Monthly Archives: April 2012

baked potato soup

For the first time this morning I saw a couple of my students at New Heights Church (which is sporting a new looking website: It was bound to happen, and is bound to happen more and more as time goes on (and as I meet more kids by subbing at another school this summer)…but OH! The implications for me as their teacher. In the ways they have watched my example as a teacher in fairness and fun and expectations, they will be watching me as a believer. Am I the person I claim Christ to have made?

This is not a new thing, I understand. Every day the people that I work with or come to know through commerce or neighborly conversation are potential watchers of my life–but these young people reminded me that my life is not merely my own. It is God’s to be used for His Glory. My choices have bigger ramifications…eternity is in the daily mix.

Today I was not at church early, and it was luxurious to “sleep in” and linger over breakfast, but I had a little trouble deciding what to do. My afternoon will be short because of a friend’s pilgrimage to Indianola (she’s moving to my old apartment, the one with the ginormous closet), so I could have used that time wisely and productively. But instead I kind of enjoyed it like one might enjoy staying in bed after they are awake…just comfortable.

And now for some of that productivity–soup for the next couple days’ meals and some gift-knitting. I love to gift-knit, but I tend to get a little rushed about it. Hoping to make the deadline.

Can I just add, for the record, that the number of parties happening the weekend before school gets out is incredible? It’s graduation weekend, too, but there are plenny o’ parties of every sort. I’ll be a butterfly that weekend, no doubt.

Peace to you!



My dad is especially gifted at surprises. When I came home from college my sophomore year, he asked me to take the stuff I had just unloaded from the car straight up to my room. Feeling a little overwhelmed, I did, and I found a fabulous guitar, stand, and all the accessories waiting in my room. It was a complete surprise, as we’d talked about finding a guitar at a local music store’s annual sale, but it dropped when he looked and couldn’t find one.

I came home for some dinner before Anthem and when I got out of the car, I was wished a Happy Birthday. I am all for celebrating my birthday (actually life, which happens to be marked by time…I usually stick to monthly “celebrating”) year-round, but it’s not until August, so it was a little unexpected. In the garage was a beautiful bike that he had found, bought, and was fixing up for me. It’s seen its share of use and love, but it has new brakes, a new tire, and a lot of miles ahead of it. I found a picture online of what it looks like (I’m too lazy to go down to my garage, take it outside, and take a picture…apologies!).

Let me be clear–this one isn’t mine, but looks very similar!

Bike trails of Minneapolis, be ready. I can hardly wait! Thanks Dad!!

The Joys of “ethnic” food

Most of the grocery stores around here have some sort of ethnic food aisle. Some stretch the Italian staples to fit, but usually it’s a small assortment of jalapenos in jars, soy sauce, and taco seasoning. A few other ingredients rotate, too (curry sauce, a bit of the oils and sauces for Asian dishes, brands of beans from Mexico), but it’s pretty standard and predictable.

I was avoiding a sizable roadblock in the Super Walmart here in town (one of about three tonight…always an adventure!!) by ducking into the tuna aisle. Across from the tuna were some canned items. I would not have stopped if it had not been for the canned boiled peanuts…BBQ Flavored!…that I found there. Next to it was canned succotash and okra, and just about any other Southern US canned food. That shelf and the one next to it, certainly, were chock full of the oddest things my eyes have encountered on shelves so far in my life.

Perhaps this most motivated me to write because I just saw a link for a blog post on the top 20 (arbitrary number…I don’t remember and I didn’t go read it) canned foods that shouldn’t exist. I’m not exactly a proponent of knocking food before I try it (it’s my anti-picky eating mentality), but it seems as though that might eventually make the cut in my own list.

SO…if you are feeling particular adventurous, we should cruise the South’s last stand aisle in Walmart and pick something crazy to eat.

(I should mention that I don’t have a particular disdain for the south, I just haven’t been there. And I find it surprising that our Walmart devotes so much room to the fare from there. Maybe since they are a southern chain?).

that’s all. laundry. dinner. taxes (state, as federal were due today), and knitting!


When I remember the nothing-out-of-the-ordinary events that made up today, I can’t really think of much that should have left such a great impression of weariness on me, but I am exhausted. Our program is tomorrow (this is it…for better or for worse) and we’ll be finished in less than an hour of singing. I didn’t pull out all the stops for dramatic additions (regrettably, as there are some capable kiddos…but the fall’s over-done program stomped my ambition out a bit), but I think the singing is stand-alone quality (and though it’s maybe not the greatest singing because I’m learning how to teach great singers, it’s a meaty program). 

The program includes America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, the Armed Forces Medley (I hope I called it by its actual title, The Pride of America, in the printed program…I may have goofed), Iowa (Meredith Willson), The Iowa Corn Song (THAT’S how the tall corn grows), a fun patriotic medley opener and a more fun Fifty States in Rhyme closer (in case you’re puzzled as to how anything could rhyme within our fifty states, other words are added to make it work). It’s all balanced fairly delicately on some accompaniment transitions that I had not really put much thought into until today when we first rehearsed with our lovely pianist. No matter, though, as she is really flexible and a great player. 

To any and all future music educators, invest your time, resources, and motivation in the piano. You should be an accompanist, even if it’s not your favorite or main instrument. This is my chief regret in 2 years (wow, wealth of experience, right?) of teaching. I am working on piano on the side, but I don’t have a teacher and there are some weeks that I just don’t have time.

So now to mop my floor, squeeze in a little more knitting (love this project, but mum’s the word, as it’s a gift), and go to bed early. Might push off the mopping till tomorrow to get a couple more rows in…

Peace to you!


Every now and then I have a little bit of free time that is utterly wasted because I am unable to decide what to during it. Right now is one of those times. I had an emotional day at work (not a crying one, thankfully), and want to pour my heart out in singing, or writing, or in a walk, or vegging in front of a show, or knitting. But I can’t decide. Part of me wants tears to come so I can just get some of the restlessness out…but that’s not so easily done.

I think I know what I need to do, but being unspecific yet rambling on about it here will not help the situation. 

What do you do when you can’t decide what to do with your time?


I probably shouldn’t get too excited just now, but I filled out the long form with the schedule A for itemized deductions on my state return, and it was a beautiful revelation of a much lower still-owe number than this weekend’s work produced. I intend to double check it (and show it to the tax-pro in my life), but I am much relieved. To quote a smart guy, “Organization can save you a lot in the end.” True that.

I made fish and chips for dinner. Except the breading burned to the bottom of the pan on the second side of the fish (sad face). And it was really bland. I used cod…and tried to improvise “beer batter” by dipping the fillets in guiness before putting the crumbs on. It was not successful in my mind because it was so bland. I might look into that more for next time.

Also, last night was our honor choir concert. It went very well–the rehearsals get a little long (and the kids a little wound up), but a great time was had by all. I was really surprised to hear from so many adults about it today. That was rewarding. I also was given a flower by one of the participants and her family. That was pretty sweet–if kindergarten hadn’t been in the room, I might have welled up. Instead I kind of gaped like a fish and thought of the first words of gratitude that I could come up with. It’s a lovely sunflower-impersonating flower…possibly a gerbera daisy? The middle is slightly black with yellow around it. The stem is too flimsy to stand up in its tall vase so it’s reinforced with wire. I love it, needless to say.

I don’t have a whole lot else to share because my bathroom-cleaning-procrastination has got to end.

Long form, please

I spent 2 hours working on taxes. Or maybe it was 90 minutes. Don’t actually know when it started. I relocated a missing W-2 (haphazardly filed in the wrong part of the file box…not with the rest of the papers) and got to work on the short form, double checking numbers as I went (with my federal return and with w-2s). My frustration was mounting when I easily came to an amount that was about 200% the amount Turbo Tax predicted (I didn’t want to pay the additional 25 dollars for the state return with their software…). A chat with my tax pro dad, and the long form seems to be the big ticket item. That is a big relief…so I hooked up the printer, figured out what pages I needed and started printing.

It made it through 2/3 of the last page (prints out of order, you see) before it ran out of ink so much that I couldn’t read it. I checked my drawer and…nothing. I have 3 photo cartridges and 3 color cartridges, all from K and D who donated their extras to me when their same-model printers died or were replaced (respectively). I could print my taxes in high quality color-cartridge black, or I could throw up my hands in frustration and figure something else out.

Until then (and sometime soon, hopefully), I will be enjoying the HOT day with some non-taxing occupation (HA…puns abound).

New Heights is official–every Sunday from here on out until Jesus says “no more.” I am really excited for the weeks, months, years to come. Though I am impatient for the fruit to come, I am excited for the process.

That’s all I have. Peace!