Note To Self

When you come home from the Target at Boone’s Crossing and can’t remember whether to turn left or right off of I-64 onto Ballas, it *might* be helpful to look for the giant green sign that says “Covenant Seminary” and includes a big arrow pointing to the left.

Just a thought.

Possible Great News!

Notice my disclaimer there? Really, we have great news. Someone made us an offer on our house yesterday, which we accepted, although it was significantly lower than our original asking price and considerably lower than our current listing price. The bottom line is that we won’t make any money on it. We won’t lose any either, though, so that’s good.

The hesitation comes in that of course nothing is official until we sign the closing papers somewhere around mid-July and have deposited the check into our account. Normally I’d be exuding excitement by this news, but the experience of the last six months has taught me not to do that anymore. We’re so ready to be done with this whole deal. Done.

So, we have one more month of paying mortgage and rent and then hopefully we can recover from semi-financial chaos of the last two months (van repairs, Greek class, rent deposit plus rent, mortgage payments, etc.) and get our lives in order. I hope so, I really don’t want to ever call any of the companies that will help repair your credit that I found in preparation for the worst case scenario.

Among other news:
*Craig has his first official test tomorrow night. He’s studying his brains out right now.
*The girls and I are all attending a VBS (for free, but I’m helping in the nursery all week which is fine because Grace is going through her first real seperation anxiety phase, so I’ll be with her) all this week. We’ve been on the hunt for free, indoor (read: air conditioned) activities to keep us busy in this interim time, so this VBS will be great!
*Will Leingang, the guy who so graciously set up my blog for me as a total surprise last summer got engaged last week to a really sweet gal, Rose, whom we met on a trip to San Diego in October. Congrats you two! So happy to hear the big news.
*We experienced a near-perfect Father’s Day by going to church, the girls being extra sweet to each other today, everyone taking a nap except Craig (he studied), then a trip to the mall to remind ourselves of why we don’t normally go to the mall and also to eat dinner in honor of Craig. Now the girls have all gone to bed without complaining and it has been about as great a day as could possibly exist.

And with that, I’m off to read. Night!

Please Send Megan to the Principal’s Office

When I was in 8th grade, right at the beginning of advanced math class, the intercom interrupted the class and I was summoned to THE OFFICE.

If you knew me then (and I’d like to think that not *that* much has changed since that time) you would understand why: 1. My whole class started snickering and saying things like, “Ooooo, Megan’s in trooooubbbble!” and 2. My face turned the shade of a red delicious apple and stayed that way for approximately three weeks afterward.

With my deer-in-the-headlights look and my pink overalls I was wearing over a very fashionable turquoise and white stripped shirt (did I mention this was in the 80’s?) I picked myself up and headed to THE OFFICE.

I sat there with Mr. Holmes (whom I only remember because we called him “Hawkeye Holmes”), and he looked at me sitting there, scared, waiting to find out what I did.

My offense? I had been accused of throwing eggs at a school bus by some nameless students.
Now, that offense is so absurd that it is laughable today and indeed, I’m laughing while I’m typing. But to the world’s MOST self-conscious 14-year-old, my life had just ended. I had been written up by a school bus driver, the accusation had been passed all the way to the administration, and there I was: a branded bus-egger.

I started crying right there in the office and stammering out my excuses of where I was at the appointed time and with whom (I had a reliable alibi – my mom actually picked me up from school that day and took me to Tulsa for some shopping). And to tell the truth, I don’t think Mr. Holmes even believed I did it either, but that didn’t change my outlook that day, nor my emotional response. I cried the whole rest of the day.

This afternoon, I thought it would be nice to bake some cookies for the apartment of four single guys who live below us (and who will live above us in another month) sort of as a peace offering due to the fact that the half pints haven’t quite mastered the concept of shared living space yet (ie: they can get pretty loud up here, as can I from time to time), and also as a way to meet them. We’ve been in this apartment for just over two weeks now and I’d only met one of them; Craig hadn’t met any of them.

So I piled up the cookies on two plastic plates and the six of us walked down the stairs to pass off our goodwill. And it was well received. We met two of the guys and enjoyed our little visit. They were really nice guys.

Later today, after dinner, I ran to the store for some milk and things. When I came back, Craig told me the guys had come up for a bit while I was gone. I didn’t think too much about this until Craig shut his computer and looked at me with a bit of concern and said, “Did something happen with the girls this morning?”

Huh? I had no idea where this was coming from, but he said when the guys came up, they wanted to check something with us. It seems this morning, around 7:30 or so, they heard a female voice cursing loudly. They thought it came from up here. They wondered if it was me.

Now then, the first thing that should be noted is that it was *great* for those guys, having thought that, to come to the source and check it with us (or Craig, since I wasn’t here). They said they wondered if the cookies we brought were to kind of make up for the outburst from this morning, and also thought that if we were going to live in community together, then it was their brotherly duty to bring the grievance to us.

Truly, I’m glad they did that, rather than to have gone somewhere else and started a campus rumor that there’s a crazy lady in Apt. E who cusses out her four small children early on Saturday mornings. But I’m also still that super self-conscious 14-year-old, sitting in the principal’s office, stammering out my defense, highly embarrassed that the accusation could even be made of me (which would explain that my spontaneous response was to start crying).

What are the odds anyway, that some female someone would be cursing loudly enough at 7:30 on a Saturday morning that the guys in a middle apartment should be able to hear it and that on that same day, I would be inspired to make cookies for them to make up for our loudness (feet wise, ball-bouncing wise, etc)? What are the odds?

Craig was still here even. The girls slept in until after 7 this morning which was an act of God in itself, so that by 7:30 we were peaceably eating bagels provided from the free stash over in Edwards Hall. I turned on the TV at 8:00 so they could watch cartoons. I’m sure we didn’t have a perfect morning. Something probably happened somewhere that made me lose patience with somebody, but I’m CERTAIN that this morning I didn’t cuss anybody out. There have been a very limited number of times I’ve used a curse word out loud (limited as in can count on two fingers – remember, I grew up a legalist, I can still remember both occasions), and one time online. But never to my kids.

I’m not going to go the route of saying, “Oh, well *I* would NEVER do that,” though, certainly, no one would be more surprised than me if I did, but by the grace of God go I and all that. While certainly not in my nature, it is in my capacity, I suppose. And also, I have yelled at my kids. It goes more like this: “STOP IT! That’s the fifth time I’ve had to tell you that. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!”

(Please, no commentary on my parenting style. I don’t like it when that happens, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen some of the time. And I need to be a better steward of my emotional reactions to their behavior. I also need to be a better mommy overall. No one knows that more than me, either).

But still, my pride has been pricked tonight. And the sad thing is that I’m more embarrassed that they thought it was me than I’m concerned that the words came from somebody who is surely hurting today, or certainly was this morning. *That’s* what should be making my heart the most burdened right now. Not that my name received a check by it this morning.

Sigh

Consider Yourself Warned

We bought a kite the other day. Just a cheap $1 store variety with Big Bird as the character. Two days ago, while attempting to fly said kite, one of the girls ran kind of beside and around Millie, wrapping the kite string around her neck (by accident), which tightened and cut her. It looks horrible. At first it didn’t really look like anything happened, but then over the course of the evening it got progressively worse to the point of looking like an actual cut yesterday morning.

We had a better wind last night and so I let the girls fly it again, only this time I had intentions of being super watchful over Millie – and I was. And, still, it happened again. What are the odds? So today she has two kite string cuts on her neck.

And the kite is in the trash.

I don’t normally think I go overboard with the over-protection thing, but last night I was. I was playing defense around Millie the whole rest of the night, as well as other babies who were out on the field – if the kite was coming near, I was running towards small children I didn’t even know with my arms extended. I’m sure *I* looked like the Big Bird character. But I was determined not to take any more chances.

And now you know. Kites can be fun, but beware of the younger set who might possibly get their neck caught in the crosswind. Maybe even twice.

Book Nook

I’ve been tagged by Anne — this time for a book meme. Here I go:

(1) Number of books I (we, as a family) own – I stopped tracking them in Excel when I was packing everything for our move at 1,365. You could probably add another 200 or so that didn’t get included and maybe 100 more that got lumped together as a series and I was too lazy to list them individually and maybe add another 50 acquired post move, so I don’t know, 1,715 give or take 100 or so?

(2) Last book I bought – For me, my last Amazon order of three (you know, to get the free shipping deal) included:

The Soul Tells A Story: Engaging Creativity With Spirituality In The Writing Life by Vinita Hampton Wright
Before We Get Started : A Practical Memoir of the Writer’s Life by Bret Lott
Housekeeping : A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

For Craig, the last book I bought was Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes

For the girls, the last homeschooling book(s) I bought were Spelling Workout, volumes A and B and Zaner Bloser’s handwriting books for K and 1st grade. The last new *fun* book we obtained was a Klutz big book of paper dolls with stick-on clothes from the campus free store. That was a great find. They’ve been playing with it every day and we’ve taken it with us to appointments and such. Thanks, generous family who got tired of it and donated it. We’ve loved it. When I get tired of it, I’ll pass it on to someone else (although they’ve done an amazing job keeping all the pieces in the book – no one is more surprised by this than me!)

(3) Last book I read – Ice-Cream Cones For Sale! by Elaine Greenstein

(4) Five books that mean a lot to me:
1. My Name is Asher Lev and The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok – one of my first encounters with the wrestle of faith and art. Amazing books, amazing writing.
2. Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring by Andi Ashworth – Andi’s words were one of the first times I have not only felt like I didn’t have to explain or justify my calling in life, I felt validated by it. I met her in person after I read the book and count her among my top mentors, so to speak. So real, so caring, so inspiring. If I had the money, I would buy this book for every woman I know.
3. Common Sense Christian Living by Edith Schaeffer – I read this when Chloe was a baby and it was probably the first time I started piecing together that my Christianity wasn’t something that was relegated to a Christian label, but an every day part of my everyday process.
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Somehow this got dropped on my list of required reading in high school. I read it just a couple of years ago. It was probably my first real encounter with a story that told the truth, told it unbelievably well, told it in a manner that made me weep, but didn’t make me angry with the ending. It wasn’t happy. It shouldn’t have been. This is writing.
5. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer & Jessie Wise – Ditto to Anne. I actually just read this last month, but it’s completely changed the way I view our schooling. Completely.

Tastes a Little Salty to Me

The Bible reading program for Shirkers and Slackers that I started last December has self-fulfilled. I am both. But still I try.

Last night I was reading in Genesis again (it’s on the Monday track – if you look at the plan you will see how much of a Shirker and Slacker I am; no coals on my head, please), and got to the part about Lot’s wife. I’ve read about Lot’s wife before and scoffed at her – who would do that?
But last night I did a double take. For the last 2.5 months and more specifically the last 2 weeks I’ve been stuck, looking to the magical date of July 15, yet also pining for what we left behind and also stressing over it because our past has quickly become an albatross on us (paying the mortgage on a house we no longer live in, while paying rent for an apartment that isn’t ours is wearing on me).

I read the section several times last night and then just stared. After all, I *had* just asked God to speak to me in a tangible way, even in Genesis. So there I was, turning back, not trusting, not wanting to trust, just wanting what I want. A big pillar of salt.

Fortunately, for me, the condition isn’t permanent. But it may take some time to shovel all of it out of the window.

This by no means is to say that we’re coming away from a Sodom situation. And the things and people I miss are miss-worthy. But my attitude in the missing hasn’t been honoring, not to Craig, not to the girls, not to God.

So here I am, trying to dissolve, and perhaps be better for the seasoning…

Boo

Must be a St. Louis thing, but I’ve never heard of having to pay to have children attend Vacation Bible School before. Without naming names, two of the churches I’ve tried charge for VBS – one of them $40 for the first child and $10 for additional children, the other $15 per child with a $45 cap per family.

The third is free (that’s more like it…), but there’s a waiting list for Chloe and Katie. Maddie is in, though, and if I offer to volunteer, all of them can go. Still thinking about that one.

In the meantime, I’ll continue working my way down this green church list and see what other options are available. I’m also doing my darndest not to let the fee for VBS skew my perceptions of said churches. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but that just screams of exclusivity. It also makes me wonder if all of their children’s programs are fee-based. Boo.

Highlights of the Week

*Finally arriving here at Covenant Seminary. Sure, we’re 6 weeks away from settling into our own place, but we’re here, darn it! Wee Hoo!

*Having dinner with Ed and Marcie on Thursday night – *great* food, lovely conversation, very nice time.

*Meeting Jane before she moved away from St. Louis on Friday. Another great experience of the blogosphere becoming real. (Great to meet you, Jane!)

*Campus picnic on Friday – yes we were concerned, but have turned a pretty sharp corner. Both of us are doing a fairly decent job of not only interacting with others, but even initiating some. I know, it sounds pathetic, but it’s actually pretty significant.

*Registering for classes on Saturday morning – looks like we’re official. Game on.

*Riding a shuttle bus to Central Presbyterian Church this morning. Okay, so that was really more of a highlight for the girls. A *major* highlight. 🙂 Giving that one 2 more weeks and then maybe trying out Covenant Presbyterian Church or Old Orchard.

*Having dinner with Mitchell and Lisa and their children tonight at their home. They are newbies like us. We enjoyed the time very much.

*Upcoming highlight of tomorrow: Craig’s Greek class begins. That’s a highlight. Right? Okay, so the real highlight is that I get to go to the campus bookstore and am required to purchase books. That, is indeed a true highlight.

Redeeming Myself

I just thought I’d let everyone know that I’m actually looking forward to the picnic tonight as well as the orientation tomorrow morning. So see? All is not totally lost. I can have good people moments. I can be positive.

Along that note, I’m also pleasantly surprised by the stackable washer and dryer combo as it holds more than I thought it was going to. And the oven is nice too.

And in keeping with that positive note, I’ll not complain about the dented oil pan Mr. Dobbs wants us to pay $470 to fix on the cavalier or that the inspections guy just told us we have $600 worth of repairs to do on the same cavalier in order for it to pass. Instead, this gives us the opportunity to return to the days of one vehicle for our family. I think we are in a good position to pull that off in this new season of life. So there you go. Trying to look at the bright side!

10:21 p.m. update:
I really enjoyed the evening. We met some great folks and it was actually fun. 🙂

We’re Here

I keep having flashbacks to both my first day of college – moving into the dorm and the flat out intimidation that came with meeting everyone and plastering a smile on my face so as to have a good first impression – and my first day at Eagle Lake – moving into a similar situation, meeting folks for the first time, trying to reconcile my introverted nature with a desire to show sisterly love.

I’ve held a thesis of sorts for about two years now that Christians don’t really allow other Christians to be introverts. It’s not really an accepted personality trait. We’re all supposed to exude enthusiasm around the clock, right?

And true to form, I began our time here by starting an argument with Craig which we now have to reconcile on top of everything else we have to acclimate ourselves to with this latest transplant.

I hate this about me. But there it is. Need to go pray. And unpack. And grocery shop. Oh, and apologize. And perhaps dig deep inside me to pull out a temporary “E” for at least this week…