Friday, December 17, 2010
I'm a list-maker. Always have and always will be. I think breaking tasks up into smaller, more manageable tasks just makes me more productive and less overwhelmed. So I think I'm just going to turn this blog into a permanent list of randomness. It's the only way I'll keep this thing semi-updated. I've been inspired by my sis to try to keep this updated so that it's more of a chronicle of our lives. I think sometimes I worry too much about it being a perfect blog, if there's even a such thing. I just want it to be me and be real. The school semester ended today too, so I think it's a good time for some more reflection of the past 6 months...
1. Each one of my 23 students has in their own special way taught me something unique. The Lord has sweetly blessed me with a couple "whoa-I'm-a-teacher-and-I'm-actually-possibly-making-a-difference" moments that help me to get through the long, challenging days.
2. As much as we love living here, Brandon and I are so incredibly excited about being home in LA for the holidays. We miss our friends and family more than ever!
3. You can pray for us as we continue to find community in a church body. We're so grateful for super fun friends like Lindsey & Jonathan who have gone out of their way to connect us with people.
4. Even as close as we thought we were, I know that immersing ourselves outside our comfort zone has brought Brandon and I closer than ever. We celebrated our 2 year anniversary back in August, yet it feels like so much longer! We've grown individually and as one in so many ways, but we've got a long, exciting journey ahead, and there's lots more growing to do.
5. Speaking of growing, I really want to do a better job at reading my Bible everyday. Brandon and I read My Utmost for His Highest nearly every night, but I need to have my own time with the Lord. It all goes back to where my priorities are, and when I think about how much time I waste on my phone, computer, watching TV, etc., it's really kind of sickening.
Well, that's all I have for now. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and very Happy New Year! See ya in '11!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
**I just realized that I didn't even update to let the blog world know I got a teaching job! 99.9% of you should already know that by now though. More on this to come...**
Since I'm a list maker, I thought it'd be easier to track my thoughts this way for this post.
1. First and foremost, updating blogs takes time. Lots of time, and commitment, and creativity...most of which I'm running thin on these days. I admire those who find time to update everyday when it's not their actual job. I'm sorry to get your hopes up with my frequent updates this summer and now they're few and far between.
2. Brandon is rocking it at Belmont! I'm so incredibly proud of him. It does my heart good to see him thriving in what he was created to do.
3. Keeping up with friends back home is harder than I thought. I have learned to cherish those short conversations, weekend trips back home, and random texts/Facebook messages.
4. Finding a new church and where to plug in is a lot harder than I expected. Pray for us as we join Cross Point and get connected with a community group. We're craving community big time.
5. I've learned (the hard way) to ask the right questions when interviewing for a teaching job. So far, my new job is kinda like starting my teaching career all over again plus added work like when I was in college/grad school. I never expected to be spending this much time writing lesson plans. I'm thankful for a job though, and I know the Lord is stretching me in ways I've never been stretched before. The refinement is hard, but the end result for His glory is worth it all.
6. Continuing on the job topic, I'm learning a lot about contentment. God has me in this school, this classroom, teaching all the subjects, and with these students for a reason. Although they wear my patience thin pretty often, I'm proud to be their mother hen. Although I sometimes envy other people's jobs and where they are in life, deep down inside the Lord is teaching me that there's no other place I'd rather be because it's where HE has placed me. His will is perfect and good, so pleasing Him in this place is what I desire and long to do.
7. Nashville food has pleasantly surprised me. I'm currently experiencing a state of food euphoria since we've gone to Five Guys, McDougal's, Loveless Cafe, and Pei Wei. It's no home-cooking Cajun food, but that makes coming home that much sweeter.
That's all I got for now. Surely, you wouldn't expect me to update with words and pictures, would you?! Ok good, because it ain't happenin :)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I had a feeling this would happen. Complete and utter blog neglect. I apologize to all I may have hurt. To make things better, this one will be quick...just a few quick pics and captions.
Before our anniversary, these beautiful girls came to visit, along with one of our favorite couples ever, the Normans. It's sad that I only have this one picture out of both weekends. I really need to be more intentional with taking pictures.
Then my sister Lorien and my favorite niece Amelia came to visit for a girls weekend. We had a great time exploring the city, trying out a new sushi restaurant (very disappointing however), and playing home decorator. While I love to follow home decorating blogs, I lack the confidence and vision to do anything with our apartment. Lorien was quick to pass on that creativity, and we hit the Goodwill jackpot! I've been wanting to re-cover the dark red fabric that was hanging in our living room, so Lorien helped me pick out 3 cute fabrics and cover blank canvases. Ever since Lorien gave us a comforter she had wanted to get rid of, I had been eyeing some really cute wrapping paper to frame. We then found 3 frames to spray paint white and framed the paper. It matched perfectly and is a great addition to our big blank bedroom wall.
Last weekend, I headed down to Perdido Key, FL for Val's bachelorette beach weekend. The weather was perfect, the beaches were clean, and there were no big Labor Day crowds! It was so very relaxing, and I had so much fun with the girls! Unfortunately, the only pics I took were from my waterproof disposable camera (straight old-school!), so I'll have to get those developed.
I'm sooo excited about LSU football this weekend!! My brother is coming in town, and we're going to the LSU vs. Vandy game with him and his girlfriend. Hopefully, our Tigers will straighten up from last week!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
So I guess it's my turn now! Props to Jen on making that super cute image above.
1. My memory: Whether you like it or not, if we're good friends, then I probably know your birthday and license plate number. Creepy, I know. Like any good math nerd, I really like numbers, so they stick in my head. You're gonna thank me one day when I recognize your broken down car on the side of the road because of its license plate.
2. New people: Since being in a new city, I realized how awkward I can be when I meet new people. I'm always thinking about the next question to ask, how to respond, etc. etc. I really like getting to know new people, it just takes me a while to get comfy. It's the same thing when I talk to quiet people. For some reason, I always feel like I have to keep the conversation going. I just don't like awkward silence.
3. Blogs: Although I'm still new with this blog, I've always loved the idea of having one. I've just never been a big writer. I love following new blogs on my Google Reader: families around the country, recipe ideas, decorating ideas, photographers, etc.
4. Cooking: Speaking of new recipe ideas, I love trying out new recipes. Or maybe I should say I love the idea of trying new ones out. I have a running Word document that's over 20 pages long with tons of breakfast, dinner, and dessert recipes. But for some reason, I tend to stick with my old faithfuls. I'm so glad Brandon (SOOO excited he's bringing back his blog, btw!!) isn't a sucker for variety like I am :)
5. Music: I love, love, love music. Good thing I married a drummer :) I'm not even so much into finding the latest, greatest music. I just love how one song can totally make your day or change your perspective.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Our church (for now at least) sang this song a couple of weeks ago, and it's been stuck in my head ever since! The video is kinda cheesy, but it's the only way I could think of to let you hear the song.
We've lived in Nashville for 2 months now, and with all the busyness of getting settled, becoming acclimated with the area, taking a few short weekend trips, and hanging out with our wonderful house guests, I realized that I just haven't stopped. Sure, I've had a lot of down time as I waited on principals to call or email me back, but I wasn't resting in the most fulfilling way that I could. And more importantly, I wasn't completely putting my life/future/plan in the Lord's hands and then resting in His goodness, His faithfulness, and His never ending love.
Most of you already know that I'm a huuuuuge planner, and getting a teaching job soon after moving to Nashville was part of my plan. But my plan is not the Lord's plan, and I'm ever so slowly letting go of that. I don't know why I'm balancing two part-time jobs instead of starting my first day of teaching today, but I don't need to know all those details. (I cringe as I type that!) All I need to do is REST in the hands who orchestrated the universe and just BE the Kate that He created me to be. These lessons seem so simple in theory, but are so hard to live out.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Yesterday, Brandon and I celebrated two years of marriage!! I always hear that marriage is a gift, and I don't know if I've ever fully cherished that gift until these past few months. Thank you, Brandon, for loving me, encouraging me, lifting me up in prayer, listening to me, and just sitting patiently during my "minor" freakouts. There's no one else in this world I'd rather share this journey with than you. I am so lucky to be Mrs. Hays :)
Enjoy the amateur (keyword: amateur) iMovie that I put together. What can I say, I'm a sucker for montages! I couldn't have written the song better myself :)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The week before we moved to Nashville is sort of a blur now. All I know is that my heart was so full, and my tear ducts were empty! :) Our community group (Sharks for life!) threw us a great going away party. They surrounded us in prayer... for the moving logistics, for our marriage, for my future job, for our future church/church family, and for the overall transition. Then, they presented us with 2 baskets full of road trip snacks and over $300 worth of restaurant gift cards so that we wouldn't have to worry about cooking throughout the first few months of being here. How incredibly thoughtful and generous! Then, they gave us a book full of letters that each person had written to us. As soon as I opened the book and realized what it was, I had to shut it immediately. We just couldn't handle all those emotions at once! But we did read it that night before bed and will always cherish their sweet words.
Thennnn, a few days later, two of our best friends, Sarah and Spencer, hosted another going away party for us. It was a precious time with some of our closest friends. All night I kept thinking about how I just wanted to stop time. I wanted to remember their voices and laughs and hugs. I wasn't quite sure what to anticipate before the party, but it turned out to be even better than what I thought. It wasn't a sob-fest which was wonderful. Instead, it was a time just to goof off and to tell funny and embarrassing stories. Then, to top it all off, Sarah had asked these people to write a short note/letter to us. She compiled them, added pictures, and made a pretty amazing book that we will always treasure.
These people have walked with us throughout our dating years, engagement, and now marriage. They have listened to us and prayed for us. They have kept us accountable and asked us the tough questions. They have helped to carry us through all of our fears, doubts, and anxieties with the whole moving process. In many ways, we are who we are because of them.
Like I said, my heart is full because of this community. These people love us. No strings attached. That's the essence of our church, and that is why The Ring is so special to us. I long for that community again. I know it takes time to cultivate these kinds of relationships, and part of me wants to just fast forward to that time. We will never be able to replace these friendships, but instead will add to them! I can't wait to see what God has in store!
Group shot during "story time"
The new Schoons!
Our wonderful shepherds :)
Sarah free-handed that on her wall with chalk...I told you she was amazing!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The past week or so has really felt like summer. I know we're well into summer now, but all the craziness of moving, unpacking, and adjusting hasn't really felt like a break. I'm not the type of person who can just lay around all day, but I'm very grateful for a profession that gives me this time off. Brandon keeps reminding me that I haven't really had a "summer" in several years, so I'm trying to soak it up now before school starts and the craziness starts all over. It takes me back to my elementary school summer days where my brother and I would sit around watching "Press Your Luck" (no whammies!) and re-runs of "MacGyver". Now as an adult, it's a fine line between laziness and relishing in the break that I longed for all school year.
I still can't completely relax though because I still don't have a job. My interview on Tuesday went really well. The principal was nice, and the school seems great. She told me she was interviewing other people and to pray about it and let her know. So I did just that and talked it over with Brandon and others and emailed her back telling her I wanted the job. Now I'm waiting again to hear from her to see what the next step might be.
We really enjoyed my mom coming to visit this past weekend. It always feels good to have familiar people in an unfamiliar place, especially when it's your momma! :) We had fun trying out new restaurants like Jim 'N Nick's BBQ and Mafiaoza's Pizzeria, exploring the Nashville Farmer's Market, and walking around downtown. Being in a new city really is fun! :)
**Sidenote**: Jim 'N Nick's serves these amazing cheese biscuits/muffins, so we decided to try making our own. Mom found this recipe online (which is a great feat all in itself!), and I thought I'd share it. It's super easy and calls for ingredients that most kitchens already have (my favorite kind of recipes!), and they're pretty much exactly like the ones in the restaurant. Enjoy!
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar (I'll use less next time)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c. 2% milk
1 egg, beaten well
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a greased muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
We opted out of the downtown 4th of July celebration and went to Crockett Park in Brentwood. We celebrated the 4th as every American should: a picnic dinner on a baseball field with an awesome fireworks show. We had a great time and might just make it a tradition!
One of the first things I found when doing my Nashville research was this thing called "Movies in the Park". It's pretty much exactly how it sounds, and yesterday was the last one for the summer. So we packed a picnic dinner again and headed out to Centennial Park. While waiting on the movie ("Where the Wild Things Are") to start, we played Phase 10 and had our first gourmet cupcakes...delish! We ended up not staying for the whole movie because people around us were talking, but we had a great time and might Netflix the movie to finish it. I had one of those "wanna stop time" moments as we were watching the movie with the crickets chirping in the background and fireflies randomly light up around us.
This. is. summer. and I'm lovin it!
Until next time,
Thursday, July 1, 2010
highlights from our columbia trip:
- shooting a gun for the first time! (shooting ranges really are a great date idea...see pics on facebook)
- william's endless questions
- zachary's love for VBS
- amelia's obsession with pink things for her "birthday yesterday"
- watching USC win the college world series
- going to church with the fam
- witnessing maggie and rev's love-hate relationship unfold
- lorien's "learn.to.take.better.pictures" photography sessions (turns out i'm not the only one in the family with the teaching genes!)
- swimming, swimming, and more swimming...we couldn't get enough!
- bedtime prayers
- reading books with all 3 munchkins snuggled around me
- meeting lorien's sweet friends
- toy story 3...amelia's first movie in a movie theater...zach's big eyes and thumb-in-mouth the whole movie...william's "minor" freakout during an intense scene
- girl time with my favorite sister in the whole wide world!! i can't thank God enough for her friendship.
in other news, my mom's in town!!!! it's been fun showing her around town, sightseeing, shopping, and of course eating! (pancake pantry for breakfast and jim 'n nick's ah-mazing BBQ for dinner)
in other other news, i have another job interview!!!! it's this tuesday, july 6 at 8:30 am. i'm really excited about this possibility, so please pray! :)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Only a week after getting settled in our new city, Brandon, Rev, and I loaded up the Explorer again to head back down 65-South. We were excited to see our friends and family again and marry off some of our best friends Chad and Allison, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was kinda bummed to head back to Baton Rouge already and go through the goodbyes all over again. Don't get me wrong, we will always cherish the time with our amazing friends and family, and summer is great time to take advantage of just packing up and going. But Nashville is our home now, and the more time we spend here, the more it will feel like home. It's where we're supposed to be. The Schoonmaker wedding was absolutely beautiful. As they desired, it glorified the Lord rather than them, and that's so rare in weddings today. They definitely understand the "bigger picture." At the reception, we danced like we were back in high school, and Brandon was definitely the hottest, best best man. For some reason, I went to the wedding without my camera, but here are a couple of Allison's beautiful bridals. (Photos by Amber Burger.)
In job news, I still got nothin. I had an interview last week for a middle school math position in Metro Nashville. I was excited just to hear something back, but as I researched the school, I started realizing it would be a whoooole lot different from what I was used to at Oak Grove (read: low income, urban, struggling students, and as one of the administrators described it: "emotionally unsafe"...). The interview went great, and the door was still open for me to decide, but God was clearly telling me no. As desperate as I am for a job, I didn't want to just take the first option and be miserable next year. I needed discernment, and the Lord (our Jehovah-Jireh) gave it to me. I trust Him to continue to provide. I'm exploring other options too. As much as I love teaching and devoted 5 years of my life to train to be a teacher, teaching may not be what the Lord has for me in this season. I'm exploring other options like administrative assistant, etc. This might sound like I'm giving up, but I'm not. I hear that it still is early for hiring teachers, but I'm also just starting to think about Plan B.
I love the visual image that David creates in Psalm 16:8. "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
[Completely unrelated and probably pointless since all 5 of you that read this already voted, but...] Laura Reaux, a Lafayette photographer is giving away a creative photo shoot, and Natalie and Valerie are in the top 5, and I would love to see how their shoot comes out. I'm not sure if you can vote more than once, but check out laurareaux.com and vote now!
Brandon, Rev, and I are getting back on the road tomorrow, but this time heading southeast to Columbia, SC! I'm sooooo excited to catch up with my sister and brother-in-law and spend our afternoons swimming with my niece and nephews until our fingers turn pruny :) I love watching Brandon play with the kids too. He's gonna be such a great dad one day. I know I won't forget my camera this time, so I'll update soon with highlights of our visit!
Until next time...
Thursday, June 10, 2010
greetings from Music City!! we left bright and early Monday morning and arrived 567 miles later in about 10 hours (keep in mind, we had to drive slower and stop more with Rev... don't let the # of hours stop you from coming to visit! :) ) with the help of Brandon's wonderful parents, we managed to unpack more than half the moving truck on Monday and finished up on Tuesday. i can't express how thankful i am for their help and support. our move was completely flawless...praise God!! the only small scare was when the Explorer's "check engine" light came on, but it eventually turned off. anyway, the four of us worked hard on Tuesday and Wednesday to get things in order and make our apartment look like home. we weren't sure if we'd have room for everything, but we're managing to make do. just don't mind the fact that our master bathroom closet contains not only extra bar soap and deodorant, but also a George Foreman grill, blankets, and some board games...just to name a few.
it's been fun to drive around our area to check out all the restaurants, malls, grocery stores, and local shops. i can't tell you how excited i was to find a super walmart less than a mile away! i'm sure we'll be exploring for a while...we just want to get our bearings down so that our tours are at least a little exciting when all of you come to visit :)
brandon started back at work today as a "remote technical support representative" for PreSonus (translation: answering emails in his underwear :) ). we're so thankful that he was able to keep his job for the summer and work part-time when school starts back up in the fall. speaking of work, i'm still jobless. i haven't had many leads at all, which is frustrating, but i'm trying to stay positive and not get overwhelmed. i know our God is a faithful provider, and i know we're in His hands. it's just a matter of choosing to believe and holding onto that truth that makes it tough. so please continue to pray for peace and guidance regarding jobs and also making friends, finding a church, and all the other things associated with adjusting to a new city.
allright, enough of my blabbering. here are some pics of our apt as of tonight...still a work in progress of course! love and miss you all!
he's our real-life welcome mat :)
i told you girls i'd find the perfect place for it :)
when you walk in, you have your laundry room on the right...
and the guest bathroom on the left.
then there's the guest room/studio straight through the bathroom. this is definitely a work in progress!
view of the living room from the guest room. still trying to figure out what to put on that big wall... the TV is on the wall facing the couch & chaise.
our master bathroom may be my favorite place in the apt...it's HUGE!
here's the random crap-collecting closet that i mentioned :)
our balcony view is beautiful...quite different from the flat Louisiana landscape!
until next time...
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
well, my first year of teaching has come to a close. after many tears (from both me and my kiddos), hugs, at least 15 packed boxes, and dozens of handmade good-bye cards and notes begging me not to move, it is finished. a year ago this Thursday, i was hired at the Ascension Parish job fair, where the principals hired me on the spot because they both knew that i was a perfect fit for Oak Grove. i was a nervous wreck, fresh out of grad school, overflowing with ideas and excitement. but from the moment i was hired, i began dreaming about how my classroom would be arranged, how my bulletin boards would be set up, what precious faces would walk through of my door day in and day out. although i often wondered where my energy, persistence, and motivation would come from during long weeks, i never doubted that i was born to teach. now that my first year jitters are out, my prayer for next year is to focus not as much on impressing others and myself, but just doing the best i can. God has already equipped me with everything i need to do what He's called me to. i also want to do a better job at loving my students well and figuring out how to discipline well and consistently. i'm sure that's a battle i'll continue to fight for years.
since i can't post pics of the kids online, these will have to do. i took these last summer before school started and everything was neat and orderly. i'll miss my little 15' x 25' home away from home. it, along with those 64 stinky, hormonal, but oh-so-sweet 5th graders, will always have a special place in my heart :)
here's to another ______ years of teaching!!