Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A House is Worth a Million Words

A house is sometimes worth a million words, don't you think? It can tell a lot about the people who live there (if you want to glean what our house says about us, take a tour here) or even about the town or time in which it was built. 
My husband and I really enjoyed our tour of this house, built in the 1920s in Atlanta while we were in ATL this past weekend. (Read more about that here and here.)I have a much easier time learning history through actual story, and this family had an interesting one! They had this house built after two house fires in their downtown house. Guess how much they paid for it...
Yep. I guess it was a lot of money then, but it still seems a little low to me! This house (and the 28 acres, farm, and 6-car garage) was given to the Atlanta Historical society when the owner died. All of her original furnishings are pretty much exactly where she left them, even though the historical society extensively renovated the house (and added AC, thank goodness!). And how much is this little beauty worth now?
About 12 million.
I'm definitely thankful for our home and what it says about us (yes, even the coloring on the walls, when I think about it), but I'm glad to walk through something a little more glamorous now and then.
Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Week

When I looked over the week's schedule this week I was amazed and perplexed at how our little family can be so busy! We have so many fun things planned, I don't want to drop anything, but it would be awfully nice to have a few more hours in the day. My hubby and I have talked a lot about this lately; we need to plan family evenings and family outings or they just don't happen--and the oldest is only 6 now! Just think what will be going on in a few short years!
Here's what our activities and food look like for this week:
(Notice the ten numbered recipes for those of you looking for a list of ten.)
Sunday--The hubby and I returned from our wonderful trip date and I got to go with some friends to see Sara Groves in concert. Woo hoo! We were on the front row, and it was wonderful. I love the way Sara sings about real Christian life--we fight with our husbands; we get irritated with our friends; we cry out to God. She has all of that and the joy and love of fellowship and community as well.
Sara Groves - Twice As Good from Sara Groves Music on Vimeo.
Monday--Crazy day! Take kids to school, clean house, prepare (1.) zucchini bread (I added a 1/2 cup of apple sauce and a 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to this recipe), put (2.) roast in the crock pot (with potatoes, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, and a bottle of A1), teach ballet, do homework with kids, go to a physical therapy appointment, and come home to serve dinner to my fam and guests. Whew! I'm glad I made it through!
Tuesday--Slowing down a bit. School, ballet, and a community carnival, and then we'll come home for some (3.) beef and barley stew. (Something like this only with potatoes and leftover crock pot beef.)
Wednesday--Choir, dinner at the church, meetings, and more choir. In the morning, the kids and I will be looking at blood through a microscope and talking more about the cardiovascular and immune systems. There's a quick video about how our immune system works. We'll talk through what an immune system is and we'll learn a little about how humor can help boost our immune system. (Then I think we'll watch some funny videos like this one on youtube!)

(Or this one or this one or this one)
Thursday-- School, ballet, homework, etc. We'll have a (4.) baked chicken (with italian herbs, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil), snap peas, and (5.) rice cooked in the chicken drippings.
Friday--School, play date, and down time!! We'll use some chicken from last night's dinner to make (6.) chicken and cheese quesadillas and we'll have mixed veggies on the side. (And chips and salsa of course!)
Saturday--soccer, regular chores, and I'm sure, lots of football! We'll have sandwiches for lunch and a bit of a football party for our family with various appetizers for dinner--(7.) tiny smoked sausage pigs-in-a-blanket, chips and (8.) guacamole, (9.) deviled eggs, and veggies and ranch dressing).
Sunday--Sunday lunch will be barbecued pork chops baked in the oven while we're at church. It does my heart so much good to walk in the door after church and already have the main part of lunch made!! We'll have these (10.) easy biscuits and some green beans with them.

I hope you have a great week!

Linked with Menu Plan MondayMeatless Monday, and Hearth and Soul.
Linked to Top Ten TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayTuesdays at the TableAnything RelatedDelicious DishesSlightly Indulgent TuesdayToot Your Horn TuesdayTuesday TwisterTwo for TuesdayTuesday Tastes, and Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and A Beautiful Mess
Linked with Strut Your Stuff and Gluten Free and Healthy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Anniversary Trip Dates

As I said on Friday, the hubby and I spent the weekend in Atlanta enjoying a little anniversary getaway. We have tried to do this every year, and if we had a "bucket list" doing this every single year of our marriage would be on it! During our anniversary time this year, we went back and recalled each time.
#1. A small cabin in the mountains for two nights: hiking, quaint town
#2. To the beach for a few nights; I was very pregnant with the oldest.
#3. To Hannibal, MO the "Mark Twain town:" we visited the cave he wrote about in Tom Sawyer and took a dinner cruise down the Mississippi River.
#4. To a graveyard down the street from our old house: Our boy was 3 days old and the graveyard had a beautiful view of the mountains. We left the toddler and the baby with my mom and took a tiny two hour getaway.
#5. To Kansas City, MO for a city date: we saw fountains and went to dinner and a movie. We visited some gardens on the way home.
#6. To Six Flags! This was a very fun little trip. Two nights in a hotel, one dinner out, and a whole day to act like kids in a theme park made for a great "trip date."
#7. A bed and breakfast on our way to a family get together. My parents had the two big kids and the youngest, who was with us,  was 2 months old.
#8. A family member's cabin on a river: very peaceful and restful!
#9. This weekend's ATL getaway: I planned well, but as Proverbs says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." We didn't end up using either of the vouchers ($4 wasted) but we did use a bogo for the History Center that I didn't know I had and we ate bogo at a sandwich shop for lunch on Saturday. The Art Museum was full, so we couldn't use our free tickets there, but we did get over to Ikea to walk through and wonder! There were several extra freebies that we weren't expecting: free massages in the motel lobby, and a free appetizer and dessert at Maggiano's Italian, where we chose to eat for dinner on Saturday. The chef sent out a free mini appetizer because we had never been to Maggiano's before and he sent out a free mini dessert when he heard that we were celebrating our 9th anniversary. All told we came out at about $260 for the weekend, but that counts tips for free things and gas that I forgot to figure in on Friday. (The pic is the view from our hotel room!)
I have to make a confession about these trips, though. It wasn't until about #6 that we were able to really enjoy them. This is for many reasons and almost all of them are totally my fault. I assumed when we got married that the only romantic getaway was one that the husband planned and surprised the wife with. Well, the hubby is not a planner. He tried with each trip to please me, and every trip (up to #5) I found something to be disappointed by--either he didn't plan well enough or plans fell through or my expectations were not met in some other way. Don't get me wrong! Every trip was wonderful anyway, but somehow my skewed sense of the way things were to go got in the way every time. I really don't know what exactly happened to help me get over this (mostly) but I do know that it was very much a Holy Spirit thing! We wives tend to make it very hard for our hubbies to win sometimes, don't we?
Here's to anniversary trips everywhere! May you all have a trip date this year!
Our trip date this past weekend definitely Makes My Monday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Trip Date

When I explained to my oldest (6yo) what my hubby and I were doing this weekend, she said, "Oh, a trip date!" I like that term! Our anniversary was last week and today we are headed to Atlanta for a weekend in the city.
I have a great (okay, GREAT) love for planning. So when the hubby turns a trip over to me, I tend to go nuts, even if it is just two nights. This time all the deals lined up to give us a wonderful trip for very little.
First of all, I found a deal with Adility (a Groupon-type coupon club) for an amazing amount of deals with a nice Atlanta hotel. One free night, five 50% off nights, one 50% off meal in their restaurant and 6 bogos in their restaurant all equaled just $22. Amazing! Unfortunately they have a limit for how many free coupons can be used in one weekend, and this weekend was already filled with the free ones, but I used two 50% off coupons and the total for two nights in a hotel with free (order your own) breakfasts and free "manager's drinks" from 5-7 every evening for (drum roll, please) $104.00. We will use our 50% coupon for the restaurant for one evening's meal.
Then of course, we need to try some other Atlanta restaurants, so next I headed over to to pick a few. I spent a total of $4, and we will spend another $35 on top of that for some fantastic eating in Atlanta.
We had picked a few museums to try out on Saturday and I was prepared to pay the full $15 per ticket for those, but today I found out that each US family can reserve free tickets for one Smithsonian museum on Saturday (Sept. 25)! Woo hoo! We now have absolutely free tickets for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (would've been $38 for both of us to go!)
We will also go to the Atlanta History Center--which is a great fit for us because it has 33 acres of history. We love history and we love to walk!

So here are the totals:
Eating in really nice restaurants: About $65 Saved: $35
Two Atlanta museums: $30 Saved: $38
Two nights in a hotel, breakfasts, and drinks: $104 Saved: $104
Total for the weekend: About $200
Total saved: About $180!

And another thanks to my mom who is staying with the kiddos (for free!)Thanks Mom!
It is great for us to get away for the weekend--we'll build our marriage and come back to our kiddos refreshed! And it also feels great that we're not breaking the bank to do it.

Frugal Friday at Life As Mom and The Shabby Nest. Also linked with Thrilling Thursday, FAB Friday, Friday Favorites, Look at Me Friday, and I'm Loving It.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Haircut

I remember each first haircut...
The oldest's was to cut a lock of hair that grew longer than the rest from her birth. We cut it off in a motel room while in another town attending a friend's graduation from med school.
The boy's was at a temporary house after we moved out of our last house and before we moved into our current house. I still remember those whispy curls falling away.
And now the youngest...
I did not realize until after I had cut them that this was her very first hair cut! 
Take this
subtract this

and you get this.
I'm sure that even from the back you can tell how much older she looks!
Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten Recipes...

I'll be using this week and next.
1. Last night's skillet meal: Boil 1 1/2 cups pasta and brown a pound of ground turkey.  Saute one chopped zucchini (I would have loved to add mushrooms but the hubby would have picked them out and that's a bad influence on the kids!). For the sauce Melt 2 T butter in a skillet. Add a cup of milk whisked with 2 T flour, a teaspoon of beef bouillon, a teaspoon of garlic powder and a T of Italian seasoning. Pour in a can of chopped tomatoes (juice and all), a T of balsamic vinegar, a 1/2 cup of frozen peas and the pasta, ground turkey, and zucchini. It made for a very yummy skillet dish (and pretty too--I wish I'd taken a picture!)
2. These cheeseburger buns will make a great meal for Wednesday. I think I'll use a can of Sloppy Joe to spice up the meat. (Tonight I'll be at meetings, so the hubby will feed the kiddos and himself left overs)
3. Chicken will do nicely for Thursday. We'll have it baked with baked potatoes and frozen broccoli (cooked of course). I think I'll bake the chicken using this recipe; the hubby loves mustard!
4. Friday through Sunday the hubby and I are taking a belated anniversary trip. We'll be back Sunday afternoon, but Sunday night I'm going to see Sara Groves in concert. Woo hoo! So, no cooking until Monday night when we'll be having company, and I'm going to use an old favorite for pot roast. If you put a roast in the crock pot with a small bottle of A-1, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a pack of onion soup mix, you get an extreme WOW factor! We'll have zucchini bread, mashed potatoes, and green beans with this.
5. Tuesday of next week we'll be having the hubby's fave: shrimp salad. We'll have it with green salad and left over zucchini bread on the side.
6. Wednesday we'll eat at the church dinner because we have choir and meetings and more choir.
7. At some point next week I commit to make these wonderful home made pop tarts. Wow! We are ALWAYS rushing out of the door for school these days (this is sad since our school is 5 minutes away and doesn't begin until 8:45) and these might come in 'handy.' (pun intended)
8. I figure if I don't buy sandwich bread, I'll have to make it, right? Well, that didn't work so well this week. We just had to live without bread. But next week I'm planning to make 4 loaves again so we'll have bread for the next couple of weeks.
9. Thursday of next week we'll have the famous taco salad.
10. Either Friday or Saturday of next week I'll be making grits casserole and I hope the weather will pay attention to this post and allow a comfortable chill in the air--the perfect weather for this kind of recipe!
Linked with Menu Plan MondayMeatless Monday, and Hearth and Soul.
Linked to Top Ten TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayTuesdays at the TableAnything RelatedDelicious DishesSlightly Indulgent TuesdayToot Your Horn TuesdayTuesday TwisterTwo for TuesdayTuesday Tastes, and Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and A Beautiful Mess
Linked with Strut Your Stuff and Gluten Free and Healthy.

Monday, September 20, 2010


A civilization’s form of greeting is often a window into their culture. I’m not familiar with very many, but this theory makes my point, so I’m going with it. In China, a familiar greeting since the Cultural Revolution has been, “Have you eaten?”  Now this equals a casual, "Hello," but back then it was a way of saying that you cared for the person. And think about us here in the US. We love the casual and short, "Hi," and when we say, "How are you?" we don't want a real answer. Please just give us the accepted, "Fine. How are you?" back. We love our self-sufficiency and independence!
A few weeks ago in church one of the pastors mentioned that the Hebrew greeting of "Shalom" has so much more meaning than just peace. I was interested, so of course, I googled it. The first hit was a short essay with this reference in it:
Strong's Concordance 7965 - Hebrew Shalom ..... A word study in the New King James version for SHALOM says: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
So when a Hebrew says, "Shalom" there is (or was originally) so much more depth to it than just a simple, "Peace." This is at least indicative of the God of the Hebrews if not the Hebrew culture.
That meaning of completeness or fullness is a very important one to me. I think that we Americans could do with a little of this fullness blessing in our greeting. We often settle for the easy and comfortable, don't we? We get stuck in ruts; we watch a lot of tv; we are completely happy with the norm. And we have a lot of depression, a lot of living less than a full life.
I have always been what I would consider a passionate person, but about five years ago, "I woke up to my own life," as the Sara Groves song says. I realized that the catechism answer to "What is the chief end of man?" was more than just words to read or recite. We humans are created to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." This had a few practical effects on my day-to-day life. I decided to try something to battle my fatigue (spirulina) and it worked. I joined my hubby in reading the Bible in 90 days and it was a time of intense spiritual growth (upheaval might be a better word for it, but God used it for growth!), and I began to see little by little how very blessed I really am. It has made me a completely different momma, wife, and friend.
Praying this "Shalom" of fullness and completeness and harmony and health for all my friends and readers makes my Monday!
Linked to Makes My Monday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Fun Week In the Kingdom

Our week began with a quick trip to my parents' town for a birthday party for the boy (Happy Birthday, boy!) This included yummy baseball cake made by my wonderful aunt and throwing bread crumbs to hungry ducks.

My parents were anxious to please when I mentioned to them about keeping the youngest for a few days, so we went home from the birthday party with only two children.
To make the most of this odd arrangement, I made the grand plan of running/hiking a roundabout way (5 miles) to pick up my children at school on foot on Tuesday. Then the newly 5yo boy and the 6yo girl and I hiked the 2.5 miles home. We stopped in the middle of a nearby college campus for some lunch (and the view!!) and then hiked past friends' houses, through a mile-long "forest" trail and then the last mile along sidewalks home. It was very very fun for me and I think the kids enjoyed it as well. They learned a lot about distance (It is amazing that we make that journey by car twice a day and don't think anything of it!) and much about perseverance as well. The boy was red cheeked and dragging by the time we got home, but he really didn't complain because he knew that the only way to get to cold water, air conditioning and a snack was to keep his own two feet moving.
Before rest time each day we've been reading in The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This fits right in with the idea of using our own two feet to get us somewhere.  I find it fascinating to think of trying to last a winter without being able to get supplies. Could our family do it? Could anyone do it in this day and age? I love the fact that my children are actually thinking about what it would be like to have so little, and I hope that reading and contemplating this wonderful story will make us much more thankful for all the amazing things we usually take for granted every day. (Like fruits and vegetables!)
Wednesday is the kiddo's "home school day" at their tutorial. There are no classes, so we're on our own for learning. We used this day to continue with our Human Body Unit. This week we focused on the digestive system. We made a stomach model using baggies, crackers, and orange juice. (See this idea and more here.) This was a big hit. When we finished the 6yo, who is very hard to impress, said, "Momma, this is really cool! Where did you learn how to do this?!" The boy made a body mini book by cutting and pasting and coloring, and the oldest cut and pasted and colored to create some organ cards with facts on the back. Then we all did these body organ rhymes and puzzles and listened to a few songs about the body from this site.
Wednesday night was the anniversary (insert large grin here) so the hubby and I went out for a really nice meal and a walk through our beautiful downtown area. It was the perfect date. (On the left is my chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet. AMAZING!!)
Thursday and Friday have passed by pretty quickly with the "new normal." Wake kids up just in time to either stuff breakfast in them and get them out the door, or just to hand them a bag of breakfasty stuff after I've made sure they're dressed. (NOTE: They woke up at 7 or 7:30 every single day of the summer. Now that our school starts at 8:45, I have to wake them up to get them up by 8. Why???) Then run errands, clean house, do laundry, etc with the youngest in tow. Pick the big kids up at 12, feed them lunch at some picnic location, then come home for naps, homework, and rest time. It's a really good life.
And as for Saturday, besides the boy's morning soccer and some major FOOTBALL watching, we have no plans, and that too is the good life.
Linked to Photo Story Friday, I'm Loving It, Friday Fun Finds, Weekly Wrap UpSaturday Spotlight, Saturday SoireeSix Word Saturday (This week I didn't even have to try; the title just came out with 6 words, really, I promise!), and  Sunday Scoop.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Beloved!

Hubby and I have been married nine years! I love this man!
This is one of my very most favorite pictures of our wedding. My friend (thanks, Corrie!) somehow managed to snap it just as hubby and I were walking out of the sanctuary immediately after we had just been declared "Mr. and Mrs." We were both beaming! We loved each other enough to stare sappily at each other, hardly blinking, through our entire exchange of vows. And wonder of wonders (all credit to our Loving Father!) we love each other much, much more now.
Those of you coming over for a "Wordless" Wednesday may want to stop right there (and leave some comment love, please!). Those of you who are following along with those Piggy Tales will want to read on...

When my senior year ended I, with heavy heart, was armed with a complete free ride to a local university. Not in any way a bad university, this school was willing to pay me to attend, and my parents were very proud. I was trying valiantly to be happy about it.
One afternoon as I was driving some of my favorite babysitting charges home, I swung by my parents' mailbox and grabbed the mail. When I saw that one of the letters was from Covenant College, I opened it excitedly while I was driving. The first line of the letter made me have to pull over: "Dear Olivia, We are pleased to inform you that we have located financial aid to cover 80% of your first year at Covenant." I knew from that moment that I would be going to this school that I had already fallen (deeply) in love with. I cried shamelessly as the little boys in my car questioned me and expressed their distress that I would be moving away.
(pic from Covenant College's website--go look; you'll be glad you did!)
Fast-forward about a year and a half and you'll see me coming up the stairs of Covenant's chapel after choir ready to head to the Great Hall for lunch. A glance over to the side revealed a guy I'd never seen before standing by the windows. I thought he was he cute, had a cute smile, but was probably much younger than I was (since I was now a hoity-toity sophomore!)  
A few weeks later that same boy approached me after choir and followed me to lunch asking me questions like, "What's your favorite color?" and "Did you have a dog growing up?"
And soon after, that boy asked me to go to a dance. I said I would and my room mate said she would go with his room mate. While we were getting ready for this dance, we were bemoaning our choice to our third room mate. She replied, "Girls! You don't have to marry them! You just have to go to the dance with them!" We are both now married to these boys!
The boy followed me around at Covenant for two years. He finally left me alone after I forcefully assured him that there was no chance that I would ever date him. Soon after when I saw some other girl shamelessly flirting with him, I felt a strange stirring inside myself. And later when another girl said, "Oh, that boy? He's got the most amazing eyes!" I began to see the boy in a different light. A year later we were dating and a year after that we were engaged (see a pic here). We spent our year of engagement on opposite sides of the globe--the boy finishing up school and me teaching in China. 
And then came September 15th, 2001. Although the week itself has a definite negative ring for our country, the 15th holds a very special place in our hearts. The hubby and I had pretty much the perfect wedding. Flowers, cake, dress, driving away in a Cobra into the sunset--it was all perfect, and I am so thankful for our marriage and life together!

This post is in conjunction with a history-recording summer-long party over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. We're writing about one memory from a particular year of our lives each Thursday until September 16. Here is my walk down memory lane so far:

Second Grade: Wendy and Me
Third Grade: I'll Never Cheat Again
Fourth Grade: SURE Thing
Fifth Grade: The Pageants
Sixth Grade: Dynamite Lines
Seventh Grade: The Year That...
Eighth Grade: Relationship with Jesus
Ninth Grade: Futile and Pursue
Tenth Grade: The Car
Senior Year: A Time Of...

Memory lane is definitely a place I love that brings me great joy! 
Linked with Friday Favorites.

Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Pancakes Again

I have referred to this recipe many times, but I really think it's worth running this post again. This is a very filling, healthy, versatile recipe. Make up a batch (or two) today! I'll be making them on Thursday and Saturday mornings as usual!

We love pancakes!
My husband and kids will eat pancakes at any time of day and for any reason. After many tries, I finally worked out a pancake recipe I can feel good about giving my family often (I just try to ignore all the syrup or honey that we smother them in!).
This pancake recipe is very versatile too: Just mix the dry ingredients in large batches ahead of time and add 3 cups of the mix to the wet ingredients for instant pancakes. Or, if you're feeling like your fam needs a few more veggies, wrap whole beets in foil, cook them for an hour at 400 degrees and place in a food processor for about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup blended beets to these pancakes for PINK pancakes. (You can't taste the beets, I promise. They passed the kid and husband test at my house and they even REQUEST pink pancakes!)
So here's the recipe:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flax seed
2/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk

2 or 3 eggs
2 cups water
1/4 cup oil

Mix all ingredients well. Pour 1/4 cup batter on to hot griddle. Flip when edges brown and batter bubbles. Makes about 14 4-inch pancakes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

The boy was born on September 12, 2005.
9 pounds, 7 ounces
Wonderful bundle of a boy!
How could he have grown so much so fast?
Yesterday we celebrated at a park with lots of family. 
Feeding the ducks was a fun activity for the party. (Those ducks never, ever get full!)
After the party when we were loading into the van, he said with much thought to his grandad,
"You know, I don't really feel any different yet..."
Now he's a wonderful little man!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Second Day of School Pictures

This week's big fun thing was the beginning of school! The second day ended up being the day the oldest wore her new dress, and the boy had a shirt he's hardly worn that exactly matched it. So of course, we made pictures in the twenty minutes between when they all woke up and when we ran out of the door. I'm notorious for being late. My husband calls it not giving myself margins; I call it being effective with my time. We did get out the door in good time today, and as I was driving the speed limit to the kids' school, the boy said, "Momma, why are you going so slowly when we're late?" I answered gleefully, "We're not late; we're early!" He said (seriously), "What is 'early'?" As if he needed a definition because he had never heard me use that word! Ha!
Notice the 2yo with her back pack. Everywhere the big kids' have gone with their backpacks, she has carried hers as well. She was quite disturbed today when we went to pick the big kids up and she had forgotten to bring her back pack!
Hooray for school!
Also linked with Six Word Saturday (notice the title!) and Saturday Soiree.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Senior Year

I just spent a little time perusing my old journal from my senior year. Boy, was that a roller coaster of emotions! And boy, am I glad to be here instead of there!

Senior year was a time of hanging out with many and getting close to very few.
Senior year was a time when a younger guy followed me around vowing his love and breaking my heart because of his immoral ways.
Senior year was a time of studying hard, competing well, and coming out second by a few tenths of a point.
Senior year was a time to share being drum major, a time to lead the band and love that.
Senior year was a year of dancing and singing in show choir.
Senior year was a time for me to shine as a 15-year student of my ballet teacher.
Senior year was so full of relational disappointments and miscommunications!
Senior year was also full of sweet moments with God recorded in my journal.
Senior year was a time of babysitting and learning a little bit about how to care for kids.
Senior year was a time of falling in love with a college named Covenant and crashing to despair when the money didn't come for me to go there.
Senior year was a time of travel--to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall and to Ann Arbor to compete with Future Problem Solvers.
Senior year was the end of all that I new well but also the almost-beginning of a very welcome unknown.
Senior year was a time of growth, good, solid, hard growth.

And to leave you with something a little more worthwhile, here's a poem I wrote during senior year.
Comments of James On His Half-brother Jesus
If you think your family is odd
My brother thinks he is the Son of God!
Right now he's teaching in the market place
With a holier-that-thou look upon his face.
What right has he to make us feel 
As if our religion is not even real?
There he goes, disgracing our family again,
By Sabbath day healing and forgiving of sin!
And now, God help us, he's gotten arrested.
As if our patience had not already been tested!
But wait!
This wasn't meant to be!
That is my brother dying on that tree.
If he were who he said he was,
Wouldn't the angels save him from above?
In the darkness I hear my mother crying.
That was her son who forgave us all while dying.
Days have passed and confusion carries on.
Was his Way right? Is our way wrong?
But now--is it a dream?--I see him standing there!
Not a dream! It's an answer to a prayer!
I behold his face, I see his scars.
Oh, my Jesus, I finally realize who You are.

This post is in conjunction with a history-recording summer-long party over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. We're writing about one memory from a particular year of our lives each Thursday until September 16. Here is my walk down memory lane so far:

Second Grade: Wendy and Me
Third Grade: I'll Never Cheat Again
Fourth Grade: SURE Thing
Fifth Grade: The Pageants
Sixth Grade: Dynamite Lines
Seventh Grade: The Year That...
Eighth Grade: Relationship with Jesus
Ninth Grade: Futile and Pursue
Tenth Grade: The Car

Memory lane is definitely a place I love that brings me great joy! 
Linked with Friday Favorites and Share Your Faves.