Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anyone wondering where I've been?

Hello everyone!
Long time, no blog.
WOW have I been busy!!!

Wanna know what I've been up to? Well, when I last left you, it was July 19, but my posts before that were on July 10. That was Michael's birthday, and in addition to making a few cards and inviting you all to my Open House celebrating the then new IB&C (Idea Book & Catalog), I had a job interview and we went to visit family who were vacationing in Gatlinburg. We actually went to Gatlinburg twice that week. The resort where our family was staying has a great indoor water park. Here are a few pics from both days.

Michael and the kids were standing under a huge bucket that dumps water on you. This was DJ's favorite part of the whole thing...except maybe the one water slide he was able to go on, but I don't have pictures of that.
AJ and me in the lazy river.

The next week, Michael and the kids went down to Fort Walton Beach with his family. He took pictures, but I don't think they are on the computer I'm currently posting from, so maybe those will just end up on our family website. Anyway, they went to the beach, and I stayed home by myself. "WHY?" You ask. Because there was a possibility that I would be getting a job teaching music part-time at an elementary school "in town." This particular elementary school is on a year-round calendar, so if I got the job, pre-planning started July 15...right in the middle of the beach trip. So, I stayed home, and fortunately, I GOT THE JOB!!!!!

So, I am an elementary music teacher once again. Right now I am teaching Thursdays and Fridays most weeks, and in the spring I'll be teaching Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. However, the position is shared between me and the art teacher, and she is pregnant, so while she is on maternity leave, I will be subbing for her, and then I'll have a few extra weeks to make up after her maternity leave is over, so she'll be able to stay home longer. Now, back to July (and why there are extra weeks that I have to make up).

The principal called me on Monday afternoon, and told me I needed to have a background check done, and that there would be a faculty meeting the next morning. The next day, I stopped by the school expecting to pop in, be introduced, and then be on my way, and I ended up spending the entire morning in training and faculty meeting stuff, so I was back in teacher mode even sooner than I expected. Then I went to get my fingerprinting done for the background check and the system was down for the entire state of Tennessee, so I had to drive 1 1/2 hours round-trip the next day to have it done (I called first to make sure the system was up and running that day). I worked four days that first week.

The following Monday, July 20, was our students' first day of school, but that day I was on an airplane flying from Atlanta to New Orleans for the ELCA Youth Gathering where I served on the Gathering Volunteer Corps (GVC). It was an awesome experience. I've been a volunteer at five Youth Gatherings now, and each one is unique and amazing. There were around 37,000 Lutheran youth, their adult leaders, and volunteers of all ages that converged on the city of New Orleans that week. Each day for three days of the Gathering 12,000 participants went out to do service projects. All the locals we encountered couldn't say enough to thank us, and the Mayor of New Orleans said that all of us in our many colored t-shirts seemed to be Katrina's rainbow. I created a collage of *some* of the pictures I took.
I hope that if you click on the collage, you can see each part of it better. But I'll explain them all a little so you get an idea anyway. Starting at 9:00 and going clockwise there is: me standing in front of the welcome sign at the main entrance to the convention center; a pic from the opening mass gathering--each evening all 37,000 of us gathered in the Superdome for praise, prayer, and inspiration--you can see the theme, "Jesus, Justice, Jazz" on the screens; I was fortunate enough to meet up with the youth and adult leaders from St. Peters in Bethlehem, PA, where we did our internship year of seminary (and I was even luckier that it was on the morning they chose to go to Café Du Monde for breakfast!); I had been to New Orleans once before, for another ELCA Youth Gathering in 1997, but I forgot how different the cemeteries are down there, because it isn't really safe to burry people underground due to the city's being below sea I took a picture while riding down the highway on the way home; the Holiday Inn is where I stayed on my last trip to NOLA, but I couldn't resist capturing that clarinet all lit up; imagine my surprise when I look up on the big screen, and there is my friend Chris Clay (aka Bryan Clay on his Atlanta radio show) playing the piano on stage...I had just worked at a different youth event with Chris a few weeks before and he didn't mention a word about it, so I just had to get a picture of him up there; this is a picture I took of the Superdome during closing worship; next is another friend of mine on the big screen, Pastor Andrea Walker (who is a Southeastern Synod gal and was the head of the GVC when it started in '97), assisting Bishop Mark Hansen during closing worship; then there is a different perspective of the opening mass gathering event; and finally another picture of Chris, this time I was standing in the same place as the other "wide angle" shots were taken, but I zoomed in on him playing on the stage. {Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my camera...I will confess, though, that most of the other pictures I took with that much zoom turned out totally blurry.}

The week after the Gathering, I spent four days in new teacher orientation, and then the following week Monday and Tuesday were system-wide inservice days, so I finally got to teach my students for the first time on Thursday of their third week of school. So far it has been a very good experience. The students are sweet, the staff is nice, and working part-time is exactly what I need right now.

Well, I still have most of the month of August to catch you up on, but it is WAY past my bedtime, so I'll have to say TTFN, but I'll give you a little sneak peek at some upcoming posts.
  • both kids are back in school now
  • they have both started gymnastics
  • my August Big Shot Club meeting featured the Beautiful Butterflies bigz die {not to mention I have several other SU! classes to catch you up on}
  • DJ's starting his second season of YMCA T-ball
  • and AJ is currently sporting a bright pink cast on her right arm stay tuned.

Sweet wishes!

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