Sunday, September 16

What We've Been Doing

Pretty much just standing outside, gaping in awe at what September feels like. I had nearly convinced myself that my fond reminiscences of glorious autumnal weather in mid-September was rose-colored revisionist memory. Yeah, it wasn't. This is some Omazing weather!

I get up in the morning, make coffee, open all the doors, grab a sweater, and then work in the chilly morning air. The kids think I am insane. I do not mind if they think that. They'd just better grab a jacket before they come down to the dining room in the morning.

We've been biking regularly. Z bikes to work in the morning and Jase and/or I join him. It's the highlight of his work days, now, and such a fun routine! We go in the evenings, too, which is really nice - head out to watch the sunset, then bike home in the dark. The other evening while we were out, Em said that it's like weather doesn't exist - the air is the perfect temperature for being in without feeling it. That's pretty much it right now, yes.

Kids are getting their school done. I'm getting work done. The house is not actively deteriorating around us, although we've pretty much come to a dead halt on progress. So this may be as good as it gets.

Z took the circular saw to our coffee table. It was just a bit too big for the living space (the couch is too big for the living space, but we're not willing to give that up). Jase and I tried a few staining tricks on it and ended up taking it in a whole different direction. We'll get the glaze on it this week and I'll post pictures -- it's different, but we like it! Also, now there's no crimp point in the living room where people have to skirt by sideways to get through. Very handy.

Today, we went to a silhouette shoot. Emily and Jason both earned pins (you have to knock down a certain amount of targets to get a pin -- I have not earned a pin, yet, LOL). When we did highs and lows tonight, though, the shoot was a universal high and the pins didn't even come up until Z's turn. Them winning their pins was one of his highs.

(Jase does have hearing protection in. It's the plugs rather than ear muffs.) Neat group, and a lot of fun. We weren't really spooled up and ready, but Z's been dying to take us since we landed almost a month ago, so we needed to do it. Honestly, I was impressed by how well everyone rolled with the chaos and helped smooth out the bumps. If we can keep that up in every aspect of life, we'll be pretty good to go!

This coming week is pretty packed, and then on Saturday we're expecting company from AL way! So we're all pretty stoked about everything in general right now.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Monday, September 3

Visiting Churches

Since everyone seems to think an 1,100 mile commute for Sunday morning worship is "unfeasible," we're having to find a local church. (I kid. It's important to have community. But boy, were we blessed with our church of the last three years.)

One of the things I have so loved about the Anglican communion is found in the Fifth Article of the 39 Articles of Religion:

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

This means that an Anglican community cannot require of anyone for salvation things which are not required (and cannot be proven to be required) according to Scriptural proof. And this is huge. As Hamilton said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." But we know that we are not. If we were, we wouldn't have needed either government or redemption. Mankind has a propensity for corruption linked with power, and this particular Article helps keep honest men in positions of power honest, and it helps to keep the theology centered and unified across Dioceses and Congregations. That's a comfort, really.

Article 34, however:

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word.

means that you're going to get distinctive flavor in each church. If you attend an Anglican church in Ethiopia, it is going to have the same theology and the same catechism, but it will have a cadence and tone to the liturgy that is very different from one in, say, Amesbury, MA. Why? Because the cultures, the needs, the histories, and the people are different. (Our church in Huntsville actually had incorporated an element from the African churches, and it was such a beautiful way to refocus us onto the cross and away from the cares of the days that often get us down.) Anyway, you'll get the same gospel, and the same communion, but it's going to be presented in the way that best meets the needs of the community the church is in.

So. Same in many ways, but different in many ways. In this context, I am always reminded of the striking differences that crop up in newly married households that arise from the little things among in-law relations, like Holiday menus and family vacation habits. It's crazy how much stress that causes.

"What do you MEAN you open presents on Christmas Eve?"

"What do YOU mean that you don't do it until Christmas morning?"

Eventually, most of us find a way to remember that those aren't the meat and bones of marriage or life, and they aren't deal breakers. They are traditions, and traditions are a reflection of the culture and the people. Although that is usually the first time most of us realize just HOW different groups of people and their cultures can be, even when they are seemingly homogeneous on the surface. We humans are just like that, and it's good to come to grips with it so that we can enjoy this vast and diverse world, and encourage others the way we hope to be encouraged. Just as this reminder applies to marriage, it also applies to corporate worship and finding a new church.

Anyway, there's a running joke that every Anglican church is different, and everyone knows the right way to do liturgy is... precisely the way your church does it. 😉

So we've looked and prayed, prayed and looked, then left it off until we came out here. We're hoping we will soon find where we are supposed to be. I've had a sense of where we'll end up, but the last time I pushed what I thought, we ended up spending a very awkward year in a place that we really didn't belong. It wasn't good for anybody. So I'm navigating right now, but letting Z drive, and bringing the whole family in for input on where they need to go. And did I mention prayer?

Because honestly, it's good to make plans, but it's also a total sanity saver to remember that there's already a plan. Our job is to be where we've been placed and be ready to answer the call when we're needed. That's going to look different for each person, depending on their call. But the thing about being called is that if you're not listening, or if you haven't willingly stayed within earshot, you're likely to have a hard time hearing. So we have approached this part of the move very prayerfully.

This morning we visited one. They have two services, and we attended the early one. Next week, we'll visit the second church. The week after, we'll attend the later service at the first church. And then we'll see.

Even if this is not where we need to be, it was really nice to have communion. It was important to share in confession and absolution, to hear the Gospel and worship corporately. They were very welcoming and clearly Christ-centered. They do many things differently than we are accustomed to, which was a little weird and disorienting ("Wait, I thought I knew this prayer! What? Wait! What?), and we all had to laugh at ourselves when we got back in the car afterword, because we all know the right way to do liturgy...

Anyway, be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, September 2

John is Good To Go

Well, things never really improved with CNM. That was a shame, but it was what it was, and it turned out so much better in the end.

He did get into some classes, which was great. Ish. (The instruction was a bit of a mixed bag. It's pretty horrifying what college instructors are doing and saying in the name of being "the cool teachers". There are still those, though, even at CNM, who show intelligence and integrity while they man their post in front of a class of students. They are so appreciated.) They still hadn't bothered to look for his official scores and transcripts. It was crazy.

We had submitted the waiver for residency and his two "overt acts" for declaring intent to establish residency. (NM State law allows for students to receive in-state tuition if they have relocated here for a parent's job and are willing to declare their own intent to remain here.) What CNM doesn't tell you on their website, or in person, is that of the 11 acts that they say you need to have accomplished at least two of, what they really mean is there are only two on there that they will actually acknowledge. Good luck guessing which two! And they won't tell you until after the deadline! They denied his petition. Wee! We spoke to a supervisor. She also denied the petition. We asked to whom we could appeal, and she said no one.

Okay, then.

I went home to transfer money from savings (at this point, I was feeling rather defeated and didn't want to be an obstacle in John's path forward) and planned to pay his tuition in the morning. Except bright and early the next morning, as we sat down to take care of business, John forwarded me an email he'd just received announcing he'd been dis-enrolled for non payment. (At some point, you'd think I'd have gotten a clue that if it's THIS difficult to work with this institution, then there's probably something I'm not getting, like, I don't know, this isn't where he ought to be. But I am slow.)

I told him to go ahead and re-enroll and then I'd log in and pay right then (since the funds had transferred). The process for re-enrolling, however, is quite complicated, and not listed anywhere on the school's website. You cannot register online for a class after the registration period has ended. He contacted the one helpful person we'd found at CNM who explained to him how to get it done. You have to email each professor and ask for permission to re-enroll in their class. Then they will, at their leisure, issue a manual override to permit you to re-enroll. There is no notification process in the system letting you know when you're good to go. You just have to keep trying until it works. The instructors have no time limit in which to complete this, because they're doing you a favor, but the payment clock starts ticking the minute you get your first class re-enrolled. And you'll be dis-enrolled if you haven't wrapped it up and paid by the time that clock strikes done. Again, because they're doing you a favor.

Well then.

I asked my brother-in-law if he could help us navigate the bureaucracy, but from everyone he spoke with he really just heard, "Yeah, this is how they roll now. It stinks." :-O Wow. He suggested we go to UNM-Valencia and talk to them. We hadn't really considered the UNM system. It's HYUGE, and we thought it would be worse at a larger institution. But why not give it a try?

I emailed the contact BIL had given me. John submitted an application. He doubled checked his Bag of Holding to make sure he still had everything. (ACT score report, unofficial transcripts from both high school and college, high school diploma, NREMT certification, BLS certification, etc. - all the same material he had brought with him to CNM) I submitted all the official requests that fall to the parent to request (or, more accurately, pay for). Mid-morning, I received an email reply, "I'll be here until 4. Come on by any time!" So down we went.

Y'all. We walked in there cold and walked out an hour and a half later with a graduation plan, a contact for who will evaluate his EMS credits, a full fall schedule, fully registered, with books, a parking pass, a student ID, a map of the campus, and the assurance that he will be coded as an in-state resident for tuition purposes once he turns in one form. (Also of note: he turned it in the next day and they issued him a bill for the in-state tuition. I paid it that day!) We could not get that far in six weeks of diligent effort at the community college here.

And now, he has money left over to buy a commuter car. He has a four-year plan once again. He knows where he stands, what he needs, and what he will need to accomplish in order to reach his goals. This was crazy hard to navigate, and he kept his cool, made sure he did the right thing at every step, kept communicating. I am gobsmacked.

Of course, because of the runaround at the community college, we wasted a lot of time extending good faith to them, and so he's starting the semester a week behind in his hardest subject. Again, what a difference growing up makes! He's been on it every day since he got home from registering, and he's nearly caught up to where the class will be next week.

Thursday, August 30


I keep geeking out about co-op. Do you know why? Because it's amazing! Good structured time, followed by good free time, with food thrown in. That's a poor narration, as I'm sure Miss Mason would have observed, but I'm still processing it and thinking deeply about it. So that's all I've got, really.

It's a large group, and they'll likely want to divide up into slightly smaller groups if it continues to grow. But the people are amazing, and the instruction is delightful. If I can ever get John squared away, we'll have so many neat things to do at home that springboard off the topics and activities covered in class.

Everybody's getting brown from being outside so much (except me, I just get a darker shade of yellow - it's not jaundice, just a lucky roll of the pigmented dice).

So, that's ... actually, I started this at some point, and then people. So much talking and processing, and really, that's the work that's on their plates right now.

- How does this work?
- Where does this go?
- How do you not know, either?
- This is weird.
- Can I just put it here and we'll say this is where it goes, now?
- Know what I saw?
- Did you hear that bird? See that bunny? Watch that hawk?
- Come see the sky! (It's always doing something different.)

So that's where a good bulk of my time goes in the day. It's time well spent.

And the co-op really is amazing, but that will have to wait for another day.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Wednesday, August 29

The End of the Adrenaline

We've been beasts this week! Go, go, go! Lift, load, shift, hang! Go back for more! Beat that garage back!

Get it done! Get it out! Make the calls! Visit the places! Corner the people! Make it feel like Home!

There has been little rest outside those glorious sunrise coffee-on-the-porch sessions (which may have been what kept me going - those are really nice!)

But I found the end of the adrenaline on Saturday night -- at 9PM, the biggest wall you've ever not seen coming hit me square in the face and I was done. I haven't been that done in ages. Oof. And on that note, I had to pull an executive veto on Sunday's plans.

The day started with an update from Granny (Z's Mom), who had called from the hospital on Friday. She's been on chemo and was feeling pretty puny, punier than seemed right, so her sister called an EMT neighbor to come take a look at her (perks of small town life). He suggested she call her doc or pop on over to Lubbock. She figured her doc would send her to Lubbock, anyway (downside to small town life - it all balances out), so off they went. Yep, her white blood cell count was way too low. They signed her in for a weekend at the spa, complete with complementary gown, fresh IV, and all the tests.

Turned out she had appendicitis! So they got her into surgery Saturday and squared away. She is doing well and her white blood cell count is already back on the rise. That's such a praise and a relief! But it was a humdinger of a day, emotionally.

John and I headed out early that morning for Day 3 of Trying to Register for Classes in Person. (Remember, he MUST be a full-time student to live on base with us.) We spent a lot of time crossing and re-crossing the "holeway" (rather than the hallway - I love that!)

It should have been a pretty straightforward thing, and we had begun the process back in July to make it go as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, the school hadn't processed his ACT scores (which I know I personally requested and paid for back in July), and they hadn't processed his transcripts (which I know I also paid for the beginning of August and had sent as soon as the semester grades posted), so nobody in the EMS program will talk to him or return his calls.

Since he's missing both test scores and prior learning evidence, he can't register online because he's not cleared in the system as having met the pre-requisites for anything. He can't get an appointment with an EMS advisor because they don't see that he's met any of their requirements for coordinated entry. And the whole process of transferring to another school is a brand new one! Wee! For a fairly timid, quiet young man, this is like living in Munch's Scream.

He took in his NREMT certificate, high school diploma (he's got 36 college credits and is coming in as a transfer student - I'm not sure why they needed that, but they pinged him for not having it, so he provided it), and his BLS certificate. He emailed the student ACT report directly to a counselor (it doesn't count officially, but it did give her the latitude to issue overrides for prerequisites, at least), and then he scrabbled together a full-time schedule out of whatever required courses for an Associate's still have seats available ... 48 hours before the start of the semester. It's an odd semester, and two of the classes are online and don't have times posted, but it's a schedule. And he got a bus pass, so now he can get around town. Yay! He's still hoping to get in front of an EMS faculty member Monday and start getting plugged into their Paramedic program, but at least we won't have the Feds beating down our door to evict him for not being a full-time student. That was a huge relief to have taken care of.

Jacob is still actively dying. I think he's the most sensitive to altitude changes, anyway, and with the dry air, he's having 5-10 nose bleeds a day (the Ponaris should be here Monday or Tuesday). And yet, he made it to Nutcracker auditions. He says he did poorly, and he's very disappointed in himself. I don't know how he could have done more, though, really. I'm neither sick or out of sorts and I can barely get in a shower and a load of wash every day; he's had classes every day since we've been here, made the call on a studio, AND hit auditions -- on top of all the unloading, unpacking, hefting and shifting. I don't know. I'm impressed. I hope they loved him.

We ran down to BIL's house to get some things for the shoot and got to see the vineyard. These are the Sangiovese cuttings - the wee sticks they planted last fall - in the ground and growing! They're so pretty!

On the way home, I checked my phone and saw the reminder for the Regency Ball. D'oh! Noooo! I texted the boys, "Are you ready for the dance? We'll be there in 20!" (They weren't. They, too, had forgotten about it.) But they were ready to roll by the time we got home. We switched vehicles and I drove the boys while Z unloaded the Suburban.

It was sometime on the drive back from dropping them off that I hit the wall. Perhaps it was when the Suburban driver's window wouldn't roll back up after I went through the gate. Perhaps it was when I saw that something had leaked on the front porch. Perhaps it was when I walked in and Z said we had to run back down to BIL's that night because he'd forgotten something we'd need for the shoot. I don't know. I just know that that's when I realized we were going to come apart at the seams if we didn't slow down, if only for a day. And I used my veto power on leaving the house Sunday.

We NEED rest. We NEED to put the house together. We NEED to find the school books. School, co-op, dance, everything starts Monday in earnest, and after that it'll be Life As Usual with little time for the things we really need to have squared away going into it.

Bless Z, he offered to retrieve the boys. I went to bed.

Sunday, we rest. Because you really can't do it all.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy