Friday, May 31, 2013

Dear Friday: Life Is Mostly Great

Junior Prom 2013
Photo by K.L.R.
Dear Friday, so glad you arrived and brought a half day of school with you!
Dear Paris, I'm coming to visit!  I am going to love you, I just know it!
Dear England, Can't wait to see you, either.  It's been too long!
Dear Life, I need a little break.  This afternoon, I will rest.
Dear French Open, please come back into my life!
Dear Spring, I think you don't like us this year.
Dear Sunshine, thank you for shining!
Dear Creation, you take my breath away.
Dear Brother, you are so grown up!  I'm glad you had fun at prom : )
Dear Students, I still think you all are great.
Dear Graduates, I'm excited for you as you step from one adventure into another!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

How many times did you hear that growing up?

I'm recalling those words and choosing to abide by them--for the time being.
If I were to spout off all that I am feeling in this moment, I would hurt a lot of people...and maybe lose some friends.

Emotions are funny things.
One incident can set off a wave of emotions on to OTHER people.
Kind of like dominoes.

I need to take my finger and stop the avalanche of falling rectangles.

Rebecca was listening to a song on our drive home.
It was talking about pain...and to feel pain was better than not feeling at all.
There was something about love, too.

I think love/caring is attached to all heart pain, for if there is no love, about what is there to hurt?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Beauty Overwhelms Me

You know the weeks that seem a month long because they are so jam-packed?
Welcome to my week.
I can barely remember Monday.

Virginia's standardized tests were this week.
I was SOL coverage for different people throughout the day (mostly the same schedule everyday, though).
I enjoyed spending time with the students in each class.
Watching teenagers having a good time is so fun (I was in three P.E. classes--funny things happen).

But, other than school, I was playing tennis, helping with tennis practice, getting rained out of tennis (resulting in a grumpy me), planning our 5 year high school reunion (when did that happen?!), and I explored new parts of Bath County (have I mentioned I live in an extraordinarily beautiful place?).

Yesterday I went out for coffee with a couple of the girls---without homework!  We had fun laughing, sharing, and drinking our yummy frappuccinos (made by Amanda!).  Girl time (and, I'm sure guy time) is critical to our well-being.

Angel and I checked out a couple locations for our high school reunion.  Hopefully by the end of today we will have decided on a place.  Our little jaunt ended up lasting over two hours...and we explored new parts of Bath County (well, she'd been there...but I hadn't--at least not to some of them).

Also, a note of importance, I may have found the perfect place to get married!  It is a little piece of England in Bath County, VA.  More on that later...when I either find out information....or waaaay later...if I get to plan my wedding :)

*Side note: that makes me want to watch Candleshoe.*

Today my little brother goes to his Junior Prom.  Yes, there will be lots of pictures!
I'm so proud of him.

And, in just a few hours, I'll know when I'm going to England!  WooHoo!

Here are a few photos from yesterday.

Enjoy and have a marvelous Saturday!

Hidden Valley
Photo by K.L.R

Hidden Valley
Photo by K.L.R.

Dunn's Gap
Photo by K.L.R.

Dunn's Gap
Photo by K.L.R

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You Only Have One Piece

Photo by K.L.R.
I'm pondering my next step...actually, the step after my next step.
You all know I'm a planner.  I want to organize what is going to happen.
But, sometimes it is too much.  I realize I don't have enough pieces to make a picture.
Instead, I must sit, wait, gather more information, and pray.

While thinking about my future plans a few moments ago, I remembered that each time I face an open future, God comes and fills the next space.  He places more stones in my foot path, allowing me to proceed.  Or, perhaps the analogy of adding more stepping stones in a quickly flowing river is better, since I don't want my life to be boring...and working your way through rapids, while trying to remain standing, is anything but boring.

Just like in December, when I didn't know what I was doing and suddenly I decided to move to England and pursue event planning, and then I found myself moving back to CF and BC, writing for the newspaper, substitute teaching, and loving being back where I partially grew up...plans change.  And that's okay.

It doesn't feel okay all the time.  I'm coming to terms with all the new emotions and desires I have.  But, for now, I am here and this is where I am content.  I am not settling.  I love the people I spend time with, I love the students I have in class and get to know, I love the scenery I drive through, I love meeting new people...I love it all.

I am gaining a new understanding of how important relationships are to me.  If you add people to almost all situations, whatever it is you are doing becomes better!  For now I will stay where I am, travel when I have the chance, and continue learning how to be a grown up (it's an ongoing process).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Responding to Catastrophe

Do you remember when the shooting happened near the Empire State Building last summer?  It was just after I'd left the city.  I lived near where the shooting occurred while studying.  As fellow students and I discussed the tragedy, we shared our opinions regarding a particular photo of the victim lying in his blood.

I took the position that when so many tragedies are splashed across the news, a photo that makes one pause and have a human reaction is a good thing.

While following the Oklahoma tornado disaster, I've experienced similar emotions.  I consciously have to make myself think about the people in the photo and make it personal.  Otherwise, I have a hard time feeling and realizing that it is real-life, not just a mess of rubble and trees.

The two photos below helped me feel sorrow and pain for the victims.  It made the catastrophe real.
The first shows adults and children suffering together.  It shows humans caring.
In the second photo, the girl being helped has a look on her face that grabbed me.  She looks numb with shock, unable to comprehend what just happened.

Image via

Image via

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Becky: She's Getting Married Tomorrow!

Nearly five years ago I met one of my dearest friends.
She's the Diana to my Anne.

Tomorrow, she marries a man who loves her dearly, makes her laugh, protects her, and licks chocolate icing off her face after smearing the grooms cake on it.

But, for tonight, she is still Rebekah Fern Somerville...
The girl who...
...I spilled my drama to after knowing her for a short time.
...prayed for specific things for me...and I never knew it.
...loves me and doesn't judge me.
...used to make me so mad...but then we'd forgive and it would be ok.
...shares openly.
...shared new experiences with me.
...knows my secrets, and I'm glad.

I'm blessed to know her.
My life would be very empty without her.
I pray we remain friends till we die.

First picture Freshman year
Winter Formal Freshman year
My 21st with Becky's homemade wine!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life At This Moment

Photo by K.L.R.

I love this life God has given me.
I'm grateful for the moments I realize there is a lesson I need to learn.
I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned and continue to learn.

Tennis in warm weather is marvelous.
Visiting the high school when I'm not substituting is great.
High school students make life grand.
Walking in the cool of the spring evening is bliss.
Hearing Trey say, "Oh my gosh," while walking down the hall eating brownies I just made makes me happy.
Feeling content is amazing.

Tomorrow I will teach in the morning, go to court in the afternoon (and try to get out of a ticket), and then drive to North Carolina to prepare for the wedding festivities of one of my best friends from my freshman year of college.

It's going to be a fabulous long weekend.

Friends, laughter, champagne, and the beginning of a new life for two individuals.

Early Morning Calm

"Prince" Caspian
Photo by K.L.R.

The sliding door is open, Caspian is lying at it looking out, and I'm eating a yummy, refreshing breakfast (my tea needs to be warmed).

I love quiet mornings, especially in the spring and summer.
Still, morning air waking up.
A light breeze that carries the bird's chirping.
The sun not yet above the moments, thus making it permissible to stay in my pajamas a little while longer.

Relaxing early morning hours that evolve into productive mid to late mornings are bliss.
This doesn't mean I have a "To Do" list a mile long...although, it is rather lengthy.

My thoughts are wandering from the article I need to write to my pending trip to England to my dear friend in France to whether or not I'll make it to Paris.  Oh, and then there is a day trip to Oxford that would be fun.

I'm becoming more and more excited about my upcoming trip to England.

This summer is going to be amazing.
I don't think I've looked forward to an entire summer this much in quite some time.

Today I get to play tennis.
With my newly restrung racquet.
It's amazing what good strings will do.
While playing yesterday, I hit a shot--that you'd expect to go in--but when it did, I was happily surprised....and realized it was because of my awesome new strings!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Until the Spammers Leave...

Via Pinterest
Recently I've experienced a high volume of anonymous spam comments.
Due to this spike, I've implemented word verification.
I know it is annoying to type in a random word or phrase before the comment will post.
I hope this will be temporary.



Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to Four Fabulous Individuals!

All of these people turned a year older today!  I love you four dearly!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Barbara!

And this handsome fellow is 17!

And these beautiful twins (an old picture) are both MARRIED and 23!

Dear Friday: Teacher Appreciation, Chocolate, and Girl's Night in a Boutique

Yay for subbing on Friday of Teacher Appreciation Week!
Dear Friday, it's 11:11 and today is great.
Dear School, I don't want you to end...what will I do without my students for the summer?
Dear Sunshine, thank you for two days of you!  The rain was nice, but I'm glad you're back.
Dear Teacher Appreciation Week Inventor, you are awesome.  Chocolate fondue, strawberries, pineapple, cookies, brownies, chocolate covered pretzels, and so much more...yuuum!
Dear Jamison, we need to have girl's night more often!  Talking, chick flicks, chocolate, tea...and all in a fabulous boutique.  Yes.  The best.
Dear Life, you are still complicated, beautiful, sad, happy, and all around...wonderful and busy.
Dear England, I'm coming.
Dear Wimbledon, best birthday ever....I'm anticipating you excitedly!
Dear Weekend, I'm ready for you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Do "Huggers" Win?

Instead of hugging, we take awesome pictures with elbow gloves.
"Huggers" win.

Are you a "hugger"?
I'm not.
I like genuine hugs.
I like hugs from particular people.
I like the freedom to not hug.

In college, I was introduced to "huggers".
I don't like being forced to hug people.
It feels artificial and stiff.

I have a friend from high school who I think I've hugged...twice?  Ever?
We both hug other friends, but we don't hug each other.
It's just how our friendship works.
We are happier that way.

Why do the "huggers" get to win?
Can I just stand there, hands at my side, and refuse their hug?
Why do I feel obligated to hug, and even initiate the pending hug, if I don't want to hug?

Crazy, super-casual, overly friendly, societal expectations.

Maybe I will start forcing myself to lean away.
Turn my body.
Extend my hand.
You don't see hugs abounding in Jane Austen.
Let's revert to the old ways.

It's nothing personal.
Hugs are just special.
And they are not indicative of your friend status with me.

*Disclaimer: I do like hugs.  Just not every time I see you.  Let them mean something.*

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Original YOLO: Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
May 1.
Where did April go?
I was looking at the date on the board yesterday and thought to myself, "Is it April?  Surely it's only March 30?  No, that was Easter weekend.  It's really almost May."

Just over a month ago, snow was on the ground.
The weather still hasn't realized it's spring, although the leafiness on the trees is slowly creeping up the mountain.

I'm one of those people who loves life.  Even when it is dark, gloomy, and difficult, with perspective, I love the moments where I find joy.

Perspective is a beautiful (and relieving) thing.

I've been reading Ecclesiastes sporadically since last Wednesday.
That book provides perspective on life.
It puts life in a light that many of us forget.

Life is short.
Our time to fulfill God's call on our life is limited.
Life is beautiful.
Man is evil from birth (we are all subject to sin...and that terrible thing that stranger could be me).
The world moves forward.
When we're dead, we'll be forgotten.
"A good name is better than fine perfume..." (Ecc. 7:1a)
All of mankind is drawn to thoughts of eternity...but our minds cannot fathom it.

It ends with...
"...Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecc. 12:13b-14

Some of Ecclesiastes is depressing.  But, when looked at as a whole (perspective!), it shows the beauty of life.  The ups, the downs, and what a gift it is to live.

People who are constantly looking to get to Heaven frustrate me.  I like living.  I'm not ready to die and go to Heaven.  Yes, I have my moments.  When I'm overwhelmed with life, the sadness in the world, or a circumstance gets to me, thinking of being with Jesus is comforting.

But, God created me.  He gave me a life to live.  He has plans for me and a calling for me to fulfill.  How can I bring Him glory?  I'm not sure.  But, I'm beginning to have a little more than an inkling.  It's exciting.

The phrase "YOLO" is used to encourage poor decisions among young (and old) people.
It's true, you only live once.
Don't waste that life.
You don't want that "YOLO" decision to land you in a downward spiral that may take years to come out of (if you ever do).
If you want to live by the YOLO mantra, take it to do exciting things.  Have adventures.  Challenge yourself.  Live fully.
Just remember who gave you this life.
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