Walking to Aldi to buy groceries, stopping at Culver's on the way, meandering down a non-crowded sidewalk, cooking dinner together, holding hands in public, eating Cheerios for breakfast...
To you, these may seem like chores and/or insignificant actions that are just a part of life. However, the next time you engage in any of the above activities, think of us. Those are a few of the things that we have begun to miss. We don't miss them intensely all the time, but every so often a memory comes up that gives us a bout of homesickness for some of the simple things. These things are not enough to keep us down, though - they just make for interesting dinner conversation. I've asked Michael several times recently, "What do you miss from home today?" The answer tends to be different every time I ask!
Life is, well, continuing onward! Whenever people begin dropping hints that I need to update the blog, I have to spend some time thinking about what kinds of things I have to write about. There's school, which is a new adventure every day, but how can I convey that in a blog post without giving an obscenely detailed description of a particular school day? That's the biggest part of our lives right now. I realized last week that September is almost over and nearly flipped out - can anyone tell me where that entire month went? Seriously? I have no idea. Each day runs right into the next, and it's all so fast-paced that I hardly have time to realize what day of the week it is.
School is great and wonderful...most days. We are moving into the last three weeks of the semester, which means I am planning for midterm exams and some days of paper grading that are going to be even more crazy than usual. Michael has been spending his extra time during the day planning for his history classes, which he will begin teaching in November. I actually had him grade some papers for me yesterday, too. I figured it was helpful for me (for obvious reasons), but it would help him out, too, since he'll have to grade history stuff next semester anyway. :D Unfortunately, it doesn't look like he'll be taking over my history classes - the schedule of craziness will continue for another semester, I guess!
The best part of school for me (right now) is probably 11th grade English - we are working through Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". When we started, I wasn't sure how well it would go over. Shakespeare is difficult for native English speakers sometimes...teaching it to kids who speak English as a second (or third) language is a different ballgame! However, most of them have really embraced it and are LOVING it! It's so much fun to watch them react to the various characters and actions in the script. I'm so excited about it that I'm pretty sure we'll do the same unit in 12th grade next semester. :)
We've had a couple of special events at school in the last couple of weeks, too. A week ago was the "GES Got Talent" show, which was a highlight for me because so many of the high school students were involved. Don't get me wrong - it was fun to watch the little kids do their performances (my favorite were the two little girls who read a book in English - one did the reading and another moved the pages and made sound effects!), but I had a lot more fun learning about what talents some of my HS students have. I had no idea that some of them could sing so well, or play so many different instruments, etc. Most of the songs were in Thai, so I didn't understand what they were saying, but I enjoyed it anyway (and took lots of pictures!)
The highlight of this week was the teacher/student soccer game. The students had been talking about it for a couple of weeks, pumping themselves up to beat the teachers in the game. Apparently the teachers got whipped last year. Fortunately, this year was a bit different. Both teams were pretty evenly matched, and the teachers ended up winning by two! It was great! I have heard rumors that the students want a rematch in a month or so...we'll have to see how that goes.
I mentioned in the last post that we were planning on joining a life group at our church. We did, and it has turned out to be the best move we've made since being here. At first I wasn't sure what to think - the group is made up of five other couples (and us), and we are easily the youngest of the group (by at least ten years, I'd say). However, after meeting a few more times, we have all begun to feel more comfortable with each other, and the group has become a huge blessing for me. Last week, for example, I had a pretty tough day at school. I was exhausted by the end of the day (emotionally and mentally), and not in a very good mood. I wasn't terribly happy about having to go out, but going to life group proved to be the refreshment that I needed. I was greatly encouraged by some of the people and conversations; it prepared me for the rest of the week. I can honestly say that going to life group is something Michael and I both really look forward to each week - another affirmation that this is where we're supposed to be right now!
In church this morning, we sang "All Creatures of Our God and King". Usually, this song reminds me of Mr. Bean (anyone seen the episode where he goes to church?), but today, the last verse caught my attention:
Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise him, alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!
O praise him! O praise him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
A life of praise - that is what I would like to leave you with. Through the daily activities, stress, grief, encouragements, and whatever else happens in your life, live it in a spirit of praise to your Creator; he made you, he knows you, he has called you by name.
Blessings to you all.