The last update can be found <here.>
Marriage: Still long distance. Luke is in Colorado, Jess is in California. Not the most fun. Definitely kind of has its lows, buuuuut we've both been receiving affirmation (in various forms) that we're learning, and growing in a good way, and for now this seems to be "The Plan" for us. Until His plan changes, we're lucky we got so good at skype and scheduling phone dates when we were long distance dating. Now I guess we're long distance married.
Job: I have been kept very busy subbing at my home school! I love it! I love the kids, I love how much I'm learning about how to help them learn. It's been a great opportunity to be in so many classrooms learning class management techniques, concepts and gain ideas from such highly skilled educators who also love the kids they work with. This is not to say there aren't days where you feel like you've been put through the wringer, but the sense of fulfillment I have after a day of work is not one to be ignored.
Family Home Front: I miss Mom. All the time. She would be the one I would call, or stop in to talk to every day after work. She would have been the one who would understand my excitement and enthusiasm. She would have been the one to throw out some other ideas and suggest more ways for me to grow.
There are lots of things going on that I don't post, with the consideration that some of my personal conflicts/struggles aren't all mine to share. So I don't.
Valerie and I have moved into an apartment on a 7 month lease. (That will take us through the end of the spring semester of school. Being here before the semester started has given me the opportunity to join my sister in tackling the daunting task of going though my dad's very full garage. We threw away a lot, gave away a lot, and kept...a lot. It's amazing how many things one can accumulate in a lifetime. Together we've been sorting, remembering, and condensing special family items. While the main task (emptying my dad's garage so he can park a car, and motorcycle in it) is completed our living room resembles a storage/craft room. There are many boxes still needing to be gone through and sorted. There are also many projects needing just a bit of completion. This afternoon "Aunt" Nancy will be coming over to teach us how to put one of my mom's quilt tops on a frame so we can hand quilt it.
Yep, I said so WE can hand quilt it. It's true. My sister, made famous in the quilting circle for her story of calling my mom and saying "I'm making a dress, where's the hot glue gun?" has recently started going to Wednesday morning quilting with me to learn the art of hand quilting. I'm pretty sure my mom's beaming down from heaven to know that some of her projects will have been worked on by all THREE of the Harper Girls.
I have also been trying to be purposeful about seeking out people to hear their stories, get their advice, and converse with them about life in general, and things that apply to my life these days. I have been blessed with so many wonderful mentors, friends, and role models. It's amazing how powerful a cup of coffee (steamed milk in my case), a lunch, knitting etc. and some good conversation can be.
Thanks to a practice session last year (read about it here) Valerie, Luke and I weren't TOO intimidated by the idea of helping Grandpa and Shan host Thanksgiving dinner. Valerie rocked the mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry relish, and keeping her chaotic sister organised (we're talking excel spreadsheet grocery list and butterball turkey iPhone ap people.) Luke tore up the turkey, literally, he was in charge of carving 1 mama bird and two babies (breasts only on the bone/white meat) as well as keeping me calm, and in good spirits (Twilight readers, he's sort of like Jasper in that mood altering sense.) It was a great time of family and visiting.
Val and I have enjoyed getting involved with a homework help group on Wednesdays as well as both being in town for multiple Sundays! When we're not in town, we're lucky enough to be able to catch sermons on podcast search North Fresno Church.
I have been challenged and supported by one of these podcasts in particular. It's titled, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and was from November 14, 2010. This sermon has stirred up so much. It managed to find things happening in my heart I didn't even realise were happening. It addresses the age old question "why." It brings up a search for answers, and guidance. I still cant wrap my head all the way around the sermon but man it's got my wheels spinning in many directions and I think that's a good thing. Because, I'm looking and looking and looking, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
Luke and I will be in Colorado Springs (me as of the 17th.) Luke has work on Christmas Day which will make for a mellow time. We're both allergic to evergreens and not yet wanting to add a Christmas tree to our growing collection of STUFF we look forward to a mild day with cocoa in front of the fire basking in each others company. (Something we haven't shared in quite a while.) The only thing keeping me from starting a countdown is that I know in my head just how much I need to get done before I leave! Yikes! Better get a move on!