>The beginning of the goodbyes

>Tonight, my amazing [and tall] friend Megan hosted a little get-together after practice for the worship band.. kind of a going-away party. Megan made this ammmmaaazing ice cream pie with Oreos, ice cream, homemade fudge sauce, Spanish peanuts and Cool Whip (Oreo Orgy, anyone? Haha). She also made the first guacamole I ever liked. Leigh Ann, Pastor Rick’s wife, made this lovely strawberry pie with whole strawberries and real whipped cream. Kim, one of the vocalists, made hummus and brought rice crackers… I want the recipe!

I seriously love the members of the worship band… and I give a huge shout-out to them for all their hard work. We’ve really gelled as a band in the past few years, and I have been amazed at my own progress as a musician and vocalist. It’s so fun, too, when you are actually friends with people you play with… it makes it all worth it.

This Sunday was going to be my last on stage, but because of Aaron’s delay, next weekend (the 19th) will be my last. We then will be around for two more Sundays before heading to Texas.

I cried a little tonight.. I realized how much I mean to many people, and I know they’ll miss me. Sometimes I feel guilty because I’m not all that sad. And I don’t think I should be. At the same time, I have no idea of what it feels like to move more than 15 miles away from my hometown, and all my friends and family. It will be an interesting journey.

I’m looking forward to the dinners, movies, hanging out, runs, and bike rides before I leave. Late night talks, ice cream outings, lazing around the pool. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great set of friends. Thanks, Faith, for being so amazing! I will miss all of you, but I know God has great plans for wherever we will go.

Leigh Ann told me that after Aaron’s out of the Army, we should come back and raise our family here and the church will be our home base for world missions. Tempting offer….

Amelia, Steve, Leigh Ann, Megan, myself, Terry, Joe, Andrew, Kim, Aaron, Patrick

>Basking in fellowship

>After second service, we had First Sunday Lunch. This day should get a gold star for awesomeness. Someone in the church cooks a bunch of amazing homemade food, and you get to enjoy a meal with friends. And it’s only a few dollars! Today’s proceeds went to the Czech Republic missions trip happening in July.

I had a great time visiting with friends who have become family… they’ve supported me (sometimes physically with their shoulders!), encouraged me and spoken the truth in love. My friends from the worship team have really made that ministry so worth the time and effort that go into it. Never have I felt such a camaraderie between members. Today we really seemed to gel as a band, and I had a fantastic time rocking out on the keys.

I will miss my church family. Aaron and I have been blessed to have some amazing pastors and church families over the past several years, and leaving is always bittersweet. Moving on is tough, and it’s hard to imagine that I have more room in my heart for even more amazing relationships. The body of Christ is a dynamic and ingenious creation.

Something else I love about our church that I haven’t had a chance to see anywhere else is how everyone helps with each others’ children. Everyone watches out for all the kids.. everyone chases after them.. all the kids seem to love each other. And let me tell you, people in our church make some cute kids! When we first came to Faith, we said to ourselves, “Yeah, we could definitely raise our kids here!”

I have two Sundays left. Next Sunday is my last playing/singing on the worship team. Father’s Day weekend whether or not Aaron is home I hope to go to Highland Games in Itasca with my brother- and sister-in-law, and the weekend after we plan on visiting friends and Stone Creek Church in Urbana. Then we will be back at Faith for our last Sunday, July 3.

>God is…

>…the Great Healer.. Jehovah Raphe. I’ve heard story after story of God doing amazing things when people go in for surgery.. like the doctors can’t find that there was cancer or an infection, or people who have been in crazy car accidents (my sister) and should have died but came out relatively unscathed (if she hadn’t turned the wheel in a gut reaction she would have hit a tree head on).

Over the next few days, I am praying for miracles for Carson LaDage, the son of Todd and Darla, friends of Aaron and me. I am also praying for healing for Liz Moffat, my grandmother’s cousin. You can click on the links to see more about them.

He can do anything! GOD IS ABLE. Please join with me in prayer and fasting.

>On the eve of a quarter of a century


April 22, 1986, is my birthday. Tonight at 2:34 AM (yes, I know the exact time; my mom has no problem rehashing my birth story over and over again, haha) I will turn 25 years old. And guess what? My attitude is: Bring. It. On. That was my attitude for last year too and it sure was an eventful year!
I am very content with passing this milestone. Not only because there’s the prospect of lower car insurance, but because of what I’ve accomplished in my life. My life rocks. Just sayin’. The only way it could be better is if my husband were here with me, or I with him. 
I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked in my life to get where I’m at now. And three years ago, Aaron and I joined each other on that journey. I worked my tail off in school and in college to be successful at something, and I am. I love saying, “I’m a teacher”. I’m proud of all the hours I spent in class, writing papers, and in practicum. I’m proud of the two years I taught high school; I’m not sure they could have been better. I like finding a part of my identity in education because I know it’s a profession I will always have to some capacity.
While I am not a mother yet, and honestly my whole life I thought I’d be one by now, I’m content with this decision we’ve made to wait a little while longer. I’m excited to finish out our twenties as just… us. (Unless, of course, God blesses with a child anyway).
I’m proud that I’ve made good decisions the last two years while Aaron’s been away. It could have been very easy for me to slip back into old habits of depression and pity parties. Instead, I grabbed life by the horns and made some positive changes that have resulted in a more mature, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding, and more relaxed Elizabeth. And I’m sure everyone is grateful for that. 😉
Tomorrow I have the day off. Easter is hardly ever this late, but I’m not complaining. It’s not every year I get to sleep in and then go out for an awesome steak dinner on my birthday! (Thanks Mom and Daddy!) [Yes, I did mean to say Daddy. :)]
So, tomorrow I’m looking forward to:
some of this:
dreaming about this:
seeing some of this:

having some of this for dinner:
some of this after dinner:

and the best part… talking with a certain someone:

>Even when

>I apologize for the seemingly constant changes to my blog “design”. I get bored easily; what can I say?

So I sit here on Tuesday evening, having been booted from RPM because I didn’t know that one had to reserve a spot for the evening RPM classes at the gym. Well, now I know. So I’ll use my energy (I burn ~500 calories in that class) to write a blog. If only writing burned calories…

Katie and I had an awesome race on Saturday. I will share with you a picture that I downloaded from runningguru.com.. I don’t think other nonprofessional pics from that day have been uploaded yet:

This is me with quite an interesting expression on my face PR’ing (personal record) this 5K. Yes, “PR” can be a verb. I crossed the finish line at 28:43, with a pace of 9:16, my fastest yet. It does not feel like I was running that fast, but it’s all relative.

I put my race pace into this calculator and it tells me that my marathon pace right now is 10:42, which amounts to approximately four hours and thirty-nine minutes of pure insanity. That’s not too shabby. Right now my personal goal is five hours, but I’m hoping that will change for the better as Gabriela and I train for this thang. Yes, thang.

My sister-in-law did awesome on her 5K.. she ran the whole thing and at her goal pace! So proud of her. I think the running bug has bitten her too.

I had another victory this weekend related to fitness: I weighed in at the gym last night fully expecting a weight gain of five pounds from my lowest recent weight, or 42-ish pounds down from December 2008. Alas, I am actually at the lowest weight I’ve been in over ten years (45 pounds LOST!). In 7th and 8th grade I gained height and then in my freshman/sophomore years of high school I grew into my height. I was never overweight until after high school. But daaaaang. It feels good! From all this running I’m starting to get two lines of definition in my calves. Sweet.

Sunday night I got home from visiting my Aaron’s oldest brother and his family at around five. I bought a little Christmas tree from a consignment shop and decided to put up it and the trimmings. You should have seen me. It was the most pathetic sight in awhile, what with my crying in between stringing the lights and putting on the ornaments.

In my prior frustration with this situation, I had let Aaron go on videochat because even to this day I hate letting him see me cry. I cry a heck of a lot in general, but I still don’t like him to see it. Anyway, I got through putting up the decorations and then I felt better. This is the first Christmas in eight years we’ve spent apart. I have to remember that no matter how hard it is for me, it’s equally so or more so because he doesn’t have family right there.

On a different topic than my private pity party, I miss teaching. You know it’s your calling when you’d rather do it than any other job. I really don’t mind what kind of teaching it is – piano, tutoring, Sylvan, whatever – I miss the interaction with students. They teach me probably more than I teach them. They inspire me, make me laugh, frustrate me, but I’m anticipating finding out our next duty station so I can look for a job.

Two-thousand ten has been by far the strangest year of my life. So much uncertainty, excitement, anticipation, disappointment, learning, growing, loving.

This week I look forward to work (day one of seven down), finally reading the Chronicles of Narnia, spending time with friends and family (and friends who are family!), talking to my husband, and what is life without watching Smallville over Skype?