On Ants and Jobs and Graduation

Greetings again!

I thought, back in March, that perhaps I would begin blogging more frequently since I had so much time at home. And I would have, too, except after my last post I realized I had absolutely nothing to write about.

We still had ants.

We were still eating chicken.

We still played gin rummy in the evenings.

What else could I have had to say?

However, with the passing of months, some things have changed, warranting a new blog post:

We no longer have ants!!!!

Exciting, yes? I’m sure any woman who’s ever dealt with a month-long infestation of ants in her kitchen will share my joy at being rid of the annoying little things. When we finally got rid of them for real, I wandered around the kitchen in amazement every single morning, marveling at the ant-less-ness of the sink, counter, cupboards, and dishdrainer.

Those were good days.

Aside from our ant-freedom, what else is new? Well, we’re still eating boatloads of chicken, but we have cut back on our gin rummy habit. Not because we’re tired of it (well, Logan might be, but he’s a champ and hasn’t said so), but because our evenings have gotten preciously short. God opened a door to a piano/violin teaching job at a local studio about a month ago, and the after-school lessons have dramatically reduced our gin rummy playing time. Sad, I know, but we’re adjusting.

And guys. I was made to be a music teacher. I love teaching lessons. I (briefly) toyed with the idea of being a classroom teacher several years ago, but my month-long experience in China showed me that I can’t handle large groups of kids. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE kids. (See? Italicized AND capitalized means I’m for real.) But I’m not good at classroom management, and I hated trying to teach to the average: Johnny never learned anything because he was more advanced than the lessons I was preparing; Samuel struggled because we were moving too fast. I’m sure that real teachers would have all sorts of ideas for individualizing and modifying lessons for “exceptionalities,” but it wasn’t for me.

This, however, is for me. I love getting to know students one-on-one. I love the way their personalities and learning styles show so clearly when they’re on their own in the lesson room. I love being able to slow down to explain phrasing a little more clearly if I need to. I love coming up with fun ways to drill rhythms and note names. I love being able to move an exceptional student ahead to something that challenges her. I love seeing students come back after a week of practice having mastered something that had challenged them the last time. I love praising them and seeing their confidence grow. I love the little girls who skip into the room with enthusiasm. I love making the quiet teenage boys laugh, even if it’s the only non-piano noise he’ll make all lesson. I just love this job.

Looking back, God’s hand is so clear in every step that brought me here. Reflecting on His goodness in preparing me for this place is a long enough tale to warrant its own post, really. It’s embarrassing to think about all those times I cried during lessons (Mrs. Boone was a literal saint, and never once sounded even the slightest bit frustrated with my snotty sniffling). It’s odd to remember that I went through 2 1/2 years of college NOT intending to study music. It’s incredible (as in “completely unbelievable”) to realize I made a decent grade in every semester of ear training. And it’s wonderful to realize that God opened up this job at just the time I was ready to start working; that He directed me to the job posting when I hadn’t checked for music jobs in over a month; that the studio was willing to take a risk on someone who hasn’t taught violin before; that my interviewer was so gracious about the fact that I was an hour late to our meeting (unclear Google maps + accidentally getting on a highway that only has exits every two miles . . . ).

And not only did He provide a job that I absolutely love. . . God’s also provided a wonderful church family where I’ve been able to get involved musically. I’m using my violin and my voice, and yes, even playing handbells again! He’s so good to me.

In other news, congrats to all ABC’s graduating seniors! We wish we could be walking with you . . . but let’s be honest, we’re really happy about NOT walking with you. Not because of you. You’re awesome and I loved having you as my classmates for 2 1/2 years. Because of other things, like travel expenses and dumb hats and the fact that Logan’s parents can’t be at two graduations at once (and Charis’s doctorate is a lot more important) and stuff like that. Anyhow. If any of you are reading this (which you’re probably not because packing and family and Bible conference and wedding plans, for half of you at least), just know that Logan and I wish we could hug you goodbye once more before God scatters us to serve Him all over the earth.

Alright. I’ve rambled about ants and jobs and graduation, but it’s time for the really important stuff: laundry and cleaning and paying bills. And also putting on warmer clothes because North Carolina is SERIOUSLY bipolar and keeps tricking me into boxing up all my sweaters.

Rude.

 

 

There & Back Again

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That’s the face I make when I get to see my seester. ❤

Also the face I make when I’m walking over a very long bridge over very rapid water which I can see through the bridge. Actually, that face was a trifle more terrified/green.

Logan & I took a quick trip last weekend back up to our old college stomping grounds. (Is it pretentious to call ABC “our old college stomping grounds” when we have been graduated for literally 2.5 months?) It was odd to go back–it’s been such a short time, and yet so much has changed. It probably was too soon to visit again, technically, but two of my fellow music majors were having their senior recital, Logan & I aren’t committed to a local church here yet, and Ruth and I missed each other. So I bought waaaaaaaaaay too much trip food, and off we went. (My memories of sustenance needed for road trips all still involve a van full of 7+ people — at least two of whom are always-hungry boys — and drives that last many many hours. Hence the overabundance of munchies.) Continue reading

Ah, home.

Home. Sitting on the back porch swing, listening to chickens. Feeling the breeze on my face, and watching it dance through the maples. Hearing the wind chime play its wandering, melancholy notes. Laughing at the fierceness of the tiny hummingbirds jealously watching their feeder. Rocking oh-so-gently back and forth as I read my Bible, or pray, or just relax.

Home. Working in the garden with my family. Feeling the hot sun make sweat roll down my nose. Delightedly wiggling my toes in the bare dirt. Imagining with pleasure the happy meals my family will eat with these vegetables next fall and winter. Talking with Ben about lots of things–Civil Air Patrol, and Jeff Shaara, and summer camp, and Once Upon a Time. Hearing the kids laugh and play in the back yard. Avoiding the worms. Knowing that trying to have any sort of manicure for the rest of the summer is a ridiculous thought, and not caring at all. Continue reading

Stinkin’ Coon

Hello, blogosphere. Nice to see you again.

I haven’t written for a week or so because 1) I had a lot of other things to do and 2) I had nothing really to write about. Life was just going on normally: classes, music, library, homework, church, sleep, repeat. Don’t get me wrong–I love it. But it doesn’t make a very interesting blog post. Seriously. Imagine it.
Dear blogosphere:
Today I woke up and ate breakfast. Then I went to class, did homework, and went to another class and also chapel. Then I
ate lunch and had two more classes and then went to chorale and Jubilate and then did a little more homework and checked facebook and texted my sister and worked in the library all evening and practiced the piano for an hour and managed not to get any infractions ALL DAY!
Sincerely, me.
I think you understand. It wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? Which is why I have spared you. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Adventures in Church Hunting

One of the hardest things about going to school is finding a new church family. For one, I’ve only spent one year out of twenty going to a church without my Dad pastoring it. For two, I love my family at EBC a lot and nothing makes me quite as homesick as going to church somewhere else. For three, there are a lot of churches around here.

Our first Sunday on campus was the day after we checked in. Instead of trying to find a new church right away, we had a service in the chapel as part of orientation. So we didn’t begin real church hunting until the next Wednesday. Because my roomie has a car (Hi Jenna! Oh wait. I forgot. You don’t even read my blog! AND YOU’RE ALWAYS ON MY SIDE OF THE ROOM!), I went to church with her, her cousin, and some girls across the hall. We picked Faith Baptist. The conversation in our car went something like this: “These roads are really curvy. I think I’m sick.” “How do we get there again?” “I think we should have left earlier.” “Is that it?” “I can’t figure out your GPS!” We pulled into the parking lot–but to our consternation, it was First Baptist, not Faith. Well. This is awkward. We decided to go in anyhow…but the only door we saw appeared to enter the very front of the sanctuary. Where do we go? Is there a different door? Nope. That was it, we discovered, as a gentleman enthusiastically beckoned to us through the glass. It did indeed open into the very front of the sanctuary.
“Are you ABC students? Why did you choose our church?” the man asked, beaming as he shook our hands.
“Yes, we’re from ABC. We choose your church…umm…” Exchange of awkward glances. Should we tell them we were actually trying to find a different church? “Well, it was the first one we found.”
We were then informed that the pastor was gone on vacation, so we heard an older gentleman sub for him. The people were very friendly, but one elderly couple pulled Melissa aside and told her that they were actually planning on leaving the church soon due to doctrinal problems and gave us a list of churches they recommended. Well. This is awkward. We decided to visit a few more churches before we went back.

Sunday morning, we decided to go to a church that was 1) sending a van and 2) had sent church members with bags of food to welcome us. Actually, the whole food thing was a coincidence. That’s not exactly why we decided to visit it. Really.
In the van, one of the girls who had gone to this church the previous year told us that the pastor was gone this week, so someone would be filling in. Sunday School was…well…mostly politics. And mostly politics of the “back in the day” genre. The worship service, however, was very encouraging and challenging, and we enjoyed visiting with the people. A lot of students were there that morning, however, and we were hoping for a church not quite so popular. (As a random side note, I learned about Opportunity Corners on the van ride back…)

That evening, we took Jenna’s car again and visited Bible Baptist. We had to go through a $0.40 toll. Oops. Forgot about that. Quick! Scramble for change! Here’s a quarter…and she has a dime…and a nickle…JENNA DON’T YOU DARE DROP THE CHANGE OR WE’RE STUCK! We made it. Narrowly.
When we got to church, we saw a display table from a couple who work in church planting in the foyer. “It would be ironic if there was another guest speaker,” we joked.
There was another guest speaker.
Three churches, three special speakers. What are the odds?
The guest speaker was really good, however, and I at least was very challenged by it. I definitely long to be involved in some sort of church planting or pastoring ministry. (Though also definitely not as the pastor.) The members were all incredibly welcoming, and the pastor and his wife met with all the visiting students after the service to give us their cell numbers and answer any questions we had. We decided we’d like to go back sometime. If, of course, we lived that long. We sorta kinda maybe took a wrong turn on the way home and ended up driving a long way and paying $4.40 more in tolls. It was the GPS’s fault, you see.

The second week of classes, we decided to retry finding Faith. We did make it this time. There seemed to be quite a few students attending it. The woman who was leading the ladies’ Bible study shared her testimony, which was really neat. Other than that, it didn’t really stand out a lot–but then again, it was just the midweek service instead of the worship service.

Our second Sunday of church hunting, we went to another Bible church. The road was really windy–Opportunity Corners galore!–and it reminded me of home. Good old Antire! Good old Highway PP! Not everyone appreciated the road, however. Silly girls. Who cares if you feel carsick? Think of the Opportunities!
Just kidding, OBVIOUSLY.
Anyhow. The el ed major chair was the ladies’ Sunday School teacher at that church, and it was really good. (Also, I met a missionary that Ruthie met in Brazil last February.) We entered the sanctuary…and the bulletin announced that there was a special speaker from the Gideons sharing.
Seriously? We haven’t hear the “real” pastor of ANY of these churches yet!! Thankfully, the actual pastor of the church did speak after Mr. Gideon shared for a few minutes. 🙂 It was good, and it felt like a good church to be involved in.

That evening, we decided to try one of the bigger churches that a lot of students and staff attend. There’s a reason they all go there, we heard: it’s the best church around. We got to the building right at 6, walked in…and saw no one. There were lists on the back table of Sunday night small group names, but no small groups visible. Maybe they’re downstairs? We crept down in the silence. It looked deserted…but there were voices from a room somewhere. We made our way through the hallway, but the voices we heard were all men. Hum. Probably a men’s small group wouldn’t be the best fit for us. Shh. Maybe they didn’t hear us peeking in the door. Walk on. We walked around the rest of the spacious basement, half-hoping to find someone and half-fearing being caught sneaking around. (That’s really what it felt like.) We didn’t find anyone else. By now it was past six, when most of the churches in the area have their evening service. Bible Baptist didn’t begin until 6:30, so we decided to go back there.
The regular pastor was preaching this evening. On relationships, of course. Apparently we haven’t heard enough about them at ABC. ONE of the girls in our group (YOU know who you are!) really needed to hear the message. That’s like ALL she thinks about! <insert knowing look>*
This church is really nice; before the service, one of the older ladies came up to us and told us that she was adopting us. After the service, another lady gave us her cell phone number, “just in case you ever need a mom or anything else.” The only thing I don’t really like is that both times we’ve visited, they had an alter call. I don’t like alter calls at all. I don’t know how to distinguish between my conscience and false guilt. Also, the church feels like it’s a little more white-collar than I’m used to. NOT, of course, implying that my church is composed of peasants or anything. You know what I mean. And if you don’t, just leave a ridiculous comment, like, “ARE YOU SAYING I GREW UP IN A CORNFIELD? ARE YOU SAYING I LIKE COMIC SANS?!?!?!?” And I’ll placate you and explain everything.

Whew.
That took a lot longer to write than it should have. (Though I did go make some popcorn in the middle, so that added a few minutes.) Anyhow, those are our church-hunting adventures to date. I think Bible Baptist is where we’ll end up (did I mention they have a Patch the Pirate Club?), though I’m excited to be visiting Nychele’s church with her this Sunday.

Update to the scores:

  • Twinsie 2: 2
  • 2 Sheep: 1
  • Mother, Mother, etc.: 2
  • Johnny: 1
  • Janelle: 1
  • Stonewall Benson: 1 (he also sent a purple sparkly dancing cat picture)
  • Daddy-o: 5 (How many popcorn bags I’ve eaten to date. I have the wrappers hanging on my bulletin board. He left me encouraging messages, like “Life is for Service!” and “think PURPLE!” He knows me.)

*JUST KIDDING. This unnamed girl is a very very sweet person and does NOT think about that silly stuff because she’s MATURE.