28 August 2008

"Lifesong" & Youth Jam

Ah, some freshmen in high school perspective...

So last Friday, I began to introduce my freshmen World History students to the concept of being a patron during the Renaissance in Europe...for those of you wondering what the Renaissance was, it's time period of history (1300-1600) that created a rebirth of art & learning (think Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, etc.) & if you were a patron of the arts, you tended to be wealthy & give money, support, time, etc. to artists, sculptors, & writers. While I've probably just bored you for the last few sentences, the data is important to appreciate the story; and here goes...

Mrs. Miller: So let me give you a modern day example of patronage...I am a patron of Banana Republic. Who knows what B.R. is?

Student #1 (overzealous teenage girl, flapping her raised hand wildly): It's a clothing store!

Mrs. Miller: Yep, that's right; unfortunately, I probably patronize B.R. too much :) Here's another example: I also patronize an organization called Lifesong. Lifesong is a non-profit organization that works with helping orphans world-wide & educating people about orphans. Has anybody heard of Lifesong?

(sidebar: I probably should have said "Lifesong for Orphans" at this point)

Student #2 (suave freshman boy raises his hand): I've heard of Lifesong.

Mrs. Miller (shocked! my heart is leaping through my wide smile...I'm thinking Andy, Gary, someone must have talked at his church...and he's probably a little Christian boy-Yeah!): REALLY! That's great...how do you know about Lifesong?

(Here's the kicker...)

Student #2: Well, it's Casting Crown's song!

Hmm, not quite the answer my heart was hoping for, but it certainly did bring a smile to my face & of course, I didn't have the heart to embarrass him & tell him that we were talking about completely different ideas.

...and I'm glad I didn't embarrass him because just today as I was going around the last 10 minutes of class, helping students with homework (and general organization skills - after all, they are freshmen), Student #2 hands me a note; yep, that's right - a note! A handwritten, "I put effort into this" note! Turns out he probably does have some Christian background/influence, as the note turned out to be a hand-drawn pamphlet advertising "Youth Jam": a youth group get-together this Sat. night in Morton from 5-10pm...food, games, worship, etc. will all be there & he invited me! Isn't that great...I still am smiling from my little note :) Furthermore, I feel blessed that Jesus has used me & my words to touch him in a way that he, a 15 year old boy in high school, trusts me with an invite such as this! Praise Jesus!

Side note #2: the host church for Youth Jam is directly behind our condo here in Morton! If we go, I'll keep you posted. :)

24 August 2008

Ready or Not...

...here we go! So one week after school has started, Arlan and I find ourselves wondering what happened to our wonderful summer months :) Now most of you are thinking, "hey, join the real world! We work year round...". To which we answer, "yes, we know; but we need to have teenage energy, drama, and emotion 8 hours a day"...and my, how the emotions have started! (stay tuned for stories of these emotions) Not only have we begun going to bed early (like 9 pm), eating dinner at like 5 pm, but we also find ourselves loving our rare evenings at home. Especially since I find myself with my annual "welcome-back to school" sinus infection...so this weekend has been mostly laying around, sleeping, blowing my nose, drinking tea, grading papers, blowing my nose, etc. Yep, for Mr. & Mrs. Miller...school has started!

15 August 2008

Reality check time

Today, Friday August 15, marks the last day of summer vacation for both of us; while "vacation" technically was filled with many working days at Sylvan Learning Center for me & going back to Gridley to help on the family farm for Arlan (and sometimes me :), life as we call summer is over! School starts Monday, August 18th. Yep, the PCHS hallways & rooms G408 and G403 will soon again be vacated by Mrs. & Mr. Miller respectively. We will both be teaching World & U.S. History to freshman and juniors while Arlan will continue to be one of four student council advisors. So ready or not, I guess here the students come! Stay tuned throughout the school year, as I'm guessing many a post will be in regards to our job(s)...you just never know what the average day of being a high school teacher means!

13 August 2008

State Fair Day

our nephew & niece, Adam (3) & Amelia (5) Miller enjoying
their lunch during the show

Adam in between "helping out"; he loves to lead people of any age around with a "halter"/string.

Alan on the left; Cathy on the right

Papa & Adam eagerly anticipating the results

For the second straight year, Arlan and I have ventured down to the great capital of Springfield for the Illinois State Fair. And like the previous year, we attended the fair on the open cattle show day. Arlan grew up north of Gridley on an angus farm which continues to grow & grow and which 2 of his siblings, Alan & Cathy - both seen showing in picture #2, are involved. Now being raised on a grain farm in Iowa, I thought I knew what county & state fairs were all about...I was mistaken. When it comes to showing cattle, I was introduced to a whole new world! Arlan's parents were also in the stands that day to cheer on the family & to see how each of their heifer's (they've already sold) placed; the obvious business sense here is: the better you do in shows, the better for business. It's always very fascinating to me how getting the heifer to stand in just the right position with their neck held high and their legs placed just right effects their placement within each class/division...also imagine trying to hold an 800-1200 lb. animal still! So while this looks all very simple, next time you're at the state fair-head on in to the cattle ring & ask for Alan & Theresa Miller...you'll be amazed at the complexity of what "showing cows" really means!

10 August 2008

Our Bamber

So let me tell you about my amazing sister-in-law Amber (aka Bamber to me...yes, I'm sure she loves her annoying nickname). Amber just graduated from U of I last May and is now a floral designer in Champaign (she does great work-she did all our wedding flowers 2 years ago). She is one of those girls whose quiet spirit compliments her solidness as a Christian & leader. Amber has put up with us working on the farm: landscaping, painting, cleaning, & general slave work required by her big brother Arlan. We had the privilege to spend the afternoon in Champaign with her last Saturday evening walking on the campus, eating on Green, & soaking up Moonstruck Cafe. We love you Bamber!

09 August 2008

Game Night Extravaganza

Every now & then Arlan and I host a game night: food, friends, laughter & games. We love having friends over and since the weather has been just about as perfect as a summer day is going to get, last night was a perfect evening for outdoor games of croquet, bocce ball, and bags. The courts even fit in our small backyard!

And the best-dressed winner (to our semi-formal garden party) was....Josh Stoller-door prize winner of the "award-winning" CD of the combined Gridley/Roanoke choirs. He was very happy!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Last Monday & Tuesdsay Joy, Sheryl, Alesa, and I all took the train up to Chicago for a few days of girl bonding. A Cubs game, shopping, miniature golf at Grant Park and good catch-up time in each of our lives ensued. We enjoyed a few storms (literally as Wrigley Field was evacuated as tornado sirens blared & the game suffered a 2 1/2 hour rain delay) and drama on the train ride home (cops escorting passengers off & screaming babies). Ladies-it was a great trip & thanks for the memories!

08 August 2008


With much encouragement & a bit of trepidation, we begin this journey called blogging. Much discussion has occurred in the Miller household over the nature of our blog (diary format, life events, trips, etc. or entertainment purposes), but finally we just decided to give it a whirl and probably combine all the aforementioned. Please be patient as we begin and thanks for stopping by to read about the life & happenings of Arlan & Katie.