Sunday, April 8, 2012

week in review

This week was the annual achievement testing at CIAS. Last week, I had had Sendi and Aly check and double check the cumulative file records and make sure of last year’s test levels so that we would not have any oopsies this year. Last Sunday afternoon, Tricia and I went over to pack everything up and make sure that the pencils were sharpened, timers were boxed, and signs were printed.

We watched the first installment of PBS Masterpiece’s newest "Great Expectations" and really enjoyed the diversion. After that, I went to bed a little early, in anticipation of the exhausting week.  

Woke up on Monday morning early. Bro. Mike was there to help direct the table and chair set up.
Bless his heart.
He has always been such a blessing to us and the school. He is a true Christian, a man of character in word AND deed. We set up the tests, splitting the high school students into two testing rooms, one for me to proctor and the other for Tricia and Michael Carty. Mama and Dr. Bouvin proctored the 3rd-8th tests. Then, about halfway through the second testing session, I began to feel AWFUL. Just all of a sudden, I began to shake with chills and ache all over with slight nausea. I felt so bad, and since I very seldom sick, it hit me really hard.

I soldiered through the tests that morning, went immediately home to bed, and slept the rest of the day, even missing class and my diversity lesson plan presentation. I was able to submit the short-answer essay that I had forgotten to do over the weekend and shoot Mrs. LiCause off an e-mail explaining my absence. She emailed right back and said that I can present this week, so no problem. Yay! But I did miss completing 2.5 hours of observations that I have to get done this month. Then I got a splitting headache, ate a banana and crackers that night and began to feel slightly better. I felt so weak the next morning so Dr. Bouvin and Michael proctored my room for the Tues and Wed test sessions while I stayed home and slept. I showed up on Wed to help direct the “tear-down” effort and take pics of all the kids, but I accidentally left my camera memory card at home, so that was pffttt! 

I did get to complete 5 hours of observations on Tues & Thur evenings at Collegiate High. I am sitting in on Jerry Cox’s Algebra 2 class where the teacher teaches very little and the students learn even less. It is a high school class, so no problem kids or probationers, etc. It is eye-opening, to say the least. These kids’ lives are just falling apart; it’s so sad. I have 7.5 hours completed, out of a total 15 required. 

On Wed, I went to Nutrition lab class. It was about enzymes and the breaking down of food, all pretty interesting. Since I had been sick, I for once was a little “hands-off” so my team got to blast away while I held back and observed. We take weekly quizzes in that class, and I LOVE my lab mates: Lisa (awesome girl, married, 2 kids, born again), Linda (teacher, Christian, older lady) and Billy (former Navy Seal, stutters, wants to be a ROTC teacher).

Afterwards was our scheduled dinner introducing our family and the Osteen parents. This a part of our family's life that we don't talk about very much: my brother Daniel and his role in our family. I had met Mr. O before, but it was our first introduction to Mrs. Corrie Lynn and Juliana have not yet learned to stay in their seats in a restaurant, so it’s always a misadventure to entertain and cajole them while other aunts eat in shifts. Daniel hadn’t been over or seen the girls since Christmas, so they didn’t know him and were a little frightened of him. It was also so late (after church for Brian and Cori, after class for Tricia and I), and I was more than exhausted. Bleh! 

The evening went as well as it could have, I guess. They seem to be very nice people. Even with as long as it’s been, I have still not come to grips with the fact that Daniel is divorced, let alone both of them dating and moving on. It is all so against the grain of the way we believe a Christian is supposed to live their life, in covenant with God and in the pursuit of holiness for eternity. I can’t wrap my head around it, no matter how hard I try. And I do try, in the spirit of God's agape, love him and his.

One of my former students was in my office with a younger sibling the other day, and made a comment about when Daniel does surrender to God’s call on his life, what a great testimony it will be. And unpremeditated, I replied, “No, I disagree. The greatest testimony of God’s saving power is of the person who has lived their whole life in relentless abandon to God, rejecting sin and temptation, and living wholeheartedly for the Lord. I would rather live a thousand of my life over again, than experience the regret and anguish over living half a life in sin and in the clutches of the devil. And the consequences for the decisions that he has made will haunt and dog him every day of the rest of his life. That is not the greatest testimony.”

Later, as I was retelling the incident to Mom, she commented on the fact that Daddy had regretted so much of what he had done as a young man before he was saved, so much so, that he never talked about it. And now that I think about it, I don't recall him telling stories from his unsaved days. Mom said he grieved over it. I began to think of Paul’s testimony recitation in Galatians 1, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen.” Such pain and sorrow our family has been through, a sort of refiner's fire, with regards to our boy. I just want him to be saved, in the radical, life-changing way that the rest of us have! I have prayed so long, but I am not giving up. Never!

Well, the rest of the week went a little better. I felt better, so that helped! Thursday and Friday, I proctored the untimed students at the school from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Saturday was our only Saturday off from a wedding cake at the bakery, so I slept late, then took a little swimming dip with the babies in the pool, went to Johnson beach with “The Sarahs”- my sissy and Sarah Stevens White. The sun was warm, and we soaked it up for a long while. I enjoyed sun bathing on a sheet for the first time, instead of sitting in a chair; definitely going to do that again! But the wind was too brisk, so after several hours and millions of chill bumps, I was good-to-go! Dropped by Diamond Nails and got pedis and manis before heading home with Happy China takeout. I went with a bold n’ bright pinkish coral for both hands and feet, with their signature design on my big toes.

We watched “The Passion of the Christ” on TBN last night right before bed.  If anyone asks me what my favorite movie is, I say that one. I can only watch it once in a long while; it gets me so emotional about what Jesus did for me.  It is a life-changing experience just to see His agony and sacrifice. Words do not render it justice.

Up early this Easter morning to go shopping for dinner ingredients and Easter egg hunt supplies. Got incredibly cute white Easter baskets and fillings for the girlies’ eggs:
yogurt-covered raisins
m&m peanuts
Brack’s jelly beans
Interesting, huh? Also got some candy for us big kids. ;-) I got busy prepping dinner while Tricia fried up some bacon and baked strawberry cheesecake muffins for breakfast. Mom  helped by stuffing the girls’ eggs while I cooked.

The Jones family Easter dinner menu: honey glazed spiral cut ham, sweet potato casserole, turnip greens, yeast rolls (our old from-scratch recipe), sweet tea, and yummy spiced peach cobbler with ice cream.
Cori and the girls and Sarah even joined us. The girls’ enthusiasm to find the eggs that I scattered all over the yard was slow to start but it picked up momentum. They just wanted to open the eggs and eat the contents!

I missed Daddy; our family is not the same since he is gone to heaven!
I am thinking that I may need a spiritual sabbatical, a time to retreat from social activities and evening interaction to spend extended time with the Lord. Since I can’t just check out of the reality of my life and responsibilities, I am thinking of doing it over the course of the next several weeks. I need a healthy dose of agape, because my “love tank” has gotten pretty stripped out. I have already taken to only listening to spiritually edifying music. Been especially enjoying Kari Jobe this spring.

“How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan:

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I Realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Verse 3:
Well, I thought about You the day Steven died,
And You met me between my breaking.
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
Cause people...they want to tell me You're cruel,
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause...

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