Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bishopric Update

Things have gotten really busy for me since the last time I wrote anything here. As predicted, my new calling is pretty time consuming, especially this week considering that this Sunday is ward conference. I am looking forward to having this week over and done so that we can get things back to normal, or, at the very least, figure out what normal is.

Tina has been a great support. She is very understanding about how I have these meetings that will go on often for undetermined lengths of time. The biggest help has been having an agenda and while the meeting is happening, determining if an item really needs discussing. I have found that some things on the agenda can be handled with a phone call or an email. I wonder what it was like for bishops who did not have cell phones, email, and other modern technologies which make communication easier.

Spiritual Insight:
Here is more or less the spiritual thought I shared in last night's bishopric meeting. I like reading the New Testament. I also enjoy reading books, essays, and articles that help explain things by putting them into their proper context. That's what N.T. Wright does in his "For Everyone" commentary of the New Testament. In a very engaging and readable way, Wright provides background into the political, religious, and cultural issues of Jesus which helps to flesh things out one would not normally get from the text if they were to read it straight through. One example of this the putting new wine into new bottles found in the Gospel of Luke.

Wright makes something clear very clear. Jesus was not a reformer. His message had little, if anything, to with reforming the current norms and culture of his time or anytime. He was not a tinkering politician who believed that a new program, initiative, or appropriation of funds for an already existing program would fix Israel. What was needed was a complete and utter turning of things upside down. He was going to make a new Covenant, not only with Israel, but with the whole world and establish a new kingdom.

As I think about the wine skins and the new wine spoken of Luke and its' context within the New Covenant/New Kingdom framework, it tells me something. It tells me that reform is not the answer and, in fact, will make things worse. Reform is not a sustainable solution.

Individually this means that each person needs changing to contain the new wine God will put in them. Everyone needs to be reborn such that they may be vessels to contain the spirit God will put in them.

This might sound esoteric to some, but this message really speaks to me.

As David McCollough would say, "That's my post."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Movie suggestions

For our wedding, Chris and I got a free subscription to Netflix for 3 months from my wonderful brother and sister-in-law.  I think that any day now, we are going to cash in the subscription.  We made a list last night of movies that we would like to get, and, I will be honest, it was a pretty sad list!  Does anyone have any suggestions on some great movies to watch?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chris's new calling

Today, Chris was sustained and set apart as the 2nd counselor in our ward's new bishopric.  He was also ordained to be a high priest by his father, who came from Atlanta to do it.  It was a wonderful, and exciting experience.  I think it will be a great new adventure in our lives.  I am also excited that the new bishop's wife has two kids and needs my help during sacrament meeting, so I will not be the "single lady whose husband sits on the stand."  I am thankful for Chris and that he can perform everything that he needs to for this calling.  I hope to support him through it all, even though I know that it will be busy and time-consuming!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Idaho Falls

Next week Tina and I have Thursday and Friday off. For second year in a row we are going to spend our fall break in Idaho Falls doing whatever our hearts feel like. I know that both of us could use a break from work and I know Tina will like having a break from four preps and the over 200 kids she works with just about everyday. Me, I always like changes in routine, so getting away for a few days will be really, really, nice.

At first we were planning on spending some of that time up at her parents' cabin in Island Park. But after realizing that was not going to work out, we are content to spend some time in town, doing the things we do when we are there. One thing that might be fun will be to take a drive up the highway to the gas station where there are square Ice Cream cones. The fall colors will be out and the drive is just gorgeous.

So, let the countdown begin. Today (Thursday) marks the one week mark before we head out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Favorite parts of fall

1.  Pumpkins . . . we don't have any yet, but this year, we might have to invest!

2.  The weather--much cooler than summer.

3.  Wearing sweaters

OK, this is my sweater collection.  I know, I know . . . it is ridiculous!

4.  Peaches are in season.

5.  School is back in session, so my schedule is back!

6.  Halloween decorations.  Those are by far my favorite.

7.  Yummy things to eat . . . pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, apple crisp, soup, the list goes on and on . . .

8.  Leaves are changing colors.

9.  Lots of fall breaks at school . . . UEA break, Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, Labor Day

10.  Thanksgiving is almost here.

Come to D.C. with me!

I said that I would never do this . . . but it was far too tempting.  If I get 15 kids to sign up, I can get a free trip to Washington D.C.  And if I get 30, Chris can come with me.  But right now, it is not looking so good.  We have 6 signed up.  So, if you or anyone you know is interested in traveling to Washington D.C. from April 5-10, go to this site and register.  The trip number is 30247.  Come!  Come!  It will be fun!  The cost is only $1861, which I know sounds like a lot, but really isn't.  You only need to deposite $99 to register!

Just a few more days

I am having one of those "I don't want to be at work" kind of days. But I guess that I will just have to power through. If I could have it my way, I would be at home and in bed. But I guess since I am here, I might as well get some stuff done. One thing I have to look forward to is that tomorrow my class is going on a field trip and I will get to stay back with the kids who can't go. Those days are always kind of cool and really laid back. Plus the kids will leave at 1:30pm and we will have our weekly core team meeting.

One thing I am really looking forward to is going to the temple on Saturday. Carter (Tina's younger brother) will receive his endowment in preparation for his mission. Carter will be serving in the Carlsbad California Mission where he will preach the Gospel in English. I am excited for him because I served in California and think he is just going to love it. Way to go Carter!

Another thing I am really looking forward to is going to Atlanta for Christmas. For the past couple of years my parents made it a point to visit their children who live in Utah (there are three of us out here: Matt, Nathan, Tina, and me). Sadly, they have not been able to make the trek this year. My dad took a lot of time off during the Spring for my wedding and for Matt's graduation and, if he wants to take time off during the Holidays, can't use any vacation between now and when all of us come home. It is sad, however, the upside is that Tina and I will be home for the entire Christmas break. We will miss saying goodbye to Carter, but will do that before we take off. All this just makes me wish my parents would retire and move closer to where we are.

I am also looking forward to finishing the last of the Raymond E. Feist books I checked out from the BYU Library. There are four in the series and I am a little more than half way done with than the fourth. This is the first time since reading Lord of the Rings I have read something that was not a stand alone book. While they are not the greatest when it comes to literary value, they are lots of fun and the story is kind of cool.

Well, I really need to get some stuff done before the kids get here. I will write again soon.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Weekly Roar 10/4/09

Tina and I are glad that one week has come to an end and that another is beginning. We are excited because this week marks the last full week of work before we go up to Idaho to spend the UEA break with Mom, Dad, Casey, and Uncle John and Aunt Lisa. I guess that both of us will just hunker down and tough it out until next Wednesday afternoon when we will get in the car and head for Idaho Falls.

Tina and I enjoyed General Conference. One thing about the conference that has really made me happy is how quickly the sessions have been uploaded to And, as if things could not get any better, the Priesthood session is now available for download. I think this is great. It will make putting them on the old iPod so much easier. I plan on working my way through the sessions starting tomorrow morning on the way to work.

After months of talking about it Tina and I are going to work at the Provo temple. We were interviewed and set apart on Friday afternoon. While we are both very busy, working in the temple will bring great blessings into our lives. Tina feels that this is the only chance we will have to do this for quite some time. She is right. Once the kids come along we will not be able to work as temple workers for a long time. I am looking forward to learning more about the temple. The downside is that Tina has forbade me from working in the cafeteria :-)

On Saturday I filled out two applications to graduate school. Right now I am seriously considering the University of Alabama and Clarion University of Pennsylvania as my top two choices. I am going to apply to a third and possibly a fourth school and then see where the chips fall.

Right now I am leaning towards Alabama. One reason is the program's cost is very reasonable. Another reason is the mascot. A huge Elephant can destroy anything. In all seriousness though, UA is very respected and I have heard that their program is top notch.

This week we are going to get a new calendar to count down the days until we go to Atlanta for Christmas. Tina says I am in charge of that. Right now there is just over two months until we hop on that plane and head to Atlanta for two weeks. It will be good to spend time with the family, especially with our nephew Jack and the greatest miniature schnauzer in the world, our little friend Ebby (Tina wants me to clarify that Ebby is not her friend and that I am one of those "weird dog people" to which I say, "Dogs are people too!").

Well, that's about it from the Rusch's. We will see you next or so.


Friday, October 2, 2009

It's suddenly fall

I love living in Utah. One reason I like living in Utah is that Utah has four distinguishable seasons. It is nice to experience all of them in their fullness as opposed to Georgia which only has two; middle of August and pollen.

Having the seasons is nice. My only complaint is here they do not gracefully transition from one to another. It's like the last day of summer rolls around and the temperature is therefore obligated to drop fifty degrees. It is quite the shock to the system to have months of summer weather with temperatures in the 80s and 90s and then abruptly wake up one morning to a blistering 38 and have ice on your windshield.

The only thing I am asking is a graceful period of transition where one season gradually departs giving to its' incoming brother or sister. That's all I want. I want a slow transition from Summer to fall without being shocked into having to break out the sweaters and the winter coat overnight. Is that too much ask. I think not.