Friday, December 22, 2006

peace in the storm

december 23, 2001. five years ago today.

when i woke up that morning, i was in a hurry. it was a sunday, and i had decided late the night before to stay over at my friend sara's house, instead of trying to brave it home in the typical michigan blizzard. being that it was a sunday, i had to leave her house quite early in the morning to make it home to get ready in time for church.

the alarm sounded, i grabbed my sweatshirt and headed for the door. i stopped to get my keys from the counter, but they were not there. i must have left them in the car, i thought.

i headed out the door to a still-dark december morning. the chill in the air was biting, and i headed quickly for my car on the opposite side of the parking lot. i saw a man walking near my car, and thought to myself, now i have someone to say 'good morning' to! (what can i say, the spirit of christmas affects even me in the wee hours of the morning!)

what happened next will never leave my mind. it has greatly impacted my life over the last five years, and i am sure it will continue to. glimpses of that morning come back to me; i am aware of things i never was; i will never be the same person.

that man, that seemingly innocent man across the way, approached me. he made me get in my car, wanting me to drive somewhere... but i didn't have my keys. come to find out, in her habitual cleaning the night before, sara had moved them. God only knows what would have happened had she not done so. after he realized that, he took my wallet, and throughout the course of our 15-minute encounter, threatened to kill me several times. he then took me back behind the apartment building, where the morning only got worse. thankfully, he never touched me... physically anyway.

in the midst of what was going on, my cell phone fell out of my purse, and he didn't see it. after he left- again, threatening to kill me- i saw it there on the ground, and called sara for help. we called 911, and the police came... and didn't believe my story. no, instead, they spent the rest of the morning telling me that it's criminal to falsely report a crime. it didn't make sense, they maintained, that i could be at such peace after such a horrific event had happened to me. what they didn't understand was that i was not alone that morning- the Prince of Peace was with me the entire time. i was thankful that what could have happened didn't, but more than anything, i had the peace of Christ in me.

i don't say this to imply that it is inappropriate to ever react to circumstances, that the peace of God protects us from emotion. it certainly does not- God created us to be emotional creatures. but what it does mean is that, in the midst of the trials, in the midst of the emotions, we have been promised that Christ sent us a Comforter- and that the Holy Spirit indwells those who belong to him. He has promised us peace, not as the world gives- as only He can give.

i really don't know how to put that in more practical words. i don't know what "having God's peace" means to you, how it makes you feel, how it changes you. i don't know how to say it without sounding cliche. that is certainly not my intention.

but what i do know what i felt that morning. i know that, sitting outside, freezing cold, wondering if i would ever see my family again- that somehow, in some indescribable way, i felt at peace.

so this christmas, i pray for you to feel that peace. like i said, it may look differently in your life. whether it's a deployment, a debilitating disease, a family crisis, a traumatic event- i know that Jesus offers his peace, which passes our understanding.

merry christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

at the end

as i sit here at my desk, i feel a strange sense of deja-vu. this morning i gathered with the same teachers in the same room that i did 5 months ago as school was starting... i have the same fear of the unknown... i now stare at the same empty classroom.

except this time, things are different. this time, my desk is piled with gifts from students. (thank you so much to all of you students and parents who were so thoughtful... we appreciate it immensely...) a stack of graded exams sits next to me. students come in to say good-bye, not hello.

this is our last day at grace christian academy. jonathan was called up to train other chaplains who are getting ready to deploy. we close on our new house near ft. stewart tomorrow, then after a week up north for the holidays, we'll be packing up the uhaul and heading south... yet again...

i will miss the students, interacting with them. they all have so many unique qualities, and when they weren't making me pull my hair out, they made me smile with joy! :-)

so, this is it. the final day of this journey. it is bittersweet... every time one journey ends, another begins.

love you all...

Friday, December 15, 2006

the first of my list

i have decided to start sharing some of my favorite websites. or foods. or movies. or whatever. here's the first. (well, the second if you count joyeux noel- which, incidentally, if you haven't rented- or bought- yet, you really need to get on that!)

this is a total and unabashed plug for a website i have come to love. i am in no way personally connected to them, but if you're looking for a good company to go through to print your digital pictures (and tons of other cool stuff), try out the website is quite user-friendly (you can upload entire folders of pictures at once as opposed to one-at-a-time), they have great products, fast shipping, and reasonable prices- plus, you get 50 FREE 4x6 prints the first time you order!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the most wonderful time

so a certain realization has hit me this week: final exams are as much of a pain for teachers as they are for students.

*sigh*... it has been a long week of entering grades, writing exams, copying exams, making grading sheets... and soon to be actually grading these things. my first hour class is working busily on their 5-page test right now. i see a girl in the corner of the room trying to get the cramp out of her hand, another boy staring at the ceiling, hoping to find an answer written there. ah yes. the most wonderful time of the year, right?

it has been busy, but i have been enjoying myself of late. i happen to absolutely love christmas and all it entails... cookies, trees, decorations, music, movies (i even got jon to watch elf!... still working on a christmas story, though) i also- with the help of my loving co-worker/husband- took the 7th and 8th graders to see a stage play of a christmas carol at the shakespeare tavern. even now, i'm nibbling on some wonderful white chocolate peppermint bark a student made and gave me.

it is wonderful that jon is home for it this year! i was reflecting earlier about my breakdown last year at meijer shopping for decorations for him... then leaving up the tree until the end of january when he came home. not this year, not me!

the thing that i do miss this year is cold weather. and snow. yes yes, i know- i HATE cold weather. but it just doesn't seem like christmas when it's 65 degrees outside!

ah... i need to get back to making the spanish answer key... soon it will be over!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

joyeux noel and a view on normalcy

"you will only be able to see your husband for one evening. is that really worth it?"
"it is much longer than one evening, sir."
"how is that?"
"our minutes are longer than yours."

so said a movie jon and i watched last night (which i highly recommend, by the way). the movie is called joyeux noel (merry christmas) (you'll need to click "english version"), which is about the famous christmas eve fraternizations that took place in 1914 on the battlefields of WWI. in this movie, which was a compilation of many testimonies from the actual event, soldiers from france, scotland, and germany all declared a truce on christmas eve for the purpose of gathering together to celebrate the holiday. the whole thing started because a chaplain from scotland pulled out his bagpipes to lift the spirits of his men. the sound carried to the other camps, and soon, everyone was singing along. it gave me an even greater appreciation for the work of my husband.

back to the introductory line...

it is so true. jon and i have often talked about the differing definition of normalcy held by military families. moving every three years is normal. having to stop at the guarded gate upon entering your "city" is normal. spending time apart is normal. cherishing every moment together more than other couples could probably imagine is normal.

it might be different, but it's not bad. yeah, normal looks different to us... but that's ok. i'm not saying there aren't down-sides - there definitely are (ie- the aforementioned time apart)- but you know what? our minutes are longer. our time together is precious.

and i wouldn't trade that for anything.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Where's the Gravy?

This was written by my dad...

Where's the Gravy!?!

As I was pondering the great issues of life while sweeping up the crumbs from last night's youth meeting, I was overwhelmed by a sense of laughter and joy by the memories of my family at Thanksgiving. And the world instantly became a better place. You would have to know my family. My grandparents were immigrants. Granted, it was just from the mountains of Tennessee to the factories of the Midwest, but immigrants just the same. As with most depression era families in Appalachia, times were hard for my grandparents. They, like untold numbers of other families, lived off the land and squeezed every drop they could squeeze from anything that could be squeezed. And what comes out when you squeeze is called gravy. Yes, the very nectar of heaven, itself. Sauce to be savored. Syrup to be saved. Juice to be enjoyed. The foundational and single most important element of any and every good and descent meal - animal squeezings mixed with flour. Gravy. Just the sound of the word makes me hungry. I was an adult before I learned you could actually eat mashed potatoes without it. Who knew?

Our family Thanksgivings always included football, plenty of gossip, a good nap or two, usually an argument, and a celebration of God's goodness around a table filled with food. And the centerpiece was never a turkey, for most of my family doesn't even like turkey. But we always had a turkey, because we needed something out of which to squeeze gravy… usually in various colors, viscosities, and flavors. However, my favorite Thanksgiving- and Thanksgiving story- was different. As we sat around the festive table at my aunt's house; and after whoever was considered the most spiritual that particular year offered thanks to God; and after the mashed potatoes had made the rounds and were neatly piled on everyone's plate with the traditional divot-for-the-gravy expertly carved on top; and after several people asked for the gravy to be passed; and after someone impatiently asked "Who has the gravy?"; and after my aunt nervously, and with fear and inquisition in her tone, said, "Who made the gravy?"; and when eye met eye and neck hairs bristled; then and only then did we realize the world, as we knew it, had ended. And the gravy gods cried. There… was… no… gravy!

To this day, my dad won't admit that it happened. Says he doesn't remember it that way. Apparently, it's too painful. The animal drippings were wasted that year, and the cycle of life was broken. There weren't very many family Thanksgivings after that. Many of the cousins moved away. The grandparents - who loved us with all their hearts, by the way - were soon to pass into eternity. The younger generation began to marry and gravitate to their own family traditions. But we went out with a bang! Isn't that the way we are? We live in the most affluent society the world has ever seen. God has granted to those who believe an eternity with His Dear Son in Heaven. And yet, we seem to desire more. But what could be 'more' than God's gifts of blessing? Everything else is but gravy… the worthless juice of an animal whose goose is cooked.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Remember to be thankful for the gift of God's Son. And don't worry about the gravy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

troilus and cressida

we went to a shakespeare play friday night. it was a showing of troilus and cressida- a controversial and little-known play. the first act was quite dull, but the second one picked up quite a bit.

it is a comedic retelling of the trojan war. a son, troilus, of the trojan king falls in love with a girl named cressida- whose father has defected to the greek camp. the greeks capture a trojan commander, and give him back only upon the return of cressida to her family.

it is not a tragedy, though it definitely has some rather tragic themes to it.

we went with rocky and carolyn, to the shakespeare tavern in downtown atlanta. because they show mainly shakespeare, the auditorium is permanantly constructed in that setting.

if you live around here and have never been, i would highly recommend it!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

another year older...

my birthday was saturday, and it was lovely. oddly enough, i woke up bright and early. don't really know what happened there...


jon made me breakfast, then we enjoyed a morning of watching movies and hanging out. it was marvelous and relaxing. he was going to make lasagna for dinner, but we ended up going out for indian food instead. it's only the second time i've been to an indian restaurant, and the first time was a buffet- definitely the way to go with food you're unfamiliar with. fortunately, we both loved what we ordered- he had lamb curry, and i had chicken in a soupy spinach sauce. it was absolutely fantastic! we came home and had cappuccino pie, which my mom has made for my birthday every year since high school. she had sent jon the recipe so i could enjoy my tradition!

i have to say, though, the best part of the day was my gift from jon. earlier in the week we had borrowed a friend's gun to go to the range, and i fell in love with it. it was a .22 mini-revolver that folds up into a cute little concealable package. we had talked about me getting one, but i wasn't expecting it for my birthday! he had wrapped two packages; the first one was a small gun case. i didn't even open the case, because i wasn't expecting the gun. the next gift was rounds, which clued me in that maybe i should actually unlock the case... and it held my new gun! it is exactly the same as this picture- a .22 magnum revolver. i am so excited.

we ended up having the lasagna yesterday... and today... and tomorrow... and possibly wednesday...

come to think of it, i mispoke earlier. the gun was not the best part of the day. the best part was the fact that jonathan was home for it. i did miss being with my family, but having my husband here was priceless.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

weekend trip

here are some pics from this weekend- we went back to the lakehouse in north carolina with rocky and carolyn. the colors aren't quite as bright as in michigan, but very beautiful nonetheless- especially in the mountains. we rode motorcycles through the smokies to gatlinburg (hence the warm clothing!)- we had a great time! the first picture is off the deck of the house we stayed at, and the others are on the road. in the one of us on the rocks, there is a stream flowing through the rocks- it was gorgeous.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


i just wanted to add another update to yesterday's post, for i have felt badly about the way i portrayed my students.

in her defense, pbf said some of the most intelligent things in class yesterday- there were some things in our lesson that none of the students knew of, but she used context to correctly guess what the term meant. she is delightful and fun.

and, apf has one of the top grades in my class and is a bright student.

yesterday wasn't a banner day, but hey, everyone has their moments...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

all in a day's work

me: "since we're studying the middle east, we're going to learn about islam today."

pretty blonde freshman: "why do we have to learn about her? and who is she anyway?"

(me staring dumbfoundedly at pbf)

(pbf sees look on my face)

pbf: "j/k mrs. fisher, j/k! ['just kidding' for those of you out of the 15-year-old lingo] but... for real... where is that place?"

(realizing i have more work to do than i thought)

me: "try again. not a girl, not a place..."

pbf: "COUNTRY! it's a country!"

(other students start putting their heads in their hands, shaking them in disbelief)

me: "nope. a country is a place."

pbf: "building?"

finally another student says, "[pbf], it's a religion."

pbf: "oooohhhhhhhh....... that's right...."

me: "so can anyone tell me what people who follow this religion are called?"

one student answers, "muslims."

me: "that's right."

another pretty freshman: "i thought they were arabs."

me: "no. that's their ethnicity, if they're from the middle-eastern region."

apf: "oh. so don't they speak muslim?"

me: "no. muslim is an adherant of islam."

apf: "so what do they speak?"

me: "well, if they're arab, they would speak arabic. if they're american, they would speak english."

apf: "so what do arabs speak?"

me: "arabic."

apf: "i thought that's what muslims spoke."

this led into a conversation about how, as one student pointed out to another, we don't speak american; we speak english (apparently new information). i used the example of how people from mexico- mexicans- don't speak mexican; they speak spanish. this led into a conversation about the differences between spaniard, mexican, hispanic, and latino.

apf: "so what do latinos speak?"

me: "spanish."

apf: "so who speaks latin?"

me: "no one. latin is a dead language."

apf: "WHAT???? how can a language be dead? and why are they called latinos if they don't speak latin?"

i quickly answered the question and moved on to the lesson on islam. about half-way through, the notes containted some text unknown to the students.

pbf: "what are those squiggly lines?"

another student: "that's arabic."

pbf: "ooohhhhh...... so that's what muslims speak?"

update: pbf just came into my classroom to ask me a question about her grade. just to prove what she had learned, she said, "islam is a country... NO... i mean... religion." she sighed proudly. "good job," i said. "and what are the people who follow islam called?" "arabs." "no." "oh...uh....muusssllliiiiims?" what a feeling of accomplishment.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

guest speaker

we had a great day in geography today. there is a student here at grace whose parents are from nigeria- his mother came in and spoke to the class today. i found it quite intruiging. she talked about religion, food, tribes, and culture. she spoke of how the entire continent used to be pagan and animistic, worshiping carved images. she went on to tell us about how grateful the african christians are for the missionaries who first brought the gospel to their land. she talked about how, because of disease and climate, many of them got sick and some even died. "but," she said, "when you love God, you must continue the work of God." it was encouraging to hear such passion.

she then went on to speak of the community of believers, and how the christians in africa worship the same God the christians in america do. they may do things differently, she pointed out, but they are all the same within. this also relates to her view of the missionaries-that the commitment of those who first brought the gospel to africa over a century ago has opened doors for her belief in Christ now. our christian community not only transcends space, but also time... i wonder if david livingstone or robert moffat had any idea the impact they would make on the world...

Monday, October 09, 2006

some pics

last week i looked through carolyn and rocky's wedding pictures. they were taken at the farm of the people we rent from and jon lived with before we met. this gave me ideas... so, saturday night i drug jon and his brother ben over to tromp around the farm with me, and ben took some magnificent pictures... here are just a few...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

southern beauty

we had a wonderful weekend. carolyn, a good friend and teacher at grace, has a beautiful house on a lake in the mountains of north carolina. i didn't actually take the picture above; i dare say that where we were at was even more beautiful. we drove up late friday night and came back sunday morning- i think even being there was so relaxing it felt like a 4-day weekend. it was fantastic. we have been really fortunate to meet carolyn and her husband rocky. we have "clicked" from the beginning, and they have made the transition much easier for me. carolyn's parents and grandfather we also there; i felt totally at home and relaxed the whole time. it actually reminded me of being at my grandparents' a little- what a warm feeling!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

oh, ye jigs and juleps!

jon and i had a lovely day yesterday. after a breakfast of waffles & eggs (made by jon), we set out on the motorcycle to find a used book store or two. i was a little disappointed when i first walked into one (the first one we went to had shut down)- it was mostly romance paperbacks. i did find a small classics section, though, which is where i spent my time.... and stumbled upon the perfect used-bookstore find. this small hardcover book is a collection of essays written by virginia cary hudson, a 10-year-old-girl, in 1904. virginia attended an episcopal boarding school (note her denominational observations), and she is a witty and delightful child. the essays were found in 1960 in a locked chest in an attic and published. she has thoughts on all sorts of topics, though her writing shows how easily a 10-year-old mind is distracted! here are some excerpts:

on etiquette at church:
"Before I go into the house of the Lord with praise and thanksgiving, I lift up mine eyes unto the town clock from whence cometh the time to see if I am late. It is not etiquette to be late...
"The Baptist church is next door to our church. They sing as loud as they can all the time we are trying to pray. I bet the Lord can't hear one word we say. The Baptists sing about plunging sinners in a bloody fountain drawn from Emmanuel's veins. We sing about Crown Him Lord of All. I think it is much more ladylike to crown the King than to be plunging around in a bloody fountain. I took the cotton off my sore finger once and stuffed it in my ear on the Baptist side. But just once. My mother attended to that."

on everlasting life:
"When you are dead as a doornail, God gives [Everlasting Life] to you, and you can't get rid of it. You can't buy it, or sell it, or trade it. You have to keep it whether it suits you or not... Bishop Jordan told me Everlasting Life was God's precious gift, and I told him if it was just the same with God, I could think of things I would like better...
"Heaven is sure far away, and hard to get to. You don't hear much talking about Heaven... But you sure hear plenty about Hell at the Baptist Church. When I go with Darthea, that preacher hollers himself red in the face about Hell. When you go to Hell with your Everlasting Life, the devil waves his pitchfork and turns it into Everlasting Damnation, and he builds a fire under you, and you will wail and gnash your teeth. If poor Mrs. Columbia Stonington ever goes to hell, the devil sure will be surprised when it comes her time to stand up and gnash her teeth, because her dentist pulled her teeth out. He just kept on pulling and pulling until they were all gone...
"If I have to go to Hell, I sure hope I go to the one for Episckpalians, and don't, by mistake, get pushed in that horn punching, and tail wagging, red hot blazing on the Baptists are going to have."

and last but not least, virginia's thoughts on education:
"Education is what you learn in books, and nobody knows you know it but your teacher. I asked Mrs. Harris when we were plaiting rags for her kitchen rug what good Marco Polo would ever do me, and Mrs. Harris said education gave you satisfaction, but I had rather be ignorant and have fun than be educated and have satisfaction."

after a few more thoughts on education, she ventures off to tell the story about how she needed tutoring in math, but the woman who was to tutor her wasn't home. she instead enlisted the help of the woman's mother, who, from all descriptions, seems to be the old spinster type. the woman tells virginia to make herself comfortable and help herself to the crumpets... and the wine... we'll pick up there...
"And the wine was in the most beautiful frosted bottle with purple grapes hanging down the sides, and when I poured the wine in the glass, it ran down in the stem and looked so cute. And I drank it all and the crumpets were good, but the wine was better, and by the time I poured me out four or five glasses so I could watch it run down in the stem, Miss Fanny and Maxwell sounded so far away, and the chair seemed so soft and I leaned back and thought about poor little Romulus and Remus having to build Rome on seven hills without any help, and then I heard Miss Fanny say, 'The child is almost asleep, it is time for her nap, drive her home.' And he did.
"And I said to Edith, she's our cook, 'Send for the Doctor,' and she did, and Doctor said he would come, and he did. And Edith said, 'Get in bed,' and I did, and when Dr. Reddings came I was so glad to see him, I just love Dr. Reddings, and I said, 'Cross your heart and hope to die if you ever tell,' and he crossed his heart and hoped to die, and I said, 'I am drunk.'...
"When my mother got home from Middleton on the trolley car, she said plenty. And when I thought she had said everything there was to say, she still had plenty left. And the next day after school she said, 'Put away those roller skates and sit down,' and she reached in the book shelves and blew the dust off of her Women's Christian Temperance Union book and she said, 'Read it every word' and there was a big picture of a green snake wrapped around a wine glass with his tongue sticking out, and I read all about whiskey making people have wild fits so they have to be locked up, and I didn't see why I should have to read all afteroon about whiskey when all I drank was a little wine.
"And now Hallelujah and God forbid. Amen."

Monday, September 18, 2006

monday, monday

another monday.

a couple weeks ago my 7th graders chose between several topics to write a paragraph on. many chose "why i hate mondays".

ah well. it was a good weekend, but busy. jon had a soccer game on friday, which unfortunately i didn't get to go to. it was an hour and a half away, and since two teachers were already out that day, and jon and josh (the assistant coach) were also leaving (at NOON in order to get to the game on time), i had to stay and hold down the fort. a loud, bouncing, hormone-crazy, pushing-the-envelope fort. the team did win, though; they are now 3-3! this is the school's fourth year with a soccer team; the first three seasons combined they won only one game. i am very proud of them all- coach and players! :-)

we also began the house hunt this weekend. our realtor had emailed us info on about 60 houses (not exaggerating), which we narrowed down to 15 that we drove by on saturday. we narrowed those down to 7 that we walked through with the realtor last night, and a couple of them look like definite possibilities! the nice thing is that we have no date that we HAVE to be out of our current house (it's a month-by-month rental), so we don't have to settle for anything we don't love.

we had two couples from church over for lunch yesterday. that was fun. just like at kent city, jon and i contribute to the oh-so-small population of "married-with-no-kids"- fortunately, we aren't the ONLY ones, so it's nice to hang out together. one of the wives works here with jon and me, and she and i have become good friends. the other couple has been married only a few months, and she is from england- they met while he was working there with Operation Mobilization (a missions agency).

well, i best be going- our morning teachers' meeting begins in one minute. and so it begins again...

Monday, September 11, 2006

having a ball

i’m sitting at starbucks right now, sipping on my african red bush green tea. the bakery display case is advertising pumpkin cream cheese muffins… ah yes, the tastes of fall are approaching…

jonathan had drill this weekend, which included a military ball last night. it was lovely. the dinner was excellent, the company at our table was enjoyable, and meeting the men he served with- and their wives- was unforgettable. jonathan wore his dress blues- something he hasn’t had occasion to do since our wedding. If you want to see pics, go to jon's site- he has a couple posted there.

a friend of jon’s asked me last night how i’m enjoying georgia so far. you know, when people ask me that question it kind of takes me aback- it’s like i forget that i’ve moved to another state somehow. i look at my move as being one to be with jon, not one to be in another state. how do i like georgia? well, i like my new job. i like the house we live in and the friends we’ve made. i don’t like being so far from family and friends, i miss my old church, i freeze in the perpetual 60 degree air conditioning. but, i absolutely adore living with my husband. is that the state, or is it just the state of life? i don’t know. i always answer the question with “i love it!” if for no other reason than to make the inquirer feel proud to live in the south. i do have to admit, though, i have gotten used to chick-fil-a, brewsters, and a waffle house on every corner. i am starting to identify with “fayette county,” not just fayetteville (did i EVER say i was from “kent county” up north?) and i’m getting used to “y’all” being both plural AND singular.

don’t worry, though. i am sticking my ground on “pop” as opposed to “soda” (i actually had a high schooler ask me what a “pop machine” was after hearing me say it), and i have even held up my hand proudly to point and say “i lived here” a few times (okokok, so maybe that’s something i should actually STOP doing, but hey, i have to keep my heritage!)

ah. the last sips of my tea. it’s cool now, but i don’t mind. it’s a great way to wrap up a perfect morning.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

georgia pics

here are a couple pics of our backyard- the people we rent from own a large farm, so our view is absolutely beautiful...

Monday, August 21, 2006

some pics

a few pics for your viewing pleasure... i'll get some up from down here soon....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

week 2

i'm now into my second week teaching. i have to say, i love it. i have great classes, and enjoy my students. i'm getting into the swing of how it all works too, feeling out the cirriculum, adding my own spin to it. it is fabulous. i think my favorite moment so far was yesterday. i had had my 8th grade english class write a 1/2 page compare/contrast of two characters from their literature book. one student did an exceptional job- not only in content, but even more so in writing style. i don't think he even knew how great his structural and syntactical dynamic were- but he is genuinely a gifted writer. yesterday i pulled him aside to tell him this, and his eyes lit up in wonder as he said, "you mean you liked what i wrote?" his smile after that was irreplaceable.

in other news, jonathan and i went to savannah this past weekend. it is about 3 hours away, and is a lovely city. we went on a "ghost tour" on a trolley, with a man with a forced goulish voice telling us about legendary deaths in the town. we also went to see these two guys on "dueling pianos" who played anything the audience requested.

by the way, it has been rumored that i am a tough teacher. some of my students would agree (as would their parents...)- but what can i say? when you look younger than your students, you have to do SOMETHING to maintain authority! :-)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

almost there...

today i sit at my desk with a mix of confidence and fear. the syllabi are copied, the lesson plans are written, the class lists are in the book, the desks are neatly arranged. now all that's left to do is this actual thing called teaching.

the class i'm most excited about is the 9th grade geography class... the only one i specifically asked for. "geography???? that is the most boring class ever!" many of you are saying...

well. that's true. though, i have to admit, i have always found geography fascinating- i still have the books i asked for for christmases in elementary school on u.s. and world geography. but even as a child, my interest in it was not for the map alone...

to me, the christian should be MOST interested in geography, for it is not about places on a map, it is about the people throughout the world who need to hear about Christ. it is about our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries, suffering for their faith under a regime that disallows it. it is about the community of believers, the body of Christ, the spreading of the gospel, and ultimately, the glory of God.

my main source for the missions emphasis of the geography class will be Operation World. if you don't have it, it's worth the buy. it is an incredible book compiled by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk- it is a catalog of EVERY country in the world, including not only the geographical facts, but also what is taking place in missions, specific prayer requests for that country, and challenges to the faith.

as the semester goes along, i hope to post some of the things we discuss in class- feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section (i just set it up so that you don't have to have a blogger identity to comment).

"Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples...
great is the LORD and most worthy of praise!"

Thursday, August 03, 2006

the winds of change

here i sit, behind a desk. i glance up to the front of the room. "Mrs. Sara Fisher" it reads. underneath that heading is a list of 5 classes and 2 study halls including every grade from 7-12. how did i get here???

monday afternoon we arrived at our new home. jonathan had done a lot- i mean A LOT- of work those 2 weeks he was here without me, getting it ready. everything about the house far exceeds my expectations- he did an excellent job cleaning and decorating. i will post pictures as soon as i find my cable! :)

tuesday morning he started work at the school... long story short, by wednesday morning i was agreeing to help fill in some holes in teaching. i have an excellent schedule with classes i am quite comfortable in, and i am blessed with a very helpful faculty. yet, the knowledge that in a few days- 5 to be exact- this very classroom will have the energy of dozens of teenagers... well... it's just a bit unexpected.

all in all, i'm excited. a new state and a new career, all in one week. i have to say though, so far i'm loving it!!

(oh, and for all you in michigan who are saying, "she's FINALLY warm enough down there!"- yeah... not so much... i have had goose bumps more down here in the frigid air conditioning than i have in MONTHS!)

Monday, July 24, 2006

feelin' groovy!

this is a jon and me at a 70s-themed party we went to last month in honor of some friends' 25th anniversary. it was a blast!

here is josh and amy at the same party- as you can see, they got even more into the 70s theme than we did!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

georgia on my mind

well, it's been a while. i think it's one of those things that the longer you stay away, the harder it is to come back. i have had much on my mind to blog about though, so the best way is to jump right in.

for now, though, an update. jon is now in georgia with all of our earthly possessions, save what i need to survive for the next two weeks. he had a drill (drills are a one weekend/month commitment to the national guard) this weekend... the same weekend as i was a bridesmaid in sara's wedding. whatareyagonnado; being apart is kinda par for the course.

he'll fly back up in about a week and a half to get me; we'll drive back down together. we do have a house that we're renting from some close friends temporarily; that is a real blessing.

i will use this blog as a mode of keeping you updated on our lives- be sure to check back!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

the bike

it is saturday, and a beautiful saturday at that. after getting used to the 80s the south offered, the 40s we returned to in michigan were an unwelcome change.

we went for a drive this afternoon... well, rather a ride. yep, jonathan got a motorcyle. it's a 2006 suzuki v-strom, for those of you that means anything to. if you're like me, the pertinent information is that it is a sleek black and dark silver.

i had been on a motorcylce once before, but only for about a 20 minute drive. the 2 hours today was a very different experience! it was lovely though, as we rode through small towns (and villages) north of where we live, admiring the rolling farmland and old houses. it was quite charming.

look back soon for pics from vacation! (maybe if i post they're coming i will be more motivated to get them done...)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

chillin out max and relaxin all cool...

i'm tired. it is saturday night, and we spent the day on the boat and jetskis out on the atlantic ocean off the coast of georgia- we explored an uninhabited island and saw several dolphins playfully jumping in the water.

we spent last week in pensacola, florida, hanging out on the beach and spending time with jon's family. i have eaten more seafood in the past 2 weeks than i think i ever have- eel sushi, oysters (twice), talapia, mahi mahi, shrimp, and crab/lobster crepes.

there have been a couple events happen that will require separate postings, but i have not as yet had time to write them...

this weekend we are at andrew (aka "mac") and lori mcdonald's house right outside savannah, georgia, with sean and tracy emery (and their two incredibly adorable sons)- it has been really cool to get to spend time with two people who have meant so much to jonathan over the past year- and their wives! (thanks to lori for her incredible hostessing abilities! :)

that is as much of an update as i can cram into one post- i apologize to those of you who have been asking how we're doing because i haven't posted... i haven't had internet for the past week, but i'll try to catch up- i promise! :)

Monday, April 24, 2006

full circle

i apologize for the delay in updating this site. much has happened...

right now, i am in hinesville, georgia, about a mile away from ft. stewart. it is amazing to me how much of a different connotation "fort stewart" has in my mind now than a year ago! last year it was the place at which i said good-bye to my husband of one month. yesterday, it afforded us a very sweet hello.

i have had the opportunity to meet several people over the past couple days who have been involved in jonathan's life. today i was at taco bell with a friend of jon's and his family (jon wasn't able to come)- a soldier brushed past me, and i heard another say to him, "watch out- you just ran into the preacher's wife!" they turned and smiled at me, and i returned it. later this afternoon, i was looking for some patches for jonathan's uniform at the px. i inquired the help of a soldier standing nearby, who just happened to be his commanding officer. when i introduced myself, he proceeded to share with me how great of a chaplain and a man jonathan is. on his way out of the store, he even said to me, "you are authorized to tell your husband i appreciate him." (only in the army, right? :) it filled me with great pride to hear such a dedicated officer talk of my husband in such a way.

for our entire marriage, jon has been an email in my inbox, a screenname in messenger, an address to which i send packages. now he is home. now we will live together. that thought wells up within me countless emotions...

so this is the end of my journey as a "wife of a deployed chaplain," as the top of my blog says. it has been a long, painful, yet sweet journey. thanks to all those who have walked it with me...

Monday, April 10, 2006

'til death do us part

one year.

one year ago today, i became a new person. sara nave vanished into the past, and sara fisher began life anew.

i'm not really even sure what to say... the emotions that come along with this event are entirely surreal.

of the past 365 days, i have spent 28 with jonathan. it has not been an easy year. he comes home very soon, and for that i am thankful. many people say that our "real" marriage is about to start... and in some ways, i agree. we have not lived together, we have not shared in daily life experience together. but we HAVE walked through one of the most trying experiences any couple could go through... and we are coming through much stronger than we started. how can you get more "real" than that? one year ago, we had no idea what the next months would hold. we could not even imagine what deployment would look like, nor the frustrations and challenges it would bring. we knew it would be hard, but there are things you don't know until you walk it. all things considered, i think we have done well. i look forward with excitement (albeit mixed with some fear) to his homecoming and the new challenges and joys that will accompany it.

i celebrated our first wedding anniversary by getting a massage and having dessert with some dear friends. sadly, it is likely our second will be the same way. but in the middle will be some time that we will cherish more than others would, for we know that time is fleeting. my heart beats for those times.

for better or worse, jonathan, til death do us part...

Monday, April 03, 2006

wherefore art thou, spring?

last week it was in the mid-sixties.

the last couple days, the mid-fifties.

this morning it rained.

now, it's snowing.

i hate michigan.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

the word

i had an amazing victory today.

there is one word that invokes fear and trembling into every military spouse (well, there are a few, "deployment" and "pcs" probably being the top two...). but the word of today is a necessary evil. it is something the civilian world thinks they understand, but they do not. the word is: tricare (can you hear the thunder in the distance as you read this?)

tricare is military insurance, and is notoriously worse to deal with than even regular insurance companies. i have never had to use their services and have been dreading the day since i began hearing the horrific stories about this establishment.

i have never had to use them... until today. and i have to say, it was not nearly as bad as i have anticipated (though i have been warned that this was simply a fluke). i had a rather complicated question, and though it took me over a half hour on the phone, i finally discovered the answer... and the answer was much much better than i had hoped for. (for one thing, the primary care manager they had assigned me was TWO HOURS away from me... i asked if there were any in grand rapids, she typed for a bit, then said, "how far is cedar springs from you? we do have one there." cedar springs happens to be my little town of a few thousand people. fantastic. though, i have to ask... why not assign me the one in cedar springs from the BEGINNING?)

i am glad my first experience was a good one... it calms my fears for the future. baby steps, baby steps...

Monday, March 27, 2006

i won.

i won.

our office has a group on's tourney challenge. josh and ken each had 2 brackets filled out, plus amy (josh's wife) also did. keep in mind, the only basketball i have watched this season was the last 9 seconds of the duke/lsu game- and that's just because i happened to flip there. that 9 seconds is more basketball than i have actually watched... like, ever. wait, no, i think i watched the final game last year at josh & amy's house. i think. who knows... i went for the social interaction.

anyway... they asked me to fill out a bracket, i think just to have one more name beneath theirs on the list. but guess what? i, who know oh-so-little about basketball; i, who filled out my bracket based solely on either seed or which team i had actually heard of; i, who thought i was filling out a bracket for the nba...

i won.

this is much to the dismay of my male counter-parts (and to add salt to their wounds, guess who came in 2nd? amy. how's that for battle of the sexes?) nationally, i am in espn's 96th percentile as of now. right now, i have 730 points. josh's and ken's brackets range from 330 to 540, with amy at 570. and i have 280 points that i could still possibly earn. they all have none.

silly game.

oh, and can i say it one more time? i won.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

i have a new man!

jon's dad and siblings came up for a visit last week... andy told me i am now "his girl"!!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

another new chapter

today's post is in honor of ashley. she is the one in the middle, along with amber and sara.

ashley and i first met at the moody bible institute. i remember the first time i talked to her. it was her junior year, and i was a freshman. i was taking the south shore train to visit my grandparents, and i had never ventured out in the city alone. she was wearing a black dress with a gold necklace (wow... the random things i remember...) she gave me instructions- and confidence- to get to the train station.

within a couple days, she and a few of the other upperclass girls sat me down on a couch and read to me what would become one of my favorite books: a small red one called "i like you." it lists all the fabulous reasons why people like ashley and me are friends. ("i like you because you are a good person to like." "if i had a broken arm, and you had a broken arm too, then it would be fun to have a broken arm!" "I think i'm funny, and YOU think i'm funny too. i say something funny and we both laugh. 'ha ha!'")

i never would have thought that night that ashley would indeed end up being one of my dearest friends.

we spent countless hours in her *single* room together laughing, crying, eating, talking about deep things and mundane things. we even discipled each other for our infamous "busy work" class. ("as 'the wheel' illustrates...")

oddly enough, my friendship with ashley became much deeper AFTER i left moody. one summer we were both lonely and bored... so kept each other sane with endless phone conversations.

she is one of the few people with whom i can be entirely honest. when i don't feel like talking, i tell her. and her me. it is a fantastic thing in a friendship.

we went to hungary together. we enjoyed oodles of nutella... hungarian coffee... milka... and even some non-edible things :) - like talking with missionaries whom we came to greatly respect. we walked the streets of budapest and spoke of the great history of the country we strolled. we cried when we said good-bye.

i don't often see ashley anymore. i have seen her only 4 times since we left hungary in january 2003. the last time we saw each other, she read me "i like you."

and tomorrow she leaves. she leaves for a place where most people have never heard the name of Jesus. she will be thrust into a culture that is not her own, to share with them the Love that has changed her life. she will stay there for 4 years. she will grow and change, she will weep and she will laugh. she will rejoice when she sees God working, and continue to have faith when she doesn't.

it is spring for ashley. she is going to a new world, unknown: it is lovely and frightening and horrible and beautiful all at once. she is going to bring it Light.

ashley... you are not going alone. i am praying for you. lots of people are praying for you. this is the last time i can tell you this for a long long time. take heart, my friend, be of strong courage...

go in peace.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

well on my way...

i just got it. the official word on my degree status from moody. they were actually pretty generous with me (as they should be... seeing how the majority of my credits are moody credits...) and are telling me i am lacking 16 credit hours for my associates degree (leaving me 7 credits they did not apply). very doable.

the annoying thing is 2 of the courses- a 1 credit hour "ministry internship"-um... heeellllooo.... welcome to my life! the frustrating thing with that is that who knows when i'll actually be able to accomplish it, what with moving and all...

the other one is basic computer skills. i can guarantee you i have more than basic computer skills. i wish there was a way to test out...

i'm rather looking forward to the other courses: hermeneutics/bible study methods, the church & its doctrine, educational foundations (ok... that one not as much...), and intro to literature. if we are somewhere near a community college in the fall i may just do the lit and/or computer there. we shall see.

Monday, March 13, 2006

riding the clouds

i love the rain. i always love it, but especially an early spring storm such as this.

i can hear the thunder rolling, the humidity in the air. the slight breeze, still chilly at this time of year. i just opened the window to allow the smell of rain to filtrate through my apartment...

the high here was supposed to be 62 today... tomorrow, 34. welcome to michigan, eh?

spring can't come soon enough... i am ready for the winter of life to be over and for new things to start happening...

you know, i started this blog in the fall, and that theme was centric to the premise of this entire site. and really... it still is... spring and fall are but opposite sides of the same coin...

the clouds are quickly racing through the horizon... even as one set disappears, a new one enters in from the west... oh to see what they will bring along...

giving to caesar

so today i'm working on the taxes. i abhor doing stuff like this, but today i'm moderately in the mood to tolerate it. although, i think it's more the anticipation of having to do it that i hate than the actual doing of it. turbo tax is also rather military-friendly, so it isn't as bad as i had feared.

this past weekend was that of the annual grarbc (yes, there is an extra "r"- it is the grand rapids association) church ministries conference. it is the third year i have attended- and the third year we at kent city have done the music for the general sessions. busy, busy, busy. i quite enjoyed the whole thing actually. the music was MUCH less stressful this year than ever before (which is probably in part that we're getting the hang of it, and in part that i tend to get stressed about such things much less these days :) ), i actually got useful information out of the workshops (i went to 2 on promoting missions in your church and one on using different mediums in worship), and the general sessions were even good! i came home saturday night after many many hours of mental over-stimulation from the previous two days, and sat on my couch in absolute silence for about an hour. days like that i am glad i am not yet a mother. :)

ooohhh... sad story. i dented a pad in my flute. had the ol' girl for 12 years and never a problem. i dropped it the other night, and quickly realized she was not quite the same afterward... it is easily fixable, fortunately- like i said, one of the pads under a key (an oft-used one, at that) has a little dent in it- so i have to push that key down quite hard to seal it. made for an interesting time playing this weekend... though i have to admit, it forces me to have better posture (which i readily confess to abandoning ever since i quit band many many moons ago) than i typically have.

all for now...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"what dat girl's name" part dos

so earlier THIS week i went to my brother's house, and saw my two nephews: jake, 2 1/2; and caleb, 1 1/2. (pictured with their mom, carrie)

i had brought with me a copy of my wedding dvd for matt. he showed it to jacob, who stared at the front. it has on it a lovely picture of jonathan and me from our wedding day.

"who is in the picture, jake?" i ask.

"dat uncle jon." he says clearly, pointing at jon.

"and... who is the other person?" it was like he was searching the entire photograph for another face he recognized.

"dat uncle jon." he points at jon once more.

"who is the GIRL in the picture, jake?"

jake blankly stares at the photo.

"jacob, come on, who is the GIRL?"

"aunt sara." he says sweetly and quietly.

good. it may take some prompting, but at least somewhere, in the back of their minds, they know who i am. sheesh!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

what dat girl's name?

earlier this week i watched my two nieces- iris, 6 (will be 7 in a few weeks... seems unreal...) and lila, 3.

the night before, my sister had told them that i would be coming over.

getting ready for bed, lila apparently decided she needed more details... yet her mind went blank.

lila: "uh... what dat girl's name dat goes wit uncle jon?"

andrea (wondering why in the world lila couldn't remember my name): "uumm..... aunt sara?"

lila: "yeah. her. when she coming over?"

great. i have been a part of lila's life for 3 1/2 years, she has met jon 3 times, and HE is the one she remembers. i see how I rank...

Monday, February 20, 2006

a story of two girls

once upon a time there were two girls. these girls had no particular reason to be extraordinary friends. they had only three things in common... they shared the same name, the same homeroom, and the same commitment to Christ.

the girls were 13 years old. they had become casual friends in homeroom, then one day, they decided to take their friendship to the next level- one girl came to the other's house for the night. they talked about everything lovely... from boys (more specifically, the loves of their lives- since at 13 they of course knew who they would marry) to the blueberry cheesecake they feasted upon, to boys, and everything else that matters in the life of a 13-year-old girl... well... mostly boys.

several months later, they decided to celebrate turning 14 together. the girls' birthdays were a mere 6 days apart, so they had all their friends over for a memorable evening.

the girls' friendship grew and developed over the next few years. they shared in all of high school's ups and downs... learning to drive, dances, football and basketball games, trips to taco bell, summers, classes with perpetually ridiculous teachers, and finally, graduation. when people would ask the girls what their future plans were, they were astonished to realize the girls would be moving apart.

but still... graduation didn't mark the end of their friendship. they each moved away, and they each moved back home.

after a couple years, one girl got married. her friend could not have been happier for her.

then... less than a year later, the other girl decided she would get married too.

so tonight the girls sat, after 10 years of life. they still talked about boys... except this time, the men of interest were those that had also promised their lives to them, and the subject matter was much different. they spoke of that night, 10 years prior... and how they just knew that they would sit in another 10 years... probably with kids, and absolutely with entirely different lives...

the girls will soon be moving apart, and it makes them sad. but they know that, no matter how long they go between visits, they will always be friends.

thanks for 10 years, sara... here's to another...

long time to get back here

so... it's been a while. i suppose not much has been going on...

friday we had no power at church because of an ice storm, so i got the day off work! i felt like i was a kid again, with a snow day and all. the fun soon ended... i went in on saturday for 5 hours to finish the bulletin. *sigh*... oh well...

i sent in my application to moody's distance learning program last week. i am only 9 credits away from an associate's degree... unfortunately, since the only online associates they offer is in biblical studies (my on-campus major was evangelism & discipleship) i may have to complete MANY more than that. we shall see. at least then, if i decided to transfer and finish, it would be easier to transfer the degree than individual courses.

that's all the update for now... i am being beckoned to make pancakes with katelyn for breakfast... have a great day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

a couple pics from leave

On This Day...

so, i went to post last night, and blogger was down for maintenance. shoot.

yesterday (thanks to blogger) was jonathan's birthday. There is so much I could say about him, all the reasons I love him and am glad he's my husband, all the things about his character that I respect and admire.
But not today. Today, I will simply say this:

Jonathan, I'm glad I married you. I only look forward to spending more time with you and experiencing our love grow so much deeper. Thank you for all you are as a person, for all you are to me. I love you, I love you, I love you...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

checking in...

jonathan has now been home for about a week and a half. we have had our share of adjustments, but all in all, things have been good. one of the highlights was that he preached at my church on sunday- it was the first time i have heard him preach, and i much enjoyed it.

we have gotten addicted to a particular television show. actually, i had started watching it (the dvds of it) with josh and amy, and jon has the entire last season. about 11:30 last night, we decided to have a marathon to finish the series- which took until 5:30am. i'm really getting too old for this... we slept until 11:30 and i've been thrown off all day.

that's all the news for now. this entry is rather disjointed and not-well-thought-through, but what can i say. be glad you get what you get. yes. be glad.

more later...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

chatting away

my life has been all abuzz of late. jonathan is currently in transit home for leave, and... well... there are many preparations, and many emotions, involved.

we have now been married for 9 months and 9 days. we have spent a total of 13 of those days together. i can't entirely wrap my mind around the fact that he will be here, i will see him. it's exciting, but a bit nervewracking at the same time!! i have found myself expressing this in several ways... a few weeks ago, i was crying several times daily. over the last week, i think i may have cried once. now... i'm just getting chatty. it's the same way i get late at night... it's like, my mind is not filtering what is pertinent information for the listener and what is not... so he or she just gets it all. i really am so excited... though admittadly, my mind every so often wonders to that dreaded day in early february where we must once again say our good-byes... fortunately, this time it will be for 3 months, as opposed to 9. that is magnificent.

earlier this week i bought a shelf/cabinet thingy. and yes, i assembled it by myself. that 50 cent screwdriver and 1.99 hammer are proving to be excellent purchases :) ... you know, as much as i never would have thought it, i rather enjoy doing things like that. i think it's because there are definite directions to follow. it's indicitive of my personality, really... tell me what's expected, and i will do it. give me freedom to exercise my creativity on my own, and i will stare at you blankly.

well... on that note... enough chatting for now...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


i guess i have a thing for lyrics lately... this song was sung at our wedding.

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me

Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise

It’s deeper, it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
It’s deeper it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher than anything my eyes can see

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me

Sunday, January 08, 2006

happy birthday to the in-laws!

i haven't been sending forth birthday greetings via blogs, but with 2 today, i thought i'd go for it...

carrie (my brother matt's wife)
josh (jonathan's brother)

happy birthday to you both!

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I have a friend who posted a great joke... check it out here!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

not what my hands have done

not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
not what i feel or do can give me peace with God;
not all my prayers, and sighs and tears
can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, o Christ, can ease this weight of sin
Thy blood alone o Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me o God, not mine, o Lord, to Thee
can rid me of this dark unrest,
and set my spirit free!

Thy grace alone, o God, to me can pardon speak;
Thy power alone o Son of God, can this sore bondage break.
no other work, save Thine, no other blood will do,
no strength save that which is divine,
can bear me safely through.

i bless the Christ of God; i rest on love divine;
and with unfaltering lip and heart, i call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt, i bury in His tomb
my unbelief, and all my fear,
each lingering shade of gloom.

i praise the God of grace, i trust His truth and might
He calls me His, i call Him mine, my God, my joy, my light
’tis He who saveth me, and freely pardon gives
i love because He loveth me,
i live because He lives!

words by horatius bonar, 1808-1889
music by kevin twit
sung by indelible grace

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

a couple pics

yes, yes, it was several months ago, but here are a few pics from the wedding...
i may post more later...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

out with the old, in with the new!

well, it has been a long while indeed. you know, every couple days i see my blog bookmarked and think, "i really should write something" ... then i tell myself why now is not a good time and go along with my business.

so, a few highlights from the most joyous of seasons, in no specific order... it's a bit long, so bear with me...

~ being able to spend all of the Christmas days with family:
*Christmas Eve after the church service josh, amy, katelyn, & ben came over to my apartment. we just hung out, since the fishers apparently have an aversion to picking up "it's a wonderful life" a half hour into it... it was enjoyable nonetheless
*after the church service (YES, i went to church... pagan me, went to church... :) ) on Christmas morning, i went over to Josh & Amy's for lunch, stuffing myself with great food
*3 hours later, i went to my brother and sister-in-law's house, stuffing myself with great food
~ Christmas night, playing a game until late at night with my family. (finally, we're breaking out of our trivial pursuit pattern!! i like games with a little less thought involved...)
~ the fact that the gift i bought for my 2-year-old nephew (a long stick with a claw on one end, enabling you to grab at things from a distance) was ALSO bought by my dad for my 30-year-old brother-in-law, dave. gotta love that.
~ reminding my parents how my kids will enjoy getting BOOKS for christmas, not the incessantly loud and obnoxious toys my nieces and nephews get from them. my dad was quick to tell me that it does not matter. they will get obnoxious ones nonetheless. great, i can't wait...
~ getting to go out with sara and beth, the previously mentioned friends from high school. always good times.
~ the day off work to go to indiana for yet another family christmas.... woo hoo!
~ the large tupperware bowl i got from my mom. funny how those things suddenly turn exciting when you grow up...
~ babysitting for various family and friends.... doing iris' hair so beautifully that even her dad's friend commented on how great it looked... and boy, could i tell you a story or two about those weeks kids! :)... ah, they're full of personality and energy... really, i had an amazingly enjoyable time watching all of them: allie, gracie, & emily hoskins, katelyn, jacob & caleb, iris & lila, and ginger, joe, giovonni, & jasmine weeks... made me realize how excited i am to be a mom, yet how willing i am to wait a while for it! :)
~ spending all day wednesday with the whole family in indiana...
~ finally being considered an adult because i'm married. (there are certain gifts and such in my family that you have to be married in order to get. not that they have any special significance, but they are reserved for couples only.)
~ seeing "sara and jon" on the tags of those gifts
~ the videos jon recorded for me, showing me a glimpse of his life
~ getting to hang out with jon's 2 sisters for new year's eve
~ getting my hair highlighted red the other night... but, that's another story......
~ watching movies on josh & amy's wall with ben's projector. yes, a projector. the man doesn't own a tv, but watches dvds on the "big screen."
~ one of those movies, in america. i loved it. it's about an irish family that moves to america after losing a son, and the challenges they encounter. it deals a lot with reaction to suffering, and also perceptions/stereotypes of people. it has a very loving husband and wife who go through amazingly tough times together. definitely recommend it.
~ thinking i dropped a ring down the sink, and BY MYSELF (with some brief instruction and lending of channel-locks from josh) taking apart the drain and putting it back together... i feel so independent... (of course, the ring wasn't there... it apparently was in a pocket, because it turned up the next day in the laundry... it was worth it to feel all army-wife-ish though!)
~ the chocolate chip soft-drop cookies from my mom. you know, it's not that they're even my favorite kind of cookies... but i don't think it'd be christmas without those red and green sprinkled cookies. though, finally, a few years ago, she stopped putting raisins in them. made them much better.

but, of all, the best was the wake-up call i got from jonathan on christmas eve. it was a lovely conversation. he got his dates for leave! woo hoo! i'm quite excited... but oh, so much to do, so much to do...

so, all in all, the holidays were good ones. there were quite a few hard times... christmas eve was especially difficult, being the one-year anniversary of jon's & my first conversation. and all this week... those memories of the things we were doing this time last year....

looking back on 2005, it's really amazing how far i've come. i have grown as a person, and my relationship with jon has blossomed into a great marriage. i have done this thing every year since probably... 1997 or so (actually, last year i didn't do it... i was a bit... uh.. "distracted" :) ) but i shall do it again this year. i make a list called (this year, for example) "on december 31, 2004, i never would have thought that..." (ok ok, i was 15 when i started doing it... sorry for the lame title...) but it gives me a chance to look back, and to remember for years to come, all the ways my life has changed. it's interesting, too... to look at the first few i did, they mostly involved short-lived high school relationships and top 40 songs. now, the things that make the list are much more significant... my life has changed incredibly, more than words can say. i even look differently now than i did a year ago. and now, i smile as i think of all the possibilities 2006 will bring... happy new year!