Thursday, May 17, 2012


This is my "I'm feeling a little frazzled, but I CAN DO THIS" face.  

Is it working?  Am I fooling you?

Since I am not really thinking like a normal person anymore, here are my thoughts in numbers:
2 The number of weeks I have until my first year of teaching is over.
24 The number of children that I feel responsible for and still feel like I need to change their lives.
0 The number of cookies that I have should have eaten, but instead I ate a very different number than that.  One that I shall not reveal at this time.
11.5 The number of hours I spent at Woodruff Elementary School today.
3 The number of songs that I need to play on the organ this Sunday.
3 The number of songs that I don't know how to play on the organ.
4 The number of hours of sleep I got last night because my darn brain just keeps thinking... and thinking... and thinking...
496 The number of times I heard the words "Mrs. Gish" today.  Ok, that's just a guess, but it's probably not that far off.
31 The number of times in the last week that I have thought, "Dang, I am going to miss that kiddo... and that kiddo... and that kiddo..."
1 The number of times that I felt like crying today.  But I didn't.  Because I plan on wearing this same mascara tomorrow.  I mean really... I have better things to do in the morning than apply a fresh coat of mascara.  I've got my priorities straight.
10 The number of students that I have recruited for summer tutoring so far.  Yeah, I make it sound that fun.
229 The number of copies I made today.  Tree-huggers, don't hate.  This is not a daily occurrence.  I pinky swear.
7 The number of times in a row that I listened to "The Rock Cycle Rap" by Mr. Lee on YouTube.  Because the kids like it.  And I like that they like it.
5 The number of very odd dreams that I have had about school in the last week.
31 The number of students they are estimating that I will have next year.  Say WHAAA??!
24 The number of notes left on my door during "Teacher Appreciation Week" that make me think, Oh yeah.  That's why I do this.  I have 24 kiddos.  They are mine and I love them.  And even though I get annoyed with them sometimes, I love them.  They have accomplished great things.  They have kind hearts.  They are curious.  They are adventurous.  Not to mention hilarious.  And I am glad to have played just a small role in their little people lives.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Hobby

Husband and I have a new hobby called... 
Logan may be a small town, but how cool is it that we 
only need to drive about 8 minutes to be surrounded 
by this amazing scenery?
 I can't believe that I have lived in this town for more 
than four years and I am just discovering all the 
wonderfulness it has to offer.  So, I am thankful for a 
husband who enjoys discovering it with me. It's a lot 
more fun that way.
Also...  Pilates- you ain't got nothin' on a 
good hike up the mountain.  I haven't felt my 
tush like this in ages.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hi, God. It's me again.

WARNING: This is an extremely loooooong post.  Don't believe me?  Take a real quick scroll down.  See?  I wasn't kidding.  

Perhaps I am trying to make up for all the lame "post one picture and a sentence to go with it" posts that I have been doing lately.  Please don't feel the need to finish it or maybe you can read it in parts...?  And just know that sometimes I have stuff I need to say out loud or send into cyberspace for the sake of sending it somewhere else besides my brain and heart.  Those little guys get full sometimes.  So, let's consider this my purging of those things that are taking up a little too much space.

Years ago I was talking with my religious leader about prayer.
I told him that I was having a hard time being real in my prayers or really feeling like I was talking to God.  I told him I was repetitive, impersonal, and it was hard to have the motivation to do it.  I also didn't really know what to do about it.

I happened to commute to a high school that was about a 20 minute drive away.  My leader knew of this and asked, "Do you ever pray in your car?"

I said, "Well, no."  And I thought to myself that this was an odd question because all growing up I learned at church that to pray I should be kneeling, arms folded, eyes closed.  Why was my religious leader asking me that?

He told me that he also had the same problem when he was younger.  He told me that a lot of the problem for him was that he was too rushed in the morning and too tired at night.  So he started praying in the car.  Out loud.  While driving on the way to work. "Oh odd..." I thought.  And then...

He challenged me to try the same and see what happens.

So, after giving it some thought, I did.  Because I figured it couldn't hurt.  The next morning as I got in the car to go to school, I turned off X96's morning show (I thought it was funny at the time- listened to it again about a month ago...not so much.  Glad my taste has changed.)  I began driving and was a little overwhelmed by the silence.  And then I began praying.  Out loud.  In my car.  By myself.  And I hoped that the people in the lanes next to me were assuming that I was singing along to the radio.

I felt awkward.  Uncomfortable.  I wasn't really sure what to say.  I remembered my leader also challenging me to try and pray the WHOLE time I was in the car.  What??  I am supposed to pray for 20 minutes?  To someone who isn't even going to talk back to me?  Oh boy.  This drive is going to be a little longer than usual.

I began by telling God about my day.  How I had been feeling lately.  Told Him things I was grateful for.  But I will be honest- I didn't feel much and I was pretty relieved to get to school and not have to "talk to myself" anymore.

Each morning I would try it again.  I would pray as I drove to school.  For many days it went quite like the first.  But then things that make high school girls cry started happening and I needed to vent.  So who did I tell?  God.  I told Him as I drove to school.  Then I started telling Him about all my thoughts.  Things that I didn't really talk to anybody about.  Or sometimes I would just tell him about things that were going well.  Or sometimes I would talk to Him about friends that I was concerned about.  I started opening up to God.  

And as I continued doing this, I found something really magical about car praying.  I found that it gave me time to listen.  To really listen.  Not just sit at the edge of my bed for a few minutes after I say my nightly prayer just in case God has something to tell me really quick.  This was me, sitting in silence, waiting, and then feeling something.  This was me giving God a chance to let me feel His love for me.  And as soon as I let Him have that opportunity, a REAL opportunity, He took it.  And I can't even express to you how many times I spent that entire drive with tears running down my face as I felt myself be enveloped in a feeling of love and warmth.

I began to see myself more clearly.  The way that God sees me.  It turns out that, despite what anyone tells me or what I tell myself, God thinks I'm pretty great and He wants great things for me.  He is my Heavenly Father and Creator and for the first time in my life I had a real, wonderful, personal relationship with Him.  And soon enough I couldn't drive without praying.  I looked forward to that time.  On the way to school, on the way home from school, on the way to the store, on the way to a friend's house...

This habit continued into my college days.  I moved up to Logan for school, but there were many weekends where I drove home to visit the family.  I loved those hour-long drives where I could pray, listen, and ponder.  It helped me put things back into perspective and I always felt a reassurance from my Heavenly Father that He was still aware of me and loved me.

A few years later a most wonderful thing happened.  I got married!  And while that obviously brought many amazing blessings into my life, I lost one thing:

Long drives.

My work is barely a five minute drive away.  The store is barely a five minute drive away.  Picking husband up from work barely takes five minutes.  And when it's time to drive out to the Salt Lake area to visit family, we go together.  And obviously we really enjoy talking to each other during that drive so that is what we do.  Which I love.  And I wouldn't give up long, meaningful talks with husband for anything.

I soon forgot what a good car prayer was like.  A prayer where I am not falling asleep in my bed, or thinking about the dirty dishes, or how teaching is going to go that day.  I truly forgot how to talk with God.

Now, here is why all of this has come to mind.  This last weekend husband was so busy researching in the lab and studying for finals.  I knew he had all his finals coming up on Monday and Tuesday and that I would be spending the weekend alone.  A good friend of mine who lives out of state was going to be in Salt Lake this weekend so husband and I decided it would be best if I just went down to my parents for the weekend and visited people while he was away studying.  I would be having fun and not distracting him from what he needed to get done.

On Saturday morning I headed out.  I began the drive and was listening to a mix CD, enjoying the music.  I wasn't thinking much of anything, but as I turned a certain bend in the canyon I came upon this view pictured below.  (Don't worry, I did not take this picture while driving.  I found this on the internet, but it is the exact view.)

It was breathtaking.  And suddenly the memory of all those peaceful drives and conversations with God came flowing back into my mind.  And I realized how long it had been since I had experienced that.  And then I felt sad that I had let so much time pass.  I wanted so badly to feel that closeness to God that I hadn't even realized had been missing.

I began to pray.  And guess what.... I was awkward.  And uncomfortable.  And I felt like I was talking to myself.  It was like running into a friend that you haven't seen in years and you realize you have nothing in common anymore and nothing to talk about.  It broke my heart.  Because I knew it wasn't anyone else's fault except my own.  I had let things go.  I had lost touch.  I tried again...

"Hi, God.  It's me again.  I'm sorry it has been so long since I've really opened my heart to you.  I miss it.  I miss You.  Please forgive me."

And then I waited.  I listened.  I felt.

And then came the feeling of love.  The feeling that told me I was forgiven and how pleased He was to hear from me.  That He had missed me too.

I poured my heart out to him and thankfully the road was pretty empty because I probably looked like a crazy person.  But when you are catching up with God, you tend to forget what people think about you.  It doesn't really quite seem to matter.  All I know is that I am so grateful for the reminder that I had got this weekend that I need that relationship with my Heavenly Father.  It brings me comfort, joy, and peace.  It gives me direction, strength, and hope.  And living in the world that we live in today, we could all use a little bit of that.  Am I right?

So...  Why did I decide to just bombard my blog with this incredible amount of words?

I am not sure.

It was probably for me.  So I wouldn't forget something that was important to me.  To challenge myself once again to create opportunities to converse personally with God.  And maybe someone somewhere is feeling a void and wondering how they can feel closer to God.  My recommendation comes in the form of one word: