Whew: put your seatbelts on...this is going to be a fun, entertaining, and probably long-ish blogpost!
(Ok, I just reread all that I wrote...it's not long-ish, it's long. But it's fun!)
Well, where to start? Brian has been home for a week and we've managed to fit in about 10,435 activities! I deem it as making fun memories before he leaves for the 'Stan!
Activity #1: (ok, this is unrelated to Brian...) I got a...J.O.B.! Let me just tell you how ridiculously excited I am about this. I cried after the interview/job offer. In the parking lot. No shame, no shame. So here's the lowdown: starting this fall, I'll be the high school Spanish teacher and dual enrollment supervisor at a small private school. And by small, I mean I'll be teaching both the entire sophomore and junior class. It seriously could not be a better atmosphere for a first year teacher; small classes, only 2 major preps, and an incredible, supportive environment! And bonus: my new friend, Katie, accepted the 1st grade job there, so I'll even have a friend when I start working! We are so excited! This past 6 months have been a serious trial in letting go of control, learning to be humble, and trusting the Lord. In all honesty, I have applied for almost 20 jobs since arriving in El Paso, and to no avail...to say I got discouraged/frustrated is probably an understatement...
But, the Lord put on my heart Duetornomy 31:6-8...amazing. A friend brought it up in a deployment Bible study during June, and it gave me such peace knowing the Lord controlled my past, present, and future. I feel like I finally was able to let go of my control and put my full trust in the Lord. So that happened on Wednesday, June 15. That afternoon, I went to Bible study, and afterwards, I went to UPS to make copies of my MS teaching license and a letter from Texas telling me what additional tests I need to take for certification. Well, a man rushed in and asked to skip me in line--he was about to be late for a flight. I was in an awesome mood, so I said yes. Praise the Lord I did. Because as the man exited, a woman walked in with two kids in tow...As the UPS man was making my copies, he asked me if I had taken the Texas tests (he was reading my letter...ha!). After I responded, we chatted about what the test was like. The woman overheard us and asked me, "You're a teacher? What's your content area?". I responded "Spanish", with a little bit of depression in my voice...
And then... She asked me..."Are you looking for a job?" (I'm thinking, duh, I am...) I say yes, and she responds by saying..."Well, I teach Spanish a local private school, and we're about to PCS (aka--move) to Germany...would you be interested in interviewing?"
I think I sort of freaked her out I was so enthusiastic. So, to make a long story a little shorter, she gave me the principal's name, on Friday I dropped off a huge packet of info--resume, cover letter, recommendation letter, transcripts, and more--and Monday they called me, and that afternoon I went in for an interview and he offered me the job on the spot! The Lord provides! We just have to put our full trust in Him. I can take no credit for this...Praise the Lord for His goodness!
You still there? Because it's about to get even more fun! (told you--put on your seatbelt. Might want to grab a snack... ;)
For the 4th of July, Brian got Friday and Monday off, so we headed off to Phoenix Thursday afternoon to meet up with Paul and Foster for a fun-filled weekend! After a long, anxious drive to Phoenix, we kicked off the weekend! Friday, Paul, Brian, and I traveled around Scottsdale/Phoenix area, seeing the sights and eating Chipotle...which the boys absolutely love! That night we grilled out and some friends of Paul's came over to eat and hang out. We spent the afternoon/evening swimming in Paul's parents awesome pool and catching up-so fun! Foster flew in that night, arriving a little later than expected....but he got there eventually!
Now, onto the weekend adventures!
Saturday: woke up, put on about 12 layers of sunscreen, as well as 45 layers on resident lobster, Brian, and headed to the Salt River outside of Phoenix for a good ole float trip. This was quite possibly the quintessential float trip...it was seriously perfect. 3 1/2 hours, the river was calm with a few zippy rapids (nothing too crazy) and PLENTY of people-watching. I have never seen float trips turn into such a production! As we entered the water, we saw people with floating platforms/floats, complete with floating coolers and stereos. It also was pretty cool (apparently...) to throw marshmellows at everyone...they became really swollen and slimy once they were in the water, so when you got hit with one, it sort of slid down your skin...sort of gross. And all I could think of were all the birds that were probably going to choke on them...
Funny memories from the trip...getting totally turned around in a rapid, got separated for a few minutes, and almost capsized the cooler (tragedy!). Thankfully Paul had a good grip on it's float (yes, the cooler had it's own mini-tube) and we didn't lose a thing :) While we were in the Southwest, I saw plenty of folks who qualified as rednecks...ha! A super drunk girl gave us a show from the riverbank, and we watched a guy get arrested by the park rangers on a boat, and even got a few sprinkles of rain! Thankfully for our skin, it became a little cloudy the last hour of our trip, which was fortunate considering we were going to be out there for awhile! The river was packed with people, but it thinned out as the current carried us along. Incredible trip! That night we went and saw Transformers 3. I'm a huge Transformers fan...goooo Autobots! This one was pretty good, but I'm not very critical on movies, so if you're snooty about them, you may not like it...the plot probably could've been thickened a little and the last hour is a pretty intense battle, but I overall, not too bad :)
We woke up early and I walked upstairs at 5:30 and thought to myself "wow, someone left a lot of lights on..." NOPE-it was the sun! Yes, 5:30 AM and the sun was already over the horizon! Would've been great for running purposes! We packed up the car and cooler and headed off to...THE GRAND CANYON! I cannot tell you how estactic I was about going here...I was like a little kid at Christmas. It took us about 3 hours to get up there, and of course we went straight to the edge...it's indescribable. I might've teared up a bit...tried to not let the boys see it-the sunglasses covered it up well :) It's just simply amazing. I feel like it's a physical metaphor for the grandness of God, even though nothing on this earth will ever compare to His enormity and presence!
After the initial shock wore off, we toured around a little geological musuem and started down the ridge trail, stopping to take LOTS of pictures. The boys about gave me a heart attack about 13 times due to their need to be dangerous...geez I seriously almost threw up at one point I was so nervous about them! I determined I will never take small children to the Grand Canyon! They'll just have to wait until I can trust they won't wander over the edge!
As we continued to walk, the people thinned out and we were able to stroll in peace. Once, I looked over to my left (into the brushy forest) and saw a horse. Or so I thought. On second glance, I realized it was not a horse, but rather either an elk or moose calf! And yes, it was the size of a horse, but fatter! It was literally about 20 feet away, just munching away...it never flinched at our gawking.
We toured around the main lodge area and then took a bus back to our car for lunch. While we were eating, a storm rolled in and it started to rain. No biggie, we thought--we're in the Grand Canyon, so we're just going to make the most of it! Well, while we were eating lunch, the temperature dropped by 30 degrees! Yep...from 90 to 60 in just under half an hour...ridiculous! And with the wind and water, it was so cold! The rain did not deter us though; we headed off on a bus to see the more "off-the-beaten-path" trails and views. Our plan was to get out at a stop, hike a ways, and then head back to the main bus station. Well, we got off the bus and it was sprinkling and the wind was gusting around, but I convinced the guys "it wasn't that bad", and we were only going to walk a mile, so let's get to it! We waved the bus onwards, the bus driver looked at us like we were insane, and left us there. Well, about 30 seconds after that, it began to start raining...like, driving rain. And of course, the wind picked up. We got about 25 feet down the trail and realized this was a terrible decision. Of course the guys are giving me a hard time because I was sure this was a great idea! Well at that point we were freezing cold, and about to get soaking wet! So, we spent 10 minutes huddling behind a retaining wall, awaiting the next bus to pick us up! We probably looked ridiculous as we hopped up and bolted to the bus when it got there...I'm sure the guys will never let me forget this one!
After that adventure, we decided it was time to start heading out. We left through the back gate, which allowed us to go up in a historic lookout tower and view another part of the canyon. By this time the temperature had raised up to 70 and the rain had stopped, which was great for us!
Overall, the day was wonderful. We've come up with a better plan of attack for the next time we go so that we can get in the best hiking/least amount of crowds! We really wanted to hike down into the canyon, but it's typically 20-30 degrees hotter inside the canyon, and we just didn't think that was the greatest idea...
On the way back, we got to watch a cool lightning storm as well as see a true forest fire, which, while completely dangerous, was sort of beautiful at night.
Monday morning we swam in the pool and just hung out together, and Brian and I hit the road around 12:30. It was an incredible, relaxing weekend which we both needed! It's so nice to get out of town every now and again for a little refresher!
If you hung on to the end of this, congratulations...you deserve an award. But it was just so much fun I couldn't leave stories out!