Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Messy Hair, Pretty Hair?

When I worked at Children's Inn, I told my boss to not start wearing eyeliner.  I explained that if she did, she wouldn't be able to stop. Because after people get used to seeing you with lined eyes and you skip wearing it for ONE day they will comment, "You look tired." Which I went on to explain is woman-code for, "WOW! You really look like crap today."

This morning I woke up late.  I quickly curled a few pieces of face-framing hair (thinking I could classify this hair-do as beachy-looking,) slapped on some makeup, and headed out the door. 

I wasn't two feet into school when a colleague said, "Ohhh. Are you tired today?" (NOOOoooo. I forgot the eyeliner.)  This day was off to a bad start.

I think it was around noon when I figured out it wasn't September 1 (the date I'd been writing on documents all morning)...nope definitely still August. 

And it was around 2 when I noticed (by using the window by my office as a mirror) that my hair had a rather large and exposed rats' nest looking area among my "beachy waves." (Not quite sure if it had been there all day or just appeared.)

But 2 students told me that my hair (yes, the beachy mess with the rats nest) looked pretty today. (That's 2 more than usual that ever comment on my hair.)  And by now you've probably guessed that today wasn't one of my prettier days...which is the exact reason I love working with kids... 

They don't care about hair or eyeliner or wrinkly pants (which I may or may not have been sporting today.)  And they give me presents like this one:

Yep, that is a given-with-love, wristband-looking paper bracelet colored with black marker and carefully fastened together with clear tape.  The perfect cuff to assessorize a messy haired, no eyeliner, wrinkly pants kind of day :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Something

One of my friends and I like to say really special times are "just something" when something special happens, and we have no other way to describe when soldiers reunite with their families, or at weddings, or  when babies are born, or we hear a song in church that gives us goosebumps, or when we hear a story about or witness something touching, moving, or inspiring that makes us cry or at least tear up (which is probably more often than either of us would like to admit.)

Six months ago I never could have guessed that I would end up right where I am.  After all the tests, job-applying, interviews, preparations, and wondering about what’s next, I have officially begun a new chapter in my life—as a fulltime school counselor and citizen of small-town Nebraska. 

This morning as I greeted students in the hallways, I couldn't help but have a moment. When I look back on all the stress of grad school and job applying and moving and wonder at what would happen next, I see how God's provided for me through each step (usually in ways beyond my wildest expectations.)  And today I got to meet the kids He's given to me to work with for this year.  I know the challenges are just beginning...but God's plans are good...and "that's just something!"    

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where your heart is...

So for those of you who follow my blog, I’m sorry for my absence the past month or so.  I’ve been enjoying the summer, and because the weather’s been nice and I’ve been busy, I decided I was on summer break from blog writing.  However, sometimes things happen in life that I need to write about.

Among many fond memories and wonderful places I could write about Sanborn, (Yep, I mean Sanborn, Iowa; my hometown.  For those of you who don’t know me that well, or to the dismay of those that do, I’m filled with hometown pride!) one of my favorite places was the Station (or Total Tire and Service or Vander Woude Oil or DX.) For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Station was my grandpa’s mechanic business that he bought and co-owned with Merle Vander Woude from Merle's dad.  My dad started working there as a kid and eventually bought the business with his work partner, Roy.  The Station closed in 2007.

I started this as a job-finding blog and shared several of my past work experiences, but I never wrote about the Station, the very first place I worked.  I used to sweep the floors and clean the bathroom on Saturday mornings and fill the pop machine.  Every once in awhile I had to vacuum a car out.  At the time, I was convinced was SUCH a chore…child labor for sure!

Many, many of my childhood memories revolve around that place...

When I was little, I would sit in our kitchen sink and watch for my dad to come from work through the window above the sink (The station is only 4 lots down from our house.)   I got stitches in my chin (and still have the scars to prove it) from falling there.  I got suckers (Tootsie Pops, of course) from my grandpa there.  I got to ride in the DX truck with my grandpa to deliver fuel and hand out those Tootsie pops to country kids. I watched from home for the lights to turn off at the Station to know it was time to set the supper table.

I drove shop trucks with rusty holes in the floors.  I sprayed the car wash clean with my dad on Saturday nights .  I had crushes on the high school boys that worked for Dad.  I remember bringing and joining my dad (and Roy) for lunch (probably more fondly than my mom and Karen remember making it.:)  During those lunches I remember Grandpa scraping frosting off of cake and adding a thick layer of butter (because Grandma wasn't watching him there:).

I got to ride in the front seat of the semi with my dad to get fuel….all the way to Milford where we got fuel from either the blue building (without candy) or the tan building (with candy.)  I swept up peanut shells that were tossed on the floor by costumers enjoying the Christmas box of nuts.  I waited for Mary’s bus to pick me up on the first day of high school and many other days after that.  I visited my dad at work there in my prom dress.   I talked to my dad about my life’s drama and dreams there. 

I could go on and on…but I think you get the point…it was a special place.  It was our family business and tied us to other families that we still hold dear.  My dad holds memories of his dad and his childhood there.  My mom supported my dad’s work there for the first 20 + years of their marriage and through all the births and raising of their kids. My siblings and I grew up there.   My brother-in-law asked my dad to marry my sister there.   I learned about the importance of honesty, supporting local businesses, building relationships with others, how to treat costumers, and so much more at the Station. And those are only MY memories…

Despite all the stress of business and through every blessing, the Station was home.

After sitting empty for several years, the station was bulldozed over today, so for me, and I’m sure for others, today is a sad day because the physical place, full of many memories and nostalgia, is gone.  Although I’m a firm believer that things are just things and have no eternal value or worth, sometimes things are painful to loose.  And saying good-bye to the station, even after sitting empty for almost 5 years, still hurts.  And yet today is a happy day where I get to reflect on a joyful childhood, the gift of family, blessings of growing up in small town, and God’s grace and providence in opening new doors when He closes others. 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, May 13, 2011

Must Read: Growing Up Indian

Yesterday one of my co-workers/friends sent me this link from the Argus Leader about growing up on a reservation in South Dakota.  (I think that coworkers really make or break work, and a couple of mine really MAKE it!)  Anyhow, the author, Steve Young, and photographer, Devin Wagner, do a really great job of describing the challenges of life on the rez.  I strongly suggest reading through the articles.  They do a really great job of describing some of the challenges of poverty that exist in America and for our neighbors in South Dakota.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To My Mom (and the other Mommas out there)

My mom is kind, hard-working, self-sacrificing, supportive, compassionate, and faithful. She listens to me complain.  She listens to me laugh.  She listens to me worry.  She listens. She prays for me. And she gives good advice; sometimes too good.  Sometimes she gives advice I don’t want to hear, but she usually ends up being right. (For the record I’m only admitting this because today’s her day; otherwise, I like to keep her way of being right a deep, dark, hidden secret.) 
She encourages me to pursue my dreams and to never settle for mediocrity. She taught me how to tap-tease my hair.  She helped foster in me a love of learning and reading.  She is funny.  She is real.  She doesn’t sugarcoat the truth, and she admits when she needs to work on things. She is brave and inspiring.  Thank-you, Mom; I love you!
I could go on about all the greatness of my mom and the blessings God has given to me through my mom, and I’m sure that you can relate because in different or similar ways, your mom (or someone like a mom) has been a blessing to you like mine has been to me.
But I know for some of you Mother’s Day might be a hard day.  Your mom might not be around anymore; I hope you are able to cherish the memories.  You might have lost the chance to become a mom this year; I hope that you can find peace that God has plan that might be hard to see right now.  Maybe you never had a loving mother; I hope that God fills this void for you. 
Maybe you’ve made mistakes as a mother that you regret, or feel challenged in motherhood in ways you’ve never imagined…but what mother hasn’t?  Maybe you just feel weary and exhausted in the day to day tasks of being a mom.  Nothing is perfect.   If you need forgiveness, I hope you find the strength to ask for it and then rest assured that your slate is wiped clean and learn to forgive yourself.   If you need support, I hope you reach out to find it and that the right people come into your life for you to lean on. 
To all the moms--I hope you can find encouragement and God’s richest blessings on your calling to be a mom. THANK-YOU for pouring your life into the lives of your children.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blinker Fable

A few days ago I was all upset because another driver didn’t use his blinker.  At the time, I was on the phone to my friend.  I might have freaked out (only a little bit) to her about how annoying and rude and inconsiderate and stupid it is when people don’t use their blinkers and cause near accidents.  (Obviously, me being on the phone had nothing to do with my near hit…it was ALL the other driver’s fault for not signaling.)
The NEXT morning I was driving to school.  Like every good driver and citizen, I attempted to signal my turn, but my blinkers didn’t work.  And they didn’t work at the next turn, or the next, or the whole way to school.  Ugh. 
Moral: It is way easy to jump to conclusions about the reckless blinker mistakes of others when yours are working just fine.  But when yours break, you might learn a new appreciation for driving blinkerless. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When I was student teaching in New Mexico,  I was giving the kids a spelling test.  They were learning words that are spelled different but sound the same like breaks and brakes (I think these are called homophones???).  The word was DEW.  So I’m explaining this kind of DEW is the moisture on the grass in the morning.  Blank stares.  First, their yards consisted of little pebbles.  Second, they have no moisture on their rock lawns because they live in a desert.  Third, only rich people had a grass patch in their yard; most of them hadn’t even been to a house with a grass lawn.  Because I was trying to turn this whole dew thing into a teachable moment, I am telling them about how where I grew up everyone has grassy lawns because the climate is different.  More blank stares.  Finally a kid blurts out, “Dang, Miss E.  You must be rich.”  Ummmm, not exactly the point I going for.  Then another kid explains, “The kind of dew she is talking about is the dew of Mountain Dew.”  Discussion over.  Most spelt DEW correctly too. :)