The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

The Art of Being August 13, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 1:40 pm
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It’s been a while since I’ve actually sat down and written something for this blog. (Sorry to Ashley and Michelle for not keeping up my end of the bargain.) Mostly, it’s because I haven’t made the time, but partly it’s because I’ve been away appreciating the church family camp I’ve gone to since before I was born.

One of the many things that Brown City Camp taught me growing up is what I like to call the “art of being.” It came from my childhood when we would spend a full week and a half with family, having nowhere to escape but to the playground and the (non-disgusting) lagoon. It came from when I was in the youth spending long afternoons filled with nothing but card games and conversations under the big oak(?) tree in the middle of the youth area. That later extended into late-night conversations about the most obscure things in friends’ trailers.

There has always been something about just “being” with friends that I have always enjoyed. Once in a great while, I’ll just shut up and sit back and enjoy the company. If there’s a large enough group, this can go on for some time. I love occasionally stepping back and looking in from the outside at my friends enjoying each other.

I never really understood the concept until college. I participated in it occasionally in high school, but it never really clicked until college. I would be over at a friend’s dorm for a get-together of some sort, and there would be no other purpose to our being there other than to be together. It was a wonderful feeling! Sometimes food would show up, and other times we would just sit and talk for hours on end. It didn’t matter. We were together.

Now, there are rare moments when I can truly appreciate just “being” with people I enjoy. As you go out in the “real world,”  there must always be a purpose to your meetings, and people feel like time together, unless spent “productively”, is a waste. I beg to differ. There is something very productive about building those relationships that you can’t do while you’ve got a specific goal in mind when it comes to your time together. You only see one part of that person, and you miss out on a whole lot more.

What do you think? Is there something beneficial to just enjoying the presence of the people around you?


Thoughts on “Back-to-School” July 22, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 2:17 pm
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Having completed 12 years of schooling and 4 years of college, the past couple years I’ve enjoyed the right to breathe a huge sigh of relief and smile nostalgically at the piles of backpacks, pencils, and colorful ephemera that appears in stores mid-July.

But with my husband’s sudden decision to start college and the whirlwind of FAFSA, financial aid, applications, phone calls, and paperwork that involves, I find myself suddenly thrust back into the school mindset, at least peripherally. So here’s a few of my random thoughts as we gear up for his first “back-to-school” in quite a few years:

  • School, like many other things in life, increases exponentially in cost every year. Josh is attending classes exclusively online, so he doesn’t need pencils or a lunchbox ($25 total?). He does, however, need a new laptop ($700?).
  • I never appreciated my mother enough for providing all the tools I needed for school – including filling out the endless forms. It’s one thing to fill them out for myself, which I did all through college. It’s another thing entirely to fill them out for Josh, because he believes himself incapable of both finding our tax returns AND then typing the numbers in the right little box on the FAFSA. And it would never occur to him that he might need a notebook and maybe a pen or two, even for online classes.
  • Whoever controls the FAFSA/financial aid determination has WAY too much power. At least over my mental and emotional state.
  • It’s a good thing Josh married his IT department. And I have no idea how he’s going to manage online classes, since he couldn’t figure out how to turn off the pop-up blocker.
  • Who made the ridiculous marketing decision to advertise “Back to School” in the middle of JULY?!?!? It’s barely warming up in Michigan. It’s depressing. I hate you.
  • Seeing all the cute back-to-school clothes makes me want new clothes.
  • I’m really proud of Josh (and all the other adults in the same boat) for making the decision to go back to school. In addition to balancing a full-time job, he’ll be juggling the roles of hubby and daddy too. I certainly don’t envy him, and I’ll do everything I can to make sure he succeeds.

Good luck, my dear Josh, and every other student out there groaning at the pen-and-calculator-laden shelves! Can’t say I miss being in your shoes!