Life in the Fast Lane

The point from January to April has been a bit of a blur. Starting new things, finishing old things, and keeping a steady pace of insanity all describe the last few months of my life.

I will say: God is good. In my chaotic mind, he is still good. And I am still having fun watching him show up in my mess.

April 21 marks the end of my Master’s program, folks. And oh, how I have truly enjoyed it. Cinching up our budget belt and spending a crap-load of money every 7 weeks on graduate level courses? Okay, fine. That’s not been my favorite thing ever. But seriously! I have felt so encouraged and challenged by the knowledge I have gained from these classes and for that, I am grateful. I have seen God stretch my time like he did during the battles of Gibeon thousands of years ago. I have witnessed my own understanding about poverty shift into a more compassionate one. God has given me a new perspective of people who are different than me, reminding me that he loves us all no matter what walk of life we have chosen. And that budget belt? I can only give God the glory for his provisions financially, as we move out of this program debt-free.

Onto a new chapter.

As much as I am relieved to close that chapter in my life, I have felt the pull to push toward a new one. I am super stoked to take another step in my education over the course of the next year! I have been accepted and I’m now enrolled in class, working toward being a Library Media Specialist!

For many years, I have asked myself, “What would I do if I didn’t teach?” To that I have answered in one of two ways. First, if I was dreaming and so much more talented, my job would totally be a musician. I just love playing the piano. And I love singing. But you probably didn’t know either of those things about me because, hey, let’s face it, God didn’t give me the gift of amazingness in these areas. Instead, he gave me the gift of averageness (in many more ways than just making music, actually). My gift of averageness in this life is something I have [mostly] embraced and learned to appreciate! The Lord has given me what I need, and not an ounce more. My averageness forces me to lean into Jesus, and that, my friends, is a blessing, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

Anyway, the good news for me: when I’m in heaven, singing will be my full-time job. The ultimate promotion.

So, in the here and now reality, my answer to the question of what I’d do if I didn’t teach has always been to be a librarian. I love reading. I love kids (and people). I love talking to kids (and people) about reading. Librarian is a no-brainer. So that’s what I’d do with my life if I didn’t teach.

It turns out that librarians are ridiculously educated humans. On top of my Master’s degree, eighteen more hours of class and a licensure exam are required. So, here I go! I figured since the ball was already rolling on being in class, I might as well just snag those credits now. I have witnessed from the Lord a confirmation in so many ways through this process.

Again, I am grateful.

Still, I will seek Him.

For now, I’m pumped and so ready to enjoy the journey!

 

 

Just What I Needed

It’s been a strikingly awesome Christmas break. This is the year that has been one of the most challenging as far as work goes.  Add to that challenge: being in the midst of obtaining a master’s degree. Add to that having little kiddies who are starting new phases and going through transitions that are just hard. Add to that a few financial strains (aka paying tuition out of pocket, Christmas, home improvements [does the list ever end?]). Whew. Weary woman alert.

The Lord of Heaven and Earth knew that this Christmas break, I needed his mercy in my life. I needed days upon days of nothingness with my family. He knew I needed children that would behave in such a way that gave me hope for their future (HA). He knew I needed to just do some stuff to feel like I had accomplished something. He knew I needed a kickstart in my exercise routine. He knew I needed to read lots of books and just soak up so much knowledge. He knew I needed long hours of quiet time. He knew what I needed, and he delivered.

This Christmas season has been so enjoyable. I am so glad to have been able to live this last month with joy and anticipation and rest. Thank you Jesus for coming and making this heck-of-a-mess girl whole again.

Our TREE!

This isn’t the greatest picture, but I’m pretty excited about this. Evie’s room got a little rearrangement over the break, largely due to this table that we wanted to add as a night stand. The only thing Evie asked for this year was a little lamp next to her bed. I was down in my parents’ basement awhile ago and noticed this table that was half painted. It had been started by my cousin years ago, but never finished. So probably 10 years later, I finished it, and now it is sitting in Evie’s room, with a little bedside lamp on top of it. She loved the Christmas surprise!

Evie is learning to do some chores! So far, dusting is her favorite. Thanks to Great Grandma Crawshaw, she has a fancy duster too! Evie’s now cleaning her bathroom sink every few days, and also helping fold towels and sort socks. That’s my girl!

This is the first of many Henry Christmas photos… I am REALLY sad that the Baldwin side has ZERO pictures. Or at least I personally have ZERO. LAME, PEEPS. But look at this adorable little cousins in their Christmas sweaters!

OlieOOOOOOOO

Janine and Coleman!

Uncle Ray and Cousin Revery. Adorable.

Olan and his Grandma and Grandpa Henry

This just goes to show my crazy brain as I made our wishlists this year. Evie and I have matching coats now! And I think it’s the cutest thing ever.

Evie in her happy place.

The whole of us together! How many takes do you think we had?

The Jansen’s were back in town! I sure wish they were here always.

Grandkids!

My favorite picture of the season. Olan with Great Grandma Peterson.

Evie was the ONLY one who cooperated for the cousin photo shoot on Grandma and Grandpa Henry’s bed.

The first picture we took. And the only even half ways usable one. LOL. One and two year olds are the PITS when it comes to photos.

Okay, but the action shots were kinda cute in their own ways.

This is our before Christmas baking day. I love this day.

Taste testing. Ha ha. Actually we planted the chocolate mustaches just for this picture.

Christmas sweater day in 6th grade!

Christmas party day in our pajamas!

Evie and I tried our hand at baking Jessica Harris’ sugar cookies. Holy crap, this was a butt-ton of work. But they were SO good! Evie did all the sprinkles, and they were adorable. These are a once a year type of cookie, but it was fun after we got the hang of it! Thanks Jessica for being an awesome baker! These were so soft and delectable even on the final bites like 10 days later. A keeper!

Olan and Evie at the Christmas Eve service. Are they not adorable?

Evie and Silas performing “Go Tell it on the Mountain” at the service!

One of Olan’s favorite gifts, picked out by Evie herself. Dinosaur mittens!

Evie’s got New Year’s goals. Ha ha. Not really. But she did come down one morning while I was treadmilling and really wanted to listen to “Sweet Dreams Are Made of These” and walk on the treadmill after I was finished. He he! Sweeeeeeet girl. She has been the most lovable little lady this break.

Okay so this looks scary. But on New Year’s Eve, I stole an idea from some online supermom and put an activity in each balloon. Each hour until midnight, we’d pop a balloon and get to do something new and exciting! Activities included a glow stick dance party, fireworks in a jar (not really explosives, rest assured), playing the Mouse Trap game, watching a show, and having a “Midnight Snack.” Evie and Ava loved it!

Fireworks in a jar. Or a pitcher… Fill a pitcher up with water, add 1/2 inch of oil. Drop food coloring on top and watch the fireworks explode! The girls thought this was awesome. And I kinda did too. 🙂

Evie made her own Happy New Year sign. She was so resilient!

Olan and Evie at Evie’s Christmas program! Again, I suck at getting pictures at these sorts of things. Ugh.

The annual family Christmas photo in front of the tree. Not too bad!

Evie’s prized most cherished gift, meet her Little Live Pet cat, Colossal Lynn Henry. Yes, Colossal is her name. She was learning from Silas about the colossal squid awhile ago, and she really thought that word was pretty, so she named her cat Colossal. Evie has NEVER played with dolls or make-believed with them (except for the tiny, cheap Dollar Tree Momma-doo), but man, this cat has got her heart.

Cole knew exactly what little Olan needed for Christmas – a set of construction machines! Now Olan can be just like his Uncle Cole! He loves this set!

Olan and Grandpa down at the farm!

I can’t believe how obsessed this little dude is with heavy machinery. He knows the names of all of them, and he’s two.

Happy New Year with the Elliotts! We all made it to midnight… except Olan. He went to bed at 8:45, but then was woken up at 11:50 by his own vomit. Awesome! So we gave him a bath, snapped a quick midnight photo and put that dude back in bed. I think he had too much junk food too close to bedtime. Sure had a ball with our friends though!

A Jolly Holiday with the Henry Family

In lieu of sending out Christmas cards to all our lovely peeps, it’s a digital year! Please keep sending your beautiful cards in the mail to me, and forgive me that this Christmas season has had a few more seasonings than most seasons for us.

Grateful that Jesus was sent to us, a baby born to give His life so that I would someday pray for Him to save mine.

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