Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New year, new beginnings

It's official.
Now that I am working in schools, I will officially never think of a year as beginning in January and ending in December.  It's August to August all the way.  And who can blame me?  School years start in August, years of my life start in August (my bday was yesterday), and big things just always seem to happen in August...mostly due to all those other transitions. 

But anyway, yesterday was my birthday, and I was once again reminded of how very blessed I am.  Some people go through life with no one.  They die; no one notices.  They die; someone may notice...no one cares.  They CHOOSE to die because no one cares.... And the depressing list could go on.  Sometimes it's hard to believe there are people out there like that.  Especially when I could say the word and have at least 20 people (probably more) willing to help me with any problem at any given time.  I mean that as a testimony of the awesomeness of my friends and family...not by any means because of my merits or powers of manipulation or something... I am constantly surrounded by the world's best kind of people.  I really mean that.  You all were bright spots in what otherwise would have, frankly, been a mediocre day at best.  Sort of an odd day at work (although work is going great in general), frustrations with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (cue Stepford-hair lady and her mound of paperwork), and car issues...  But it was a great day all around.

Awesome dinner at the Ribeye with all-star lineup of guests: My parents, G&G Drake, Melissa, Craig, Jeff, Jamie, David, Pat Drake, Amber, Tina...I think that's it.  It was super fun.  And then Melissa made TWO delicious cakes that we ate back at the Dojo.  Many of them had never seen our beloved Dojo, so that was cool.

Then I was feeling somewhat emotional last night....not really sure why.  I guess it's bound to happen from time to time.  And then I had sort of a funny dream (in retrospect).  It's going to be lame to tell about, but I'm going to try anyway.  Basically, it was just about the Drake cousins all going on some trip somewhere (in modern day)...and then there was, like, a flash, and I heard a little voice behind me shouting "Hey guys, wait up!  Wait for us!"  And I turned around to see a 4-year-old Craig and Monica running up behind me, Craig waving his arms...  And I was filled with this powerful, nostalgic energy that caused me to wake up in tears... about 4:45.... and I maybe was not able to get back to sleep after that.  So, I dunno, for whatever reason, it's been sort of a strange couple of days.  Not bad though, just a bit different.

We chalked the quad tonight for freebiblenow.org.  15-ish people showed up to help chalk!  About 3x more than usual!  Things are changing....the world keeps spinning.... as it really should. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Two ways...

Tina made a really good observation tonight.  She was telling me some about her and Jenny's trip to D.C./NYC.  The following conversation is paraphrased.

Tina: I go to D.C. see many bodies of the Jew people.
Me: The Holocaust museum?
Tina: Yes.  Many, many dead people everywhere, in garbage.  
Me: Yes, it was horrible.
Tina: Before we go to Arlington Cemetery...The feeling is very different.  Like these people are go to Heaven, and Jew people are go to Hell. [meant in a poetic way...Tina is very poetic] The people same dead...Why is so different?

Isn't that an interesting contrast?  Arlington to Holocaust....and yet, it is what occurs after death (before burial, in this case) that truly determines whether or not a person is to be eternally pitied or "envied".  And no one makes that judgment but God...

Then Tina went on to ask more common questions...
But then I think, "Where is God?"  You say God plan everything.  Why He let these terrible things happen?

(Sigh...) Ah, yes.  Free will.  Loving and obeying God is a choice.  It was a conversation full of reminders and good thoughts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.  Luke 12:48

I have been given everything.  So lately I have been telling God that I am finally committing to giving everything back.

...But it seems like when I say that (before any serious action is taken), I am really hoping God will reply, "Oh, you are so good and faithful...thank you for saying that...Here are more rewards."

Now, I know that if I really did give Him everything back (is that even humanly possible?), He probably would give me more (and He might even if I didn't) because He is so unfathomably gracious like that.  But the point is that I seem to be rarely genuine when praying that prayer...my motives may be skewed, imagine that...  I make the promise, but when God tells me what He requires of me, I shy away.

That is a common Christian sob story, one that can easily be consoled by a blanket of rationalization...it's human nature, after all... But comforting coverings like blankets generally don't hold up under fire.  Instead, I need to look for a solution that is solid and secure...but may not feel quite so warm and fuzzy...............

I'm going to halt this train of thought right now before it derails and careens irrevocably into The Ravine of Nonsensical and Disjointed Metaphor.
                                                                                    ...although that sounds like a magical place
I just really, truly pray to be used this year, and that I won't let myself get in the way of any plans God has.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not all posts are created equal

Despair.com, I have no idea what you're talking about...

Must. do. something. with. Sunday School bulletin board.

Abrupt topic change: You know the thing about school speech therapists?  They generally like to talk... a lot.  Everyone at work tells me I am really quiet. I get sympathy when I take a later lunch and "have to" eat alone outside. :)  What can I say?  The value of silence and solitude is lost on some people.  I do enjoy your company but...I'm good with not talking. I'm okay with listening to you talk, but...don't make me.  It's times like those (among many others) that I really appreciate the U of I YG.

Work is going pretty well, though, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Time to resort to another bulleted list?

Maybe not.

But the gaps of time between postings are getting long...

Let's begin from.....August 2.
That was the last day of my internship at Heartland Health Care.  And it was a happy day.  I do miss some of my patients, though, and hope to visit them soon via a nursing home singing. :)

After August 2, I had a 9-day break from anything resembling employment, the first two days of which were spent working through the aforementioned mounds of paperwork.  No more Stepford hair lady, comatose guy, or wind-up monkey toy.  I currently await the arrival of my license from the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, though.....which is always a fun and exciting process (catch the sarcasm there?).
August 26th? I didn't know that.  That's a good date.

I went to EP on Friday evening and....don't remember what happened.  I think I talked to mom and dad, ate a hamburger, and went to bed.  Oh yeah, I did a sudoku and 3/4 of a crossword puzzle.  (Don't want to leave out any details here.)  The El Paso Journal contains puzzles now!  That is very exciting.
 This just popped up on Google Images. In case there was any doubt that El Paso, IL was in the middle of IL.

On Saturday was when the real excitement began.  Andrea, Melissa, and I had a picnic!  Andrea four-wheelered us out to the middle of nowhere (ok, DEEP in Dudleys' back 40) by a cornfield by the Mackinaw, and it was a lovely lunch.  It would be worth mentioning at any time.....but was especially exciting this time because ANDREA was home from OMAN.  And she had really cool stories and pictures.  And plus it was just fantastic to see her.  I would put up one of her pictures (I could snip one from the newsletter thing she sent out), but Andrea actually reads this blog, and she would thing that was creepy.  Which it would be. 

I'll do this instead.  Compromise. :)
 Before our picnic, Andrea and I went into EP to buy some corn from the corner and go to IGA.  On our way to the corn corner we ran into the parade of St. Jude Runners, which was cool.  We stopped for them and waved.  Then, at IGA, we saw a bunch of people we know selling pork chop sandwiches that we proceeded to purchase.  (We purchased the sandwiches...not the people.  I believe I dangled the correct participle, but you can never be too sure about these things...)  And of course we had to shout a hullo to the IGA bank people and chat with another lady Andrea knew at the deli.....and, of course, we ran into the St. Jude runners again on our way home.  Haha....I do love Saturday mornings in El Paso.

Now I'm just using random images to make the text not seem so long....is it working?  Didn't think so.

I spent the rest of Saturday cooking/baking lots of food for Erica's baby shower.  I made way, way too much food....but that's just the Drake family way.  And the AC way.  And I am both.  Haha.  

Babycake :)
Dear friends

The shower was awesome.  Yup.  Then after the shower (Sunday night) I went to Jim's office and he made me a night-time bite guard thingy so I don't grind my teeth down to nothing.  It was a little surreal seeing him with his doctor's mask on sticking goop in my mouth...but he is an excellent dentist. The best, really. :)  (Carl, I am classifying you as an orthodontist....but I don't think you read this, anyhow)

Monday, kids came over to swim.  I also played some autoharp/guitar stuff with grandpa, which has not been done in WAY too long.  And then we saw an awesome rainbow.


Tuesday, I went to Madison and had a lovely day with Christina, John, Andrew, Laura, and Bridgy.  It was very good.  We went to the park, played legos, played dress-up, jumped on the trampoline, went on a bike ride, and ate some awesome food.  Definitely a good way to spend the day. :)

Wednesday, I got fingerprinted in Danville, and then Melissa gave me a tour of the greater Eastern Illinois Area.  I saw Rossville (the town where I will be working most of the time), which was adorable, and I had some delicious baked lasagna and chocolate creme pie at this little family restaurant there.  Mmmm...  I also got to see Melissa's house, school (the outside), and her school district's credit union.  :)  OK, but seriously...the credit union is AWESOME.  It's in an old house.  Like, picture Lincoln's home with teller windows.  Yeah.  Cool.  Heartland Bank should buy an old house like that *nudge, nudge*.

That brings us to TODAY.  I started my grown-up job today.  It's good.  The people are pretty cool and laid back.  They laugh a lot.  I like that.  People didn't laugh enough at Heartland Health Care.  But, actually, I didn't do anything today.  From a work perspective, it sort of felt like a waste of time to be there.  But, of course, I know it wasn't a waste of time.  I got to know people, and already feel fairly comfortable with them.  It will be a good year.  .....Plus, we went to the Beef House for lunch....so....That certainly counts for something. :)  Yum.  Yes, more creme pie. (Coconut, this time.)

Whew!  This is quite enough for one day.  Tomorrow I am going to Michigan with Amber, Kaleigh, Callie, and Ginny, and we are all HIGHLY looking forward to it.  Yes.  Very much so. 

So...talk to you all later....Drive thru, plz.