Monday, September 05, 2011

A Long Hiatus

I took a long hiatus from blogging. Like over a year if you check my previous post. In that year lots has happened.

I went white water rafting for the first time. I got more involved with photography with James, and now even own the proud owner of my own camera. My Grandpa Lenz passed away. I survived my most challenging year of teaching yet. I was asked to join my building's leadership team. I went to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I watched a friend grieve. My sister graduated from college. I visited my brother in Colorado, twice. I visited home. James and I joined a lifegroup with our church. I made dear new friends. I moved out of Grant and Vanessa's house. Old friends had babies. I laughed, I cried, I grew.

Watch out blogosphere, I'm back.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I come on my knees
To lay down before you
Bringing all that I am
Longing only to know you
Seeking your face
And not only your hand
I find you embracing me
Just as I am

And I lift these songs
To you and you alone
As I sing to you
In my praises make your home

To my audience of one
You are Father, and you are Son
As your spirit flows free,
Let it find within me
A heart that beats to praise you.
And now just to know you more
Has become my great reward
To see your kingdom come
And your will be done
I only desire to be yours,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roads...Less Traveled

There are many roads in Kansas, very few of which I actually drive with any frequency. 9th Street I drive down, 21st Street I drive down, 135 I drive down...well up I guess since I usually take it north. I don't have the need, or often the chance to drive any of the other ones, especially the really winding ones that can lead to forgotten parts of the state that somehow make you want to slow down and take in the view. These roads lead to places that make me think how pretty Kansas is sometimes.

Even though I don't have any need to drive these roads, I'm dating someone who does. Which leads to Saturdays filled with driving, photographic adventures, one giant sized iced tea from Sonic (one of the perks of living here!), and memories.

Last Saturday, James and I set out for an adventure. We drove through sleepy Kansas towns, taking pictures, laughing, me learning to drive a manual. It was the making of a great day. Until we ran out of gas.

I, with my big mouth, had literally said 5 minutes before that "I've never ran out of gas". Ha, ate my words on that one. One phone call to AAA, an hour wait later, one incredibly uncomfortable me because I really really REALLY had to pee we were on our way, no worse for the wear.

The most ironic part, well parts of the day? We ran out of gas across the street from the car dealership that James works at and in front of an RV retailer. Across the street from a car dealership, and in front of an RV retailer with about a billion bathrooms, none of which I could use.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


It was one of those early spring days, like Indian summer in reverse last Friday. After running out for lunch I came back to school and decided to open the window to get some of the early spring air into the classroom. I don't know what exactly it was that set us all off, the open window, the changing weather, the state assessments around the corner, or the fact that it was 3:30 on a Friday, but some extraordinary force came over the classroom.

I began to lose focus. I began to goof off. It spread.

I had taken off my flip-flops earlier and was walking around the room barefoot, which I do a lot when it gets nicer out. I was working with a group of 4 on some math they were still struggling with. It was one of the groups that can be a bit more challenging, and things often take longer. While I was waiting for them to finish writing what I had asked, I decided it would be a good idea to pick up a base 10 block with my toes.

The little girl who was sitting to my right thought that this was just the most hilarious thing she had ever seen. She got the giggles, the kind that started in her belly and seemed to bubble out of everywhere. She laughed, and laughed. Soon the other 3 students joined her, and then I. Not long after that most of the other students, who 5 minutes ago were working diligently, were looking at our group laughing along with us, even though they had no idea what they were laughing at.

This prompted me to think about the end of the school year, perhaps it is the weather, hinting towards spring, the end of yet another school year. This group of urchins and I have been together for two years, and I am beginning to feel very melancholy about the end of this era. If you can be friends with 24 eight and nine year olds, I am. If some of the people you look forward most to seeing are 4 feet tall, mine are. I love them, respect them and learn from them, probably more than they do from me.

And next fall, when Indian summer comes and a new wind is blowing through my classroom, I will miss them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Balance... something I am constantly trying to find in my life. I have days where I am better at it, and days where I fail. I hate that people close to me don't see my efforts.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let Us Pause in Life's Pleasures - 2009 Part 2

After a quick stop-over in Wichita to drop off my dog, I hit the road again in July headed towards Colorado. Anna and I decided to have a fun vacation together, and her cousin's wedding in California was just such an occasion. I drove out to Colorado Springs, spent a day there, and then flew out to LA where we enjoyed a long weekend of wedding-ing and beaching.

August was a whirlwind with school starting again. School started on the 17th, and I had a true blessing of looping with my students, moving up from 2nd to 3rd with the same bunch of kids. This made the beginning of the year much easier, but unfortunately didn't take away any of the stress of putting together a new classroom! It will definitely be hard to see this group of kids go at the end of this year, we have definitely bonded after our two years together.

In September I met my Gramsy, Christi and Mom in Des Moines Iowa for a grandma/sister/daughter/mom dress shopping trip. I think I tried on about 50 dresses and still ended up buying one online! It was a lot of fun to be able to spend some fun girl time together, and begin getting excited for the wedding.

October was a busy month with a trip to Wisconsin for Zach and Janlee's wedding. Their wedding weekend was so much fun, full of joy, excitement, preparation, anticipation and completed with a beautiful ceremony and dancing the night away! October also brought the first pumpkin carving experience of my life with James.

November I went out to Colorado again for a visit to Anna for Thanksgiving. I got to go to the Dale House and experience a Dale House thanksgiving. Anna and I thankfully avoided the food poisoning that many of the other guests got. We spent the weekend relaxing at a beautiful home that Anna was house sitting at, sitting in the hot tub having good conversations with wine. I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have such amazing friends, both near and far.

December was a full, jam-packed month, although after writing this post I'm beginning to see that many of my months are this way! I finished up my Urban Teaching Certificate through Hamline University in St. Paul, celebrated Vanessa's birthday over pancakes and painting, went home for a blessed and relaxing Christmas, and came back to Wichita just in time to celebrate New Years with Vanessa, Grant, James, Christi and Tim. It was a wonderful way to end a great year.

As I look towards 2010 I cannot begin to imagine the new and exciting things that God has in store for me. I cannot wait to see what adventures I will have, where the year will take me, and the ways in which I will grow. Hang on, the ride just keeps getting better!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009 - A Year in Review

Inspired by Vanessa I've decided to do a review of 2009, and looking back I have had a lot of fun adventures and changes this year.

In January I moved in with the Mankins; Grant, Vanessa, Dakota and Nora. I'm not sure if I can put into words how much living with them has meant to me, and how much I enjoy having a family here in Kansas. I think this quote best sums it up.

"The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don't. But, in the end, they're the people you always come home to. Sometimes it's the family you're born into and sometimes it's the one you make for yourself."

Besides sharing life with one another, Grant and Vanessa have taught me many important life skills like how to wash a cat, make a mean chicken fried steak and what beer goes with what meal. Thanks guys!

February brought a slight emotional breakdown when Truman, my adopted dog, decided to sample some of Nora the cat's litter. He was very sick for about a week, which ended in a $551.55 vet bill and Grant and I forcing fluids down his throat with a turkey baster.

I celebrated Valentine's Day at the Loop in Colorado Springs with my bestie, Anna. We had margaritas the size of our heads and we enjoyed lots of laughter while being the only people in the restaurant not on a date. What a blessing it has been to live close enough to drive to see her on the occasional long weekend.

March brought about another trip to Colorado when I went out to spend my spring break with another one of my closest friends, my sister! She and I had the same spring break, and so we met at Anna's in Colorado Springs and spent a week traveling through the state. Boulder, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Pike's Peak, Breckenridge to see Janlee (our now sister-in-law) and back to Colorado Springs. I did this all with a hood that was completely squashed in on my car, since Vanessa had accidentally backed into my car the day before I left.

April was the beginning of the end of my school year, and my time in 2nd grade. I was offered an opprotunity to move up to 3rd grade, which I took, glad for a new challenge and some change. Jenna also came to visit for Easter weekend, which began what has seemed like an endless stream of people staying at our house, which we've enjoyed.

May, I turned the big 25, wrapped up a school year and began a blessed time of summer vacation! I had Anna here for my 25th, and I enjoyed the simple pleasure of good friends and a fun night.

I went home towards the middle of June to see my family and send my parents off to Europe for 5 weeks. Before they left I dragged them all to a Twins game.