Friday, May 30, 2008

Another One Under the Belt

As of 12:45 this afternoon, the kids are gone and I have no class. Well, maybe some class - just no kids. Anyway....

Today was the last day for us with kids. It was fast and furious but we all survived. We were on countdown all day and by the time the buses rolled, we were happily helping them get on the bus a little quicker than normal. Don't get me wrong, I love them all to pieces but anyone who is a teacher knows just how ready we (teachers and students) are for that last bus ride away. We hugged and played and enjoyed being together. I hugged them all and said personal good-byes. Monday is a workday but there will be no little feet to dodge.

Here are a few fun things that happened throughout the day to make me smile:
  • As they walked past my door this morning, I overheard one fifth grader say to another, "Here we go, our last day in elementary school! YESSSSS!"
  • We watched Herbie Reloaded. At the end, the main characters kiss. Hearing their little voices go "EEWWWWW" is totally worth the rest of the movie.
  • Every teacher walks the bus students to the buses. Today, we all stood by the first bus and waved as every one went by. The kids were at the windows waving back and yelling final goodbyes. As soon as the last one was gone, we all broke into applause and laughter for a solid two minutes. It was the best feeling of relief and accomplishment that I have ever had.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

To Everything There is a Season

My lovely sister, Erin, has me watching a new show on TLC called Jon and Kate Plus 8. It isn't really a new show but it is to me. I've been watching reruns and have really enjoyed watching this HUGE family love and live. Being in Pennsylvania, they do very seasonal things as a family. As I have watched, there is a growing desire to experience one year of living in a place with real seasons. I've only experienced mild winters and deathly HOT summers. Not much in between. How fun would it be to have defined, actual seasons - four of them! Leaves and pumpkins in the fall, snow in the winter, beautiful growth in the spring, and an enjoyable summer. There are only two things that are a drawback for me in this grand plan. First, it is FAR away from my family. Secondly, I don't know how to drive in snow. That is a very scary thought to me!

I am in a season of my life in which I am desiring permanence. Something rooted and lasting. I go through stages where this feeling is panicky and unnerving because I don't quite have that yet. Thankfully, I find myself quite content right now. Houston has been good to me. I know that God has led me here for a purpose. I'm anxious to see what that is but in the meantime, I am enjoying this season in my life. Maybe I'll find myself in a place of seasons before this permanence comes. Maybe it will be in a few years when the folks are retired and the upcoming niece/nephew is old enough to travel. Maybe it won't happen at all. Who knows. Right now, I'm just enjoying the idea of living where there are four distinctly beautiful seasons.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I have a parent this year that would be more than happy to have my head. I'm more than convinced of that. It has made me quite tense and crazy at times. However, I was reminded again today that this is one parent. Truthfully, I have GREAT parents in my room. I am blessed beyond measure for how they spoil me. Notes, flowers, smiles, help in the room, you name it - they do it. Shame on me for letting that one take my thoughts and gratitude from the greatness of the others!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So Sean had us doing three member relays today. We did 25 minutes straight. For those of you who think, "Oh, that is nice, you can rest while your other two teammates run their legs of the course", I would like to welcome you to the land of the delusional. I was there for a few minutes this afternoon but by my second stretch, I was snapped right back into reality. It was TOUGH! We all made it and no one died but we were all hurting!

So I am NOT cute or pretty when I run. I sweat and turn beet red. During our strides, we all noticed a video camera. Insert deep sigh here. On one hand, I am thankful I will get to see my form. That will be helpful. Until.....

Around minute 18 of the relays, Sean decides to make the announcement that the video will be used at our nutrition seminar tomorrow as well as put on the front page of the website. Seriously!? Did he really think that in the midst of feeling our legs slowly turn against us that THIS would be the best time to tell us that the whole world will be able to see our red faces, wobbly legs, and hard breathing. On top of that, I will be able to watch how many people lap me each stretch. Oh the joy! I'm just trying to catch a breath, a drink, and a quick stretch before Jill comes up to the line. Now all I can think about is the stinking camera!

The bright side? At the time of this post, the video is on the website but not working. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where I Spend My Days

Quite a while back, Erin told me that she wanted to see my classroom. She wanted to see what the world of 1st grade looks like. I'm really not please with the way it has been this year but I have SO much in store for next year. Anyway, I thought I would share since the year is almost over. Since I can't show my kids' faces, These are taken the night of Reading Restaurant. We set up the classroom like a cafe and the kids made a menu of books that they could read to their parents. They were the reading chefs. So here it is - my second home:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kenyan Way Update 1

"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." - I Corinthians 9:26-27

I can honestly say that I have a new found appreciation for this image divinely given to us. Today I completed my second week of training with Kenyan Way. My body is in shock after years of being a BUM. At the same time, I feel better than I have felt in years! The idea of beating my body into submission is not longer just an idea - it is a daily practice. Each time I run farther or push harder, I think of these verses and am uplifted in spirit and body to do more. It is exhilarating! It has been an exciting two weeks!

First two weeks stats: First time trial in the mile is 10 minutes and forty seconds. For not having run in literally years, I was ecstatic! On Saturdays we do a long run. It is between 4 and ten miles depending on your level and pace. After only two weeks, I'm up to 5 miles on our long run! We are supposed to increase it one mile every week.

Here are a few other things to share:
  • I am more aware of and in tune with my body than ever before. When it talks, I listen because it is telling me something important!
  • Our bodies are more capable than we think they are. The body can be pushed farther and harder than we anticipate.
  • Hills are the hardest for me to run!
  • On the polar opposite, runner's high is amazing! No matter how tired I may have been, I feel great after I run.
  • There is nothing that feels better than stretching after a run. Nothing!
  • The right shoes make ALL of the difference.
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration! It's the key!
  • Runners are the nicest, most encouraging people I've met in quite a while.
  • Slow and steady really does win the race.
  • Its not about being the fastest, its about sticking with it and enduring. Finishing is the goal!

I'll let you know how things keep going!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Change is such a funny thing. It makes us do and feel things that can be so out of character. For me, change has never been that easy for me. It isn't debilitating but it can be a struggle sometimes - especially when I am exhausted. It is May and for me, it is a time of HUGE change both professionally and personally. I am getting ready to send 17 lives out there to someone else in hope that they will love them like I do. Saying goodbye to co-workers moving on. Relationships changing as life moves on - friends, family, even within myself.

That's the thing about life - nothing is ever the same. The great unknown is a scary place to me but God is patiently teaching me that He is faithful is whatever lies ahead. Sometimes, I wish I could just stop things just as they are and stay in a moment. However, life isn't like that. So I'm getting ready to brace myself against the Rock as I get ready to go back into this scary place called the unknown. He has been faithful is leading my steps so I KNOW that He will lead me on.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mine's the Best!

I know that this is a little bit late but I think she will understand. I've been thinking about this for about 5 days and I wanted to make sure that I honored my mom for the very best of all things. So, without further ado (because it's late already), here are some of the things I love and appreciate the most about my mother:

  1. My mom prays for me all the time - even in the watches of the night. How do I know? Not only has she told me but God answers those prayers readily.

  2. My mom often has more faith in the goodness ahead of me than I do. As optimistic as I usually am, reality often gets in the way. At those times, Mom can restore my hope with hers.

  3. Mom can rub feet/ankles better than anyone else. I'm not talking a message but just rhythmic rubbing. I have gone to visit just for that sole purpose more than once. (Pun not intended.)

  4. The only thing better than Mom rubbing my feet is Mom rubbing my eyebrows. I don't know where she learned this but it is pure genius. Absolute relaxation!

  5. Mom is an AMAZING listener! Even if she has heard me say something eight times, she will listen again for the ninth.

  6. Mom taught me to love books. I remember being little and watching her read. I remember books by her bed and scattered throughout the house. I remember trips to the book store and the library. This was one of the top five greatest gifts of all time.

  7. Mom is hilarious when she laughs. I'm not talking a chuckle but a laugh that comes from your toes. When she gets tickled, it is contagious.

  8. Mom knows me. Her knowledge of me does not stop at knowing about me. She knows who I really am. She knows what makes me tick. She knows my likes and dislikes, my joys and pains. She knows my weaknesses and my strengths.

  9. My mom taught me about Jesus. There is no greater gift than this.

So two days late, Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You are greatly loved!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Lesson Before the Lesson

This morning, I walked into class and found three people in the room. I went to a seat and decided to break the silence. I asked our teacher how his week was. He got this smile on his face and said, "It was adventurous." I asked what made it adventurous when he told me that he had been downsized on Friday. I was shocked! This is an amazingly outgoing man with a beautiful wife and sweet children. All I could do was sit there and tell him that I was sorry. He looked me straight in the eye and smiled, saying that it was going to be just fine. Apparently he had been thinking about making some changes over the past few weeks and he viewed this as God opening the door to make those things possible. He told us some things he is doing to make sure his family is provided for as he waits on God. He really is looking above first and around second.

I was SO humbled by this man. How many people would call getting let go an adventure? How many people truly look past the immediate shock and try to see where God is leading them? I could not believe how faithful he genuinely was when I don't know if I would be. I've had my life thrown up into the air many times but I did not respond in his way at all. I've responded in panic and in tears. I've trusted in God by laying all of my brokenness before Him but I don't recall ever immediately rejoicing in the possibilities that lay before me.

That five minutes before class deeply impacted me more than the lesson that followed. Oh for a faith that first looks up in anticipation to God instead of into myself with fear.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sleep....Glorious Sleep!

I have found the perfect equation for a good night's sleep:

Four hours of sleep the night before + a day of rowdy kids + two and a half miles on a steep hill = a new appreciation for my bed!

It will do the trick every time!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Labor of Love

Over the past three days, I have had the chance to show off my kids. Oh how I wish I could show you their sweet faces! They are by far the cutest group of first graders you will ever see. On Saturday night, I was talking about them and sharing a few pictures when I just felt my heart swelling. Then this afternoon, I was sharing them again. I have come to realized just how much I have grown to love them. They really are my babies and I am so thankful for them every day. Even on the days that they make me want to pull my hair out!

On the drive over I had "A-ha!" moment after "A-ha!" moment. What is basically came down to is that I have SO many that need love and acceptance right where they are. Unfortunately, I have had distractions this year than have kept me from giving some of them the time and attention they need. It is so heartbreaking to realize all of the opportunities I have missed. Sometimes I put the needs of the one over the needs of the many.

I prayed about a LOT of different things on the way home. It was very humbling. I found myself coming back to specific children. Here is my revised prayer for the remaining 19 days: That God provide the time and opportunities to love on the ones I have overlooked. That I have open eyes to see when those moments arise and the wisdom to use them the way they need to be. Over all of this, to pour out the love that these kids need and that I, in my limited humanity, don't have enough of. I know that I can't be everything to everyone. I'm not trying to be that. I just want them to experience what I felt for them on Saturday night and this afternoon.

Here is to four more weeks of expecting miracles!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

BEAT! (Like an Egg)

Today this is how I feel: exhausted, pooped, beat! Keeping six and seven year olds quiet for three days will do you in. Throw onto that a new student, a couple of behavior issues, parent conferences, and not getting home until after 9:00 a couple of nights in a row. Tonight is quite busy as well with things to do around here before the weekend. I'm not sure how I'll do it without collapsing.

Oh well....yea for tomorrow being Friday!