Sunday, November 1, 2009
Also, I have a pumpkin to process for pie. Mmm.... Right now Jake is working on a paper and I am well... blogging obviously. I haven't taken pictures for a couple of weeks (I think I'm in week 19 now, holy cow!!) so I'll try and get that done tomorrow. We shall see, there is a lot to do. Also, we're hoping to get the fall edition of our newsletter out in the next couple of weeks, so wish us luck on that! If you want a copy, just let one of us know.
Other than that... it's very sad that the Broncos lost so terribly today isn't it? Sigh... oh well... Yes I'm boring and have nothing to talk about. But I thought I would update everyone just to let you know we're still here! Maybe next week I'll think of something more interesting to say.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
First of all, I wanted to show you a beautiful gift that we recieved... well... a while ago. This was a quilt and pillow set that a family friend made for us as a wedding gift. We've been using it on ourr bed, and it is absolutely gorgeous!
This is the other side of the quilt, blue skies and bald eagles...
Here is a close-up of one of the squares on the blanket. There are several like this with Scripture and the hymn Amazing Grace.
And... finally... baby pictures!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
And I most certainly have not been avoiding the blog because I promised pictures and don't want to put them up...
No I am not not wanting to put up the pictures because I had a little mysterious bump that mysteriously dissapeared after week ten and has yet to return... three weeks later...
Oh alright... yes I did do all of those things. I am guilty. Is this really the second time I've been having to post an apology for pictures I promised and don't want to put up? Maybe... yes... I'm sorry.
But really! There was a bump and the next week it was gone! And I'm still skinnier now (week 13) than I was in week 10. I will save you the ponderings about what could have caused the cute little bump that is now gone, but I assume you can do that all on your own without my help. So pictures will be postponed until... well until there's actually something to look at. Unless you all want me to post the bump pictures so you can laugh at me. But I will ONLY do that if expressly asked... by more than one person... ahem.
Now, on to new orders of business. We had our first prenatal appointment yesterday!! It was wonderful. Jake and I have decided to use a midwife and have a homebirth, for various reasons that will wait for another post. So we went to the midwife's assistant's house (She's closer to Fort Wayne. Our midwife's office is about an hour and a half away, so she has an assistant to help with births in this area.) We went over lots of paperwork, got on the scale... which actually wasn't too bad, and listened to the baby's heartbeat!!
I think it sounded like a boy, but I'm not really sure why. The heartbeat was 150bpm which is perfect range for the development right now. Our next appointment is scheduled in four weeks and I'm excited. Oh yes... and I have to start taking iron supplements along with my prenatal vitamins. My midwife looked at me and asked if I had a history of anemia... apparently I look anemic... probably because I am. Sigh... well at least pregnancy is forcing me to take my vitamins right?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Finally, after being here for almost two months, I found a job! For so long in my life, I have always looked for a job, and one was there. I've never had to go "job hunting" per se. I would want to start working, find something I could do, apply, get hired, happy ending. Not so this time. I've applied for dozens of jobs in the last month and have had very little response. We were beginning to worry that I wouldn't find any job in Fort Wayne. Jake had a job already, so what was taking me so long? I was frustrated, worried... broke. And then I realized how for so many years I have been taking my jobs for granted. I've just always expected them to be there. When instead I should have been thanking God for His gift!
This time His gift has manifested itself as a lifeguarding position. I will be working at a boarding school type facility that happens to have a wonderful, indoor pool. I'm so excited! I have extensive experience with lifeguarding, and all things related, so it's something I'm quite comfortable doing. And I LOVE the water! But I can't remember the last time I've been swimming :( So now I can actually go swimming on a regular basis, for my job! Woohoo!! I'm excited :) Oh yes... and we can start paying rent... of course... :)
This job is only part time, so I'm hoping to find another part time job babysitting or some such thing; we will see what I can come up with. The Lord is providing marvelously for us, through the generosity of many of you and also through this gift of a job, which I will no longer take for granted.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Also, I've started working on our family newsletter, that will be going out to family and friends through our course at seminary. If you are interested in receiving a newsletter, please leave a comment (or shoot me an email) and let me know! If you want us to send it to you in the mail rather than email we will also need a mailing address.
Last but not least, please be praying for us and the larger Fort Wayne area. This city has lost approximately 100,000 jobs in the last two years and unemployment is at a whopping 9.6%. I have still not been able to find a job. I applied to work at Panera a few weeks back and I went in to introduce myself to the manager and let him know I applied. He said that there were 560 applications for that one position being processed!! Sigh... I'm afraid it's a tough economy up here. Please, be praying that I find work so Jake can continue his studies and that more jobs would be brought into this town for the 9.6% of us who need them.
Friday, August 28, 2009
It has been an eventful week. I had three interviews this week, only one and a half of which were actually promising. The first is Bethesda Lutheran Services, they called me back for a second interview and, from what the lady said, it seems almost garaunteed that they will hire me. Praise the Lord! There are some upsides and downsides to the job though.
First of all, I will be working evenings, which is simply hard when Jake is at school all day and we won't see each other until bedtime. Upside, I might be able to transfer later to a dayshift. Downside, there is a lot of strenuous work involved with this sort of position and I'm a little worried if I'll be up to it during pregnancy. Upside, I've known personally, two women who worked the exact same sort of job throughout their pregnancies and had no complications, so I'll stop worrying. Downside, I can't start training until the 6th. Upside, it's almost September!
So I suppose it will work itself out. Also, I had both my arms drilled for blood on two seperate occasions this week. I had been having a bit of bleeding and some strange cramping and pains, so my midwife wanted me to get labs done just in case. Everything is normal, so the baby should be doing just fine. And it's looking more like a human every day! Part of the pain, though, I think is due to the fact that I'm practically showing already. Well, sort of... no one else can tell, but I definitely can not stick my tummy in as far as it used to go. And when I try to it feels like there's something in the way. My oversized uterus perhaps? Anywho, it's a really weird feeling.
I'll be taking a picture of my belly next week and I'll post it, along with a surprise picture of an unknown object. If the suspense is killing you, like I know it is, come back next week to see!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Poor Jake is having to fend for himself in the kitchen mostly... I feel bad but he either eats chicken or tuna. Tuna has always been icky and chicken is a new aversion that I can hardly be in the same room with. Sigh... but I did make banana bread yesterday using my mom's recipe. See I got some bananas, because they're healthy fruit... but I can't eat them so they went overripe. So I made banana bread! I can eat that :) mmmmmmmmm......
Secondly, prayer requests. Yes I know the post has prayer requests first and pregnancy stuff second, but this is just how it's going to go. I had a nannying job working for a wonderful family with adorable twin boys. However, I told them on Monday about the pregnancy and they felt (understandably so) that it was going to complicate things a little too much come April. So now I don't have a job, but I did get a phone call from Bethesda, where I applied a MONTH ago (they said they would get back to me in two weeks....) asking if I would come in for an interview today. They called me at 10pm nonetheless, but who am I to complain, it's a job opportunity right? So please pray that I find a job soon. Jake already has a job at Target, praise the Lord!
Lastly, Jake and I met a wonderfully pleasant homeless man named Hal last night. Please pray that he would be able to find work as well. It's pretty tough in this town. And also for his friend who has schizophrenia; her name escapes me at the moment. As do most things these days... hmm... anywho I'm beginning to feel too ill to stay in the library much longer. Miss you all and I hope to hear from you soon!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last Monday I was feeling very very sick. I was in bed all evening with nausea. Now, I haven't had nausea since I can remember. But ever since we got married I've been having bouts of it (weird huh?) so I didn't think too much of it; I just figured it was stress again or something of the sort. But to make myself feel better I told Jake to go buy a pregnancy test, just for fun. So he did... now by this point I had also been having cramps (TMI yet?) for a couple of days, so when he got back we decided to wait till Wednesday to take the test. Because if I was going to start, it would be soon and then we'd know anyway.
And two days go by, still nothing. Jake leaves to go do something; I'm bored, so I take the test. I was too nervous to look at it so I left it in the bathroom and went downstairs. When Jake came home I marched him up there and told him to look at it. He looked at it, had a little smirk on his face and I was dying of anticipation "What does it say???"
"Uh... I don't know, it's kinda confusing." What on earth is confusing!?!? One line means no, two lines mean yes. How many lines does it have!?!? Well it had two... but one was not exactly the same as the other one, so Jake was in denial. Silly goose. In any case he made me take another one. Five glasses of water later... still two lines. I showed it to Jake and he didn't say anything he just kissed me :)
I am currently about seven weeks along, and I'm due on April 1st. Haha! So funny, I know! Not really... but honestly, that's when I'm due. I haven't been sick like I was last week since, well... last week. However, I have had a little nausea and just about no food is appealing to me at all. Which is annoying because I rather like food. Remember that fatigue? Well, at least we know what's causing it, but it hasn't gotten any better. I'm not hungry at all until about 3pm in the afternoon and then I am starving until I go to sleep that night. Or at least that's how my confused appetite is normally acting...
I personally don't want to find out if it's a boy or a girl until the baby is born. However, we will see how patient Dalas can actually be. We are currently looking at birth options. We really like the idea of having a home birth with a midwife, but we are also going to go to the hospitals around town to see what they offer. There is a nice Lutheran hospital here, so we'll see. And there aren't any birth centers close enough for me to really be interested, but oh well. Other than that, blessings everyone and hopefully I'll be able to get back on here soon! We still don't have internet at the house :( And as for a routine? Yeah... not really happening, yet. But don't give up on me!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Drum roll please....
No really... it would be really really cool if you did a drum roll. Ok, let's try this again....
Drum roll please....
Ok well that was a little better, but you're not quite there yet... drum roll please...............................................................
That was much better! Keep going... (I know it's like an annoying spam email huh?)
It's worth it I promise!!
....................................... (I've always wanted to do this. Thanks for humoring me :)
WE ARE EXPECTING!!! :)
Details to follow!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Jake and I are almost done with unpacking. We're kinda doing the office and the living room and dining room all at once, so be prepared for plenty of pictures this upcoming week! Hopefully... ahem. In other news... I've been wanting to start my routines since we got here. But for some reason I'm having an awful time getting up in the morning. Not really sure what's going on with me, but for some reason I have been struggling a lot with fatigue. Even the days I have actually gotten out of bed at 7am after eight hours of sleep, I can't keep my eyes open after breakfast and end up sleeping again. So I am sort of just sleeping until i wake up now, which is anywhere from 8 to 9. Sigh... it's frustrating. And no it is not because I am pregnant, in case you were wondering. (At least I don't think it is...) Anyways, let's hope that clears up soon before I get a job and have to be awake and productive!
Speaking of jobs, neither Jake nor I have found one yet. I am expecting to get some responses back this week, though. So be praying for that front! I feel like I've applied for just about every position in this little city, and I can't find much else to apply for. Although I've heard Starbucks is hiring, so I might check there too if I get bored. Tomorrow we are going to start having to pay our bills... we have enough for rent, which is always a good thing. But not much left over for our others. Pray that I get a job this week so we can pay bills this month! Actually, I think we're still awaiting one last paycheck from Concordia where we worked over the summer so... that should help.
Other than that it is a beautiful day here in Indiana. We are so thankful that the summer is mild, since we don't have air conditioning. And we are very blessed in that we know we won't starve for lack of money, our cupboards have plenty of food thanks to the food coop. We really are truly blessed with what we have been given! With a fully-furnished apartment, food, reliable transportation, a way to communicate with our families from such long distances, friends to be with us in this season of change, and above all a Savior who has won the final battle for us... our cup is overflowing. We really could not ask for more as we are starting out our new life together. Thank you Lord! God bless you all.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
There was no mess! The furniture was arranged neatly and, though I tried, I really couldn't find a better place for most things. The boxes were all nicely stored in closets (ALL of them to be exact). There were even wall hangings put up already! Lastly, we got to the bedroom and had a beautiful spread already set up, with sheets, a comforter, pillows, the works! All we had to do at two am after our ten hour drive was fall into bed. THANK YOU SO MUCH DAD!!!
You see... Dad (Mueller) had rented and driven up a truck of furniture for our new apartment. (All of the furniture you see was given to us by Jake's gracious parents and the remodeling of the nursing home where Jake's dad is a chaplain.) He helped the guys move in and then stayed the night at our apartment before going home the next day. Before he left, however, he did all that work at the house for us! And then he drove all the way back to Missouri to preach the following morning. Jake's father is such a wonderful man, I am so blessed to have him as my father-in-law. We love you dad!!
Also, thank you to Mom Miller and my wonderful brother, for driving up all of our wedding presents to Saint Paul! We could not have moved without you :) And Brandon, you were such a sport... driving fifty hours by car in three days so my poor hubby wouldn't have to go alone. Our family is extraordinary! We sure love them :)
Here is the top of Jake's dresser. I got all those from the clothing coop at the seminary for... free :) We are so blessed! And no just because it's his dresser does not mean he gets to decorate it. In case you were wondering...
Here is the bedstand on my side of the bed. A painted gourd from Grandma Mueller, thanks again Grandma! Isn't she talented? And a couple of candles. We are trying to cut down on our bills, and since electricity is the only utility we pay, Jake and I have been lighting candles in the evening for light. It was his idea, and actually kind of romantic... Wait, does that mean Jake was romantic? We'll give it to him :)
Here is our bed, the white oval pillow is also from the coop. Jake likes to use it for his neck while he's reading. And you can see the view from outside our window, hey! More apartments! Woohoo! Also, not pictured is a rather elegant full-length mirror with a gold frame, over by our closets on the other side of the bed.
Thank you so much everyone who has blessed us in our new marriage! I know there were so many gifts pictured (and not) that we have recieved. We are so grateful to all of you. I know I am not able to mention everyone here, just know that we are thinking of you and love you all! And for our families far away, just know we miss you and love you lots. We can't wait to see you again!
Jake and Dalas
P.S. - You know that blue circle thing in the middle of our dresser if you scroll up? Yeah... no idea what that is... it's some sort of light trick our camera played. Weird huh? Kinda spooky... good thing I have a strong hubby to take care of me at night!!
This is our downstairs half-bath. The other two pieces of the rug set are in here, since this will normally be our guest bathroom. I also have some beautiful green towels hanging up. Green and blue go together... I know they do...
Now for the kitchen! On the left you will see our brand new and really cool cutlery set with a spinning base thingy and all! (It was twenty dollars by the way, can you believe it!?) And on the right is our new set of glasses.
This is our new cookware set!! I'm so excited to use them. And aren't they pretty??? No... my husband did not talk me into getting Cardinal Red ones on the basis that they were prettier even though they don't match anything else in my kitchen. But... they do match the bedsheets... right? Right?
Friday, July 24, 2009
Sorry I've been gone for so long. Jake and I have successfully made our first move into our first home in Indiana. We don't really have an internet connection at the apartment, so I have to come in to the seminary in order to post. Which is why it's taking me so long to update. Sorry! But once I get a job (everyone please pray for that) I will be able to get on a more regular schedule. Right now I'm hardly even checking my email! So no worries... something will be changing... very soon. Once I get some time I'll post pictures of our apartment :)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
So yes... nothing new today, really. But don't give up on me yet. Here is a teaser to make sure you all come back :) Coming soon to a blog near you...
Pictures of Our New Apartment!! (Before and after boxes are unpacked). No I am NOT promising that the after pictures will be any time soon... just that they will be... eventually...
Hilarious stories of Dalas trying to cook and clean.
Baby Mueller? Maybe? You never know...
Thursday, July 9, 2009
My Mom is here with me for the weekend, and we're going to visit some old family friends tomorrow. So... I don't think I will be distracted enough to keep from having an emotional breakdown. And Jake will be busy unpacking. Plus he gets to visit with his dad! So, it's a family fun weekend but... I miss my hubby family... sniff.. I mean... we were sparing that weren't we? Sigh...
At least now I know not to take my precious time with Jake for granted. Even though this is hard and even though it's only for a really short time (thank goodness) I can still tell it's strengthening us and our relationship! I LOVE JAKE SO MUCH!!! :) I can't wait to pamper him when he gets back. After all he will deserve it. Here mom and I are spending a vacation weekend together and my brother and Jake are slaving away. Heehee... I love my guys!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I have three times of the day that I set aside for reading (sort of). Since I don't have a routine yet these times aren't always exact. Usually that would drive me crazy! But God has blessed me with the ability to relax and not take myself too seriously on this one (which is so unlike me). Otherwise I would have quit by day two! Which, now that I think about it, is usually what happens. Anyway, so loosely, this is what it looks like.
Old and New Testament Readings
I am trying something new; I got this part of my plan from a book Jake was reading. I don't remember the title but roughly it was "Things I Would do Differently if I was Starting my Ministry Over Again." What I do is I commit myself to reading ten chapters of Scripture, at least, a day. Five chapters in the morning and five in the evening, ish... Sometimes I get to a part where I want to keep going and I end up reading more than that, other days, like yesterday I was not able to devote the time to read all ten chapters... I only read three actually... But since I am not being legalistic, that's ok right?
The idea is that if I read ten chapters a day I will be able to read through the New Testament in one month and the Old Testament in about three months. This month I am reading the New Testament; next month I will switch to the Old Testament, and back again the next month. In this way I will be able to read through the NT six times in one year and the OT twice in one year. I really like this approach, because it allows me to take in large portions of Scripture at a time and I am not moving around much so I can concentrate on a chunk of the Bible, rather than little pieces here and there. I do not like, however, that I would go for one month with no OT and the next with no NT. So, I've modified it a little bit.
Proverbs and Epistles
At noon(ish) I read one chapter from Proverbs or, if it is an OT month, I will read one chapter from the Epistles (Romans, Corinthians, Timothy, etc.). The Epistles do not map out as nicely as Proverbs does with its exactly 31 chapters. So I'm still not sure how I want to work that, but I'll think of something and maybe post it later if I don't forget. This way I am getting a little OT and NT sprinkled throughout the month. These particular books also are very helpful in keeping my day on track, reminding me to run the race with diligence and joy. That's why I like reading thim about midday, for that little extra boost.
I do not count Psalms as lessons, they are praises and prayers. So, when I get to my OT months, I will skip these over altogether. However, I love the Psalms so... they are in my daily reading plan :) The plan I use for the Psalms I got from a website (which I don't recall right now either). I don't really like their philosophy about the Psalms since... they effectively rewrote them. But I do like their reading plan! :) With this plan I also go through the book of Psalms in one month. What I do is I take whatever day of the month it is. Today is the 7th, so we'll go with that. And I read five Psalms, starting with Psalm 7 and adding 30 to it each time. For example, today I read Psalms: 7, 37, 67, 97 and 127. The website also suggests that you save Psalm 119 for the last day of the month, since it's so long. I have really been enjoying this reading plan. Since the Psalms are organized into categories of sorts, and there are sections with a lot of long and a lot of short, this plan spreads it out. So I am reading from several sections a day. I do these readings as morning prayers. Praying the Psalms is a wonderful idea that I found recently, and it's one of my favorite parts of my reading plan.
So that's it, my reading plan! I'll give you an example to simplify, because that was a lot of information...
OT or NT Reading - 5 chapters
Psalms - 5 chapters
Proverbs or Epistle Reading - 1 chapter
OT or NT Reading - 5 chapters
This plan (when I am not legalistic about it) is not as draining or demanding as it sounded when I first started it. Spreading the readings throughout the day, really helped me a lot too! I cannot praise the Lord enough for how much He has blessed me with this reading guideline. I hope that our God blesses you also with His Word, as He is blessing me with it today.
For man does not live on bread alone but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Then... something miraculous happens. It hits me! Aka... God hits me over the head and says "Where did you go? I miss you." And He gently reorients me back toward home. God's mercies are so great to me! Not long after this happens I always realize that I've missed God too! I had been apart from Him so long that I forgot how much I enjoyed, how much I needed, His company. It's at these times I am so overwhelmed by God's love and His power, that I can see most clearly my need for a Savior and His overflowing cup of forgiveness. But... I am a fallen and very predictable creature. Next thing I know I'm distracted by weeds growing on the side of the road and I am all lost and confused again. I always forget Who I love the most. Praise be to God! He always reminds me :)
I've had one of these moments recently... at the end of last month. I began to see how my priorities were slipping into nothingness as I got caught up in blogs and writing up unit studies for homeschool that I won't use for at least another six or seven years... God willing. I was forgetting to live in today, for the Lord and as a wife for my husband. My vocation was being sucked of its joy and I was not being satisfied and content with what the Lord had given to me. I was not being faithful with little, how could I expect for God to give me more responsibilities? I was convicted. I repented for... well... let's just say it's been more times than I can possibly count. But something needed to change.
I decided to implement a discipline for myself that I actually learned from another dear blogger. I told myself that I would not get on the computer until I had first read my Bible for the day. And I made sure my dear husband knew about my resolution, so that he would hold me accountable. I started July 1st and have been keeping up with it for almost a week now. Ok... that's not very long BUT it's progress for me. I have also noticed that now my priorities are turning around completely. I haven't been obsessing over blogs or recipes or fun ideas for children who don't exactly exist yet. I have been focused on serving the Lord and, in turn, serving my husband! I still check my blogs almost daily, but not religiously. And I am remembering how wonderful it is to bask in my Savior. I am also very excited about the Bible reading plan I'm following right now. I love it so much. I will try and post about that tomorrow.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
There's been a select few family members and friends that have been privileged over the last few years to know about my struggle to discern the call to the pastoral ministry and how it has not always been the easiest path for me to consider. Well, I "re-discovered" a song last night that was influential in my decision during my time at CSP to pursue the Pre-Seminary course of study. The song is called "Whatever" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I know I know what you might be thinking "Steven Curtis Chapman ... not exactly the bastion of Lutheran Orthodoxy, Jake". Regardless of your opinions about Steven Curtis Chapman the song he wrote has been extremely influential in my life and in helping me understand God's Will and what that means for my life. Anyways, here are the words to the song.
I made a list, wrote down from A to Z
All the ways I thought that You could best use me
Told all my strengths and my abilities
I formed a plan it seemed to make good sense
I laid it out for You so sure You'd be convinced
I made my case, presented my defense
But then I read the letter that You sent me
It said that all You really want from me is just
Whatever, whatever You say
Whatever, I will obey
Whatever, Lord, have Your way
'Cause You are my God, whatever
So strike a match, set fire to the list
Of all my good intentions, all my preconceived ideas
I want to do Your will no matter what it is
Give me faith to follow where You lead me
Oh, Lord, give me the courage and the strength to do ...
Whatever, whatever You say
Whatever, I will obey
Whatever, Lord, have Your way
'Cause You are my God, whatever
I am not my own
I am Yours and Yours alone
You have bought me with Your blood
Lord, to You and You alone do I belong
And so whatever
Whatever, whatever You say
Whatever, I will obey
Whatever, Lord, have Your way
'Cause You are my God, whatever
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The thing is, in this life we never fully get over the weaknesses we have. But God still gives us freedom from sin, that we no longer have to be slaves to sin, but that now we are privilaged to be sons and daughters of the King and slaves to His righteousness. He has planned so many great works for His children (aka US) to do! How often to I do them? Well... not often. I have so much room for improvement. One of the reasons why I wanted to write on a public forum was to witness to Christ and his love through my life. And the best testimonies I have in my life to God's grace and mercy come directly from my failures and sins! Not only this but evil is killed when it is brought out into the light. When we share our struggles and temptations with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, that particular bond is loosened from us. Not gone, but rather we are on our first steps to reconciliation with the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
Not only this, but it is so difficult to stay on the narrow path! I am not an older or wiser Christian, so I am not seeking to give advice to the women who are more experienced and more wise than I. Quite the contrary, I am so enjoying gleaning from their blogs!! Hopefully, though, my struggles can be an encouragement to other young Christian ladies in our society, seeking to serve the Lord. So, in a nutshell, that's what the new name is about. This is still mainly our effort to keep in touch with our friends and family so far away, but also I seek to reach out to my Christian brothers and sisters and to those who do not yet know the One True God. If He shines most brightly when I am most humbled then I pray I am able to post humbling accounts of my struggles and stains and God's mercy through it all.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Right now Jake and I are housesitting for one of our professors who is off teaching in Europe for the summer with his wife. (If you're reading this I hope ya'll are having a great time!) This was such a blessing to us. Apart from saving us $1300 on rent for a month and a half, we have also been blessed by the simple little things like... kitchen utensils. Considering all of our wedding gifts are still in Colorado... this has been a lifesaver for me.
It is also a blessing in teaching us to be grateful for air conditioning, as this house has none. Minnesota summers are fairly mild, but we've been having a heatwave of sorts (ok heatwave for Minnesota, but I've been getting so used to the cold weather!) and it's making me a little grumpy. The past few nights I had been climbing into bed, next to my already naturally warm-blooded hubby, and would not be able to take the exorbatent amount of warm fuzzies I was getting. It was making me grumpy and snappy and not at all wanting to sleep. Poor Jake! I'm sorry dear... although he hasn't been doing much better. I think that ice pack is his new teddy bear. So anyways, it's been interesting; especially since we're just learning how to sleep with each other! But... God is good.
Jake and I went to our friends' house for dinner the other night, and they told us of a revolutionary new product... Chillows! Who would have thought? Little pads you put in your pillow to keep them chilled. I think it's abslutely brilliant. However, we don't exactly have the extra funds avaliable to spend money on those sorts of things. A couple evenings ago I was cooking up some rice for a late night snack, Jake was at a minor league baseball games with some friends. His first guy night since the wedding :) And the chillow idea came into my head.
I thought... hey, I could chill my pillow... I rushed into our bedroom, found a garbage bag and cleared some room in the freezer and stuffed in our pillows :) I also put our sheet in the refrigerator. When Jake got home I made the bed and behold the wonder! I was actually cooler getting into the bed!! It was amazing. The sheet didn't really stay cool, even yesterday when it was in the freezer too, but the pillows! The pillows, or should I say the chillows, were all I needed...
God is good.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
6:00-Get up, morning routine (shower, brush teeth/wash face, get dressed, make bed, take meat out for dinner, start a load of laundry)
6:30-Morning devotion7:00-fix breakfast/eat
7:45-Clean up (dishes, table, counters)
8:00-Hang laundry to dry & one little chore
8:30-Walk to school for work
4:00-three little chores
4:30-tidy living area/prep for Jake coming home
5:00-water outdoor and indoor plants
6:30-Clean up/Family Devotion
7:30-Time with my hubby <3
9:15-Before bed routine (brush teeth/wash face, quick clean-up of bedroom, do any breakfast prep. possible)
10:00-To bed or to read if I’m not tired yet Here are the "little chores". I call them little because I have split big chores (ex. clean the kitchen) into lots of little chores that I can do and check off whenever I have a few minutes. That way they don't scare me as much :)
-Take out trash/compost
-Put away laundry (if any)
-5 minute de-clutter
-Dust living room
-Sweep living room
-Mop living room
-Clean bathroom mirror
-Clean bedroom mirror
-Scrub bathtub and shower
-Clean stove coils
-Deep clean bathroom
-Deep clean kitchen
-Deep clean bedroom
I'm not really sure what exactly deep cleaning entails... but I'm pretty sure it's a good idea anyway. Also, the project each month will change depending on what I need to do. For example, this month's project is Thank You cards :) They're almost done but... not quite.
P.S. - If anyone has any ideas for daily chores or things that I've missed let me know!
Friday, June 19, 2009
I am first and foremost a follower of Christ, baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. I just recently left (not physically of course since I've been off at school for a few years) my wonderful family to be joined as one with my own, new family. I grew up as a military kid with a beautiful, talented and devoted mother and a handsome, hardworking, loving father. I have an older sister and a younger brother who are also very close to my heart and I miss them dearly.
Right now my new family consists of only me and my husband. We were married less than a month ago and are just learning how to live with one another :) Jake is taking a summer Greek course to finish up his undergraduate degree and we will be headed off to seminary at the end of July. We are both working, me a little more than him because I don't have a class to attend to. I have been trying to do the cooking and most of the cleaning, but it's been so hard! With all these transitions I've yet to get into a routine. Though, I started reading Mary Jo's blog called Covenant Homemaking last night and I was convicted. So my first goal is to get a morning, evening and weekly routine set up this weekend, in order to be more organized and therefore making the house a little nicer, even though we're only here a short time. I promise to update you with a post on that next week as an incentive to actually do it.
I'm not quite graduated as of yet. I still have 15 or so credits I need to finish up in order to get my degree. I double-minored in Christian Outreach and Confessional Lutheranism (yes I get a lot of confused looks on that one). I will be taking congregational outreach online in the Fall to finish up that first minor. I hope to use this education as I continue in my vocation as homemaker, God willing as mother, and also in supporting my husband as he goes into the ministry. We are both very excited to see what people God sees fit to bless us with as part of our family, and we are anxiously awaiting when we will be able to meet all of them.
As I have said before, this blog is mainly for keeping in touch, since both our families and many of our friends are so far away. However, I tend to be just a tiny bit passionate when it comes to my faith and I may delve into some theological-doctrinal discussions; I just really enjoy them! Discussion does mean both ways so feel free to comment... if you can I know people have been having a difficult time with it, and I honestly don't know how to fix it :( or send me a personal email. We'd love to hear from you!
Monday, June 15, 2009
How public education cripples
our kids, and why
By John Taylor Gatto
John Taylor Gatto is a former New York State and New York City Teacher of the
Year and the author, most recently, of The Underground History of American
Education. He was a participant in the Harper's Magazine forum "School on a Hill,"
which appeared in the September 2003 issue.
I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn't seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren't interested in learning more. And the kids were right: their teachers were every bit as bored as they were.
Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teachers' lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes, to be found there. When asked why they feel bored, the teachers tend to blame the kids, as you might expect. Who wouldn't get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? If even that. Of course, teachers are themselves products of the same twelve-year compulsory school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel they are trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed upon the children. Who, then, is to blame?
We all are. My grandfather taught me that. One afternoon when I was seven I complained to him of boredom, and he batted me hard on the head. He told me that I was never to use that term in his presence again, that if I was bored it was my fault and no one else's. The obligation to amuse and instruct myself was entirely my own, and people who didn't know that were childish people, to be avoided if possible. Certainty not to be trusted. That episode cured me of boredom forever, and here and there over the years I was able to pass on the lesson to some remarkable student. For the most part, however, I found it futile to challenge the official notion that boredom and childishness were the natural state of affairs in the classroom. Often I had to defy custom, and even bend the law, to help kids break out of this trap.
The empire struck back, of course; childish adults regularly conflate opposition with disloyalty. I once returned from a medical leave to discover t~at all evidence of my having been granted the leave had been purposely destroyed, that my job had been terminated, and that I no longer possessed even a teaching license. After nine months of tormented effort I was able to retrieve the license when a school secretary testified to witnessing the plot unfold. In the meantime my family suffered more than I care to remember. By the time I finally retired in 1991, 1 had more than enough reason to think of our schools-with their long-term, cell-block-style, forced confinement of both students and teachers-as virtual factories of childishness. Yet I honestly could not see why they had to be that way. My own experience had revealed to me what many other teachers must learn along the way, too, yet keep to themselves for fear of reprisal: if we wanted to we could easily and inexpensively jettison the old, stupid structures and help kids take an education rather than merely receive a schooling. We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness-curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insightsimply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids to truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then.
But we don't do that. And the more I asked why not, and persisted in thinking about the "problem" of schooling as an engineer might, the more I missed the point: What if there is no "problem" with our schools? What if they are the way they are, so expensively flying in the face of common sense and long experience in how children learn things, not because they are doing something wrong but because they are doing something right? Is it possible that George W. Bush accidentally spoke the truth when he said we would "leave no child behind"? Could it be that our schools are designed to make sure not one of them ever really grows up?
Do we really need school? I don't mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. Is this deadly routine really necessary? And if so, for what? Don't hide behind reading, writing, and arithmetic as a rationale, because 2 million happy homeschoolers have surely put that banal justification to rest. Even if they hadn't, a considerable number of well-known Americans never went through the twelve-year wringer our kids currently go through, and they turned out all right. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln? Someone taught them, to be sure, but they were not products of a school system, and not one of them was ever "graduated" from a secondary school. Throughout most of American history, kids generally didn't go to high school, yet the unschooled rose to be admirals, like Farragut; inventors, like Edison; captains of industry like Carnegie and Rockefeller; writers, like Melville and Twain and Conrad; and even scholars, like Margaret Mead. In fact, until pretty recently people who reached the age of thirteen weren't looked upon as children at all. Ariel Durant, who co-wrote an enormous, and very good, multivolume history of the world with her husband, Will, was happily married at fifteen, and who could reasonably claim that Ariel Durant was an uneducated person? Unschooled, perhaps, but not uneducated.
We have been taught (that is, schooled) in this country to think of "success" as synonymous with, or at least dependent upon, "schooling," but historically that isn't true in either an intellectual or a financial sense. And plenty of people throughout the world today find a way to educate themselves without resorting to a system of compulsory secondary schools that all too often resemble prisons. Why, then, do Americans confuse education with just such a system? What exactly is the purpose of our public schools?
Mass schooling of a compulsory nature really got its teeth into the United States between 1905 and 1915, though it was conceived of much earlier and pushed for throughout most of the nineteenth century. The reason given for this enormous upheaval of family life and cultural traditions was, roughly speaking, threefold:
1) To make good people. 2) To make good citizens. 3) To make each person his or her personal best. These goals are still trotted out today on a regular basis, and most of us accept them in one form or another as a decent definition of public education's mission, however short schools actually fall in achieving them. But we are dead wrong. Compounding our error is the fact that the national literature holds numerous and surprisingly consistent statements of compulsory schooling's true purpose. We have, for example, the great H. L. Mencken, who wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not
to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States... and that is its aim everywhere else.
Because of Mencken's reputation as a satirist, we might be tempted to dismiss this passage as a bit of hyperbolic sarcasm. His article, however, goes on to trace the template for our own educational system back to the now vanished, though never to be forgotten, military state of Prussia. And although he was certainly aware of the irony that we had recently been at war with Germany, the heir to Prussian thought and culture, Mencken was being perfectly serious here. Our educational system really is Prussian in origin, and that really is cause for concern.
The odd fact of a Prussian provenance for our schools pops up again and again once you know to look for it. William James alluded to it many times at the turn of the century. Orestes Brownson, the hero of Christopher Lasch's 1991 book, The True and Only Heaven, was publicly denouncing the Prussianization of American schools back in the 1840s. Horace Mann's "Seventh Annual Report" to the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1843 is essentially a paean to the land of Frederick the Great and a call for its schooling to be brought here. That Prussian culture loomed large in America is hardly surprising, given our early association with that utopian state. A Prussian served as Washington's aide during the Revolutionary War, and so many German-speaking people had settled here by 1795 that Congress considered publishing a German-language edition of the federal laws. But what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens 11 in order to render the populace "manageable."
It was from James Bryant Conant-president of Harvard for twenty years, WWI poison-gas specialist, WWII executive on the atomic-bomb project, high commissioner of the American zone in Germany after WWII, and truly one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century-that I first got wind of the real purposes of American schooling. Without Conant, we would probably not have the same style and degree of standardized testing that we enjoy today, nor would we be blessed with gargantuan high schools that warehouse 2,000 to 4,000 students at a time, like the famous Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado. Shortly after I retired from teaching I picked up Conant's 1959 book-length essay, The Child the Parent and the State, and was more than a little intrigued to see him mention in passing that the modem schools we attend were the result of a "revolution" engineered between 1905 and 1930. A revolution? He declines to elaborate, but he does direct the curious and the uninformed to Alexander Inglis's 1918 book, Principles of Secondary Education, in which "one saw this revolution through the eyes of a revolutionary."
Inglis, for whom a lecture in education at Harvard is named, makes it perfectly clear that compulsory schooling on this continent was intended to be just what it had been for Prussia in the 1820s: a fifth column into the burgeoning democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants and the proletarians a voice at the bargaining table. Modern, industrialized, compulsory schooling was to make a sort of surgical incision into the prospective unity of these underclasses. Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means, and it was unlikely that the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood, would ever re-integrate into a dangerous whole.
Inglis breaks down the purpose - the actual purpose - of modem schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:
1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.
2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.
3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in "your permanent record." Yes, you do have one.
4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.
5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races." In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit - with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments - clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That's what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.
6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.
That, unfortunately, is the purpose of mandatory public education in this country. And lest you take Inglis for an isolated crank with a rather too cynical take on the educational enterprise, you should know that he was hardly alone in championing these ideas. Conant himself, building on the ideas of Horace Mann and others, campaigned tirelessly for an American school system designed along the same lines. Men like George Peabody, who funded the cause of mandatory schooling throughout the South, surely understood that the Prussian system was useful in creating not only a harmless electorate and a servile labor force but also a virtual herd of mindless consumers. In time a great number of industrial titans came to recognize the enormous profits to be had by cultivating and tending just such a herd via public education, among them Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.
Tre you have it. Now you know. We don't need Karl Marx's conception of a grand warfare between the classes to see that it is in the interest of complex management, economic or political, to dumb people down, to demoralize them, to divide them from one another, and to discard them if they don't conform. Class may frame the proposition, as when Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, said the following to the New York City School Teachers Association in 1909: "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." But the motives behind the disgusting decisions that bring about these ends need not be class-based at all. They can stem purely from fear, or from the by now familiar belief that "efficiency" is the paramount virtue, rather than love, lib, erty, laughter, or hope. Above all, they can stem from simple greed.
There were vast fortunes to be made, after all, in an economy based on mass production and organized to favor the large corporation rather than the small business or the family farm. But mass production required mass consumption, and at the turn of the twentieth century most Americans considered it both unnatural and unwise to buy things they didn't actually need. Mandatory schooling was a godsend on that count. School didn't have to train kids in any direct sense to think they should consume nonstop, because it did something even better: it encouraged them not to think at all. And that left them sitting ducks for another great invention of the modem era - marketing.
Now, you needn't have studied marketing to know that there are two groups of people who can always be convinced to consume more than they need to: addicts and children. School has done a pretty good job of turning our children into addicts, but it has done a spectacular job of turning our children into children. Again, this is no accident. Theorists from Plato to Rousseau to our own Dr. Inglis knew that if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up. In the 1934 edition of his once well-known book Public Education in the United States, Ellwood P. Cubberley detailed and praised the way the strategy of successive school enlargements had extended childhood by two to six years, and forced schooling was at that point still quite new. This same Cubberley - who was dean of Stanford's School of Education, a textbook editor at Houghton Mifflin, and Conant's friend and correspondent at Harvard - had written the following in the 1922 edition of his book Public School Administration: "Our schools are ... factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned .... And it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down."
It's perfectly obvious from our society today what those specifications were. Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults. We buy televisions, and then we buy the things we see on the television. We buy computers, and then we buy the things we see on the computer. We buy $150 sneakers whether we need them or not, and when they fall apart too soon we buy another pair. We drive SUVs and believe the lie that they constitute a kind of life insurance, even when we're upside-down in them. And, worst of all, we don't bat an eye when Ari Fleischer tells us to "be careful what you say," even if we remember having been told somewhere back in school that America is the land of the free. We simply buy that one too. Our schooling, as intended, has seen to it.
Now for the good news. Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they'll never be bored. Urge them to take on the serious material, the grown-up material, in history, literature, philosophy, music, art, economics, theology - all the stuff schoolteachers know well enough to avoid. Challenge your kids with plenty of solitude so that they can learn to enjoy their own company, to conduct inner dialogues. Well-schooled people are conditioned to dread being alone, and they seek constant companionship through the TV, the computer, the cell phone, and through shallow friendships quickly acquired and quickly abandoned. Your children should have a more meaningful life, and they can.
First, though, we must wake up to what our schools really are: laboratories of experimentation on young minds, drill centers for the habits and attitudes that corporate society demands. Mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants. Don't let your own have their childhoods extended, not even for a day. If David Farragut could take command of a captured British warship as a pre-teen, if Thomas Edison could publish a broadsheet at the age of twelve, if Ben Franklin could apprentice himself to a printer at the same age (then put himself through a course of study that would choke a Yale senior today), there's no telling what your own kids could do. After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Dancing at the reception...
Jake and I
Looking at my train...
My dad in his handsome uniform :)
One of the many beautiful flower arrangements my mom made.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Of course... I never had any doubts, but this is such a relief for him and, therefore, for me :) Speaking of relief I am over halfway done with all of my end of the year projects and papers and on the downhill side of the semester. After holding back tears last week when I came to the realization of how much time I had left to do everything, this is a welcome accomplishment.
However, I most certainly could not have done it without my wonderful almost-hubby. Last Friday I was sitting in the library for about twenty minutes staring aimlessly at my screen. I instant messaged him to tell him that I harbored absolutely no motivation to do any homework whatsoever. I was expecting a sympathetic "I'm sorry dear, is there anything I can do for you?" response but instead I was met with "Maybe you should just do your homework anyway." My knee-jerk reaction was *grrr* at the very least. But I decided to take his advice and before I knew it I was on a roll! That has kept up throughout the week and I am completely caught up on all of my assignments. Oh sweet joy of accomplishment... So here is to Jake reminding me that just because I don't feel like doing something doesn't mean I can't do it.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
So here I am... blogging... do do do... I am waiting for an "Aha!" moment where my brain automatically begins thinking of pithy phrases as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard. What do you mean it doesn't work like that? Sigh... well I hope you will read on if this post bores you then, maybe something pithy will come to me later.