and laugh and talk and learn and grow and fall. But grace--new glimpses and new understandings--follows the guilt and regret and the sorrow--indeed it is so mixed in with them that I don't know if it can be separated. So I am grateful for the revealing of sin and for mercies new each morning.
239. conversations at work--when I'm at my worst and when I am occasionally at my best--that almost mandate community when I need it most and fear it most
240. a gorgeous sunset--from the crest of the hill at the top of Wessex Drive--dark hues vivid and crisp silhouetting leafless trees and dark branches
241. students uninhibited on the dance floor