Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It's only 10:00 and I'm done lesson planning!

This is a major breakthrough folks. This week the average time has been about 12...so 10 is fabulous. Dare I say that if we had television that I would even watch a show or two?! What a fun thought. Well, I'm going to have to settle for writing this post and reading my new Readers Digest:)
Unfortunately, the main reason for this early night is that I don't have any papers to edit...that's the big time stealer. So, this may be a rarity...but I'll take it! Even more fun is the thought of a four day weekend starting Friday--yippie!
Okay,I think I'll list some good things that have happened this week:

We named the cat Willow and we both love her, which is miraculous.

I haven't eaten out once this week, which is also miraculous:)

I have a sweet group of students who make me laugh and who work really, really hard and make all of the preparation worth it.

The days are getting cooler and it makes my spirit feel light in the morning when I walk out into the crisp, fresh air.

I have had a caffeine free week and still have had plenty of alertness and energy during the day.

God has been teaching me about resting in His timing,and finally my heart seems to be listening.

Living with Joel is (almost:)always a wonderful thing and this week was no different as he made me laugh with his wild antics, listened while I told him IN DETAIL about my days at work, and took care of me when I was sick. What more could a girl ask for?

What are your "good things" for the week? Well,I'm off to curl up in bed and read. Hope you all are doing well, Jen

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Your Whalecome"

First let me say thanks to Joelie for that sweetest post ever (see below)... more importantly, though, is how he lives out those words. This weekend I have been sick...again! Fever, chills, body ache, the whole works. Well, let me just say that Joel has become the greatest taker carer ever when I'm sick and it makes me feel so loved. I say he "has become" because when we first got married...um, not so much. See, I grew up with mom who made being sick as wonderful an experience as it could possibly be. Out came the sprite, the soup, cold wash rags, a soft bed of blankets on the floor or couch, and lots of movies. Also her soft words of encouragement and empathy that go a long way in healing! I remember when I was a young teenager and mom and dad were out of town and we were staying with some friends. Well, I got sick and expected, you know, that every mom was like my mom in that area. Apparently not. Though I love this woman dearly, I was told I could go upstairs and lie down and given a bottle of aspirin, a glass of water, and a pot in case I threw up! I felt like I was experiencing abuse or something...this is how people lived?!?!? A little dramatic, I know, but that's just me:)
Yes, so when Joel and I got married he was more than a little taken aback on my expectations for care when I didn't feel well. I, on the other hand, couldn't believe that all he wanted was to be left alone to endure his illness! Well, over this seven years we have finally adjusted and even now as I'm writing I have my fresh glass of O.J. , crackers, and two new blankets all brought in recently by my Joelie. I am also known to be a bit weepy and sentimental when not feeling like myself and last night he endured a pretty weepy conversation that actually really cracks me up now that I'm thinking about it. At the moment though, it is very important for him to understand the point I am trying to make, incoherent as it may be. He listened to my weepy monologue so seriously and then laid down beside me and just held me for a while. Oh, the ways we have to learn to love each other!
So, that's what has been happening in our home the past few days. Last week was a blur of waking up WAY too early, feeling like my classes were flying by way to quickly during the day, coming home for a brief time with Joel and then lesson planning until bedtime. This next seven weeks is going to be nutty. Good for me, though, as I can really underschedule and not use my time wisely. So, if I'm not posting as much, you'll know why.
Oh, I wanted to tell you all about this sweet Thai man who works at our favorite Thai place down the street. One of the reasons we go there is because we love the way he says, " You're Whalecome". Really, he pronounces it just like this and with such sweet sincerity and says it probably 20 times a visit. So this whole time that I've been sick and Joel will do something for me I'll say, "Thanks so much" or whatever and he'll do a little bow and say "You're Whalecome". It makes us laugh and I thought it might make you smile too:) Jen

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sneak Attack

Hi. This is Joel. I'm sneaking on here and writing a blurp about stuff.

First, the break we had was absoluetly wonderful, as is evidenced by the pictures that Jenny so dilligently puts on here. The sites we saw were so spectacular and exhilirating and yet, somehow, peaceful and quieting. Huge ole mountains raising their stony, craggy heads above sweeping, sleepy valleys with rivers cutting through the meadows like a lazy serpent filled my soul constantly on our road trip. I just cannot imagine thinking that God created all that beauty for no reason. I think He wired us to be inspired and awed at those magnificent wonders of His. We oddly do not get inspired by concrete and boards, which can be wonderfully crafted into amazing things, but we are superbly inspired by dirt and grass and rocks that make up these mountains and valleys and meadows and plains. It's innate in us to connect with our Creator through His creation, and that is just what happened.

I must add that there were a few things that totally captivated my utmost attention on this trip that were not moutains, valleys, or rivers. They came in many shapes and sizes and ages, yep, you guessed it: people. I had a blast being with my most thoughtful and cool brother, Bub. Everytime I am around him I come away better equipped on how to be considerate of other people and in tune to their needs. I was utterly taken by Carter and Brady Jensen, what awesome little people, future men, future dads and husbands and leaders. My Grandma (Gee Gee), my sister, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, my family. It was so wonderful to see and be with my family, some of whom I had not seen since my wedding. There is such a keen connection among family that can only be experienced between family members. I had such a good time and adjusted my schedule so that I could stay with them longer because family and people matter so much more than mountains and rivers. I left my family to see some more people, Garret and Mandy White who gave me laughter like nobody else can. So, in light of God placing in us an admiration for His creation on Earth I believe He placed in us a much bigger admiration for for His best and most loved creation: people. I did not get near the joy and fullness from all that glorious wonder I saw through my windshield and sunglasses that I saw when looking into the eyes of those little boys or my Grandma or any person I came in contact with. So this trip for me was much than seeing glaciers and geysers, it was about seeing people as a much greater creation than anything else on this Earth.

I start school again tomorrow (it seems I have been saying that all my life) and get to learn more about the physical aspect of people and I hope I will keep in mind the great lesson I learned during this most wonderful break. I hope I will start with the person nearest and dearest to me, my most wonderful companion in life, Jenny. She deserves so much and has so much and gives so much, she is truly my mountain, my river, my meadow and so, so much more. I love you Jenny.

Back to "Normal"

Gone is the first day teaching--hurray! My body was in a bit of shock when the alarm went off at 6...but you know, I'll get used to it again. It feels good to be productive. After i got home from work Joel and I were walking to eat at the burrito place down the street and we saw "the pink guy". Have I told you about him before? Poor guy, he is definitely a bit mentally ill but seems to do pretty well in this little niche of SLC, and the thing is he ALWAYS wears pink Well, there he was in all his glory. He had on pink jogging pants, a white t-shirt, a pink backpack, his pink hair, a pink key holder and his pink water bottle. So the point is that when I saw him walking in front of us I thought to myself, "Yep, we're home from summertime travels and things are back to normal." Then the thought quickly changed to "This is what normal is for us?!" Well, I guess it is:) Walking around the neighborhood, seeing all the various characters that live near us, eating together and talking about our days.... It's a good normal i think. Oh, Tom and Cristy, i wanted to tell you that we copied the dinner you guys made for us,modified it to fit the contents of our freezer, and had a wonderful dinner last night of turkey burgers, corn on the cob, sweet potato fries,and fruit...yummy!!!We are fixing it again on Thursday when some friends come over:) Off to work on lesson plans, Jen

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Texas trip, part 2

Let's see, where did I leave off?!

I think it was the Sunday of my first week. We went to Calvary Chapel and it was so much fun to be back there worshipping with those folks--comforting may be a better word than fun. I don't know...With our friend Lance and his son Marley up there rocking out it was pretty fun:) We really miss our Calvary family for sure church we went and ate with some friends at Furrs. I never would eat there before because the name sounded so disgusting but, hello, its cafeteria food and so I loved it! (I'm not being sarcastic...I'm a Luby's fanatic!) So, after that fantastic meal we went home and hung out for a bit and then Robin came over for a visit. We had a great time, got to hear some wedding plans(Make sure to read more about Robin in my post titled "Bub":), and then dad and I got started on our great running aspirations. Here is dad....stretching? Hee, hee. I love this picture:)

Then it was on to College Station to see sister-in-love Shanny. We had a great time eating, talking, laughing, talking, shopping,and talking some more. I always find myself talking until my eyes can no longer stay open and I fall asleep in the middle of some very important sentence! After my visit with Shanyn I headed to the little, bitty town of ???? I can't remember what it's called. Well, its outside of Brenham and its really pretty, rolling land. Anyway, more importantly, I got to have a visit, that was waaaay to short,with my dear friend Holly.

I also got to see Holly's son, the cutest godson a girl could have...Matthew Ryan Howard, and his new baby sister Megan.


Oh, yes and Holly is married to wonderful Travis who I don't have a picture of...sorry Travis!
After visiting the Howard family it was on to see Joel's grandma, AKA Gee Gee. Oh, what a wonderful time I had with Geeg. Her home is so welcoming, her heart is so precious, and her love for the Lord is so true and deep. I'll always remember the giggling that went on during this late night photo shoot:)

Also, while at Gee Gee's house my friend Anna came by--hurray!! I love my visits with Anna, we just take up right where we left off. She is my most frequent commenter on this blog too, (well, she and mom probably tie:)...so those of you who read comments can now put her beautiful face to her name.
From Tomball it was on to Granny and Papa's house. We celebrated Papa's 80th and Dad's 50th and had such a great time. Mom came up with the idea to make a banner where everyone drew something that represented a favorite memory with dad and with papa. I highly recommend this for family, or friend, celebrations...it was so meaningful. I love this picture of Granny explaining her favorite memory drawing to Papa. It was their wedding day.




There isn't much I love more than being with my family...miss you guys!
Next, we took Tara with us and headed back to Wimberley. Tara is my other lovely sister-in-law to be. She is such a whimsical, creative, interesting and interested love that John Mike has found.I can't wait to watch their life unfold together. I hope you all get to meet her. I loved our time together and look forward to much, much more.

Now all that was left was to say good-bye to Barney the basset hound, Mama kitty, the wonderful Wimberley house, and sweet mom and dad. I'll leave you with this parting shot....how can you resist those ears? Jen

Calm before the storm...

So I'm sitting here in bed drinking a cup of tea.It feels funny to sit here and do nothing as I know tomorrow that will all change. I'll be teaching three classes at the English Language Institute for the next 8 weeks, starting with High Intermediate Grammar at 8:30 am!! So these past few weeks of Texas fun and road trips has really been such a calm before the storm. Joelie starts back to school on Wednesday and so that'll be kinda hectic as well. Good though in some ways. It'll be fun to be back in the classroom, good to get in a routine again, good to know Joel will be getting started on his last two years in school.

I'm also up a bit late as I didn't wake up this morning, ahem,afternoon until 12:30!So, I'll probably be up very, very late tonight.I might even get my second Texas post done tonight to post tomorrow. I just can't sleep when Joel's not here and so i didn't fall asleep until almost 4. Part of that is me being a big night time scaredy. I have a very long history of it.I think it must come from an over active imagination. I used to wake up in the middle of the night in Hockley and just freeze I was so scared of the noises I would hear. I created all kinds of elaborate situations in my head as to what could be coming to get me.So either I would work up the courage to yell out, Moooooom and Daaaaaaaad!" or jump out of the bed and high tail it to theirs.Then there was the first night I convinced them to leave me home alone and I got so scared that I put all of the dolls I could find in front of the windows to make it look like people were home. Then I was too scared to go into the back of the house to go to the bathroom and so I peed in a pot in the kitchen. Yes I did. Oh, the stories go on and on.
So, last night was no exception. I turned the swamp cooler and bedroom fan off so that I could hear any burglars that might decide to come in. I kept the kitchen light on and the bedroom door open so that if someone did come in I could....throw all the ESL curriculum stacked on my bedside table at them?!?! So, I was really hot with no air circulating and so I slept on top of the covers....yep, it was a miserable night! Our poor children, it will most assuredly run in the family. I remember one night in Hawaii I was laying in bed going to sleep and Joel was in the living room studying. All of the sudden I heard the thump of his chair fall over and him sprinting into the bedroom. I swear he jumped from the doorway of the bedroom into the bed and pulled the covers over our head. "What happened?!!!" " I don't know, I just got really freaked out all of the sudden!" I tried to be compassionate for a second and then we both burst out laughing. Our poor kids won't have a chance. Well, at least if we co-sleep with our kids than when one of us gets spooked we'll already be together:)
That's all for tonight, Jen

Friday, August 18, 2006

The rest of the story...

So after leaving our beloved Missoula, we wound our way up to Kalispell. The drive was so gorgeous with views like this abounding...

Of course, arriving in Kalispell we had an even better view waiting for us...

Our friends Tom and Cristy(hi guys!) graciously welcomed us and provided us with great conversation, wonderful entertainment from their boys,yummy burgers for dinner and a hearty breakfast in the morning, and even sent us off with a bag of their fabulous homemade soap--thanks again guys for such a wonderful time! We are so impressed with Tom and Cristy making their dream of living in Montana a reality and it was so fun to experience it in person.

We then drove about an hour to Glacier National Park. WOW!! We really just did a drive through this time...but we must go back to explore and hike in that most beautiful place!!





From Glacier we headed to...





We drove away with a glimpse of the Grand Tetons before sunset and then worked our way back to SLC. What an amazing, creative God we have! Now I must go and study a not so creative Teachers Manual titled, "Focus on Grammar: An integrated skills approach". Does that sound fun or what?!? I think Modals are on the menu for tonight:) Jen

Thursday, August 17, 2006

In Missoula we found...

More music!! This time it was a "Symphony in the park" concert and it seemed the whole city decided to come. It was a beautiful day and the music was wonderful and it was fun to people watch in this town that we now call, "Our new home." :) Who knows, really, if we'll ever live in Missoula. It's just one of those places that seems like a great place to be. Anyway, here are all of the peoples listening to the symphony.

We also found a store with loads of great shoes. Mom, are you sitting down? I finally purchased some new shoes!!As you can imagine, it took about an hour to try on all of the different choices, talk them through with the poor salesgirl who had no idea what she was walking into when she asked if she could help me, talked them through with Joel, decided on the practical all brown pair and then confessed that I had always wanted a pair of shoes with a touch of red.. so here they are...

...I'm pretty much in love with them and they are sooo comfy.
We also found a great coffee shop where I wrote the first Missoula post...

We found some really yummy food at the local natural food store...

Lots of cute shops, millions of bicycles being ridden around town, the University of Montana...it was a great place. After spending Saturday and Sunday in Missoula , we visited friends in Kallispelle on Monday, drove through Glacier National Park on Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park and the Tetons on Wednesday, drove back down to SLC today where Joelie dropped me off as I was feeling a bit fluish and have sooo much to do for school on Monday, and Joel is now driving on to the wedding in Colorado. So, needless to say, I have many more pics to post. First, though, I must sleep, unpack, give this kitty laying next to me some attention, and then I'll share some more memories of this wonderful, "only Joel could make all that happen in a week and it still be relaxed and fun" roadtrip that was this past week. Jen

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bubapalooza....

Well, our days as groupies are over for now. We got to see bub and the band in Hailey, Boise, and Challis ID, and then we drove off into the sunset towards Montana. Here are some pictures from our time hanging out on the bus,the drive from Boise to Challis, the outdoor festival in Challis, and one of our campsite where we could ride our bikes back and forth to the festival.
The boys hanging out on the bus before the Boise show.
Such a classic bub photo that Joelie took...I love it.




The drive from Boise to Challis was soooo beautiful! At one point during the drive Joelie said, " I hope things get uglier soon, I don't know if my heart can take much more of this." I hope I never forget these moments when Joel feels so full of joy that he could burst. Of course not every moment is perfect (car sickness was my reason for hoping the scenery changed soon:), but overall the oohing and aahing over backwoods cabins, making each other laugh by saying the most ridiculous things when we start to get bored, stopping at a gas station to get treats right after having a serious conversation about the need to "eat more whole foods", watching my husband and my brother laughing and loving music together...it has all made for some pretty wonderful days.





After saying our goodbye's to bub and thanking him for a wonderful groupie experience, we headed out from the festival towards Missoula, Montana. We got here late last night tired and a bit sunburned only to find there was no room at the inn. No room at any inns in town, in fact. A really nice lady from Super 8 called a place 4 miles out of town and he said that he had one more room, couldn't vouch for its cleanliness, and that he would only be here for thirty more minutes and wasn't waiting around--yikes!! We zipped out of town and hoped for the best. We pulled in and a man with a hunting cap and alarmingly large belly told us that the room was still available--whew! I asked hesitantly if they had wireless internet, and he said, "Wireless internet.I think they may have hooked that up last week." I was a little dubious but you never know. We got to our room, which was in fact clean, and I pulled out the laptop and tried. What do you know?! So, I happily checked my e-mail and then we fell into bed thankful not to be sleeping in the car. We had a wonderful nights sleep and woke up to find that this little motel is surrounded by beautiful green mountains! We decided to stay here again tonight since it's clean, cheap and not far from the town we are so ready to explore. So off we go...I'll let you know what we find.Jen

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oh Boise!

We are, right this minute, sitting in a coffee shop in Boise Idaho! We are officially groupies following Bub and his band around (well,mostly bub:)on a road trip through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.We have been wanting to travel through these states for quite a while now, and what better time to do it then when we can hang out with my bub along the way. We were in Hailey, ID last night and watched them play at Brice Willis's club, The Mint. We even got to go backstage and on the bus :) I will post of picture of the club, but unfortunately I took the picture this morning and "Cross Canadian Ragweed" was already off of the marquee and some other group is up there. Anyhoo, you get the picture. It was such a cute mountain town. I had decided to move there until I picked up a real estate magazine and saw how outrageously expensive it is--yikes!! Anyway, we had a great time. The band had to leave right after the show and so we got to stay in their hotel room (that they hadn't even used) for free--it even had a jacuzzi in it:) Then we ate breakfast at a cafe, went to the cutest childrens' shop ever called " Polka Dot". Friends of mine with babies and kids, know that I wanted to buy them everything in that store! If I ever win the lottery I will go back and do just that:) So anyway, after Montana we'll go down to Colorado for Joel's cousin Michael's wedding and then make our way home on Saturday,the 19th! I am sooo excited to be on this trip and have so much time with Joelie--I'll try to post pictures along the way. Hope you all are doing well and enjoying these last days of summer, Jen
Joelie looking at the map in front of the hotel.Don't be fooled by this picture-- there is only one cool mountain biker in the family--but, hey, I have to at least try!
Our wonderfully free hotel--what an unexpected gift!!
The cutest store ever! Wooden toys galore,children's costumes with rich colors and beautiful fabric, fun hats and shoes, ribbon,cards...too much fun!
This is "The Mint" where the band played. Apparently the crowd stank but I had a grand time sitting in a comfy booth where I could see the crazy crowd, bub working away with the guitars, etc. , and the band all at the same time:)
So I guess these are the hanging baskets you get in your town if you pay a bizillion dollars to live there:) Aren't they beautiful?!
That's all for now folks...I'm off to dinner with the Joels:)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bub

We got to see bub (aka: Joel Schoepf Jr.) !!! I didn’t get to see him in TX as he was on the road so I was so excited to learn that he was going to be in Utah with the band he works for. They got here on Friday afternoon and Joelie was passed out after an all night study session and so I drove and picked bub up and he got to come and see the house. I was so in love with him being there that I forgot to take pictures:( but it was so wonderful to show him our new turf.
Joelie woke up shouting “Buuuuuuuub!!!!” when we walked in the room and we went and ate at a great Thai place down the street. Then we went with him to the show and got to see him in action.
I tell ya, he is pretty amazing and I sure hope these bands know what they’re getting when they hire him!! Bub is a caretaker and so loyal and hardworking and he works the whole show making sure the band has the right ,tuned guitars on stage for each song, that the fans don’t get too rowdy and knock over equipment, and on and on. He also makes sure his sister has a place to sit down away from the craziness as he knows that drinking, wild crowds are her hell:)I know that we saw only a fraction of his job too, there is much, much more that he does to make sure things run smoothly. Really, I am always amazed at his hospitality and nurturing heart. Just watch him sometime with babies or elderly people and see if it doesn’t make you cry! Needless to say we had a wonderful time and I even like getting to see that whole rock-star scene once in a while. Of course, I high tail it back to my calm, quiet life but it’s fun to observe and especially since its such a big part of both my brother’s lives. Funny how the three of us are so entirely different and yet love each other so completely.
Well, while I’m on the subject of bub, let me introduce you to his sweet fiancĂ© Robin (hi Robin!).
Robin is also in the music industry and so they have much in common. More importantly, she is kind and sincere, and loves Joel with all her heart. They are one of the most hospitable couples I have ever met. They both love people and it shows. Welcome to the family Robin!
More on my TX trip soon and very soon, Jen

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I miss you I believe....

Though it does feel so good to be back in our little home with my Joelie starting to tutor and get back in the swing of things...I do feel a bit alone. Constant rich companionship makes it feel funny to be by myself so much. So many good things have happened, though, in these two days at home. Things that never happen. For example, here was the picture last night in our kitchen...

I was home, alone indeed, but cooking. Yes,me, I was making something! I made lentil and spinach soup and cornbread. Not only that, but there was a cat laying in my hallway watching me. Now, those who know me well know that my heart's desire is to have "cats and babies round my feet where all are fat and none are thin(love that carol King:)" and so it was really a joy to see this kitty curled in the hall. She has been a stray here for a while but yesterday worked up the courage to come inside and have a bite to eat and a good, long nap.I have wanted a cat for so long but Joel is allergic to some cats and hates their fur and i was never big on the thought of a litter box--yuck! I think he bonded with this one while I was away, though, because he encouraged me to let her in! Anyway, Brandi Carlyle's voice was wafting up from the basement and one of her songs said, "I'm happy, can't you see, I'm alright but I miss you I believe." Just how I feel, I thought to myself. To make a good, healthy dinner felt so good, and having this little companion was great, and seeing Joelie's face late at night when he came home from studying was so sweet and having fun conversations with my students is always wonderful....but I do miss all of that loveliness in Texas...here is a picture of my lentil yumminess from last night and one of mom and I. Oh, and don't tell joel, but one of kitty who is at this moment curled up at my feet in bed:)More pictures from TX coming soon...


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lovely Indeed...

Lovely indeed are my memories from this summer vacation. I’ll give them to you slowly as I take time to savor my trip. For the first five days of the trip I just relaxed with mom and dad at their new house by the river.We decorated, organized, read, laid by the river, floated in the river, laughed, ate, talked, walked...it was so restful and fun.


Then on Thursday I went to Seguin where I worked last year in the Adult Ed department. This began a wonderful weekend full of friends.
First, my trip to Seguin to see my ESL students…
Generous in spirit and expressive in their words and deeds is how I would describe this precious group(don’t believe for a second the “tough guy” poses of the two in front). They continually make me feel loved and cherished and I treasure my time with them. Thank you for loving me, you sweet students!
Also on my trip to Seguin I got to see my sweet friend Sharon who now teaches these students. What a completely selfless thing for her to help them keep in touch with me! She and Judy(who also worked in the Adult Ed department with us) and I had such a great reunion (I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of you Judye!) . We only had a small chunk of time but instantly were chatting as if I never left. A few days later Judye and I visited Carolyn (again, a former Adult Ed buddy!) and got to see her cutie patootie granddaughters. I miss these Seguin women—what wonderful friends they are!!

Next, I got to see Elizabeth and baby Cambria. Elizabeth is a friend that I met in Hawaii and will be forever friends with. Elizabeth says things that seem to come straight from the deepest part of my heart but I have never articulated before. It is wonderful to have a friend who shares the same heart values and desires. Her husband Jason and Joelie are such great friends as well and that is such a gift for the four of us to have such a bond.What a sweet time we had in Saledo.

My friend Jennifer and her momma Jami came and brought baby Mia with them to Wimberley. We had such a great time catching up, shopping in town, playing with Mia….Jennifer and I have been friends since the 6th grade. She was the beautiful , mysterious one and I was the ragamuffin brutally honest one and somehow we just fit together. What a privilege to get to see her a new, wonderful mommy!

Stay tuned for pictures of my soon to be sisters in love, my Shanny sis in love, and much more:) Jen