It's Neither Here Nor There

A blog about two friends far apart yet close at heart.

The Key

February2

Dear Kristy,

 

Oh me oh my, you will not believe my weekend. First off, I have to preface this story to say that Jeff often makes fun of me for losing things. I will admit I have misplaced my keys a time or two, and even my BFF-iPhone. Everyone loses things, that’s neither here nor there. But Jeff likes to rub it in until it bleeds. And I find it very annoying.

 

Now back to the weekend. We left Friday night for Washington, DC, for Adam and Jenn Wilson’s wedding. Adam and Jenn are on staff at CRU here at VT. They are members of our church. Adam has been so faithful to Sam in discipling him and even taking him hunting. Jenn has stayed the night with our kids while we were out of town. They are precious and priceless to our family and church. I thank God for them. Needless to say, we were all looking forward to their wedding.

 

We got up early Saturday morning with all intentions to take the kids to DC to go to some of the Smithsonian museums. The wedding was later in the day. After breakfast we headed back to our room to hit the road. We stayed at a nice motel outside of DC. Our car was parked close to our room. Once we got back to the room we could not find the keys. In my mind I immediately took the blame. Since I have been ridiculed many times, Jeff immediately asks me where the keys were. My mind started racing, reliving the night before. I didn’t drive. Jeff drove. He had the keys. I didn’t have the keys. Oh wait, did he give me the keys? Where did I put them?  I quickly searched through my clothes and bags. No keys. After Jeff stops looking over my shoulder during my search, he starts looking through his things. No keys. Now the kids are involved. They look through their belongings as I tear apart the beds making sure they are not in the covers. No keys. Jeff and Sam race to the car, thinking they must be in the car. They looked through every window. No keys.

The kids head back down to the motel’s cafeteria to look around where we ate. The hotel manager gets involved at this point and keeps an eye for the keys as well. My hope was that someone picked up the keys in the parking lot and would turn them in. After the kids head back to the room with no key, we realize we will have to call a locksmith. The only logical explanation was that the dumb key was in the trunk. We wait around for about 20 minutes until the locksmith shows up. Adelyn and I stay in the room while Jeff and Sam watch him perform his $130 magic. It literally took 2 minutes. Sam comes back. No key. Immediately, I yell at the kids to take everything out of their bags and put it on the bed. I empty all my bags and Jeff’s bags too before Jeff gets back in the room. I knew that he would be on a rampage when he came back in from throwing a big wad of cash out the window. I pull the beds from the walls, turn the furniture upside down. No key.

 

 

By this point, our trip to Washington DC was out of the picture. It was around 11:00 and the wedding started at 2:30. Jeff starts calling other locksmiths who can actually make a key. The one who unlocked our car, of course, couldn’t include that in his $130 fee. He called around to several locksmiths, all of them concerned about making a key for a first generation Toyota Prius. This eleven year old, 200 thousand mile, high-tech automobile has some fancy chip inside the key which can only be replaced my a Toyota car dealership. So, we call a couple different dealerships close by. The long story short was that we would have to have our car towed to the dealership, the mechanic ‘would see’ if he could make a key but it would range from $250-$900 because we didn’t have an extra key for them to copy and they would have to make the key from scratch. I don’t know what they were smoking but we were not asking them to make the key from 14k gold. Needless to say, we didn’t go that route. Instead, we decided we would rent a car. I would bring the rental car back to DC the next day, with the extra car key that we have at home and we would be another $130 poorer.

 

The next problem was the time. It was 11:30 at this point. The car rental places close at 12:00 on Saturdays. They were too busy to come pick us up. Google map said we could walk to the rental agency in 37 minutes. The motel didn’t have a shuttle. So we called a cab. I’m sure he laughed to himself when he just drove us a couple blocks away saying to himself what lazy middle-aged white folks we were. We get our rental car and head back to the motel. By this time we are exhausted and hungry.

 

When we get back to the motel Jeff drops me off at the office to renew our plastic keys. They had expired and they had graciously gave us a late check out. I’m standing in line to talk to the manager and Jeff calls. “Carolyn! I found the key! Hurry! Get in the car and follow me back to the rental store! Quick!” He hangs up and literally leaves me hanging. What the heck! He found the key. Where? I run (which is a funny site) back to the car and there sits Adelyn in the passenger seat with the key. Jeff and Sam are speeding back to the rental store because by this time it is past 12:00. I follow not far behind. Adelyn said that Jeff had found the key in the outside garbage can under a stair well.

 

Jeff later said that when he passed by after he got back with the rental car something inside him said to look inside the trash can.  Sam and I had searched all around the trash can and grass area several times. This trash can is one of those rock paneled trash cans with a big metal lid. Never in a million years would I have looked in there. But the night before we had stopped to get gas at a gas station that had a Dunkin Donuts. Jeff had put the trash from our car ride in the trash can when we got to the motel the night before. So on Saturday at 12:00 and after the trashcan god’s prompting, he looked inside. There sat our trash from the night before. He searches around. No Keys. But then he looks INSIDE the Dunkin Donut sack and there they were! Praise the Lord and the trashcan god!!!

 

I have to say that I totally admit that I made a complete fool of myself at the car rental place once Jeff was able to return the car. The lights were off inside the store and the employees were locking up the store once Jeff made it inside. The kids and I waited in the parking lot. Jeff came out smiling. They had cancelled our credit card charge and let us return the car. Once I knew things were good I was overwhelmed with relief, joy and exhaustion. I couldn’t stop myself and my teenage children were beyond embarrassed but I just started yelling to the top of my lungs for all to hear. ‘THANK YOU JESUS THAT IT WAS JEFF AND NOT ME!!!!! THANK LORD! THANK YOU LORD!!!’

 

Everyone quickly got in the car to hide from my outburst but I had to say it! It was NOT my fault. I did NOT lose the keys. They once were lost but now they are found. Praise Jesus!

 

Don’t lose your keys,

 

Carolyn

 

Dependence

January24

Dear Kristy,

 

I sit here writing you from my new job. It’s official, Jeff is my boss. Wow! I don’t like the sound of that. Haha. I started working this week for the church as the administrative assistant. I like it. And I really like that I am working to help justify the ungodly amount of money the church pays for my medical insurance every month. The church graciously pays for our health insurance and it is truly a blessing. But I struggle with guilt as to how much my part of the insurance bill is, but that’s neither here nor there. By working at the church I feel like I am at least contributing.

 

It is crazy the circumstance of my job hunting. I have applied for countless jobs and have even had several that were promising and seem to be a perfect fit. But none of them amounted to anything. Nothing. I applied many times and had several interviews to be a case manager for a counseling firm here in town. That was exciting for me because I felt like I could ‘officially’ use my college degree of counseling. Nothing. I applied for a coordinator job for a nonprofit here in town and even had connections. Nothing. I applied for two photographer jobs. One of the jobs, the head of the department was on my resume and I still didn’t get the job. The other photography job seemed to be molded just for me and the owner seemed so promising. Nothing.

 

It’s crazy! So I wait patiently. I really don’t want to be outside of God’s best for me. I have to admit though that is hard. It is hard to not take it personal, time after time being denied. Do I have cooties? Am I too brash? Does my breath smell like my kids say?

 

It always seem to come back to dependence for me and God and our relationship. I have to admit that I come from a long line of women who have the will power to do anything. That you know well. That is why I think we are friends. You kind of come from the same line of women. Just think back to our time in Monticello where we would put our game face on and accomplish anything; garage sales at the last minute, rearrange our furniture in an afternoon, clean out a child’s clothes and toys in an hour, shoot! even start a church! Haha! We were dangerous. Maybe it’s good we live half a world away.

 

Dependence, that is where I was going. It seems to be a never ending lesson for me. I am at the point in my life I realize it will be one I will never complete, get a final grade on and graduate. It is a daily thing. A place I surrender everyday to the Lord. If I don’t then I can find myself in the pit of despair. I am so thankful that I have the ability to look back and see how God has worked over and over again in my life. He is constant and trustworthy. He always provides despite by efforts to try to make things happen. I guess I will be at peace with learning for today that my dependence is minute by minute and never ending, despite my efforts to make it a project I must complete.

 

Gotta go! The boss is here. He just gave me a kiss and said he liked kissing the secretary when he came in to work. We are in trouble.

 

Depending on Him,

Carolyn

am I resolute enough?

January8

Dear Carolyn,

I can’t tell you how happy I was to see you finally! Wow, can you believe it’d been 2 years? Technology these days makes it so nice, and weird at the same time. Mike’s mom felt the same effect, like we’d never left or something, because we are constantly talking and seeing videos and pics of one another. I often think about the pioneer women, like the Little House on the Prairie series that I’ve read with Abby, when they took off with their strappin’ husband and everything they could fit in a covered wagon and headed west… facing peril, silence, animals, nature, and adventure. Who can resist adventure? Sometimes I think of myself as boring ol’ Kristy, but then I think of this grand adventure that God has given us and chuckle to myself. In a new millenium way, we jumped into this grand adventure, shoveling snow, dealing with darkness (the very real kind), and cabin fever like few will ever experience (it’s a very real phenomenon). Why? To live the life God has designed for us. Sometimes the idealist in me desires for things to be grandiose and perfect. Remember when I had the audacity to say I wanna live like Paul, a life that seems extreme and wildy unpredictable. He definitely abandoned all and sold out to the Christian calling. But this morning at church, the pastor’s sermon reminded me that it’s in the ordinary, day to day life of believers where Christ is evident, and where we have impact through him. It was good for me. It’s my attitude and words when my kids are losing all sense of sanity and having hissy fits, when Mike is grumpy and grouching, when my students have meltdowns or won’t stop making animal sounds, when someone at work is grating the very last nerve that is barely hanging on by a thread … my reaction in those moments is what makes or breaks my witness for His glory. It was sobering to think of the things I’ve complained about at work and I must say I’m convicted. Thankfully, tomorrow I will have the chance to get up and do it all over again, and again, and again for as long as my days are numbered… that’s the great news, His mercies are truly new every morning and we get a do-over of sorts.

At this time of year especially, I’m full of hopes and dreams, and sometimes even regrets. Looking back at the past year has been both good and bad. I can easily focus on my failures (the seemingly endless run of bad attitude), my challenges (going back to work and leaving my sweet 2 year old in someone else’s care), my limited successes (gee, I can’t teach all first graders to read in the first semester of school nor will I ever get all the special ed paperwork right) and get depressed. It’s the focus on self that is depressing, though. When I look at who God is, how He’s been abundantly sufficient in our family, and how by His grace, we are here and thriving, I am amazed. At Him..A.Mazed.

This new year, I have thought about some goals, although I really haven’t done any in years (that nagging feeling of incomplete tasks and not measuring up just aren’t worth it). I’m reading The Happiness Project and One Bite at a Time, and these have both been good for getting me to have a little more grace for myself…that being perfect isn’t the goal, rather doing things with excellence, and trying again tomorrow when we don’t have raging success for a few days.

Reading Tsh Oxenreider’s writings about New Year’s resolutions has really helped shaped my thinking this year.

So, here’s my goals, some serious and some not so important:

  • eat more veggies
  • go to gym on Tues/Thur. morning
  • floss daily (got a head start in December and so far have only skipped 2x)
  • read through the Bible this year (I’ve yet to do this in one year, but am determined, plus I have an app for that, ha!)
  • commit to and complete a marriage class with Mike (began last week)
  • skinny white chocolate mocha on Friday only
  • write more (blog, prayer journal, letters to my kids, etc.)

It seems like a long list, so I’m tackling a little at a time, not expecting to have this all mastered by next week! I’ll try to keep you posted! Any resolutions and reflections in your neck of the woods?

Love,

Kristy

click happy

September3

Dear Caro,

You are right! I know we can both say with complete confidence that God is faithful. In these big times of change, I can rest easy and be at peace knowing that He has got it all. The girls are working on memorizing Proverbs 3:5-6 right now, one that I treasure:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

I am really living this out right now (to my best ability, which falls short so often). There’s a lot of uncertainty as a teacher. Not uncertainty of whether I should be a teacher right now, rather things like: Am I doing the right thing for these kiddos with special needs? How can I serve them best with such a limited view of their situations and backgrounds?… a ton of heartache and questioning over their little young lives. Thankfully, God is directing my path because my own understanding is so very limited.

Speaking of the girls’ verse memorization, I’m using this idea from one of my favorite new websites, Pinterest. I just put patterned paper in a picture frame and used window markers (or dry erase markers) to write a verse. Then when I want, I can change it. It hangs in the kids’ bathroom. I’ve gotten tons of new ideas like this on Pinterest. Although at first I was a little lot click happy… I’ve pared it down to a nightly check before bed, not hours of browsing, and not every single night even! Plus, I’ve already done several ideas I found on there, including some things for my classroom, but that’s neither here nor there.

Another new find is Inspired to Action. Boy, it was just what I needed with my new working woman schedule. I’ve stuck with getting up early enough (before the kids wake me up) and really getting lots accomplished in the mornings, including using my handy iphone app for a daily Bible reading, something I’ve always enjoyed but had let slide. I even signed up for the morning challenge on Inspired to Action, which begins next week. I can’t wait for that accountability.

I found out about Inspired to Action from my all time favorite blog, Simple Mom. What an incredible resource for me! I try to not subscribe to many things that will just clutter up my inbox and create time wasting (either deleting, unsubscribing, or clicking on duds) but this is one I love to read in my inbox (I simply subscribed to the email RSS version). Tsh is a jewel of a Christian mom and calls herself a “life hack” !

Simple Mom also directed me to Pear Budget. I’m setting mine up this weekend for our new income with the new job. We are planning a fast track for paying off debt and being free from that long list that has weighed us down for way too long.

OK, just one more to link up. If you are looking for great ideas for crafts, gifts, free printables and such, then check out Skip to my Lou. I used these bookplates and these plant picks at the end of last school year for teacher & Sunday school volunteer gifts . It’s great website when you have a few minutes to just browse for ideas or have something in mind already and just need help or free printables. I’ll probably visit it for handmade Christmas gift ideas.

I think that’s it from my new world wide web of home internet. Oh, wait, no it’s not. There’s one more, Cozi. This is a website that I have used for about a week now and use it, I do. It’s got a family calendar (you can color code for each family member), a to-do list (as many custom ones as your heart desires), and a shopping list (again, you can have multiple lists). It is proving to help me sleep better knowing I can just add something to my list  on the iphone app version, and it will be there for me later so I won’t forget it. I have separate to-do lists for work at school, work at church, general family business. I even made a list for each of the kids for gift ideas as I think of them, so I’m not scrambling at birthdays & Christmas time just coming up with last minute lists for all the grandparents and Santa.

Happy clicking, if you so desire!

Kristy

First Day of School

August17

Dear Kristy,

 

Well, I have thought a lot about you today! I can not believe you started your first day of school today! Your first day as an Alaskan special ed school teacher. It still amazes me how God literally put that job in your lap. I know you will be great! I prayed for you along with my big munckins today as you all started.

Speaking of my kids, I laughed at their t-shirt selections this year as we shopped for school clothes. I had to share. Sam’s t-shirt said ‘Lazy but Talented’. Oh what a statement on the first day of high school. Adelyn’s said ‘Stand Out of the Crowd’ and had some weird alien graphic on it. Oh my. I am in need of much prayer this year, for sure. It’s neither here nor there, but we are both in for a lot of changes! So thankful God is faithful.

 

Can’t wait to hear about your day,

Carolyn


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