Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mommy's Good Old Days - Choosing a College

This post is part 15 in a 15 week series sponsored byMommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.


I have really enjoyed linking up with Mommy's Piggy Tales to help motivate me to write down some of my childhood memories. Although the initial 15 posts are completed, I plan on sticking with this theme and revisiting some old photos and the memories that accompany them. Stay tuned for that!

My senior year was winding down and I knew that I had to make a decision about which college I was going to attend. It was a tradition at our school's graduation to announce where each graduate was attending college and their proclaimed major, and I had decided on neither. But one thing was for sure: I was NOT going to go to a strict Baptist college that would impose on my new found freedom.

My oldest brother had attended Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, WI and though I knew a fair amount of people there, it was the last place I wanted to go. My parents were big proponents of this particular school, because our old pastor was the president and many friends from my home town had moved up there to work for the school. It was only a 3 1/2 hour drive away, which made for easy weekends at home and it was so familiar it didn't feel like moving away at all.

Even though I could be described by most people as a "good girl," my heart was not interested in continuing in the legalism I felt I was reared in at my home church. I wasn't overtly rebellious, but I thought I knew what was best for me and I was confident in my own relationship with the Lord that I could handle attending a less strict school. My first pick was a Southern Baptist university in Missouri, a comfortable 8 hour drive away. I knew I would be rid of dress codes and rules about movies and the like at this school, all the while still attending a "safe" Christian school. My parents weren't crazy about the idea, but agreed to take me to a prospective student weekend.

We arrived on campus a few hours before the official events started and as we were discussing what we should do in the meantime, the girl whose room I was scheduled to stay in happened upon us. She volunteered to show me around while my parents went back to the hotel. They reluctantly left me alone to experience college first hand.

The events that occurred over the next 3 hours were divinely inspired by my sovereign Savior to show me His will, I believe. In those short hours alone with my guide and her friend, I heard about a potential sexual assault case against a male dorm supervisor, saw flippant posters for a Bible study to talk about the what the "hype" was with Jesus and heard about how to get around most of the rules the college had.

By the time we went to eat dinner, the scheduled events still hadn't begun, but I knew I was finished. I was sick to my stomach, physically and emotionally battling with the Holy Spirit as he spoke to my heart. I knew I was not strong enough for an environment like this. I knew I would be too weak to battle these types of issues. I knew where I was supposed to go, but I had to eat a lot of crow to admit it.

I tearfully apologized to my hosts (if only they knew how their conversation turned me away from their school!) and called my parents to come pick me up. We returned to the hotel and I admitted my struggle. I submitted to attending good ole MBBC and although the atmosphere there would be difficult for me in the coming years and a trial in different ways, I knew at that moment it was where I was supposed to be. And by God's grace, I made it through 5 years of ankle length skirts in sub-zero weather, draconian dating rules, and a bit of legalism, and by God's grace, I am a stronger believer because of it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mommy's Good Old Days - Senior Year

This post is part 14 in a 15 week series sponsored byMommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.


I couldn't figure out how to condense my senior year into one blog post, since it was such an exciting and busy year. So many changes! So I decided to relive my last year of high school through pictures.

One morning in early February, my mom took an inordinate amount of interest in my outfit for school. She kept urging me to wear "something nice." I'm not sure why I wasn't more curious, but I wore one of my "nicer" outfits, just to appease her. By mid morning, I had figured it out. I was being inducted in the American Christian Honor Society. I was surprised to see both of my parents at school for the ceremony.

Boy, am I glad I wore a nice outfit!
Still surprised by the honor.
Slightly a late bloomer, I was the only senior in the group being honored.

As the end of my senior year approached, the calendar filled up quickly with exciting events. My Junior/Senior banquet (the Christian School version of prom - sans dancing) was the first. I wasn't dating anyone, but went with a friend of a friend and had a fun time, despite my "single" status.
The 8 Senior Girls
On the Sunday after banquet, it was a tradition to wear your dress to church. What fun to dress up again! I felt like a princess in this dress.

Shortly after banquet, our class was off on our senior trip to San Diego, CA! It was the most fun and exciting time in my life. We visited a guided missile cruiser, an old lighthouse, Sea World, watched the Cardinals play the Padres (and beat them!), plus hung out on the beach and shopped. The highlight of the trip was a beach cookout. We watched the sun set over the water and laughed and chased one another around the incoming tide while we waxed eloquent about how much we would miss one another. It was the last great hurrah before graduation.

The last day of school. I thought it would be cool to post it next to my first day of school picture, but I couldn't find that one.

Graduation morning. It was fixing to be a hot day the end of May, 1996. As mom started to prep for the party after the ceremony, my dad was shooting arrows at the possum in our back yard.

Our friend and classmate, Stephanie, moved away the summer before our senior year. She came back to see her classmates, some of us together since 1st grade, graduate. A couple of us traveled up to Wisconsin a few weeks later to see her graduate.

We did have boys in our graduating class, I just don't seem to have any pictures of them!

Graduation was the climax to the amazing, dramatic, roller-coaster adventure of high school. I was really lucky. We had a good class, my friends were responsible (for the most part!) and well-behaved, which kept me out of a lot of trouble, I'm sure. Even though most of us have gone our separate ways, I will always remember those years with a smile on my face and in my heart.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mommy's Good Old Days - Junior Year

This post is part 13 in a 15 week series sponsored byMommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.


My Junior year brought many new opportunities that I joyfully embraced. One stereotypical change was my ability to get a job. Although both my parents offered to get me a job with their companies, I, like most teenage girls, was more interested in working at . . . the MALL. So when I saw the local Sears was hiring, I applied and interviewed.

Dressed in one of my best church dresses (I knew how to make a good impression) I entered the store and asked to be directed to "Bob" the man who was going to interview me. I was led back into the storeroom, past all the pretty clothes and shoes and I sat down in front of a short, balding, skinny older man and he began to tell me about the job. No questions about why I would be a good fit for the company and such like I expected, just a short job description and an explanation of pay and when to start. And just like that, I was gainfully employed. Except I had to change out of my best Sunday dress into jeans and a tshirt because I was going to work in the storeroom. Definitely not as high-class of a job as I had imagined, but it was work, nonetheless.

Bob was gruff and coarse and kinda intimidated me, and the fact that we were working in a darkish warehouse made me more nervous. I was glad there were other girls my age back there with me, specifically Jamie and Wanda. The three of us became fast friends and Bob turned out to be the most gentle, kind, almost fatherly boss. He watched out for us and generally made work a more fun place to be.

I made many friends at Sears, all of them teens from local public schools. I learned a lot those years (probably some stuff my parents wish I hadn't) and I tried to be a "good Christian example." Most of all I learned that I could be in the world and not necessarily of it. I worked at Sears until my junior year in college, moving from the warehouse into the junior department and finishing off in shoes. I still have very fond memories of my time there, and most of the friends I made there stayed friends for years.

My junior year also found me doing more at our school with plays and musicals,even singing my first (and only) solo. I competed in dramatic prose and poetry and found I was quite comfortable performing, which ignited a love of the theater that influenced my decision for my college major

Probably the most exciting adventure of that year was going to Mexico with a friend and her family for their vacation, but those stories and pictures deserve a separate post altogether. You'll have to stay tuned for that one at a later time!

Mommy's Good Old Days - 10th Grade

This post is part 12 in a 15 week series sponsored byMommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.


I'm afraid the time to sit, ponder and reminisce has been woefully lacking these past two weeks with school starting, so I'm a week behind and short on memories. Here's the two best things I remember about my sophomore year . . .

1. Because I started school as an almost-6-year-old, I was always the oldest in my class. Never thought too much about it, until I was 15 and in driver's ed with the class above me and then when I turned 16 just 2 months into my sophomore year. My friends were all still taking driver's ed (my small Christian school offered it, which was amazingly helpful and easy on all our parents) and I got my license.

My mom took me early to the DMV on my 16th birthday and I nervously took the written portion of the test and waited to be called for the driving portion. I think my hands were visibly shaking! When my name was called and the instructor and I started driving, I made sure to go about 5 mph below the speed limit, just to show him was a careful driver I was. We made it back to the office and he proudly told me that I had a perfect score. I was ecstatic! The best part was being able to prance (a little late) into homeroom smiling from ear to ear as my classmates eagerly rushed around me to see the new license. I still have the picture, but of course I couldn't find it for this post!!

2. My niece, KaraJo was born the spring of my sophomore year. You think I was excited about my brother getting married? I was on top of the roof about my prospective niece. My sister-in-law and brother had moved out of town and lived a good way off in the country, so on nights before her doctor's appointment, she would stay at our house and sleep in my bed so she could be close to her appointment the next morning. I would bed on the floor beside her and we would spend the time before we fell asleep talking about parenting and how much fun a baby would be. That was the closest thing to having a sister I ever experienced.

KaraJo Ann was born just a few weeks after my last grandparent died. I remember quoting "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away" and resting in that promise. What a joy to our family to get to welcome a new baby at such a sad time! I was on cloud nine with my new niece and I loved her from the moment we met. So strange that she is a senior this year and almost 18 years old!