Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We hope that this finds you and your family at the end of another blessed year. This year has marked many transitions in our life. We have been blessed by the incredible support of family and friends as we have transitioned from Pella, IA to Chicago, IL this fall. We are continually learning, growing and transitioning. We have grown, been stretched, struggled, rejoiced, and have been busying building new friendships and connections.

This Spring Matt finished his fifth and final year working at Central College Campus Ministries and Jenny finished her second and final year teaching Chemistry at Knoxville Community High School. This summer we had the opportunity to travel to Minnesota for a week long vacation with friends from Northwestern which was incredibly renewing, relaxing and a great deal of fun. The summer was also marked by a once in a life time opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise with Jenny’s parents and brother and sister-in-law to celebrate Steve and Laurie’s 30th wedding anniversary. We will cherish the memories we made that week whale watching, on a train ride, zip lining through the temperate rain forest and just spending time together as a family.

After a summer of vacation with family and friends we moved to Chicago, IL at the beginning of August. We were blessed with a beautiful two days and the help of family and friends to make our move smooth and successful. We are now living in student housing at McCormick Theological Seminary, where Matt is working towards his masters of divinity. We are blessed with a great place to live in a great neighborhood, Hyde Park, and great neighbors to share meals and life with. Jenny has been blessed with a teaching position that she has been dreaming about since her days as a student at Central College. She is teaching chemistry at Benito Juarez High School which is a Chicago Public School in the Pilsen neighborhood. Jenny’s first five months have been exciting, fun, challenging and a great fit. We are excited to see what the rest of the school year will bring.

Matt also has enjoyed his studies at the seminary with its challenges and blessings. As long as He gets a good report he will be finished with Greek and ready to move on to new areas of study during the second semester. We are enjoying our new location where we have found a new place of worship at New Life in Pilsen. God has brought us to Chicago where we are being challenged and blessed. We are excited to see how God will bless us in the coming year! Our prayer is that God would bless you and your families in the coming year that you may be blessed with challenges and opportunities to grow! We also join together in praying for the Messiah’s speedy return and may we be ready!

Matt and Jenny

Friday, November 20, 2009

They Didn't Say it Wouldn't Be Tough...

I hope that most of our posts are focused on the great things that are happening in Chicago. I hope that they shine light on the things that we love here and the amazing things that God is doing all around us. My hope and prayer in writing the blog is you would get a snapshot of what life is like and what we're up to. To be able to give you a true snapshot sometimes it is necessary to admit that sometimes its tough. As much as I love Chicago, love our church, my school and the opportunities we have had for friendships at the seminary frankly sometimes its hard. At times I feel like I'm studying abroad again. Going through stages of cultureshock through immersion in a new culture. Somedays it feels like home and on occasion it feels like I can't seem to get air and I get overwhelmed. Sometimes it feels that we have too little going on and too few connections in our new community and others it feels like we are totally swamped and over committed. Lesson plans that need to get done, church committments and activities, hanging out with friends, and of course studying, studying and more studying. No one ever said that this transition wouldn't be tough and I guess this morning I need to admit that at times it is. But please know that it is also good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Gift of Caring and Acknowledgement

Wow, today was a really run day. Today was the first day that I got my new "toy", um or should I say, educational technology tool, and in a word "AWESOME!". I don't know how to begin to share what a blessing all of you were and continue to be in caring for me and for my students. When I presented the technology to my students I started by saying, "There are people that you have never met nor will probably ever meet that care about you, your education and your future." They were shocked. Some students audibly said "No there's not", others "Yeah, right", yet others sat there with a perplexed and slightly amazed expression on their faces. As I continued to tell them the story of our new technology and how it came to be students were grateful, excited and for many of them one of the few moments in their educational career they have felt proud. They were able to have something that not many other people get to have. Our class has something special. They have something special and dare I suggest they may be someone special. We had an incredible day figuring it out, trouble shooting, them laughing at my "third grade hand writing" and them being very grateful for the new tool. One table of girls that had an exceptionally hard time seeing the board before had smiles from ear to ear and after I had finished notes for the day I asked them, so... and received heart felt, "that is awesome!".

We are excited. We are blessed. I am humbled. I hope that my students make you proud. They may not be on the honor roll, they may not go to an ivy league school, or maybe the will. Maybe one student will pass my class that wouldn't have been motivated to do so before. One student took notes today for the first time since he's been back at school (behavioral issues), maybe just maybe hope will be shared.

I know I have said it many times and I will say it again, we are blessed. Matt and I are blessed by incredible family, friends and support. I am amazed and a bit humbled to know that you are even reading this. Like Matt said in his last post we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to use the comments on the blog to let us know you're listening, facebook, email or a phone call. We will do our best to keep up our end of the deal as well.

To all of you that gave, thank you. To all of you that prayed, thank you. For all of you that continue to keep us in your thoughts, thank you. For those of you that have sent notes, emails, etc. thank you. You are wonderful and a blessing.

Ps... I will post pictures soon of my students and our new toy... I mean... educational technology tool. :-) (One student did tell me today that I was like a kid that just got a new toy for Christmas)

Friday, November 13, 2009

So I just read Jenny's last post and I was reminded how wonderful she is. On top of her many talents she is a great writer as she did a superb jog of summarizing the past month in a few short paragraphs! It's hard to believe we've only been in Chicago a few months as it is already feeling like home and we've gotten into the rhythm of our new life here. Having said that, I was reminded through a conversation with a fellow student and new friend how much I miss you all. As most of you realize, I haven't done a great job of staying in touch. However, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you all from time to time. Emails, phone calls, letters, notes of encouragement are always appreciated. My pledge to you is to do a better job of keeping you all in the loop with what is going on in my life in return. I'll respond to your direct contacts as well as attempt to keep this blog more up to date.
My classes are going fairly well. Sadly I did not do very well on my mid term Greek exam, but the professor has graciously agree to allow me to take an additional vocabulary test to make up for quite a few of my lost points. My other two classes (Introduction to Biblical Studies and Personal Inquiry Into Faithfulness) are going well. I just did a paper for IBS on Matthew 21:33-46 which is the parable of the tenants. It's pretty incredible the life a passage can take when you explore it from so many different perspectives. The perspective of those Jesus was talking to, the perspective of writer 50 years after Jesus' death and so many more perspectives. It was a tough paper, but all in all it was a good experience. Now I just hope the grade will reflect that!
In PIF we are talking about the sacrament of the Eucharist or communion. That has been fascinating and I have to write a paper on that for Tuesday. So classes are going well and we are in the home stretch. Only four weeks to go! I need to sign up for Jterm classes and Spring semester as well as decide if I'm going to do my CPE this summer. Needless to say, life keeps on and is very busy, but good. I've made at least one close friend and several other good friends. We hope that all of you are doing well and look forward to hearing from you and appreciate the past words of encouragement too!

Matt and Jenny

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Culture Shock, Craziness and the Comfort of Friends and Family

Well, it's almost been a month since my last post. I keep thinking, "I should really blog more often" or "It's about time I sit down and blog" and then I get so nervous about what I'm going to say or how I'm going to say it that I give up and walk away for another week. But at long last I'm here, and I have all intentions to finish this post (although I had those intentions the three other times I have sat down and started a post I had the same intention).

Over the last month I have been overwhelmed by how blessed we truly are. I recently posted about a need and desire for some new technology in my classroom. I was hoping there would be a chance that in the 5 month time span that the project would exist on DonorsChoose it might be finished. I was blown away that in 2 1/2 weeks that need was met. The portable, interactive whiteboard has been ordered and it should be here within the next two weeks. Each day I eagerly check the mail and dream about the impact it will have on my students. Each day I am inspired by your comments, your support and your trust to push myself and my student farther and to do the very best I can with what I have been given that day. I am reminded that we do not walk these journies alone, but are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and supportive friends and family close and far.

I am proud to say that I officially am a licensed, ENDORSED, Chemistry teacher in the state of Illinois! It took 8 weeks after school started, but it is official and I even have the piece of paper to prove it. It's comforting to know that after all of your support that I will be able to legally be able to continue to teach my kids afterall. :-) I have also discovered that the reason it was a bit difficult to get my first endorsement in science in Illinois is that they have restructured their system so once you have one science endorsement you have much more flexibility in teaching the other sciences. Which is phenomenal (although I won't believe it until I verify it from three separate sources), and will allow me more flexibility in the future as our needs at school change.

The latest news is that tomorrow, I will be beginning my master's work. It's a bit of a long and quick story. In short, we decided to make the sacrfices to allow me to work on my mater's while Matt is in school so that we can both finish. It is an online program that will also allow me to get certified in Billingual Education. I am really excited. Nervous and a more than a little worried of how this is all going to work but I trust in God's timing and His plan. I take one class at a time for five weeks, so I will start and take the first class and we'll reevaluate after that.

Life continues to be good, challenging, blessed, frustrating and inspiring. We recently celebrated the life of our dear friend, and my "thrid Grandpa" Frank on what would have been his 98th birthday. As we mourn the loss of a kind and wonderful spirit, we celebrated the man who inspired, that loved and we loved. We have had a fire in our apartment building (nothing serious), a friend's trip to the emergency room, a quick trip to Iowa (for the funeral), and in it all we are surrounded by supportive friends and family. When I become overwhelmed by culture shock, when I feel incompetent and out of my league, someone is always there at the right moment. When it feels like I am going to stay in bed forever and it will all just go away, I am reminded about the thoughts of friends and family that are supporting us along this journey. Thank you for your continued support. Thank you for your emails, facebook comments and continued support. We are blessed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What a Difference it Could Make...


Thanks for all the responses from the last post. It is humbling and a bit intimidating to know that people actually read these musing that I write. This time I am banking a bit that someone out there will read this. If you have been following along on our new chapter of this journey you know that this year I am teaching Juarez High School in Pilsen, Chicago.

I love my kids and we are actually blessed to have quite a few resources. However, for the past 6 weeks I have been writing in chalk, on a chalkboard. Yes, you read that correctly. Both of the classrooms that I teach in have old school chalkboards. Although being covered in chalk at the end of the day is a bit wearysome, it is managable. However, my breaking point is that my kids can't read the board. Because of the setup of the room only the top 1/3 of the board is viewable from the back of the room and the board erases so poorly that you can't read the new writing because of the old. There is a great website where teachers can dream and submit projects as a wish list and then donors can come online and donate to specific projects. I posted my first project this week. It is to purchase an interactive wireless device that would eliminate all need to write on the chalk board and is portable to both classrooms I teach in. It would all me to write notes on this interactive device and have them appear on the LCD projector. I would be able to save notes, mark up websites, etc. I would be able to hand the device to a student and from their seat they would be able to manipulate things on the projector at the front of the room. It is very similiar to an interactive chalkboard, just wireless, smaller and less expensive. However, less expensive still means $900 after shipping and processing fees. The Bill Gates foundation has funded 1/2 the project which leaves us needing $457.

It would be amazing to show my kids that the hard work they are putting in is being supported by people that they have never met. They are being thought of (and dare I say it even prayed for) by people who care about them and their future. I love my kids and wish them the very best. If you are in a position that you can finanically help with this pipe dream that would be amazing, if not we cherish your prayers. The following link will lead you to my project where you can donate (if you wish and are so able):

Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring for Matt and I so well. We are blessed by our amazing friends and family.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Learning, Living, Loving

It's hard to believe that midterm is already upon us, marked by grades being due increased stress and fatigue. Matt's first papers are due this week (two in two days). The air is getting cooler and snow fell yesterday. It's October and we are officially settled into the school year.

This weekend marked our first real trip home to Iowa since we moved back in late July/early August, I am sorry that we did not get to see many of you and we are making plans already for our next trip when we will see many more friends and family. It was a refreshing and renewing weekend. Home cooking. Time spent with both sets of parents. A crazy movie with Dad. Church and shrimp with Grandpa and family and of course a bit of driving to a fro.

It is wonderful to share about our new life in Chicago with friends and family back home. I am humbled and honored by the interest and care that our friends and family take in our new adventure but sometimes it is also difficult to put into words. Its hard to remember that my reality is now different from that of many of my friends and family and to be able to put into wordss and paint a picture of what I hold so dear.

When I'm asked "Your kids are 'inner city' right..." I don't know how to answer, because although my head says yes, my heart says no they are: Manuel, Bre'Sha, Richard, they are my kids not a label. When I talk about security guards and students wearing IDs in the hall I'm afraid that my listener sees a picture of an unwelcoming dangerous place, not a learning community that is a family striving to thrive in our environment. When I'm frustrated I hesitate to share because I want you to hear the joys not just the struggles. I want you to know the joy I have to go to school each day and be able to be with my kids. When we drove back to Chicago today we were coming home.

A dear friend of ours came to visit us a couple of weeks back and we were talking and they were wrestling with some life issues and what is their next step and they asked the question "What business do I have moving to a place like Pilsen (the neighborhood I teach in)?" and I have really been wrestling with that question since it was asked. Why am I here? What is my role as a caucasian teacher in a Latino neighborhood and a predominantly Latino school? Why am I here? and I continue to land at: We are here to learn, we are here to give our very best and we are here here because right now this is where God's got us.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

At last... a new update from Chicago


It has been almost three weeks since our last post and an incredible three weeks it has been. Chicago continues to feel more like home every week, however, every week we also begin to miss friends and family more and are longing for a visit sometime soon.

September 2nd marked my first day of official inservice training at school, and the 8th was finally the first day for our students. It was great to at last be back at school and beginning this next part of our journey. Working at Juarez this year is truly living a dream. The school and the students are fantastic and a great fit. A few stats: 90+% of our students are hispanic, 80% learned English as a second language, 98%ish of our students are low SES, and we were just informed that our school is on probation for the 13th consecutive year. Our school is a family where teachers are passionate about their students and striving to improve. Our students are respectful, courteous and great kids that are fighting an uphill battle to be successful. I know that this year will be full of learning and struggling with some serious issues that I am now living rather than just talking about in abstract terms.

Every year our school loses students to violence related deaths. Just last night on the news in two day 3 Chicago High School students (2 of which were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time) were killed due to gang related violence. In the first four months of 2008 nearly as many people were killed in the city of Chicago due to violence as US soldiers were killed in the war in Afghanistan. My kids are growing up in the midst of a war that they have nothing to do with but will mark the rest of their lives.

Illegal immigration will be another issue that will be close to my hear this year as I live with, teach and get to know students that are in the midst of the reality of being undocumented. I know that some of the issues I'm going to blog about our controversial, I hope and pray that you will give me grace and this space to be real as we learn and wrestle.

As any beginning of the school year is filled with hope, opportunities and excitement it also has been marked with stress, being overwhelmed and illness. I'm excited to get into a routine, gain confidence and get healthy.

We are blessed to continue to plug into the community both here at McCormick and at our church, to deepen relationships and have some connections here in Chicago. We knew that this move to Chicago would be a new chapter in our journey and we continue to live expectantly as this chapter unfolds.

Thank you for reading! You are a blessing in our lives. Feel free to post comments or shoot us an email: or, we would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A "B" Never Felt So Sweet!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just received a B in Greek I and I've never been happier to receive a B in my life! There was a day when I hated seeing "B's" on my report cards, but when I saw this grade I had to restrain myself from kissing my professor! I got my final back to day with my course grade. Now I have to get busy reviewing what I learned in Greek I so that I will be ready for Greek II which starts Thursday morning. Along with Greek I am enrolled in a Church History course and a Pilgrimage in Faith course. The one course I'm hoping and praying I'll get into is the Intro. to Biblical Studies Course. It sounds like I have a good shot at getting let into the already full course but time will tell. By the way, we did get approved for the temporary insurance so that I could register for classes. Thanks for your prayers and praise God for his providence!


Loving Life!

So the day after I was going to start 30 days of happiness I fell off the blogging world! (Oops!) It has been a great last week or so since my last post on the 1st of September. The next day (September 2nd) was my first official day as a Chicago Public School employee and my first day of inservice. The three days of inservice last week were great! I had been told by the principal earlier this fall that Juarez is a family it was very pleased to find out last week that it is. People are welcoming and friendly and very helpful (which is very useful when you still don't know how to get from point A to point B). It was a good three days of meetings and work time. Of course there is never enough time in the classroom to get ready and I always feel 6 steps behind.

Great news came on Thursday afternoon! I had the opportunity to chat with my prinicipal for a minute at the end of the day and he said: "Jennifer, I have great news. Your license is being taken care of and it is all going to be okay." That was a huge relief and led to a much more relaxed and exciting start to the school year.

We were blessed with a great Labor Day weekend and are continuing to build relationships in Chicago. Friday night we went to a shindig at McCormick, Saturday celebrated the first Sat. of college football and hung out with friends. Sunday we had a great time at church and had a wonderful time with some Northwestern friends. Monday was two picnics and it was time to crash to get ready for today.

I was excited for today and was blown away by the day. It is an incredible feeling to be where you know you are meant to be and to be living a dream that you have had for years. I know there will still be challening days, and students, but it was a great day 1. I'm really excited for the upcoming school year!

We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, phone calls and emails. We love you all dearly and are grateful for your support and continued friendships as we continue the journey in a new chapter. Matt has good news too... but I'll leave you in suspense and he'll post to let you know more.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Deep Breath

There is no doubt that moving is a learning experience. Mainly what I've learned is patience and faith. As you know it started with the certification/licensing process for Jenny and now I'm currently waiting to get temporary insurance so that I can register for seminary, meanwhile classes are quickly filling up. As much as I'd like to hurry the process along, all I can do is wait for the insurance company to get back to us. I think it's safe to say that God is teaching us to wait patiently and trust that He will provide. Your prayers that this will work out are appreciated. Please pray specifically that the classes will still be open when I am finally cleared to register and that I'd be able to register soon! We are praying that God is blessing all of you and we trust that you'll have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

30 Days of Happiness: Breakfast in Bed

A friend recently started a series: "30 Days of Happiness" on her blog. Thirty days set aside to look at the simple little things in life that make life worth living. The things that bring joy. In the midst of the transition to Chicago I am excited to join her in this adventure and begin my very own "30 Days of Happiness", looking for the positive and the uplifting in each day.

Day 1- Breakfast in Bed.
Today I was blessed to have a day set aside to spend with My Love (Matt). What a blessing it is to slow down and enjoy spending time together, nowhere to rush to, no to do list t
hat must be accomplish but just to be. I am so grateful for the opportunity to start the day with breakfast in bed and then to share the day exploring the Museum of Science and Industry together. Acting like kids and discussing like adults, what a great day with an amazing husband. I am truly blessed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beginning to feel at home...

Ah, transitions. It's amazing the things that you know will happen from a distance but when the reality of them sets it they can still be a surprise. I can hardly believe that we have been in Chicago for a month now. It has been a month of excitement (sometimes more than necessary) of challenges and of new beginnings.

Before we left Pella I told several of you that I knew when we moved to Chicago there would be some tear filled days, and they came. About a week and a half ago life became overwhelming. Dear friends that aren't across town or an hour a way, a new schedule and adjusting to life with
Matt as a student, stress over the teacher license, and culture shock of city life. I am really grateful to my study abroad experiences that helped me to be able to identify some
of the stress and emotional reaction for what it was an to give me tools to start moving past it. I am blessed with an amazing husband who has been incredibly supportive every step of the way. When studying abroad they suggest that if you can avoid it to not call home in the middle of culture shock or if you do to make sure you call back later to let your family know you really are okay. That's why this entry is coming now, on the other side.

This week has been incredible. Last weekend we consulted our dear friend, Google,
to help us find a new church to visit and ended up at New Life Pilsen. This was the third church that we have visited in the city, and will be the last in
the search for a church home. When we arrived we were greeted by nearly every person that was there and had a good long conversation with one of the deacons and one of the elders. We laughed as half of the congregation made sure we really did intend to be there for the Spanish service. From the moment we walked in we were home. Yesterday I was able to be a part of the Back to School Bash that our church held at my High School (it is about 3 minutes from my school). The community came out for a celebration of the beginning of the school year. Children received school supplies, free dental screenings and cleanings, vaccinations, and haircuts to be ready for the first day of school. We are incredibly excited by the community focus and service hearts of the church and are blessed with the opportunity to join this body of Christ.

The back to school bash was put on by our church and hosted at my High School. It was a great way to reconnect with the administration and start meeting some of my students. On the school front, an update on the license: I spoke with my principal on Friday and let him know of the situation. He has put calls in to two contacts that he has with the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) and will be following up on Monday. He was not concerned and told me that every year that have had one teacher that has a license crisis and this year I'm the lucky one!

Greek is over! Matt took his Greek final on Friday morning and we have been enjoying the break from studying. He worked very hard at the class and we will find out next week how it went. Friday night started orientation for McCormick and we have been blessed to meet new friends within the seminary community. Now that Greek is over we look forward to being intentional about building relationships within the community. Matt signs up for classes on Tuesday.

God is so good and we are excited to see where the next steps of this journey take us. I'm sure the tearful days are not over, but Chicago is beginning to feel like home. We miss you and love you all! Hope to hear from you soon.

Jenny and Matt

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's in the mail...

Who knew that this blog would end up being the story of my Illinois license? My application for the Chemistry endorsement has been submitted and a letter from Central College has been sent. It is all in the mail and now we just pray that the people at the Board of Education say "Yes". The process could take up to 60 days. However, I am okay to teach until we hear back one way or the other (I think, I'm starting to doubt the things that the tell me so I will be double checking that). Thanks again for all of the prayers and support!

It seems that this license fiasco has been the center of our week but life has continued on. Matt is officially 1/2 way through his 3 week intensive Greek course and did well on the midterm on Wednesday. After this afternoon he has 1 week left! We have been meeting folks through Greek class and others in the seminary community which has been very good. Tonight we are off to another grill out to continue to build relationships.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Next Chapter


Thank you for all of your words of encouragement and your continued prayers. Here is the update: We found out this morning that the avenue we thought would work for me to get my endorsement doesn't exist. However, with a couple of documents from Central and the Illinois Board accepting those documents I should meet the Chemistry requirements and be okay.

Please pray:
  • That Central would find the appropriate documentation and be able to send it out in a timely fashion.
  • The people at IBE would be compassionate and understanding.
  • The documentation would be sufficient and I would be found to have the proper certification.
  • If it is God's will other doors would open.
  • God would be glorified and that we would have open hearts throughout this situation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keep praying!


Thank you all for your prayers over the last 24 hours and your notes of encouragement. We have had several calls and emails asking for updates on the teaching license situation, so here it is. I called the main office in Springfield, IL this morning and due to the volume of calls they receive I was asked to leave a message and they will look into the matter and call be back within three days. What is posted on the website is promising, but it contradicts what the lady told me yesterday in person. I am going to go in person back to the Chicago office tomorrow to reapply for my Chem license and we will go from there. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. We are hopeful but it is stressful.

We are blessed by your continued support and prayers.

Jenny and Matt

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's why they call it faith...

As I lay here this evening the overwhelming feeling I have is: I am blessed. I am blessed to have an incredible husband that loves for and cares for me unconditionally. I am incredibly blessed by family and friends that come around us, support us and pray for us in our hour of need. I am blessed to have a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ that will never leave or forsake me.

It has been a day. In case you have read the previous entry from today, I learned this afternoon that the Illinois Board of Education did not certify me to teach chemistry. If nothing changes, I will lose my job and not be able to teach in my current position this fall. I was a mess earlier tonight. I have been broken. Shed tears and sobbed into Matt's arms, but tonight I have a blessed peace.

"I will never leave or forsake you". "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you and to give you hope and a future". I feel God's presence and an unexplicable peace inspite of the situation. I know that God is in this. I have no idea what he is up to. Why it is happening, what good will come from it or what the verdict will be when I make phone calls, but I know that despite what happens God is good. That's why they call it faith, believing when you can't see. Trusting when you simply don't know. God is good, and in his hands we will be just fine...

Need Prayers

Friends and family, we are in need of your prayers!  For some unknown reason the Illinois State Board of Education has decided not to license Jenny in Chemistry.  They are saying she doesn't have enough credits in Chemistry and general science classes.  As you know she was licensed in Iowa and we were told their requirements are similar enough that this wouldn't happen.  As you also know she already has a job as a chemistry teacher and if she doesn't get certified she won't be able to keep this job.  So we are asking you to pray for this and that tomorrow morning when Jenny calls the Springfield office they will have a much better answer than the Chicago office did today.  We will keep you up to date as things develop.  Feel free to call or email with any questions or if you want more specifics.  In the mean time please pray!

Matt and Jenny

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hitting the Ground

Matt has inspired me to sit down and write a post as well. I've discovered that blogging really intimidates me. I read other's blogs that are very eloquent and profound and I start stressing and never write. So a little grace is greatly appreciated, who knew this could be so stressful?

It's hard to believe we are almost half way through the month of August. The summer has flown. Since my last (first and only until this point) post we have been to Minnesota, Alaska, and moved to Chicago. I have spent a week at Angel Tree Middle Schoo
l/High School Camp. I have eaten on a cruise ship for a week and have sat and chatted with young women that don't have three meals to eat a day. I have sat and talked with young ladies about abstinence, drugs and abuse. I've also sat with some of those same ladies and laughed so hard I cried. I have sat with dear, close friend and moved hours away from them. I have loved Chicago and been lonely, and I am continually amazed by the incredible love and support of my husband. It's been a crazy summer! But, it is good, very good.

We have officially been in Chic
ago two weeks and I headed to school yesterday for the first time. I don't officially start professional development until September 2nd and kids don't come until the 8th, however, the science teachers are going to a week long professional development all next week. I am actually excited to be back in the swing of school. As Matt wrote he is in an intensive Greek class, the boxes are unpacked and the apartment is mostly decorated so I was beginning to run out of things to do. This fall I will be teaching Chemistry at a Latino High School (Benito Juarez in the Pilsen neighborhood) for Chicago
Public Schools. I will have 4 sections of regular Chem and one section of honors. I'm excited for the new school. Nervous and anxious.

So far we have been exploring the new neighborhood and getting settled are starting to long for community and connections.

Prayer Requests:
  • Friendships
  • Connecting to the community that already exists at McCormick and being able to contribute with our gifts and talents.
  • That Matt's study of Greek will be fruitful and positive.
  • Finding a church home/community to be a part of
Thanks for reading... we are blessed to have you all in our lives!


In Chicago and studying like it's my job!

We've been in Chicago for over two weeks and it's starting to feel like home.  We live in an awesome neighborhood which is full of great restaurants, has easy access to public transit and is within walking distance of Lake Michigan!  When I haven't been too busy studying we have been going for walks or roller blading on the path by the lake.  
Today is the last day of my first week of class.  I'm in an intensive study of Greek that is three weeks long.  I was in an intro. to Greek class last fall for eight weeks and I've already learned more in one week than I did during those eight weeks, because I've studied that hard and the class has moved that fast!  It has been pretty stressful yet rewarding to see how far we've come!  
I'll let Jenny talk about what she has coming up, but she does start a week of professional development on Monday.  I can't wait to meet some more people and to immerse ourselves in the McCormick and Chicago communities!  Please write or call as we miss all of you and want to stay in touch!

Matt and Jenny

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's in a name?

Today officially begins our next step and a new chapter: we are officially blogging!  One month from today we will be unloading a moving truck outside our new apartment in Chicago and starting the real next chapter of our adventure together.  We know that this next step will be full of excitement, challenges, opportunities and discovery as God teaches us and molds us and we want to be able to share that with you.  This is where we will share the details of what has been going on, as well as, struggle with things we are learning, rejoice and share praises and generally try not to ramble as we share life with you from a distance.

As I was setting up the blog this morning I was faced with the task of creating a name.  Who knew that naming a blog could be stressful?  But after a minor moment of panic and anxiety and realizing the world will not start nor stop due to my blog title, I began to reflect on the purpose of this blog, and the heart of our move to Chicago.  Seeking the Kingdom is at the heart of our move and the goal of our lives.  As the move is getting closer I am full of excitement and anticipation, but fear, anxiety and nerves kick in as well.  When I am quiet and reflect the overwhelming desire of my heart is to seek God's face and where he is leading: to seek his kingdom.  

Thank you for joining us on this journey (and for actually reading this blog).  Please keep in touch!