Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 in Retrospect

I know that it is a couple of days early but I'm not sure if I'll get to blog again before 2007 barrels into our lives. Looking back, 2006 was quite a year. Just like every year before it, and I'm sure every year yet to come, it had its high and low points. One thing that I have come to realize about myself is that I have a very selective memory. I only remember the good. After all, life is what you make of it. I choose to see the beauty of it all.

This year can be wrapped up for me in one word: Love. That's what it has all boiled down to. I was so blessed this year because I got to experience love in just about every way possible. From shared laughter to shared tears, it was all wonderful. It was all better than I could have ever anticipated and words cannot capture the thankfulness I have for it and for you. It gave me strength and confidence. It made me feel like something bigger than myself. I cannot tell you what it means to me and how you have changed my life through your presence in it.

The other thing this year has impressed upon me is the gift of simplicity. This past week, I walked dogs with my sister. She let me tag along with her to work and "help" her out. I honestly didn't plan on doing that while I was there but after the first night, I really looked forward to it. The joy and love that the animals had at first sight was so simple but so comforting. I think that 2007 will see a pet very quickly! But there was more than walking dogs for a day or two. It was getting lost in a book, the vibrant colors of plants as they came into full bloom, the feel of the breeze in your hair. It was a million tiny little things that get overlooked because we are so busy that we forget to stop and notice them. 2006 was about those awarenesses.

This was a year in which, for the first time, I felt like an adult. I took great pride in my work and found joy in it. Even though I find myself as confused today as I have in the past, I am thankful for the professionalism that I now feel. Beyond work, I feel independence and responsible for who I am and what I do. I don't know when it happened, but I don't see myself as a kid anymore. Somewhere in the past 12 months, I grew up.

There are things that I hope for 2007. I hope to begin my master's work in the fall. I hope to be in a house that stands independent of what I cannot control. I hope to see Boston. I hope I continue to look for the small things and find your love along the way.

Happy New Year to you all. Count your blessings and get ready to be piled up with more.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In Response to Jackie...

I was reading Jackie's Christmas blog this morning and I have been thinking about it. I was going to comment but it turned into the world's longest comment so now it is a blog. I have to start with a disclaimer though. I love the church. I really do. So here are my views on the whole Christmas thing. It may get me kicked me out of the church but I'm pretty sure that you will still love me.

Who cares if people are celebrating Christ's birth? If the whole world wants to stop for one day and one night to actually think about God...Go for it! I don't think He will mind. Why do we have to be the only ones that kick Jesus out of the holiday? I find it ironic that the church refuses to make one day any more significant that the rest when we do it so passively every year. Think about it…By trying so hard not to acknowledge it, aren't we actually acknowledging it and making it stand out? You know – don’t read that scripture about Christ being born today! That might make this day more important than the rest! Make sure that everyone knows we don’t celebrate the birth of Christ today but every day of the year! And those beautiful carols! We refuse to sing them at Christmas time but we don't sing them any other time of the year either. If we truly celebrate the birth of Christ on everyday, let's sing “Joy to the World” or “Oh Holy Night” in May. Oh...wait...we can't do that either! It might make people uncomfortable! If our minds are really supposed to be set on things above, I think that Christmas counts too. I don’t hold it more holy that any other but why not give it a better focus than the commercialism that consumes our society. After all, the whole family and loves ones side is usually a direct gift from God through Christ. It’s a shame that we can acknowledge it 364 days a year but not the one day that we could actually use it the most to evangelize. Oh...wait…make that 363 days…don’t forget about Easter…

Thursday, December 21, 2006


One semester down! As of 3:15 this afternoon we are on Christmas break! After staying up until 1:00 this morning getting ready for today, it went very well. It was the day of controled chaos that most people in my profession dread. Overall, the students did very well. They were spoiled rotten with gifts (see the picture below). They each got three gifts so our class tree was quite the sight. It was decorated with glass ornaments that we painted ourselves. So much fun! Half way through the day, it started hailing at our school. If you remember April at all, you can imagine the fear that came into the adults' eyes! It was smaller than pea-sized so it didn't do any damage - just gave us a good scare. The kids thought it was snow so that was fun. A student went to get a cup so the kids could see it. Perfect timing since we just studied weather! I'd post the picture but the student is in it. Privacy rights and all. Then our class shirts came in (check out those colors, Dad!). The party was sugar filled so the 3:00 bell was well appreciated by the teachers. Thankfully the kids took all of the food with them! :) I made it through without getting the traditional teacher mug. However, I now have a theme of bath sets. Hmmmm...what could they be trying to tell me? Now, I have about 2 weeks to be a person. What am I going to do with all of that free time!?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The More Things Change....

Sometimes you just gotta shake your head. I was walking into HEB after work when I passed an older woman very passionately discussing her frustrations with gift shopping to no one. In the past, this would have caught me off guard but with so many people using blue tooth and other hand free phone options, I just smiled. I laughed to myself as I quickly thought about how quickly things have changed. Instead of thinking her odd, I was actually quite impressed at her technological aptness. She looked to be my grandmother's age and here she was embracing the ever changing world of the cell phone. Then it happened.....

As I was passing her, she turned and smiled at me. I phone or phone accessories anywhere! I was no longer looking at her with admiration. She really was that crazy old lady walking through the parking lot and yelling at herself! Oh my goodness!

I guess things haven't changed that much after all!

Monday, December 18, 2006


One thing that I love about the Holy Spirit is that it speaks on our behalf - making sense of the groaning that our humanity can't express. Sometimes that groan is an indescribable joy and other times it is intense sorrow. Tonight, my soul groans.

You know the blog that Jackie wrote about asking for prayer requests but not vocalizing them? That is what I am doing tonight. I am ok but am VERY shaken on someone's behalf. I'm talking blurred vision and literally shaking. Please, pray for intercession on their behalf and peace on mine.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mutualism in the Church

There is a scientific term that has been running through my mind today - Symbiosis. Symbiosis is when two organisms live together for the benefit of at least one of the two involved. A branch of that is mutualism and it is exactly the same except that both organisms benefit from the relationship rather than just one. I think this is what God had in mind when he established the role of elders in the church.

Today, Randy preached at both morning and evening services about the need for pastoral prayer - prayers for our elders. Now, I have to admit that the topic of the eldership has become increasingly more important and personal to me in about the past year. I obviously can't fill that role but as a daughter of an elder and a sheep in God's flock, my relationship with my leaders has taken on a whole new light.

We are given example after example in scripture of the role of elders in our church. When you boil it all down, we basically see that an elder is responsible for the spiritual well-being of the souls in God's church. They are to stewards of God's word and in constant prayer over the church. There is so much more to the position but that is the foundations of it all.

If I expect my leaders to rise to the standard which has been set for them, I have to do my part as well. God put the men in the eldership there for a reason. If someone wasn't qualified, I honestly don't believe that God would allow him to come into that role. My opinion of them doesn't matter as long as they are scriptually qualified. If I "don't like" one, I thank God for there being a plurality of leaders. I remind myself that someone needs them as a spiritual leader and that they are part of the leadership that I am under. I commit to follow who and what the Lord has established.

Randy has encouraged all of us to pray over our elders in several areas: their personal lives, spiritual leadership, administrators, prophets, and as teachers. If we do not edify and support our leaderships, they will be ineffective. Any complaints we may have not only destroy our relationships with them but also with God. I'm not saying we should ride the benches of our local churches. I'm just saying that we should attempt to understand the responsibility on their shoulders and encouraged them the best way that we can. We need to give back to them as much (if not more) than they give to us. They are only as strong in leadership as we are as followers. That is the mutualism in the church.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And the Number One Reason Is....

Lately I have been gripping a lot on here. Sorry! I'll try to get better about that, but tonight I need to vent one more time.

I am moving this summer. There are several but here is the number one reason why it MUST happen: My neighbors smoke. Up until now, it hasn't been that big of a deal. They smoked on their porch outside. Just a little annoying because I couldn't open my windows without the smell coming in but overall, nothing to really be concerned about. However, lately their smoke has moved inside. How do I know? It smells like a chain smoker lives in my apartment. This is not just me being sensitive either. Others have commented about it too. It is keeping me awake right now because of the stink! Their nicotine is coming up through the floor and vents. I reek of smoke and my apartment does too. When my home in invaded by someone else's habit, I am not a happy camper! Especially if I can't do anything about it! I'm calling the office tomorrow but I don't think they can do anything either. GRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I get lung cancer and die, sue the guys below me!

Monday, December 11, 2006


At the end of each six weeks, we give our kids benchmark tests. Honestly...I hate it for so many reasons. I could seriously rant and rave right now like you would not believe. So I'll just pick one rant, say my peace, and then let it go. (yeah right)

For five weeks, my classroom busts its hump. I work ungodly hours and I push my kids pretty hard. I have high standards and I expect them to be met. The standard may not be the same for every kids but the expectation for growth and learning is there. So we WORK. Then, from somewhere way higher up than I, a test finds its way into my classroom. I don't see it until I give it. Therefore, I am just hoping that I have given them the information they will need to pass this test. Most of the time they do pretty well. The other times - not so much.

So here's my beef....Like I said, I hold a high bar for my kids. They are really good about meeting the standard. However, the benchmark doesn't always reflect that. In fact, most of the time, they are being tested over things they are not expected to have secured until April. I KNOW that my kids have learned and I can prove it. Yet, those stinkin' tests just don't show the improvement in them. It is so hard to lift their little chins with the graphs, wall movements, and score increases when that benchmark grade is looming over their heads.

My biggest fear is this....what if they come to expect failure. Once that acceptance sets in, there is no going back. I just hope that the love, pats on the backs, and mini-celebrations can be enough for them to see their growth over time.

What a mess!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shooting Myself

So I wrote yesterday about how much I love my job and how everything is great. Then today hit. I guess my bragging set myself up for it....

From college until now, I have had experiences in about 4 different school districts. My current one is unlike any of the rest. Their expectations are high and that is the biggest double edged sword I know of. On one hand, I am growing as a professional leaps and bounds. On the other hand, they are slowly sucking the life out of us. I'm talking pressure and nervous break downs like you would not believe. I've been places where the anti-depressants were being taken to deal with the atmosphere but this is a whole new ballgame. This afternoon some new information came down the shoots and we nearly hit the fans. I don't cuss so at the moment, there are no words in my vocabulary to express exactly how strongly any of us are feeling about our current situation.

My list of soap boxes I would like to stand on is growing by the day. I mean, come on...seriously!?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Fine Line I Walk

As much as I have gripped and complained about my job, I love it. I love the curriculum. I love the kids. I love my co-workers. I love how it pushes me to give even when I don't think there is anything else to give.

This year, I have been so intensely focused on work that I have come to a realization. I am walking the fine thin line between loving work and becoming a work-a-holic. Truth be told, I pour my heart and soul into this job. Just about every waking moment is spent working or thinking about work. I'll take breaks to see my friends a few times a week but I would estimate that the majority of my time is work driven. I think about work as soon as the alarm goes off. I work all day long and well into the night. I work while I watch TV and while I talk on the phone. This weekend the school is open. I will be there when it opens.

Last Friday, a co-worker and I had lunch together. She is engaged and she told me that she never thought she would chose work over being at home with a family. I see myself having that thought one day.

Is 26 too young to be so intense about work?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Addicted to Christmas

I just got home from getting a tree for my kids at school. They wanted one and Target had a good one for a good price. I got gift tags instead of ornements. This was they are cute but still won't break. I'll probably have a picture of it up soon. I saw Erin's blog and decided to do it too. Merry Christmas!

*Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate (especially from Starbucks!)

*Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? wrap in color coded gifts so we know who they belong to

*Colored lights on tree/house or white? white (Unless we are at the Griswald's house in Houston!)

*Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Erin and I would always wake Mom and Dad VERY early. Favorite time was in high school (sad but true), we misread a clock and got them up at 4:30 a.m. They weren't too happy when we all realized it. Oops!

*When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I asked Mom in 5th grade. Talk about disappointed!

*Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? on even numbered years in Houston

*How do you decorate your Christmas tree? While watching a Christmas movie and drinking hot chocolate

*Do you remember your favorite gift? Nope

*What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Time with the family and friends without having to rush back to work or feel guilty about it.

*What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Fat Ladies!

*What is your favorite holiday tradition? Opening stockings first or driving round and looking at lights

*What tops your tree? a big maroon bow

*Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? giving - especially it I know they will like it!

*What is your favorite Christmas Song? either The Christmas Song, White Christmas, or Silent Night

*Candy Canes - Yuck or Yum? Not so much

*Shop all year round for gifts or are you last minute shopper? Plan for months but shop last minute

*What's your favorite holiday movie and why? Serious would have to be It's a Wonderful Life. Talk about a great reminder of what's important! Funny is Christmas Vacation with the Huttons and Kellys.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's Been a Long Time Comin'

This is a long one but please take the time to read it. It’s a big one for me!

We all have times in our lives where we look back and think about the “what ifs” and “if I could have onlys”. We find comfort in telling ourselves that hind sight is 20/20. Other times, we are in a moment and we know exactly what is going on. We can put our finger on it and name it. For me, the past few months have been spent in the “what ifs” but yesterday, I had an epiphany.

I guess that it really started about a week ago (see the over-analyzing blog). I’ve been reassessing several things and letting go of even more. Then, this week, work was crazy but it didn’t seem to bother me as much. But the moment that I could put my finger on and name happened yesterday.

I had a great lunch with Mom and then went to see some incredible friends perform on the AMC show. They were phenomenal! I was watching them and realized that I didn’t want to be in the back with the camera. I wanted to be up there with them. I decided right then that as much as I like my job, it has to stop being my life. I gave up something that I want to do to work myself to death. That is dumb and must stop. I have to make time for what I want and that starts now.

Then later that evening, we went to the Chordsmen show and watched the chorus and Exclamation! sing on the Christmas show. It was the first time in about 5 months that I haven’t cried during (or after) a performance. The best part was that it didn’t even occur to me until after the show. Whenever I realized it, it was like a HUGE weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I just had to sit back and take a mental picture. Definitely an exact moment that I wanted to remember!

After the shows, we went to Earl Abel’s for dinner. I adore my friends but we are ruthless. Mess up once and you will never be allowed to forget about it. We spent a few hours picking on each other and just laughing. At one point, I looked around and felt at home. That is right where I needed to be - in the middle of people I love and that love me - laughing.

Today I feel still and quiet inside. Peace feels good!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Tonight was a chorale concert up at TSU. About eight people I know were involved so I decided to spend the $2.00 and make a night of it. It was SO beautiful! There was a touch of classical music but LOTS of hymn and folk type songs. Several were just calm, soothing pieces. A wonderful end to a chaotic week!

Next weekend, they are performing Handel's Messiah in Austin. For years, I have wanted to hear it sung at Christmas time. Looks like it's finally going to happen. :)

Hope your weekend is off to a good start!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Day of the Ego Boost

For whatever reason, today was good for my ego. So if you will indulge me, I am going to share. I promise that this isn't an "Oh the greatness of me!" time but just a feel good day that I want to share.

There are just some days when a girl feels pretty. Today was one of those days. The funniest thing about it was that I am just wearing a big, bulky sweater and brown slacks. No bright colors, no fancy jewelry, no stylish clothes. Just some blah colors that are working today. Apparently, it's not just me. I went up to school after my training and all of the kids and co-workers were very complementary. It feels great! Yep, I'm pretty conceited at the moment.

On a less superficial level, I had training at one of the Jr. High schools today and I ran into a student I didn't have last year. She was the bully who ran the school. When I say school, I don't mean the kids...I mean the teacher too. (She was leaving the office from getting a referral for calling a teacher Barney. She was nice to that one!) For some reason, there were about three people who she thought were worth listening to. I happened to be one of them. We hugged and talked for a minute. I told her that I still had our picture on the computer and her face showed extreme shock. I asked why she was so surprised. She though I would have torn it up. It seemed to blow her mind that anyone would keep her picture around. The funny thing about it is that girl is one of the reasons that I stay in this career I have chosen. She grinned pretty big when I told her that. It pretty much made my day. :)

Thanks for indulging my good day and big head.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

'Tis the Season

For some reason, this year I am really in the Christmas spirit. Not the monetary stuff but just the beauty and comfort that comes from this time of year. I know that some are not into the holiday as much as I am but that is just fine. To each his own. The distraction and festivities slow me down and make me reprioritize by ever increasing workaholic state. It calms me down.

I put my tree up on Sunday night while The Polar Express played in the background. I REALLY like my tree. I love to plug it in, turn on some Christmas music (or movie), and sit on the couch under a blanket with hot chocolate. The only thing that could make it better would be no work and real Christmas weather. Well, come tomorrow evening, I will have the cold weather too. I cannot wait!

Hope you are enjoying the season too!

Monday, November 27, 2006


So my guilty pleasure for the past couple of months has been watching The Bachelor. I know that it is cheesy but so am I. I have laughed at some of the girls because I don't believe that a relationship can be strongly forged in such non-realistic circumstances. I am disappointed in his choice but it was his to make. However...I have to admit that I grinned from ear to ear as Jenn realized that she was chosen. She lit up and glowed from the inside out. Happiness radiated from within her.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching someone fall in love.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Over Analyzing...Again

Hi. My name is Dana and I over analyze everything. Now for those of you who just chuckled, I agree...this is the understatement of the decade. For those of you who didn't, stop and thank God above that you have dodged the bazillion questions that I ask almost on a daily basis.

I say all of that as a note before this blog. Now...on to what I am here for.

Today I was at my parents' house packing up the car before heading to the Hutton's for lunch and a movie. I was thinking about a few major things that have dominated my thoughts for the past few months. You, relationships, work....the usual. As my mind was racing through some questions and attempting to come up with some sort of answers, something inside of me slammed on the brakes. I had a major "AH-HA!" moment! Here is the gist of it.

Do the whys, hows, whats, and whens really matter!? NO! Sure, they are nice to know but in the grand scheme of! All that matters is that life is what it is. God allows things to happen and it is up to me to work through it in faith. And what is faith? Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Nowhere in that definition do I see a promise of complete clarity and understanding. Nowhere do I see a guarantee of questions answered.

So what does that mean for someone like me who analyzes everything? For me, it means peace. It means letting go of a lot of stuff that really isn't mine to hold on to. My "AH-HA!" is this: I know what happened on my part. I know my concerns for others. I know how it appears things are falling into place. I know that certain health concerns are out of my hands and some are up to me to work with. Basically, I know truth on my part (my perception of a situation). That is all I know. Do I need to know everyone else's thoughts and concerns? Nope. Will my ability to understand other people change? Not always. So why spend so much energy on it? Why let my mind dwell of the unanswered questions that, sometimes, I truly don't want the answer to? That's dumb! I just won't stay there anymore. It doesn't make me healthy, wealthy, or wise (let alone happy).

Then I realized that I was over analyzing over analyzation.....Oh well!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Shhhh....It's a Secret

Every weekend, I give my kids a random, fun "homework" to do while they are out. Sometimes it is sweet (Hug everyone in your family) and other times it is silly (See how many times you can spin around before you fall down). It seems to be something that they look forward to getting because they really never know what they will get.

Their homework over the break was to think about what they are most thankful for (predictable - I know). At 10 years old, it is easy to become self absorbed ('s easy at 26, too) so I'm hoping they will see something outside of themselves. Something outside of their PlayStation, jewelry, and wrestlers.

Today, I think I know what one of mine is. One of the things that I am most thankful for in this world is inside jokes. I know that it sounds silly and superficial but just hear me out...

Inside joke are FABULOUS! Think about it - They are born when you are with someone special, someone you want to spend time with. They often stem from very ordinary moments. Then anytime you are with that person and the joke is triggered, you immediately look at each other and laugh. They always make you smile - no matter what circumstances you are in. It is a special secret that only you share. They are about relationships. They are intimate.

So today, if I share an inside joke with you, I am thankful for you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What's in a Name?

This afternoon, I spent some time with my minister. We were talking about a lot of things and several really touched my heart and opened my eyes. I thought I would share one that was particularly wonderful. I hope I can share it with the power it has on me. Hope it blesses you as well.

God created the world in seven days. He would create something, name it, and then declare it good. On the sixth day, he did something very special. After he created and named man, he gave man a job. He told man to name the creatures of the earth and gave him dominion over them (Gen 1: 26-30; 2:15-20). God basically gave over to man anything that he could name . If he can name it, he can control/rule over it.

When Moses saw the burning bush, a lot of dialogue took place but his first question was about the name of God. God's response is very telling. He answers with a very simple but very strong "I AM". It is almost as if God is saying, "You cannot name me and, therefore, cannot have control over me.

Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter. Saul became Paul. One day, God promises a new name to those who overcome.

It seems that in naming something, you gain control and power over it. Parents name children, owners name pets, lands were claimed in the name of a country. You get the idea. The same can be said for emotions. I have always believed that whatever emotion you feels is yours. There is no right or wrong. You have the right to feel how you feel - from anger to sorrow to joy. must control how you feel. Not in the suppressive sense but in the "what you do with it" sense. If you can name how you feel and embrace it, you can rule it. Then you decide if you move on or let go. You decide whether how you react to it. You own it, it does not own you. You are the master.

I hope that makes sense. Above that, I hope it gives you the strength to handle whatever is thrown your way today.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Woo Hoo!

I have been asked to be one of two people to represent our campus on our district's Academic Council! Work is crazy right now but I couldn't pass this one up. I'm not sure what will be required of me but I'll know more on December 5. Looks like I'm in the right place for my career right now! Just thought I would share the good news! :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Everyday I think I am learning something new about love. The lesson that God is pounding into me right now is that love is hard.

I have a difficult class this year. Their attitude and motivation changes literally moment to moment. Most of the time, it hinges on the behavior on my FOCUS students (FOCUS is the program for students labeled emotionally disturbed). They rule the room and they don't even know it. My whole day depends on how they feel.

One of them had a BAD hour yesterday. He had his Pokemon cards picked up at lunch and given to me. I told him that he could have them back at the end of the day and he LOST it. I'm talking grabbing my wrist and yanking me around, hitting me, ramming his body full force into me, etc etc etc. He had to be removed into intense FOCUS for the remainder of the day.

Today he was fine. He even had an apology note that he gave to me of his own accord. We had a great day until writing. I still haven't figured out why but he cut his eyelashes with his scissors. He was SO embarrassed and upset. We spent a while just chilling out and relaxing so he could go to PE.

Just about everyday he loves on me with leaning and hugs. Then, he turns about and tells me that he hates me and calls me names that would have gotten my mouth rinsed out with soap. Then an hour later, he is apologizing and leaning his forehead on my shoulder. Then he does something to that makes my head hurt.

I can see why most people stay angry at him. He says and does hateful things. He is disrespectful and mean. He doesn't know how to handle his emotion so his impulse control needs lots of training. There are some teachers from his past that have never gotten over him. They haven't allowed him to change and grow. But I am not that person. I love this child to death. He is the one I will wonder about in years to come. He can't 100% control what he does so you have to look beyond his behavior and see into his heart. He is doing the very best that he can with all that he has. I love him for it.

That's the thing about love. Most of the time, it is not easy to love this child but despite that, I do. It is hard to be called names and treated like poo. You don't chose who touches your heart. There is no rhyme or reason to it. There is no explaining why people do what they do or are what they are. You just love and accept people where they are. You just love the best that you can with all that you have - no matter how hard it is.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Revelation Song

My good friend Danielle is the worship leader at her church. About a year ago, she lead worship at a youth rally and she had to learn Revelation Song. I spent quite a bit of time in her classroom while she was learning the song and I fell in love with it. One of my two favorite New Testament books is Revelation so it struck a chord in my heart. Tonight I found the song on my cousin's website. Here are the lyrics. If you want to actually hear the song, go to Select Revelation Song once you get there. Enjoy!


Worthy is the... Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song... to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will... adore you

Clothed in rainbows... of living colors
Flashes of lightening... rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
to You the only wise King


Filled with wonder... awe struck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery... yeah


Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Mecca

Mom once called College Station an Aggie's Mecca. She was right. Today I spent the day at Kyle Field and LOVED it! It was seriously like coming home. It was familiar but still 100% exciting. We had some of the best seats I have ever seen (first deck, row 12, 45 yard line - seriously, look at the picture - no zoom!)! The band was fabulous! And then came my boys...what can I say, they break your heart just about every time! They tried so we have to give them some credit.

Before we went to the game, we stopped at Jeff's grandpa's house to get the tickets. He is class of '42 and was wearing his Aggie Ring. It has been worn down over time but it is still there, loud and proud! I got the warm fuzzies seeing it. :)

While we were there, Alissa and I got to talking about our seats. We put together that we would be sitting in original seats from the original stadium. I have to admit that this crossed my mind as we sawed the last time. How many people have stood where I was standing and yelled for the Ags? It was a little humbling to know that the love and respect for our school's traditions have withstood the tests of time. It made me feel proud to be a part of the Aggie family.

Maybe Mom is right...this is a bit like a cult!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Table for One

People often say that "Ignorance is Bliss". You know, how can you know any different from your life unless you have been exposed to other things. Sometimes not knowing is wonderful - you just don't know it at the time. Tonight, I completely understand!

I've often prided myself on being pretty independent. I don't make insignificant decisions easily but can be pretty determined when my mind is set on something. I've never needed anyone to define who I am or to validate what I do. If I want to do something or go somewhere, I do.

I've taken part of the conversation about eating out alone or going to the movies alone several times. That has never been something that has bothered me. Take a book or just people watch. No big deal. Until tonight...

You see, its been a while since I've gone out by myself and in about 30 minutes, I'm gonna do it again. There is a movie that I want to see and everyone already has plans. So it is either go alone or don't go at all. The second choice is stupid so it is off to get a bite and to the show - by myself. I'm not used to that anymore. Suddenly it feels like a big deal (even though I know its not).

Maybe it will be like riding a never forget how to do it. Just jump on and go.

***Update: Go see Stranger than Fiction. Totally different role for Will Ferrell but WONDERFUL!***

Thursday, November 09, 2006

On the Lighter Side

I don't like having my last blog be a sad one so I've been sitting here trying to come up with something to write as a replacement. So far, all yucky ideas. Instead, I thought I would share some quotes frome one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom. I quoted from his newest book a couple of posts ago but here are some from his other two books that I love. Enjoy!

Tuesdays with Morrie

  • The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.
  • Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too - even when you’re in the dark.
  • Love wins. Love always wins.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven

  • Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from the inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.
  • Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else.
  • Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.
  • But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

At a loss

Lately, I have been watching human behavior. A very sad conclusion that I have reached is this: People are mean.

If you look back at your days in school, there was a kid in your class that got picked on. They were singled out and picked on. Now we call it bullying. My class has one. We will call this student "Sam". Sam is sweet and enthusiastic. Sam loves to learn and is relatively naive to the things of this world. It is refreshing to visit and talk to Sam. Almost reassuring that not all kids know too much too fast.

The other kids are mean to Sam. Excuse me...ruthless. They touch each other and pass on "Sam germs". They look straight at Sam and call Sam ugly. They laugh in Sam's face and call Sam dumb and gross. They talk behind Sam's back, steal Sam's things, and purposefully seek out ways to make Sam cry. It is almost a game. I know...I've watched it on a daily basis.

The kicker is that I have tried everything I legally can to make it stop. Nothing has worked. It has reached the point that Sam was recently diagnosed as having Trichotillomania. In case you don't know what this is, it is a condition where you pull out your own hair to release anxiety and stress. At 9 years old! What is wrong with this picture!?

What kills me is this - where did a group of children learn to be so mean!? What have they seen and what is life like for them? I mean, think about it. They are looking for ways to make Sam's life miserable - on purpose! I've never had the feeling of Me vs. Them. No one else in that room is fighting for Sam, so it is up to me. And I am losing. What do I do? This is not rhetorical....

What do I do!?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Count, Count, Count, Counting the Days

I was walking through Target after work and I got a little annoyed that the store already has out Christmas stuff. Then I realized...Thanksgiving is in two weeks! Christmas is actually out later than normal! No forgetting my favorite holiday of the year! Family and friends surrounded by a meal lovingly prepared. Aggie Football and lots of games! Then, because of the way that the calendar fell, over a month of the Christmas season! WOO HOO!! I am suddenly all kinds of excited and looking forward to it!

Tonight, I am filled with anticipation. It is the holiday season. I know that many people don't like the commercialism of the next six weeks but I have to admit, this is my favorite time of the year. Minus the shopping, everyone is nicer and more relaxed. Everything is beautiful. I look forward to coming home to sit on the couch with a blanket, hot chocolate, and book to read while the tree sparkles by the window. Maybe some traditional Christmas music in the background with a little Harry Connick Jr thrown in here and there. Finding the perfect gift for that member of the family. The kids getting excited and sharing good seasonal stories with them. Grandma's chocolate letters. Christmas Eve dinner with the family and lunch the next day with tired, excited cousins that got up way too early. Laughing with the aunts and uncles. Yep - I'm excited!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Home, Sweet Home

I am ready for a house. Not just any house but MY house. A place that I can make my own. Nothing big and fancy - just enough for me. A place where I can open my windows without worrying if the smokers below me will make my apartment smell like nicotine. My own walls where sounds don't travel from unit to unit. A place where the water isn't turned off every couple of weeks. A place where the college students aren't getting going just as I am trying to fall asleep. A place to establish and take care of myself.

Here's the catch...I've always said that I wouldn't have a house until I was married. A house feels very permanent so why invest in something so huge and then have to possibly change it when that time comes? I know...very over analytical but that's me. So I am going to compromise. I can't afford to buy a house right now anyway so I'll rent until I can. As long as I am out of an apartment, I'll be a happy girl. Get my feet wet in the whole house thing until life really settles down. Besides, there is no telling where I will land next.....

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Pretty Ring

I have a pet peeve at work and my kids learn it very quickly. Because of past experience, lots of my students call me Mrs. instead of Ms. I correct them until I can't stand it anymore and then I pull out the ring lesson. I hold up my left hand and say "Look. No ring, no 'r'. Ms. NOT Mrs." Usually this works but a confused baby will always point to my Aggie Ring and say that I do have a ring. The other students give them the "DUH!" look but I love it. I get to have the talk with them, especially the girls, about the importance of my ring.

To me, my Aggie ring stands for so much more than my academic education. I stands for four years of personal growth and learning. It represents independence and intelligence. I tell the girls that it is more important than any other ring that they will receive because no one can give it to them. It is something you have to earn.

Since I picked up my Aggie ring, my fingers have changed and it doesn't fit quite right. The truth falls off. I have "lost" it a few times when it slipped off and I didn't feel it. Well, the time has come, my friends, for that to change. I have decided to get it resized. I've made contact with the Association of Former Students to get all of the information I will need.

However...there is not so wonderful news. I have to MAIL it in. They want me to put my ring in a box and drop it into the US mail. I might be overreacting but I think not. It is bad enough that my finger will be naked for weeks until it is returned but it is also floating around out of my care!

This is not a happy thought!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Book Review

About a week and a half ago, I made an impulse purchase. I was at Target and about to leave when I decided to take a walk by the books. Much to my surprise, I saw a new book by one of my two favorite authors. Sitting on the shelf was For One More Day by Mitch Albom. Without giving it a second thought, I walked to the register and paid for it. The goal was to read it in a week but that didn't happen. So, tonight, the goal was to read for 20 minutes and again it did not happen....Seventy pages later, I finished the book.

The book is about a man who is allowed to spend one more day with his mother who has passed away a few years before this story is set. It is about understanding why things happen and the healing that comes when the questions are answered.

Just like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the book left me thoughtful and reflective. Albom is one of those authors that just cuts you to your innermost being. He makes you stop and think about what you are doing and why. He has two resounding themes in his books. 1) Your actions have consequences. What is more important than your consequences is what you do next. 2) The "little things" are truly important in this life. Treasure them.

I love quotes. There are several that ring true to me in this book. The two that stand out significantly to me at this point in my life are as follows:

You need to keep people close. You need to give them access to your heart.

You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.

Read it. Read anything by Mitch Albom. You will be better for it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Favor, Please!

In our Writer's Workshop, we are supposed to be collecting entries and writing about life experiences to model for our kids. While I know that I have TONS of memories, I am drawing a blank when it is time to write. Therefore, I am trying to compile a list of memories to "cheat" from when my brain farts. Basically, I am asking for a few memories that you have of you and me together. They can be light hearted or serious, major or everyday moments. Both are needed. You can either post them here or email them to me. I think all of you have my email address or myspace address. I am listing (yet again) some things I have already collected so there are not any duplicates.
  • Seeing Wicked for the first time
  • Going to work wearing two different shoes
  • Playing Wall Ball after church in Jr. High
  • Hitting ice on the way home from Big Spring
  • Collecting coins with Dad
  • Mom and the wheat noodles
  • Meeting Sean Devine
  • Various concerts and shows
  • Weekends at barbershop contests
  • Chopping of my hair and seeing Jamie's reaction
  • A night driving through Austin and deciding to find a church home
  • Singing with Sugar and Spice on the fly
  • Talking in the airport on a layover
  • Annie
  • Fighting over identical dolls
  • Erin's corn on the cob dream
  • The cattle guards in New Mexico
  • Erin's Wedding
  • Waking Mom and Dad up at 4:30am on Christmas morning
  • Arriving in NYC and freaking out
  • Mom and Dad's surprise anniversary party
  • Taking Mom to Midnight Yell
  • Talking Erin into sneaking into the A&M/Notre Dame game instead of studying
  • Swinging with Sean in the backyard
  • Staying in the Tissue's pop up trailer in their driveway
  • Getting my cousin to freeze his tounge to the milk area of HEB
  • Filling Caleb's truck with peanuts
  • Jenn's birthday scavenger hunt and field party
Wow! That is longer than I thought it would be! Hope it brought back some good memories for you as well! In advance, thanks again!

Smelling the Roses

Tomorrow I am being observed in guided reading by my Balanced Literacy coach. I brought the book home to plan and was going to get right on it after church. Oh well.....

A friend came by that I haven't really seen in a while. I had some extra tamales so I thought I would share with him during his incredibly busy week. I got home about 8:45 and he stopped by about 9:15. We started talking and the next thing I know, it is late. How late? Well, the clock on my computer says 1:22 a.m. as I type this blog & he just left. Have I planned anything? Nope. Will I regret it in the morning? Maybe. Would I change visiting with him if I could? Not a chance!

Sometimes, we just need to catch up with friends. We need to stop running like chickens with our heads cut off and just be real people. We need to see how each other is doing, laugh, and just relax. I'll read the book tonight and get up in the morning to finish the plans. It will be fine because I stopped my chaotic life for a moment to actually live.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Silver Lining

While this is not a bad week, it sure is crazy! Here's the schedule:

Monday - Meetings until 5:00 and make it to the bank before it closes.
Tuesday - Two meetings that ran until 6:00 and work until 8:00
Wednesday - Church (Finally - a normal day!)
Thursday - Coaching with my Balanced Literacy coach and Fall Festival until 7:30-ish
Friday - Leave for Corpus

I know, that Friday thing doesn't look too bad but it is the third in about 6 weekends where there is something planned. I am being reminded heavily that time is most definitely NOT my own. So what do I do when I feel that nag to complain? Look for the moments that made me smile along the way. Thanks for indulging yet another list!

  1. A former student emailed me saying that "I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!" - the wisdom of a 7th grader! :)
  2. The city lights of San Marcos as seen from my classroom window at 8:00pm.
  3. Opening the windows and turning the air conditioning off.
  4. Writing units of study for the team
  5. Watching growth in people
  6. A student running at full force to crash into me for his version of a hug
  7. Reading the book at the end of the long day that I will most certainly blog about later.
Sometimes its the little things that get you through and keep you in check!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Found It!

So often I find myself reflecting back on my past. You know, choices I've made, things I've said, places I've gone. I am a very retrospective person and that can have its pros and cons. I can see growth and change. At the same time, sometimes it is easy to dwell in the past. Recently, one thing has been made abundantly clear. God does not call me to look back.

Everyone has a favorite bible verse. They hold it as almost a mantra. I think that I have found mine.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out
of darkness into his wonderful light. - I Peter 2:9

This verse reminds me of so many wonderful things. First, I am an Old Testament junkie. Honestly, I would rather spend time there than the New Testament. This verse pulls in so many references to the Old Testament but also ties it to the New. Beautiful! It is also a perfect snapshot of looking at our true identities. No matter what we might have been so far, this is who we are today. It gives us our new name and our new purpose.

So today remember one thing - You are chosen, royal, holy, and a belonging of God. I don't care who you are, that should make your heart smile!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

So much to say...

OK...This has been an amazing weekend thus far. There is much to tell so I'll try to make sense without writing a novel.

Friday night and Saturday morning was our Ladies Retreat. Despite some apprehension on my part, it was AMAZING! Healing is actually a better word. A lady from our congregation that unexpectedly lost her husband in June was our first speaker. She was absolutely inspirational. Think "Beth Moore meets Betty Rackley". OK, now you have an idea of this lady! She started off her session by having us all write down a few of our storms (past, present, and anticipated). Then, without our knowing, she posted them on the walls around the room. She spoke and touched all of our hearts. I took a few minutes at the end of the evening to read the walls. It was very humbling and sobering to see what all of the women were working through. It really put things in perspective. I didn't get to thank Sandy for her words until this morning at church. I hugged her and had a very moving short conversation with her. I cannot tell you how excited I am to know her. I hope she is added as a more permanent part of my life.

On the more fun side of the weekend, Alissa and I had such a great time! We found a couple of ladies that were closest to our age and kept them up until 3 a.m. with us. I don't think I have laughed that hard in a LONG time! Very good times!

After the retreat, I went to see my sweet friend Julie. It was SUCH an encouraging and uplifting visit! We talked at the Oasis under a beautiful clear sky and cool breeze. We took a quick nap and then saw a WONDERFUL movie called One Night with the King. It is based on the life of Esther. I have a new view of her and the woman that she was. For my home readers, it is in five San Antonio theaters and I would be more than happy meet any of you for another viewing! GO SEE IT! Ok...back on track...We went back to her place and had dinner with Charlie and visited some more. There is nothing better than having time with special friends!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Watch the Shelves!

Today on the radio, I heard that Wheaties is coming out with a new box featuring the Aggies and Longhorns! WHOOP! I will most definitely be buying a box a cereal in the very near future! Check it out!

This is from the Austin Statesman. We can forgive them for their bias this time. :)

Wheaties box features Longhorns and Aggies
By Staff Wednesday, October 18, 2006, 10:32 AM

The Aggies and Longhorns might want to eat their Wheaties before the next installment of their yearlong Lone Star Showdown series.
General Mills this week is rolling out its first-ever cereal boxes honoring a college rivalry.
One side of the box focuses on the Longhorns, the other side the Aggies. The cereal’s catch phrase, “Breakfast of champions,” adorns both sides (which might raise some truth-in-advertising questions for the A&M side).

It’s the Longhorns’ second Wheaties box this year. They were also featured in a special-edition box after the football national championship.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October 18

Do you every have one of those days where there was a nag in th back of your mind that you were forgetting something? That was today. I kept looking at the date and knowing it was significant for some reason. As I read Jenn's blog, it hit me.

I was in 5th grade and it was after school. For some reason, we were at the Bryan's house. I think... Anyway...Dad came, picked us up, and took us home. This was highly unusual because Mom usually met us at the junior high. When we got home, he told us that Papaw had been in a wreck. He was riding his bike down the highway and a car hit him, knocking him to the ground. Since he wasn't wearing a helmet, the damage was bad. I don't remember much about how I felt. We didn't get to see him because Mom was at the hospital and my parents had lots of wisdom about what little girls are or are not ready to see.

That was the nag in the back of my mind. That was 16 years ago today and I was the age of some of my students. Wow.....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I am not a quitter. I hate doing it. I don't give up on people or quit jobs - no matter how hard they may be. I feel like a failure and a disapointment - even if only to myself.

Tonight I quit Sugar and Spice. Time conflicts and priorites keep interferring with rehersal times and practice. I feel bad about it because I feel like I am letting people down. Yet, with not being able to attend rehersals or practice, I would be doing that anyway. Basically, my choices were to 1) let people down and be honest about it or 2) let people down and pretend that I am 100% committed to it. Lose/lose is how it looks to me.

Quitting - it stinks!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Living in the Gray

I don't do well with things being uncertain and undefined. I know some that are but I am not one of those people. I like to know where I will be in a year, how relationships stand, why things happen, etc, etc, etc...

The funny thing about life is that it is not black and white. It doesn't fit in a box and sit neatly on a shelf. It is messy and unpredictable. It is gray. I am overanalytical by nature so I would really like the black and white. It would be more comfortable and peaceful.

Gray can be exciting and scary at the same time. It opens doors to provide so many opportunities. It makes life a roller coaster instead of a merry-go-round.

I think that life is gray is because, from our basic human understanding, God is too. While he knows the outcomes, my tiny mind can't wrap my mind about who he is or why he does what he does. In order to live life to the fullest, I've got to put ALL of my trust in the gray - and that is hard!

Here is a song by my favorite Christian group right now. It fills me with peace when I hear it because it gently reminds me of who and I am who God is. That's pretty black and white to me!

Let Me Be Lyrics
by Caedmon's Call

Lord, You are the maker of my heart
The framer and reshaper of my soul
Master and Creator
Healer and Sustainer
I will put my trust in You alone
Teach me to be faithful to confess
In this way my spirit will be blessed
Though my sins are daily,
You have loved me greatly
Removing them as far as East from West

Let me be open
Let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in Your cross
Let me be broken
Whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy of my God

Give me the full measure of Your grace
As it is reflected in the Word
Faith and reassurance
Mercy and endurance
Carry these to those who haven’t heard


All I have needed is laid at your table
All my achievements, I lay at your feet
Alive in your spirit, I’m willing and able
You make my joy complete


Make my joy complete

Friday, October 13, 2006

Grey's Wisdom

There are only a few of you regulars that might have a true appreication for what I am about to post. I LOVE Grey's Anatomy! I think the reason is that I feel very connected to there character of Meredith - not by experience, mind you, but through her views on things. are three of her quotes from different places in the show. They express what I have been feeling/thinking lately so much better than I can. Enjoy!

"Maybe we're not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate."

“Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it’s not a new year. It’s an event, big or small, something that changes us. Ideally, that gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, a way of letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it's also important to remember that, amid all the crap, there are a few things worth holding on to."

"You know when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales? That fantasy of what your life would be -- white dress, prince charming who’d carry you away to a castle on a hill. You’d lie in your bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa clause, the tooth fairy, prince charming -- they were so close you could taste them. But eventually you grow up and one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is, it’s hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely because almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope and faith that one day they would open their eyes and it would all come true."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Hijacked Brain

After a semi-frustrating day at school, I was talking to Mom when I arrived home. I don't know how I sounded to her because I brain was completely hijacked. Someone changed the colors of my apartment. I hope you can tell what the current paint job of my apartment looks like. Basically, half is tan, half is chocolate, the trim is the opposite of the siding, and the doors and stair rails are red or chocoolate.

I made up a reason to go to the office and in the midst of the conversation brought it up. Turns out that the complex wants a new paint job but can't decide on color combinations. Therefore, they are mixing and matching on different buildings until they make a decision.

WOW! Am I lucky or what!?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rude Awakening

One thing that I looked forward to every year of high school was Camp Blue Haven. A week in the mountains to praise God and be with friends. Very few things can even begin to compare. There was only one thing that I dreaded - the shower house! Here was the routine: get up with the weather in the 50's, go to the shower house, and follow the water rules. Get wet and turn the water off, lather up, and turn the water back on to rinse. The rule of thumb (that I remember) was water on for a total of two minutes. As annoying as it could be, I actually was semi-alright with it because it was cold and I don't do cold well (understatement of the day).

This morning, I had a flashback to CBH. The boiler in my complex broke so I got to start my day with a VERY cold shower. Needless to say, I woke up very quickly! My teeth were chattering and I was trying unsuccessfully not to cry. (Don't ask. That's just how my body reacts to being very, very cold.) My thought process jumped into CBH shower rules and that's what I did. Get wet, water off, lather up, water on, and rinse. The whole time, all I could think was, "I AM NOT AT CAMP!"

I think I tied my all time fastest shower time.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thoughts for the day

I've thought about going to grad school for a while. I have let nerves and finances hold me back when the truth is, I've not been ready to take that step. I was talking to a co-worker about it after school today and it hit me really hard how badly I want my masters. I love being a student! Especially when it is focused on what I am passionate about and will help me be better in my field.

Therefore, I am setting a goal for myself. I would like to apply next fall to a program and start working towards my masters by the spring of 2008. This gives me time to start being able to afford it and also decide if I want to specialize in reading or in curriculum and instruction. I know that I would like to graduate before I get married. I know myself well enough to know that work, school, and a husband is too much for me to handle at once. Something would be neglected and that would have no happy endings.

So that's the plan for now. Honestly, I'm not holding my breath about it. God has a way of ripping the rug out from under my plans. He does it all of the time. We'll see....

In the meantime, here are two very random thoughts on the lighter side: 1) Origins Charcoal Mask is the greatest thing ever and 2) New toothbrushes make me very happy.

What can I's the little things in life that make you smile!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Even though things have been going pretty well, I felt very lonely this weekend. You know, the “I really need to not be sitting around by myself right now” feeling. I’ve actually been sensing this coming for a while. So, Friday night, I decided I wanted to stop the feeling before it had a chance to start. I called several people and tried to make something happen. Success? – Not so much. Thank God for Mexican food and text messaging!

Saturday was much better. Saw a few of the friends from Pleasanton in the morning and had dinner with a friend from work. (We closed Jason’s Deli. It was great!) If the only good thing that came out of San Marcos was meeting Danielle, which in itself is a HUGE blessing! She is an amazing example of a teacher and a woman after God’s heart. I want to be more like her. We decided to see each other sooner than the 7 weeks it took us this time.

Anyway…When I wasn’t with people, I poured myself into work with a constant movie in the background so I wouldn’t slip into the pity party trap. Of course, I had to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you haven’t seen it, DO! Basically, a relationship ends and they erase each other from their own respective memories. You get to watch the process and, as a result, a relationship from the end to the beginning. The basic message of the movie is that no matter how bad things get, there was something beautiful at the root of it. There was love and truth. The beauty just got complicated but can still be found if you want it. It’s pretty much a movie about hope – hence why I love it.

The message seemed to be the theme of Saturday. Danielle and I talked about how we are both lonely here right now. We are in very different stages of our lives than those around us. It’s hard to be the single one in the midst of married couples. It’s hard to keep the hours of your friends in college when your job is working you to the bone. And, some days, it’s hard to come home to an empty apartment. It doesn’t mean that you love anyone less. It just means that you have to lean upon God to remind that there is beauty in what you are doing and who you are. I am changing lives (hopefully) and in the moments of loneliness, you suck it up and think about the good. After all, that’s what you remember and store in your heart – the beauty of it all. Just start storing it up a little early.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chewing my Knee

Today was the Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Association of San Antonio. Its the third year I have participated and each year, I enjoy myself more. However, today I had one of my "Open Mouth, Insert Foot" moments. They don't come along too often but when they do, they're a doozy.

So we are in the first part of the walk. Daniel points to a random little plant on the side of the track and asks Caleb what it is. Being the yard/plant man that he is, Caleb answers without skipping a beat. I immediately hear myself say (in a completely loving and sarcastic manner), "Are you autistic, Dustin Hoffman? Rainman of plants!" At that moment, I am entirely too aware of where I am and who I am surrounded by. Think about it: Walking with families and friends of people with down syndrome in an effort to educate and raise awareness. And I am suddenly choking on my knee!

Then, watching them race, I catch myself just as I am about to yell across the track, "Run, Forrest, Run!" as Caleb sprints lankily around a curve.

What is it about being in a situation where you must be aware of your words? It seems that the more control and political correctness a situation requires, the higher the chances that someone will blow it. Gotta love being that person!

Friday, October 06, 2006

You have GOT to be kidding me!

So basically, I have a question that I need as many responses to as I can get. Feel free to put in your two cents (or more if you feel the need). I will take all that I can get.

How do you deal with someone that you are losing respect for? There is someone that I know whose heart is in the right place in all they do. They are hard working and respectful of everyone they come in contact with. However...the more I see this person in action, I want to slap my head and say "You have GOT to be kidding me!" Each time this happens (and it is becoming a few times a week), I feel myself losing respect for them and because of that, I am also losing trust. I cannot afford to feel this way.

Help! What do I do!?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I just finished doing yoga for the first time. Offically - I love it! It was harder than I was expecting but so worth it! I haven't felt this relaxed and still in a while. Everything feels as it should be - physically and mentally. I was so aware of my body and its capabilities. I felt like as soon as I gave it my full attention, everything else started melting away around me. During the deep relaxation, all I could think was that it was all very beautiful.

I'm also trying to get back on my diet. It's hard but I know how good it is for me. It makes me so much more aware of what I am putting into my body. I physically feel better and clearer.

I've noticed that, lately, I say things are beautiful quite a bit. It makes me smile to see the good and beauty in the world around me. Looks like I'm seeing it more and more each day. I find it all very cleansing and my breath is swept away.

Wow - I sound hippie-ish. That makes me smile. :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Yeah for scars!

Recently a friend blogged about the healing of relationships. In it she used the analogy that watching a relationship mend is like watching a bruise heal. My mom responded that we should learn from our bruises and not be hurt that way again. She added that in additions to bruises, scars are reminders to keep us from getting hurt in the future. Mom, I have to disagree.

I think that scars and bruises are signs of life. After all, how do you get a bruise or a scar? By living, taking part in something, not sitting on the sidelines. Why would I want to give something up because I got hurt? That is the beautiful thing about injury - it goes away. The bruise is gone and if there is a get a reminder of how you have grown. If anything, it allows you to give glory to God for the healing and the change you have undergone.

The way I see it, we all have a choice. We can either be careful and watch life pass us by so we don't get hurt OR we can heal and jump back in the midst of things. Personally, I like the idea of actually living my life. In other words...Bring on the scars!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reading Between the Lines

For so long, I ached for New York but now, I find myself missing our cabin in Colorado. The river was such a comfort - I wish I would have spent more time there. I miss the quiet and stillness. I long for it. I think that is where I see God best. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Elijah askes to see God and after many big events, he appears in a gentle whisper. That is where I meet God. In the small moments. Sure, big things definitely get my attention but it is in between the lines that God takes my breath away.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I got up early to get some work done but got distracted looking at some pictures. They made me think about my ride to church yesterday so I thought I would do this first.

I live in an area that is growing so much right now. Most people see that as a good thing - you know, economic development and such. As I was driving over a bridge, I looked to my left and saw a sea of roofs in an area that used to be a rolling hill. Part of me became very sad. The green grass and trees that were there before had been replaced by various shades of shingles. Home next to home are going up.

Then, on the way to Pleasanton, I saw DR Horton signs for new properties about every 5 exits. I have a friend who works for DR Horton and provides homes for those who need them. He loves his job and I am happy for him. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of projects his company has going right now. I had never noticed it before.

I am proud of where I am from partly because of the beauty of the state. Yesterday, I realized that soon, this area won't have the hills that are the invitation to the hill country. Instead, we are seeing construction sights on top of bull dozers next to gravel piles. It made me thankful for the beauty of people because, as I see it, the beauty of the land won't be here much longer.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


I am usually good pretty responsible but EVERYONE who knows me knows two things: 1) No matter how hard I try, if I am by myself I am always late for church and 2) I have a hard time getting dvds turned in on time. This evening I wanted to rent a movie to watch while I finished grading the papers from this week. I headed over to Hastings and, shock of all shocks, I had a late fee. I told the guy that I wanted to go ahead and pay it. As I was avoiding eye contact, he told me not to worry because earlier today someone came in with a $435 late fee! What!? How does that happen!? Ends up the guy forgot to turn in something like 6 movies. But still...come on! That's more than my car payment!

People never cease to amaze me.

In the Parking Lot of Applebee's

Tonight we went to see Katie dance at a football game and then headed to Applebee's for dinner. We stood around for a while and visited until only me, Manny, and Brent were left. We see each other very rarely anymore so we were catching up. Late in the conversation, Brent stops mid-sentence and says, "Look - they're gonna sing a tag!" We turn to see a group of four older women turning to face each other in the parking lot. We chuckle and then realize that they really are about to sing a tag! We walked over and met a quartet that was in town have a rehearsal. They were the nicest ladies! We didn't get to sing together but barbershop was discussed. The guys got their quartet's card and we all said good night.

Not many people will understand why that was a fun moment and that is OK. There is something unique about being a part of this group. I've been associated with barbershop for three years now and have grown to love both the hobby and the people. An instant bond is formed and you have a connection. It's like being at church or running into someone and finding out they are a Christian too. How special it is!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Call

Everyday I think that I have something to blog about and then I either forget it or something bigger comes up. Tonight, it is the second of the two.

I got a call yesterday that my Erin was in a wreck. I didn't get too many details from Gregg other than she is OK. Tonight, I actually got to talk to her for half an hour. She told me exactly what happened and how bad it could have been. The car is pretty much totalled and she made the news (just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation). I held it together on the phone but it took everything in me not to lose it when I got off.

I am SO thankful that she is OK. Sore, shaken, overwhelmed - yes. But even better - she's still here. The thought of losing her is beyond what I could bear. I've lost people close to me but to lose my sister would shatter my world. She is my strength and comfort. There's no way I could manage without her. She is the best thing God has ever given me and I am grateful he is letting me keep her a little longer!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

For the Love of Books

The longer I teach, the more I fall in love with books. Despite the various distractions of our day, not one can take the place of the written world. I believe that the most beautiful and dangerous place to go is into your mind and heart. Books are our guides that take us to the darkest places and lead us out into the brightest day known to man. No escape can rival what a good story provides.

One of my favorite things to remember about my mom is that she was a reader when I was little. She would get a book and devour it so quickly. It set such an amazing example for me and Erin. We would go to the library and get as many books as we were allowed. Trips to the mall were always accompanied with a stop in Walden or Dalton books.

Now, I am falling in love with the written word all over again. My time is not as free to dive in but when I do, my soul stirs. To this day, I find comfort in Barnes and Nobel when I need to relax. I will drive the 45 minutes to spend a few hours surrounded by adventures, romance, comedy, and mystery. I find refuge in books the way that some find it in a quite church.

This is from one of my new favorite children's books Inkheart. It is about the love of books and the worlds inside of them. Read the quote and then read the book:

“Is there anything in the world better than words on a page? Magic signs, the voices of the dead, building blocks to make wonderful worlds better than this one, comforters, companions in loneliness. Keeper of secrets, speakers of the truth...all in those glorious words.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My new roommate

On Friday, I had training with my Balanced Literacy coach. She stopped at one point, clapped her hand against her forehead, and proceeded to tell us about how a cricket kept her awake all night long. I laughed at her for several reasons but mainly how silly it was to be upset over a cricket.

Tonight, the cricket that was in her hotel room has settled into my apartment. I don't know where he is but he must be happy because he is singing up a storm! The biggest difference between my coach and I is that I actually like the sound! (Much better than the car alarm that won't turn off!) It triggers memories of sleep outs at Blue Haven, the fields at the Royal's place, and laying in bed listening them outside my window. All peaceful and calming memories.

Funny how one person's annoyances can be another person's comforts.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Collected Entry

This year I teach a 4th grade self contained class. We focus pretty hard on writing since it is tested in February. One of the things that we are learning through professional development is that our kids need to learn to write about the everyday because this is where we live and love. Our hearts are in the here and now. In order to model this, we are highly "encouraged" to write more. I've written about seeing Wicked for the first time, collecting coins with Dad, my most embarrassing moment (working up the courage to share that one), Annie, arriving in NYC, Mom and the wheat noodles, flying kites, swinging in the back yard, visits in Huntsville, Erin and the corn on the cob dream, getting kicked out of the Marriott, clean sheets, and crickets. This is the latest. Enjoy!

"This morning as I hit the snooze button, I was taken back in time.

It is a Tuesday morning and the wake up routine has begun. It follows a simple pattern but, like most things simple, it is very effective. First, the door swings open and a voice that I love calls out "Dana-nana". I groan back and Dad announces that it is time to get up. He steps away and I snuggle my cheek into the pillow. Two minutes later, I hear, "One....two....three!" and the room is flooded by the blinding light of my ceiling fan. Thankfully, I am still under the covers so over the head they go. A couple of minutes later, I hear the urgent "Dana! It's time to get up!" followed by the ripping back of sheets. I am immediately in the fetal position in the middle of my double bed - quite possibly the fastest movement known to man. This is a very vain attempt to keep warm under a fan rotating at full blast. Despite my being cold, I have the will power of an 11 year old and stay right in bed until....the sound of the opening refrigerator door reaches my ears. Based on past experience, I am confident that I know what will happen if I am not out of bed in the time it takes him to cross the house. Dad is armed with a loaded spray bottle that he keeps stored in the fridge for mornings such as today. I now have a very short amount of time to make a very major decision - stay in bed and get wet or get up still tired? Not a difficult decision but, unlike most mornings, it isn't made fast enough. I am met face to nozzle with a mist of ice cold spray. All I can think is that a super soaker wouldn't be that different right now. I squeal and am instantaneously awake. Dad grouses about how long it is starting to take to get me out of bed and I just laugh on the inside. Sure I could get out of bed right away but when else are you going to have a water fight with your dad first thing in the morning? Why would you even consider starting your day any other way?

Now, 15 years later, the alarm clock just doesn't beat dear, ol' Dad!"

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Momentary Want

There are not too many things that I want in live. Adventures, yes - things, no. Mom knowsthat I only want one thing for Christmas/birthday - an ipod. (There you go, Mom. It's in writing in case you forget). This morning I found another thing.

Jenn and Lin are still asleep and I am playing with Max. I take that back...I am being attacked by Max. Max is my Lin's cat and he is a unique one. He wears "pet-icures" to take the place of declawing so this time his claws are blue. He is a swatter but it doesn't hurt at all thanks to his "press on claws". He bites but will stop if you thump him. He also tears through the apartment at random times, tries to catch his tail while sitting on top of a book shelf, and has been known to swat at the mouse arrow on the computer. At the moment, my favorite thing about him is that he has a red dot on his back. Lin was dying her hair and he decided to see what she was doing. Hence, a red dot. Spastic is definitely a good word for him.

I want a cat. Something to love and play with at home. At the same time, I am NEVER at the apartment. It seems mean to get an animal and then never see it. I guess I'll settle for a nice plant. Yea, that will be fun...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Crossing of #13

Get your big black sharpie ready....Today, I parallel parked! Cross #13 off the life list! Not by choice but by necessity. Aren't you proud mom!? No bumps and the perfect distance from the curb. What can I doesn't take much to make me happy!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

He makes my heart smile...

I have a student whose mood defines how my day goes. If it is a good day for him, it is a good day for us. If it is a bad day, well, to say that our day is bad is the ultimate understatement. Today was a good day. He worked hard, was polite, focused, held my hand in the hallway, hugged, you name it – he did it right. Until the end of the day…

At 2:45, his good day ended. He entered the door and in the matter of 10 minutes, I was called dumb, stupid, retarded, and poor. He grunted at me and stuck his tongue out. A part of me was waiting to be hit. He refused to leave a nook in the room and then stormed out, knocking things off desks as he went. I let the behavioral specialist deal with him and turned my attention to the 15 other kids in my room waiting to work on the 5 foot puzzle they earned for the day.

After school, I was erasing the board when I saw what the boy was doing while he was in the nook. On a white board, he had written “I like Ms. LaMore” and signed it “Love,…”. I grabbed the board and ran to the behavioral specialist. He smiled and told me that the boy cussed him out all the way to the bus. Then, as he boarded the bus, he told the specialist that he is scared. You see, I am going to be out tomorrow for training and a sub will be there. He is nervous and acting out. He likes me and trusts me. That will be gone tomorrow and he doesn’t know what to expect or how to express his feelings.

My heart melts…

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Writing Therapy

Yes, this is the second blog for today. However, I must preface it by two things. First, please do not suddenly worry about me. As stated, this is writing therapy. Secondly, please do not comment or respond to this. I love you all but will delete them. This is truth at its rawest. I don’t need validation, justification, or negation for the way that I feel. It is what it is.

I just got back from church. Lately, it has been hard to go because it brings up memories of things I have lost. It is getting better but tonight again, it has surfaced the feelings I have been pushing down so I can look for the good. Yes, my laughter and smiles have been increasing and real, but I have also been feeling these underlying emotions all the while. They don’t go away. They hide until something triggers the surface key.

I feel like I have single handedly killed the one thing in life that made me the happiest. I have never regretted a thing that I have said or done until now. Each day that regret grows and I kick myself for it. If there were any way for me to take back, I would in a heartbeat. I would throw myself on the floor and sob from the core of my being to show how sorry I am, knowing that would be inadequate to how I truly feel. I would share how I am unable to read the Ladies’ Retreat book about healing from the storms of life because I don’t feel like I deserve it yet. I would tell about how I pray everyday that one day this will be forgiven and the hope I have that God will be faithful. Basically, I know what I've done, I am sorry, and I hurt.

So since I can’t do these things, I do this: Stay away and stay quiet. Just as I was asked. It is the least I can do. Until I hear other wise, I sit and wait – biding my time. Until then, I have made this decision. I won’t be going to church with the folks for a while. I’ll come visit the family and those who will want to see me but not at church. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.

Therapy done.

My kids

I have a really wonderful friend named Todd. He has this philosophy on life that says everything you do is driven by either love or fear. I think that, for the most part, he is right but I would like to tweak it just a bit. I think you do things out of love or selfishness.

This year, I have a group. I thought my classes last year were hard but the truth is, this one takes the cake. Yet, I already love these children more than any other group I have ever had. They are pushing me to be a more patient, considerate, well rounded teacher who multi-tasks and juggles more balls than I ever knew a teacher could ever be thrown. For example, my classroom has literally eight behavior plans going on at all times just to be able to function minute to minute. That is campus wide all the way down to individual. You would think that would drive me nuts but when I get to pull one of my low babies aside and reward him with the sticker that he earned, it is a highlight of my day. Racing another student in bike club makes giving up the 20 minutes of lunch worth it. All they want is to be known and to be loved completely. What an honor to have that relationship with someone. It fills the void in my heart.

We are reading a Hank Zipzer book as our read aloud and we are all enjoying it together. The subtitle is "The World's Greatest Underachiever". Hank is an ADHD, learning disabled, "open mouth, insert foot" kid that you just have to love because there is a bit of him in all of us. The truth is, there is a LOT of him in my students. For once, a book where they are the heroes and not the background character or the "bad guy".

The truth is, working with them helps me find purpose and love each day. Some days, that is hard to come by but knowing that I am going to spend my day switching between pulling my hair out and falling in love makes getting out of bed a little easier every day. They help me find love instead of fear. They help me learn love instead of selfishness.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A&M 28, Army 24 - Enough said!

Yesterday was such a good day. Got up and worked in the classroom from 9:00 to 3:45. The apartment was cleaned and then came the first televised Aggie game of the season. Last night is what its all about. I didn’t realize how much I missed my team. By the time kick off occurred, I was about to come undone with excitement. While I couldn’t be there in person, I was 150% there in spirit and focus. The flea-flicker was amazing. The interceptions drove me nuts. Above all, that was a TENSE last 10 seconds! All I can say is Wrecking Crew! One of the best games I have seen in a while. Several of my friends were there in person and hearing them talk about yelling, sawing, the band, and the energy made me incredibly jealous. However, my friends Jeff and Alisa made up for any envy I felt 100 fold. They have invited me to see A&M vs. Nebraska in Kyle Field on November 11! I haven’t been able to go to a game since I graduated four years ago. I am so excited that I think I will explode. We are going to take in Midnight Yell and do the whole realm of traditions. I cannot wait! Gotta love good friends and Aggie football!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Survey says....

I heard once that after a relationship ends, it takes half the length of the relationship to completely get over it. Does that sound right to anyone?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In my room...

So I think I might have a small clue as to what is "off" in my apartment. My bedroom is dull.

My whole life, my bedroom has been my sanctuary. It has been a place of comfort, relaxation, and escape. I used to hole myself up in there for hours on end. I would just be alone and dive into the writer's side of my imagination. I never wrote anything down but I always had a story going in my mind to just take a break from life. I'd dream of what I wanted out of life and it was safe in there. No one could burst my bubble or disappoint me. I could shut the door, turn on a cd, and everything outside those four walls would melt away. Even if things weren't always put in their place, it was my room - set just as I liked it.

Right now, my bedroom is a place to sleep. I never take work in there so that part of my life is the only thing not affected by the job. But a place for relaxation and escape? Not so much. All that is in there are the essentials. The walls are white and naked. I have a mirror and the word "dream" hanging on my walls. That's it. No pictures, color, or reflections of me. Just a place to close my eyes each night and throw my clothes at the end of the day. Maybe if I could get that place of solitude back, I could make all of the stress fade away (or at least pretend it does).

Those Beach Boys were pretty smart guys.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The first 34

A few months ago, a friend asked me a very important question: "What do you want?" At the time, I thought I knew but the more I thought about it, the less certain I was about what I truly desired out of life. I have been thinking about it for about a month now. I realize now there is so much to want out of the short time we have. Erin recently posted her life list not knowing I was about to do this. Here is the beginning of mine. The list grows each day and is in no particular order. I've already crossed some off of the list so this is what I have yet to do. They range from the predictable and serious to the fun and surprising. Enjoy!

  1. Visit all 7 continents
  2. Visit all 50 states
  3. Get married
  4. Be published
  5. Live in a loft
  6. Live by a river
  7. See Barenaked Ladies live
  8. Go hand gliding
  9. Go parasailing
  10. Act in a play
  11. Get a master's degree
  12. Own a house
  13. Learn to parallel park
  14. Learn to give a good massage
  15. Take part in a protest
  16. Go on an archeological dig
  17. Learn yoga
  18. Meet Michael Buble
  19. Learn to tap dance
  20. Camp in a tent
  21. Hug someone involved in 9/11
  22. Speak at a Ladies' Retreat
  23. Go to Disney World
  24. Kiss in the rain
  25. Work in children's ministry
  26. Work with an adult literacy program
  27. Live somewhere cold
  28. Skinny dip
  29. Be well read
  30. Go to the Smithsonian
  31. Go to a clean, beautiful beach
  32. Have the classic grace and elegance of Audrey Hepburn
  33. Learn to make chicken and dumpling and homemade apple pie
  34. Go to as many musicals and theaters as I can

Monday, September 04, 2006


On MySpace, people post bulletins with the same questions but in different orders (kinda like those survey emails to "learn new things about your friends"). You see a new one by a friend and as you glance over it, the questions give you a sense of deja vu. You've looked at them so many times that you know your own answers to the questions before you even read what the other person has written. My personal favorite is the one asking what you have done that you regret. Honestly, I used to be able to say that I regretted nothing. Recently, however, that is not the case. Maybe not what was done or what was said, but how I did/said it. Like I could have handled things better. As if my approach affected the outcome of things and if I had done something differently, maybe I wouldn't feel that nag that I messed things up. If I had asked instead of told, listened instead of talked, been open instead of building walls.

But that is the funny thing about the word "if". It doesn't change a thing. What is done is done and there is no going back. You accept it and move on praying that you didn't screw things up royally. You hope that one day, you look back and don't regret. After all, what good does it do? None. So here's to no regrets - May your hope be fulfilled and your doubts silenced. Time to have faith and learn to fly - without looking back.

Random Thoughts by Dana

OK everyone, hold on tight! This is going to be shooting left and right because I have just a little so say about several different things. I'll try to keep to one paragraph per subject. Enjoy and comment if you agree or disagree.

College football began to a great start! My Aggies won! WHOOP!!! Overall, the Big 12 looks good (minus Baylor and Colorado). It was a beautiful day. However...I have to admit something terrible. I'm beginning in to enjoy Texas football. I KNOW - I think that hell just froze over! I think that living so close to Austin is having its effects. Yet, what's the harm in enjoying raw athletic talent? Well, at least I know one thing for sure - I'm bleeding maroon every Thanksgiving!

Ok Ladies, this one is for you. (I specify ladies because I don't think that men have this problem. If y'all do, let me know!) I own two pair of jeans. One hangs on by the belt so they don't fall off and the other is so faded that they look discolored (and they are turning into high-waters). So I looked at my budget and decided to go get new jeans yesterday. Talk about a nightmare! Outlet malls on Labor Day weekend - shoot me now! But anyway...Does anyone remember the days when jeans did NOT have stretch material in them? I detest the stuff but they were in EVERY pair that I tried on! (If you have seen the outlet malls here in San Marcos, you would understand just how many places there are to try on jeans! The only place I didn't go was to Cavendars but let's look at this thought - me in western clothes - ha ha ha! Sorry, that created a funny mental image.) I usually don't buy something that I don't like but I did yesterday out of sheer neccessity. Maybe some company somewhere will realize that not all women want their jeans to stretch! GRRRRRR!!!!!! Why can't people just get it right?

Anyone who knows me knows that I have this thing with smells. In the car, in my apartment, at random places...I am aware of the way things smell (so if you are curious about a smell - let me know). I think one of my favorite smell memories was about a year ago. Jamie and Todd took my car to get the oil changed for me and Jamie picked me up from work. I opened the door and the very first words out of my mouth were, "What's that smell?" Not "Hello", not "How are you", not "Thanks for taking car of my car today". It was about the smell that Todd's left overs left in my car. It's a sickness - I know! So this doesn't just work with food smells. It's everything. My neighbors smoke so I can't open my windows in the apartment. I like candles but don't use them often. I don't have a car freshener because they are so strong. I love my perfume but I forget to put it on. I said all of that to say this. I made brownies for a pot luck yesterday and the smell hit me as soon as I got home (OK that one wasn't so bad!). What is wrong with me that even the sweet smell of baking is unwanted!? Usually I like that greeting when I get home but not yesterday. I know...I'm a weirdo.

OK...enough revealing my quirks for one day. Have a good Labor Day!