Lake Tawakoni

Today we were invited by some friends at church to come and enjoy their new retirement lakehouse out about an hour east of Dallas at Lake Tawakoni. We had a blast riding around on the boat, eating brisket, steak and sausages, and even watching a few movies with the kiddos:) Heather showed us all her mad sailing skills and navigated a few willing passengers around the lake.

It’s too bad that I have to work tomorrow! We were invited to stay the night in one of the spare bedrooms. Apparently, another huge crowd from St. Seraphim’s is headed out tomorrow, including the Archbishop and Father John! Nothing like Memorial Day to bring people together;)

Here’s a few pictures. The rest you can see, once again, in my Facebook folder.

From left to right: Dan, the Connelly’s adopted son from Russia, Murray Smith (the father of the family who owned the lakehouse), Mr. and Mrs. Connelly (Jenny and Carissa’s parents) and Heather and Josh.

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Pictures of St. Peter’s

Today Jesse and I finally had a little bit of time to travel down to Fort Worth and take pictures of the school that I will be working at next year. Amazing that even with Friday evening traffic we were able to travel the 30 miles back in less than 45 min. That’s one thing I will NEVER miss about LA!!!

Okay, so here are the pictures. Get ready, I was feeling a little camera happy.

The school and it’s front yard. The wall with the vines borders the inner garden courtyard.

The gate and the inner courtyard of the church. This is where they take Kindergartners and make them sit for half an hour without saying a WORD, teaching them to contemplate and not have to be entertained all the time.

More of the church grounds and courtyard overhang (I love the ceiling fans they chose!). This is a Western Rite church, which explains the lack of iconostasis in the front.

The church flag and backyard. They are planning on building a huge outdoor amphitheater next to this little gazebo so that they might hold more classes outdoors and maybe even a few plays!

This is the creek behind the church where Father Anthony walks every morning. Apparently the school also takes frequent nature hikes through here. Being in places like this remind me of why I love Texas.

This first picture is of the prestigious residential area surrounding the school called Benbrook. Just a mile or two more and you hit the big and beautiful Benbrook lake. The second is one more picture of the school from the side.

And last but not least, we have a rare moment of love between Jesse and Mirabelle. This was the first I’ve been able to snap because normally they don’t last long enough for me to grab a camera! She really missed us while we were in CA this weekend, which is why she’s being abnormally sweet.

New Years Resolution…starting NOW!

So, back when 2008 said ‘sayonara’ to 2007 I made a New Years resolution to eat healthier. It’s a hard thing to admit that you eat like crap, and I do. Heck, if I limited myself to eating Macaroni and Cheese only once a day I’d be doing better than I am now! I have to admit that I’ve been binging a little since Lent ended:)

So here it is- I started a new plan to eat lots more protein, fruits and veggies and less….mac and cheese. I have all of Monday and Tuesday mapped out, including my exercise plans with our apt. complex fitness center and my trusty exercise Pilate’s band. We’ll see what happens! No Mother, I’m not in it to lose weight (it’s hard to hear from your own mother that you “look good” because you gained weight!). I just would like to stop eating my massive amounts of cheese and pasta in silent shame knowing that my arteries are probably crying out in distress.

How are any of your New Year’s Resolutions faring? I really want to hear feedback- make me not feel so lazy and unhealthy, please, anyone?!

Definition of a Blessing

Last night Jesse and I ate at 7 Salsas– one of the very first places we ever ate at in Dallas. This was the first time we’d been back there since that fateful day in August, and it was a good time for honest and brutal reflection over this past year. It was interesting to compare us now to then.

We were so scared and anxious. The future was wide open ahead of us in an exciting yet terrifying way. Jesse had no idea what it was like to be a grad student, and I had just taught my first horrendous group music class at Castle Hills. We didn’t know anyone, nor did we know where we were going to live. We were in a brand new state without even a knowledge of which freeway would take us back to our temporary sublet apt. I remember us pulling out our brand new Dallas map in the parking lot and deciding to take a scenic drive through downtown Dallas….only…..we didn’t know where that was! All I have to do is refer back to previous posts on this blog to remember how hard living was.

Now, we are part of a wonderful church body with more friends than we have time for. We have a nice comfortable apartment, and we’ve only used our credit card once since November of last year (a small personal victory for us!). In a few weeks we will be getting a huge 5.5k tax return that we can then settle almost all of our debt (excluding school loans!), put $ in savings and even have some left over for our long awaited wedding album!

On top of it all, Jesse’s grad school experience, has, thus far, been a positive one. He has gotten excellent praise from his professors about his papers and presentations (of which there have been many!), and is considering applying to the ISF PhD program to finish things out here. Even Greek, which is ferociously difficult and time consuming, has been a good learning experience. As far as I am concerned, if all goes as planned with my application, I will also be at UD this summer, taking Latin 1,2, and 3 all in a row. YIKES! It’s a good opportunity though, language classes are free for MA students, so tuition won’t be a problem. I will also be taking one night class in the Fall, probably a class on Milton or a Creative Writing workshop.

I guess the only way to put it would be to borrow Trenna’s words when I told her about my recent job offer. She said, in her sincere Trenna-way, “Kelly, you guys have been sooo blessed!” Even if everything goes wrong starting tomorrow, up until this point I would have to wholeheartedly agree.

But it does beg the question- how do we determine whether we’re being blessed or not? What are God’s blessings, and how are they made manifest? I say this because many times blessings seem to come in the form of hardships or trials. What do you think the definition of blessing is? Let’s hear 🙂

8am and angry…

Somehow this morning I woke up an hour too early. And, because it was exactly an hour earlier than usual, the minute hand seemed completely normal to me. So I got up, got ready for work, drove to work in the drizzly rain, and arrived at school. No one was there.

That’s when I looked at the clock in my car. BUMMMMMERRR.

To drown my sorrows, I went to Starbucks to grab a vanilla latte and then headed on to Kroger to kill some time buying groceries. This is where I called Chelsea, who I thought would be on her way to work even with the 2 hr. time difference between Dallas and LA.

Only, her schedule changed without me knowing it, so I ended up waking her up 😦 There’s nothing to make you feel worse than a groggy friend who is trying valiantly to be sympathetic to your plight while still wishing they had turned their phone on silent!

Luckily, my mom is in Chicago on a business trip so I got to chat with her to kill some time. But man, this is my 12 hour day. I could have used that extra hour of sleep!

St. Peter’s Classical Academy!

Well, it’s finally happened! I got an unofficial job offer this last Friday from St. Peter’s Classical Academy in Ft Worth! They’ve only been around for 2 years and they already have 80 students coming in next year. They are also already in the black- an amazing thing for a private school less than 3 years old.

One of the reasons they are so well off financially is because they don’t pay any rent at St. Peter’s, the Antiochan Western Rite church where they are at. This is in large part thanks to Bishop Basil who commissioned this church to build a set of Sunday School buildings that could also house a school. The grounds are beautiful- the school is located in the middle of a forest, backs up to a gorgeous creek, and has a garden courtyard in the middle with a fountain (which you can see on their website). The church itself is also very beautiful, built from stone and rustic wood beams.

As of right now, this is still a job offer, seeing as they have not finalized a potential salary yet. But, if all goes as planned, I will be teaching HS English, Beginning Latin (they start their Kindergartners in Latin and Greek!) and Music Appreciation. Oh, and also possibly being the first ever coach of their Girls Basketball Team!!

Garden Hoedown Comes to Town

So much has happened this last week, it’s been hard to keep up!

Last Thursday was my performance of “How Does Your Garden Grow”. Did it go well?” people ask me. Hehe. Depends on how you look at it. Let’s interview myself to find out.

“Did the kids sing well?:”

Check.

“Did they know all the words?”

Check.

“So, basically, it went great!”

<silence>

“It did, right? I mean, overall?”

<more silence>

“Okay, I’m taking it there were some things that didn’t got according to plan?”

<emphatic nodding>

“Would you care to elaborate? Or is it too painful….”

<pulling of hair>

“Well, what went wrong?”

<takes off gloves>

I don’t want to sound like a complainer. However….there were around 400 of us, crowded into a tiny excuse for a gymnasium- about the size of a four car garage.

“Oh my….”

There was no room for me to stand and direct. Also, one of the kids’ parents turned out to be a Fire Marshall and he was furious. We’re just lucky he allowed the show to continue.

“Wow, what else?”

Well, all we ended up having for a sound system was a heavy duty boombox. Since no one, not even the people sitting next to it could hear it over all the noise, one of the teachers had to hold up a battery operated microphone to it the entire time.

“Whew!”

But then the mic’s batteries gave out. So the last song was cutting in and out the entire time.

“Uh, oh, that doesn’t sound…”

Oh, and did I tell you that I, the director, got KICKED OUT of my own musical? Yeah! Despite the fact that I warned the parents for the entire 1/2 hr preceding the show of where I would be standing, they STILL set up their tripod camcorder directly behind me. Which meant that after the first song they made a big scene about it and I ended up standing in the wing instead of the middle where I belonged.

“Yikes!”

Only the half standing nearest me did/copied any of my hand motions. The other half on the far side from me sat there as still as statues.

“But at least the kids sang well, right?”

Yes, yes the kids did sing quite excellently despite everything trying to get in its way. I also got 2 sweet bouquets of flowers out of the whole deal, and a lot of compliments from the parents (even the one who <grrr> set up the camcorder).

“And did you do anything to unwind after such a stressful show/performance?”

Margaritas and daiquiris with Jesse and Jenny. And lots of chips and queso:)