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color me rad

we had the most fun running the color me rad 5k in fondren! hannah & I were so proud of kate & her friends… what a cool 5k as your first race! it was really fun to see friends from college & work all over the place… even a few students. this was a colorful way to spend an otherwise dreary saturday morning… so thankful the rain held off. yay for fun stuff going on (almost) literally in your own backyard.

p.s. all pictures courtesy of my dad who spent his saturday morning
dabbling in professional race photography.
you’re the best!

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dominican republic

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spent the week of spring break  in the dominican republic with david (& 34 new friends!), singing songs, playing with kids, eating granola bars & talkin about our favorite story. it was super beautiful with sunshine galore (& the most beautiful sunset flying into atlanta). but my very favorite part was the spanish– all day, every day. speaking it, listening to it, soaking it all in. but best of all, singing & worshiping in spanish.

I love the biblical parallel between the story of the tower of babel & the story of pentecost. the idea that god confused languages when people were using them to exalt themselves, yet later united languages when people wanted to use them to glorify him… that’s cool. one night while we were in the DR we went to a bilingual church service. it was glorious to see people worshiping in english & spanish… languages split due to human brokenness, but both being used to praise god anyway.

it was also really cool to see David playing worship music with a bunch of little spanish-speaking boys. while we live in the tension of babel & pentecost, confused but trying to understand… music speaks. it’s a gift, a tiny taste of what’s to come. I’m not sure if in heaven we’ll all speak the same language or different ones. but I’m pretty sure we’re all going to be able to understand one another. I’m excited.

major catch up

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avocado chicken salad makes me miss @emilygracestory       les mis with @reggiebroom & @hannahbroom. excited.

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things that have happened since I last really blogged: visit from beth & jacob & isabella & kirchbaby pt 2. betsy & stuart’s wedding + visit from christine! makin’ homemade christmas presents. christmas vacation. time with family. breaking my four year no puke or fever streak (in related news, david & I watched a whole season of lost while i recovered). trip to kosciusko. jared & annaclaire got married. we acquired a grill (thanks mom & dad) & used it. pizza night with roomies. such a good lunch with my mom. learning to be a better teacher. cooking new things. reading reading reading. settler’s of catan. visits from LA delta TFA friends. lots & lots more. but that will do. for now.

welcome to the neighborhood

two new friends.

these are two of my new friends. you see, I really like where I live. it’s quirky & close to everything & there’s a farmer’s market that just opened around the corner & a park where people hang out. but my very favorite part of this move so far has been my neighbors. I love neighbors. neighbors are a big part of why I wanted to move here. & I was not disappointed–I met seven of them in the first two days.

to be perfectly fair, I’m probably a bit more excited about the neighbors than they are about me. as my family helped me move, whenever they would see someone venture out, they’d say “hey ruth ann… a neighbor’s outside” and I would (at times literally) chase after whatever poor soul had poked his or her head outside. “hi my name is ruth ann and I’m new here and I live in the tan house down there and it’s so nice to meet you what’s your name oh that’s lovely I’m a teacher how long have you lived here that’s so nice.” andddd breathe. but friendliness pays off & I’m now acquainted with most of my street.

ms. margaret was one of the ones I chased down. she introduced herself by saying “hi, my name is margaret & I serve the lord jesus.” I excitedly explained that I did as well. she then wanted to know where I went to church & if we “baptized in jesus name.” I thought about that for a couple of seconds & replied that yes, I was pretty sure we did. she then sent me home with three tracts.

kevin saw me working in my backyard & yelled “welcome to the neighborhood!” I was ecstatic. someone was welcoming me to the neighborhood instead of me running after them. I could hardly believe it. kevin then continued to say, “I live in that house down there with my partner, christopher. he’s black. do you have a dog?” a lot to take in at once. I said, “no, I don’t” & then followed up with what seemed like the logical reply “…do you?” he very decidedly replied, “yes, I do. and he’s viscous. if you see me walking him, run the other way. because he’s viscous.” welcome to the neighborhood indeed.

& there are so many others. a magazine writer, a widow w/ a beautiful flower garden, a med student, a photographer, an artist, a girl who worked for Mississippi Teacher Corps… the list goes on & on. my favorite new acquaintance this week has been james. he has six puppies that he’s selling but no one is picking them up til this weekend so every afternoon he knocks on my door with a different puppy in tow. the puppy drinks milk in my kitchen while james & I drink orange juice at the table. it’s a good way to spend a july afternoon.

I’m thankful to live in a community that’s so open. & I’m excited to see what God will teach me through this wonderful, eclectic group of people. I’m already kind of in love with them… but I’m still planning on steering clear of the “viscous dog.”

jacktown

twilight in the delta. He made it & it was so, so good.

such a good weekend, full of friends & love & “real food” & community & swimming & catching up… with people & sleep. then, driving back to Cleveland  I saw the most beautiful twilight I’ve seen in a long time. rust red around the horizon, deep navy sky, crescent moon. as with most of the best things in life, pictures don’t do it justice.

I’m happy to be back at Delta State, but oh, I’m excited about moving back to Jackson. all my friends here are going off to new places, but I feel like I’m just coming home. you see, when I first went to college it took me a little bit to adjust to cafeteria food & dorm life. in the afternoons, though, I would mapquest new places to go in Jackson, scribble the directions on a napkin (this was before iPhones, kids), get in my car & go explore. some days I would just get lost on purpose & try to find my way back to clinton. I played in Fondren most of the time, but slowly the whole city started coming together for me. I learned where the good cheap food is, where Clinton Blvd turns into Woodrow Wilson, how to manage rush hour, & when it was better to just take Northside all the way back.

as beautiful as it is, this city has a lot of problems. there was the Melton scandal. crime rates aren’t pretty. the roads are so potholed that they’re occasionally just plain dangerous (ex: Fortification St). the school system is over budget & dealing with accreditation problems. “white flight” is a little better, but continues to be an issue. yet despite the multitude of complex issues she struggles with, Jackson delights me. I think it’s because her story is just like ours… beautiful, full of talent & resources. corrupted by the fall. & yet still spilling over with potential, the possibility of new life. (plus I think it’s cool that Starbucks & Walmart are practically nonexistent here.)

things are happening here. new businesses are thriving. there’s a farmer’s market that just opened right down the road from my house. I’m so excited about the pix/capri revamp. 43 of this year’s TFA Delta corps members are teaching in Jackson. local churches are stepping up & reaching out. I couldn’t be more excited to make Jackson my home for a little while & introduce 42 new friends to her. she’s broken, but oh, it’s evident that the Lord is working through his people to restore & redeem her, to buy her back. I’m confident that living & working here is going to teach me so much about the heart of God… & if I can have one fraction of his jealousy for this city, well, it’ll be a real good year.

p.s. here’s florence + the machine covering ‘jackson’ by johnny cash.
way better theme than that kid rock song.

mismatched

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a few weeks ago I went house hunting & this past week was the first bit of training for my Big Girl Job. so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of grownup I want to be. when I was in high school, I thought people in college were really old and mature. then I got to college & felt young & scared & lost… but I thought people who had graduated & were working seemed really put together. now I have a job & a house & I still feel about 15 years old. I am realizing that I might never feel exactly like an adult… but that doesn’t meant I’m not (very slowly) becoming one.

back in May when I went to the graduation before mine, I was running a little late so I pulled back my wet hair in a barrette & put on clothes that only mostly matched & hopped on my bike & peddled over. & I vividly remember thinking, today I’m supposed to grow up a little… I hope that I don’t lose this when I grow up. I hope I still don’t worry too much about things matching. I hope I still ride my bike and don’t worry about it making my hair messy. I hope I sometimes stay up really late even when I know better. I hope that, if I get married, I marry someone who writes things on the bathroom mirror that need to be erased real quick before kids come in the room. and I hope that, if I have kids, I sometimes put them in the car at 9pm and take them through the sonic drive thru in their pjs to order ice cream. (but only sometimes because sugar is bad for you and kids need sleep or they are awful cranky.)

basically, I think what I have realized recently is that, if you are not real watchful when you’re younger, it is incredibly easy to wake up & realize that you are living a boring adult life. and you know… it’s ok if my life is really hard. but I sure don’t ever want it to be boring.

(p.s. perhaps seemingly in conflict with this post, here’s a great article on why we need boring christians. I think it’s important to clarify that when I say I don’t want a boring life, I don’t mean I think your life is boring if you don’t move to Africa or start your own nonprofit or sky drive on the weekends. I think pursuing the Kingdom is the most exciting thing that anyone can ever be involved with… whether it happens in Kenya or at the kitchen table.)

california, etc.

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californiaaaaa. we saw lots of zoo animals, rode around in a 15 passenger van, ate frozen yogurt, & spent lots of time with sweet, sweet friends. it was not as sunny as I had expected & even downright cold at some points. but what it lacked in sunshine it made up for in avocado. now it’s off to get my body back on central time. but first…

:: preordered the new welcome wagon CD. real excited. also, check out their ep here for free!

:: realizing just how much more I retain when I write down things that I read. it’s crazy different. good thing to remember in teaching, I guess.

:: I’ve been reading lots of Teach for America pre-institute stuff. learning tons about racism & health care & criminal justice & school funding. a lot of it is really rough to think about… here’s a good article about food stamp fraud & the often complicated situations that lie beneath.

:: this video is real simple but it makes me smile a lot.

& now it’s a time for a couple of days of packing & moving & house hunting… then a weekend of celebrating birthdays & marriages with friends… then this next little chapter of life in the Delta.

p.s. thanks to sister’s iPhone for the pictures!