Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The envelope please...

**Watched the Academy of Country Music Awards the other night (yeah...I'm a closet country music lover.) It got me thinking about this post I started a while back that I never finished. Here goes...

I made a comment to one of my youth group girls the other day that has had me pondering. She is about to finish up her first year of college, and I was congratulating her on this achievement. Then I went on to lament, "I miss those days when there was an end to things, and a sense of accomplishment when it was finished--like completing a new level in your education."

Since then, I've been asking myself, "What did I really mean by that?" What I'm realizing is that for most of my life, I have been trained to look for the end to things--the next level of achievement. I was in the educational system up until the age of 25, either as a student or a teacher. And, in this system, you become trained to always to focus on the end goal and the next level of achievement.

I kind of loved this system. I like having tangible proof that I have worked hard or that I have talent. In fact, it's been a consistent motivator in my life. Thus, my reign as the 1990 Regional Spelling Bee Champion...

...and various other such titles of victory in this-or-that.

So, that led me to this next thought: What if there were levels of achievement in life? What if we were all working from the same system which awarded us for each rank completed? What would it look like if there was a standard of progression that we all were working to attain?

I picture all of us attending the Annual Academy Awards for Achievement in ___________ (you fill in the blank: parenthood, marriage, friendship, relationship with God, kindness to little old ladies, eating more whole grains, remembering to floss, etc.) All would be recognized who achieved the next level in the progression. We would all hold our breath as we waited to hear our names.

"And now, in recognition of the elevation of her status from fair to good in the area of housecleaning, we honor Kaley Ehret!" Then would come the tears and the thanking of the academy...

Oh dear. This is going nowhere good. (Especially since I am definitely putting off housework right now so I can finish this blog...there goes my award.) I'm going to stop now.

But hey--I'm thinking about holding the First Annual Academy Awards for Achievement in Coupon Cutting sometime soon. I recently upgraded from horrible to could be worse. Anyone want to join me on the red carpet?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photo Shoots, Belly Pics, and Mother's Day

It's been a busy few days, so I thought I'd just throw up some pics for your viewing pleasure.

These pics are from a trip to the park with Griffin. (Someday I'll write a post dedicated solely to this's one of the hidden treasures of Whitney Point, NY, and one of my favorite places in the world.) We had our own little photo shoot. You should have heard me directing him.
Work it, Griff!
Hug that tree.

Let's see a little 'cute action'.

Next, we have the promised belly pic. I made Wes take this at 11:00 one night just for you, my friends. Thus, my tired smile. Hope you enjoy.

And finally, Mother's Day. I could definitely dedicate an entire post to the details of my pampering by Wes and family. My husband deserves kudos for all of his hard work, not only spoiling me but also planning gifts for both Grandmas as well as our landlord, Mary Beth (who Griffin affectionately calls Grandma Mar.) I told him I'm already stressed over how I'm going to match his efforts for Father's Day.

Instead, I'll simply leave you with this picture of three generations of Moms. That's my mom next to me, then my Dad's Mom, and my sister, Tami.

Friday, May 9, 2008

This is so weird.

I was on a drama team called Youthquest in college, which was part of a larger group of singing, activities, and other drama teams. It was a blast. I met some of my favorite people in the world by being a part of it.

In October, we are having a YQ reunion back at good ol' LU. So, in honor of such an occasion, I have spent hours this past week scanning pictures onto my computer and then posting them online for all of my fellow YQers to admire.

Today I was looking at this pic of my roommate Lisa and I at an LU football game. The fact that I was far too busy socializing and doing photo shoots to pay any attention to the game is not the weird part. Believe me...

I've looked at this picture hundreds of times. In fact, I think I used to have it framed. What caught my eye today for the first time was that guy with his hat on backwards way over in the far left corner. Yep, you guessed it. It's Wes. (In case you're wondering how I can possibly tell, the row of guys next to him are all his college buddies.)

If you don't know our story, Wes and I attended Liberty together for three years, but ran in completely different circles. This may be the only picture we have of us together during our college experience.

I often give him a hard time for not noticing me until three years after we graduated--I mean look at how cute I was. But this picture may speak a thousand words. I find myself wanting to whisper in my ear, "Hey, little girl, turn around pay some attention to what is right in front of you!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Goodbye, novelty.

**Thought I'd share a little glimpse from my journal entry yesterday morning.

The novelty is wearing off.

This is how I feel about a couple of situations in life right now.

1) Wes's unemployment. The first two weeks were rather euphoric. Filled with leisurely mornings together, trips to the park, softball games, dreaming about what the future holds, help with the grocery shopping. Doesn't get much better than that. The third week, a hint of restlessness cropped up. By the fourth week, the silver lining on our situation started to turn a shade of gray. With each check of the e-mail and glance at the caller ID, the realization that our dream job offer may not be on the immediate horizon has started to set in.

2) Ministry: I have come up against my own limitations several times lately in our youth ministry. Nothing huge...just frustrating. Whether it be leading a worship song in the completely wrong key (sigh), or fumbling through figuring out how to push my small group toward obedience, I've felt my original enthusiasm wane thin at times.

While the urge to throw in the towel is only minor, the temptation to begin to lose hope hovers just over my head.

Doubts begin to circle. "Who am I to think I have anything to offer? It was naive of me to think that the future was so bright."

This is where drudgery starts to set in. I've been here before.

Today, God reminded me that when drudgery meets dependency, hope is created and renewed.

"If we define the nature of our lives by the mistake of the moment or the defeat of the hour or the boredom of the day, we will define it wrongly. We need roots in the past to give obedience ballast and breadth; we need a vision of the future to give obedience direction and goal. And they must be connected...For Christian faith cannot be comprehended by examining an Instamatic flash picture which has caught a pose of beauty or absurdity, ecstasy or terror; it is a full revelation of a vast creation and a grandly consummated redemption. Obedience is doing what God tells us to do in it." A Long Obedience, pp. 169, 170

Goodbye, novelty. Hello, dependency.

And hope.