Monthly Archives: January 2012

hot. soup.

I had a fantastic bowl of chicken tortilla soup this weekend when I went to our pastor’s new home to do some painting. I longed for the recipe, but said NOTHING. Should have jumped on it. You snooze…well, don’t rub it in.

I did what any new-to-spicy kitchen-ista would do and google searched the recipe, trusting that google would provide the most popular recipe, which would naturally be the best tasting soup…aka the one I had this weekend. Not so much. But looking at the list I found that I was lacking some ingredients, so I actually went out and bought them, concluding this morning at an eerily quiet WalMart where I had gone to buy animal crackers for my chorus kids in celebration of the concert. I bought soup ingredients as well, including a product called “flavor boost” which is glorified boullion, as it turns out. Hopefully it’s “low sodium” label makes it worth the cost. I had a $1 off coupon, which should tell you it isn’t cheap. It was cheaper than buying the equivalent 8 cans of broth (technically less than 8 cans) at regular price. I’m trying not to let my cheapskate-nature determine what I eat so much…I won’t go all out and buy things of convenience…but if my soup calls for Rotel, I’m not unwilling to get it. Items like that for this recipe include HOMINY (the white stuff looks like molars, does it not?).

It snowed…but lightly. No snow days in sight. Which is good for the summer work situation (because more days of school now means more days of summer break later). Bitter cold again. It is January I suppose.

Knitting remains elusive. Really need to finish. Really cannot find the will to live  carry on while knitting this wretched ribbing pattern on socks. Hooweee. It’s not good.

Soup’s on!

programmable coffee maker

I have a house-fire phobia. I saw a friend’s house burn down 4 doors down from where I lived. The fear has been in me since before that (spotted a fire as a three year old in IC, just looking out the window with my sister), but it affirmed it. Living in an apartment, I don’t have much more easiness. Luckily we have sprinklers and alarms and the whole bit, but yikes. This all to say, I unplug my heating-element appliances very diligently. Toaster, check. Hair styling things? Ohs to the yeahs. Coffee Maker? As soon as the last cup is poured.

I’ve tried something out of the norm though. K suggested to me a better morning might happen if the coffee is ready when I am in the morning…so I set my programmable coffee maker to brew coffee at 5:54, approximately 6 minutes before I am finished in the bathroom with my very consistent 15 minute shower and 5 minute dress/brush hair time. It takes the machine about 6 minutes to brew 6 cups (the small cups…it’s about 24 oz. of coffee). Here’s hoping I got it right so that there is coffee at 6 and not at like 2:00 a.m., right?

In other words, God may have provided summer employment. NEVER would have seen it coming. NEVER would have remotely imagined it. He’s more than pretty cool to orchestrate my entire life, but that seems to be the only words that come to mind at this too, too late hour. I must retire [to bed, not from work…].


fast forward

Tonight was the first public gathering of New Heights Church ( and it was a good one. I have to say, a LOT has been going through my mind this weekend (and weeks and months before) about what the transition was going to look like, particularly how good things are happening at Westwind in Waukee, and I was torn to transition out of that (though I’m barely “in” there…I’ve deemed the drive too far to do more than 1 day a week).When I consider those things, it’s still tough, but truly I am thankful for God’s affirmation tonight. So many people united by the Spirit in one place. I love it. I love that people are willing to come here to see it happen. To think that I left a good place so unwillingly to come here, and now it is that good place. My heart has some shame for the attitude I’ve held.

And what of relational intimacy? I long to know and be known here…this church might be the vehicle for that. I pray it is.  I’m anticipating also the connection of service. I have been inactive in churches for about 15 months. Or more. October 2010 marked my last week in a D6 room at Cornerstone (and even then my involvement was pretty limited). I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. Enough talking about it, right? 🙂

I don’t have much more here. Some heavy duty knitting (stupid mistakes…taking them out keeps me from working further, sadly)…and a full week, but good stuff. Peace!

This is me. This is me…not knitting

Another knitting deadline approacheth. Birthday socks. Oh my. I’m stuck on gusset decrease of sock #1 because I wrote the pattern down wrong (this is like the 40th time I’ve done that on socks…and I’ve only made 5 pairs to date)…and I have to frog a bunch. Rats! It’s all plain color (purple) in a pattern that looks cool on Ravelry but is entirely lame to knit (Hedgerow, if you were curious).

Connection groups started tonight. SIGH of relief! It was just getting to know you stuff…followed by “hold lightly because we’ll probably multiply pretty quick”…but it’s a start. God answered prayer in making the group at all (but then answered even more specifically a prayer I made this morning, which makes it all around suh-weet).

Concert tomorrow. This girl isn’t really digging the concert scene at the moment because it’s c-o-o-o-ld out there now. Today a pretty hefty wind storm with a little snow brought cold temps and nasty weather. Pretty sure we’ll be fine tomorrow…but I don’t want to go out in it more than I have to. We have a dress rehearsal, you see. I’m ready to have this concert though…there’s a lot to do for chorus this spring, and I’m in the mood to start some of that.

Funny thing today: the power went out in the middle of the afternoon. I had some first graders followed by Kindergarten. None of my plans were really interrupted too much, but I played a super fun game (not really impromptu, but sort of a deviation from the plan) called Magic Piano. I learned that at Kodaly this past summer. It isn’t really reinforcing a lot (I’m not much of a pianist, so my “magic piano” only “says” about three different things…but it’s way more fun in the window-lit room than in the lights. Haha.

I had auditions for an honor choir today. That made me think of being an adjudicator again. I had said last year that I was going to get myself into that this year. Didn’t do that. Perhaps I will make the leap next year.

Finished my teacher mentoring class tonight. I am one “unit project” away (plus an evaluation and a portfolio) from being licensed fully, not just conditionally. Woohoo. Call me a veteran teacher or something. Or don’t. I’m not really.

You know what is truly fun? Square Dancing. No joke. Really fun. Not so fun to convince kiddos that it’s fun, but seriously. Do I have 7 friends reading this? Would you please square dance with me? Great! Thanks! 😀

I ate dinner really late…pasta with sauce and a pita with hummus. Not a winning before-bed combo. I’m stuffed and I’ve got the tomato taste lingering. Tomorrow I hope to finish the quiche I made for dinner on Monday at lunch time. I added sour cream to the eggs and it made a really fluffy, light texture out of the quiche. It would have been magnificent with spinach and bacon, but I had green onions and farmland sausage. It’s light, fluffy, and salty as all get out. Shoot.

I think I’m ready for bed. I’ll need my beauty sleep because I’m cranking out some good work tomorrow with the rehearsal, the concert, and a full Day 1 of teaching. Whew.

Peace to y’all. And hope to update with knitting progress sometime!


I know why everyone gets all reflective and inspired on January 1st. Because it’s a holiday that you (generally speaking) don’t work. I got to work today and realized that getting myself on the right track, out from under a mound of responsibility, will require more than a Teacher Workday could ever hope to provide. That’s my fault, granted. I chose not to work over break or take care of tedious things like entering Report Card grades before break. But man. I look at the next three days and wonder how it’ll all happen. Come to think of it, Thursday looks a little brighter than Wednesday because I’ll have a set of lesson plans to recycle by then.

I’ve been wrestling with report card stuff since finishing dinner (with occasional breaks for answering emails, playing guitar, refilling my glass with water, a bit of facebook and pinterest too)…expressing the skills tackled and assessed is hard enough for 6 grade levels plus chorus, but customizing the given grades with some explanation (so and so sang below pitch on the assessment, sonny is giving me attitude daily, little miss has come SO far this quarter!) in a clear and positive way…though it’s just four times a year, I feel like my entire profession is actually just research for a great writing project. NOT fiction, of course. I strive to be true and evidence based in grading, as any sane teacher would. Hopefully sane, anyway. I suppose I can’t diagnose myself. 🙂

Today was a day of great hydration. I wonder if I should quick re-write my 2012 goals to include drinking plenty of water and tea on January 3rd. It’s bound to slow down when my bathroom breaks are fewer, but seriously. I had 2 cups of coffee before work, 2 giant mugs of tea, a giant mug of coffee (well, half of it…it’s old coffee) at school, half a nalgene of water, water at lunch, another giant cuppa tea, and several glasses of water this afternoon/evening. If only that hydration would go straight to my eye, which is going to need looking at, I’m afraid, as school only irritated it further. It will have to happen after I look into my insurance coverage (urgent care? regular appointment?) for the best option…yikes.

And to close, with great joy and jubilation I announce the beginning of connection groups for New Heights is next week. Oh, this day has been long in coming…and I have a prior commitment (my last mentoring class). I should still be able to make it to the group, but I’ll be the fashionably late gal who misses all the introductions and has to make one awkward one in front of the whole group. Or my class will get out early and I’ll be just in time. Here’s hoping… 🙂

Happy New Year, and New Semester tomorrow…

New year, new focus

Part of me wants to buck the tradition of starting fresh, reflecting, and reorganizing. I mean, we get a first day of the month every 30 days or so, and my focus is not necessarily recentered or refreshed at that time more than any other day. So, what does January 1st offer that the other months do  not? And yet, I am reflective, refreshed, and aiming for purposeful living.

I’ve been home in Indianola from break for a few hours and have managed to unpack about half of what I brought home and re-do my furniture layout. My dresser and closet remained untouched, but I moved a couple shelves around and added a chair to my room. My hope is to do some of my morning quiet time (well, all of it) in my room. It may or maynot be longlived, as the chair is a bit hulking sitting in front of a closet and a window (leftover from those dorm days!!), and it’s a trek away from the coffee maker, but I’m going to try it.

On the reflective front, I have been reading through my old journals. I don’t know if it was age or being a teacher that made me realize that I don’t have much figured out, but as I read through entries from college, post-college, and post-YMT, I can stand back and thank God for His work in growing me through some ugly duckling phases when I thought I had things figured out. There are undoubtedly more to come, as sin is pesky and recurring, but I can thank Him for his faithfulness in leading and guiding…even when I wasn’t really looking to be guided or led.

Maybe the fresh new start to the new year is catchy for a reason. I find myself more excited at the prospect of organization and discipline and betterment. Three words from Troy’s sermon at Cornerstone this past weekend are on my mind (and in my journaling) for the new year: Submitted, Steward, and Servant. I hope those words begin to describe more fittingly the woman I am over the course of a year.

School tomorrow…grades for report cards, seating charts, lesson plans, and a BIG project to conclude 1.5 years of mentoring class (woo hoo to being 3/4 through my probational teaching license…which is to say, the conditional license granted to beginning teachers until they complete requirements like this class). Kids on Wednesday.

Happy New Year!