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hey friends & family,

this blog is moving! it has a new name & a new location & david might even write on it once in a blue moon. check it out here:

gathering moss.

if you subscribe, you can update your subscription by going over to the new blog & clicking ‘follow’ in the right hand side bar.

thanks for reading along & making this little online adventure more fun & fulfilling than I ever would have thought.

– ruth ann


how to survive delta institute

if you haven’t taught for america or you’re not about to teach for america, this post probably won’t interest you very much. basically,  one component of the program is something called institute. essentially, they put eight hundred of you in dorms & bus you all off to schools at 5am & you sweat through professional clothes & learn to be a teacher. it’s more fun than it sounds.

now for people who know what I’m talking about… this is a little bit belated, because ya’ll are probably just entering the throes of institute. but here are a few thoughts from someone who has been there.

1 :: read teach like a champion before you get there. the pre work is awesome, but largely abstract. teach like a chamption is so incredibly practical. some of the stuff is gonna be hard to conceptualize if you’ve never been in a classroom, but at least read the chapters “cold call” & “no opt out.”

2 :: bring dvds. no, you won’t have time to marathon a season of the wire. yes, you will sometimes want to watch an episode of the office or friends after a long day. it’s a good chill thing to do with your roommate/hall mates. the internet at delta state was super slow last year so unless that’s been fixed, netflix & hulu are not viable options. bring a funny movie or a season of your favorite tv show on dvd.

3 :: if you’re a girl, load up on the cardigans. delta state is cold. buuut the buses are h-o-t (unless you’re one of those people that always manages to score that one bus with AC). to cope with the stifling bus heat, I had a uniform of sorts–sleeveless sundress w/ a cardigan or a button up shirt over a tank top. on the bus i wore either just the dress or the tank top minus the cardigan/button up. then i just got professional when we pulled up in the parking lot. if you’re a guy…. you’re gonna be hot. i’m sorry.

4 :: if you work at one of the sites that’s about an hour or so away (& most of you will), then you will have about 48 total hours of bus time over the course of institute. I probably slept for 45 of those hours. if you can sleep on a school bus, do it. if not, have books or podcasts or whatever it is you non sleeping people do. just realize that bus time is a substantial chunk of time & use it wisely.

5 :: the food situation… i’m not gonna lie, delta state lunches were rough. bring granola bars or something. as far as dinner in the caf goes, the pizza was good and the salad bar was decent. there’s a good breakfast place on hwy 82. airport grocery was yummy. the warehouse took a really long time (& was overpriced for entrees, in my opinion) but their potato soup to go is really good if you happen to get sick for a week like I did. there’s no microwave in lawler hawkins, so you will be disappointed if you bring popcorn (speaking from experience). also: the fridge is small for 250 people to share. don’t be the guy that left his cafeteria pizza to go box in there for two weeks. DO be the guy that got a huge box of those freeze pops & put them in the freezer with a note that said other people were welcome to take one. we liked that guy.

6 :: I am not a morning person & I need a good amount of sleep to be functional. things I did to get around the institute sleep situation: use dry shampoo (I never showered in the morning during institute), & get both breakfast to go and lunch to go.

7 :: fun stuff to do… there’s a pool that you can pay $5 to use if you’re TFA, ask around. that’s really nice to do one saturday afternoon. we drove to the movies in greenville at least twice. we also drove to greenville for 4th of july but it wasn’t worth it– cleveland’s fireworks were WAY better. go eat lunch at the crown in indianola (disclaimer: I haven’t been but I’ve only heard fabulous things). get yogurt at matty & suzette’s frozen yogurt place & then tell everyone else you see to also get yogurt at said yogurt place. if you’re really feeling adventurous (or needy), come to jackson… there’s an apple store (if, heaven forbid, you have computer woes), places to get professional clothes if you need more, ethnic food (!!!), an art museum with a kick butt mississippi art exhibit… & my house, where you are welcome to stay. I’ll feed you chocolate chip cookies. my husband makes good coffee.

8 :: enjoy your institute experience to the fullest. TFA isn’t perfect & institute isn’t perfect. but it’s pretty incredible… not because it teaches you how to be the best teacher ever in four weeks (it doesn’t). but because you will never ever be surrounded by that kind of talent, resources, & coaching again. you will never have UNLIMITED PAPER & COPIES ever again. you will never have that coach to learner ratio again. you might never have in person advice from national specialists in your content area… ever again. you probably won’t have people passing out playdough, popsicles & high fives in your placement school. whenever my teacher friends & i get together, we don’t talk about how awful instute was… we talk about how sometimes we wish we still lived in institute world.

that said, I wouldn’t go back. institute world was fun, but it’s not the real world. I miss all the coaching & advice. I miss free copying & it being ok not to know anything about anything. but I love being in my real community, working with kids that are my kids for as long as I can stay (way longer than 5 weeks), living in a house with an oven & friends just around the corner. when institute seems absolutely insurmountable, take a deep breath & remind yourself… institute is awesome. & institute is temporary.

go forth & conquer, friends. for better or for worse, you’ll remember it forever.

just like that

"& all those times you didn't leave it's been occurring to me I would like to hang out with you for my whole life."
& just like that, we got married. it was a perfect day, in the truest sense of the word… full of worship, full of joy, full of the people we love best–people who have loved us so well along this journey.

when you’ve been dating someone seriously for a long time, sometimes in the stress of wedding planning it all just starts to feel like a formality–something that you have to do so you can live together & merge bank accounts & share health insurance & stuff. it can especially start to feel like that when you work full time up until the day before the wedding. but when sunday finally got there & my sister & mom zipped my dress & I tapped david on the shoulder & we stood in a room with some of our favorite people & favorite music… it didn’t feel like a formality at all. it felt special & meaningful. holy. I had expected to be really nervous throughout the ceremony & love the reception but it was really the opposite. the reception was hectic (in a good way!), but the ceremony I’ll remember forever. we’re so thankful to jenn & ronnie, kevin & carrie, & especially drew for making that forty five minutes so special to us. it was a tiny bit of glue that we trust God in his graciousness will use as he continues to make us one.

when people have asked us how marriage is, we’ve been explaining like this: “well, it’s been 3/8/12 days & we’re still together.” & that’s true. we’ve already cried & had fights (& also lots of fun & joy), but  we’re still together. but really, we’re not just together. we’re beginning the journey of our favorite part of our vows. I will join with you in the mission God has entrusted to us. making the kingdom come. tomorrow is 13 days… here’s to the next 13… & the 13 after that. God is gracious. & his kingdom is worth all.

p.s. thanks to carianne for these pictures.
it was obviously a bit difficult for me to take any.

love & marriage & fighting in the truck

@dmossthered & I went on our first date again last night. except this one didn't end in me refusing to be his girlfriend. ;) glad I changed my mind.
thursday night david & I went on our first day again. except for this time it did not end in me refusing to be his girlfriend. it was a lot more fun the second time, too. just saying.

sometimes people ask me when I knew I wanted to marry David. I know exactly when I decided that, actually. & it wasn’t in the middle of a dinner date or a walk at the was during a fight in his truck. we were in the middle of a big argument–one of those where you get buried in selfishness and you can’t see the other person’s side. I said something unkind & then sat withdrawn, crying in the passenger seat. it got really quiet. & then I heard the noise of someone opening their mouth to say something. & I braced myself for something pretty bad. I deserved it, I reasoned. but instead, I heard David say calmly & decisively, “Ruth Ann, I love you & I’m really glad I’m with you right now.”

sometimes weddings seem really perfect. I’ve sat in the pew, wondering if it was even possible for me to ever have a relationship like the one on stage. & today, David & I are going to be the ones standing at the front. but we can tell you that our relationship has not been perfect. we’ve had conflict–not just the where should we eat dinner kind, but the curled up in a ball sobbing kind. we’ve wronged each other numerous times & we have failures of communication. sometimes we just get in a bad mood.

David’s & my relationship isn’t perfect. but it’s good–beautifully, gloriously good. the God of grace rescues us from ourselves time & time again– giving us mercy for one another, pricking us to strive for peace, making us one. making us new. ultimately I think we could both agree that being together has been an adventure in not getting what we deserve. expecting cold words from the drivers seat & receiving a loving embrace instead. deserving judgement & receiving understanding. we don’t do this perfectly. but we’re learning.

we met studying the book of Romans & decided we had feelings for each other translating 1 John from ancient Greek to English. in our Greek class the professor called roll by how many hours you studied. spending so much time together in the Word forced us to think about a lot of things. & the part of 1 John I dwell on over & over is in chapter four. We love because He first loved us. 

& we do. David & I both deserved death & received life… life abundant, spilling over with joy. any love & grace we have with one another is born out of the great love–the never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always & forever love–that we’ve been shown. we’re exciting to share a tiny smidge of that love with one another today. this is a good life that we get to live. thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

life lately

walkin to mcdades. ooey gooey caramel brownies. honeymoon plans. watching craigslist joe with jordyn (pretty good). “international fun day” at school. mom & dad helping us unpack. david got a (real good) job!! nathan graduated from high school. 900 pieces of paper graded & tracked. popsicles on the stoop with neighborhood kids. mexican street corn (another shauna recipe). campbell’s real fast with helen. sunshine, finally. last minute wedding stuff. almost there.



so I had my first ever grown up birthday a week & a half ago. & it was a lot better than I had expected. sister came & ate lunch in the cafeteria with me & my second grade birthday twin. came home to lots of surprises from the best boy & then we went to babalu & the park. to top it all off, I kind of dozed on and off through a really good documentary about a middle school chess team (brooklyn castle, check it out). the other weekend I had the epiphany that, if I want to stay awake for a movie, I need to watch it in the morning. sure enough, last sunday morning david & I watched avengers & I made it through the whole thing like a champ.

also, david got me sunflowers on my birthday. which was exactly 11 days ago. said sunflowers are still lovely looking. I marvel at this fact repeatedly to anyone who will listen. I’m pretty sure God knew we needed a little extra sun in the midst of all this moving mess. so I’m thankful for magic long-living sunflowers, friends who love me & the God who has been faithful throughout the craziest year of life yet.

moving on out


playing catch up due to lack of Internet at new house. back up & running now, thanks dad!

we spent the majority of the first weekend in May yard saling & moving. we made a surprisingly large amount of money selling things we don’t want anymore, & then gave a lot more to goodwill, plus filled the street with hefty bags. cleaning out is good.

we’re now nestled in our little house. or jenna & I are, anyway. it’s overflowing with boxes & we’re still working on clearing off floor space. but David & I are very thankful–for kind neighbors, parents who surprised us at the yard sale (!), the most flexible room mate in the world, friends who came to hang out, & a sister/a wilson who spent most of their weekend loving us very tangibly. life is good in fondren. even if it’s a bit cluttered right now.