Summary by Statistics: Moving Out of My Childhood Home

I went upstate Tuesday to pack up my belongings since we have to sell my childhood home. You can read a little bit about that here. In that post is a link to another post featuring pictures of me when I was younger…go take a gander!

Along with me were my fiancé (gah, still getting used to that!) Tom, his mom, and his aunt, so we had plenty of man and woman power. Instead of recapping every detail (seeing as so much happened within the span of two days), I figured I could just give you some of the highlights through numbers. Ahh, math.

So here we go with the stats from this trip:

42 total trip hours from the time we left Long Island until we returned

12.5 total hours spent in the truck (Tom’s aunt drove, and I think it’s an F-150 with an extended cab)

13 total hours spent packing, throwing stuff away, and taking things to donate

4 coffees consumed (I’m usually a once a day type gal)

0 meltdowns on my part (Although I did get impatient and/or frustrated at times, there weren’t tears or outbursts)

7 full truck-loads taken to Salvation Army and My Sister’s Closet for donation. These included:

  • 1 little red wagon
  • 4 boxes + 3 garbage bags full of clothes
  • 43ish Barbies
  • 4 garbage bags full of bedding and towels
  • 1 purple body suit and pair of purple tights (these were my mom’s back in the day. Check out the picture of me in them 2 years ago…when I first stumbled upon them)247732_10150192670801526_3595493_n

2 full boxes of food donated to a church pantry

3 overflowing boxes of paper/cardboard to recycle

25 total garbage bags full of garbage/unwanted/old stuff. These included:

  • 2 garbage bags full of old pillows
  • 20ish year old “artwork” from school – we’re talking moldy candies in the shape of an H
  • 10 bowling trophies
  • 2 boxes of Flutie Flakes
  • 1 box of Kelly Krunch

4 friends stopped by to say hi while I was in town (here is a picture of Tom, Courtney, and me at dinner on Tuesday)IMG_0436

1000+ stairs taken (up and down)

7 boxes + 1 large trunk full of stuff I brought back to Long Island

My mom came to the house on her scooter to go through her own stuff; she made a dent but still has plenty of work to do. But for what she got through, we ended up bringing two boxes full of her “keep” stuff to the nursing home.

It was great that she got to get out of the nursing home and see the house after 2+ years. Plus, she finally got to meet my future mother- and aunt-in-law! And eat pizza and donut holes! And see my ring in person!

Overall, this process has been much smoother than I ever expected or anticipated. I still have a few odds and ends that had to be left at my house because the truck was seriously packed to the brim. So another trip upstate is in the cards sometime within the next couple months. I am so thankful for all the well wishes from friends and family, as well as all of the help from Tom and his family.

Above all, I have been thanking God each and every day for all the blessings from the past 8 days (birthday, engagement, new job, and now the move); honestly, it’s all Him. I mean, I got to end the trip with a beautiful and coveted Geneseo sunset. What more could I have asked for?

Geneseo sunset

Well, maybe an escalator or elevator in my house. But I digress.

Advertisements

Calling all guys! (Girls, you can come too!)

Men, I would like to ask you a favor. It only requires you to do what you do best – think like a guy. I guess I will begin by giving you my motivations for writing this post and asking this of you.

First and foremost, I am a female. It’s as simple as that. I always hear guys say they don’t understand women, and I totally get it; we are complicated creatures with complicated feelings and ways of thinking and acting that even we don’t understand most of the time! But the same goes for guys; I admit, you seem much more simple, laid-back, and easy to read, but sometimes you make it difficult because (this is my theory, so you can correct me if you disagree) you don’t want to hinder your masculinity or the way people view you as a “manly man”.

Second, I am an educator and have dealt with, am dealing with, and will deal with in the future adolescent and teenage boys. Over the past two-ish years, I have been a student teacher, substitute (per diem and long-term), and am currently a teacher assistant for students ranging from seventh through twelfth grades. So I have been able to witness the difference between the younger boys and the older ones. I admit, they do a lot of growing up in those 5 years (which sometimes may seem unbelievable, but they do).

Third, I hope to have children of my own someday, and I am hoping some of them are boys.

And finally, I have been reading this great book by John Eldredge called Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of A Man’s Soul. In the introduction, Eldredge speaks about the purpose of the book, saying, “I believe it will help men get their heart back – and women as well. Moreover, it will help women to understand their men and help them live the life they both want” (p. xii).

So with this said, I want to ask you guys what it was like being a young and/or adolescent boy. Working with my current students (eighth and fifth grade boys) I have been trying to figure out their strengths, weaknesses, what makes them frustrated, what gives them motivation. A lot of the time, I also look for what makes them constantly talk/move and distract/bother others during class, causing the teacher or I to incessantly ask them to “stop [being rude; talking; etc]” or “don’t [hit him; flip the chair upside down; etc]” or whatever. I look at these boys’ behavior not only in terms of math students, but also looking at them as people and if these behaviors stem from something more than just disliking math or disliking school in general.

I try not to nitpick every act of defiance or every little annoyance because, honestly, I would be so tired and I think it would do more harm than good. I understand that boys (and girls, for that matter) would rather go outside and play, or watch TV, or just run around with no purpose. I get that; I was an active kid too. Eldredge addresses three desires that are universal of males: “They may be misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue” (p. 9).

So I, in no way, will expect my students or future children to sit perfectly still, not making a peep, for more than 10 seconds (unless you make it a game and the winner gets ice cream or a new Tonka truck, or something). I get it; kids need to move and be kids.

So here is where you come in guys (and I completely open the floor to women who have insight as well!). Do you remember what you were like at the middle and high school ages? What makes boys tick? Is there a way to handle “hyperactivity” (medically diagnosed or not), whether you used it on your own students/children or it worked on you growing up? Any other tips or insight into the minds of boys is greatly accepted and appreciated!

Also, I am not even halfway through this book, but I highly recommend it to guys and girls alike! Check it out here on Amazon (there’s a Kindle version!).

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” OR Happy Birthday to me!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9

5

This past Saturday, April 27, was the five-year anniversary of my being saved. I found myself thinking a lot that day about how things change in five years; how much we grow (physically, emotionally, mentally), how many decisions we make (whether right or wrong), the people that come and go. I think it is important to reflect on our lives often, not just to reminisce, wish for the past, or dwell on regrets, but to realize how far we have come in our lives and all the events and people that God has placed in our paths along the way.

 April 26, 2008, I was in a car accident (ironically on my way to an event at church) that I came away with just some scrapes and bruises. I don’t know if I have any pictures of my car anymore – it was considered totaled after it flipped over, both of us upside down on the side of a country road. I rounded the curve too close to the outside, hit some gravel and overcorrected, then swerved violently before finally flipping over and landing upside down. My stomach still drops when cars make swerving motions, and I still feel anxious when I hear the sound of screeching tires. I called my mom sobbing because I didn’t know who else to call; she has Multiple Sclerosis, so there wasn’t much she could do for me other than making some more phone calls and worrying about me. Real smooth, Holliday. Real smooth.

The next 20 minutes were such a blur, but the people that I encountered are still pretty clear. A man drove by the scene shortly after and called 911 for me; I remember he had a verse of scripture on his shirt. I had been following my friends’ family so when they realized I was no longer behind them they came back for me; their hugs were so comforting at that moment. The police officer in the ambulance told me that God had a bigger plan for me that day. God certainly provided me with comforting people that day. How else could it be explained?

Later that day, my boyfriend at the time had asked me, “If things had turned out different [AKA if you had not made it out of this alive], do you know where you would be right now?” I had been attending church regularly for the past year. I volunteered for church events. Heck, I had been on my way to bond with a group of women from the church to make soup! I had never done drugs, I didn’t drink, I didn’t swear; I was a good person. But somehow I knew that these things weren’t enough.

 So the following day, Sunday, I walked into Pastor’s office and prayed to God to save me and take hold of my life. I was baptized a couple months later; my testimony verse is Romans 5: 3-5, which says

More than that we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Over the past five years, I have stumbled. I have looked to God for selfish reasons. I have tried doing things my own way. I have been impatient. But just as well, despite all of these things, God has never ceased to bless me. No matter how many times I fall, God has never failed to pick me back up. He has thrown things in my path that, at times, seemed insurmountable. But He has also blessed me immeasurably.

Five years ago today, if you asked me where I would be in five years, I would have never guessed where my life is today. I never would have thought I would get accepted into SUNY Geneseo, get involved with InterVarsity, meet so many wonderful, amazing people, and receive my Bachelors degree. I would never have guessed I would meet and fall for a tall, red-haired guy named Tom at a church event. Who knew I would be accepted into Teachers College, Columbia University, and move to New York City?

There are so many things that I never would have imagined for my life. But God is funny in that way; we think we know what we want, we think we know what is best for us, but God knows so much more and has so much more planned for us. Like Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 These past five years have shown my how much deeper my testimony is; in the beginning, it was because I was afraid of dying and going to Hell. I realize that I was saved even though my reasoning may have been pretty shallow – I mean, being saved is being saved, we shouldn’t feel the need to compare our testimony with others.  Tim Hawkins is a Christian comedian and he has a short skit that addresses this need to compare testimonies and the desire to have a “good” testimony (watch it here). I have grown to realize that my whole life is a testimony to God; He has gotten me through pretty crappy stuff, sometimes without my consciously realizing it.

Who knows where I’ll be in five years? I sure as heck don’t! And I don’t really feel like limiting myself to who/what/where I think I’ll be in five years. Whatever I think, God’s plan is so much better than I could even imagine. Cheers, God. Here’s to another five.