Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Cookie Baking Party!

On Friday night, a few of my friends got together and made yummy Christmas cookies! We had the party in the church kitchen, where we had extra space and more oven room. It was a lot of fun. In fact, maybe too much fun. There were times when we were talking and forgot to get the cookies out of the oven. And if you know church ovens, you know that they are always extra hot, so you have to watch things!

There were six of us that got together. We had each of the pastor's wives (except for Terry), our church secretary and Mindy. Mindy is the sister of our youth pastor, so we let her tag along.
Sabrina (our youth pastor's wife) and Mindy brought yummy appetizers, tea, coco and hot cider to have while we chatted and started to make our cookies. Rachel and I also brought the Christmas music to put us in the holiday spirit. We had so much fun just catching up and getting to know each other better! We have such a great group of ladies at our church!

By the end of the night we had:

-Chocolate peanut butter fudge
-Peanut butter cookies
-Peppermint bark
-Mexican wedding cake cookies
-Maple cookies
-Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips
-Chocolate and peanut butter layer bars
-Butterscotch and white chocolate layer bars

We divided everything up and each got to take lots of goodies home! Reed and I have enjoyed eating some of each kind, but still have many left over! But that's okay. Luckily cookies work for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Lots of sugar, but oh so much yumminess!



Emily (music pastor's wife)

Linda (Church secretary)

Mindy

Rachel (senior pastor's wife and sister-in-law)

Sabrina (youth pastor's wife)



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December 8th!


Yesterday, Reed took me out to celebrate the anniversary of his marriage proposal. Two years ago he asked me to marry him! I can still remember how excited I was to step out on this new adventure. Saying Yes, was one of the best things I have ever done! Reed is such a wonderful husband and man of God that continues to amaze me everyday!

Last night Reed took me out to the Columbus Fish Market. This restaurant has the best seafood in town! The fish was so fresh and tasted SO good. I had a blackened Mahi Mahi, Shanghi style on a bed of sticky rice and spinach and Reed had the Shanghi Tilapia. It was probably the best Mahi Mahi I have ever had!

Afterward we headed to Sonic for some cheesecake bites! We LOVE their cheesecake bites! We had cheesecake bites for the first time on the night he proposed, and have had them every year since. Each year they change a little. This year they have a coating of chocolate and a caramel dipping sauce. Yum yum!



It was a great evening!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Adams Family


Reed and I just got back from enjoying Thanksgiving with his parents in Tennessee. We had such a great trip! It was our first time to see Phil and Cindy's new house, and we loved it! The Kleeman klan was also staying with us at the Adams' residence.
On Thanksgiving, we went out to eat at Ryan's restaurant with lots of family! Grandma and Grandpa Adams treated everyone to a large Thanksgiving feast. It was wonderful. I even got to meet several of the family that I hadn't met before.
After eating, we went to a beautiful park and took some pictures. Then we went back to the Adams' house and spent time just hanging out and watched football. It was a great day!


The whole family together!

All of the cousins with Grandma and Grandpa!


The Adams and Kleeman family!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!


Dad, I hope you have a wonderful day! I love you so much! Thank you for always being such an incredible godly example and for raising me up to know the Lord! You have taught me so much and I am forever grateful! I love you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Challenges!

This is how I have been feeling as a substitute! Woe is me! Feel bad for me!!!



Okay. . . I am over it! Monday will be a great day! Yeah for Elementary students!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Hard Day!

Today I was at another downtown school where I taught seventh and eighth graders. These were tough kids that were very disrespectful from the beginning. I found myself developing a horrible headache in the morning that progressed into a pretty major migraine.
Sometimes I just don't understand what the school systems are thinking. I was given 8th grade boys recess and lunch duty. I was the only girl in the entire gym full of boys playing football, basketball, etc. If a fight were to break out, everyone knew that I wasn't going to be able to stop it. Why was I given that job?
The worst part of the day was my 8th period class. These students were so rude to each other and to me. I don't think I had their attention during any of the class period. They were suppose to be doing busy work, which meant that, instead, they were up running around, yelling, talking across the room, writing notes, making paper airplanes, etc. Anything but working. It was so frustrating and nothing I seemed to say or do mattered. I would send a kid to another room or to the office and it didn't even phase the others. In fact, I had students ask me to send them to the office. They didn't care a bit!
At the end of the day, while I was collecting papers by the door as kids headed home, my cell phone was stolen. It had been on the teacher's desk to help me tell the time. The classroom clock didn't match the bell system, so I was using my phone to help me out. I had only left it for a second, and someone snatched it up. I was so disappointed! Once again, the Columbus students had let me down and I had lost control.
Another one of the teachers called my phone and a student actually answered but didn't say anything, so the teacher wasn't able to recognize his/her voice. When I went to go make a report in the office, the secretary told me that they didn't have anything for me because I was just a substitute! She said that the only thing I could do was to make a police report at the police station.
So needless to say, I don't have my phone anymore and had to have it turned off. I am going to try to get a new phone tomorrow, with a new number. Reed and I have been waiting to get Ohio numbers and get on a family plan, so we'll go ahead and do that tomorrow. You may receive a text or call from us soon with our new numbers. It's just a bummer that I don't have my list of numbers anymore or old pictures. Oh, well. I guess I am lucky that it wasn't my purse that was taken. I've been through that before, and really don't care to ever have it happen again.
There are two very frustrating things that have come out of today. The first thing is that, I try so hard to be careful about where I leave things because I have dealt with identity theft before, and then it happens AGAIN, to me.
Secondly, I have been waking up everyday trying to prepare myself for a good day of teaching and praying for the students and the whole day and get excited about another opportunity to teach, yet I come home defeated and beat up.
I have always felt like teaching is one of my spiritual gifts and LOVE doing it. So why is this SO hard and Why do I feel like such a failure?
Luckily I have the next couple of days to rejuvenate and seek God's counsel about teaching. I haven't given up just yet, but feel pretty sad about most of my experiences so far with the downtown schools.
The other lucky thing for me is my supportive hubby! Reed is SO great about taking care of me through my frustrations and stress! God definitely knew what He was doing when He was putting us together, I don't know how I made it through my tough days before him. All I know now is that I am so thankful to have him in my life and love him SO much!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Still Learning

Well, the last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy! I can always tell that the holidays are approaching when our schedules get busier and when it seems like we have activities every night of the week. Although the pace of life has picked up dramatically, things have been really good and God has blessed us immensely! I feel like God is teaching us new things everyday, and we are trying so hard to pick up on what it is that we are suppose to be doing.

We have gotten our house in enough order to have people over for dinner the last two Fridays. Wahoo! It always feels rewarding to work so hard and feel like a project it finally done. . . or getting that way. We have a few more pictures to hang, but otherwise, our house looks great. It is beginning to feel like our home!

I also started substitute teaching this last week, so my schedule has been pretty crazy. The biggest transition I have had to make has been with my sleep. I am kind of weak when it comes to sleep and need AT LEAST 7 hours in order to function at a decent level. Since I hadn't really been working before this week, I got use to staying up late with Reed till midnight or later, most nights and didn't wake up until around 8:30 a.m. But with teaching, I just can't do that. My first job was on Wednesday where I had to be at the school in downtown Columbus by 7:15 a.m. I had to get up at 5:00 a.m., which was brutal. I also didn't get a real lunch break, which made for a LONG day, with low energy!

I am hoping that my first day of subbing, will go down in my history book as being the worst subbing experience I will ever have! The day really was horrible and didn't seem to go by fast enough. I was teaching high school math at a downtown high school, where I was definitely at a HUGE disadvantage. This was a school where students only make it to class 2 to 3 days a week, if the teacher is lucky. I witnessed a fight right outside my classroom before the day had even started. During first period, a student came into my class a half hour into things with blood all over his right hand and arm, and with his face all scratched up and bleeding. He had just been in a fight and proceeded to interrupt the class by explaining to the class what he had just done. Because he had a tardy slip from the office, I wasn't sure if the office already knew about the fight, or if it happened on his way to class. And I also didn't know the protocol, since I was just the sub. It was crazy! The kids were so disrespectful the whole entire day. I didn't have control of a single class. I was SO out of my comfort zone and felt like I couldn't make a difference being there. All I did was play refferie with kids fighting in the classroom and asked students to stop cussing, be disrespectful, get off the computers, sit down and do class work. It was CRAZY! I had great support from the other teachers around me and the administration, but it was definitely not where I should be teaching. I am just not equipped to handle these students. The whole experience made me SO sad. My heart was broken for these kids! They need Jesus so badly and just need role models in their lives to show them how to treat adults, women, and each other! They need godly men to raise them and show them how to be real men and godly women to show them how to be respectful to men and be captivating. I went home and just couldn't help but cry and be sad for them and felt like a complete failure!

The one thing that I have struggled with in my life, more often than anything else, has been control. And Satan knows this and always tries to make me aware of how out of control I truly am. The fact that I had no control in this classroom just devastated me! I kept thinking about how teaching just may not be the thing for me and how horrible of a person I was for even thinking that I could handle it. I was dwelling on these lies all day long, which produced so much anxiety in my head and in my heart! And anxiety is something I struggle with anyway, so it was pretty bad. I realize now that the inner battle I was having, was definitely spiritual.

The whole experience made me realize how important memorizing scripture really is. And though I would love to tell you that every time I had a negative thought run through my brain, I thought of a verse from God's Word that encouraged me, this just did not happen. It wasn't until I was at home, in my own tears, that I realized the real battle that was going on that day. Satan wanted to make sure I knew how real he was in this world, and it truly broke my heart.

After spending some time in my own sorrow, I put myself back together and headed off to church, to work with the elementary kids for our Wednesday night program.
Suddenly the kids that usually "act up" and drive me crazy, didn't seem so bad and actually looked like little angels. This is when God opened my eyes to see how there is still good and hope in this world! I suddenly loved the most troublesome kid in that room, and it made me excited. It made me excited to know that I actually do have a chance to try to change things for some kids, and I had hope for this world. The kids at our church are trying SO hard to follow Christ, and it is refreshing!

I suddenly was excited to teach again. Although it is hard to explain the transformation I had on Wednesday, I know that I am forever changed. Isn't it amazing how many times, God uses kids to redirect you and open your eyes to His love and goodness?

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach middle schoolers. I absolutely had an AMAZING day! I love these kids! Especially the 6th graders! This is such a transition time for these kids! This is where I want to focus and try to get to them before they become like the high schoolers I encountered Wednesday. These kids have not yet given up hope in this world and haven't given in to the "survival of the fittest" mentality. The window of opportunity is SO small at this time for these kids. They learn so quickly how evil this world really is and sadly give in, so easily, because it is the easy way out and Satan makes things appear to be safe and so appealing.

This is where I want to invest my time and energy! I want to make a difference in these kids' lives! I remember the transition I made during this time of my life, as well. Although I tried to stay the course of the Christian life, I did struggle and had so many friends that went astray. I wanted, so badly, to be popular and have kids like me. What happened each day at school consumed all of my thoughts. I wanted to have the fun and pretty girls want to be my friends and I wanted the most popular boys to be my boyfriends and want to hang out with me. And that was what consumed my thoughts. Looking back, it seems so ridiculous, but I know that some of the events that happened those years made huge impressions on my life.

So with all of that said. . . I want to teach and I am so excited about this new adventure I am on! I am teaching at a middle school again on Monday, which I am really excited about!

But God is not just teaching me! I am encouraged, everyday, when Reed comes home and tells me of the things God has been teaching him, as well. He is growing SO MUCH and I just LOVE watching him become the man that God designed him to be! I can't think of another person who tries so hard to do it right. I am so proud of him! I still don't understand how I got to be so lucky. I love being his partner in ministry! I feel so blessed to have such a great man by my side!

God is GOOD!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Audrey's Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup!

Emily asked for the recipe I used for the chicken soup I made yesterday, so I thought I would just post it. It was SOOOO good! I used Sandra Lee's recipe and just changed a few things to make it better and more Audrey style! I love taking recipes and changing them out to make them healthier, or just plain yummier. Here it is:



2 frozen chicken breasts (I boiled them in water for 15 minutes and then shredded them)
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
4 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth (I like Swanson's the best. You could always use bouillon cubes and water too)
1 (10.75-ounce) can
98 % fat free condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75-ounce) can 98 % fat free condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 Cups Amish Country Old Fashioned Noodles, cooked (You could also use egg noodles)

Put the chicken into a slow cooker along with the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir in broth, mushroom and chicken soups, and poultry seasoning, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.

When soup is finished, stir in cooked noodles. Adjust seasonings and serve.


It made a ton of soup! It is suppose to serve 8.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beautiful Fall Day!

Today was such a beautiful day! It ended up being about 70 degrees outside with no clouds in the sky! I love looking at the trees this time of year! They are so beautiful! We have such an incredibly creative God! He never ceases to amaze me!

Reed and I decided to take a bike ride on a trail right by our house that goes along Alum Creek. The trail goes all the way through Westerville, where we live.






We saw this little snake along the road, and snapped a picture before it headed into the woods.



We were not sure what this was, but saw it on our way home, along the trail.

After our little outing, we came home and washed our cars. It was perfect weather! It's so nice to have a garage and driveway now! No more parking in a parking lot next to a condo or apartment complex!
We then headed to the store to pick up some last minute candy for trick or treaters. We bought the full size candy bars, since we probably won't get many kids. Hopefully we'll get a few though! Not likely though, since it is already after 8:00 p.m. here. I guess Reed and I will have to eat them! We bought a box of candy bars at Costco last year and went over to Emily and Travis' place. We didn't have any trick or treaters then either! Last year the candy bars lasted us till Spring!

After our trip to the store, we had homemade creamy chicken noodle soup that I cooked all day in a slow cooker. It was sooooo good and perfect for our beautiful fall day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finally!


I received a call from Columbus City Schools today letting me know that I was issued my substitute teaching license! Hurray! I have really enjoyed my time off and the little bit of babysitting I have been doing, but it will be nice to get into the classroom and start interacting with kids. And the money will help too! I have an orientation class next Thursday, the 6th and then I believe I have to attend an all day Saturday seminar (not sure which Saturday, yet) before I can begin to teach. Things are finally moving along though, so hopefully it won't take too long. I guess I only have a little bit longer to get our house in order. Time to start unpacking the last of the boxes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Trunk or Treat!















Last night was Trunk or Treat at Beechwold Christian Church! We had a blast! It was so great to see people get together and have so much fun! We also had games, a devo and a chili cook-off! We were so lucky it didn't rain. The weather ended up being perfect. I was all prepared for it to be freezing, but it really wasn't. I had even packed my gloves and hand warmers, just in case I would need them.
We had a little over 200 people at our fun little event, including a few families from the community. We love our new church family!
This year Reed and I decided to go as bacon and a fried egg. Reed decorated his car as a toaster, as well. We were in the running for the best car decor, until they found out it was Reed's car. I guess the guy throwing the event, isn't suppose to win! Oh, well. We still had a lot of fun. Some of the trunks and costumes were amazing. It makes me wish we had put more time into ours. Luckily I have a whole year to get ready for our next Trunk or Treat!

Chase Mauger, son of our exec. pastor. They decorated their trunk with pinatas for kids to break, which were full of candy.

A few of my favorite costumes. . .

Transformer. . . although he wasn't sure what he transformed into.

Annakin, I think

Super hero and angel, I guess. . .

The Great Pumpkin

Chew Bacca! He was my favorite. I only got his picture going into a tunnel, in our relay race game, though. He was adorable. His brother was Darth Vader.

Dean Ringle, our county engineer, decided to have a propaganda car and handed out maps. He dressed up like a politician. Kinda funny! If I was a kid, I would feel jipped! No candy!


More fun cars



Runner Up

Winner

Reed announcing the winners of trunks and chili