At least I'm not naked

Yeah, you read that correctly. A few days ago, my daily Bible reading brought me to Isaiah 20. The short chapter briefly explains how God commanded Isaiah to take off his burlap clothes and his sandals and walk around naked...for three years. And he did it! Kudos to Isaiah for being so faithful. I can't say I would've agreed to that kind of command.

I've been thinking a lot lately about faith.

We prayerfully considered our move here and felt nudged to take a leap. I accepted my job in Gretna long before Nate was offered his job at Burke, but we had faith that God was nudging us, and so He would provide. But it feels like the minute we moved, things fell apart. Our car broke down, our house sold and then un-sold, the adoption we thought we had in the bag crumpled, and my job has been more difficult and consuming than I anticipated. I've questioned our decision to move a few times this fall. After I read Isaiah 20, I thought to myself: Well, at least I'm not naked. 

I'm sure Isaiah's three years of nakedness was a humiliating time. And I'm sure Isaiah probably wondered why God would have him do something so nuts. But, Isaiah writes in verses three through six that this time wasn't without purpose. God's plan wasn't merely to make Isaiah's life difficult; He used Isaiah's humiliation to show Judah that if they put all of their trust in human governments, they would eventually fall to them and experience that same kind of shame Isaiah endured.

The thing is, God has provided for Nate and me.  He provided a job for Nate. He provided a temporary place for us to live this summer with godly people until we could get an apartment. And then He provided a renter for our house and an affordable apartment for us. He's led us to a church that's encouraged and challenged us. Though God's plans sometime seem absolutely bananas to us, He is deliberate. God has given us more than we deserve...the least we can do is follow Him in obedience waiting on His perfect timing. God has a purpose for all of our tribulations. He will not waste our suffering, and neither should we. So, my plan this week is to quit sulking. When I'm tempted to whine about my job or sulk about not being parents yet, I'll try to remember Isaiah's faithful obedience to God's command and be thankful that I get to wear clothes while I endure my trials.


What we've been up to in photos

Nate turned 30 at the end of September, so I threw him a surprise birthday party for our friends and family to help him celebrate. Doesn't he look good in this photo?!

I've been exploring the city via running. I took this photo on one of my favorite runs...the city hired a graffiti artist to  jazz up some of the boring underpasses on a few of the trails here. 

Nate had his first concert at Burke a few weeks ago. He carried over his tradition from Ogallala of having the kids surround the audience and sing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" as a closing song. The kids in the front wearing street clothes are some of Nate's former students...four girls from Ogallala who are now in college at Lincoln and one young man who Nate taught in Elm Creek now attends Grace University here in Omaha. It was so cool to see them singing with the Burke kids :) 

Nate has a show choir this year...he's about to get really busy with show choir performances and musical. 

This is from our date night last night at Crane Coffee

And we had a Market to Market team again


Yes...I'm still here...

 I grew up Catholic, and so I'm accustomed to the concept of confession. When I pulled up my Blogger account today for the first time in nearly a month, I was reminded of going to confession as a kid as the words "forgive me Father for I have sinned; it has been 1 month since my last blog post..." came to mind. Maybe that's a little irreverent...

At any rate, I confess: I'm terrible at managing time this year. I can't believe October ends in two weeks. The bags and grayish-purple rings beneath my eyes are indicators that the quarter ended today. It's been a rat-race lately. Tomorrow the kids have the day off and the teachers "get to" learn about vocabulary strategies all day. So I left all school stuff at school tonight. No school work for me. Instead, I'm drinking a beer and listening to a Bob Dylan and The Band compilation cassette tape. Yes...a cassette tape. I just ordered Chinese take out. I'll be curling up on the couch tonight to settle in for a few hours of TV. Go ahead, call me lazy.

I think this is the first school free night I've had all year. Not kidding. It's been a ROUGH one. Here's what's left me struggling this year: I don't have a classroom because the building is under construction, so I travel to a different room each period. I'm teaching all new courses which means I am living period by period, planning as I go (luckily I teach with amazing people who have helped me more than they realize). Gretna has a strict accountability policy where kids have to do their work. They cannot not do the work...and they have to complete the work to a passing level. This equates to spending time every day with kids before and after school which is (sometimes) a good bonding experience, but I've had to adjust in the sense that I can't work before or after school because I'm helping kids. I'm teaching a dual credit Comp course which means grading LOTS of essays...however, this is one my favorite classes to teach. I'm facilitating a grad class for teachers this year through the Nebraska Writing Project. We meet for three hours twice a month...it takes a lot of time and planning. I'm a co-director of NeWP this year, too...so, with that comes more responsibility. I hope you don't mistake this for complaining. Though I'm so tired, seriously...so tired...I do love it. It's just at times I feel suffocated with all the responsibility. It's a blessing, I think, that we had a failed adoption in August.

I've been terrible about balancing this, though. My dear husband has truly received the short end of the stick. He gets what is leftover at the end of a day, which honestly is not much. He often gets a frazzled wife in sweat pants or nasty running clothes. Sometimes he has to put up with a sobbing wife who can barely choke out a sentence about how stressed she is. I've neglected almost all of my friendships, and we've only made time for a few social outings.

When I got home tonight, all I wanted to do was write and play guitar. I know I should be grading, reading, lesson planning, cleaning my messy apartment, cooking dinner, or running, but I just can't. I've stretched myself too thin. It's easy to stretch yourself thin when you love what you do (even if it stresses you to the point of tears).

My vow is to get better at this balancing act as the year progresses. I had a meeting with my principal last week to talk about my job targets. One of my goals this year was achieving a balance between work and a personal life. He asked how I was doing with that goal, and I admitted my epic failure as I held back tears (he probably thinks I'm an unstable nut-job). He gently scolded me and instructed me to take care of myself so I could be the best teacher possible. In an attempt, I spontaneously abandoned my cheapskate personality and splurged on Bob Dylan concert tickets (hence the Dylan cassette tonight). A dear friend from high school and her sister will be joining me, and I can't wait until November 2nd. I even bought a polka-dot sweater vest for the occasion (stop laughing).

I don't know if anyone even reads this crappy chronicle any more, but if you do...sorry for the hiatus. Here's to hoping to achieve a better balance...