Easters & Family & Flowers

This past week was filled with family – first my parents came to visit, and then my in-laws made the long trek to Pennsylvania from Florida.

As much as I love being independent and married, it is always so nice to see my parents (both sets) and to be taken care of just a little bit.

Both sets of parents are such blessings, and after everyone left, Caleb and I felt like they had taken a part of our hearts with them.

We may have shed a few tears. (Shh. It’s a secret. Don’t tell Caleb I told you.)

I had originally written a post about my feelings on Easter and Social Media holiday hype, but decided against posting it. Maybe I felt it was too judgmental?

I’m not really sure.

But here is my favorite Easter related photo & quote:

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 “Do you not realize I have had diarrhea since Easters?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures when my parents came to visit, but I will just assure you that fun was had.

We went to the Reading Terminal Market, and even visited the U.S. Mint! Coins are totally “in” right now.

We also consumed cannolis and other delicious Italian pastries, and it was overall a fantastic visit.

My dad was finally able to see our apartment (which I am very proud of, by the way. Tours are every weekday from 6 p.m. – midnight, but only if you bring us cookies), and it was really nice to spend time with my parents and not-so-little sister, listen to records, make jokes, and bond. Sadly, we eventually had to part ways, but Caleb’s parents arrived on Wednesday night. On Thursday, we went to a baseball game and froze:

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I was freezing, but hey, my hair looked really great.

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Phillies v. Braves.

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Classic Rocky.

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My TOMS & Rocky’s feet.

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A goat that I met in Lancaster. We had a great chat while he ate 25 cent food from my hand, and tried to bite my fingers.

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We visited Gettysburg National Military Park and I met Abe’s bobble head, and learned all about the war.

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The Valley Park Road trail.

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We planted tomatoes, peppers, watercress, chives, and some other herbs. This is my new favorite yellow pot with white & violet flowers planted inside.

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Finally, we explored Valley Forge National Park.

Today after classes I came home to find these beautiful flowers on our doorstep with a ‘Happy Easter’ note from our next-door neighbor:

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To say that today has been a great day is an understatement – I received a perfect score on my evaluation for my latest field experience lesson, and after having coffee & a doughnut in chapel, I was in a great mood. These flowers were just the icing on the cake. It’s funny how something as small as a flower could bring me joy, and I wonder how many people out there need something just as small to make their day seem worthwhile.

I constantly catch myself thinking about me. What do I need? What do I want?

But what does my neighbor need? What does that one crotchety old lady at Goodwill need?

What will make them see that they are significant and worth giving flowers to?

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter!

xo

-Kelly

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A Prayer in Spring & a Beautiful Friend

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; 

And give us not to think so far away 
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here 
All simply in the springing of the year. 

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; 
And make us happy in the happy bees, 
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees. 

And make us happy in the darting bird 
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, 
And off a blossom in mid air stands still. 

For this is love and nothing else is love, 
The which it is reserved for God above 
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil. 

{Robert Frost} 

Spring finally decided to grace Phoenixville with her presence, and I am so glad she did.

There’s something about Spring that I love. Maybe it’s the cool warmth (I love oxymorons) that envelops you when you walk outside – weather that is too cool for official summer attire, but too warm for a heavy jacket. Or maybe it’s the sense of promise that Spring provides – the promise of flowers, perpetual sunshine, and new beginnings.

Whatever it is, I love it.

Today my friend Becky and I took a trip to Valley Forge National Park and had a picnic. I received the cutest picnic basket at my Bridal Shower, and had yet to find a reason to use it…so today we filled the basket with the contents necessary for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, found the perfect picnic spot next to an old, rusty, blue, war cannon, and talked about friendships, missions trips, and holidays for three wonderful hours.

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Valley Forge National Park

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War Cannon // Picnic Basket // Blanket 

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Picnic Basket // Strangers Hiking // Blanket

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Becky on the left // Me on the right

 

  Three hours is never long enough to spend with this lady. I love her more than most things, and always find great comfort in her presence.

She has an energy and a level of love that is incredible. If more people were like Becky, wars would end, and birthdays would cease to go unnoticed.

One time we drove around in her little car and listened to the Music & Lyrics soundtrack on repeat; I think we drove around VFCC’s campus at least 10 times, and afterwards bought frosted animal crackers & “did homework.”

Even our smallest moments become great adventures.

Tonight as I write this, I feel re-charged, rejuvenated, and grateful for this gem named Becky.

She helps me live out what Robert Frost’s poem has always meant to me – being intentional about living in the moment, and loving every gift God has given us, even the happy bees.

Find a friend like Becky. It’ll do your soul some good.

The Unit

Hey guys!

Today I submitted my first official Unit Plan. At first it started off as a simple assignment, but quickly morphed into 31 pages of science-y things, and boring lesson plans about Matter. After almost two weeks of work, and countless emotional break downs, I handed it in. To celebrate this small victory, here is my favorite gif of a man dancing with chicken:

Every victory, big or small, should be celebrated with chicken; Whether it’s delicious nuggets, or even a virtual wing, this is the law. What? You haven’t heard of the Chicken Law? Even if I did make it up, I’m sure my friend King Curtis would agree that celebrating with chicken is always the appropriate action for big (and little) accomplishments.

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That being said:

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Hope you were able to enjoy some small victories today as well – even if this victory was getting out of bed & taking a shower. Believe me, I know how difficult that can be.

Good job, You!

I’m proud of You & You should be too.

xo

Kelly

Today at Work:

Eddie: “Miss Kelly, Eddie doesn’t exist anymore. I’m a sandwich.”   Nate: “Miss Kelly, are you married to my dad?” Me: “Uh…nope.” Nate: “Phew, that was a close one!”   Later on..   Nate: “Miss Kelly, is that your son?” Me: “No, I don’t have any children.” Nate: “But you’re just so old!”   Little #1: Sometimes I fly like an eagle. Little #2: Well, my grandma can talk to bugs.  

Sometimes I wish I could quit my job, but days like today help me remember how much joy I get out of these littles.

 Some days it’s hard to have patience, and I wonder what these parents do at home… if anything at all.

If they truly understood how crucial their role is, they wouldn’t leave their children from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Twelve, long, grueling hours.

Playing with recycled toys gets old, and snack time will never compare to being at home with mom.

But then I wonder if I’ll ever be one of those parents – working two jobs so that my child can have new shoes or a new ballet tutu, or something as simple and necessary as a home-cooked meal, and relying on daycare for peace of mind.

 Lord, I hope not. 

Putting myself in their shoes makes me feel bad for being judgmental, and I attempt to muster up as much grace as I can. This could be me, and I am sure these parents would rather be home with their children instead of working twelve, long, grueling hours with their respective employers. But it’s not, and I am grateful.

I will be honest and admit that my frustrations and stress about this job often have little or nothing to do with the children and their quirks, or the parents that tend to pick up their children way too late, but rather the people I work with; people that don’t care as much as they should, and don’t really want to be there.

Everything within me wants to scream:

“Leave! Take your bitterness away from these little hearts and minds.”

I love these littles, and every time I begin to dread going to work (sleeping in every morning sounds so much better), I remember that they need me.

They need me to speak love, and joy, and peace, and life into their lives, because Lord only knows what they are being told at home. I wonder if anyone tells these tiny humans that they are loved, and that they matter. I wonder if they know how much potential they have, and that their dreams, and goals, and desires are valid, even if they have only lived four short years on this Earth.

I tend to forget that this job is temporary, and because of this, I need to make every second count.

Dad

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This is my dad.

Sitting on his lap is me, wearing a flower girl dress, with wedding cake remnants in my mouth.

I still really love cake.

My family story is unusual, and bumpy, but it is mine nonetheless. Over the years, I have grown to love it and embrace it.

My parents had me when they were in college, and broke all the rules that Christian College Couples are expected to follow. My mom dropped out of school, and I am forever indebted to her love and hard work. I was told that my parents tried to make things work but didn’t get along, so my dad moved away to Florida, and for the first few years of my life, I didn’t know who he was.

But I wanted to know him, and five year-old me couldn’t understand why everyone always assumed that my grandfather was my dad.

Papa was old! My real dad wasn’t old. Everyone was wrong.

My mom tried her best, and told me that I needed to pray. She taught me that if I prayed, God would give me the desires of my heart.

So I prayed.

One day I came home from school, and walked up the creaky wooden steps to the front porch of the Big House, and was welcomed by a letter – a letter from my dad, as a result of a call from Papa, who sometimes acts like he is an affluent member of the Italian Mafia.

The letter told me he thought about me everyday, and that he loved me.

At first I thought this letter was only my mother’s attempt to pacify me, but eventually I believed her, and began writing letters to my dad on a regular basis.

I told him about my love for First Grade, and he told me about his cat named PeeWee.

I still have those letters, and I still love them.

After the letters came emails, and after the emails came short & shy phone calls, and eventually, we met.

I didn’t like him as much as I liked his letters, and was angry when he told me I couldn’t drink coffee.

My mom always let me drink coffee.

But my feelings changed.

During his other visits he picked me up from Ramona Elementary School, and we walked home together, and he made me laugh because we share the same sense of humor.

My parents lived out Journey’s Faithfully, and discovered a love they never knew they had.

They got married & added my sister to our clan.

My dad worked really hard to provide for us, and introduced me to Classic Rock and The NeverEnding Story Trilogy, and the importance of The God Father.

I love my dad.

I don’t express it well enough, but I love him.

 I’m glad the Army decided to give him back to us, with all of his hurting bones and crooked back, and a love for eating Spam that I will never understand.

So here’s to new beginnings, and more cake.

 

Unmotivational Cat Pictures

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Someone once told me that I have a gift for expressing my feelings through animal pictures.

I believe them.

Today this cat represents me. It would be even more accurate if this cat were wearing ramen-stained sweat pants and oversized glasses.

I’m overwhelmed, I have a huge to-do list, and yet, the only thing I want to do is play Fez and/or quit school altogether and travel the world. My motivation level is officially at -200.

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My sweet husband even tried to coach me in a de-stress activity:

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What the heck, is bothering me. 

Sadly, it did not work, but he was successful in making me laugh.

 So now, I must take things into my own hands.

  1. Peel myself off the couch.
  2. Drive to the nearest store & purchase coffee.
  3. Attempt to Force myself to disconnect from social media.
  4. Kick this Unit Plan’s butt.

(Haha “butt.”)

It doesn’t matter how overwhelmed I currently feel, because eventually, most likely at the very last minute (a.k.a. 2 a.m. Tuesday morning), everything on my to-do list will be accomplished…one way or another. Not because I am motivated, but simply because it needs to be done.

I can’t help but wonder why I find myself in this motivational rut every. single. semester. You would think that after almost six years, I would have this college thing down to a science. But, alas, I don’t. A part of me doesn’t really care anymore, and at the same time, a part of me cares too much. I care too much to actually say, “I give up.” So I trudge along, and wait for the next semester of classes, and try my best to maintain a 4.0.

I think back to my very first semester of college when I didn’t care at all. I thought I knew everything, and I drank too many energy drinks, and ate too many burgers from McDonald’s. I failed a music history class, and I only thought about this one boy who knew how to woo me with Switchfoot songs, and in the end, only disappointed myself.

Since then, I have had a great fear of failure, and of slipping back into my old apathetic ways.

I worry myself when I have days like today.

  Days like today make me worry that I won’t have a high enough GPA for those special golden graduation cords, and every picture meant for pride will only remind me that I could have worked just a little bit harder.

And then I take a deep breath, and drink a cup of coffee with Girl Scout Cookie creamer, and I remember that one school year of failure and self-disappointment does not define who I am today, on April 5, 2014.

I took a year off from college, and after that year was over actually went back, which I’ve heard is a pretty big feat. I’ve shown myself that I can be academically successful, and I was strong enough to let go of that Switchfoot singing boy for someone who suits me just a little bit better.

I need to remember these things, because if I constantly dwell on my failures, I will eventually become one.

For now, I will continue to remind myself that the semester is coming to an end very soon. (Oh, God. Help me.)

I will not dwell on the past. I will do my best. I will make it.

 And I won’t always feel like this cat, falling off the table.