Top Ten.

My girlfriend and I do this thing called the top ten. We are long distance and have had to figure out how to be faraway friends. This helps. We list 10 things that the other person would know if we were neighbors. Silly or deep… all utterly important.

There is so much happening these days, I thought I would share a top ten to give a better picture of what’s goin’ down in the Van Essen home.

1. We decided, on a whim, to explore Nebraska City this weekend (O the joy of Sabbath… it’s the day of whimsy). An hour south of Omaha, it’s a small town known for it’s apples and trees- actually the home of Arbor Day, here in Nebraska. The trees were changing, apples were ripe and ready, the sky was clear and air fresh. It was lovely. I would like to live in a smaller town like this. I could feel the calm of the country. So refreshing.

2. My freshman year in high school, tv was something that got me through the week. That, and Jesus. Wasn’t a huge fan of that year. There were some prime shows on: the Bachelorette (before it really went down hill), 24 (gotta love some Bauer), and Alias (go girl). I’ve got some new favorites since then. This year, another top 3: Parenthood, Modern Family, and the Office— my Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday line-up.

3. We are eating mostly veggie and almost vegan. After watching Forks Over Knives, Food, Inc., and reading some other material, we are making some lifestyle changes when it comes to food. We are combining these materials and friends’ approaches to formulate something that works for us right now. Right now we are very little meat (finishing off the meat we purchased previously to this change), lots of veggies, and very little dairy (Coconut milk at Trader Joe’s is very affordable, but we just can’t pass up the cheese yet). We are still figuring it all out, but highly recommend these documentaries (instant watch on Netflix).

4. There is this boy in the preschool. He is driven, creative, and hilarious. He is a boy who knows who is. He is confident. He walks in the Light. My brother in-law writes this blog about child-like faith– what is faith like a child? Here is a taste: 1. I ask the class a question and they each share: What makes you happy? mommy, my toys, water slides, playing with my friend Charlie. It comes to my boy. Without hesitation: “Jesus.” 2. I am helping a few of them put together this awesome marble track. They think it is the coolest thing. This boy turns to me and says, “you are my favorite person…” he pauses…”actually my third favorite.” Obviously it begs the question,”What?! Who beats me?!” Again, no hesitation, “God and Jesus.”  This little guy has something big inside. It is a joy to witness and be touched by. Thankful for his captivated heart. May it always be.

5. Though it’s early in the medical school process, it flies by. So, Caleb has been really proactive about figuring out what type of medicine he’s interested in. After many conversations, information meetings, and specialty clubs, there are some that are standing out: general surgery, trauma surgery, Family Medicine (leaning towards this in a more rural setting), and Emergency Medicine. Coming up he will be doing some shadowing to get a taste of each.  Overall, Caleb– and the rest of the class– is ready to be done with the semester. The long hours in the anatomy lab is wearing on ’em. They are all looking forward to being done with the basic sciences (microbiology, cell biology, and biochemistry… yuck) and on to the physiology that comes next semester. From here on, there will be quite a peppering of exams and quizzes. It’s no time to burn out… but it’s buckle down time. In my opinion, Caleb is doing amazing… working hard, yet keeping a healthy balance. Although he’s ready to have a long break over the holidays, he is going strong through the end!

6. We are a part of a church! And thrilled about it. We are around people who think about faith and Jesus in a way that is inspiring and good. We are starting to connect with people, and already starting to feel a lot more a part of the community.

7. One of the hardest things about living in Nebraska is being two hours ahead of everyone on the west coast. That two hours really honks up schedules to talk to friends and family in other places. I am usually ready to go to bed by the time people are getting free.

8. The little twins are doing fabulously. Excited to get to see them again!

Kellan and Daylin

9. this happens sometimes… we run out of things to share… so we say nothing or things like, “I had a rice crispy treat today and it was amazing. Scrumdiddilyumpcious.” And that’s the truth.

That’s all for now from the middle of America.


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