Monday, May 02, 2011

It has been awhile (again) since I’ve blogged. I’ve honestly thought about taking the blog down, and wondered whether this is something I still need. My original intentions were to have a place to communicate with friends and family, a place where I could journal and process my thoughts and feelings, but mostly it was to be a way for my sister and her family to stay in touch with me while they were overseas. Said sister has since moved home, and I see them on a regular basis. I know that I have family members and friends who continue to check this as a way to keep in touch with me, and as a way to understand what I am thinking about. Unfortunately, there are some side effects to having a blog that is open to the community at large. Throughout the time, there have been inappropriate comments left on the blog by complete strangers (which I have taken down as they emerge). It is also a way for people that I would rather not have contact with (for various reasons) to keep “track” of me. I realize that I could change the format so that only selected people can view the blog and it’s contents. This seems like a whole lot of work, which is why I’ve been thinking more seriously about discontinuing it all together. The other thought that pops into my head is that I know there are individuals out there who do read this and look for my updates on a regular basis. I know that this is one of the many ways that they show that they care for me. It is these people that I keep coming back to, and that convince me that this is something I “need” to continue. And so, I think I will. There may be stretches where I post many times, and then there may be times (like more recently) when you won’t hear anything from me. Such is life! ☺

My life has changed courses several times over the past months since January. On some subjects I am willing to expound, while others I will remain “mum” over. These months have been some of the hardest of my life as I’ve pondered what my life means to me, as well as to others. I’ve felt incredible sadness, consuming anger, hurt that I didn’t think it was possible to recover from…. On the other hand, I am finding my way back to being me, and putting the pieces back together. I have felt incredible PEACE. I have JOY in my life. I know that I am LOVED. And, I know that God is guiding me through this all and will show me His plans for me.

Eric and I have broken up, gotten back together, and then broken up (for good this time) again. I will not stoop to placing blame or badmouthing. Things did not work out and we are both hoping to move on and be better for the experience.

One of my students struggles with knowing right from wrong. There have been several incidents throughout the school year with various adults and children that have shown how serious of a problem he has. This behavior culminated in an interaction with me, which then turned into him being charged with sexual battery. I have had lots of conflicting thoughts about this, and I’ve been so thankful for the full support of the administration I’m working with this year.

I’ve begun my ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsement. Classes are in 8-week increments, and meet each week for several hours at a time. 8 weeks means lots of work out of class and tons of reading on your own. By spring of 2012 I will have my endorsement completed. I feel a bit crazy for having taken on this responsibility while I’m also trying to complete my Master’s Degree, but the school district offered to pay for the endorsement (or at least most of the costs related to it) and I realize that this offer will not come along again anytime soon.

I’m at the end of my second semester of Master’s degree coursework. I’m finishing up my final project(s) for this semester, and preparing for the summer work. I have 12 credits completed towards my degree. A few weeks ago the organization that has helped pay for most of my Master’s coursework up to this point sent me a letter asking whether I had any interest in continuing to take classes during this summer. This is the first time they’ve had enough money to offer help during the summer months, and I jumped at the chance to “knock out” some additional courses over the summer. By August I’ll have finished 6 more hours towards the degree. Slowly and steadily….

I’ve also been offered a summer position with the school district. One of the principals in the district is developing a new summer program, and I’ve been asked to help create the pilot program. I’ll be teaching Monday through Thursday mornings with 4-7th grade students for a total of 6 weeks. The principal trusts me to develop my own curriculum and activities for the students, and her only request is that it is not worksheet based learning. I’ll be taking data from achievement testing (district, state, etc…) as well as the State Standards that students need to understand and put into practice at the different grade levels and put all of that into activities for the students. I’ve already been doing quite a bit of planning in my free time, and I’m excited with what I’ve come up with so far. I’m hopeful that the kids get as excited about it as I am!

Another of the projects I’ve recently taken on is to be a spokesperson for one of the Gluten Free companies that I love. It’s a bakery called Udi’s and is based in Denver. As an Udi’s ambassador I get to meet with groups and share about the product I love so much. So far I’ve met with a group in Hesston, and will be in Wichita next weekend presenting (and handing out samples) at Green Acres Market. There are two other gluten free groups that I’m talking with about possible opportunities, and I’m excited about how I’m able to help others. Udi’s does not pay me to be a spokesperson for them, I just know how much they are a resource to me, and I want to share that with others.

I’ve been busy baking (gluten filled) treats for my friend’s bookshop. Each weekend I make a delivery of cupcakes, scones, and muffins. I’m thankful for the opportunity to bake treats, but I’ll also be thankful when the bookshop/coffee shop changes ownership hands, and I will no longer be baking on such a regular basis. Since the shop is in Newton, it is sometimes a logistical nightmare to make sure they have baked goods when they are needed.

I’ve been blessed with a new niece, as well as plenty of time to enjoy her (as well as my nephew, sister and brother-in-law). As I write this, Gustav and I are enjoying the sunshine as I wait for Mormor to show up and finish out the afternoon babysitting needs. I’ll head to the doctor and then home.

I’m praying for the final weeks of school to pass quickly. As I look at the calendar I feel overwhelmed, knowing what all needs to be packed into these days and evenings. I know it is possible, and that I will get it all accomplished, but at this point I feel stress.

Blessings to you as you enter the weeks of May. Enjoy the moments as they come and go,


Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Year

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for some time now. Unfortunately, life seems to get in the way, and I don’t sit down to jot things down often enough.

Since the last time I wrote, there has been so much. Christmas has come and gone again. My Christmas tree is outside my duplex, waiting for me to take it to the back yard and take it off the base. I still have a few gifts waiting to be given, piled in the front room, but for the most part, Christmas decorations are packed away (or at least down in the basement ready to by packed away). This Christmas was a bit different in the fact that I got sick with a cold/virus the first day out, and it’s hung on until now. There were several days during break that I didn’t do much besides laying on the couch and sleeping. I had a list full of projects that I wanted to accomplish, but my body decided otherwise.

Even though I didn’t feel very good, I’m still thankful for the time spent with others during the Christmas season.

*I was able to meet Eric’s mom, and spend time with all of his family on the 26th. We had a great day full of good food and gift giving. I love this family, and I am thankful for their willingness to include me and make me feel welcome.

*I was able to meet with a friend who was recently diagnosed with celiac. We did a crash course on how to be gluten free. This is not the first time I’ve done something like this, and the more times I do it, the more I really feel that this is an area that I need to make a permanent part of my life. Maybe I can expand it into a business opportunity, or it could be that it remains as my “mission” for now. Anyway, I loved our time spent together, answering questions, and just chatting. It is my hope that she came away feeling better about her new life, and that it isn’t quite as overwhelming to her. I am thankful that she is already seeing the difference in her health!

*Eric, Heidi, Tim, Gustav and I traveled to Nebraska in Eric’s Prius over New Years. It reminded some of us of another trip we took all packed into a car with little space left for us. Even though we were tightly packed in the car, it was a great experience. The entire time I was thinking about how special a relationship I have with my sister, my brother-in-law and their family. I love them dearly, and I was near tears many times when I looked around and saw how much love there is between us all. I could also have been a TAD sad, because since Heidi is pregnant, this will be the first and last trip with us squooshed into the Prius. I guess we’ll have to figure out another mode of transport for us to squeeze into. Our time on the farm was filled with more love and laughter. I am blessed to have so many places I am able to come “home” to. The moment we round the corner and the farm is in sight, a part of me is completely at peace. I love the people, I love the food, and I love the smells and sights… Thank you farm family for the wonderful visit, and the love you show to us.

Since Christmas, my life hasn’t slowed down. It seems to get busier and busier. This last week I started classes for the second semester coursework towards my Master’s degree. This semester I will be taking an Assessment course, and a Behavior Management course. Both “should” be easy courses for me, but the sheer amount of coursework required is mind-boggling. I’ve had to color-code my planner so that nothing gets missed.

To add to the madness I’ve also decided to get my ELL/ESL (English Language Learners or English as a Second Language) endorsement. Hutchinson School district is offering to pay for the majority of my expenses for classes, and I know that these offers don’t come very often. I full realize how busy this will make me, but I also realize that if I buckle down and concentrate I can accomplish it. These classes start in March, and I need to make sure I get everything organized before then.

In addition to all of the coursework, I’ve also agreed to do bakery items for a friend’s shop in Newton. Her baker/caterer fell through, and she thought of me. I’m excited for this opportunity, although there are a few things we still need to figure out. I will be making a weekly delivery to Pages Bookshop of cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies. Holly is also open to me expanding and making some gluten free selections available, so I’m eager for that as well.

Items for prayer:

*I’ve still got some chest congestion hanging on from my Christmas cold. I feel much better than I did, but I would be happy to be completely rid of the stuff!

*In general, I’m feeling much more run-down than I normally do. My migraines have been more frequent as well, so I’m not sure whether I am getting gluten inadvertently somehow. There have been many more potluck scenarios during the holidays, and I need to be smarter about how I go about those. One of my resolutions is to be much more vigilant.

*That I’m able to juggle everything. I already use all of my plan times during school time for working on course work and items for school, but I need to figure out a way that I can accomplish more during those times. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and to be honest it’s freaking me out a bit right now. I want to do well in all of the things that I’m responsible for, but I realize that it is a bit crazy of me to think I can do this all.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Season of "Gimme"

Christmas is coming, and the beats and squeals of John Denver and the Muppets are sounding in my classroom.

This week we are focusing on the “Gift of the Magi” story. Once of my favorite stories, right up there with “The Christmas Carol” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. I’m wondering whether it was too much to bite off for the kids in my class, but we are forcing our way through it. The big language is difficult for them, but the ideas and concepts in the story are so applicable. “My” kids need to hear a different version of the ideas of Christmas (and really, don’t we all?), not just the commercialized version that we see and hear. I’m always saddened by the idea of “gimme” instead of “giving”.

I’ve eagerly anticipated the Christmas season. I’ve been trying to discuss Christmas/Holiday traditions with the children in my classroom. When I listed off the important days in my family’s December/January calendar, their eyes became huge!
*Monday was the first day of celebration for me, with St. Nicholas day. Eric, Heidi, Tim and Gustav came over for an evening of Roast Beast, and shoe gifts. ☺ Some were too big for shoes, but there was much excitement on all of our parts as we discovered what had been left for us.
*Next comes St. Lucia day on this coming Monday. No gifts are exchanged, but it is a special day with lots of childhood memories involved. I’m just glad I no longer have to get up early and carry lighted candles on my head while singing to family members and bringing them treats. I was always jealous that they were able to wake up and have breakfast in bed.
*December 25, Christmas Day. Eric and I will celebrate for several days between the two families. We will also make a trip up to the farm over New Years, to enjoy some more Christmas celebration.
*January 6 is Three Kings Day. I’ve never celebrated this day before, but Eric is bringing this tradition with him. We always talked about the Three Kings coming in our house, but it was more attached to the time period we actually took our Christmas tree down, rather than anything else. I’m excited to add another day of celebration and another new family tradition.

Things to be thankful for:
*The trip to Chicago went well. Eric and I had a great time, and certainly not enough time. We went to the Aquarium, and a Bears game. We also ate at a few restaurants, and showed me some of the area. We’ll have to go back sometime, because there is still so much I want to see!
*I also went to Denver for a long weekend. The school has asked that I be on the Social Studies Curriculum committee as the Special Education representative. They also tapped me and asked that I go to the National Social Studies Conference in Denver. I had a wonderful time, meeting and getting to know more people from the district I now work for, as well as taking in the various parts of the conference. Usually teachers are reluctant to go to in-services and conferences because we are never sure what we will have to sit through. This was a completely different experience for me. Every session I went to was fantastic, and I was able to come back with plenty of ideas to implement in my own classroom. I also came back laden with all sorts of freebies from textbook companies and tour agencies. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to travel as part of my job!?! Someday…
*Thanksgiving weekend brought family from near and far, as well Eric’s safe arrival in Kansas. For good. ☺ There was, and is, much to be thankful for! I had a great time with the Buller family members, and I always enjoy my time catching up with the cousins. I have been blessed by a wonderful, supportive family (both Johnson and Buller sides). I also was able to spend time with Eric’s side of the family, and the Wallaces did a great job of making me feel welcome.
*Work continues to be a place that I find joy. I love the people I’m working with. I love the people I’m working for. I love the subject matter I am teaching. I love the kids that I’m working with…. Life is good. Eric also seems to be enjoying his new job (started Dec. 6), and I’m impressed with all the people he’s already met. I’m hopeful that he will find as much joy at his new job as I have with mine.
*I’ve been busily making cookies to celebrate the Christmas season. Last night I made gluten free Spritz cookies, and I have to say it was a huge success! There have been several recipes that have proven difficult to convert, and I’m happy to say that these are no longer on that list! Also on the table at home are peanut butter kisses, chocolate oatmeal nobake cookies, and white chocolate peppermint brittle. I think I may have to make another round of Spritz, fudge and possibly try some cutout sugar cookies to decorate. Oh, and I’ll need a few volunteers to eat it all!

Christmas blessings to all of you! Take time to count the things you have to be thankful for!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Heidi is begging again...

Or in fact, she's being pretty pushy with her demands about a new blog post. She feels that I have much to share, and she's probably right!

Life in Hutch is going very well. All of my feelings of wonder and excitement are still here, even after almost 9 weeks of the school year. Each day I look forward to going to work, a feeling that I haven't had in a long time. There are still times I don't want to get out of bed, but that's more because I don't want to leave the warm little nest I've created.

I'm currently doing a novel study with my literature classes. We're reading the book "Holes", by Louis Sachar. I love this book, and I was eager to have another class to read it with (I taught it during my student teaching). The kids seem to be loving it, although most have seen the movie which is providing problems. The book is always better, but it's hard to convince children of that!

I'm thankful for the friendships I've already made here in Hutchinson. I know that I've been blessed. The people I work with are looking out for me and including me in their invitations. There are times that I feel like I'm never home, and as I look at my calendar I realize that I rarely am. This is "normal" for me, although my "normal" schedule involves me doing more massage/work in the evenings and not as much hanging out. I'm sure that will change again whenever my "newness" rubs off. In the meantime, I'm very thankful.

Since my last posting I've also had several wonderful things to attend. These are in no particular order, just as I thought of them!
*My favorite weekend of the year (3rd weekend in September) rolled around, and with it the beautiful music and surroundings that is the Walnut Valley Festival.
*I've been able to attend the wine tasting that I go to with my friends Cindy and Phil. The art, tapas and wine pairings are always wonderful, and an enjoyable time spent with friends. This year the highlight may have been Julia Child (in drag), who made appearances at each of the tapas/wine tables.
*My friend, Chris, also threw a wine party. It was fun to sit outside on a beautiful evening with a roaring fire. Lots of good conversations and wonderful food.
*Shalom's Brew Club had an apple picking afternoon and evening. We harvested apples, and then turned them into cider. It was a wonderful family experience, and it was nice to be able to spend time with Heidi, Tim and Gustav, in addition to all of my wonderful church family members.
*Heidi and Tim hosted Hutoberfest. Always good to see the people they invite and taste the good foods brought. Each year it seems to get bigger and better!
*Pedicures with my friend Whitney and my cousin Carmen. Ultimate pampering for my birthday, plus a dinner at P.F. Changs! Love their gluten free menu!
*My birthday was on the 23rd of September. I have had many (MANY) opportunities to celebrate. Thank you for thinking of me! I truly have felt very special.

Things to look forward to:
*Tonight I get to see my friend, Becca, and her little family. It's been several months since we've seen each other, which doesn't make much sense since we live so close to each other.
*Tomorrow evening I get to go hear Straight, No Chaser in concert for the second time. The put on a phenomenal concert, and I can't wait to go again.
*Friday evening I leave to spend a few days in Chicago. Which brings me to the information Heidi is really wanting me to share! :) (Love you, Heidi) I have a boyfriend. He currently lives in Chicago, but will be moving to Kansas soon. Buller family members, you'll get to meet him at Thanksgiving. Johnson family members, we're hoping to go to the farm over New Years, so that may be your chance to meet him. If you don't fit into the Johnson or Buller categories, feel free to email me and we'll figure out another time to see each other!

Love to all of you,

Sunday, September 05, 2010

God IS working His purpose out!

The last months have been filled with stress and heartache, and yet so much happiness as well. It was hard for me to make the decisions that led up to me leaving Marion, but it is evident that I made the right decisions. As much as I hated to leave my church family and friends, God has had His hand in it all, and I know that He has good things in store for me.

Thanks to all that helped me move! The crew that helped load the truck and the crew that unloaded in Hutchinson both did a great job. It was a busy and very hot day, and I am thankful for all that volunteered their time. What added more stress to the entire event was the fact that I wasn’t able to stay in Hutchinson and unpack everything. Instead I spent most of the rest of the weekend in Hutch, only to drive back and teach another 2 weeks of summer school in Marion. It is difficult knowing that you have so much work waiting for you (unpacking), and that you aren’t able to go and do it. That last 2 weeks was a good time for me too, because it meant that I had 2 weeks devoted to spending time and making memories with my good friends in Marion. Thanks to Julie and Quinn, and Kym and Troy who opened their homes to me when I was homeless! Thanks for the meals, the beds, the running water, and especially the time spent together talking and laughing!

Before leaving Marion, I took in 2 different trainings, one on Reiki (for use with massage therapy) and the other on Macs. It’s been many years since I’ve worked on Apple computers, but my new position in Hutch requires me to. I wanted to make sure I had brushed up on my Apple skills before being confronted with an entire class full of kids staring at me, and me not being able to bring up the activities I want. Both classes went well, and I’ve already used many things I learned in those days.

Tuesday, August 10th, brought the first day I needed to report in Hutchinson. It was a day filled of training for Special Education teachers new to the Hutchinson district. The following 3 days were new-teacher trainings for Hutchinson. After that came a week full of trainings and meetings for all teachers that work for Hutchinson.

We’ve had two full weeks of school with kids now, and I have to say, I LOVE my job! I love the people I am working with, I love the subjects I am teaching, and I’m really excited about the kids (I can’t say I love them yet…but I’m sure that before the year is out, I’ll love them too!). I’ve been so impressed with the levels of support built into the Hutchinson school district. I’ve got a mentor teacher (even though this is my 8th year of teaching), I have a “professional friend” (a different person who is assigned to make sure I have everything I need, as well as invitations to events, and a person to sit next to in trainings, etc…), the teachers I am working with have all been really supportive, and I’m enjoying my time with them. The administrators that I work with consistently show their support of their staff (what a refreshing concept!); I’ve got two great paraprofessionals that work for me… My list could go on and on…

The unpacking is coming to a close. Most everything has found a home, and I’m anticipating being completely done with it by the end of the week. The only room that isn’t unpacked at this point is the room that will be my office and massage room. I’ve already got people asking when I’ll be ready for clients, so I’m happy that that is all falling into place too!

Thank you for the many prayers you’ve said on my behalf! I appreciate them so much! Please make sure to drop by next time you are in the area! I would love to show off my new home and I love having company!

Much love,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bit by bit...

The summer is seeping away.

I was supposed to babysit a daughter of one of my friends each day, but that fell through the day before it was supposed to start. While I was disappointed, I know God had a hand in it all. My summer has been jam packed even without that time, and I know that HE made it so that my schedule this summer was more manageable!

People ask what has kept me so busy, and I honestly can't point to one thing and say "that's it!". My life is normally very busy, and while I often wish for it to slow down (and think that summer will be the magical time of the year when it finally does!), I don't know that I would actually enjoy the slower pace if it were ever to appear.

I've been glad to have the time this summer to visit my grandparents, uncle, and aunt on the farm with my parents. We went to enjoy the Chautauqua that was in North Platte for almost a week. It was nice to have the time to enjoy the afternoon sessions and spend time together in the evenings learning about the 30's and the Great Depression. Really interesting stuff, and very applicable to what is happening today.

I've also had the freedom to pick up and spend time with Heidi, Tim and Gustav. I've been able to do some babysitting when it was needed, and I always love anytime I get to spend with my nephew!

I'm slowly packing up my house at 912 Highland. Every couple of weeks I make a trip to Hutch to check on the new place, get the mail, do additional cleaning, pick up things at the school. I also make a point of taking a full car-load of items at the same time and unpacking them while I'm there. Hopefully it will mean less stress on moving day, and less stress to unpack before school starts!

Moving day is set for July 24. I'm unsure as to how many people will be showing up to help, and this is an item that is a bit stressful for me right now. I'm sure it will all work itself out, but until the actual day I will continue to worry that there won't be enough people. I'm also praying for a cool, cloudy day, with no rain. July can be beastly in KS!

I've been fairly busy at the massage clinic these weeks of summer. While I was anticipating no longer working at the clinic after the last week of July, I believe that Carolan and I have come to an agreement that I will still come back to Marion once per month to help with Saturday clients. This will be good for both of us, I think! I'll get to keep some of my clients (hopefully), plus I'll be able to visit some of my loved ones on a fairly regular basis! I am continuing to plan for and prepare for opening my own massage business in Hutch. It is another item that I worry about, because I've got a client base built up in Marion, and now I'll be starting over. I'm sure God will have his hand in that too.

As I write this, I'm sitting at my cousin's house in Omaha. Craig and Jen invited me to come up for a few days. It has been great to be able to spend time with them. We've spent the evenings drinking wine and catching up. While they are at work during the day I've just stayed at their house and caught up on some of the work I've been avoiding as far as looking through my new curriculum for Hutch. I've actually enjoyed the time that I've spent looking through my teacher manuals, and figuring out which books are used and when. I'm really excited about what the next year will bring and the types of lessons I'll be able to teach! I've also been working on creating items for my MAC class that I've been taking this summer (sidenote: The SPED teachers all get MACs at my new school, and I've been working on a PC for many years. While I used a MAC in college for newspaper, it has been awhile. I was confident that it wouldn't take much to figure it all out again, I also decided that it was worth taking a summer class, as well as being able to have some more credit hours!, so that I don't look like an idiot those first days of school). Yesterday Jen and I met at Whole Foods for lunch, and then I spent much of the rest of the afternoon poking around in that store, going up and down each and every aisle. I left with purchases for myself and for my sister (somehow she got more than I did!). I could so easily live in a big city! :) Today I went out and had to buy a cooler to take my purchases home with. This is something I actually needed, so I don't feel so bad about it! I'm forever having to borrow one from people when I need to transport things, so it will be good to have one of my own now! I believe that this evening Jen and I will be going to get pedicures while Craig has a late meeting, and then we'll all meet for dinner somewhere. This little visit has been wonderful, and very restful for me! Thank you Craig and Jen!

This last Sunday marked the last time I would sing at Marion Presby Church. The last several times I've attended I've been much more emotional, and I know that it is because this church has been such a special place for me for my time in Marion. They love me and it is evident! I was dreading this last Sunday because I was doubtful as to whether I would actually get through the song without dissolving into tears. I was able to, but just barely. Pastor Jeremiah said some very nice things about me right before I sang, and I nearly lost my grip! I will miss this congregation, but know that I can always come back to visit easily.

While I've been in Omaha one of the things I've needed to work on is my Grad School Loans, and financing things. This morning I spent quite a bit of time looking at it all. From what I can determine, I've been awarded a Teacher Scholarship from the State of KS, and it will cover all of my expenses as far as college hours. While I haven't gotten my formal letter in the mail yet, the money is showing up in my financial aid package, so I'm very optimistic! I'm still going to take some loan money to cover expenses like books, etc. This scholarship is wonderful, and will help relieve some of the financial burden that schooling can be! This is a scholarship I also got for several years of my undergrad work. It is set up like a forgivable loan program, where as many years as I get the scholarship, I promise to work that many years in Special Education. If my circumstances change (as far as I decide to get out of teaching, or I change to teaching something besides SPED) then I will be responsible for repaying whatever is left from the loan/scholarship as far as how much time is left. I am rejoicing that it all seems to be working out!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thank you!

Thank you to those of you who have sent up prayers on my behalf since my last post. All 3 items of prayer have been taken care of! :)

1) Facebook can be a blessing, although sometimes just as much a curse, I'm sure! In this case it was a blessing, as it greatly eased my responsibilities regarding breaking the news to the children in my classroom. I have several parents that have "friended" me on facebook, and thankfully they did much of the "dirty" work. I am thankful for the private conversations they had with their children, and how the kids handled it. The kids spread it to each other, but I was amazed at how well 3rd and 4th grade students processed it and shared with each other. Don't get me wrong...there were tears shed by me, and many tears shed by the children, but overall it was a very smooth conversation and much easier on me than it could have been.

2) I have found a WONDERFUL place to live. After a day spent traipsing through some hell-holes and being bitten by fleas, my last appointment of the day was a little bit of heaven. A 2 bedroom duplex, that is just a bit more expensive than what I was hoping for, but still within my price range. Beautiful wood floors, clean and well taken care of, and with very good landlords from what I can tell. Knowing that I couldn't afford to rent 2 places until my move, I wasn't thinking that I would have much luck looking so early. I am so thankful that they are working with me, and made a special deal with me that I could pay 1 month's worth of rent for June and July (basically 2 months for the price of 1), plus a reduced deposit. The duplex came with appliances, but quickly agreed to move them all out so that I could keep my own. Such a relief that I won't have to figure out how to sell everything before moving! Best of all, even though the duplex was advertised as a no-pet property, they have agreed to let me keep my kitty, Manje, and aren't even charging me a pet deposit. I even offered to make her an outside only cat, but they said that as long as she was litter trained that it would be OK. My new place is very (VERY) close to the Cosmosphere. Please stop by and visit! I love to host people in my home!

3) After many worries over whether I would be able to do a home-based business (Massage Therapy), I have been pleasantly surprised. I have been officially approved to have a home-based massage business. The formal process only took about 20 minutes of my time (and was in the same building that I needed to go to anyway to get my utilities turned on--convenient!) As long as I promise not to have more than 3 people working for me or more than 5 people for massage therapy on the property (all this in a two-bedroom house?!?!?!)---and really there were a few more things that I agreed to--the city of Hutchinson is OK with me. I even have an official letter saying so! :)

So far the summer has not gone as I anticipated, but things are working out for the best. I was supposed to be babysitting during the day for the daughter of one of my friends. My friend had said that at some point her fall day-care option might open up (she was thinking mid July) and at that point she wouldn't need me to babysit. Instead, the position opened up the last week of May. So...I haven't been babysitting. Somehow my time has been filled anyway, and I'm thankful for all the ways things have fallen into place. I really feel God's presence in my life right now, and I feel like I am moving in the direction that He wants me to go in. I've made several trips to Hutchinson to clean the duplex, go to my classroom at the 8th grade building, and figure out utilities/details that moving to a new home consist of. While I know I would be able to get it all done even if I had been babysitting, I have to say that it has been very stress-free so far... I'm also thankful for the ease in picking up and driving to Newton to spend time with family...I've been able to stay overnight many times (Thanks Hubers!), spending afternoons and evenings canning, laughing, talking, watching EuroVision, grocery shopping with Heidi(One of my favorite activities!!!!), making Elderflower syrup, working at the massage clinic... So much to be thankful for!

Things to look forward to:

*Travelling to see family in Hershey, Nebraska and taking in the Chautauqua activities.
*Travelling to see family in Omaha, Nebraska.
*Several concerts
*Spending time with family and friends at the reservoir and county lake
*Spending time with family and friends; going out to lunches/dinner and just spending moments together!
*Canning and preserving fruits and vegetables.

Again, thank you to those of you who have sent up a prayer (or two!) on my behalf!

Much love to you all!