Sunday, December 23, 2007

Back to you my heart was running

I did make it safely home, for those of you whom I left in the chilly state of Wisconsin. Jenny and Kathy, the two of you may be the only ones in the entire state- other than my family.

Graduation was very successful yesterday- I didn't trip on the stage, which was my biggest fear. :) I'll post photos when I get them from my brother.

Christmas with Nate's family is today, mine tomorrow, and his family again on Tuesday. I'm so excited to see everyone and snack on delicious food for three days.

These are some of the things I'm looking forward to most: (in no particular order)
* Bible study with the ladies on Wednesday nights
* Scooters
* Seeing my Grace community again
* being able to "just stop over" to Nate's house
* Singing at Grace again
* Hugging my grandparents on Christmas Eve
* my mom's food on Christmas Eve
* bringing Nate to our annual Christmas Eve service at church- put on by the grade school kids.
* meeting with friends for coffee
* Friends to play scrabble with
* being close to family
* Pillow Talk with my roommate, Megan, at night
* watching old episodes of "the office" with johnny and logan

Monday, December 17, 2007

Airport Adventures

My good friend, Carissa had a 3 hour layover at the Milwaukee airport yesterday, so I went to have coffee with her. It was SO GOOD to catch up. She's one of my inspirations in life. We're both crazy about writing and literature and have very kindrid spirits. We laughed really hard and talked about everything we could think of. I am so thankful for her friendship and really greatful that we had that time together on Sunday. God's timing was perfect!!!We also grabbed a bite to eat.
We very childishly created a bun-man....he was very messy.
I left her there around 5:30pm and went to visit my 3rd grade teacher and her family, who now live close to Milwaukee. Her husband works for one of the airlines. That evening, while I was at their house, Nate called to let me know that his delayed flights from New York to Detroit and finally to Omaha had been redirected to Milwaukee....but he said, "Don't get your hopes up- we'll only be there long enough to switch flights...." So, I told this to Kevin and he said, "Oh, that's no problem. We can get you there- you can surprise him tonight!"

SO, we figured out the flight times, how much time I would have between flights to visit with him and decided it was worth going for. Nate and Megan (my roommate in NE) were totally surprised when they saw me there- we were only able to spend 20 or so minutes together, but it was just such a blessing to get hugs and visit with them for a moment. Here are a couple of pictures:
Nate and I
Megan and I

The poor kids had been traveling all day and had been pushed back with delay after delay. They were exhausted and ready to get back home. I know my heart was blessed immensely by their presence....can't wait to be back home!

Talk about God's timing! I'd been to the airport already and familiarized myself with the area earlier with Carissa. I ended up at the airport man's house just when I needed to be finding out which flights Nate was on.....and the airport was directly on the way home from their house. God was watching out for me and wanted to give me a little extra push of encouragement before I finish up my time here- I'm sure of it!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Throwing up the 4's

4 days. I am praying for patience and also that the next few days would go very quickly. I feel completely restless as I anticipate my drive home and the friends and family I will see THIS WEEK!

As I look back on the last 5 months, I see a span of time that has seemed to last forever. I have enjoyed time immensely with my aunt and uncle and have found a couple of dear friends, but find that I have not fallen in love with any part of this city. I have, however, fallen more in love with Lincoln and the idea of investing in the community there. The last couple of weeks have provided growth in my heart and a longing for deeper connections with loved ones there. The Lord has been working in my heart and I feel more prepared now to invest in and serve as an encourager and source of constancy in the lives of my friends and family. There's been a lot of growth in my season of loneliness here. I have learned what it looks like to turn to the true source of happiness and comfort and have a great peace about moving forward.

I was inspired Thursday night by an inner city Christmas concert that I attended with my aunt and uncle. These high school children from very difficult lives sang to the Lord with more gusto and charisma than I have seen in a long time. The words that sprang from their young lips awakened something in my heart that has sat colorless for quite some time. I listened to one teacher speak of how he watches the students "Throw their 4's in the hallway"- meaning that, as they pass between classes, often students raise both hands showing 4 fingers on each, reminding each other of Philippians 4:4,

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It's easy to forget. It's easy to get so caught up in our seasons of business, difficulty, anger, excitement,'s easy to loose sight of how close the Lord really is. In everything, rejoice. In loneliness, in anger, in disappointment, in preparation, in anticipation, in despair, in those times when you don't have an extra minute during the day to stop and catch your breath.... whatever we do, we are rejoicing and being gentle.

Starting today, I will try to remember to "throw up my 4's".

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pillippians 4:4

This morning I went to Target at 6:30 to meet up with a bunch of teachers from the area. An anonymous donor gives a plethora of money every year for the underprivileged children in our district. Their parents bring them to Target and each child gets to spend up to $50 on gifts for themselves. Once the families started coming, we were matched up with kids and their parents from our schools and went around with them helping to fill shopping carts with toys and clothes. What an awesome holiday experience! It was so fun to see their faces and talk to the parents as we walked around. I'm so thankful for the person who is generous enough to give thousands of dollars to these children every single year. What a blessing!!

Here's what it looks like outside our windows here.....I went out for dinner with my cooperating teacher, Kathy- (from 5th grade) and my supervisor, Jenny- the person who came to observe my lessons and met with me weekly to make sure I was doing ok in my placements.... It was so fun to see them again. The picture turned out a bit blurry- but I wanted to get it up because I know they both read my blog! :) AND because I talk about them a lot to people back home- so now you can put a face with the stories. Two of my favorite people here in Milwaukee!!!! I WILL miss these two....
I'm off to pack this afternoon. I'm getting so excited to be home. Now that the end is near, I'm letting myself get really excited. I told myself, "Once the date is within the 10-day forecast, THEN you can get excited." Only 5 days!!!!

Also, here's a picture of my man, Gina and Megan that I stole from Gina's blog. Isn't he cute? ( I guess the girls are nice too....) They're in NYC this weekend having a blast! And at the end of this week we'll all be together again, which makes me SO HAPPY!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Michigan Take 2

I went to Michigan again this weekend to visit Martha and Ryan. I picked her sister, Erin, up at the airport in Chicago on the way and we arrived late Friday. It was a great weekend...we were hoping the boys would be born before I went to visit- so I could meet the famous Thomas Twins, but God has a different plan. Martha's doing great- ready to hold her babes I'm sure, but not complaining a bit. What a trooper! She looks pretty good for 8 1/2 months pregnant with twins, hey? Martha casted her belly a month ago....I can't even imagine!
Erin and I
Here's Erin, Marth and I.....somewhere. I'm not sure where we were headed at this point.
This is my new haircut- just new on Wednesday. NOT done by Marth- for the first time in years, but I won the cut at a MK party.....long story. Turned out cute though.
During the shopping extravaganza with Suzie (Ryan's mom), we found ourselves in the hat department trying on some FABULOUS hats.....
I could definitely see all three of us as "hat women" at church.....wouldn't it be great?!
And here's Joe's blueberry buttermilk waffles that we had this morning. Michigan blueberries are the BEST! He likes to put one in each square.... :) What a good idea.

We also had a visit from Chris on Saturday morning. He just happened to be visiting some good friends who live a half hour away from the Thomas family - so he came over for a quick visit and breakfast. It was wonderful to see him, as always.

Coming home reminded me of how important community is. Ryan, Martha, Erin, and Chris, have all played pivotal roles in my life as a follower of Christ. They've encouraged and uplifted me through some of my hardest seasons. I realized the lack of that in my life lately, but am beginning to understand how vital it is regardless of geographic location. No matter what, we need to encourage each other. We need to be praying and lifting up people we love. Regardless of how far away we are, we must stay committed to one another; we need to pray, we need to call and encourage, we need to send notes and let people know we're thinking of them.....

This is our role as brothers and sisters. We need to take care of one another. It is so incredibly important.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Undertaker

I heard this sound advice today from one of my 2nd graders, Tommy. He came walking up to me in his very classic sweatpants and John Cena t-shirt, arms flailing in the air...
"Miss Mullen! Whatever you do, do NOT take your baby to SmackDown."
I smiled, trying SO hard not to burst into laughter at his very serious advice and politely responded, "I'm not having a baby right now, Tommy....."
(and with a big trying-not-to-laugh-grin)
"does it look like I'm going to have a baby?"
(dangerous question for Ms. Mullen to ask...)
"No!? But I'm just sayin'......DON'T take your baby to SmackDown. The Undertaker will scare it."

I love my job.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

A Dutch Lullaby.

    WYNKEN, Blynken, and Nod one night
    Sailed off in a wooden shoe,--
    Sailed on a river of crystal light
    Into a sea of dew.
    "Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
    The old moon asked the three.
    "We have come to fish for the herring fish
    That live in this beautiful sea;
    Nets of silver and gold have we!"
    Said Wynken,
    and Nod.

    The old moon laughed and sang a song,
    As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
    And the wind that sped them all night long
    Ruffled the waves of dew.
    The little stars were the herring fish
    That lived in the beautiful sea--
    "Now cast your nets wherever you wish,--
    Never afeared are we!"
    So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
    And Nod.

    All night long their nets they threw
    To the stars in the twinkling foam,--
    Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
    Bringing the fishermen home:
    'Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
    As if it could not be;
    And some folk thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
    Of sailing that beautiful sea;
    But I shall name you the fishermen three:
    And Nod.

    Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
    And Nod is a little head,
    And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
    Is a wee one's trundle-bed;
    So shut your eyes while Mother sings
    Of wonderful sights that be,
    And you shall see the beautiful things
    As you rock in the misty sea
    Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:--
    And Nod.
    Eugene Field