Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Festivus


Festive Holiday Greetings! Although some of you may be getting the following songs via snail mail, I figured I'd post Marah's Annual Christmas Letter online for those of you (COLIN!) for whom I have no mailing address.

My holidays have been very low-key, with no presents yet because we're waiting for Rachel, Wyatt, and the kids to get here next weekend. Yes, that's right, on January 5th, my family will MOVE TO YAKIMA!!! Score!! Wyatt will actually return to OR to finish up his last week at work while Rachel stays at my parents' house with the kids. During the evenings, she'll come up to town to work on the house. Then, on January 12, the big move will take place. Gracious me! Much excitement!!

Other big things, I preach this Sunday! Deep breaths. I really love serving and teaching in this way, but I usually have to talk myself down out of the tree of fear.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Marah Jean's Christmas Carols of 2007

The First Six Months (to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Dashing through the year, just subbing for my pay
And working with the Boom Boom Crew.
With new friends I did play.
I met them through Link Crew at the conferences I worked
From Minnesota, Missouri, Toronto, and Newark!

Oh! I spent hours on the planes
Flying to and fro.
If the miles were added up,
I'd be in Tokyo!

And all the while I did fly
All over the US,
I was also training for
A legendary quest!

Starting in Januar' with my friend Lisa Ann
I strapped on some new shoes, and then I ran and ran
And ran and ran and ran, and then I ran some more,
And then in June we ran the marathon in old Newport!

Oh! Quite the feat for my feet and the rest of me!
And I've crossed that off the list
Of Things to Do By Thirty!

Now I have the glory of
A finisher's t-shirt
And a metatarsal pain
That sometimes does still hurt!

The Second Six Months (the the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

Once I was done with running,
I spent the summer with my fam.
Bennett and Erin Lindsay
Take lots of space up on my cam.

Let's not forget sweet Jaelynn
Who turned two on December first.
She loves to play, with Auntie,
Tag in "Ready! Set Go!" bursts!

Then this fall, I've filled in as
a sixth grade reading pro.
Middle school is quite the fit
For my crazy antics and my wit.

This job has helped me realize,
Though traveling is quite the kick,
I love being a teacher
And getting paid e'en if I'm sick!

Other Events in 2007
(to the tune of Deck the Halls)

Also in the weeks of this year
Fa la la la la la la la la
I have been a church volunteer
Fa la la la la la la la la
On the worship team I do sing
Fa la la la la la la la la
And the sermon sometimes I bring
Fa la la la la la la la la

One large accomplishment I've had
Fa la la la la la la la la
I am now a Gonzaga grad!
Fa la la la la la la la la
I completed my Masters work
Fa la la la la la la la la
A big raise I hope will be the perk.
Fa la la la la la la la la

That is all that happened with me
Fa la la la la la la la la
Except for one thing that caused much glee
Fa la la la la la la la la
I finally bought a new car
Fa la la la la la la la la
That had not been driven too far.
Fa la la la la la la la la

Lots of love -- marah jean

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The goose is getting fat

Because Christmas is coming! Life here has been a flurry of activity, and I don't have anything specific to report. But as I sit here at Sierra Vista Middle School is Sunnyside, WA (perhaps the only district that doesn't block this site), I've decided to make the most of the silent reading time and blog about things I've noticed in December! (Side note -- the next three days of subbing should be fabulous, if for no other reason than my actually classes are done at 12:15! After that, this teacher has individual and team planning time. Yeah -- I won't be sticking around for that!)

Things I've realized in December:

1) I love being a part of a school staff. The last few weeks have included a long-term sub job in sixth grade reading at Wapato Middle School. The kids are fine, the content simple, but the BEST part is the team I've been plopped into. They are so fun and have accepted me with open arms! I was involved with the pixie gift exchange, the cookie exchange, and the celebratory meal at El Porton after the last day of school. One of the teachers is, I swear, my brother from another mother. He reminds me a lot of two of my favorite people: Johnny Gomez (my little brother's best friend) and Cesar Dominguez (my associate pastor and friend). Loves kids, loves Jesus, and SO STINKING FUNNY!!! After the El Porton lunch, he and I played racquetball at the Y, and I haven't laughed that hard for that long in many moons. I cannot even explain the hilarity of seeing this big hurkin' athlete swing for the fences and whiff it. Oh man. Sweet comedy.

My experience at WMS has been so good that it has sealed my desire to get back into teaching. After over a year of subbing and traveling about, I have determined that I thrive in a school setting, especially after I have found real friends on a staff. The friends I have made at Wapato have even got me to consider working at the middle school level, just so I can keep working with them. The other major thought is to find a job at Davis High School, which is right down the street from me. I could totally see myself at either place, so I'm asking God for some major direction as to which avenue to pursue. There will probably be jobs at both places, so I'm very thankful that we have an ever-present God who promises to say, "This is the way. Walk in it."

2) I love racquetball. And I love being a member at the Y. It is so gloriously social! I've met more people in the last month at the Y than I did ALL SUMMER at West Valley Fitness. I spend an average of 90 minutes at the Y each day, with some days topping two hours. Yesterday Lisa and I played racquetball with some army reservists, and I'm sorry, but it is so much fun to be flirted with by cute military men. :-) I don't know if I'm actually getting any fitter. After all, it is the holidays which would not be complete without daily sugar fixes. But I do love being active, even if it isn't running at this point.

3) I love Josh from the Eugene Costco. I have never met this man, but he completely made my day yesterday. I was subbing at Davis and decided that I would finally go to Costco and get my piano. For two months now, I've been visiting "my piano" at the Yakima Costco. This digital instrument with great piano and strings sounds was going to be my "congratulations on finishing my MA" gift. Several people have donated to the cause and yesterday was The Day when I would get my piano. But when I get there, IT WAS GONE!!!! Cue tears in Costco. Not only was it gone, but NOT ONE COSTCO in the ENTIRE STATE had any left! I called my sister to cry and she said, "Do the Costcos down here have any?" After a few queries, I discovered that the Eugene Costco had four pianos left and that Rachel & Wyatt were planning to go to Eugene to Christmas shop. So I called that Costco and spoke with Josh, who totally made an exception for me and allowed me to purchase the piano over the phone!!!! So Rachel is going to go pick it up today, and then next Thursday, she and I will meet in Troutdale and make the exchange. So what could have been a HORRIFIC day and week ruining experience turned into utter joy!! Hurray for Josh!

4) I love my small group. Last night we had our Christmas party and it was hilarious. It was a Bad Sweater Christmas Party (which some of us thought was the Bad Christmas Sweater Party), complete with remixed Christmas songs, flashing Christmas tree lights, and a bad sweater fashion show. Dang. We are funny people. My sweater had two gigantic ducks, each one placed squared over each... well.... you get it. But the clencher was Steve, who had a sweatshirt with four santa hat wearing cats, the back of which showed the cats rears. But that wasn't the best part. The best part was that he decided to wear my sassy boots for his trip down "the runway". I don't know which was funnier: the sweatshirt or the fact that he could fit his calves and his Carhart pant legs into my boots when I have to stretch to get them zipped. :-)

So, in short, the December has been busy and gloriously joyful. I hope you each have found as much to enjoy!

much love and eggnog -- marah jean

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A HUGE Weekend!


The Wood Family came down on Thursday for a weekend of house hunting, birthday celebrations, and -- as it turned out -- SNOW! All things have gone quite well. Rachel & Wyatt found a house, made an offer, and it was accepted -- all within the course of two days. AMAZING!!! We're going to look at it this afternoon sometime, and they are planning to move the second week of January.

Bennett and Erin had loads of fun playing in the snow, and Jaelynn had loads of fun unwrapping her MOUNTAIN of presents. Bennett and I made cookies yesterday, which were very chocolatey and slightly overmixed, but I figure that's what happens when a four-year-old is involved in the process.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

All decorated and ready to go!


Despite a nasty cold that I caught from my brother, I have had quite a productive Thanksgiving vacation. I got all the grading done, got my house nice and clean, and -- most importantly -- put up my Christmas tree! I thought I was going to have to wait until Monday, but then I got a text from Lisa Jean, who was out on a coffee run, saying that Top Foods was unloading trees! SCORE!!!

After I selected my tree, the tree guy asked me what I was driving. When I motioned to my little Hyundai, he laughed and said, "You want me to put it in your car? It won't fit!" To which I responded, "Oh ye of little faith! All you need to do is roll down the windows!"

I'm still feeling sick -- hot, dry throat, headache, stuffy sinuses -- but at least now I can gaze at my lovely tree!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The evening John Mayer wrote about

"No way November will see our goodbye
When it comes to December it's obvious why
No one wants to be alone at Christmas time."

The day started with rain and lots of it, and by this evening, the drops decided to be snow, but not the kind that makes marshmallow worlds, but the kind that melts on the ground. I was doing my normal Sunday evening routine -- watching a Christmas movie and eating some treats -- when I was swept over by the fact that, well, here's comes another Christmas where it's just me.

I think this stings a little more because in the last two weeks, there have been hints of possibility in the guy realm that have fallen flat: 1) my friend Lisa gave my number to a guy who works at her gym with whom she's quite chatty and he said he'd call, and he hasn't. Then, 2) a couple in my small group brought an out-of-town guest to our small group this week and he was attractive, engaging, amusing. So I hosted a games night with the purpose being getting to spend more time with him. Bold move. Go me. Yeah... they didn't come. (No real fault to them -- they were visiting his extended family in Portland.)

So I feel like the sound that little kids make when they stick their tongues out and blow. And I feel like there won't ever be the fireworks of mutual attraction bolstered by the foundation of faith and friendship. I feel hunting down the hope that lives in my heart -- the hope that causes me to bloom with possibility and optimism -- and clock it over the head with a shovel so that I don't have to feel the deep gray of being passed by.

Most of the time I can combat the onslaught of these warring thoughts with the perspective shift that I'm not alone. I have a great family, terrific friends, an invested life. But there are times, like tonight, when I don't feel like fighting. Can one lament one's singleness in a blog that could be read by just about anyone? Probably not the wisest thing to do. But those of you who really know me... well... then we've probably had this conversation before. :-)

(Insert reflective pause here...)

While I don't feel like fighting, I also don't feel like starting the holiday season under this cloud. I want to truly be thankful, not try to numb the ache in my heart by consuming half the pumpkin pie. I want to experience the joy of the season, not go through the motions. And if I want to do that, then fight I must.

So I declare the I am thankful for my God who made me, who loves me all the time, and who gives wisdom when I ask for it. I'm thankful for Lisa Ann (my marathon buddy) and the YMCA and the fact that I have discovered the fabulousness of racquetball and can laugh like crazy with Lisa when I absolutely whiff it. I'm thankful for a long-term subbing job with kids that are soaking up the love I have to give (even if I do have to give it with the stern teacher voice sometimes) and a paycheck that will compensate for all the vacation days between now and the end of January. I'm thankful that my little brother turns 26 this week and getting to celebrate it with him and my fantastically clean and sober sister. I'm thankful for the Egglestons who have made 2301 Eleanor my HOME. I'm thankful for singing in all its forms and the gift of being able to hear and sing harmony. And I'm thankful that I don't have to be a victim of my circumstances, which aren't really all that bad when I really think about it.

And so I sign off tonight...

with hope...

marah jean

Wish I were a Jenny

Thanks to my dear friend Jonathan Eggleston, I have been introduced to the glorious poetry and piercing harmonies of Wailin' Jennys. They've been gracing the airwaves of my apartment for the last 18 hours. Oh... sweet glory. They are a tad like the Indigo Girls without the pervasive angst (and no f-bombs) with some down home guitar licks.

I definitely recommend "One Voice" and "Beautiful Dawn".

Enjoy!

----------------
Now playing: Wailin Jennys - Beautiful Dawn
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lots of stuff


Ack! I can't believe it's been three solid weeks since I've blogged! Doh! My apologies to those of you who check up on me via this blurb. So here's the turbo version:

I had two Link Crew student conferences that I facilitated, one in Denver and one in Lemoore (south of Fresno, CA). They were both fantastic, and the best parts were getting to see my friends from those places: Halee, Lauren (who took me to Red Rocks), and Ivan. Despite the immense fun of the actual conferences, the trips were further confirmation that I am not really wired to have a full-time travel around speaking job. The travel itself just WIPES me OUT!!

Today my life as a substitute teacher undergoes a major shift as I'm taking on a long-term job in sixth grade reading. While I am a little nervous (it's been a while since I've been full=on IN CHARGE of a classroom and these are sixth graders), I'm more excited for the perks of a long-term job. I don't have to wait for jobs to show up online, and I get paid more (which is very good over the holidays with all the crazy breaks). Because of those breaks, this job goes until January 25, which is right before Link Crew coaching starts.

I'm hoping that Link Crew coaching will still be a part of my spring line-up. It is semi-up-in-the-air because of the potential change in my employment status. I have submitted my application to teach at Yakima Valley Community College. They will keep my file and contact me if there are any classes for which I am qualified to teach. There is the possibility that something will come up for the winter quarter. I've already decided that I won't ditch the long-term sub job for YVCC classes, which is more about professionalism than preference. However, if there are evening classes in the winter quarter, I may take those to get my foot in the door, even if it means I can't be off coaching. I need to keep my head screwed on straight, though, because they haven't offered me anything, so I don't need to get emotionally worked up about not coaching. At least not yet.

And there's the update. I'll try to be more consistent over the holidays.

much love -- marah jean

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Most recent bane of my existence...

In the life of a substitute teacher, few achievements are more diligently worked towards than being "The Chosen One" -- the one person that the teachers and sub caller contact as soon as an future absence is known. Because of my teaching experience and lovely personality, I believe I had achieved Chosen One Status last year and was counting on that status to keep me well employed throughout the year.

Well, my friends, I have been usurped, not by and up-and-coming substitute star with better jokes and more credentials. No. My reign has been toppled by...

The Online Sub System.

Gone are the days of being hand selected by teachers. Oh no! Now it's just one big sub pool and it's first come, first serve. What the foshizzle!!! I don't have a job for tomorrow -- at least not in Wapato where they pay $50 more a day -- because there are none online, and if I want to catch the stray subbing crumb that may fall, I have to stay glued to my computer! Hello!! I have a life here, people. Yes, it consists of Starbucks and The Office, but it is a life nonetheless!

And so I have my back-up Yakima job at Ike tomorrow, but if Wapato calls...

no wait. They won't.

Grrrrrr..... this makes subbing much less enjoyable. Not that it's a big thrill ride to begin with.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Teaching and Preaching

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching at Yakima Foursquare Church. I am a member in good standing of the YFC Teaching Team, but I have become the designated hitter of the team -- an apt analogy since the other members are all avid baseball guys. (Sidenote: What is it with me and baseball players?!?! Like a moth to the flame!!!) My message centered around Judas and the heart issues that lead to betrayal. Powerful stuff, and God's presence was potent this morning. I'm so honored to be a part of his work in this way.

And I really love preaching and teaching. I went to Women of Faith this weekend and found myself not only encouraged by the speakers, but also drawn to the idea that "that is what I want to do"... and this morning, "this is what I want to do." But -- irony of ironies -- I don't want to be a pastor. All the pastors I know are so very wrapped up in the Christian world and the task of equipping the saints (a VERY worthy pursuit and calling) that they don't often engage with people who don't know God. Hmmm.... things to talk with God about for sure.

Aside from this revelation of sorts, I very much enjoyed my weekend with my sisters. We don't often get to spend time just the three of us -- sans kids, parents, and Joe (though he is always a welcome addition in my book) -- and I'm so thankful for the healing that has come to my relationship with Carrie Grace (on the left). She really is a riot!

I have other thoughts rolling around in my brain tonight, but I'm zonked and headed to bed. Yes, people, it is 7:58 and I'm going to bed. I'm also drinking hot water. It's official. I've become my grandparents.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fall, Fair, and Frolicking


Several times in the past several weeks, I have thought "Ooo. I need to blog." But, as the archive files do tell, I have not done so. Maybe it's the change of seasons that has thrown me off my rhythm. Fall has officially arrived in the Yakima Valley with cloudy days that don't touch 60 degrees and beautiful trees lining the river. Not as beautiful as Indiana, but lovely for here.

The coming of fall is also marked by the Central Washington State Fair -- further proof that Yakima should count as "the sticks." I attended this grand event last Wednesday with Carrie and Jaelynn and had a most excellent time! We had to see all of the animals -- most of which Jae wanted to pet (which she did, as proven by the picture!) and thought most of them were cows. She is on the cusp of having full-on conversations, so there was lots of chatter with her... and lots of deep-fried deliciousness for Carrie and I. God bless the Pennsylvania Dutch for funnel cakes!

This excursion was just one of my many frolicking adventures in the last several weeks. At the end of September, Rachel Lynn and family came up for a 1.8 day visit. Wyatt had an interview with the Fred Meyer Pharmacy and, if all continues to go along its current trajectory, they'll move up here around the start of the new year. Then I spent a weekend in the Cascades with the ladies from my small group. How fabulous are they! I just love them. Plus we got to have our first taste of winter when we drove up to Mt. Rainier and couldn't see it because of the snow! I was singing "It's A Marshmallow World" in the car. Good times. Then I shared at Riverside Christian School Junior High Chapel, which is a post all on its own.

The frolicking continued this last weekend as I went to Spokane to help teaching a teambuilding class to a group of MBA and MACC students. Funny folks, those business people. And, as if that kind of professional development wasn't good enough, I got to see Angie and Sharla (from summer camp) and my dearest Jen Bell, who just happened to be visiting from Arizona this weekend. That was the best blessing of all!

And the promise of sweet fun doesn't end there. On Friday I leave for Women of Faith with Carrie Grace and Rachel Lynn. Sweet! And this week I'm prepping to give the sermon next Sunday. So if you think of me this week, please pray for me! God's words -- not mine.

And that is it from here.... for now anyway.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ouchie...

I've never been a big fan of dental work. Too many traumatic fillings and extractions when I was young, and I have yet to get over those. Any time I am told I have to have a filling or anything of that nature, I have the uncontrolled reaction of... well... crying. That's right. I cry like a baby who's lost her binky.

The same reaction happened a few weeks ago when I was told that I needed, not a filling, but a root canal. I went in for it on Saturday, took my iPod loaded with Christmas music, and spent two hours in a nitrous oxide induced wonderland. I wish somebody could have been in my head with me because it was really funny. One distinct thing I remember is being able to decipher lyrics in songs that I had never figured out before because the song moved too quickly. Apparently, all I needed was to slow down all of my sensory processors with some drugs. At least I didn't remember much of the drilling and other yuckiness.

Unfortunately, my mouth now is terribly sore!!!! My dentist actually prescribed Vicaden, which I didn't take but probably should have. I took some Aleve this morning, which helped some, but not enough to ward off the fatigue that comes from being in constant low-grade pain. I slept for two hours this afternoon.

The worst thing about all of this is that I am paying for the entire thing. The saga of the insurance is a whole different story that still makes me a bit mad, so we won't go there. Let's just say that, if I choose to finally replace my 288 thousand mile car, things will be tight. I'm thanking the Lord for the plethora of sub jobs, and the long-term job I have from the end of November to the end of January.

All of this oral trauma and pain has changed one thing in me: I no longer shirk the nightly flossing ritual. Every night, baby.



----------------
Now playing: Lex de Azevedo with Millenium Choir - Some Children See Him
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My new gadget

It's official. I have been swept up into the Nike+iPod phenomenon. I bought myself a nano when I completed my marathon. My sister bought me the Nike arm band for my birthday, and I bought myself the sensor with my birthday money. Now, for the first time, I listen to music while I run. In "El Libro" (which is what Lisa and I called The Non-runner's Marathon Trainer, which is what we followed to train for our race), it says not to wear headphones, but to "listen to the run." So I did that for six months. Today I learned at least one thing:

Runs go faster when I'm distracted by The Aardvark Intermission Song.

The challenge for today was finding the song that kept pace with my running. I wasn't about to try to keep up with the Latin tempo of Club des Belugas's Hiphip Chinchin, and My Wish wasn't doing it either, even though one would think a Rascal Flatts ballad would fit my slow canter. But, when I had finally given up finding a pacing song, the Shuffle Song God touched my little iPod and gave me the gift that spurred me up the hardest 1/4 mile of the day:

Drive... by the Cars.

Solid snare drum back beat. Perfect tempo synchronization. Utter yogging perfection. And now with my workout firmly logged in the electronic annals of Nike.com, I am left with only one question...

Who is gonna drive me home tonight?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Insanity and mass homicide

From the brinks of these two evils have I just returned. I have never experienced anything quite like today, the content of which made me fear for the loss of my mind and for the blood that would certainly be on my hands. The pitch of the day just kept increasing and increasing until, in a moment sent from God, the bell rang.

and the first graders went to recess.

Yes. That's right. First graders.

I subbed a half-day in a first grade classroom yesterday and it went very well. 30 minutes of coloring books -- that says blue, it's different than black -- 30 minutes of reading, some recess, and I was done. So when I got the call at 6:45 this morning for a full-day first grade job, I decided to go against my normal line of "no elementary" for the sake of having a pay check at the end of October.

I should have stayed home. I have never felt as incompetent as I did today. And the most ridiculous part is THEY ARE SIX! Give me any one of them and I would have been fine. Or even 10 of them. We could have played tag or read or any number of things that I know work with little people. But 26 six-year-olds are TOO MUCH for this teacher.

And my little heart feels horrible because I did what I know is poor classroom management. When they tattled and talked and moved around as if their chairs had electrodes implants, I hollered and threatened and prayed OUTLOUD "Dear Lord, help me to remember not to hurt these children. They are six and I am a grown up." The praying part isn't too bad, but I HATE raising my voice at kids. And that is what I did ALL DAY.

So I'm redrawing the line. Marah, here... first graders.... WAY over there. I don't care if I have to eat Top Ramen from now until Boxing Day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kazzah!!

After hours of dedicated effort, I have just conquered all three levels of Minesweeper on this teacher's computer.

Behold, the life of a substitute teacher.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One more thing...

















Sunset over the Olympic Mountains

I just uploaded the most recent set of pictures and had to share my favorite picture from last week's trip to Bremerton.

Thoughts on fear

The official theme of the Women's Retreat was The Battle Belongs to the Lord, complete with a flashback to Petra Praise. The unofficial theme was fear. Two of the main speakers and one of the workshops dealt specifically with fear and how often it can debilitate us and keep us from a closer relationship with God.

Saturday night my friend Rissa (GOTTA LOVE HER!) was sharing about the different battles through which God has brought her, and she gave biblical examples of different battles that were fought in the Old Testament. She mentioned Moses at the Red Sea made the comment that sometimes there is comfort in our dysfunction because we are accustomed to it, so we stay in an unhealthy place because we are afraid of the new. The Israelites said they should go back to Egypt, even though that had been a place of terrible oppression and suffering for them.

That example got me to thinking... and my thinking ended up in the seeds of a teaching that is quite alliterative. If you look at the account of God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, there are four stages of the journey:

1) Pharaoh (which I first called "captivity" but that doesn't start with an "f" sound) -- The Israelites started in captivity with an oppressive life full of back-breaking labor and death. They had family, but no freedom, no liberty to pursue dreams, to pursue purpose, or to pursue God. Their lives are compelled and controlled by an outside force that did not have their best interests at hear. When God hears their cries and sends a deliverer, they have to learn a completely new skill set.

2) Follow -- To follow, one must be aware of one's leader and trust him. There is no force involved in true following, which in and of itself was a stark difference from their lives in Egypt. The Israelites had to learn how to trust God's heart towards them, which was quite the challenge. But they did learn (sorta) how to follow, God provided for them a multitude of times. As we read about them, though, they often wanted to go back to Egypt. Why? Because at least they know what their days would be. There is a comfort in captivity if for no other reason than the unexpected isn't an option. There are no adventures upon which to embark, no challenges to rise up to meet, no potential failure or blundering because you just have to make bricks and you've been doing that your whole life.

The Israelites weren't the greatest followers -- they grumbled, doubted, disobeyed (glory, this is sounding familiar), but God kept leading and eventually they moved into The Promised Land. But they couldn't just walk on in. They had to learn another new skill set.

3) Fight -- If you read through the Old Testament, God had lots of different battle plans, and when the Israelites listened and obeyed, they were victorious.... but they weren't sitting in their Barco-Loungers. They actually had to GO OUT to meet the enemy. Sometimes -- like in 2 Chronicles 20, which was the passage for retreat -- God sets ambushes and the enemies destroy themselves. But sometimes the Israelites had to get out their swords and slay the enemy. And eventually they were transformed from feeble slaves to mighty warriors -- an army worthy of any opponent. And while this was an invaluable part of their journey, they had one more thing to learn.

4) Farm -- yep, they had to learn to farm. Even though the Promise Land was flowing with milk and honey (sounds sticky!), they still had to cultivate the land, maintain it, and defend it. But what a contrast from their starting place. No longer were they controlled and oppressed by a man who had only his own kingdom at heart, but they were loved and liberated by the love of the God who made them and called them into His kingdom.

And so I was thinking about my life, and specifically the internal issues that manifest in the food and body image arenas. I think that I am afraid of what comes with having a fit body. Irony of ironies, I'm afraid of being really attractive. When I was at my fittest, I received attention from another teacher at my old job and allowed myself to become quite emotionally attached even though he didn't share my faith. It wasn't a good situation. I'm afraid it'll happen again.

But I do long for freedom in this area. Not just losing the weight, but reclaiming my heart and actions and emotions for Christ. He's been calling me out of captivity and teaching me to follow Him in this area. And He has called me to fight -- to stand firm in His truth. I tend to curl up in the fetal position with a brownie. But freedom and victory can be mine because of the power of the One who lives in me.

That's flipping fantastic... once I start with the alliteration, it's difficult to finish...

marah jean

Home from the mountains...

I returned this afternoon from the Yakima Foursquare Ladies' Retreat. Normally this kind of all-female frivolity is right up my alley -- I mean, who wouldn't love an abundance of snacks, karaoke complete with tp interpretive dance, and a shopping trip to Bellevue -- but this year, I was just wiped out! I think I might have been allergic to something up there because I had a stuffed up head and achy body the entire weekend. I'm feeling a bit better now that I'm home, but not quite 100%.

I was thinking about my involvement in activities such as these and lamenting my lack of expectation. Rendezvous like this aren't the rarity for me that they are for others, and I think this fact makes me somewhat dull to their charms. I enjoyed myself and was glad to be encouraged by the other ladies from my church, but I more wanted to be home.

And the sad thing for me was that there was nobody waiting for my return. I know so many of the women there would envy my situation -- the freedom to come and go as I please, few familial responsibilities, no diapers to change or anything like that.

I could continue in this theme and lament being single. I choose, instead, to "Yes, and..." myself.

Yes -- I am single, unattached, and currently unpursued.

comma -- pause to remember that I am LOVED by God, not forgotten away in Crackima, that His eyes are on me, His heart is towards me, and His delight IS me

And -- I have a GREAT life here, a family that loves me, friends that do too, and good things to do with my time, talents, and life.

I think I'll go take a lovely walk through my fabulous neighborhood.

much love even though I think I have a mold allergy -- marah jean

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thoughts from yesterday

I had a sub job yesterday in Wapato and, thanks to block scheduling, had 2 hours of prep time. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to keep myself from being overwhelmed with boredom. So I wrote a blog without a computer -- and now I shall type it and save it for posterity.

It is September 6 and thus I've spent most of the first week of my 30th year eating deep fried foods or sugary carbs doused in syrup. I think I ran twice... which I suppose is better than nothing... but not much better than nothing.

It's been just over 3 months since I completed my first marathon, during which spectators who watched the start could have gone home, watched all of Gone with the Wind and still made it back to see me cross the finish line. That was the goal, not to take five and a half hours to finish, but just to finish. Finishing also brought an excruciating metatarsal stress fracture and a 2-month running hiatus. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up any other cardiovascular training, so now what was at one time an easy 3-miler can have me puffing and huffing and sweating like an overworked farm animal.

But -- call me crazy -- I love it. I really do enjoy running. Unfortunately, I'm not as adept at reminding myself that this is the case. I'm much better at recalling junior high memories of the dreaded running days (I was lucky if I could get 4 laps done in 30 minutes) and then the ironic high school "fun run." These people are on something... that is what I would tell myself.

But now... over a decade later... I've changed my mind about running. I suppose now it is time to change my mind about myself and running. I cognitively ascent to the idea that my weight doesn't define me -- an belief that manifested in a 216 pounder coming in 572nd in the Newport, OR Marathon -- but I would love it if my outside self would match my inside self: energetic, healthy, active, confident. I know, though, that my inside self isn't always these things, usually because I've become so focused on my outside self that isn't what I want it to be. It's a vicious cycle.

Thus begins the tale of my 30th year. With 359 days of it remaining, I have enough time to do a great many things: write an article for Runner's World, train to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, lose the extra 30 pounds I've gained in the last two years, and finish my MA. Throw in figuring out what I wasn't to do when I grow up and meeting lots of great people, and we'll have a great year. And am I crazy to want to drop my mile time as well? I consistently can train at a 12 minute mile. Are 10 minute miles possible? Yes. By when.. I don't know.

And with all this dreaming, what do I find myself drawn to desire?

Ice cream.

I refuse to see this as a bad omen.